By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid
Well, this is a fine way for me to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
I survived a young Black man raping me when I was five years old, and I’ve been subjected to decades of the stereotype of the Black male rapist and the racism behind it. So, this cartoon triply triggered my reaction.
I rubbed my hands. I walked away. I wanted to cry but couldn’t because I was at work when I clicked on the link. I shook inside, back to that frightened little girl who couldn’t possibly tell my mom the truth about what happened. (I eventually did, about a decade later.) I didn’t want to reflect on my experience—not like this.
But there it all was, splayed on my screen, demanding some sort of order, some sort of reason for it all. To deal with it. Again.
As does the cartoon itself. Why this scenario? Why these stereotypes? Why all the justifications—again? (Yes, the poster said it can’t be racist because the woman is green.)
I’d love to say this cartoon was aimed at me, a Black woman who survived a rape, but I may be a side audience for this. This cartoon’s intended audience is for people intent on holding onto their unchallenged notion of all Black men—as both capable and very willing to rape, even symbolically. And their victims are always stereotyped as that embodiment of all that is ideally and virtuously feminine in the US, white women. Even symbolically, such as the paragon of US freedom and rights, the Statue of Liberty. So, this cartoon is the wet dream—and dog whistle—to those folks who need to believe that a single Black man being president is using that power to rape “their” beloved country and the rights and entitlements this country (ostensibly) offers. Continue reading