Dear Black Community: Stop Enabling Sexual Predators

2DFCE513-9D09-D119-DF141C7FBE7AA0B7.jpg (1000×459)

 

I stopped supporting R. Kelly a long time ago. After watching the documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” I could not believe how severe the abuse is/was. The way he preys on little girls to the way he treated his wife is/was beyond sickening. Besides the fact he is a disgusting person, I couldn’t help but consider the numerous adults who failed these girls.

It baffled me how many adults, including their parents, enabled and continue to allow his sick behavior to continue. Then, we have the black community blaming the victims, expecting teenage girls to rationalize like adults.

The only people to blame here are the adults including the parents who were present and did nothing. Yet, we continue to say things like, she knew what kind of man he was, she put herself in that position or she had it coming with those little, short dresses she always wore to church. If you make excuses for R. Kelly or blame the women, you are the person who sits on the sideline and allow this to continue. I feel sorry for your daughters, your nieces or any little girl listening to you defend this sad excuse for a man. Because your sorry rhetoric only confirms she can never tell you it happened to her too. After all, why would she?

It is deeper than R. Kelly though.

There is an alarmingly higher rate of sexual abuse of black women. According to a study conducted Black Women’s Blueprint, 60% of black girls experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18.

In addition, there is a code of silence in the black community that continues to haunt us today. We don’t like to talk about abuse. We rather sweep it under the rug and pretend it did not happen.

Think about it, how many children did not tell the family about the uncle who was touching all the little girls at the family gatherings. Some of the family knew about it, in fact, some of the little girls told. Yet, he was still invited to the family gatherings and reunions because he was the favorite uncle. Let’s talk about the youth pastor taking advantage of girls in his office. Church folk speculated it was happening, but no one wanted to expose him because his sermons were amazing and led new members to the church. Also, he visited members when they were sick, counseled and prayed with the family during hard times. What about the community leader doing so much for the community that you cover up the fact he molested little girls, thinking it would do more damage than good for the community as a whole.

In addition to the code of silence, there is an unspoken code for the black woman to protect the image of the black man at all cost. For example, in the article, “Sexual Abuse and The Code of Silence In The Black Community, “Cherise Charleswell discussed criticism surrounding the novels, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. In the 1980s both novels received backlash because they shed light on a black man abusing a black woman and getting away with it.

The criticism was not on the dismissal of abuse but rather the subsequent “bashing of black men and making them look bad under the public gaze.”

I recall the history behind the Civil Rights movement where black wives simply “put up” with their husbands’ infidelity and/or abuse because there was a more significant cause at stake. Recently, the Bill Cosby case where the black community, specifically black women supported him because of what he represented for us as a community, once again excusing his criminal actions and/or pretending they did not exist. And, now, R.Kelly, though a known problem since the ’90s. Yet, we still play his music on radio stations, attend his concerts and celebrate him as the “king of R&B.”

There needs to be understanding within our community and perhaps, an altering of the narrative that one black man does not represent all.

Thus, holding the sexual abusers accountable for their action without criminalizing “all” black men. At the end of the day, if we allow his status, what he has done for the community and his musical legacy to excuse his crimes, we fail our little girls, we fail black women, and we fail our community as a whole.
What are your thoughts on the documentary and the black code?

Ebby LeBlanc

A Miracle Christmas

If you’ve followed my story of infertility, you know how beautiful this Christmas is for my family and friends. I cannot wait to share how we got this little miracle. Blog post coming soon. I pray God’s blessing on you and your family. I pray He grants you your heart’s desire this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!!!

Love Ebby

33

 

I’m 33 today!
On this day last year, I was going through my first miscarriage. It was devastating. My 32nd birthday propelled me into one of the darkest years of my life. I can’t even begin to describe the pain. The only people who seem to fathom the depths are those who have had the same experience. There are far too many of us too. I would go on to have another miscarriage a few months later. That one took me to the darkest place. In that place, I discovered there is beauty in darkness. I think of a diamond being refined; a brutal process before anyone notices its beauty or shine. In those dark moments, I met Jesus. I knew Him before but not on this level. This is a new relationship for me. I had to learn to trust Him again. I am still learning. In fact, it is a daily challenge.

