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*Trigger warning sexual assault*

Woman: accuses man of sexual assault, man denies it. Man is believed. Woman: accuses man of sexual assault. Man admits it, people cheer of his honesty. People rally behind him. People even going as far as apologizing to him if they did at first believe the victim. Apologizing that they accused him of rape without all the facts. Because this is the society that we live in.

One where women are expected to rally behind and protect men at all costs even if we are the 'cost'. One where we think that accusing someone of rape is the ultimate crime but raping isn't. One where if she is believed she is told to "get over it" but when he is accused everyone says this could ruin his life. A society where a victim shares their story and is met with "But..." One where he denies the accusations and is met with "yeah well we weren't there, he's probably innocent." 

Innocent until proven guilty only applies to those accused of rape because we, the victims are already guilty just by speaking. 

As a rape victim I am deeply angered to exist in a society that not only rejects my body for being Black and for being female, but covets after it for those same reasons. Fetishizing and demeaning it repeatedly. Re-victimizing it daily. I am expected to exist within this skin and laugh along as men make rape jokes. To not "take it so seriously" when someone makes lewd comments or grabs my body. Lighten up. Rape victim have to work harder to prove the rape than the rapist has to work to disprove it. That is our job, my job, her job, all victims jobs. Copious evidence can be there and there will always be someone calling her a liar. Rapists can admit it, they can leave DNA evidence, they can make up excuses yet be dis-proven, there can even be witnesses and someone will always find a way to blame her. Women having to go as far as to carry the mattress that they were raped on in the streets begging for mercy, yet are still met with hostility. Young girls taking the wrath of their parents after becoming pregnant because they felt they wouldn't be believed if they came forward and said it was rape. Women repeatedly, case after case after case taking their own lives after the assault and we still want to play judge and juror with every one of them. We still want to pretend like there are "sides" to this when she comes forward.

 

We teach boys that when they lift up a girls dress and push her down in the sand box that that means he likes her. Girls learn that to. We learn that love means pain, humiliation, and loss of control over our own bodies. We learn that love hurts but it's normal. Its womanhood. Welcome to the club. We watch as male friends, fathers, uncles, and cousins applaud each other for "scoring". High fives for banging another chick, for popping cherries and "taking" virginities. You're a man now. And this is what women are. A tally mark. A way for men to one up each other. To win the game. And to 'take' something from us. We are the givers and they the receivers. Our bodies dispensers for sex that you mark with SHAME upon conquest. Women shouldn't want sex otherwise she's a slut. But are expected give men sex whenever men demand it. If we fight they get angry. "It could be worse" they say. If we allow than it was too easy. We are too easy. Whores. We are walking contradictions for their sexual perversions. A place between chasing and dominating, all wrapped in a pretty pink bow. That's what We are for Them because We do not belong to Us.

 

How long until rape or assault is met with "I believe you." How long until excuses stop being made? How long until we care more about those who are accusing than we do about those who are accused? How long until our bodies belong to us? How long until we are in a room full of women where most do not have a story of assault or harassment to tell? How long until laws are made so that accusations of rape are taken more seriously than someone selling drugs? How long until the prisons are filled with our monsters instead of our weed dealers? 

 

We live in a country where thousands of rape kits never get tested. One where an entire squad of officers have to be formed to deal with sexual assaults in cities throughout the country because there are THAT many. We base TV shows off of them that stay on air for 17 years because a show with fake cops that actually give a shit is sometimes the only comfort that millions of victims ever get. My only 'Justice' is tuning in weekly to an hour long show where they actually catch the bad guys. Where secrets like mine are met with support. And where they don't actually have to be secrets. A TV show, that's what I have. That's what We have.

 

We never ask what someone was doing or wearing when they got robbed. Why? Because we sympathize with the intrusion they faced and the fear for their life and well being that they felt. How long until this happens for rape? How long until being famous doesn't excuse you of assault? How long until victims are not laughed at? As you're reading this some of you are disagreeing. Shaking your head, I'm surprised you even made it this far. But guess what? This post isn't just for the Brock Turners and Donald Trump's of the world this post is also for some of your faves the Bill Cosby's, the Chris Browns, and the Nat Parker's. The Black men without fame but still more power then I. Black women and men i'm talking to you. This post is for the abusers cocky enough to be accused of rape than to make a film with the other men they were accused with. The ones bold enough to be accused of rape than write a rape scene into their film and direct it themselves. The ones who get accused and talk about how sad They are. The ones hiding behind the rhetoric of "Protect Black men". A saying that all Black women have heard our entire lives. 

