Spann: Am I next?

Columnist Taelore Spann describes the consequences of being Black in America. 

Taelore Spann

I am a young Black woman.

In different communities, these statements have completely different meanings. Yet most commonly, it seems Black women are overly sexualized, underrepresented and disrespected. 

From the time of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Black women have experienced rape, oppression and misunderstanding. Imagine: rape by the slave owners, beatings to submission; mutilation to their bodies by “scientists.” Black women are disparaged to comedic relief and entertainment through characters like Jezebel, who depicts African American women in overly sexualized roles. This specific role and character was used to justify the rape and misconduct initiated by slaveowners.  

You may be asking yourself why you should care about something that happened years ago. You should care because it’s still relevant today.

Black women are still one of the top five women groups being targets of sexual assault,” according to Reach of Clay County.

According to Mic, in order to fit the mold, women must have their hair be straight and must be plain, like those of white women; society considers Black individuals’ natural hair as unprofessional.

Black women continue to be an oppressed and underrepresented group. Just look how the justice system failed Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland and so many others.

“Since 2015, police have fatally shot nearly 250 women,” according to The Washington Post. “Like Taylor, 89 of them were killed at homes or residences where they sometimes stayed. The names of these women are often not as well-known as the men, but their deaths in some cases raise the same questions about the use of deadly force by police and, in particular, its use on Black Americans.” 

I am a young Black woman. And I happen to also be a young Black person in America. 

Being Black in America is like being regarded as a weapon because we are depicted in the media as gangsters, murderers and menaces. Being Black means I can’t possibly belong in a middle class neighborhood safely. Trayvon Martin couldn’t

Trayvon Martin was murdered by a neighborhood watchman, but the system justified the kill because he “looked suspicious.” If thats all it takes to justify a murder, am I next?

Being Black in America means that I could die by the hands of an officer because being Black means I fit a general description of a perpetrator.

Being Black in America means even though we were “free” for 52 years, we have yet to see all our freedoms. Those freedoms are those written into the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. Black people are still treated like the slaves we were brought here to be. Once again, we have seen how a Black person could be murdered in cold blood. So, again, I say: Am I next?