War on Black women
My good friend Dick Gregory says when America suffers an “economic cold,” Black folks suffer economic pneumonia. So it is in every major facet of life here in our country.
We’ve heard a great deal about the War on Women. This conflict features government intrusion in the affairs of women and their doctors, such as legislated invasive medical procedures, pay-inequality and other inequalities that tilt the scales of fairness against women.
The facts of this war are irrefutable. I don’t minimize the impact of this violent campaign on my white sisters, but think of how much greater the impact of this war has been on Black women. Too often, despite our best efforts, the good we do goes unrecognized and the negative things we experience from society are often trivialized. We are rarely seen as the victims of wrongdoing.
In recent weeks, we’ve had dramatic examples of the War on Black Women that transcend any harshness meted out on white women or discussed on local news.
In Dearborn Heights, Mich., Renisha McBride had an automobile accident and, in her desperation, sought help. She was profiled as a threat and, for no acceptable reason, was shot in her face. Similar to the Trayvon Martin murder, Renisha’s murderer was not arrested for several days, and then only after a major public outcry.
Marissa Alexander, an on-the-record victim of spousal abuse, attempted to protect herself from physical harm and the stated-threat of murder. Instead of taking the life of her abuser, she fired a warning shot into the ceiling that ended the assault. For the compassion shown by her to her abuser, she was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison!
In contrast, Mary Winkler, a white woman who killed her abuser by shooting him in the back, only served a few months. Alexander, who injured no one, has been in prison three years, had her case overturned by a Court of Appeals, and is still in prison!
Some acts in this war are so egregious even mainstream media criticize them. Oriana Farrell in New Mexico fled to escape the fury of the police, yet for a simple traffic stop, fell victim to officers threatening her family, savagely breaking out her car window and firing shots at her car endangering her children. Since airing the dash-cam video, all law enforcement consultants have criticized the impropriety of this act. I’ve not seen the lives of a white mother and her children endangered in such a callous manner.
In D.C., without the benefit of due process, JC Hayward was denied an opportunity to practice her craft by TV station WUSA-9. Instead of being able to demonstrate her expertise developed in a distinguished 40-plus year television career, WUSA-9 has allowed rumor and innuendo to serve as the basis for her absence from the airwaves.
Black women come out strongly in favor of our party’s candidates every election, but others get credit for the victories — with a rare mention it is the strong support of Black women who help candidates cross the finish line.
What do we have to do to end this war and receive justice? We must never give up — never stop fighting until victory is finally won.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is Chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her at 202.678.6788.