Discuss: Racism in America

This is a thread dedicated to discussion of race issues in the US. Tony and rq are the curators, and they will be posting news and links here. Please feel free to add to the conversation, but this is not the place for argument; increase the information, not the conflict.


  1. says

    Thanks for creating this thread PZ.

    note to anyone reading: most of the stuff I link to will contain excerpts, but not the whole article. A large part of that is due to the issues with loading a page with tons of links. It’s extra annoying when you’re on phone trying to read this page.
    I may occasionally post the contents of an entire link, but I’ll make note of it.

    Hiring black prosecutors won’t fix the criminal justice system:

    The number of black prosecutors in the United States is shockingly low. Florida, a state where more than 16 percent of residents are black, has no black elected prosecutors. In most states that elect prosecutors, none are black. Nationwide, elected prosecutors are 95 percent white, and overwhelmingly male.

    These statistics are more skewed than the already-abysmal racial disparities among judges and lawyers. It is hard to think that any part of the law could be more racially exclusive than big law firms, where only 3 percent of attorneys are black, with even that number continuing to drop. But the realm of prosecution is the most white-dominated of all.

    These numbers are finally receiving the attention they deserve. The New York Times recently reported on a new study by the Women Donors Network, exposing just how racially exclusive these offices continue to be. The Times quotes criminal justice experts who point out that prosecutors wield an inordinate amount of power, since almost all criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains brokered by prosecutors. Thus, they reason, it is important to make sure district attorneys’ offices are not heavily racially skewed, since those offices play a large part in perpetuating racially biased criminal justice outcomes. Wouldn’t adjusting prosecutorial diversity go a long way toward rooting out that racism?

    Civil rights activists, too, have pointed out the dearth of black prosecutors. Former NAACP president Ben Jealous has said that because prosecution is a key “lever of power,” having more black prosecutors is essential in order to effect change. Melba Pearson, who heads the National Association of Black Prosecutors, says that unless defendants see “someone who looks like them” when they enter a courtroom, faith in the system is impossible. The authors of the new study emphasize that diversity is important because of the extreme concentration of power in prosecutors’ hands, from the choice as to whether to prosecute, to the ability to strike bargains with witnesses, to the plea process with defendants.

    It’s completely correct to say that prosecutors’ extreme power, combined with racial disparity, means white people end up almost exclusively in control over a large part of criminal justice decision-making. But minority representation does not automatically eliminate racism. Focusing on electing black prosecutors would be a mistake for those concerned about race and criminal justice, because the injustices inflicted by prosecutors will not disappear without far deeper change.

    To give a parallel example, some of the most brutal and unaccountable police departments in America have a majority black population of officers. The New Orleans police department is 60 percent black — exactly the same as the percentage in the city itself. Yet the department is responsible for countless infringements of civil rights, and a Justice Department investigation found that it consistently “engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing in violation of constitutional and statutory law.”


    If you think racist Donald Trump is political, look at what the New York Times said about him in 1973:

    New York has known about Donald Trump for even longer. The city was introduced to him by the New York Times in 1973 when his comb over was still in its infancy and his looks were compared to Robert Redford. The headline, though, defined the real Trump: Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City.”

    Back then, his management company was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act for his 14,000 apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island (he apparently hadn’t made it big enough to be in Manhattan). According to the report, Trump Management “refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color.’ It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not “available.”

    Naturally, Trump denied the claims. He said of the charges, “they are absolutely ridiculous. We have never discriminated and we never would.”

    He did finally come to an agreement to furnish the New York Urban League with a weekly list of vacancies and the opportunity for the Urban League to fill every fifth vacancy with qualified applicants.


    Why the police killing of Sam Dubose has Cincinnati on edge:

    Chief Jeffrey Blackwell of the Cincinnati Police Department had one major takeaway from the video that shows Samuel Dubose being killed: “The video is not good.”

    City Manager Harry Black had an equally dire assessment of the footage, according to WCPO: “It’s not a good situation. It’s a tragic situation. Someone has died that did not necessarily need to die.”

    The video had not been publicly released as of Wednesday morning. It was recorded on the body camera attached to University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing, who shot and killed Dubose, a 43-year-old unarmed black man, during an off-campus traffic stop July 19.

    In fact, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters told reporters Wednesday that Tensing’s actions were “without question a murder,” and Tensing will face charges of murder as the result of grand jury deliberation, WCPO News reports. Tensing surrendered to Hamilton County on Wednesday afternoon.

    Two University of Cincinnati campuses have cancelled classes in anticipation of this decision, which even Tensing’s lawyer anticipated going poorly. “Given the political climate of the situation, I would not be astounded if an indictment is returned,” attorney Stuart Matthews told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    But withholding the footage, which the Cincinnati Enquirer and other outlets have sued to have released, for this long is not sitting well with Dubose’s family, or their lawyers. The outcome of the grand jury threatens to undermine years of widely heralded progress in the city’s fraught relationship between its police and black residents.

    Author Zak Cheney-Rice goes on to lay out four reasons.

    #AllLionsMatter Parodies the Fact That People Are More Outraged Over Cecil the Dead Lion Than Slain Black People:

    You had to be living under a rock this week if you didn’t hear the sad story of Cecil, the lion in Zimbabwe who was lured out of his natural habitat, shot with an arrow and tracked for two days while he slowly died.

    Cecil was finally shot with a rifle, skinned and decapitated—a hunt reportedly orchestrated by an American dentist named Walter Palmer, who hired a local hunter to help him. People have been protesting online, widely condemning Palmer for the killing. Folks became even more enraged and saddened when they heard reports about the ripple effect the death would likely have on Cecil’s pride: Experts say that another lion will kill all of Cecil’s cubs in order to establish his dominance and make way for his own bloodline.

    But the widespread outcry made black Twitter wonder where this level of outrage and sympathy was regarding the killings of black people like Eric Garner and Walter Scott, since they, too, left behind children who are now at a disadvantage.

    That’s how the #AllLionsMatter hashtag was birthed. A takeoff of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it sheds light on the irony that a lion’s death has sparked all of this activism, and yet some of the same people calling for Palmer’s head have tweeted nary a post, or marched nary a mile, for the lost lives of Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride.

    Take a look at some of the memes. Black Twitter created it, so you know it’s funny and insightful stuff.

    Just another demonstration of the brilliance of black Twitter.

    Following the above are several Tweets under the hashtag.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    The McWhorter article was painfull to read. He used a lot of words to present very few facts.

  3. says

    I love your writing, and I think this is a very good idea for a thread – although I fear for its long-term stability given the nature of these online debates.
    I literally just picked up Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir today (the latest book was sold out – which is encouraging!), but I look forward to following this thread.

    I agree that hiring Black prosecutors in the US won’t change anything for the simple reason that this is a systemic issue. The SYSTEM needs to be changed, not just the pawns in it. It’s the same with the police – Black police officers aren’t the main problem – it’s the system of police they are operating in.

    I also don’t believe for a second that ‘racist’ Donald Trump is political, since this strategy seems far to short sighted to work for him in the political future.

  4. rq says

    Martin Lee
    Please see here, that thread and its previous iterations, which have been going on for nearly a year, with no major upsets and loads of links. There’s hours of reading (I could say required reading) over there, and a lot of background information for things that will appear here.
    It would just be wonderful to have more people contributing.


    And on that note, I’m going to finish up there, so as not to inundate this clean new thread, and when that one dies its natural death (or until August 9, I’m not sure which comes first), I’ll move back over here. But I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread.

  5. rq says

    I also don’t believe for a second that ‘racist’ Donald Trump is political, since this strategy seems far to short sighted to work for him in the political future.

    This made me laugh. Rob Ford really did happen to Toronto, you know. :D

  6. Charles Sullivan says

    I’d like to recommend a book that Ophelia Benson mentioned a month or so ago. I’m reading it now. Very disturbing yet insightful.
    The book it called “Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow” by David Oshinsky.

  7. Gar Lipow says

    I’d like to expand just a little on the first link. A big part of the problem is that prosecutors are dependent on the police to secure convictions. That means prosecutors mostly won’t prosecute police officers. Exceptions will be weeded out by police sabotage of their cases and opposition for reelections (or pressure on other elected officials where prosecutors are appointed). That is why, if we want to do something about police brutality and police racism, one piece of the puzzle is permanent independent prosecutors who do nothing but prosecute cases of police abuse, from petty harassment all the way to corruption and murder. There is on one sliver bullet, but prosecutors focuses on police abuses of power, separate from normal prosecutors offices, are an essential part.

    Body cameras are another, but only if there are penalties for turning them off improperly, and with someone other than the police having custody of the recordings. Otherwise, police will adapt, turning the cameras off at critical moments when they are planning to go “rogue” (scare quotes because part of the system). There was a case in Florida a few years ago where a welfare check by police turned into a police murder, and the police turning the camera off was recorded by a monitoring system that had initially summoned the police.

  8. rq says

    I read the McWhorter article. I think I filled up an entire Bingo card: black-on-black crime, reverse racism, etc.
    It’s fine as an analogy until you remember that racism (institutionalized and often personalized) is real, unlike god(s). He separates current activism from policy changes, without realizing that these two things are fully entwined. And the comparison of acknowledging white privilege and self-flagellation… well, there’s something of the witch-hunt rhetoric in there – a bit over the top.
    Basically, he complains about Antiracism because it means white people have to care more than they currently do. Oh, the agony.

  9. addicted44 says

    I couldnt finish that McWhorter article. Hopefully it got better in the 2nd half, because there were literally 0 points being made in the 1st half, other than making strained analogies to religious worship.

  10. ledasmom says

    The McWhorter article was pretty bad. I’m not sure there’s a single cliche he missed – black-on-black crime, Obama, IQ. I feel as if I could point people at it and say: Don’t.

  11. treefrogdundee says

    I think the biggest issue with racism in this country is that far too many people think that it just up and vaporized by the end of the 1960s. I don’t think this speaks to any inherent racist attitude among the population, more so their inability to focus for more than 15 seconds. This provides cover for those last lingering segments that do represent institutional racism (Ferguson, etc). Fortunately, as technology forces the aforementioned dreamers to come to grips with reality, I think these last vestiges will find it harder and harder to hide from sunlight. Then that will leave the massive socioeconomic disparity that leads to racism by default, but that is another story…

  12. says

    Hi rq – I’m new in here. I’m about to go read that thread over. Go gentle!

    That being said:

    This made me laugh. Rob Ford really did happen to Toronto, you know. :D

    You realize that Rob Ford ain’t mayor anymore…

    On the topic of Trump, the man has a clear history of making ridiculous racist comments which (from my point of view) all seem to stem from his clear position of white privilege. He views himself at the top of the pedestal, and views all those not on that pedestal as below him. This hasn’t changed since his run for the Republican nomination – it’s become more visible as he’s gotten press for it.

    His comments on Oprah in 1988 even sound like they’re coming from a racist point of view:

    United States-Third World Relations in the New World Order By Abbas P. Grammy, C. Kaye Bragg clearly points out that he’s completely wrong (during the 80’s Kuwait was starting to suffer from their worst depression in decades). But Trump is playing into the racist image of middle eastern people being affluent – wealthy oil tycoons.

    My point is that this isn’t a new image for Trump. This isn’t being put on for the media for the sake of the Republicans. This appeals to many of the Republicans because, like Trump, they hold these racist values and images.

    The question for me is how do we get them to recognize that it exists. It’s like arguing with a creationist who believes in microevolution, but not ‘real evolution’. They just cannot join the dots between the evidence and the final outcome.

    How do we bridge that gap?

  13. rq says

    Martin Lee
    I know Rob Ford isn’t mayor anymore. But he still got elected and managed to do some damage, which is the key point here. It might be a lot more difficult to get rid of Trump, is all I’m saying. :)
    Do you really think that Republicans are unaware that their views are racist? Because I’m inclined to think that they just don’t care.

  14. addicted44 says

    @14 “that will leave the massive socioeconomic disparity that leads to racism by default”

    I think you’ve got the causation backwards, for the US at least. It’s racism which leads to poor whites supporting policies that hurt them in order to benefit the extreme rich.

    Why Doesn’t the United States Have
    a European-Style Welfare State?

    Racial discord plays a critical role in determining beliefs about the poor.
    Since racial minorities are highly overrepresented among the poorest
    Americans, any income-based redistribution measures will redistribute
    disproportionately to these minorities. Opponents of redistribution in the
    United States have regularly used race-based rhetoric to resist left-wing
    policies. Across countries, racial fragmentation is a powerful predictor of
    redistribution. Within the United States, race is the single most important
    predictor of support for welfare. America’s troubled race relations are
    clearly a major reason for the absence of an American welfare state.

  15. says

    Martin Lee @4:

    I love your writing, and I think this is a very good idea for a thread – although I fear for its long-term stability given the nature of these online debates.
    I literally just picked up Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir today (the latest book was sold out – which is encouraging!), but I look forward to following this thread.

    As rq mentioned already, there’s been a stable racism-based thread (in different incarnations) going for very nearly a year at this point. Granted that may not be your idea of ‘long-term’, but I’d think it is for a blog.
    Also, whenever I find myself employed again with some extra income, I really, really want to get Coates’ book.
    (btw, thank you for the compliment on my writing; if you haven’t checked it out, I have a blog which you can access through my nym)

    Speaking of Ta-Nehisi Coates, I am absolutely thrilled at the possibility that he might be writing a comic book for Marvel. It hasn’t been confirmed, but it seems to be a rumor with some strong legs.
    Is Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a new comic book for Marvel?
    He is a fan of Marvel Comics.
    In May 2015, he received an invitation by upper management at Marvel to talk about writing for them.
    Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso recently said:

    Actions speak louder than words. We are experiencing a lull in African-American writers at this moment, but it is temporary. We will be announcing new series very soon that will prove that. I’m talking about new voices, familiar voices and one writer whose voice is heard round the world

    Again, none of this is set in stone. It is, I think, slightly more than a rumor. But dammit, the idea of one of the best journalists (and one with a strong social justice bent) of today writing comics-and most likely a comic book featuring characters of color-fills me with such joy. I was talking to a friend a few days ago about how I wish I had half the writing talent of Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m in awe of his skills as a writer, but I also love how he communicates about racism (really, how he communicates on anything). He speaks in such a way that-as my mother put it when I was a child-a Martian could understand. To know that he loves comic books too? Dude can I have your autograph?!

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Haven Monahan,

    Please feel free to add to the conversation, but this is not the place for argument; increase the information, not the conflict.

    Your coments don’t add to the conversation, or increase information, They are something else.

  17. says

    When Rob Ford was elected, his opponents largely didn’t go into his past drug abuses (Canadian politics can be so… nice). Your comparison between him and his election campaign and Donald Trump is, in my opinion, a big red herring. Donald Trump clearly holds racist opinions, and seems incapable of holding them to himself. His racism is not a display for election it’s just him. Rob Ford was clearly an addict, but was able to tuck it away for a while before it got the best of him.

    I have read parts of your blog (since spotting this thread), hence my comments! I haven’t read Ta-Nehisi yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

    Dr Ben Carson tropes out the same language used by the rest of the republicans:

    If we as a society could focus the same kind of attention on the everyday murderous carnage that threatens the vitality of many of our cities, perhaps some meaningful solutions could be found.

    Growing up in inner-city America, I witnessed many instances of premature death, usually inflicted by other inner-city residents.

    is CLEARLY making allusions to the old ‘black on black crime’ story which has been hashed out dozens of times.
    He appeals to the core conservative tropes of “you can just work your way out of poverty” with nonsense like “Even in an economy that is stagnant, it is still relatively easy to obtain a good job when one has acquired the requisite knowledge and skills. Many sophisticated jobs go begging or have to be filled by foreigners because we are not producing technical graduates in sufficient numbers.”
    I guess all the graduates working at supermarkets are just doing it wrong?

    I guess the three years I spent working security with my Ph.D in Chemistry were all just imaginary? Maybe I’ve failed some key life skill…

    Curiously, he advocates for better access to education here but then suggests that you should work for it yourself here.

    He’s Republican through and through, and his policies and comments miss the mark. They make no suggestion of improvements, merely point out the holes in the current policies. I’m less than impressed.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How about posting your thoughts (or some interesting articles) on race in America and actually contributing to the discussion?

    Question, is your links to pure opinions by a conservative, or do they contain links to the academic literature found through places like Google Scholar? The former, is controversial, and not evidence.

  19. says

    Haven Monahan:
    Ben Carson is relevant to this thread. Just not in the way I think you mean.
    On the one hand he is an example of an African-American man in the US who has achieved success and fame. He has risen to a place than many blacks can only dream of. He was a respected neurosurgeon and is a presidential candidate. That is something noteworthy.
    OTOH, he is misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and a conservative fundie who thinks the United States is (or should be) a theocracy. For my part, the only type of links involving him that I would produce for this thread would be this:
    Ben Carson thinks Black Lives Matter is ‘silly’:

    Since the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, Trayvon Martin in Florida, and countless others, “Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying call for a group of Americans unfairly targeted by police. Taking the message from protests to politicians, the movement has mounted pressure on 2016 presidential candidates to recognize the need for policies to address the disproportionate risk black Americans face of death in the hands of police.
    But not all candidates are receptive to that message. On Friday, Ben Carson, the only African American candidate from either party vying for the presidency, spoke at a conference organized by black conservative group Freedom’s Journal Institute (FJI) and titled “In Defense of Life: Why All Lives Matter.”
    Candidates on both the left and right have been criticized for their declaration of those words — “All Lives Matter” — diminishing the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is asking people to recognize that black lives are devalued by our criminal justice system. Ben Carson, however, told ThinkProgress this week he sees the whole movement as divisive.
    “We need to talk about what the real issues are and not get caught up in silliness like this matters or that matters,” he said at a rally to defund Planned Parenthood Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol, where protesters held signs reading “Unborn Lives Matter.”
    “Of course all lives matter. I don’t want to get into it, it’s so silly,” he continued, laughing to himself. “Black lives are part of all lives, right? When we’re talking about a culture of life, then we ought to be talking about a culture of life and not allow ourselves to get caught up in all the divisive rhetoric and terminology and political correctness. It’s the reason we can’t make any progress as a society.”

    Ben Carson is a modern-day Uncle Tom. His dismissive attitude towards the Black Lives Matter movement is in line with many, many white USAmericans who don’t see “what all the fuss is”. I don’t know why he doesn’t recognize the suffering of African-Americans in this country and how said suffering is intertwined with their race, but he does. And in so doing, he helps to perpetuate the culture of white supremacy in the United States by giving it a pseudo-legitimacy as a black man. He is that prominent black man that white people can point to and say-
    A: “I’m not racist, I love Ben Carson”
    B: ” See, if a black man says Black Lives Matter is stupid, then it validates my thoughts on those thugs”.

    Along with the rest of the Republican contenders for the presidency, Ben Carson’s words and actions help to further the suffering of black people in this country and that is one of the many, many reasons I despise the fuck out of that man.


    As an aside, I don’t recommend you continue down this path:

    I know many people here might dismiss him outright because he is a Republican, but as he points out, liberal Democrats have run places like Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC and New Orleans for decades and have not effectively helped improve conditions for People of Color who live in those cities.,

    Such rhetoric has been common among various conservative critics of this site as well as Libertarians. Discussions involving this inevitably turn into arguments and that’s exactly what PZ does not want in this thread. Please consider that before you add anything further.

  20. echidna says

    I read the first of articles linked to in #19. A brief synopsis of the article (which would have been a helpful thing for you to provide) is that government initiatives to combat racism have had unintended consequences, therefore (final paragraph):

    based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.

    My view is that Dr. Carson doesn’t propose a single helpful idea or insight – it’s just an anti-government screed. You clearly think differently, unless you are trolling. Why did you think it would be a useful link to share?

  21. says


    I’ve posted a commentary which uses your links to back up what Tony has said.

    Also, Tony’s the moderator (along with rq). It IS up to them.

  22. says

    Haven @26:

    I think the conversation would be a lot more productive if you would outline your specific objections to Dr. Carson’s views, rather than dismissing him by the ad-hominem that he is a conservative and using vicious smears like “Uncle Tom”.

    He is misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and a theocratic asshole. Those are many of my objections to the man.
    I did not engage in any ad hominem attack. To do that, I would have had to attack him or his character in an attempt to refute any of his arguments. I did not attempt to refute any of Ben Carson’s arguments.
    I also explained why I think he’s an Uncle Tom, and provided a link to elucidate why I feel that way. Do you even know what an Uncle Tom is?


    I take it by your final comment you feel that you, Tony the Queer Shop, are decreeing yourself the arbiter of what political opinions can be discussed in this thread. If that is the case, this is thread is not going to host a very interesting or productive discussion.

    I’m not the final arbiter of anything. That is the sole province of PZ. I simply think that your line of argument is likely to lead to arguing and that’s not what PZ has said he wants here.

    I’m not sure if you realize this, but this is a progressive space, so the overwhelming majority of people who comment and read here are people who oppose a great deal of the shit Carson espouses. I wasn’t going to continue interacting with you given that you support a man as reprehensible as Ben Carson, but I changed my mind somewhat. Since you’re clearly not aware of the man’s many failings, here:

    What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get About The Safety Net

    Carson’s humble upbringing is an important part of his narrative. His rise to becoming one of the top neurosurgeons in the country and a best-selling author is impressive because it starts in the poverty-stricken streets of Detroit and a fatherless home headed by a single mother with little education. Carson attempted to preemptively rebut those who would point out that his childhood experience of poverty doesn’t seem to inform his political positions.

    There were many people who were critical of me, because they say Ben Carson wants to get rid of all the safety nets and welfare programs, even though he must have benefitted from them. I have no desire to get rid of safety net programs for people who need them. I have a strong desire to get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people.

    This is a blatant lie. Carson pointed out that his mother worked “extraordinarily hard,” often at two or three jobs, “trying to stay off welfare. And the reason for that,” Carson said, “was that she noticed that most of the people she saw on welfare never came off of it.” Carson either forgot or neglected to mention that his mother turned to the welfare system to meet family needs her earnings could not.

    In his book “Gifted Hands,” Carson writes that his grades improved after he got free eyeglasses from a government program:

    By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.

    What Carson doesn’t get about the safety net is that there are plenty of “able-bodied” people who receive some form of government assistance, and it doesn’t make them any more “dependent” than it made his mother. There are plenty of people who work “extraordinarily hard,” who have to rely on the safety net — not because they’re “dependent,” but because they don’t earn enough to afford essentials like shelter, food, medical care and transportation without assistance.

    If Carson is really concerned about “dependency,” he should take on the $70 billion per year we spend subsidizing the oil industry, or the $20 billion a year we spend on farm subsidies, before taking assistance away from families who are where he used to be.

    What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get About The “Turmoil In Our Cities”

    Carson alluded to the unrest in Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo., and other cities where unarmed black men have been killed by police.

    The past couple of weeks, there has been a great deal of turmoil in Baltimore. I spent 36 years of my life there, and we see the turmoil in cities all over our nation. We need to start thinking about how do we get to the bottom of this issue. I believe the real issue here is that people are losing hope, and they don’t feel life is going to be good for them no matter what happens. When an opportunity comes to loot, to riot, to get mine, they take it — not believing that there is a much better way to get the things that they desire.

    What Carson doesn’t get about “turmoil in our cities,” is that in cities like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Detroit, people lose hope because their isn’t much of any way to get the things, or the life, they desire. That’s because jobs have disappeared from these cities, in large part due to economic policies and trade deals that made it easier for businesses and corporations to ship jobs overseas, where labor was cheap and unorganized, and environmental protections were few or non-existent.

    In cities like Detroit and Baltimore, the loss of manufacturing jobs hit black communities the hardest — and black men in particular — because they were disproportionately represented in those jobs. Those jobs didn’t require a college education, but provided good wages and benefits that lifted many families into the middle class.

    Not only are those jobs gone, but they have been replaced by low-wage jobs that provide no pathway to the middle class. That’s unlikely to change as long as we subsidize businesses and corporations that don’t pay their employees a livable wage.

    What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get About Health Care

    He didn’t dwell on it in his announcement speech, but Carson is so opposed to the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare, that he’s compared it to both slavery and 9/11.

    ● In a speech at the 2013 Values Voter conference, Carson said: “You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

    ● Later, in an interview with the Daily Beast, Carson said that Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to the U.S. since the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “Because 9/11 is an isolated incident. Things that are isolated issues as opposed to things that fundamentally change the United Sates of America and shift power from the people to the government. That is a huge shift. You have to take a long-term look at something that fundamentally changes the power structure of America.”

    ● The health care plan on Carson’s website is about as sparse and vague as the GOP plans for Obamacare “replacements.” Beyond re-establishing “a strong and direct relationship between patients and their physicians,” the only idea he has is an old one: health savings accounts, which by definition favor the well and wealthy. Republicans have been pushing health savings accounts since 2006.

    What Carson doesn’t get about Obamacare is that, despite its imperfections, the health care reform law is popular with the majority of Americans. A recent Bloomberg poll showed that 63 percent of Americans think the law should be left alone, or allowed to work in order to find out how it should be changed. Only about 35 percent want Obamacare repealed, and most of them are people the who aren’t impacted by the law.

    That’s because it lowered the number of uninsured Americans, and increased the number of Americans with access to care without increasing spending on medical care. In fact, it’s coming in 20 percent under projected costs. The number of uninsured has fallen by more than 11 million since the law’s passage, and is now at a seven-year low. More than 16 million Americans now have affordable, quality health insurance thanks to Obamacare — including presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who once swore to repeal “every word it.”

    What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get About Climate Change

    For a man of science, Ben Carson doesn’t get what the big deal is about climate change. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that we have an obligation and a responsibility to protect our environment,” he said in an interview in Des Moines, Iowa. “You can ask it several different ways, but my answer is going to be the same. We may be warming. We may be cooling.”

    What Carson doesn’t get about climate change is what the GOP doesn’t get. Not only is there a consensus in the scientific community, but (as with the next issue) Americans have moved past the GOP on this issue. A Yale/Utah State University poll showed that 63 percent of Americans think climate change is happening, along with 99 percent of the counties in the country.

    What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get About Marriage Equality

    Despite the issue currently being before the Supreme Court, Ben Carson didn’t mention marriage in his announcement speech. Perhaps he finally learned his lesson. Carson managed of the biggest gaffes so far this campaign season when he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo how he knew that being gay is a “choice.”

    Ben Carson, the prospective 2016 presidential hopeful beloved by Tea Partiers, told CNN host Chris Cuomo on Wednesday that he believes homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice—because “a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.”

    The former neurosurgeon went on, “So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

    While the rest of the country cringed, the scientific community called Carson out, noting that decades of research shows that sexual orientation is inborn, not chosen. (Something so obvious that even Florida Sen. Marco Rubio can grasp it, or at least pretend to.)

    After becoming the focus of near universal ridicule, Carson decided that he just wouldn’t talk about the issue anymore. What Carson doesn’t get about marriage equality is that he won’t get away with that on the campaign trail. The GOP base is light years behind the rest of the country, and they will demand that he says something about it, especially when the court’s decision is announced this summer.

  23. says

    Martin Lee @28:
    I appreciate that, but I think you’re mistaken. Neither rq nor I are *moderators*. We’re simply curators. We collect links and bring them here. That’s it. We have no power here. That doesn’t mean I can’t make suggestions that perhaps someone ought to cool it with their line of reasoning. Anyone can do that though.

  24. says

    Also, Haven FtB is not responsible for the ads on the site. They have a third-party advertiser that provides the ads. Believe me, I don’t believe anyone at FtB would support Ben Carson.

  25. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Haven Monahan,

    I can’t really say myself that I know of better alternatives, but the status quo is clearly failing. I don’t agree with everything Dr. Carson says but I think some of his ideas are worthy of consideration.

    Specifically, which ideas, and, specifically, why those ideas are worth consideration. If those ideas were implemented, who would benefit, how, and why. Who would foot the bill, how, and why. Please be specific in your reply.

  26. says

    Haven @32:

    On that first article, I completely agree with Dr. Carson that the government programs intended to help have completely failed to better the lives of poor people and People of Color.

    Given that government assistance programs enable people to survive during times of economic downturn and provide food for their families-none of which would be possible without those programs, you have a curious idea of bettering the lives of socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
    You cannot simply take away government assistance programs and not replace them with a system that achieves the same or better results. As briefly mentioned in my link @29, there is a lot related to economics and the plight of poor people that Ben Carson does not understand. His views are in line with other conservatives who do not have the proper understanding of the complexities involved to have any hope of offering a solution to the economic woes of millions of USAmericans.

  27. says

    Never Forget #020: Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat long before Rosa Parks:

    In 1955, a Black woman, on her way home after a long day of work, boarded a bus in Montgomery, AL. At one of the stops, several white passengers got on the bus, and the bus driver ordered four Black passengers to vacate their seats and move farther back. Three of those passengers complied. One, the Black woman, refused to move. She ignored the bus driver’s demands and was subsequently arrested.

    This is not the story of Rosa Parks, who was arrested on December 1, 1955. This is the story of Claudette Colvin, who also refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus…except she did it on March 2, nine months before the Rosa Parks incident.

    From elementary to high school, every history book I read told the story of Parks and how she was the first Black person to publicly challenge the segregation laws of the Montgomery bus system. “Rosa Parks is a hero,” we were told. Why did we never learn about Claudette Colvin?

    Short answer: Respectability politics.

    Claudette Colvin was a 15-year-old student who had been a member of the NAACP Youth Council. As such, she had been actively learning about and participating in the Civil Rights Movement. Her refusal to move that day was a deliberate act of civil disobedience and laid the foundation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The only reason Colvin doesn’t receive the proper recognition today is due to the respectability politics of civil rights leaders, including E.D. Nixon and MLK.

    Colvin was young and outspoken, and like her peers, was mislabeled a troublemaker. She was also a few months pregnant at the time of her arrest. Because they believed that conservative Black churches wouldn’t rally behind her, civil rights leaders refused to organize a boycott or any kind of action around Colvin. Instead, they waited for an “ideal” representative for their protest and in doing so, they successfully shifted the narrative away from Claudette to Rosa Parks.

    Advocates of respectability politics have evidently been telling African-Americans that they have to present themselves in a manner deemed acceptable to white people so that they may continue living for a lot longer than I thought.

    And wouldn’t you know it, Ben Carson is a fan of respectability politics:
    (via Ta-Nehisi Coates)

    My Times column today looks at the phenomenon that is Dr. Benjamin Carson. For kids like me who came up in Baltimore during the ’80s and ’90s, Carson has special importance. Whenever the black folks at our summer camps or schools wanted to have a “Be A Credit To Your Race” moment they brought in Dr. Carson. I saw him speak so many times that I began to have that “This guy again?” feeling. As an adult, knowing how much it takes to speak in front of people, I can recognize that Carson’s willingness to talk to black youth (and youth in general) came from a deeply sincere place. There were no cameras at those summer camps and school assemblies. No one had money to pay him. But he showed up. And that was what mattered.

