Sandra Bland’s death and the Black Woman’s dilemma

For centuries, Black woman have found herself caught in the middle of joining the Woman’s Suffrage movement, now known as the modern day feminist movement or joining Black liberation groups such as the Civil Rights Movement, NAACP and Black Panthers’ etc. Having to deal with the strikes of being both Black and female I a racist and patriarchal society, these movements should have the means of supporting and solving the issues Black women face in this society. Contrary to this belief, neither movements really catered to or included Black women in their struggle for independence and equality from White hegemony/patriarchal system. But most Black women have and remain defenders and fighters for Black liberation from the White patriarchal system much to their own expense. However the lack of emphasis of Black women’s achievements in Black liberation movements and how it correlates to the death of twenty eight year old, Sandra Bland will be discussed.

All the women are White and all the Blacks are men mantra has been a common occurrence for centuries and was brought forth by the Eurocentric standards of beauty and acceptability in society. Women with fair skin, long, flowing hair and Eurocentric beauty standards are seen as feminine and beautiful and men with darker skin and features are seen as masculine and virile. This mantra works to the White woman and Black man’s advantage in society because this mantra gives White women privilege and accolades due to their fair skin and features fitting the norms of beauty and femininity and Black men privilege and accolades due to their dark skin and features fitting the ideal of idealized masculinity. Unfortunately, this leaves Black women disadvantaged and marginalized due to the fact that Black women fit neither of the feminine aspects of womanhood and femininity in society due to them being Black and female.

For centuries, the Black woman(I use this term in a sense of a collective, not every Black woman out there) has stood by Black man’s(Again, I see this term in a sense of a collective not every Black man out there) side against slavery, institutionalized racism, segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings and any other type of racial discrimination imaginable that affects Black people. Black women such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth helped contribute to the abolitionist movement by writing articles and attending speeches about the evils and horrors of growing up and being a slave. And some women like Harriet Tubman even used the Underground Railroad to help slaves escape from their slave masters to the Northern states where slavery was outlawed. Black women such as Ida B. Wells spoke out against Black men being lynched and stereotyped in her writings and speeches in the late nineteenth century. And Black women marched along with and protested with Black men in the tumultuous segregation and Civil Rights movement for freedom and equal opportunities that other Americans took for granted. Rosa Parks, Nina Simone, Dorothy Height etc also participated in the Civil Rights Movement as well. Black women such as Assata Shakur, Elaine Brown, Kathleen Cleaver and Angela Davis were also influential in the Black Panthers’ movement. However the same loyalty and dedication Black women have had for Black men and their plight hasn’t been reciprocated. Black men, for the most part, don’t march for Black women who have been murdered by the police, raped or street harassed. The vast majority of Black men don’t pay as much attention to Black women’s issues the same way Black women pay attention to Black men’s issues. And that is what puts Black women at a disadvantage because Black women don’t have a male collective that is actively protecting them and their children from being attacked, robbed and murdered in their communities and in the outside world.


Here is a slogan of “Black Power”.

Despite Sojourner Truth aligning herself with White suffragists such as Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady along with making a speech called Ain’t I A Woman, the Woman’s suffrage movement became centered on the lives and interests of White, middle class and able bodied women. Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady started to center the suffrage movement in the United States towards White women exclusively after they were outraged that Black men got the right to vote before women(White women) did when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified. Black women continued to participate in the women’s suffrage movement for the right to vote, right to own property, work outside of the home, maternal leave, right to keep their last names after they get married, right to have control over their reproductive rights etc despite the racism many of them faced. In fact, anti lynching advocate Ida B Wells and Frances Williard, a temperance advocate and feminist, had a dispute over whether or not Black men’s lynchings were justifiable after Willard made a comment saying this:

” ‘Better whiskey and more of it’ is the rallying cry of great, dark-faced mobs,” in a New York Post interview in 1890, “The safety of [white] women, of childhood, of the home, is menaced in a thousand localities.”