 

What's sad is that these accused Black men that you rally behind in the name of Black unity wouldn't rally for shit if you were the victim. These are the silent men when cops threw our 14 year old Black girls to the ground  and tossed them around classrooms. Silence as officers break Black girls arms and jaws. Silence for the Black women that get shot in the streets and beaten to death in jail cells. Silence for the cop that raped 12 Black women. Silence for the multiple cases of officers raping Black women in front of their children this year alone. Where are the god damn headlines?

This of course isn't added to conversations about Police brutality right? The "Is my Black son next" and "I Am A Man" is the center of our movements. But of course these silent men have so much to say over a woman who was vocal and fought. Only to be shot and killed with her 5 year old son in her arms.  These men will try to ensure that that little boy grows up thinking that that was his mamas fault. Even tho she died fighting for Black men to.

 

I wanna live some place where being born with a vagina doesn't come with terms and conditions. Where it doesn't come with a constant fear of death.

We are a broken people. And I just wonder, how much longer?

Sandra Bland (28), Korryn Gaines (23), Aiyana Jones (7), Miriam Carey (34), Tanisha Anderson (37), Yvette Smith (47), Shelly Frey (27), Darnisha Harris (16), Malissa Williams (30), Alesia Thomas (35), Shantel Davis (23), Rekia Boyd (22), Shereese Francis (29), Tarika Wilson (26), Kathryn Johnston (92), Alberta Spruill (57), Kendra James (21), Natasha McKenna (37),Latonya Haggerty (26), Margaret LaVerne Mitchell (54), etc etc etc. And ______, ______, ______, leaving blank for future names that also, most likely will not be publicized.

 

ShiShi Rose

A Letter About Black Spaces

Dear Whoever, 

Soon after i bought tickets to Afro Punk i saw a bunch of different things that happened that made me want to sell those tickets. And I've been very vocal about those things in the past. Since selling the tickets didn't happen however, and since I'm not one to waste my money, especially on tickets I've had nearly all year, I went. Upon attending and posting photos from my week end there I have received numerous DMs and emails asking why I would have a problem with white people at Afro Punk (or any Black space) or why I have a problem with Afro Punk itself. So here it is-

Afro Punk used to be great, it lived up to its name and has always been a place for Black people that identified as punk or wore unique and eccentric things that they are normally extra oppressed for embracing. Anyone who was Black and didn't want to conform stylistically. It was also for every other Black person because not only is it filled with amazing fashion and hair but love for our culture and each other as well. We need those safe spaces because we don't have a lot else. But like every safe space, every conversation, and anything that uplifts Black people it always gets infiltrated by whiteness. Someone asked me if it was the appropriation I had an issue with or the white presence. And its both. Of course I don't want to see you wearing me as a costume in a place that is supposed to be for Black unity. But I also don't wanna see your face in a space that should be for Black unity. Especially hoards of you with other white people because why even go if you don't have Black friends to rock with? That would be better. More than the white presence tho I have a bigger problem with what that white presence creates. Once white people become involved in anything it usually becomes more about money. Its original purpose covered over and now the white dollar is held at the forefront.-

Some months ago MIA who was supposed to be on the list as a musical performance. She decided to, after booking a job with AFRO punk, to make a statement about why she hated the Black Lives Matter movement. Instantly i thought in my head "That's cute coming from a woman who we didn't ask, but okay." She said basically that Black people need to do more to fight for Muslim lives, that we don't care about Muslim lives, and that we need stop separatism among minority races, that ALL lives matter. Quickly obviously, many of us responded to her about her ludicrous statement. Because not only have Black people been repping Muslim lives since before the first Civil Rights movement but to say that Black Lives Matter doesn't care about Muslim people straight up ignores BLACK Muslims. Its basically feeding into the colorism and prejudice that non Black Muslims perpetuate against Black Muslims. And it's negating all of the work we have done to uplift Muslim people. Despite all of that however, Black people do not need to run the movement for ALL People Of Color. That is not our job, we are allowed to uplift ourselves fully without worrying about anyone else. Especially in a time when we are currently target practice for white america. Everyone loves to hop on Black backs as we run to freedom. They prefer to do that before they try to uplift their own "Oh Black people got us", no we do not got you, we're tired.-

