This is a preprint
Black Women and State-Sanctioned Violence: A History of Victimization and Exclusion

Black women and girls continue to battle the intersecting oppressions of race, gender, and justice while living in a society that routinely derogates them, and while being victimized by a criminal justice system was never designed to protect them. This is most evident in their experiences as victims of police violence, including being beaten, raped, or shot to death. This state-sanctioned violence continues decades after the legal end of slavery, and it characterizes the sustained impact race and gender has on black women’s experiences with the criminal justice system. This article examines the violence black women have historically endured as subjects of terror or objects for white men, and how this violence is perpetuated in the same way today through interactions with police. I argue that the contemporary state-sanctioned violence black women and girls experience is a manifestation of their continued victimization, dehumanization, and social exclusion, and is a function of the systemic racism that permeates the American criminal injustice system.