Written by Donna Jaye
"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men. But I never thought I'd have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me."
When I saw Oprah Winfrey say these lines in the film version of The Color Purple, it made me feel tired for her character Sofia.
Personally and thankfully I have never experienced domestic violence in my own life. But then I see instances like Daniel Taylor, a white man, yoking up Yasmine James, a Black McDonald’s cashier, as she’s surrounded by a sea of men in a St. Petersburg, Florida restaurant. Black men watching instead of helping. Black men behind the counter. Black men pulling her off her attacker. These were her co-workers with whom she spent likely eight hours a day. People she ate lunch with and talked about weekend plans and family. Her Asian manager had a position of authority and was responsible for her during her shift. AND NO ONE HELPED HER!
They left her to be an assault victim of a man who exclaimed, "I couldn't control you, bitch!" As if that is his right in the first place. You can't demand ownership of another person. And to think this all occurred because he had to ask for a straw by law.
Now all the think pieces I read were satirical and humorous about how she handled herself and the blows she gave. But no one is outraged for her. No one is asking how she is, not to mention the other woman this man kicked in the stomach who didn't get viral infamy.
There are a couple of things at play here. People don't like to talk race, but this would have never happened to an “other.” No one, but a Black woman.
Second there is a socioeconomic dynamic here. People love cheap, convenient fast food. But they also treat the people who work there as cheap, low-class, expendable. People don't believe fast food workers should make a living wage, even though they have to deal with savage behaviors at their job unrelated to food. This is unacceptable.
People will say Black women are loud, opinionated, uncouth, unladylike, masculine, too strong, and on and on ... But why is this?
Simply because you made us this way, the world made us this way. "And all my life I had to fight."