Renisha McBride and Evolution of Black-Female Stereotype

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Ideas

The case of Renisha McBride, the 19-year-old black girl whose car broke down in the early-morning hours of Nov. 2 in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights and was shot in the face by a white homeowner after she knocked on his door asking for help, has all the markings of becoming a divisive racial flash point. Although her death has been ruled a homicide, the shooter has not been charged with anything. Vigils have been held demanding justice, as well as a vibrant Twitter campaign, mostly thanks to the efforts of writer, filmmaker and Detroit native Dream Hampton. In a short film that she posted to YouTube about the events surrounding the case, one of the protesters writes a sign saying, “Don’t shoot, I’m a black woman.”

This is not the only time in recent memory that a black woman in danger was viewed as a threat. Last October during

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