Christopher Emanuel is a 25-year-old Black South Carolinian. Syracuse law professor, Kevin Noble Maillard, crafted a brilliant report on the gauntlet of legal obstacles Emanuel overcame to be recognized as the father and sole custodian of his daughter, Skylar. Emanuel was deliberately excluded from his child’s birth, falsely branded a shiftless sperm-donor disinterested in and ill-equipped for fatherhood, and nearly stripped of his paternal rights.
This Black dad’s nemesis wasn’t his state’s recently banished Confederate flag. It was his daughter’s white mother and white grandmother, who ultimately lost their parental rights while a South Carolina judge condemned their campaign of treachery and racism to steal a Black child.
This is not our conventional notion of white supremacy. The enemy of Black people is habitually reduced to “the man.”
However, there would be no racist white man, without a racist white woman.
From Jim Crow legislation, to Black castration, editor and journalist, Chloe Angyal, correctly acknowledged that blubbering white women have prompted untold incidents of white terror. But her assessment is incomplete. White women are equally proficient as weeping victims of alleged “negro” mischief or aggressive, violent ambassadors of white power. Contrary to the rubric of white patriarchy, white women are equal co-conspirators in the devaluation of Black life.
The crescendo of rage in response to police abuse of Black citizens has consistently highlighted transgressions of white male officers. Although slim in numbers, white women help hold the blue line. In July of 2014, Seattle police officer Cynthia Whitlatch arrested a 70-year-old Black military veteran for supposedly swinging a golf club at her. The dashcam provided no evidence to support her claim and the department ultimately dismissed the charges and apologized for the arrest.
Following Whitlatch’s alleged racial profiling of an elderly Black veteran, she employed social media to broadcast her disgust with Black people who “think white people are out to get them.” The Stranger’s Ansel Herz reports that Whitlatch is accused of habitually classifying the Black citizens she was hired to protect and serve as “n-ggers”— she’s been on paid leave since January of this year. Like the white male killers of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown Jr. and Eric Garner, Whitlatch has not been fired.
Few white women brandish police shields, but all white females and males are expected to enforce white supremacy, monitor and abuse Black people.
Decades of feminism have not extinguished white women’s antagonism towards Black females. White females routinely malign entertainment mogul Shonda Rhimes and FLOTUS Michelle Obama as “angry Black women.” So imagine what white female teachers think of Black girls?
If white women are underrepresented in the field of law enforcement, they compensate with overrepresentation in the early stages of the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s estimated that white women comprise 63 percent of K-12 teachers in the United States. So when the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles documents that “African-American students are three times more likely to be suspended than whites,” that’s not “the man.”
The accusatory white woman who incited lynch mobs and genital mutilation is not extinct. She now flings allegations and suspensions in the classroom. Sabotaging the academic genius of Black students is an act of genocide. Educational psychologist Dr. Jamilia Blake documents teachers’ debilitating perception of Black girls and boys as threatening, unsophisticated and defiant. In Unsettling Whiteness, Dr. Lucy Michael writes that white women are central to the criminalization of Black students because they are “not blind to their own cultural practices, but deeply committed to them.”
“Deeply committed” white women of McKinney, Texas instigated the racial melee that introduced the nation to CNN’s “Best Place to Live.” Officer Eric Casebolt, who has since resigned, assaulted and violated a 15-year-old Black girl in a bikini. But a white female duo was the root of the conflict.
Eyewitnesses confirmed a pair of white women “made racist comments” and violently double-teamed a black female child prior to Casebolt’s appearance. These women weren’t arrested or charged, nor did they require white manhood to launch a terrorist attack. Days later, Andrew Guilford and his Black male comrades were bamboozled by an equally devastating claims by a woman. Guilford and other three black men were tossed to the ground and shackled by McKinney’s finest. No arrests were made, no weapons were found, but officers justified their detainment because a white “woman called claiming one of the [Black] men was going to shoot her and police.”
As for rallying white goons eager to pounce on and terminate Black lives, unquestionably, #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter. But women like Lake County, Fla.’s Lisa Elberson illustrate that white women are not confined to the pedestal of fragile, sanctified femininity. They’re equally proficient as aggressive, violent ambassadors of white power. Elberson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and child abuse after she was recorded terrorizing a group of black children—threatening them with a baseball bat while calling them “n-ggers.” Elberson publicly rebuked the notion of racial lynchings as white men’s work. She told the children, “I’ll hang your family from my tree.”
Cliché assessments of white women’s purported inclination towards frailty and vulnerability impair our understanding of and defense against the maliciousness of Elberson, and other racist white women.
Former Florida State Seminole quarterback De’Andre Johnson’s collegiate playing career was sacked by an altercation with a 21-year-old white woman. Johnson consoled his distraught Black mother, Pamela Jones, as he apologized for striking the woman and acknowledged that he should have walked away. He’s facing misdemeanor battery charges. Yet even Sean Hannity of FOX News was compelled to remind prosecuting attorney William Meggs that the footage reveals the White woman struck first. Additionally, she’s accused of spewing racial insults and striking Johnson in the groin before his retaliatory response. Her record and reputation remain, unblemished and white.
Tears or talons, they’re lethally proficient.
North Carolina’s unresolved deaths of Jonathan Ferrell and Lenon Lacy have the fingerprints of a racist woman. Lacy, 17, was found hanging from a swing set in the summer of 2014. His death was ruled a suicide, but Nick Fagge reported that Lacy’s 31-year-old “white girlfriend… says she believes their relationship led to his murder.” She had been warned not to date Black males in “Crackertown.”
Ferrell crashed his vehicle on a late summer evening in the summer of 2013. Unfortunately, he asked a white woman for help. She reported a prowler, and one of the responding officers, Randall Kerrick, needed a dozens bullets to suppress Ferrell. Kerrick’s manslaughter trial begins July 20.