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How #LoudBlackGirls is reclaiming racist stereotypes

After an incident involving Eric Garner's daughter, black women on Twitter rallied to elevate their voices at a time when they're sidelined as loud and angry

The daughter of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a police officer put him in a dangerous chokehold, walked out in protest after producers at an ABC news town hall taping with Barrack Obama failed to highlight her questions as promised. Erica Garner told the Huffington Post the network was “using black lives as a rating and to get paid”.

She was invited to the Washington event about racial issues by the American news network as a prominent public figure on the issue, who promised she would get time with the president, but it was only when she screaming and staged her walk-out that was able to directly speak with him.

“The President and the People: A National Conversation,” was an event focused on race relations, policing and criminal justice, in the wake of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s deaths at the hands of police, as well as the Dallas shootings in the United States. Members of Sterling and Castile's families were also present at the taping. “It is a shame as black people that we have to scream, yell, and become belligerent to have our voices heard,” Garner said in a video.

Garner took to Twitter to assert that tough questions had been banned. She condemned the event as a “farce”, as “nothing short of full exploitation of Black pain and grief”. “They shut out ALL real and hard questions,” Ms. Garner tweeted, calling the time “a sham.”

She also told Buzzfeed: “I’m tired and I’m exhausted. I’ve exhausted every avenue trying to pursue justice for my dad. I’ve spoken to a rep from the DOJ. I’ve spoken on panels - whoever you can think of I’ve spoken with them. I’m tired of having this conversation. I’m tired. And I think the only way do this is to shut shit down. That’s not what I wanted to do or intend to do, but it’s a shame that I have to be loud and act ‘ghetto’ to get my point across. But I will be not be used and I will not be silent.”

Activist Feminista Jones, upon hearing about Garner’s experience, reclaimed the #LoudBlackGirls hashtag to elevate the issue. On Twitter, #LoudBlackGirls was previously used as an insulting, racist jibe at black women, but Jones has turned it around as an avenue to empower the voices of those ridiculed and ignored time and time again. It then gathered pace on social media as black women from all over the world tweeted about their experiences of being silenced due to their race and gender. The hashtag detailed how women had been sidelined as ‘loud’ and ‘aggressive’, derailing actual debate and opinions.