How Does Fighting For Oscar Grant Benefit Black Women?

I will answer that question for you myself: it doesn’t.

Before I’m deluged with angry retorts this isn’t about Oscar Grant but about the way some wish to symbolize this individual as being a victim of a greater conspiracy and part of the “racist rogue cop” theory. Unless you are personally related to the family this case really isn’t about you and it’s detrimental for black women to ignore their own needs to continue to fight white hegemony.

Besides, the unspoken truth of the matter is that black women are being terrorized and brutalized in their own neighborhoods by these very same males they are trying to “save!”

**Updated to include some pertinent info that some were not aware of**

Oscar Grant certainly didn’t deserve to be kicked and shot in the back while handcuffed by police but his experience is not the experience of every black person’s in this country (and elsewhere). This is definately not the typical experience of black women. Don’t be tricked into this conscious lumping of decidedly black male concerns as the concern of black people (tying black women) while the specific needs of black women are NEVER ADDRESSED! While it may be true that many black males run afoul of the law (usually with good reason) or have unpleasant and sometimes deadly exchanges with law enforcement, to ignore the individual factors that come into play makes a huge blanket assumption.

The assumption is that black males will be mistreated when interacting with white males in law enforcement across the board in every situation regardless of circumtance. It ignores the fact that there are black males in law enforcement and criminals come in all ethnicities. In the city of my birth the Chief of Police and Mayor are both black males. That has had no impact on decreasing the likelihood that a large percentage of the crimes they’re dealing with are being committed by other black males.  In fact the entire focus of this argument over Grant being “wronged” is solely about black males indiscriminately – even when it has been proven many were in fact engaged in criminal activity.

This blanket protectionism and dismissal of the actions of black male criminals is the source of these ongoing conflicts. If at any time black people who reside in certain residential areas with known crime rates decided to abandon their “Stop Snitching” coddling of criminals and turned them all in (including their family members) they would see an immediate positive impact. Not only would the crimes be less likely to occur, but those would-be criminals would think twice before committing them as there would no longer be a safe harbor for them. Law enforcement would see a community that was not thwarting their efforts at maintaining order, they could also more easily weed out their own questionable officers and order could be restored. Women and girls would immediately be safe from harrassment and violence at the hands of these males and productivity could rule.

That is as likely to happen as pixie dust falling from the sky so that’s why those of us urging lifestyle optimization for black women will continue to urge them to get away from those war zones and supporters of a dead ideology.

I was loathe to have to directly mention that Grant was an ex-con with a recent arrest before his untimely demise, but apparently it needs to be said. He also fathered a child out of wedlock (with a non-black woman), worked a low-wage job and lived with his mother.  There are so few spaces willing to bring to light the careless disregard others are showing at trying to make this conflict with  Johannes Mehserle into an archetype of sacrifical lamb or martyr. It is much more accurate to state those that would blindly place Grant on a pedestal offering no scrutiny of his actions, who he chose to associate with, disregard for his surroundings and other factors are engaging in black male sacred cow worship and idolatry.

Just a quick recap: yesterday former transit cop Mehserle was found guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter for the death of Grant. Sentencing is pending. As a long-standing San Francisco resident this case was very much in the forefront of the local media. All of the familiar triggers were present because the law enforcement hierarchy present was white while the ”victim” was a black male.

The case had some unique elements that made it a very contentious case. The decision to hold all trains at the station where the arrest took place made it easy for the passengers to photograph and videotape it. People could readily see footage of the moment when Mehserle pulled his gun instead of the taser he claimed he was reaching for. I admit that watching it I was also shocked and angry but knew it was likely to have been taken out of context.

Mehserle promptly quit after shooting Grant which certainly indicated to some that he felt he had done something wrong. Regardless of his personal motivations, law enforcement as a whole was not going to allow itself to be put on trial in a situation that involved an ex-con. The trial was quickly moved from Oakland to Los Angeles where an all-white jury deliberated.

