Black girls and women have been targeted and under attack at a rate disproportionate than other races. From the hyper sexualization of young girls in the way they dress and how they are introduced to the world through social media, television and film, there is a cause for pause on how we are protecting them from the savages of society. For black women, beginning in the teenage years, we are seen as runaways, promiscuous and seeking validation on the streets. The narrative has been that the aforementioned are the cause of missing black women and girls and it appears that not now, or ever even, have we normalized and prioritized their protection.
What we have to understand is that protection looks different in our community than in others where black people don’t occupy the same space and aren’t deemed equitable counterparts in a white society. Both in and outside of our community, black girls are seen as aggressive with displaced anger and attitude. Black teenagers are misguided in their path to self-love, confidence, drive and focus. And our college-bound and young women aren’t learning about the resources and tools available to begin planning a sustainable and healthy life for themselves. Why? Because they are missing. They are missing from our classrooms. From our households. From our educational and athletic programs. We simply don’t know where they are. And the world and media doesn’t seem moved by the number of missing black girls and women either.
Why is that?
Runaways. A lot of minority children are classified as runaways, therefore they do not receive an Amber Alert. They fall victim to sex trafficking, child pornography, prostitution, gang affiliation and oftentimes kidnapping. Our black girls aren’t just running away. They are being preyed upon. Watched from afar and in our own backyards. Imagine if there were more human and financial resources available to provide programs for our youth? We would see an increase in visibility; hence more protection for those that need it, from those that give it.
Criminals. Drugs and other criminal activities are directly associated with one another in the eyes of White America. We are called thugs, criminals and animals. And because the imperfect judicial system maintains that we should be exterminated, resources that are available aren’t promoted to search and save our black women and girls.
Desensitization. A parallel is immediately drawn between minority children and adults, furthering the narrative that the lifestyles that impoverished communities produce are simply “everyday living”. White America is not interested in re-directing viewership to more positive and healthy ways of living for black people because the system in place doesn’t have the desire to change the inequities that impact urban communities. If media outlets run by powerful white people are to maintain black trauma porn and propaganda, they will never see a need to change what affects the community our minorities could potentially thrive in.
You say you want to protect black women and girls? There are a number of ways to do so. But before anything, understand the system we are working within and what partnerships need cultivating in order for this to be a team effort. One missing or disadvantaged child is too much. One missing or traumatized woman is too much. Let’s never stop doing “too much”, to save our girls and women.
We NEED black girls.
We NEED black women.
Protect Black Women & Girls.
And Normalize It.