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Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

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An eye-opening account of how Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color are uniquely affected by racial profiling and police brutality. Amid growing awareness of police violence, individual Black men including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray have been the focus of most media-driven narratives. Yet Black women, Indigenous women, An eye-opening account of how Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color are uniquely affected by racial profiling and police brutality. Amid growing awareness of police violence, individual Black men including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray have been the focus of most media-driven narratives. Yet Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color also face daily police violence. Invisible No More places the individual stories of women and girls such as Sandra Bland, Dajerria Becton, Mya Hall, and Rekia Boyd into broader contexts, centering women of color within conversations around the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration. Invisible No More also documents the evolution of a movement for justice for women of color targeted by police that has been building for decades, largely in the shadows of mainstream campaigns for racial justice and police accountability. Informed by twenty years of research and advocacy by Black lesbian immigrant and police-misconduct attorney Andrea Ritchie, this groundbreaking work demands a sea change in how police violence is understood by mainstream media, policymakers, academics, and the general public, as well as a radical rethinking of our visions of safety and the means we devote to achieving it."


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An eye-opening account of how Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color are uniquely affected by racial profiling and police brutality. Amid growing awareness of police violence, individual Black men including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray have been the focus of most media-driven narratives. Yet Black women, Indigenous women, An eye-opening account of how Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color are uniquely affected by racial profiling and police brutality. Amid growing awareness of police violence, individual Black men including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray have been the focus of most media-driven narratives. Yet Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color also face daily police violence. Invisible No More places the individual stories of women and girls such as Sandra Bland, Dajerria Becton, Mya Hall, and Rekia Boyd into broader contexts, centering women of color within conversations around the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration. Invisible No More also documents the evolution of a movement for justice for women of color targeted by police that has been building for decades, largely in the shadows of mainstream campaigns for racial justice and police accountability. Informed by twenty years of research and advocacy by Black lesbian immigrant and police-misconduct attorney Andrea Ritchie, this groundbreaking work demands a sea change in how police violence is understood by mainstream media, policymakers, academics, and the general public, as well as a radical rethinking of our visions of safety and the means we devote to achieving it."

30 review for Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. This was such a powerful read. Andrea Ritchie did an amazing job making the invisible visible. Women are often left out of the narrative when it comes to police brutality and mass incarceration. I love how inclusive she was of all women of color (including the much overlooked indigenous population) and their experiences. In addition, she highlights the intersections of race, class, gender, disability, sexual identity and sexua I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. This was such a powerful read. Andrea Ritchie did an amazing job making the invisible visible. Women are often left out of the narrative when it comes to police brutality and mass incarceration. I love how inclusive she was of all women of color (including the much overlooked indigenous population) and their experiences. In addition, she highlights the intersections of race, class, gender, disability, sexual identity and sexual orientation extremely well, providing a well rounded analysis of the female experience. Overall, this is a must read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Law

    Am going to hold off on a longer review until this book is available to everyone, but I read an early version and all I can say is, Wow. Read this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This is an a academic work intended for classes in African American Studies, Women's Studies, and Law & Society classes among other social science fields. It's packed full of documented cases of women being abused by police officers and points out that with the right to find almost any offense to arrest someone with, think of resisting arrest, sexual violence can be perpetrated legally through a strip search. The arguments that author, researcher, Andrea Just. Ritchie appear sound and backed up This is an a academic work intended for classes in African American Studies, Women's Studies, and Law & Society classes among other social science fields. It's packed full of documented cases of women being abused by police officers and points out that with the right to find almost any offense to arrest someone with, think of resisting arrest, sexual violence can be perpetrated legally through a strip search. The arguments that author, researcher, Andrea Just. Ritchie appear sound and backed up with facts and cases that fit. She is a police-misconduct attorney, as well as academic. In this book, she covers abuses by police of African American women, women of color, lesbians, transgender women and gay men. She discusses how police devalue them, even when they are pregnant or mothers, and inflict harm. While male cases are more likely to be brought out to the public, women's cases are rarely widely know. Rape and sexual violence is accepted and ignored. Abuse of pregnant women or those pre or post natal is common place. Even as a white woman in America, this made me more fearful of police and my mind conjured up the fact that many police departments actually seek to refuse candidates who have high IQs, ostensibly out of the fear they'd be bored. I also recalled a case near where I live where an officer would bother women he stopped for a traffic infraction and threatened them with fear of a probation violation or higher charge so he could rape them repeatedly, even going to their homes. Another drunk and off duty, crashed his car into a car of a pregnant woman and set the scene up to make it look like it was her fault as she sat unconscious without medical care. The stories, Ms. Ritchie tells are intense and concerning. They are also true. I really recommend this book and think that some readers could look beyond its academic roots to absorb the information within.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cyd

    I read this as a follow-on to The New Jim Crow, and it is incredibly powerful. Disturbing, in the numerous examples of police violence against Black women and women of color (including transgender women)--but everyone with privilege that shields them from the violence Ritchie catalogs and describes should be disturbed. It's horrifying, and the systemic and societal silence about it only adds another order of magnitude of horror. Black women, girls, and transgender people are being abused, ignore I read this as a follow-on to The New Jim Crow, and it is incredibly powerful. Disturbing, in the numerous examples of police violence against Black women and women of color (including transgender women)--but everyone with privilege that shields them from the violence Ritchie catalogs and describes should be disturbed. It's horrifying, and the systemic and societal silence about it only adds another order of magnitude of horror. Black women, girls, and transgender people are being abused, ignored, silenced, and killed--and it is only within the last handful of years that these failures and abuses by police and the criminal justice system are finally entering greater awareness and sparking more widespread fury. As a white, cis-appearing transgender man, I believe it is my duty to educate myself about the evils--and they are evils--rooted in the privilege I have inherited. And then to use my new awareness to promote equality, justice, and love. This book should be required reading for anyone who believes we live in a post-racist, equal society. We do not.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Enya

    4.5 stars This book is so underrated! It deserves much more recognition for the amount of cases and data it provides of police violence against Women of Colour (the focus mostly being on black women, but also includes cases of Native American, Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern women - and importantly, it is also trans-inclusive, queer-inclusive and gender non-conforming-inclusive). I never really understood why American left-wingers are so intent on defunding/abolishing the police and the prison 4.5 stars This book is so underrated! It deserves much more recognition for the amount of cases and data it provides of police violence against Women of Colour (the focus mostly being on black women, but also includes cases of Native American, Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern women - and importantly, it is also trans-inclusive, queer-inclusive and gender non-conforming-inclusive). I never really understood why American left-wingers are so intent on defunding/abolishing the police and the prison system, an idea that is almost unheard of in European left-wing ideology, but now I totally understand it. The system seems truly and utterly f***ed and beyond salvation, inherently violent and biased against marginalised populations, especially where several marginalised populations overlap, such as with combinations of identity as women, queer & trans POC. The policing system is way too rooted in the "protection" of elites (who more often than not don't need protection, as they are the ones people need protecting from), rather than the protection of the innocent, way to rooted in serving white people even when they are the criminal ones, and in turn it ensures that marginalised communities stay marginalised and practically enslaved. I only deduct half a star for the fact that it was a little slow to read at times, a little dense, but I'm rounding up because this book is so important.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Ok this is dense and heavy but it's an excellent book and I learned so much about how policing affects many different women. Give it a chapter a day or so, you'll be glad you learned about these intersections. Ok this is dense and heavy but it's an excellent book and I learned so much about how policing affects many different women. Give it a chapter a day or so, you'll be glad you learned about these intersections.

