As I scroll through the comments regarding Korryn Gaines, the young mother who was killed during a standoff in the presence of her five year old son, I am noticing an exhaustive amount of apathetic comments from black people. Mainly black men. These insensitive comments insist that Korryn Gaines “got what she deserved” and how her death isn’t moving because her actions determined her demise. Sifting through these comments I am reminded of the eerie similarities of the language to comments which I have seen from anti-black white people, time and time again, whenever an unarmed black man is killed by an officer. Blaming Korryn for her death because of the circumstances is just as bad as when black men are blamed for their own deaths by a cop. Freddie Gray was blamed for his own death. They tried to say he was responsible for breaking his own neck. Eric Garner was blamed for his own choking and Alton Sterling was blamed for his death because “supposedly” he was reaching for a gun. And of course we see this same narrative of victim blaming whenever instances such as this happen, but usually not from our own.
Black men are allowed to express how far they will go to protect their families. By any means necessary at that. A black woman whose residence is swarmed by S.W.A.T. with her child inside is attacked with victim blaming rhetoric because “she may have” pointed a gun at intruding officers. Obviously, I think we all can agree that we wish this situation could have been handled better, but that does not negate the fearlessness and bravery that this woman Korryn Gaines showed unapologetically. She didn’t give in to a system that probably would have killed her regardless if she was armed or not. Her courage is admirable. Her love for her children was admirable. Her son will never forget how his mother taught him to be fearless and not be afraid of or to trust an agency that was not created to protect him. She was his protector.
Had Korryn Gaines been a man, I do believe the language used in regards to this tragic situation would have been completely different. Black men would have been immortalizing the man as a hero just as they did Micah Johnson after the Dallas Police Shooting. Vigilance against oppression apparently is something only a black man can administer and is stupidity if enacted by a woman. Black Lives Matter means women too. If black women are always there for black men when they are shot down, we expect the same solidarity to be shown to us when it is us getting murdered. Black women too feel the need to protect themselves and our children, by any means necessary. We too matter in case you’ve forgotten.
Image via https://www.facebook.com/korryn.gaines