I was so moved by Melissa Harris-Perry‘s discussion yesterday about rape culture on college campuses. Yes, I know: it’s been a popular discussion of late, what with the convictions in the Steubenville, Ohio rape and sexual assault case and the rapey lyrics in Rick Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O.,” a song so perverse that it cost him a lucrative Reebok endorsement and cred among legions of his audience. But in true #Nerdland fashion, MHP elevated the discussion in a way that directly appeals to those of us black folk who look to her for insight from a distinctly African-American female perspective; she added her voice by featuring a segment about the case of three Morehouse College students who have been charged in the rape of a Spelman College women. Melissa’ report was inspired by a letter from a Spelman student who, Melissa reported, sent her a note, claiming that some Spelman College women have been bashing the alleged victim, implicating her in her own rape—for being out drunk and fellowshipping with men—and accusing her of sullying the reputation of Morehouse in general and its black male students in particular by reporting the crime and insisting Morehouse punish the accused. Wrote the student:
“My fellow Spelman sisters are so concerned about Morehouse’s reputation being tainted, they’re not focused on the true issues here involving humanity, the sacredness of a woman’s body, and the fact that we are our sisters’ keeper.”
Melissa Harris-Perry does not disappoint as she makes the connection between Ida B. Wells’ journalistic crusade against the Jim Crow-era lynching of black men by southern white terrorists and the persistent devaluing of black rape victims and their horrific experiences in a society that constantly disrespects and dissects our bodies, thereby giving those who would do us harm license to do so—and get away with it. It’s a worthy discussion that, indeed, needs to be held—and I’m grateful for Melissa Harris-Perry, who always manages to dig into the issues of the day in ways I wish mainstream media would bother to. Watch Melissa’s segments, in two parts, below.
1. Melissa Harris-Perry To 16-Year-Old Steubenville Rape Victim: I Believe You (Video)
2. Steubenville, Ohio Rape Case Shows Teen Cruelty Unleashed by Social Media
3. Little Girl Loved: A Letter For the Cleveland, Texas Child From a Black Father Who Cares
4. Gang Rape in Texas: When Will We Stop Sacrificing Girls In Defense of Black Boys?
5. A Valentine’s Day Dance With A Purpose: Helping To End Violence Against Women
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.