Fierce

Black Women Know Exactly Why Kamala Harris Had To Hold Back In the Debate Last Night

Photo: via Getty Images

Kamala Harris’s debate performance on Wednesday night was admirable on so many fronts. She had done her research and was prepared with talking points and answers. She was calm and measured, a constant smile on her face. She never raised her voice.

In essence, her demeanor was the exact opposite of President Donald Trump’s at the presidential debate the week before. Trump had been veritably unhinged–yelling, ranting, insulting, and constantly interrupting former Vice President Joe Biden.

But Kamala Harris did make headlines for a statement she made, possibly her most assertive statement of the night: “Mr. Vice President,” she said after being talked over by Vice President Pence yet again. “I’m speaking.”

“I’m speaking” swiftly went viral on social media, quickly being meme-ified and retweeted by her supporters.

But not everyone loved that Harris had the dignity to assert herself. When speaking with Fox News about what he thought of the Vice Presidential debate, President Donald Trump called Harris a “monster” and pronounced her as “totally unlikable.” For Black women around the world, the insults Trump lobbed at Harris were seen for the dog whistles that they were.

Harris and every other Black woman in America is deeply familiar with the pervasive racial stereotype of the “Angry Black Woman”. The “Angry Black Woman” is a bitter and emotional woman who has let the circumstances of her life carve out a chip on her shoulder. And the media is quick to peddle this narrative.

Look no farther than the public flaying of Michelle Obama during the early days of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The negative headlines about Michelle ranged from “Michelle Obama Hates America” to “Just Say No to Mrs. Obama“. And the vitriol aimed at her on social media was especially vile.

The former First Lady spoke candidly about the media’s unfair treatment of her while promoting her memoir “Becoming” at the 2019 Essence Festival.

“People from all sides, Democrats and Republicans, tried to take me out by the knees,” Obama told host, Gayle King. “And the best way they could do it was to focus on the strength of the Black woman, so they turned that into a caricature. For a minute there, I was an angry Black woman who was emasculating her husband.”

But the effects of misogynoir–which is defined as the specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward Black women–are not limited to public figures. They are ubiquitous.

Even I, a Black woman who is not at all in the public eye, experience misogynoir constantly.

Recently, I was lamenting to my brother over the fact that I am perpetually single. During our conversation, I was brainstorming possible reasons as to why no man wanted to commit to me. “From my perspective,” my brother (who is also Black) told me, “you’re too loud.” He continued: “It’s intimidating. If I were a guy, that would scare me right off.”

His comments stung.

I called a girlfriend later, my heart hurting, my feelings of undesirability and unfemininity coupled with that all-too-familiar feeling of shame that comes with simply existing as a Black woman on the planet–and especially as a Black woman in white spaces. But I was unable to articulate the uneasiness I felt at his comments. “I can’t help who I am,” I said to her.

“It’s a double standard,” she responded. “Our friend Jocelyn is just as loud as you are–ask anyone. But no one would ever tell her that her loudness is a negative trait, or something that she should change about herself in order to land a man. But Jocelyn is white.”

I felt the burden of my identity like a bag of bricks in that moment. I knew that whatever I used to shield myself from misogynoir–a good job, a college education, fancy clothes and makeup–none of it would ever fully shield me from the racism and sexism I would face for the rest of my life.

Kamala Harris’s debate performance was measured and grounded because she knew she had to package herself to be palatable to white America.

After all, Harris already recently faced some media backlash over what critics called her unfair treatment of (now running mate, then-rival) Joe Biden at the Democratic Primary Debate. Now, it seems, Harris has changed tactics.

Kamala Harris doesn’t have the luxury of being loud or combative or angry–all feelings that would otherwise be completely justified in today’s political climate. Instead, in order to be taken seriously as a Vice Presidential candidate, she must devote a significant amount of her time and energy to being likeable. Trustworthy. Ladylike.

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

As we continue to learn more about the attack on Atlanta’s Asian-American community that left eight dead, we also are learning about Mario González – a survivor of the attack who was treated like a suspect by the Cherokee Sheriff Department.

Despite having lost his wife in the gunfire, police refused to share that news with González as he was handcuffed for hours amid the chaotic scene that was unfolding in the Atlanta suburbs.

A survivor of the Atlanta spa attacks says he was treated like a suspect instead of a victim.

The Latino man and husband who survived the Atlanta spa shootings that killed his wife says cops treated him like a suspect instead of a grieving victim — keeping him handcuffed for hours without telling him his spouse was dead.

“They had me at the police station for all that time until they investigated who was responsible or what had happened,” Mario González said during an interview with the Spanish-language news site Mundo Hispanico. “In the end, they told me my wife had died.

“They knew I was her husband,” Gonzalez said. “Then they told me she was dead when I wanted to know before. I don’t know, maybe because I’m Mexican,” he said. “Because the truth is that they treated me very badly.”

