As of late Monday evening, the local Louisiana authorities were still vacillating over whether or not to call this a hate crime. Part of their hesitancy stems from the fact that Sharmeka could not definitively identify the race of her attackers.
The fact that the race of her attackers is being used as a gauge for this hate crime demonstrates the limitations of how we think about race and racism in this country. This Black woman was targeted and subjected to severe and life-threatening bodily injury for sport. Her perpetrators then thought they should punctuate their crime by scrawling hateful racially incendiary messages on her car. What isn’t hateful about that?
Racism is like an autoimmune disorder. It attacks the body politic from the inside out, warring against itself, but frequently on the surface, things seem normal and healthy. We are only attuned to the problem when a flare up happens. But to continue to act as though the flare up is the disease is to engage in the most unhealthy and self-defeating form of denial there is.
Then again, maybe it’s the hoodies. Selective historical amnesia being what it is, perhaps folks have come to believe that only Black men roam in public space under hooded covers threatening to do harm to other citizens. Our rush into a postracial fantasy makes us too soon forget that white men, particularly rural Southern white men, are experts in terrorizing and policing racial minorities’ access to public space.
Even if it turns out that Sharmeka’s attackers are not white men, we should ask ourselves why her attackers would choose such a powerfully interpretive historical narrative in which to play out their need to do harm to a Black girl’s body and personhood. Racism has a basic grammar, a set of rules, which we all learn to speak, having been immersed in it our entire lives. In a racist grammar, the subjects know that power is predicated on the ability to exercise violence (of various types) against a direct object, namely an innocent victim who bear the marks of the wrong skin color in the wrong time and place.
As of this point, the coverage of Moffitt’s attack has been minimal. I knew about it only because folks back home were posting info from local news sources. I guess it is left up to social media to convince the world yet again that violence against Black women matters. And I hope Black folks remember, too, that Sharmeka’s life deserves the same energy that we gave to the Jena 6 and to Trayvon Martin."
—Brittney Cooper, “When The Hoodies Are White,” Crunk Feminist Collective 10/23/12
So I’ve been told the standard, “You’re Pretty For A Black Girl” quote. I’ve been told for so long that I started to get use to it. Then today someone told me it again and I got upset. I told them, If I wasn’t black would you still say that. What if I was Asian, would you tell me I was…
*Take note when I say black men in this posting, I am referring to the black men who put down black women*
I get so sick and tired of black men putting down black women. I constantly hear black men (NOT ALL JUST SOME) say “This is why I don’t date black women”, “Black women bull shittin to much”, “White, Asian, Latinos women are where it’s at”, etc.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for interracial marriage. I myself could care less what color my significant other is. I don’t care if you are black, white, asian, hispanic, middle eastern,etc. Love is love. But what I don’t like is people putting down their own race to justify why they don’t date people of their own color.
The black men I hear say this always want to put down black women, but what they need to do is, instead of blaming us look at themselves! There are PLENTY of strong, educated, black women out here. Black men need to do some self evaluation and look at all the women they’ve have dated. If they follow a set pattern that fit the stereotype of black women then they need to shut their mouths and change their preference.
In summary all I have to say is don’t blame us, blame yourself homie.
*This applies to black women who say “Niggas ain’t shit” also*