    There’s nothing about “showing up” that is inconsistent with being conservative. Some of the most committed black people I know—in some other America—would be Republicans. But in this America, this conservative movement, has a fairly nasty romance with white racism. There are black conservatives (some Republican, some not) who manage to steer clear of this—Bill Cosby, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and possibly Tim Scott. And there are others who, to put it bluntly, profit from it.
    It’s perfectly respectable to think Obamacare is bad for the country. It’s less respectable to claim that Obama isn’t an African American. It’s perfectly respectable to believe in a flat tax. It’s less respectable to tell a room full of white people that Obama, isn’t “a strong black man” or that he has “never been a part of the black experience in America.” It’s respectable to believe that the Ryan Budget is the key to the future. It’s less respectable to believe that equating same-sex marriage with child-rape puts you on Harriet Tubman status.
    The corollary of that last metaphor—the idea of liberalism as a plantation—is especially noxious and deeply racist. It holds that black people are not really like other adult humans in America —people capable of discerning their interest and voting accordingly—but mental slaves too stupid to know what’s good for them.
    When Ben Carson uses this language he is promoting himself at the expense of the community from which he hails. More, he is promoting himself at the expense of the community in which I once saw him labor. That is tragic.

    The article is from 2013, which isn’t terribly old and I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Carson has changed his views for the better.

    More of Ben Carson’s ‘respectability politics’:

    THE TEA: In a radio interview on New Hampsire Public Radio last week, potential presidential candidate for the GOP, Dr. Ben Carson, stated his source for the problems facing the African American community – Hip Hop. Although the hosts and audience thought Carson was out of touch and wrong, he continued to explain how Hip Hop was bad and distracting from what he believes to be the solution: God.

    via The Grio:

    We need to reestablish faith in our communities and the values and principles that got us through slavery, that got us through Jim Crow, and segregation, and all kinds of horrible things that were heaped upon us.

    Why were we able to get through those? Because of our faith, because of our family, because of our values, and as we allow the hip-hop community to destroy those things for us, and as we grasp onto what’s politically correct and not what is correct, we continue to deteriorate

    CHECK, PLEASE: Ben Carson is slowly becoming the poster child for respectability politics and the real life version of Samuel J Jackson’s character in D’Jango. Out of all the real issues that strip blacks of economic opportunity, cause mass incarceration, and failed education systems, Ben Carson picked Hip Hop as the cause of problems in the African American community. I would prefer my next black president not to be someone who blames victims of oppression for their situation. You’re outta here, Dr Carson.

    Here is an article to aid people in understanding ‘respectability politics’- Why respectability politics is a sham:

    After comedian Chris Rock made news by posting a selfie of his third time being pulled over by cops in seven weeks this week, he received an outpouring of support on social media. But not from actor Isaiah Washington. Washington tweeted, “I sold my $90,000.00 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius’s, because I got tired of being pulled over by Police.#Adapt@chrisrock.”

    Why should black people have to “adapt” to rampant racist policing?

    Even Don Lemon of CNN, who has a history of being on the wrong side of race questions, seemed skeptical of Washington’s position. On a segment on CNN Tonight Lemon asked Washington how Rock should adapt to police racially profiling him. Washington’s response was as asinine as his tweet.

    “I really feel he needs to look at the area he’s in,” the actor said. “And maybe even visit with the local police officers in that community, because I got pulled over so many times they should have remembered by driver’s license. So he should do that.”

    I’d like to explore Washington’s position that, essentially, encourages black people to change their behavior to avoid racism. For starters, I suspect that the disproportionate number of black drivers who are racially profiled by cops each year aren’t driving a Mercedes G500 and likely own relatively modest vehicles. I doubt Rock trading his car in for a hoopty will stop cops from pulling him over.

    And that Uber driver in New York City likely wasn’t driving a fancy taxi when an NYPD detective hurled abusive language towards him. If cops want to abuse their authority and abuse people, they will do it and there’s nothing we can do about it–except, record them if we can, sue them and fight their bigotry.

    Cops have to be forced to change their bullying ways to more humane engagement with us, not the other way around.

    But I am mostly troubled by the decades-old theme of respectability politics in Washington’s reasoning that demands that black people capitulate to their oppressors. And while I know that respectability politics has been used as a tactic, especially during the 1960s, to perform a particular kind of blackness that makes our grievances more acceptable to white people, it really doesn’t do much to blunt the violent resolve of racial profiling by law enforcement.

    In 2001, the state of New Jersey, where Rock lives and may have been pulled over, agreed to pay defendants $13 million in a lawsuit stemming from a 1998 racial profiling incident where state troopers shot and wounded passengers in a van they pulled over. The case, lead by late defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., revealed how pervasive racial profiling of black and Latino drivers was at the time.

    By the way, Mr. Washington, those gentlemen weren’t driving Mercedes G500s. See how white supremacy doesn’t care about the kind of car one drives, sir? The only conversation Rock needs to have with any officer is about the badge numbers of the cops who pulled him over, so he can sue them, if in fact they violated his civil rights.

    And what about those black people in Ferguson, Mo., who were pulled over 85 percent of the time, even though drugs were found on them 26 percent less often than white drivers? Yeah, I’m sure if black folks in Ferguson were to downgrade the types of cars they drove they, too, would feel less heat from the cops. Never mind such racist tactics were used to fund the city coffers. Sure. Downgrading their vehicles would have made a big difference.


    Another issue with black people adapting to abusive police behavior is that it signals to racists that we will yield our dignity to their racist will. Often, black people adapting to racists never gets us anything in return.

  28. Nes says

    I hope this is appropriate for the thread.

    I was reading Offworld and came across an article about the Invisibility Blues Kickstarter, which looks like it’ll be similar to Anita’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, but about racism. I don’t know much about the people behind it, but I did click through to their videos and watched the one about Cuphead, which was interesting. Just thought I’d give it a signal boost in case anyone else was interested in it and wanted to help fund it (they have already reached their goal).

  29. rq says

    Haven Monahan
    re: Ben Carson
    Back when he entered the campaign, and every now and then since, the other thread had several opinions on Ben Carson and why his policies and ideas aren’t actually helpful. Including many from disillusioned black people who had held him up as an icon, and were disappointed. If you go to that link, and check all the pages, and Ctrl+F “Ben Carson”, you’ll come up with a few things.

    Martin Lee
    re: Trump/Ford
    Listen. I’m not going to just go right out and say Donald Trump is worse, or that he definitely won’t be elected, and yes, I base that on Ford, because he ran on some pretty silly platforms, never mind the drug addiction. That’s just the issue that got him out, but that doesn’t encompass everything that was wrong with him.
    As it is, this comparison is completely off-base for this conversation, so please just stop.

    Not looking for scholarly articles here. All media articles (preferably with your own commentary, as to why it is relevant to racism), personal stories, anecdotes, etc. can be shared. So please don’t bring in academic articles into the fray as an argument against someone posting on their own (if wrong) opinion*. I have been posting precious few myself, and that would make the vast, vast majority of past year’s work completely void.

    * I would say Haven Monahan’s issue is posting them up without explaining to us what we might find of value besides ‘Ben Carson has some good ideas’, rather than posting conservative crap. Because we can give them alternate reading material for that – some people just don’t get beyond that.

  30. rq says

    Lawsuit: Black Employee of Cupcake Shop Fired After Reporting White Colleague’s N-Bomb

    Shayden Frazier, an African-American former employee of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe in University City, is suing the shop for allegedly firing him after he complained about a white colleague’s use of a racial slur.

    To start at the beginning: Frazier got hired in August 2013 and worked at Jilly’s as a cashier and server.

    Frazier says that a few months after he was hired, a white colleague referred to a black female colleague as “nappy headed and ugly.” Frazier brought it up at a staff meeting and suggested racial sensitivity training, but management declined to arrange for such training.

    Frazier says that during his employment, he was instructed to wear a hairnet and shave his beard, while white employees didn’t have to.

    In April of 2014, Frazier claims, he was written up after calling in sick for two different shifts. But in July, a white colleague showed up an hour and a half late and wasn’t disciplined.

    Finally, Frazier alleges that in July 2014, a black female colleague named Kyron came to him “noticeably upset and shaken.” A white dishwasher named Alan had called her the N-word, she said.

    Frazier says that Jill Segal, the shop’s owner, held a staff meeting later that day. “The meeting got heated,” Frazier wrote in his complaint. Kyron admitted she’d used the term “white boy.” Frazier brought up the dishwasher’s long history of saying words like “bitch” and “Oriental.” Frazier said he felt sick and was sent home. He was fired three days later.

    The Missouri Commission on Human Rights issued him a right to sue in April. Frazier, who now lists a Pearland, Texas address, filed his suit in St. Louis County circuit court on Monday. He’s going after the cupcake shop and its owner, Jill Segal, for discrimination, harrassment and retaliation in violation of Missouri Human Rights law, and asking for at least $25,000 in damages.

    Teen Perfectly Illustrates The Problem With NBC’s Sam Dubose Tweet

    A University of California at Berkeley student called out NBC News on Twitter on Wednesday for its poor choice of photos in a tweet about Sam DuBose, an unarmed black man fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop.

    NBC’s headline announced that the officer, Ray Tensing, had been indicted for murder in Dubose’s death. However, the network’s photo choice — a smiling shot of Tensing in uniform and an old mug shot of Dubose from a charge totally unrelated to his death — implied that Dubose was more of a “criminal” than Tensing.

    “Hey @NBCNews, I went ahead and fixed this one for you. Do Better,” Rigel Robinson tweeted, along with a split image of a regular photo of Dubose alongside Tensing’s mugshot.

    “How we tell these narratives is important,” Robinson, 19, told The Huffington Post. “Digging up an old mugshot for the black man that got shot instead of the officer that was just indicted for killing him does a disservice to the memory of Mr. Dubose, it does a disservice to journalism, and frankly, it’s just racist.”

    Robinson was far from the only person to criticize NBC’s photo choice, but his visually striking commentary garnered more than 10,000 retweets.

  31. rq says

    Lawsuit: Black Employee of Cupcake Shop Fired After Reporting White Colleague’s N-Bomb

    Shayden Frazier, an African-American former employee of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe in University City, is suing the shop for allegedly firing him after he complained about a white colleague’s use of a racial slur.

    To start at the beginning: Frazier got hired in August 2013 and worked at Jilly’s as a cashier and server.

    Frazier says that a few months after he was hired, a white colleague referred to a black female colleague as “nappy headed and ugly.” Frazier brought it up at a staff meeting and suggested racial sensitivity training, but management declined to arrange for such training.

    Frazier says that during his employment, he was instructed to wear a hairnet and shave his beard, while white employees didn’t have to.

    In April of 2014, Frazier claims, he was written up after calling in sick for two different shifts. But in July, a white colleague showed up an hour and a half late and wasn’t disciplined.

    Finally, Frazier alleges that in July 2014, a black female colleague named Kyron came to him “noticeably upset and shaken.” A white dishwasher named Alan had called her the N-word, she said.

    Frazier says that Jill Segal, the shop’s owner, held a staff meeting later that day. “The meeting got heated,” Frazier wrote in his complaint. Kyron admitted she’d used the term “white boy.” Frazier brought up the dishwasher’s long history of saying words like “b*tch” and “Oriental.” Frazier said he felt sick and was sent home. He was fired three days later.

    The Missouri Commission on Human Rights issued him a right to sue in April. Frazier, who now lists a Pearland, Texas address, filed his suit in St. Louis County circuit court on Monday. He’s going after the cupcake shop and its owner, Jill Segal, for discrimination, harrassment and retaliation in violation of Missouri Human Rights law, and asking for at least $25,000 in damages.

    Teen Perfectly Illustrates The Problem With NBC’s Sam Dubose Tweet

    A University of California at Berkeley student called out NBC News on Twitter on Wednesday for its poor choice of photos in a tweet about Sam DuBose, an unarmed black man fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop.

    NBC’s headline announced that the officer, Ray Tensing, had been indicted for murder in Dubose’s death. However, the network’s photo choice — a smiling shot of Tensing in uniform and an old mug shot of Dubose from a charge totally unrelated to his death — implied that Dubose was more of a “criminal” than Tensing.

    “Hey @NBCNews, I went ahead and fixed this one for you. Do Better,” Rigel Robinson tweeted, along with a split image of a regular photo of Dubose alongside Tensing’s mugshot.

    “How we tell these narratives is important,” Robinson, 19, told The Huffington Post. “Digging up an old mugshot for the black man that got shot instead of the officer that was just indicted for killing him does a disservice to the memory of Mr. Dubose, it does a disservice to journalism, and frankly, it’s just racist.”

    Robinson was far from the only person to criticize NBC’s photo choice, but his visually striking commentary garnered more than 10,000 retweets.

  32. echidna says

    Haven at 32:

    I completely agree with Dr. Carson that the government programs intended to help have completely failed to better the lives of poor people and People of Color

    Completely failed? I don’t think so. If it were not for government intervention, you would still have slavery and indentured servitude. The US is still too far in that direction compared to other developed nations. After all is said and done, God will not provide, due to lack of existence. The “invisible hand of the Market” has no incentive to do the job, nor are private charities sufficient. The solutions have to lie with something powerful enough to actually do it, such as government. Power is a two-edged sword, of course, but without government you end up with chaos and exploitation.
    As far as I can tell, Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican who understood this.

  33. rq says

    … To add to echidna‘s 40, I think many government programs and policies have failed due to efforts to undermine them, or inconsistent implementation, or just plain whining. See: Voting Rights Act, as one example. Also that Supreme Court decision on discriminatory housing practices in Texas.
    And while yes, some of those efforts have come from government entities, this means a change in government (attitude) is required, rather than a change in policy as such.

  34. says

    “Haven Monahan” shows up with no prior history here, dumps that controversial McWhorter article on us, and then disingenuously pours on links from Ben Carson, far right wing loon, claiming that they “hadn’t heard of him until recently”.

    I see TROLL writ all over that. Banned. Trollpoop deleted.

    Nerd of Redhead: You were successfully baited and gave the troll opportunity to bicker further; they were looking for a fight and you cheerfully plunged in to give them one. That is exactly the behavior I’m trying to squelch here. You made no comments until you saw someone you disagreed with and could take a slap at. I’m giving you a one day suspension. Stay out of the discussion threads if you can’t stop being pugnacious.

  35. rq says

    Well, at least we got some nice Ben Carson rebuttals out of that.
    And considering that so far main discussion has been about two Republican candidates, I think Tony and I will work out a sort of directional statement for the thread, sort of a la Ibis3 over on the Feminism discussion.

  36. says

    Ferguson was mentioned in an article I linked for the Art thread:

    Thirteen leading museum bloggers joined forces to criticise museums for not doing more to respond to racial violence in Ferguson, Missouri, where rioting began last summer, and other US cities. This led to the Twitter hashtag #museumsrespondtoferguson, with one user alleging that many US museum staff find it “easier to care for a temple than build a forum”. In March, the Missouri History Museum in St Louis was criticised for scrapping a discussion forum intended to bring together speakers on Ferguson, Palestine and Ayotzinapa, Mexico, where 43 students disappeared, presumed killed, after a clash with police last September. The knee-jerk cancellation appears to have happened because of pressure from local Jewish groups that objected to the inclusion of Palestine on the agenda.

    X-posted Discuss Art

  37. says

    Never Forget #019: Concentration camps were perfected in Africa:

    The Holocaust is a well-known event in world history, but few people know that multiple imperial forces in Europe used their African territories to create and develop the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. In 1900-1902, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, the invading British forces set up refugee camps full of tents for Boer civilians affected by the war. In an effort to control guerrilla uprisings in the area, refugee camps became internment camps, and then the term “concentration camp” evolved. The camps, containing prisoners from both the white Boer and Black African populations, quickly became unsanitary, overpopulated and inadequately supplied. Over 26,000 people died from starvation and/or disease during that time.

    A few years later the Germans ran with the idea of concentration camps, and between 1905 and 1907 used the method to eradicate thousands of Namaqua and Herero people in present-day Namibia. The biggest camp was located on Shark Island where Herero and Namaqua prisoners lived in unsanitary conditions, malnourished, abused and forced to do dangerous physical labor that caused sickness and death for most of the prisoners. To add insult to injury, the women had to collect and clean the heads of dead prisoners so that they could be shipped to German universities for scientific study. Many of the German scientific and medical advancements were made at the expense of Black lives. Although the total death toll is unknown, estimates reach up to 4000 deaths, and only an estimated 245 people survived the camps.

    I noticed a lack of citations for the above article and left a comment (which is currently in moderation) at the site about that.

  38. says

    Me @46:
    I was mistaken about a lack of citations. The site refers to references as receipts and I was unfamiliar with the term. The article does list several citations.


    Lynette Holloway over at The Root writes about 40 new state laws sparked by Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson:

    Who said protesting is ineffective? Since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Mo., was shot and killed on Aug. 9. by white ex-officer Darren Wilson, lawmakers in nearly every state have proposed changes to the way police deal with the public, according to The Associated Press.

    An analysis by The Associated Press shows that 24 states have put at least 40 new laws on the books to tackle police violence, including officer body-cameras, racial bias training, independent investigations, and limits on surplus military equipment for departments.

    Still, little has been done to change laws on when police are justified to use deadly force, even as more incidents continue to occur, the report says. While praising the changes, civil rights leaders said more work needs to be done to solve racial tensions and economic disparities that have driven protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere after episodes in which people died in police custody or shootings.

    Super-duper baby steps, but at least they’re steps aimed in the right direction.


    Also from The Root, an article by Kirsten West Savali, Jonathan Sanders case: Interview with the mother of the Mississippi man allegedly choked to death by cop:

    In an exclusive interview with The Root, Sanders talks about her son and her continued efforts to make sure his family receives justice in his name. The Root also spoke with attorneys Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who is representing the Sanders family, and C.J. Lawrence, who is representing the witnesses. They both said that it’s past time for the national spotlight on injustice to shine on Mississippi.

    The Root: Tell us about Jonathan.

    Frances Sanders: Jonathan was a very soft-hearted, understanding person. You could go to him with any problems and he would try to help you in the best way. That’s the way I taught him. He would try to help everybody in the community.

    Jonathan’s kindness is what brought all those people to his service. Jonathan’s memorial service had a thousand people in a town with a thousand people.

    TR: How are you feeling?

    FS: I hate this. I wonder why this happened to my son. I’m wondering why things are coming to a halt and why things are coming to a standstill. Somebody is going to have to tell us something. If it’s 10 years from now, somebody is going to have to tell me something.

    [His] babies are something else. They are cranky. Today, the little girl was from one person’s lap to another person’s lap. It was like she couldn’t get comfortable. It’s heartbreaking to see. The night before the funeral, she was going from one door to the other door looking at all these people in the room, she placed her face against the window with her hands above her forehead looking because she didn’t see who she was looking for. She was looking for her daddy. That broke my heart. They took a piece of these children’s heart.

    His son would see his dad’s face and he would have a grin that was out of this world. Their daddy saw them every night. She used to fall asleep on his chest every night. She would wrap her arms around his neck and just fall asleep. They took that way from these babies.

    TR: What does justice look like for you?

    FS: I want Kevin Herrington to go through the judicial system. I want him to be tried through a court. I want them to find him guilty for the death of my son. That’s just a little justice because ain’t nothing going to bring him back. But that would help if [Herrington] had to pay in some type of way for what he did to my son.

    I sincerely hope that he gets his day in court and that the courts find him guilty.

    TR: There was so much social media buzz surrounding #TakeItDown, the push to get the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina Capitol Building. Yet, when faced with the state-sanctioned violence that often goes unchallenged in the Deep South, there is a lot of silence. Why do you think that is?

    C.J. Lawrence: Thank you for asking this. To be quite honest, the dilemma is quite perplexing. As we witness the phenomenon of black men and women and boys and girls being killed while unarmed only to be later [character] assassinated and have their killings justified across this nation, it seemed inevitable that this type of injustice would make its way back to Mississippi.

    I say back, because Mississippi is the place that perfected injustice through systematic racism and oppression. Look no further than Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and Goodman, Cheney, and Scwherner to realize the history is real here. You have to drive through a confederate cemetery to get to Stonewall, Miss. There are houses with rebel battle flags hanging outside. You can feel the weight of oppression bearing down on the place.

    I can’t even imagine what it’s like for African-Americans to live every day of their lives in cities and towns that revere the Confederacy. I lived in Alabama for 15 years from the age of 12 until 27, but my consciousness hadn’t been raised enough, nor was my education sufficient to be aware of any of the racist imagery all around me.

    This is small-town Mississippi – a town of about 1,088 people – often when people from outside the state think Mississippi–they immediately think perpetual injustice–but if there was ever a place where we could establish the blueprint for how to beat state-sanctioned violence – I think this is the place to do it. And if we do it here, we can do it anywhere. We have been in contact with several of the players on the national scene. It would be great to feel their presence here as well. Black lives matter in Mississippi too.

    TR: How will you get the community involved in fighting for Jonathan?

    Lumumba: We are certainly going to galvanize the people. This is different from Ferguson or Baltimore. The conditions are different. The nature of the oppression is different and so how we get people involved will be different from those areas.

    In Ferguson and Baltimore, you had two places where violence, oppression, poverty and a multitude of in-your-face systematic conditions were at play. Here, you have that deliberate Southern oppression. It’s passive, in-your-place type oppression. When we had the citizens hold up their fists at town hall, I had no doubt that it was the first time in history that in Stonewall, Miss., that many people were standing together for the purpose of showing black power. We intend to empower the community and show them just how powerful they already are.


    From John Walker at Fusion
    St. Louis juvenile court biased against people of color:
    Is there any aspect of USAmerican society that isn’t biased against people of color?

    The Department of Justice has found that St. Louis County consistently violates the constitutional rights of the low-income juveniles in its family court system, the Associated Press reports.

    The report, issued by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division following a 20-month investigation, also found that young black defendants received systematically worse treatment than their white peers.

    For example, there’s only one juvenile public defender tasked with representing every low-income juvenile in the entire county—which comprises the Missouri suburbs of St. Louis, but not the city itself. The New York Times says that this one defender handled 394 cases last year alone. The Times also notes that many young people are encouraged to confess—which violates their right against self-incrimination—in order to receive a warning and avoid formal legal proceedings.

    One defender for 394 cases in a year. IANAL, but wouldn’t even half that load be nigh-impossible for one person?

    Not every young person in St. Louis County’s family court system is encouraged to take this literal get-out-of-jail-free card, however unconstitutional it might be. The Times reports that black defendants were 47 percent more likely than their white counterparts to enter formal legal proceedings—and that’s far from the only piece of evidence indicating racial bias in the investigation’s findings.

    Move along, nothing to see here. Nope. No white bias whatsoever.

  39. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @ birgerjohansson

    A 2006 survey found that Police Federation members were overwhelmingly (82%) in favour of frontline police officers being “routinely unarmed” (in terms of firearms). There are few moments when I have been prouder of our Police Force as a whole. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police cited the US as an example of why giving frontline Police Officers firearms as a matter of course is a bad idea, and said that “Sadly we know from the experience in America and other countries that having armed officers certainly does not mean, sadly, that police officers do not end up getting shot.”

    The UK Police force (particularly the Met, it seems) do have a problem with systemic racism of course, but it seems to be nowhere near as serious, and they can’t act on it by shooting people. This seems to me to be a far preferable way of doing things.

  40. Crimson Clupeidae says


    I think you’ve got the causation backwards, for the US at least. It’s racism which leads to poor whites supporting policies that hurt them in order to benefit the extreme rich.

    Agreed. Race is used as the excuse/dogwhistle/whatever to keep people at each other’s proverbial (and all too often, literal) throats and propr up the wealthy.

    And…it works. :-(

    RE: Cecil the lion and all of the eeming conflict with the black lives matter.

    The best thing I saw was someone recommending that all black people dress up as lions. It was funny, in that sad, kind of painful way. I might run in different circles (I get most of my news online, and rarely, if ever, watch main stream news outlets of any kind), but the reaction to me seemed pretty even (i.e. the people I know/follow seemed just as outraged by both acts). Unfortunately, many of the responses also had that Dear Muslima vibe, as if people can’t be outraged about both things.

  41. says

    Awww, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson cannot find a job and rarely leaves his house-
    A New Yorker profile of the police officer who shot unarmed teen Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Missouri revealed that he is living in virtual anonymity and is deeply incurious about the larger events around the killing and the unrest that it spawned.

    Former officer Darren Wilson now lives in a quiet neighborhood filled with houses “clad in vinyl siding.” He has a baby daughter who was born in March, a little sister to his two stepsons with wife Barb, another ex-cop.

    The New Yorker‘s Jake Halpern said that Wilson has been unable to find police work, that departments consider him too much of a potential liability. So, he is living on donated money, screening visitors with a series of cameras connected to his cell phone and answering the door in a hat and sunglasses.

    When asked if he has read up on the systemic injustices and entrenched departmental racism highlighted in the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson Police Department, Wilson shrugged it off.

    “I don’t have any desire,” he told Halpern. “I’m not going to keep living in the past about what Ferguson did. It’s out of my control.”

    A grand jury cleared Wilson of wrongdoing in Brown’s killing and a Justice Department report on the killing said that Wilson had fired on the youth in self defense. While the agency found that the Ferguson police were carrying out racist policies and preying on the city’s black population, Wilson himself was twice found to have acted within official protocol.

    Later in the profile, Wilson said he believes that blacks on his beat are using the racism of the past as an excuse not to do better in the present.

    “I am really simple in the way that I look at life,” Wilson told Halpern. “What happened to my great-grandfather is not happening to me. I can’t base my actions off what happened to him.”

    Police officers, Wilson said, “can’t fix in thirty minutes what happened thirty years ago. We have to fix what’s happening now. That’s my job as a police officer. I’m not going to delve into people’s life-long history and figure out why they’re feeling a certain way, in a certain moment…I’m not a psychologist.”

    Now, Wilson and his family continue to keep a low profile, rarely venturing outside and choosing locations for outings carefully, like restaurants.

    “We try to go somewhere — how do I say this correctly? — with like-minded individuals,” Wilson said. “You know. Where it’s not a mixing pot.”

    Dude, just say you hang out with only white people.

  42. Saad says

    From Tony’s quote in #53

    “We try to go somewhere — how do I say this correctly? — with like-minded individuals,” [Darren] Wilson said. “You know. Where it’s not a mixing pot.”

    Oh my god…

  43. anteprepro says

    Tony!’s quotes at 53:

    So, he is living on donated money

    That may be the most depressing part of this all. The people enthusiastically throwing money at the cop who lost his job after killing a black teenager. What a noble fucking charity.

    Later in the profile, Wilson said he believes that blacks on his beat are using the racism of the past as an excuse not to do better in the present.

    What a hideous old trope that is. By fucking god.

    “We try to go somewhere — how do I say this correctly? — with like-minded individuals,” Wilson said. “You know. Where it’s not a mixing pot.”

    Like minded individuals. Not a mixing pot. The culmination of a long series of dog whistles.

    This isn’t just saying that he just prefers to hang around other white people. This is saying he prefers to exclusively hang around people with the same ideas as him too. You know, the kind of people who agree that racism is an issue of his grandfather’s time, that blacks are failures just blaming their problems on The Past, that money should be showered on a poor old cop who got yelled at for murdering a black teenager, and that Mixing Pots are Bad Things. In other words, not just white people, white racists.

  44. says

    I’ve just been listening to this week’s “This American Life” podcast. It’s here:
    “The problem we all live with”
    Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there’s one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program.

    It’s stomach-churning to listen to. The tl;dr form is: education is not broken, education has been broken. What works is integration/desegregation but the US’ reaction has been to back away from it and re-segregate. Connecting the dots is easy.

  45. says


    Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!

    Why is it that, because he’s Black, Obama’s record must speak for all possible Black presidents?!

    Did anyone suggest that because Bush lead us into a global recession, and two unnecessary wars, that we’d never have a White president?! What about Andrew Johnson, who allowed white southerners to completely eradicate any progress in the Black community after the Civil War, giving them reign to enact “Black Codes” and silently support the formation of the KKK. Did we declare that there’d not be a White president for generations?!

  46. rq says

    40 New State Laws Sparked by Michael Brown’s Death in Ferguson. The Root. I think the article posted by Tony over on the discussion thread.

    Dylann Roof, Ray Tensing and their audacity to plead not guilty, from Blavity.

    Within the span of 24 hours, two white male millennial murderers have pleaded not guilty for charges for crimes they clearly committed. Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who entered Mother Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17th and explicitly stated he was there to kill black people and left one person alive to tell the truth of his horrors has plead not guilty to the 33 federal charges against him, including committing a hate crime. Similarly, Ray Tensing, the 25-year-old former officer of the University of Cincinnati who was charged for murder in killing Sam Dubose on July 19 during a traffic citation has plead not guilty, despite body camera footage released to the public concurrently with his indictment.

    Something is wrong here.

    Roof, who spent months coordinating his mass murder, whose hateful ideations were extrapolated online on a personal website called “the last Rhodesian” as an homage to the violent and racist apartheid regime of contemporary Zimbabwe, stood in court, lawyer by his side, to look the judge in the eye on the firm belief that he can prove without doubt that he is deserving of absolution in the eyes of the law. Tensing did the same, later freed from handcuffs to go home after posting the $100,000 of his $1 million bond in less than eight hours.

    Based on the information and evidence available, both men, quite frankly, have little grounds to stand on to assert innocence.

    And yet what is the necessity of proof when placed against the propositions of white skin? We know that Lady Justice is blind, but as two cold-blooded killers dare the law to tell them they committed any wrongdoing, we must ask how she got that way and how Roof and Tensing predict she’ll hold their lies and imagined truths in the balance.

    The rule of law is rather the audacious assumption that legality becomes circumstantially flexible when the perpetrator is white.

    After Charleston, an NRA board member had the audacity to blame Rev. Clementa Pinckney for his death and the eight other congregants in the Wednesday night bible study for not having someone there who was armed. And Sandra Bland and Sam Dubose, within the past two weeks alone, show how black people who die at the hands of the law are subjected to the death penalty long after their last breath has passed. Mainstream media, rather than investigating obvious inconsistencies around the circumstances of the deaths of black victims, are more concerned with seeking out potential records of criminality and the accompanying mugshots.

