Myisha Cherry on Police Violence Against Black Women

Philosopher Myisha Cherry:

A year ago Eric Garner was killed by police. Within these last twelve months, there have been more lives added to the number of this “black list’ of souls taken from us so quickly by those we are suppose to trust. Recently, two black women were added to this list: Kindra Darnell Chapman and Sandra Bland. Its not as if women have ever been absent from the list of victims of police brutality. We remember Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, and seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to name a few.

Many protestors and so-called ‘allies’ have failed to call their names with other fallen black men. Some have not called their names due to ignorance. Others have not called their names because ‘black’ has always been synonymous with men. As a result, so many have co-opted #blacklivesmatter to really mean black men lives matter. “Let’s take care of men first, then we can take care of the women.” We, black women, have always been invisible or secondary.

I thought this kind of invisibility would work in my favor with the police. I knew that my black skin would make me visible to the police but my gender would never make me a target. I also thought that my education would save me if I ever had an encounter with the police. I’ve been stopped by the police several times. Once, I was mistaken as a prostitute because I was checking my phone on a corner in East New York, Brooklyn. I was let go once they realized I was a professor. Not having a criminal record saved me. My faculty ID saved me. My status saved me. But I don’t think any of that matters. I was lucky. Professor Ersula Ore’s encounter with police taught me that. You can have a Ph.D., a tenure track job, and a skirt on. It doesn’t matter. You are still the N-Word to them. Sandra Bland was educated and a conscious sister. One only wonders if what was in her head and heart was the motivation for her suspicious death by “them.”

For the rest of this immensely depressing and important article, go here.

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