Dear Black Women

Dear Black Women,

It’s not enough to be sorry. It’s not enough for us to say we need to improve. It’s not even enough to acknowledge that we as men have not done enough to uphold you to the highest of importance..which should be the standard. What I can do is chastise my fellow black men as well as acknowledge my faults and improper actions towards you all as women, as black women.

When did we fall into this cycle of misogyny? A cycle so accepted that it has become a branch of comedic relief. When did we lose sight of our black queens, allowing their value in our eyes to be relegated? How can we as men recite the words of Tupac and such, understanding the meaning of what is said, but practicing the contrary? This portrayal, this facade, of masculinity in our community has been around for too long. How can we vow to protect our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, in our lives, but allow our black sisters to be put down at the hands of others and our own? When I look at myself, I see someone who constantly clamors for justice for all my brothers and my sisters. One who realizes the struggles of the woman, of the black woman, one who can never empathize but educate. Yet, I never hold any of my fellow men accountable, for their misogyny, for their sexist comments, actions, and values. I find myself violently bashing the disgusting actions I see, inwardly, sometimes externally. But I still find the same objectifying thoughts I vehemently rebuke, in my mind. I am caught within the own fragility of my masculinity, of the notions and expectations that have been bestowed on all men, by other men. Especially within my generation. When do we stop seeing women as anything other than what they are? When will we see that black women have overcome all the struggles that we as black men have overcome and more? They are still overcoming, to this day. Why are we as men intimidated, threatened, and put off by strong women, strong BLACK women? Why do we constantly bash the accomplishments of a woman of higher status immediately due to her very presence as a female? Why do we allow the already unfair and broken institutions to hurt the black women that our ancestors would have died to protect? Who are we? We don’t have the AUDACITY to call ourselves MEN when we can’t do the STANDARD practice of protecting our WOMEN. 

To all the women, to all the BLACK women in my encounters, 

I cannot speak for my fellow brothers, but I can speak for myself in saying, 

I will do more than just acknowledging your value to not only my existence but to the very structure of our lives. 

I will do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure those that dare tear down the solid structure that you represent will be reprimanded.

I will uplift your values

I will make sure you are heard

I will offer you support when you are in need

I will hold my fellow men accountable

I will step away and acknowledge my faults in all my interactions

I will allow you, as women to be the greatest versions of yourselves without any unnecessary input and criticism from myself as a man

Because we are all fighting for something. And I can never understand what you go through. But I damn well won’t allow myself and others to contribute.

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Nathan Odige