Defense or Offense

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By Tracy Caldwell

It would seem as though black men are the greatest protectors of other black men, while simultaneously kicking black women in the face, and it doesn’t matter if the black people in question are famous or just from around the way. I rarely see black men themselves praising other black men unless it’s sports related, but the minute a black woman speaks negatively about her experience with a black man, holds a black man accountable for negative actions, or has anything to say about  a black man that is not admiration, there is a backlash of hatred spewed on her at every turn, sometimes even by other black women.

The most recent evidence of this would be the fall out after Gayle King’s interview of Lisa Leslie, King questioned Leslie about the legacy of her friend Kobe Bryant. Snoop Dogg, an admitted friend and admirer of Kobe Bryant, took to social media to express his feelings on Gayle and her line of questioning, calling her, among other things, a funky dog head bitch. Hoards of fans dragged Ms. King, and all she has done in the past year of interviews, through the mud. Most calling for King to interview white men in the same fashion she has interviewed black men, and posting pictures of her from the past with the likes of Harvey Weinstein (whom Snoop also has pictures with) and Donald Trump, insinuating she loves the white accused rapist she hasn’t interviewed, but is all too willing to destroy the black accused rapist she has interviewed, namely R Kelly. Her recent question posed to Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in 2003, has caused black men so much pain, they have begun sending Ms. King death threats for her audacity to tarnish Bryant’s legacy through questioning.

Watching this unfold revealed a bit of irony for me. I noticed how black men were claiming their drag of Gayle was in direct defense of their iconic hero, Kobe Bryant. Black men seem to always show up in defense of any black man called to the carpet for  his transgressions. It’s as if their offensive line is nonexistent, and I’m wondering when the defense is going to get tired and actually hold men accountable. I am a very vocal women when it comes to the plight of black women. I usually speak about things no one else is willing to say in public. I have been accused of bashing black men whenever I speak up about the pain black women deal with at the hands of black men. Black men are the first to show up replying with the ever famous, “not all black men”. I recently saw a video of Gervontae Davis drag the mother of his children out of a crowded arena by her neck, with two other black men in tow. The man who was seated next to her quickly tiptoed out of the situation, while the two men with him did nothing to stop the jacking of this woman. No one in the arena intervened. I have seen countless moments like this in real life, where a man is verbally or physically abusing a woman, and the men around will mind their business. Say that it’s on her to do better, and pick better. Too often when speaking with black men about their friends verses the woman in their life, you can hear the loyalty they have to their homeboys is much deeper than the loyalty to their woman. Calling it man code, or bros before hoes. Where are all the men who say “not all men” when physical abuse is happening? I often wonder where is the protection for women outside of their immediate families? Especially since black women are expected to show up for and shield all black men from any negative circumstances or state of affairs he may find himself in. If a black woman dares to agree that there are some awful black men in the world, she is an immediate target for being expelled out of the black delegation, forgiveness is not afforded to her, nor will anyone ever forget what she has done. She must wear the title of trader to the race, or be accused of not being black enough until her death for exposing family business. Who cares if her pain is being directly caused by a black man.

Black men will tell a black single mother her plight is her own fault for not choosing better, an abused black woman is accused of picking the popular guy over the nerd, thus making it her fault she is being abused. Rape victims are lying because Brian Banks was lied on in 2003.

Black culture cancelled Crisette Michelle to the point that her career has suffered, all because she sang at the inauguration of Donald Trump. She didn’t even sing her own song, she joined Travis Greene at his request. No one ever mentioned Travis when it came to the cancelling. Another man who was protected and defended after a Trump friendship was Kanye West. Kanye wore the MAGA hat and told us slavery was a choice, all black men said was Kanye was off his meds. It’s as though Kanye’s betrayal to the race never happened, he has gone on to have great success with his new church or whatever he’s calling it. Told us he was gonna get on and leave us for a white girl, did it and we keep giving him chance after chance to slap us in the face. Meanwhile poor Crisette hasn’t eaten well in 4 years. The double standard is so visibly invisible, but we continue to repeat the cycle of kicking black women in the face every time is shows back up.

There is a way we can show up for each other without killing each other. We have to be able to be objective and know the difference between constructive criticism and plain old destructive behavior. Black women have been taking care of the world forever, we deserve protection, a safe space to speak out truth, and ask hard questions.