An Important Petition from Iris

Iris at Death to Squirrels has a post up regarding the cruel treatment and unjust imprisonment of a young bi-racial girl with mental health problems. It’s an ugly story about a family looking for help and finding horror instead. It’s not only an indictment of the American mental health system but another urgent example of why Black Lives Matter really does matter. The more I read, the angrier I became, and I encourage you all to go read the story and get angry, too. Then, go sign the petition. I did, but I’m not an American, and the petition needs American voices – lots of them. At the very least, it will let this family know that they are not alone, but maybe collectively, we can get this child the help she desperately needs and offer her a future. Thanks.

Portland – Required Reading

A lot is happening in Portland, and Big Media reports are often unreliable or outright false. Our very own Crip Dyke at Pervert Justice has been on the ground risking her health and well-being to report the reality of the situation to us. This morning her report, Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s badis especially gut-wrenching, and it should be required reading. Please, if you haven’t already, head on over and share your support.

For some perspective on the reference to Pinkerton’s, Marcus at Stderr shares a historical look at labour protests in the U.S. with an essay titled How to Riot. It’s an in-depth look at the history of how the American government has handled civil unrest, and it’s frightening.

To round out your reading, I recommend Iris Vander Pluym at Death to Squirrels, whose essay A.G.Barr: Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland Protests, brings some insight into why what Crip Dyke is doing is so vitally important. The American government is lying to the public, and it is the on-sight reports from citizen journalists that tell the real story.

I share my thanks to all of these voices for the clarity they bring to a complicated issue.

Crip Dyke, please stay safe.

 

Rediscovering the Words of Frederick Douglass

Library sciences have come a long way since the days of card catalogues and racks of periodicals. Most records are now kept digitally, and many historical records have been converted to digital files. It’s because of all those digital files that historian Scott Sandage was able to track down the full copy of Frederick Douglass’ words regarding a monument in Lincoln Park that should be removed.

The statue in Lincoln Park, known as the Emancipation Memorial, depicts the 16th president beside a Black man who, depending on how you see the piece, is either kneeling or rising. It’s supposed to commemorate the end of slavery—but in any interpretation, the Black man is physically lower than Lincoln himself, leading critics to see the statue as a paean to Lincoln’s generosity, and not a testament to Black Americans’ own roles in their liberation. “Statues teach history,” says Glenn Foster, an activist with the Freedom Neighborhood, who wants to see the statue removed. The Black man in this statue “is in a very submissive position,” he says, adding that that’s not “respectful to our community, or to anyone in general.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, two historians, Scott Sandage of Carnegie Mellon University and Jonathan White of Christopher Newport University, were recently debating what ought to be done with the statue, and they wanted to know whether the social reformer and statesman Douglass had, in fact, criticized it directly. Douglass died in 1895, but posthumous reports of his comments on the subject have been circulating since 1916, when a book stated that he had been critical of the statue at its unveiling. In his prepared speech for the event, Douglass challenged the nascent Lincoln mythology, calling him “preeminently the white man’s president …,” but it wasn’t clear whether, in an alleged aside, he also criticized the new statue itself. The two scholars disagreed over the account’s reliability, so Sandage set out to more firmly establish the abolitionist’s position.

It was Douglass’s ability to turn a phrase that helped the historian finally locate the relevant text. It had been reported that Douglas had referred to the black man on the memorial as “couchant.”

Using “couchant” as the keyword in his search—and experimenting with a few combinations of other words—Sandage identified three newspapers that ran the entirety of a letter Douglass wrote about the statue, a few days after speaking at its dedication. “Admirable as is the monument by Mr. Ball in Lincoln park [sic],” writes Douglass, “it does not, as it seems to me, tell the whole truth …” He credits Lincoln for following through on emancipation, but adds that “the negro was made a citizen” by “President U.S. Grant,” under whose administration the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified. (In theory, the Amendment enfranchised Black men with the right to vote. Of course, enforcement of that right has been a long-standing issue.) He concludes by suggesting that “[t]here is room in Lincoln park for another monument,” and that that space ought to be filled out with works that could help complete the historical picture.

