Get Out: Making White People Mad.

I hadn’t even heard of this movie, being under my rock as usual, but I just watched the trailer, prior to reading Antoine Allen’s take on it, and it’s high tension, and manages in seconds to make you hope with all your being, that for once in a horror film, the black person gets to come out alive, and maybe a hero, too. So I’ll be watching this, to be sure. It seems it has white people rather riled up though, who tend to get riled up about some absurd stuff, like claiming the show Luke Cage is racist because the cast is primarily black. Uh…does it really have to be pointed out the 99.9 of all television shows and movies in uStates and other places have casts which are all white, or mostly white? Why is it okay for people of colour to have nothing else to watch for not only their lives, but whole generations of people of colour having no choice there? This extends to books, too. Trust me, white people, you can cope with one or two shows which don’t primarily feature white people. It won’t kill you. Think of every superhero, in comics, television shows, and movies. How many of them are white? Yeah. So you can be quiet now, okay?

The thriller and horror genre has pretty much been drained of all originality. However, Get Out strikes out to bring a new twist to the genre; we are calling this ‘Racism Horror”. Get Out is about an interracial couple going to ‘meet the parents’ for the first time. However, the Black boyfriend is confronted with more than just some ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” level of racial tensions. He becomes trapped in a town that seemingly has a more sinister agenda towards young black men.  The film is directed by Jordan Peele from the Key and Peele show.

There has been even more shock and social media outrage by a section of the white community and probably a minority of Black people who do not ‘get’ the trailer either. Namely, both of those whom are not or choose not to be aware of the history of racism in America. Yet, there are also some who are aware of the somewhat sensational point this horror film is making. Watch the trailer so you can gauge where their outrage or misunderstanding may have been born from.

The trailer ends with a one-liner that will no doubt be filling meme across the internet before and after people are glued to their seats fearfully watching this thriller:

If there is too many white people I get nervous– Get Out.

As expected this line and the general premise of the film has produced complaints from some people. Some people have been shocked by the trailer and others have said it portrays the genuine fears that black people sometimes have.

But remember, the old adage, it’s ok to be quasi-racist as long as you have a member of the opposite race as a close friend. Jordan Peele is already Black, so he can’t say “my best friend is black”. On the other hand, Peele has more than a best friend whom is white, he is married to a White woman ie he has a super best friend. But, in all seriousness, it can be argued that the film portrays the fear that Peele subconsciously had when he first met his wife’s parents. Are those fears only limited to interracial couples? Are those fears valid or invalid? Probably not! If we look at history we can see how these fears may have manifested over time.

The question becomes, just how far from reality are the themes of this racially charged thriller? Well, here are some examples from history of the mistreatment Black people have faced by sections of the White community; all after the end of slavery.

1. In 1919, in the wake of World War I, Black sharecroppers unionized in Arkansas, unleashing a wave of white vigilantism and mass murder that left 237 Black people dead after mass lynchings.

Four more examples follow, with disturbing photographs. If you aren’t well versed in the history of horrific racism in uStates, you definitely need to click over and read every word of the article. If some white people are so in need of being outraged, you need to get outraged about the right things. I’ve known more than one black person who has mentioned a low level fear when surrounded by white people. There’s a reason for that fear, and there’s a reason for the mistrust which fuels it. These things don’t come out of nowhere for no reason. There’s a deep bedrock of reason, and it you don’t know it, please educate yourself.


In short, movies like this expose the subconscious fears of the subjugated minority and highlight a lack of awareness from the other members of the same society. Get Out it is basically the horror version of Guess who’s coming to dinner. If people have a basic knowledge of history then they shouldn’t be shocked by this film. It only shows racism from a horror perspective. Therefore, if art is supposed to imitate life, this film is merely a reflection of an aspect of life. Thus, people should find society’s racism more shocking than this film that for the first time depicts an aspect of life from a horror perspective. So, yes it is sensational but that ‘Horror’; people need to discuss the issues it raises- rather than simply complaining for the sake of it.

Click on over and read the whole article, it’s excellent, and contains a lesson that people inclined to complain or be dismissive truly need to learn.

