Policing Black Women and Girls

An Intersectional Analysis of Police Violence in Black Communities

What we’re doing

The National Black Women’s Justice Institute is conducting a mixed-methods research project examining the experiences and interactions that cis- and transgender Black women and girls have with police. 

 

The vast majority of interactions between police and the community are considered “routine, everyday” encounters: traffic stops, street stops, police patrolling neighborhoods, or responding to calls for assistance. Yet, each of these interactions pose a risk of harm to Black women and girls. 

 

Using an intersectional framework, we will examine how “everyday” encounters with police inflict violence and harm on cis- and transgender Black women and girls, including on their emotional wellbeing and perceptions and experience of safety in their communities.

Why focus on cis- and transgender Black women and girls?

The experiences of cis- and transgender Black women and girls and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people in police encounters have rarely been the central focus of policing research. As we consider new approaches to public safety, it is important that the experiences of Black women and girls are centered in national conversations about policing to ensure we build toward the safety of all Black people in the United States. 

NBWJI’s research will: 

 

  • Increase awareness of the contexts and contents of Black women and girls’ encounters with police.

  • Elevate and amplify the voices and experiences of Black women and girls in national conversations about policing. 

  • Expand the national conversation about policing to integrate the experiences of Black women and girls.

Through in-depth interviews, NBWJI will explore the reasons for Black women and girls’ encounters with police, the nature and quality of their interactions, whether force was used during any encounters they had, their perceptions of how police treated them, and how those interactions made them feel. The aim of the research is to elevate and amplify the voices and narratives of Black women and girls, filling critical gaps in our collective understanding of how police encounters affect the entirety of the Black community. We intend to challenge our collective understanding of police violence, showing how even interactions that are considered mundane can cause great harm and threaten our perceptions of safety in our communities.