Brundidge: Police see black girls and women of color as threatening

"A young white girl will never get arrested for having a tantrum."

Hey, it's Cory Hepola
September 24, 2019 - 1:20 pm



In the wake of a police officer in Orlando being fired for arresting two six year olds in the same day — including a girl with a sleep disorder who was having a tantrum — News Talk 830 WCCO producer and on air personality Sheletta Brundidge had a message for listeners. 

“You will never see a young white girl having a tantrum at school and getting arrested. She will get love and hugs and understanding and counseling. A parent will be called, procedures followed, but in our society — and we just got to talk about it and be real with it  — African American women and women of color are seen as aggressive and threatening,” Brundidge told host Cory Hepola on Tuesday. 

Brundidge, host of the Two Haute Mamas podcast,  noted that the officer in the case was black, but said that was besides the point. She pointed to recent cases of alleged excessive force by police on young black girls — including an incident in Texas in which a teenager was slammed to the ground at a pool party in 2015 and another in South Carolina in which an officer threw a student across a room — to show that the underlying issue is how black women tend to be viewed as a threat. 

“It's about behavior that looks at African American women no matter what the age, as aggressive and threatening and needing, not counseling, therapy, help and hugs like the white girls get, but arrest and handcuffs and punishment and you know, throw the book at them,” she said. 

She added: “We've got to talk about it. We've got to engage one another to try to figure out why is it that black women are being treated this way by law enforcement and no other group.”

Brundidge also addressed how the lack of diversity in Minnesota newsrooms affects coverage, an issue MPR has tried to address with a community coalition.

“I don't like to put quotas on it, but what I like to say is give everybody a chance. If you look around in your news room and everybody looks like you, we got a problem,” she said. 

Listen to segment here:

Comments ()