For the life of me, I cannot understand why it is this oung man felt free enough to hit a girl with his skateboard!
In the country where Black girls go missing and never found; the land where Black women can be raped by the police at a traffic stop; where women are likely do due to IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) than old age, this young man decided it was okay to hit a girl with is skateboard because she disrespected him.
As a mother of Black daughters, I was horrified. As a woman who is a survivor of IPV/DV, I was taken back to a place in my life where all I wanted was to feel safe in the arms of the man that said he loved me—as long as I didn’t ‘disrespect’ him. There is an ease to how this boy hit her. He hit her because he could. He hit her because he knew no one would check or stop him. He hit this girl because he didn’t see her as worthy of respect.
As he walked away, red hoodie pulled over his head, he is welcomed back into his pack of onlooking friends. Sniggles and Ooh’s are heard in the video as this young Black girl is laying on the concrete–not moving. The horrifying thing in this, the thing that chilled me, no one checked on her! No one made sure she was okay! All these jackals have Mama’s and sisters and Grandmothers!
How DARE you do this?
As I looked at this video–which is less than 5 minutes long–I thought about whether or not this girl was bleeding from her ears. I thought about possible head injuries. I thought about what she said to him that ‘made’ him feel disrespected. I thought about why no one helped her! I thought about the Black women I know that are on the front lines of social change. Putting their bodies between police and the men that look like their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers! I thought about the young woman in Michigan just last week that stared down an angry, vitriolic white man that didn’t think/believe that Black Lives Matter.
In the age of Black Lives Matter, Black Panther and Black women stepping into superpowers foretold by our grandmothers, this ashy dude had the audacity to hit this girl that ‘disrespected’ him with a skateboard and left her there! This is why this is a problem: toxic masculinity!
I am not going to blame music, or ho culture, twerk videos or the internet. This kind of cognitive dissonance has to be modeled; it has to be taught!
You have to be taught that Black women aren’t not to be valued.
You have to taught they cannot be respected!
You have to taught that you can do anything to a Black girl. You have to be taught toxic masculinity! This ideology tells men that to be an Alpha you must subdue with absolute force. You cannot love, or treasure, or protect: men don’t do that–that would make them ‘soft’.
Men don’t tend to the women in their lives, right? They rule over them, right?
Men have no need to compromise, hear to listen, express to understand, right?
Women are made at the convenience of of men, to endure pain, suffering and disrespect? Right?
Women who practice independent thought and sentience are a threat–toxic masculinity indoctrinates; it cannot stand to be challenged! Yet, it must be. It has to be! You cannot ask the same women that look like your mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and friends to be willing to endure suffering for your ego, pain for your benefit! You cannot ask Black women to endure disrespect–on and off video–and then expect them to cap for you! What part of the game is this?! It has come out now, that this boy that assaulted this girl and left her to the night, and the streets of Harlem, is a year old. He has now deleted all his social media: like any scared boy, he ran!
The problem with this behavior is rabid and unchecked! There are not enough men to teach the men under them, behind them, along side them how WRONG it is to treat women this way! There are three takeaways from this, implementing these will begin to change culture:
1.) Realize that toxic masculinity hurts men first. Toxic masculinity demands men become less of a person by limiting or eliminating the chance to emote. It forces men to default positions of aggression or happiness. Nothing else can fit. Nothing else is allowed in. Toxic masculinity forces men to be robotic–only able to process what does not offend, nothing else. Let little boys emote! Tell them it is okay to express how they feel, and validate them! Stop associating homophobia or homophobic terms to boys that cry or are compassionate!
2.) Teach young men that women are to be valued. Teach young men that women are people (I cannot believe I have to say this in 2020!). Teach young men that women do not exist for their amusement, ego petting, sexual gratification or as abuse targets. Teach young men–model it for them!–that women are to be honored, respected and valued. Teach them that women are to be protected, to be celebrated and to let them know marriage does not make women second class. Don’t assume to be submissive is to be powerless–and to be domineering keeps your own power unchallenged! Teach young men that when you call a woman a ‘bitch’ or to hit her with a skateboard is to be okay with someone doing the same to your mother, your sister, your grandmother! Once it becomes real to you, you’ll stop it.
3.) Do not be okay with the men in your life disrespecting women in your presence. Black. White. Latinx. Cis. Het. Trans. Stop being comfortable or complicit with the men in your circle disrespecting women! Stop allowing incidents like this to happen in your presence and you say nothing! Stop letting ‘clowning’ be what bonds or binds you to some cats that you call friends. Stop letting harassment of women be common to you! Just used to telling the men in your circle when they are tripping! It might save someone’s life.
4.) Women are allowed to tell you “No.” Women are not–do not–exist to pat you up! A woman telling you “No” does not give your license to hurt her, insult her, or kill her! A woman telling you “No” is not disrespect. A woman telling you “No” is not an affront to your ego, man! She, every woman is, entitled to govern her life, making decisions, and even if those decisions you don’t like.
This will take time, yes. Will it take effort? Yes. But, men that are invested in their communities can change them. In 2020, we are done being bystanders. Black women are done being fodder, doormats and complacent for the joy of others! Our tears will no longer be the sugar in your lemonade, soothing what burns hot within you! We are done, and been done. And the boys that run with Skeeter Mills, and Skeeter Mills himself—need to be taught. Before a girl who, too, feels disrespected by him, leaves him with that same apathy on the concrete.
[images from Pinterest]