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ForHarriet.com’s Founder Shouldn’t March for Eric Garner Or Anyone Else

Eric Garner and the horrific way that he died have made its rounds through the media. Whether it was Spike Lee’s rendering the video in correlation to Radio Raheem to the News One article displaying what the police felt about Garner (and any other black person), there has been quite a few responses. The good thing is that many people realize that the cops were in the wrong. The bad thing is that some felt that Eric shouldn’t have “resisted arrest” (if that is what you really want to call his reactions). In short, the media has displayed what many of have felt on a positive and negative note.

But there is one reaction that has stunned me even more: it is the reaction from someone that is dismissive due to gender.

Some Won’t Be Marching For Eric Garner

Kimberly Foster wrote an “interesting” article on her website called For Harriet. The title of the article is “Why I Will Not March For Eric Garner”. Well, good for her! I’m not marching for him, either. Marching is not going to make sure these crooked cops get what they deserve. Nor is it going to protect our people from cops that will take our lives in a heartbeat. So, I agreed on the title for what it was worth.

However, her reasoning was something that was more troubling and devious than expected. Her reasoning stands on one main issue: Kimberly Foster will be “reserving my mental and emotional energy for the women, the Black women, no one will speak for” [1]. She does feel for him in the situation. However, she cannot begin to support this man when she could not “refrain from comparing the empathy shown him, particularly by Black men” while she also noted that “Black women attempt to discuss the everyday terrors we experience both in the world and at their hands” [2]. Thus, all of her issues have to do with the fact that Eric Garner is a man.

Eric Garner’s Death is Irrelevant to Any Feminist Movement

Let it be known: this is not the proper situation to bring up issues with a male dominant status quo that society brings about. Eric Garner’s death deals with the indelible fact that the police state’s predatory mentality preys upon the citizens of the US. And that predatory state has no gender preference as we all learned from the woman that was beat savagely on the side of the Los Angeles highway. I understand that women’s issues do not get the proper response; I would agree. But acting as if Eric Garner’s situation has anything to do with being a man is totally ignorant of the real issues.

Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Rev. Al Sharpton console Esaw Garner, wife of Eric Garner Photo credit: (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Rev. Al Sharpton console Esaw Garner, wife of Eric Garner
Photo credit: (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

What makes me shake my head is the fact that Kimberly would want to be that dismissive toward any action because it was a man. What if this man was her father? Or better yet, what if it was her uncle, brother, or son? Would she actually dismiss the situation because they are men? Or would she actually make a statement and stand up for their deaths because they are people she cares about?

In essence, what makes this article so illogical is the fact that she is basing her experiences on women issues to affect her overall view of (Black) men. Who is to say that Eric Garner would not stand up for women’s rights? It would be one things to say “I don’t deal with Eric Garner because he did this, that, and the third”. However, it is an entire different situation to not want to partake in any form of stand-taking because of what OTHER men NOT name Eric Garner did. Labeling all men with monolithic titles and treating them as such is not going to further any feminist agenda; it will only make those women look bitterly irrational.

Then again, I can’t be surprised when the author took an external situation and internalized it. If you pay attention to her article, she had this tidbit to say:

Too many fail to recognize that the violence, psychological verbal and physical, that we direct toward each other in communal spaces reflects the violence enacted upon our bodies and minds by larger dominating structures; thus there’s an inability by many Black men to acknowledge that Black women, too, have a right to move through the world without fear–that a woman should not have to avert her eyes and quicken her pace when she encounters men in public spaces. [4]

Again, she has made a valid point that has absolutely nothing to do with Eric Garner or anything associated with this situation. Yet again, when you personalize a situation, there will be more responses about standing on a soapbox and trying to be heard rather than saying anything that solves any issues:

I’m not settling for anything less than reciprocity. If you refuse to hear our calls for help, then I cannot respond to yours. I have no desire, as a Black woman, to be placed on a pedestal, but I will not allow myself to become a footstool. Do not ask me for empathy if you are content to deny it in return. [5]

Again: at what point was this situation supposed to be personalized in this manner?

No Marching For Eric Garner At All

While ironically writing for a website named after a woman that liberated women AND men, I find it shocking that Kimberly Foster would use this situation as a personal soapbox moment for her feminist stances. We, as a people, have to realize that there is a time and place for everything. Eric Garner died due to police abusing their duties. Whether anyone should support him should not hinge on his gender. I would hope that Kimberly Foster realizes that being preyed upon is not an issue to be relegated to gender division; Harriet Tubman didn’t pick and choose, so why should she?

 

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