The sentencing of disgraced Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw to a jury recommended 263 years in prison should be considered a major win for African-American women. Holtzclaw was previously convicted on 18 of 36 counts of sexual misconduct toward African-American women that included four counts of first-degree rape and an additional four counts of forced oral sodomy.
According to prosecutors, Holtzclaw was a predator who patrolled Oklahoma City’s poorest neighborhoods in search of women to victimize. The ex-Oklahoma City Police Officer chose women who were some combination of poor, African-American, with a criminal and/or drug past for his sexual exploits.
Many may ask ‘why Holtzclaw’s arrest, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing should be noted, if not celebrated, by the African-American community?’ The answer to such a query is simple, this is one of the few times that a case that hinged upon the word of poor African-American women were able to hold more weight than that of a law enforcement officer. Put simply, for a population that has historically been maligned, exploited, and abused in venues from news reports, history books, and popular culture expressions, such an occurrence is a partial victory.
Although Holtzclaw’s conviction and sentencing is a notable victory and provides some semblance of vindication for the millions of African-American women who have been victimized by predatory men, regardless of race or ethnicity. It in no way means that African-American women have moved from their place as the most exploited and victimized population on the planet Earth.
This arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing is a step in the correct direction; however, we should not forget that it is only a single-step that although notable, must not be taken as the completion of a much needed epic journey to secure a multi-faceted equality and first-class citizenship for African-American women.
James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.