ruby bates

the signs as tv shows
  • aries: new girl
  • taurus: game of thrones
  • gemini: skins
  • cancer: orange is the new black
  • leo: supernatural
  • virgo: bates motel
  • libra: american horror story
  • scorpio: teen wolf
  • sagittarius: the walking dead
  • capricorn: 2 broke girls
  • aquarius: pretty little liars
  • pisces: parks and recreation
I told you about messing with those white girls: Michael Che, Leah McSweeney and the dangerous history of fragile white women

When comedian Michael Che chose to no longer engage with Leah McSweeney after connecting on a dating app, McSweeney responded with a podcast where she bashed Che, calling him a woman hater, “arrogant and so rude and disrespectful…” Michael Che produced the actual text conversations, exposing McSweeney in her lies. She tried to defend herself in the “chetuation”, by saying, amongst other things, “I’m not making excuses at all but he had this very condescending tone when he did the rejection part and that like…got me like…stirred me up inside.” False accusations made against black men and boys by white women are not a phenomenon that started with McSweeney. Just this past week we read about Carolyn Bryant, the white woman whose accusations led to 14-year-old Emmett Till’s gruesome murder in 1955, recanting her initial story that Till made verbal and sexual advances that left her “scared to death.” While Che’s interaction with Leah only led to temporary slander (thank Big Brotha Gawd Almighty that he didn’t delete that thread), it did remind us of the dangerous history of white women who have chosen to lie about their encounters with black men, and the overall belief that the black man is a threat to the fragile white woman.

 The white race has always considered itself to be the superior race in all aspects of life. As Thomas Jefferson says in his Notes on the State of Virginia, “I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” The white woman in america has always been placed on a pedestal with her long hair and her white skin. She is seen as pure and angelic; a person who can do no wrong. A quote from Phyllis Palmer in Mamta Accapadi’s piece “When White Women Cry: How White Women’s Tears Oppress Women of Color,” says, “the problem for white women is that their privilege is based on accepting the image of goodness, which is powerlessness.” Accapadi then breaks it down, “This powerlessness informs the nature of white womanhood. Put in simple terms, male privilege positions the nature of womanhood, while white privilege through history positions a white woman’s reality as the universal norm of womanhood…” The need for the white race to love the white woman and to protect her at all costs has caused the black man to be seen as a threat to her purity. As Maya Angelou says, “As far as I knew white women were never lonely, except in books. White men adored them, black men desired them and black women worked for them.”

 Historically, black men have been stereotyped as hypersexualized savage brutes that only want to rape and fetishize white women. This thought helped white women who were caught with their black male slaves. It also helped Victoria Price and Ruby Bates falsely accuse Charles Weems, Clarence Norris, Andy Wright, Ozie Powell, Olen Montgomery, Eugene Williams, Willie Roberson, Roy Wright and Haywood Patterson, 9 young black men (who would eventually be called the Scottsboro Boys) of rape after a brawl led to the discovery of them on a freight with all men, which could have possibly led to, “moral charges.” The fear of black men hurting white women led Charles Stuart to describe a “dark-skinned mugger” in a “dangerous part of town” as the person who killed his wife. It would be discovered that it was actually Stuart himself who killed her. The understanding that law enforcement will always take a white woman at her word when accusing a black man threw the scent off of Bonnie Sweeten, who told authorities that two black men in a Cadillac kidnapped her and her daughter when she had in fact stolen money from family and her job and taken her kid to Disney. It’s the reason why 19-year-old Darryl Hunt was convicted without evidence of the rape and murder of a white women. Even after DNA proved he didn’t commit the crime, he was still imprisoned for 9 more years.

 The thought that Obama’s presidency led to a post-racial america would lead some to believe that incidents like those mentioned above are a thing of the past; yet, just in 2015, american terrorist Dylan Roof cited the need to protect the pure white woman as a reason for his decision to murder 9 members of Mother Emanuel AME stating, “you rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” In February of last year, 5 teenagers in Brooklyn were accused of raping a white woman at gunpoint. After sending police on a hunt to find the boys she eventually recanted her story, and it was discovered that she was actually having sex in the park with her own father. In November, Leiha Ann-Sue Artman accused four black men of kidnapping, raping, and holding her hostage for ransom. After more questioning, it was discovered that she made the whole story up, and she got a year in jail for it –significantly less time than the men they would have charged for the crime had it gone further. The belief that black men should always be eager and honored to sexualize, fetishize and be in the presence of white womanhood came through with a chance encounter between Lena Dunham and Odell Beckham in which she assumed, “The vibe was very much like, ‘Do I want to [f—k] it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.’ It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, ‘This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.’” Even our 44th President could not get away from this narrative when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said that she, “felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had,” after he had the audacity to start walking away from her mid sentence.

 As Dr. Nsenga K. Burton wrote, “Law-enforcement agencies pull out all the stops when a white woman says a black man or woman has committed a crime against her, even when the white woman is the actual predator. The behavior of the white woman and law enforcement plays to the worst aspects of our society: the idea that black men in particular and blacks in general are violent and obsessed with white women to such an extent that white women need to be protected from blacks at all costs.”  In season 1 of The Boondocks, when Sarah jokingly says to Tom, “ I told you about messing with those white girls,” the implications of these words go deeper than our laughter. Michael Che and Odell Beckham survived the false accusations with just slanderous conversations; however, false accusations led Emmett Till to his death, and have landed many black men in prison. Black mothers have had to have conversations with their sons about the possible dangers of interactions with white women, and while we always like to have hope that these situations will somehow disappear, we have to remain in a reality driven state of mind. It’s the only way we will survive.