By Stacey J. Sage
March 22, 2019 at 12:30 PM
During what seemed to be a dispute over a parking spot, Dallas Bartender and possible Neo-Nazi Austin Shuffield, a 30 year old white man, can be seen on video repeatedly punching L’Daijohnique Lee, a 25-year old black woman in her face, head, and upper body. According to a police report obtained by WFAA, an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Dallas, Texas, Shuffield asked Lee to move her car because it was blocking him in. After Lee did so without contest, Shuffield approached the car to take a photo of the license plate. That’s when Lee told Shuffield, who was brandishing a gun, to step back or get maced. Lee, rightfully fearing for her life immediately picked up her and began to dial 911.
“I got scared, I was like ‘you have a gun?’ The first thing I thought to do was call the police,” she said.
Footage caught on eyewitness Ricky Tan’s cellphone video shows an unprovoked Shuffield slapping the phone out of Lee’s hands to the ground. Lee appears to retaliate by shoving Shuffield, who then begins violently punching her over and over again. Despite her pleas, Suffield continues attacking her. After having punched Lee several times, Shuffield then kicks her phone out of reach. Lee recapped the horrific attack, telling reporters:
“He charged at me, and he just kept hitting me, and I was like ‘ok, ok, ok’,” Lee told reporters.
The attack left Lee with injuries that include post concussion syndrome, cranial swelling, and physical injuries to her face. Additionally, the 25-year woman is dealing with the emotional trauma sustained from the incident.
“Watching that video literally makes me cry. All I could do was try and protect myself,” she said. “He literally sat there and beat me like a man.”
Just days after the incident took place, rapper, actor, and grassroots social activist T. I. took to social media to express his disgust over the incident. In his three minute long live video, T.I. indirectly poses the question to “so-called [black] ganstas” Where are black men in the fight against black women. In his brief yet poignant statement T.I. calls out and calls on the “real certified street cats from Dallas” and Dallas gangsta rappers Yella Breezy, Trapboy Freddy and essentially all black men in general asking:
“Why is it that a motha fucker that looks like you, and looks like me walk up to you and say something wrong or step on your shoe, you ready to handle your business…, but then somebody (in this case racist Neo-Nazi Austin Shuffield) threatens the women and children and the next generation of your heritage, of your lineage, of your race, and you ain’t gonna respond to that with the same opposition. How is [that] gangsta?”
Back in November, after a four month span of Trump targeting black women with white supremacist tropes like “Low IQ,” “nasty,” “losers,” “dogs,” “stupid,” he scolded a black female reporter during a news conference, chiding her with his ever infamous index finger (one of the noted signs of adult bullying) to “sit down.” In response to the incident, Courtland Milloy -Columnist for The Washington Post in his article Where are black men in the fight for black women?, posed the question that T.I. is now revisiting: Why aren’t more black men outraged into action?
At a news conference Friday, Next Generation Action Network member Olinka Green called for a protest on Saturday in Deep Ellum if Shuffield does not get charged with a hate crime or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Passionately, yet with pain in her voice, Alexander fervently declares:
“We as black women, we as brown women, we cannot feel safe in our own city, when the very judicial system that is supposed to be sworn to protect us, let these people out; but I’ll tell you this, she goes further to proclaim: Austin Shuffield, wherever you at, you might get by but you can’t get away!”
Much like Milloy back in November, I’ve been searching social media and other outlets for signs of a concerted response by black men. Such responses are scant. What I have found in abundance are the following responses by black men to T.I.’s call to action:
Tecole Anderson – “They ain’t gone do shat…”
Stephen Furn- “Tip ain’t put nobody on from Dallas so he can’t speak for Dallas.”
Craig Natural-Selection Redmond – “I feel u TI but what about Kendrick Johnson in Valdosta Ga? What about the ish that goes on in Ga?”
I did however, find a few responses that were in agreement with T.I.’s call to action; Cavan Ellis – Black man in Dallas it’s your responsibility to protect our black women our [out] there.” but no concerted collective response by black men to actually do something.
In 1962 Malcom X uttered these words that still ring true today:
“The Most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman…” He concludes by saying that a black man should be willing to “lay down his life to support and protect” the black woman.
In 2008 Min. Louis Farrakhan spoke to Hip Hop Artists about what it means to have respect for women. The speech took place at Justins Restaurant on T.I.’s home town Atlanta, GA. During his speech Farrakhan makes the connection between how hip hop culture portrays black women (as bitches, whores, and as of recently thotianas), and the lack of protection provided by black men. Farrakhan further declares that:
“No people allow their women to be hurt and disrespected and they don’t come back with [something]. What kind of men have we become?”
It is now 2019 and it would seem that black men still have some soul-searching to do. No one can deny that black men reap the most benefits of the well-being of black woman. Yet, when it comes to understanding why black men are paralyzed in their collective efforts of standing up and speaking out on behalf of black women, activists, celebrities, religious leaders, and scholars alike are perplexed. Natalie Hopkinson, author, essayist, scholar, and professor at Howard University suggests:
“A lot of black men are just not hearing what black women are saying because they are too busy complaining about their own situation. When it comes to really supporting black women, nobody has our back but us.” Countless black women on social media and across the nation are watching and waiting for black men to prove Hopkinson wrong. In the meantime, rather than being charged with a felony for brandishing a weapon, Austin Shuffield has been charged with a misdemeanor, and was released on $1,500 bond.