Oprah Winfrey’s Shameful Comparison of Black Women’s Jim Crow Era Rape to that of Rich White Women’s #MeToo…
I have to admit that I purposely ignored the Golden Globes and all of its Hollywood Rich Women’s #MeToo moments. However, I was more than insulted listening online this morning to Oprah compare the violent and brutal pain of rapes and even murders that Black women endured by racist white men during Jim Crow to that of rich white women in Hollywood and business.
The brutal gang rape of Recy Taylor by six white men in Alabama is not comparable to the alleged sexual assaults that rich white women (often times purposely endured for fame and money) are fighting in their new #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. To compare the savagery and racism that fueled the many rapes and abuse that Black women had to endure by the hands of racist white men to that of rich white women’s new fight for dominance and power is a shameful erasure, even for Oprah. These rich women weren’t raped, beaten, bloodied and left to die because of hate and white power, these rich women chose silence out of fear of their careers and wealth, Black women who chose silence during Jim Crow etc., chose silence out of fear for their very lives and that of their families.
The image below was taken from the documentary of Ruby McCollum (August 31, 1909 — May 23, 1992), a wealthy Black woman from Florida who was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering her white doctor who she accused of repeated rapes and forcing her to have his children. Her conviction was later overturned.
The Golden Globes gave the Cecil B. Demille Award to a Black woman billionaire, this after not giving even one Golden Globe to any black actresses…nothing says supporting Black women like the coronation of one of their own, who better to deliver the erasure of Black women’s pain but the most powerful Black woman in the world (all of this as the new push by the powers that be to elevate Oprah as potential presidential candidate). Many of you will say that Oprah used the stage to highlight the story of Recy Taylor; I disagree…Oprah is a talented woman and orator, her purposely omitting the vast differences in the rapes and pain that Black women endured because of racism by racist white men during the Jim Crow era, and comparing their pain and often deaths to that of rich white women was a disgrace. What’s laughable about the Golden Globes and the #MeToo and #TimesUp gaggle of elite Black and White women is that they had no problem with an award named after a White man (Cecil B. Demil) being lauded as its top Award “Lifetime Achievement”, a white man that I’m sure if someone looked into his past…would find the same disturbing and accepted practices of casting couch auditions and more, that the likes of Weinstein and other Hollywood execs used for decades. A system that was known to all, everyone knew the pathways to success in Hollywood always came about through a small amount of talent, a large dose of nepotism, a lot of money and many meetings with casting couches.
It now looks like Hollywood has actually silenced the #OscarSoWhite crowd, (it only took a few Essence covers and a parody of #Woke100 crowns) they were never going to do right by Black people/women…after all, how does an industry that lauds itself on being Liberal and Democrats, have to be forced to acknowledge the talents of Black people? White women were not going to allow Black women to have the spotlight all to themselves for long, because it has never been about female solidarity but about white feminism and white women power…This new #MeToo push is nothing more than a planned agenda to elevate rich White women into the same abusive power of rich white men they claim to hate, a clever scheme to replace their rich White husbands and fathers, while continuing their solidarity of generational wealth and white supremacy. Hillary was going to be their Queen to that pathway but since that didn’t happen, #pussyhat and women’s march looked for other ways to ensure their path to power, and viola’ along came Ronan Farrow and Harvey Weinstein.
I’ve written on many occasions how sad it is to see Black women fighting so faithfully to be equal to that of White women…always joining their fights under the guise of feminism, when in the end as usual we’re always used for votes and voices, to only laud and lift up their causes and agendas of white women power and dominance. I don’t write in normal writer prose and professorial jargon that many writers use, which seems more to stroke their egos than to deliver a succinct story that all can follow. I hope that in doing so, my words are food to those who need it most.