Get Out’s Trailer Is Making White People Mad: Here’s 5 Real Racist Incidents In History Worthy Of Anger.

Ride Against the Current of the Oil.


Ride for Our Sacred Water – STOP Dakota Access!

From October 8-13, Honor the Earth is proud to join forces with the Wounded Knee Memorial Riders, the Dakota 38 and Big Foot riders, and many horse nation societies, in a spiritual horse ride to protect our sacred waters from the Dakota Access pipeline and all the black snakes that threaten our lands.

Thousands have come together in a historic gathering of tribes at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, where Dakota Access threatens a concentration sacred sites and the water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, as well as the 18 million people downstream.

This is our moment. Tribes and First Nations are standing up and standing together to demand an end to the desecration of our lands and the poisoning of our sacred waters…to demand a better future for our people. We are the river, and the river is us.

On October 8th we will gather at the Standing Rock encampment, and ride against the current of the oil.

Please stand with us. We need your support.  For more info, visit

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about that Standing Rock to Tioga, it means Tioga, ND, which styles itself as ‘The Oil Capital of North Dakota’.

This reminds me of another embarrassing white person moment at the camps last week. The Dakota 38 were expected, and we were hoping to see them. A white woman laughed and shrugged, saying “I mean, I don’t even know what that is. What is the Dakota 38.” Yeah, okay, I know the ‘history’ taught in uStates is a whitewashed mess, but still…

Even if you’re just a solidarity tourist, try to not only be respectful, but try to learn. Aaaand, this is the internet age, how hard is it? The Dakota 38, the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. A criminal injustice, perpetrated in Mankato, Minnesota.


Tipi-hdo-niche, Forbids His Dwelling

Wyata-tonwan, His People

Taju-xa, Red Otter

Hinhan-shoon-koyag-mani, Walks Clothed in an Owl’s Tail

Maza-bomidu, Iron Blower

Wapa-duta, Scarlet Leaf

Wahena, translation unknown

Sna-mani, Tinkling Walker

Radapinyanke, Rattling Runner

Dowan niye, The Singer

Xunka ska, White Dog

Hepan, family name for a second son

Tunkan icha ta mani, Walks With His Grandfather

Ite duta, Scarlet Face

Amdacha, Broken to Pieces

Hepidan, family name for a third son

Marpiya te najin, Stands on a Cloud (Cut Nose)

Henry Milord (French mixed-blood)

Dan Little, Chaska dan, family name for a first son (this may be We-chank-wash-ta-don-pee, who had been pardoned and was mistakenly executed when he answered to a call for “Chaska,” reference to a first son; fabric artist Gwen Westerman did a quilt called “Caske’s Pardon” based on him.

Baptiste Campbell, (French mixed-blood)

Tate kage, Wind Maker

Hapinkpa, Tip of the Horn

Hypolite Auge (French mixed-blood)

Nape shuha, Does Not Flee

Wakan tanka, Great Spirit

Tunkan koyag I najin, Stands Clothed with His Grandfather

Maka te najin, Stands Upon Earth

Pazi kuta mani, Walks Prepared to Shoot

Tate hdo dan, Wind Comes Back

Waxicun na, Little Whiteman (this young white man, adopted by the Dakota at an early age and who was acquitted, was hanged, according to the Minnesota Historical Society U.S.-Dakota War website).

Aichaga, To Grow Upon

Ho tan inku, Voice Heard in Returning

Cetan hunka, The Parent Hawk

Had hin hda, To Make a Rattling Noise

Chanka hdo, Near the Woods

Oyate tonwan, The Coming People

Mehu we mea, He Comes for Me

Wakinyan na, Little Thunder

Wakanozanzan and Shakopee: These two chiefs who fled north after the war, were kidnapped from Canada in January 1864 and were tried and convicted in November that year and their executions were approved by President Andrew Johnson (after Lincoln’s assassination) and they were hanged November 11, 1865.

You can read more about the Dakota 38 + 2 here and here. Also, here.


Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan.

