(Editorial) Last week a wave of protests swept the country to bring police brutality against women of African descent to the surface of the Black Lives Matter dialogue. But it was in that moment, as sisters from New York, San Francisco and points across the map, stood in unison to bring light to the news vacuum within the media that apparently engulfs the issue of Black women and police brutality, I realized that I had been negligent.
While we focus on the intersection of sports and culture, we also strive to cover stories and events surrounding the prison industrial complex, law enforcement, Black resistance and the socioeconomic war on Black people in general for much of our mandate. It is a part of our inherent value system.
Our very title is reminiscent of the days when Black baseball players weren’t allowed to compete against their White counterparts and were seemingly relegated to the Negro Leagues. And so the lore states, they produced a league that some say surpassed Major League Baseball in overall talent. It was called “shadow ball”.
The resistance mindset is in the bedrock of our very charter. Contributing to the dialectic on race in sports, entertainment and its effects on the greater diaspora is what we strive for. There are literally dozens of articles written and published on this site that can attest to that. The entire Black Lives Matter campaign has been a major focus of our editorial voice and resources. Indeed, we were complacent in the belief that we had done our duty.
Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, as well as dozens of other Black men killed by law enforcement or their proxy forces (security guard, neighborhood watch, volunteer police officers, etc), have been at the heart of our coverage. I personally believed that it was a foregone conclusion that Black women were being included in the overall conversation.
On May 21, Black women converged on New York City and bared their breasts. 300 in total, carrying signs that read #SayHerName in reference to a recently released report by the African American Policy Forum to educate on the violence women of African descent.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Rekia Boyd, Natasha McKenna, Tyisha Miller, Pearlie Golden, Kathryn Johnson and many, many other women of African descent who died at the hands of law enforcement have been left out of the overarching Black Lives Matter discussion. Even in the recognition of the oversight, it is still difficult to believe the vastness of the exclusion.
As a man of African descent who has been aware of Black male victimization at the hands of racially-biased institutions, I had always believed that there was an abundance of like-minded sisters somewhere out there writing about the struggle from a female perspective. Thus, I freed myself from having to focus on writing about Black women being raped, sexually-assaulted and shot dead at the hands of law enforcement and correctional facilities across the country.
In a last ditch effort to justify my own malaise, I hit Google to see if other outlets and publications had taken up the crusade. Other than Dame magazine, New York magazine and The Root, there were very few outlets with any information on the matter.
As the resident writer of note on such matters at this outlet, I take full responsibility and offer my sincerest apologies for this omission.
Black Lives Matter is more inclusive than reported and my future areas of concern in relation to this concept will be as well.