 

All of this would have been expected and overall just another day had Afro Punk not agreed with her and released a statement saying that she was right. That "Black Lives Matter should include all minority races" you know...despite its name. Despite the fact that technically MIA should have never even been on the line up because why would you have an event called AFRO PUNK and have any artists that weren't Black? And despite the fact that every minority race wanting a piece of our movement has a known history of being anti Black so instead of trying to capitalize off of what we built they should build their own/fix their own. But back to the topic of capitalization, once white people get involved with spaces they were never intended to be, things happen like this and are than justified instead of corrected because if they bashed MIA they would lose part of their white audience. Meanwhile they didn't care that because of what they were doing they were losing part of their Black audience. So many Black people in their comment section of Instagram and Facebook saying "Was just about to buy tickets, so glad I didn't." They lost AFRO tickets to Afro Punk and it took them too long to care. Finally, way later, they released another statement, saying she was no longer going to be headlining the show. It's interesting how long it took. How much they must have weighed back in forth what they could risk by doing it even while the trust of Black people was on the line. 

So it's not just white people showing up to our safe spaces and wearing us like we are a Halloween costume and suddenly thinking they need to dress like they came from Africa, its about what the white presence causes. So stop asking me why I don't want white people in our safe spaces, ask yourselves, if you are white why do you want to keep infiltrating them when you have so many of your own? There are so many music festivals that cater to white audiences so that the only real reason white people would want to go so bad to a Black space would be to see the culture that they lack. Because diaspora is real and in the process of colonizing people of color white people lost their own cultures now they exist in a world with power without substance. Like having loads of cash and no bank account or wallet to keep it in. White people hoard power because that's all they have. The thing to do wouldn't be to keep infiltrating Black spaces because you lack culture it would be use your own spaces and find your own culture. Its as easy as a DNA test to find where you come from/feel connected to something. Its actually easier for white people than us. My DNA test won't tell me what tribe I come from just country. At the very least if you decide to go to a Black space you shouldn't be rolling up with no Black people and in an African tribal outfit, dreads, hotep symbol necklace, and Nigerian makeup. At the very least be respectful. At the very least let us have something that's fuckin ours and go learn about your European history.

Signed, a bitter black woman that hates all y'alls shit but still danced my ass off at Afro Punk

What Are We Going To Collectively Do About Colorism?

Colorism is a widely unaccepted and misunderstood concept to grasp for most of America. Even within communities of color. Because in order to get a handle on it requires a bigger understanding of the topic of race itself.  An understanding that large chunks of society lacks. That being said, for those willing to learn or expand the knowledge they already have there are numerous articles about race, colorism, privilege, misogynoir, police brutality, etc. For those who are open to it, these conversations are happening. Often times they are happening within our own social circles. A lot of people who claim to be allies for a cause have no problem with getting involved in these conversations. However, as vital as education of the masses and evolving is, there comes a point where we have to ask a colossal question here. 'What are you going to do with the knowledge that you acquire?' The thing is with all the information we need literally in the palm of our hands, it's not that society doesn't get most of these topics. It’s that most don't want to be inconvenienced by them. It becomes a disturbance that alters our perception of our privilege. Forcing us to re-recognize it daily, in new ways. Ways that we as educated people thought we had already mastered. That includes people claiming be on the revolutionary side of history who may be fighting in ways that can sometimes be oppressive if done improperly.

'What are you going to

do with the knowledge

that you acquire?'

 

Humans do not often like to hear that we hold personal responsibility for anything that isn't easy or desirable. And let's face it, the topic of race is unsexy. The concept of it was enforced in a way that wanted people to acknowledge it through its differences as to ensure the total destruction for some and privilege for others. But it was built to not be talked about. There's no question in the fact that because of how racism conditions people, we all have internalized it and even those of us that are oppressed by it. As people of color claiming to be down for the struggle we have all in some way helped to sustain these systems daily when we think we are not included in the question of "What are you going to do with the knowledge that you acquire?" That question should be asked of everyone. I ask that question of myself daily. it should be used it as a way of humbling ourselves to understand that this is bigger than any singular experience. It is a universally inpactful issue. So how big of an impact should be left behind by those fighting for it?