With just eight months to go before the end of his two-term presidency, Ronald Wilson Reagan declared that the United States might have “made a mistake” in humoring the Indians.

His audience was a group of students and faculty at Moscow State University in May 1988. His speech was delivered nearly 5,000 miles from Washington, D.C., yet a group of Native Americans reportedly had traveled to the Soviet Union for a chance to bend the President’s ear.

When questioned about his failure to connect with the Indians on home soil, Reagan opined about the state of Indian affairs—and in the process revealed a gaping hole in his own understanding.

“Let me tell you just a little something about the American Indian in our land,” he began. “We have provided millions of acres of land” for reservations, and “they, from the beginning, announced that they wanted to maintain their way of life.”

The government set up reservations, established a Bureau of Indian Affairs and provided education for the Indians, Reagan said. Yet some still preferred “that early way of life” over becoming mainstream American citizens.

“We’ve done everything we can to meet their demands as to how they want to live,” he said. “Maybe we made a mistake. Maybe we should not have humored them in that wanting to stay in that kind of primitive lifestyle. Maybe we should have said, no, come join us; be citizens along with the rest of us.”

[Read more…]

A Look at the U.S. Claim to Oceti Sakowin.


© Marty Two Bulls.

Steven Newcomb has an excellent column up at ICTMN, examining the claim to Očeti Sakowiŋ.

We are able to think back to a time when our ancestors were living entirely free from and independent of ideas developed across the Atlantic Ocean in a place called Christendom. We know that our Native ancestors were in no way subject to Christian ideas before the Christians sailed across that ocean to our part of the world, which many of us know as Turtle Island. Because the Christian Europeans were not physically here on Turtle Island, their concepts, ideas, and arguments were not here either. This leaves us with a mystery. On what basis did the invading colonizers first assume that our free nations and our ancestors were subject to the ideas and arguments of the Christian world? To what extent are those ideas still being used today centuries later by the United States?

In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, published in 1833, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story asked a related question. He asked how the British Colonies got title to the soil of the North American continent. His question not only assumed that the British colonies had title to the soil of the continent, it also assumed, as Story said, that the colonizing powers obtained a “title” by their own “assertion” that they had a “complete title” to and “absolute dominion” over the soil of what from our ancestors’ perspective was the soil of our national territories. Story traced those ideas back to a papal bull of the fifteenth century and to royal charters of England and Great Britain.

Most people fail to realize that men such as Joseph Story and John Marshall spent a great deal of their time thinking about such matters. They did so because they had to develop a rationale for asserting that the Christian colonizers from Europe had a right to the soil of the continent that was superior to whatever right our original nations and our ancestors thought they had. Men of ideas such as Story and Marshall, whose job it was to persuade, undoubtedly knew there was a slight chance that someday in the distant future, we, the descendants of our Native ancestors, might try to go back through the record of the ideas of the colonizers and trace their mental “steps.”

A few of us have been working for decades on that retrospective with the goal in mind of not only understanding but of also now at long last directly challenging the ideas and arguments that were “laid down” by the ancestors of the colonizing society who sailed to Turtle Island from Western Christendom.

Based on decades of intensive and diligent research, we now know that the Christian European thinkers dreamed up out of their heads the idea that the representatives of Christendom could enter someone else’s country and mentally, verbally, and ceremonially make the assertion that the monarch they represented had an “absolute dominion” over the country they had located by ship. They further assumed that their mental, verbal, and ceremonial assertion would become “true” because the Christian thinkers dreamed it up in their minds and treated it as “true” thereby sustaining it over time.

The idea that they as colonizers had a complete title to and absolute dominion over the soil of the territories of our Original Nations, a point that Story, Marshall, and other white men claimed on behalf of the United States, became “true” and a “reality” for the colonizers and for the United States simply because those ideas were collectively treated as “true” and as a “reality.” Since this was all happening in the colonizers’ own language at the time, when such assertions were initially made, our ancestors had no understanding of the specific nature of the colonizers’ bizarre views. Some of our ancestors such as Tecumseh did try to challenge the colonizers’ thinking based on the original free existence of our nations.