  7. 4 out of 5

    mad mags

    Read. This. Book. Today. (Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss, as well as a finished copy through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for violence against women and children, including sexual assault and rape, as well as racism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.) "At the 2004 National Coalition on Police Accountability conference, a man who identified himself as a former member of the Black Panther Party approached me at Read. This. Book. Today. (Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss, as well as a finished copy through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for violence against women and children, including sexual assault and rape, as well as racism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.) "At the 2004 National Coalition on Police Accountability conference, a man who identified himself as a former member of the Black Panther Party approached me at the end of the workshop. He said that his sister had been raped by a police officer 'back in the day,' but he had never understood what happened to her as police brutality until he had heard it framed that way in the workshop. I asked him how he and his sister had described her experience. He answered, somewhat bewildered, that it was 'just something bad that happened.' He then thanked me for opening his eyes as to how his sister’s experience fit into the work he had been doing all his life to challenge state violence against Black people." Chances are, when you hear the words "police brutality," you picture a young black man - armed with only a bag of Skittles or a cell phone - killed in the streets, either by gunfire or a Taser or with an officer's bare fists: Philando Castile. Eric Garner. Sean Bell. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. (Although, at just twelve years old, this last could hardly be described as a man, even a young one.) Yet black women and women of color - including disabled women, trans women, and lesbian and bisexual women - also suffer from racialized police violence, compounded by gender and other axes of oppression. Black women activists and scholars - such as Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the founders of #BlackLivesMatter - have begun to shift the conversation in recent years. From the #SayHerName hashtag - created in response to Sandra Bland's death while in police custody - to the groundbreaking AAPF report "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected," discussions of police violence are widening to include black women, people of color, people with physical and mental disabilities, LGBTQ and Two Spirit people, sex workers, children, and more. Andrea Ritchie's Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color is an invaluable contribution to the literature. She tackles a difficult and admittedly wide-ranging topic with passion, insight, and a boatload of receipts. Ritchie pinpoints seven sites in which black women and women of color are vulnerable to police violence: * girlhood, e.g., as schools push to criminalize previously normal juvenile misbehavior, like talking back; * disability, such as when police are called to perform a welfare check on someone who may be in mental distress and whom they are ill-equipped to deal with; or when trying to communicate with a deaf person; * sexual violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape; * gender, i.e. when police enforce gender norms in behavior and dress; this can range from hassling women with a more masculine gender presentation to disbelieving rape victims who were "asking for it" by their nonconformity to white ideals of womanhood; * sex, such as targeting those engaged in sex work, or "gender checks" for trans or gender nonconforming folks; * motherhood, which ranges from police violence against pregnant women and mothers on one end of the spectrum (thus endangering children and fetuses), to criminalizing the parenting choices of black women and women of color, many of them a direct response to poverty and lack of resources (see, e.g., Laura Browder, a black woman who was arrested after leaving her children at a food court while she interviewed for a job...at the same food court); and * police responses to violence against women, which can paradoxically result in additional violence against the victim, including physical assault, sexual assault, and murder. While each of these chapters could easily fill its own book (indeed, on the topic of girls, police, and education, I strongly recommend Monique W. Morris's 2016 title, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools ), Ritchie skillfully distills each topic into an engaging and informative look at one aspect of racialized and gendered police violence. Each chapter fits seamlessly with the others; indeed, there is quite a bit of overlap, and I often found myself nodding at how one thread circled back to touch many others. I especially appreciate her inclusion of strip and body cavity searches which, as state-sanctioned (and in prisons, required) forms of sexual assault and rape, are particularly unsettling. In addition to problems, Ritchie also examines solutions, with profiles of various activists and movements that have coalesced around different cases or sites of police violence. While, according to Ritchie, the ultimate solution lies in dismantling the police state (although, admittedly, it's difficult for me to imagine what this might look like), she primarily focuses on less radical measures. Specifically, she points to four measures that could have the greatest impact - in no small part because they have been the driving force between increased contact between marginalized communities and the police: ending the war on drugs, the war on terror, immigration enforcement by police, and broken windows policing. Thoroughly researched and documented, with the perfect marriage of reasoned arguments and righteous anger, Invisible No More is a must read - for everyone. By focusing solely on black men and men of color, we miss the myriad ways that police violence manifests in other communities. Invisible No More will teach you to widen your perspective - and, hopefully, your circle of compassion.   TABLE OF CONTENTS foreword by Mariame Kaba xi chapter 1 Introduction 1 chapter 2 Enduring Legacies 19 chapter 3 Policing Paradigms and Criminalizing Webs 43 chapter 4 Policing Girls 70 chapter 5 Policing (Dis)ability 88 chapter 6 Police Sexual Violence 104 chapter 7 Policing the Borders of Gender chapter 8 Policing Sex 144 chapter 9 Policing Motherhood 165 chapter 10 Police Responses to Violence 183 chapter 11 Resistance 203 chapter 12 Conclusion 233 afterword by Charlene Carruthers 342 acknowledgments 346 notes 352 index http://www.easyvegan.info/2017/08/25/...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    Every bit as horrifying, heartbreaking, & infuriating as you think it will be. An excellent book to read if you're trying to learn more about these entrenched problems & ways to begin addressing them. Every bit as horrifying, heartbreaking, & infuriating as you think it will be. An excellent book to read if you're trying to learn more about these entrenched problems & ways to begin addressing them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    Vergg the powerful book. A true eye opener. To me it exposes the abuse of power by the police. These are the same police who are sworn to protect “everyone.” Sad commentary but an important book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Regan

    The purpose of Invisible No More is awareness-raising about the experiences of Women of Color (WOC) at the hands of the police. (‘Women’ is construed broadly to include lesiban, bi, gay, trans, Two Spirit, and Gender Nonconforming individuals). It beats a repetitive drum: with regards to WOC who encounter law enforcement, police disproportionately exploit their power through coerced sex and violence. Ritchie argues that this is nothing new, if anything, these exploitations are but another tired The purpose of Invisible No More is awareness-raising about the experiences of Women of Color (WOC) at the hands of the police. (‘Women’ is construed broadly to include lesiban, bi, gay, trans, Two Spirit, and Gender Nonconforming individuals). It beats a repetitive drum: with regards to WOC who encounter law enforcement, police disproportionately exploit their power through coerced sex and violence. Ritchie argues that this is nothing new, if anything, these exploitations are but another tired reiteration of this nation’s obscenely racist treatment of various Persons of Color throughout our short history. Her exhausting task is to continue to beat the drum, to participate, to #SayHerName & #MeToo again & again, in all kinds of media, & to collaborate by organizing & hearing & (re)telling the same unfortunate stories of the overlooked “female” individuals ground up in the machine of police brutality. The aggregation of historical accounts of police violence against women leads Ritchie to the (un)expected conclusion that police intrusion into the lives of WOC is so toxic & pervasive that mere reform is too weak an antidote; what is needed is an abolition of the institution & its funds diverted to social services & legal remedies that will directly impact the poor, working poor, & working middle class WOC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Hammonds

