To my Black friends and their families re: the Buffalo shootings.

[CONTENT NOTE: white nationalist terrorism and mass murder, no images.]

This moment is not about me. It is about you, and your families and communities, facing loss, hatred, and evil. Again. Still.

I try, but I cannot really fathom the depths of your pain and grief, and not just today but every day, because you already carry with you the legacies of slavery, death, violence, injustice, and hate, and all of it at the hands of people who look like me.

This moment is about you sharing your grief with others who do understand this pain. It is about your families and communities coming together to bury your dead, and to hold each other up even as you face endless, bottomless despair.

I have no place in this moment.

I cannot even offer you my prayers. I am not a praying person, and so I find proffers of “thoughts and prayers” to ring hollow, especially from politicians and people who are in positions of power to make this country a better place for you, and yet they do not.

So I can only offer my thoughts, for whatever they are worth, along with my sincerest, deepest, heartfelt condolences.

If it helps, please know I will be here, on the sidelines and in the backgrounds, in mourning with you, and for you.

I will be here, waiting for you with open arms and open heart, with great love and great sorrow.

I will be here waiting, honored and grateful to listen, if and when you will tell me what you need from me, and from the people and communities where I may have some influence.

The next moment will be about me. It will be about the work I need to do – white people need to do – for you and yours.

I am here, and I see you.

All my love,
-Iris.

Happy International Women’s Day! Or, not!

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. The day was first professed by the Socialist Party of America in 1909, the idea arising from women’s rights movements in industrializing nations around the turn of the last century. Its purpose is to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history, as well as engage in the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

March is also Women’s History Month. <-That is a website curated by the U.S. Library of Congress that showcases women’s battles and triumphs with interesting and informative stories, audio, video and still images.

If you are a dude and still reading this post: here, have a cookie. (I baked them myself.) That’s for seeing the word “women’s” and not immediately deciding to GTFO.

However, if you are a dude blogger, social media influencer, or a Big Willie with a platform of any kind? [Read more…]

BREAKING: Ahmaud Arbery’s killers found guilty of federal hate crimes, kidnapping charges.

 

 

Wahington Post banner logoBREAKING NEWS

Ahmaud Arbery’s killers found guilty of hate crimes, kidnapping charges after trial focused on racist slurs and comments

The federal trial was the first to focus directly on racism in connection with one of the high-profile killings of Black people that sparked massive racial-justice protests in 2020. Travis and Gregory McMichael and William Bryan were accused of pursuing and confronting Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old, because he was Black. The McMichaels were also convicted of a weapons offense.
Read more [@WaPo/paywall]

The thing is, regardless of the sentencing yet to come, there can never be justice. Unless Ahmaud Arbery walked through the door with the jury that delivered the verdict, this is a wrong that can never be righted.

Keeping the murdering racists behind bars for life so they don’t ever do anything like this to anyone else, I think, is the closest thing to justice we as a society can hope for. It is the sentence in the state case (for two of them, anyway; one has the possibility of parole). But it still isn’t justice.

photo of face of Ahmaud Arbery, wearing a baseball cap and smiling.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25
1994-2020
(image: still from video via CBS news)

Rest in Power, Mr. Arbery. You will not be forgotten, as long as I live.

 

It’s Day 15 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen.

Today we’ll learn how racial inequities compound other racial inequities. However, because we are learning this from today’s New York Times (via its email newsletter), we must first slog through a shit ton of obligatory crap to get to the important part of the story, the part about how racial inequities compound other racial inequities. I swear, nobody is better at burying the lede than the Times. Let’s go see if we can find it!

The email starts like this:

The New York Times "The Morning" email newsletter heading.

February 15, 2022

Good morning. Traffic deaths are surging during the pandemic.
__________

[Read more…]

It’s Day 10 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen.

I’ve been noodling around with an idea for a post about the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 (and all the other Klan bombings of homes and churches in that city that garnered it the name “Bombingham”), in light of the recent spate of bomb threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). No bombs have been found on these campuses (yet). But the history of 1960s Birmingham can teach us something important, and highly relevant today. Because we know what happens after bomb threats: bombs happen.

