By this point in the week, we’re sure you’ve all heard that there’s finally something to be celebrated in U.S. gun control legislation. The Obama administration’s recent executive order has provided a much-needed step forward in limiting gun access and (hopefully) reducing gun violence. While many of my friends were understandably excited about these new developments, I personally felt a bit less convinced that they would put black GRITS out of harm’s way.
I’ve always felt a bit disassociated from the mainstream gun control debate as a Southerner, since I doubt most gun owners down here will ever agree to strict regulations over the weapons they view as primarily recreational. I come from a huge hunting family (mostly coons and rabbits), so nearly everyone I know who owns large guns would never even think of using them on humans. Policies like those in the executive order come across as unnecessary to them, and pointless to me.
Perhaps more importantly, as a black woman, I don’t feel as if my greatest threat of violence is from a random Colorado gunman, despite how many of those we hear about. I’m not even most concerned with the threat of gun violence from police, although there’s tons of proof that black women are brutalized by the system at alarming rates. The gun violence women like me are most likely to encounter, however, is the kind that doesn’t come with “the talk” from black parents, the kind Washington’s proposed gun legislation won’t curb, the kind that occurs at the hands of black fathers, brothers, sons, boyfriends, and husbands.
While the Post and Courier’s Pulitzer-winning series Till Death Do Us Part doesn’t exclusively focus on domestic violence experienced by black South Carolinian women, it makes clear that we are among the groups most affected by and subjected to this abuse. Till Death Do Us Part takes an intimate and holistic look at the religious, patriarchal South Carolinian culture that has allowed our state to become the deadliest for women in domestic partnerships. We hope each story shared, and each woman lost, will be a reminder of the very grave and very personal implications of our current policy debates. If you’re a GRIT who feels like the side of gun control we most commonly talk about doesn’t reflect your everyday fears, this series may be for you.
Question: How has being a black GRIT affected your understanding of gun control or domestic abuse, and/or isolated you from the public conversations on these topics? Feel free to share in the comments—we’ll respond! :)