    This is a timely examination of how black, brown, indigenous, Latino, Asian, south Asian, Muslim and Transgender WOMAN experience daily racial profiling, police sexual assault and brutality, and are targeted more by immigration enforcement in violent degrading harassment as strip searches. It’s a compilation of real stories, statistics, and so many cases of sexual assault and violence by men and some woman in authority. Examples of mistreatment, coercion, exploitation of woman of color as well a This is a timely examination of how black, brown, indigenous, Latino, Asian, south Asian, Muslim and Transgender WOMAN experience daily racial profiling, police sexual assault and brutality, and are targeted more by immigration enforcement in violent degrading harassment as strip searches. It’s a compilation of real stories, statistics, and so many cases of sexual assault and violence by men and some woman in authority. Examples of mistreatment, coercion, exploitation of woman of color as well as lesbian and trans woman. Gender and racial profiling by authorities. Twenty years of research...wow! Great book... powerful . If you are interested in the study of Sociology, African American studies, systemic racism, discrimination and sexism, exposé in police violence, and social injustices... you will be impressed by the content. A real work of academia. Solid 5 star for content, research, and writing style. Well done Andrea Ritchie!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Dankoff

    Andrea J. Ritchie captures hundreds upon hundreds of raw, unacceptable crimes of police violence perpetrated against black women and women of color in Invisible No More; simultaneously, she shines a light on dozens of organizations fighting against this bullshit. Hope exists, but there's so much to be done. This book is important. Read it. #SayHerName Andrea J. Ritchie captures hundreds upon hundreds of raw, unacceptable crimes of police violence perpetrated against black women and women of color in Invisible No More; simultaneously, she shines a light on dozens of organizations fighting against this bullshit. Hope exists, but there's so much to be done. This book is important. Read it. #SayHerName

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin Crane

    I learned that police brutality and sexual violence is far worse for women of color, and especially for transwomen of color. One of the points that stuck out to me was that there are these vague offenses like “disorderly conduct” which are applied in racially profiled ways because officers have so much power of interpretation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Must read for anyone who has read The New Jin Crow, or cares about the fight against police brutality. Also one of the most intersectional books I’ve ever read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Coco Chen (misscocochen)

    I read this as the main reading of my SOC219 class. A fascinating look at how who you are affects how the criminal justice system will treat you, relating to different races, genders, disabilities, etc., and definitely had me thinking about privilege and how the world works. I loved this book, though I certainly can't say I enjoyed reading it due to the material (TW for rape, assault, police brutality, gun violence, miscarriages, and probably more that I can't think of). I read this as the main reading of my SOC219 class. A fascinating look at how who you are affects how the criminal justice system will treat you, relating to different races, genders, disabilities, etc., and definitely had me thinking about privilege and how the world works. I loved this book, though I certainly can't say I enjoyed reading it due to the material (TW for rape, assault, police brutality, gun violence, miscarriages, and probably more that I can't think of).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcela

    Powerful. Important.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Heard a good interview with the author on npr

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annie Windholz

    Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie Author Andrea Ritchie was a co-author with Kimberle Crenshaw for the African American Policy Forum report Say Her Name which inspired the campaign #SayHerName to recognize black women and girls killed by police in America. Ritchie's book Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color should be required reading, but is also traumatic to read about all the instances of violence perpetrated against Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie Author Andrea Ritchie was a co-author with Kimberle Crenshaw for the African American Policy Forum report Say Her Name which inspired the campaign #SayHerName to recognize black women and girls killed by police in America. Ritchie's book Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color should be required reading, but is also traumatic to read about all the instances of violence perpetrated against women and girls of color by the police. Ritchie argues that "it is no longer tenable to approach issues of racial profiling, police violence and mass incarceration without taking gender into account."  Ritchie writes: "Racial profiling studies analyzing the experiences of women of color separately from those of men of color conclude that there is an identical pattern of racial disparities in police stops for both men and women... The year before [Michael] Brown was killed, Black women in Ferguson were subjected to traffic stops more frequently than any other category of motorist. They also reported similar experiences of arrest and police violence as Black men." Ritchie goes on to explain: "The history I learned in school rarely mentioned Indigenous women's experiences of colonial violence, Black women's encounters with slave patrols and Jim Crow policing, or immigrant women's experiences with policing at and beyond the border. These stories must be searched out between the lines of a historical record in which men are the main protagonists on all sides of the equation. Indigenous and Black feminist historians have made significant inroads in undermining this framework, highlighting the instrumental role of state-sponsored violence, particularly sexual violence, against women and gender-nonconforming people through colonial genocide, chattel slavery, and the continuing enforcement of racially drawn boundaries of gender, sexuality, motherhood, and nation." Connecting Police Brutality to Mass Incarceration  Women of color today represent the quickest growing jail and prison populations. Ritchie writes: "Expanding our focus to center women of color also forces us to move beyond false dichotomies of "good" and "bad" victims of police violence, "armed" and "unarmed." The uncomfortable reality is that, in many cases, women killed by police were armed- rarely with a gun but often with a knife, scissors, or household objects like a hammer. A focus on police killings of unarmed people therefore excludes many women and racializes narratives that led to their deaths. Even when armed, even when resisting police, controlling narratives frame women of color as a much greater threat than white women under identical circumstances, and place a much greater threat than white women under identical circumstances, and place much lower value on Black, Native, Muslim, Latinx and immigrant women's lives, thus giving officers to use much greater and more brutal and lethal force." Along with the movement for Black Lives' platform, we must push beyond this narrative of "good" and "bad" victims and the politics of respectability, and simply see police violence as unacceptable in all forms.  "Obvious parallels exist among the profiling associated with the war on drugs; broken windows and "gang" policing, and the fear-mongering and targeting of people who are perceived to embody disorder; immigration enforcement and its focus on excluding and removing an imagined other; and the war on terror." School to Prison Pipeline When a school has contact with an SRO (school resource officer) the rate at which students are placed into the criminal justice system for lower level crimes doubles. Also, the focus on the "School to Prison Pipeline" has been significantly focused on boys and men in school- but today Black girls make up about 33 percent of girls arrested on school grounds, and only make up 16% of the population. Ritchie also documents a gross amount of underage girls who are touched or assaulted by police. Criminalization of the LGBTQI Community, Mothers and Sex Workers Prostitution charges are much more common when the person charged is either a woman or gender nonconforming person of color, or LGBTQI. Additionally, motherhood is policed harsher for women of color- in the majority of cases what is labeled as neglect should really be defined as poverty. Also, police brutality toward women of color does not change when the woman is pregnant, and is sometimes part of the reason for the brutality. Additionally, "police violence takes places disproportionately, and with alarming frequency, in the context of responses to domestic and sexual violence," and  " responses to family, interpersonal, and homophobic and transphobic violence are frequent sites of police violence against LGBTQ people." The organization Survived and Punished advocates for the end to the criminalization of domestic violence survivors.  Throughout the book Ritchie references a resource produced in 2005 by Angela Davis and colleagues: INCITE! Organizer's Tool Kit on Law Enforcement Violence. Resistance Ritchie concludes the book speaking about the Movement for Black Lives platform, which "calls for an end to racialized gender policing and police abuse of trans and gender nonconforming people, accountability for and prevention of police sexual violence, and an end to the feeds, fines, and bail that keep women in police custody, there to be assaulted or die of racially motivated neglect. It urges decriminalization of drug and prostitution offenses- two of the top pathways to policing, criminalization, and prison for Black women of color- and demands reparations for those who have been targets of the war on drugs and the enforcement of antiprostitution laws. Perhaps most importantly, the platform calls for 'investment in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.'" "Today, I understand policing as inherently violent and beyond any state of repair. The reality of policing in the United States is much bigger than a few rotten apples. Just as the historical roots of the institution are rotten, so is the fruit that it bears in the United States and across the globe. Police are, and always have been, intermediaries and tools for the wealthy elites, serving the interests of property owners over those of marginalized people," Charlene A. Carruthers, the national director for the Black Youth Project 100 concluded in the Afterword of the book.  

