Darnell Moore has a challenging piece about the Ben Fields incident and how it made him question the role black men should play in keeping black women safe and alive.

He says:

The public debate sparked in response to this most recent display of blue on black violence provoked outrage among a black public that has been inundated with one too many real lived recordings of mostly white police officers across the United States using brute force when engaging black and brown people — and too often escaping retribution.

Shortly after viewing the video, I signed onto my Facebook and Twitter accounts in a fit of rage and wrote: A black girl intervened while another black girl was violated and an unidentified black adult male remained silent and complicit. Black girls should not have to be that damn magical.

Most of my black women friends understood the sentiment. A good number of black men did as well, but critiques followed. One black man claimed to be “disappointed” in my attempt at failed “feminist uplift” and others reminded me that the black girls’ supposed disobedience was the cause that prompted the officers’ unfortunate assault.

Maybe my blame was slightly misplaced? Fields was the official who did the harm. Maybe I should not have implicated the unidentified black man at all? He is only the administrator who watched Fields chokehold, bodyslam and arrest his student. And surely there is more than enough blame to be meted out among the people and institutions involved in this particular incident of police violence, right?

For instance, we should ask why this particular school district, and so many others, relies on law enforcement officers to create safe environments. We should be alarmed that a substantial number of the students expelled and suspended in public schools in the Southern states happen to be black and among them, black girls are most likely to be punished. And we should be ashamed that our culture is one shaped by an explicit disregard for the bodies and well being of black girls, so much so that a weight-trained white male officer already under fire for abuse of power felt it within his right to toss a young black girl across a classroom while an unidentified black male administrator quietly looked on. Maybe my disappointment in the black administrator is illogical? His job is to manage student engagement and Fields’ former job was to police students, right? No.

Fields and the seemingly acquiescent black male administrator are actors in this violent scene who signify male authority. The close proximity between black girls/women and men — white, brown or black — who have the potential to physically harm them (like Fields) or remain complicit in or silent when they are harmed (like the administrator), is a crucial concern we black men must consider.

read full story at The Feminist Wire.


  1. Interesting take on this incident. Let me relate an experience. I taught K-8 in LAUSD for twelve years. In 2003 my wife was offered a career opportunity in New Orleans. Along with our 8 year old son we relocated and I obtained a job at MC28 Middle School in Orleans Parish Public Schools. The greeted the very first student who entered my room as I was getting it together with “Good morning. May I help you?” Her response was “Fuck you you white motherfucker.” I smiled and said, “I love you too.” Later that day, as I was in the hall I witnessed the AP punch a student in the face for what she said was back talk. The AP, after punching him in the face suspended this student and when his mother was walking out of the school to take him home I heard her say, “When I get you home I am going to punch you in the face.? The next week I witnessed, during a parent teacher conference with the student an the AP, the parent choking her son and when he looked toward the AP and teacher for help the teacher said, “She is your mama.” This was in the first week I was at the school. I taught there for two years until Katria came and witessed other similar incidents. Most people who I recount this to think it can’t be true, but it is. Keep in mind that this is/was a city where kneeling on rice was considered and appropriate punishment. My point in telling this story is that anyone ivolved in education, if they are to be successful, cannot take the actions of students, expcept for physical violence, personally even if it is personal.


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