 

All of this is about challenging the systems that created the imbalance and learning to work with those that hold oppression and privilege differently than we do. When you think about how you will fight for a cause, actionary efforts should be held at the forefront. Using your conversations to rebuild what is broken should be the foundation for activism. Whether it be to fight colorism or myriads of other efforts. We do not rebuild by merely talking, in private to people that already agree with us. We do not rebuild without constructing a plan, or by thinking we are ever done learning no matter how educated and well versed we may be. The exertion of turning a vision into a reality requires us to get uncomfortable. And continuing to get uncomfortable. To question that un-comfortability every time it arises, and then to challenge it.

The exertion of turning

a vision into a reality

requires us to get uncomfortable. 

 

Words mean little until they create a power around them that helps them transform into organizational conversations. In a way up-building people to help them discover their own capabilities. In another way, liberation for activism. To re-center the goal, and talk with a purpose. "I have always wanted to work in film but I knew how hard it was for a person of color, especially a woman to not only break into that field but be successful. The more I have learned from you and through my own research the more I've realized that I need to create the change I wanted. Now I plan to go to film school to screen write and produce films where I can cast the diversity I wish I saw on the screen." These are words that were spoken to me. This is when I realized that along with learning and teaching, people should be persuaded into becoming the change instead of waiting to see change or waiting for leadership to create the change. A learned confidence that it takes to be able to lead yourself.  It’s not enough to have a black man as president for two terms. Or to have a white woman win and serve as well. That means so very little if the people that encircle them are not also diversified. Because ONE is not enough to challenge a system. An invasion of intersectionality challenges it. We accomplish more by infiltration of the systems than we do by just telling the systems that they are wrong. We challenge it the most it by getting inside of it and controlling it. By doing that at all levels. Challenging our own career goals and questioning how we can morph it to focus on all aspects of equality.

We accomplish more by

infiltration of the systems

than we do by just telling

the systems that they are

wrong. 

 

 For the topic of colorism in media there needs to be casting directors willing to question those they work with. To build teams around them of people working towards the same goal. Writers need to physically writing 'Dark Skin' roles. And people not only be disputing the representation they see but the depiction of the representation. Evolving doesn’t happen if we cast stereotyped versions of dark skin people of color. There needs to be more encouragement of people especially the marginalized, to go to school to become writers. And those schools need to be doing more to ensure that people of color get the same opportunities as their white peers so that they go on to have the possibilities that they need to create diversity. Parents, mentors, and the community need to be encouraging children of color to feed their art. Then giving them the tools they require to keep it fed. In another aspect we also have to question how misogynoir, sexism, and black LGBTQ+ hatred work alongside colorism. How often when we do see repeat diversity it’s in the form of black CIS men on screen. And how so many other races have even fewer diverse roles than the black community. In the bigger picture this is all about more than media coverage. But more so how the depiction of us on screen determines our treatment in society. And how it influences the white perception of blackness. How it influences our own perception of blackness. And how colorism affects more than media, but the overall workforce, the education system, and the prison system. We need to be challenging every system even the systems we have set up in our own heads. So the question now is more than 'what will you do with the knowledge that you acquire?' but ‘How will you re-center your life around it to create change?’

Casual Racism

Casual Racism

Our country runs on Antiblackness so its no surprise that not only does most of white america do antiblack things but black america has been taught not to see it. And therefore they defend the antiblackness perpetuated by white people. Both can happen without either party realizing it. This country since its inception has run off of the capitalization of black abilities. Blackness built it yet we suffer beneath its heavy weight. This type of casual racism, the kind a friend says to you over drinks or the recurring theme of most memes wasn't created by accident. The perpetrators often do not realize what they are doing but the system was set up to get people to maintain it, ignorantly, while also being desensitized to it. Ellen Degeneres isn't INTENTIONALLY trying to be racist by photo shopping a photo of herself on the back of black Olympic runner Usain Bolt. But intention does not nullify a fact. That this country was built and sustains itself on the backs of black people. And the time when white people were actually using black people like mules really wasn't so long ago. Slaves were referred to as Human Beasts Of Burden. And them carrying their white owners around on their backs was common practice. The same way other things from slavery were passed down and changed yet still exist in our generation so does the muling of black strength. Now in modern day times it usually takes a more figurative meaning. It has really become the capitalization of blackness for profit. Yet still the burden is heavy on our backs.

