Friday, December 19, 2008

If You're A Black Girl You Must Be A Prostitute

Imagine that you are a twelve year old girl sent to do an errand in your backyard by your mother, when three men jump out of a van call you a prostitute and try to abduct you from your home.  What would your reaction be?  Would you try to escape, or meekly surrender to these strange men?  Her reaction was to hold on to a tree and scream for her father as they beat her repeatedly around the face and the neck.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the "tight shorts" she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn's attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.
After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

How could a black girl in tight shorts not be mistaken for a prostitute?  Everyone knows our bodies are designed for consumption.  What business did this girl have dressing this way in her own backyard in the first place?

Given the racial and sexual nature of the assumptions made by the officers, one would assume that they would be at least contrite if not downright apologetic for their mistake, but that was not to be the case.  Two weeks after this incident they arrested the victim and her father who came to her aid for resisting arrest.

Two years later, "Dymond regularly suffers nightmares in which police officers are raping and beating her and cutting off her fingers, according to the lawsuit.Her trust in law and order  has been destroyed forever.

As the police continue to victim blame this story continues to be ignored by major media outlets.  It seems that when a black girl gets assaulted it is not newsworthy material.  We don't live in a world where black children matter despite the lie that we care about all children.

If a child is of colour, or is dealing with a form of disability, just like their adult counterparts they are disregarded.  This poor child is a victim of the lies that we have created to foster the power of some over the weak.  At 12 the lesson that she has learned is that her body makes her a person that is always marked.  No matter her innocence black womanhood means filth, disposable, and less than.  These white men jumped to this conclusion because it has been taught to them from birth.  Their inheritance unlike that of the victim was constructed in such a way as to allow them to view the world in a slave /master binary.

Daily the social reduction of bodies of colour occurs.  It is no accident that black girls are the ones that most likely to receive corporal punishment in the education systems that still allow it,  just as it was no accident that two black girls were chosen to re-enact the middle passage.  This little girl is the living example of the ways in which black women continue to suffer and yet we are not allowed to be angry.  When I tell black women that we need to reclaim sapphire it is for reasons like this.  How can one not feel rage when a daughter of our womb is subject to this kind of treatment?  We cannot afford to be doves of peace while our children weep bitter tears. 

H/T James Landrith

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