Connect with us

Seeing Butterflies

How black women’s bodies are violated as soon as they enter school


Black Women in the News

How black women’s bodies are violated as soon as they enter school

Pulled over at a traffic stop and beaten by the side of the road. Placed in a banned chokehold by a New York City police officer. Violently taken into police custody, never to come out alive. Shot first, questions asked later.

The stories and images that immediately leap to mind in connection with these scenes are those of black men – Rodney King, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile.

But these are also the stories of black women.

Women like Sandra Antor, pulled over and brutalized on Interstate 95 in 1996 by a South Carolina state trooper in an incident captured on video five years after images of Rodney King’s beating sparked a national uprising.

Women like Rosann Miller, placed in a chokehold in 2014 by a New York City police officer when she was seven months pregnant, just weeks after police choked Eric Garner to death on camera using one.

Women like Alesia Thomas, repeatedly kicked and beaten by a Los Angeles police officer in 2012 while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. Like Freddie Gray’s, the injuries she sustained in police custody proved fatal.

Women like Mya Hall, a black trans woman shot dead by police after making a wrong turn on to a National Security Agency property outside of Baltimore, just weeks before Freddie Gray’s case rocked the city and the nation.

Yet black women’s experiences of profiling and often deadly force remain largely invisible in today’s conversations about the epidemic of racial profiling, police violence and mass incarceration in the US.

A five-year-old in handcuffs

I had been documenting police violence against adult women of color for almost a decade when I learned about the case of Jaisha Aikins, in 2005. Jaisha, a five-year-old black girl, was handcuffed and arrested at her St Petersburg, Florida, school for essentially throwing a temper tantrum – as every five-year-old has done at some point.

The school’s administrators and some media commentators justified putting a five-year-old in handcuffs on the grounds that she “punched” the school’s vice-principal, as if the little girl had hauled back and clocked her, rather than flailing at her with tiny hands while in the throes of a tantrum, with the force of a child.

It was clear from video taken of the incident that the vice-principal was not hurt and that Jaisha eventually calmed down. In fact, Jaisha was sitting calmly in a chair when police arrived in response to the vice-principal’s call to arrest an unruly student.

Even after discovering the student was a kindergartener, three white armed officers nevertheless proceeded to pull the little girl’s hands behind her back to put them in handcuffs as she cried and begged them not to. Jaisha was taken to the police station in a patrol car, but released to her mother’s custody when …


Please read original article- How black women’s bodies are violated as soon as they enter school

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

More in Black Women in the News

To Top