Disturbing video of a young black teenage girl being pushed to ground and restrained by an officer with his knee in her back re-ignited outrage over excessive use of force between white police and African Americans. It seems the brutality never ends.
Noticeably absent from the discussion, however, was the voice of NOW (National Organization for Women). The feminist group who advocates for justice and equality of women remained silent about the McKinney, TX incident from the time it occurred on Friday until Tuesday. By then, Officer David Casebolt had already resigned from the department.
Political commentator Roland Martin, who blasted the group on Twitter, noted on his blog: “People all over social media and black media have noticed the deafening silence of mainstream (ahem ... white) feminists when it comes to speaking out against the brutality Dajerria Becton received at the hands of David Eric Casebolt.”
NOW wasn’t the only organization that he called out for failing to step up and support Becton, but it received the brunt of his focus. He wrote: “All too often, in cases involving black women, NOW has been missing in action.”
“You can’t say that you care about women,” Martin said, “but then you only care about women who are nonblack.”
That same day, NOW President Terry O’Neill called for a Department of Justice investigation as well as Casebolt’s resignation. “Today, we are shocked, angered, and deeply worried for the well being of this young woman. Tomorrow, we need answers, and action,” she wrote.
Black folks have been very vocal recently around this issue of police brutality and rightfully so. It is not as if being unfairly targeted and killed by police is anything new. However, the fact that more of us are saying “enough” and that more police are being caught on video is drawing attention to our plight. It’s not as easy to dismiss us as it used to be.
A key element, however, is not only black people coming together to protest police killings, but coming together with people of other races. Black Lives Matter is not just the cry of black people. It is a movement that is being embraced by whites as well. We need this support because life should matter to everyone regardless of their color.
With the empathy and support of others, we become stronger as human beings. We discover that we are not alone out here fighting for ourselves, by ourselves. As we look at the historic relationship between white officers and communities of color, we have to acknowledge that whites have played a key role in recording incidents that might have otherwise been swept under the rug.
A white man recorded the infamous beating of Rodney King by 4 white officers back in 1991. Video of Casebolt was shot by a 15 year-old white boy, who admitted the cop overlooked him and went after his black friends during the McKinney incident.
As more videos come out showing bully cops, the public has to change its mind about racial stereotypes. All black people cannot be at fault all the time. We are not making it up when we say we are being targeted because of our skin.
On the other hand, video can also clear up conflicting details about what happened, when and how it happened. It can help justify actions taken by police to diffuse potentially dangerous situations.
The national movement now underway for the Dept. of Justice to become more involved with police reform is a good start, but we must do our part by standing up to injustice for all people, of all ages and races. You never know when you will be called on to defend your fellow citizens. And race should never be a factor in whether you raise or voice or remain silent.