What? Is there some massive crime wave against women that is not being reported on in the news?
When the students of Parkland, Florida, first made headlines, the media was widely criticized for promoting the stories of white students affected by violence over those of students of color. Since then, young activists have made very well-meaning attempts to widen the conversation to include the way gun violence manifests in communities of color.
There are two explanations for this.
- White liberals are racist, and just do not care when poor black kids get killed.
- Deep down, white liberals know that the causes of the high homicide rates in black communities are related to gangs and drugs, which is related to poverty, welfare, and ghetto culture. If they push gun control too hard because of poor black kids, scrutiny over why the black homicide rate is so high will blow up in their faces.
It’s easier to make hay with white middle class voters when it is white middle class kids being killed randomly than when some fatherless black gang member shoots another fatherless black gang member for selling drugs on his turf. The last thing liberals want is to have to explain why there are so many fatherless black gang members in Democrat enclaves.
Those efforts while noble, have unfortunately only aided in further narrowing the conversation and separating communities along party and color lines. Simply put, it lacks real intersectionality. We’re experiencing a complex conversation about violence that race alone can’t explain. There are many other factors that make gun violence a problem for everyone of every background.
Intersectionality. That’s just what we need more of, Oppression Olympics. There is no problem we can’t make worse than by trying to figure out who is the most aggrieved victim.
We know that women are affected by gun violence in all its forms. By reframing the conversation around women, in full recognition of our multiple and intersecting identities, the full scope of the problem of gun violence can be seen and intersectional advocacy can be pursued.
For the last year we have hard data on (2015), 78.8% of homicide victims were male, and 89.0% of homicide perpetrators were male. I understand that there are female victims of gun violence, but I’m pretty sure men take the brunt of it.
Intimate partner violence affects women of all races, religions, ages and abilities. That violence is five times more likely to kill us if our intimate partner has access to a gun. An astounding 4.5 million women in America reported that an intimate partner threatened them with a gun ― these are the women that lived. And yet even though this issue affects all women, the state often punishes black and brown women for being the victims of violence.
What the fuck is with that last sentence. A black man slaps his girlfriend around and the police arrest her? I don’t think it works like that. Explain this bullshit to me.
Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother who fired a warning shot into the air to scare off her abusive husband, spent almost six years under state supervision―the same state where George Zimmerman walked free under Stand Your Ground laws after shooting Trayvon Martin. In Detroit, pregnant mother Siwatu-Salama Ra sits in jail awaiting sentencing for merely brandishing a registered firearm to defend herself, her mother and her 2-year-old daughter from an attack.
Yep, it’s bullshit.
Alexander broke Rule 1: don’t take a warning shot. If you have to shoot, shoot to kill. Had she shot her husband in the chest, she’d probably have gone free. There is no protection for warning shots.
Zimmerman wasn’t exonerated because he’s a white man. He shot Martin within the confines of law. She broke the law. It sucks for her. Maybe the lesson here is to explain the law better.
How about Ra? Well she broke the law too.
According to the Detroit Metro Times, Ra was at her mother’s house when a fight broke out between her niece and her niece’s friend. When Ra asked the friend to leave, she was confronted by the girl’s mother, Chanell Harvey. Ra said Harvey began ramming her car, with the activist’s 2-year-old daughter inside, before attempting to run over Ra’s mother. To stop the attack, Ra grabbed her unloaded —and legally registered— handgun from her glove box. Ra pointed the gun at Harvey’s car, which put an end to the threat.
In spite of Michigan’s stand your ground laws, which allow licensed gun owners to use a firearm to protect themselves, Ra was charged with two counts of felony assault, and later convicted on one. Ra and her lawyer, Victoria Burton-Harris, argued police never considered the activist could be a victim because she’s Black.
Of course racism. Or… maybe what she did was brandishing.
“You’re allowed to behave differently when you’re fearful based on the color of your skin,” Burton-Harris told the Detroit Metro Times. “George Zimmerman was allowed to be fearful and to act on that fear. He was allowed to take the life of an unarmed Black child. Juxtapose that next to my client who had a car coming at her mother, and that same car had just presented a danger to her child. It was driven by the complaining witness, but Siwatu wasn’t allowed to be fearful and rely on her government-licensed and sanctioned firearm to ward off her attacker.”
