The moment my eyes came across a viral thumbnail of the assault in Spring Valley, I tensed up. Before I could even read the caption, I was instantly transported back in time to a sunny day just a week past my 17th birthday. Two decades later, that day remains crystal clear to me.
After exchanging words of defiance and ignoring orders of a Chicago police officer to move from in front of my high school building, said officer decided that in order to silence me and get me to obey, his only course of action was to rear back, raise his big black hand and slap me across my right cheek. He stood a little over 6 ft and 250+ lbs. I stood less than 5 ft tall and weighed less than 90lbs.
I knew watching the video would cause me to psychologically burn, but there is no trigger warning that could have prepared me to see that child be slammed from her seat, without any resistance mind you, and dragged the same way I have witnessed my dogs attack some ill-fated vermin or their yard toys.
It is an atrocity that this barbaric behavior has become the normalized way many in power come to classify and engage with our young people, including girls, as mere animals; to be tamed and beaten into submission. The deliberate and maniacal attack on this child plainly demonstrates the inherent belief that Black girls are not afforded their full humanity, which for their white counterparts includes space to sulk, resist, speak up/talk back, and even (gasp) buck authority.
Plainly stated, Black girls have no freedom nor authority over their own bodies. Bodies which may be brutalized in any such matter deemed by the person(s) offended by their audacity to attempt to exercise their breadth of humanity. The revulsion and rage still boils in my veins.
Still, all the more heartbreaking was the despondent reaction of her classmates. While it is saddening, it is definitely understandable. After the highly-publicized cases of police brutalizing two Black girls this past summer at swimming pools in Mckinney, TX. and Ohio respectively, I wanted to know what effect these cases and so many unsung others had on our girls. So, I interviewed child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Karen Taylor Crawford for my podcast, Voices of Advocacy Radio. She specializes in disruptive behaviors.
Spring Valley Is Everywhere When Black Girls Aren’t Afforded Their Full Humanity was originally published on blackdoctor.org