Erasure Persists...but Black Women Are Not the Guardians of This Here Galaxy
I would like a word with a few people and communities that ascribe to the calming of hostile acts towards Black women on a daily basis. Mind you I am speaking as a Black woman but not for all Black women because as a group and people, we are like most, not a monolith and complex. I am however directing this commentary to anyone who is not a Black woman because our daily full-bodied experiences are not considered. Or they are considered and precisely disregarded.
On the first day of the last six months in the year two thousand and nineteen, two moderators and a Democratic presidential candidate, three women were accosted on stage by a determined man, with a fisted microphone in hand. Press pause. 24 hours earlier, a determined man walked into his workplace in Virginia Beach, Virginia and killed 12 people. Resume play. The three women on stage were at their place of service and work to a physical and virtual audience when their bodies were subjected to aggression. And it was televised. I watched and re-watched Karine Jean-Pierre rise from her seat without hesitation in protection of another Black woman. And as I type this, I am overcome with emotion for how this bears–how Black women are constantly one another’s arrow in the quiver.
This is not a surprise as Black women have demonstrated leadership in this country for 400 years. From providing places of respite and escape during enslavement, to creating cultures of hope within the movement for Civil Rights, to founding organizations such as Black Lives Matter in response to the unrepentant murders of Black women and men by law enforcement. Black women are vanguards. And this fuels my anger because it illuminates the existing life of Black women set against the lack of protections, we face in most every life category. Karine’s efforts to shield Senator Harris from a very real and present danger was met with some suggesting that this was not as serious as it presented. I did not find humor or any ovation worthy moment in the distinct display of disregard for the lives of the women on stage. Ms. Jean-Pierre SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO PROTECT Senator Harris. And it’s worth reiterating that these women were working when a self-righteous person calmly walked on stage without resistance but for Karine’s instinctive response to shield Senator Harris.
So, this ode is for those carrying the last rung approach to Black women. The humanity of Black women is not predicated on acceptance or belief in who we are. Black women are deserving of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Black women are just as delicate and magical as we are strong and pragmatic. However, Black women are not:
Unpaid personal counselors
A/The Black Friend
The response to “diversity” (a system — yes system I have strong disdain for)
The go to for a fill-in until your preferred hire arrives with more pay and visibility
A go to for the colloquial YASSS!! or Slay Sis!! laced conversations
Intellectual property theft hubs
Guardians of this here galaxy
Black women are sisters, sistahs (there is a difference), mothers, aunts, laborers, freedom fighters, coaches, executives, god mommas, Big Mommas, and we put our bodies on the line daily. Black women bleed, cry and navigate aggressive acts and micro aggressions without incidence daily with little to no empathy or understanding save within our own Black women circles. And the events of June 1, 2019 blended with the most recent attempt September 28, 2019 to erase the courage and work of Black women and men and POC, illuminates for many how our collective contributions and experiences are ignored and/or co-opted.
Yet because Black women are intelligent, we can go about deducing why these are moments are predictable but look here: Black women are not the guardians of this here galaxy and thanking us and repeating our commentary is not the solution. Aggressively hire, listen to and protect Black Women. Periodt.