On November 2, 2013, Ted Wafer, a 55 year old White male resident of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, killed Renisha McBride, a 19 year old young Black woman who was injured from a car accident and seeking assistance. According toDetroit Free Press, Ted Wafer has been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter, where if convicted he can face up to life in prison. However, they’re already bringing out the “Angry Black Woman” trope and tapping into anti-Black myths about inherent violent behavior and criminality for Black people as a way to smear her name. I expect her name will be dragged through the mud and she, not Wafer will really be on trial in the way thatTrayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman was.
Though she’s a Black woman and not a Black man (and let’s not be obtuse; we know despite some extrajudicial/White male killings being of Black women, Black women receive less media coverage and community support, and virtually none if they are Black trans women…so don’t even) and because she had been drinking, not sober, let’s not forget that Black women who are sober (i.e. Rekia Boyd), Black men who are intoxicated (i.e. Rodney King) and Black men who are legally sober (i.e. Oscar Grant) are still harmed or murdered, period.
Thus, the urge for misogynoir (anti-Black misogyny that deems Black women’s lives less valuable than Black men’s), for patriarchal cisheterosexism (idea that cishet Black men’s lives are more valuable than other Black people’s lives and that Black women have “easier” lives than Black men) and the politics of respectability (idea that she’s not an “acceptable” and “appropriate” victim to support)—that’s making some of us Black folks not be concerned for McBride’s family or the fact that she was shot in the face despite being unarmed and needing medical attention—is an urge that needs to be deconstructed and rejected.
Of course White supremacy dictates that Whites have every racist, classist, misogynoiristic response to her death and will act as if she is on trial, not Wafer, and of course haul out their ahistorical and ignorant tropes about “Black on Black crime" and the filthy lie about how Black people “don’t care” as a distraction, but I don’t write to them or for them. Instead, I’m thinking about how some of us Black folks have bailed on Renisha and how we can change this in general for Black women (though especially for Black trans women).
Remember Renisha McBride and that despite being cis (let’s always complicate cis privilege discussion for Black women; the complication is not denial of privilege; it is nuance and it is intersectionality), she, like many Black women are viewed as “equally violent” as Black men, face the same violence that Black men often do (i.e. Marlene Pinnock, Dr. Ersula Ore) and cannot reasonably expect any protection from the State whatsoever, whether in a historic context or even now when we are viewed as not capable of being harmed or needing help (i.e. via misogynoiristic and ableist archetypes such as “Strong Black Woman” and “Angry Black Woman” who are “automatically violent”) but only as capable of harming others. The fear of Blackness is always deemed reasonable and a death sentence in response is regularly deemed justifiable.
As far as I know, there is no live visual coverage of the jury selection (which started today) or the trial itself, which also speaks to lower visibility for Black women as victims.
@FeministaJones started the hashtag #RememberRenisha since people tend to do things with tags like “RenishaTrial” which connects to what I just stated about Black victims being on trial for their own deaths.
While I wish she would have had more support and someone to take her home that evening, I don’t think a bullet in the head is an adequate response. But again, plenty of Black people have been murdered similarly and were sober. Blackness is always deemed sufficient proof to justify death. Anything else is tacked on as extra.
While I have less than zero percent faith in both her memory and her family getting the support they need and Ted Wafer actually paying for deciding to murder her—in such a way, placed a cool as a cucumber call to 911 after murdering her and being arrested weeks later—I still hope that the calloused crime will evoke some sense of accountability and that her life won’t be yet another Black life deemed worthless and disposable; somehow.
i really hate this ‘ur other half is out there somewhere u just gotta meet them’ like fuck off im not incomplete im a whole person and i dont need anyone to ‘complete me’ the only thing i need is a pizza and not ur shit bye