Like many others, I saw the video of Denise Stewart’s assault by NYPD cops.
Perhaps unlike others though, I was most interested in the response of those watching rather than in the violence of the cops. I expect police officers to abuse black people so that’s not shocking anymore.
In the first few seconds of the video, a man is heard repeating: “Are you serious? That’s a woman. That’s a female. Where the female cops? That’s a female. That’s a female.” Then someone else (presumably a cop) says: “Shut it up! This has nothing to do with you.”
Clearly, the speaker assumes that a woman should be treated less harshly than Denise Stewart. Yet what kind of treatment at the hands of law enforcement is appropriate for a ‘female’ if she’s black? Black women have never had the benefit of protection by and from the state. As importantly, black women were not and haven’t been spared from brutal treatment. What historian Sarah Haley (2013) has termed “the absence of a normative gendered subject position” for black women explains (in part) how the NYPD can violently drag Denise Stewart out of her apartment half naked and manhandle her. She is ungendered to the cops and as a black person she is unhuman to them.
read more: http://www.usprisonculture.com/blog/2014/08/04/mistaken-identity-the-violent-un-gendering-of-black-women-and-the-nypd/