    Meanwhile, acrobatic maneuvers are deployed to turn a blind eye to white people who kill. Headlines garner them empathy, either by wrongfully deploying mental illness and “troubled” parenting as an excuse or by offering Roof a bulletproof vest for his protection.

    Not only is this a matter of being innocent until proven guilty, but this is also about the bold ways the color line demarcates who it is always unfathomable to imagine at fault within and without the law.

    These men shamelessly believe they have a right to claim no wrongdoing and what adds insult to the injuries they have created against many of us is the fact that, despite their own confessions and being caught on camera, our culture and the justice system have been prepared to allow them to do just that.

  47. rq says

    Next time someone says racism isn’t real, show them this 3-minute video

    If systemic racism isn’t real, why are black people nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than their white counterparts despite using drugs at similar rates, about twice as likely to be pulled over while driving, or half as likely to get a call back after they mail their resume to an employer?

    The video above, by Brave New Films, breaks down these stats and more in a takedown of the idea that systemic racism isn’t a real problem in America.

    When looking at events like the unrest that unfolded in Baltimore over Freddie Gray’s death, the focus typically falls on police — since, in the case of Gray, they’re the ones protesters blame for the 25-year-old’s death due to a spinal cord injury after an allegedly brutal arrest. And while racial disparities in the criminal justice system and police use of force exist, this Brave New Films video demonstrates that the problem goes much deeper — affecting black Americans even when they’re applying for jobs, purchasing a car, or trying to buy a house.

    Dear white Facebook friends: I need you to respect what Black America is feeling right now

    Dear White America,

    It is somewhat strange to address this to you, given that I strongly identify with many aspects of your culture and am half-white myself. Yet, today is another day you have forced me to decide what race I am — and, as always when you force me — I fall decidedly into “Person of Color.”

    Every comment or post I have read today voicing some version of disdain for the people of Baltimore — “I can’t understand” or “They’re destroying their own community” or “Destruction of Property!” or “Thugs” — tells me that many of you are not listening. I am not asking you to condone or agree with violence. I just need you to listen. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to, but instead of forming an opinion or drawing a conclusion, please let me tell you what I hear:

    I hear hopelessness
    I hear oppression
    I hear pain
    I hear internalized oppression
    I hear despair
    I hear anger
    I hear poverty

    If you are not listening, not exposing yourself to unfamiliar perspectives, not watching videos, not engaging in conversation, then you are perpetuating white privilege and white supremacy. It is exactly your ability to not hear, to ignore the situation, that is a mark of your privilege. People of color cannot turn away. Race affects our lives every day. We must consider it all the time, not just when it is convenient.

    As a person of color, even if you are privileged your whole life, as I have been, you cannot escape from the shade of your skin. Being a woman defines me; coming from a relatively affluent background defines me; my sexual orientation, my education, my family and my job define me. Other than being a woman, every single one of those distinctions gives me privilege in our society. Yet, even with all that privilege, people still treat me differently.

    For most of my childhood, I refused to allow race to be my most defining feature. I actually chose for most of my childhood to refuse race as my most defining feature. But I found that a very hard position to maintain, given the way the world interacts with me and the people I love. Because I have to worry about my brother and my cousins getting stopped by the police. Because people react to my wonderful, kind, intelligent father differently, depending on whether he’s wearing a suit or sweat pants. Race has defined the way I see the world like no other characteristic has.

    This can be hard to understand, if you never experienced it firsthand. So again, for just one more moment, reserve your judgments and listen. This is what you might come to realize, if you spent your days in my skin.

    In childhood: People regularly ask “What are you” instead of “Who are you?” This will not end, either. In high school, one kid even asks if you are “Mulatto,” which, according to some scholars, originally meant “little mule.”

    A few years later: Go on a road trip with your mom. Refuse to get out of the car at a gas station in the boondocks, because you are sure the person with the Confederate flag bumper sticker is going to realize your white mother married a black man and hurt her (and you too, being the byproduct of said union). He’s carrying a rifle on a gun rack. Now even more terrifying.

    As a teenager: Be the only person of color in the majority of your Advanced Placement classes, even though there are a decent number of brown and black people at your school. For years following 9/11, get “randomly” selected for the additional screening at the airport.

    In college: People assume you got into Princeton because of affirmative action. They refuse to believe it could be because you are smart.

    In adulthood: Your younger brother has been stopped in his own neighborhood — the neighborhood he has lived in all his life – and asked what he could possibly be doing there.

    At your workplace: For two years in a row the NYPD shows up randomly at the school you work at, which has a 100 percent minority student body. The first time the police don’t even tell the school beforehand. The cops just show up early in the morning, set up a metal detector and X-ray scanner, and fill the cafeteria with dozens of policemen. As your young students file in in the morning, the NYPD scans them like they’re going through airport security right after 9/11. They confiscate cellphones, and pat some of students down, particularly the older-looking boys. As you watch this, you feel anger welling up in your chest and almost start to cry. You think, “Why are you treating my kids like criminals?!” Children are in tears. The screenings are not due to any specific threat, but rather as part of a “random screening program” — but one that never seems to make its way to the Upper East Side. White America’s children are told they can go to college, be anything. These students are treated like suspects. And that is exactly what society will tell your children one day, unless something changes.

    Today, tomorrow, every day: White people around you refuse to talk about what is happening in this country. The silence is painful to experience.

    These are my experiences. They have deeply affected who I am. And I am SO PRIVILEGED. Mine has been a decidedly easy life for a person of color in America. I try to conceptualize what it is like for my students who got wanded by the NYPD, my students who have been stopped and frisked, my students whose parents work multiple jobs, my students on free and reduced-price lunch, my students whom white adults move away from because they look “scary.”

    I try, when I can, to listen to them, because only by validating their feelings can we begin to find a way to overcome the challenges they face. That doesn’t mean I let them off easy when they do something wrong. But I try to understand the why.

    I don’t need you to validate anyone’s actions, but I need you to validate what black America is feeling. If you cannot understand how experiences like mine or my students’ would lead to hopelessness, pain, anger, and internalized oppression, you are still not listening. So listen. Listen with your heart.

    If you got this far, thank you. By reading this, you have shown you are trying. Continue the conversation, ask questions, learn as much as you can, and choose to engage. Only by listening and engaging can we move forward.

    Black is Beautiful and Black Lives Matter,


    Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia) – yes, Tony’s blog post on the matter, one more time! Because we’re here for all black lives.

    Dear NBC, BBC, CNN, and others: Mugshots are for criminals and murderers, not their victims – a look at how victims and killers are portrayed.

    A grand jury in Cincinnati indicted University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing yesterday for the murder of Sam DuBose, an unarmed black man, during a traffic stop a few weeks ago.

    “This is without question a murder,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said yesterday. “It was a senseless, asinine shooting.”

    But to look at some of the images chosen by media outlets yesterday, it would be hard to say who was the killer and who was the victim.

    Here’s what NBC decided to use, an old mug shot of murder victim Sam DuBose, alongside a photo of Ray Tensing in full police regalia, with a U.S. flag nicely positioned in the background [pair of photos]

    Here’s what a mugshot of an accused murderer next to his victim should look like [pair of photos]

    Using a mugshot that has no relevance to the circumstances in which Sam DuBose was killed—up against a fully-uniformed photo of his accused killer—suggests that DuBose did something criminal to instigate the cop in his shooting. As yesterday’s grand jury decision confirms, this is blatantly not true. It warps the real story: a cop who allegedly killed an innocent man for no good reason.

    Let’s say this together: murder victims are not perpetrators. Don’t portray them as if they are. #dobetter

    More examples at the link.

  48. rq says

    A Brave Interview: Raising A Black Child In America

    Headlines are again blanketing us with images of an unarmed black man being killed by a white police officer. Not for doing something wrong, but for simply being black.

    The question hanging as 25-year-old Officer Ray Tensing faces spending much of his life in prison for the murder of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose is how many more black people are yet to be killed, murdered, as a direct result of racism before something changes? I don’t know. No-one can.

    I often wonder how different my life would be if had not been born white. And, as a mother of four children (including three teenage sons), I wonder what it must be like to be raising black children in America. How would I parent them differently? What if I had to warn my playful, outgoing sons to never carry a toy that may be mistaken for a gun? What if I had to teach them to arm themselves against prejudice and implicit bias? What if I could not let them risk the mistakes of the white children they go to school with without putting their very lives at risk?

    Ending racism will take courage. Courage to look ourselves in the mirror and to ask where by our action, inaction, denial or sheer indifference we are complicit in the racism that we see around us. Finding that courage first demands recognizing that regardless of our position, power or even the hue of our skin, we are more powerful than we think and never underestimating the ripple effect we set in motion when we decide to be the change we wish to see in the world around us.

    And as a parent, I believe that we have an obligation to amplify that ripple effect by raising the next generation of children to be more tolerant than those which have gone before them.

    So as part of my Brave Interview Series, I reached out to Clint Smith, a black poet and Harvard doctoral candidate whose TED Talk, “Raising A Black Son In America,” helped those of us who have never had to worry about such things to see with new eyes. I hope his answers will help you do likewise, because the only way we will ever end the racism that still runs deep in American culture, and in other countries around the world, is when white people care about ending it as deeply as black people do.

    Interview at the link. Clint Smith is excellent. And he has some beautiful poetry out there, too. I recommend.

  49. rq says

    The Continuing Reality of Segregated Schools

    Most black children will not be killed by the police. But millions of them will go to a school like Michael Brown’s: segregated, impoverished and failing. The nearly all-black, almost entirely poor Normandy school district from which Brown graduated just eight days before he was killed placed dead last on its accreditation assessment in the 2013-2014 school year: 520th out of 520 Missouri districts. The circumstances were so dire that the state stripped the district of its accreditation and eventually took over.

    In the months following Brown’s death, I traveled to Normandy and wrote a piece called “School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson” for ProPublica and The New York Times, published last December.

    But I couldn’t stop reporting this story, as I had found something there that seemed straight out of a history book. A Missouri law had inadvertently created a new school integration program in one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the country by allowing Normandy students to leave their unaccredited school district and transfer to white, high-achieving ones.

    I teamed up with Chana Joffe-Walt, a producer for the radio program “This American Life,” to tell the story of Michael Brown’s school district through the students who remain there. It is a story of children locked away from opportunity, what happens when those children are given a chance to escape failing schools and what happens to those children left behind. It is a story of how powerful people decided to do something only when the problems of the worst district in the state were no longer contained. And above all, it is a story of the staggering educational inequality we are willing to accept.

    I believe the article has a link to the audio.

  50. says

    Alabama man says cop threatened him with murder:

    A white Alabama police officer was caught on a secret recording discussing ways to kill a black man and cover it up, it was revealed Tuesday.

    The 2013 incident was quietly settled out of court and ended with the officer keeping his job, according to legal documents and interviews with lawyers and officials involved in the case.

    Man, cops get to keep their jobs for doing and saying shit that would get civilians in a load of trouble.

    The recording, first reported by the Guardian and obtained by NBC News, captures Alexander City Officer Troy Middlebrooks during a May 2013 visit a home where the suspect, Vincent Bias, was visiting relatives.

    At one point, the officer pulls Bias’ brother-in-law — who is white — aside and tells him he doesn’t trust Bias. Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges weeks earlier, and seemed to be frustrated that he had made bail.

    Middlebrooks tells Bias’ brother-in-law, that if he were the suspect’s relative, he would “f—ing kill that motherf——” and then arrange the crime scene to “make it look like he was trying to f—ing kill me.”

    But I’m sure he has nothing against black people. He’ll probably even let a black person use his restroom.

    A month after that incident, Bias’ lawyers told the city it intended to sue the city of 14,875 people for $600,000. They drafted a lawsuit that accused Alexander City police of harassing him, and included the contention that Middlebrooks also called Bias the N-word.

    Bias’ legal notice was passed to the city’s insurance company, which arranged a settlement of far smaller amount: $35,000, according to Alexander City’s attorney, Larkin Radney.

    With that agreement, Bias never sued. The unfiled complaint was obtained by both the Guardian and NBC News.

    Bias lawyer Eric Hutchins has called for a state and federal investigation.

    Middlebrooks, meanwhile, remains on the job. He could not be reached by NBC News for comment.

    Alexander City Mayor Charles Shaw and Police Chief Willie Robinson did not respond to calls seeking comment.

    Chief Robinson, who is black, told the Guardian that Middlebrooks was disciplined, but he declined the paper’s request for details.

    Robinson defended Middlebrooks, saying, “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that.”

    Dude, you don’t know that. More importantly, this is police officer. This kind of language is unbecoming of cops who are entrusted with authority and power. They are supposed to serve and protect. How can this guy be trusted to serve and protect black people if he’s going to say hateful, racist crap like this?

    The chief also told the paper that he personally disagreed with the city’s decision to settle with Bias.

    “It’s a whole lot different if you hear both sides,” Robinson said.

    Both sides?
    Both motherfucking sides?!
    There is no justification for a cop saying such things, no matter *what* the “other side” is.

    Middlebrooks exchanged text messages with a Guardian reporter in which he said he had been cleared in a state inquiry. But the state Bureau of Investigation told the paper it had no record of looking into the case.

    Bias, 49, told NBC News that he took the money in hopes of moving away from Alexander City, where he claims he was unfairly targeted by police, in part because of his race.

    But he said that after the recording surfaced, and he threatened a lawsuit, the police added to the drug charges against him until he felt he had no choice but to plead guilty. “They forced my hand,” he said.

    Bias said he served 14 months in a county jail, and was released two months ago.

    He said he has only discussed the allegations with his lawyers. He said he was never interviewed by internal affairs investigators.

    So chances are the cop wasn’t cleared, bc there doesn’t seem to have been any inquiry. Does this mean ::gasp:: that he lied?

  51. says

    <a href= "http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2015/08/lawsuit_details_brutal_attack_on_innocent_man_by_shreveport_cops_who_allegedly.html?wpisrc=topstoriesLawsuit details brutal attack on innocent man by Shreveport cops who allegedly beat and sodomized him:
    (note: that’s the actual title of the article)

    A Houston man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Shreveport, La., and several police officers who he alleges falsely arrested and brutalized him, including sodomizing him with a nightstick while he was in the back of a patrol car, the Shreveport Times reports.

    According to the lawsuit, Desmond Lewis was walking away from Walgreens Pharmacy on the evening of July 12, 2014, when he was approached by two police officers (identified in the lawsuit as Officer Bordelon and Officer Owen) in a patrol car.

    They were allegedly in the area responding to a burglary call and demanded that Lewis come toward the vehicle.

    Lewis alleges that he ran away out of fear and that Bordelon and Owen, along with a third officer identified in the lawsuit as Officer Hayes, chased him “without cause.” Once they caught up to him, they allegedly took him down with a “straight-arm bar tactic” and handcuffed him.

    According to the lawsuit, the officers admitted that Lewis was not the suspect they were looking for in the area. Still, they allegedly insisted that he must be arrested for something, since they had used force in apprehending and detaining him.

    It got even worse from there.

    After pushing Lewis face-first into a patrol car, Officer Bordelon allegedly punched Lewis several times in the face without provocation and beat him across the legs with his nightstick. It was then that Bordelon is reported to have sodomized Lewis, who was then facedown in the patrol car.

    Lewis was allegedly bleeding so profusely through his shorts that after he received medical attention from paramedics with the Shreveport Fire Department, they recommended that he be transported by ambulance to the Louisiana State University hospital for “required treatment.”

    (bolding mine)
    1- More cops being fucking vile assholes
    2- Why is this referred to as ‘sodomy’, rather than what it was- rape?

  52. abb3w says

    I presume that at least some of the previous threads have brought up Altemeyer’s RWA and Pratto’s SDO scales, and their correlations to prejudice.

    I’ve also previously noted that they seem to shed some light on the social justice controversy within the Freethought movement. RWA is strongly correlated to religiosity; SDO is uncorrelated. So, while the skeptic movement seems to tend light on xenophobes, there’s just as much contempt-based prejudice as in the wider society. Possibly more so, among organized groups. Some of the institutions arising in Ingersoll’s era had by the mid-20th century seem to have fallen to this.

    The racist/sexist faction seems to have been swept even more thoroughly under the rug than the communists, but howsoever much the contemporary humanist faction might wish it to have never existed, it seems to have been one of the major strains.

  53. says

  54. says

    Today is the one year anniversary of the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown, Jr. at the hands of ex-police officer Darren Wilson.


    A children’s illustrator is getting hate for her anti-racist art:

    Illustrator Mary Engelbreit has made many fans for her work in stationery, home goods, and children’s books for over 30 years.

    But today, some of those fans are not so happy with anti-racist artwork she’s posted on her Facebook as a tribute to Michael Brown, who was killed nearly a year ago.

    The first, posted early this morning, shows a mother and child in front of a newspaper (from “Everywhere, USA”) that reads, “Hands up! Don’t shoot.”

    The second post seems to be a response to reactions to the previous picture.

    It reads, “I will not stay silent so that you can stay comfortable.”

    The posts have indeed resulted in a lot of backlash from fans renouncing the artwork (though Engelbreit has also received a bunch of support).

    Click the link for screencaps of the backlash as well as the support she has received.

    Also, note the amount of fucks she gives:

    “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

  55. says


    It’s so nice to see that ME still has that edge when she wants to bring it out. She seemed to have gone all Christianitish, but it looks like there’s still more to her.

  56. Pen says

    Can I do a ‘casual racism of the day’ anecdote here? Even if it’s technically for Toronto, just over the border? This one’s really exemplary of how casual racism happens – and how its entangled with the personality of the deliverer to the point where you can’t quite pin racism down on them. Also, nobody gets killed fortunately, but two people get embarrassed and irritated while the perpetrator goes scot free.

    So there I am at the car rental counter in Toronto, and the white woman behind it really was a grumpy old whatever, but she was treating me fairly civilly. Then a black guy comes along and he has one of those questions that require a one-second answer, so he butts in with it during a quiet moment. I give him a big welcoming smile because, yeah, it’s a pain to wait for 15 minutes when your question takes 1 second, and I was all for her dealing with it. People do that all the time. Not with this employee. She tells him in the nastiest tone she can muster that she’s with a customer and he’ll have to wait. Not content, she starts trying to catch my eye while she pulls disapproving faces about him. Yuck! Before she was done, I needed a shower, not a car. I had a really bad feeling about her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone treat a reasonably well-dressed white guy that way AND try to drag another customer into it – heck, in Chicago, I just waited 45 minutes to sign a form while another white woman discussed shopping opportunities with the employee! But what do I know? Toronto-car-rental-person did have a grumpy personality. It’s not like I have enough to file a complaint against her. I’m just left with a bad feeling.

    ‘Kay, I’ll leave you all to the really heavy stuff now.

  57. says

    Shots fired in Ferguson after mostly peaceful Michael Brown, Jr. anniversary:

    “Multiple shots fired in Ferguson. Please leave the area of Ferguson and West Florissant,” the St. Louis County Police Department tweeted just after 11:15 p.m. local time. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured. Later, the police department confirmed in a statement that a police officer was involved in a shooting “after officers came under heavy gunfire.”
    Hours earlier, hundreds of people gathered at the memorial for Brown, an unarmed black teen who was shot dead in the middle of the street by a white police officer exactly one year ago.

    Teddy bears and candles now mark the memorial on Canfield Drive where the community’s outrage over Brown’s death planted the seeds for protests that would grow into a national movement decrying police violence.

    Flanked by other families who have lost loved ones at the hands of police, Michael Brown Sr. led the crowd to pause in silence at 11:55 a.m. CT – the exact time the unarmed teen was shot and killed. He stood in silence for four and a half minutes, representing each hour his son’s body was left in the street.

    Fuck. I just had a chilling thought. How many black families have lost a loved one due to police brutality within the last year? The last 5? The last 10? Could we fit them all in a civic center? A massive football stadium?

  58. Pen says

    @ Tony #73 – “How many black families have lost a loved one due to police brutality within the last year? The last 5? The last 10?”

    The Guardian is attempting to count them: How many black families have lost a loved one due to police brutality within the last year? The last 5? The last 10?

    Apparently, the total for all races killed this year is around 550, with black people twice as likely to die. Let’s round that to about 400, with a projected figure of 800 this year? And it probably isn’t unreasonable to multiply by however many years… I don’t know how many people fit in a civic center or football stadium. Whatever, it’s still too many.

    The Guardian also notes that black people are not only twice as likely to die, but about twice as likely to be unarmed and doing nothing very much at the start of the incident.

  59. Pen says

    #74 & 75 – Whoops, I did my maths wrong. Black people being twice as likely to be killed needs to take population demographics into account.

    Of the 547 people found by the Guardian to have been killed by law enforcement so far this year, 49.7% were white, 28.3% were black and 15.5% were Hispanic/Latino.

    So, actually, the projected figure for black deaths in one year is around 200, about half what I first thought.

  60. Pen says

    – 400!!! Could the curators please just correct that last post, and i’m going to go an do something about the jetlag.

  61. says

    Can I drop this link here?
    Armed “Oathkeepers” Show Up in Ferguson

    In the midst of a spasm of tension in Ferguson, Missouri, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, several heavily armed men carrying assault rifles and flak jackets appeared, and they weren’t cops.
    Instead, they said they were members of the Oath Keepers. The group, led by a man identified only as John, told reporters they were in Ferguson to protect a journalist for InfoWars.com, a conservative website run by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

    Yeah, this should end well.

  62. rq says

    There’s two counts, I believe the other one is by the Washington Post, but I could be wrong. Their count is much higher, over 600 (might be near 700 by now). The two counts have slightly different criteria.
    Either way, both are projecting something near 1000 deaths by police for the year (last year, I believe, it was around 1100, but these are memory-numbers so may not be accurate. I’ve been posting occasional updates on the Count (when I remember) here.


    In any case, for those switching over from the Look At All the White People thread, here we are.
    I know this comes late in the thread, but here’s a Welcome! comment from me and Tony:

    Here’s a quick note from your Friendly Neighbourhood Curators (NOT moderators!). First, we are curators, not moderators, which means we can only indicate the direction we would like to see in this thread, and rely on PZ to wield the Banhammer in case of trolls. See example above.
    So. We would like to encourage everyone to comment and/or post things of racist relevance (as they come up, so no need to go out of your way, but if you see something…), and since it says ‘America’ and not ‘USAmerica’, posts re: Canada, Brazil, Haiti, etc. and all other American (north and south) countries are most welcome (I emphasize because upthread someone apologized for posting about Canada – sorry, as Canadians, no apologies allowed! :) ). There is a focus on USAmerica, since it seems to be in a unique and tragic state of affairs, but this is not an absolute requirement (stories from the UK and Australia and pretty much anywhere else are also welcome, for compare-and-contrast).
    This thread is, however, a continuation of threads looking at the various ways systemic racism manifests in the United States (esp. criminal justice). This will continue to be a focus, but not an exclusive one (entertainment, arts, personal blog, sports, etc. stories are also most welcome).
    Most importantly: GOOD NEWS re: racism is ALSO most welcome. On occasion one does come across such.

    We do encourage sharing of stories of observed or noticed racism. Or positive stories about racism being called out, in big or small ways, or of people working to change things either within their community, or working to help another community. Because it’s important also to note the small, individual manifestations along with the larger, more visible events and actions.

    And just a small request from me (rq) to my fellow white people: for those of us who are white, can we please refrain from comments about how ‘police were aggressive to me once, so I totally understand / so I can believe it’s a lot worse for black people’? I can understand the desire to try and empathize in this way, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year of curation, it’s that we, as white people will never understand, and it’s useless to express our own experiences, as if this is necessary for us to believe and listen to black voices. I don’t think we will ever (barring an absolute police state) have the same all-encompassing, visceral anxiety re: police brutality, as white people. There was that cartoon where the white guy says ‘I’m scared of police’ and the black guy replies ‘I’m scared to death of police’. Let’s keep that difference in mind.

    (Here I would like to separate individual, terrible experiences with police (esp. regarding things like rape) that have a similar (if not the same) effect (which means ‘individual’ might be a bad word, because sexual assault victims as a group, I think, are treated terribly by the justice system, in general). But these particular experiences, I think, would be a better fit for the Through a Feminist Lens thread – though, without a doubt, there will be overlap.)

    And as a reminder of where it all started, here’s PZ’s first post on Michael Brown Jr, though first mention goes to Tony in the Lounge (comment 448), with a link to one of the first news stories at 449. I believe PZ’s post then connects to all subsequent posts – if it doesn’t, the next place to look is “Good Morning, America“. Other posts from PZ and a few other FtB bloggers are usually linked through as well.

    And to finish off, here’s Dana Hunter on Bernie Sanders fans, with some advice (and links!) on who to listen to and who to read to achieve some clarity re: BLM.


  63. says

    Be nice if this could spread throughout the country:
    California Governor Jerry Brown signs bill banning grand juries in police use-of-force cases:

    Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation prohibiting the use of grand juries in California in cases where police officers use lethal force, a response to distrust of the grand jury process following the deaths of unarmed black men in other states.

    Proponents of Senate Bill 227 argued the grand jury process is too secretive and allowed prosecutors to avoid decision-making responsibility in politically charged cases.

    “One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand why SB 227 makes sense,” the bill’s author, Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement after Brown announced signing the bill Tuesday. “The use of the criminal grand jury process, and the refusal to indict as occurred in Ferguson and other communities of color, has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise our justice system.”

    Law enforcement groups representing district attorneys and police chiefs opposed the bill. The Democratic governor signed the measure without comment.

    Brown also signed Senate Bill 411, clarifying that people can shoot video of police.

    “Today, California makes it unequivocal – you have the right to record,” Sen. Ricardo Lara, the bill’s author, said in a prepared statement.

    After the decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, I have found I’m not happy with the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

  64. rq says

    Quebec considering removing N-word from 11 place names – yep, it’s there, even in la belle province!

    A stretch of the Gatineau River that has officially been called Nigger Rapids for decades could be renamed — along with 10 other sites in Quebec whose names include the racial slur.

    But the provincial body that manages Quebec’s place names says there has been little public pressure to rename the sites.

    The rapids are located in the municipality of Bouchette about 120 kilometres north of Ottawa. They were named in memory of a black couple who drowned there in the early 1900s, said Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, spokesman for the Quebec Toponymy Commission.

    After decades of being known by their informal name by the locals, the commission officially recognized the name in 1983.

    “It was meant to describe the people who died,” LeBlanc said. “There was no pejorative connotation then as there is now.”

    LeBlanc said that no formal request by residents has been made to change the name of the rapids but that the commission is considering whether it should rename all 11 sites that include the racial slur.

    Okay, I get descriptives, but to say there was no pejorative connotation back then…? I think… I think he’s wrong. What’s nice is that the commission is considering the name-change without any actual outcry from the public – which means that someone in that commission is being so PC as to actually think ahead of the crowd! And that is a good thing.

    From Tuesday, about Monday night: Ferguson unrest: More than a dozen arrests in 4th night of Ferguson protests; also on Monday, Michael Brown anniversary: State of emergency declared after shooting, protests.

    From Monday, about Sunday: Ferguson braces for nightfall after state of emergency declared.

    More recently, Christian Taylor shooting: Texas police officer fired – I wonder if he will be able to live on donations from now on, too?

    A police officer who killed an unarmed college football player during a suspected burglary at a Texas car dealership was fired for making mistakes that the city’s police chief said caused a deadly confrontation that put him and other officers in danger.

    Arlington officer Brad Miller, 49, could also face criminal charges once police complete their investigation, Police Chief Will Johnson said.

    Called to the scene of a suspected burglary early Friday morning, Miller pursued 19-year-old Christian Taylor through the broken glass doors of a car dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer, Johnson said.

    Instead of setting up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted Taylor and ordered him to get down on the ground, Johnson said. Taylor did not comply. Instead, he began “actively advancing toward Officer Miller,” Johnson said.

    Miller’s field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, drew his own Taser. The training officer heard a single pop of what he thought was Miller’s Taser, but Miller actually had drawn his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, Johnson said. He fired his gun three more times, Johnson said.

    “Decisions were made that had catastrophic outcomes,” Johnson said.

    And they’re still calling it a suspected burglary.

    Ferguson unrest: Protesters gather for peaceful demonstration

    About 100 protesters gathered along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson late Tuesday in a demonstration that was decidedly smaller and calmer than others on recent nights.

    Attendees mostly mingled quietly along the side of the road. Some chanted, and a few held signs. Police officers, most wearing riot gear, appeared to outnumber protesters.

    The St. Louis suburb has seen demonstrations for days marking the anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting death by a Ferguson police officer sparked a national “Black Lives Matter” movement. Tuesday was the fifth consecutive night a crowd gathered on West Florissant, the thoroughfare that was the site of massive protests and rioting after Brown was killed. Other nights drew hundreds of people, and one protest earlier in the week was disrupted by gunfire.

    Larry Miller, 58, organizer of the protest group Ferguson Freedom Fighters, said late Tuesday that it was clear the latest round of demonstrations were dying down. He wasn’t convinced much was accomplished.

    “We already know what needs to be happening is not happening,” Miller said. “We’re still bothered over the killing of Mike Brown because we still need police reform, criminal justice system reform.”

    The St. Louis County executive, Steve Stenger, declared a state of emergency Monday. Stenger said the state of emergency could be lifted as soon as Wednesday, depending upon how Tuesday night unfolded.

    Oath Keepers controversial

    Earlier Tuesday, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar was critical of an armed militia group patrolling the streets of Ferguson, saying the overnight presence of the Oath Keepers, who wore camouflage bulletproof vests and openly carried rifles and handguns along West Florissant Avenue, was “both unnecessary and inflammatory.” Stenger expressed a similar view.

    The far-right anti-government activist group is largely comprised of past and present members of the military, first-responders and police officers. John Karriman, an Oath Keepers leader from southwest Missouri, said members plan to remain in Ferguson at least through the end of the week.

    Late Tuesday night, a handful of members arrived. None appeared to be carrying long rifles.

    Belmar was ‘critical’ of them. What would he say if it was a group of black men exercising the same right?

  65. rq says

    Ha! CTV journalist Tom Walters charged one year after Ferguson protests.
    I had a whole other comment with more Canadian media links but I think moderation et it all up. I forgot to remove some bad words.

    Also, here’s an article from August 5 of last year. Earlier this year – I believe in July? – we saw a number of articles on the threat white supremacist organizations pose to USAmerican domestic safety. It seems to be a recurring theme, and yet the authorities don’t seem to be taking these people with the seriousness they deserve. See also: Oath Keepers (tangentially related).
    Anyway, here’s the article: Nonpartisan Study: Sovereign Citizens Pose Bigger Threat To USA Than Islamic Extremists.