Wells was offended because she felt that Frances Willard was being racially insensitive to the plight of Black people in the country. And it was worse that this woman was considered an ally in the Black Community due to the fact that she allowed Black women to participate in the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement. Both women went back and forth but at the end of the day, Wells realized Williard’s true color by making this statement in her autobiography:

unhesitatingly slandered the entire Negro race in order to gain favor with those who are hanging, shooting and burning Negroes alive,”

Finally the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and women got the right to vote in 1920. However that didn’t stop the racial divide in the women’s rights movement. Many Black and White feminists still argued and went back and forth about intersectionality and allowing Black women’s narrative to be heard and listened to. And the feminist movement also gained many members in the 1960s and 1970s as women’s reproductive rights and rights in the workplace and marriage, divorce and children came to light. Roe vs. Wade in 1973 ruled that women had the right to have an abortion if she chose to. This was a landmark decision that allowed women the right to choose what and how they wanted to reproduce and who they want to reproduce with. However, the strife between Black and White feminists over intersection and allowing the voices of Black and other minority women to be heard in mainstream feminism still remains an issue.


Women march on the streets of New York for equal rights in an undated photo.

Women march on the streets of New York for equal rights in an undated photo.

What does this have to do with Sandra Bland’s death?

Twenty eight year old, Sandra Bland was driving to Praire View, Texas for her job as a summer program associate when she was stopped by State Trooper, Brian Encinia for signaling the wrong lane when turning her car on July 10th, 2015. She was asked by the state trooper to  get out of her car and she refused. Here is the exchange between Sandra Bland and State Trooper, Brian Encinia:

State Trooper Brian Encinia: Hello ma’am. We’re the Texas Highway Patrol and the reason for your stop is because you failed to signal the lane change. Do you have your driver’s license and registration with you? What’s wrong? How long have you been in Texas?


Sandra Bland: Got here just today.


Encinia: OK. Do you have a driver’s license? (Pause) OK, where you headed to now? Give me a few minutes.


(Bland inaudible)


(Encinia returns to his car for several minutes, then approaches Bland again.)  


Encinia: OK, ma’am. (Pause.) You OK?


Bland: I’m waiting on you. This is your job. I’m waiting on you. When’re you going to let me go?


Encinia: I don’t know, you seem very really irritated.


Bland: I am. I really am. I feel like it’s crap what I’m getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so [inaudible] ticket.


Encinia: Are you done?


Bland: You asked me what was wrong, now I told you.


Encinia: OK.


Bland: So now I’m done, yeah.


Encinia: You mind putting out your cigarette, please? If you don’t mind?


Bland: I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?


Encinia: Well you can step on out now.


Bland: I don’t have to step out of my car.


Encinia: Step out of the car.


Bland: Why am I …

Encinia: Step out of the car!


Bland: No, you don’t have the right. No, you don’t have the right.


Encinia: Step out of the car.


Bland: You do not have the right. You do not have the right to do this.


Encinia: I do have the right, now step out or I will remove you.


Bland: I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself. [crosstalk] I am getting removed for a failure to signal?


Encinia: Step out or I will remove you. I’m giving you a lawful order.


Get out of the car now or I’m going to remove you.


Bland: And I’m calling my lawyer.


Encinia: I’m going to yank you out of here. (Reaches inside the car.)


Bland: OK, you’re going to yank me out of my car? OK, alright.


Encinia (calling in backup): 2547.


Bland: Let’s do this.


Encinia: Yeah, we’re going to. (Grabs for Bland.)


Bland: Don’t touch me!


Encinia: Get out of the car!


Bland: Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me! I’m not under arrest — you don’t have the right to take me out of the car.


Encinia: You are under arrest!


Bland: I’m under arrest? For what? For what? For what?


Encinia (to dispatch): 2547 county fm 1098 (inaudible) send me another unit. (To Bland) Get out of the car! Get out of the car now!


Bland: Why am I being apprehended? You’re trying to give me a ticket for failure …


Encinia: I said get out of the car!


Bland: Why am I being apprehended? You just opened my —


Encinia: I‘m giving you a lawful order. I’m going to drag you out of here.


