I don’t know if you watch or have read Harry Potter, but when Professor Slughorn exclaimed to Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, “These are mad times we live in, mad!,” I felt that. Every time I open my Twitter timeline, go on Facebook, or turn to the news, there is a new tragedy: a mass shooting, rape allegations, the killing of an unarmed Black person and/or Trump having us on the brink of nuclear war. Perilous times have been plaguing us for awhile now, and everyone has their unique set of views and opinions. Several people I knew from my high school and college days have been deleted or blocked because as platforms such as Black Lives Matter emerged, our racist counterparts also emerged with their true racist colors shining valiantly. I wasn’t too shocked to see that many of the White people I went to school with were so callous in the unnecessary killings of unarmed Black people, thus failing to shock me when they started showing their support for Trump as a presidential candidate. They say politics is a topic you should shy away from if you are not looking for an argument, but I say f*ck that. I need to hear your views. I need to hear that you are not an All Lives Mattering, Victim Blaming, Homophobic ignorant creep. When you’re on a first date or are just getting to know someone, you run through the same old questions to try and uncover who you are really dealing with: “What’s your favorite color?” “Where do you see yourself in three years?” “What would you do differently in your last relationship if you could go back?” Those questions are all fine and dandy, but in this economy and political climate, it’s time we ask some questions that will rock the boat. It will save you from getting roped up with an Uncle Tom or a crazy misogynist. If you’re not very Pro-Black or too into women’s rights, perhaps any old Joe won’t bother you. I personally would rather die alone with 14 cats than force myself to be with someone who isn’t down for the cause, but hey, that’s just me. These thoughts made me realize there are two imperative questions a woman must ask a potential suitor before allowing him access to her life.
Question One: “How Do You Feel About The Murders of Unarmed Black People By Police?”
Do All Black Lives Matter to you? They definitely matter to me. When asked, if your response even starts off with “Well, I really think All Liv…” I am getting my purse and walking out the door, word to Viola Davis. The date is cancelled and you can delete my number, beloved. Thanks for the appetizers. I really do not have the time or the energy to explain to another Black person why he should be concerned about the perpetual issue we have in this country when it comes to the lives of our own people. When a White person says they do not think we have a problem with racism in America and acts totally oblivious, it’s irritating but more understandable. Until someone opens your eyes, it is simple to walk through life completely unaware because the issues that affect others do not touch you. My mind is boggled at a Black man who thinks that because we don’t have to drink from the Colored water fountain anymore that everything is all hunky-dory. Sure, segregation is over, but Black people are STILL getting the police called on them for simply existing. All of the Permit Patty’s out here wildin’ with the 911 calls are not a coincidence. It’s racism in real time. You being able to lay up with Becky With The Good Hair and not wake up to a burning cross in your yard literally means nothing, and interracial relationships no longer being illegal did not solve 400 years of oppression. That being said, I need to know that you are not in a deep coma, unconscious to the plight of our people.
I am not interested in hearing that you are entitled to your opinion, because your opinion is wrong. The facts present themselves everyday on the news, and we all know Google is free. Books are not that expensive. Your parents and grandparents obviously have stories, and they don’t matter any less just because decades have elapsed. Research aside, I don’t know one Black person who doesn’t have at least one story about an experience they’ve had with a racist person or establishment. If you say you have not, you’re either lying or more lost than I thought. I am only in my 20’s but I have quite a few experiences I can share during story time when it comes to racism and microaggression, and I CANNOT STAND another Black person telling me Susie Salesgirl isn’t following me around the store because I’m Black. I can accept different views on everyday things, like music (although I can’t trust you if you don’t like Drake and Beyonce), Lebron vs. Jordan, sugar vs. salt in grits, etc. People often conflate what is fact with their personal opinions/preferences. Believing that Lebron is better than Jordan is not harmful to anyone, but turning your back on the woes of your own people definitely is. No one is saying you have to go ghost on your White friends; obviously not every White person is a stone cold racist but it’s still essential that we are cognizant of the disadvantages we face. A man willfully being Ray Charles to the Black struggle is no man for me. If I wanted to take on the job of arguing race relations with someone, I would have opted to date any other race but my own. I may end up with a man named Tom, but he certainly won’t be an Uncle Tom.
Question 2: “What Do You Think About Bill Cosby Going To Prison?”
This Bill Cosby question will cue me in to your views regarding rape culture as a whole. If you say he was trying to buy NBC so they framed him, I will once again grab my purse and exit stage left. Do I think it’s odd that in several rape allegations, victims have waited years, even decades, to come forward? Yes and no. Yes, because if I’m violated, trust and believe I’m telling. I will make it my life’s mission to see you pay. However, I am not everyone, and so many women come forward time and time again and are not taken seriously. I suppose it is easy to say what you will do until it actually happens. Women who tell are blamed, slut shamed, failed, and silenced. It makes a woman wonder, why even bother? Even if charges are brought forth, the punishment is usually mild and unfitting for the crime. It matters not whether she reports her assailant right now or 10 years from now, it does not make her any less of a victim. The main rebuttal I see men use when it comes to rape allegations are “well, a lot of these women are liars. They make these false accusations and ruin lives.” Is there truth to that? Absolutely. False accusations are deadly and many men have had their lives robbed of them because of these untruths. It also slows down the progress of real victims receiving justice. The only issue I find in that logic is this: if your mother, sister, daughter, etc., confided in you that they were sexually violated, how are you going to respond? Are you going to tell her, “hold up, sis, I need his side of the story. You could be lying.”
You may think this is macabre dinner conversation, but their answers will speak volumes in regards to their character. If you could fix your mouth to tell your female loved one that you need to corroborate her story before showering her with love and sympathy, stay far away from me because you are a sociopath. If you don’t want to have the rape and consent talk over calamari and white wine, I wouldn’t put it off for very long. Nothing sucks more than deciding you like someone and finding out later that they support Rape Culture. Bill Cosby’s case was not an Illuminati conspiracy to stop him from buying NBC, it was just an example of how we really never get away with our transgressions. Pretty much every woman knows a woman who has been sexually violated, and if you can’t stand on the side of the victim, I can’t stand with you. Men are audacious enough to say it’s a scary time to be a man in America. I guess if you are a predator, it is a scary time. For all the men who are wrongfully accused, there are probably 5x as many who are rightfully accused and are going to Happy Hour right now without a care in the world.
Educate yourselves, fellas. Learn to look at life from the viewpoint of someone who is not in your shoes. If you are a Black man oblivious to the racism that occurs everyday in this country, pick up a newspaper and read all about it. Realize and accept that you were not blessed with immunity to oppression. Do not be deliberately obtuse. Put yourself in the shoes of a woman who has to say a silent prayer every time she has to walk past a hoard of men. You may ask, why don’t you take the time to school the guy on what’s going on, why just throw him in the discard pile? My answer is because my name is not Ms. Wikipedia, especially when it comes to my people and race. You are living it everyday; if your own life experiences can’t wake you up out of your denial, then I don’t know what you expect me to do. As for sexual assault, I can’t teach you empathy. You will have to have your own epiphany, and you won’t have me pulling my hair out trying to force a simple concept into your head. I have made it a point to find a man’s stance on these sensitive subjects as early as possible. There is no point in either of us wasting time when it comes to my non-negotiable viewpoints. Good looks or money can’t make up for ignorance, especially in the Information Age. You don’t have to be in the streets marching for freedom and equality, but at least have an awareness of what is going on in this country. As a Black woman living through my experiences of intersectionality, I can’t be with someone uncommitted to understanding my walk in life.