Why The Criminalization of Black Girls Has Become America’s Favorite Sport
There’s so much to be haughty about and so many deadbeat celebs to “cancel” — and of course in the midst of the never-ending festival — some things get thrown to the wayside — where pending items yield to the heat of neglect.
As the nation mourns the injustice of twenty years ago that’s currently endorsing Monica Lewinsky and scorching former president Bill Clinton — I can’t help but marvel at the rallying around a woman who was definitely mishandled at a time when the climate wasn’t flexible enough to give her break.
I absolutely don’t mock her moment of recovery and validation —because it’s justified and warranted. However — as a Black woman who can’t drive around any city without cringing at the notion of being pulled over by a White cop who’s having a really bad day — I can’t help but wonder why when it comes to our pain — the silence is astoundingly deafening.
Not only do we have to contend with the messaging of how devalued we are — but there’s also the wrath of the media that goes against us and exacerbates our ailment by recycling contentious articles that portray how nothing ever changes in our realm.
We are still unfairly persecuted by those in authority in ways that maintain the level of degradation that outsiders are only eager to reinforce — under the guise of exposing “breaking news” about how White girls will always be deemed more innocent and gorgeously fragile — compared to their brutishly regarded counterparts.
The criminalization of Black girls has become America’s favorite sport and the more aggressive team are the ones who have the power to demonize our motives — by exposing the grimness of our ethnicity and singling us out whenever we aim to project the features that set us apart.
The latest report in Vox — that tackles the issue of how Black school girls are relentlessly harassed by school officials for not abiding by the designated dress code is nothing new.
Every year — we’re treated to testimonies from victims of a twisted system who just want to be able to wear their hair in its natural state — or resist being punished for the crime of wearing clothing that adjusts to their body type in ways that are unjustly deemed provocative and inappropriate.
We already know that Black girls are sexualized at a very early age and it doesn’t get better as we mature. Some of it is due to the clogged marketplace of rappers and others in that realm — who do their part to perpetuate the assumption that we’re hooked on maneuvering our voluptuous physique to the tempo of lusty grinds — without even trying.
The Kardashians get paid big bucks and build a massive empire by employing the very techniques that get Black girls suspended from school and Black women fired from jobs.
They’ve transformed their bodies by stuffing it with protruding items that are typically assigned to Black culture — and on top of that — they’re being smothered with accolades for their immense contribution to an industry that has been adamantly against celebrating the very features that seem to be more viable when attached to Kim, Khloe and Kylie.
Black girls have to learn about their fate at an impressionable age — and this treatment sticks to the psyche like glue — and encourages them to mature earlier than necessary.
White girls are received with more compassion while Black girls are viewed through harsher lenses — and don’t get the privilege of basic respectability that their White counterparts amass without fail.
This explains why Black girls are unfairly punished at a higher rate — which leaves them vulnerable to the ills of society that are levied at them — based on nonsensical and baseless stereotypes — that are not just annoyingly prevalent — but also tragically serve as the blueprint for why Black women are persistently targeted by law enforcement.
It’s the reason why we’re able to comfortably watch damningly graphic footage of police officers physically assaulting a young Black woman without flinching — and with an air of familiarity that is naggingly disturbing.
Chikesia Clemons — is a name that’s sadly memorable because of the beatdown she received from White cops at a Waffle House in Saraland, Alabama — simply because of the irritation she expressed about having to pay for utensils.
The video showcasing what happened to Clemons at the hands of thugs in uniform is gut-wrenchingly vile — especially when you dare to notice how her clothes were leaving her body during the vicious attack.
We see a Black girl— desperately trying to protect her body from the embarrassment of being stripped naked. The scene haunts me almost daily — as I take in the reality of how the criminalization of Black women has been normalized to the point that adults are able to lawfully harm us in broad daylight.
White feminists scream in agony when Sarah Huckabee Sanders is rightfully condemned for the part she plays in a toxic administration or when the first daughter is slammed for heartlessly celebrating her White privilege — but when it comes to defending Black women who are under siege by a ruthlessly biased system — there’s only silence.
The general lack of support could be attributed to the fact that Black women are labeled as “angry” and “combative” — and naturally don’t possess the finesse and gentle elegance that prevents White women from suffering the humiliation of being constantly targeted.
Most assume that we’re much older than we really are when these heightened situations arise and frighteningly threaten our existence.
Sandra Bland was only twenty-eight when a common traffic violation escalated into a life and death scenario. Diamond Reynolds was only twenty-five when she and her toddler daughter witnessed the shooting death of her boyfriend in their car. Breaion King was only twenty-eight when she was pulled over by a cop who proceeded to brutalize her without cause. And Chikesia Clemons is only twenty-five-years-old — and has already been forced to fight for her life — under daunting circumstances.
It’s no longer sufficient to frequently distribute recycled news of how Black girls are “disciplined more harshly in school” — and then make the deposit with expectations of clicks and hosts of comments from Black women who are most certainly the only ones paying attention.
We keep getting fed what we’ve already digested without the variety of reportage that actually helps to dissect the problem in ways that lay the foundation for a solution.
It’s all about dusting off standard fare that repeatedly highlights all the reasons why there may never be a time when Black girls will discover what it’s like to grow and blossom — without harmful interruptions that set the pace for a notoriously tempestuous relationship with society.
We enjoy scandalizing Black womanhood at the expense of violating Black girlhood in order to desensitize the horrific moments that filter in with casual authority — tempting us into summoning our human tendencies — but ultimately only succeeds in holding our attention long enough to get carried away with the latest sighting of Khloe’s newborn baby.
As a Black woman living in America — I’m appalled at how easily we dismiss the evidence of brutality against those that resemble my template — but readily call the national guard to help settle cases that don’t hold a candle to this ongoing emergency.
There has to be a concerted effort by organizations and agencies to investigate why Black girls are crudely penalized substantially more than their White peers so that the annual articles that float around will be updated accordingly.
It’s time to move on to tangible solutions or at the very least admit how we can’t get enough of the potent images depicting innocent Black women — on the ground —yelling for their lives — as the officers who swore to protect them — exact crime and punishment without consequences.
It’s America’s favorite sport and from where I’m sitting — there are no winners.