Thursday, May 21, 2015


Is trending on Twitter.  It's about the Black Lives Matter movement, only this time about Black Women's and Girls' Lives mattering.  The overall context is complex, having to do with the lost childhoods of black girls, racist versions of sexism and sexist versions of racism, income inequality, wings cut short before the time to fly and much more.

But it is also about the way the police treats black women and about the way that treatment doesn't quite produce the same protests as similar outrages experienced by black men.

I don't have statistical data on the gender distribution of those who are killed by the police, or the underlying data on contacts with the police by men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, but even if men die more frequently in the hands of the police, it still looks like their individual cases get more coverage and more protests.  For example:

It is clear that #BlackLivesMatter struggles to generate as much concern for the safety and welfare of black women as it does for black men. The death of Natasha McKenna in the Fairfax County jail is a case in point.

McKenna, who suffered from mental illness, was shocked four times with a Taser stun gun by a sheriff’s deputy. She was in coma for several days before she died. A “Students March for Natasha McKenna” was supposed to have been held earlier in May to protest her death, which was ruled accidental. But the march has been postponed because of a lack of participation.
A meeting to discuss ways to drum up more interest in the march was scheduled for Tuesday in Fairfax City. More than 300 were invited on Facebook. Only 35 have confirmed, with 26 saying maybe.

We must do better.