Writing Challenge, Day 15: Introducing Kultured Kommentary
Since Day 15 is a free write day, I’ve decided that it’s a perfect opportunity to do the first edition of #KulturedKommentary! If you need advice or have a topic that you want my opinion on, fill out the form above (Contact Us tab) or email TheKulturedQueen@gmail.com.
Q: Can you comment on how Black men can better support Black women? It seems there is always pressure on Black women to better uplift Black men but the flip side of the conversation needs to occur to in order for the whole Black community to prosper.
Love to hear your thoughts! Keep up the great work!
Thanks for this question and for the compliments! This topic encompasses a whole plethora of complex underlying issues, but I’m going to do my best to tackle it as best I can without getting to lengthy.
I agree, it does often seem like the pressure is put on Black women to uplift Black men, and the culture in general to be honest. There is a clear disparity in who is expected to dig us out of our culturally significant holes of misfortune. It’s up to Black women to band together to fight for our rights. It’s up to us to address the crises in our various communities. It’s up to us to keep our families together in the face of the worst turmoil. We’re expected to keep it together at work, at school, in the voting booths, as matriarchs, as daughters, as caregivers, and so much more. We stand up for everyone else so much that we end up neglecting our own health and well-being, far too often to the point of dying. But, then again, it’s always been that way in this country. Since slavery, we have been the constant in our communities. As our men hung from trees, we kept going on. As we were forced to raise the children of our oppressors, while our babies were sold out of our arms, we kept going on. In the face of burning crosses, we’ve kept going on. Through being beaten, raped, used, abused, exploited, erased, and forgotten by society for generations, we have still, yet, kept going on.
I think that part of the reason there is such a discrepancy in the way Black men and women offer support to one another is because of the long history of Black women having to keep it all together in the face of unthinkable strife. We’ve done it for so long while Black men were sold off, silenced, broken down, or killed that it’s almost become an unspoken expectation that we will have the backs of Black men, and the culture at large, through it all. And truthfully, many of us continue to oblige in our own ways because it’s a part of who we are. The reality is that there is no loyalty like that of a Black woman. But while our strength is something that gives me so much pride, I also acknowledge that it’s honestly not fair.
So often, we give so much of ourselves and get the bare minimum, if anything, in return. It’s altruistic, but it’s exhausting. Black women need support from Black men just as much as Black men need it from us.
Like you said, there has to be more reciprocity in how we support one another if we want to rise and prosper as a collective.
So, ranging from the most basic things to some a bit deeper, here are some ways I think Black men collectively can do a better job of supporting Black women in their lives and communities. And yes, I know these won’t apply to every Black man but I’m sure most can improve at least one thing on this list:
Ask a Black woman how she’s doing.
Don’t objectify us and our bodies.
Be outspoken about your love for us.
Protect us as vehemently as we protect you.
Do something when you see a Black woman struggling.
Say something when you see Black women in a tough situation, or being threatened.
Reach out or offer to be there if you see a Black woman in need of support (not necessarily speaking strictly of financial help, but moral support).
Make an effort to give more than you take. Giving doesn’t have to be monetary; it can be as simple as a smile or trying to be a light on a Black woman’s dark day.
Send the same positive vibes to us that you wish to receive.
Stand up for us in corporate circles, instead of ostracizing us.
Step up to fight with and for us in the streets.
Show that you value us and our rights.
Treat Black women the way you would want someone to treat your daughter.
Understand that learning more about and supporting (Black) women’s rights does not compromise your masculinity or sexuality.
Ask yourself the hard questions to determine if you display characteristics of toxic masculinity in your interactions with Black women, and if you do, work to address and unlearn those.
Examples: Are you threatened by a Black woman’s success? Are you offended when a Black woman displays independence in action or thought? Do you have a problem with Black women disagreeing with, or constructively challenging your thoughts? Do you refuse or fear opening up to Black women because you think doing so makes you “soft” or “gay?” If you answered yes to any of those, you may want to re-evaluate.
Don’t demean Black women—not to justify your choices to date outside your race, not for the past hurt some Black women may have caused you, and not for issues you may have with Black women holding you accountable. Don’t degrade us at all, but especially not in mixed company. Period.
Put in the same work to protect us, as you would to protect your most prized possessions, accessories, or pairs of shoes.
Understand that when Black women suffer, we all suffer.
Do what you can to combat our suffering.