“The most disrespected person in America
is the Black woman, the most unprotected
person in America is the Black woman.
The most neglected person in America
is the Black woman.”
—– Malcolm X —–
Let’s face facts! For the majority of the nation, including a good portion of our own community, they are TOO Black, TOO Loud, TOO Lascivious, and TOO Ignorant to be cared about. A slanted reading of History tells their tale of being little more than a big butt or someone to visit when you want some wild bestial sexual escapade; they are best represented by the personas of video vixens that are created in the patriarchal imagination of some cinematographer. Many women come to mind, women such as: Karrine “Superhead” Steffans, Amber Rose, Esther Baxter, Keyshia Dior, Melyssa Ford, Black Chyna and Draya Michele.
I speak of the Black woman, a group that regardless of their individual academic or professional accomplishments are never viewed as ‘anything’ higher than an exotic animal with a big butt; unfortunately, too many of their own, meaning African-American men also view them in this unfavorable light.
I can think of no other logical reason that Black America has ignored the trial of Daniel Holtzclaw.
I must admit that I was also unaware of who Daniel Holtzclaw, 28, was until I viewed some random news show such as 60 Minutes or 20/20. I was shocked to learn that Hotzclaw, a law enforcement officer and former collegiate football player with serious aspirations of making it to the National Football League, had raped and/or sodomized thirteen Oklahoma City African-American women while patrolling the African-American community in the period between February – June 2014. Holtzclaw is currently facing 36 counts of rape, sexual battery, and forcible oral sodomy of 13 Black women whose ages range from 17 to 54.
One would think that such activities from a law enforcement officer who is supposed to “Serve & Protect” law-abiding citizens would be the lead story for months; particularly during this moment where officers’ authority is scrutinized on a daily basis. However, there was nary a peep regarding Holtzclaw’s activities from anyone other than the victims, many of whom were hesitant to come forward.
Although it is difficult to admit, Black America, including African-American women, has quite simply been too busy with other pressing racial matters — Ferguson, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Mizzou, Bill Cosby — to pay much attention to a serial rapist who victimized droves of African-American women.
As they have been known to do, African-American women apparently made the conscious decision to place their victimization on the back-burner and busied themselves protecting and uplifting their men and their beloved community. One of the greatest examples of such is the post-slavery decision to make lynching, instead of the more common rape/sexual assault that African-American women were subjected to, the single-greatest issue facing Blacks in the late-19th Century and early 20th Century.
African-American women have commonly operated from a logical perspective that if the lot of Black men improved, then they would also be taken care of. Unfortunately for African-American women, this expected reciprocity remains undelivered to this very day. Many African-American men behave as if their ‘sisters’ are little more than a survival tool that can be used when needed and discarded when of no longer utility.
In light of this dubious history, it is unsurprising that the African-American community, including self-sacrificing Black women, have no idea of who Daniel Holtzclaw is, let alone the horrific crimes he committed. There have been no hashtags, social media campaigns, or columns written to propagate this matter. We, meaning the entire African-American community, have remained silent.
Make no mistake about it, this silence is derived from the fact that we, meaning every segment of the African-American community, do not cherish and value Black women the way that we should. Although we know that they are our mother’s, sisters, aunt’s, girlfriends, daughters, and wives, it appears that for a wide-swath of Black males they have come to believe that Karrine ‘Superhead’ Steffans is a more apt representation of the Black woman than Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, or Assata Shakur.
Although the current climate of activism that we see occurring in the African-American community is long overdue, there is a tendency to focus upon certain types of injustice over others. Unfortunately for African-American women, it appears that they are once again at the back of the bus when it comes to our community rallying around issues affecting them and as they have been known to do, they suffer in silence and take one for the team. It appears that the only exception to this rule is if an African-American woman has been killed by a law enforcement officer who happens to be white.
I intuitively desire to resist Malcolm X’s admonishment that “the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” However, I can not truthfully say that there is a major part of me that knows he is speaking the unadulterated truth. And for that, I am ashamed of the Black men who have consciously chosen to continue one of our communities most unfortunate traditions, the denigration and disrespect of our mother’s, sisters, aunt’s, girlfriends, daughters, and wives.
James Thomas Jones III