Dispatch #70 June 10th 2020
Day 1308 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1236 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
At this moment of grief for the deaths of black men at the hands of the police, I must especially grieve for the dual almost unbearable burden that Black Women must face 24/7 – the intertwined doubly poisonous White Supremacy multiplied by Misogyny.
Beginning in the early 1960’s, black women in US began to see understand their oppression as a function of interlocking oppressions based on race and gender. Black feminist activists faced deeply embedded patriarchal/misogynist attitudes from their black culture and community. Sonia Sanchez publicly called out the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam for their misogynist treatment of black women. In 1962, during an address at a mosque in California, Malcolm X said: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman”
Andrea Ritchie, a police misconduct attorney and author of “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color” asserts that “We’re not trying to compete with Floyd’s story, we’re trying to complete the story.”
In 2017 Ritchie told NPR that black women are more likely to experience sexual violence from the police and that “police sexual violence…is the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct but not the second most talked about.” www.npr.org/books/titles/561961940/invisible-no-more-police-violence-against-black-women-and-women-of-color
In her June 6th New York Times article titled ‘Why Aren’t We All Talking About Breonna Taylor?’ Alisha Haridasani Gupta notes:
Like George Floyd, she was also killed by the police, but her case remains largely disconnected from the broader narrative. But her exclusion, and that of other black women, is the latest iteration of a longstanding issue: Black women’s experiences of police brutality and their tireless contributions to mass social justice movements have almost always been left out of the picture, receiving far less media or political attention.
For years, black women have faced a double bind of racial and gender discrimination.
According to a 2017 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, black women remain underrepresented in the political system, black women are more likely to work jobs that lack crucial benefits and protections, more black women live in poverty than any other group, black women experience higher rates of intimate partner violence, and the gender barriers in access to health care are higher for black women than white women. The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened all of those fissures. The unemployment rate for black women is now 16.4 percent compared with 15.5 percent for women overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving them in increasingly precarious positions
When it comes to interactions with the police, the same racial biases that apply to black men apply to black women too, [Andrea J] Ritchie said. Black women are more likely than white women to be pulled over in traffic stops, according to data from the Prison Policy Initiative. They are also more likely than white women to be incarcerated and currently make up the largest portion of women in local jails compared with other women of color. Black women also face brutal police violence, which frequently takes the form of sexual assault or harassment at the hands of officers, away from cameras and the public eye, Ritchie said. And, she added, alarmingly, it often occurs when officers are responding to calls for help from domestic violence or sexual assault.
It is in large part because of these layers of inequalities that black women have risen up to form the backbone of some of the largest civil rights movements in U.S. history — from abolition and suffrage to #MeToo.
“Some of our loudest voices against oppression have come from black women,” said Dr. Monique Morris, founder and board chair for the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. Young black girls too have been a big part of “the articulation of our democracy” — like 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a bus months before Rosa Parks did the same. In fact, it was 17-year-old Darnella Frazier who filmed Floyd’s killing in a video that has since sparked protests across the country.
The Black Lives Matter movement was also founded by three women — Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi — who were angered by the acquittal in 2013 of George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “We did want to start a movement,” Cullors said. “Did we know we were going to be successful? No. But we worked hard, for years, making sure that people saw what was happening and how it was happening.” Yet, movements tend to latch on to a singular ‘face’ or leader and, for many, that ideal image is predominantly still a straight man, Cullors said. “It’s easier to be seduced by masculinity and the idea that we’re going to be saved by a black Christian male,” Cullors said, noting the appeal around Dr. Martin Luther King as an example. “That’s a problem. We don’t fully understand how racism and sexism and patriarchy and homophobia impact our community.”
Without that understanding, any proposed changes in police conduct or laws will be limited in scope and women’s concerns will continue to be overlooked, Ritchie said. For example, there currently isn’t any official data collection on police sexual misconduct, nationally or at the local level, Ritchie added, and changing that should be a part of the broader police reforms. America needs an intersectional lens over what all black communities are experiencing and the strategies to address them, Dr. Morris said. “We need to understand justice to be expansive,” she said. www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/us/breonna-taylor-black-lives-matter-women.html?
In her article in The Root entitled ‘What You Can Do to Lift Up Breonna Taylor and Other Female Victims of Police Brutality’ Anne Branigin reports on these efforts to recognize female victims of police brutality:
To help boost visibility of Taylor’s case, freelance writer Cate Young started the #BirthdayForBreonna campaign this week which highlights nine specific actions people can take to help make sure Taylor’s case is not forgotten or dismissed. The items include signing petitions and donating to the Taylor family’s GoFundMe and the Louisville Community Bail Fund, as well as emailing the Kentucky Attorney General, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, or Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear directly.
“I want people to know that they don’t have to wait for people to tell them what to do. It’s important to show up for Black women and not just when they die—in their lives, too,” Young told PopSugar. “That’s something that you can do in your everyday life: you can advocate for the Black women that you know, you can check yourself, you can make sure that you’re not making their lives more difficult, at the bare minimum, That’s just something I want people to be mindful of.” www.theroot.com/what-you-can-do-to-lift-up-breonna-taylor-and-other-fem-1843923984
Angela Davis instructs us to be woke about Misogyny:
“I think it’s important for us to recognize that although historically black communities have been very progressive with respect to issues of race and with respect to struggles for racial equality, that does not necessarily translate into progressive positions on gender issues, progressive positions on issues of sexuality and in the latter 1990s we have to recognize the intersectionality, the interconnectedness of all of these institutions and attitudes.”
Roxanne Gray, activist and author Bad Feminist, observes:
“It’s hard not to feel humorless, as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening; it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly. Maybe I’m a bad feminist, but I am deeply committed to the issues important to the feminist movement. I have strong opinions about misogyny, institutional sexism that consistently places women at a disadvantage, the inequity in pay, the cult of beauty and thinness, the repeated attacks on reproductive freedom, violence against women, and on and on. I am as committed to fighting fiercely for equality as I am committed to disrupting the notion that there is an essential feminism.”
Women Rising in Resistance will define and demand the comprehensive approach to dismantling police violence and creating community-centered strategies for achieving peace and safety.