Note: I usually write black in lowercase because I no longer feel the need to tailor my language to an increasingly obsolete grammar guide to get my message across. But from here on out I will capitalize for solidarity’s sake.
The more we hear about Breonna Taylor’s murder, the more it doesn’t make sense. Granted, whenever the victim of a racist system is a Black woman, very little makes sense. How did Sandra Bland end up dead? Why did some gutless good ol’ boys decide to kill Johnnie Mae Chappell, a mother of ten walking home from the grocery store? Why was Laura Nelson raped and lynched after being thrown in prison on a bogus charge only to have photos of her corpse passed around as collectible postcards? And why did all of these murders go unpunished?
Why does the world hate us Black women? Do we not deserve to be loved, to be honored, to be listened to? Do we not deserve justice? Are we too loud, too fat, too dark, too opinionated, too proud, too visible to be treated as human? We die at the hands of police overshadowed by those who can’t keep calm because they have a Black son. We die at the hands of those who claim to love and cherish us. We die at the hands of those whom we share a bed. We die at the hands of doctors who ignore our pain. We die at the hands of capitalists who poison our water and air. We die by our own hands when the pain becomes unbearable and we are told to pray about it instead of seeking help.
When exactly is the right time to highlight the specialized gaslighting and violence aimed directly at Black women, both cis and trans? When do we talk about the victim-blaming? Is it Kenneth Walker’s fault, or her fault for dating him? According to Breonna’s mother, Breonna was deeply in love with him and wanted to marry him. He also is a legal gun owner and the police did barge in around 1 am. Walker was charged with attempted murder for shooting an officer in the leg. She’s still dead from eight bullets. What about her ex Jamarcus Glover who the police claimed to be looking for? Is he to blame or is that still Breonna’s fault because she used to date him? Or is it her fault that she sometimes receives mail?
Racists will go through an infinite amount of hoops to justify police violence against Black people. They will say the police had every right to raid her home. They will say Kenneth Walker shouldn’t have shot at the police even if he did mistake them as intruders. They will even say Breonna Taylor isn’t as innocent as the media says if she chose to date drug dealers (she wasn’t dating a drug dealer). Just like 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, they will blame her murder not at the hands of police, but on nondescript “d-boys” that may or may not live in the same neighborhood. They will never admit that the War on Drugs is an excuse to subjugate Black Americans of all genders and to trample their civil rights. Breonna had no record and nothing illegal was found.
And when this is all over, they will ignore Breonna Taylor just as they did Atatiana Jefferson, Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, and Natasha McKenna. They will ignore the abuse Black women prisoners endure, sometimes with their children, many of whom are also the children of the prison guards. Like the infant left behind when a white mob came for Laura Nelson, those children may soon also be lost to history. They will continue to commit small acts of aggression towards Black women, such as calling her outside of her name, misgendering her, and belittling her when she addresses the injustices against her. Each act of racial and sexual aggression is like a pinprick. If one receives too many pinpricks one can bleed out.
When will you love us as you claim to? Enough to let us live and thrive? Enough to not call us “fast” at the age of 8 while ignoring our uncle’s leering? Enough not to call us angry or bitter for not accepting struggle love? Enough not to criticize our hair, our speech, and our bodies for not being like white women? Enough to not let us be another hashtag?