Monday, September 26, 2016

Recommended Reading

[TRIGGER WARNING: RACISM, MURDER, RACIST VIOLENCE]

Another required one for my fellow white feminists.

No, White Women, Betty Shelby’s Manslaughter Charge Is Not Unfair

I'm once again disappointed in us for making black women feel unsafe because something happened to a white woman.

For far too long, Black men have been harmed and, yes, killed in the name of protecting white women. One need look no further than the cases of Emmett Till, Susan Smith, Amanda Knox, and Bonnie Sweeten to see the pattern here, and it’s past time white feminists really start to do the tough work of owning up to that legacy. Yes, white women are oppressed by patriarchy and misogyny. Yes, they are oppressed by male-dominated power structures. But white women are also fully capable of oppressing Black Americans and have been doing so both consciously and unconsciously for centuries. In order to change that, one must first acknowledge it.

I will readily admit that when I saw that Shelby was being charged, after first being annoyed that it's only a manslaughter charge, I thought about the possibility of it being easier to charge her because she's a woman.

However, historically, this doesn't make sense. Yes, white men are coddled like nobody else, but the U.S. in particular has a history in which white women were not only used as excuses to murder black men, but would use their position to incite hate mobs and lynchings. White women only had to claim a black man looked at her to get them killed, and we did.

So no, it actually seems more likely that a white woman like Shelby could invoke the old "protect the white woman against the black man" trope to say that she felt "threatened" by Crutcher. And, as author Syreeta Neal points out, this is far from the first time an officer has been charged for killing a black man. We white feminists neeeeeeeeeeeeeed to know the history of this thing we claim to support, or we're going to keep proving to women of color that we don't deserve their support.

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