On my lunch break, I saw Snoop Dogg and Gayle King were trending on Twitter. In an interview, Gayle King asked WNBA star Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s rape charge. Leslie shared her opinion, and that should have been that. Then, Snoop Dogg made a seemingly threatening video towards Gayle King telling her that as a black woman, she should not call out a black man.
Not long ago, Oprah announced that she was stepping away from a documentary focused on the accusations of Russell Simmons as a potential predator. While Oprah left her reasons for leaving the project vague, since her announcement of the project, people from the African American community attacked her for being part of a project that would call out a black man.
As a half-black man, I see this is a terrible message for people to send to the black community.
The Cognitive Bias
Was Kobe guilty? I have no clue. That whole situation was really messy, so I won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. I’ve been a fan of Russell Simmons for his work with Def Jam Records, but even more so for his incredible books like Super Rich and Success Through Stillness.
When Simmons was accused by multiple women, I experienced cognitive dissonance. I think a lot of people experience this when someone they respect is accused of such crimes. Something I’ve learned is to not let my bias cloud my view of these situations. Is Russell guilty? I don’t know, but I look forward to hearing from the alleged victims.
Hell, my middle name is Michael because I was named after Michael Jackson. All of the accusations against him and the Leaving Neverland documentary rocked my world. There are still debates around whether the accusations are true, but I do know that Michael put himself in a very vulnerable position spending all this alone time with kids.
We all need to accept that we have these very obvious biases and not let it cloud our judgment, especially when it turns into silencing victims just because we’re fans or it’s a fellow person of color.
Equality and Accountability
On a daily basis, I’m blown away that we still have racism in the world today. Anyone who denies racism existing isn’t worth my time. Statistics show that black men are prosecuted far more than white men, and there are still various forms of oppression, stereotypes, and other biases that hold back the African American community.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hold each other accountable.
Snoop Dogg’s rant, as well as the rants of many others, form the African American community is basically saying, “We have it hard enough with being harassed and incarcerated by white people, so we need to stick together.”
Trust me, I get that, but at what cost?
Rape doesn’t care what color you are, it happens to people of all races, and the majority of victims are women. As a community, we really need to think about the message that’s being sent to women of color when we say, “Don’t call out other African Americans or even accuse them!”
When these conversations happen, it’s telling rape victims not to speak up. When rape victims don’t speak up, that’s a predator’s dream come true. It means they can continue preying on people, including children, without worrying about facing consequences.
I discussed this in a previous post, but equality shouldn’t mean a lack of accountability. If we hope to make progress, we need to understand that holding each other accountable is a must. If we don’t hold each other accountable, we’re giving the opposition more of a reason to come after us.
Think about it. We’re making it easier for them to say, “Welp, they can’t hold each other accountable, so that’s why we need to crack down on the black community even more.”, and that’s not something we want.
Rape has the potential to completely ruin a person’s life. Rape leads to PTSD, depression, and substance abuse. Blacks are already less likely to get help for mental health issues, and silencing victims is only making it worse. If we want to thrive as a people, we need to support the victims as much as we’re trying to support the accused.
For example, look at R. Kelly or Bill Cosby. Just because you like the music or old TV show and they’re black men doesn’t make their actions less disgusting.
If you need help with your mental health, I highly recommend the service I use, BetterHelp. They’re an affordable online therapy service, and by using this affiliate link, you help support The Rewired Soul.