Fresh into women’s appreciation month, millions learned more about Chris Brown’s fall from grace. The scenario wasn’t totally negative since the Chrihanna scandal stimulated domestic abuse discourse in the public. The media, however, readily exploited the moment. Black stars who beat the odds and became mainstream musical commodities with relatively scuff-free personae were involved in a physical altercation?
Every day the latest tidbit beckoned to millions. Many discussed, e-mailed and blogged the incident. Should she stay? Should his career end? Who provoked what? Did he purchase her forgiveness? Did she burn him with a nether region disease?
Race seemed to take a back seat to the driving issue of gender power. Nonetheless, every time black celebrity mayhem leaks, color is a variable that need not be forgotten.
Most recall Rihanna’s bloated beige face and seemingly tarred eye.
Then, a few weeks ago, video footage hit cyberspace of a previously unknown 15-year-old Black girl, Malika Calhoun. A White police officer, Paul Schene, said that the teen was “lippy,” so he struck her repeatedly after she kicked a shoe at him, which appears not to have hit him.
That video is yet another counterpoint to millions who expressed that Obama’s brownness and power symbolize a post-racial American society.
Masses can’t afford to be so enamored with the Obamas (even the oft-dubbed rock that is Michelle) that black women forget how fragmented the mainstream’s validation of our humanity is. This is a frequently quiet, racist and sexist society.
Can anyone visualize a Black police officer’s life after footage leaked of him body slamming and assaulting a White girl as Schene did Calhoun? Even the most interconnected cross-racial lovers know that in a society that still reveres White women and equates ivory coloring with purity, alleged abuse of an underage White female citizen would warrant riots.
Emmitt Till. Circa 1955. He (supposedly) whistled.
As Black women, students and future leaders, we should cleanse our collective system of misinformation about the depths of racial and gender disparities in the supposedly freest nation on the globe.
Keeping that in mind, there is no lone enemy. Oftentimes, anonymous Black hands mistreat anonymous Black bodies.We must remember how prevalent sistabuse of late has been.
We also must mourn a little Black queen too young to speak, but too important to not be spoken of. One-year-old Liliana Goodman was beaten recently by her mother’s 18-year-old boyfriend, Tayaun Chism, for being “disrespectful” and not eating her food.
Countless other victims are absorbed into an annihilated abyss.
Ignorance of mangled and mistreated minority people can increase our susceptibility to losing a loved one and/or losing life. The conscious dehumanization millions perpetuate increases the likelihood of our victimization.
It is our duty to attempt to avoid as many dangerous situations as possible, but to also commit to telling the stories of the women who met an egregious fate, or whose pain was so prevalent that their subjugation became common along the way.