When I did a google search for “four Black girls,” it wasn’t surprising that the results pulled up the precious lives that were massacred by the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing that took place the Sunday morning of September 15th, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Now that one of the most prolific filmmakers of our time, Spike Lee, is finally getting the spotlight in his direction from the faithfully negligent Academy — you might want to check out 4 Little Girls — the affecting Oscar-nominated documentary, that captures the chaos that ensued after the church bombing, and the bereaved families that were forced to bury their young, during the turbulence of the civil rights movement.
Almost fifty-six years later, and we are still embroiled in a country that terrorizes Black girls and Black women.
From Chikesia Clemons who endured an epic beatdown at the hands of thuggish White cops to the fourteen-year-old Black girl who was physically assaulted by Florida police officers, who kept hitting her repeatedly even though she was unarmed and posed no threat.
And now from Binghamton, NY, we are greeted with the stunningly disturbing headline about four Black girls who attend East Middle School.
They were shamelessly violated after a forced strip-search, that was instigated by the school’s nurse and assistant principal, who were “concerned” at the unsightliness of Black girls being “hyper and giddy during their lunch hour.”
If four White girls were delightfully “hyper” and “giddy,” they would be viewed as whimsical dolls — enjoying the freedom of being expressive without limits.
But if four Black girls are presented in the exact same way, the alarms go off, and the immediate conclusion is drug dependency, because Black girls aren’t typically a fun-loving bunch. They aren’t permitted to let loose during lunch hour because their Blackness comes with a different set of rules.
According to Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local organization that’s currently investigating the incident:
“The children were instructed to remove their clothing, and felt shamed, humiliated and traumatized by the experience.”
Once the criminal act was made public, the school district released a statement that expectedly refutes the details of the harrowing ordeal, that these Black girls received for reasons that don’t add up:
“Unfortunately, our students shared that these actions have had the unintended consequences of making the students feel traumatized. We sincerely apologize for the impact this has had and are working with these families to support their children’s success. A student may, under current law and policy, be searched in a school building by an administrator when the administrator reasonably suspects that a student’s health is in danger or is in possession of a substance that may harm themselves or others.”
And the Binghamton Board of Education had this to add:
“No students were strip searched, nor were they punished as a result of the incident in question and they were allowed to return to class after being evaluated.”
First off, it’s highly doubtful that these twelve-year-old girls weren’t violated in ways that left them traumatized because if it had been the standardized search, that didn’t warrant the removal of clothing, and being subjected to a humiliating session, that left them scared and confused — we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
It’s funny how White teenagers wearing #MAGA gear, can be caught on camera, antagonizing a Native American man, and yet their damning actions allow them to be feted by mainstream media while their president hails them as heroes.
The trick was to release the incomplete video first, and get everyone riled up, and then sneak in the missing footage to combat the vileness of the White teens with the great reveal of how they were actually not the source of the disruption, but were actually reacting to the attacks they received prior to the confrontation with the indigenous group.
Of course we know that Nick Sandmann was guilty of being deplorably offensive, as he imposingly stood his ground with that smirk on his face, and the adherence to White supremacy with all the pompousness that made Trump’s America very proud.
And if he was indeed innocent, and not at all interested in shaming the space of Nathan Phillips, the war vet and tribal leader, who calmly survived the awful encounter, then why the hell didn’t he wear the symbol of hate when he showed up at the NBC studios to speak to White America?
He left his #MAGA crown at home because he understood that the PR firm advising him had a very good point. He needed to look youthful and non-threatening, and not at all like the racist brat that we saw in the viral video, that has made him a household name.
But when it comes to Black girls, no matter how brutal the experience, and regardless of the fact that school officials are initiating violence with the aid of stationed police officers, and evil nurses on standby, the law retreats from holding guilty parties responsible for crimes against humanity.
How long are we going to tolerate the lawful terrorizing of Black children, who are helpless against a system that rejects how they wear their hair and punishes them for acting like the kids they are — as if the sight of youthful jubilance can’t be accommodated when Blackness is attached.
It’s unconscionable for school officials to allow students to be put through an unnecessary regimen, that’s meant to criminalize their innocence, which tragically serves as the preview of what the future holds when they mature into Black adults, and have to contend with elevated societal oppression.
Black children in America are groomed early for the injustice of the streets, due to how the law has been rigged to favor Whiteness over anything that doesn’t apply.
The carefully crafted statements may attempt to thwart the chilling truth with big words, and the disingenuous of how regretful it is that these poor girls were “traumatized” after school administrators “reasonably suspected” that these students “possessed substances” that could’ve proved “harmful” to them or others — but we are not buying it.
The real harm has been done, and these four Black girls will carry the emotional scars of this abominable episode for the rest of their lives.
We can’t allow this tradition of dysfunctional operations at schools that contain mostly Black students to continue without the applications of laws, that protect the interests of young and impressionable lives, that are in the care of adults, who are readily mistreating the ones they’re supposed to handle with care.
These horrible incidences occur more often than we would like to admit, and it happens even at schools that contain a modest number of Black students, where the biased actions of administrators are even more apparent, based on how often Black kids are punished and policed, compared to White students who are able to avoid the wrath of a system that favors their welfare.
This activated issue of abusive behavior by school administrators towards Black students has to be addressed with the level of urgency, that matches the threat to the emotional and physical wellbeing of children, who don’t deserve to be flung about like animals, even before they fully comprehend why it’s lawful for them to be demonized.
The four Black girls who were strip-searched for DRUGS, need to be compensated for the nightmare they didn’t ask for, and the school nurse and assistant principal have to suffer the consequences for their appalling behavior.
In a perfect world, this will come to be, but sadly, we know better. We’ve normalized the imagery of Black pain, and even our babies aren’t immune to the messaging of how Black lives don’t matter.
The injustice continues…