  19. 5 out of 5

    Na

    “Invisible No More” brings to light the underexposed issue of police brutality toward women of color and the LGBTQ communities. Andrea J. Ritchie shares her passion on every page in every story in attempts to rile up the reader. Although Ritchie hits on an important topic that needs illumination, she fails in capturing it beyond simple story telling. There are instances peppered throughout the narrative which she will mention that a “number of studies show” or “a study showed a number”. What are “Invisible No More” brings to light the underexposed issue of police brutality toward women of color and the LGBTQ communities. Andrea J. Ritchie shares her passion on every page in every story in attempts to rile up the reader. Although Ritchie hits on an important topic that needs illumination, she fails in capturing it beyond simple story telling. There are instances peppered throughout the narrative which she will mention that a “number of studies show” or “a study showed a number”. What are these numbers? It may be expected that the reader does their homework and look up the study themselves. This is where the book falls short. To Ritchie’s credit, some of this data is hard to disseminate; however, the clear lack of charts and numbers, no matter how unsexy, is crippling to the narrative from a critical perspective.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a must read! "true safety for women of color requires an end to the "war on drugs," broken window policing, and the "war on terror"; the elimination of gender as a marker of access to public space, public benefits, and protections; the removal of police from schools, hospitals, public housing, and health-care settings; and repel of "mandatory arrest" and other policies that facilitate the criminalization of survivors of violence; and support rather than violence and criminalization for p This is a must read! "true safety for women of color requires an end to the "war on drugs," broken window policing, and the "war on terror"; the elimination of gender as a marker of access to public space, public benefits, and protections; the removal of police from schools, hospitals, public housing, and health-care settings; and repel of "mandatory arrest" and other policies that facilitate the criminalization of survivors of violence; and support rather than violence and criminalization for pregnant people and mothers of color,". (p240) One of the many things I didn't know was that carrying condoms is a prosecutable offense, since the police arrest "undesirables" and then use the presence of condoms to assert that anyone they pick up is a sex worker. Even worse, when activists tried to get this changed, prosecutors teamed up with anti-human trafficKers to keep the law in place, EVEN THOUGH VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING ASSERTED THAT RATHER THAN HELPING THEM, THIS ENCOURAGED THEIR ABUSERS TO NOT USE CONDOMS. What the fuck, people???? When will we learn to ask the people we are claiming to help WHAT THEY ACTUALLY WANT?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    What an incredible read. I’ve felt that womens’ experiences have been dimmed in the mainstream Black Lives Matter movement, this book brought a lot of wonderfully constructed context and accounts on how that disparity was created. The first hand accounts were disturbing, to say the least, and the acts of violence described are nothing short of horrific. I appreciate the author treating these stories with respect and dignity, rather than utilizing these stories in a sensational way to keep the re What an incredible read. I’ve felt that womens’ experiences have been dimmed in the mainstream Black Lives Matter movement, this book brought a lot of wonderfully constructed context and accounts on how that disparity was created. The first hand accounts were disturbing, to say the least, and the acts of violence described are nothing short of horrific. I appreciate the author treating these stories with respect and dignity, rather than utilizing these stories in a sensational way to keep the reader engaged and entertained. This book is not about that. I also have to give a big, welcomed nod to how wonderfully intersectional this book is. It acknowledges the experience of women often overlooked in the feminist movement: Black women, Indigenous women, Asian women, trans women, women belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, gender non-conforming people, and more. I look for the presence of intersectionality in my socially conscious reads, and this book delivered. I definitely would revisit this text, and anyone looking to broaden their perspective with regard to police brutality should read this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    Reviewed for ALA's "Booklist Online" -- appears in the June 1 & 15, 2017 issue. If you have a subscription, you can read my STARRED REVIEW at BooklistOnline.com at: https://www.booklistonline.com/Invisi... Reviewed for ALA's "Booklist Online" -- appears in the June 1 & 15, 2017 issue. If you have a subscription, you can read my STARRED REVIEW at BooklistOnline.com at: https://www.booklistonline.com/Invisi...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    "In the end, the real challenge posed by women of color's experiences of police profiling and violence is to our collective conceptions of violence and safety, the role of police in our society, and to our ability and willingness to make building and nurturing values, visions, and practices that will produce genuine safety and security for all members of our communities a central task of movements against police violence." (239) I’ve talked about the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program before, a "In the end, the real challenge posed by women of color's experiences of police profiling and violence is to our collective conceptions of violence and safety, the role of police in our society, and to our ability and willingness to make building and nurturing values, visions, and practices that will produce genuine safety and security for all members of our communities a central task of movements against police violence." (239) I’ve talked about the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program before, and this is absolutely one of the top notch best ARCs that I have received through the program. I actually read this a few months ago, and am just now getting to write about it, so this book is now currently available for purchase. I think this is probably one of the most important books that I have ever read, and certainly one of the most important books I have read in order to learn more about a subject that affects a population of which I am not a member. The book looks at police violence against populations of color, and then specifically through the lens of women of color. Here’s the synopsis: Amid growing awareness of police violence, individual Black men—including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Freddie Gray—have been the focus of most media-driven narratives. Yet Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color also face daily police violence. Invisible No More places the individual stories of women and girls such as Sandra Bland, Dajerria Becton, Mya Hall, and Rekia Boyd into broader contexts, centering women of color within conversations around the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration. Invisible No More also documents the evolution of a movement for justice for women of color targeted by police that has been building for decades, largely in the shadows of mainstream campaigns for racial justice and police accountability. Informed by twenty years of research and advocacy by Black lesbian immigrant and police misconduct attorney Andrea Ritchie, this groundbreaking work demands a sea change in how police violence is understood by mainstream media, policymakers, academics, and the general public, as well as a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it. Ritchie starts with a few introductory, more general chapters, and then she separates the book based on specific communities within the “women of color” population, taking a deeper dive into each. In each section, she shares stories from and about women who experienced police violence, looks at the history and background of the justice and political system, the biased and ingrained racist