  66. rq says

    And from CTV News itself,
    CTV’s Tom Walters nearly a year after Ferguson arrest.

    Other stories from there:
    ‘I have a dream’ speech warm-up recording discovered in North Carolina, which is neat!

    Before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington in 1963, he fine-tuned his civil rights message before a much smaller audience in North Carolina.

    Reporters had covered King’s 55-minute speech at a high school gymnasium in Rocky Mount on Nov. 27, 1962, but a recording wasn’t known to exist until English professor Jason Miller found an aging reel-to-reel tape in a town library. Miller played it in public for the first time Tuesday at North Carolina State University.

    “It is part civil rights address. It is part mass meeting. And it has the spirit of a sermon,” Miller said. “And I never before heard Dr. King combine all those genres into one particular moment.”

    King used the phrase “I have a dream” eight times in his address to about 2,000 people at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, eight months before electrifying the nation with the same words at the March on Washington.

    He also referred to “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners,” saying he dreamed they would “meet at the table of brotherhood.” On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King changed that to “sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” In both speeches, “Let Freedom Ring” served as his rallying cry.

    “It’s not so much the message of a man,” the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, said Tuesday. “It’s the message of a movement, which is why he kept delivering it. It proves once again that the ‘I have a dream’ portion was not a good climax to a speech for mere applause, but an enduring call to hopeful resistance and a nonviolent challenge to injustice.”

    Miller discovered the recording while researching “Origins of the Dream,” his book exploring similarities between King’s speeches and the poetry of Langston Hughes. His ah-ha moment came when he learned through a newspaper story about a transcript of the speech in state archives. If there’s a transcript, then there must be a recording, he thought.

    After 2 nights of tension, a peaceful protest with no arrests in Ferguson;
    Police chief fires Texas officer who killed unarmed college football player.

  67. says

    Over at Ferris State University, the Jim Crowe Museum of Racist Memorabilia has their Question of the month up:

    Q: After seeing the Philadelphia 76ers new alternative logo, I wondered how many African Americans have been depicted as team logos and mascots?

    The answer is long and involved.
    Here’s an excerpt:

    My hope in responding to this question is to generate interest in research by friends of the museum. Because there have been thousands of sports teams from high school to minor leagues to professional leagues, it is virtually impossible to search all the historical logos and mascots to find African American representations, either positive or negative. However, I was able to find some logos and mascots designed after African American imagery. I hope our audience will help lead us to more.

    Considering the numerous caricatures of African Americans in advertising, marketing, toys, games, and entertainment. I was rather relieved that I was not able to find hundreds of caricatured images of black Americans used as logos and mascots. That is not to say they don’t exist, I just wasn’t able to find many.

    There are over 2000 Native American mascots, logos, or references for athletic teams in the United States (Native American mascots). Some are blatantly offensive, some are “honoring,” and some are a bit ambiguous. Many have changed their names, but still the controversy rages over the remaining teams using Native American heritage and images as logos and mascots.

    76ers Logo
    As far as African Americans used as mascots, logos, or referenced, I found many that were associated with the Negro leagues, (football, basketball, and baseball leagues), and some used African countries and tribes in the team names. For example, the Indianapolis Clowns franchise had previously been called the Miami Ethiopian Clowns (History of Indianapolis Clowns). Teams like the Ethiopian Clowns, the Zulu Cannibal Giants from Louisville, Kentucky, and the Borneo Cannibal Giants, were famed for their comedic style of play and vaudeville type routines (Black Ball). In some contests, the players “painted their faces, put rings in their noses, and played in straw dresses” (I was Right on Time). One theory is that the popularity of the Harlem Globetrotters could be attributed to the popularity of the “pepperball and shadowball” performances of these teams. (Black Ball).

  68. says

    Bernie Sanders lets civil rights activists open Los Angeles campaign event:

    “There is no president that will fight harder to end institutional racism,” said Sanders, who was answered with a deafening roar and chants of “Bernie” from a packed Los Angeles Sports Arena, whose usual capacity is about 16,000 people.

    The rally began taking on the issue head-on as Symone Sanders — Bernie Sanders’ new national press secretary who is not related to the candidate — opened the program and talked at length about racial injustice.

    Symone Sanders is a black criminal justice advocate and a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter movement, and said Sanders was the candidate to fight for its values.

    “It is very important that we say the words ‘black lives matter,’ Symone Sanders said. “But it’s also important to have people in political office who are going to turn those words into action. No candidate for president is going to fight harder for criminal justice reform and racial justice issues than Senator Bernie Sanders.”

    On Saturday, protesters from Black Lives Matter took over a microphone at a Sanders event in Seattle and forced him to abandon an afternoon speech.

    On Monday night Comedian Sarah Silverman gave the night a Hollywood touch for Sanders, who had begun the day in front of a much smaller but still significant group of a few hundred nurses in Northern California whose national union gave Sanders its endorsement.

    The nurses in Oakland warmly welcomed Sanders, along with his message of taxing the wealthy, better health care for all, and free college tuition for students.

    In a short speech, Sanders railed against the one percent who he says are gobbling up property at the expense of everyone else. He said it’s crazy that people go to jail for drugs while Wall Street speculators have faced zero punishment. And he said that the U.S. health care system is a global embarrassment.

    “This land does belong to you and me, it belongs to all of us and not a handful,” Sanders said to members of National Nurses United who were at the site and also listening by phone and web.

    National Nurses United, the largest organization of nurses with 185,000 members, formally endorsed him at the event.

    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016. But Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has gained a fervent following among people energized by his populist campaign and his plain talk.

    Sanders in his California appearances mostly avoided criticizing Clinton directly as he has in most campaign events.

    Sanders and other Democrats have had recent struggles with activists from the Black Lives Matter movement, who want much more from presidential contenders on racism and race relations.

    At a town hall for Democratic presidential candidates in Phoenix last month, protesters took over the stage and disrupted an interview with Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    A nurse in Oakland on Monday asked Sanders by phone how he would address racism within the criminal justice system. His answer was prompt.

    “When we talk about creating a new America, at the top of our list is the end of racism in all its ugly forms,” he said. “All of us were nauseated, when we have seen the videos … we know that if those folks were white they would not be dragged out of cars and thrown into jails.”

    Sanders’ response received generous applause in Oakland. A woman in the crowd yelled, “Senator, do black lives matter to you?”

    “Yes,” he said.

    (bolding mine)


    Marissa Johnson speaks out about taking the mic from Bernie Sanders:

    Last Saturday, Johnson and fellow Black Lives Matter of Seattle protester Mara Jacqeline Willaford disrupted a rally in support of Medicaid expansion in Washington state as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was getting up to speak. When the two women grabbed the microphone and screamingly insisted they were being reasonable by refusing to let the rally proceed, Sanders left the stage.

    The stunt has left many on the left at odds. Johnson and Willaford’s supporters claim that the two women are acting with the urgency required in a situation where black people’s lives and bodies are being destroyed by police on a daily basis.

    Critics say that the interruption amounted to little more than a clownish tantrum that drove as many people away from the Black Lives Matter cause as it could have attracted.

    Johnson says she doesn’t care, ultimately, whether the tactics are alienating.

    “I feel good,” she said by phone. “I helped launch a national conversation around race and electoral politics and respectability that’s still going strong two days later. I could not be better.”

    Going after Bernie Sanders is “super important,” Johnson said, because “Sanders is supposed to be as far left and progressive as you can possibly get and in Seattle’s political context? I know that really, really well, right? We have hordes and hordes of white liberals and white progressives and yet we still have all the same racial problems. So for us locally in our context, confronting Sanders was the equivalent of confronting the large, white, liberal Democrat leftist contingent that we have here in Seattle who not only has not supported BLM in measurable ways but is often very harmful and is upholding the white supremacist society that we live in.”

    I implore her critics to keep the bolded portion (my doing) in mind.

    Johnson said she and her group have not disrupted any Hillary rallies because “Hillary has better Secret Service than Obama.”

    “She’s doing these private dinners that are invite-only,” agreed Gandi. “It’s positively ludicrous for people to think that these activists would not be protesting Hillary if they could get to her.”

    “The work that I do in particular is agitation work,” Johnson said, when asked why she never contacted the Sanders campaign to ask for a spot in the rally’s program. “People are having these conversations, people are forced to do their own work and do their own reforms because of work that I’ve done on the ground.”

    “Well, what would you say to the people who say that you’re hurting your cause?” White asked.

    “I don’t give a fuck about the white gaze,” Johnson replied. “I don’t. I literally don’t.”

    When asked about her admission that she once supported former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Johnson explained that her parents, an interracial couple, are Tea Party supporters and that she was a supporter of the former vice presidential candidate when she was a high schooler in 2008.

    “Clearly that’s not where I am, because people leave high school and go to college and [change their views],” she explained, adding that she was a “devout evangelical Christian.”

  69. says

    In case there is any doubt, the fool posting above is not me, nor are they related to my blog. They are a troll trying to stir up shit, so please don’t listen to them. PZ will happily ban this latest fool posting where they know they are not wanted.

  70. says

    Sandra Bland: Talking while black:


    As linguists trained in analyzing variation in people’s speech, including the distinct ways African Americans talk, we believe that language and linguistic discrimination played a role in the failure of the interaction between Sandra Bland and Officer Encinia. In particular, we believe that Officer Encinia’s (mis)perception of Bland’s language style contributed to the escalation of the situation: Encinia’s perception of Bland’s “non-compliance”, which led to his pulling her from the car, was triggered not just by what Bland said, but also by how she said it. Several conservative commentators and proponents of respectability politics have blamed Bland for this escalation, essentially claiming that had she talked more “politely” she would still be alive today. That argument is problematic since it doesn’t hold the officer accountable for his actions and over-emphasizes the little control Bland had over the outcome of the situation. Instead, we argue that officer Encinia suffered a series of racially-influenced misreadings of Bland’s speech that led him to see her as especially emotional and uncooperative. It’s clear from Bland’s choice of of words that she was unhappy with the stop, but we claim that it was her tone, and not just her words, that was perceived by the officer as hostile, defiant, and threatening.

    Sandra Bland’s traffic stop occurred in a social context where African Americans suffer racial discrimination in everything from employment opportunities to interactions with the police. And as has been well-documented, language often plays an important role in this type of discrimination. Research shows that not only can listeners tell the difference between someone who “sounds black” and someone who “sounds white”, but that this ability to guess someone’s race based on how they talk has profound social consequences. Linguist John Baugh has shown that, for example, sounding black can be detrimental to a housing search, with landlords telling a caller that they hear as black that an apartment had already been rented out, but then later offering to show the still-vacant property to a caller who they hear as white-sounding. Much as African Americans are racially profiled (e.g. “driving while black”), many are also profiled on the basis of their speech.

    One element that varies between voices which are perceived as black and those which are perceived as white are differences in rhythm and melody. For example, scholars who study African American English (a cover term for a wide variety of ways of speaking commonly associated with African Americans; sometimes known as “ebonics”) have shown that black speakers may use more words with stressed accents on them (which we’ll write in ALL CAPS), and that those accented words are often louder and higher in pitch. This results in a variety of English that sounds distinctly African American, even if a speaker doesn’t use many of the stigmatized grammatical features commonly associated with African American English: a person can say a sentence that, on paper, is quite standard, but still be heard as sounding black. Sometimes this distinctive way of speaking is praised and seen as powerful: both Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama use features of African American English in their speech. But often, the distinctiveness of African American English is heard negatively, feeding into stereotypes that African Americans are “loud” or “dramatic”. These stereotypes are often aimed at black women in particular, and this can have negative effects: for example, a recent paper has shown that black girls are twice as likely to be suspended for the nebulous crime of “defiance”, a category that includes “talking back” and “having an attitude”, perceptions that were likely fueled by their distinct speech patterns.

  71. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    US civil rights activist Julian Bond dies aged 75

    Damn, damn, damn and damn. We need our wise elders to live forever. We need as many as we can get. We need to stop murdering our young who could become wise elders. We need to stop murdering.
    RIP Julian Bond.

  72. says

    Huge piece of black history found: Martin Luther King Jr’s first recording of ‘I Have A Dream’ speech found:

    English professor, Jason Miller, discovered the historical 55-min tape from Nov, 27, 1962 in a town library. He also had the honors of playing it for the first time at North Carolina State University.

    ”It is part civil rights address. It is part mass meeting. And it has the spirit of a sermon. I never before heard Dr. King combine all those genres into one particular moment,” said Miller.

    The phrase I have a dream was used by Dr. King eight times during his speech where he addressed approximately 2000 people. Miller found the recordings while researching, “Origins of the dream”, his book exploring the comparison of Kings’s speeches and poetry of Langston Hughes.

    While reading the newspaper, he learned there was a transcript of the speech in state archives. He figured if there was a transcript, there must be a recording too. After sending many emails and making a lot of calls, he finally got a response from Braswell Public Library in Rocky Mount.

    There were three people who were present during King’s speech in 1962 who were privileged to hear the recording play back thanks to Miller. One of those three people said, “this newly available recording is just as inspiring today.”

  73. says

    Sorry, Not sorry: Bernie Sanders nixes aides apology to Black Lives Matter :

    BuzzFeed’s Darren Sands reported Saturday that Sanders’ African-American outreach director, Marcus Ferrell, emailed a group of activists asking them to have a “more formal” meeting with the senator.

    “I apologize it took our campaign so long to officially reach out,” Ferrell wrote the activists. “We are hoping to establish a REAL space for REAL dialog between the folks on this email and our campaign.”

    The email also said that the campaign wanted to “have a more formal interaction with the movement. We wanted to let you know that we hear you, we want to do a better job speaking out on the issues, and as a sitting U.S. Senator, possibly introducing legislation and making a constitutional change.”

    But when asked on the NBC show whether he felt an apology to Black Lives Matter was necessary, the Vermont senator told Todd, “No, I don’t. I think we’re going to be working with all groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.”

    Before that, Sanders had flatly said, “We will meet with everybody,” then rattled off the names of different constituencies, indicating that Black Lives Matter is no more or less important than any other group he may or may not meet with.

    The exchange between Sanders and Todd was a study in how black advocates are treated by some progressives in a Democratic Party that depends on black votes to win on the national level. In the case of Sanders, his campaign avoids any specific endorsement of policies of concern to black advocates—in this case the specific policy agenda of Black Lives Matter. Meanwhile, progressives have had no problem loudly endorsing, supporting and repeating the concerns of other groups under the Democratic Party’s wide umbrella—even though those groups are less loyal. It’s hard to imagine Sanders saying that he’d meet with immigration or LGBT advocates just as he’d reach out to “all kinds of groups,” in a clear effort to negate their relative importance.


    Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad sparks latest n-word debate with Ta-Nehisi Coates book review:

    “On July 31, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published a review of several books on race and racism in the United States,” Karen Attiah reported Thursday for the Washington Post.

    “The series, written by the paper’s Washington correspondent Guus Valk, leads with a review of Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’s latest book, ‘Between the World And Me.’ Somewhere along the editorial process, the editors thought it would be a good idea to headline the article, ‘N*gger, Are You Crazy?’

    “If the headline weren’t appalling enough, the article compounded the offensiveness factor with its accompanying blackface figures . . .”

    Attiah quoted Michel Krielaars, editor of the Book supplement for NRC. She wrote, “In response to questions about the editorial decisions made with the piece, Krielaars said in e-mails that the headline was a quote from Paul Beatty’s satirical book ‘Sellout,’ which was reviewed.

    Krielaars also responded, “No, we didn’t assume it would offend Dutch readers (black or white), otherwise we wouldn’t have chosen it. Also we didn’t think about possible reactions by non-Dutch readers, because the article is in Dutch and it does not aim at non-Dutch readers.

    “The fact that, through the web, this article travels across the world we consider a good thing. But we don’t think it’s fair if the title travels by itself, without the context of the language in which the article was written. Having said that, we may have underestimated the possible impact on the image of a newspaper spread with these illustrations and this headline. We do regret this. . . .”

    Coates told Journal-isms by email that he would have no comment on the development.

    Coates has defended use of the N-word, employing it freely in his memoir, “A Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood” and writing a 2013 essay for the New York Times headlined, “In Defense of a Loaded Word.”

    However, Coates argued, the offensiveness of the word depends on who is using it.

    “A separate and unequal standard for black people is always wrong,” he wrote. “And the desire to ban the word ‘n*gger’ is not anti-racism, it is finishing school. When Matt Barnes [of the Los Angeles Clippers] used the word ‘n*ggas’ he was being inappropriate. When Richie Incognito [of the Miami Dolphins] and Riley Cooper [of the Philadelphia Eagles] used ‘n*gger,’ they were being violent and offensive.

    “That we have trouble distinguishing the two evidences our discomfort with the great chasm between black and white America. If you could choose one word to represent the centuries of bondage, the decades of terrorism, the long days of mass rape, the totality of white violence that birthed the black race in America, it would be ‘n*gger.’ . . .”

    (to prevent this post from being held in moderation, I have tweaked the n-word as it appeared in the original article by replacing the ‘i’ with an asterisks)

    They didn’t assume it would offend Dutch readers? Are there no black people in the Netherlands familiar with the N-word (and that read the paper)?

  74. says

    White supremacist Craig Cobb wants to name latest all-white enclave after Donald Trump:

    The 63-year-old Cobb bought $10,000 in property last month from a man in Antler, near the Canadian border, in hopes of setting up a church for his racist Creativity Movement and homes for like-minded white supremacists, reported WDAY-TV.

    He planned to rename the town to “Trump Creativity” or “Creativity Trump” to honor the Republican presidential frontrunner — who Cobb deeply admires.

    However, local residents and elected officials do not want Cobb or his associates in the town, so the city outbid him and closed a deal with the property owner — who has tried to return a down payment made by the white nationalist.

    Cobb complained that the property owner was pressured to back out of the original deal, and he said he doesn’t want his money back but he instead wants a deed to the property.

    He denied that he and other church members were “trying to rule over other people,” but he admitted that he hopes to draw enough white supremacists to his enclave to outnumber the town’s voting population — which he estimated to be 20 people.

    Cobb also denied that his community would exclude non-white residents, although he conceded that he might not welcome black people.

    “‘Welcome’ is a strong word,” Cobb said. “We understand that they have a legal right.”

    I think Cobb’s community would have to be NOT welcoming to Mexican-Americans for this to appeal to Trump.

  75. rq says

    I have some week-old articles that I said I’d put up. And I’m slowly trying to find a groove within which I can do things here and still do everything else in meatspace.
    Anyhow, onwards.

    A Year After Michael Brown, People Are Sharing Tough Truths With #FergusonTaughtMe

    As thousands around the nation gathered Sunday to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police, the hashtag #FergusonTaughtMe spread over social media like wildfire.

    In a year that saw a seemingly unending string of police violence against black men and women, activists and ordinary Americans took to Twitter in a sober assessment of the lessons learned.

    [examples of tweets]

    While protests and vigils in Ferguson were largely peaceful on Sunday, the anniversary was marred by gunfire when officers critically injured 18-year-old Tyrone Harris. According to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Harris had approached a police van with a gun and opened fire on officers. The teenager was shot multiple times when cops returned fire as he attempted to flee. According to his father, Harris had previously been close with Brown.

    He unloaded a “remarkable amount of gunfire” with a stolen handgun, Belmar told CNN, adding ordinary demonstrators were not the problem and were performing a valuable public service. “Protesters are people who are out there to effect change.”

    Since Brown’s death, the toll of police violence has been documented in grim detail by the website Killedbypolice.net. Walter Scott, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray were just three of the approximately 714 men and women killed by police in 2015.

    One thing I haven’t kept up with is twitter, hence I have no idea what the alternate narratives for Tyrone Harris currently are. I do think the official one has changed in the meantime. The “remarkable amount of gunfire” may not have been unloaded by Harris himself, but by police firing pretty much into a crowd. Annnnyway.

    Police Have Killed at Least 1,083 Americans Since Michael Brown’s Death – note: that number is already a week old.

    While the bulk of those killed from August 2014 to August 2015 were white, black people per population were more than twice as likely to be killed by cops than any other race, the data showed. African Americans are also more than three times as likely to be killed by police than white people, according to the statistics.

    Brown’s death was a seminal moment in arousing US consciousness of structural racial bias in police departments around the country, and the grand jury’s decision three months later not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed him, proved to many that that bias permeates every facet of the criminal justice system.

    “We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation,” President Barack Obama acknowledged at a press conference immediately after the Ferguson grand jury decision in November. “In too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.”

    Since Brown’s death, there have been signs of progress. In the wake of the nationwide protests that gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement, roughly 24 states have instituted at least 40 new laws or policies in place to stem officer-perpetrated violence and killings. In some cities, police departments have outfitted officers with bodycams to increase accountability, while in others, cops have been trained in impartial and community-based policing.

    The fast indictments of the cop who shot and killed Cincinnati man Sam Dubose last month, and of the six Baltimore officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death, were also welcomed by activists across the country. But in the data gleaned on civilian deaths by police in the last 12 months, VICE News came across only 22 cases where officers were indicted or charged with crimes for killing citizens, while a significant number more — at least 257 deaths — had been either ruled an accident or investigators found the officers were justified in their use of fatal force. The majority of incidences are still under investigation.

    Tory Russell, co-founder of Hands Up United, a Ferguson-based social justice nonprofit set up in the wake of Brown’s death, told VICE News that the response to calls for accountability have been lethargic and lukewarm in the city.

    “On the police side there’s been zero accountability,” Russell said from the sidelines of a peaceful march led by Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., in St. Louis on Saturday. Hands Up United has come together with a body of other groups to coordinate four days of events and civil disobedience actions, which began Friday. Organizers have dubbed it the “Ferguson Uprising Commemoration Weekend.”

    “All that DoJ report did was put our grievances and our pain on paper,” Russell said, adding that he found VICE News’ figures on the number of people killed by police “just staggering.”

    “If any other place [outside the US] were killing three of their citizens a day, America would go over there and go rescue them,” he said. “It’s scary — with so much technology and money — that the government can’t even collect the data on how many people its police are killing every year.”

    Despite Obama’s recent announced reforms to the country’s criminal justice system across America’s “communities, courtrooms, and cellblocks,” many civil rights groups are calling for even greater pushes from the nation’s leaders to bring about police accountability and prosecutorial justice.

    “It’s high time our national leaders — President Obama and Attorney General Lynch — match the courage of everyday people risking their life and liberty to end discriminatory policing,” Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, said in a statement Friday. “Why is there still no national database on police use of force? Why are indictments of those responsible for the tragic deaths of victims like Sandra Bland still so rare?”

    A huge stack of visuals at the link, too – great infographics for more visual readers. With all requisite numbers, too, of course.

    Yankees Affiliate: Timing Of Blue Lives Matter Day An ‘Unfortunate Coincidence’. Considering the origin of the phrase as a direct response to last year’s resurgence of #BlackLivesMatter, I really doubt that. I’m pretty sure there’s a team of people who are supposed to look into such things.

    On Sunday, one year to the day after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, people from the community gathered to remember and reflect.

    At the same time, halfway across the country in Staten Island, New York, baseball fans were made a part of a “Blue Lives Matter” event at a Staten Island Yankees-Brooklyn Cyclones game, which took place less than a mile away from where Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York City police officer.

    Playing off of “Black Lives Matter,” a movement launched to bring attention and advocacy to black Americans suffering against police brutality, Blue Lives Matter was launched less than a year ago to “help law enforcement officers and their families during their time of need.”

    In effect, however, “Blue Lives Matter” serves as a corollary, as many other police charities exist without having to stand on top of its namesake, the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.” The co-opting of this phrase and popular hashtag has come under much criticism from the black community.

    The Staten Island Yankees, a minor-league affiliate of the New York Yankees, first announced “Blue Lives Matter Day” in March, advertising that a $25 ticket would get entrants a “Blue Lives Matter” wristband with the SI Yankees logo and concessions.

    In a letter to Staten Island Yankees senior director of marketing Michael Holley, a reader of TheRoot.com succinctly laid out criticisms of the event:

    On the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, this is what the SI Yankees organization chooses to do? This is beyond poor judgement. Did it occur to anyone at the SI Yankees how alienating this is to fans who have been deeply affected by the events that spurred the “Black Lives Matter” movement, including those right here in Staten Island?

    Holley responded by apologizing for the seemingly political stance the Yankees took by hosting Blue Lives Matter and added that “our goal is to support those in need, and NOT to provide ammunition for the political and social battles that we are all facing.”

    He also defended the SI Yankees’ decision to host “Blue Lives Matter Day,” responding to The Root with an email that read, in part:

    We put a lot of thought into whether or not to hold this promotion when Blue Lives Matter originally approached us. We try our best to accurately represent the interests of our community, and this issue is so divisive that it seemed like people wanted us to draw a line in the sand. But the more we thought about it, it came to down to this: Blue Lives Matter is an organization that supports the families of those who have been killed in action. I can’t pretend for a minute to understand who is right and who is wrong when something like that happens, but I DO know that families should NOT have to suffer. And for that reason, anyone who wants our help in raising resources to help those in need in our community will always have our ear.
    I’m comfortable with the decision to support an organization that helps those in need, and I will continue to seek opportunities for the Staten Island Yankees to do so in the future.

    When reached by The Huffington Post on Monday morning, SI Yankees president Jane Rogers said, “There was never any intent to cause controversy or ill-will feelings toward anyone in the community or outside the community.”

    “It’s how we treat any group that comes to the ballpark for fundraising efforts,” she continued. “We do this constantly with many, many groups. It was never a matter of favoring one group over another.”

    “We wanted to raise money for the families,” added Holley over the phone on Monday. “[Blue Lives Matter] weren’t handing out any propaganda. There were no political motives.”

    The Yankees may have been ignorant of the date (far too ignorant, in my opinion), but the Blue Lives Matter organization most certainly was not. I’m placing bets on that.

    Officials Declare State of Emergency in Ferguson – it’s week-old news, I’m mostly wondering, has it been lifted yet? Mid-week I heard it was extended…

    Ferguson Protesters Report Police Opening Fire On Wall of Protesters

    It sounds almost reminiscent of the Kent State University massacre in 1970. But this is not a protest from the civil rights era, it is happening as we speak. Two protesters have just been shot in Ferguson, and many activists on the ground say the police are to blame.

    The demonstrators had gathered to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Mike Brown murder at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. But in the middle of a late-night confrontation Sunday night between police and protesters, two activists were gunned down – apparently by police officers.

    Police said they were just “trying to disperse a crowd” after some of the protesters were accused of “blocking traffic.”

    Apparently police believe that the appropriate way to disperse a crowd is by firing live ammunition at them.

    The Raw Story reports that “anniversary commemorations for Michael Brown had begun with a quiet march through the St. Louis suburb following a moment of silence for 18-year-old Brown, whose slaying on Aug. 9, 2014, ignited months of demonstrations and a national debate on race and justice.”

    But then cops with helmets and body armed moved in and confronted what formed into a line of protesters. The police ordered them to disperse, and when they did not, the cops opened fire according to reports on the ground coming in from several demonstrators.

    The protesters, locking arms and edging closer to the police cordon, began throwing water bottles and shouting, “We are ready for war!” Both sides held their ground, and police did not move immediately to make any arrests as clergy members and activists circulated between the two sides appealing for calm.

    “The St. Louis County Police Department was involved in an officer-involved shooting after officers came under heavy gunfire,” county police spokesman Shawn McGuire read from a prepared statement.

    The police are claiming that “two unmarked” police cars were also hit by gunfire.

    So there you have a non-police version of that night’s events.

    Bernie Sanders Announces New Policy Platform Aimed at Making Police Reform a Reality – which is all nice and good, right, especially considering his rather… lukewarm stance as posted by Tony just previous.

    After #BlackLivesMatter protesters co-opted a Bernie Sanders speech in Seattle in honor of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson one year ago in Ferguson, Sanders responded in an admirably progressive way. On Sunday, ahead of a massive event in Portland which ended up drawing at least 20,000 supporters, Sanders unveiled a new campaign policy via his website under the heading “Racial Justice.”

    The detailed platform addendum takes aim at what the Sanders campaign is calling the “four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans,” i.e. physical, political, legal, and economic. The call for change mentions Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and many others by name, adding that Americans “should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper.” Sanders also makes a point to categorize acts of violence instigated by white supremacists as “racist terrorism,” a subtle though remarkable act of accurate labeling.

    The article mentions ‘detail’ but I’ve read criticism that it’s mostly rhetoric and little concrete action-planing.

  76. rq says

    Photos: At Least 2 Protesters Arrested During NYC March For Michael Brown, some more of last week’s news.

    1-Year-Anniversary of Brown’s Death Marked by Police Shooting
    , by Jamilah Lemieux, via Ebony.

    Serena Williams Looks Stunning on the Cover of ‘New York’ Magazine’s Fashion Issue. Here’s to positive images!

    “Ferguson Represents The Shot Heard Around The World…”

    Since capitalism is the primary function of America, it is impossible to lead a true revolution in this country without an absolute power shift which empowers the poor. The response ushered in by the community after the death of Brown was the most organic Black American revolt of our time. The people that shifted this conversation and created the moment are the dirt poor women and men of St. Louis , Mo.

    Today, as the dawn of Brown’s death re-enters into our lives, we must refocus our efforts and re-commit ourselves to the actual fight which brought us here. We must celebrate the individuals of all genders and sexual preferences that fought the occupation of a militarized police force while 365 days later we are virtually struggling to keep the word “fight” alive in this movement. When each and every person in your army is on one accord, fighting for their life the political minutia of the boardroom does not have much room to prosper.

    ‪I know for fact the Ferguson Uprising was created on the shoulders and backbones of the most undesired members of our society. The front liners that never stepped one foot inside the safe house when the drama between the police and the community reached its most combustible point. These are the heroes and sheroes that are seldom discussed or remembered. These same human beings are also our front line of defense against this capitalistic system of governance because they are the working class and they have no other option but to fight like hell to break loose from the oppressive bondage of police brutality. The police are the Gestapo for the state and poor people of color are this societies peasants. I worry that currently in this movement for black liberation we are straying away from the true soldiers that are willing to fight like none other for our freedom. We have an obligation to analyze class and the respective privilege attached to its origin in America.

    ‪The Black American freedom struggle is deeply attached to all forms of oppression on planet Earth. Our political education efforts must be purposefully connected to a global worldview that will assist people of color worldwide. We can choose to fight and scream for inclusion into the political paradigm of this country or we can align ourselves with the revolutionary principles of oppressed people all over the world. In my opinion, Ferguson represents the shot heard around the world as poor Black people in America fight to push back against the system and henceforth start a modern day revolution.

