Monday, I learned that one of my best friends from college would probably be indicted for murder and spend the rest of her life in prison. She wasn't a thug or gangbanger, and she played in the marching band at our university. Although she and I fell out a couple of years ago, I looked at her as someone I would always be there for. She picked me up from my chaotic household when I was in an abusive relationship. She gave me money for studio time when she knew I was hard up. And she was an excellent mother to a four-year-old son. Now, after discharging a gun into a crowd of people at a party after an altercation and starting a gunfight resulting in the death of a young man, she will likely face life in prison.
The rule in my home (and I'm sure many other black households) was always, "if someone hits you, hit them back". But what happens when the reciprocal blows turn into gunshots, or in the case of two young girls who were recently pronounced dead following fatal altercations with their classmates? Kashala Francis who was 13, and Raniya Wright, who was 10, were said to have both died of natural causes, but there's a bigger story to be told within the untimely deaths of these two young girls.
There's a false narrative that has become widely accepted that says Black women are innately angry and aggressive. This rhetoric is not only inaccurate and unproven, but it's actually pretty dangerous to believe that anger is somehow embedded in our DNA; but the archetype of the mad Black woman cannot be completely debunked without first understanding the psychology of angry Black girls.
Kashala Francis (L), Raniya Wright (R)
Raniya Wright's story made headlines last month following a fight with another student at her elementary school that ended in death. Although police determined that Raniya's death was caused my a pre-existing condition, her mother is still desperate for answers as to what happened in that classroom on the day her daughter died. While some students say they saw the student bang Raniya's head on a bookshelf and beat her in the head with her fist, the teacher in charge told police that the fight only lasted about 10 seconds.
Kashala Francis who attended Attucks Middle School in Houston, Texas, was brutally kicked, stomped and beaten on her walk home from school last Thursday. The incident was recorded by one of her attackers, and featured kids laughing as Kashala took blows to the head. The 13-year-old went home after the fight, but by Sunday, her mother says that Kashala complained of a severe headache; she was then rushed to the hospital, fell into a coma and later died. Doctors shared that after her death, they discovered that Kashala had a large undiscovered tumor that led to fluid buildup in her brain, which likely contributed to her death.
Raniya Wright was laid to rest after a celebration of her life at Saints Center Ministries in Walterboro.
I'm not a doctor, investigator, or coroner, but one thing is for damn sure. If those fights hadn't occurred, Raniya and Kashala may have still had a fighting chance. I can't say that definitively, because unfortunately, we'll never know.
It truly makes me sad that the world is currently riddled with angry little girls, and it's not their fault. Bearing the weight of both strength and generational trauma handed down by our ancestors, many times, our passion is misinterpreted and it evolves into pain. It's that same pain that has us ready to beat the next person's ass who tries to punk us out of the respect we feel we deserve.
We as adults have to move forward and away from this way of thinking and cancel "Beat A B*tch Ass" culture. We are constantly fed images of Black women abusing one another, from reality TV to social media; even Nicki and Cardi almost caught a round once or twice.
We're taught by the media that the only way to earn what we deserve is to fight, both literally and figuratively and we have got to teach our daughters that is just not true.
A study done by Georgetown University in 2017 revealed that starting at age 5, adults see little Black girls as more aggressive. This fact may not be true, but it does not change perception; what we can do is acknowledge that silencing the stigma of the mad Black woman is directly rooted in understanding the childhood of an angry little girl and teaching her that hurting someone else isn't the way to heal her pain.
At first, it was really hard for me to understand how a child could have enough anger in their hearts to kick, stomp, and beat another person, but as I thought harder, I realized that it could be any of our daughters in that position. Any woman who's ever gotten into a fist fight knows that pain, and has to make an effort to combat that urge to throw hands so that we can set a more inspirational example for our daughters.
My friend, who is 24 years old and facing a life sentence, was so much more than a mad Black woman who discharged a gun; but now, she will likely spend the rest of her life away from her son, family, and friends who love her so much simply because she never learned to tame the angry little girl that lived inside of her, and that is a real shame.
Featured image courtesy of Mamie Jackson.