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In the Last 5 Days.....

November 21, 2018

In the Last 5 days.... 

 

A coroner slid a Black woman’s dead body into a morgue’s cold chambers because she refused to succumb to the fragile ego of a man or his desperate need to be loved and seen. 

 

   This week, the country found out a beloved teacher, mother and community member, Aisha Fraser Mason, was stabbed to death as savagely as she had been beaten four years earlier by the same assailant – her ex-husband, disgraced former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason. Aisha and Mason’s two daughters, ages 8 and 11, reportedly watched their father murder their mother in the driveway of her Shaker Heights, Ohio, home this past Saturday.  

 

   In the wake of the gruesome murder, it was quickly revealed that Aisha was a survivor of intimate partner violence. She took a stand against her then-husband after the brutal attack in 2014, filed for divorce, and still has not been granted the divorce even in death. Despite Mason's brief incarceration for the 2014 attack, and despite being stripped of his judgeship, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson appointed him minority business development director. Mason was given more chances than his ex-wife to rebuild his life after the trauma of domestic violence.  

 

   To add insult to injury, mainstream media decided that domestic and intimate partner violence against a Black woman was not nearly as compelling a headline as “disgraced judge.” Mason had not been charged for the murder as of Wednesday. Instead, authorities have charged him with felonious assault for injuring a police officer as he fled the scene.  

 

   With their mother’s death, two Black girls lost the best and most influential black woman in their life. This came four years after they watched the best and most influential Black woman in their life have her face shattered by their father. Two Black girls had Black masculine aggression against Black femininity embedded on their hearts and minds forever. 

   

A coroner slid a Black woman’s dead body into a morgue’s cold chambers because she refused to succumb to the fragile ego of a man or his desperate need to be loved and seen. 

 

   More than 300 miles away in Chicago, a Black woman doctor fared no better. Tamara O’Neal was shot to death on Monday by her ex-fiancé, Juan Lopez, at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center — the place O’Neal performed her #BlackGirlMagic. An expert at identifying trauma became of victim of her own specialty. Chicago was robbed of a much-needed trauma expert who was draped in beautiful Black skin and wore a warm smile. 

  

   In the murders of Aisha and O’Neal, two men of color conducted a white supremacist-style execution of their intimate partners because fragile egos and toxic masculinity know no race or ethnicity.  

 

   In O’Neal’s death, mainstream media decided that domestic and intimate partner violence against a Black woman doctor was not nearly as compelling a headline as the death of a male police officer. Only after a Black woman doctor was killed was it revealed to her family and friends that she was a victim of domestic violence.  

 

  A coroner slid a Black woman’s dead body into a morgue’s cold chambers because she refused to succumb to the fragile ego of a man or his desperate need to be loved and seen. 

 

   Most major media outlets framed the coverage of the Black women’s murders around the deaths and fates of the men that killed them. These murders remind us of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s in-depth investigation which found that Black women are nearly three times more likely to be murdered by men than their white counterparts (and at least nine in 10 knew their killers). 

 

   We were reminded of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s in-depth investigation which revealed that nationally, black women are exposed to more intimate partner and gender-based violence than all women overall.  According to NBC News, nearly 15 women have been killed by an intimate partner.

 

A coroner slid a Black woman’s dead body into a morgue’s cold chambers because she refused to succumb to the fragile ego of a man or his desperate need to be loved and seen. 

 

   The Black communities in Cleveland and Chicago were reminded that what is done in darkness will always come to light. The culture of secrecy surrounding domestic violence and people of color intersect far too often. Black and brown people must address their complicity in elevating Black and brown maleness above all — especially Black and brown women.  

 

   O’Neal’s murder in Chicago hit home for me. West Grenshaw and South Central Park Avenue was my address for the better part of a decade, and mt affinity for Chicago’s west side has informed my activism and even my graduate project.  

 

   Chicago was my home, and yet, I openly acknowledge Chicago is a dangerous place to live if you are Black. More than a few bullets had been fired in front of my children’s school. My son and I narrowly escaped a shooting in front of our home on our way back from a late-night ER visit.  Our children’s favorite after school staffer was shot in the hand right in front of the building. The building is also our church.  This would not be the last time shots were fired in front of our church space. Just two blocks from my home, the bodies of two young Black women were found mutilated and bloodied by what many are calling a serial killer.  Chicago is all too familiar with gun violence and homicide.

 

   The latter display of violence was obfuscated by the police and dismissed as possible “gang violence.” But Black folks know what it really was: Black women and girls being killed by a man that no one can or is willing to identify to authorities. While many in Black Chicago were enraged by the unsolved murders of these women, they certainly did not submit to any deep reflection on the many ways we, as a people, devalue Black women’s lives to elevate those of Black men and boys. This need to protect Black men and boys at all costs is literally costing Black women our lives. 

 

  If Black people are going to survive this, we need to acknowledge the ways we have compromised the safety and sanctity of Black women’s bodies in favor of the protection of Black male bodies. We have imbibed the lie that Black male bodies are more valuable – more worthy of love and protection than Black women’s bodies. 

 

   In the last 5 days, black Chicago was exposed to a type of violence with which it is unfamiliar — public, bold displays of domestic violence and fragile white masculinity performed by Black and brown men. Random shootings are prevalent in Chicago. What is not prevalent is the brazen assassination of unrelated individuals that mirror the entitled fragile masculinity of self-proclaimed “jilted” white men by every woman for whom they have ever pined. 

 

  Whatever evil abyss we picked up the notion that Black male bodies are somehow more valuable than Black female bodies, is where we need to leave it — as it is proven far deadlier than any gun; it has killed more Black women than guns and continues to threaten the survival of Black people. The future of Black freedom depends on how well we protect the lives of Black women every single day. 

 

  Until intimate partner and domestic violence are no longer a clear and present danger to Black women, and even long after, Black Women’s Blueprint will be there to support survivors. 

If you are a black woman in the New York area who is experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, please reach out to Black Women’s Blueprint at: 347-533-9102/3 or 646-647-5414. 

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