News of Daniel Holtzclaws’ guilty verdict was all over my newsfeed. My friends posted statuses and memes celebrating Holtzclaws’ guilty verdict while I packed to go back home for the holidays. However, privately, I was playing my favorite music and doing my own little celebration but the importance of this verdict signifies the turning point of valuing and protecting Black women’s lives in this country.
Who is Daniel Holtzclaw?
Daniel Holtzclaw is a former Oklahoma police officer who was convicted of raping thirteen Black women. He was found guilty of 18 out of 36 counts of sexual assault and rape including four counts of rape in the first degree and four counts of forced oral sodomy. He will start his sentence in January 2016.
In June 2014, Jannie Ligions reported an incident where Officer(former) Daniel Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sodomy when he stopped her in her neighborhood. Investigators investigated the situation and found twelve more victims thus resulting in thirteen victims of sexual assault in the hands of Daniel Holtzclaw. He was arrested in August of that year and then released on bail. However, his incarceration didn’t begin until January of 2015 when he lost his job as a police officer. He was, then, put on trial where he was found guilty of 18 out of 36 counts of sexual assault and rape including four counts of rape in the first degree and four counts of forced oral sodomy sentenced to life in prison. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison. Luckily for his victims, his verdict was a sign that justice was served.
Here is a picture of Holtzclaw, on the right, sobbing when his verdict was read.
Why did Daniel Holtzclaw target poor, African American women?
Like many others in society, he probably saw African American women as less than women of other races and ethnicities. No woman has endured more disrespect and disregard from others more than the Black woman has. And no woman is unprotected the way Black woman is. White supremacist system and Black male misogyny places Black women at the bottom hence the fact that Daniel Holtzclaw felt that he would get away with raping Black women.
Here is a post from a Facebook friend(Lacretia Branch) of a Facebook friend(Asia Simone) that nailed the reason why Daniel Holtzclaw targeted African American women:
”Daniel Holtzclaw, a Half White Half Asian police officer, targeted a group of women in his crimes due to the knowledge of the FACT that these women, BLACK WOMEN, have no protectors or defenders in this world. He specifically targeted one race of women for a reason.
Men like him know by example that they can get away with raping, beating, and killing Black women, mainly because they know Black men don’t care and won’t rise up to protect them. They know American society has bra…nded these women as not worthy of respect and will find ways to blame them. They know respectability politics that blame what women wear for men raping them protects them from punishment.
Men like him choose the easiest paths of resistance. The law caught up to him due to the audacity of his crime. He’d hope that his privilege would help him get away with his crime, and he’s seen countless others walk away free, with no retribution, no marches, no uproar.
Those tears in that courtroom were his above hope… dashed.
Just another day in the life for Black women.”
This whole post signified why Daniel Holtzclaw raped these women and felt that he could get away with. Like Malcolm X said, Black women are the most disrespected and unprotected person in the nation. Since Black women’s lives are seen as less, he felt that he could rape them because there isn’t anyone protecting Black women. Plus he relied on the racist system to get him off because he knew that the system favored White and non Blacks over Black people even if the Black person in question was a victim of wrongdoing. However, he was sentenced to 263 years and charged with 18 out of 36 counts of rape, oral sodomy and sexual assault. Justice prevailed.
Why are Black women the least protected and least respected person in society?
Black women have two strikes against them in society: being Black and female in a White supremacist and patriarchal society. Black transgender and gay women have their race, gender and sexuality going against them. Socially, Black women are seen as on the bottom of the totem pole and the least desired and least attractive out of all women. However, Black women still manage to achieve great things in society and rise above what anyone says and thinks about them in society.
Black women were shipped to the Americas and stripped of their femininity, humanity, culture, language and way of life by their European slave masters. Black women had to work alongside their male counterparts in the fields picking cotton and other crops. Black women also worked as maids and wet nurses for their masters’ wives and children. Female slaves also experienced malnutrition, lack of clothing, sanitation and sexual abuse and rape from White male masters. Many biracial children arose from illicit unions from White men and Black female slaves.Many White men continued to rape Black women into the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. There are even incidents such as Daniel Holtzclaw’s where Black women are continually sexual harassed by some non Black men. To justify their sexual abuse and mistreatment of their Black women, they made up stereotypes such as Mammy(asexual, overweight caretaker of children), Sapphire(angry and overbearing woman) and Jezebel(oversexed, wanton woman) to paint their Black female slaves as ”asking for it”. To this very day, these stereotypes are explicitly or implicitly implied when Black women interact with others in wider society and in their own communities.
As a collective, Black man has had an hand in bringing down Black woman’s image in society. Collectively speaking, the Black man in America and the UK has distributed oversexualized and provocative view and images of Black women through the world through Hip Hop videos and music. He has expressed his disdain and hatred of Black women through online forums and public outlets. The Black man has refused to protect, uplift and respect his woman. Many Black men even hate Black women because they hate their own reflection and take out their self hatred on Black women. Worst of all, many Black man uses Black women’s time, energy and resources to help fight his battles against ”da evil White man” while continuing to put down Black woman.
This isn’t to say that all White men are slave masters who raped Black women or that all Black men hate Black women. There are some White men who respect women who happen to be Black. And there are Black men out there who love Black women. My intention was to bring up the history of how the devaluation of Black women started through slavery and European colonization and how many Black men are continuing this thread with their behavior. Realistically speaking, neither Black or White men are protecting and defending Black women. Black women don’t have anyone but themselves. And all they need is each other.
Ultimately, I believe Black women should stick together because other Black women are all that we have. The more Black women come together and stick together, the better off Black women will be. Thus I believe in the empowerment and betterment of Black women and their lives.
Sources from where I get the information from: