I saw this headline yesterday on Facebook:
The Rape Trial Everyone in America Should Be Watching
And it came with the subheader:
Thirteen women came forward to accuse former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw of misconduct. Why aren't more people outraged?
I have a feeling that a white editor slapped that on. But it gives me the chance to use this perfect gif:
I can totally hear him saying that, drawing out each word slightly. You know why.
Because the victims are poor black women and sex workers. Poor black women caught with drug paraphernalia who were coerced into performing sex acts in exchange for not being arrested and possibly killed, and if they survived then thrown into jail for god know's how long because they had a pipe on them or something.
This man is an "alleged" serial rapist who used his power as a police officer to target and rape poor black women, and no one cares because no one cares about poor black women. If one victim had been a middle class white woman, the news media would be all over this trial.
The article I linked to, written by a black woman named Treva Lindsey, explains better than I ever could (because I'm a white woman) how the intersection of racism and sexism makes black women especially vulnerable to exploitation and apathy from the rest of the population. Add in the fact that they were poor, possibly addicted to drugs, and possibly involved in sex work, and you pretty much guarantee that the majority of the U.S. population will decide that they deserved whatever was coming to them. And the rapist's attorney is doing everything he can to exploit that fact.
During opening statements at the trial, Holtzclaw's defense attorney deployed words such as "street smart" to discredit the accusers to the all-white jury. His reference to "street smarts," vague but derisive, attempted to reinforce the idea that the accusers were involved in criminal activities associated with the "streets," such as sex work and drug usage.
Basically, he's exploiting the pervasive attitude that black women can't be raped and that poor drug users and sex workers deserve anything that happens to them. Just like the rapist exploited that attitude to exploit those 13 black women.
Action is finally being taken to help black men who are harassed, assaulted, and killed by cops and white women who are sexually assaulted. But we still can't manage to get up the same sympathy for people who are both black AND women. Meanwhile, Holtzclaw is being tried by an all-white jury. That should end well.
How long. How many victims.