Family Matters SPEAK OUT

We can’t depend on others to protect Black women and girls

We can’t depend on others to protect Black women and girls

read in: 9 min

( The worst thing about the indignity and brutality captured on the video of a White officer slamming a Black mother in Ft. Worth, Texas to the ground, then arresting her and her two daughters is that it was unsurprising. The enemy has always delighted in abusing and disrespecting the Black woman.

But to see such unmitigated, unapologetic assault heaped on Jacqueline Craig, the mother of a seven-year-old boy who called 911 after her child said an unknown White man had choked him, is infuriating. The officer who responded to her call reprimanded Ms. Craig for raising her voice, ridiculed and manhandled her. The White officer even had the gall to ask: Why didn’t the accused White man have the right to choke her son?

This is an ugly reality that plays out almost daily in America. According to Mapping Police Violence, police killed at least 263 Black people in the U.S. in 2016. There is no comprehensive system for tracking fatal police encounters in America, but as of June 2, 2015, “eight Black women (were) killed by the police in 2015. For context, over that same period, the police killed 129 Black men, 12 White women, 226 White men, and 470 people total. As of 2010, Black people were 12 percent of the total U.S. population, but in the first six months of 2015, 29 percent of those killed by police were Black,” reported

“Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother, was shot and killed by the police in a Maryland apartment Monday. The number of black women killed by the police this year will likely surpass last year, as she’s the ninth black woman to be fatally shot by law enforcement in the U.S. this year and 10 total black women died from cop shootings in 2015, according to The Washington Post,” added, reporting in August 2016.

Other reports have showed Black women were more likely to be grabbed under stop and frisk. Anecdotes reveal encounters with cops are likely to turn sour and early punishment and targeting of Black girls reveals the depth of the hatred of the Black woman in America.

“The criminalization of poor people, when coupled with negative stereotypes about Black women, may result not only in police harassment but also in police killings,” observed the African American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName campaign in 2015 and a brief titled “Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.”

African American Policy Forum also found researchers and advocates tended to exclude Black women and focus only on how racial profiling impacts Black males. Police misconduct involving Black women and girls received less community support for victims and less attention for corporate controlled media outlets.

We have seen pregnant Black women slammed to the ground, Black girls in bathing suits kneed on the back by cops, and a little Black girl dragged across a classroom floor by a cop assigned as a security officer.

The question is not so much what we did see and what we have experienced but what will we do about it? We should rally and support the Black women and girls targeted by police. We should support campaigns to support Black women and girls. We should hold politicians and police chiefs as well as officers accountable for their misdeeds and foul actions.

But, we have to do more: We must commit to making our communities safe and decent places to live. For two years that has been the clarion call issued by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. His call has been for 10,000 Fearless to stand between the gangs and the guns and to find ways to bring peace and conflict resolution to neighborhoods wrecked by violence. It isn’t a pipe dream but a vision that must be embraced, if we are to end the abuse  of Black women at the hands of those who are supposed to be sworn to serve and protect.

With police officials and politicians often more concerned with retaining power than bringing change and systemic racism and White supremacy permeating police departments, we don’t have a choice. What is called community policing and videos of police officers handing out ice cream, dancing the “Nae Nae” or dunking basketballs won’t solve the problem. These rather insulting gestures speak to the fundamental problem: A people seen as unworthy of anything may get trinkets but they will never get justice—if they depend solely on their oppressors.

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