Friday, May 29, 2009

In Memory Of Robert Mitchell Can We Stop Calling Tasers Non- Lethal Force?

image Mitchell was not wanted for any crime but he did have a learning disability.  His mother believes he ran from police when pulled over because he was afraid of them.

Amnesty has reported that more than 350 people have been killed by tasers since 2001 in the US.   Those that have died have been predominately of color and therefore is it really illogical for Mitchell to have had a fear of police?  Even if we remove tasers from the equation, it is a well known fact that police officers across North America have been engaging in an unacknowledged war against black masculinity.

According to CNN, the police not surprisingly have already cleared themselves of any wrong doing.

Police followed Mitchell into an abandoned house about two blocks away. Officers tried to apprehend him once he was inside, but he resisted, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer told CNN.

"They ordered him several times not to resist, and he continued to resist," Dwyer said. "They had no alternative to use what they felt at the time was non-lethal force."

The commissioner called Mitchell's death "a tragedy," but said police who watch someone run from them "can only assume he committed a crime or is wanted for a crime." The officers had been trained to use Tasers on people resisting arrest, "so there was nothing wrong with using that Taser," Dwyer said.

In the touching video on this story Renea Mitchell speaks of her heart break at the loss of her young son. Like Emmitt Till’s mother before her, she speaks of not having time to mourn because her heart is set on justice for her boy.  How many black mothers will have to dawn mourning sheaths because society has decided that our sons lives have no value? 

Just as men of color have been subject to violence by police forces and those that represent white hegemony, it is us their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who must deal with pain of their loss. 

Once again there is no mention of this so-called non-lethal force incident on white feminists blogs and yet they want to appeal to our sense of sisterhood to advocate for womens rights.  Dear white feminists: it is your continual denial of the value of the men that we love that continues to be just one of the reasons why WOC reject feminism. 

When white men commit crimes it is socially understood as an aberration.  You don’t even bother to critique their violence unless it directly involves a woman and she usually must be white to garner your attention. White feminists regularly fail  to acknowledge that the loss of our male counterparts affects us in real and meaningful ways. 

It is not you that has a history of cutting your sons down after they have been lynched.  It is not you that has had to wash the blood from their bodies after they have been shot by police and it is not you that must burry them after they have been tasered; is it any wonder that you continually fail to understand why this is a feminist issue?

As a mother, each time I hear of one of these incidents my heart races with fear for my two sweet boys.  They may not be worth anything to anyone else but they are my life.  They are as necessary to me as the very life I breathe and when you fail to acknowledge the value of black men, you fail to acknowledge my worth as well.  The day I reconsider feminism is the day that it finally acknowledges the issues of POC are worth fighting for.   As far as I am concerned you are just as guilty as the white run police forces who have already declared themselves innocent.


No comments: