It’s no secret that the government and it’s patriarchal law makers don’t value women’s lives as highly as they value mens lives, but what we aren’t discussing loud and frequently enough is the lack of worth that’s placed in back lives, particularly black women. Black women face far more societal pressures and social, economic and medical issues than women of any other race. This all became profound once again, when I logged online one morning to read the stomach churning article: Alabama woman loses unborn child after being shot, gets arrested; shooter goes free.
This December 2018 case against twenty-seven year old Marshae Jones, a black woman who was shot when five months pregnant and is now being charged with manslaughter for the death of her unborn baby, disgusted me. But with the state of the American judicial system and it’s ingrained institutionalised racism and misogynistic agenda, it’s hard to feign shock at a system that isn’t broken, but working exactly how it was designed to.
In true American fashion, Alabama has allowed another gun-wielding criminal to walk free in a bid to protect the rights of other gun owners, who insist that their right to carry is what makes America great; their right to bear a murderous weapon is far more precious than human life. What really shakes me about Marshae Jones’ case, is the understanding that only a black woman would find herself in such unfortunate circumstances. Whilst our oppressive world strives to police all women’s bodies, and take away what little freedom and control we already have, it’s only black women who could be presented as aggressive, violence enthusiasts who ought to be charged for the murder of their unborn child, regardless of the fact that they too were the victim of a fatal shooting.
In the eyes of Alabama lawmakers, it was Jones’ irresponsibility and initiation of a dispute that caused the death of the fetus. In other words, this is a cruel case which has labelled the true victim as the perpetrator, because black women are the only women who could lose and child and not be portrayed as wounded, grieving mothers and victims but labelled as irate, belligerent beings.
When it comes to initiating conflict verbally vs. ending conflict in deliberate violence and bloodshed, guns will always be protected in exchange for human life. It turns out, the only time American lawmakers and pro-lifers (or anti-chociers) take gun violence seriously, is when it’s directed towards an unborn child and even then, there’s still no consideration for the woman who carries the child. This blatant hatred against women and villainisation of black women will continue for as long as we allow it to, and as long as people live under a system that doesn’t value the wellbeing of all it’s people equally.
Want to do what you can to help? Click here to sign a petition to help drop the charges against Marshae Jones, and charge the shooter for her crimes.