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Stacy Parker Le Melle Headshot

This Day in Black--No, American--History

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Gather round, grandkids. I've got to tell you about April 12, 2007. Yes, I remember the date exactly because that was the day a very powerful white man--I mean, he was buddy buddy with all the important journalists and the politicians, the kind of man you thought was protected--well, he was fired from his very important job because he attacked the honor of black women.

You see, for three hundred years in America, no important white man was ever publicly criticized, or god-forbid, punished, for sullying the honor of a black woman. It just didn't happen.

Now, you're too young for me to tell you about all that's gone wrong behind closed doors and up the family tree. Let's just say that for these past centuries, white men have had power and privilege in this society that some have used to take advantage. Sometimes that meant violence. Sometimes that meant discrimination. Sometimes that meant insult upon insult, the kind that mess with your head. Sometimes black men could defend black women. Sometimes they were on their own. That's why black women have had to be strong. They've had a lot to defend themselves against.

I'm not trying to besmirch the honor of all white men. Heavens no. But things weren't equal then. Can't pretend they were.

I know; it's hard to think back to a time like that. But this is a history lesson, OK?