Law enforcement hasn’t responded to the allegations but are already facing severe backlash.

Representatives for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Sunday, but the accusations leveled by Mr. González come after the agency had already faced scrutiny after a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office described the gunman as having “a really bad day.”

The spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, was no longer the office’s public representative on the case, and the sheriff, Frank Reynolds, apologized and defended Captain Baker as not intending to disrespect the victims or their families. “We regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

González and his wife had been on a date night when the massacre took place.

The couple had arrived to Young’s Asian Massage for a fun date night, where they’d both enjoy a relaxing massage. They arrived shortly before the shooting started, Mr. González said in the video interview, and they were ushered into separate rooms for their massages.

Mr. González had met Ms. Yaun at a Waffle House restaurant, where he was a customer and she was a server. Ms. Yaun had been a single mother, raising a 13-year-old son. The couple married last year and had a daughter, who is now 8 months old. “What I need most right now is support,” Mr. González said in the interview.

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Racist Officers in Florida Filed a False Report Against a Latino Man After Assaulting Him

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Racist Officers in Florida Filed a False Report Against a Latino Man After Assaulting Him

Credit: Lake Wales Police Department

While deaths at the hands of police officers have fallen since the racial reckoning of last summer, there is still a long way to go. All it takes is a few bad apple police officers to erode trust between communities and law enforcement. Take, for example, a recent incident in Lake Wales, Fla. Two racist officers assaulted a Latino man named Chris Cordero before filing false charges against him.

According to local reports, two racist officers lied on their police report when they accused Chris Cordero of attacking them.

The story is truly shocking. According to Chris Cordero, 37, the entire incident with the racist officers began when he was driving home from Publix with medicine for his young son. Cordero became wary when he noticed a police cruiser was following him for a long time. So Cordero stopped to ask the police officer what was going on.

“I get out of the vehicle to ask him what’s going on because he’s been following me for a while,” Cordero told WFTS Tampa Bay. And here is where Cordero’s story and the police officer’s story differ.

Cordero told reporters that Officer Colt Black “requested that I go to the back of my car and put my hands on the trunk. Because he wants to search me to see if I have a weapon.”

It was then, Cordero says, that Officer Black “sucker punched” him on the back of the head.

“He sucker-punched me from the back, right here, cracked a piece of my tooth out. I landed on the ground,” Cordero said. Cordero says that it was then that a second officer, Officer Travis Worley, arrived. The two men began to assault him while he was on the ground, handcuffed.

“They both jumped on me and beat me up really bad,” Cordero said. Cordero also alleges that Officer Worley called him a “spic n—-r”, “a piece of sh-t” and told him to “go back to New York.”

The police report told a very different story. The cops alleged that “Cordero immediately exited the driver door and began to charge towards my patrol vehicle.”

Officer Colt Black said he “delivered an elbow strike to the left side of Cordero’s head” thinking Cordero was “reaching for a weapon.”

They charged Cordero with resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer and making a death threat to a law enforcement officer. The charges could’ve landed Cordero in jail for years.

As soon as Cordero was released on bail, he revisited the neighborhood and went door-to-door hoping to find home surveillance footage of the incident. Luckily, he found some.

The footage clearly showed Cordero waiting by his car for around 30 seconds before Officer Black approached him and assaulted him. Cordero submitted the footage to the police. Officer Black claimed he wrote the false report because his “perception was altered due to the high stress of the incident.”

The State’s Attorney’s Office, immediately dropped the charges against Cordero. The Lake Wells attorney revealed that this wasn’t the first time members of the community complained about these particular officers.

“These officers who have issues with power and control target people who they know won’t be believed,” she said.

Since the footage came to light, the racist officers have been reprimanded. Officer Colt Black resigned. Officer Travis Worley is on administrative leave.

The two racist officers have a history of complaints against them. Members of the community have accused them of blatant racism and excessive force.

A Black female officer claimed Officer Worley used a racial slur while on a call–a claim he denied. He later tried to have the woman fired, saying “the longer she is allowed to continue working here, the more of a chance she will have to harm good officers and their families.”

Another complaint was filed by a local high school principal, who heard Officer Worley use a racial slur in front of students. “Quite simply,” the principal wrote, “he is not the same caliber as the other officers I know are–not even close.”

Despite the multiple complaints and investigations surrounding him, the police department always cleared Officer Worley of wrongdoing. He was even named “Officer of the Year” in 2019.

Chris Cordero hopes this incident with the racist officers prompts the city to make body cameras mandatory on police officers.

“How many more innocent people are sitting in jail?” he asked WFTS News. “How many people in the community are scared to come forward about these officers?”

“All police are not trying to intimidate people. That’s not the case,” said Lake Wales City Commissioner Terrye Howell. “But when you have one or two bad apples, then they’re spilling that bad apple part to other officers, then that bunch starts growing.”

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