I’ve been stewing on this all weekend. I did not want it to be a big enough issue for me to blog about. Obviously, that didn’t work very well for me, because here I am again, two hours before midnight, trying to get this off my chest and into the ether that is social media.
Amber Guyger. Botham Jean. The murder trial. The guilty verdict. The sentencing. The reactions. I have very strong opinions on every facet of this latest tale of white privilege, and I intend to add mine to the thousands being generated in our community.
Where else but in America can a white woman shoot a Black man in his own apartment and not only have the nerve to plead not guilty to the charge but to offer the most ridiculous defense since “the devil made me do it”?
Sad to say, that’s par for the course these days. I have accepted that America has been booted back to the racially tense climate of the 1960’s. Long before the Pig-in-Chief got elected, I also accepted that justice in this country swings disproportionately in favor of the rich and/or white. I actually expected Officer Barbie to walk. Other police officers who shoot down Black people like dogs in the street end up walking–or not being charged in the first place.
When the guilty verdict came down, and Barbie was sentenced to only ten years (out of a possible ninety-nine!), I went numb. I knew that there was another shoe yet to drop. Unlike others in our community, I didn’t even blink when eighteen year old Brandt Jean forgave Officer Barbie for killing his big brother in cold blood. As a Christian, I know that Jesus requires us to practice forgiveness so that we may be forgiven. That was his process to get set free of whatever was going on inside him; I’m not mad at him AT ALL for that.
Let me tell you what I am mad at, what pissed me off the second I saw it: the hugfest.
Officer Barbie stands blubbering in the courtroom after being sentenced. Brandt Jean, practicing forgiveness, gives her a hug. I wouldn’t have gone that far, but this is his process, not mine.
Judge Tammy Kemp decides to do a “Judge Hatchett” and comes down off the bench to also hug the teary-eyed convict and to give her a Bible. I guess she forgot that she was supposed to be impartial…and doing her job, not the chaplain’s.
At some point in the proceedings, Bailiff Whatever-Her-Name-Is also forgets what her actual job is and reaches over to comb Officer Barbie’s hair.
Really??? On what planet would a just-sentenced Black defendant be extended that level of compassion–or any!–by officers of the court?
Oh, it gets better. Tonight, I learned that Officer Barbie’s legal team is expected to appeal the murder conviction because the prosecution’s star witness just “happened” to get shot and killed this past Friday.
And THUD goes the other shoe.
In these Divided States of Bizarroworld, women of color aren’t accorded the minimum level of human decency, much less compassion, in the criminal justice system. Cyntoia Brown, Crystal Mason, Marissa Alexander…what judge hugged them when they were harshly sentenced? What bailiff stroked their hair? Who cared that they were shedding tears?
That’s why I led this post with the Womanism quote. Don’t get me wrong: I love the white women whom I call friends, but they need to understand that we are not in this together. We have never been considered equally female. White women in this country are perceived to be delicate flowers whose sensibilities need to be coddled, catered, and condescended to. Black women in this country are perceived to be oversexed beasts of burden who don’t feel pain and are forbidden to cry. An upset white woman gets comforted. An upset Black woman gets body-slammed and tazed. Everyone in the room wants to have the white woman’s back. A Black woman has to have her own back.
My Caucasian sisters, your fight is NOT our fight. Yes, we both want social equality and respect, but we’re fighting for the pedestal that you all stepped down from in the 70’s, when you insisted on being treated like “people” instead of like “ladies”. We are ladies. We are women. We are human beings. We are descendants of the Motherland, the Cradle of Civilization.
This is the fight that we keep fighting. I honestly can’t tell how well we’re doing.