The Criminalization of Black Women

The shooting of Justine Diamond by a Black officer, has riled up white folks. Diamond’s death has caused white folks to bemoan the overuse of force on the most “innocent of victims.”  Besides the curiosity of this outrage, has been the amusing scolding of the Black community to come together as “humans” and fight against police brutality.  Huh? These are the same people who cursed Black Lives Matter activism. They tend to see Black victims as having “done something wrong” to warrant their killing. Even when the victim is a child. The lack of support from many Black folks has confused white folks, but what did they expect? You can’t treat a group of folks sh*t, then turn around and expect them to be a shoulder to cry on.

While it’s a terrible thing that happened to Diamond, in the end she will get justice. Already the police chief has resigned, and the black officer that shot her is getting vilified (no Blue Lives Matter love for him!) The same can not be said for Black victims. I’m not going to get too emotionally involved in this particular case.

What did pique my interest, this past week, were two articles I came across on the ‘net. Both deal with the criminalization of Black women, particularly poor Black women. In “A Warrant to Search Your Vagina” Andrea J. Ritchie discussed the abuse of Black women by police officers. Ritchie  has written extensively about the sanctioned violence by the criminal justice system against Black women. Ritchie detailed how Black women are often beaten, raped, and killed by police. It is the combination of race and gender, that makes Black women particularly vulnerable to police harassment.

Currently, there has been a call of compassion and health crisis by politicians for opioid/meth users (usually 90% white), this olive branch has not been extended to Black women. Black women are still being brutally attacked and exploited in “the war on drugs.” Black women bodies are routinely degraded.  It is reminiscent of the days of slavery, when Black women were made to strip naked and sexually assaulted.

“In 2015 Charneshia Corley was pulled out of her car at a gas station after a police officer claimed he smelled marijuana during a traffic stop. Two female officers then forced her legs apart and probed her vagina in full view of passers-by.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/opinion/sunday/black-women-police-brutality.html

Ritchie noted that police CAN issue a warrant to search one’s vagina. It may seem absurd, but it is true. This is alarming and sets the stage for abuse of power, as illustrated in the cases discussed in the article. Generally, the women did NOT have drugs on them, but will forever be humiliated by this invasive body search.

The second article “Foster Care as Punishment: The new Reality of  ‘Jane Crow'”  examined the increasing removal of children from mostly Black mothers. The “crimes” are usually parenting missteps: taking too long of a bath and the child wanders out of the apartment, dashing to grab something downstairs while a baby sleeps upstairs unattended, etc.  Nothing that warrants children being taken from parents, sometimes months on end.

“In interviews, dozens of lawyers working on these cases say the removals punish parents who have few resources. Their clients are predominantly poor black and Hispanic women, they say, and the criminalization of their parenting choices has led some to nickname the practice: Jane Crow.” https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/nyregion/foster-care-nyc-jane-crow.html?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Reading the article made me think about how my generation (Gen-Xers) were left alone or came home to an empty house while parents were at work (latchkey kids). This was a big phenomena in the 80’s, due to more divorces/single moms working outside the home. I guess you better not even think about doing that now or your kid will be taken away.

Black single mothers are targeted because they are more likely to be of the poor to working poor class. The system knows these women often take shortcuts to handle the day-to-day tasks of raising children. The extreme punishment of taking children away for things millions of parents do everyday, show there is an agenda to disrupt Black families and funnel Black women into the Prison Industrial Complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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