'Who Hurt You, Sis?': Why Black Women Deserve To Never Hear This Phrase Again
Honestly, who hasn’t tried to hurt us?
March 08, 2019 at 2:07 pm
Black Twitter had a dust-up earlier in late October, after rapper-turned-broadcaster Joe Budden had it out with co-host Scottie Beam on their show State of the Culture.
While screaming with the intensity of a cartoon steam whistle, Budden admonished Beam for not being upset with Brittany Renner over her tell-all book Judge This Cover, a salacious memoir that recounts many of her past sexual encounters. Beam questioned why she should be upset with Renner, when plenty of male entertainers frequently talk about their sexual conquests at any moment available.
That's when things got really interesting.
Just gonna leave this here and go. pic.twitter.com/gCicbB8SZK— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) October 28, 2018
“I want you to sound just as sensible as you as you do every other show; when a man is doing f**k s**t, and you want to kill all the men, you want to lock up all the men, you want to do everything to men! You don’t want to do nothing to women!! That is my problem with this fake, women empowerment bulls**t,” Budden ranted, still yelling into Beam’s ear.
Beam attempted to counter Budden’s point, explaining that her opinion was not rooted in “fake women empowerment.” Rather, she just didn’t understand what was so wrong or bad about Renner’s choice to disclose the details of her sex life in the memoir, because men frequently rap about “f**king b****es in their songs.”
But before Beam could fully articulate her perspective, Budden loudly interjected, cutting her off with a condescending personal attack:
“BOY, she hates men! Everything she’s say[ing] is hating [on] men!! Who hurt you?”
Who hurt you, sis?
It’s a question that's been making the rounds lately. Typically, it is directed toward Black women when they have an unpopular viewpoint, though the expectation is that it’s not to be perceived as a demeaning, in the face of the types of double standards that are pervasive within the Black community. A Trojan horse, it's actually meant to function as an automatic silencing tool.
I first encountered this particular phenomenon after a well-known male trap yoga instructor, whose brand promotes Black women wellness and #BlackGirlMagic, decided to — first — curse me out via my social media timeline, then inquire about “who hurt me.”
“Who hurt you, sis?” he said, as if adding in that extra, family-focused term of endearment made up for his previous cruelties. Naturally, I was very confused.
Domestic violence is disproportionately one of the leading causes of death for Black women ages 15 to 35. And historically, when Black girls have gone missing, few have seemed to care. Meanwhile, numerous male celebrities have been accused of abusing Black girls, yet their work is still respected and shared.
Hell if anything, the question should be, who ain't trying to hurt us?
But those who spit this patronizing query back at Black women after they've said something that goes against the grain know this. They’ve heard the statistics, and know what Black women are forced to deal with on a regular basis. Further, they know that society’s double standards are often not in favor of Black women.
While the question “who hurt you, sis?” acknowledges that Black women have indeed been victimized, it also simultaneously gaslights them based on the notion that they’re overreacting. The “sis” subtly reminds women that in order to be good community members, they must be silenced at all times. Under a guise of compassion, it is a question that is ultimately dismissive of our thoughts, feelings and opinions.
Can you imagine if — while keenly aware of the varying levels of systemic oppression Black men must face everyday — we, as Black women, mocked and invalidated their pain and frustration, asking “who hurt you, brother?” whenever a Black man shared something we didn’t necessarily agree with or like? That would rightfully be considered cruel. Surely there's enough hurt to go around for everyone in the flawed and oppressive societal institution we live in. But let's not throw that pain in each other's faces — ”brother.”