You may have heard me say this before.
I’m sure you’ll hear me say it again.
I intend to keep saying it as often and as loudly as necessary until the skies open up and the ancestors send for me, or until I feel a shift in the weight of your words. Yes, you. I’m talking about you and I want you specifically and especially to hear me: the way I see you “loving” Black women do not be moving me.
I am not taken by your performance of love and value for me and people like me that always seems to circle back to reminding me I am a figure of struggle, suffering, and death - nothing more.
You refuse to see Black women and girls as anything beyond ascribed victimhood, an affront to the beauty and power that is Black woman and girlhood in all of its forms. I reject this benevolent misogynoir. Black women and girls matter beyond the ways we suffer, and are victimized within community, or by the institutional violence of white supremacist capitalism.
To confine us within your limited (white) view of femininity, and bind us to your patriarchal (white) caricatures of damsels in distress is an unforgivable violence. You would raise a generation of Black children to believe that to be a Black woman is to suffer endlessly and unloved until death, and that celebrating our strength and power is akin to a slur.
In your desperation to portray Black women and girls as frail, helpless beings who no one loves, cares about, and protects, what is constantly overlooked are the Black girls and women across the country, and the world, who are protecting ourselves and one another. When we’re not forgotten afterthoughts in your narrative, we’re infantilized and transmogrified into some neglected thing.
Our determination to embrace our autonomy, and our ability to meaningfully impact our lives — and the lives of those we love — made into an ugly and unfair burden.
We are told the ways in which we love and support one another are not good enough, because it is not the salvation we should seek from our divine rescuers. How is it that you make a reality where Black women love, and are loved by other Black women, sound like purgatory?
The ugly and uncomfortable (for you) truth is that what you feel for Black women and girls is not actually love. No love for us would diminish us in these ways. Your version of love tells us we matter not for who we are, but for your own pain and guilt that you can use us to assuage, the caricatures to which you can reduce us, mumbling “listen to Black women” and “Black women matter” as you erase the ways we exist beyond your two-dimensional portrayals of pain and abandonment.
It is this erasure that brought us the desecration of Breonna Taylor.
In your conversations about how Breonna Taylor’s death has “become” a meme, what is conveniently left out is how her death was always a meme to you. How you and thousands of others tweeted endlessly that “no one is talking about” her death while Black folks in Louisville and other parts of the country shouted and marched and gathered nightly - led largely by Black women - demanding justice for her murder. But of course, these weren’t the people you were talking about when you said “no one.” Your “no one” was an acknowledgement of your incessant need to be validated by those you see as real, valid, powerful people capable of enacting change and for you that absolutely is not Black women.
Instead, you tweeted “no one is talking about.”
Over and over.
A hollow, useless, performative and blatantly false statement repeated ad nauseam, viral a dozen times over, written in your articles that produced nothing but a paycheck for you. You reduced Breonna Taylor’s personhood and impact within her community to a hashtag, and converted her death into a social media challenge to keep her name trending by any means, while never actually talking about her and who she was, never uplifting the protests happening for her in Louisville, never sharing the words of her family and community, or information about the circumstances of her murder, or the investigation into the officers who killed her, or how folks could support the work being done in her name.
Just empty words, and the endless taking up of space.
And still you take no responsibility for what the ugliness of your version of love for Black women has brought.
We are six years, six seasons into a production that has brought more harm than it ever has healing and I want nothing more than to see the curtains close on your theater, permanently.
Because you do not love Black women.