    The science of Black liberation in this country is the alchemy of liberty for the entire world. The media has overly worked to portray poor Black freedom fighters as nothing more than savage looters and petty thieves. I believe these men and women are the most critical members of our family tree. The fact is one brick being launched through a glass window did more than one single ballot being cast prior to Mike Brown’s murder. We can mystify ourselves with any other type of logic but the reality is poor people are the leaders of our Black uprisings. These working class soldiers were fired from their fast food jobs in the name of resistance. The audacity of poor people is the gasoline of this movement and must be valued above anything else. A year later we have a deeper understanding of the system we are battling and we now know that a movement without serious class analysis is not a movement whatsoever. We desire for our efforts to be viewed as more than a contemporary pop culture moment. Over the course of the next year this will only happen if we are capable of adding a true class analysis to our politics.

    “This Year Of Protests Has Been The Year Of Purpose…”

    Out of nowhere, a tweet put me in shock; the kind of shock that would abruptly wake one up from a deep sleep. A young man traumatized that he had witnessed a murder occur in front of him. Not only traumatized at the lifeless body, but confused about why it occurred. “I don’t know. He had his hands up” was all he could say when onlookers asked why was he slain. Reading those words pierced my heart. Eventually, I saw the first protest sign that started it all, “Ferguson Police Department just killed my unarmed son.” I heard the cry of his mother, felt her righteous indignation, and confusion as to why her baby couldn’t have simply been injured, instead of his life being stolen. I watched as unarmed civilians were being confronted with militarized weapons and police gear for objecting to the injustice that occurred in our city. Suddenly, the abyss I was falling in became a small pothole – I just stepped right out of it and into the streets in protest for Black life. I had no choice but to take action, and eventually I became that unarmed citizen looking down the gun barrels of those called to protect and serve me.

    I spent this past year spewing this idea that Black lives actually matter, in contrast to society’s generally held belief that they don’t. In August 2014, I shouted these words on behalf of Michael Brown Jr. That his life mattered, that he was loved, that I loved him and loved all that God intended for him to become. I shouted these words on behalf of my comrades that faced those assault rifles with me in response to our cries for justice. Their life mattered to me, because as a Christian, I knew that their lives mattered to God. As a Believer, I felt it was my sole duty to be willing to sacrifice my life for other people by courageously facing adversity, no matter if it looked like assault rifles, dogs, flash bombs, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

    Their lives matter to the One I serve, and that’s all I need to know about them. However, it took approximately nine months before I could say the words “Black Lives Matter” with a personal conviction about my own life.

    This year of protest has been healing and renewing for me. These protests revitalized me. “Love God and love people” have been the new thoughts to rule in my mind. This year has been the year of new definitions, how I define success, how I define myself, how I define all aspects of love, it’s all revolutionized now. I’ve navigated away from what society says we “should” value, keeping in mind that this is the same society that devalues me. This same society caused me to internalize that devaluation. This year of protest has been the year of purpose. The year of community. The year of democracy. The year of blackness. This year of protest is the year that I understood that Black Lives Matter, Black Love Matters, and Black Liberation Matters, and all of that that applies to me too.

    Bernie Sanders Unveils Sweeping Policy Platform To Combat Racial Inequality. Still last week’s news.

  77. rq says

    Still with last week’s news! Nathan Bedford Forrest statue vandalized.

    #BlackLivesMatter Activists Arrested in Ferguson Anniversary Protests

    A day after the city of Ferguson marked the first anniversary of the fatal police shooting that killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, nonviolent demonstrators, including activist and philosopher Cornel West and Black Lives Matter organizer Johnetta Elzie, were arrested in St. Louis. Demonstrators were seen jumping over police barricades outside a federal courthouse during a planned sit-in protest demanding the suspension of the Ferguson police department.

    According to MSNBC, demonstrators joined the #MoralMonday sit-in expecting to be arrested. Shortly before getting apprehended, Elzie tweeted a reference to the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody last month:
    If I’m arrested today please know I’m not suicidal. I have plenty to live for. I did not resist, I’m just black.
    — ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) August 10, 2015

    The arrests come just hours after St. Louis County issued a state of emergency in light of the violence that erupted late Sunday night after a police officer shot a man they say opened fire at them. Police charged 18-year-old Tyrone Harris with four counts of assault on law enforcement and other crimes. He remains in critical condition.

    Chicago Police Offer ‘Advice’ On How Not To Get Shot By Them. I bet most readers here can list police advice off the top of your heads. Which seem to work mostly for white people. I’ll test you on this later.

    Police organization’s ‘Darren Wilson Day’ in Columbia, Mo., sparks protest, criticism, as mentioned by awakeinmo upthread, too, via the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

    For white people to read and ponder to themselves. White people, what’s happening in #Ferguson is life and death. Please share this and think about it #BlackLivesMatter, see attached text for required reading.

    Social Media Reacts After 2 Prominent #BlackLivesMatter Activists and Cornel West Are Arrested During St. Louis Protests

    Johnetta “Netta” Elzie and DeRay Mckesson are among the handful of activists who stayed in Ferguson, Mo., long after the Michael Brown protests died down. They organized conference calls and panels and put together a newsletter to keep the nation and media outlets aware of the ongoing efforts to fight police brutality in the working-class community.

    Elzie was arrested Monday in St. Louis during protests to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death. Her arrest was partially captured in a video clip released on Vine and Twitter.

    Eerily enough, Elzie had posted a message on Twitter earlier that day saying that if she was arrested and died, she was “not suicidal”—a direct reference to Sandra Bland’s arrest, a woman in Texas who died while in police custody in early July. Texas officials say that Bland committed suicide in her jail cell. Her family disputes that finding.

    A Huffington Post reporter explained that Elzie and Mckesson would be getting the legal equivalent of a slap on the wrist and would be released later Monday.

    Ah, but West…?

  78. rq says

    Something approaching ally-speak: I think it is best for me to stay ready to respond. If they silence the activists, I’ll be ready to step in for them.

    Sheriff taunts clergy keeping vigil at jail where Sandra Bland died: ‘Go back to the church of Satan’

    An United Methodist Church pastor in Texas said on Monday that the Waller County sheriff told her to “go back to the church of Satan” while she was keeping vigil outside the jail where Sandra Bland died.

    Hannah Adair Bonner explained on her Twitter feed that she went to the Waller County Jail on Monday just like she had for 27 days since Bland’s death. While she was sitting outside the jail, Sheriff R. Glenn Smith decided to confront her.

    Cell phone video uploaded by Bonner shows Smith walking by and asking if she needs his business card, presumably so he can be correctly identified.

    “Why don’t you go back to the church of Satan that you run?” Smith asks as he walks into the jail.

    Bonner later called on activists to contact Smith’s office for an apology.

    “Sheriff then went to my car, took pics of license plate and my face and threatened he is going to do something with them,” she noted.

    The racism banner suspended on balloons to drape the Arch was inspired. @LBPhoto1 photo 8/10

    [rq takes a break for a few days]

    Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny

    Here are some reasons prosecutors have offered for excluding blacks from juries: They were young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.

    The prosecutors had all used peremptory challenges, which generally allow lawyers to dismiss potential jurors without offering an explanation. But the Supreme Court makes an exception: If lawyers are accused of racial discrimination in picking jurors, they must offer a neutral justification.

    “Stupid reasons are O.K.,” said Shari S. Diamond, an expert on juries at Northwestern University School of Law. Ones offered in bad faith are not.

    In Louisiana’s Caddo Parish, where Shreveport is the parish seat, a study to be released Monday has found that prosecutors used peremptory challenges three times as often to strike black potential jurors as others during the last decade.

    That is consistent with patterns researchers found earlier in Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina, where prosecutors struck black jurors at double or triple the rates of others.

    In Georgia, prosecutors excluded every black prospective juror in a death penalty case against a black defendant, which the Supreme Court has agreed to review this fall.

    “If you repeatedly see all-white juries convict African-Americans, what does that do to public confidence in the criminal justice system?” asked Elisabeth A. Semel, the director of the death penalty clinic at the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

    As police shootings of unarmed black men across the country have spurred distrust of law enforcement by many African-Americans, the new findings on jury selection bring fresh attention to a question that has long haunted the American justice system: Are criminal juries warped by racism and bias?

    Some legal experts said they hoped the Supreme Court would use the Georgia case to tighten the standards for peremptory challenges, which have existed for centuries and were, until a 1986 decision, Batson v. Kentucky, considered completely discretionary. (Judges can also dismiss potential jurors for cause, but that requires a determination that they are unfit to serve.)

    But many prosecutors and defense lawyers said peremptory strikes allow them to use instinct and strategy to shape unbiased and receptive juries. “I’m looking for people who will be open, at least, to my arguments,” said Joshua Marquis, the district attorney in Astoria, Ore.

    Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s elected public defender, said peremptory challenges promote fairness.

    “You’re going to remove people who are biased against your client,” he said, “and the district attorney is going to remove jurors who are biased against police officers or the government.”

    Reprieve Australia, a group that opposes the death penalty and conducted the Caddo Parish study, said the likelihood of an acquittal rose with the number of blacks on the jury.

    Continue reading the main story

    No defendants were acquitted when two or fewer of the dozen jurors were black. When there were at least three black jurors, the acquittal rate was 12 percent. With five or more, the rate rose to 19 percent. Defendants in all three groups were overwhelmingly black.

    Excluding black jurors at a disproportionate rate does more than hurt defendants’ prospects and undermine public confidence, said Ursula Noye, a researcher who compiled the data for the report.

    “Next to voting,” she said, “participating in a jury is perhaps the most important civil right.”

    There’s plenty more at the link.

    Failure factories, on schools and segregation.

    In just eight years, Pinellas County School Board members turned five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into some of the worst in Florida.

    First they abandoned integration, leaving the schools overwhelmingly poor and black.

    Then they broke promises of more money and resources.

    Then — as black children started failing at outrageous rates, as overstressed teachers walked off the job, as middle class families fled en masse — the board stood by and did nothing.

    Today thousands of children are paying the price, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

    They are trapped at Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose — five neighborhood elementary schools that the board has transformed into failure factories.

    Every year, they turn out a staggering number of children who don’t know the basics.

    Eight in 10 fail reading, according to state standardized test scores. Nine in 10 fail math.

    Ranked by the state Department of Education, Melrose is the worst elementary school in Florida. Fairmount Park is No. 2. Maximo is No. 10. Lakewood is No. 12. Campbell Park is No. 15.

    All of the schools operate within six square miles in one of Florida’s most affluent counties.

    All of them were much better off a decade ago.

    Times reporters spent a year reviewing tens of thousands of pages of district documents, analyzing millions of computer records and interviewing parents of more than 100 current and former students. Then they crisscrossed the state to see how other school districts compared.

    Among the findings:

    ■ Ninety-five percent of black students tested at the schools are failing reading or math, making the black neighborhoods in southern Pinellas County the most concentrated site of academic failure in all of Florida.

    ■ Teacher turnover is a chronic problem, leaving some children to cycle through a dozen instructors in a single year. In 2014, more than half of the teachers in these schools asked for a transfer out.

    At least three walked off the job without notice.

    ■ All of this is a recent phenomenon. By December 2007, when the board ended integration, black students at the schools had posted gains on standardized tests in three of the four previous years. None of the schools was ranked lower than a C. Today, all the schools have F ratings.

    ■ After reshaping the schools, the district funded four of them erratically. Some years they got less money per student than other schools, including those in more affluent parts of the county. In 2009, the year after resegregation, at least 50 elementary schools got more money per student than Campbell Park.

    ■ Other districts with higher passing rates are doing far more to aid black students, including creating special offices to target minority achievement, tracking black students’ progress in real time and offering big bonuses to attract quality teachers to high-minority schools. Pinellas does none of those things.

    More at the link. TL;DR – segregation is bad.

    The Revolution Is Socialized: Organization ‘Live-Tweets’ Watts Riots on 50th Anniversary, a retrospective.

    To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Watts rebellion (Aug. 11-17, 1965), the California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers Campaign, in partnership with the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles, is “live-tweeting” the uprising, drawing clear parallels between the raw revolution of Watts, a South Los Angeles neighborhood, and its grandchild, the uprising in Ferguson, Mo.

    It hasn’t been marked with the pageantry of the 50th anniversary of the voting-rights march in Selma, Ala. (#Selma50), that took place in March of this year. There has been no romanticizing from politicians waxing poetic about how much we’ve overcome as a country. The Watts rebellion was sparked by the arrest of 21-year-old Marquette Frye during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop by Officer Lee Minikus. It was sustained, though, by rage and pain induced by decades of systemic neglect, oppression and marginalization.

    These things were true of Selma, yes, but unlike Selma, revisionism hasn’t been able to reframe Watts as a study in racial reconciliation. NBC Los Angeles describes the Watts rebellion as “six days of fires, clashes with police and violence. … Thirty-four people died, more than 1,000 were injured and scores of buildings were damaged, looted or destroyed—causing an estimated $40 million in damage.”

    It wasn’t pretty. It was revolution. It was leader-less. A revolution that aligns with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, most specifically in the days following the state-sanctioned killing of 19-year-old Michael Brown, and again, after his killer, Darren Wilson, was absolved of any responsibility in his death and Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, urged protesters to “burn this b*tch down.”

    As with Ferguson, the Watts rebellion illuminated a city tired of being sick and tired.

    The emergence of social media, specifically Twitter, has played a huge role in amplifying each moment of the struggle against systemic inequality as evidenced and supported by the rampant police brutality of the past year, specifically in black and brown communities.

    Now imagine what the social-justice movement would have looked like if Twitter had been around during the Watts rebellion.

    The Root reached out to California Endowment program officer Evangeline Reyes, who said that those parallels are what motivated the group to create the #WattsRiots50 Twitter campaign as a “modern retelling of the historic timeline of the events known as the Watts Riots of 1965.”

    This and that else at the link, but please explain to me, are things so very different in this day and age?

  79. rq says

    See Julian Bond’s Life in Photos, from Time.

    President this AM on the death of civil rights activist Julian Bond, see attached text.

    A ‘Never-Ending Nightmare’ in Ferguson

    A year after the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri was thrust back into the national spotlight, filtered through a lens of déjà vu: state of emergency, police aggression, arrests. But this spike in media serves as dark reminder, for residents of Ferguson and Saint Louis, that attention is not only transient, but often misguided. Brooke speaks with Saint Louis-based writer Sarah Kenzidor about how this week was “a rerun of a nightmare,” and what the media consistently miss.

    Audio at the link. And her last name is ‘Kendzior’, not Kenzidor.

    Oath Keepers to Arm 50 Black Protesters in Ferguson with AR- 15’s for an Epic Rights Flexing March. Is there any way for this to actually end well?

    The Missouri chapter of the Oath Keepers are planning to hold an open carry march through downtown Ferguson, Mo., which will reportedly involve arming 50 black protestors with AR-15 rifles.

    The decision to hold the event transpired after St. Louis County officials, in violation of Missouri’s open carry law, insisted that members of the group could not open carry long barrel rifles within the city. In a video uploaded to YouTube, police chief Jon Belmar is seen warning a number of Oath Keepers that open carrying long barrel rifles would be a violation of the law.

    “My only problem is with the long guns and inciting these guys out here,” Belmar said, referring to the Ferguson protesters.

    When one of the men questioned Belmar regarding Missouri’s open carry law, he responded by saying, “I have attorneys. I didn’t go to law school. I get what you guys stand for and probably agree with most of it. All I’m trying to do is manage this thing.”

    While trying to simply manage things is semi-understandable, it’s Belmar’s duty to assure that those he employs respect Missouri’s open carry law and the Constitutional rights’ of American citizens.

    Head of the St. Louis County, Mo. Oath Keepers group, Sam Andrews called Belmar out for his blatant disregard of the law.
    “He (Belmar) was thumbing his nose at the legislature of the State of Missouri. It was like he couldn’t give a crap about the Bill of Rights or state law.”

    Andrews told Red Dirt News that the march would be held in the next “couple of weeks,” as a means of demonstrating the veracity of Missouri’s open carry law to law enforcement.

    Andrews explained that he and members of his group spent almost an entire night speaking with black protestors about the events in Ferguson and the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
    “Every person we talked to said if they carried they’d be shot by police. That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event and it will be a legal demonstration,” Andrews said. “I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t think they have to abide by the law. They’re narcissistic and that guy (Belmar) discredited my men.”

    Oath Keepers are made up mainly of current and former military and law enforcement officers who have sworn to place their oath to the Constitution ahead of any law or command given that violates the rights of the citizens.

    This actually sounds quite terrifying.

    Race in the US: Know your history, via Al Jazeera.

    There will never be an acceptable explanation for what happened between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson in Ferguson but we will never fully grasp why the stage was set for such an encounter unless we know American history.

    We cannot fully comprehend why Dylan Roof murdered nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston unless we study the Civil War and the Confederacy.

    We cannot truly fathom how a minor traffic stop in Cincinnati could result in a white campus police officer blowing out the brains of an unarmed black man unless we delve into the role race has played in law enforcement from the enactment of the federal Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 to today’s mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.

    Examining American history provides us with the tools to analyse how the death of Michael Brown and the demonstrations on Florrisant Avenue became a tipping point and sparked a movement. Connecting the dots between the past and the present helps us to see the origins of our current national debate – about race, police misconduct, white supremacy, white privilege, inequality, incarceration and the unfinished equal rights agenda.

    A great history lesson over at the link.

    Locked in Solitary at 14: Adult Jails Isolate Youths Despite Risk

    Solitary confinement has long been a feature of the nation’s criminal justice system, either to punish or protect inmates, with about 75,000 state and federal prisoners in solitary across the country. Ke’jorium, though, is emblematic of a more select and far less visible group of prisoners in solitary — children or teenagers in isolation in adult jails for their own safety.

    “Juveniles are more vulnerable to abuse by adults, including sexual abuse, and they have rights to special protections,” said Ian M. Kysel, an adjunct professor and a fellow at the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. “In some places that might mean putting them in juvenile facilities.”

    Putting juveniles in solitary, though, brings its own complications. Solitary confinement is increasingly being questioned — by mental health officials, criminologists and, most recently, President Obama. But experts say its effects on juveniles can be particularly damaging because their minds and bodies are still developing, putting them at greater risk of psychological harm and leading to depression and other mental health problems. In 2012, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry called for an end to the practice.

    “There is plenty of research showing that solitary causes far more harm to kids than to their adult counterparts,” said Dr. Louis J. Kraus, the chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

    Dr. Kraus specifically mentioned solitary’s link to post-traumatic stress disorder. “It induces anxiety, and it increases the risk of suicide,” he added. “It is barbaric. I can’t emphasize that enough.”

    Dr. Kraus said that while the long-term mental health effects of solitary on juveniles were not well documented, isolating children is almost certain to deepen existing psychological problems.

    Continue reading the main story

    Ke’jorium, in Mississippi, is among the more than 60 percent of juveniles who have been arrested who have some form of mental illness. Before he was 10, doctors diagnosed bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Ms. Watson, his mother, said, and when he was 4, he set a fire that destroyed the family’s house.

    A bill introduced in the United States Senate this month by Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, among others, would prohibit almost all solitary confinement of juveniles in the federal system.

    Across the country, teenagers and children may be kept in solitary in either juvenile or adult jails and prisons. As many as 17,000 youths are held in isolation in juvenile jails nationwide, the Justice Department says, most for punishment for a rule violation or because they are on suicide watch.

    In adult jails, these youths, like Ke’jorium, are almost always held separately for their protection. There is no official count. Experts say the figure could range from dozens to thousands.

    More than 20 states either require or allow teenagers charged as adults to be put in adult jails while awaiting trial.

    More at the link.

  80. rq says

    America’s branch of Amnesty International could do better: Wow. @amnesty this is a WHOLE NEW set of Black folk. Making demands. AGAIN. I hope it makes it into the media again, because there was a lot of eye-opening stuff appearing on twitter re: this.

    Worn Dialogues: Gallery Conversations, a ROM event in Toronto.

    Dalton Higgins is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and author who has written six books that interweave the worlds of digital culture, hip hop and popular culture into one potent mix. He is also one of Canada’s foremost experts on hip hop, the leading youth sub-culture of this generation.

    Mimi Joh currently teaches in OCAD University’s Continuing Studies program and writes on contemporary art. She received degrees in Art History from Cornell University and OCAD U, and worked for many years with German and Austrian Expressionist art in New York. Mimi Joh is an active volunteer in the arts, holding positions with multiple Toronto based arts organizations. Her varied art background gives her a multiplicity of viewpoints into contemporary art, ideas and themes. She is particularly interested in how art practices can critically reflect and respond to our society and how they ultimately shape our culture.

    Jessica Karuhanga is an artist currently based in Toronto, Canada. Her practice undulates between performance, video, drawing and sculptural processes. She holds a BFA Honors from The University of Western Ontario and a MFA from University of Victoria. Her visual art and performances have been presented at various centres nationally including Royal BC Museum, Deluge Contemporary Art, Art Mûr, Whippersnapper Gallery, OCAD U Student Gallery, Videofag, Electric Eclectics, Nia Centre for the Arts, and The Drake Hotel. Karuhanga was featured in FADO Performance Art Centre’s 2014 Emerging Artist Series at Xpace Cultural Centre. She has lectured for the Power Plant’s Sunday Scene Series and Art Gallery of Ontario’s Idea Bar Series. Most recently she presented her work at 2015 Black Portraitures Conference, a series organized by Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, in Firenze, Italy.

    Freelance writer Sarah Kendzior: ‘Geography is essential to understanding Ferguson’

    For journalists in St. Louis and some of us who’ve been watching from a distance, the last few days have felt pretty familiar. Once again, we’re seeing news about Ferguson, news about journalists injured while covering Ferguson and news of journalists facing issues with police there. Writer Sarah Kendzior has had some deja vu as well. On Tuesday morning, she tweeted “Getting daughter ready for first day of school. Like last year spent night wondering if canceled because of Ferguson again.”

    “We are living August 2014 again,” Kendzior wrote in a piece Tuesday for Politico. “We are living November 2014 again. We are living in a place where the only lesson learned seems to be how much people can get away with.”

    Via email, I spoke with Kendzior about her work, what’s changed in Ferguson in the last year and what hasn’t. You’ll also find headlines with links from some of Kendzior’s stories.

    This is part three in a week-long series checking back in with St. Louis-based journalists.

    Interview at the link.

    The Wire’s David Simon is feeling (slightly) optimistic for once. Here’s why. He’s making a series about de-segregating housing. Exciting? It just might be.

    This is a story about a government that is almost wholly white. Because of the way everything was districted, by the time Nick becomes mayor there isn’t a black member on that council. They’re governing the way they want to govern Yonkers, utterly independent of the thought that 20 percent of their city is unrepresented by the government, were unheard in the councils and government. That’s one of the reasons why things turn out as bad as they do. There’s this element of absolute white privilege in Yonkers in 1987.

    The government was entirely white until the houses get built. Then you’ll see in the last two episodes, some of these characters have real agency over their own lives. Some of them become community leaders. Some of them assert for their own dignity. Boy, it’s a relief when they do, because you’re absolutely right. They’re waiting for some governance that actually incorporates their basic aspirations for a better life, and they’re waiting and they’re waiting. These people are arguing, voting, speech-making. To me it’s infuriating, but I do understand that it’s hard to watch people without agency.

    More on white privilege past and present at the link.

    Emails Show Feds Have Monitored ‘Professional Protester’ DeRay Mckesson. Not that he’s making much money off it.

    Mckesson’s Twitter and other social media accounts were being monitored by DHS last May during the height of the protests in Baltimore that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was critically injured while in police custody. DHS took note when McKesson, a former Minneapolis public school official and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, posted details to his Twitter account about a planned protest in Baltimore.

    One email said DHS “social media monitors have reported that a professional demonstrator/protester known to law enforcement (Deray Mckesson) has post on his social media account that there is going to be a 3:00 pm rally at the FOP#3 lodge located @ 3920 Baltimore Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211 … This is early raw unevaluated and uncorroborated reporting at this time.”

    The subject line of the email was “FYSA,” which is short for “For Your Situational Awareness.” Kade Crockford, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology for Liberty project, told VICE News that the term “situational awareness” is a cover that allows police departments and federal law enforcement agencies such as DHS to conduct “surveillance of lawful, First Amendment-protected political speech,” which includes tweets.

    “Those two words don’t change what police are doing, however: spending precious public resources watching activists’ internet use, and sending out reports to other law enforcement officials tracking the protected political activity of law abiding dissidents,” Crockford said. “Apologists for this kind of chilling, wasteful government spying would likely say that Deray Mckesson’s tweets are public, and therefore he has no right to privacy in them. But just because police can do something doesn’t mean they should.”

    This and that else at the link.

    And here’s an interesting perspective: Could black people in the U.S. qualify as refugees?

    Over the past decade, I’ve represented and advised hundreds of noncitizens facing deportation. Many feared persecution in their home countries and sought protection in the United States. To win them asylum status and the right to stay, I showed that my clients had a well-founded fear of future persecution by the government or by groups that the government was unable or unwilling to control. In one case, I successfully argued that if my client returned to his home country, he could be unjustly imprisoned and physically harmed on the basis of his religious beliefs. Black Americans know the risk of unjust imprisonment and physical harm all too well.

    According to U.S. asylum law, that persecution must be on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In many cases, courts have said that violence by police officers, unjust imprisonment, rape, assault, beatings and confinement constitute persecution. Even nonphysical forms of harm, such as the deliberate imposition of severe economic disadvantage, psychological harm, or the deprivation of food, housing, employment or other essentials, help make the case. In one instance, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that an individual who had been arrested, held for three days and then falsely accused of a crime had been persecuted. In another case, it ruled that persecution included ethnic discrimination so severe that the petitioner was unable to find a job in his chosen field.

    Does this sound familiar?

    I encourage you to read it all.

  81. rq says

    Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75, his New York Times obituary. Not going to cite much, but here, I’ll pull one problematic sentence that has seen a lot of twitter attention:

    Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.

    See if you can figure out what’s wrong with it. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’d have known if a lot of people hadn’t pointed it out.

    Misty Copeland Wants Others to Understand What it Means to Be a Black Dancer, because we all love ballet. And ballet #NeedsMoreWhitePeople… NOT.

    Misty Copeland made history when she became the first African-American to be be promoted to principle dancer with the American Ballet Theater—and now she’s more determined than ever to make the most of her impact.

    “I wanted it to be an opportunity for me to educate people and get them to become ballet fans and to educate them on what it means to be a Black dancer—a Black ballet dancer,” she tells Essence, explaining how she plans on putting her new role model status to good use.

    Copeland, who currently serves as a board member for Project Plié​ (an initiative started at ABT in 2013 to “increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies”), has recently taken on the task of mentoring a number of young ballerinas. ​

    Wanting her students to achieve success like hers, she constantly reminds them: “It’s really just having a lot of confidence and belief in yourself. Everyone hears no at some point…I think it’s possible to find the right place to be and to fit in and to hear the word yes.”

    “I never knew it was going to get to this level,” she admits to the magazine. “There are a lot of times when I wish it wasn’t so much. But I wanted this type of exposure for the dance community.” Mission accomplished.

    I hope I have a chance to see her live one day, before she retires.

    Straight Outta Compton and the Social Burdens of Hip-Hop

    Straight Outta Compton reminds viewers that N.W.A. became famous for not holding back about what it was like to be young and black and terrorized by the police. And they did so at a time when the music industry was beginning to figure out how to sell rap music to a broader audience. In tracing the history of N.W.A., the film also highlights a divide that has since sprung up in mainstream hip-hop between the more explicitly political rappers, whose music could alienate many white consumers, and the rappers whose music doesn’t overtly tackle social issues and is agreeable to large swaths of listeners. At a time when the #BlackLivesMatter movement and increased coverage of police killings is dominating the public discourse, Straight Outta Compton raises questions about the responsibility of rap artists in bearing witness, as N.W.A. did, to the problems affecting their communities.

    * * *

    Hip hop has historically been one of the ways for black Americans to see a reflection of their lives in mainstream art, and the ’80s and ’90s were no different. “Rap was the black community’s CNN,” says Akil Houston, a hip-hop scholar, DJ, and assistant professor at Ohio University. In Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A. believes as much. “Our art is a reflection of our reality,” says Ice Cube (played by Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.) in the film. He even refers to himself as a journalist who’s “reporting on his community” more honestly than the media itself. When N.W.A.’s manager urges the group to work instead of watching a video of the officers on trial for the Rodney King beatings, they answer: This is the work.


    But the film also implicitly raises the question: What do the deaths of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sam Dubose, and countless others mean for hip-hop today? A new generation of rappers today is experiencing what it means to be young and black and have their communities suffer unwelcome surveillance from law enforcement, but where is the mainstream music that represents that struggle?

    Hip-hop has had a number of socially conscious champions. The genre was birthed out of politically personal storytelling, and artists from KRS-One to Nas to Talib Kweli to Tef Poe have been carrying that torch for decades. But all but a few of the most popular artists—Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Kanye West—seem to be shying away from offering commentary, or doing so with much more reserve and subtlety N.W.A. did. That’s because most rappers are incentivized to uphold the status quo and talk about more commercial-friendly things: money, sex, and partying, says Houston.

    The members of N.W.A. made a name for themselves by being outspoken, creating a genuine counterculture, and connecting to people with their honest experience. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive are examples of artists who’ve channeled that purgative, venting style of rap. Some claim that Kendrick is the new king of hip-hop because he’s true to his experiences as a black kid growing up in Compton—which happened to be at around the same time N.W.A. was telling the same city to “Fuck Tha Police.” The chilling video for his single, “Alright,” shows a black teen lying dead in the street, another running from a Klan-like group, and officers slamming one more to the ground. Lamar performed the song on top of a graffiti-covered squad car at the BET Awards. Protesters at Cleveland State were shown chanting “We gon’ be alright,” the chorus to Lamar’s song, at police officers at demonstrations that followed the killing of Samuel Dubose. Slate’s Aisha Harris suggested that it had become the “new black national anthem.”

    So it’s perhaps unfair to expect all rappers, some of whom don’t have the lived experience to back up their two cents, to use their music to fight for a cause. “I think their biggest responsibility is to be a real person so that other people can respond to their genuine humanness,” says Irvin Weathersby, a professor at CUNY who uses hip-hop in his classes.

    And it’s here also—in capturing N.W.A.’s bare humanity—that Straight Outta Compton also succeeds. Sure, the film has the over-indulgent flair of any biopic: With the exception of showing how Eazy recorded his first song, the film takes a fairly romantic view of the way the group produced their music. One minute, they’re being harassed; the next minute, they’re in the booth making magic. It also leaves out many claims of misogyny against the rappers—perhaps expected of any biopic co-produced by its own subjects (Dr. Dre and Ice Cube). But overall the film manages to tell an entertaining story about N.W.A.’s origins, while making the rappers feel deeply relatable. Their pain, their humiliation, their anger, their fear, their exuberance are all the audience’s.