The thing is, regardless of intention we are at a time in history when you should never joke about something that could potentially still hold so much power and deep meaning. But Ellen didn't see that. Why not? Because ALL white people are inherently racist. And now is where most of the white people reading this will stop reading, close their computers, shut their phones off, and shout my name to the heavens. But for those of you who stick around past your own ego and your own need to not feel uncomfortable, bare with me. White people are all inherently racist. Yes I've said it again. That is so because racism is something that has to be unlearned. You spent an entire lifetime learning racism, this is regardless of upbringing, how many black friends you have, if you say nigga or not, if you believe black lives matter, and if you have sex with black people. And you are even inherently racist if you have dedicated much of your life to educating yourself and others about racism. You are never exempt from unlearning. None of those things stop you from internalizing racism. Its everywhere and its insidious. Acknowledging the fact that you all have racist mentalities should not be a scary concept. Its the first step to ending those mentalities. White people are more afraid of being accused of being racist than they are of actually being racist.

Ellen: "I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am." Great, I'm glad you don't want to be racist. But you are, not just for this 'joke' but because all white people are. And because you Mrs. Degeneres think that because you do something and do not have racist intentions behind it that it isn't actually racist. That thinking to me from white america is one of the dangerous parts of any of this. We have white people doing much bigger things than this and still hiding behind 'intention'. We have this casual racism popping up in so many other ways and because of how Black america has been trained, most of us don't realize it is even happening.

Example: when white parents get upset when the housing zones for their schools change. They sit over tea with their friends and complain about it. Saying it could make the children "unsafe". And that un-safety to them comes from more minorities being allowed to attend their child's school. Yet they normally never voice why that feels unsafe. Their intention they claim is for their child's safety. Their actions are racist because minority does not equal unsafe. When questioned about the racial undertones associated with their statement they say "don't be ridiculous, I have a black nanny, I'm not racist. We donated to Africa aids research!" That to is another way that white people mule black people. When we accuse them of racism they hop on our backs and tokenize us as their ticket to prove they are not racist. That they can not possibly be such because they have us. Own our blackness for convenience. Since seeing this meme go around i have read repeatedly in comment sections where black people have defended it because its a 'minor offense'. I've seen them out right say "there is real racism to worry about" as if there is real and not real racism. As if racism doesn't work on level's. And as if racism isn't about thought patterns and our allowance of letting things that seem minor "slide" because there are bigger fish to fry. These things have to be challenged because if we do not challenge smaller forms of racism than we never dissect the root cause of it all. Admitting your racism doesn't mean you are a bad person, it means you have work to do. The same way I can admit my transphobia and my antisemitism after growing up in a black religious household where separatism was encouraged and acceptance of even other oppressed people was not, I have work to do. And no matter how much I think I have learned I am inherently both of those things and I am constantly unlearning. That means that I have to constantly check my own intentions and realize that even when I have the best in mind I can screw up.

This is all bigger than a joke made by a comedian. This is about the mindsets that so many have that they refuse to acknowledge and how those at fault hide behind 'intention'. Defending it, instead of just learning when to learn from a it. This is about how we as black Americans learn to turn away and defend the intentions of white people because we are so used to racism seeming like a thought out plan. And so used to racists being so much worse than casual. However If I unintentionally hit and run over my friends dog with a car will it matter what my intention is while he's bleeding to death? This is about awareness. Becoming aware of how we contribute to the continuation of racism daily. And when that is brought to our attention its about what we do with it. Acknowledgment of our errors. And changing it the next time around. A simple concept really.

