Demonstrators outside the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Contending that female victims are "so often omitted from the narratives of violence" in the African-American community, the Guardian's Jamila Aisha Brown suggests that if Trayvon Martin had been a young black woman, her name would be unknown.

What if Trayvon Martin had been a black woman?

CNN host Piers Morgan posed this hypothetical question to Marc Lamont Hill on Tuesday night:

What if Trayvon had been a young black woman and she had been scared by being followed by this guy? If it had been a young black woman walking home and she had turned around and punched him in the face, for argument's sake, we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we? He would have been convicted.

Hill agreed, remarking that black men are viewed as "purveyors of violence" and not as victims. But what about the scores of unnamed black women whose killings have been largely ignored and all but forgotten? A look through history proves that from lynchings, to intimate partner violence, to police brutality, the murders of black women in the United States have rarely evoked much empathy.

Contrary to the Morgan-Hill thesis, I contend that if Trayvon Martin were a young black woman, we would not even know her name.

Trayvon Martin's murder and subsequent profiling have been likened by some to the lynchings of black men that stained American history during the 19th and 20th centuries, casting him as a latter-day Emmett Till. But popular memory has virtually erased the lynchings of Mary Turner, Marie Scott and Laura Nelson and the 115 black women, who were hung alongside their husbands, brothers and sons. The strange fruit of astranger sex that also dangled from southern trees.

Read Jamila Aisha Brown’s entire piece at The Guardian.

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