Black Women's Empowerment

Black Women Stay On Code: Police Brutality is not your fight

Note: This article was not written or endorsed by Christelyn Karazin, Nicole or any other writers on the blog. 
Note 2: All tweets are used with permission. However, these people did not read the article prior to giving consent. Any issues with the article should be addressed to the writer of the post only.

Back Again

It has been a while since I have posted an article. Work has been extremely busy, despite the virus. I know that this puts me in a rather privileged position, so I am grateful. That said, privilege will be something I discuss in today’s article, as a recurring theme. We are tackling the four P’s: Power, Privilege, Police Brutality and Pink Pill Behaviour. Let us address the topic at hand. We recently heard of two major events happening at the end of May: Amy Cooper harassing Christian Cooper (no relation), and the death of George Floyd. Christelyn has done a video breaking down the Amy incident – I would encourage you to watch it. 

What brought my writing mojo back and my subsequent return to the blog? I guess you could say it was the tweet that sailed a hundred reactions. Like many people, I use my Twitter handle to share my unpopular opinions. Normally, my account does not get much attention, if any, but it seems I have triggered quite a few people in the Black community. As I write, the conversation has not stopped. In addition to a few blocks from strangers, I have been called a coon, bedwench, Doja Cat Mark V, Karen, SpamCoon, and more, just to name a few. What did I say that was so offensive? Please see below:

Caption of tweet: I will not stand to fight for black community issues when there are so many black people on here who are comfortable calling people like me a coon or a bedwench. Why would I march to the frontlines when I can be killed by friendly fire?

(Yes, I am aware that the name on my Twitter handle is not at all Pink Pill friendly. I change it regularly depending on current events, or random cartoon characters that come to mind. Moving on.) Before you get triggered, I know that my Tweet could have been communicated much better than it was. I found someone online who shared the same sentiment in a much better way, so I thought I would share her tweet. 

I meant to share this tweet with my followers and fellow divestment ladies that I interact with from time to time, but since this short message is quickly becoming a bigger discussion, let us talk it out in a space where I can explain myself in more than 280 characters. I would like to take my tweet and direct it to the black women at large. I would also like to share additional thoughts from the thread, relevant dissenting opinions and discussing this situation more holistically. Contrary to popular belief, this tweet does not say or mean that I hate black people, that I am against the improvement of the collective, or that I am anti-black. I love being black, and there are aspects of the community at large that I truly appreciate. However, I simply said that I was taking a seat from fighting for the collective when the monolith feels it is okay to disrespect people like me. 

Yes, there is racism on and offline. I can admit to a certain level of privilege in Canada, as we probably have instances of police brutality every two to three years, and it is swiftly dealt with. Police harassment can still be an issue in certain areas, but, for the most part, these issues are being appropriately addressed. Canada is an amazing place to live. I have never denied that racism exists. I know that our audience, including myself, have experienced discrimination in some shape or form. For those in my Twitter mentions trying to get me to list all of the struggles in my life to “prove” my blackness, that is not how things are going to work around here. I even had one dissenter tell me that blackness was all about struggle, and that if I did not struggle enough, I am not black enough. I refuse to engage in trauma-bonding to connect with my community. While many black people, including myself have faced struggles in this life due to racism and barriers of access, that in no way defines our blackness. We must start to divorce the concept of struggle from our internal image of blackness. Seeing ourselves in a constant stage of victimhood does us no favours. 

That said, when dealing with external factors, like people and situations, we have to move more strategically. It is important to establish who is the victim in the situation and who is in need of allies and support. I have stated that Amy Cooper was completely wrong for her actions, as was the cop on George’s neck, and those other law enforcement officers that stood around and did nothing. The public has clearly established the victim and have fought against the perpetrators. I hope that the swift action we have seen will continue, not only to ensure justice for the victims, but widespread system reform. Despite these wishes, I know that this will likely not happen. Why?