NEWSPAPERS.COM, COURTESY SCOTT SANDAGE / PUBLIC DOMAIN

 

Sandage and White have proposed an “emancipation group” of statues to fill out the park and note that it would not affect the reputation of Lincoln one bit to remove the existing monument, as there is another more significant tribute to Lincoln nearby. There are other proposals for the park from leaders in the black community, and you can read the full story at Atlas Obscura.

Everyday American Hell.

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

[…] Williams uses caricature to invite viewers — whatever their political persuasion— to reflect upon how they see people of a race different from their own, as well as underscore the intolerance, distrust, and fear running throughout our everyday lives. A brave and intrepid curator ought to buy “Mass Murder” and install it near the entrance of a museum.

Walking home, I remembered something a black artist friend told me about raising his son in New York City: “I told him never to run down the street.” This is the reality we inhabit. There is nothing “united” about the United States, something artists as different as Jasper Johns and Peter Williams have known their whole lives.

Peter Williams: With So Little To Be Sure Of continues at CUE Art Foundation (137 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) through March 29.

Hyperallergic has an in-depth article on Peter Williams’s latest works and show, well worth a detour in your day to read and see many more art pieces.

Black People Excited About Black Panther: BAD!

A dude by the name of Ben Shapiro is all manner of upset about people being excited about Black Panther. Naturally, he misses the point, by a whole damn universe. Most of his screeth* seems to be a lament over the lack of gratefulness being displayed in this excitement. Black people should be grateful, dammit, for all the great and wonderful things white people have done for them! On your knees, slaves! Oh, er…stop being so excited! I’m not going to be able to get everything in, it’s a fairly long screeth, so full of wypipo gone wrong that it’s extremely difficult to take, and that’s a serious understatement. Shapiro is one of those fucking idiots who make you ache for the ability to reach through your screen and smack him into last Sunday. And I’ll just add that I’m over the top excited about Black Panther m’self, but I can hardly share in the excitement born of such outstanding representation, because I’m not black. That said, I don’t have any problems understanding The Excitement.

“Everyone in the media is talking about the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of humanity, or at least since Caitlyn Jenner became a woman—a transgender woman—and that, of course, is the release of ‘Black Panther’. It is so deeply important,” Shapiro said, mockingly.

No, not one single person is talking about the movie as if it were the most important thing ever in the history of humanity, you sniveling dipshit. Black Panther is deeply important – look at how damn long it’s taken to get a mainstream movie comprised of a mostly black cast, especially when no one is able to say that tokenism has gone out of Hollywood.

“We’ve heard it’s deeply important to millions of black Americans, who after all were not liberated from slavery 200 years ago and liberated by the civil rights movement with federal legislation, have not been gradually restored to what always should have been full civil rights in the United States. None of that has mattered up till they made a Marvel movie about a superhero who is black in a country filled with black people. ‘Blade’ was not enough. ‘Catwoman’ with Halle Berry, no. OK, Wakanda is where it is,” Shapiro said.

He continued sarcastically, “This is the most important moment in black American history, not Martin Luther King, not Frederick Douglass, not the Civil War, not the end of Jim Crow, none of that, not Brown vs. Board—the most important thing is that Chadwick Boseman puts claws on his hands and a mask on his face and runs around jumping off cars in CGI fashion—deeply, deeply important. Black children everywhere will now believe that they too can be superheroes who jump off cars in fictional countries.”

Oh my. Hey, sniveling dipshit! You left a little something out – all those things? They wouldn’t have been necessary if white people deciding that forcibly kidnapping people and putting them into slavery hadn’t been done in the first place. You don’t get fucking points for taking centuries to correct your massive mistakes. As for the the movies Blade and Catwoman, you wouldn’t have noticed that outside the main characters, most of the cast was comprised of white people. That’s because you expect to see white people, as far as you’re concerned, that’s only right and proper. What a fucking surprise that people of colour would like to see themselves reflected in the same way, and not always have to settle for tokenism.

