Thanks to white privilege, another white woman who assaulted a Black woman is getting grace that they don’t deserve. When Trump supporters stormed the state capitol in Washington D.C after he claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, an activist named Keren Prescott went to the capitol to protest as well. As she yelled “Black lives matter,” she claimed that a white woman named Yuliya Gishteyn responded, “All lives matter,” and this led to a verbal dispute. Prescott then told Gishteyn to socially distance because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Gishteyn then spit in her face, which was caught on video.
Gishteyn was charged with deprivation of rights, third-degree criminal attempt to commit assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a child, the Associated Press reported. In court on July 21, she was only ordered to enroll in a special program for first time offenders. Gishteyn will have two years to complete 100 hours of anti-hate courses and she will have a clear criminal record once the courses are completed. Gishteyn apologized to Prescott while in court and said that her actions were “completely out of character.”
Prescott told the Hartford Courant that white privilege affected the way this whole situation was handled from the moment police officers intervened while at the state capitol.
“When she attacked me, and the police didn’t believe me, that was white privilege,” she said. “When the police held me back, and she was led away, that was white privilege…The fact she was in here today and didn’t even get a slap on the wrist, that is white privilege.”
Yuliya Gishteyn is now added to the long list of names of folks who committed hate crimes and violent acts towards Black women who don’t get prosecuted fairly. Whites and even other races get the bare minimum of consequences, if anything at all, when it comes to being disciplined regarding a crime against Black women. Most recently, former officer Brett Hankison didn’t face any charges after it was found that he killed Breonna Taylor when he and other officers executed a no-knock warrant on her home while looking for her ex-boyfriend who didn’t live there. We can even go back to 1991, when Soon Da Ju shot 15-year-old Latasha Harlins in the back of the head after a dispute over a $1.79 bottle of orange juice and wasn’t sentenced to any jail time.
Black people are also more likely to be sentenced harshly in court, so we can’t help but wonder what Prescott’s sentence would have been if the tables were turned.
Black women are more vulnerable to experience all types of violence but we are also more vulnerable to not getting justice regarding crimes committed against us. Sadly this pattern is slow to die.