    The film doesn’t shy away from the seemingly unchanged nature of police brutality and the hardships of being black in America—it’s not trying to sell audience a comforting illusion about progress and reconciliation. But it does believe in the ability of artists and everyday citizens to be honest and critical about their situation. At a time when so little popular hip-hop music is eager to champion that same message, Straight Outta Compton and N.W.A. offer a welcome reminder of that collective power.

    Of course, there’s a lot else wrong with the hip-hop community, rampant misogyny among that else. So.

    Ferguson activists DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie among those arrested in St. Louis, Washington Post with last week’s news.

    My Anger is Justified: Why Black Women’s Rage is Necessary for Change, and not a reason to dismiss their words and/or actions.

    Throughout history we’ve seen how a black woman’s exasperation is paraded as crazy. This labeling is often connected to systems of power and who can question them. The recent death of Sandra Bland reminds us that we don’t have the right to confront white male patriarchal systems. When you are denied basic human rights as a Black woman, it seems only natural to be angry.

    The Angry Black Woman has existed in many iterations throughout history, including the well-known Sapphire archetype. She’s depicted as usurping a man’s role by being loud-mouthed, rude, and full of attitude. The most significant characteristic of the Angry Black Woman is that she’s seen as a danger to white society, because she oversteps her emotional “boundaries.” This is used to justify simplifying her into an accurate representation of all African-American women’s emotional states. By creating this cartoonish stereotype, mainstream white society strips us of our agency and silences our voices.

    We are prevented from reacting the way we truly feel, because doing so is seen as a serious threat. If we as black women aren’t allowed to have emotional autonomy, this disenfranchises our movements for liberation,which are largely spearheaded by black women. When we raise our voices in protest, assert our narratives, and hold it down for our brothers and sisters, we cannot just hide our emotions inside. It’s draining.

    Expressing our truths means taking ownership of our narratives by supporting each other in ways that are proactive—such as having discussions that help us deconstruct the myth of the Angry Black Woman. As African-American women, we cannot ignore the ways the stigmatizing role of the ABW is portrayed throughout media as well—from The Real Housewives to Shondaland.

    We can’t continue investing in the exploitation of a black woman’s emotions. We cannot afford representations that do not depict the full depth of who we are. Instead, we must hold up black women who like Bree Newsome, Marilyn Mosby, Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors, who have all used their anger to incite change. We must use our anger to fuel actionable plans that push past these false narratives. We must transform our rage into progress.

    Let’s recalibrate our minds to understand that our anger is justified. We no longer deserve to feel guilty. We no longer deserve for our emotions to be policed. We must free ourselves, and embrace the full force of our womanhood and our strength. If we need to cry, scream, or simply talk assertively, then we must do it. We need not offer any explanations.

    I refuse to make excuses for how I feel any longer. Too much at stake. It’s time we put our anger into words and action.

  82. rq says

    This: “We are making history today” First day of school at Hawthorn, Mo’s 1st all-girls public school focused on STEM. Should be in headlines. Somewhere. Everywhere.

    What if…?

    The pervasive influence of white bias is felt in all corners of society. From musicians to actors, politicians to police officers, firefighters to lawyers, CEO’s to teachers, there is no area of society free from the bias in favor of white people (and, more specifically, heterosexual, cisgender, white men). As a long-time comic book reader, I was long ignorant of this bias in the comic book industry. Growing up as a teen, and later as a young adult, race was never on my radar. It wasn’t until I began to pay attention to matters of race that I began to see the comic book industry through more enlightened eyes. Once I began to view the world with greater clarity and understanding, I began to see that the comic book industry has long been dominated by white men. And that explains why, for the vast majority of the history of USAmerican comic books, white men have been the primary protagonists, villains, and supporting cast members. The same holds true of the film industry. But what if things were different? What if white men were not the sole (or primary) guiding forces behind movies and comic books all these decades? What if people of color were involved as well? What might the result be?

    Alijah Villian is an artist who has tried to imagine just such a world. Using African-American celebrities, he re-imagines protagonists and antagonists from comic books and movies. Take a look:

    It’s impressive. There’s something especially poignant about a black man in the role of Captain America.

    This is a couple of years old, but probably just as relevant today. Forbes “If I Were a Poor Black Kid”–A Poor Black Kid’s Response

    Gene Marks wrote an article for Forbes Magazine entitled “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” and I found it to be completely out of touch.

    Youtube video; link to original article at the link.

    CNN guest blasts police for swarming ‘Straight Outta Compton’ showings: ‘We cannot racially profile movies’, though I’ve heard massive police presence at the movie theatre is the norm in some locations.

    Civil rights activist and author Kevin Powell blasted the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies that had ramped security at the movie “Straight Outta Compton” over the weekend for “profiling” black films, and he slammed the filmmakers for omitting sexism by the rap group N.W.A.

    Last week, the LAPD announced that it was working with theater owners to increase policing at certain theaters screening the film about controversial rap band N.W.A. And Universal Studios said that it would help reimburse theaters for the cost of extra security.

    Powell pointed out to CNN on Saturday that this was not the first time police had singled out movies about rappers.

    “You know what, there were shootings at the ‘Batman’ screenings, we know about what happened in Colorado,” he noted. “There were shootings at the ‘Trainwreck’ screening. We cannot racially profile movies.”

    “We don’t want to racially profile people, we shouldn’t racially profile films,” he Powell insisted. “Yesterday, when I saw ‘Straight Outta Compton’ — black, white, Latino, Asian, multiple generations of people. They were all very peacefully seeing the film. So we’ve got to really think about what we’re saying when we make those kind of statements.”

    Powell also said that the filmmakers had been wrong to omit anti-woman comments made by rappers in the movie.

    “This is an opportunity to really examine, not just race in our country, but also violence against women and girls,” he said, adding that incidents where Doctor Dre abused women “really happened.”

    “Ice Cube, now in his forties, still refers to women by the B-word,” Powell observed. “We’ve got to make progress. If we’re going to talk about racism in America, which this film talks about, we also have to be willing to talk about sexism, which is equally oppressive to half the population in this country and on this planet.”

    “And I think that’s the glaring omission in the film,” he continued. “But I actually disagree with the director, F. Gary Gray, when he said that these are stories that are side stories. A woman’s life is not a side story. And we as men, if we’re serious — not just black men, but all men — if we’re serious about addressing any kind of inequities, we have to talk about the things that women deal with.”

    Well, those are words I can get behind.

    Sanders: Just Because He Has a Record of Civil Rights, Doesn’t Mean He’s Entitled to the Black Vote – nope, he’s not entitled to it. He should fight for it, just as he would fight for any other vote. C’mon, Bernie. You can do it.

    Talib Kweli is no stranger to the politics of the world. Kweli, who made his presence known last year in Ferguson, Mo., not only uses his music as a vessel to speak out against systemic racism, but during any point of the day, you can find him schooling people on Twitter.

    On Friday, the rapper appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher and discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

    Maher asked Kweli why protesters would hijack Sanders’ campaign during his Seattle stop, even though the NAACP has thrown its support behind the Democratic candidate.

    “The NAACP liked Donald Sterling, too,” Kweli stated. “Bernie Sanders is somebody who, just because someone has a record of civil rights, doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to the black vote.”

    And that’s exactly what people seem to think is the issue. But just because you have a record of civil rights involvement, doesn’t mean you get an automatic “in.”

    Kweli also said that Sanders is an easy target because he’s accessible. Imagine a bunch of people trying to bum rush a stage while Hillary Clinton is speaking? Highly unlikely.

    “He might be the easiest because he’s somebody who’s dealing with the people more directly than a Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. He might be the easiest to get to,” Kweli said.

    “Me personally, I’m friends with some of the people who started Black Lives Matter. My sensibilities, when I first saw what happened to Bernie in Seattle, I was like ‘Well, that’s not right,’ but I was corrected,” Kweli told Maher. “The job of activism is not to be liked or not to be polite; black women vote more than anybody in this country, and you have young black women who started Black Lives Matter, and they are forcing this discussion.”

  83. rq says

    Racial bias, it turns out, is everywhere: Racial Bias Affects How Doctors Do Their Jobs. Here’s How To Fix It.

    Conversations about institutional racism in the United States have recently focused on police brutality and socioeconomic disparities that keep families mired in intergenerational poverty. But the issues go beyond that, affecting other sectors of society that many Americans may not associate with racial justice.

    For instance, implicit bias — attitudes that lead doctors or researchers to unconsciously treat people of color differently — permeates the health care system.

    “The problem lies in when we use such bias to make decisions in the workplace that advance the progress of some while hindering others. It happens when we have stereotypical assumptions about some groups,” Laura Castillo-Page, Ph.D., the senior director for diversity policy and programs at the American Association of American Colleges (AAMC), told ThinkProgress. “That makes us overlook their skills. It happens in faculty and student recruitment often.”

    This stark reality compelled members of Castillo-Page’s organization to partner with a leading consulting company to design a training program for medical professionals and faculty members at medical schools. The module, named the Every Day Bias Workshop, aims to teach doctors, researchers, and professors how their assumptions affect the decisions they make about communication, innovation, employment, and organizational culture.

    “This program helps people understand how to mitigate bias so they can make more equitable decisions,” Castillo-Page said. “We wanted to develop something that could be used in medical schools and teaching hospitals. Going through this training allows us to see how bias is in each of us.”

    For the second consecutive year, AAMC hosted sessions around the country that attracted human resources managers, executives, educators, and counselors. During a workshop at Stanford School of Medicine scheduled for October, participants will mull over how to practice self-realization. The goal is to help medical professionals become more aware of their bias so they can learn to stop themselves in situations when bias may adversely affect their decision-making.

    There’s more at the link, but it’s good to see positive steps.

    Why the Appeal to “All Lives Matter” is Bunk. Bookmark this to share with anyone who still believes #AllLivesMatter is a legitimate slogan (as used to counter #BlackLivesMatter).

    Calling It What It Is

    Whether one intends to or not, “all lives matter” and like misappropriating sentiments is an act of disregard and erasure of racialized discrepancies highlighted in the declaration Black Lives Matter. Stating “but, all lives matter!” attempts to hijack the conversation and steal the thunder that rumbles for a specific cause, which is to bring awareness to an issue that has overarching ethnocultural, political, and social implications.

    Appeals to the platitude “all lives matter” undermines the intention of Black Lives Matter, and is usually uttered by those who, for whatever reason, have difficulty comprehending the “too” or “also” implicitly attached. Black Lives Matter is not a repudiation of any other individual or group. It’s an affirmation, one that identifies a consistent inconsistency in relation to the way people of color are treated compared to their white counterparts.

    Why It’s So Common

    All humans possess a slew of biases. This is unavoidable, though it is possible to better manage or even allay some prejudices. Aside from the party line-toeing chicanery typical of Black Conservative types, most all misunderstanding or backlash related to Black Lives Matter have been from Whites. Root feelings of discomfort or offense when it comes to hearing or seeing Black Lives Matter usually emanates from what lauded academic Robin DiAngelo terms White Fragility. Professor of Critical Multicultural and Social Justice Education, DiAngelo’s area of expertise centers on critical race theory and whiteness studies. In her seminal work titled “White Fragility,” DiAngelo highlighted the following:

    “White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.” – Robin DiAngelo, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Vol. 3(3) pp. 54-70 *Non-academic breakdowns of her work on White Fragility is also available on The Good Men Project and Alternet.

    I left the final points out so you can go and read on your own.

    Here’s a way to tackle racism, from the UK! Scousers Corner Neo-Nazis At ‘White Man March’ In Liverpool

    Locals have not taken kindly to the Neo-Nazi ‘White Man March’ taking place in Liverpool City Centre today.

    Members of the controversial far-right group National Action took to the streets for the ‘biggest neo-Nazi rally in the UK’.

    Prior to the protests, National Action sent a sinister letter to Mayor Joe Anderson, threatening to cause race riots if he cancelled the racist march and promising the city “will go up in flames.”

    The White Man March when ahead, but it wasn’t long before hordes of scousers took the streets to let the white supremacist group know exactly how they felt about the demonstration.

    A video, posted by Zeke Tafari, soon went viral of a number of Liverpudlians mocking their racist opposition, with one guy shouting “you’ve got no fans!”, before throwing bananas at the cornered fascists.

    The locals also didn’t take kindly to the police that were protecting the racists.
    In total, six people were arrested and one man was treated for facial injuries during the protest. And something tells me National Action will think twice before coming to Liverpool again.

    Photos and tweets at the link. Wasn’t it in BC a few years ago something similar happened?

    Here’s some humour with a racist bent, with some good advice within to boot! 10 Ways To Prevent Getting Profiled By The Police If Driving While Black

    For the past few months, comedian Chris Rock has been documenting his run-ins with the police by taking a selfie each time he’s profiled and sharing it on social media. Isaiah Washington, an actor best known for his role as Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in the Joe Torre biopic, Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, tweeted that Rock needs to adapt to profiling, even mentioning that once he stopped driving a Benz and started driving a Prius, he received much less attention from the police.

    Predictably, Washington’s comments didn’t go over very well. But, I do think there was a lot of truth in what Washington was saying. My only gripe was that he didn’t go far enough. Following Washington’s lead, here are a few tips to remember if you’re Chris Rock or any other Black person and you happen to be driving and you don’t want to get profiled.

    1. Don’t be Black

    This is crucial. Nothing else on this list is as important as this detail. If you are a Black person and you happen to be driving and you don’t want to get racially profiled by the police, you need to do everything possible to just not be a Black person.

    2. Be White

    If you’re able to not be Black, it will definitely help your chances if you can somehow find a way to just be White.

    3. If you suspect you might be Black before you get behind the wheel, find a way to not be Black before you get behind the wheel

    Roughly 100% of driving while Black cases involve Black people who willingly got behind the wheel of a car despite knowing very well that they were Black. If this is you, and you’re thinking about driving, you need to find a way to not be Black before you start driving.

    4. If you suspect you might be Black and you’re already behind the wheel, pull over, put the car in park, take the key out of the ignition, and then do what you can to not be Black before you resume driving

    Note: It’s crucial to make sure you’re not Black anymore before you get back behind the wheel. Do not cut corners here.

    Numbers 5 to 10 can be visited at the link, but I suppose you get the idea.

    Get an education, we tell ’em, it will Make Things Better! Really? Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says

    Economists emphasize that college-educated blacks and Hispanics over all earn significantly more and are in a better position to accumulate wealth than blacks and Hispanics who do not get degrees. Graduates’ median family income in 2013 was at least twice as high, and their median family wealth (which includes resources like a home, car and retirement account) was 3.5 to 4 times greater than that of nongraduates.

    But while these college grads had more assets, they suffered disproportionately during periods of financial trouble.

    From 1992 to 2013, the median net worth of blacks who finished college dropped nearly 56 percent (adjusted for inflation). By comparison, the median net worth of whites with college degrees rose about 86 percent over the same period, which included three recessions — including the severe downturn of 2007 through 2009, with its devastating effect on home prices in many parts of the country. Asian graduates did even better, gaining nearly 90 percent.

    To understand just how disappointing these results are, look at the impact during this period on comparable groups without college degrees. Blacks without degrees, in large part because they had much less to lose, experienced a 3.8 percent drop in wealth. Whites who didn’t graduate from college lost nearly 11 percent. The wealth of Asian nongrads fell more than 44 percent.

    There is not a simple answer to explain why a college degree has failed to help safeguard the assets of many minority families. Persistent discrimination and the types of training and jobs minorities get have played a role. Another central factor is the heavy debt many blacks and Hispanics accumulate to achieve middle-class status.

    The collapse of the housing bubble played havoc with college-educated black and Hispanic families, who on average accumulated a huge amount of debt relative to the size of their paychecks. They borrowed a lot to buy homes, only to see them plunge in value during the mortgage crisis. While the average value of a home owned by a white college graduate declined 25 percent, homes owned by black and Hispanic grads fell by about twice that.

    This loss was made more devastating by the fact that blacks and Hispanics tended to have more of their wealth concentrated in their homes than whites and Asians, who, on average, accumulated more assets in the stock and bond markets, primarily through retirement accounts.

    The housing boom and bust particularly whipsawed college-educated Hispanics: From 2007 to 2013, their net worth fell a whopping 72 percent.

    One lesson, according to economists at the St. Louis Fed, is that borrowing too much to get a piece of the American dream often undermines any hope of sustaining it.

    That notion applies equally to excessive college and housing loans, they say. “How you finance an asset is just as important as the asset itself,” said Ray Boshara, director of the Center for Household Financial Stability at the St. Louis Fed bank.

    Substantially narrowing the racial and ethnic wealth gap, Mr. Boshara and the study’s authors suggest, would require policy changes to expand the availability of a quality college education without forcing students into outsize debt.

    I’m sensing some subtle victim-blaming in there – those huge loans, all that financing, all the fault of those taking those loans! Nary a mention of the predatory nature of banks, and of all those implicit biases that actually got black people and hispanic people a worser deal than their white counterparts.

    Remember this guy? Fired Ferguson Spokesman Devin James Dubs Himself “Voice of the Voiceless” In New Book.

  84. rq says

    Speaking of ‘but what about black-on-black crime?’, it’s not like it’s an issue that doesn’t get addressed: If interested, this @300MenMarch is to raise awareness so as to raise money to expand, not just cuz walking’s fun: http://gofundme.com/300emergencyplan
    It’s an issue that doesn’t get media attention: Baltimore men march 35 miles to DC to protest inner city violence; national media hardly notices

    Late Sunday night, in what was called the 300 Men March, men from Baltimore who are frustrated with inner city violence began a 35-mile march from downtown Baltimore to Washington, DC, in a show of solidarity.

    The members of the 300 Men March, a grass-roots group that recruits city youth to walk the streets denouncing the hundreds of killings in Baltimore each year and the apathy that often follows, planned to take their message to the National Mall, where they will arrive Monday afternoon.

    Munir Bahar, the group’s founder, said the walk to Washington measures about four times the group’s previous longest march, a 10-mile hike across Baltimore on North Avenue in July. With breaks along the way, he said, the journey, the distance of which is longer than a marathon, should take about 20 hours, and end at about 2 p.m.

    Not taking as many breaks as they planned, the men arrived in DC a full two hours early.

    But here’s what I know…

    Had any one of these men carried a “Fuck the Police” sign, the march would’ve gone viral.

    Had any one of these men decided to throw a rock at a police car window, his picture would’ve been plastered all over the news.

    The truth, though, is that this bold march, from men and boys who had never marched anywhere near that distance in their lives, hardly made a whimper on the news cycle while black men doing bad shit seems to headline local and national news on a regular basis.

    Below are some beautiful images from the march.

    I don’t think this is the first such event – maybe the first of such distance, but these people have been out before, to absolutely no media noise.
    Now, what are white people doing about white-on-white crime?

    95% of Prosecutors Are White and They Treat Blacks Worse

    About one in three black men in the United States can expect to be incarcerated at some point in their lives. Black men comprise 6% of the U.S. population but 35% of the prison population.

    Along the way, they will meet a lot of white people.

    Local police forces are, on average, 88 percent white. Places like Ferguson, Missouri, are but the most extreme examples of nearly all-white police departments patrolling majority-nonwhite precincts.

    But the white cop is only the first responder. Throughout the criminal justice system, defendants will repeatedly encounter disproportionately white—sometimes all-white—agents of the law. Most importantly, the charges against them will be set by 95 percent white prosecutors, elected on state and local levels. In fact, two-thirds of states that elect their prosecutors have no black prosecutors at all.

    Since prosecutors convict 86 percent of the prison population, this means a nearly all-white cadre of attorneys is putting a disproportionately black cohort of defendants in jail.

    Now, do all these statistics really matter? Sure, it looks bad that prosecutors are almost entirely white, but that doesn’t make them racist, right?

    In fact, the racial divide among prosecutors correlates with how they unequally treat black and white defendants.

    Remember, the overwhelming majority of criminal cases never make it to judge or jury. A stunning 97 percent of federal convictions and roughly 95 percent of state convictions are the result of guilty pleas reached through plea bargaining between prosecutors and defense attorneys: If the defendant pleads guilty before a trial, he or she will receive a lesser sentence than what would likely result from a conviction after trial.

    In this environment, prosecutors have enormous leverage, unchecked discretion, and nearly absolute immunity. They decide initial charges, how to negotiate with defense attorneys, and whether to accept a given plea bargain or proceed to trial.

    Even initial charges can have enormous effects down the road. For example, prosecutors may apply a “gun bump” to the underlying charge, or decide whether a homicide is first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or something else like involuntary manslaughter. This totally unreviewed, discretionary decision sets the course of the entire case. (Yes, felony charges are technically presented by a grand jury, but prosecutors get the charges they ask for in an astonishing 99.9 percent of cases.)

    Two researchers, Marit Rehavi of the University of British Columbia and Sonja Starr of the University of Michigan, measured how federal prosecutors used this discretion, drawing on a wide pool of multi-agency data. The results are remarkable.

    In their meticulously researched report, and controlling for legally permitted characteristics (arrest offense, criminal history, etc.), they found an “unexplained” 9 percent disparity in sentencing between black and white defendants who committed the same criminal acts. (The disparity jumps to 13 percent when including drug cases.)

    In other words, if you’re black, your sentence will be 9 percent worse more than if you’re white.

    More at the link.

    The benefits of colorblindness? What Happens When Minority Kids Are Taught Not to Talk About Race

    Racial color-blindness sounds pretty good in theory. After all, aren’t we supposed to be judging people based only on the contents of their character, rather than the color of their skin? But critics of the idea say it has some serious downsides. They argue that since race is a major contributing factor in all sorts of societal outcomes, from who goes to jail to what educational opportunities a child has, to adopt color-blindness as an ideology is to ignore important discrepancies, thereby allowing them to fester. If you can’t really even talk about racism, in other words, how are you supposed to address it?

    An interesting new study in Social Psychology and Personality Science sheds some light on how color-blindness may affect minority kids. The authors, Kristin Pauker of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Evan P. Apfelbaum of MIT, and Brian Spitzer of NYU, start by explaining that there’s good reason to think minority kids don’t benefit from a color-blind approach: a body of research has shown that “race is central to their identities, a source of psychological well-being, and a lens through which others perceive them.” Ignoring race, then, may well have a negative impact on those for whom it’s most salient. (Make sure to read Lisa Miller’s piece from May on a school in New York taking the exact opposite approach — splitting kids up by race at a young age specifically to have conversations about it.)

    And yet these kids, like most American kids, are steeped in a milieu of color-blindness — many are taught at a young age that it’s wrong to point out or focus on racial differences. Pauker and her colleagues wanted to learn more about this, so they recruited a group of 111 9-to-12-year-olds from “urban public elementary schools that serve low-income and middle-class families near San Francisco” (three of their responses were unusable due to a researcher’s error, leaving a total sample size of 108 children).

    Among the kids who didn’t talk ask about race during the game, 58 percent of them (as coded by observers who reviewed the video and who didn’t know what the study was testing) said that doing so would be “inappropriate, rude, [or] offensive,” while a full 23 percent said it would be outright racist or prejudiced. “We were surprised to find that racial minority children also avoided race to the same extent [as the white kids] and espoused reasons such as trying not to appear prejudiced,” Pauker said in an email to Science of Us.

    It’s striking to compare the message these kids have internalized to the social norms color-blindness is supposed to be imparting. One of the ideas behind the concept is to teach kids not to interact in a discriminatory way with each other, that it would be wrong and unfair, of course, to exclude Benjamin from your game of tag because he’s black. Socializing kids against this sort of behavior is a totally reasonable, laudable thing to do. But it’s clear, at least from these two studies involving a diverse sample of students, that the concept has bled well beyond useful boundaries. Many of the kids apparently thought it would be rude or downright racist to even point out that half the people in the group of photos were racially distinct from the other half. Something about how we teach kids about race seems to have flown off the rails.

    And, as mentioned above, the researchers think this kind of schooling may hurt the kids it’s ostensibly designed to benefit:

    It is troubling that pressures to adhere to color-blind norms override talk of race, even among racial minority children. Research with adults has documented the potential for color blindness to facilitate the expression of racial bias and negative affect in intergroup interaction and to perpetuate group-based inequities (Knowles, Lowery, Hogan, & Chow, 2009; Richeson & Nussbaum, 2004; Vorauer, Gagnon, & Sasaki, 2009). Moreover, research with older adolescent and college samples has found that a ‘‘race doesn’t matter’’ socialization message can interfere with positive racial identity development among Black students (Lesane-Brown et al., 2005). Our results underscore the strength of color-blind norms in schools and highlight the need for future research to consider their impact on both majority and minority children’s social development. They also illuminate a fundamental challenge facing society: Issues of race continue to be a source of controversy and contention in American society, from education and business to policing and the law, yet it remains unclear how these issues can be resolved, much less articulated, if no one is willing to acknowledge race.

    There’s no easy way to solve the country’s vexing, centuries-old problems with race, but research like this highlights the serious problems and side effects that arise when you try to just sweep the problem under the rug.

    I guess not so benefits after all.

    Administrative error? Difference in priorities? Deliberate omission? Man who hanged himself in Jennings had been on suicide watch

    A man who hanged himself Oct. 4 in the Jennings jail had been on suicide watch for two days in the St. Louis Justice Center immediately before being transferred to Jennings on an arrest warrant, but jailers in Jennings did not take precautions to prevent a suicide after taking him into custody, an investigation has found.

    The investigator found no evidence that jailers in St. Louis had told Jennings jailers about the suicide watch.

    Neither Jennings nor St. Louis officials would answer questions about what led to the breakdown, which was uncovered by a St. Louis County Police investigation into the death of DeJuan Brison, 26.

  85. rq says

    Notable Mississippians join chorus to change state flag. Racist symbol is still racist.

    In a letter appearing in a full-page ad in Sunday’s Clarion-Ledger, author John Grisham, actor Morgan Freeman, legendary quarterback Archie Manning, The Help author Kathryn Stockett and others are calling for removal of the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s state flag.

    With other states removing their Confederate battle flags, Mississippi remains the last with the Confederate emblem flying over the statehouse.

    “It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved,” the letter says. “It’s time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people.”

    But those who rallied Mississippi to vote nearly 2-to-1 to keep the flag in 2001 say the arguments that failed last time have yet to change.

    “Rap and hip-hop artists use the (Confederate battle) flag so that kind of sucks the wind out of the ‘offensive’ argument,” said Greg Stewart, administrator of Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library.

    Gov. Phil Bryant pointed out that voters spoke on the matter in 2001.

    Author Greg Iles, who signed the letter, said 14 years is a long time.

    “Think of America in 1931 and then in 1945 — that’s 14 years, and a tectonic shift in national identity. Think of 1961 and 1975,” he said. “The Confederate flag is no longer a viable state or national symbol in 2015.”

    He believes that “clinging to the past through symbols is hurting Mississippi now,” he said. “And it has the potential to cripple economic development going forward.”

    Stewart said he believes the only way a flag bill could make it through the Legislature would be “a raw power move in January, and they have to hope the public is stupid enough to forget, which they’re not going to.”

    If a change ever takes place, “it has to come from the people, otherwise it’ll cause more problems than it solves,” he said.

    He is already gathering signatures for a referendum, most likely in 2017, which would add Mississippi’s flag to the state Constitution.

    And then there’s basically a repetition of all the ‘heritage-not-hate’ and ‘flags don’t cause violence’ arguments we’ve heard before.

    What The Supreme Court Ruled On the False Arrest of Sandra Bland – could be a repost from the previous iteration, but the article is from July 24:

    In the case of Rodriguez v. United States it was determined that police were not allowed to extend the length of a routine traffic stop. That ruling effected lengths of even a few minutes, unless there was a clearly demonstrable safety concern or an additional crime that had been committed in the course of the stop.

    But what is clear now, from the video, is that there was no other crime, nor a safety concern. The officer was acting in violation of the law, as defined by the Supreme Court.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke it down like this, saying that “[t]he tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure’s ‘mission’ — to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop, and attend to related safety concerns.” A police stop “may ‘last no longer than is necessary to effectuate th[at] purpose.’ Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are — or reasonably should have been — completed.”

    Encinia was clearly completing the traffic stop when he escalated things because of Bland’s refusal to put out her cigarette. He later even indicates in the video that she had been “trying to sign the fucking ticket” when things got ugly.

    That means his extension of the stop past that point – when there was no safety concern, nor any criminal offense that had been committed during the stop at that point – constituted illegal detention and a subsequent false arrest.

    Trooper Encinia broke the law and he is not being held accountable for it.

    I’m pretty sure he’s still not being held accountable for it.

    A Former Cop on the Subculture That Leads to Fatal Police Shootings

    August 9 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. A proliferation of similar incidents has made headlines in the months since. There was Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy gunned down in Cleveland, Ohio, after brandishing a fake gun at a recreation center. There was Walter Scott, a 50-year-old man shot to death in North Charleston, South Carolina. Most recently, there was Christian Taylor, the 19-year-old college student killed in Arlington, Texas. Like Brown, all of these victims were unarmed and black, and all of the shooters were white police officers.

    The guidelines that govern when and how a cop decides to fire a gun are opaque at best. To gain a better a understanding of the rules regarding the use of deadly force, The Trace spoke with Tom Nolan, a former lieutenant and 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. After leaving law enforcement, Nolan worked as a senior policy analyst in the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security. Now he runs the graduate criminology program at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, where he studies police subcultures, practices, and procedures.

    Interview at the link.

    A blast from the past: Black civil rights activist recalls white ally who took a shotgun blast for her.

    By all rights, Ruby Sales should have been killed on Friday, Aug. 20, 1965.

    She should have been hit by the shotgun blast fired by the enraged white man on the porch of the general store in rural Alabama.

    Her life should have ended at 17, an African American college student and civil rights worker, gunned down under a Coca-Cola sign in the fight for freedom and justice.

    But there she was Sunday morning, age 67, in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Northwest Washington, given a half-century of life by a white seminarian named Jonathan Myrick Daniels who pushed her aside and died in her place.

    But she also said that it was deeply troubling that the same hate that killed Daniels in 1965 “is as alive and virulent today as it was then . . . 50 years after Jonathan’s death, my soul cannot rest.”

    Blacks own just 10 U.S. television stations. Here’s why.

    This month, a federal district court judge in California threw out media entrepreneur Byron Allen’s $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The suit accused the cable giants of discriminating against black-owned media companies by creating and reserving just “a few spaces” for their channels at “the back of the bus.” A judge disagreed, dismissing the 71-page lawsuit in a snappy three-page decision.