There is little “new” about cases such as these. While historically there has been an established pattern of aggression where innocent men were singled out that is no longer the case for the black male collective. Today, the police officer in question could just as easily be a person of color acting in response to another person of color with the same conclusion.

The only time you will see a larger number of people expressing outrage is when these confrontations involve a white male cop acting against a non-white male, particularly if he’s black. Had  Oscar Grant been a white teen OR a black WOMAN most blacks would have ignored this story.

Despite the anger many feel this is still singled around patriarchy just as much as race – if not more. Likewise, had Mehserle been a black male cop the “race” angle would have been neutralized. So what are(black) people really angry about? If it’s bad police procedures there are remedies for that. People can participate in Civilian Review Boards and be more active in the election of law enforcement and judges. If no one takes initiative then complaints after the fact will fall on deaf ears.

White and non-black “liberals” have also glommed onto this story for their own agendas which at the heart is still anti-black woman. If Grant’s “friends” had not been publicly terrorizing other passengers on the BART train in the first place none of the horrors that followed would have occurred.  This leaves (race loyal) black women in the familiar (chosen) position as sista soldiers fighting (white) men on behalf of weaker (black) males as well as having their needs and safety being ignored.

Even those who on an intellectual level may agree that black women are subject to harsh threatment at the hands of black males they do not feel it in their hearts or react viscerally the way they do on behalf of random black males. For those women who have black male children they too trip over themselves by lumping all males together. Does every black male have a current or prior relationship with criminal activity, un/underemployed, having out of wedlock children, not seeking or having acquired a college degree, living with female relatives and have questionable friends?

There is no coincidence that you’ll find an ever-increasing majority of black men engaging in these types of confrontations with the police. The family structure was destroyed post-Civil Rights and all warnings to address it ignored. The damage has rotted to the core and it’s too late to repair it. We will continue to see the chaos borne from the decision of a generation of black males to abandon their children play itself out.

On the other hand you will not find most black women committing similar acts because they are far too busy:

a)      Working – depending on the class background sometimes 2-3 jobs

b)      Raising children – often ALONE [There’s a 70% + out of wedlock birth rate AND never married rate]

c)       Attending school – overall there are more women in college than men, but the disparity amongst African-Americans in particular is close to a 70/30 ratio

d)      Fighting to “save” the black man (regardless of merit) while receiving no such help in return

e)      Supporting an entire community/infrastructure [providing free labor & use of all of her resources from Civil Rights orgs on down and self-sacrificing to her individual detriment all for the RACE]

What are the majority of black males doing with their time that they’re continually involved in violent disputes with each other as well as law enforcement?

PURSUIT OF SELF-INTEREST AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE BLACK COLLECTIVE OR NOTHING OF ANY VALUE!

Let’s keep it real: the majority of black males killed in this country are at the hands of other black males. My own brother was murdered four years ago by a career criminal. There is no need for the “great white male racist cop conspiracy” to be validated when we all know who the majority of the neighborhood terrorists are.

These are the same (mostly) fatherless males allowed to wander freely to brutalize unprotected black girls, women and children. Search Dunbar Village to acclimate yourself with what is an all too common (mostly unreported) occurrence. These males are NOT true victims. It’s often just the sum of their life experiences catching up to them.

Another trend to take note of was the media blackout (pun intended) from the major networks. There was minimal newspaper coverage as well. As more tragedies pile up they will NOT be televised. The greater society at large does NOT care what goes on within the black community in general unless it’s something negative that threatens to spill over into theirs.

African-American women in particular have been warned through a variety of means and by example of how their value is directly tied to how non-functioning males may ciphon from them. The role of males in a patriarchal society is to provide for and protect women and children and to elevate their group. Those who look at the speedy decline of the collective should be able to draw the correct conclusions as to why and how that isn’t happening amongst US-born blacks in particular and the damage that causes. If foreign-born blacks and other groups of people wish to participate in rescuing black males here let them do so at their leisure.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST AND LEAVE THE FIGHTING OF WHITE HEGEMONY & IDOL WORSHIP TO (MISGUIDED AND UNCONCERNED) OTHERS.

30 comments to How Does Fighting For Oscar Grant Benefit Black Women?

  • jubilee

    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Like you, I can't stand for black women to fight the 'white' cops (hegemony) for the sake of BM. As it looks to me, black women are hurting their own protection. Cops are to protect and to serve, and a losing game is for a usually white cop to protect a black women and their kids who are babies whose daddies are nowhere to be found.

  • Sharifa

    Faith,

    I wanted to add my condolences on the loss of your brother. Great article. I live in the Bay Area and I feel like I want to print this out and distribute it. I bet many of those BW who were out 'protesting' aren't even safe within their own homes, and they put out energy on this mess. Thanks for your writing.

    • Faith

      Sharifa: Thanks for your comments. If printing out the post helps even one black woman to reconsider her support then please do so.

  • First, let me offer my condolences. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. May his memory be eternal.

    Having said that, wow. What an eye-opening, thought-provoking post. Thank you for writing it.

  • Faith,

    You said, "What was even worse was a neighbor who came out to investigate was also murdered when she was hit by a stray bullet the career criminal had unleashed into a crowd of people."

    Oh, my God . . . [!!!]

    May God rest her soul as well as you're brother's. And may the . . . individual . . . that committed these murders finally be brought to justice. BEFORE he/it burns in Hell in the afterlife. Amen.

    • Faith

      Arlyne: Thanks and I'm sorry for your loss as well. Someone mentioned on a social networking site that should Grant's mother get any recompense from the City of Oakland she should pay out $$$$ to her son's previous victims for his crimes first. Considering he was arrested 12 times in a 4 year period there has to be at least one.

      Khadija: I didn't want this to be a relay of horror. I just hear these same tired excuses from blacks who employ a double standard of concern for black male criminals and never their victims. I used to think blacks had pissed God off to be suffering so much but it really does come down to our choices.

  • ARLYNE

    I can only offer condolence to his mother. But sadly, he was not concerned about his mother by the choices he made. If we respect BM and except their bad choices, he should bear the guilt of hurting his mother.

    I too have lost a brother to a black on black killing. I still feel he hurt our mother with his choices. I want BM to start looking at that too.

  • ARLENE

    My wish for BW is to stop seeing the BM as a "virtuous victim". The BW keeps herself sick (depression, over-eating, hypertension, etc.) by being in a constant low-grade rage over the--plight of the BM. She allows herself to remain stuck in the position of defender-protector. My wish is for BW to truly become strong and let the BM take his lumps. Respect the BM's life choices and let whatever happens to him happen. I want BW to be truly strong and do their best in finding their own happiness. May BW find happiness whether it be with a non BM, with supportive friends/family or with their children (or all of the above).

    The BM problems are HIS problems—he needs to solve them.

  • Felicia

    Faith,

    I am so sorry about your brother. You spoke the truth in this essay.

    • Faith

      Felicia: Thanks so much for condolences. It's why black women cannot afford to coddle criminals!

      Nia: Thank you as well. What was even worse was a neighbor who came out to investigate was also murdered when she was hit by a stray bullet the career criminal had unleashed into a crowd of people.

      Zoopath: In the black male as endangered species narrative there's no room for anyone else, no personal responsibility and no scrutiny. It's all due to white racism and poverty.

      Chloe: The media narrative was slanted after the first few days I think mostly due to the video evidence from the camera phones of the BART passengers. It did tend to favor the appearance of a subdued detainee being unnecessarily brutalized. This is where a little research has to come into play. Grant's father has a criminal history as well. The police got involved because they had received multiple calls about a rowdy group of males that were growing increasingly violent. So they stopped the trains and investigated. It's my understanding that Grant may have tried to get his "friends" to stop harrassing the other passengers but his initial contact with the police was one where he resisted and argued with them. Not the thing to do as an ex-con at a station plagued with crime.

