The Murder of Black Women: The Apology From Black Men
by Marlon leTerrance
Have a seat sister; this may take a while. Don't be afraid. The two pistols you see smoking in my hands are harmless now. Both clips are empty, much like a Larry Elder speech. And even though I was aiming at the System when I first unloaded shots into the air, I see now that I missed the target. The System remains intact while you sit wounded and battle-weary from decades of bullets being lodged deep into your heart and soul.
I murdered you many times. Still, you didn't die - not even once.
I apologize for abandoning you and leaving you to fend for yourself in a world as cruel as it is cold. I should have supported you when you offered to be apart of the struggle. But the struggle was an internal one as well as an external one, and I was losing on both fronts. I got mad at you for straightening your hair, for slow dancing in the arms of white men, for challenging my manhood and comparing it to other races. I hated the way the System divided us by promoting you and demoting me, but instead of uniting with you and having your back, I attacked you and left you alone in your grief.
I apologize for flaunting white women in your face as soon as I got money or fame. I was suffering from a mental illness that had me believing that my self-worth had to be approved by blue eyes. I know it hurt you to see me betray you so quickly, so easily, and so often. I had you feeling as though you were not worthy to be in my arms when the opposite was true. I was not worthy of yours.
I apologize for calling you a "bitch" and a "hoe" and treating you like a sexual object in my music, and in the streets, and amongst my homeboys. I felt powerless and frustrated, lost in maze of self-hatred. I raped you, and pimped you, and beat you, and cursed you, and tried to destroy you in the same way I felt destroyed. The pressures of society triggered the implosion that almost destroyed everything inside of me. And you got caught up in the blast because you were always so determined to stand firmly by my side.
I murdered you many times. Still, you didn't die-not even once.
I apologize for cheating on you, abusing you, and leaving you as soon as you got pregnant. I pretended like the child wasn't mine. I even asked you to kill the baby because I knew I wasn't responsible enough to rear him/her properly. When you refused, I reluctantly tossed you a few dollars each month and felt like that's all I had to do to be a father. I apologize for turning you into a single mother instead of a happy wife.
I apologize for selling drugs and going to prison and using the streets as an excuse for my failure. I didn't want to be like the honest folks in my hood who worked hard and had nothing to show for it. I wanted more out of life but didn't have the courage or the insight to follow the path of the brothers who worked hard in school to build stable futures and lives for themselves. I grew up angry at the world and my environment. But instead of using this anger in a constructive manner, I beat down and shot up the first brother who stepped on my shoes in the club.
I apologize for dying so young in the streets. I just wanted respect. I just wanted power. And the only people in my hood who possessed these qualities were the gangsters and thugs and dealers. You warned me to be careful. You begged me to slow down. But I didn't listen. The respect of the street was all I had. It was something I was willing to kill for, to even die for. I was fighting a war against myself, and dying for a cause that didn't exist.
I apologize for breaking your heart and betraying your trust and hurting you so badly that you became almost as racist as the System. You started calling all black men dogs and writing cruel little Waiting to Exhale type books that spent too much time degrading me instead of explaining that good black men are the majority. Your anger and books flew high, like African Jehaka birds, towards the tree branches of my soul. But instead of forgiving me and attempting to rebuild your nest, your anger and books became woodpeckers and pecked away at what was left of me.
You screamed out that good black men were hard to find and blamed me for your actions when you held white men in your arms. I tried to tell you that I was the minority, and that good black men were everywhere, but it was easier for you to point fingers at me than it was to give these brothers a chance. I should have treated you like the queen that you are so that other black men wouldn't be falsely accused of my emotional crimes.
I murdered you many times. Still, you didn't die - not even once.
I apologize for encouraging you to be materialistic. I dumped my money into the same System that was destroying me and tried to impress you with expensive cars, platinum jewelry, and Polo gear. I fooled you into thinking that the measure of a man was in his bank account or in the size of the knot in his front pocket. You jumped into the front seat of my Lexus, happy because your friends were now envious of you, as we both sped down a dead end road at one hundred miles per hour. As a result, many black men who didn't own a Lexus were ignored and even dismissed by you. I had you believing that your love came with a price tag.
I apologize for the late night booty calls. You wanted to talk, to cuddle, and to explore the depth of my character. I only wanted sex. I called you when I was horny and only reached out to you when I saw that you were slipping away. I should have talked to you and opened up to you. Instead, I trusted only my homeboys and factored you out of the equation.
And I apologize for turning you against your friends and family members. I was jealous of their influence over you. I was afraid that you would listen to them when they told you that I was not good for you. I didn't have a job, and when I did, I used it as a weapon against you. When wise sisters told you to raise your standards, I persuaded you to lower them. I had you thinking that you had to have a man, any man, to be complete. And I apologize for that.
I murdered you many times, sister.
Yet, incredibly, amazingly, you didn't die.
Not even once.
And this serves as the ultimate testimony to your true greatness.
Marlon leTerrance can be reached at: MarlonLeterrance@aol.com
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
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