The Invisibilization of Brittney Griner

We’re in some challenging times. Covid-19 has proven to be as stubborn as those who choose to ignore it; a woman’s right to choose is being stripped away, one mass shooting after another, Black men continuing to be gunned down by police, the war in Ukraine, inflation, rising gas prices – yeah, there’s so much going on. I get it. All, if not most, of our emotional capacity is stretched thin. All of this results in prioritizing where we have the energy or the desire to give more. In a male-dominating society that promotes less value in women, even less value in Black women, and even lesser value in Black, queer women, it makes sense that our public outrage hasn’t embraced the horrendous experiences of Brittney Griner.

When I saw the newsreel of our sister, Brittney, handcuffed in the front, being led downstairs and through a corridor like an animal on a leash, my heart cried out. I’m asking my brothers, asking men – where is our collective outrage? What’s happening to Brittany is synonymous with how we as a society continue to invisibilize the experiences of Black women. I’m asking a critical mass of men to join women, to join Brittney’s family, and not only demand her release but embrace the humanity of all Black women.

At A Call to Men, we intentionally look to support those “at the margins of the margins” in articulating their lived experiences. We believe that all will benefit when we focus our efforts on those “at the margins of the margins” – including all female-identified folks experiencing multiple forms of group oppression. We must center their experiences. We can’t wait until tomorrow. The more we invisibilize the experiences of Black women, the more we move away from embracing their humanity.

Social media and news platforms are filled with the narrative, “why release Brittney..what about Paul Whelan and the other Americans detained in Russia?” This situation is not about comparison, who should be released first, and why – of course, we should bring everybody home. Using these comparisons further divides us and shows just how misogynistic society is against Black women.

I am unapologetically driven by what’s happening to our Sistah, Brittney, and my affinity for Black women. I want my Brothers and all men to say Brittney’s name every day until it cements deep into our consciousness, causing the discomfort it deserves and moving us to action.

There are several efforts out there to bring Brittney home. Do a quick Google search and find the one that resonates with you.


Tony Porter