But then I got this email today from author, political leader and civil rights lawyer Steve Phillips, the founder of Democracy In Color:

Democracy in Color is a political media organization focused on political strategy and analysis at the intersection of race and politics.

We create and elevate content that influences public opinion and steers political behavior towards a more progressive and inclusive country. Using research and data-driven analysis, our multimedia content lifts up the voices and issues of the multiracial, progressive New American Majority and includes a podcast, articles, reports, and social campaigns.

I recommend signing up for their email newsletter, which is always informative and provides links to additional great content. Today’s newsletter is no exception, as you can see for yourself below. I’ve posted it in its entirety not just because it’s exceptional content – though it is that – but because Steve Phillips wrote that post I wanted to write, only far, far much better than I ever could:

Red, white and blue print logo of Democracy in Color.

[Read more…]

It’s Day 3 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen. UPDATED.

[CONTENT NOTE: racially motivated kidnapping and lynching of a Black minor. No violent images appear in this post, however such image(s) can be found in at least one of the links contained herein. This post contains an image of the victim’s mother and others mourning at his funeral.]

Today we’re going to STFU and listen to a cousin of Emmett Till, a 14-year old boy who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered 66 years ago. A particular excerpt I wish to highlight is this:

The past has not passed. Lynchings like Ahmaud Arbery’s, Breonna Taylor’s, and George Floyd’s are very much reflective of what happened to our cousin Emmett. There is a clear connection between past injustices and the injustices that continue to this day. We won’t stop fighting. It is our duty to not allow the lives of those stolen by hate to be in vain.

Of all of the images I looked at in learning about Emmett Till, one struck me the most. It is a photo of griefstricken mourners at Emmett Till’s funeral, including his extraordinary mother Mamie Carthan Till-Mobley. I believe the reason it resonated so strongly with me is that I have seen that grief in the faces of friends and relatives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many, many more.

The video for HELL YOU TALMBOUT by Janelle Monáe, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, and George 2.0 is over six years old, years before the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It is at least as relevant today as it was then, and it mentions Emmett Till.

#sayhisname

The photo taken at Till’s funeral, the HELL YOU TALMBOUT video and the rest of the message from Deborah Watts, Emmett Till’s cousin and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation below the cut.

[Read more…]

LadyBoss Macaque: Long May She Reign!

 

Photo of face of Japanese macaque monkey Yakei, a rare alpha female.Empress Yakei, Alpha Japanese Macaque
(Macaca fuscata a.k.a. Snow Monkey)

(image: Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden)

(via New York Times email briefing):

Yakei, a female Japanese snow monkey who lives in a nature reserve, violently overthrew a trio of high-ranking males (and her own mother) to move up the ranks and become the first female leader in the reserve’s 70-year history. Yakei’s ascent to alpha status surprised both scientists and reserve workers, who are now closely observing her reign.

[Read more…]

Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. If the Rittenhouse verdict was not a traumatic enough reminder for you that Murrikkka is The Greatest Country in the World™, today we mourn 46 trans or gender non-conforming people who were killed this year. That makes 2021 the deadliest year on record for anti-trans murder.

#SayTheirNames

Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright and Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Jaida Peterson, Dominique Lucious, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smut, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Keri Washington, Jahaira DeAlto, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, Sophie Vásquez, Danika “Danny” Henson, Serenity Hollis, Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, EJ Boykin, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Briana Hamilton, Kiér Laprí Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outumuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, and Jenny De Leon.

I also think about Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and their legacies. If you don’t know who they were, you can start at those links.

My heart breaks. Again.

Hey, can we get some of that up in here?

[CONTENT NOTE: sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and rape culture.)

You know, I have not been able to write about Afghanistan, and this is mainly because I have not been able to think coherently about Afghanistan.* See, I get flooded with All the Feelz, and flashbacks to the war crimes of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice regime, CIA black sites, serious debates at the highest levels of government and across mainstream media platforms about the pros, cons, legality and morality of torture FFS, and every single evil spawned from U.S. conservative war lovers** since the events of 9/11, which were traumatic enough for me thankyouverymuch, and right up to and including the suicide bombing at a Kabul airport gate today.

Nevertheless, I was struck by a sentence in this morning’s New York Times email briefing:

[Read more…]