#MeToo and the dilemma of a black woman

12/1/2017, 8:51 p.m.

The #MeToo movement illuminating instances of sexual harassment has caught the wave with many white women. The world is watching and we are all applauding them for their courage.

But this got me to thinking: When will we hear from black women? I know we have a story.

Sadly, since the first slave ships docked in Jamestown in the early 1600s, black women have been demoralized and our bodies have been fair game for the taking.

In the 1980s, I was pleased to enter the white collar workforce. I noticed a lot of black men gaining executive level positions, winning political office and gaining great renown in other fields. I was proud of them and I was hopeful for the future.

But I also noticed they were saying and doing things to black women that were inappropriate on so many levels. Black men were inviting black women to lunch at local hotels, touching their breasts, chatting about their body parts and how they could make them feel better.

Some black women gave in to the moments of sexual harassment and have since become successful, married, retired and moved on. Others have been labeled as angry black women and have not been as successful.

Can you imagine a world where black women, or others, are hired because of their skills? Now that would make America great!

Why have few black women come forward? Is it because there are so few of us in power that we still celebrate even the lowest of low attaining that all-elusive power? Why do we pretend that we do not understand the people of Alabama standing behind U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore?

Virginians have kept the secrets of some of our most scandalous black men. The city of Richmond has a few scumbags that everyone still applauds and fiercely protects their secrets.

On the national level, we, as black women, have failed miserably. We still listen to R. Kelly songs and have not demanded that radio stations stop playing his music. When model Beverly Johnson spoke out against Bill Cosby, we attacked her as being old and trying to gain attention despite her diminishing career. Now, information has come out about Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and we have been silent.

Is it because even in the 21st century black women still feel powerless? How can we gain our voice? How do we collectively get a seat at the table? Does the #MeToo movement have a different meaning to black women?

I will tell you what it means to me, a middle-aged black woman who is a Ph.D. candidate seeking employment and would love for my granddaughter not to endure what I have endured — #MeToowillbetakingittomygrave.