[Content Note: Rape culture; misogynoir.]
"African-American women are more likely to face sexual abuse than their white counterparts. According to Black Women's Blueprint, 60 percent of black girls have experienced sexual abuse by age 18—most at the hands of black men. (Over 90% of sexual assaults occur between people of the same ethnic or racial background.) What space does the black community give those women to heal and receive justice if its primary concern is always burnishing the public face of always-victimized black manhood? Can't talk about the deacon, because what about the flock? Can't talk about the basketball star, because what about the season? Can't talk about the community activist, because what about the community? Can't talk about Bill Cosby, because what about Malcolm Jamal Warner's residuals? Just shut up and let those black men be admired—whether they deserve it or not. Silencing discussion about sexual violence in order to prove the decency of black men at the expense of women is indecent."—Tamara Winfrey-Harris, in "A Woman's Worth: Bill Cosby and Beyond," a must-read piece for Ebony, which features on its November cover a photo of the "Cosby Show" family behind cracked glass.
This is a piece written by a black woman for a black audience. But I think it's crucial reading for non-black people, too, as we are the ones who promulgate the anti-blackness that demonizes black men as dangerous predators. When we engage these sorts of racist narratives, we are not only harming black men; we are doing it at the expense of black women and their safety.