beliefs that set the stage for this group to be victims of police violence, and then recommends actions for “resistance.” These subsections are: policing girls, policing disability, policing sexual violence, policing the borders of gender, policing sex, policing motherhood, and policing responses to violence. Because of this particular separation choice, she often uses similar terminology and rhetoric, or refers back to concepts she mentions in previous sections, so it can feel a tiny bit repetitive, but only because all of these communities and stories are so interconnected. Before I dig more into the content, I wanted to say that overall, this book is incredibly well researched and sourced. It is a perfect mix of academic, referenced writing, while still being accessible to someone who doesn’t spend their life studying these stories. Which is really the perfect mix, in my mind: explaining something in which you are an expert to someone who is NOT an expert in a way that keeps them engaged and interested, and potentially curious enough to look into other authors on the topic. That’s the sweet spot. (I wish I didn’t feel the need to give gold stars for referenced work, but after reading one too many nonfiction or research book with basically zero references, those that are academically sourced stand in stark contrast.) Setting the Stage There were a number of overarching takeaways for me. One was really interrogating the role of police in society, which is not something I had thought about quite so actively before reading the book. What role do police currently play in our society, but also what role should they play? What kind of situations should police have jurisdiction over, and which situations might benefit from other community services first? And, barring anything else, what kind of oversight of police discretion do we need to implement in order to keep people safe. Ritchie makes a point, both in this book and in interviews and other pieces that I’ve read of her writing, to emphasize that we have to look at the bigger picture of police patterns of behavior, and not only with reference to fatal interactions. Many of the stories that she tells in this book do not have a fatal ending, BUT they are no less important to consider with regard to public safety and more specifically the health and safety of women of color. And they also speak to an environment and ethos within police departments that perpetuate and even support continuing violence against historically marginalized communities. Right off the bat, I appreciated Ritchie’s framework for the conversation. She took the first several pages to discuss what this book is, and perhaps more important, what the book is not, and WHY it’s not. She explained that there would be a lack of focus on trans men and gender non-conforming folks, and that her intention was not to erase, but to specifically focus on Black women, women of color, and LGBTQ-identifying women. One of the most important things that set the stage for the content following was chapter 2, entitled “Enduring Legacies.” In it, Ritchie investigates and lays out an historical timeline, showing a direct correlation between the treatment of women of color in the past and the way they are treated today. Understanding how slavery and colonialism were systemic instruments of repression, you can see how little the rhetoric and conversation has changed on the national platform. This is not an idea unique to Ritchie; more and more influential voices talking about how the “war on drugs” and broken windows policing, among other policies, have worked to prevent communities of color from succeeding. (For example, see The New Jim Crow or 13th.) But understanding it specifically within the context of police interactions with women of color is imperative to understanding the remainder of the book. Deeper Dive In discussing the policing of poverty, Ritchie references the war on drugs and so-called broken windows policing (sometimes called “quality of life” policing). As she states, “Black women and women of color are disproportionately impacted by the policing of poverty simply by virtue of making up a significant proportion of the population of low-income and homeless people of color.” (45) The same can be said for the “war on drugs”; as is true across the board, people of color represent a greater proportion of those who are incarcerated for drug offenses. “Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women make up a grossly disproportionate share of women incarcerated for drug offenses, even though whites are nearly five times as likely as Blacks to use marijuana and three times as likely as Blacks to have used crack.” (47) While mandatory minimums have led to judges often legally not able to show discretion in relation to drug offenses, the enforcement of broken windows exemplifies the incredible discretionary power that police forces have: “Police officers are afforded almost unlimited discretion when determining who and what conduct is deemed disorderly or unlawful. More specific regulations, such as those criminalizing sleeping, consuming food or alcohol, or urinating in public spaces, criminalize activities so common they can’t be enforced at all times against all people. As a result, both vague and specific quality-of-life offenses are selectively enforced in particular neighborhoods and communities, or against particular people…” (55) Related to broken windows policing is the degree to which young women of color are under scrutiny more than their white counterparts. The zero tolerance policy in school is the educational equivalent of broken windows policing. As with many situations, Black students and young women of color are punished more severely for less serious incidents in schools every day. One of the possible reasons behind this is a concept known as age compression, or “adultification.” A recent Slate article explains it, in relation to a recent book and a Georgetown study on the topic, but essentially it means that Black girls specifically are often perceived as older than they are. From the Slate article: “Compared to white girls of the same age, black girls are perceived as needing less nurturing, comfort, and protection. They are also perceived as being more independent and knowing more about sex and other adult topics. And the bias begins early: Black girls are seen as older and less innocent than their white peers starting as young as age 5.” Similarly, Latinx youth are often perceived as “hot tempered” or “volatile” as a result of deeply ingrained prejudices and biases, which adds its own measure of adultification and expectations. In relation to disability, Ritchie puts forth a question that could be asked at the end of all these situations: whether there are other community services that might be better suited to provide assistance to crisis. Though it’s not perfect, as it’s still run through the police department, she cites a program called CAHOOTs in Eugene, Oregon, which has pioneered nonpolice responses to mental health crises. Instead, a mobile crisis unit consisting of a nurse or EMT and a crisis worker are dispatched in nonemergency police calls relating to drug use, poverty, and mental health. As a result, CAHOOTs now provides counseling instead of cops in a whopping 64 percent of calls. Is this solution not something that could be expanded? Could it not be considered for other situations? Is a police response the ONLY option? Even if nothing else changes, the level of accountability for police officers and the process for same HAS to change. All too often throughout the book, Ritchie shares instances of officers FINALLY getting punished for their crimes, only to find out that there had been a long history of infractions and reprimands, yet these officers kept their jobs all that time. How many injuries could have been prevented if cops were not just defending each other blindly or covering up abuses? This is especially evidence in chapter 6, which focuses on police sexual violence, and shows that not only do women of color experience this to a higher degree than white women, but it is even more prevalent for women who are trans, lesbian, or gender non-conforming. This relates to chapter 7, policing the borders of gender. Policing the borders of gender has a long, sordid history. The policing of the borders of gender is also intricately tied up with the policing of sex, as many trans women or gender non-conforming folks have often been subject to accusations of prostitution merely as a result of their appearance and of classification anxiety. Across the board, women of color being demonized and penalized for sex is nothing new but is definitely still a problem. The enforcement of women who are considered loitering or soliciting in certain areas is highly selective, and guess who it most often selects? This goes back to the discretion allowed to police officers, who are enforcing vague “quality of life” regulations. And, circling back to policing the borders of gender and sexual police violence, police officers take advantage of this position of power to blackmail women of color into sex. “A DC police sergeant admitted, ‘Everybody messes over the prostitutes.’ Earlier studies by SWP found that up to 17 percent of indoor and outdoor sex workers reported sexual harassment or violence by police officers. In an analysis of three studies of a Midwestern city, 15.4 percent of women reported being forced to have sex with a police officer, almost half (45.5 percent) had engaged in paid sex with police, and 18 percent reported being extorted for free sex. Nationally, more than 25 percent of respondents to 2015 US Transgender Survey who were or were perceived to be involved in the sex trades were sexually assaulted by police, and an additional 14 percent reported extortion of sex in order to avoid arrest.” (156) The policing of motherhood is closely tied to long-held misconceptions and prejudices as well. Ritchie says, “In the 1980s the image of the ‘welfare queen’ and ‘welfare mother’ has been added to the perceptions of Black women rooted in slavery, joining in a toxic combination in which Black motherhood and Black children represent a deviant and fraudulent burden on the state that must be punished through heightened surveillance, sterilization, regulation, and punishment by public officials.” (167) Black women and women of color are often penalized for perceived threats to their children, and yet there is no regard shown for mothers or expectant mothers when it comes to interactions with the police. Latinx mothers are often subject to narratives labeling their fetuses as immigration threats. In a number of cases of city police and immigration enforcement, excessive and unnecessary force has led to loss of pregnancy. Yet another case of rampant police discretion is present in relation to the overseeing of child welfare. “Beyond responding to calls, police are now also independently taking up child-welfare enforcement, including in minor cases that would previously have been handled administratively.” (178) These laws are also discretionarily used to a greater percentage in relation to mothers of color. For example, Geraldine Jeffers. “She was arrested and later convicted for child endangerment for leaving her four younger children in the care of their fifteen-year-old sister when she had to go to the hospital due to complications with her pregnancy and wound up being admitted overnight.” (179) I’ve known white families who have left younger children with a fifteen-year-old for lesser reasons and not been arrested for child endangerment. At the end of this discussion of policing of motherhood, Ritchie poses yet another important question: “Beyond organizing on behalf of Black mothers and mothers of color, if we center their experiences, we begin to ask new questions, including how should use-of-force policies address experiences of pregnant women?” What would happen if we adopted “a public health rather than punitive approach to drug use by pregnant and parenting women”? Another huge aspect of this entire injustice is that women of color do not feel that they can trust police to act in their own interests, and especially when it comes to violence against them. We’ve already discussed examples of how women of color and people on the edges of gender expression can be victimized by police themselves, but there’s another aspect of not being able to trust the police. Marissa Alexander shot into the air to stop an assault by her husband, and she was charged with a felony, even though no one was hurt or even in danger of being hurt as a result of her actions. Native women are often disbelieved as the result of stereotypes focused on perceived alcohol use. And it’s not surprising that more than half of respondents to the 2015 US National Transgender Survey said they would feel uncomfortable asking police for help. Reliance on police is exceptionally problematic for women who are undocumented. This discussion was brought somewhat to the forefront with the advent of this new presidency and the possible abolition of sanctuary cities. All studies show that when people who are undocumented are afraid to talk to the police, crime goes up. Distrust of police leads to greater community turmoil and crime. But as we move further into this new era of hatred and fear, those feelings of distrust and discomfort relying on police is likely to worsen. Once again, at the end of this chapter, Ritchie proposes considering an alternative to police response: “Ultimately, the experiences described in this chapter, along with countless others, counsel strongly in favor of a critical examination of current approaches to violence against women, and the development and support of alternative, community-based accountability strategies that prioritize safety for survivors; community responsibility for creating, enabling, and eliminating the climates that allow violence to happen; and the transformation of private and public relations of power.” (201) What Needs to Change and How We Can Change It Another of the overarching themes that stuck out, as you may have noticed throughout this review, is the incredibly amount of discretionary power that police have, with often little to no oversight or accountability. A further common thread that emerged, along with the overabundance of discretion for police officers, is the general inclination to treat the women of color that they encounter as less than people. Whether this manifests as shooting an unconscious 19-year-old woman 22 times, as was the case with Tyisha Miller; or as a complete disregard for someone’s privacy by dragging a quadriplegic woman out of her house half naked when she did not comply with their commands to “get the fuck up,” as was the case with Lisa Hayes; or as the use of the apparently completely legal search of a woman’s vagina looking for drugs, as was the case with Shirley Rodriques. (There were no drugs.) It just so happens that I finished the book mere weeks before the police killing of Charleena Lyles in Seattle, where I live and work. I don’t know that anything could have been a more immediate example of a situation in which police completely overstepped, used overwhelmingly excessive force, and perhaps shouldn’t have been the first responders. She had called them for help, and in return, they shot her seven times, which would be excessive for almost anyone, but especially so for a woman who was shown to have no drugs or alcohol in her system and was five months pregnant. It goes back to the idea Ritchie explains, of historically biased perceptions of Black women as “beasts” with superhuman strength and resilience. Ultimately, this book submerged me in the issues of the interactions women of color have with police, and presented fairly concrete examples of alternatives to police responses in helping to keep women of color safe. It made me even more acutely aware of my own privilege, and more intensely committed to being as active an ally as possible. Put up or shut up, as they say. Greater awareness is only the first step in a long journey. I’ve included some links to further readings below. And I’ll leave with this food for thought from Ritchie: “To strike at the root of the issue, we need to transform our responses to poverty, violence and mental health crises in ways that center the safety and humanity of Black women and our communities.” (231) Further Reading Study: Black girls viewed as ‘less innocent’ than white girls – Washington Post Bitch Media interview with Andrea Ritchie INCITE Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women AAPF Brief Amazon Kindle edition Columbia Journalism Review Q & A with Andrea Ritchie New York Times Op-Ed by Andrea Ritchie: “A Warrantto Search Your Vagina” Originally posted at Musings of An Incurable Bookworm