The recent controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline traces back to that process of reality-construction and the ability of the United States government to simply declare a given reality into existence. But there is something rather surprising in the historical record that most people know nothing about. It is surprising because it is language that still ought to be benefiting Native nations. …

The full column is here, and it’s excellent reading.

White Saviors Need Not Apply.

Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march on the anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police (a katz /

Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children’s march on the anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death at the hands of the Cleveland police (a katz /

In this post, I wrote about problematic white people at the Očeti Sakowiŋ camp. Certainly this does not apply to all white people, there are plenty of thoughtful, mindful white people who get it. As with most people who manage to do the right thing, they get to be unsung heroes, because it’s more important to talk about people who are serious problems, big ol’ roadblocks when it comes to any sort of social progress. I have no doubt there are plenty of times when white people feel as though they are constantly picked on, but it’s desperately important to understand that there are many good reasons for that.

Here in uStates, and in way too many other places in the world, people have been brought up and raised in a drowning pool of colonial kool-aid. Colonial thinking is extremely bad, it’s bad for everyone and everything. It’s destructive, dismissive, disrespectful, condescending, and unthinkingly arrogant. It’s short-term thinking, which is the very worst kind. There’s no looking to the past, through the present, into the future. Colonial thinking does not allow for a time bridge, or the importance of all generations, past, present, and yet to come. Look at the photo up there ^. Look at that child’s face. Every child’s face should reflect trust and happiness. That so many children, all over the world, know fear, distrust, and suspicion at such young ages is wrong on every possible level. That so many children, if they are not white, are viewed as sufficiently mature to be a threat, therefor, it’s okay for them to be gunned down by cops and citizens. Wrong. So wrong. That’s racism run amok, when you target children and think it’s okay to do that, for those children.

I know I’m not alone in being very tired of the fact that in spite of everywhere, in every way, every. single. thing. is made better, easier, softer, kinder for white people, yet they still manage to complain if the sugar-coating on a bitter pill isn’t thick enough.

I have mentioned, so many times, that I’m half white, and it’s that half which shows on the outside. When I’ve been at the camps, frinst., and someone is speaking about wašiču, and not in a nice way, I don’t take offense, I don’t get upset in any way. I listen, because generally speaking, I know I’m going to hear something valuable. Sure, I often hear things which hurt, but that happens when you’re trying to always learn throughout your journey on this earth. When you do hear things that hurt, it’s important that your hearing isn’t overwhelmed to the point that you miss bitterness, generational trauma, and/or the pain of deep wounds from the speaker. When you miss things like that, you miss the opportunity to understand. When you miss the opportunity to understand, you lose the opportunity of forgiveness and healing. When you lose the opportunity of forgiveness and healing, you lose the ability to be an ally. When you lose the ability to be an ally, you lose the possibility of peace.

When you’re white, at least here in uStates, it’s so very easy to be dismissive of the deep wounds of generational trauma; to handwave horrible acts because that was X amount of years ago. Ask yourself, if you have been hurt, does it help if someone tells you to get over it already? It’s not possible to “get over something” when that something has never been addressed in any meaningful way. It’s not possible to “get over something” when a majority of people refuse to even consider said harmful acts, and the repercussions echoing down the generations. Would white people consider it helpful if I simply posted: “White people, get over yourselves!”?

Then there’s the problem of white people trying to help when they have no understanding and little respect. Then you get people who are determined to be white saviors. No one is looking for white saviors. People of colour have already had long histories with white people who considered themselves saviors to the “lesser” races. Being an ally, that’s good. A wannabe savior? Bad. Lorraine Berry has a very good article up about the selective doubt of white people, and the savior problem. It’s in-depth, so just a bit here, click on over for the full read, and it’s a good one.

White people spend a lot of time telling black folks what their stories mean. If it’s not white writers insisting that they can tell a person of color’s story better than a black writer can, or Trump running mate Mike Pence telling black people that they talk about systemic racism too much, or Iowa Congressman Steve King telling Colin Kaepernick what his protest against police brutality “really means,” or folks who insist that “slavery wasn’t that bad,” there’s no shortage of white folks who insist that they know better than black folks when it comes to interpreting what happens to black bodies. It would be tempting to dismiss it all as the ravings of a minority of kooks if it weren’t for the ubiquity of the phenomenon. Everywhere, it seems, white people just can’t help themselves.

[Read more…]

Indigenous News Round-up.


The Immortal Mr. Plastic.

Excerpts only, click links for full articles.

barack_obama On My Final White House Tribal Nations Conference, by President Barack Obama:

This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.

It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.

winonaladuke-e1336873224811  Slow, Clean, Good Food, by Winona LaDuke:

In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.

It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’

tribal_chairman_jeff_l-_grubbe_agua_caliente_band_of_cahuilla_indians_main_0  Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Donates $250,000 to Standing Rock Legal Fund:

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.

“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.

3-fiesta-protest-woman-with-sign_dsc0508_widea  Natives Speak Out Against the Santa Fe Fiesta – The Bloodless Reconquest:

A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.

climate_news_network-binoculars-flickr-aniket_suryavanshi  Dire Climate Impacts Go Unheeded:

The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.

Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.

Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.

big-pix-rick-bartow-counting-the-hours ‘Counting the Hours’ By Rick Bartow:

Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”

Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.

harney_peak_renamed_black_hills_peak_-_ap_photo  Celebration of Forgiveness at Black Elk Peak:

On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.

“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.

All this and much more at ICTMN.

Opus Anglicanum.


Opus Anglicanum means English work, and this embroidery was sought after, for good reason. Maureen sent me a brief article about a recent show at the V&A in London. I dare say there aren’t many textile artists and embroiderers who aren’t familiar with medieval Opus Anglicanum work. It’s quite clear why it was so sought after, and much of the work survives in dazzling glory. I know someone who does this type of work exclusively, and the name of their blog is opusanglicanum. Now, I have no doubt, that to many people, this would be a dry, dusty subject. That’s fine, no one is obligated to ooh and aah over everything.

English work was highly sought after by the royalty, as it were, of religions. Much of the work that survives today is religious garments for high ups in a church, these certainly weren’t garments for your bog standard monk or priest. The Toledo Cope is just one example of not just stunning hand work, but the wide and rich array of story telling done one a single ceremonial cloak:


I could go on about this, it’s an amazing part of history, but I’ll let everyone choose their reading and oohing and aahing. Oh, I do want to mention they have a special event today I’d love to go to, about the Game of Thrones Hardhome Embroidery. They also have curator talks, workshops, and symposia as well as the exhibition. I could stay lost in there for weeks, I suspect.

All that excitement, all that vibrant history, all that amazing art work, and yet, one reviewer found it all rather terrible, because the emphasis wasn’t on Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Seems you can’t appreciate medieval art work of any kind unless you’re under the thrall of religion, which makes it all blossom forth, because really, the art is only so so without the added power of god. Pretty sure I don’t need to detail my opinion about that. Mr. Jones also seems to be of the rather odd opinion that it’s obvious the god stuff is so much better, because “mysteriously”, it’s the religious garments which survived the best, whereas few secular pieces survived well. *Coughs* Well, that would be because ceremonial garments weren’t worn all that often, and they were scrupulously taken care of, and stored very carefully in between wearings. After a religious person, such as a bishop, died, those garments were usually whisked off to a museum or other careful storage. There’s no goddish mystery there. The equally stunning and richly embroidered work done for kings and their courts, well, regardless of how splendid, they were every day clothes for those people. Naturally, they were going to see more wear, especially if people were in the habit of dashing off to war in said clothes. I also imagine there were more opportunities for theft in the vastness of royal courts.

Ah well, each to their own. Mr. Jones can wax on about god, while I’ll continue to be absolutely fascinated by the art work produced by those medieval hands.

United Nations: U.S. Owes Reparations to Black People.

Credit: Shutterstock.

Credit: Shutterstock.

The United States should give African Americans reparations for slavery, UN experts said Tuesday, warning that the country had not yet confronted its legacy of “racial terrorism.”

Amid a presidential election campaign in which racial rhetoric has played a central role, the UN working group on people of African descent warned that blacks in the US were facing a “human rights crisis.”