      CW: Thanks and your description of your relatives is too funny because I also have distant male relatives or hangers-on that I saw behave that way growing up. Then I had no choice about their presence since they were invited by the adult women in my family. Now I refuse to have anything to do with the lot of them!

      Wizard0fOz321: Hello…and thanks for stopping by.

      Halima: Thanks again!

      ****I wrote a slightly different but still relevant guest post related to Grant & Mehserle at http://allaboutrace.com If the audience can bear with further discussion about this.

  • Felicia

    Faith, you said…

    I will answer that question for you myself: it doesn’t.

    You took the words right out of my mouth. No lie. I actually said that exact phrase in my mind before I read it in print.

    I just wanted to tell you that. OK I'm going back now to read your latest necessary essay.

  • Nia

    I am so sorry to hear about your brother Faith. I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I cannot imagine the pain you must have endured through losing a sibling, especially at the hand of someone else.

  • ZooPath

    I'm sorry for the loss fo your brother. Someone else mentioned that there was some "stop-snitching" behavior afterwards which is just infuriating and digusting. I'll do something about the Oscar Grants when the coddling of black criminals in black residential areas stops. I am not going to want something (in this case justice) for someone more than he/she/they want it for themselves.

    Truth be told, Oscar Grant was more of a threat to me than the cop who shot him. Grant didn't deserve to be shot but he didn't set himself up for success in that situation.

  • CW,

    You said, "Oh they’ll put on a little show just to be seen…A little whooping & hollering here and there …I have those type of relatives (don’t associate with ‘em either)…I know after the pound cake and beer runs out, so do they!"

    Of yeah, these are the BM relatives that will suddenly materialize AFTER somebody's dead to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Otherwise, they can't be found. And once they've gotten paid, nobody ever sees them at a protest event again. [Unlike the AA mothers, who tend to keep marching on behalf of other women's dead children even after their child's tragedy has been dealt with.]

  • wizardofoz321

    I won't say that I don't care; however, I agree with this post 100%. The backlash on Twitter about Grant and Aiyana Jones has been ridiculous at best and egregious at worst. Instead of immediately reacting off of emotions about "the endangered black male species", folks need to calm down and review EVERYthing.

  • CW

    Faith…I appreciate you for sharing your story…Deepest condolences to you & your family…I am taking great pains to avoid lifting Oscar Grant up to any level of importance…For all the reasons we've discussed…Those who has been directly touched by violence do not want to hear about the predators "feelings", or anything of the sort…

    ………And other BM blood relatives? You don’t and WON’T see them sweating over Oscar Grant. And I notice that nobody even expects the BM relatives of aggrieved/dead BM to be visibly involved in any struggle around their aggrieved fellow AA male.

    Oh they'll put on a little show just to be seen…A little whooping & hollering here and there :|…I have those type of relatives (don't associate with 'em either)…I know after the pound cake and beer runs out, so do they!

    I hope more Black women are paying attention…It gives me hope to see a decrease in "emotions" when situations like these occur…Still too much "Blind loyalty" now, but could anyone imagine if this would have happened, say 10-15 years ago?…Several counties would have to been shut down…

    LOL @ the backtracking when presenting what kind of lifestyle the person lived…Folk claim "Not to know" or "Lack of proof"…C'mon!

    And until seeing provision and protection for Black women and girls…Nope I don't care!

  • Chloe

    Sorry about my assuming that Oscar Grant wasn't a criminal; I don't doubt your assertions that he did in fact have a criminal record. Most media surrounding the case here in the Bay Area have cast Grant as a "good" person, and have either said outright that he wasn't a criminal or not said anything about that at all. I tried to do some research on whether he was committing a crime that night, since it just seemed so unbelievable that a random innocent person would be gunned down by cops, but I couldn't find anything about Grant's record. And yes, you're completely right that lots of people going to college and/or working do commit crimes.

