Defending Your Territory

There’s been some controversy about this photograph of Bishop Larry Trotter with his granddaughter.

(h/t to Dream and Hustle for respecting the privacy of the young girl with this photograph)

It made me think about how African American women are sometimes trained not to defend their boundaries.

Forced church and family hugs.

This past Sunday I asked an older saint not to run her fingers through my freshly plaited hair. No issue with her. I just don’t like people putting their hands in my hair. She wouldn’t stop. She “just wanted to see the new color. “When I insisted more forcefully, she punched me. Now why couldn’t she have just stopped when I asked her to politely?

I thought back to a pregnant relative of a friend in her last trimester who clearly uncomfortable, gently removed her baby daddy’s hand from her belly only to have him slap her hand away and put it back.

And then I thought back to some of the old Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitieringmovies. I was shocked by how often they got physical or crude with their girlfriends/wives.

Big problem? Maybe. Necessarily abuse? No, but taken together, these things condition black women to accept unwanted touch. It’s hard to look at our sky high STI/STD, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence rates and not conclude that being able to defend our bodies from cat calls, comments and touching might a very, very good idea.







About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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