Author’s Note: As always, Not All Black Women Are Like That (NABWALT), but Enough Black Women ARE Like That (EBWALT).
I’ll be completely honest with you: I haven’t been following what seems to be wall-to-wall, up-to-the-nanosecond coverage of the UVA/Rolling Stone “college campus gang-rape” story. Why? Well, the reason is easy, if a bit politically incorrect.
Because it doesn’t concern me.
Let’s be brutally frank. A tremendous amount of the Sturm und Drang about sexual politics in our time really centers on what I refer to as “White folk who matter”—the upper middle classes and/or elites who dominate national discourse in the form of the media, which includes academia and entertainment, and who steer the conversation (heh) into areas that they deem appropriate. The result—from the vantage point of a blue-collar brotha out here on the block of one of America’s dying inner cities—is that all this “stuff” is little more than internecine squabbles between Ms. Ann and Mr. Charlie. It don’t concern me, it don’t got nothin’ to do with me, and so while, yea, I’m hip to the general jist of what’s going on, nah, I ain’t up on the latest 411 of it all.
And then along comes Ms. Zerlina Maxwell.
See, I’d heard of Maxwell in my travels too—she’s one of those Ms. Ann wannabes that I’ve recently written about who seem to be part and parcel of the Black feminist brigades. And to be frank, I’d written her off as yet another empty weave not worth the trouble of dealing with. Yea, yea, I’d heard about her “showdown” with Sean Hannity and the whole “teach men not to rape!” thing; yea, yea, I’d known about her claims of being a “survivor” of rape and thus her claim to fame as the newest talking head. But, again, since she really wasn’t dealing with the world that I know as a blue-collar brotha out here on these streets, I pretty much paid her no mind.
That is, until I got word of Maxwell’s edict article, calling for all—all!—women to be believed if they claim they were raped, no matter what.
Let’s get that right here. She’s not saying some women. She’s not saying White upper-middle-class women who do dumb stuff on elite college campuses to put themselves in dumb situations in the first place. She’s saying all women—everywhere, forever and ever, amen—must be believed, no matter what.
Now that statement of hers got yours truly’s attention.
Well, because of the inconvenient fact that it was precisely that kind of thinking(?) that has led, and continues to lead, to scores of Black men—most of whom will never be feted by The Washington Post or called in to chit-chat with Jon Stewart or Sean Hannity—to languish in prison, sometimes for decades, or to wind up being the strange fruit swinging from trees, based on such insanity. Indeed, not a year goes by that some brotha is finally(!) freed from prison, where he was incarcerated as a result of being falsely accused of a rape he did not commit. Brian Banks is now a household name, as Black women finally got to get in on the “all women must be believed!” act. Black men from Banks to Tupac to Emmett Till have had to endure this “all women must be believed” BSery. And for a supposed sista like Zerlina Maxwell—holder of a law degree—to fix her mouth and utter such words as she did in the WaPo recently, not only does it beggar belief, but it also disgusts me, a proud Black American, that I share DNA with her. She more than most, given the facts of her well-publicized background, ought to know better than to say what she did recently—but, again, as I’ve said, the desire to ape Ms. Ann is a powerful drug.
No, Ms. Maxwell, when brothas like yours truly—who may or may not have, in the words of Jigga himself, “a few dollars to fight the case” (cough, Bill Cosby, cough)—have to contend with a situation in which a woman is believed in her BS claims “no matter what,” the result is always the same: us brothas have to face years of social, financial, and legal ruin, only to be found innocent sometimes decades after the fact and at the twilight years of our lives. We have much, much more to lose than “a few Facebook friends.” We have our entire lives on the line. And people like you, who have sworn to uphold the law, have turned your back not just on that but also on the scores of Black men who continue to be railroaded by the “system” you have sworn allegiance to and the coddling that those of your ilk give to women everywhere because they said so. The annals of American history are littered with the bodies of innocent Black men, and your edict the other day will ensure that such a sordid tradition will live on into the 21st century.
That there isn’t an army of sistas out there chin-checking the bejesus out of Zerlina Maxwell in the wake of her published remarks should give every Black man reading this some serious pause. It ain’t like they don’t know the history—they just don’t care.