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Dear Fellas,

Black women are the greatest love songs ever given to the world, yet they are not given their due by the world and it is well past time that has changed. Daily, weekly, monthly, Black women are uniquely challenged on social media by a contingent of Black men whose only contributions to any kind of discourse are regurgitating the same tired notions of surveillance of Black women’s bodies that they already have to contend with in a society that hates them. Put plainly, Black men should already be exhausted by the kinds of aggressions that we already have to deal with in our micro and macro lives, too tired of dealing with them ourselves to turn around and lay these kinds of attacks at the feet of Black women, but it appears we are not.

RELATED CONTENT: Black Women’s Bodies Is None Of Your Damn Business

Dear Fellas,

Black women deserve more from us. They deserve more than the culprits of their pain to look like them, they deserve for us to show up for them. Showing up for Black women is as easy as tweeting or posting in their defense whenever they are attacked and yes, these questions about what is proper workplace attire that are only lodged at Black women who are shapely count as attacks. Showing up for Black women is as simple as being a safe place for them to be open and honest with you even if it hurts you. Showing up for Black women is as easy as giving them encouraging words when they share uncomfortable news and their struggles. Showing up for Black women is often not a grand gesture but instead is a series of small gestures that indicate your care and concern for them individually and as a whole.

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Fundamentally, choosing to love and care for Black women in a society that openly despises them is an act of revolution, an act of rebellion against what society teaches you to value. I have seen too many examples of a very specific hatred of Black women which is called misogynoir; a term that has been largely attributed to queer Black feminist Moya Bailey. The term deals with the way that Black women are targeted for harassment, hatred, and prejudice specifically because they are Black women. Though the term’s original use states that racism is a factor, so is sexism, and in the regurgitation of racist attitudes about Black women’s bodies Black men can and often do engage in the practice of misogynoir, because these ridiculous debates are never had about white women and their workplace attires. Recently, there has been a lot of attention placed on the Black manosphere, which is essentially an online space for Black men to engage in behavior that showcases their hatred for Black women in general and Black feminists in particular, painting them as the enemy, as the reason they have been forced into unwilling celibacy and other issues. Even though these men generally operate in these spaces in some semblance of anonymity, they have been informed by the larger society that Black women are the source of all their problems, and they have not rejected this kind of programming. To be clear, I am not asking you to crash this Black manosphere, simply pointing out where the kind of unquestioned and unchallenged ingestion of racist ideas about Black women can lead you to.

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Dear Fellas,

Black women, in an ideal world, would be so loved and cared for that these kinds of spaces would not pop up, but we do not live in such an ideal world. We live in a world influenced by racism and racists, and we live in a world where Malcolm X could say with boldness and confidence that Black women are not protected in it. Malcolm was right then, and sadly he is still right because at every turn, Black women are denigrated at any opportunity and far too often, there are not enough Black men who are standing up and telling the detractors to firmly leave Black women the hell alone. It is important that Black men understand that to love Black women is to love ourselves and to love a greater world. Black women are the sonnets and the songs that make life worth living. We should be singing in harmony and unison with them, and that is only going to happen when we start standing up for, on behalf of, and with Black women because they mean something to us; because it is the right and proper and humane thing to do. Protecting Black women is more than just a tweet or a Facebook post. It’s more than fleeting virility; it has to become a consistent part of your character. Fellas, we owe Black women much much more than we are giving them, it is time that we give them our love, our concern, our devotion, our protection in whatever ways that they demand and deem appropriate. Black women deserve to be and feel loved and protected and cared for but especially so by Black men because in this cold ass world, we all we got. We in this thing together, and Black women deserve to feel the warmth of our love so we can join our living love songs singing in sweet harmony. Fellas, Black women deserve all of us, and all of us at our best for them. It is time for us to be better to and for them. They deserve that—and then some.

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