Black Women Are Black and Black Women Are Women

How do you explain to someone that you're angry that a Black man raped an unconscious woman and deserves every year he was sentenced, but also make a point of how flawed our criminal justice system is? We all become skeptical when two people who demographically are nearly identical and commit the same crime get completely different sentences. Of course, I worry when the one who gets the most time is the one that looks like my brother or father or (future) son. Of course I'm infuriated by the fact that the other will be able to continue to live his life or is granted sympathy for his '20 minutes of action.’

Being an Afrocentric feminist brings up a complex dilemma in terms of sexual assault and the criminal justice system. There is no doubt that most reported cases of rape are real accounts; however, growing up in the south presented many examples of innocent black family members who were falsely accused of rape because their sexual partner's family simply didn't like black people. There is also the struggle of guilty black men being JUSTLY charged with rape convictions with years behind bars, and their guilty white counterparts serving an obscenely minimal sentence or none at all. There are black celebrities who are accused of sexual assault and are publicly vilified for their actions, while white male celebrities who face similar accusation (along with active misogynistic rhetoric) are allowed to run for president of the United States of America.

Black women carry the weight of championing their white sisters who are sexually violated, as well as championing their black brothers who are not given the benefit of the doubt in life; however, when those two worlds intersect black women are put in a difficult position. We are allowed to critique, analyze and question-- for our own personhood-- these situations.

We are not asking to let Black men who sexually assault women off with a slap on the wrist, we are asking that white men be held to the same expectation. Brock Turner is a rapist and criminal; Corey Batey is a rapist and criminal. Bill Cosby has a history of taking advantage of women's bodies when they are unconscious; Donald Trump has a history of taking advantage of women's bodies when they are conscious AND unconscious. I question Nate Parker's acquittal; I believe Baylee Curan is a perpetual liar. Black women are allowed to have various levels of uncertainty in terms of these sexual or violent assault cases. We are all allowed to compare how black men are persecuted at harsher rates compared to their white counterparts, while simultaneously understanding that both parties deserves ridicule and punishment.