West Virginia’s Only Black Woman Legislator Sues Anti-Abortion Leader Who Sent Her A KKK Email

Courthouse in Charles Town, West Virginia

Source: L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty

Some white people are so racist, they’re racist on accident because their idea of not being racist is racist. Does that make sense?

If not, a good example is when so-called “pro-life” white people try to draw Black people into their agenda by citing the number of abortions that happen in the Black community. As if that’s their business. As if that has anything to do with them. As if Black lives matter to them once they’ve been birthed. As if the quality of the lives of Black women who would be forced to give birth if pro-birthers had their way matters to them at all.

Also, apparently, they sometimes try to make their point by sending Ku Klux Klan images to the Black women they’re trying to convince.

On February 1, the first day of Black History Month, West Virginia Delegate Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia), the only Black woman lawmaker in the state, received an email that included an image of a KKK member, according to West Virginia’s Metro News.

“Delegate Danielle Walker, West Virginia State Legislator for Monongalia County, 51 District the idiot featured in the picture below is an ally of yours and holds the same beliefs you do that the killing of children who look like you is a good thing!” the email read.

The email was sent by now-former Berkeley County West Virginians For Life President Richard Demoske, who admitted to sending it and then resigned amid the backlash. Apparently, Demoske’s email, which was also circulated on social media and tagged with Walker’s name, was intended as a suggestion that Black women making their own informed decisions to terminate their pregnancies is akin to reconstruction era Klan members going lynch crazy on hundreds of thousands of living Black people who aren’t zygotes and fetuses. It’s dumb, it’s racist as hell and it’s the type of connection only a white person who is just as much a soldier for white supremacy as a Klan member would make.

“In an effort to oppose racism, I composed a poorly designed and easily misunderstood meme that unintentionally conveyed racism,” Desmoske said in a statement of contrition.

But nah—even without the literal inclusion of a Klan image addressed to the state’s only Black legislator, Desmoske’s point was fundamentally racist because it insists that Black people aren’t capable of making their own decisions.

Murders and lynchings are things that were done to Black people. No one is putting a gun to the head or a noose around the neck of Black women and making them terminate their pregnancies, and the mere availability of abortion options isn’t an attack on the Black community or future Black children. When women get abortions, it’s typically because they have assessed their lives and situations—which they would know better and more intimately than anyone else—and determined that they are not ready to be mothers. They have decided they aren’t willing to put their bodies through the physical, mental, and emotional stress of the months-long process of giving birth. They have made a decision that they chose not to base off some so-called pro-lifer’s moral and non-scientific idea of what constitutes life. 

Anyway, on Tuesday, Walker, who rightfully called the email a “modern-day digital version of burning a cross in her front yard,” filed a civil lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court against Desmoske and WVFL alleging that the message threatened her safety and caused “mental suffering, mental anguish, personal injuries, damages, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, shame, economic damages, diminished earning capacity and future lost wages.”

“For a Black woman, the only Black woman currently in both houses in the state of West Virginia, on the first day of Black history month to receive this hate mail is beyond my understanding,” Walker told Metro News. “If nothing else, how insensitive. If nothing else, if this doesn’t scream racism and oppression and trauma, then what does it scream?”

Exactly.

SEE ALSO:

West Virginia Governor Defines ‘Thugs’ To Explain Why Him Using The Word Isn’t Racist

West Virginia White Supremacist Officers Are Latest Racists Exposed In Law Enforcement

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