Bland: So you’re threatening to drag me out of my own car?


Encinia: Get out of the car!


Bland: And then you’re going to [crosstalk] me?


Encinia: I will light you up! Get out! Now! (Draws stun gun and points it at Bland.) 


Bland: Wow. Wow. (Bland exits car.)


Encinia: Get out. Now. Get out of the car!


Bland: For a failure to signal? You’re doing all of this for a failure to signal?


Encinia: Get over there.


Bland: Right. yeah, lets take this to court, let’s do this.


Encinia: Go ahead.


Bland: For a failure to signal? Yup, for a failure to signal!


Encinia: Get off the phone!


Bland: (crosstalk)


Encinia: Get off the phone! Put your phone down!


Bland: I’m not on the phone. I have a right to record. This is my property. Sir?


Encinia: Put your phone down right now. Put your phone down!


(Bland slams phone down on her trunk.)


Bland: For a fucking failure to signal. My goodness. Y’all are interesting. Very interesting.


Encinia: Come over here. Come over here now.


Bland: You feelin’ good about yourself?


Encinia: Stand right here. Stand right there.


Bland: You feelin’ good about yourself? For a failure to signal? You feel real good about yourself don’t you? You feel good about yourself don’t you?


Encinia: Turn around. Turn around. Turn around now. Put your hands behind your back.


Bland: Why am I being arrested?


Encinia: Turn around …


Bland: Why can’t you …


Encinia: I’m giving you a lawful order. I will tell you.


Bland: Why am I being arrested?


Encinia: Turn around!


Bland: Why won’t you tell me that part?


Encinia: I’m giving you a lawful order. Turn around …


Bland: Why will you not tell me what’s going on?


Encinia: You are not complying.


Bland: I’m not complying ’cause you just pulled me out of my car.


Encinia: Turn around.


Bland: Are you fucking kidding me? This is some bull…


Encinia: Put your hands behind your back.


Bland: ‘Cause you know this straight bullshit. And you’re full of shit. Full of straight shit. That’s all y’all are is some straight scared cops. South Carolina got y’all bitch asses scared. That’s all it is. Fucking scared of a female.


Encinia: If you would’ve just listened.


Bland: I was trying to sign the fucking ticket — whatever.


Encinia: Stop moving!


Bland: Are you fucking serious?


Encinia: Stop moving!


Bland: Oh I can’t wait ’til we go to court. Ooh I can’t wait. I cannot wait ’til we go to court. I can’t wait. Oh I can’t wait! You want me to sit down now?


Encinia: No.


Bland: Or are you going to throw me to the floor? That would make you feel better about yourself?


Encinia: Knock it off!


Bland: Nah that would make you feel better about yourself. That would make you feel real good wouldn’t it? Pussy ass. Fucking pussy. For a failure to signal you’re doing all of this. In little ass Praire View, Texas. My God they must have …


Encinia: You were getting a warning, until now you’re going to jail.


Bland: I’m getting a — for what? For what?


Encinia: You can come read.


Bland: I’m getting a warning for what? For what!?


Encinia: Stay right here.


Bland: Well you just pointed me over there! Get your mind right.


Encinia: I said stay over here. Stay over here.


Bland: Ooh I swear on my life, y’all are some pussies. A pussy-ass cop, for a fucking signal you’re gonna take me to jail.


Encinia (to dispatch, or an officer arriving on scene): I got her in control she’s in some handcuffs.


Bland: For a fucking ticket. What a pussy. What a pussy. You’re about to break my fucking wrist!


Encinia: Stop moving.


Bland: I’m standing still! You keep moving me, goddammit.


Encinia: Stay right here. Stand right there.


Bland: Don’t touch me. Fucking pussy  — for a traffic ticket (inaudible).


(door slams)


Encinia: Come read right over here. This right here says ‘a warning.’ You started creating the problems.


Bland: You asked me what was wrong!


Encinia: Do you have anything on your person that’s illegal?


Bland: Do I feel like I have anything on me? This a fucking maxi dress.


