While you are all briefly worried about black men getting shot by police

Quinn Norton
Aug 17, 2014 · 2 min read

Here’s a few other things to worry about.

Around every 40 hours a black woman dies giving birth in America — a rate comparable to developing countries without enough modern medical infrastructure. This rate is nearly four times as many as white women giving birth. These were, like Mike Brown, all real human beings with names and families and place they used to live.

Black babies die in childbirth at the rate of about 21 per day, which is twice as high as white babies. Many of them didn’t have names, despite also being real human beings.

A lot of this has to do with the rate of uninsured people of color in America, as well as access to prenatal care, education, preventative medicine, and even fucking fresh fruits and vegetables.

I could go on all day. Statistics on every score paint a portrait of the lives of African-Americans, and particularly, African-American women, as people systemically crippled and murdered by a hostile and homicidal infrastructure.

This has all been said before, again, and again. In 1951, activists in the black community, including the NAACP leadership and W.E.B. Du Bois, petitioned the UN to take up a case against the United States government. We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro Peopledocumented what black people faced in America, from vote suppression, lynching, police brutality and murder, to the denial of education and medical treatment for children. They sought, but didn’t live to see, international prosecution brought under the UN’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Their efforts were blocked at every turn, even by their supposed allies, despite their complaints fitting the formal legal definition of the crime of genocide.

Demilitarizing the police would be only step one to learning that black people are people. The police and prison system are only the most action-movie part of a system that grinds through African-American communities, producing a great pile of human bodies. This is an accumulating debt of American misery and shame that remains largely uncounted, except as “the way things are.” The ways of misery and death that count the least are those, like maternal and infant mortality, that happen to black women, who, it may ultimately surprise many people to find out, are also human beings.

The Message

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