Written by Emma Glassman-Hughes, Team THINX
This past week, Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of five counts of rape and 13 counts of sexual assault against eight of his 13 current accusers. On its own, this story is pretty horrendous. But when you add in the other factors--like, say, that Holtzclaw is a white, now ex-cop and that all but one of his targets were black women from the same poor neighborhood in Oklahoma City--the story becomes more of a modern-day nightmare. The rise in media coverage of violence against black Americans on behalf of the police has contributed to a hyper-awareness of racial dynamics and tensions, dredging up hateful rhetoric from scared white people--scared not for their lives, like people of color, but for loss of their power.
We’ve seen the brutal and senseless murders and assaults of countless black teenagers, boys and girls, men and women; kids getting gunned down in the streets, people getting choked and beaten, students getting thrown to the ground in the middle of class. This story of the serial rape of poor black women at the hands of an empowered white cop is something we could have all seen coming, and maybe some of us did, miles ahead. It’s the kind of story we were all quietly waiting to hear about, hoping it would finally scare us into action; hoping it would be the last straw. Hoping that now, we would be able to see racism and sexism for what they are, for what they become when they’re intertwined, and that we’d be angry enough to change it.
Well, there’s been no lack of anger over the past couple years, that’s for certain. We’ve seen the rise of the Blacks Lives Matter movement, started by three black women who were fed up with the systematic dehumanization of their people. We’ve seen massive protests take over cities nationwide; we’ve seen highways shut down and politicians confronted. The anger on the side of the oppressed is palpable and exhilarating.
The fear and bitterness and guilt and resistance to change on the side of the oppressors is equally palpable, but terrifying.
So now that at least 13 women who have had the courage or the help to indict their abuser publicly--now that those 13 women have been through what they have been through as a result of extreme misogynoir--will we, as a cohesive nation, take the necessary steps to protect our citizens from greedy power and entitlement? Because that’s what this story is about. It’s about racism and sexism, yes; but those are both the rotten fruits borne of the seed of entitlement. And that’s what we need to address from here on out.
Many of you shared your thoughts, most of you shared your outrage, about this news event with us on Facebook, and it was tremendous to see your engagement. We hope you agree with us that all feminists should be engaged with these issues and should be just as mad as any Black Lives Matter activist out there.
In solidarity we stand.
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