Student Thoughts: We must protect black women at all costs

Darius Dupins / Staff Writer

When will people start to care about black girls?  

People are usually at rallies with their signs for black boys that instruct police and other domestic terrorists to “stop killing our boys,” but there’s no one speaking up for the black girls of America that are being beaten and misjudged because of the negative stereotypes society has placed upon them.

No, I don’t identify as a woman, but this issue is important to me because I was raised by three black women: my mother, nana and aunt. I also have two cousins that I fear for on a daily basis who need to be protected; they are 15 and 18-year-old girls.

The plight of black women in this country goes beyond what I will ever know and experience. But what I do know is that black women already have to peel back enough labels as it is; why does society make it harder for them, especially without any support from the other minority groups that they claim?

A video of a South Carolina Police Officer went viral recently, showing the school’s resource officer yanking and violently body slamming a young, black girl out of her desk because she refused to comply with the officer. The officer proceeds to throw the resisting student across the front of the classroom. After video surfaced, reporters, talk show co-hosts and others accused the student of being defiant and disrespectful towards the officer, excusing his behavior.

Later, more video footage from the incident was released showing a silent, resisting student. Was it her skin color that prompted these assumptions of her insubordinate behavior? It’s been said that black girls are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls, a fact from a result of the zero-tolerance policy in schools.  

In June, all h-ll broke loose when police responded to a “disturbance” at a community pool in a Dallas, TX suburb, where a teenage black girl was manhandled by a white police officer twice her size. Tossed to the ground with her face buried in the dirt, this helpless girl pleads for her mom as friends helplessly watch from the sideline.

Late 2014, elevator video footage of running back for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice, surfaced, showing Rice knocking out and dragging his then fiancee out of the elevator. Rice was immediately suspended, but I wonder: would Rice have been axed from the team any quicker if he were shown dragging his white fiancee? Would the footage of Janay Rice been used sparingly and out of consideration for her if she were white?

The case of Daniel Holtzclaw, an ex-cop accused of sexually assaulting 13 black women, hasn’t made it to the forefront of the news cycle. With knowledge of their troubled past, Holtzclaw would threaten women with jail time if they didn’t appease him. He’s currently on trial, but get this, the jury is made up of eight men and four women. All white.

I learned a new word in my communications theory class recently: hegemony. Hegemony means leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others. Now, let’s use it in a sentence. While racial hegemony is problematic in every instance; this instance in particular is especially troubling because of the racial dynamics.

Holtzclaw’s case is gross. As history has shown, black women are seen as “sex objects“ and “promiscuous,” and black girls are accused of maturing too fast. It’s sad to think, but there’s absolutely no hope for the victims of this case. They’ll be called to the stands to testify and face victim blaming. Of course no one will believe them. They’re black women, a marginalized group with no social credibility.

I find it strange that white people praise the likes of Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and others, take from Black culture (that’s to you, Kylie Jenner, Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus), but denounce the black woman’s existence and refuse to speak-up when issues like Black Lives Matter affect the entire community that you “appreciate.”

It’s vital that black women have a voice, representation and protection in a society that physically disrespects them and portrays them as hyper-sexualized, loud talking, neck rolling, finger snapping stereotypes.

It seems as if the representation of black women is changing with the likes of young, black girls like Zendaya Coleman, KeKe Palmer and Amandla Stenberg.

Their profiles in the entertainment industry and on social media sites have helped white America and the rest of the world to see black girls for what they really are: carefree, smart and unstoppable.

Protect black women at all cost!

[Image from Flickr]

7 Comments on "Student Thoughts: We must protect black women at all costs"

  1. Thank you very much for posting your cogent article. I agree with you 100%

  2. Executed ever so eloquently and with such conviction.

    It is a message that deserves soooo much more. Especially from black men.

  3. Thank you.

  4. Thank you.

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