Police brutality harms women. Structural racism and structural sexism expose women of color to police brutality through 4 interrelated mechanisms: (1) desecration of Black womanhood, (2) criminalization of communities of color, (3) hypersexualization of Black and Brown women, and (4) vicarious marginalization.
We analyze intersectionality as a framework for understanding racial and gender determinants of police brutality, arguing that public health research and policy must consider how complex intersections of these determinants and their contextual specificities shape the impact of police brutality on the health of racially minoritized women.
We recommend that public health scholars (1) measure and analyze multiple sources of vulnerability to police brutality, (2) consider policies and interventions within the contexts of intersecting statuses, (3) center life course experiences of marginalized women, and (4) assess and make Whiteness visible. People who hold racial and gender power—who benefit from racist and sexist systems—must relinquish power and reject these benefits. Power and the benefits of power are what keep oppressive systems such as racism, sexism, and police brutality in place. (Am J Public Health. 2023;113(S1):S29–S36. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.307064)
Sirry Alang, Rahwa Haile, Rachel R Hardeman, & Jé Judson. Mechanisms Connecting Police Brutality, Intersectionality, and Women's Health Over the Life Course. American Journal of Public Health; 2023, 113 S29-S36. doi: https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.307064.