The Color of #MeToo

The #MeToo Movement is one of the most transformative public awareness campaigns society has ever seen.

At the Golden Globes, the fabulous, Ms. Oprah declared that a “new day is on the horizon!” Translation: This #MeToo bus is picking up speed, so either get on or get out of the way!

Black queens floating down the red carpet wearing all black in solidarity was encouraging. But, when looking at the women who have come forward and those that victimized them, you can’t help but notice that both are overwhelmingly White.

Now a brief but relevant pivot: Dave Chapelle made a groundbreaking observation in his new Netflix comedy special: in cases of sexual harassment, Black women don’t snitch on Black men.

Chapelle spoke of the way Black men have been treated historically in this country, and that Black women know their counterparts are unnecessarily punished for their very existence, and thus have sought to protect them.

We all have a brother, cousin, nephew, or bae that we know still doesn’t have a grip on how the world really works, because there was a private army of moms, sisters, cousins, and grannies that sheltered him.

Part of me originally doubted what Chapelle said about Black women refusing to hold Black men accountable for sexual harassment. But, a friend made me think differently.

My friend is a thirty-something Black woman working in corporate America and told me of a consortium of Black women that she works with who have been repeatedly harassed by a Black male staff member, and (gasp) no one has said one, word.

She openly admitted that she and the other victims have not wanted to come forward because the perpetrator has small children. This guy losing his job, facing a criminal prosecution, or both would have a massively negative impact on his family.  

She all but said that as far as Black men are concerned, Black women don’t snitch.

Another friend shared  that she has been hit on and harassed by several men of color while utilizing a popular ride application that rhymes with ‘Shuber.’ She, too, has not written one report to the company –she did not want to be the reason a Black man working to feed himself didn’t have a job.

Picture me here with my hair blown back.

I never expected a close, friend to tell me point-blank that she has purposely turned a blind eye to harassment, especially given that she is an articulate, confident woman of principle.

The #MeToo movement initially unfolded with Bill Cosby. He was accused of sexual assault by several White women including model Janice Dickinson, but was also accused by multiple African American females, including model Beverly Johnson.

I was devastated by the allegations surrounding Bill Cosby’s fall from grace—as well as the shattering of a large portion of my childhood—but, I didn’t think about the idea that  Black women were so loyal to Black men that they would endure and not report sexual harassment or assault.

It made me nauseous to come to the realization that there are likely Black victims who chose to simply stay silent.

There is no racial combination that makes sexual harassment or sexual assault any less horrific. It is a despicable, heinous, cloud of darkness, no matter the circumstances.

While I love that Black women support Black men wholeheartedly, supporting them or covering for them in matters of sexual harassment, is not something I can get behind.

Wrong is wrong, and any perpetrator of any sexual offense should be punished accordingly.

The biggest irony of this entire issue is that the #MeToo movement was actually started in 2006 by a beautiful Black sister, Tarana Burke.

I don’t know who will be the next person to (dis)grace my news alerts defending criminal sexual allegations, but what I will say for now, as crazy as it is: Chapelle may be right.

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