Friday, June 21, 2024

Do Black females’ lives really matter?

May 1, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( I went to a Los Angeles crime scene last week that left a teenage girl dead and a 30-year-old paraplegic arrested for murder. If I’d driven by too fast, I’d have missed the small makeshift memorial of candles and teddy bears that marked the spot where another Black person lost their life to senseless violence at the hands of another Black. Why? Because it was business as usual.

Sure, plenty of people walking by couldn’t help but notice the candles arranged in a circle on the sidewalk. But that seemed to be the extent of the public’s curiosity or concern for why a grown wheelchair bound woman felt compelled to challenge a 15-year-old teenage girl over a man that resulted in the girl’s death.

What if they weren’t Black females?

If the incident had been gang-related and the victim male, would that have brought out the television activists? If the victim had been Black and the suspect Latino, would that have moved L.A.’s Black leadership to gather and decry the violence that rocks our community on a daily basis? If she had been killed by a police officer, would that have brought out the pastors who would then pray for the community? If this had been another case of an employee “going postal” over a lost job instead of over a man, would it have warranted more attention?

If had the victim been White, a student at USC or UCLA and a member of a sorority, would her murder have been featured in the Los Angeles Times? If she had been a member of a pro sports team, would there be billboards up conveying condolences? Had the parties involved been anyone other than two Black women, would someone give a damn?

Adults stand by

I cannot be the only Black person around here who feels that while our educational system is failing our children, as adults we are doing the same.

Our brothas may be out there killing each other over colors and streets that neither own, but our sistas are doing the same. If we don’t call attention to it, no one else will. What does it say when a teenager is dating anyone and an adult woman feels compelled to fight a child? It says that something went wrong at home with both of these sistas.

Self-respect doesn’t dictate that you fight over any man. But how do you get self-respect if you weren’t raised to have any? And how could you have been raised to have any if your momma didn’t have any herself?

Focus on males

We spend so much time focused on our young Black men that we’re dropping the ball with our young Black sistas. Sit outside of any junior high or high school and look at the outfits female students show up in. Listen to the conversations and count how many times those same students refer to themselves and other Black women as “hos“, “bitches“, and the like.

When we speak about a Black agenda, we immediately jump to economics, health, politics, etc. Perhaps we need to take a step back out of our middle class status and realize that we can’t address those issues until we address issues that are created and fueled by how we raise our daughters.

Teenagers don’t just wake up one morning and decide they’re going to date anyone, just like adult women don’t just wake up and decide that they’re going kill someone for sleeping with their man. That takes years of pre-conditioning.

What I do know is that Michelle, Malia, and Sasha cannot be the only Black women whose lives matter to us in 2009.

Written By Jasmyne Cannick

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