If I were a newcomer to the United States and I started watching the nightly news shows and reading the newspapers, here are a few things I would conclude about the inhabitants of this land. They are a very violent people; they seem to kill each other on a regular basis. The brown folks particularly the brown men seem to be really violent since they are always mentioned on the news. The non brown men seem angry and they like their guns but they don’t kill like those brown men and the pink women seem to always be missing…at least that’s what that Nancy Grace woman says. On the other hand nothing seems to happen to those brown women. None of the news programming mentions much about them.
Clearly this newcomer to the US would be wrong; though the one thing is right we are a violent people. Just in the past few weeks hell you had a college girl with a great future, lacrosse player who it appears was killed by a man she dated. The death of Yeardley Love is tragic and if its proven that the boyfriend did kill her, hope he rots to death in jail. Hell, whoever killed her should rot in jail.
On the other hand I am getting just a tad tired of wondering why when bad shit happens to Black women or children, we never hear about it. Mitrice Richardson, Chioma Gray, Angela Reeder, and Rodnell Burton. What do they all have in common? Why they are all Black and they all went missing but there is a good chance you have never heard of them. Only one I was aware of before I went to Google, that was Mitrice Richardson who’s story has been featured by many Black bloggers. Yet when I turn on the news I am always seeing pictures of cute perky white women who are missing. I don’t begrudge the news coverage paid to missing white women and kids but what I want to know is why Black women and children don’t get equal coverage. Probably because at the end of the day, our lives are simply not valued as much.
Since this nation’s turbulent founding, the fact is white women have been put on pedestals and valued where Black woman and now other women of color are simply tolerated. I am convinced that one of the reasons Black women and White women can’t even come together on issues that impact us as women is because most white women refuse to recognize the inherent privilege that they have simply by being white women.
Perhaps its this unspoken privilege that is so deeply embedded in our culture; is why this morning I read about Yeardley Love’s old lacrosse team playing its first game since her death in the NY Times. But had to hear about 7 yo Aiyana Jones who was killed by the Detroit Police Dept on a Black blog.
Aiyana Jones’s was sleeping with her favorite Disney blanket on when the Detroit Police Dept came in (no busted in) her house searching for someone, as best as I understand the cops threw a grenade in, came in and somehow a mistake was made and the cop fired on little Aiyana killing her. Look, I am not going to down the cops for doing their job but I wonder would they have been randomly firing on someone sleeping with a Disney blanket had they been looking for a white suspect? Call me crazy, but I suspect that had this been Gross Pointe (affluent suburb of Detroit) that the cops would have been a whole lot more cautious before randomly firing the guns.
Yes, violence is at epidemic levels in some Black communities and that is an issue that needs to be addressed, without a doubt. But we have to also address the fact that deep down it seems no one values Black life particularly that of the women and kids. I wish I had some answers but I don’t.
ETA: After reading a commenter, I wanted to add that I am aware that there are plenty of white women who go missing that we never hear about. After all the common demoninator in the cases we do here about is usually the missing gal is solidly middle class, and attractive. It still bothers me that regardless of class or cuteness, missing Black women just don’t seem to exist as far as the media is concerned.