8.21.2016

How about we stop defending male perversion?

Couple things. First, it’s not like the news of Parker’s history was on some special Google for stars of Black Netflix or some shit. A regular google would have found everything about the case. It resurfaced in the sense that more people are talking about it now, but it’s always been there.

And more people are talking about it now because more people are talking about Nate Parker now. When he was starring in
Rome & Jewel and Pride and Blood Done Sign My Name, no one — at least no one in entertainment media — gave enough of a damn about him to investigate his past. But he’s a big deal now. And when you’re a big deal with tens of millions of dollars invested in you and your project, everything about you and your past becomes media fodder. Particularly something as serious as a rape allegation. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last person — Black or White; man or woman — to make it big and then have some unflattering details about his life become news. - Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas
As the Blackest year in modern history starts to wind down, let's make a pact that by the time 2017 starts, we will no longer defend men who sexually violate women and girls.

As Nate Parker joins the ranks of Bill Cosby and Shane Sparks, we see the same tired, defensive narratives coming into play.  Folks are talking about "bringing down another Black man", "smearing the messenger", the "fishiness" of the timing, and all that other bullshit.  This has nothing to do with timing, or a conspiracy to bring down yet another Black man.  This has everything to toxic masculinity and its unhealthy fascination with sexual assault.  I don't call it "non-consensual sex" because rape and molestation are not sex; they're a form of assault.  It's crucial people learn to make that distinction.

The stories of Parker, Cosby, and Sparks read like Greek plays, in that each one is the central character whose past actions bring about his own downfall after he attains great heights.  And the catalyst is always the same - each man engaged in some form of sexual assault, and did so with the confidence that his actions would never come back to haunt him.  Nate Parker was acquitted at his rape trial in 1999.  His accuser then committed suicide in 2012.  To your average rapist/child molester, these are optimal conditions.  But now, in Parker's finest hour, in his moment of triumph as an artist, after making multi-million-dollar history at the Sundance Festival, the ghost of his accuser speaks yet again.

That's not conspiracy, children.  That is karma.

So instead of bitching about all the damage done to Bill Cosby's legacy, or the inconvenient timing to Nate Parker and Shane Sparks's careers, let's focus on the social, psychological, and legal factors which influenced their behavior in the first place.

I'll be honest; I was a fan of all three.  Like many people, I grew up watching The Cosby Show.  I think Shane Sparks is a very talented choreographer. I was rooting for Nate Parker when he first revealed he was working in a Nat Turner project.  But I cannot in good conscience be a supporter of men who are in denial of their wrongdoing and refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions.

Cosby admitted to drugging women.  Sparks was convicted of molesting a child.  And Parker's victim initially wanting to go home after drinking, but he refused to take her.  She testified that she woke up to find both Parker engaging in intercourse with her while his friend used her for oral sex.  And way too many men and boys see absolutely nothing wrong with this behavior.

Just a few months ago, I went to a party hosted at a bar and I had a blast.  I had one drink, danced with some friends, and being old and weary, I decided it was time to head home early.  Now, one of the acquaintances I danced with offered to walk me to my car.  I was slightly buzzed in that warm, feel-good sort of way, but my mind was still sharp.  I was also in this mood of being easily amused by everything, like the fact that this guy was offering to walk me to a car parked a just few feet away.  It was right in front of the bar, in a brightly lit parking lot, surrounded by people.

Once we got to my car (a whopping thirty seconds later), dude hops into the passenger seat uninvited.  Still amused, I take out my phone (for the usual reasons) and he displayed this irritable impatience, even going so far to try to push the phone out of my hands, while saying something to the effect of, "No, no, no, don't do that".  Since we were surrounded by folks, he kept insisted on needing to be alone, basically demanding that I drive us somewhere more secluded.  When I didn't jump at his command, he irritably grumbled, "Could you just do it, please?"

Now, I wasn't worried about anything because my mind was sharp, we technically weren't alone, and I'm one of those lunatic women who sometimes pins up my braids with a long, sharp silver hairpin for more than just cosmetic reasons, feel me?  So the moment I heard that "tone", the pin came out and the braids came tumbling down.  If need be, at any moment, I could have easily stabbed him in an eyeball...or the throat.

Thankfully, it didn't come to that.  But while he kept trying to have sex with me in my car, and I deftly kept fielding his advances, every so often that tone would return, that irritated, impatient attitude which betrayed a sense of entitlement.  And right here is where I think we as a society need to press the pause button, and replay in slow motion for analysis.

