Unlike my ancestor, who had at least a moment of agency before she died, Breonna Taylor did not have a chance to say yes or no to the Some grandmas play bingo real grandmas listen to The Jam shirt In addition,I will do this officers at her door asking—with a battering ram—to come in. She was not given the grace or respect that being in one’s home, in American jurisprudence, is supposed to create. In hopeful moments, I think, “If only it had been daytime! If only she could have answered the door and spoken with them!” I question, though, whether it would have made a difference. Once the officers on their mission laid eyes on her Blackness, could anything she did or said have kept her alive? I doubt it; I suspect the only inflection point in that exchange was her Black, female body.
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I think about this inevitability with Laura, my great-great grandmother, too—could she have altered her destiny, standing pregnant on her porch and talking to the Some grandmas play bingo real grandmas listen to The Jam shirt In addition,I will do this police? Do I wish that she had told the Rangers, “Yes, come on in,” and swung the screen door open? Do I dare to think that, had she said yes instead of no, she might have lived, we might have had a happy ending? I do not. Because I think those Rangers would have killed, raped, or harmed Laura and her kids no matter what she did. I think her one-word act of resistance was fatal, but I also think her body itself—her Black womanhood—made her a target. I think, in other words, that the Rangers would have killed Laura even if she were genuflecting, compliant, and polite, simply because they saw a Black woman, and they could. I think they would have been afraid of her darkness, and depravedly appetized by her womanhood, and high on their power, and unable to control themselves or even to imagine why they ought to. This, I believe, is fundamentally why Breonna Taylor died too.