Maegan Hall, Black Men, Historical Flashbacks…and a Strange Demand for Black Women’s Support
The Story So Far
In light of the scandal which broke two months ago regarding certain goings-on at the LVPD, Tennessee, the one person at the epicenter of the maelstrom decided she wasn’t going down without a fight.
Appearing in a sober outfit and sporting spectacles in the hopes of attaining a certain degree of gravitas, Maegan Hall had her lawyer declare she had been groomed and had at a certain point refused to go ahead with the trysts.
The Internet collectively breathed a gasp of incredulity.
Certain quarters were however exempt from such outrage. In one such neck of the virtual woods, a Twitter user with a large following of black women, harangued and berated her followers. They were inhuman if they believed anyone deserved to be maltreated just because they were white. She believed Mrs Hall, she stated.
Supreme Disrespect and a Little Matter of Optics
Good for her. No one said anyone deserved anything because they were white. Besides, calling on your followers to show up in their numbers and mule for a demographic which has been known to collectively remain silent whenever black women are being eaten alive by all and sundry is supremely disrespectful.
There’s also the little but rather salient issue of optics to consider in this case first of all. Of all the five men Hall cavorted with on American taxpayers' time, only those who were noticeably caucasian in appearance got off comparatively lightly.
The rest, consisting overwhelmingly of black individuals, were caught in the radioactive blast of the resulting nuclear fallout — with nowhere to hide. And it is they the former officer has in her crosshairs. Bringing legendary comic Paul Mooney’s famous phrase, "the complexion for the protection for the collection", to mind.
More Equal Than Others
Black people have always known that engaging in random acts of madness — however brief — along with everyone else is never a very good idea. Particularly since the likelihood of their getting to live to tell the tale when the dust clears is highly unlikely. Something the black cops involved should have known.
And yet the key word here is optics. I do not know the ins and outs of the case. Neither do most people, for that matter.
But what anyone can admit, at a glance, is that it seems that the affair was consensual. Yet to all intents and purposes, it is clear that all parties involved have not received equal treatment. A fact which serves as an uncomfortable reminder of the familiar refrain in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, about some being more equal than others.
Through the Lens of Race Reversal
But what if the reality were totally very different? If the races of all involved were swapped? And it was a black woman who was found to have had affairs in the workplace with several men?
The answer is simple enough.
After all, a distinct lack of social capital is to the ire of the masses, what a metal rod is to lightning. And few draw it like women who belong to the black community. Just ask Jada Pinkett who has become an object of hate mentioned in the same breath as Amber Heard, racial ambiguity notwithstanding.
Mainstream society would have ripped that woman to shreds and the black community would have been right there with them doing the same.
The possibility of her being the only one to feel the hammer would be all too real. As the possibility of others, with the same level of involvement as the officers in this current case, getting off scot-free. Not one white man would have lost his job, let alone the police chief.
And if she were possessed of sufficient audacity to hint at coercion? She would be able to look forward to only one outcome: definitive interment beneath a collective avalanche of scathing contempt and scorn.
In place of suing the city and the police department, the policewoman would have been the sued. Wrapped straightjacket-tight in litigation and lawsuit after lawsuit from the municipality of La Vergne for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and bringing the badge and profession into disrepute.
No news outlet under heaven would consent to tell her story showing her in formal attire with a lawyer playing the role of ventriloquist, relaying her thoughts to a listening public. Let alone images of white police officials being made scapegoats for the entire fiasco.
Once again optics.
In light of that little putative swap above, one cannot help but experience flashbacks of black America's uncomfortable history, seeing black officers being paraded as public pariah number one.
When all a white woman had to do was claim a black man had so much as glanced at her askance and his life was forfeit. Often in the most horrific way possible. Terrible images abound of black men and women brutally murdered in front of entertained Christian masses, the remains of those victims still in the homes of the descendants of those who attended such public executions in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Black people remember Emmett Till, a beautiful child, gruesomely murdered on the say-so of a white woman who claimed he had grabbed her arm. And the exoneration of the perpetrators of that terrible crime by an all-white jury. They also remember the Scottsboro Boys, the Groveland Four and the Central Park Jogger Case.
A Well-Trodden Path
These horrors are a direct result of the depiction of black men as savages and sexual deviants seeking to defile the flower of white womanhood. A depiction which renders them automatically guilty wherever an accusation or the hint of one is made. (A strange irony given who was and is truly guilty on a collective and intercontinental scale.)
From all indicators, it is that depiction that Maegan Hall is hoping will work in her favor. (Let’s face it, her decision to focus on the black men alone in the entire affair while leaving the others out is strangely convenient.) And she is treading a path others have tread long before her, fully cognizant of the power she and members of the demographic to which she belongs wield in this regard. She is by no means the first white woman to loudly denounce black men in such a manner. Neither will she be the last.
The Other Side of the Coin
So where do black women lie in all this? On the flip side of the coin where we too bear a guilt which is also automatic yet somewhat different in nature from that endured by black men. If our male counterparts are oversexed creatures seeking out innocent white women, black women are oversexed creatures to whom any sort of sexual violence and disrespect was and is justified.
As on Screen, So in Reality
It is a message subtly and not so subtly relayed through series such as Guerilla where the only main black character is a black prostitute who has dealings with a white racist cop (the actual role of activist filled by black women in real life was given to Frieda Pinto) and Underground where a black woman and a mixed woman plot to seduce the "innocent" white plantation owner in a truly distorted portrayal of historical events.
Of Misogynoir and Danger
Such insidious imagery puts black women in danger and necessitates an extra level of caution on our part when navigating relationships from the romantic to the platonic. Because we have no way of knowing just who is approaching us with nefarious intent, safe and secure in the knowledge that we “deserve less” and that no one will care anyway.
Do Matthew LaFountain and Isiah Crown who approached Lauren Smith-Fields and Asia Maynard fall into that same category? Who can say for certain? Yet the fact remains that they were left to wander about free men, when they should have at the very least been wrung for every last drop of information on the very suspicious demise of both women. Which is rather telling in itself.
One Tall Order
In light of these observations and others too numerous to count it is simply an act of madness to order black women to the rescue of a woman caught neck-deep in the practice of debauchery.
Particularly since that demand is a clear sign of that Twitter personality's desire to use black women as a stepping stone to ingratiate herself with a demographic which has shown they collectively remain unconvinced about the humanity of the black community and therefore of hers by extension.
No can do.
Black women are best off fighting to obtain justice for Lauren Smith-Fields and Asia Maynard. Women whose plight was largely greeted with mockery followed by silence from the demographic black people are now being ordered to stand in solidarity with. A silence which shows the solidarity of all women is a lie.
And that shows that request for what it really is: proof of a tacit disdain on the part of the individual doing the asking. And as the great Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them...”.
Which means that that is one more woman undeserving of the support of black women too. In my opinion, at least. Because as the saying goes, not all skin folk are kinfolk.