Another fucking comparison to the Zimmerman shooting.
Liberals need to learn the law. There is a very narrow set of circumstances that make a good shoot a good shoot. Outside of that, it’s not a good shoot. The irony here is that it’s these same Liberals who keep narrowing that good shoot window. “But Zimmerman” is not a defense when you get outside of that window. Also, obey Rule 2: be the first to call the cops.
Now back to HuffPo.
Mothers of black and brown children also have to face the very real fear that their children will not be safe from those sworn to protect and serve. The police shoot and kill almost 1,000 people a year, and the majority of those are people of color.
Now we’ve jumped from civilian gun owners to police. This isn’t a seamless transition after decades of hearing “only the police should own guns” and in a matter of a few years having police shooting lumped in with arguments for gun control.
Although white men commit most acts of mass gun violence, children of color bear the burden of those crimes with the over-policing of urban schools.
Actually it seems like from the Broward County report, that the problem in schools in under policing. “Over Policing” seems to be Social Justice code for “suppress the evidence that some minority groups in certain circumstances disproportionately break the law.” According to the FBI the largest single demographic of murderers is Black men age 20-24, with 53% of murderers being black men under the age of 34. Maybe what we need is more discipline in the schools.
The presence of police in schools has not made students safer, but it has increased arrests for students of color and video footage has also shown shocking brutality from law enforcement officers inside of schools towards students of color. One such viral video shows a teenage black girl in South Carolina being tackled and flipped upside down while sitting in her desk, simply for not putting her phone away when instructed.
I can’t speak to that one case with that one girl but it seems that the bigger problem is teachers getting attacked in school by their own students. When a student beats up a teacher, maybe the police need to get involved.
Of course, gun violence homicides within communities of color are a problem that should be taken seriously. Firearm violence is eight times more likely to kill Black Americans than those who are white, and homicide by gun is the second leading cause of death among young Latinos.
Well, 88% of homicides are intra-racial so all those young black and Latino men are being killed by young black and Latino men. Maybe we should look into what is causing that before we start taking away citizens gun rights en masse.
We need full transparency to prevent the co-opting of the stories of people of color. We’ve seen how organizations use the traumatic experiences of black and brown people as tools for fundraising while rarely using those funds for or in support of the minority communities that experience trauma daily. Organizations who claim to be doing the work must be held accountable, making sure that serious investments are also going into a diverse set of communities.
Why does this feel like “stop the cultural appropriation of gun violence.” We can’t use minority gun violence stories to raise money for anit-gun activists. Fine, by me. But that seems… retarded.
This is why diversity within advocacy groups is a requirement for real change. We have to create meaningful space for a wide range of stakeholders to be included in addressing and creating solutions that will help make all of our communities safer and not just a privileged few.
Tell that to Shannon Watts.
Just like the problem is intersectional, so too are the solutions to strengthen and protect our communities. We need to encourage our elected representatives to say no to more police in schools, which has not made students any safer. We must elect into office new candidates who aren’t afraid to reframe gun violence as a public health crisis.
Fewer police in schools will only increase the violence. Treating gun violence like a health crisis will only increase the violence if the goal is to make legal gun ownership pathological . How about we figure out why there are so many violent kids in our schools. We can start with the relationship between violent kids and fatherless homes.
Funding priorities should look like effective violence intervention and prevention programs and more support for women who experience intimate partner violence. Only when the decision-making tables are truly reflective of the many communities that make up America will our policy solutions be truly reflective of the many manifestations of this terrible problem.
The United Colors of Benetton against gun rights.
By the end of this article, I saw nothing that demonstrated what the title said was true – that women are the hidden victims of gun violence.
All I read was “muh victim status!!!”
How about we figure out why certain demographics experience disproportional levels of violence and address the cause?
No, wait, that might be racist. Let’s just deny law abiding people their civil liberties instead. That’s Social Justice for you, more oppression for the people who didn’t do anything.