Why Don’t We Black Men Deal With THIS?!

“After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment at Dunbar Village and then went further, forcing her to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son. They took cellphone pictures of their acts. They burned the woman’s skin and the boy’s eyes with cleaning fluid, forced them to lie naked together in the bathtub, hit them with a broom and a gun and threatened to set them on fire.”

Our tendency to ignore acts done “BUTU” (By Us To Us), seems about on the order of white folks forgetting that between the Emancipation Proclamation and right now, Jim Crow, lynching, firebombing and Co-Intel Pro, among other coercive tools, were and are used to impede and shackle our “American Dream.” Well, what does it mean when deafening silence greets a crime about as horrific as it gets?

What does it mean when it is a sign of public “intra-racial traitorousness” to note such a profoundly sick, spasm of violence…and asking, ‘where are the black leaders on this one?’ What’s happened to us, to our relationships, to our humanity, that our children, our youth could “allegedly” perpetrate this? And we ain’t got shit to say, including me, up to this point.

What can black men do to stem the violence in our communities? Certainly, violence in general is a male phenomenon. What can we do about this/how do we in the AfroSphere respond?

As some of my friends in the AfroSpear – Sokari and Aulelia – have pointed out, rape is a tool of coercive, demeaning, genderized power. As men, we have to let go of our patriarchal impulses, our ‘power over’ and raise up the WOMAN Power in our midst. We need to be silent, when its our tendency to dominate and speak when we feel like shrinking from our responsibility to face our own behavior. We aren’t expected to be patriarch’s by free women; but we aren’t supposed to be fencesitters when our women are being debased by other men either.

More later.

7 Responses to “Why Don’t We Black Men Deal With THIS?!”

  1. I’m glad that you bring this up.

    Recently over at my site, I brought up the reality, the existence of my white ignorance, my white privilege. I sought to acknowledge my ignorance, make an example of myself. Among the nazi-eque crazies who showed up to criticize me, one fellow actually went so far as to ask me if I had been taking estrogen.

    I thought about this for awhile, trying to decide how to reply to him. In the end I went with something to the tune of “hey, if acting more feminine is what it takes to dispel this ignorance, we should all consider it.”

    Great post Free.

  2. Because unfortunately, we still can’t get over ourselves. Stories like this just pissed me off. Good post …

  3. Dave – thanks 4 enlightening us on that especially the part of ‘taking oestrogen’ – That criticism bestowed upon you by the commenter is an example of pure verbal sexism.

    Free – Good post. This highlights exactly how rape not only subjects the victim to pain but the people who love her, namely her child. I hope they catch those bastards.

  4. hey thanks for posting this. i have had some time to think about this…

    i think that while this act is about gender and violence in the black community, i think it may be useful to not only think about the interpersonal relationships between men and women, but the overall emotional, spiritual and psychological health of our community. i enter this discourse with a cautious degree of hesitancy because i don’t want to reiterate common narratives about black people being “sick” of psychological disordered–but i do want–no need to explore this a bit more. some of the articles talked about how people heard her screaming and some folks upon hearing about the attack did not care. what does it mean when people become so desensitized that these acts of violence seem like IMMUTABLE and UNAVOIDABLE elements in the lives of poor black people? what does it mean when these acts are so normalized that some of us are not even surprised to hear about them? so yes, what can we do to prevent this, but what can we do to help our communities recover from centuries of similar violences so that we can enter this situation of problem solving and community building renewed? the aforementioned questions make me think about the roles of institutionalized violence through poverty and racism that created these housing projects. i am not excusing these young men–but i want to emphasize that these were YOUNG men and that is important to remember. what is happening to our communities where this is even acceptable? i read one post that talked about the screams which commented that the people in these communities know that the police do not care, so they did not bother calling the police. what does it mean when that institutional lack of care becomes a proxy for our disengagement? there are a lot of institutional and personal responsibilities at play here–but i do want to say, we should all take this situation as an opportunity to really think about what kind of communities we want and urgently need. we should also take this as an opportunity to interrogate i am still convinced in my heart of hearts that housing projects are social experiments and that there are certain forces that we must work against, and i am also convinced that we have the resources (not $$, but the less tangible) to build these communities. we need some intense recovery so that we can proceed (or rather yet, recovery through and as forerunner to community building). anyway, i hope this makes sense.


  5. powerful post…looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this.

    i disagree about violence being a male phenomenon, although i do think violence is patriarchal (women also capable of being patriarchal).

    kameelah’s comment is also really powerful…this statement: “i am still convinced in my heart of hearts that housing projects are social experiments and that there are certain forces that we must work against” makes me think of comparisons made between u.s. ghettos & housing projects and the gaza strip, bantustans, and prisons. i remember thinking during the fighting between hamas and fatah in gaza earlier this year that if a state keeps people in a prison than prison dynamics will take over.

    i think this also has a lot of weight, the need for emotional/psychological healing: “we need some intense recovery so that we can proceed (or rather yet, recovery through and as forerunner to community building).”

  6. Nosnowhere: Agree that women can be violent – verbally, psychologically, physically.

    The point about recovery is critical; if we do not begin a personal course of therapeutic recovery, we will (and do) manifest the same abuse that’s been inflicted upon us. This message has to be repeated over and over again.

  7. When I 1st heard about this story, I was sickened & mad as hell. WTF is going on when people can think shit like this is OK and or fun??? They need to receive the same treatment once they are locked up. I am a firm believer in an eye for an eye.


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