Misogyny - hatred of women
Where's the Love for girls and women of color? That's the question running through my mind as I think about Heaven Sutton, the 7year-old killed in the cross fire of gang violence. I watched the news to see how much coverage the story would get, but sadly her funeral was a blip on the evening news tied in with the deaths of three others in the President’s hometown that continues to be plagued by violence. Wow! That was all there was to the story.
Unlike Trayvon Martin, there is no galvanized support for this child’s death just as there was none for 6 year-old Aliyah Shell, the 6 year-old Hispanic girl who was killed a few months ago. Heaven and Aliyah both live in Chicago, and yet the Trayvon Martin tragedy which happened in Florida got significant more coverage. Why? Because we wanted to fan the growing racial flame? Because we expect violent deaths in certain communities and not in gated ones or is this symptomatic of something larger?
The premature death of any child or young person as a result of violence is tragic. But the world would have us believe the loss is greater if it’s a white girl or woman or a black male – sexism and racism at its best. So, a person of the wrong gender and color is just as invisible in death has she had been in life.
Time will pass, and we will remember the names of Trayvon Martin, Darion Albert and Emmett Till. We will also remember Joan Benet and Caylee Anthony. But how many of us will honor the memory of Heaven, Aliyah just by remembering their names?
Growing up, I heard the story of the four little girls killed when racists bombed the 16th Street Baptist church on a Sunday morning. I also remember hearing the names of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney – a group of interracial civil rights workers who were found dead in 1964. Their names were always strung together – Schnwerner, Goodman and Chaney, but they were named.
It wasn’t until I saw Spike Lee’s documentary, Four Little Girls that I learned the girls’ names – Addie McNair, Carol Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. They are not a unit; they are four individuals from four different families with four different stories. But we lump them together as one. Why don’t their names roll off our tongues? Are they not worthy of remembering?
We’ll acknowledge that racism exists now. We’ll even so far as to say that we’re post-racial. We’ll also acknowledge sexism and admit that women are not treated as equals in society. But we run from misogyny because it’s such an ugly term – hatred of women.
As a woman it’s painful to believe that the world I live in does not love me because of my gender. But based on all that I read; that I see; that I experience, I know it to be true. But while I am saddened by this knowledge, I am not deterred by it. Acknowledgement is the first step on the path to evolution. We have work to do and we can begin by knowing and remembering the names of Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. Let’s also remember Heaven Sutton, Aliyah Shell and countless others names we have forgotten. They deserve at least that much from us.
Who else should we remember? Leave their names in the comment section. Thank you for remembering.