Tag Archives: Ferguson

My Black Life Matters Too: Acknowledging Police Brutality Against Black Women

21 May

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By De La Fro

Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Sean Bell. Oscar Grant. All names that ring a bell for most, right? But what about Sheneque Proctor? Aiyana Stanley-Jones? Rekia Boyd? Tarika Wilson?

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Oftentimes throughout the discussion of state violence, black men are centered, leaving black women almost completely erased from the narrative. People will say “Every 28 hours a black man is killed by a police officer” when really it’s “Every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer.” Most people fail to acknowledge or even are unaware of police brutality against black women. Not only are black women physically assaulted and murdered by police officers, black women have been sexually assaulted by police officers as well.

Even when police brutality toward black women is brought up the response is usually apathetic or watered down empathy. I’ve seen people, including black men, say that that’s taking away from the issue at hand. I’ve even seen black men say that focusing on black women being victims of state violence is “divisive” and there’s “no need to separate ourselves.” They see discussing police brutality against black women as a separate conversation instead of a part of the conversation. It’s amazing to me that if an issue isn’t centering black men, it’s almost instinctively written off as a “distraction” or “divisive” as if black men are the only black people that make up the black community. As if black men are the only ones affected by racism in the black community. As if other black people of the black community are not as valuable as cis-heterosexual black men.

There was a rally held for Rekia Boyd in New York City earlier this year and only about 50 people showed up; and that’s 50 compared to a couple hundreds, thousands, and millions worldwide who show up for black male victims. There have also been rallies held for black female victims in general and not only did few people come, few black men were in attendance too.

Black female activists feel the need to focus on black female victims of police brutality because time and time again, these victims are ignored from the overall “Black Lives Matter” narrative. There wouldn’t be a need to create a subset of the Black Lives Matter movement (Black Women’s Lives Matter) if black women’s lives were acknowledged just as much in the first place. This is not “separating” ourselves from the overall movement. This is simply us saying, “No, our black lives matter TOO.”

You can say black lives matter all you want but if you don’t believe ALL black lives matter then you’re saying “Only cis-heterosexual black men’s lives matter.” All we want is inclusivity in our own community. We just want you to fight for us like we’ve been fighting for you. That’s all.

So when you lift up Tamir, don’t forget to lift up Aiyana. When you lift up Eric, don’t forget to lift up Sheneque. When you lift up Sean, don’t forget to lift up Rekia. If you say you’re about black power then that means you have to be here for ALL black people, not just cishet black men. That means you fight for black women, black children, black elderly, and black LGBTQ. You fight for ALL of us. We can’t allow these black women’s memories to get lost along the way. Their black lives matter too.

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In conjunction with Black Lives Matter’s national call to recognize the black women’s lives and trans lives lost at the hands of the police today, May 21st, this post does what many protest don’t: #SayHerName

Guest author bio: Candace Sinclaire, also known as De La Fro, is an undergrad student at UNC Greensboro, where she’s studying film. She’s a spoken word poet and mans her own film collective “Rev Films.” She also manages own blog where she shares her love for natural hair, fashion, and socio-political topics.

Twitter – @delafro_
Photo credit: De La Fro
 
P.S. This article is part of the Top Posts. Check out the Best of A Womyn’s Worth.
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Why Kendrick Lamar is Wrong about Ferguson

11 Jan

KENDRICKOh Kendrick, I love you much. But you let us down.

When discussing the situation in Ferguson in his recent Billboard interview, the Compton rapper said,

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ed up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

Ugh… Kendrick, Why?

Black people, PLEASE—we really need to let go of this “respect ourselves before they respect us” argument. It’s loaded with respectability politics and reeks of internalized racism.

Need I remind everyone that we are human beings, and therefore should be treated with a certain level of respect. You know—the same amount of respect a white man would receive if he was standing outside trying to break up a fight. Or the same amount of respect a white, skittle-loving, hoodie-wearing teenager would receive if he were walking through his neighborhood.

Yes, I know we are not white and therefore, are not afforded certain privileges. But we don’t have to co-opt the white supremacist thinking that niggers are niggers until they act a certain way. Because even if you are the most “respectable” person in the world, if your skin is not white, you’re still going to be followed by sales clerks in certain stores, you’re still going to face a certain amount of racism from ignorant people you meet in the world, and you still may have run-ins with the police that you would not have had if your skin was white.

