We have all witnessed the backlash and scrutiny that celebrities are under and we've had enough. Why do we allow celebrities, better yet people in power, to commit crimes without repercussions, until it is too late?
All of the individuals I will talk about will be black men. This is done not to depict black males as monsters. I am a black man and I do not wish for us to be depicted as such. This is done because I want black men to hold each other accountable. Let’s reclaim accountability for the damage we inflict, whether consciously or unconsciously, on others of the black community.
While a large percent of Black people agree with the demonization; some constantly come to their defense. Many with the sentiment that “white men get away with it, why can’t we?” This is extremely dangerous. First, because it displays an extreme desire to be an oppressor. Secondly, it is blatant that those who say this want to inflict pain on others. We are all aware that white men get away with damn near everything. The president has multiple sexual assault allegations or claims against him. This has not hurt him in anyway. Seeing other black men striving to have that same level of amnesty is disgusting. Seeing black men defend and try to minimize the violent behavior of other black men is disheartening.
Bill Cosby was charged on the account of aggravated indecent assault, Nas’ domestic violence tendencies were revealed, and R. Kelly’s predatory behavior was finally vilified. All of these men are prominent figures in Black- American culture. Bill Cosby was known for his acting as Cliff Huxtable. This showcased a positive depiction of Black families in America. However, during this time he drugged and raped a plethora of women. This should have made Black cringe at the thought of Mr. Cosby, but many still believe in his innocence.
Nas is ranked as legend in Hip-Hop from Illmatic to his beef with Jay-Z. The women closest to have detailed a life of emotional and physical abuse. R. Kelly has been accused of preying on young black women on several occasions. He even married Aaliyah when she was 15 years old. All of these “accusations” are damn near public knowledge, but some Black men, and yes women, do not believe them, simply because of the characters played or the songs and hits created.
"...I want black men to hold each other accountable. Let’s reclaim accountability for the damage we inflict, whether consciously or unconsciously, on others of the black community."
Why do we allow those of us who have been placed on social pedestals this amnesty? Male privilege is a large driving force for this reaction to protect these men. Add in the fact that Black people have been taught to be skeptical of allegations and criminal charges placed on Black men; due to over-policing, the privatization of prisons, and common practice of unfair sentencing. This crossroads is the root of the reactions to defend these men and other prominent individuals once they are accused of crimes. These reactions do not better the Black community. It only damages it. These reactions further build up the walls and barriers that prevent victims of molestation, abuse, sexual assault, and much more from coming forward. Even if the victims do come forward, these reactions assist in the protection of abusers and predators furthering the alienation of victims. That alienation is why so many cases are dropped, not because of false allegations; but because of the pain and trauma that victims are asked to re-live or called “liars” for.
"Male privilege is a large driving force for this reaction to protect these men. Add in the fact that Black people have been taught to be skeptical of allegations and criminal charges placed on Black men..." We should not allow this to happen any further. We must hold those of us in power accountable. We must hold ourselves, friends, and neighbors accountable. I want Black men to be more accountable, because many Black women and LGBT are ahead of us in holding individuals accountable for the harm they do. We must not allow men, women, or children to be victims of assault, abuse, or molestation at the hands of others. We must not give these predators benefit of the doubt. We must support the various movements that are holding individuals accountable for their actions. I do not expect Black men to become leaders of these movements, I just want us to provide support for these movements and to hold those among us accountable for their words and actions. It will be uncomfortable, but if you are serious about improving the lives of Black people, and I mean ALL Black people, these are the necessary steps.
Finally, I am aware that this piece will not invoke a change in Black people over night. I wish it does. I do hope it makes people look inside themselves and desire to change. We can no longer be silent and allow those of us we idolize and admire to harm the least privileged among us.