Encinia: I’m going to remove your glasses.


Bland: This a maxi dress. (Inaudible) Fucking assholes.


Encinia: Come over here.


Bland: You about to break my wrist. Can you stop? You’re about to fucking break my wrist! Stop!!!


Encinia: Stop now! Stop it! If you would stop resisting.


Female officer: Stop resisting ma’am.


Bland: (cries) For a fucking traffic ticket, you are such a pussy. You are such a pussy.


Female officer: No, you are. You should not be fighting.


Encinia: Get on the ground!


Bland: For a traffic signal!


Encinia: You are yanking around, when you pull away from me, you’re resisting arrest.


Bland: Don’t it make you feel real good don’t it? A female for a traffic ticket. Don’t it make you feel good Officer Encinia? You’re a real man now. You just slammed me, knocked my head into the ground. I got epilepsy, you motherfucker.


Encinia: Good. Good.


Bland: Good? Good?


Female officer: You should have thought about it before you started resisting.


Bland: Make you feel real good for a female. Y’all strong, y’all real strong.


Encinia: I want you to wait right here.


Bland: I can’t go anywhere with your fucking knee in my back, duh!


Encinia: (to bystander): You need to leave! You need to leave!


(Bland continues screaming, but much of it is inaudible)


Encinia: For a warning you’re going to jail.


Bland: Whatever, whatever.


Encinia: You’re going to jail for resisting arrest. Stand up.


Bland: If I could, I can’t.


Encinia: OK, roll over.


Bland: I can’t even fucking feel my arms.


Encinia: Tuck your knee in, tuck your knee in.


Bland: (Crying): Goddamn. I can’t [muffled].


Encinia: Listen, listen. You’re going to sit up on your butt.


Bland: You just slammed my head into the ground and you do not even care …


Encinia: Sit up on your butt.


Female officer: Listen to how he is telling you to get up.


Bland: I can’t even hear.


Female officer: Yes you can.


Encinia: Sit up on your butt.


Bland: He slammed my fucking head into the ground.


Encinia: Sit up on your butt.


Bland: What the hell.


Encinia: Now stand up.


Bland: All of this for a traffic signal. I swear to God. All of this for a traffic signal. (To bystander.) Thank you for recording! Thank you! For a traffic signal — slam me into the ground and everything! Everything! I hope y’all feel good.


Encinia: This officer saw everything.


Female officer: I saw everything.


Bland: And (muffled) No you didn’t. You didn’t see everything leading up to it …


Female officer: I’m not talking to you.


Bland: You don’t have to.


Encinia: 2547 county. Send me a first-available, for arrest.


Female officer: You okay? You should have Tess check your hand.


Encinia: Yeah, I’m good.


Encinia: She started yanking away and then she kicked me, so I took her straight to the ground.


Female officer: And there you got it right there… I’ll search it for you if you want.


Female officer: Yeah.


Second male: I know one thing for sure, it’s on video.


Female officer: Yeah.


Second male: You hurt?


Encinia: No.


Encinia (to female officer): Did you see her when we were right here?


Female officer: Yeah, I saw her cause that’s where I (inaudible).


Encinia: This is when she pulled with the cuffs.


Paramedic: Your ring got you there?


Encinia: I had the chain, well, not the chain, but


Paramedic: You got the two loops?


Encinia: She didn’t kick me too hard but she still kicked me though.


Paramedic: Not through the skin, but you got a nice scratch.  I’m a paramedic, that’s why I know.


Encinia: I know that, that’s why I made you look.


Paramedic: Did she do that?


Encinia: Yeah that’s her.


Paramedic: Yeah that’s cut through the skin.


Encinia:  I wrapped it around her head and got her down.


Encinia (on radio): This is a traffic stop, had a little bit of a incident.


(Silence for several minutes.)


Encinia (apparently to a supervisor): I tried to de-escalate her. It wasn’t getting anywhere, at all. I mean I tried to put the Taser away. I tried talking to her and calming her down, and that was not working.

