Whenever I’m struggling to write something, I make a conscious effort not to focus only on the things that irritate me. Then low and behold, someone goes and does or says something colossally stupid, and just like that, I am back on my soapbox.
Recently, a group of white girls made a TikTok singing on a train, wearing bonnets, and captioned it “white girl yardies”. Now, before you switch off, as much as the contents of the video annoyed me, it’s not this I’m choosing to focus on because I’m not in the mood to unpick all that was wrong with that video.
The Shade Borough posted this video along with the girls’ apology on IG yesterday, and as I was scrolling through, I just knew that something in the comments was going to make me mad. The video was nowhere near as frustrating as the comments made from Black men, once again displaying a blatant disregard for the shit Black women have to go through to exist as they are.
Black men, do you not have mothers, sisters, girlfriends or friends? Why is it that every time something comes up about Black women being disrespected, you have a tendency to act dumb and start chatting nonsense about how everyone is too sensitive?
Black women haven’t been represented wearing bonnets on TV until recently, and when they do, they get ridiculed for it; case and point – Kaz on Love Island. Some of you Black men don’t even make some Black women feel comfortable wearing a bonnet in your presence after spending the night together, but you don’t see what’s wrong with a group of white girls wearing bonnets on a train and mimicking Black women?
Don’t even get me started on some Black men’s attitudes towards Black girls who wear weaves and wigs. One of the most annoying comments under this post was from a Black man who said, “Where is this energy when y’all are wearing blonde wigs” (3x laughing faces).
When I wrote Hairvolution, one question I got asked a lot during interviews was, what about Black men? What about their beauty standards and the troubles they face? Is it the same as the issues Black women face? My answer was no and remains no. Every time I was asked, I would give different, yet equally valid, reasons as to why, and this has to be number one.
Black men don’t understand, or more prudently don’t care to understand, the trials and tribulations that Black women go through when it comes to their hair, hair journey or the things we have to do or wear to protect it.
You want to sing along to songs about your search for a “queen” or a woman who can “hold it down” when half of you don’t deserve the worst of us, let alone the best.
When Black men get everything from fetishised to stereotyped, you have Black women’s support. God forbid you dare to reciprocate. Why am I comparing the two? Well, because both are a form of Black hate, both are steeped in racism, and both are influenced and upheld by constantly perpetuating white ideals and standards.
The idea of divesting from Black men feels less like a choice every day and more like a necessary measure to protect Black women’s mental health, well-being, and self-worth.
This is not the first example, and sadly it won’t be the last. And although it’s not all Black men, it’s enough to make the prospect of Black women sticking around to deal with it any longer dwindle.
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