Daniel Holtzclaw raped 13 poor black women and not a word from Hollywood or feminists in their defense. As Oprah revisits the history of Recy Taylor’s horrible rape, then she and Hollywood must also revisit the recent rapes of the poor Black women in Oklahoma and give them the same respect and support that they give those they deem more worthy. It’s almost as if history is repeating itself, we all know that Rosa Parks wasn’t the first Black woman to sit down on a bus in Montgomery and unlike Parks, Claudette Colvin’s choosing to sit down in front of a bus was not staged by the NAACP but an actual Black girl who was tired, yet her image and history didn’t sit well with the local NAACP…so they used Rosa Parks, a Black woman with fair skin and silky hair…an image they felt would be more palatable to whites and garner more sympathy than Colvins.
In the early 1930s, a 12-year old black girl named Murdus Dixon was raped at knifepoint by the white man who had hired her to be a domestic worker in his home. Around the same time, it was a common practice for white taxi cab drivers in Montgomery, AL, to pick up black female passengers coming into town at the rail depot, and rather than take them to their destination the drivers would take them to the outskirts of town and rape them. In 1948 in Tuscumbia, AL, a black woman was raped by two white farmers as punishment for a debt owed by her husband.
In 1951, Flossie Hardman, a 15 year old girl, was raped by her boss, the owner of a grocery store. (A jury later found him not guilty so Hardman’s community organized a boycott of his grocery store.) Fannie Lou Hamer, a well-known organizer from the Civil Rights movement, made it known that 20 of her grandmother’s 23 children were the product of rape. Hamer herself was the victim of forced sterilization by a white doctor. As Hamer aptly described it, “a black woman’s body was never hers alone.”
In 1946 in Montgomery, Viola White, a black woman who worked at the Maxwell Air Force Base, refused to get out of her seat when ordered by the white bus driver. She was beaten and arrested. When she hired a lawyer to appeal her case, a police officer raped her 16-year old daughter in retaliation.
The most frequent public transportation riders in the South were domestic workers who also often faced sexual and physical abuse by their white employers. Many times, they resisted harassment by quitting, but they could not easily find other transportation to new jobs. Bus drivers would sexually harass black women on the street by flashing them, or by hurling sexualized insults their way, or slapping women who crossed them.(7) In fact, their daily humiliation on the buses played a greater role in galvanizing bus boycotts, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, than has generally been recognized.-Danielle McGuire’s “At the Dark End of the Street”
Never Hers Alone
At the Dark End details a litany of horrific accounts of sexual violence suffered by black women under Jim Crow. Such violence was not an irrational byproduct of the Jim Crow era. Instead, McGuire makes clear that sexual violence was an essential tool in disciplining black labor and in punishing black resistance (taken from an article by Rosa DeLux).
Oprah of all Black women, knew of all of these disturbing stories; yet her fight is for that of maintaining white supremacy and the rich white power structure that now OWN’s her.
So, until we rebuke the voices of powerful Black women like Oprah who refuse to admit that the struggles of Black women for equality are NOT equal to that of White women, we will continue to be left fighting for something as basic as heat in our school systems for our children (as was the case this past week in Baltimore City Schools). There is no #MeToo until there is a #BlackFirst and an end to systemic racism and all of its dangerous and deadly tentacles. And the brutal rapes and often murders of poor black women by the hands of racist white men are not comparable EVER to that of rich white women who either submitted to or sat silent to sexual assault in order to further their careers and fame.
NEWSFLASH: I AM VERY AWARE THAT A BLACK WOMAN (TARANA BURKE) STARTED #METOO LONG AGO…SO PLEASE STOP MENTIONING HER OMISSION IN THIS BLOG OR AS THOUGH IT’S SOMETHING I WAS NOT AWARE OF…IT’S ALYSSA MILANO (HOLLYWOOD) WHO TRIED TO USE #MEETOO INITIALLY WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING HER & TIME MAGAZINE WHO DIDN’T HAVE HER ON ITS COVER…CRY ELSEWHERE!
From Russia With Love,