ALL Black Lives Matter

ALL Black Lives Matter

Korryn Gaines was murdered on Monday August 1st, 2016. Police officers raided her home over traffic warrants. In her home were her two children and their father. One of her children, the 5-year-old who was with her was also shot and is now in the hospital. There’s a few interesting things about this case. Maybe “interesting” isn’t the correct word. Perhaps “Typical” is. It’s typical for a black person who speaks out about injustice previously to then be murdered and for that murder to be covered up. Korryn had a history of documenting the police in the area of Baltimore that she lived in because of their police brutality. She documented what they did to her and to others. She even filmed herself getting pulled over by them in her vehicle. As was the case with Sandra Bland and many others, those who speak out are those often targeted. There is always some elaborate story made up about what these particular black people did to deserve death, then later a lot of what was originally stated by the police officers is proven wrong. It is typical for stories from the officers involved to be released to the media however it is just as typical for the story to be false. And what is interesting about this case is that Baltimore officers, since last month have been required to wear body cams. They should then have no problem releasing the video to us, unedited, showing exactly what they said that Gaines was shooting at them first. It’s typical…law enforced for officers to wait up to 48 hours to release body cam footage. Today is Wednesday.

Today a video should be released proving everything they are saying about her. It’s also interesting how if Gaines was heavily armed the cops didn’t mention that in the audio she recorded where you can hear them in the background asking about her phone. They were clearly more worried about being recorded then they were about whatever weapon she had. That being said, Police officers are trained to know what to do in hostage situations and are never supposed to fire wrecklessly when innocent lives can be taken unless of course that innocent life is less important because it belongs to a 5-year-old black child. Police are trained, or rather should be trained to properly de-escalate a stand-off. De-escalation of a situation SHOULD NOT mean murder. Plenty of other incidents involving criminals with guns who were on a literal rampage have ended with the criminal being escorted to the police vehicle unharmed. Dylan Roof, killed 9 people praying in church, received a bullet proof vest for his protection. There’s also been numerous incidents where civilians have had gun stand offs with police officers directly in their homes and in broad daylight and were not killed so it is possible. It is also possible to apprehend a suspect, even one with a weapon, without harming any additional civilians. No matter what she actually did, they knew that firing into that house could result in the death of a small child, and they did it anyway. They did it because Black Lives do not matter to them. But what’s typical is that they don’t seem to matter that much to many other black people either especially when the black life in question is a woman’s. We black women will rally for black men every-time another is brutalized and/or murdered. We will fight for them all even the criminals. Why? Because we realize that being a criminal doesn’t mean that you deserve to die. We do it because we have made it our duty to fight for black men. But black men don’t seem to realize that we are their duty as well. That it’s not up to them to prove why our murder is justified. It’s up to them to fight for us and for our children. To rally for us when they murder the mothers and wives. To shout our names when they break our daughter’s jaws and arms and slam them to the ground.

It’s up to them to realize that the mainstream media has never been for the revolution or in support of black lives so why would it be now? Why should we believe anything the officers are saying when they haven’t shown any proof to back it up and when they have all proven time and time again to not only lie, but to cover for each-other. Another black woman is murdered and black men aren’t fighting with us. People are saying she should have surrendered as if Charles Kinsey, Mike Brown, Pilando Castile, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, and so many others weren’t all hurt or murdered while complying. As if they don’t just shoot us in the chest instead of the back when we say “don’t shoot” with our hands up. What faith would Korryn have in a system that was built with her execution in mind? She stayed exactly where she should have. Spending her final moments with and comforting her son who didn’t realize he was about to be shot and watch his mother die in front of his young eyes. She had a gun because she knew they wanted her dead. You ask why she had a shot gun but you never ask why they sent a swat team in for her traffic violations. You ask why she had a shot gun not why she had to document everything the officers around her did or why she had a law suit against one of them. You ask why she had a shot gun but you don’t ask why the officers would shoot into a house where they knew children were present. You ask why she had a shot gun as if you would not have gotten a shot gun to protect your own life and the life of your offspring from terrorists in your neighbored with guns and badges and the entire country built so that they are above the law. She had a shot gun because so many of you reading this want to blame her for her own murder and she knew what would happen. Having a gun doesn’t warrant death. According to the people that support the NRA it’s an American right but it’s pretty clear that right, like so many “rights” are not for AFRICAN-Americans.