    But just because this particular case fell flat doesn’t mean minority exclusion from broadcast and cable ownership isn’t a problem. It is – a big one.

    Minority owners are burdened by the legacy of racism. When the U.S. government first started giving away our airwaves in the 1930s, they were distributed exclusively to white, male owners. It mostly stayed this way until the 1970s, when the FCC tried to remedy the problem by implementing a “Minority Ownership Policy.” The measure offered tax incentives to people seeking to sell stations to minority owners.

    The policy worked. Within two years of its passage, the country went from one black-owned television station to 10. Over its total 17 year existence, minority ownership increased five-fold. But it was struck down by the newly-elected Republican Congress in 1995 and since then, its success has been mostly undone. In 2013, minorities owned just 6 percent of commercial television stations in the country, 6 percent of FM stations and 11 percent of AM stations.

    With a few notable exceptions (the cable network Black Entertainment Television launched in 1980 and TV One followed in 1995), African American ownership remains particularly low, hovering at less than one percent of all television properties, and less than 2 percent of radio. Last year in fact, just two television stations were owned by black owners. (That number is up to about 10 today).

    If representation in media is important, then media is failing. And people wonder why white people know nothing.

  86. rq says

    WATCH: 14 police officers take down a one-legged homeless black man armed with crutches in San Francisco. He was also armed with blackness.

     What Julian Bond Taught Me

     Julian Bond was a titan of social justice leadership and a lifelong freedom fighter. But alongside that persevering voice for justice, one of his greatest gifts was that of a teacher and movement intellectual. To teach about the movement was a further way to carry it forward to a new generation — and he thrilled to this. When I was an undergraduate, I had the great good fortune to take his class on the civil rights movement, and then a few years later to serve as one of his teaching assistants for that class. For over two decades, he has been an extraordinary mentor and friend. A year ago we talked about the possibility of doing a book from those classroom teachings, but he wanted to work less, not more. His death feels ground-shifting and enormous — and so to honor that legacy, here are five things he taught me.

    Movements are made; they don’t just happen. It wasn’t “Rosa Parks sat down and the people boycotted the buses.” Those three class periods he spent on the bus boycott showed not just what happened but how it happened. They indelibly changed how I saw and now teach the civil rights movement. In the popular narrative, the movement arises. It just happens. It is the perfection of the American dream. What Julian Bond showed so vividly was that people made decisions. There was nothing predestined about it. America wasn’t naturally moving toward justice. People chose, amid searing conditions, amid threats to their person and their livelihood, to make it happen: Rosa Parks called Fred Gray called Jo Ann Robinson; E.D. Nixon called the ministers and reporter Jo Azbell; Jo Ann Robinson snuck into her office at Alabama State College and ran off 35,000 leaflets; and on and on. By showing how the civil rights movement happened, he showed us how to imagine how we do it again.
    The civil rights movement was not created by presidents or charismatic speakers but by the efforts and freedom visions of everyday local people possessing great courage and vision. And those local people have to be known, their particular contributions detailed and lifted up. And so he did: Annie Devine, Earl Steptoe, Johnnie Carr, Fred Gray, Unita Blackwell, the Rev. T.J. Jemison. And many, many of those people were young people, often teenagers themselves—Barbara Johns, Mary Louise Smith, Ernest Green, and Julian Bond’s many friends and colleagues in SNCC—who shone a mirror on the nation and began to force it to confront its original sin of systemic racial injustice. Young people lead, he would teach, and the nation will ultimately be forced to follow.
    Movements take years and decades. The civil rights movement began long before it was publicly recognized, long before the Brown decision and the Montgomery bus boycott, and continued long after the Voting Rights Act was signed and the TV cameras packed up and went home. And so did Julian Bond’s commitments: His ardent opposition to the Vietnam War and South African apartheid. His persistent, public support of gay rights, refusing to attend Coretta Scott King’s funeral because it was to be held not at the King family church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, but at a homophobic mega-church. His steadfast criticism of the Tea Party as the “Taliban wing of American politics.” His last arrest in 2013, tied to the White House fence protesting the Keystone pipeline. He rejoiced in this new movement of Dream Defenders and Dreamers and Black Lives Matter activists, saying they reminded him of himself when he was young.
    Learning is essential for movements and for teachers. Twelve-hour meetings, mistakes, disagreements—the civil rights movement was made by people who were figuring and thinking and acting and learning. He wasn’t afraid to talk about that process, about the learning that happened in the movement. They were young people. There were serious generational and ideological divides, and they didn’t always agree or get it right the first time. By learning and changing, the movement continued. And that didn’t just go for movements but for himself as well. Julian Bond could have stopped reading 25 years ago, and his classes would still have been great. But he didn’t. He thought scholarship on the movement was essential and necessary. Not wedded to a single truth, to his own version of the struggle, he read and rejoiced at the numbers of books, constantly recommending whatever new book he had just enjoyed. When I started working on my biography of Rosa Parks, he opened countless doors for me as I aimed to detail her post-Montgomery activism in Detroit, ruefully admitting, “I met her numerous times over her lifetime.… I just talked to her about innocuous things and never delved deeper…. I thought I knew everything to know about her.”
    Mentoring matters. A just and democratic struggle means enabling each person to find her/his voice. That was the leadership that SNCC embodied, Julian Bond taught us. Ella Baker mentored them. Highlander Folk School mentored them. Older NAACP activists in the Deep South mentored them. One of my favorite stories he told about Ella Baker was how she would sit with them in marathon meetings listening, asking the occasional question, helping them figure their way to their own answers. These meetings would stretch long into the night—and people would smoke. Miss Baker would sit there with a mask on because she had trouble breathing, but she was going to sit with them until they got to where they needed to go.

    Carrying on that tradition, Julian Bond mentored others. Like Ella Baker with her mask, Julian Bond was not a fair-weather mentor. He didn’t just write a blurb or letter of introduction — either of which would have been an incredible honor. He was a movement mentor, understanding what it takes to help someone find her voice. He spent years with me agitating for scholarly access to Rosa Parks’ papers (which have finally now opened at the Library of Congress), co-authoring an op-ed with me, making calls, sending letters, making more calls. He came to one of my early bookstore talks (even though he’d read the entire book months before) and then decided the NAACP board needed to hear this expanded story of Rosa Parks’ lifetime of activism and arranged for a talk. No question was too small or insignificant; he would email right back with advice or thoughts on ways to proceed and often sent notes of encouragement and delight.

     Julian Bond’s generosity was epic. Over the past twenty four hours, the Internet has filled with stories of the countless other activists and scholars, community leaders and students he inspired and aided in their efforts to press for social justice and tell this history. And the responsibility he leaves us to continue the struggle for justice is epic too. In one e-mail, as I grew discouraged by what seemed the futility of our efforts, he wrote, cajoling me onward, “I am a hopeless optimist; I always believe things will work out.” Rest in power, Julian Bond. Your lessons continue.

    What a loss for the community – for all the communities.

    Remembering Kajieme Powell. Him, too.

    Live updates: Defense rests in Charlotte’s police shooting case

    After finishing with a CMPD DNA expert, the defense for Kerrick rested on Monday afternoon.

    The defense made a motion for dismissal, claiming the prosecution had failed to prove its case. Such a motion is common, and was denied by Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin.

    Closing arguments are now scheduled for Tuesday morning. Afterward, the jury will receive its instructions and begin deliberations.

    The 12-member jury has two people who are Latino, three African-American and seven white. Eight are women and four are men.

    Four alternate jurors who have heard the entire case side-by-side with the regular jurors will likely be released from service after closing arguments. The alternates are all white, and consist of one man and three women.

    If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, Kerrick faces three to 11 years in prison. He has been on unpaid suspension since the shooting.

    I kinda have my fingers crossed.

    At least 1008 Black Lives Matter demonstrations have been held in the last 395 days, see chart!

    Grand Juror in Michael Brown Case Appeals Gag Order on Panel – still fighting that.

    A member of the grand jury that declined to indict a white Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown is challenging a federal judge’s dismissal of her lawsuit that sought to allow her to speak publicly about those secret proceedings.

    That woman, identified only as “Grand Juror Doe,” wants the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel’s May decision to toss her bid to speak out about her time on the panel.

    Sippel sided with lawyers for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch in ruling the former grand juror needs to go to a state court for permission to talk publicly. Her lawsuit in state court is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday.

    McCulloch’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

    The lawsuits have claimed McCulloch mischaracterized the jury’s findings when he announced last November that the panel declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 shooting death of 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed. That shooting — and the grand jury’s clearing of Wilson — fueled protests that at times turned violent in a case that spawned the national “Black Lives Matter” movement.

    Grand Juror Doe’s lawsuits, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, allege McCulloch wrongly implied all 12 jurors believed there was no support for any charges. Under Missouri law, an indictment requires agreement by nine of the panel’s dozen members, and grand jurors are sworn to secrecy under the threat of contempt or other charges.

    Wilson, who since has resigned, also was cleared by a Justice Department investigation.

    Grand Juror Doe insists her experiences on the panel — it met on 25 days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses — “could aid in educating the public about how grand juries function” and help advocate for changing how grand juries are conducted in Missouri.

    An unresolved lawsuit on behalf of a reporter for The Guardian newspaper is pressing a judge to force McCulloch’s office to make public his emails during the months the grand jury was empaneled. And four activists also are asking a Missouri appellate court to overturn a St. Louis County judge’s ruling last month that tossed out their lawsuit seeking a special prosecutor to review the way McCulloch oversaw the process.

    And yes, here’s more on Bernie Sanders: Why Are White Liberals Getting So “Berned Up” By Black Women Activists?

    Supporters of Sanders have asked: Why target Bernie? Sanders is a self-described socialist with a strong civil-rights record.

    The argument is that, of all the candidates, he can be the most effective for racial justice. “That argument really illuminates the limitations and failures of White liberal politics,” said Darnell L. Moore, a BLM activist based in New York City. “If you watch that crowd of liberal progressives, their responses to the sistas on that stage was telling. People in Seattle claim to be in a liberal state, but Black people have a different experience of what that means in that space.”

    Moore added: “Every time they say, ‘But Bernie Sanders marched for civil rights,’ that means you’re not listening to us. They are attempting to push forth a class analysis that lacks any analysis of race and anti-Black racism. What it does is center the Sanders campaign and the history of his involvement in civil rights, and it de-centers the voices and lived experiences of Black people.”

    Sanders reminded the activists of his record on civil-rights issues. The fact that he, along with several hundred thousand people, marched with Martin Luther King Jr., the fact that he is more progressive on civil rights than Donald Trump, isn’t saying much in light of persistent racial inequality. But more importantly, BLM is not targeting Sanders.

    In fact, BLM, which does not have a centralized leadership or organization, is not focusing on any one party or candidate. Some of the activists I interviewed last week said their agenda is not about influencing politicians or fostering change through traditional channels. These post-“Yes We Can”–era activists know that change is not coming from the political elite, irrespective of their populist rhetoric. They see the presidential rallies as staging grounds and spaces of organizing and community building.

    “There isn’t a thing against Bernie. The sistas heard he was coming to town, so they seized the opportunity. They were moved by the spirit of the moment and got up to talk about the issues specific to the local community,” said Moore.

    Moore explained that BLM has 26 chapters across the country. Each is organized around localized racial-justice issues that intersect with economic, sexual and gender concerns. And each chapter decides its own protest strategies.

    “The local chapters figure out on their own terms the best way to address their community’s needs. Black Lives Matter is not a bought movement. We have no allegiance to any political party. We are a leader-full movement holding elected officials accountable for the way Black people are being treated. This is about self- determination, our safety, and people trying to figure out how to live,” Moore said.

    The heckling, boos, and hate mail were not the only attempts at silencing these activists. Online rumors accusing Willaford and Johnson of being paid infiltrators working for Hilary Clinton or the Tea Party sought to discredit the women, turning the focus away from their message. Moore and others confirmed that both women are BLM activists, and that the movement gets no funding from political machines.

    Despite the criticisms of the activists’ tactics—which Moore attributes to respectability politics—he sees the value of public disruptions. “People think we should meet behind closed doors,” said Moore. “But if we didn’t disrupt and bring these conversations into public discourse, people wouldn’t be talking about these issues.”

  87. rq says

    Previous in moderation, but I just wanted to add this from the final link in that set:

    Scott said he is not certain if we are witnessing a new brand of womanist politics or a new brand of Black feminist politics, but we are definitely witnessing a new paradigm. Historically, Black women were organizing, and working at a grassroots level, often behind the higher-profile Black male leaders. Now, they doing the work and are the face, and voice, of the movement.

    The politics of respectability, which required male clergy leaders, have been pushed aside; the walls of a media that sought after those leaders and credentials have been kicked over by this group of Black women who aren’t calling press conferences or asking for a microphone, but snatching it without care or concern of the optics. For this generation, there are no worries about “airing dirty laundry” or reinforcing stereotypes. These women are literally fighting for their lives and they could care less if that makes White people uncomfortable.

    BLM has made clear over and over again that its tactics don’t cater to White people’s feelings. It is no wonder that the Seattle disruption prompted so much outrage from those who say they support Black lives, but on White terms.

    “It is interesting to me that there has been a hyperfocus on two women activists and less on the vitriolic responses of the White liberal audience. I’m more interested—to what extent do Black lives matter to the White liberals. If that’s what they consider to be the most progressive contingent of White folks then that makes me really scared,” said Cullors-Brignac.

    The protest in Seattle sent the message that if you are an ally, if you support Bernie, if you live in Seattle, if you drink kale juice, if you love Cecil the lion, if you marched with Dr. King, you still will be held accountable. There are no passes in this movement.

    That’s right, no passes.

    Black Lives Matter Charleston: Surveillance started after Walter Scott shooting

    Black Lives Matter formed in December 2014 in the wake of the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Shortly after the Scott shooting, it was one of the first local organizations to call for a citizens’ review board to oversee the actions of the North Charleston Police Department.

    Black Lives Matter Charleston organizer Muhiyidin d’Baha says the group had to introduce a no-cameras policy at its meetings after the Scott shooting when newcomers started showing up and snapping pictures.

    “We were aware that there were new people coming into the meetings that were asking a bunch of questions,” d’Baha says. “We were aware that there were people coming into our initial meetings right after Walter Scott that were just taking pictures.”

    Recently released emails from North Charleston city employees show that the actions of protest groups including Black Lives Matter Charleston were being monitored by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the American Red Cross, both of which sent emails to city staff informing them about upcoming organizational meetings and the arrival of Ferguson, Mo., residents at a hotel in Summerville. D’Baha says he does not know if the newcomers at the meetings were working for a law enforcement agency, but the effect of their presence was palpable.

    “These things were definitely happening and definitely scared people away with the knowing or not knowing of who was behind these cameras and what their intention was,” d’Baha says. “There was a lot of fear, and there’s still a lot of fear, among the people that need to rise up right now.”

    North Charleston Police Department spokesman Spencer Pryor says the department did not send officers to monitor Black Lives Matter Charleston meetings or to attend the meetings in plainclothes. When asked if NCPD monitored the actions of protest groups on social media, Pryor wrote in an email interview, “Social media sites are often monitored by law enforcement agencies.” Pryor notes that this is not an uncommon practice, since it is used by potential employers and others.

    “Everybody does it”. Right.

    More later.

  88. rq says

    All 173 Confederate flag rallies since the Charleston massacre, mapped. Check for blatantly racist activity near you.

    The largest rally so far was held in Ocala, Florida, in mid-July, in support of a county’s decision to return a Confederate flag to a position on government property. It drew an estimated crowd of 5,000 people, as well as reports of sporadic gunfire. Other big rallies include a crowd of 4,000 in North Carolina, and the 2,000 supporters of a KKK rally held in Charleston in July.

    A common refrain of Confederate flag supporters is that the flag is about heritage, not hate. But historians of the South, as well as political scientists who study the motivations of people who wave the flag, generally dispute this claim. And a number of rallies tracked by the SPLC include the involvement of known hate groups, like the Klan, the Aryan Nations, and the League of the South.

    The state of Virginia has seen the most flag rallies so far, with 23. Texas comes in second with 19. There have been 17 rallies in Alabama and 16 each in Georgia and Florida. While rallies have been overwhelmingly concentrated in the South, they have been held as far north as Sandusky Michigan, and as far west as Redmond, Oregon. A total of 22 states have seen a pro-Confederate flag rally this summer.

    Here’s a couple by Dana Hunter:
    But A White Guy Who Attacks Cops Would Get Shot, Too, Right?
    Why Bernie Sanders Could Lose – And How You Can Help Him Win.

    Full video of both arrests at tonight’s weekly peaceful #BlackLivesMatter demo. Note chokehold used in second arrest https://youtu.be/6BEZhryd760 Yep, that’s happening.

    Prosecutors want subpoenas quashed in Freddie Gray case

    Prosecutors in the case of the six police officers charged in the arrest and transport of Freddie Gray are asking a judge to quash subpoenas that compel State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and other prosecutors to appear as witnesses at the first court hearing in the case.

    In a court filing, they call the subpoenas sought by defense attorney Catherine Flynn “improper” and say they are part of an ongoing attempt to “bury the prosecution in frivolous” filings.

    The subpoenas obtained by Flynn, who represents Officer Garrett E. Miller, require Mosby and other prosecutors and investigators to attend the Sept. 2 motions hearing as witnesses in the case.

    That could cause key prosecutors to be sequestered from the proceedings. A subpoena was also sent to the state medical examiner who performed Gray’s autopsy.

    In asking Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams to revoke the subpoenas, prosecutors expanded on their responses to past defense allegations, including a claim that prosecutors steered police away from looking into whether Gray had a history of “crash-for-cash” schemes to injure himself in hope of collecting settlements.

    Prosecutors said they “wanted to keep police focused on uncovering what happened to Mr. Gray inside the transportation van and not on what may have happened to Mr. Gray in some past incident,” which they say requires no one to testify to explain.

    “One of the state’s legal obligations is to advocate for Mr. Gray as a victim and uncover how he was injured, not to stand blinded by the blue lights and conclude that he was to blame for his own fatal injuries because of some prior accusation of self-injury in police custody,” prosecutors wrote.

    They also addressed the issue of the knife Gray was carrying when he was arrested. Police have said it was a switchblade, which is illegal under city law. Prosecutors said they inspected the knife and determined it was not a switchblade.

    The sides have sparred over whether prosecutors wrongly looked to state law when determining if the knife was illegal.

    Prosecutors said the “more relevant matters” were “Gray’s injuries and what the defendants did to prevent and care for those injuries.”

    They also addressed again a defense accusation that either prosecutors have failed to turn over evidence from their independent investigation, or that “there was no investigation.”

    Prosecutors said the “mere fact that the State’s Attorney’s Office conducted an independent investigation of the events underlying these cases prior to charging them does not transform attorneys in that office into witnesses subject to being subpoenaed.”

    They said such efforts are typical of every case and produce material that would unnecessarily overwhelm the discovery process of turning over evidence.

    Prosecutors said no witnesses are scheduled to testify at the Sept. 2 motions hearing in the case, and that subpoenaing witnesses to a hearing where they would not be permitted to testify is “beyond disingenuous and abusive.”

    In a footnote in the motion, they suggest Flynn should be disbarred.

    That case just sounds dirtier and dirtier the longer it goes on. Courage to Mosby and her team, this is some fight. I’m glad they’re attempting to keep the focus on where it belongs, on Gray as a victim of police brutality – at most positive, police negligence – where his past as a criminal or saint should take a backseat to the fact that he was a human being worthy of care and dignity.

  89. rq says

    Watson Coleman Statement on AG Investigation of Radazz Hearns Shooting

    Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement on the New Jersey Attorney General’s office continuing investigation into Friday’s shooting of Radazz Hearns by New Jersey State Troopers and a Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer:

    “It is tragic to see any young person injured by gunfire, so I am deeply relieved at reports that Radazz is in stable condition, and I pray for his speedy and full recovery. Moving forward, I am committed to uncovering the details of this shooting, and I look forward to facilitating conversations between law enforcement and our community to shed light on these events.

    “Public safety is my primary and imminent concern; the public must have full confidence in the investigatory agencies that are tasked with uncovering the truth. I have been in communication with Attorney General Hoffman, Sherriff Kemler and Mayor Jackson. While they each have committed to and desire a thorough and transparent investigation, the lack of information to the public has resulted in public faith quickly eroding, requiring swift action to regain the confidence of the community. As such, I have requested a federal investigation so that the public can have additional independent assurances that we will find the truth. Moving forward we need to seek ways to prevent cases like these, but also ensure that when they do occur, the community has a voice in the process.

    “Across the United States, a number of unexplained and unnecessary deaths precipitated by interactions with law enforcement over the past several months have shaken our nation’s trust in police and the criminal justice system. When these cases are addressed swiftly with transparency and decisiveness, as in the Cincinnati shooting of Samuel DuBose, we restore faith in the process. When there is no communication, the public frequently feels misled and we see the kind of disruption and violence witnessed in Ferguson or Baltimore. By giving the public a vested interest in maintaining the legitimacy of investigations like this one, we can work together to guarantee that objective justice remains our goal.”

    U.S. Budgets Cash to Treat Heroin Abuse in Northeast

    Faced with a surge in heroin abuse in recent years, especially in the Northeast, the White House on Monday announced a program aimed at improving the government’s response to the drug across 15 states in that region.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would spend $2.5 million to hire public safety and public health coordinators in five areas in an attempt to focus on the treatment, rather than the punishment, of addicts.

    The funding — a sliver of the $25.1 billion that the government spends every year to combat drug use — will help create a new “heroin response strategy” aimed at confronting the increase in use of the drug. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that heroin-related deaths had nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.

    “The Heroin Response Strategy will foster a collaborative network of public health-public safety partnerships to address the heroin/opioid epidemic,” said the announcement by the policy office. “The aim will be to facilitate collaboration between public health and public safety partners within and across jurisdictions, sharing best practices, innovative pilots, and identifying new opportunities to leverage resources.”

    Once thought of as a drug used only by hard-core addicts, heroin has infiltrated many communities, largely because of its easy availability and its low price, officials said.

    The problem has become especially severe in New England, where officials have called for a renewed effort to confront it. Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont devoted his entire State of the State Message in January to what he called “a full-blown heroin crisis” in his state. Like the new White House effort, the governor called for a new, treatment-based approach to the drug.

    “The time has come for us to stop quietly averting our eyes from the growing heroin addiction in our front yards,” Mr. Shumlin said then, “while we fear and fight treatment facilities in our backyards.”

    The increase in heroin abuse, and its effect on middle-class communities, has been documented in the news media in recent years. A report by The New York Times showed how a mother on Staten Island became addicted to the drug. An article in The Washington Post focused on the drug’s impact in Maine.

    I get the feeling that this funding is available because heroin has become an issue in middle-class communities. The lower classes can go get fucked, eh? And I wonder about disproportionate application…

    Study Finds Education Does Not Close Racial Wealth Gap, audio at NPR.

    New research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows education does not help black and Hispanic college graduates protect their wealth the same way it does for their white and Asian counterparts.

    Transcript at the link.

    A shattered foundation, “African Americans who bought homes in Prince George’s have watched their wealth vanish”.

    African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

    The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

    But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

    The same reversal of fortune is playing out across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse. Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?

    Article continues at the link.

    40 men walked over 30 miles from Baltimore to DC in one night. Here’s why.

    Recently more than 40 members of the 300 Men March made an overnight, 35-mile walk to Washington D.C. to bring attention to the violence in Baltimore. This July, Baltimore saw a total of 45 homicides, making it the deadliest month since August 1972.

    The men began their on-foot excursion Sunday night, and didn’t stop until they reached the National Mall this afternoon.

    “We need men specifically to get off the couch, to get involved in these young peoples’ lives in the community and really take it as a personal thing,” Munir Bahar told WUSA9. “Take ownership of the violence. Take responsibility for your own community and step into these young folks’ lives, be the intervention that is needed to really guide them away from making these life altering decisions.”

    Let’s raise the signal a bit, hm?

    300 Men March Walks 35-Miles From Baltimore to D.C. to Address Violence

    About 40 men made their way to D.C. on foot Monday to bring attention to the issue of violence among young people in Baltimore.

    The 300 Men March group started the walk Sunday night in Baltimore. The organization says it wants to raise awareness about its effort to address gun violence in the city. The group had marchers as young as 15-years-old and and old as 65-years-old.

    WNEW’s John Domen caught up with the group as they were walking down Route 1 early Monday morning.

    Nathan Thomas, one of the group’s captains says they are having a measurable impact in areas like the Belair-Edison community.

    “Last year during the summer months this time it was 12 murders. This year it’s two,” says Thomas.

    Some men wore shirts that said, “We must stop killing each other.”

    “We have to do something now. Something has to happen immediately in order for these murders to be quelled,” said Sean Stinnett, a spokesman for the group.

    One of the group’s main goals is to reduce homicides by 50 percent in five of Baltimore’s neighborhoods by getting young people to participate in violence prevention programs and mobilizing citizens.

    “It’s becoming sad man. It’s a state of emergency I believe,” said marcher Jahi Faw.

    The group is also asking for donations to spread awareness to its cause on GoFundMe.

    The march ended at the White House around 2 p.m.

    Just please, please, please don’t let these efforts of addressing issues within the community overshadow those attempting to combat issues from without the community – police brutality against people of colour is a different issue from this one, but I put this here to counter those who believe that black-on-black crime is more of an issue, an issue not receiving attention from within the black community. Let’s face it, they’re both issues, both being addressed by (different members of) the same community. One does not cancel out the other.

  90. rq says

    Here’s some words about an organization worth supporting. I believe they have a gmail address where they can be reached.
    I don’t resent one minute or dollar I’ve spent this past year working in this movement and in the communities we’ve serviced.
    However, I do know that some things have to change for the health and well-being of all of @ophelporhush’s “staff” and volunteers.
    For the projects we have and the level we want to go to and amount of people we want to service, we need grants.
    And over the next 90 days, we’re going to work hard to secure grants. Any info and help with this is much appreciated. @ophelporhush
    We want to continue to pay young folks for their work. We want to continue to provide a safe, clean space for them to bond and learn.
    We want our workers and volunteers to feel appreciated beyond a “thank you.” So we must locate the real money for the community work we do.
    So if there’s anyone reading this and who has advice or experience or anything they’d be willing to share, this might be a good cause.
    Incidentally, speaking of new organizations just taking off, Seven Scribes (a writing site for people of colour that I have often linked to and quoted from on these threads) is looking for (a) donations (though they reached their kickstarter goal) and (b) writers (who, thanks to current donations etc., they can now afford to pay). This is a subtle hint to some people on this network.

  91. rq says

    Here’s The Root on the 300 Men March: 300 Men March Movement Arrives in DC

    Marchers coming from Baltimore as part of 300 Men March have reached the nation’s capital, WUSA 9 reports. According to the report, the group started off on Sunday and are expected to wind up at the White House as part of the initiative to raise awareness about community violence.

    The Washington Post reports that the group consists of just over 40 people, who started the grueling walk around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, taking some rests.

    “The work to reduce violence is not going to be comfortable, it’s not going to be convenient, it’s not going to be a luxury activity, but it’s something that we have to do,” organizer Munir Bahar told WUSA 9.

    “We need men specifically to get off the couch, to get involved in these young people’s lives in the community and really take it as a personal thing,” he added. “Take ownership of the violence. Take responsibility for your own community and step into these young folks’ lives; be the intervention that is needed to really guide them away from making these life-altering decisions.”

    Faces of the Movement Meet Up, with exhibit of photography. Put a face and a personal story to protestors out on the street.

    The Faces of the Movement project is currently exhibiting five of its photographic portraits at the Regional Arts Commission as a feature of the IMPTXDESIGN.14/15 exhibition.

    On Thursday, August 20, we will host a meet-and-greet for the project, where you can hear from its creators, have drinks, and meet some of the leaders and “faces” featured in this beloved project.

    Here’s more about the project: New Favorite Tumblr: Faces of the Movement

    With numerous powerful Moral Monday actions across the United States this week, another declared state of emergency in St. Louis, and the continued arrests and harassment of countless activists, it only makes sense to take some time and recognize the individuals who keep this work going.

    Faces of the Movement does just that. It shares the faces of everyday people across the country. It highlights how they’ve poured their time, livelihoods, and lives into sustaining the nationwide efforts that have grown since last August 9th. It reminds us that activism is not reserved for some superhero we must wait for, but is an attainable goal responsibility for each of us — achieved through incremental steps. And it manages to achieve this monumental task beautifully through a simple means:

    A photo a day.

    Former Fairfax police officer charged with murder of unarmed Springfield man

    A former Fairfax County police officer was charged with second-degree murder Monday, nearly two years after he shot and killed an unarmed Springfield man who stood with his hands raised in the doorway of his home.

    The indictment of Adam D. Torres in the killing of 46-year-old John Geer, who had a holstered gun at his feet when he was shot, marks the first time in the 75-year history of the Fairfax County Police Department that an officer has faced criminal prosecution in connection with an on-duty shooting.

    Geer’s slaying in August 2013 sparked protests, shook trust in law enforcement and prompted county officials to begin a broad review of the department’s use of force and the way it communicates with the public about police shootings.

    “Justice is prevailing,” said Don Geer, John Geer’s father. “I figured it was going to eventually happen. It’s unfortunate we had to wait so long for it to take place. But our judicial system is going through its process, and we will see justice served.”

    Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said he had requested a bench warrant for Torres. Fairfax County police said Torres turned himself in on Monday evening and is being held without bond at the county jail.

    Morrogh said Torres would probably be arraigned in Circuit Court as soon as Wednesday.

    Morrogh declined to discuss the significance of the first indictment of a Fairfax officer for an on-duty shooting.

    “I’m not permitted to characterize the case under the rules governing me as a prosecutor,” Morrogh said. “I’m grateful to the grand jury for their attention and taking time out of their personal lives to do this.”

    Torres’s attorney, John F. Carroll, did not return a call seeking comment on Monday.

    He’s already been fired from the force, though, which I find interesting – no longer under the wing of the police union, and possibly a washing of the hands? The officer who shot Christian Taylor was also fired quickly, and while I appreciate the move, I do wonder why.

    McCorkle Place’s Silent Sam memorial to the Confederacy has been spray-painted with the phrase “Who is Sandra Bland?”

    15 Heartbreaking Drawings Capture the #LastWords Spoken by Black Victims of State Violence, updated version.

    Barghi, an Iranian-born, New York-based artist, says she first encountered the Garner video in an article about another victim of police violence: Michael Brown, who was shot dead by former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson nearly a month after Garner’s death.