  24. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Dhu

    In her Introduction to Angela Ritchie’s Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, Angela Y. Davis writes: “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color is a very important twenty-first-century document. It reminds us how little in the way of material progress has been made during the last century in purging our societies of officially condoned racist violence. At the same time, Andrea Ritchie’s multifaceted and unrelenting antiviolence In her Introduction to Angela Ritchie’s Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, Angela Y. Davis writes: “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color is a very important twenty-first-century document. It reminds us how little in the way of material progress has been made during the last century in purging our societies of officially condoned racist violence. At the same time, Andrea Ritchie’s multifaceted and unrelenting antiviolence practice over the last decade, to which her book bears witness, reveals extraordinary progress in the way we conceptualize state violence and antiviolence strategies. She does not urge us simply to add women of color to the list of targets of police violence—a list that is already longer than anyone would wish. She asks us to consider what the vast problem of state violence looks like if we acknowledge how gender and sexuality, disability, and nation are intermeshed with race and class. In other words, Ritchie’s feminist approach reminds us that the job of purging our worlds of racist violence is far more complicated than advocates of simple police reform would have us believe. It is not only Black women and women of color who are “invisible no more” but also the immensity and complexity of the problem of rooting out the nexus of racist violence.” It is this intersectional approach to the documenting of state violence against women of colour that makes this book so important. The issue is far more deeply embedded in white society than any approach that focuses primarily on police and prison reform can affect. It is part and parcel of whiteness itself, and must be addressed by radical change, not liberal reform. As Mariame Kaba notes in her Introduction, “Today, my organizing work is focused on abolishing police, prisons, and surveillance. It took a long time for me to embrace abolition as praxis. I bought into the idea that more training, more transparency, better community oversight, and prosecuting killer cops would lead to a more just system of policing. I was wrong. The origin story of modern American policing is slave patrols and union busting. A system created to contain and control me as a Black woman cannot be reformed.” In this book, Ritchie exposes state violence against black, Indigenous, and other women of colour, starting with the early history of policing as a means of controlling the lives of Indigenous people and African-descended slaves. She gives voice to the many black and Indigenous women who experienced sexual violence at the hands of American soldiers, slave patrollers, and later, police officers. She also examines the gender-specific forms of border policing waged against immigrant women throughout American history, many of which are based on, and reinforce, racist stereotypes of hypersexuality, promiscuity, indiscriminate child-bearing, criminality, and sexual and gender non-conformity among women of colour. She painstakingly traces the links between race, disability and sexual and gender non-conformity, demonstrating how all are factors placing women, trans men, and queer and non-binary people of colour at high risk from violence, and frequently sexualised violence from police and other state agents. She looks at laws and policing strategies, from anti-loitering and anti-prostitution laws to “broken windows” and “quality of life” policing to child welfare and domestic violence interventions as sites of racial profiling, invasion of privacy, gender role policing and violence. Yet in this painful litany of injustice upon injustice, there is also a record of resistance. “There is no question that the shroud of invisibility around Black women’s and women of color’s experiences of police violence has been irrevocably lifted in the post-Ferguson moment and movement. It has been forcefully pushed aside by young women on the front lines in Ferguson and by bloggers and organizers across the country who were speaking out in the days and months following Mike Brown’s killing, who were outraged at Dajerria Becton’s assault in McKinney, who rose up in widespread protest following Sandra Bland’s death in police custody, and who unapologetically demanded attention and action around #AssaultatSpringValleyHigh and the rape of thirteen Black women by Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, and who demanded justice for Rekia Boyd.” But as each new day’s newspapers and twitter feeds inform us, the state’s assault on black, Indigenous and other racially marginalised women, trans men and non-gender conforming people continues, and so must the resistance.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tibby (she/her)

    Reading has been slow going for me over the past month or so and despite being readable, I found it took me awhile to get through this one. A big part of that is the intensity of the subject matter. When it comes to police violence that has previously been little discussed or reported on, Ritchie leaves no stone unturned. She covers everything from types of violence to sites of violence to the underlying tropes that lead to that violence. She also throughly explores the connection between types Reading has been slow going for me over the past month or so and despite being readable, I found it took me awhile to get through this one. A big part of that is the intensity of the subject matter. When it comes to police violence that has previously been little discussed or reported on, Ritchie leaves no stone unturned. She covers everything from types of violence to sites of violence to the underlying tropes that lead to that violence. She also throughly explores the connection between types of policing (i.e. Broken Windows, The War on Drugs, etc.) and how they connect to the types of violence and policing BIPOC and LGBTQ women experience. Ritchie is clear from the start that this book cannot be the only book on the subject and that it is not comprehensive. She apologizes for having to leave people and groups out. This should not be the only book you pick up on the subject, although it makes for a great introductory book to the topic. The writing is very readable even though at points it gets a bit repetitive. I do wish she had done more to cross reference her stories and ideas. She's spotty about it at best, sometimes over repeating herself and sometimes not referencing back to information and people, and it left me wondering sometimes- have I heard this story or idea before, I think so, but which chapter. Certainly all these pieces and chapters are part of a larger interconnected system, so while the way she has broken it up to discuss each piece discreetly makes a lot of sense, better cross referencing would have helped me put the pieces together a little more easily. I did really love how she seamlessly interwove stories of women who had experienced the violence she discusses. She also weaves them perfectly in with statistics and studies that illustrate how common the anecdotes she includes are. I did take slight issue with the statistics because they seemed to almost exclusively focus on New York and Chicago, with a light sprinkling of Los Angeles and DC. I understand these are the largest police forces in the country and I suspect there is little study done outside of these, not to mention the scattered nature of police reporting (it's not in one central database). But I suspect there are trends and information outside these major cities that support her stories and information and may also paint a bleaker picture. Small town sheriffs anyone? I know here in Sacramento our sheriff is a Grade A creep, sexual predator, and racist. I would like to have seen more focus on areas outside those large cities and way more about the West Coast. I read this along with the study guide that is available on the book's website. I highly recommend using it to enhance your reading experience. There are thoughtful questions, useful numbers and summaries pulled from each chapter, and encouragement to care for yourself while reading such harrowing narratives. As I said, this book is not easy despite it being necessary.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color is a fantastic non-fiction collection of facts and individual stories of Black, Indigenous, Latinx women and female-identifying individuals and their experiences with the police. This book should have been in conversations last summer when we were talking about Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the California lynchings, and all the other lives stolen by racism, hate, and unhinged law enforcement. I’m a bit upset that it wasn’t Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color is a fantastic non-fiction collection of facts and individual stories of Black, Indigenous, Latinx women and female-identifying individuals and their experiences with the police. This book should have been in conversations last summer when we were talking about Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the California lynchings, and all the other lives stolen by racism, hate, and unhinged law enforcement. I’m a bit upset that it wasn’t, to be honest. A bit upset that books about racism by white women got many more sales, while Invisible No More was so difficult for me to find. This book is deceptively short. There is a long introduction, and many, many pages of sources at the end. Yet, it’s not a book to read in a weekend. It’s heavy with stories of violence and sexual assault. Ritchie delivers the stories of the abused and murdered with a calm matter-of-factness that, from a literary sense, makes the book flow together well. From a more personal perspective, the ease with which she is able to fill these pages with harrowing accounts of casual shootings, rapes, threats… it’s heartbreaking. Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and I’m sure she could easily fill several more books with experiences of her clients and community. Invisible No More is one of the most intersectional books I’ve ever encountered. Care is made to portray experiences not only of Black women, but also Indigenous and Latinx experiences. And, not only of cisgender women, but transgender, gender non-conforming, and Two Spirit experiences as well. Stories come from heterosexual experiences and the LGBTQIAP+ community. I also appreciate that Ritchie addressed the conversation about intersectionality in our approach to understanding and dismantling systemic racism and police brutality – that shining a spotlight on a range of peoples does not weaken the argument, but strengthens it. As any book about racism and racist acts… Invisible No More is overflowing with content warnings. Any type of violence – physical, sexual, and emotional – can be found in these pages. It’s an important book for self-education, but like any book that shows racism instead of just talking about it in a vague sense… it could be very triggering. While I recommend this book so highly, be aware of the content. While, due to the nature of its content, I hesitate to call Invisible No More one of my favorite non-fiction books… it falls into that range of appreciation. Well-researched, well-delivered, and powerful, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to be an ally to suppressed communities. It explains the laws, how they were developed, how they are acted upon, and the results they have carried. It’s a devastating yet important tool to have in your antiracism toolbox, and I highly recommend picking up a copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alan Mills

