If you were to go on Twitter and cross-reference the names Kevin Samuels and Christian Toby Obumseli, you won’t be left wanting tweets that mention both men. Samuels, as you know, died last week, not long after he became a trending topic over his comments about unmarried Black women over 35 being “leftover” women. Obumseli was stabbed to death by his white girlfriend last month, which made it ironic that his Twitter feed revealed his mocking of Black women. Both men represent a cautionary tale that revolves around Black women being sick of Black men and the misogynoir that far too many of us proudly espouse.
Now, obviously, there’s a glaring difference between the deaths of these Black men. Obumseli was killed by a white woman. Samuels just died. Obumseli’s killer is still roaming around free and many believe white woman tears to be the reason she’s not rotting in a cell right now. There’s a white privilege aspect to his death that isn’t present in that of Samuels.
And actually, that reminds me of the first time I encountered the phenomenon of Black women who refused to mourn or protest on behalf of a Black man whose misogynoir had been revealed—the case of Stephon Clark.
Clark, if you don’t remember, was an unarmed Black man, who, in 2018, was shot and killed in Sacramento, California, in his own grandmother’s backyard by police who claim they mistook his cell phone for a gun. It was later revealed that he also used social media to mock and disparage Black women.
I remember feeling a way about Black women declaring that they would not march for Clark due to his attitude towards Black women and that he shouldn’t be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. I just remember thinking anyone of us could have died the way Clark did. And I mean, it’s not like the cops checked his Twitter feed before shooting him dead. And Clark was young, as was Obumseli at the time his tweets were posted. Of course, it’s also true that either of them could have grown up to be another Kevin Samuels—or maybe not.
Either way, I look back on it now and I think that, even in Clark’s case, if I were a Black woman, at the very least, I would have been indifferent. It’s true that his death was an injustice, but it’s also true, unfortunately, that there would never be a shortage of Black men and women killed unjustly for me to throw my support behind. Why should Black women waste their spoons on someone who would never fight for them? And in Samuels’ case, why feel bad for mocking the death of a man who spent his life not feeling bad about the cruel things he said to and about Black women?
That’s just life—so to speak.