McKinney, Texas: Rage Is Our Rightful Response to Anti-Black Racism

The sickening sight of black boys and girls treated like chattel by a Texas cop is a reminder that the lives and pain of black children don’t matter.

Video shows McKinney, Texas, police officer manhandling a 15-year-old girl after a pool party June 5, 2015.
Video shows McKinney, Texas, police officer manhandling a 15-year-old girl after a pool party June 5, 2015. Youtube screenshot

If those were my sons, somebody would have to post my bail money.

That was my first thought when I watched the now-viral video of white police officers—allegedly responding to disturbances at a private pool party in McKinney, Texas—throwing black teenage boys to the ground and handcuffing them.

When, in the same video, I watched a white officer grab a 15-year-old black girl roughly by her hair and throw her facedown to the ground, before sitting his fully clothed, rotund body on her thin, bare back, my thoughts became even more intense.

Ezell Ford and Oscar Grant were in similar positions when cops fatally shot them in the back. If that were my daughter, there would be some slow singing and flower bringing.

Clearly, these are visceral reactions and not the “We shall overcome, let Jesus and justice handle it” way that black people are expected to respond to state-sanctioned violence against our children, but black rage is inevitable in the face of anti-black racism. And right now? That’s all I got.

Yes, it was painful to watch the boys restrained in handcuffs. One boy even appeared to be bleeding from his mouth, though whatever happened to cause that injury happened off camera. Still, it is the young girl, forced by her hair to the ground as she screamed for her mother, that chilled me the most. It’s the pleasure the white officer seemed to take from exerting power over her black body—as adult men, both black and white, stood by and did nothing—that enraged me.

It is the thought of Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting eight black women while on duty—and what the officer in this case possibly does to young black women when the cameras aren’t rolling—that made me sick to my stomach.

There are various accounts at this point. There’s what the McKinney Police Department had to say, both on Facebook and in a hasty press conference. At this point, though, in the aftermath of the extrajudicial killings of Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Walter Scott, most of us know that any words coming from police should be considered lies by default until visual proof is provided that corroborates their version of events.

Then there’s the statement that teens in attendance at the pool party gave to BuzzFeed News. They insist that white adults in the neighborhood where the party was being held called them racial slurs and told them to go back to their “Section 8” housing. In a video posted to YouTube, Tatiana Rhodes said that she was not only called names but also assaulted by two white women after she checked them on their racist language.