You must must must read Ijeoma Oluo's piece on Birth of a Nation, the film made by Nate Parker, who raped a woman years ago. Unless, of course, content involving rape is too triggering for you.
I admit I'm loath to blog about rapists who are black men, because I'm a white woman living in the U.S. This country has a dark history of white woman accusing black men (or being used to do so) of rape in order to get these men imprisoned or lynched. Black men are, to this day, more likely to be convicted of rape than white men. The image of black men as rapists still exists in the minds of many a non-black individual. It's a problem.
However, Nate Parker actually confessed to raping her. He said that at the time of the rape, he didn't understand consent, and that he doesn't feel bad for what happened. He admitted that they had been drinking. With any other crime, this would be considered a confession. Yet in our culture, he doesn't even need to feel guilty.
Still, there are better people than me to be speaking out this. We should all be listening to black women about this issue.
What I Can Say About ‘Birth Of A Nation’—And What I Can’t
So, if you want to see The Birth of a Nation, I understand. And I hope that you can also see how the pain of the exploitation and rape of black woman that occurred so frequently under slavery is still occurring to black women today. I hope you can see how many black women who were upset by the allegations against Parker and Celestin were called traitors for believing a white woman (their accuser) over a black man. I hope you know how many times black women who have spoken out about their own sexual assault have been called traitors to blackness for demanding safety and justice for black women. I hope you can see how black women have suffered from the brutal legacies of both slavery and patriarchy. I hope you see how even in deciding whether or not to see this film, black women are forced, as they have been so often in the past, to choose between their blackness and their gender. I hope you see how very little of what is made for black people is actually made for us.
I cannot condemn anyone for going to see this money, which is important despite its creator. Just remember women, particularly black women, when you do.