Let’s put the bitter black woman on trial

Bitter black women hardly ever get a voice. Let’s give them one.

Bih
Bih
Aug 22, 2020 · 10 min read

Because of their oppression, black men can have sob stories and use them to justify outrageous behavior and their emotional trauma will be centered. But in a world where the easiest way to delegitimize the voice and feelings of a black woman is to call her bitter, it’s very clear that we aren’t allowed to do the same.

From R. Kelly to Bill Cosby these men and their critics have weaponized the ways in which pro blackness places them as the most victimized group in the black community to evade accountability for their crimes against women and black women alike. They have weaponized the sentiment that black people, particularly black women, have a moral obligation to ‘protect black men’ at all costs, and silence black women who dare to investigate or question misogynistic and antiblack behaviors. But when they are not trying to dodge accountability for their actions, they’re trying to justify them, often with the help of black women.

Regardless of what we are taught to believe, the bitter black woman is both a weaponized reality and a weaponized stereotype. She is not someone who was born in bitterness but someone with unprocessed emotional trauma. Her bitterness is armor to protect her from a world that has shown time and time again she doesn’t matter.

Since birth, black women are taught to see black men as the ones who are the most oppressed among us in the black community, that they are the ones who have it the hardest (if it’s hard moving through the world as a black straight, cisgender man imagine what it’s like to do so as a black trans woman, but I digress). Doing so not only ensures that those on top of the sociopolitical hierarchy in the black community always have black women to fight their battles, but it also ensures the protection of black male privilege. Yes, I said privilege. We all have it and black men are not exempt. This privilege manifests in many ways, but in the case of the bitter black woman, their privilege allows them a luxury black women are not afforded: emotional freedom.

It seems that bitter black women are like hurricanes. We never are never told about where they came from or why they exist, but we are always told about the destruction they reap.

Based on what I’ve seen, the bitter black woman is a woman who has been wronged within black spaces and has the nerve to question the men, cultural practices and systems that did her wrong in the first place. Black women who call out the misogynoir behind the dating preferences of black men are labeled as bitter. Black women who come forward about their experiences regarding sexual assault against black men are labeled as bitter. Black women who refuse to center black men’s feelings and experiences at our own expense are labeled as bitter. Black women who ask when we will draw a line between protecting black manhood and protecting black abusers are labeled as bitter. Because these black women are women who are unwilling to uphold a culture that refuses to hold black men accountable for their wrongdoings. So what do we do? We silence them. There are many ways to dismantle the credibility of a black woman and calling her bitter is one of them. In the name of protecting our black men, when we are approached with critics regarding their perpetuation of violent misogynoir we’d rather insult their characters because doing so allows us to evade confronting how we allow the continued disrespect and violence against black women. We label black women who refuse to uphold a culture that lacks self accountability in regards to black men’s behavior as bitter because we associate black male accountability with black male bashing. In the black community, we still can’t tell the difference between protecting black male abusers and misogynists with protecting black manhood.

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Bih

Written by

Bih

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” I come with truth because I care more about the world than I should.

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

Bih

Written by

Bih

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” I come with truth because I care more about the world than I should.

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

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