Black Lives (Do Not Equally) Matter

I know a little something about the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM). I actually wrote my Master’s Degree Thesis on the local #BLM discourse that was happening in Toronto, all the while following the news of the BLM Movement at large. While I think these protests have definitely helped to put the issues of police brutality to the forefront, being the face of these campaigns does not serve us. Black women flood the streets to scream with their mouths open like goldfish, fists in the air and confronting the police. 

Everyone in America has now been educated on the black man’s burden, and knows the relevant taking points and moves that need to be made to mollify the masses when police brutality occurs. Even if these men were in the middle of a crime when they lost their lives, people will still rally to support them. Thankfully, black women still have a few shreds of dignity left,  as there are a few times now and again when they will refuse to march for black men who denigrate their image, like Stephen Clark. That said, there are some women who are waking up.

Image of white men hanging from a rope, with a confederate flag wrapped around them. A little black girl with two afro puffs and a pink tutu dress is standing in front of them, with a rifle hanging around her neck. There are blood splatters behind the men. The little girl is holding a picture of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed Feb 23 while on a run. The caption of the artist, Maurice Jackson, posted on May 8, read as follows: *NEW ART* “I THOUGHT THEY LOOKED SUSPICIOUS” (emoji of man shrugging his shoulders) #AuhmadArbery #RIP #hiphopballerinaseries

We all saw the outrage that came with this image. So why are we still playing this role?


On the other hand, black women do not get the same attention in the same situation. When the shoe is on the other foot, black women get scrutinized for their hair choices, dating preferences, actions in the situation, etcetera. Nicole recently published a poem on the discrepancy between coverage and support for black women and black men who are murdered. Black men get to stay at the forefront as the face of police brutality and victimization, but issues with black women are ridiculed, questioned and scrutinized until their cases disappear like a whisper in the wind. I have not forgotten how the black community treated Korryn Gaines. How can black lives matter when black women’s lives are constantly ignored and put on the backburner?

Don’t even get me started on black community issues that occur outside of police violence. It seems like the only time we as a collective can unite is when there is a dead black body in the street. Despite black women being the most educated group in the United States, black people comprise 21.2% of the poverty rate, with high STD rates, and astronomical out of wedlock rates and prison incarceration. Don’t even get me started on the statistic that a black woman is killed by a black man every 21 hours. I don’t see as much compassion for other vulnerable black people who fall through the cracks, or suffer in our current collective and national action plans to try and improve the collective situation. 


Protesting Only Goes So Far

I do not think that protesting is the right image for us ladies. If black men are always arguing that black women will not let them lead, why not let them lead the charge against police brutality? Why should black women be the face of aggression police confrontations? These masculine tendencies do not serve us at all. We should realize by now that as a community, we only get so far shouting our outrage and protesting. I do think it is a valid form of resistance and dialogue. I honestly think that we should leave these actions to the men. 

There is a place for protesting, in the fight against white supremacy, but we could get so much further if some of us learned how to move in different spaces and strategically position ourselves for change. Some dissenters in my mentions kept mentioning my relationship with a white man (currently single, but if you’re manifesting, I’ll take a Frenchie!) and potentially kissing up to massa and white men. I know that we often get critiques that this blog adheres to respectability politics. I personally disagree. Like the Christian Cooper situation has demonstrated, respectability politics only get you so far. The fact of the matter is that you need to know the rules of engagement and how to best react in situations like these. This is why I strongly encourage every black woman to take the Pink Pill. We need to learn about the system we are in and how to play by their rules. You can’t win a game if you don’t first learn the rules and then figure out ways to game the system

We Need New Strategies

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It has been sixty years of protests. I would never disrespect the greats like Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Height, Rosa Parks, or Canada’s Viola Desmond. They did what they could with the resources that they had, and the results were wondrous for us all. However, that was 60 years ago. Why are using the same methods? Why are we constantly marching? What is this getting us today? What is this doing now for the collective improvement of us all? 

