The video of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s discussion of “Intersectional Feminism” was one of the most enlightening materials from Unit 2 for me. I found Crenshaw’s description of Intersectionality to be very informative, and she provided an excellent introduction to the topic that lead me through the remainder of the intersectionality materials. One theme of her interview really stuck out to me, which was her point that we commonly hear about Black men who were killed by the police, but we rarely ever hear about Black women who lost their lives in the same way. This sparked my interest because I couldn’t name a single news story about a Black woman losing her life to the police. However, Crenshaw taught me that it unfortunately has happened, but the events have received much less publicity. Crenshaw mentioned the names Tanisha Anderson and Michelle Cusseaux, which were names I had never heard before. I was ashamed that I didn’t recognize the names of these women, so I did some additional research on the topic and came across a Huffington Post article titled “These 15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too”.
According to this article by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, Tanisha Anderson was just 37 years old when she was killed by a police officer. Anderson’s mother, who reported Tanisha Anderson was having a “mental health episode”, had called the police officer to the scene. In my opinion, the police officer was called to the scene to help Tanisha, but that is certainly not how the incident ended. I was shocked by this account, so I continued to read on. I found the name of Michelle Cusseaux, who Crenshaw had mentioned in her interview as well. Although the Huffington Post article did not give an in-depth description of Cusseaux’s story, I learned that she was considered mentally ill, just as Tanisha Anderson was. This commonality between the two women broke my heart. In addition, the theme of intersectionality certainly comes into play here, as these two victims were Black women who suffered from mental illnesses. Why did the police see these women as a danger or a threat? How did the situation get so out of hand that these women lost their lives to a police offer? This is a topic that I unfortunately have not educated myself enough on, but I am glad that Crenshaw brought the issue to my attention
Overall, Crenshaw’s main point was that we all just need to “say her name”. These stories deserve to be heard, and nothing will change unless word is spread about these situations. The simplest and best way to bring light to the subject is to “say her name”. This way, the stories become personal, and people will be urged to look into the matter more. For me, all Crenshaw had to do was say the names of two women, and I further educated myself on the issue. I attached the citation for the Huffington Post article I referenced here, and I encourage you to read the stories of 15 Black women who lost their lives to police officers.
Abbey-Lambertz, Kate. “These 15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 May 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/13/black-womens-lives-matter-police-shootings_n_6644276.html>.