“We heard this about Barack Obama when he was elected, too. ‘Now that Obama has been president, black Americans will feel like they too can be presidents. It’s a transformative moment.’ Yet, all we hear now is that America is deeply racist and that black people are still systemically discriminated against and that black people are still victims in America society. So, it turns out it didn’t mean anything,” Shapiro said.

Yes, it was a transformative moment. Just like the portraits too, because generations of children to come will be able to read about a black president, and they will see black people represented in the sea of white in the white house. (White, white everywhere.) Having such transformative moments in regard to representation and the hope of future achievement is not a magic fucking wand, you wannabe Voldemort. Whitemort? Yeah, I’ll go with that one. It does not magically erase systemic racism, localised bigotry, or victimisation. Those are still with us, and unfortunately, with the Tiny Tyrant, we’re seeing a vicious, cancerous rise in hatred. The difference such transformative moments make cannot be accurately estimated; they represent hope, strength, and change. They represent inclusion and acceptance, and you just have to try and take that away, by demeaning black people in every way your tiny, atrophied brain can come up with. You aren’t worth spitting on, Mr. Shapiro.

“Sorry to break it to you folks, Wakanda is not a real place,” Shapiro said. “It does not exist.”

Well, thank you ever so much for that whitesplaination, Mr. Shapiro. I’m ever so sure that not one black person could possibly figure that one out minus your help. What a flaming doucheweasel.

You can read the whole thing, and watch video at RWW.

*Screeth: screed + froth.

Charting Confederate Symbols Alongside Social Movements.

150 Years of Iconography, courtesy of Southern Poverty Law Center. Sourced from their story, Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy (click to enlarge).

[…] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began to catalog Confederate symbols around the country, stating: “There was no comprehensive database of such symbols…In an effort to assist the efforts of local communities to re-examine these symbols, the SPLC launched a catalog to study them.”

[…]

There were two major periods during which the dedication of Confederate monuments and other symbols spiked: the first two decades of the 20th century and, later, the Civil Rights movement. As they explain:

[T]wo distinct periods saw a significant rise in the dedication of monuments and other symbols. The first began around 1900, amid the period in which states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise the newly freed African Americans and re-segregate society. This spike lasted well into the 1920s, a period that saw a dramatic resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been born in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War.

The second spike began in the early 1950s and lasted through the 1960s, as the civil rights movement led to a backlash among segregationists. These two periods also coincided with the 50th and 100th anniversaries of the Civil War.

Take a look at the infographic. Note the massive cluster of dedications of monuments around the time the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was being formed, and the dedications’ continued persistence during the KKK’s resurgence. Check out the sudden rise in the dedication of schools, named in honor of Confederate soldiers, almost immediately following Brown v. Board of Education. Note that there were less dedications of Confederate symbols during race riots, even a significant dip during the Detroit uprising of 1943.

You can trace a clear spike in the dedication of Confederate monuments whenever black Americans organized in a concrete way; when they were made visibly vulnerable — such as in the instance of uprisings — the commitment to Confederate symbolism tapered off.

According to this data, it’s clear that once black Americans sought their own agency or publicly defended their rights, white supremacists and Confederate apologists became eager to crowd around these monuments in tender affection and homage, to espouse this history. The monuments had a purpose, newly reinstated again and again, to revive and cherish white history each time minorities, especially black people, made themselves visible. The common refrain in support of the Confederate flag (“heritage, not hate”) quickly dies on its own sword. There’s no pride, except for the kind rooted in a fear of white erasure.

After mining the data, it’s clear white panic is real.

The full article is at Hyperallergic, and it’s excellent, and necessary reading, as many people seem to not know the full history of these monuments to hate. Recommended reading.

