Let’s be honest here, America was on a roll; meaning that there were so many racial offenses, particularly the murder of African-American males, occurring that “Lady Liberty” would have blushed if she could.
I intuitively realized that if offenses against African-American men were making national headlines, Lord only knows what was going on with my sisters who have historically silently suffered mightily under the same yoke of racially based attacks as Black men. Considering that the vast majorities of attacks upon Black women were sexual in nature, myriad factors led, and to this day still lead, to them being unreported.
Sadly, Black women have historically been victimized by men of all races. Unfortunately for African-American women, one of the largest obstacles to their victimization being taken seriously flows from historic, and current, caricatures that have portrayed them as lascivious and more than willing to have sex whenever, wherever, and with whomever desires/demands it. Such historical realities have made any allegation, particularly one of a sexual nature, made by Black women to be, in a word; unbelievable.
The aforementioned historical context leads me to realize that the recent fallout involving Asha Burwell, Alexis Briggs and Ariel Agudio, the three students at the University at Albany who claimed that they were attacked January 30th on a city bus by a group of white men hurling racial slurs and epithets at them while others looked on, has done negligible damage to the seriousness that an always-hostile outside world takes African-American women abuse claims. Put simply, I highly doubt that there is a level of disbelief that Black women claims could fall to that is any lower than the one it has historically been.
Now I am most certainly condemning the cruel hoax that these three women played on their university community and the nation, it was wholly unnecessary.
Asha Burwell in particular should be singled out for the strident manner in which she propagated the lie. Mrs. Burwell related the following during a rally. “We are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken. We stand here with strength because we value our worth as black women and as human beings in general.”
It has been determined by authorities, who viewed the film of what occurred on the bus, that these young ladies were the aggressors in the attack. Amberly Carter, Multicultural Resource Center coordinator at the University at Albany asked a very poignant question. “So do we now stop defending black women because of what happened?”
University at Albany freshman student, Lauren Hopedales, related that “It’s disappointing and saddening that somebody who seemed to be trying to help the movement would be the one to set it back, it’ll be harder for people to believe and support.”
I don’t think that either Mrs. Carter or Mrs. Hopedales need to fret regarding if this incident has lessened the support society has given to African-American women in any regard. The truth of the matter is that there was absolutely no support to begin with. And as the saying goes, “nothing form nothing leaves nothing.”
I have no doubt that African-American women will survive this “setback”, they have no other choice. And to be honest with you, when one considers all that African-American women have been through historically, this little incident isn’t even a bump in the road.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III