This has largely been fuelled by impunity for police officers who have killed a series of black men — many of them unarmed — across the country in recent months, the working group’s report said.

Those killings “and the trauma they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynchings,” said the report, which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.

Addressing the deeper causes of America’s racial tensions, the experts voiced concern over the unresolved “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”

“There has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” the report said.

Just as there has no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for Indigenous people in the U.S. either. The uStates government has always been good at the gift of gab, with their constitution, freedom for all, blah blah blah. The trouble with it all is that it was aimed at white people alone. Other people were subjected to slavery, others to genocide. The aftermaths of both those things was nearly as terroristic as the initial events. Indigenous people are still dealing with that racial terror today, both the generational echoes of committed travesties, and the current assaults. The same can be said for Black people, who are still treated as little more than slaves, and always viewed through the lens of suspicion. We’ve all been herded, whether it’s into reservations, ghettos, or “that neighbourhood”.

I was reading an article the other day, about my old stomping grounds in SoCal, where white people still build enclaves to keep them safe from all those Mexicans, except for the cleaning and maintenance staff, natch. A 15 year old was quoted as saying something along the lines of “it’s not racism, it’s not segregation! People prefer to be with their own.” Right. Well, that sort of thing is easy when you don’t allow anyone in. I was quite pleased to see that Santana (Santa Ana) is very majority Hispanic now. I wasn’t born there, that was in LA county, but I did grow up there, and I also grew up with the familial grumbles and complaints about all those Mexicans.

The States are a seething hotbed of racism, and it’s not new, it did not show up with our current President, it’s the blood, bone and skin of this country, built upon all those ruthlessly slaughtered so their land could be stolen, and built upon the backs of those people who were stolen and put in chains. Until the day the U.S. government fully acknowledges all the horrendous wrong it did, and agrees not to just reparations and the return of much of what was stolen, and goes well past that by actually addressing the problems caused by those past actions, we won’t be moving past the racism here. And for those who would respond to this with a sneer and a “if you don’t like it here, leave”, I’ll lob that one back atcha. As a person who is part Lakota, I’ll point out to all the white folks that we were here first, and if you don’t like it, you’re more than welcome to leave Turtle Island.

Via Raw Story.

Clinton, Trump, And Spit Buckets.



Simon Moya-Smith outlines the current plot lines in the political show. If you’re feeling a bit more serious, you can read Steve Russell’s take on the debate. Right now, I’m thinking maybe weed and ice cream are the way to go. Yep.

Right now, somewhere in America, Anthony Weiner is taking another dick pic.

In New York, however, earlier today, I imagine Hillary Clinton was popping throat lozenges like a Vicodin addict, and Donald Trump was backstage pulling on his fingers because he’s convinced that if he does this twice daily for 30-minute intervals, his puny digits will stretch and the jokes will cease.

But he’s wrong. The jokes will never cease, and his fingers will never grow, and Clinton will keep on coughing for reasons unknown (to us, anyway), and Weiner will snap pic after pic after pic of his dick – because if there’s anything he loves more than sexting strangers it’s seeing his phallic name in headlines for doing so.

There’s been an overwhelming shared and looming sense of loss and fear in this country since Bernie Sanders dropped out of this rotten presidential race at the Democratic National Convention in July. How did the fracking lady and the reality television shill make it this far?

“How could it be that these two are the best America has to offer?” a man muttered into his Lefthand Milk Stout at a pub here in Denver recently. He looked like a sports fan who has lost all hope in his team. So I bought him another beer and said, “Hey, at least we’ve still got legal weed and ice cream, huh?” That cheered him up a bit, I think.

I was recently at a local pot dispensary on the west side where they’ve got tightly-rolled joints and edibles that would calm a rhino, or at minimum, Chris Christie.

But that’s another story for another day. About tonight’s debate:

[Read more…]


James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr., made no public mention of American Indians during his entire first year in office.

The 39th president of the United States, Carter only briefly mentioned Indians in his first State of the Union Address, a 12,000-word speech delivered to Congress in January 1978. Even then, Carter’s remarks were vague.

