In 2006, 12 year old Dymond Millburn was confronted and physically assaulted by four Galvestone undercover cops, who were reportedly looking for three white prostitutes at the time of the incident. According to the officers’ lawyer their conduct was appropriate because Millburn was wearing short, tight shorts, and could have been very well mistaken for a prostitute.
Shelia Stevenson, 42 year old black woman, was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk on February 3rd, 2008 and was stopped and detained by Officer Carlo Drogo who allegedly pepper sprayed, threw on ground and punched Stevenson 4 times in the face.
Let us not forget 92 year old Kathryn Johnston who was shot 6 times while sitting in the confinement of her Atlanta based- home, as officers knocked down her door using a no-knock warrant to perform a drug raid.
The most recent example of police brutality against a Black woman took place in Arizona while Dr. Ersula Ore, ASU English Professor, was walking across the street and was confronted by Officer Stewart Ferrin who asked Ore to show id. When Dr. Ore questioned Officer Ferrin about why she was being stopped, the officer slammed Ore to the ground for failing to comply with his request. Ore is now facing felony charges for allegedly assaulting an officer.
As a historical and social construct, racism and sexism has been developed by “the powers that be” to create a superior vs. inferior component of society that has internalized an illusion that Black women of America are nothing more than objects used to release hostile energy upon. Although Black men have been the most frequent group to fall victim of presumptuous ideas of their role in American society, the plight of the Black woman is as devastating as the curse that has been placed upon our Black male counterparts. Black women have been victims of sexual exploitation and aggression for years, and this type of on-going occurrences has yet to be thoroughly investigated.
This neo-pseudo depiction of the ‘Master’ dominating the “Black slave woman” has not received nearly as much national coverage as police brutality against Black men. According to Beth E. Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, overt physical assault by the hands of those in authoritative positions, is not uncommon, especially for Black women who rely on protection and community resources. Richie confirms that, “direct physical assault of detained women is a serious problem that is primarily documented through informal discussion.”
The media is a contributor of co-opted images of Black women that depict hyper sexuality, aggression and irrational behavior, yet very rarely exposes the true dilemma of the Black woman; that of sexual exploitation, victimization and emotional manipulation projected by media driven propaganda. Furthermore, it is quite evident, and a daunting reality that Black women are not rendered equal institutional protection against physical assault, especially when done by the hands of law enforcement.
Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.
In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.
Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.
Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)