On December 6, an 11-year-old Black girl named Honestie Hodges was held at gunpoint, handcuffed, and put in the backseat of a squad car by officers from the Grand Rapids Police Department.
In a book on police violence, Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, Andrea Ritchie details the history of described a 2010 incident from a case where she represented three young Black women who officers pulled off a New York City subway train for fare evasion even though the young women, who came as part of an after school program, were given permission to come through as a group by the stationmaster. In 2014, 15 year-old Monique Tillman, who was told by a police officer who was working off-duty for mall security that she was causing a disturbance as she was heading from the mall on her bike, tried to leave as the officer took out his notebook.
This dynamic extends into schools, where harsh discipline and an increase in school resource officers often enable physical violence against Black girls and creates an environment that makes Black girls feel less like students and more like suspects.
“When we combine latent misperceptions about black femininity with punitive discipline policies, we are paving the way for black girls to be disproportionately pushed out of schools. Black girls are the only group of girls overrepresented in all discipline categories for which data are collected by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. That is alarming,” Morris told Anderson.
Police officers’ treatment of Black girls also reflects a greater societal view of Black girls.