Respectable or not, some people still discriminate based on color. And that’s what we need to be fighting against. Kendrick needs to point his finger at institutionalized racism, police brutality, and discriminative legislation, not at the people who are on the receiving end of this broken, racist system.

Also, who ever said that Black people don’t respect themselves? Please, inform me—cuz I really would like to know:

Aren’t the millions of Black parents who work hard so that their children can have even more fulfilling lives respecting themselves?

Aren’t the rising number of Black women getting degrees respecting themselves?

Aren’t the hundreds of thousands of Black people marching, demonstrating, dying-in, and demanding change in a failing justice system respecting themselves?

Anyone who believes that Black people do not respect themselves needs to turn off those housewife shows, leave their couches, and join the nearest #BlackLivesMatter protest in their area.

Some people look at certain situations and mainstream media, and then turn to tell Black people to respect themselves. Meanwhile, no one is looking at Honey Boo Boo, and then running to tell white people that they need to respect themselves.

Respectability politics does not work to our benefit y’all. We need to stop embracing it.

 

I want to hear your opinions. Drop some knowledge in the comments section below.

Why Protesting Matters

5 Dec
Protesting in Los Angeles

Protesting in Los Angeles

Protesting: Because We Can No Longer Remain Silent.

I protested at two demonstrations this week—both regarding the non-indictments of murders of Black men—however I quickly realized that these protests were about so much more:

  • Mass incarceration
  • Hindering our right to vote
  • Militarization of the police
  • Un-livable wages at Wal-mart and countless other billion-dollar companies
  • Racism on the internet
  • The lack of coverage for women of color who are raped, abused, and murdered by police

I’d rather not go on. Though you know I could.

Yet, with all of this injustice going on, I am inspired by the millions of people across the nation and around the world who are protesting. I am inspired by #ShutItDown, #HandsUpWalkOut, #HandsupDontShoot #BlackLivesMatter, and countless others. When I see the photos of demonstrators shutting down the Bart, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wal-mart, and other places, I want to jump out of my seat and join them. So I did. And we will continue—despite the difficulties.

Demonstrations aren’t always easy. People marching the streets are been arrested, threatened, and made examples of by the police. We’ve seen the hostile situation in Ferguson, where police interrupted legal protests with tear gas. We’ve seen around 300 people arrested in Los Angeles in just 2 days. And we’ve seen protesters in DC hit purposely by an angry driver, while police turn their heads and let the driver speed off. Protesting can put your life at risk.

But it is worth it.

Our predecessors marched despite being spit on, attached by police dogs, plowed down with powerful water hoses, bombed, and more. But they marched on. Their cause was worth it, and their fight has been passed down to us.

Every day since the Darren Wilson was let off without so much as a slap on the wrist, we have been protesting. And so far, I’ve seen demonstrations scheduled from now up until January.

We can’t let this movement die. This is on us.

Memorial at USC

Memorial at USC

If this racist system has been in place for more than 100 years, it will take more than a few days of protesting to tear it down. And when it stops trending on social media, we must continue.

So Ignite your inner Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcom X, Angela Davis or whoever your hero might be. Contrary to what I used to believe after watching Chris Paul turn his jersey inside out and play for Donald Sterling, Black people are not cowards—though our celebrities might be. Why are they so silent these days? Where’s a Kanye rant when you need one?

I bet if Beyoncé and Jay-Z called for everyone to boycott Wal-mart until the workers receive reasonable wages, lots of folks would take their buying power elsewhere.

We can’t be silent like our careless famous folks of color. We can’t turn our jerseys inside out and go on with our lives. Business as usual means more police murders walk free while injustice continues.

We’re better than that.

As Desmond Tutu once said:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

P.S. I’ve been asking every protestor and supporter this question: Where do we go from here? Lots of folks are saying we need a monetary boycott. Maybe we need to reclaim the sentiments of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That was successful because buses were forced to integrate. They couldn’t afford to lose black dollars. So maybe we should be a little more strategic about our buying power.

Tell me…Where do we go from here?

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