Was Brother Malcolm Right?

By now everyone has seen the video of the assault of the young female cashier at the McDonald’s counter. Details are sketchy but it appears that the assailant, an older male, was upset over not getting a straw. Honestly, why he was upset is not important. What is important is the fact that he thought it was ok to reach across a countertop and attack a young woman.

Now, the fact that he thought wrong - and very quickly realized that as the young lady beat his tail - is also not the point. The point of me sitting at the computer typing these words is not what the assailant did, but more importantly what her coworkers didn’t do. They did not come to her aid.

Look, before you give me some drivel about “we don’t know what happened,” let me tell you how I think. I have a job and understand that every coworker is not a friend. There is a difference. Work has to be respectful and productive but I don’t have to love you to work with you. I may not like you. I may even actively dislike you but if someone attacks you, then it is going to be you and me against the world. I will have your back. That did not happen for little Miss McDonald’s Cashier.

If you would, let’s think back to another video that went viral before the Mickey D’s assault. Let’s think back to the KFC Dora Milaje. A woman cashier was being verbally accosted at the finger lickin’ restaurant. The rest of the crew rallied around her so tough that the target of the verbal assault did not have to say a word. Guess the gender of this entire crew? Yep, you got it. They were all women.

By now you may be scratching your head and thinking what does this have to do with Brother Malcolm? In 1962, Malcolm X gave a speech talking about the lack of protection of black women.

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.

Here we are in 2019 and his words play out daily. All we’ve heard this weekend is tale after tale about the lack of protection of black women. From #SurvivingRKelly to the death of little Jazmine Barnes, the weekend has been full of documented threats against women of color. And those are just the ones we are talking about…

But we are our own saving grace. While black women have always protected each other, in recent years the audible cry of #blackgirlmagic and #BlackGirlsRock has been so empowering. Black women celebrating each other is so refreshing that it feels like a warm cocoon. A safe place to feel understood & protected in a world that often feels unsafe. Maybe Brother Malcolm was right…