Shawn Fredericks | Staff Writer

“Men are trash.” This sentiment has been expressed on my social media many times, causing heated discourse about toxic men—specifically black men. A significant number of black women have used this expression on social media when discussing their issues with black men. As a black man, after much spiritual meditation, I have to say I agree. Generally, in my humble opinion, men are trash.

Disclaimer: Before people scream that I am being a white knight, I must admit that I’m a “ain’t ish” negro too. I have leaned on black women in my time of need because I knew I could. I’ve referred to women as bitches and hoes (and I still do when I am in my feelings) and have told women I felt something for them even though I knew that I did not.

All that being said, black men are trash, and we as black men have to acknowledge this. We have let black women suffer for too long in order to satisfy our own desires. For too long, black women have had to carry our weight, whether it’s holding together the family unit or bearing the constant expectation to advocate for us without reciprocity.

Black men tend to be very critical of black women. We hold them to impossible standards, constantly critiquing what they wear, their capabilities and their ability to raise a family. Beyond criticism are the cultural and social norms of black men disrespecting black women. I stopped counting how many times my favorite rapper would address black women as bitches. And you know what is really sad? I’m just scratching the surface level. This is not including the facts about sexual violence and domestic violence perpetrated against black women.

The Center for Disease Control study entitled “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Homicides of Adult Women and the Role of Intimate Partner Violence” found that black women in the U.S. are victims of homicide at the highest rates of all adult women. According to “Female Victims of Violence,” a 2007 report from statisticians of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, black women are four times more likely than white women to be killed by intimate partner violence.

In 2010, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that black women are more likely to experience rape than women overall.

The majority of these crimes are intra-racial. According to a report by the Violence Policy Center, in 2015, 86 percent of the homicides where the race of the female victim and male offender were known were intra-racial.

Men, our toxic masculinity is literally killing and mutilating women. We have to understand the consequences of our privileges and advocate for black women, especially if we are witnesses of a situation. Think about it. How many times we have to cut one of the homies off because he was too disrespectful towards women?

Zakiya Covington, a third-year student studying science technology and society, stressed the importance of men understanding the struggle of black woman. “I want black men to understand that, I mean I know they’re not gonna fully understand, but to acknowledge where our frustration comes from as black women,” Covington said. “And to understand the standards we are held to as black women, and why it is difficult for us to interact with black males.”

Black men, we must become stronger advocates and better men for the black women in our lives. We like to think of ourselves as protectors until it is time to protect. It is about time that changed.

We all have to understand our privilege within the patriarchal society we live in and think about how we are impacting the women in our lives. Men can get resources and education on how to be less trash through engaging in discourse and actually listening to women. On campus, men can learn more about being better men through programming and events held by the Women’s Center located on the 5th floor of Talley Student Union.