As I watch the world damn near implode with senseless acts of violence committed overwhelmingly by men, whether it be police brutality or suicide bomber or national coups, I also watch how the media wastes 0 time in honing in on any female culprit while ignoring the obvious common male thread here. (Except for this article someone sent me that makes it plain as day http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-police-mass-shooting-men-women-gender-20160715-snap-story.html – but these talking points never make it onto the morning or evening news).
I remember listening to a public radio segment a few weeks ago covering the story of a terrorist plot in France that had been foiled by the police. In this case, the culprits were all women. But they didn’t stop at identify them as women – though I do not recall them identifying them by name – they gave their ages and even told us the dating resume of the one of the women. Apparently she was married to a man with terrorist links and had been previously engaged to another man with terrorist links. I don’t recall ever getting any details about the dating history of male terrorists but ok.
Earlier this year, I posted the following photo and caption on my IG:
“I was trying to read a bit more on the attack in Ivory Coast, cause per usual, it’s not getting the mainstream attention & coverage it should. I learned that there have actually been three different recent attacks on African soil-one Burkina Faso, one in Mali and now in the Ivory Coast. That last line, subtle as it is, grabbed my attention. Women committing acts of terror or organized violence against the masses is rare, which is likely why reports tend to make sure they mention her gender when it does happen. But still…Because in all three of these attacks, most of the assailants were men. But the word “gunmen” is written so cavalierly that you barely even register his gender. There are no separate paragraphs breaking down the number of male assailants (which in this case of the three total attacks, would be 10 out 12 were men). We have managed to normalize male violence so much that we don’t even register it. Instead, we’ll hone in on or at least make damn certain people are aware of the 2 female assailants in this case. But this is how privilege & power works. White supremacy consistently downplays, validates or downright ignores White criminality, while making certain to highlight and “examine” the shit out of Black & Brown criminality. Global misogyny will downplay or subtly validate male violence and aggression but scrutinize the shit out of female violence and aggression. I say this. If we’re not gonna ask why are these acts of systemic mass violence committed overwhelmingly by men, whether it’s ISIS, Al-Qaeda, police brutality, a Timothy McVeigh, or gang violence in Compton, and that even though their beef is really with other men & male-dominated institutions, they shoot up women & children, kidnap girls who were simply trying to go to school, then have the nerve to beat their chest and “claim responsibility” for this sick shit like they’ve accomplished something good & meaningful in the world, don’t sit up here trying to focus in on two women like “hey, did y’all notice the two women…” when the question needs to be “hey, did y’all notice that most of the attackers were men? Why is that?”
And now recently, an unarmed Black man, Terrence Crutcher, was murdered by police while his car was stalled on the highway. Less than 48 hours later, another Black man, Keith Lamont, was killed by police. In the video of Terrence Crutcher’s murder, you see at least three officers involved, one who used his taser, and not to mention the cop in the chopper. This was a team effort. Yet the only officer we know of by name and face is Betty Shelby- the only female. (And like the female terrorists in France, the media wasted no time delving into her background and personal history). Shelby shot at Terrence after he was tasered by another cop and it appears that it was her single shot that was fatal. With regards to Lamont’s death, I have not heard a damn thing identifying the cop(s) who fired the fatal shot. The headlines simply refer to them as “North Carolina cops”. No particular officer has been named or selected as the face of the incident. Yet, Shelby who was not acting completely alone, is the only one being scrutinized like she orchestrated this by herself. As of the latest update, she has been officially charged with manslaughter. *Looks at calendar and watch. Boy, that was fast. And no one else is being charged as an accomplice. Seems to me like the woman on the force was trying too damn hard to be like one of the boys, even willing to kill for it, and played herself. This world only sanctions racism served up by White men. Not by women named Betty. This is the same country that failed to convict the cops who beat Freddie Gray to death. Let Zimmerman go free. Let Mike Brown’s killer go free. Let Eric Garner’s killer go free. Didn’t touch the cops involved in Sandra Bland’s death. So why start charging officers now- the one who happened to be a woman? So my guess is that now with a female face for racism and police brutality, you might actually see the male dominated system do something to address the problem of police brutality. Regulations here, regulations there. You know men tend to get really fake moral whenever women start acting up.
While it’s good to see a public display of accountability, this won’t change anything at its core. (Nor should it have taken so much black death before a murderous cop got rightfully dragged and destroyed in the media and charged.) But the truth remains that the vast majority of cops are male and most of the cops involved in police brutality cases are male, yet it takes hell and brimstone to hold them accountable, if they are held accountable at all. Meanwhile, the one woman who fired the fatal shot that one time is now the face of police brutality (very similar pattern when Peter Lang shot and killed Akai Gurley). This is for show and it sends the message that police brutality is only wrong when it’s committed by someone who is a non-White and/or non-male.
These patterns, along with a few others I’ve noticed, suggests that something is definitely brewing behind the scenes in the arena of sex and gender (not to the exclusion of racism, however). I have my suspicions about what that it is. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.