Encinia (apparently to a supervisor): I tried to de-escalate her. It wasn’t getting anywhere, at all. I mean I tried to put the Taser away. I tried talking to her and calming her down, and that was not working.


Well, I know, that was when she was in custody, and now I tried to get her detained and get her to just calm down and just calm down. Stop throwing her arms. You know what? She never swung at me, just flailing and stomping around. I said alright that’s enough, and that’s when I detained her.


There was something going on and she started kicking and kicking.


Yeah, and once I got her in the back of the car, that’s why I’m calling you now, because …


No, we were in the middle of a traffic stop and the traffic stop was not completed. I was just trying to get her out, over to the side and just explain to her what was going on because I couldn’t even get her to do what I was telling her. She just started going this is an mf, and you give mf for a ticket and lane change, she just started going.


I just stepped back from the car and was like are you done ma’am? I need to tell you why and what I’m giving you and she just kept on going.


I mean, I don’t have serious bodily injury (laughing) but I was kicked.


Assault is if a person commits an offense of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another or you intentionally threaten another with bodily injury.


She’s in the back of the car right now. She requested EMS. She said, she said I threw her down intentionally, for nothing. No, I put you down because you kicked me. You were fighting back. I kept telling her to calm down, calm down.


Evading arrest or detention. (Inaudible). Resisting arrest … She was detained. That’s the key and that’s why I am calling and asking because she was detained. That’s when I was walking her over to the car, just to calm her down and just to (say) stop.


That’s when she started kicking. I don’t know if it would be resist or if it would be assault. I kinda lean toward assault versus resist because I mean technically, she’s under arrest when a traffic stop is initiated, as a lawful stop. You’re not free to go. I didn’t say you’re under arrest, I never said, you know, stop, hands up.


Correct, that did not occur. There was just the assault part.


Like I said, after I got her all her situated and buttoned up as far as getting her in a safe vehicle, under arrest, that’s why I’m calling you.


She just moved here, according to her, yesterday, she’s from Illinois.


She gave me her driver’s license. I came back to the car and started running her stuff. Print it out. Coming to get back to the car to complete and tell her what’s she receiving and what to do and so forth. 


At that time, she’s still very much irritated and so forth. I’m pulling her over for she didn’t turn on her signal and so forth and so forth.


She wouldn’t even look at me. She’s looking straight ahead, just mad.


I’m at the driver’s side, I need to get her out of the car and over to the side of the car, you know, on the sidewalk, because I don’t want to be in the middle of the road while we’re arguing — or whatever, not arguing, I’m trying to tell her what she’s doing but she’s arguing with me.


That’s the only thing, I mean it too. When I had her down on the ground and the other officer came, I told her stop resisting and that’s when I told her you’re under arrest. At least I don’t think I did.


Yes, she kicked me, she started yanking away and trying to get away. And that’s when I grabbed her arm, she’s in front of me still. I controlled, I grabbed her by the shoulders and I brought her down into the grass away from the pavement.


Like I said, with something like this, I just call you immediately, after I get to a safe stopping point.


No weapons, she’s in handcuffs. You know, I took the lesser of the uhh … I only took enough force as I — seemed necessary. I even de-escalated once we were on the pavement, you know on the sidewalk. So I allowed time, I’m not saying I just threw her to the ground. I allowed time to de-escalate and so forth. It just kept getting. (laughing) Right, I’m just making that clear.


I got some cuts on my hand, I guess that is an injury, but I don’t need medical attention. I got three little circles from I guess the handcuffs when she was twisting away from me.  


Over a simple traffic stop. Yeah, I don’t get it. I really don’t.


Why act like that, I don’t know.


Another officer to Bland:  Okay ma’am, you’re under arrest. You’re going to be transported to the Waller County Jail, OK? Alright.


Officer to officer: Alright brother, appreciate it.

Here is a video of the whole incident:

Three days later, Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell of an alleged suicide. The news of her death spread across social media and initiated sadness, shock and outrage across the country. Her friends and family didn’t believe that she would kill herself. Her friends, family and others investigation into how Sandra Bland died in a jail cell. An autopsy was done to her body and it was determined that she did die of suicide however her family and friends demand another autopsy report done on her body. However I truly believe that there must be more to her death in the jail cell than just ”suicide”. Most likely, the the police force in Texas are covering up her murder to save face and protect someone on the force.

