To ALL Of The Non-Affirmers Of ALL Black Women, A Letter.

Lil Duval AND Kodak Black AND Chris Brown AND A$AP Rocky AND...let's talk.

Her Voice

Side note: It seems like not one day goes by when I don't see something hurtful or unfortunate that a Black man has said about a Black woman, or Black women, in general. And so, I sat down today, to pen a letter to those individuals in hopes that, at the very least, it will reaffirm the women who may be affected and, also cause the men who make those disparaging statements, whether in jest or not, to take a moment—or two or 10—to reassess.

To Whom It May Concern,

Do not think that it has evaded me. "It" being all of the overt and super slick statements that are made about me and my sistahs—because when you offend one, you offend us all; that is what sistahhood is all about—seemingly on a regular basis, at this point. Me, them, a Black woman. The insults that are covertly disguised as jokes, the social media jabs that are presented as random thoughts of the day, the lyrics that try and devalue my worth and relevance. As someone who reads, researches and engages, I see it. And, I must say that, although at times, it irritates, disgusts and sometimes angers me, more than anything, what it does most of all, is leave me dumbfounded and perplexed.

As a Black woman, I am a lover of all things Black—including and, in some ways especially, Black men. And so, in a climate that is reportedly at an all-time high when it comes to racial tension, for the life of me, I can't understand why so many of the ones who are supposed to serve as my leaders and protectors would not choose to celebrate the gift that the Most High has given them—the love, support and yet-to-be-rivaled beauty that is oh so intricately packaged in the multi-dimensional hues of a Black woman.

How can any Black man mock what should be so reverently awed?


Take a Black woman's hair, for example. To be natural is to be real, instinctive, genuine. Natural means universal. Our hair, in its natural state, has a powerful divinity to it. We are made in the image of the Most High. Even the Good Book describes that Son of Man's hair as being the texture of wool (Revelation 1:14). Therefore, when you are in the presence of a full and curly 'fro or, better yet, you are privileged even to be able to touch one, that is sacred ground. It is an honor that not all are made privy to.

Our skin?

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, once upon a time wrote countless verses about the love of his life. She? She was a woman who had dark skin (Song of Solomon 1:6). Deep, sensual, mysterious, rich, beautiful dark skin. Individuals who are in touch with their spirituality understand that everything shines brighter in the dark—and that? That is something this Universe so desperately needs at this time.

Our features?

By definition, they are a special attraction. Whether our nose is wide or keen, or our lips are full or thin, they are something to be revered and praised. Our parents, our ancestors as a whole, they helped to design what makes each of our faces to be, not only unique and distinctive, but a physical manifestation of strength, survival and resilience.

When you cast a gaze upon us, you see the courage of your Blackness's past and the fortitude of that same Blackness's future.


Our bodies.

Whatever the size or type, we're bangin', automatically so. Our bodies hold the kind of heart that loves with a type of loyalty that is supernatural; breasts that feed your young as well as nurture you; a womb that manifests miracles, both in the physical and the spiritual, and the extraordinary kind of treasure that, throughout history, have caused empires to make extreme sacrifices. Indeed, our bodies are the vessels that many of the women you pursue both quietly envy and try desperately to duplicate. Although they fail. Miserably so.

Our adornment.

Queen of Sheba. Nefertiti. Cleopatra. Candace. Nandi—a queen of Zulu which means "from the heavens"—all of these women proudly and unapologetically decorated themselves with wigs, elaborate hairstyles and face paint that was as bright and colorful as the rainbow. For them, adornment wasn't about self-hatred; it was a celebration of just how majestic they truly were.

As Black women, we are drawn to many of these same enhancements because, it's in our blood to drape ourselves too, in many ways, as an act of royalty. Whether consciously or subconsciously.


And so yes—whether it's due to ignorance, fear or the brainwashing of certain cultures that either do not seek to understand our vastness or quietly resent us because they are not us, as a Black woman, I am truly perplexed whenever a Black man would choose to tease us, berate us or dismiss us, rather than honor, defend and praise us.

Yet in still, a queen is no less of one, just because someone chooses not to acknowledge it. My Blackness—in all of its hues, textures and sizes—is no less powerful, brilliant or necessary just because you may not decide to acknowledge it as so.

And, my energy will no longer be expended on people who do not comprehend enough of their own value or the purpose of my presence, both in and around their lives, to esteem me. Unapologetically and consistently so.

I see me. I see my sistahs too. And, what I see is so amazing, that I will exert my power of choice to not personalize nor be internally threatened by your ignorance. At the same time, because I also see you, Black man, there is a passion within me for you to see yourself. In the meantime, for every song, every tweet, every commentary that you offer that mocks, attacks or contradicts all of what I just said, just know that I know that it has everything to do with you and absolutely nothing to do with me.

And, that I send prayers, light and love in your direction, so that you can truly learn how to embrace, delight in and affirm what God has given to abundantly bless you. ME. A BLACK WOMAN.

Feature image by Giphy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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