A couple of weeks ago, a mind blowing comment was left on our post about a group of young college students who were brutally assaulted in broad daylight as a public gathering during Philadelphia’s Greek Week.
So how do we become valued? I know we are valued amongst ourselves, meaning most Black women value other Black women. Where do we start? How do we become a protected class as well? If someone knows, point me there and I will concentrate all of my efforts on achieving that goal. Mena, WAOD Reader.
Excellent question!It took me a while to figure out how to answer this one because I have a fundamental set of beliefs that rejects the premise of the question.
How do we increase the “value” of Black women?
I have three $20 bills in my hand. Pick the $20 that will buy you the most when you go spend it at the grocery store.
A) $20 to the right,
B) $20 to the left or
C) $20 in the middle?
Which $20 has the most “value”?
Let’s change the facts a bit.
I have three $20 bills.
A) One is laying on the sidewalk,
B) The other is in a purse and
C) The last is deposited in a bank.
Which $20 has the most value?
Which $20 will buy you the most when you go to spend it at the grocery store?
Now let’s say you’re a rather unscrupulous person who thinks you’re entitled to access , exploit or profit from the value of all three $20 dollar bills, despite the fact that none of them belong to you.
QUESTION #3 Which $20 bills are you going to attempt to obtain?
A)The $20 on the sidewalk,
B) The $20 in the purse or
C) The $20 in a bank?
The $20 on the sidewalk might belong to somebody, they may even attempt to claim it if you try to pick it up off the ground, but the $20 on the ground is unprotected and the risks associated with picking it up and putting it in your pocket are relatively small compared with the other choices.
The $20 in a purse is protected by vigilance, choice and opportunity. If the purse is walking down the street, the person carrying that purse MIGHT be defenseless or they could be carrying a handgun. Even if they are carrying a weapon, they might not be willing or able to use it on you to keep you from taking the $20. Perhaps, the purse isn’t walking down the street, but sitting on a kitchen counter...behind a locked door...in a gated community. The risks (being shot, getting arrested for breaking and entering) are potentially significant, but you really want that $20...
And then there’s the $20 in a bank. In addition to all of the physical barriers found at your local branch, that $20 is protected by the common knowledge that if you snatch $20 that does not belong to you at the bank, you will be hunted down with almost every resource available to law enforcement and when they catch you, you’re going away for an incredibly long time. You may get that $20, but you’ve now committed an assault on the entire US banking system as opposed to the individual crime of purse snatching. They don’t care if its “only $20” you’re going to make the local news and the jack booted foot of government will soon be pressed firmly upon your neck so as to discourage any other potential robbers from following in your footsteps.
So back to our original question: How do we increase the value of Black women?
The question implies that Black women have to “DO” something to obtain “value.” As if we have to "earn" being treated like human beings. Or perhaps we have to be “well liked” to be valued. It implies that what we’re worth as human beings is based on how other people FEEL. I’ll take a pass on that notion. I don’t want a system of protection based on the fickle emotions of other human beings.
I believe that the fact that we are human beings we have value. For those of us who believe in a power greater than ourselves, that value was endowed by our creator no human can add or take away from that.
You don’t have to like me to acknowledge my basic human rights. The most “unlikeable” Black woman has the right to walk down the street unmolested.
There are plenty of examples of groups who are out numbered, disliked and unpopular but are incredibly powerful and protected because of the infrastructure surrounding them. “The System” protects them. They spent a long time building their infrastructure, are constantly attempting to retrofit it, and when threatened, they will expend unlimited resources to protect “The System.” Because they are completely and utterly reliant on the system for survival, they have zero tolerance for any assault on the system.
Don’t ever let any of the tragedies you read about on this blog make you think that Black women are defenseless and helpless. And to the extent that we’ve been knocked off course this is a good time to stop being pitiful.
The question isn’t how do we increase the value of Black women. The question is how do you protect the value of Black women. Not just from assaults on that value, but our unwillingness to acknowledge that all of these individuals slights aren’t petty, but part of a systemic assault.
Ripping the clothes off of women walking down the middle of the street in broad daylight isn’t a purse snatching. Its a bank robbery.
Invading a woman’s home, torturing her and her child for three hours while the neighbors listen and do nothing isn’t a purse snatching, its a bank robbery.
Yet another television depiction of a Black woman as irrationally angry, violent, downright animalistic isn’t a purse snatching, its a bank robbery.
We keep treating these things like individual assaults on one Black woman or a “particular group” of Black women. But the impact is systemic.
When Black women believe that they can’t walk down the street or attend public gatherings or travel freely- that’s a systemic impact.
The first rule of building the Bank of Black Womanity is having ZERO TOLERANCE for “value robbers” ALL. OF. THEM!