In darkness, I learned to see people.

I remember walking through the grocery store, barely able to hold it together mentally. I was still physically going through the miscarriage. People passed by me, and I kept thinking no one could see how much pain I was in. I wondered how many times I passed by someone not knowing they were battling cancer, just lost their parent, has a sick child, going through a divorce, battling depression, trying not to take another drink, shoot another needle or take another pill. We walk by these people daily, but they are another face in the crowd. Sometimes not even a face at all.

In darkness, I learned it is okay to be vulnerable but not with everyone.

For one, everyone is not equipped for your journey. I learned to look around and recognize who my true army is.

In darkness, I learned not everyone wants to see you win.

I knew this before, but it was reiterated this year. I’m reminded of the quote by Maya Angelou, “when people show you who they are, believe them.” People will look like they have your best interest, but then something happens. You will know because there will be an inkling that something isn’t quite right with them. Then, they will do something or say something that completely baffles you. Do not try to figure it out, be thankful for the confirmation.

In darkness, I learned you have to be true to yourself and protect this.

People will criticize you for being who you are. Sometimes, the very thing people try to change in you or criticize you for is the very thing God wants to use. Also, comparison will creep in and make you question yourself. Don’t. Remain true to who God created you to be. You will never regret authenticity.

In darkness, I learned not to rush my healing.

The process hurts, and you want to numb it. The best thing to do is to face it and embrace not being okay. It is okay not to be okay.

I thank God as I entered 33, I have come out of my darkness with a vengeance for the meaningful things in life. I dance every morning because it makes me happy. When I hesitate to pray for something, I know it means I must pray about it. I focus on what makes me happy and what makes me feel good because all the rest is irrelevant.
Living my best life,
Ebby

Why Black Panther is Important

 I remember sitting in American History class. My high school was predominantly white with maybe 30% or less minority population. I sat next to the only other black person in the classroom.

We flipped through the history book and found the section of African American history. I am not exaggerating, out of a 400-page book, we had one chapter and it was maybe three pages long.

Can you imagine being a young American black girl discovering who you are and trying figure out your place in the world to discover ONLY three pages of people who look like you? 

Society does a great job perpetuating images and standards of beauty many cannot live up to, especially black women. Much of my childhood came with hating the way I looked and wishing I wasn’t black. Feeling cursed because my hair felt different and my skin was too dark.

I used to play pretend with my friends and cousins; we would pretend we were white. White people were beautiful. They were models. They were on the front cover of magazines. They were leading ladies in the movies, especially the romantic ones. They were Disney princesses.

By the way, I was an adult when the first black Disney princess was created. 

I recall a time in high school when a Hispanic boy asked the only two or three black girls in class why black girls didn’t have hair. Too many of us had breakage and short hair because our parents were taught to tame our afros, coils, and curls by putting a chemical in our hair to permanently strengthen it.

I was twenty-four when I discovered the real texture of my hair. Even now, I find myself defending the stigma that my hair is ugly in its natural state. I have to protect the image of my puffy afro from people trying to convince me I am more beautiful when my hair is straight.

So what does all this have to do with a Black superhero from Wakanda? 

Majority of black representation on the big screen is often extreme stereotypes, sometimes perpetuated by our own people. The only “real” black movies with people that look like me were gangster life in the hood or slavery. None of which I could relate to.

But, Black Panther is a superhero. What does that have to do with black culture?

It is the representation that being black can be cool. It is the celebrations of black roots and black culture without being slaves or poor. It is the idea that dark skin is beautiful. That kinky, coily hair is fashionable and attractive.

It is the image of black women being celebrated and regarded as crucial characters in a plot and not the side-kick of the leading white girl or white man. It is dark black skin being the majority in the movie and not just the token black man in a cast to represent “diversity.” 

Many may not comprehend the importance of black culture, our need to be celebrated or our need to be represented, not only in history books but in the media, in cartoons, and in movies.

After all, they were not the young girl questioning her beauty and the worth of her people.

Oh, how that has changed. Now, we are dark-skinned warriors, a part of a rich society the rest of the world does not even compare to. We are superheroes!

 

Ebby LeBlanc