Divided Houses.

Divided Houses.

One tweet in support of Black men ignited a social media firestorm. Time to explore the conditions and mindsets that made anti-Black misandry acceptable.

Last Wednesday morning I made a statement on Twitter:

It was not said to ignore or attack any other part of the Black collective. It was a straightforward response to the hostility I see thrown at straight Black men on social media. I thought nothing more of it until my phone began to buzz later that afternoon. By the end of the day, the tweet had gone viral. A week later, and that ten-word tweet has been seen by nearly a million people, liberating some, enraging others, exposed the true feelings of many Black gatekeepers, and sparked a conversation about the status of Black men in social justice and political spaces.

That conversation is long overdue, because the attitudes towards Black men in those spaces is poisonous. 

Spend any time on Black twitter-especially the section known as “woke” twitter-and you will see a pattern emerge. At least twice a week, someone will post something slanderous about straight Black men that will go viral within hours. It is not harmless banter between men and women, but false statements about our collective guilt and wishes for straight Black men to die, usually by police violence. When challenged, the people doing this default to talking points stitched together from bits and pieces of the work of bell hooks and Kimberlé Crenshaw and half-remembered gender studies lectures or some canned slander about straight Black men as a group being the weak or homophobic when the truth doesn’t match the rhetoric.

It’s easy to create a narrative on social media, all you need are the right buzzwords and you’re in business. The dominant narrative when it comes to straight Black men is that they’re all useless at best and privileged, potential predators at worst.

But the data doesn’t bear this out:

Black men and boys are at the bottom of every American socioeconomic metric. A Black man is twice as likely to be stopped by police than a black woman, and Black men have a 1 in 3 chance of being in prison at some point in their lives, compared to a 1 in 18 chance for Black women.

Black men make up 34% of America’s jail and prison inmates while Black women make up 29%.

The numbers from the National Institute of Health’s Intimate Partner Violence study paint a mutually unpleasant picture with 45% of Black women and 40% of Black men surveyed reporting sexual violence physical abuse or stalking by an intimate partner.

Between 2014 and 2019 1,608 Black men have been killed during encounters with police. In the same time period, 46 Black women have been killed.

None of this is meant to disregard the pain of those who suffered trauma by individual Black men, but these are the actions of individuals, not a collective. To claim otherwise plays into the hands of the white supremacists these “pro-Black” people claim to be fighting. 

One of the most disturbing reactions to the tweet was seeing people who have jobs in news, academia and politics agreeing with people who said they hate Black men. What are they teaching the students they’ve been educating? How are news stories about issues affecting Black people being shaped? What does it say that these people feel secure enough to spout hateful, dangerous rhetoric with no fear of professional consequences?

When it comes to Black males, social media is proof of Malcolm X’s quote about how the media will have you hating the oppressed and loving the oppressor. The rapid-fire nature of information delivery in that space means that it doesn’t matter if something is true as long people want to believe it.

There are predatory and toxic men in the Black community. There are toxic women and LGBTQ individuals in the Black community. But the collective can’t be demonized for the actions of individuals. Predators need to be held accountable and it is tragic that damaged people are further victimized by opportunists ready to exploit their pain. But an even greater tragedy would be to allow the lies about straight Black men to go unchallenged and become the baseline for young Black men looking for information about themselves.

11 thoughts on “Divided Houses.

  1. I just feel that these facts are out there yet it gets purposely ignored because it doesn’t fit the current agenda, which is to further demonize the straight Black Man. We’re called privileged and the Black woman’s oppressor. Ironically, the same women who are using this rhetoric are also encouraging Black women to invest in White men. I was sexually assaulted by 3 women in my lifetime 2 Black and one White, not one time did it occur to me to generalize the entire female population as predators based off my own pain. But when it comes to the straight Black male if one screws up… we all feel the wrath of anti-Black male Twitter.

  2. I realized that on social media, Black agents of systemic White supremacy… Black agents who are paid by systemic White supremacy, those who hope to get paid by this system of White supremacy, and the smaller group manipulated by both groups above…abound. From a sinister strategic perspective, it makes sense that they would demonize the segment of Black men with the largest potential to help create strong Black families that are resistant to racism and other foolishness: straight Black men.

    From Daniel Cameron repeating White supremacist talking points (calling peaceful protestors anarchists while helping the murderers of Breonna Taylor cover up their murder), to Candace Owens, to the basic street drug dealer selling drugs to our people…they all reveal who they are working for…systemic White supremacy.

  3. I’m so sorry this had to be written. I cannot believe we’ve come to a place where we’re tallying up bodies slain by these devils who hate us- to make a point with people who should love us unconditionally. It is embarrassing, disheartening and engenders the very worst kind of helplessness when you realize that the precious time that should be spent loving and cherishing each other and fortifying our defenses, is redirected to address this Bullshit.

    It’s as if generations of knowledge of whiteness and the white man who benefits from it, has been forgotten overnight, swept away and replaced with falsehoods and ginned up faux outrage. As if we don’t know who has really dedicated their lives to killing us, who has marshaled all of their resources to restrain, corrall and degrade us.

    We don’t seem to understand that any people who create that much fear and viciousness in someone who already holds all the power MUST be a divine people. We must be so feared because we are special- we must be the constant target of their senseless rage because they know that a minute of freedom from their subjugation will allow us time to build and realize our true nature, our real beauty and our real power. And that inevitability scares them to death.

    I reject this hatred from within because I know it’s just more of his poison and I’ll be dead and done before I allow that devil to get between me and Black women. My Black women – my sisters, my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, my wife and my daughter. I’m nothing without them and they are nothing without me. I claim them and they claim me and that will never change.

  4. I have so much to say and contribute to this “King Kong” in the room that the mainstream media and even the woke black community purposely ignores. I salute and honor all the brothers and sisters that have the courage to engage in this taboo subject with intellectual honesty.

  5. You can make an intellectual argument all you want, but this isn’t an intellectual issue. Straight black men, to the extent that they’re demonized from within, are so because our manhood and agency has been blunted by white supremacy. One of the most toxic things running in our community is that the cause of our woes are because of some unique moral failing. For some, we are that unique moral failing. Add to it, healthy manhood is vital to any community and when we cannot step up — or better put, are hampered from stepping up — people lose respect for us on some primal level, even if they call us lover (in the case of some black women). Men have the burden of performance, excuses be damned, and having an intimate understanding of systemic racism does not always beat back simple biology.

  6. These tales are always dishonest because the people who push them ignore and often partake in the same type of hatred towards Black women or LGBTQ members. It also ignores the decade where Black men on twitter were incredibly cruel and vile to Black women to paint the men as victims instead of acknowledging that they are getting a taste of their own medicine. Until the people who push these narratives acknowledge these things and are willing to speak up on both these tales will always been manipulative.

  7. Being a young Black man in academia myself at a large public white university, I see the hatred and dismissive nature towards Black men daily. In class discussions anybody can say anything vile, disrespectful, or just speak flat out lies toward straight Black men and it is taken as the truth. But the moment you push back, or challenge their statements, you are characterized as hating Black women (which is a lie), or you are portraying toxic masculinity. All for calling out nosence that would not be allowed to be said about any other ethic group or minority group in the world. Just my thoughts.

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