Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Sorry Record of Police Abuse of Black Women and Girls

Earlier this year, Cara McClellan wrote an opinion piece "The Deafening Silence Around Police Violence Against Black Women and Girls". 

McClellan contrasts the publicity generated when two African-American men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks when they were in the store to meet a friend.  That viral video of the arrest was shown on the internet and national television.  One consequence of the arrest was a one day shut down of all Starbucks stores to present a diversity training to Starbucks employees. 

A week later, 25 year old African-American woman Chikesia Clemons questioned and Alabama Waffle House why she was being charged for plastic ware, a police officer told her that he would "break her arm", wrestled her to the ground and pulled her shirt so that her breasts were revealed.  That video of her arrest was also circulated on the internet.  McClellan wrote of the long history of state violence against women particularly police violence.  Added to the violence against black women and girls is the added sexual abuse.  Females who are arrested report clothing being torn from them such as happened to Ms. Clemons.  McClellan wrote:  "Black woman women bear a double burden- carrying the weight of a weaponized skin color and the invisibility of a silenced gender.

For those interested in exploring the topic further, Andrea J. Ritchie wrote about police violence against women and girls of color in her book Invisible No More.

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