Blacks complicit with their own exploitation

William T

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Unless you live in a vacuum, you are aware of the movement to expose and bring attention to the age-old acceptance and practice of sexual harassment and abuse so prevalent among men taking advantage of their powerful positions in all professions and genres. The ‘Me Too’ hashtag movement is gaining momentum with a vengeance, leaving no offender invincible or impervious to allegations and the consequences of sexual improprieties.

Women say it has been a long time coming, and they are united in declaring a new day where this behavior will no longer be tolerated or swept under the rug. No doubt there is a dialogue and changes taking place in the workplace as well as social venues making once practiced sexual conversations and behaviors unacceptable with dire consequences. Make no mistake, this behavior is being addressed, initiating much needed social change, in as well as out of the workplace.

One must realize that sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual comments are not subject to any one group of men or women. The problem has gained more attention with White women speaking up, eliciting national attention, and leveling allegations against revered and powerful men in news media, sports, business, entertainment and the political world. If we are to be truly fair, we must address all culprits engaging in and complicit with this degrading and sordid practice. But we must also be mindful of vindictive and malicious women fostering false accusations, which can hurt the credibility of true victims seeking justice and redemption.

As an African American, I have always found it personally offensive and unwarranted when you have well known rappers using degrading and misogynist lyrics addressing women as whores, bitches, and freaks—literally relegating Black women as sexual toys to be exploited. Many of these rappers present them-selves as womanizers, preying on women as nothing more than sexual objects. I am sure I do not stand alone in my feelings, but to add insult to injury, we as African Americans continue to buy their recordings and even honor them at award shows in which many are so adamant in giving God the praise and glory for the filth they so willing to distribute, doing immeasurable harm to the Black community. Do they realize the physiological and mental damage they do to our youth, especially young women? Or the effect this may have on other ethnic groups judging us as a people?

Whether we like it or not, stereotypical views or a monolithic opinion of a group will continue to be accepted by gullible narrow-minded people. Unfortunately, the biggest victims are the young impression-able Black girls who become desensitized. They literally come to believe that this sexist and misogynistic labeling of them is acceptable. You have a whole generation of youth who have been sexually objectified by Black rappers (and even some Black comedians) doing irrevocable damage. The culprits are going unaddressed with no consequences. Sad as it may be, some young ladies are so desensitized that they think it is acceptable to be sexually abused or harassed as a normal and accepted practice in our culture.

Surprisingly, some of the biggest abusers of women are being sponsored by big brand companies as spokespersons for their products. I find this ironic, because many big name brand sponsors are very protective and cautionary of a celebrity representing their product, thinking they may be too controversial or presenting themselves in a negative light in the public arena. And while they are quick to drop some, there are many they continue to support knowing the damage they are doing or have done to our young generation.

I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, but we do have an obligation not to support and to administer dire consequences to those morally corrupting our society. The Black community, as a whole, should not look for the system to fix our problem. We should work within to eliminate the problem by calling these defiling rappers (and some comedians) out. We could perpetuate change by boycotting their songs and concerts. We must teach our young children to love and respect themselves and to have enough intellectual consciousness and self-pride not to contribute to their own degradation.

We as parents and communities must be more cognizant in monitoring what our young children look at or listen to, because we all know what you listen to or buy into reflects who you are as a person. It doesn’t take rocket science to realize that most positive individuals usually surround themselves with positive influences, e.g., friends, events, songs and literature. Blacks must address sexual improprieties and abuse by many rappers in the music industry. It only makes sense that since we are having a national conversation and dialogue on addressing and elimin-ating sexual harassment and abuse in public and private venues that we cover all bases and hold all perpetrators accountable.