2010 and 2011 were years that saw Black women being put under intense scrutiny. Studies and shoddily collected data that seemed based on biases and tropes about Black female pathology, outlined why a high percentage of us are single, why we’re scientifically uglier than non-Black women, how disgusting or unappealing our bodies and attitudes supposedly are compared to our White counterparts, how horrible it is to be a Black unwed mother, and how we’re somehow the key to ending military suicides. And while 2012 didn’t really take the magnifying glass off Black women, it definitely seemed to mark a growing level of [oft-times inadequately reported] violence and infractions against us.
While Black women remain under the judgmental glare of social science and mores, we are also invisible and seemingly not worthy of being protected in those instances that call for it the most and if anybody can attest to this fact, it’s Brandi Worley. On September 18, 2012, while overseeing hurricane cleanup in Grand Isle, La., Worley (one of only three Black women on-site) was assaulted and met with a barrage of verbal insults that included racial epithets, by an enraged White male and business owner named Josh Jambon, who appeared from his home and apparently wasn’t pleased with the way Hurricane Isaac debris was being cleared away. According to theGriot, who spoke to Brandi at length, Jambon called the Black female workers who were on break, a “pack of lazy n*ggers” and “bitches” and grew enraged when one of them asked him not to call them those names.
“[…]he ended up hitting her in her head and caused her helmet to fall off,” Worley said.
“The second black woman came to her colleague’s aid, and was struck as well. Worse, I was standing there watching it and the white men were just standing around watching. None of the male workers did anything to stop the abuse. Nobody said, ‘man, stop, don’t do that, this is wrong — don’t hit those women’. I was standing in the background and he was going off, cursing and [the two other black women] were arguing with him and he was calling us ni**ers and one of the black girls was getting ready to call the police.”
Shaken at this point, Worley mustered up enough derring-do to record the assault with her cell phone camera. This seemingly riled her attacker even more. Charging at her with a dervish of N*ggers, F*cks, and other scatological phrases roaring from his tongue, Jambon ignored Brandi’s warnings not to touch her. Instead, in that same moment of unbridled White male rage, Jambon opted to demean his victim with one of the vilest acts he could perpetrate against her… he [very audibly] spat in her face and challenged that “there’s not a man over here who can do nothin’ about it!” And it’s important to note that during Jambon’s rampage on Brandi Worley and their other Black female colleagues, none of the mostly male crew (many of whom appeared to be White) did a damn thing other than stand around and watch the assault unfold. And many say this is par for the course whenever a Black woman is under attack.
Some forum comments suggested that Brandi somehow deserved to be assaulted for daring to record Jambon’s behavior…
“Looks to me like he walked off and she kept yapping at him. Tell me again who instigated this incident?” wrote one misguided commenter on a news site that reported the incident.
Another [presumably White woman] prefaced her comment by saying she was married to a Black man, has “3 Black children”, and then revealed that she personally knows Josh Jambon and that she felt Brandi Worley “kept on”, with baiting him and so deserved to be spat on and charged at. “I’m sure this only shows her half the story so before [u] judge maybe you should find out the facts! I know this man very well and to call him raciset [sic] is so off the charts.”
So apparently, just because this (non-Black) person, who claims to be married to a Black man, has had a benign experience with Jambon, it’s supposed to somehow negate the fact that he assaulted three Black women, called them the N word, and spat in one of their faces? In what evolved western society is this sort of behavior acceptable? It doesn’t make his behavior any less reprehensible. Other folks felt compelled to qualify their dismay at Jambon’s behavior with “I’m a White person but/and…” because apparently, being White and speaking out publicly against Black people being assaulted, is taboo in this day and age… I’m assuming.
Black women constantly need to insist that the dignity of our humanity be recognized while also being subjected to victim-blaming, whenever we’ve been violated in some way… even when we present proof of an injustice; and justice probably would not have come easily for Brandy and the other two women if she hadn’t had the presence of mind to record her assault. She didn’t need this man’s permission to do so, she didn’t put her hands on him, and she didn’t say anything particularly inflammatory to incite him to wrath. She begged him not to touch or hit her.
“As a trained journalist, I employed myself to think, think and think. Then I rationalized his act was an unjust that could not go under the rug. I proceeded to think like all the gifted journalists before me and did as they would do.”
Brandi wrote in a post published to the site, Rap Rehab.
[…] “I know how important it is to be a black woman who lives in the United States and well-versed in our history. That history includes Blacks being beaten with clubs, hit with fists, sprayed by high-pressure water hoses, sicced by German Shepherds, spat by cowards, threatened by ignorance and shot or killed by the evil. I thought those days were over and we were living in the newer form of quiet racism: the unspoken kind that is done behind closed doors; a quiet racism that happens everyday around the country. Everyday, talented, educated blacks, such as me, are disrespected.“
(Read the rest of Brandi’s reaction here)
Josh Jambon, who was arrested for battery and released soon after, tried to rationalize his racism by stating that he was a “really good guy” and a “good businessman”. When a reporter tried to get him to accept accountability for hurling racial slurs, he insisted that he needed to discuss the matter in front of his attorney, before hanging up when asked who his attorney is. However, he told theGriot that he was simply “having a horrible day”, suggested that the media attention would only serve to exacerbate the situation since the nation is “already divided enough right now”, and said his sensibilities were “offended” as well. In a half-baked attempt at an apology, Jambon went on, “I’d like to apologize to the person [who he apparently can’t be bothered with recognizing as the WOMAN he assaulted] and that’s it. From what I read on her profile she’s a very educated person and done very well with kids.”
Had Jambon recognized Brandi Worley and her Black colleagues as humans worthy of respect to begin with and saw beyond the fact that they were Black women, perhaps he would’ve saved himself the embarrassment of being exposed for the hateful scourge he really is.