Nearly two years ago, I watched a 14-year-old Black girl, clad in a bikini, slammed to the ground by a white Texas police officer. Dejarria Becton laid facedown sobbing into the grass as a grown man, armed with a gun and badge, sat on her back. Her friends, a few teenage Black girls rushed over to assist her.
A few months after I watched that little girl assaulted and humiliated in the name of law and order, I watched another Black girl violently assaulted by a white man charged with keeping law and order. This time, the girl sat in a classroom ignoring the school resource officer’s demands that she get up and leave. She was yanked and savagely dragged from the chair by a man nearly 300 pounds as students and staff watched.
Just a month ago, I watched a Black woman, Jacqueline Craig, who had called the police for assistance after her son was assaulted, violently arrested by a another white Texas cop. Her teenage daughters, age 19 and 15, were both arrested too. Craig’s cousin, a Black woman, recorded the entire incident, yelling the entire time to the cop that he was being recorded.
Then Friday, I found out that just hours after he was elected, Melania Trump’s husband had the White House’s website updated to reflect his commitment to protecting law enforcement, condemning the “dangerous anti-police environment in America.” Additionally, Mrs. Trump’s husband scrubbed the section on civil rights from the site. His positions on state-sanctioned violence are crystal clear.
So as videos surface of Melania Trump looking like Bambi after her husband whispered something to her give way to speculation that she is being abused, I feel make my position clear: I don’t give a fuck about what’s going on in their marriage.
— Marv (@Marv_Vien) January 23, 2017
Experts say that Donald and Melania Trump’s “strange inauguration behavior” indicates that they are not happy in their relationship. I don’t know that we needed experts to confirm that. Nor do I necessarily dispute that Melania is being abused emotionally or otherwise in her marriage. I simply don’t care. The moral high ground it seems many people who are categorically anti-Trump, particularly Black women who often feel compelled to be the bosom of the world, insist upon taking in sympathizing with a women who stands by her husband side as he spews violent racist rhetoric ain’t for me. I detest domestic violence. I deplore men who prey on vulnerable women. But even a victim can be my oppressor.
Even if Melania is being abused, she’s still a racist, elitist who was content to smile as her husband’s supporters cheered her for bringing “class” — BITCH, PLEASE! — back to the White House, hurling racist, transphobic misogynoir at Michelle Obama in the process. Even if she is a victim, she is an immigrant married to a man who masks racism as xenophobia. Even if she is being manipulated, she still publicly endorsed her husband’s birther bullshit by calling for Barack Obama to prove he was born in America, all while sporting the accent and broken English that would have people questioning her citizenship were she not being protected by her husband’s money, power and class.
All my sympathies are reserved for the Black and brown women and girls who are now even more susceptible to gendered violence at the hands of not only their partners but the law enforcement to whom Melania’s husband has pledged his allegiance. Girls like Dejarria Becton and women like Jacqueline Craig hoard my humanity. I can’t muster up a fuck to give about whether she’s a victim of abuse or not because I have to exhaust my sympathy supply daily speaking for and saying the name of Black women like the 13 raped by Daniel Holtzclaw, who are considered disposable and thus, fair game for predators in uniform. I have to save my emotional labor for Arab women who are at the mercy of American soldiers charged with “liberating” them, who instead abuse their power and rape the women they take prisoner.
If the measure of my humanity is whether I lend compassion to a wealthy white woman standing at the apex of privilege as her husband enacts policies detrimental if not fatal to Black and brown bodies, then I am alright with being labeled inhumane. Donald Trump now sits in the most powerful position on earth. And as his wife, Melania Trump is set to partake in all of the unimaginable benefits — benefits secured by the administration of a system built on the backs of Black and brown people globally. Whatever justification is used to justify why mocking Melania Trump is not alright because we suspect she may be being manipulated or worse by her racist, bigoted tyrant husband, the fact remains that she still profits form his exploitation and oppression of the most vulnerable.
In Sierra Leone, child soldiers chopped off hands. Little boys as young as 11 or 12, who would normally be extended the patience, love and forgiveness due a child became the enemy. They were powerless and powerful at once, and to the person forced to endure the indescribable paint of having his limbs severed with a machete, affording humanity to the boys captured and forced to do the bidding of warlords was not an option.
Well, this is my Sierra Leone and Melania is that child soldier. I can’t afford offer the sensitivity and humanity I normally would to a woman I suspected was being abused because as the last 400 years has taught, unrequited morality is fatal to Black people.