In the wake of the Derek Chauvin trial and his subsequent conviction, three BIPOC people were shot by the police–two of them were murdered by the police. I am tired of the phrase murdered by the police.
Adam Toledo was 13. DEAD.
Ma’Khia Bryant was 16. DEAD.
Isaiah Brown was 32–still in the ICU.
Yet, the thing that I so discouraging is what is being said about Ma’Khia Bryant (do not look for the video here, I am not going to show it). There are Black and White folk ALIKE who think that she deserved to get shot because she had a knife.
Ma’Khia Bryant called the police because these two adult women were coming to her residence to fight her (a 16-year-old child), and she got a knife to defend herself. Rather than de-escalate anything–as should be the assumption in these cases!–this officer considered her a deadly threat, shooting her four times in the chest. I am a at a loss of just why this happened in the age of Dylan Roof. In the age of Kyle Rittenhouse. In the age of Nikolas Cruz. All these non-melaninated people killed people, and were armed and taken in alive. What a privilege!
That privilege is a whole other conversation. Let us focus on Ma’Khia.
I will say this: If you truly believe the police were right for killing a 16-year-old girl, never follow this space again. And disrespectfully, I hope God deals with you just as you deserve.
Ma’Khia Bryant was a 16-year-old girl. Sixteen. Six. Teen. There is no reason by which she should be dead! Not when he had other weapons at the ready! Yet, this is an old argument with an new face! The police are out of control. Yet, with modern day policing rooted in the practices, the policies, that brought the nation the Fugitive Law of 1850–what more can be expected? Again, that is a separate argument. What I want to focus on is the attitude towards Ma’Khia.
It is a certain type of callousness that I see when it relates to this child–this Black girl. That callousness is unsettling. When I hear people say, she deserved it? All of the women in me, ancestral and yet to come, are enraged! How dare you say a child deserved to get murdered by the state! How?! Explain this to me.
Ma’Khia had a knife. The police officer had a gun. You cannot tell me that he couldn’t have disarmed her, tazed her, or even wounded her! But, to say that she deserved to have the cop shot her? Wow.
This nation is in the grips of what can only be seen as, thought of as, a Cold War on multiple fronts. Multiple! With all we as a collective nation have seen, as much as we as collective Blackness have seen, there are people who still believe respectability politics will still save us!
They aren’t. They won’t. They never will.
Respectability is not needed in a time of war, especially when the Rules of Engagement keep changing! You cannot justify to me why this child–she was a child!–is dead! The amount of venom aimed at this child is outrageous! It is not just the anti-Blackness that is apparent, but the misogynoir! You adhere to toxic patriarchy, internalized racism, and the fetishizing of power through respectability politics allow you say that a child deserved to be dead. Have you become so absorbed in the lie of respectability politics you cannot see Ma’Khia in the life of Black people around you? Or even yourself? Amazing.
You cannot reason with that. However to this I give this counter: When the police murder you child, keep that same energy.”
Rest in Power, Little Sister. We ain’t done yet.
[image from USA Today]