Some of you will recall the hashtag #NoWomanEver, which was trending a while back.  With #NoWomanEver, the main theme was how easy it is to be swayed and seduced by sexual harassment...said no woman ever.  And while I liked that hashtag and what it represented, I felt the premise was off in that the assumption was men didn't realize that harassing and terrorizing women was never going to work.  Men already know this, and yet they do it anyway.  Why? Because this is a driving force of toxic masculinity; men and boys are taught that sexually devaluing women is an acceptable form of sexual expression (at least, to them).  The fantasy they cling to is that they are all physically desirable, well-endowed Nice Guys™ who should be having great sex with the best-looking women all the time, if women just weren't so stupid/stubborn/difficult (think Elliot Rodger).  Meanwhile, the reality is, well...we all know what the reality is.

So men and boys have learned to deal with reality by not only hurting women, but deliberately creating situations in which to do so.  Thus, when a man catcalls a woman in the street, he knows fully well it's a turn off for her, but that's not the point.  He's just waiting for his cue; the minute she ignores him or says something back, that's his opportunity to call her something derogatory, or physically assault her, or even kill her.  Hence why the rape, torture, and murder of women is increasingly popular in film and television (and constantly justified as "historical accuracy" or a necessary plot point/metaphor).  For many men, it's scintillating.  Since in reality, women and girls are generally unwilling or incapable of consenting 99.9999% of the time, too many men and boys have decided that forcing themselves on women and girls is simply the new sexual standard.  Nothing's ever their fault, because in their eyes, they did nothing wrong.  It's women and girls who are at fault for not being easier, for "needing" to be drunk, or drugged, or beaten over the head and held hostage caveman-style.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: too many men and boys are deeply screwed up about sex.  The problem is not that they don't understand the concept of consent, it's that they simply don't believe they should have to adhere to it.  To them, it's not a matter of yes or no, but rather the hard way versus the easy way.  The easy way is if the woman just says yes and cooperates.  The hard way is when she declines, and the man feels he needs to either force the issue, or berate/assault/kill her for saying no.

In other words, after all this time, human beings are still stuck at a point where #TooManyMen refuse to take no for answer.  So what do we plan to do about it?

15 comments:

  1. I admit..when I heard about this story,there was a mixture of anger and sadness. Anger because,it has been said that a conservative network brought this up and I seen it as a Shaun King like situation.. where Breibart attempted to bring him down by accusing him of being White.

    Though I still see it in the same light,only the young woman was the victim of is terrible and shameful because the woman in question is dead. Don't get me wrong if you do the crime you should do the time, but to being this up about avwoman who can no longer defend herself is low

    Far as Nate and this rape incident.. as you said Karma is a b---. What was he thinking.. that it was going to pass him by ? Rape is serious and he should have never done what he did. It was said that the victim basically died of a broken heart after the ordeal.Just how far he thought that was going to get with that cover up?

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    1. A lot of Black men are so high on their fetish for White women that they are in denial about the reality of some shit. One the hand, they'll complain about how White women have a history of falsely accusing Black men, but then turn around and pursue and get drunk with these women (or get them drunk) and put themselves in situations where they very well wind up in front of a judge.

      That's right I said it: people talk about how we women put ourselves in these situations, but these "situations" take at least two people, and Nate Parker put himself in this situation. He could've have asked the woman to a lunch or coffee date in broad daylight but he did what way too many men like to do: meet up really late at someone's private residence and drink. Why? Because it's much easier to subdue a woman with alcohol, preferably on private property away from strangers who might intervene. So, let's not get it twisted, folks; the choice of location, time of day, and the indulgence of intoxicants is deliberate. It's strategic.

      I remember this loser from a few years back who took me on one lame dinner date, and then spent the next several days texting me about how we should've just gone to his place, drunk vodka, and "had some fun" instead. One of the main reasons I stopped dating was that that was a recurring theme: "Let's drink then go to my/your place, K. Do another shot with me, K. You can't just not drink tonight, K. I thought you said your roommate was going to be out tonight, K. You should come over to my place, K. We'll drink some vodka and have fun." Nobody wanted to go to dinner, nobody wanted to go see a movie, nobody wanted to go get coffee, all the men/boys wanted to hit up the bar.

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    2. *On the one hand, they'll complain

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    3. Yes, men act predatory on purpose. Their actions are very deliberate. They choose the right victim, the right poison, the right location and the right time to get whatever the fuck they want.

