Why Aren't Black Men Allowed To Be Victims?
Toxic masculinity and sexual assault have been major topics of conversation over the last few years. In 2017, actor Terry Crews came shared his own alleged sexual assault at the hands of a Hollywood executive. Since then he has garnered much support, while receiving ridicule from others - mainly black men.
Terry Crews, a 6’2, 235 pound heterosexual black man is the epitome of masculinity. For many, it seems unbelievable that this former NFL player is a victim of sexual assault.
High-profile black men such as comedian, DL Hughley, rapper 50 cent, and social media personality, Tariq Nasheed have actually made light of his situation, especially as it relates to Crews not physically defending himself.
Terry Crews gets it. He tells his own story with empathy and is able to link the problems of sexual assault and violence with racism. He stated recently on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that the people most supportive of him are black women. This is not a surprise AT ALL, as black women show up for black men all the time.
The push-back that Terry Crews has received has been quite disturbing. It’s difficult to hear the mockery being thrown at this man for saying that he has been victimized and that the culture of that victimization needs to change. This fact is being overlooked.
To know that some black men would rather side with his abuser is crazy. Essentially, they are telling Terry Crews that he deserved his genitals being grabbed, since he did not knock agent Adam Venit.
Why are black men going so hard on him for calling out abuse? All we’ve seen so far are performances of toxicity.
Terry Crews is saying that just because he is a big, strong, black man that he doesn’t have to be physical. He does not have to do what people thinks he should. But all he’s hearing is “NO, go ahead and be physical! Be violent!”
This attack on black masculinity is concerning. What are we supposed to think when Terry Crews says that dominance is not always the answer and you don’t have to exercise your masculinity this way?
The only reason why some black men would have a problem with what Terry Crews is doing or saying is because their manhood is predicated on the ability (or thought) to subdue, violate or abuse.
One’s manhood does not have to be predicated on acting out in dominance or violence. Terry Crews’ masculinity has been questioned because he did not lay hands on the man that assaulted him. The conclusion is that he did not perform masculinity in the “right” way.
This is a delusion. Think about it: Everyone is not acting out in violence in their own lives. If a police officer pulls you over and starts talking crazy to you, you mean to tell me that you’re going to cuss him out and get violent? No. Absolutely not.
You would stop and think about your life, what is at stake, your family, your livelihood, etc. So why then are we expecting Terry Crews to act in a “right” way?
The notion that Terry Crews should have fought his way out of his assault because of his stature is rooted in the “Mandingo” belief. They’ve developed a standard of a Black man that directly aligns with racist views of Black men.
During his Senate testimony on sexual assault, Terry Crews had this to say: “You only have a few shots at success. You only have a few chances to make yourself a viable member of the community,” Crews said. “I’m from Flint, Michigan. I have seen many, many young Black men who were provoked into violence and they were imprisoned or they were killed.”
Until we all understand that there is no freedom for Black people unless all Black people are included, we will continue to be regressive against the very forces we fight against.