Recent events have had me thinking quite a bit about my place as a Black woman in American society. These past few years have really been an attack on my identity. It began with the continued onslaught of unwarranted killings of Black men and women by police officers that prompted the Black Lives Matter movement. I cannot even describe to you how much that has grieved my soul for months and months. Particularly as a mother of a tall, dark and handsome young Black man. I wrote about it. I marched. I cried. I organized and co-hosted shows about it. The sting and fear and worry continues – as more and more stories emerge, and murderers are acquitted of these crimes. The struggle continues.
America elects a bigot to the White House and days after the election I am called “nigger” by an angry driver. And the hits keep coming. So-called “white supremacists” have come out of cover because they feel emboldened, and no need to even wear sheets and hoods anymore! They are swiftly moving to minimize people of color throughout the country. The rush to “build a wall” and enact harsh immigration policies continues. People are trying to “reclaim” a country that was never theirs to begin with. How ridiculous. And let us not forget the circus around Colin Kaepernick choosing to display his values by taking a knee. I could go on but I’m sure you feel me.
The #metoo movement has surfaced the dirty underbelly of things that we knew already to be true about the nature of sexual abuse as power. Women come forward and name their accusers, knowing that they are putting themselves out there for scrutiny. It’s not the first time in history that a flurry of accusers has called out their abusers. But women are now realizing that they have a voice after all. That they don’t have to suffer in silence. Because women who are sexually abused or molested are doubly victimized: they either remain silent and suffer for years, often living and working with their abusers. Or when they do come out against their abusers they are not believed and they are victimized again for telling the truth.
I have had my own experiences with sexual inappropriateness by people who should have known better and stayed in their place. But I said nothing. I did nothing. Before anyone who cares about me reads this and freaks out, I was never raped. I’ll just leave it at that. So here we are. Powerful men in Hollywood and entertainment and politics have again and again proven themselves to assume that that power extends to bullying and forcing themselves upon women. They coerce them into doing things they are not comfortable with but go along because they don’t feel they have a choice. In some cases, they buy their silence. Because women’s bodies are seen as entertainment and of service to the male libido – even to the point that it is taken as a joke. Yeah, just grab ‘em by the pussy, because, when you’re famous you can get away with it. Right? WRONG!
The person who resides in the White House (I will not say his name) came out yesterday once again siding with someone who has been accused not only of sexual misconduct, but pedophilia… and the only thing he can say is, “he denies it, so go vote for him.” Well of course he denies it – if there is no proof and if it is 30 later, what else would he do? As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what happened in the case of the “orange one” when all these women came forward and accused him. Deny. Deny. Deny. End of story. But, this man went on to become elected into a position that he is not prepared for. And while some are ecstatic and follow mindlessly, many of us are in a prolonged period of PTSD, because we are praying that this is all a nightmare that we will one day wake up from. But I digress.
As you can tell my friends, I am sick. I am sick of it all. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this, but I just had to get it out of my heart. And as a strong Black woman who knows her worth who knows her personal power, I refuse to succumb to worrying about what people think of me or about identity politics or about whether I’ll end up on somebody’s “list”. Because WE ALL MATTER.
We all deserve the equal pursuit of life liberty, and happiness. We deserve employment that we enjoy and are paid a decent and fair wage to provide. We all deserve the benefit of the doubt and to not be gunned down on the street just because we’re the wrong color. We deserve to go about our lives without being attacked either because of the color of our skin or because of our gender.
We must not assume that a man or a woman in power can force themselves upon you just because they have power and money and influence, and they can “lawyer up” and make it all go away. It is not okay. It is not okay!
Continue to fight. Continue to shine. Continue to resist. I am encouraged by the fact that this ugly moment in American history is prompting a level of engagement, discussion and truth-telling that seems to be resonating. I just pray that we can take this energy and reshape our America into the image of something that we can once again be proud of. And if you are already working on something – hit me up. I’d love to join you.
Rant over. If you made it this far – thank you for your attention. May God bless and keep you. #staywoke
© Trina Ramsey November 2017