Let me start off in stating that #ALLBlackLivesMatter including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, queer, trans women and trans men. The newspaper headlines focus on heterosexual black men such as Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Mike Brown and Eric Garner as if black women, trans women and trans men do not matter. As I mourn with the families of the black men to police brutality, I know I am not the only black woman who is tired of being an afterthought.
Thus, as my hashtag stated previously, all black lives matter. No matter our socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, class, as black people we’ve all experienced racism in some shape, form or fashion. We can allow our own insecurities to further divides us, but why? Why? I love my blackness. I love being a woman. It just so happens that I love women as well. We continue to divide into fractions, dividing our power and strength. Wake up and understand that we are all suffering from police brutality. And we ALL should be recognized and counted. EVERYONE!
In recent tweet, Ari Fitz, formerly of Real World Ex-plosion spoke about how her holiday conversation turned to her family’s fear of police brutality because she dresses tomboyish. In this very moment I thought about my personal run-ins with police. As a black woman, as a masculine identified black woman I cringe every time I see a police car riding behind me. Every time I’m pulled over I have my wallet, registration and insurance card on the dashboard while my hands grip the steering wheel. I take these precautions because a perceived false move may cost me my life. I fear the very people who should protect and serve me, the police.
I remember I was arrested in Norman, Oklahoma when I was 19 for embezzlement of rented property. What I actually did was rented VHS tapes and forgot to bring them back. Yes, it was a felony. The arresting officer was nice, but the booking officer was not. After he fingerprinted me he taunted me by saying, “You think you’re a man? I should put you in the holding cell with the men”. A female officer came to get me and kept me in the room with her. I was a 19-year-old college student majoring in Civil Engineering with a high GPA, but that booking officer tried to reduce me to ‘man-acting nothing’.
Law enforcement not only enforce systemic relations through racial profiling, race-based policing and targeting communities of color, but they also police gender. When addressing police brutality this must be addressed as well. We have to fight police brutality on all fronts. We cannot allow the state to police any and all black bodies. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” For police brutality is deeply rooted in a historical legacy of systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and transphobia.Police brutality is an extension of the slavery and Jim Crow violence (such as lynching) which has criminalize our communities and police our right to be.
Therefore, I have to call out injustice when I see it. I do not care if it’s a white man being racist. I do not care if it’s a black man being sexist. I do not care if it’s a black woman being transphobic. We have to call a spade a spade. It’s not a teaching opportunity. I just want to be able to live, for I am sick and tired of my life being politicized and policed.
My intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality is intertwined, and I am tired of choosing between between my gender, blackness and sexuality. I refuse to choose between them all. They make me who I am. None of them shelters me from police brutality. Therefore, I have to speak out for every black life not only black men but also black women, trans women and trans men as well. Justice is intersectional especially since I am black lesbian.
We cannot be silent about the many black women and other women of color who are killed by police. Along with Trayvon, Amadou, Mike and Eric, we have to remember and mourn the loss of Aiyana Jones, 7 in Detroit, MI, Rekia Boyd, 22 in Chicago, IL, Yvette Smith, 48 in Montgomery, TX, Pearlie Golden, 93 in Hearne, TX, Eleanor Bumpers, 66 in Bronx, NY, Tarika Wilson, 26 in Lima, OH, Tyisha Miller, 19 in Riverside, CA, Kathryn Johnston, 92 in Atlanta, GA, Gabriella Nevares, 22 in Sacramento, CA. To these black women I will remember you.
We cannot be silent about the many black trans men and women who have to endure transphobia of the police. Often, trans women and men of color do not call the police because of victim blaming and transphobia. We have to mourn the loss of Tiffany Gooden, Nizah Morris, Tiffany Edwards, Zoraida Reyes, Mia Henderson, Kandy Hall and Yaz’Min Shancez. To these trans women of color I will remember you.
We cannot possibly know to name all of the black lives that has been lost due to police brutality. We remember all of the nameless victims of police brutality. We are a resilient people. We cannot allow mainstream media to write the narrative whose deaths matters, for #ALLBlackLivesMatter.