When I first heard about the death of Sandra Bland in a jail cell three days after being arrested for not signaling in the right lane, I was sadden that another Black woman had died in police custody. When I see her picture, I see my own reflection and the reflection of my mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and Black women who have came before me. And I knew that what happened to Sandra Bland could happen to any woman in this country especially African American women. Thus I was motivated to do my research on her death and come to my own conclusions.

Here is a picture of Sandra Bland.


However, when I did my research, I was even upset to hear that she was an activist for the Black male centered BlackLivesMatter movement. And if anyone looked at Sandra Bland’s social media page and watch her videos on her speaking out about police brutality, you can see that she was heavily invested in exposing the racism and brutality that Black people face in this country. Little did she realize, advocating for and being ”pro Black” meant putting Black men’s needs and interests ahead of Black women’s needs and interests at heart. BlackLivesMatter movement for the most part, heavily focuses on the deaths of heterosexual, Black men being shot and killed by the police much to the expense of Black women and gay victims of police brutality. And advocating and putting other people’s needs above your own isn’t something that is worth while at the end of the day especially if there isn’t any reciprocation required and guaranteed at the end.

And if a Black woman decides not to sacrifice herself at the altar of the ”Black Community” and save the Black man, she is considered a sellout and a feminist. Many Black feminists find themselves at odds with their own communities due to the fact that they are Black women who are for women’s rights and at odds with the feminist community because they demand women of color’s narrative to be addressed. Well, there isn’t anything wrong with Black women putting herself and her own interests first. In fact, I believe it is crucial and necessary for Black women to put their needs and interests first and do for self. It is important for others to look out for themselves and do for them because it is one of the main essentials needed to survive and get by in the world. Thus placing everyone else’s needs above yours isn’t the way to go especially if you want to thrive in society.

Ultimately, Sandra Bland’s death was tragic and more investigation into her death is being implemented at this time. However, Sandra Bland’s stance against police brutality and racism in her social media page and videos doesn’t justify how she was stopped, assaulted by the police or justify her untimely death.

Will Black women start doing for self and putting their interests first or will they continue to sacrifice their time, energy and resources to those who wouldn’t do the same for them? Only time will tell.

Links of information:


6 thoughts on “Sandra Bland’s death and the Black Woman’s dilemma

  1. Remembering that militancy has more than a demonstrative and kinetic quality. Militancy is knowing that every circumstance is a battlefield that varies in ‘its terrain’ for and against your advantage, depending on the ‘logistics’ you have to assert your self-determination in that situation.. As long as black people EXPECT a reciprocity of egalitarianism in this society they are setting themselves up for failure or worse for the operatives and expressions of the white status quo. Sandra Bland’s tragic passing is another statement in the lack of reciprocity that SHOULD NOT be expected from any expression of the Establishment/White power structure. We are more that two or three dimensional (depth, height, time) elements, but multi-faceted in the dimensions we can assume. To define ourselves with in restricting dimensions also restricts our conceptions for actions. As has been demonstrated in neo-liberation movements (ethnic and national) around the world, the asymmetric tactics and strategy, not the role playing of the expected and anticipated are the most effective fr their short and long term results

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Seriously like there’s no need for black women to let themselves be walked all over bottom line it applies to people of all colors and genders alike but especially black women cus their the biggest targets you can’t expect things to improve for yourself if you let people walk all over you which black men often walk all over them all the time it boils down to not taking that crap from nobody so why focus so much energy defending someone who has no intention of defending you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to find any person with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is one thing th8#t&a217;s needed on the net, someone with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. you all should bank at a local community bank!! they not only answer the phone, but they know your name and sometimes ask how your family is doj;8&#g230niust a little plug for community banks (as I am involved with one)…their rates may or may not be higher, but what you get back in customer service is worth it


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