“The Administration has acted consistently to uphold its trusteeship responsibility to Native Americans,” he told Congress. “In 1978, the Administration will review Federal Native American policy and will step up efforts to help Indian tribes assess and manage their natural resources.”

The reference, likely the work of Carter’s speechwriter, Chris Matthews, set the tone for an administration that—in the beginning—largely ignored Indians. In fact, by the end of 1978, the Carter administration had decided not to announce any formal presidential Indian policy at all, historian George Pierre Castile wrote in his 2006 book Taking Charge: Native American Self-Determination and Federal Indian Policy, 1975-1993.

“Absent a presidential message, the policy of self-determination remained in place by default, but never seems to have gotten a clear endorsement by the Carter domestic policy staff,” Castile wrote. “Indian matters were dealt with piecemeal.”

Carter, who took office in January 1977, followed Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford—two presidents who championed for the end of Indian termination and ushered in an era of self-determination. Yet Carter, who inherited the new approach to Indian Affairs, maintained minimal involvement and thrust primary responsibility for Indians on the Interior Department.

[Read more…]

The Bird-Based Colour System.

Bird diagram from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists’ (1886) (via Smithsonian Libraries).

Bird diagram from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists’ (1886) (via Smithsonian Libraries).

WASHINGTON, DC — An effort to describe the diversity of birds led to one of the first modern color systems. Published by Smithsonian ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1886, A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists categorizes 186 colors alongside diagrams of birds. In 1912, Ridgway self-published an expanded version for a broader audience — Color Standards and Color Nomenclature — that included 1,115 colors. Some referenced birds, like “Warbler Green” and “Jay Blue,” while others corresponded to nature, as in “Bone Brown” and “Storm Gray.”

Ridgway wrote in his 1912 preface that “the nomenclature of colors remains vague and, for practical purposes, meaningless, thereby seriously impeding progress in almost every branch of industry and research.” He railed against confusing trade names like “‘zulu,’ ‘serpent green,’ ‘baby blue,’ ‘new old rose,’ ‘London smoke,’ etc., and such nonsensical names as ‘ashes of roses’ and ‘elephant’s breath.’”

Personally, I have a great fondness for those old trade names. They are wonderfully imaginative, and that sort of thing tends to appeal to artists. Ashes of Roses and London Smoke conjure up wonderful imagery. I also quite like the odd colour that is Ashes of Roses.

A copy of Ridgway’s 1912 book is on view in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Color in a New Light. Installed in two large display cases on the ground floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the exhibition examines the point at which art, history, and science blend through color. Ridgway’s research is joined by the work of 19th-century painter Gerald Handerson Thayer, whose studies of animals disguising themselves influenced military camouflage; a discussion of Fiestaware, which was painted with orange-red uranium oxide glaze and thus became unintentionally radioactive; and the history of Tyrian Purple pigment, made by mashing up snails.

Color systems date back centuries, at least to Richard Waller’s 1686 Tabula colorum physiologica. Yet bird-watching hones a sharp eye for color differentiation, so Ridgway had an edge — as well as a drive for perfection enabled by 19th-century synthetic dye advancements. This new color technology wasn’t without its dangers. One sample in Ridgway’s book is labeled “Scheele’s Green,” a reference to Wilhelm Scheele’s toxic mix of arsenic and copper.


The Smithsonian Libraries’Color in a New Lightcontinues at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (10th & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC) through March 2017.

Colors from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists’ (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)

Colors from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists’ (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)

Hyperallergic has an in-depth article, with many more photos on this always fascinating subject.

Cool Stuff Friday: MAD.


MAD (taken from the Danish word for “food”) is a not-for-profit organization that works to expand knowledge of food to make every meal a better meal; not just at restaurants, but every meal cooked and served. Good cooking and a healthy environment can and should go hand-in-hand, and the quest for a better meal can leave the world a better place than we found it. MAD is committed to producing and sharing this knowledge and to taking promising ideas from theory to practice.

