It’s one thing to be black and another thing to be a Black Women. Black women are faced with more scrutiny and backlash than any other minority group. Even compared to white women, black women were reportedly paid 78% less than white women and 91% than white men in 2014. However, according to reports in that same year black women outnumbered all the other racial and gender groups in college enrollment. From ages 18-24, about half of black women are pursuing degrees, that’s 9.7% compare to white women at 6.6%, white men at 5.1% and black men at 7.0%. We are dominating in college enrollment and achieving our degrees but, still remain last in the totem pole.
Why is this?
So when I hear that yet another black women is killed by the hands of the police it not only crushes me but, reminds me of race/gender battle black women have been fighting since we were brought here in captivity against our own will. The stereotypes, discrimination and smear in public media continues to be our number 1 enemy as it paints us as the “angry black women” when we speak up about the injustices we have faced. As a black women I have witness first hand the discrimination and stereotypes against us and the sad part is that I find myself doing exactly what they tell us to do to be accepted; smiling, laughing it off and keeping my mouth shut.
But, as a black women who wears her natural hair proudly and embraces it, I have put a large target on my back. Natural hair is seen as a form of protest against the misconception of European beauty. It loudly says that I love the way my hair naturally grows from my roots and I will not change it for anyone to be more professional, accepted, “beautiful”, and neat. Now in no way am I putting down my sista’s who wear their hair in a relax stay or prefer weaves because we are all the same and have been thrown in the same non-ending race. Now let’s not sidetrack too much from whats really at hand.
Let’s take a minute to look at the latest victim of police killings: Sandra Bland. Now why does her name stand out among all the other black women that were killed this year? Many people would not recognize the names of unarmed black women killed by the police because it fails to be publicized in the media or cause national protest. The media focus is only on the unarmed black men killed by police since they are the majority but, about 20% of those killings are black women.
The family and friend’s of Sandra Bland refused for her to become another statistic and demanding answers after the 28 year old was found dead in her cell 3 days later in Waller County, Texas after what appeared be a routine traffic stop for failing to signal during a lane change. I would begin to ask questions too because nothing seems to make sense. If you have not seen the full video I suggest that you make it your priority too; here is the link.
Now many questions ran through my head which were verbally expressed widely on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram etc. Why was Sandra aggressively taken out of her car during a routine traffic stop and threaten to be taser by patrol officer, Brian Encinia? Why is she later detained and brought to jail? Why is she wearing a orange jail jumpsuit in her mugshot and why does it appear that she is laying on the floor?
But, most importantly why is Waller County police trying to find anyway possible to justify that Sandra committed suicide by stated that she told a police guard that she suffers from depression and tried to attempt suicide once. In what way does this correlate to her being aggravatingly assault, denied a reasonable answer from the arresting patrol officer after asking 14 times why she was being arrested all for a traffic violation? The clear answer is that Sandra Bland was an “angry”, “mouthy”, educated black women who knew her rights. Sandra was an alumna of Prairie View A&M University were she was recently hired by her alma mater for a student outreach program. She was also an activist who used her Facebook account and posted using the hashtag #SandySpeaks to speak about police brutality, going natural and the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Sandra Bland was a socially consciousness, educated, black women who was simply trying to make a better life for herself. She is me, she is you, she is every Black Women living in America. Ignoring her death gives our enemies the ammunition to determine African American’s fate and halted any dreams of our future.
My condolences to the family and friends of Sandra Bland may her name live forever. #SayherName #JusticeforSandy
Please feel free to share your thoughts.