... the other Black experience

The state murders our Black women and femmes with impunity, we won't be silent!

We cannot be silent when the state murders our Black women and femmes with impunity.

Charleena Lyles was murdered by the Seattle Police Department in front of her children in her own home while she was experiencing a mental breakdown. They knew beforehand that she had a history of mental illness and yet they still marched into her home with loaded guns. They did not de-escalate, they used deadly force. She was murdered in her home while pregnant and with her children and she was blamed for it.

By lerrét Jazelle Ailith / Wear Your Voice*, AFROPUNK Contributor

Growing up in Baltimore, my parents would have me practice dialing 911 in case there was ever an emergency and I needed saviors. I was taught to see police as the ones with the white hats. I was led to believe that their goal, every time, is to ensure my safety and protection. I was led to believe that I lived in the “Land of the Free” and that my life was valuable. So imagine my disbelief over the years when everything that I believed to be true was invalidated by consecutive murders of Black people at the hands of the police.

I was also taught to believe that the safest place that I can be is in my own home and that as long as I am there, my rights to fight for my life, defend my family, protect my belongings, and assert my livelihood are all going to be respected. So imagine my disbelief in the summer of 2016 when Korryn Gaines was murdered by the Baltimore County Police Department in her own home. Not a care is given that Black women are forced to fight for survival while raising children, even if they cry for help.

I have been lied to. I have been consistently lied to by a system that seeks to destroy my Black ass. I have been set-up and taught to depend on accomplices of white supremacy to protect me from harm because of the lack of widely used, functional alternatives. So I just hope and pray that I come out of those interactions alive and unharmed.

It didn’t surprise me when I learned about Korryn Gaines being gunned down in her own home with her child. It didn’t surprise me that the media blamed lead poisoning for her “erratic behavior” that lead to her death. The system was set-up to disenfranchise Black communities by failing to address poor living conditions, especially in cities like Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. Lead paint poisoning is a direct result of structural racism plaguing our communities and killing our people. Our cries are ignored and our fights for progress are pushed back against.

When the state knocked on Korryn’s door to place her in a cage, her words continued to echo in my head, “They can try to come get it they gon leave with more lead than they poisoned me with.” Anti-Blackness created the conditions which poisoned our babies; anti-Blackness blames our babies for being poisoned; anti-Blackness uses those who we believed were here to protect and serve us, to knock on our doors and murder our babies with impunity.

Cis and trans Black women have been historically denied dignity and humanity. They have been raped by white men and had their babies ripped out of their wombs. Forced to till the land and feed white women’s children from the milk within their own breasts, leaving little to none left for their own offspring. Bearing pregnancy without the respect, gentleness or care given to them for bringing life into this world.

We have been forced to adhere to gender essentialism as outlined through white supremacist norms though never allowed to fully embody womanhood — that was left for white women only. More than a century after Sojourner Truth hollered “Ain’t I a woman?”, black women have been denied agency to use their bodies for survival sex work, and specifically targeted, criminalized, harassed, and incarcerated.

How is it acceptable that Diamond Reynold’s daughter watched her mother’s boyfriend get gunned down in a car while they were on their way back from doing groceries? Black mothers pray each day for their child to be able to come home safely and not be a Rekia Boyd or Mike Brown. Black mothers have to teach their kids how to interact with police officers just so they can stay alive. Black mothers pray that they can be alive to see their children prosper and not be a Betty Jones or Korryn Gaines or Charleena Lyles.

It is imperative that we broaden our examination of state violence and the folks that are affected by it. We must understand that the ways in which Black people are socialized to interact with gender is in direct opposition to our inherent right of self-determination. It also perpetuates specific forms of policing and violence against those who do not embody that which is seen as ideally productive and beneficial to capitalist systems. This includes Black people, women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, disabled folks and the elderly.

