Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.
Weiss, we are told gravely, has “done this before,” meaning she has said politically incorrect things. Thirteen years ago she called Tony Kushner a “self-loathing Jew” in a review of his play Caroline, or Change . Kushner once called the state of Israel “a moral, political catastrophe for the Jewish people” and wrote the movie Munich , which was a moral-equivalence piece evincing at least as much disgust with the Mossad for tracking down and assassinating the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the 1972 Olympics massacre as it did with the PLO murderers themselves. Nonsensically, Weiss also stands charged with “body-shaming” for praising the costumes in a production of Mamma Mia , saying they “make the most of the many ‘real women’ figures on stage,” referring euphemistically to plump performers, but contrasting them with backup dancers who had “perfect bodies.” An aggrieved cast member replied in a huff that all women’s bodies are perfect.
My aim is to raise questions about why black women’s lives remain illegible and why they are often seen as crazy. How can we discuss black women’s lives when the topic is police violence without more complete understandings about other forms of slow death, or black women’s efforts to survive? How might an analysis of the system of gendered social arrangements and power known as patriarchy 2 enrich our conversations about anti-black racism, police violence, and mental illness and wellness? Danner’s written cautionary is a prophetic reminder to attend to the experiences of black women before they culminate in early death.