I thought the Ted Talk was extremely informative, and the starting activity Kimberlé did with the audience was really clever and effective. I kind of knew where she was going with the names, but I tapped out after Tamir Rice. There were so many names, especially women’s, that I was unfamiliar with. It’s disheartening to learn about, but it’s necessary we face the truth of these tragedies rather than sweep it under the rug as we often have. I couldn’t help but wonder, where was the media coverage of these violent events? Many of them were caught on camera, so why weren’t they brought to light? Perhaps the stories weren’t “newsworthy” enough; they couldn’t paint a portrait, or “frame” the story, as Kimberlé called it.
Prior to watching this, I was aware of the discrimination black people, along with other minorities, experience on a daily basis. I was also aware of the inequalities still existing between men and women. However, it hadn’t quite clicked in my brain that there are people, black women, who are facing oppression in both of those categories every day. It made me think about the wealth gap, and how children living in poverty are much less likely to graduate high school. Kimberlé gave an example about a black woman named Emma, who applied for a new job in order to provide a better life and education for her kids. She was not hired because she was a black woman, and decided to stand up for herself in court. The company claimed they hired (white) women and black men, thus proving that no discrimination had taken place. The judge sided with the corporation, of course, and left poor Emma with no options. She wouldn’t be able to provide for her children because she lived in a system that sought to oppress her for both her race and gender. This is how black women feel every day, unfortunately. Many women living at or below the poverty line are single and have to work their asses off to provide the bare minimum for their families. I can’t imagine how it feels to be in their shoes, essentially backed into a corner with no support or guidance. There needs to be better outreach to these communities where single parents are constantly fighting just to keep their heads above water.
The poem by Danyeli was super moving, she seemed very passionate and charismatic when reciting it. I think poetry is a great way to raise awareness about these issues. Art, music, and language provide avenues through which these social injustices can reach millions of people. The idea that Danyeli identifies as an atheist, yet she’s praying for the life of an “undocumented black boy” is really impactful and telling. I think her sentiment is less that we have to “pray” and more that we need to be mindful of what’s going on in the world around us. Most importantly, we must be sensitive to these issues and call attention to oppression/discrimination when we see it happening.
How can we better educate people about these issues and subsequently prevent such tragedies from occurring over and over?
What can we do about the fact that police officers themselves are not only refusing to protect people of color, but some go out of their way to terrorize, humiliate, and murder POC?