State violence operates like a network of roots – while stemming from white supremacy and capitalism, it takes various forms to weaponize against Black and brown people. Interpersonal violence, murders of Black trans women by their partners, limited access to healthcare, mass incarceration, criminalization of sex economies, murders at the hands of the police – they are all connected in some way to anti-Blackness and functioning capitalism.

We cannot be silent when the state murders our Black women and femmes with impunity. We have to speak their names and shed light on the ways in which Black women and femmes are under attack and work to ensure that no woman is harmed without recourse.

We must acknowledge the importance of Black women in this movement work. In order to truly be liberated, we have to develop an analysis around which folks on the margins our society can center and uplift their leadership. Because none of us can be free until we are all free. None of us are free unless we are fighting to create space for Black women to have life-affirming, reproductive health. None of us are free until disability justice is completely resonant in our work. None of us are free until trans women are able to navigate within their full dignity without harm. None of us are free until we make room for Black women and femmes.


*This post originally appeared on Wear Your Voice Mag

Banner photo via Google

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Comment by theblackjacobins on June 30, 2017 at 3:13pm
You're misinterpreting the hard data that shows Negro women are the only blacks not being overtly targeted by state actors. What unfortunate crime you reference is an aberration and not the norm whereby you bristle as if black women descendant of the American Negro slave are somehow being oppressed by the black men descendant of the American Negro slaves.

Let's take a moment to regard the data with a discerning eye Fam. . .

Negro males (minors/adults) are incarcerated at a rate of 8000, per every 100,000 males (minors/adults) to equal rougly 1.5 percent of the Negeo male population in the US.

Negro women (those black women descendant of the American Negro slaves) however, are only incarcerated at a rate of 300 per every 100, 000 (rougly twice the norm comprising 100 per every 100,000 in any homogeneous group of persons. As per this study recently submitted to Huff post by Antonio Moore Esq. from tonetalks

As you can see, there is a socially catastrophic popuation of Negro men imprisoned in America. . . The numbers actually rival thise disenfranchised South African blacks subject under that same Apartheid that captivated white liberals in the 80's. There are also more black boys and men descendantof the American Negro slaves than were actual Negroes enslaved, when we made up 30% of the US population before the First Reconstruction which the republicans used to reel in Old guard democrats who sought to withhold the American Negro his humanity.

Back to the Article, we can see that while, certaintly, our black women are being incarcerated at about twice the benchmark norm, it is our Negro men who are being largely erased into felony status, where they are being incarcerated at (based on 2013 Census data) 750,000 of the 18.5 million black male population. . . Where the US Bureau of Statistics number of incarcerated black males of any age, in 2013 figures. This is one trend that has not abated since . . .and belies the number of black (non Negro, African American Immigrant) males graduating from US colleges.

To put these figures in context, the relevant data provides while India is a country of 1.2 Billion people, the country in total only has around 380,000 prisoners. In fact, there are more Negro men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.

And because a nation chooses its prison population (evident where the US' Germany's & Finland's prison rate maintained stasis despite an thrice-fold increase in crime between 1965 and 1990, the only nation to see an increase in prison populations was the US).

So while our Negro women comprise 200, 000 incarcerated that is only a rate of 300 per every 100,000 Negro women in today's numbers. . .alarming but nowhere near 4x that rate (of 8000 per every 100, 000) for the Negro males of any age, which shows us our men not our black women, are the target of predominately white juries, judges, Grand Juries, law enforcement & white society's disteem in disproportionate fashion.

Remember also the link I'd provided last week distinguishing between the racialconfidence of whites v. Negro confidence gap in our American views of policing:

Where the Negro generally views the police with caution, fear, and enforcers of white supremacy while whites often see no error in policeing, generally speaking.

Or visit:

Which discusses the underlying facts in the data how Negroes and whites view race differently. Where whites split at about 50 percent between "good" and "bad"; while Negroes ("black," non African American immigrant) view the race issues quite negatively, based upon how we are normally treated. not "Negro male" oppression isn't your problem, ladies

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