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  2. A lot of men do not (and some women too) understand what rape is. We have been conditioned to think a woman walking alone down some dark alley will get raped by some stranger. The truth is the majority of women are raped by someone they know and trust.

    A lot of men really don't think what they are doing is rape. They think they just need to "convince" the woman to say yes. That she really doesn't want him to stop.

    We have to look at what type of media we are putting out. The majority of movies, tv shows, portray women as all ready and willing to have sex. These women always say yes and play hard to get all of two seconds. So men think real women are the same way.

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    1. A lot of men really don't think what they are doing is rape. They think they just need to "convince" the woman to say yes. That she really doesn't want him to stop.

      You know, what...I used to think this, but now I doubt it. I now think they know and simply don't care.

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    2. No men know what the fuck rape is. They don't fucking care. They are men. They know they have privilege, and they use it. They enjoy having that power. Don't be fooled into thinking they are stupid victims.

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  3. Rape becomes a more touchy issue in the black community when the rapist is a black man. In our communities, we protect and support black men more so than we do black women, even if the black man is the victimizer and the black woman is the victim. Whenever a black woman accuses a black man of assault, harassment and rape, black people will come out in droves to defend and support him, especially if he's popular or is well-achieved. We automatically assume that the victim is bringing down another successful black man. We consider her a traitor of sorts.

    Another part of the silence is to avoid proving the negative stereotype of the black male rapist. But the problem is that man made the choice to be that type. So, no one is trying to bring him down except himself.

    It's even more race-based if the victim is nonblack. Most of Bill Cosby's victims are white women. And as such, many of us believed they were lying and were also trying to bring down another successful black man. A major part of that is due to the history of lynching in America. A black man accused of raping a white woman is a guaranteed lynching for him and other black people even if and when it turns out that the woman lied. And some of us have gone so far as to call the accusations modern day lynching.

    But even though it's getting more and more clear that Cosby is a serial rapist, black people are still in disbelief, supporting him even after he pretty much condemned poor black folks in 2005. That doesn't matter. He gave us "The Cosby Show" and "Fat Albert". SMH.

    However, in the recent cases with white male college students, there are white folks who defend them as well. We know a huge part of that is attributed to white male privilege, especially during sentencing. But white folks defend white males at the expense of their female victims of any color. And a successful white male or a white male with a promising future is definitely humanized to where he is painted as the victim.

    In the end, society has a rape culture that purposely gets ignored for the sake of blind hero worship or the need to protect male privilege no matter how badly males fuck up and no matter how many people, particularly women, are his victims.

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    1. Precisely. In the case of Nate Parker, a woman committed suicide and people are annoyed that the backstory of her rape is interfering with the buzz around Parker's latest film. Like...priorities, people.

      And people are in serious denial. Parker was acquitted due to a misogynistic technicality. Because he and his victim had prior consensual sex, the judge - like so many judges - was swayed to rule in his favor. The other guy didn't have that prior consensual sex, so he served time.

      Not once has Parker denied the fact that engaged in intercourse with a sleeping woman. He just keeps saying he wishes he'd used more wisdom in that situation. In other words, he did it, but people are blinded by the fact he was acquitted.

      The cops who killed Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray were acquitted too, so what does that tell you? Fucking George Zimmerman was acquitted!

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    2. And people need to also understand that an acquittal doesn't mean innocence. Also, people need to stop flip-flopping on their faith in the justice system. When a black male celebrity is acquitted of rape, there's faith and hope. But when black folks are murdered by cops and vigilantes and they receive little or no punishments, all of a sudden, the system is flawed.

      There's a problem with the system when they go easy on rapists. The cases with the white college students prove that when you hear how the judges show leniency to the rapists in one way or another thinking that harsher punishments will ruin their lives in someway. SMH.

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    3. Sadly women being raped in college and men getting away with it is common. Sometimes it doesn't even make it to court because its swept under a rug.

      https://www.buzzfeed.com/anitabadejo/where-is-that-narrative?utm_term=.qk7kP63Nq#.hypzXV17G

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  4. Nate's latest follow-up, lesson learned or expediency?: http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/nate-parker-rape-charges-consent#axzz4IjuwIPna

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    1. He's a narcissist. Says what he thinks he needs to so people see his fucking movie.

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  5. @Ankh...Yep, as my Grandmama always used to say, "It ain't what dey say, it's what dey do!"

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