  • I too want to express my sympathies regarding the death of your brother faith. I cannot begin to imagine how heart rending it all was and possibly still is!

    I urge bw to run towards safety and hopefully our loved ones will too!

  • Renee,

    You said, "Like it or not we are irrevocably connected to Black males through Blood."

    Have you noticed that AA males don't feel any observable connection to AA women? You mentioned Oscar Grant's mother . . .well, where is his father? And other BM blood relatives? You don't and WON'T see them sweating over Oscar Grant. And I notice that nobody even expects the BM relatives of aggrieved/dead BM to be visibly involved in any struggle around their aggrieved fellow AA male.

    I can—and I have—long since walked away from those sorts of fights. Let AA males learn how to be men and start fighting for themselves, for a change. Instead of AA males always looking for BW to carry and fight for them.

    Frankly, I don't care. It's not my function as a woman to be fighting males on behalf of other, weaker (Black) males.

    _______________________

    Chloe,

    You said, "The fact is, Oscar Grant was not a criminal, and in fact was going to college and also working at Safeway."

    Actually, he was a criminal. There are plenty of people who attend college and work jobs without racking up a criminal history.

    You said, "We should continue to fight for justice for Oscar Grant and all other victims of violent crimes, regardless of race, because they’re all human beings."

    Have you noticed that the masses of non-Black human beings are NOT worried about the fates of AA human beings? Let's start with Oscar Grant's non-Black baby mama. Where has she been during all of this? What about the non-Black maternal grandmother of Oscar Grant's half-Black illegitimate child? Where has she been?

    They must be chilling out in the same spot as Prof. Skip Gates' White wife, and Van Jones' White wife. These non-Black human beings aren't even opening their mouths, much less fighting, for their own BM husbands and baby daddies.

    The non-Black women hooked up to these various aggrieved BM have left that gladiator, Sista Soldier, workhorse . . . MULE role to foolish BW!

    Count me OUT of all of that foolishness. I checked out of that. The same way most AA males have checked out of being involved in fighting for their fellow aggrieved Black males.

    _________________________

    Faith,

    Words can't express how sorry I am for your loss. I remember when you mentioned it a while back. Along with the "no snitching" madness that motivated your brother's so-called friends to not cooperate with the police investigation. Sickening. Just sickening.

    • Faith

      Halima: Yes maybe I should have titled this post "The Right To Not Care" because all the black women getting worked up over this case will receive no such attention when they're violated by the Oscar Grants of the world.

      Khadija: Thanks. Most people reading this post have completely ignored the mention of the murder of my 21 year old brother who was one of the "good" ones taken out by the Oscar Grant types (and worse). Since it's been 4 years I've had a lot of time to think about the very things the BWE bloggers have discussed regarding moving out of currently dangerous or once-thriving areas that have descended into war zones and especially who you associate yourself with. It has resulted in an entire shift from top to bottom.

      It is truly a situation similar to Soddom & Gomorrah and where black women who want to thrive must flee ( a physical location and/or mentality) and not look back (for safety and sanity). There might be a few Harriet Tubmans to run recon missions to pull a few out but overall the descent into madness by the black masses is complete.

      As for the non-black coddlers of black male criminality they can afford to intellectualize and make exceptions with these discussions because it's not happening in the same proportion with their groups (if at all). They do a great disservice to the black women who need to make life-saving decisions.

      If we are tied to random males by blood then it should be noted we are also tied to the rest of the functioning human race because our DNA is near indistinguishable. I acknowledge no such ties to those that seek my destruction or would ignore me to death

      You are also correct in your observations about the non-black baby mama of Grant's daughter. The only family of hers that I saw speak out initially was a cousin. The father did come out of the woodwork a few times in the beginning but where was he in guiding his son to begin with?

      What I'm sorta curious about will be the distribution of funds from the City of Oakland regarding the civil trial. Allegedly the "family" went into it together but technically Grant's heir (his daughter) would be entitled to compensation not his parents. We'll see how the mother of the child dispenses such funds should there be any.

