News about a young, Black girl being pushed to the ground and dragged out of the classroom in Spring Valley High School in South Carolina by a student resources officer went viral on social media on Monday. The incident is the topic of many conversations across the country. Many people were horrified by the way the police officer, named Ben Fields manhandled the young woman like that while others felt the young woman deserved it because she was acting ”defiant” for her refusal to abide by the rules put forth by authority. However, regardless of the conflicting views on this incident, Ben Fields shouldn’t have used such excessive force against a young girl like that even if she was defiant but deep down, I know this this ”officer” wouldn’t have ever done this to a young, White girl. Thus this incident reflects the continued devaluation and marginalization of Black women’s humanity in this society.
Here is a picture of Officer Ben Fields savagely pulling the young girl out of her seat and onto the ground before dragging her out of the classroom. How sickening.
Background on the story:
The teenage girl, who was dragged by Officer Ben Fields, took out her cell phone in class and the teacher told her to hand the phone to her. The girl refused to hand the phone to her teacher. So the teacher called the school’s administrator to handle the situation. She just sat there even though the school administrator told her to leave the class. So the teacher called Officer Fields to the task of getting the young lady to comply to the rules.
She was told by Officer Fields to leave her desk but she still refused. He said to her, ”either, you’re coming with me or I’ll make you”. He, then, put his arm around the young girl’s neck, flipped her desk backward and dragged her out of the classroom. She was arrested for disturbing classroom procedures. However, a classmate, Niya Kenny, stood up for this young girl. She was crying and screaming and shocked at what was going on. She told other classmates to record the incident and tell others about it. Then Officer Fields came back and looked at Niya.
Here is a picture of Niya Kenny, on a television program, talking about the incident.
He asked her: ”Do you want some too?”
Niya Kenny: ”No, no!”
Eventually, Officer Fields arrested Niya Kenny for disturbing classroom procedures. Since she was eighteen years old, Niya spent eight and a half hours at a detention center. She was released on Tuesday. As for Officer Fields, he was fired and he is put on administrative pay leave. However, the Richland Sheriff’s department and school’s administration is investigating the case to judge whether or not Officer Fields’ actions were justified.
Here is the video on the incident:
My views on the incident:
I am very disturbed by this whole incident. I was on Facebook, talking to a friend, when I read status updates talking about the incident. My whole head and heart was racing as I read about the incident and did my research. Needless to say, incidents where a Black man or woman is harmed by the police doesn’t shock me. These situations are just becoming more and more common place as police brutality becomes a huge issue in our society.
A student refusing to put her cell phone away doesn’t require a police officer(so called, in this case) to come in the classroom and manhandle her like that. I am not condoning that the girl should have been defiant and not listen to her teacher’s orders but sending a police officer to the classroom was like creating a problem out of a molehill. The young girl should have been sent to a disciplinarian’s officer, be written a note and then sent home for disturbing class. Sending a police officer to handle the situation was unnecessary. To me, this was a simple incident that spun out of control due to treating a simple disturbance as a major crime scene and having a police officer use too much force on a young girl.
Officer Fields went beyond the appropriate boundaries to enforce and enact authority and safety. Instead, he used excessive force and dragged a young girl like a rag doll to get his point across. What was this young girl to him? A dog? It is so sickening to see brief videos of him putting his arm around her and flipping her desk like that. Officer Lott at the Richland Sheriff department was right in firing him and giving him, ”administrative pay leave” but if I were Officer Lott, I would have arrested Officer Fields for using excessive force on a young girl.
How is this incident related to what Black women go through everyday while living in America?
Black women face both racism and sexism along with misogynoir and colorism in the Black American collective. Black woman faces micro aggressions and subtle racism when interacting with White and other non Blacks on a daily basis and colorism, sexism and misogynoir from men in their families and other Black men in their communities. She is told that everything that is wrong with Black America is her fault and that it is her responsibility to uplift ”the community” all by herself. She is told by the media and society that her life doesn’t matter and that she is ghetto, hoochie mama, undesirable and unattractive. I can go on and on about the examples that Black women face in society but I wouldn’t. Most of all, it isn’t easy being a Black woman in a society that devalues and continues to hate their existence but Black women still persevere and do what is best for them.
Like I have spoke about in various posts, Black women aren’t guaranteed the same protection that non Black women take for granted. Non Black women have their men and communities protecting and uplifting them. A non Black man would get offended and beat down anyone who speaks poorly of his woman yet the average Black man would sit back and let others put his woman down. Black women don’t have a community or male collective to protect them and fall back on if someone seeks one to marginalize them. And since Black women don’t have a community or male collective to protect them, Black women are open season for anyone to put down without fear of reprisal. Combine that with the institutionalized racism that denies Black girls access to adequate education, housing and healthcare and lower prison sentences along with being seen on the bottom of the desirability of women, you get what Black women go through everyday. Thus Black women’s lives and bodies are seen as disposable and that is why incidents like this will and continue to happen to Black women.
Ultimately, more and more incidents of young, Black women being murdered or manhandled in the hands of the police and Black men will surface. If the powers to be can’t target Black men, they target those who give birth to more Black men-the Black woman. However, I believe that it is time for more Black women to speak up against police brutality and violence against Black women and demand that we be treated fairly. After all, as Black women, we are all that we have.
Links from where I got my information from: