I Am My Brother’s Keeper, and My Sister’s Keeper, Too

McKinney, Texas is yet another state under a chokehold in America for putting its citizens under the knee of its police, until footage allows us detail to citizens and police. Newly released footage of a swimming pool party in Texas’ suburban neighborhood displays police interaction with a group of teenagers as usual procedure, until a kneecap is on one of the child’s neck. “Usual procedure” in a police encounter includes, but is not limited to; stop-and-frisk, get-on-the-ground, and put-your-hands-behind-your-back. What we attempt to teach our children is to adhere to this procedure, until we learn that this procedure varies by location, race, age, and unsullied religion. We are so enthralled in this procedure, that we become less startled in the application of this procedure on children. We are so enthralled in this procedure, that we become less startled in the application of this procedure on black children. When we start paying attention to the details of said victim, brutality can at best be contextualized. Black, male, and more likely than imagined, child—these are often the details of victims of police brutality. The frequency of such details creates a familiarity that guises a portrayal of alternative narratives. The narrative we adhere to progress, however, is not altered by a usual procedure, rather unusual details of the victim—black, child, and female. Not only does McKinney now face the responsibility of narrating their casualty of abuse by police, but the rarity that is the abuse of girls and women in America.

“Black boy” is a description all too utilized in the discourse on police brutality in America. Of course, the idea of what it means to be black in America has been lead by stories of boys and men, and their encounters with police. The agency that black men hold are often a result of interacting with police and policy, as the spaces between police, policy, and black men hold effective dialogue. Effective dialogue, however, does not only come from being on the defense of our stories, but on the offense of people involved, and women have too been murdered by corrupt police and corrupted policy.

The mere wording of “women too” implies a competitive narrative between the struggles of men and women that distract us from the similarities between struggles that produce the narrative. Not that women have too been murdered, but that women have too often been murdered without the agency of men. Not that women are without agency of men, but that women are without the expectation of agency. There lies an urgency to gain agency when our boys and men are murdered; there lies an agency to gain urgency when our girls and women murdered. How we gain both a sense of urgency and agency comes from statistics that tell us, “men and women have been murdered,” but our numbers do not articulate the narratives which hold names, races, ages, and genders that are too often forgotten.

In fact, more men may have been murdered than women by police in McKinney, Texas in the year of 2015 alone. In fact, more black men may have been murdered than any other ethnicity in racially-divided neighborhoods like McKinney, Texas in previous years. In fact, more black men may have been discriminated against than both white and black women by police in America since its foundation in 1776. These facts give us clear examples of discrimination, but footage of a black girl being dropped face-down under the kneecap of police at a summer party while boys are left untouched highlights victimization of girls. The intent to chase a young woman after usual procedure of asking bystanders to leave premises demonstrates the predatory behavior, which not only increases our facts of discrimination and victimization, but the marginalization that perpetuates discrimination and victimization. In fact, discrimination is the victimization of color, age, and gender, but the survival that is a black girl’s story is a borne witness to stories like the black boy’s that we are dared to adhere: child and agent of change.

These are children, but their blackness or whiteness, boyhood or girlhood is often reason for their fall under the kneecaps of crime, discrimination, and hate. How we keep children from crime, discrimination, and hate is still as unresolved as crime, discrimination, and hate itself. But these are children, and what we teach them about blackness and whiteness, boyhood and girlhood, may not only keep them from the division that is crime, discrimination, and hate, but take them to a place of unity, however familiar or usual.

Sister Kahrima


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