Harris, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion speak to toxic respectability that makes us uncomfortable with the sexuality of Black women. Since the video premiered, it has been viewed over 70 million times on YouTube and think-pieced to death. Everyone from multi-hyphenate Cee Lo Green to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has weighed in on the racy track. While folks have been busy taking sides in this perennial debate, Senator Kamala Harris has been named the Democratic candidate for vice president of the United States. And just the day before, her ex-beau former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown wrote yet another op-ed about her. Under the guise of caring about her future political prospects, Brown tried to undercut the ambitions of this Black woman. In much the same way, men have been wringing their hands about the health of the Black community because two Black women made a song about sex.
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Last week, we explored how the way that our society views Black girls as more mature and less innocent than their white peers may allow predators such as R. Kelly to exploit them. Research has shown that Black girls are viewed through a hypersexual lens — and as a result, are less likely to be believed when they report sexual assault.
On May 25, George Floyd died, calling for his mother and gasping for breath. The agonizing moments were captured on camera and shared with the world. When black husbands, fathers, sons, and neighbors fall victim to law enforcement, often black wives, daughters, mothers, and girlfriends pick up the pieces. Sometimes the weight is too much to bear. Even though there is now a nationwide outcry against systemic racism and its by-products—the over-policing, incarceration, brutalization, and murder of black people—the discussion and activism almost always center men and boys. By minimizing the trials of black women and girls, the country will miss the full picture of devastation that the American police state imposes on African Americans. Her act of bravery started an uprising.
Slavery constituted the principal backdrop against which whites and blacks encountered one another for over two hundred years, from the s to the s. The overwhelming majority of slave owners were white, and the overwhelming majority of slaves black. There was probably more black-white sex during this period than at any other time thus far in American history. Most of it was unwanted sex, stemming from white males' exploitation of black women-the subject of many pages to come.? But what about mutually desired sex or what I refer to as sexual intimacy? Some commentators insist that there can have been no such thing as sexual intimacy between a black enslaved woman and any white man-a slave owner or overseer or even a mere stranger-because mutually desired sex requires choice, a power denied to slaves by bondage.