      Of course the irony is that Grant will have probably provided better for his child in death.

      Chloe: I amended the post to include some sorely needed fact checking since you assumed Grant had no criminal record. It is police procedure to run the records of those detained for outstanding warrants, etc and most people seemed to ignore the fact the police would have quickly discovered they had a recent offender in custody. The fact they had to board the train in the first place almost guaranteed something unpleasant was going to occur. Anyone who lives in the vicinity knows Fruitvale is not the best neighborhood. Again, it's the out-of-order thinking that A+B=F that has many operating under false premises.

      • wizardofoz321

        Wow. That is a pain that never goes away. Wishing you solace and continue fighting on behalf of those who deserve it. (YES, deserve it.)

  • Faith

    Black women have a right not to care.

    I am glad there are a growing body of black women who are excercising their right not to care, because if you are coming from a point where it was 'mandatory' that you a black woman care about such occurences etc and expend your energy campaigning and marching etc etc, then the truely radical position would be to Not Care!

  • Chloe

    I live in a fairly low-crime area of Oakland, and I watched the riots on the news the night after the Mehserle verdict. I think that instead of making everything about race, we should focus on individual injustices. It shouldn't matter what race Oscar Grant was, nor should it matter what the race of the shooter is (although, unfortunately it does). The fact is, Oscar Grant was not a criminal, and in fact was going to college and also working at Safeway. He wasn't some low-life at all. This was just a rogue cop who shot an innocent man who happened to be black. Yes, Mehserle may have been racist and singled out Grant because of the color of his skin, but I don't know because I wasn't there. We should continue to fight for justice for Oscar Grant and all other victims of violent crimes, regardless of race, because they're all human beings.

    Another particularly horrific crime that recently occurred in Oakland was the random murder of a middle-aged Asian (Chinese?) immigrant from San Francisco. The killers also attacked the man's son, who was with him. The victim of this crime wasn't made into the same kind of cause celebre, not even close. Of course, a big part of the reason for this is that the killers were tried and jailed, probably for life, right away so there wasn't really anything to fight for. But this murder was at least as bad as the murder of Oscar Grant, and yet no one even said anything about it after about a week. Personally, I don't think that's fair. It seems to imply that people really don't care about immigrants.

  • Nysse

    We as Black Women need to put our needs first and foremost. I know his mother is devastated as with any mother, but had it been his sister or her daughter, will there be the same out cry? I THINK NOT. most of our BM family members are not supportive and pretend to get mad when someone is disrespecting us and they are doiing likewise. Like you mention in the other posts, we are a 1.8 billion dollar industry or entity (whichever is correct) and everybody always benefit from our resources except us . So BLACK WOMEN start that business your were going to start and move forward with your money so you and your precious children can have the life you deserve. Sorry for the long but important post.

  • I agree that you that the abuse of Black women is not taken seriously in the community, by the media or law enforcement. I do disagree with you when you suggest this does not help Black women at all. Like it or not we are irrevocably connected to Black males through Blood. Grant had a mother that loved him very much. If for no other reason that no more Black mothers are forced to deal with the terrible loss of this kind of violent death we cannot walk away from this fight.

  • Tracy

    I wonder if all those who are fighting on behalf of Oscar Grant are fighting on behalf of those girls who were raped in Richmond and El Cerrito.

    Oh wait, I already know that answer.

  • Thank you for the truth you've written here. Fighting on behalf of Oscar Grant doesn't benefit black women at all.

    • Faith

      LorMarie: Once more black women stop expending all their energy into other people who don't reciprocate they'll be better off.

      Tracy: Yes the focus is glaringly one-sided.

      Renee: As I stated unless it involves an actual relative or someone directly affected then it is useless for black women to randomly and blindly support any black male solely on basis of race and not merit or engage in fighting white males. Even in cases of a blood tie standards and conditions must be enacted.