A few days ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline and came across the news story regarding Tiarah Poyau that just made me anrgy and sad at the same time. The story of how she was murdered- shot in the face at point blank range- by a man simply because she told him to “Get off of me” when he began grinding on her, gave me chills because I too, have been Tiarah Poyah many times before.
I am Tiarah because years ago, I went to a nightclub with my girlfriends and we all decided to get out on the dance floor and dance together. While we were dancing, some strange guy decided to jump up behind me and began grinding on my ass. I turned around and pushed him off of me, the same way Tiarah did her murderer.
I am Tiarah because while out with friends one night, a man walking past me from behind decided that he couldn’t walk past me without brushing up against my ass when there was plenty of room for him to walk by without making bodily contact with me.
I am Tiarah because when I refused the advances of a different man, he proceeded to call me a bitch and tell me, “I wasn’t cute anyway.”
I am Tiarah because one of my mother’s drug/alcohol suppliers, whom I’d never seen before in my life, obviously thought that I was easy and proceeded to hold his arms open, as if he expected me to hug him and when I didn’t, he proceeded to tell me, “…I must not know who he is..look how good he looks and how flashy his car is…” before he proceeded to call me fat- among other things- and tell me that “I needed my attitude adjusted.”
The only thing that separates me from Tiarah is the fact that by God’s grace, I wasn’t shot and killed by the many men who’s advances I have rejected in the past. I don’t know when, where, and why so many Black men became so narcissistic…when their egos became so damn fragile that instead of simply moving the hell along if/when a woman is not interested in them, they take her life instead. The sheer audacity of this irks the hell out of me. I have been rejected by many men in my life. Does it hurt? Yes. But to kill someone simply because they are not interested in you is a growing problem, sadly within the Black community, that we cannot and should not be expected to continue to ignored.
Over the past few years, I’ve read several tragic news stories that are similar to Tiarah’s: A Black woman rejects a man’s advances and she ends up losing her life because of it. Mary Spears, for example, was killed in 2014 during a family outing when she declined giving a man her number after telling him that she was already involved with someone (she was out with her fiance). Seriously, when did this generation of men become so superior to Black women, especially, that they feel they have the right to approach women at random, then get in their feelings and resort to name-calling, belittling, and even murdering the woman because she’s uninterested? It’s these same Black men who are out here killing us (Black women) that go on and on about how Black Lives Matter, how the ‘white man’ is killing and mistreating us, how we (Black people) need to stick together. But why don’t Black Women’s Lives Matter to Black Men? I really need to know the answer to this question.
It baffles me that Black men want Black women to stand beside them, stand up for them, take up for them, have their backs..yet, they don’t have ours. Nate Parker has been in the news lately, more because of the rape he committed against a woman when he was in college than for his movie about Nat Turner, ‘The Birth Of A Nation.’ Nate and a friend raped a woman, but because Nate had apparently had previous consensual sex with the woman, he didn’t get convicted of her rape. His friend, however, did. The woman claims-before she committed suicide- that Nate and his friends constantly harassed her after the rape.
All up and down my Faceboook timeline, I’ve seen countless Black men go on and on about how “Hollywood is only coming after Nate Parker because of the Nat Turner movie,” and that “white actors have raped women, yet they’re not criticized as much as Nate is…it’s because he’s Black.” And it pisses me off each and every time I read ridiculous comments like that. So, because Nate is a Black man, we’re supposed to excuse what he did. Yes, the argument is he didn’t get convicted or go to jail, so that mean’s he’s innocent. Well, guess what- George Zimmerman didn’t go to prison for murdering an unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin, either. That doesn’t mean his ass wasn’t guilty or commit the crime. Regardless of whether Nate Parker went to jail/prison or not, I, for one, am still not excusing his crime, simply because he is a Black man. And yes, I am well-aware of corrupt police brutality and the ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality that seems to apply to people of color, and I am just as angry about it as the next Black person. But being a Black man doesn’t give you power or control over our bodies or the the right to touch a woman- using any part of your body- when/if you see fit. Black women aren’t obligated to want to be with you, Black man; nor does our sexuality or our bodies belong to you.
Black men, I love y’all. But some of you have a very warped train of thought, especially when it comes to sexual violence against your own Black women. Expecting us to ignore the rape, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, mental & emotional abuse, and even murder that is sadly being imposed on us by some(not all) of you, is offensive, demeaning, degrading, dangerous, and unsettling, to say the least. Some of the main arguments I hear from Black men regarding Black women who choose to date White men is: “That white man don’t want you, he only wants to have sex with you. You’re going to become the White man’s whore?! How can you as a Black woman sleep with a white man after the way our Black ancestors were constantly raped, killed, and forced to bear the children of white slave masters?” To the Black men who feel that a Black woman is a disgrace to her race for dating anyone other than a Black man, or who expects Black women to ignore sex crimes committed against women by men we see on tv like Nate Parker and Bill Cosby, ask yourselves how you can shoot a Black woman in the face simply because she doesn’t want you touching her or speaking to her in a derogatory, sexually explicit nature? How are you any different than those white slave owners who felt entitled to a Black woman’s body…who felt that it was their God-given right to pluck one his Black slave girls off the plantation or from her cabin, take her off, and have his way with her? See how that makes you a big hypocrite? Just stop it, please and thank you.