From Trayvon Martin’s case until now, there have been countless cases of police brutality. Let’s review the cycle, shall we? A black man gets shot or harassed, with someone there to film it. The video gets released with waves of criticism online. Perpetrators are suspended or put on administrative leave. People protest in the streets. Tear gas and chaos ensue. Prominent voices condemn the action. The perpetrators are then fired or charged. Usually the charges are dismissed, but maybe justice will be served. Everyone goes their separate ways until another black man is lying face down in the street, then it is wash, rinse repeat. Do these men deserve justice? Yes, of course. That was never the question here. The question is whether or not MY sweat and tears, my rage, my voice and my mental health need to be laid at the feet of the struggle. 

Maybe there is another way to go about this. Follow me as I extrapolate further. Do you think people just woke up one day and decided to give LGBTQ, Jewish and Muslim people rights and protected status in North America? You best believe that some of them went forward, played the game until they were in a place to enact change. I do not agree with everything other groups do, but I watch them and they have my respect for the way they move. Black people are out here playing checkers while everyone else is playing 3D chess. We need to observe our competition in the game of life, and act accordingly. These groups have approached discrimination and prejudice with a multi-faceted strategy, that has been proactively planned and actively applied for years on end. 

Instead of reacting to murdered black men, we could shift the narrative to highlight the past struggles of black people, our collective achievements and our status as a protective group. The possibilities are endless. I am thinking of discrimination cases, word policing, legalization, legislation, inclusion in the school curriculum, advocacy groups, representation in every television show… the whole nine yards. These strategies matter. I think of the Sisters Overcoming Stigma campaign that Christelyn and Asia Simone facilitated between 2017 and 2019. It was a lot of work for two ladies and their small but mighty team, but if we as a collective could consider how to approach something similar, and put in the work, we could create lasting change. Instead of black people establishing themselves a powerful protected class, we are on Twitter fighting over weaves, the black man’s plight and if biracials are black. 


The Community Eats Their Own

My last reason for stepping away is that too many community members are comfortable attacking people who have ideas that differ from the monolith. Black people would rather attack other black people with different viewpoints, dating preferences, or activities and hobbies. Black men have now solidified themselves as a protected group within the black community, and if you dare raise your concerns, you will be attacked until you fall in line.  RIP to my Twitter mentions, a testament of what happens to those who step out of line. Did it make you feel better to attack someone who was just minding their own business? Did you get that Scooby Snack from the Black Delegation? Do you feel better about yourself? Was it worth it?

The divestment movement will not be televised. We may open our mouths for now and find solace in a community online, but eventually, we will move in silence. I personally have burned the cape. These videos of police brutality and Karen behaviour are hard to see, so I will not watch them. Ultimately, they ultimately have nothing to do with me. I will not fight for people who would not spit on my likeness if it was on fire…even if they look like me. Not all skin folk are kinfolk.


Parting Words of Wisdom

I was going to create a conclusion for this article, until I saw this amazing piece from  one of the ladies in our Pink Pill space. I hope you enjoy this snippet as much as I did. She shares the following advice to black ladies at large: 

We as black women, and even little black girls in ballerina tutus are always expected to be Sister Soldier Mules and Wakandan warrior women who are expected to wear our capes. We stand on the frontlines rallying for everybody else: whether it is some random black man that we don’t know, other minority groups, racially ambiguous women, the LGBTQ community or whoever! 

As black women, we are shutting down highways for black men. We are climbing flagpoles to snatch down Confederate flags and we are climbing up monuments like King Kong for migrant children at the border who are not black! We show up for everybody and their mama but when it’s time for folks to show up for us then it’s CRICKETS! When is the last cause or movement where black women fought on behalf of themselves? I’ll wait! Black women need to keep their marching boots in the closet, set the cape on fire and advocate for individuals (or a group) who advocates for us, or for men who are close to us that we care about and if that means we have to be a bit selfish then ….oh well, so be it!


Like Christelyn says, “Lets fight our own battles and choose our causes à la carte, that’s the Pink Pill way.”


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