“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
This quote by Malcolm X in 1962 has been reposted on social media so many times, I can barely keep up. This quote was used to urge the black community to protect and respect black women. In the face of the court’s decision on the Breonna Taylor case, this quote has never been more fitting. However, despite it being fitting, the use of the phrase has been poor.
Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was murdered by the hands of two white officers in the Louisville Metro Police Department’s while sleeping in her bed earlier this year. After months of waiting for charges to be brought against the men who killed her, a Kentucky grand jury decided to indict only one of the three officers involved in the fatal shooting for wanton endangerment over the shooting into the neighbor’s apartments. Translation, the endangerment of her neighbors, was more important to the Kentucky grand jury than a deceased woman.
With outrage and hurt sweeping over the black community once again, we endure another case of injustice. Nevertheless, as the situation between Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez ensues, it shows that the black men in our community do not know what side of the aisle they want to be on.
The incident between Megan and Tory is simple; Megan was shot in the foot multiple times, allegedly by Tory. Despite their previously established relationship, neither Megan nor Tory said anything after the incident occurred. Finally, after weeks of internet pressures and conflicting accounts of the incident from media outlets, Megan took to Instagram Live and named Tory as her shooter.
On one hand, the black community’s reaction, specifically from black men, seemed to be one of outrage. After months of protests and countless deaths, it was clear that violence against black women is intolerable. From posts about petitioning the attorney general of Kentucky to reopen the case to Malcolm X quotes on Twitter about black women’s status in America, the response to this verdict seemed appropriate. However, the next day, as soon as Troy decided to tell his side of the story through an album titled “Daystar,” black men started singing a different tune.
Instead of “let’s protect black women,” men took to social media defending Tory with their dying breaths. Arguing that women’s stance on this incident was an attempt to divide the community and that this aids in the progression of white supremacy, the verdict on the Breonna Taylor case quickly became a second thought. Her death and its implications were no longer significant. Her story and the historical violence against women were no longer at the forefront of the conversation, showing just how deep-rooted misogyny is ingrained in our society.
Women, especially black women, endure an astronomical amount of violence and aggression at the hands of men in our society. Whether it is turning down a date or not responding appropriately to men’s catcalls, women are continuously faced with danger. It was clear that instead of standing in solidarity with women, the same men who reposted the Malcolm X quote were now accusing women of trying to tear down black men when we needed them the most.
As stated previously, I have never seen a quote by Malcolm X used in such poor taste. Many of the men who reposted the quote or decided to add performative activism to their Twitter feeds do not care about women. They are not interested in the things that happen to us nor how most women have claimed they would feel safer in a world without men. They are focused on themselves. Breonna, I am so sorry. Megan, I am so sorry. While our community is staring injustice in the face with tears streaming from our eyes, I am sorry that injustice has taken a backseat to misogyny once again.