MAD is a great place to lose yourself for ages on end. Food, food, food, but not all the regular ways food is addressed. Here, there is the breathtaking culture of food, from all over the world, the history of food, the art of food, traditions of food, innovations and artistry of food. Any curiosity you may have about food, you can find satisfaction at MAD. I’ve been trying to catch up, reading at the site for the past month or so, and I’ve barely made a dent. Two articles in particular got my attention in recent days: Turning Trash Into Delicious Things: a Brief Guide by Arielle Johnson, and A People’s History of Carolina Rice, by Michael Twitty.

The first article grabbed my attention because it addresses the waste of craft brewers, and that particular waste happens in my household, as Rick is a home brewer:

On an artisanal-industrial scale, spent grains—the malted barley that is steeped in water to make beer—is a major source of waste for craft brewers, with (roughly) 8 kilos of leftover barley for every 50 liters of finished beer. It can be used as animal fodder, but you can go beyond that, since it also presents creative flavor opportunities.

That waste, it turns out, can be used to make koji, which in turn can be used to make a form of miso. Click on over to the article for details, and recipes! The article on Carolina rice was eye-opening, and details the history of this rice from 3500 B.C.E. to 2013. There’s personal history in this overview of one food:

1770s: My great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother is captured in a war in Sierra Leone and brought to Charleston, without a doubt to grow and mill rice on a Lowcountry plantation. She is a member of the Mende people, who would later lead the Amistad slave ship revolt in 1839.


1835: My great-great-great grandmother, Hettie Esther Haynes, is born and is later sold out of South Carolina, away from her mother Nora, into the cotton country of Alabama during the largest forced migration in American history—the domestic slave trade. Thousands of Gullah-Geechee will know this fate as rice cultivation faces competition from other countries and slaveholders are forced to reduce the number of bondspeople.

Now I’m going to read about The Carbon Footprint of Eating Out, A War Zone Cuisine, and Culture of the Kitchen: Cooks Weigh In.

Have a wondrous wander through the fields of MAD, it’s a journey you won’t regret.

Art Under the Microscope: Threads.

Most people are familiar with my work, so will readily understand my attraction to this particular piece of art examination, a microscopic look at the Triumph of Bacchus tapestry.

Triumph of Bacchus, design overseen by Raphael, ca. 1518-19; design and cartoon by Giovanni da Udine. Brussels, workshop of Frans Geubels, ca 1560. Paris, Mobilier National, inv. GMTT 1/3. Image © Le.

Triumph of Bacchus, design overseen by Raphael, ca. 1518-19; design and cartoon by Giovanni da Udine. Brussels, workshop of Frans Geubels, ca 1560. Paris, Mobilier National, inv. GMTT 1/3. Image © Le.


This photomicrograph shows the warp and weft threads used to create a background detail in the Triumph of Bacchus tapestry.

This photomicrograph shows the warp and weft threads used to create a background detail in the Triumph of Bacchus tapestry.


The horizontal threads are the undyed wool warps that are the backbone of the underlying weave structure to the tapestry.

The horizontal threads are the undyed wool warps that are the backbone of the underlying weave structure to the tapestry.


The decorative vertical threads include both crimson colored silk wefts as well as precious metal weft threads.

The decorative vertical threads include both crimson colored silk wefts as well as precious metal weft threads.


The Metal threads are made of very thin strips of gilt silver wrapped around yellow dyed silk.

The Metal threads are made of very thin strips of gilt silver wrapped around yellow dyed silk.

How exactly was the gilding of tapestries done in the 16th century? These microscopic images reveal all.

These images show the warp and weft threads used to create a background detail in the Triumph of Bacchus tapestry recently exhibited in “Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV.”

Viewed from a distance (like when the tapestry is hanging high up on a wall), the combo of the crimson silk with the gold threads looks like a bright copper, and here we can see all the separate colors and textures that build up that look.

Detail from the Triumph of Bacchus Tapestry.

Detail from the Triumph of Bacchus Tapestry. It was woven with wool, silk and metal threads.

The Getty has a fascinating tumblr, Art Under the Microscope, examining all manner of art in microphotographs.