    Short version: "Wow. Read this book." (stolen from Victoria Law) Longer version: Andrea Ritchie has been involved in litigating police misconduct cases on behalf of Black, Latinix, Indigenous, and LGBTQ women for decades, and has been a leading voice in several grass roots campaigns to elevate the violence by police against these women. Now she has written a book examining this issue from a broader historical perspective, placing it firmly within th Black Lives matter and BYP100 framework of police Short version: "Wow. Read this book." (stolen from Victoria Law) Longer version: Andrea Ritchie has been involved in litigating police misconduct cases on behalf of Black, Latinix, Indigenous, and LGBTQ women for decades, and has been a leading voice in several grass roots campaigns to elevate the violence by police against these women. Now she has written a book examining this issue from a broader historical perspective, placing it firmly within th Black Lives matter and BYP100 framework of police oppression, and provided statistics and case studies to support her analysis. Her basic point is that women are subject to violence a the hands of the state more often than are men (albeit, on average with less deadly results), but have been largely ignored and marginalized by the broader national movement against police violence. without understanding and recognizing their stories, you miss a huge aspect of the problem, Ritchie argues. I found this book absolutely fascinating--despite being aware of several of the examples she uses from my own work in Chicago, the case studies and statistics she discusses were eye opening--but at the same time absolutely terrifying. That this degree, and breadth of violence, has been ignored for so long says much about the patriarchal nature not just of society, but of the movements to force society to improve. My only criticism is that, like much of the police misconduct movement, Ritchie focuses almost exclusively on the part of the criminal legal system which impacts people prior to the point of conviction. While it was beyond the scope of this book, we need a similar book examining the different ways women behind bars are subjected to state violence. Finally, a note from me (NOT a point Ritchie makes): Fellow men (and white cis men in particular), this is not a fight we can sit out. We caused this problem, we need to be part of solving it. we have work to do. Ritchie has provided us with a road map. We need to follow it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie Published August 1, 2017 #BGRTreadingchallenge 2021 #BlackWriters ~A book you purchased last year ~There was a reason why I procrastinated on starting this book. The author did warn that this would be a difficult read. I was not ready to hear about the murdering, sexual, physical and verbal violence inflicted on Cis, Trans Women, Trans Men and non gender conforming people of Color. This is some barbaric Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie Published August 1, 2017 #BGRTreadingchallenge 2021 #BlackWriters ~A book you purchased last year ~There was a reason why I procrastinated on starting this book. The author did warn that this would be a difficult read. I was not ready to hear about the murdering, sexual, physical and verbal violence inflicted on Cis, Trans Women, Trans Men and non gender conforming people of Color. This is some barbaric shit these police officers got/get away with! Only one officer was sentenced to 263 years of prison for serial rape charges. The gov't really need to consider making some Robocops because clearly too many of these officers (men and women) posses some satanic genetic DNA to be able to do these crimes for a living. This inhumane behavior facilitated by Police Officers in general continues to go on with too many of them not being sentence to prison terms. Just when I thought I heard it all... ~ #BlackLivesMatter #BlackBluePrint #SayHerName "A passionate, incisive critique of the many ways in which women and girls of color are systematically erased or marginalized in discussions of police violence." —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow Invisible No More is a timely examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement. By placing the individual stories of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Dajerria Becton, Monica Jones, and Mya Hall in the broader context of the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration, Andrea Ritchie documents the evolution of movements centered around women's experiences of policing. Featuring a powerful forward by activist Angela Davis, Invisible No More is an essential exposé on police violence against WOC that demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    "Although the officer told her she was free to leave when no prior criminal history or illicit drugs were found, when she walked away the officer grabbed her by the back of the neck, threw her to the ground, placed his knee and then his foot on her back, handcuffed her, and arrested her, allegedly for an outstanding warrant for prostitution." This is a rough and dense book. This book is not anti-police, it's anti police-brutality. It emphasizes the dichotomies of a culture that grants fallible pe "Although the officer told her she was free to leave when no prior criminal history or illicit drugs were found, when she walked away the officer grabbed her by the back of the neck, threw her to the ground, placed his knee and then his foot on her back, handcuffed her, and arrested her, allegedly for an outstanding warrant for prostitution." This is a rough and dense book. This book is not anti-police, it's anti police-brutality. It emphasizes the dichotomies of a culture that grants fallible people the ability to use unnecessary force against other human beings, typically women of color and poor women, and how that force can and is used wrongly and when that happens there are often no repercussions for the police officer that abused their position. There are many good police and the ones who misuse their power against women and nonbinary individuals give them a bad name but unfortunately departments aren't doing a great job at weening them out before they go and do harm to someone. This book is about those people - the officers that do wrong - and the individuals they hurt. With that out of the way - this book is brutal and heavy. It tells the stories of women and nonbinary people who have been killed by police officers or a system that blindly believes them. It talks about the physical and emotional pain inflicted on wrongly accused women and women who are brutalized for minor crimes. It talks about the ways women of color are overly policed and vilified. These stories are real and horrifying. This book shares the stories and the names of women who have been victims of police brutality. It's horrifying that there's enough examples to fill a book and yet that doesn't even scratch the surface. It's a really well researched and informative read. Heartbreaking, but a powerful read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Derek Lynch

    This writing is brilliant & transformative. I swear I highlighted at least half of the book! Andrea Ritchie is inclusive & intentional in the way she frames these conversations & I appreciate how Ritchie makes sure to tie in resistance to each facet of oppressive racially gendered policing, typically at the end of each chapter. Pros: I’ve never heard violence against women incorporated into the larger framework of police violence and Andrea Ritchie so brilliantly articulates why this adjustment t This writing is brilliant & transformative. I swear I highlighted at least half of the book! Andrea Ritchie is inclusive & intentional in the way she frames these conversations & I appreciate how Ritchie makes sure to tie in resistance to each facet of oppressive racially gendered policing, typically at the end of each chapter. Pros: I’ve never heard violence against women incorporated into the larger framework of police violence and Andrea Ritchie so brilliantly articulates why this adjustment to our framing is necessary. In particular police sexual violence is rendered invisible largely due to our perceptions of gender, gender identity & expression, sexuality, and race. Cons: Due to the subject matter of this book there are some very triggering moments but I felt it was important as a cisgender white man to read & understand the full extent (as much as is documented here) of police violence against women of color and gender non-conforming folks. Overall: 5/5 stars. This is a critical read & Ritchie neatly connects these patterns of violence to the need for abolition.

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