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History shows us there’s no protection for Black women in America

History shows us theres no protection for Black women in America news 1x1.trans

“The Most disrespected woman in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” – Malcolm X

This past Sunday the body of Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in a deep freezer of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago after a night of partying and dancing with her friends. As details slowly came out about the story, a shared disgust from the Black community arose as another Black woman was left vulnerable and defenseless to her own community.
As I’ve written on Black Women from them going missing, the threats from masculinity, trans violence, and more, the issue has become abundantly clear: there are truly no protections in the world for Black women.
Kenneka’s death is a summary of just how dangerous it is to be a Black woman in America. The friends she attended the event with who should have been looking out for her while in an intoxicated state, let her be harmed. The men who should have been protecting her, knowing she was not in the right state of mind. Some even believe inconclusive video posted online even shows Kenneka was potentially sexually assaulted. The hotel and the state who received pleas from the family to find her, did nothing until it was too late. For Black women, this story in pieces and as a whole is commonplace when discussing the difficulty for them to exist in safe spaces.

There are numerous examples of scenarios in which even Black women have blamed Black other women for the harm they potentially brought upon themselves. Internalized sexism and misogyny is a learned behavior within our community, passed down from generation to generation that has removed the agency of women to show up as their full selves. It was last year that singer Erykah Badu set the internet on fire, claiming that young girls should wear longer skirts if they don’t want older men to harass or make sexual advances at them. Again, another attempt at placing the burden of Black women protecting themselves from predatory men, on Black women. Badu’s argument, and many like hers, is not something new and mirrors the sexist statements men often make in barbershops and locker rooms.
To counteract this, Black women have begun to film and chronicle their daily interactions with men, who often invade their spaces when they are minding their own business. The#YouOkSis campaign started by feminist and journalist Feminista Jones chronicled the stories of Black women who were street harassed, attacked, and even murdered at the hands of men. These stories offer a lens into the world of Black women who deal with sexism, misogynoir; an effort to put the blame on the offenders rather than the victims.
Tragically, the alleged sexual assault stories involving celebrity men like R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, Nate Parker and others, have exposed revolting commentary from men; comments rooted in the notion that “women knew what they were getting into” when they end up in environments that become unsafe, removing the responsibility of men to respect a woman’s agency. There is a shared belief that Black women are bringing harm to themselves because of how they dress and react in given scenarios, removing any accountability on the part of the man who is to blame for an ideology rooted in manhood being tied to sexual dominance and superiority based on gender and sex.

This experience is not only commonplace for Black hetero women, as Black trans women also experience this shared plight within their communities. So far, 19 trans women have been murdered in 2017 as their community sees violence at an alarming rate in comparison to other marginalized populations.
Black trans women who have a life expectancy of just 35, are quickly being removed from existence in so-called civilized societies. What’s more is that though their attackers and murderers are almost exclusively Black men, the burden of safety is yet again placed back on the victim–the vulnerable and the marginalized. However, communities of color are only echoing an even greater threat to the Black woman and the devaluing of their existence, which is coming at the hands of the state.
In a piece I wrote for theGrio entitled “Black women and girls are missing and no one seems to care,” I discuss the epidemic of Black women who have gone missing with little to know action from the state. Thousands of Black women and girls go missing a year and the state is quick to assume that they are runaways rather than victims, which in turn allows them to not utilize man hours and additional officers to find them.
Korryn Gaines and Sandra Bland will also go down as Black women who rather than be protected by the state, were in fact murdered by the state. Instead of their cases being about police interactions with Black women, and how cops should be held accountable to uphold a standard of protect and serve. It became about respectability politics, and how these Black women didn’t deserve to be respected and protected due to their disobedience of a law enforcement system that has never given them reason to be trustful.

The time has come that as a community we begin to not only acknowledge the plight of the Black woman, but put actions in place for their protection and safety in effort to create equality and equity amongst a community that is often divided on the issue of sex and gender. Black women stay in abusive relationships and get killed. Black women try to leave abusive relationships and get killed. Black women walk to the train minding their business and ignore a man’s advances and get killed. 

At some point, we must recognize that it is not on Black women to protect Black women, but on us to challenge hetero Black men and beyond, and condemn the violence they continue to place upon our sisters. 

The death of Kenneka is truly sad and bizarre. A young Black woman, who was in a vulnerable state lost her life tragically when she arguably could have been saved. The time is now that we take responsibility for our Black women and their protections. We have failed them time and time again, and now the blood is on the hands of any unwilling to stand up.

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Comment by Empress of Jah on September 18, 2017 at 6:56am
Well said Donique Whonder and thank you!!
Comment by Donique Whonder on September 17, 2017 at 4:06pm
One thing i noticed is the media was so glad to promote this story because it is a group of black kids behaving like savages. They want to make sure that the world is focused on young blacks being this way. This type of thing happen to all types of women especial on college campuses but they will never put the focus on that because they dont want to paint the picture of non blacks being savages. Only blacks behave this way is what they want to say. On the other hand i am so disgusted at this group of young people. They are well aware of the war against us and this is what they sit around and allow to happen. This dont just hurt the people in that hotel room it hurt all of us cause when we have to be in public we all get classed as the image the put out there, we all get the dirty looks and the snarles and the bad energy. In disappointment we walk with our heads down because the racist non black people are mostly that way because they fear the unknown. They see one bad image and believe we are all that way because they are not exposed to respectful educated well mannered black people they only are shown the negative and that is what they believe in. Smh
Comment by ST on September 16, 2017 at 9:31am
This is part of the problem. That's what guys choose to focus on missing the whole point of the article!
Comment by Al3x on September 16, 2017 at 8:43am
Don't even know who that is
Comment by gee pascal on September 15, 2017 at 9:42pm
Not fair to have Nate Parker's name associated with R. Kelly and Bill Cosby. Disrespectful

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