Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do black women deserve to be bitch-slapped?


In February my cousin T. Nicole was a victim of violence from a high profile African-American man, the president of the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP.

On the night it happened my cousin called and told me  what happened to her at the Cincinnati NAACP office.  She was crying her heart out over the telephone as she explained to me the humiliation and pain she felt over being shoved down the steps by the big black man in a powerful position.

As I listened to my younger cousin weep on the phone,  I really didn’t know what was the right course of action or how to advise her.  I knew that it was not right for NAACP president Ishton Morton  to shove  her but I also knew the man’s history and his connection with the powerful and oldest civil rights organization in the country. I was aware that even though she was a victim how she would be stereotyped and made to believe she deserved to be pushed and thrown out of a meeting. 
Although she and I had dedicated over 6 years of our life to the NAACP organization, that same organization had failed to protect us when we reported the behavior of the powerful men in the group which included, emotional abuse, threats of physical intimidation as well as sexual harassment by the current leader who reportedly is not in America legally.

Despite the intimidation we faced and reporting the problems to the National office with no response, we continued to show up at meetings. Because that’s what we are expected to do as black women.  We are not expected to feel vulnerable or to be fragile. We are expected to show up at meetings keep our mouth closed, or else get bitch-slapped.

Former NAACP Cincinnati chapter president and Council member  Christopher Smitherman, who is the chair of the Law and Public safety committee said this of the abuse my cousin suffered, “The women cause a scene, acting in such a way that begs someone to touch them in order to escort them out.”

There you have it folks. Black women deserved to be bitch-slapped.