If You’re Black, Being A Cop Won’t Stop Cops Shooting You.

Image from the scene where an off-duty officer was shot by a fellow cop in St. Louis (image via Twitter).

Y’know, if this doesn’t drive home the endemic bigotry in this fuckin’ country, and the problem of bigoted cops shooting and murdering people on the basis of skin, I just don’t know what will drive it home. All I have here is sputter and head shaking. This truly should be unbelievable, because something like this should never, ever happen.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and local news outlet Fox2Now, a white St. Louis police officer shot a black off-duty officer from his own force after a car chase ended in a crash outside the off-duty officer’s home.

The African American officer, who has not yet been identified, came outside of his home while off-duty after hearing the commotion from a car chase that ended nearby. Despite identifying himself as a cop, the man was ordered to the ground by two officers. He complied, and soon after, they recognized him and told him to get up.

That was when a third officer entered the scene, and because he did not recognize the black off-duty cop and claimed to “fear for his safety,” shot the off-duty cop in the arm.

The Post-Dispatch reported that police are calling the incident an example of “friendly fire” due to the suspects from the car chase firing at police. The paper also reported that police initially claimed that the 38-year-old African American officer, who has been on the force for 11 years, was “caught in the crossfire.”

Obviously, this ‘incident’ is going to come with many different stories, as cops try to spin it this way and that, in an attempt to make it look like anything except what it is. When in the fuckety fuck are people going to wake the fuck up, and stop accepting this bullshit? Cops are out of control, and free to run around murdering people at will, as long as the victims have the right skin colour, then they were just askin’ for killin’, you betcha. Fucking disgusting, and even more disgusting are all the people on juries, freeing murderers. That has to stop.

This is a real problem,” Rufus J. Tate Jr., the attorney for the injured off-duty officer, told the local Fox affiliate.

“In the police report, you have so far, there is no description of threat he received. So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared,” the attorney concluded.

I do believe that belongs in the understatement of the century category.

Via Raw Story.

Says It All.

Philando Castile (What’s Trending).

Rep. Barbara Lee: #Philando Castile was shot in cold blood. The world watched it LIVE. What will it take for the justice system to value Black lives?

Do not go looking at the comments, unless you feel like spilling your stomach.

Be A King: This is why there’s the cry & movement, #BlackLivesMatter. It’s not anti-all lives mattering. It’s anti-#PhilandoCastile’s not mattering.

Shaun King: I must remind you that #PhilandoCastile never even broke a law. He wasn’t speeding. He was racially profiled and pulled over for being Black.

Ox: I live in a country where cops can kill me & go home for dinner. But if we don’t stand for the nat’l anthem it’s a problem.

Via Raw Story.

Sheriff David Clarke Gets His Trump Appointment.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.

I’m sure that Dave Clarke is just giddy over being appointed to homeland security. For the rest of us, it’s a walking, talking, nightmare. No one could possibly be less qualified than Clarke, whose hatred knows no bounds. Many times over, this man should have been tried for his crimes, and if there was any justice, he’d be sitting in a prison cell for the rest of his life.  He’s in the midst of a prison deaths scandal right now, but apparently, that doesn’t matter, anymore than his previous crimes. This is just the tip of the Clarke iceberg:

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “pitchforks and torches,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Via RWW, click on over for the full story.

Also see: Why Sheriff Clarke will be a disaster in his new job, according to his predecessor: ‘Just plain awful’.

“It did not meet our core values,” (Updated.)

CREDIT: Twitter.

Cops brazenly gun down 15 year old Jordan Edwards, and now that their lies have been exposed, we get “it did not meet our core values.” How about you arrest and charge the murderous piece of shit cop who decided a 15 year old just had to die? The fact that you haven’t says plenty to me about your so called “core values”.

Think Progress has the full story. My mood is definitely not better.

UPDATE: The murderer has been fired, but not charged, and not arrested. Full story here.

Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!