A race and gender researcher and equality activist delivers a thorough treatise on police brutality.
In clear, urgent prose, police-misconduct attorney Ritchie (Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, 2015, etc.) shines an eye-opening spotlight on women of color targeted by police violence, a demographic that is not often well-represented in the media. She begins her discourse with history, discussing the controlling dynamic of slavery and colonization. The author then addresses more contemporary and vexing issues involving the aggressive enforcement of minor offenses and the rogue street policing of young women, disabled people, and gender-nonconforming people of color. Ritchie astutely compares and contrasts experiences of violence against black men with those against women of color and how they are perceived in the media and in the general public as well as how they are (mis)handled by law enforcement. Throughout the book, the author also charts her own growth and development within a movement that continues to evolve and influence everyone from neophyte activists to authority figures. She shares her impressions of the abuses of Native women protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as the violent histories of Sandra Bland, Eleanor Bumpurs, and Kayla Moore, a black trans woman who died at the hands of transphobic police officers. Ritchie further details more personal stories of women affected by racial profiling, unsubstantiated criminalization, and rampant abuse while addressing the larger issues within the “manifestations of structural racism.” With careful consideration, the author brings to light the plight of the younger generation of minority women of color, because as “narratives about police violence are written, most often these young women’s voices are still missing.” Though some of Ritchie’s analysis may require more academic levels of comprehension, general readers will still be galvanized by her unflinching advocacy for humane policing and the promulgation of modern efforts bent on reforming the current police state in America.
Dense, comprehensive arguments certain to bring awareness to the epidemic of police brutality against historically vulnerable at-risk minority groups.