    “It drew a connection for me,” Barghi told Mic. “I didn’t expect this project to continue, or take off the way it did. Seeing these two incidents side-by-side helped me realized this was an ongoing phenomenon in America.”

    The project didn’t end there. In the year that has passed since Brown’s death, Barghi has been illustrating and tweeting her own creative depictions of the last words spoken by slain black male victims of state violence in the U.S. The result is a haunting tribute to the dead and a heartbreaking reminder of the toll American racism takes daily on black families and communities.

    In many ways, #LastWords has assumed a life of its own, she says. Artists and musicians have reached out to her about creating similar series’ focused on other topics, like the war in Yemen. Activists in Ferguson have also spoken to her about amplifying the last words spoken by black women who have died at the hands of American police.

    “I really want other people to continue this work,” Barghi says. “First, I’m not black, which I realize influences my perspective. Black pain [in the U.S.] is very real. So the first thing I try to do is educate myself, build an awareness.”


    The series was celebrated at the time by a variety of advocates and outlets for its topicality and starkly impactful rendering. None of this has changed in the year since, but the list of names has grown steadily longer, from a handful of then-notorious cases — including Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo — to a seemingly endless flood of new victims, which now includes Samuel Dubose, who was killed by a campus police officer in Cincinnati during a traffic stop last month, and Christian Taylor, who was shot dead by police at a car dealership in Arlington, Texas, on August 7. In this case, Barghi captured a tweet days before Taylor’s life was cut short.

    When asked what she hopes people will take away from the #LastWords series, Barghi is pensive. “I guess I would like people to educate themselves and really look into these people’s stories,” she says. “Because it did make me do that. And I hope people use this to learn what police violence in the U.S. really looks like.”

    “But really, there’s nothing inspirational here.”

    In the meantime, her work of documenting the last words spoken by black people killed by police continues unabated — and doesn’t look like it’ll be ending anytime soon.

  92. rq says

    Slow Poison, “Even if the police don’t kill me, a lifetime of preparing for them to just might.”

    If stopped by the police, I thought to myself, I would set my phone to record audio and put it on the passenger seat. I would send a tweet that I was being stopped and had every intention of complying with the police officer. I would turn on Periscope and livestream the stop, crowdsourcing witnesses. I would text my family and tell them that I was not feeling angry or suicidal, that I was looking forward to seeing them soon. There would not be time to do all of these things, but maybe if I prepared in advance I could pull off one or two of them. What all of these plans had in common were that none of them were meant to secure my safety, but rather to ensure that my death looked suspicious enough to question.

    I was figuring out how to enter evidence into the inquiry of my own death.

    Though the plans I’d made were too new and ill-formed for me to remember to use, the tactics I use to avoid being arrested or killed by the police have been instilled too deeply in me for me to forget. It is a carefully calibrated etiquette that feels like a delicate dance, based on the centuries of received wisdom passed down by the parents of black children in America. Answer questions quickly, but not so quickly that you come off as snippy. If you have to move, move deliberately, but not so slowly that you look reluctant to obey or are stalling for time. Speak calmly and conversationally, but be polite and not too familiar. Answer questions, but don’t offer any information you don’t have to. And on it goes, each balance to be carefully struck, each parameter to be tuned in response to changing circumstances.

    This set of rules is often referred to as The Talk. My parents talked to me, but it wasn’t a single discrete conversation. Instead, I received The Talk as a series of mini-sermons my parents never failed to deliver in teachable moments. Neither were these restricted to how to manage the police. They were a guide to how to be alive and black in this world.

    You are not like the other children. You can’t get into the same juvenile mischief your white friends get into. You represent something more than yourself and your family when you are outside this house. You will have to be twice as good as other people to be as successful as them. Remember that the wind is against you, remember that you will never be allowed to be ordinary, and so you can never allow yourself to be ordinary.

    It is not a coincidence these lessons are accorded the same proper noun capitalization as is given to the discussion about sex that white parents have with their children. They are as essential and unavoidable.

    I left the park and patrolman and headed up the road, but I did not leave them behind, not entirely. I’d sloughed off a little lightness of heart, exchanged it for a tightening in my chest, a slow strangling. The fullness of racism’s cruel bounty is not found in the bodies of the dead alone, but also in the spirits of the living. Most of us will not be killed by police officers. White supremacy will not kill us so directly, so flagrantly. Instead it dogs our steps, wages niggling wars on our peace itself. Its power is in the daily theft of our joy, our dignity, our sanity. It is in the way we always have to weigh and calculate, how we can never assume good intentions and honest mistakes. Because it is always there, in swirling eddies around our ankles, waiting to drag us under.

    I can no more safely forget racism than a sea captain can forget about waves and weather. It must be heeded and understood to be navigated, and if I refuse, I will drown. I may drown anyway, despite my best efforts. That is not in my hands, and in a strange way it is freeing to know that even perfection might not be enough.

    “Don’t let yourself become bitter,” my mom once taught me. She did not say this to suggest I fulfill some idealistic piety, that I must forgive and forget. She said this because bitterness leeches out love, the love it takes to struggle, to fight, to live. James Baldwin once said that he could not afford the luxury of despair, and neither can I afford to maintain a deficit of love. It is a difficult accounting. I am doing my best.

    So much more in there worth the reading of. Worth every minute you spend on each word.

    Why Sheneque Proctor is NOT the Female Eric Gardner

    If you’re on this site then you already know Malcolm X was a prophet.

    He said 50 years ago that ”the most disrespected person in america is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in america is the Black woman, the most neglected person in america is the Black woman.”

    In the early moments of 2015, we’re left to ponder 18 year old Sheneque Proctor spending her last hours disrespected, unprotected, and neglected in a jail cell. Unfortunately she may be receiving the same treatment in her afterlife.

    Proctor was allegedly found dead in a cell by Bessemer, Alabama cops on Nov. 2, and the uncertainty of the circumstances surrounding her passing are troubling. The coroner’s office said she died of a drug overdose, but their recent track record gives that account as much validity as monopoly money.

    Proctor had asthma and according to one report the cops heard her “snoring loudly” at around 3AM. No one willing (or able) to talk truly knows what happened that night, but given her status as a Black youth and the cops’ reputation many are crying willful neglect at best and foul play at worst.

    What’s almost as troubling though is the coverage, or lack thereof. Her death has received no mainstream media attention. A brief sweep of mainstream news sites returns 0 mentions. Apparently Proctor and Gamble mulling whether to put Tiger Woods in commercials is more newsworthy than a young mother dying.

    There are a few sites that are discussing her story, but in a problematic manner and they need to be hit with a reality check:

    Sheneque Proctor is NOT the “female Eric Garner”. She is Sheneque Proctor, her own woman, her own person, another possible victim of the United States’ racist, draconian police system.

    Creating that tag and using it sharpens a double edged sword that marginalizes two Black lives and contributes to intersectionality that leaves Black women at the bottom rung of a society in the gutter.

    NYCLU Motion: Garner Grand Jury Records Must Be Public

    The New York Civil Liberties Union today requested that the New York Court of Appeals review a lower court’s decision to keep secret records from the Grand Jury which failed to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner. The lack of accountability for Eric Garner’s death dramatically shook the public’s confidence in the grand jury system and subsequently prompted conflicting policy proposals, including and up to abolishing the grand jury system altogether.

    “New Yorkers have insisted on reform since the Eric Garner Grand Jury decision, and they and their representatives need to know what if anything is broken before they attempt to fix the problem,” said NYCLU Legal Director Arthur Eisenberg. “Without understanding how or why the Grand Jury reached its decision, major policy discussions on grand jury reform with potentially lasting implications are taking place blindly. So much is at stake regarding criminal justice reform in this case that the public’s need to know what happened outweighs any current interest in maintaining the secrecy of the Garner proceedings.”

    The NYCLU is seeking release to the public of the Grand Jury’s transcript, as well as the evidence presented and the instructions the jury was given. Today’s request to the State Court of Appeals contends that the public cannot make necessary decisions on major, wide-ranging reforms that have been proposed specifically to address the Garner grand jury’s conduct, without itself knowing exactly how the grand jury proceedings were conducted.

    “No one has been held accountable for the death of Eric Garner and the community doesn’t know why,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “As New Yorkers continue to demand answers and ask if black lives matter, we hope the court will put an end to the secrecy surrounding the Garner Grand Jury records and provide transparency that is a first step in rebuilding people’s trust in the criminal justice system.”

    Noose hanging this morning from prayer tower at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. @deray @Nettaaaaaaaa Everyday racism.

  93. Sili says

    Noose hanging this morning from prayer tower at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. @deray @Nettaaaaaaaa Everyday racism.

    Weelll …

    It could be this ubiquitous persecution of Christians we keep hearing about.

  94. says

    Over at Sincere Kirabo’s blog, a commenter asserted that if you obey the law and the police, there will be no problem. One of my responses to him was to point out John Geer was compliant with cops for 50 minutes and was still shot and killed (thankfully the officer has been charged with second-degree murder). I’m likely to go back and ask him is if he thinks police officers are justified in killing a suspect who isn’t compliant. After all, non-compliance takes many forms. This is the story I had in mind:
    2 former Georgia copes have been charged with murder for the 2014 tasering death of a handcuffed black man who refused to walk. I wonder if said commenter feels that Towns’ refusal to walk is sufficient grounds for him to be murdered.

  95. rq says

    Stephanie Zvan: Democrats Can’t Win on the White Vote.

    From the CBC:
    How #BlackLivesMatter became a worldwide rallying cry

    #BlackLivesMatter was predicated on the populist logic of Silicon Valley — that anyone with an idea can harness communications technology to start a global social movement.

    Twitter users in the Middle East have also deployed these hashtags — like #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe (a reference to the death of Eric Garner by an NYPD chokehold) and #Ferguson — to show their solidarity.

    #HandsUpDontShoot was another hashtag that galvanized the new digital civil rights movement.

    But while the movement seems to have sustained its energy, it has not capped the growing list of black citizens killed by the police in the U.S.

    Most recently, several black women in the U.S. have died while in police custody, including Sandra Bland, sparking the hashtag #BlackWomenMatter. But their cases haven’t always sparked the same outpouring of media attention.

    In Ferguson, renewed violence broke out this week during events to mark the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death. Among other things, it showed the frustration of many young African-Americans who have not seen their relationship with police improve in the last year.

    Akio Maroon is a community organizer and human rights activist with The Network for the Elimination of Police Violence in Toronto. She says the #BlackLivesMatter unified people across the border over police brutality.

    “Ending police violence is not just an American thing,” she says.

    “Toronto can be more unified in how we tackle racial profiling, carding and police-sanctioned violence,” Maroon argues, pointing to Andrew Loku and Jermain Carby as two examples of unarmed black men killed in Canada by police in the last year.

    Black Lives Matter is doing a great job at keeping the attention focused on where it needs to be, Maroon says.

    But, she says, there are many “arms and legs and tentacles” working for one cause.

    “We need to shout as loud as we can. I want to know that if I’m pulled over by the police that there is not a chance of me becoming the next hashtag.”

    Also from the CBC:
    Compton no longer the stuff of gangsta-rap lore;
    John Geer shooting: Adam Torres indicted on 2nd-degree murder charge.

    Heina Dadabhoy: “Liberal” ≠ Get-Out-of-Everything-Free-Card – yes, with a focus on Bernie Sanders!

  96. rq says

    From Dana’s post, I’d like to highlight one of the links within: Interrupting Bernie Sanders, because it’s well worth the attention.

    Black people owe white “allies” absolutely nothing. We don’t owe you for being slightly less oppressive than Republicans – not even if you actively support black communities. Basic human decency, i.e. working towards the dismantling of racism and other marginalizing structures, is not something for which any person should expect acclaim or praise. If Bernie Sanders is the terrific democratic socialist and populist he claims to be, then why does he have such a difficult time engaging black community politics with and without interruption? Only after repeated protest and interruption did he publish his platform for racial justice (please tell me again that these protests are unsuccessful). It is easy to have economic populist politics in Vermont, a state that’s approximately 95% white and 1.2% black, and a state that maintains a historical legacy for supporting the countercultural social politics of the hippies who flocked to the state in the 1960s and 70s. But if Bernie Sanders becomes president, he will be responsible for governing not just Vermont and his legion of supporters, but also for overseeing the prison industrial complex and racist mass incarceration, segregatory housing policies, and all types of racialized institutional discrimination that permeates every level of government.

    Sanders supporters have asked why black people have not interrupted Hillary Clinton or any other politician “who deserves it.” It’s probably because many black folks have long dismissed Hillary Clinton’s liberal racism and her repeated iterations of “all lives matter” and her fixation on police body cams as a technocratic quick fix for reforming the white supremacist criminal justice system. “Why haven’t black people interrupted the GOP?” they also ask, to which I can’t even begin to respond.

    Perhaps the biggest articulation problem of white liberals, one that I fundamentally disagree with, is the division of physical violence between state and extremist violence (and of course, Bernie Sanders does this on his website). Groups like the Ku Klux Klan and individuals like Dylann Roof are not extremists: terrorists yes, but not extremists. There is a massive epistemological gap in seeing racist violence as a product of extremism when it is merely another manifestation of the ideology that has underpinned the United States since the founding of the colonies. Failing to see this generally absolves white liberals from their own complicity in the maintenance of racial structures. Rather than isolating and attributing violence to these extremist “white supremacists,” we need to discuss structural white supremacy, because it is a political system of which all white people are beneficiaries and in which all white people actively participate whether they consider themselves to be racist or not. The difference between discussing white supremacists and white supremacy may seem semantic, but it demonstrates white folks’ willingness to take personal responsibility for their own role in these racial structures.

    A full understanding of the effects of racialized discrimination is impossible unless white folks take responsibility for their participation in white supremacy as individuals. Sanders says “we must put an end to discriminatory laws” with regards to voter disenfranchisement. He also wants to “ban for-profit prisons.” Both of these platforms link racial capitalism to institutional racism to state violence to individually perpetrated white supremacy, but he fails to explicitly name this link. He supports diversifying police forces and implementing body cameras as solutions to police brutality, neither of which are adequate ways of addressing racist police violence because racial diversity does not actually displace racist ideologies, and the seemingly unending video stream of unarmed black people murdered by the police has not galvanized institutional reform. His failure to bridge the interpersonal-social to the structural-institutional is a massive problem, but this is not just a Bernie Sanders problem: this is a white liberal and progressive problem.

    Rather than berate black people for their lack of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, perhaps you should ask us why. Black America has existed in a state of emergency for centuries now. We are gunned down in the streets without weapons, armed only with the “threat” of our blackness. We are subjected to interpersonal aggressions, structural discrimination, and the economic violence of racial capitalism, and forced to consider whether our next interaction with the police is the last we’ll ever have.

    And from the comments on Dana’s same post, a couple of articles from Shakesville (which, I’m sorry to say, I do not follow with the fervor it deserves, but that’s an issue of time rather than anything else):
    Primarily Speaking, which focusses on Clinton, but has a few things about other candidates.
    Also, Hillary Clinton and #BlackLivesMatter: The Videos, which has both videos as well as transcripts. So no, BLM isn’t just going for Sanders. The methods differ, but they’re seeking answers from everyone who might listen and care.

  97. rq says

    Exhaustive new study finds black jurors struck from juries 300% more than their white peers, Shaun King from DailyKos.

    We already know that African Americans are disproportionately arrested/convicted for similar crimes committed by their white counterparts.

    We already know that Black women are arrested up to 13x the rate as other women.

    Blacks and whites use marijuana at the same rate, but African Americans are arrested at 4x the rate.

    Even unarmed African Americans are twice as likely to be killed by police than their unarmed white counterparts.

    Now a groundbreaking new study absolutely confirms much of what we’ve believed to be true for decades about African Americans being denied a jury of their peers is districts all over the country.

    In Shreveport, Louisiana where more black men are being sent to death row than any single district in the country, DA’s and prosecutors would routinely pre-emptively strike African Americans from juries at 3x the rate of their white counterparts. For pre-emptive strikes, no rationale reason is actually needed.

    Here are some reasons prosecutors have offered for excluding blacks from juries: They were young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.

    Similarly disturbing rates and practices were actually found throughout the American south in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama. The impact is staggering and often means the difference between life and death for those on trial.

    But I’ve seen arguments that there’s no systemic racism, as pointed out by Tony just a couple of comments up. This seems pretty systemic to me.

    Racial graffiti written on Haley grave

    The tombstone of a relative of author Alex Haley was defaced in a cemetery in Savannah earlier this week, according to Savannah Police Chief Gary Will.

    Will said Queen Haley, a black woman and grandmother of Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” had “White Lives Matter” spray painted on her tombstone in the past two or three days.

    Revenge graffitti?

    Kinfolks: a journal of black expression – Vol. 1 / Issue 3 – there’s a new Clint Smith poem inside, plus an array of other black authors. And you read it like a book on your screen!

    Kinfolks: a journal of black expression is dedicated to thinking about blackness in its infinite permutations by publishing the work of established and emerging black artists. The journal’s ethos is centered around the notion that black creative life and the cultures of the African Diaspora provide us with models of collectivity, commonality, and kinship that have been and will be central to the story of our world.

    It’s certainly worth returning to.

    This is a repost: We Are Our Heroes: On Activism In The Age Of Celebrity Worship.

    Ever since Mike Brown was murdered, I’ve seen people ask for the Kanyes and the LeBrons to speak out. And while their voices are welcome, the movement doesn’t live and die by their involvement. That’s why they’re called “movements.” They’re moving. And not moving only means you get left behind. For every Kanye West or Jay Z we’re begging to speak up in some profound way, there’s a Killer Mike or Jesse Williams whose comments are as impassioned, necessary and important as anyone else’s. I’d much rather embrace Killer Mike or Tef Poe’s messages than a celebrity who may only be speaking because he or she feels obligated by the fans to do so.

    While we clamored for LeBron to say something or wanted NBA players to stand up for Garner over All-Star weekend in New York, we didn’t praise the St. Louis Rams nearly enough for coming out of their tunnels with #HandsUpDontShoot gestures. None of those Rams players were stars, but their actions revealed a deeply racist community of businesses in St. Louis appalled by their cries for equality. The move was powerful, important and didn’t need an all-star to pull off.

    I think there’s something to be said for the opposite, too, esp. re: allies – don’t expect all-star treatment for one action, forever.

    Lena Dunham: Sandra Bland had big plans to help women before she died

    On July 13, #BlackLivesMatter activist Sandra Bland was found dead in a police holding cell, three days after being arrested by a Texas state trooper during a routine traffic stop. Her death led to calls for an investigation and protests across the country.

    At the time of her arrest, Bland was collaborating with longtime friend and writing partner Chenai Okammor on a website — called Woman4Woman — devoted to empowering women around the world to write and share their stories.

    Okammor spoke with “Girls” creator and Lenny newsletter co-founder Lena Dunham about Bland’s life and death, and their passion for helping women express themselves.

    Interview at the link.

    Charleston schools say no to Confederate flag displays

    The decision was announced on an plain white page inserted into the district’s Student Code of Conduct for 2015-16. The page reads in part that “in light of a year marred with racially divisive and tragic events” students would be prohibited from “wearing on campus clothing, jewelry or other apparel bearing the image of the Confederate flag.” It goes on to add that the image can’t be displayed prominently on vehicles driven to school.

    Students will be asked to remove the emblem and discipline will be on a case-by-case basis, the page says. Asked for comment, a spokesman for the district replied with a statement restating the white page. It was a staff decision, said Daniel Head, the spokesman.

    It takes nine dead people for schools to realize it’s a divisive symbol. What the hell are you teaching the kids?

    Something a bit more fun, while at the same time, not: 7 Things to Remember If You’re a White Person Dating a Person of Color.

  98. rq says

    Here’s a few reviews of Straight Outta Compton.
    “Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly”: Dee Barnes rejects “revisionist history” of “Straight Outta Compton” in powerful essay , which refers to this article from Gawker: Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up. TW for sexist violence.

    I never experienced police harassment until I moved to California in the ‘80s. The first time it happened, I had just left a house party that erupted in gunfire. A cop pulled me over and ordered me out of the car. I was 19, naive, and barefoot. When I made a move to get my shoes, the cop became aggressive. He manhandled me because he supposedly thought I was grabbing for a weapon. I’m lucky he didn’t shoot me. There I was, face down on the ground, knee in my back. In June, I was reminded of what happened to me when I watched video of a police officer named Eric Casebolt grabbing a 15-year-old girl outside the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in Texas, slamming her body to the ground, and putting his knee in her back.

    Three years later—in 1991—I would experience something similar, only this time I was on my back and the knee was in my chest. That knee did not belong to a police officer, but Andre Young, the producer/rapper who goes by Dr. Dre. When I saw the footage of California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew straddling and viciously punching Marlene Pinnock in broad daylight on the side of a busy freeway last year, I cringed. That must have been how it looked as Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991.

    That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”

    But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.

    Dre, who executive produced the movie along with his former groupmate Ice Cube, should have owned up to the time he punched his labelmate Tairrie B twice at a Grammys party in 1990. He should have owned up to the black eyes and scars he gave to his collaborator Michel’le. And he should have owned up to what he did to me. That’s reality. That’s reality rap. In his lyrics, Dre made hyperbolic claims about all these heinous things he did to women. But then he went out and actually violated women. Straight Outta Compton would have you believe that he didn’t really do that. It doesn’t add up. It’s like Ice Cube saying, “I’m not calling all women bitches,” which is a position he maintains even today at age 46. If you listen to the lyrics of “A Bitch Iz a Bitch,” Cube says, “Now the title bitch don’t apply to all women / But all women have a little bitch in ‘em.” So which is it? You can’t have it both ways. That’s what they’re trying to do with Straight Outta Compton: They’re trying to stay hard, and look like good guys.

    There’s more at the link.

    And Ava DuVernay’s review: Ava DuVernay writes the only ‘Straight Outta Compton’ review you need to read

    DuVernay tweeted out a glowing and very personal review of the film (she grew up in Compton in the 1980s, so the film was pretty darn personal to her). It’s incredibly moving, to say the least, and it’s necessary reading even if you haven’t seen the film. We present it to you in its entirety:

    See her review tweets. She seems quite pleased with the film, even with the erasure of women.

    Judge: N.M. police officers will stand trial for 2014 fatal shooting of a homeless man

    Two New Mexico police officers facing murder charges for the 2014 shooting death of James Boyd will stand trial, a state judge said Tuesday.

    Pro Tem Judge Neil Candelaria said there was probable cause for the case against Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy, the Associated Press reported.

    The two officers were on duty with the Albuquerque Police Department in March 2014 when they fatally shot Boyd, a homeless man who was camping in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque. Police ended up in a four-hour standoff with Boyd after they attempted to confront him for illegal camping.

    “When Boyd brandished a knife in each hand, police opened fire, with two officers each firing several times,” The Washington Post has previously reported.

    Special prosecutor Randi McGinnn accused the officers of approaching the campsite with the intent of confronting the homeless man with a “paramilitary response” that created a dangerous situation. Lawyers for Sandy and Perez argued that Boyd put the officers in danger, and that their response was appropriate, the Associated Press reported.

    The killing was captured on a police helmet camera. That recording, released by the Albuquerque Police Department, appears to show Boyd complying with police orders when he was shot. Officers fired several times at Boyd; he was shot once in the back.

    Prosecutors charged the two officers with an open count of murder in January.

    Sandy was placed on administrative leave following the shooting and has since retired. Perez was placed on administrative assignment.

    Something approaching justice?

    Two former Ga. police officers charged with murder for stun gun death of handcuffed man – is this a developing pattern?

    Two former police officers from East Point, Ga. have been indicted on charges of murder in the April 2014 death of Gregory Towns, a 24-year-old unarmed black man who died after a stun gun was used on him while he was in handcuffs.

    Former Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and several charges of violation of an oath by a public officer.

    While the death was being investigated, Eberhart resigned and Weems was fired by the department, which has a policy prohibiting officers from using stun guns.

    The two officers approached Towns as he left his mother’s apartment complex after allegedly having been involved in a domestic dispute. Towns ran, but was caught by officers after he tripped over a tree branch and fell. According to his family attorney, Towns then struggled to walk, tired from having fled. The officers handcuffed him and used a stun gun to prod him and keep him moving forward, the attorney said.

    “He was handcuffed behind his back when this happened, he didn’t have a weapon, he wasn’t the fighting the officers. He was tasered because he was tired and not getting up fast enough,” said Chris Stewart, the Georgia attorney who has been working with Towns’s family. “It’s not just against the law, it’s inhumane. You don’t use a Taser like a cattle prod.”

    Attorneys for the two officers could not be immediately reached for comment.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the trials turn out.

    ‘I don’t want to die in your cell:’ Police release video of Ralkina Jones taken prior to death

    “I don’t want to die in your cell.”

    Ralkina Jones spoke those words to Cleveland Heights police officers about 15 hours before she was found dead in the bed of her jail cell.

    Jones’ family is still awaiting the results of an investigation into her July 26 death. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to release her cause of death, but said an autopsy found no suspicious injuries.

    In about a half hour worth of body camera footage released by Cleveland Heights police, Jones is seen discussing her various health issues with police officers at the jail. She expressed concern about her health, and emphasized that she needed to stay in contact with her family and take her prescriptions.

    Jones, 37, listed at least five medical conditions for which she was being treated.

    Jones told the officers she suffered from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which causes lightheadedness and fainting upon standing up. She also said she was taking medication for seizures, ADHD and depression.

    Jones also told police about a brain injury she received from abuse from her ex-husband, the man who Jones was accused of assaulting the night of her arrest.

    Jones’ sister in an earlier interview also said Jones had a heart murmur.

    The officers in the video were cooperative and friendly with Jones. One of them suggested moving her to a cell where she would have access to a phone to speak with her family. But he said her current cell was better situated for jail personnel to monitor her health.

    Jones was taken to a doctor a few hours after the recorded conversation. A jail employee found her appearing “lethargic” the evening of July 25. She was evaluated and released within a few hours.

    Police say they checked on Jones periodically throughout the night.

    The next morning at 7:30 a.m., the jail administrator found Jones unresponsive in the bed of her cell. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    So even with all of that, something didn’t quite go as well as it should have.

  99. rq says

    Here’s a few reviews of Straight Outta Compton.
    “Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly”: Dee Barnes rejects “revisionist history” of “Straight Outta Compton” in powerful essay , which refers to this article from Gawker: Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up. TW for sexist violence.

    I never experienced police harassment until I moved to California in the ‘80s. The first time it happened, I had just left a house party that erupted in gunfire. A cop pulled me over and ordered me out of the car. I was 19, naive, and barefoot. When I made a move to get my shoes, the cop became aggressive. He manhandled me because he supposedly thought I was grabbing for a weapon. I’m lucky he didn’t shoot me. There I was, face down on the ground, knee in my back. In June, I was reminded of what happened to me when I watched video of a police officer named Eric Casebolt grabbing a 15-year-old girl outside the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in Texas, slamming her body to the ground, and putting his knee in her back.

    Three years later—in 1991—I would experience something similar, only this time I was on my back and the knee was in my chest. That knee did not belong to a police officer, but Andre Young, the producer/rapper who goes by Dr. Dre. When I saw the footage of California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew straddling and viciously punching Marlene Pinnock in broad daylight on the side of a busy freeway last year, I cringed. That must have been how it looked as Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991.

    That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”

    But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.

    Dre, who executive produced the movie along with his former groupmate Ice Cube, should have owned up to the time he punched his labelmate Tairrie B twice at a Grammys party in 1990. He should have owned up to the black eyes and scars he gave to his collaborator Michel’le. And he should have owned up to what he did to me. That’s reality. That’s reality rap. In his lyrics, Dre made hyperbolic claims about all these heinous things he did to women. But then he went out and actually violated women. Straight Outta Compton would have you believe that he didn’t really do that. It doesn’t add up. It’s like Ice Cube saying, “I’m not calling all women b*tches,” which is a position he maintains even today at age 46. If you listen to the lyrics of “A B*tch Iz a B*tch,” Cube says, “Now the title b*tch don’t apply to all women / But all women have a little b*tch in ‘em.” So which is it? You can’t have it both ways. That’s what they’re trying to do with Straight Outta Compton: They’re trying to stay hard, and look like good guys.

    There’s more at the link.

    And Ava DuVernay’s review: Ava DuVernay writes the only ‘Straight Outta Compton’ review you need to read

    DuVernay tweeted out a glowing and very personal review of the film (she grew up in Compton in the 1980s, so the film was pretty darn personal to her). It’s incredibly moving, to say the least, and it’s necessary reading even if you haven’t seen the film. We present it to you in its entirety:

    See her review tweets. She seems quite pleased with the film, even with the erasure of women.

    Judge: N.M. police officers will stand trial for 2014 fatal shooting of a homeless man

    Two New Mexico police officers facing murder charges for the 2014 shooting death of James Boyd will stand trial, a state judge said Tuesday.

    Pro Tem Judge Neil Candelaria said there was probable cause for the case against Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy, the Associated Press reported.

    The two officers were on duty with the Albuquerque Police Department in March 2014 when they fatally shot Boyd, a homeless man who was camping in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque. Police ended up in a four-hour standoff with Boyd after they attempted to confront him for illegal camping.

    “When Boyd brandished a knife in each hand, police opened fire, with two officers each firing several times,” The Washington Post has previously reported.

    Special prosecutor Randi McGinnn accused the officers of approaching the campsite with the intent of confronting the homeless man with a “paramilitary response” that created a dangerous situation. Lawyers for Sandy and Perez argued that Boyd put the officers in danger, and that their response was appropriate, the Associated Press reported.

    The killing was captured on a police helmet camera. That recording, released by the Albuquerque Police Department, appears to show Boyd complying with police orders when he was shot. Officers fired several times at Boyd; he was shot once in the back.

    Prosecutors charged the two officers with an open count of murder in January.

    Sandy was placed on administrative leave following the shooting and has since retired. Perez was placed on administrative assignment.

    Something approaching justice?

    Two former Ga. police officers charged with murder for stun gun death of handcuffed man – is this a developing pattern?

    Two former police officers from East Point, Ga. have been indicted on charges of murder in the April 2014 death of Gregory Towns, a 24-year-old unarmed black man who died after a stun gun was used on him while he was in handcuffs.

    Former Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and several charges of violation of an oath by a public officer.

    While the death was being investigated, Eberhart resigned and Weems was fired by the department, which has a policy prohibiting officers from using stun guns.

    The two officers approached Towns as he left his mother’s apartment complex after allegedly having been involved in a domestic dispute. Towns ran, but was caught by officers after he tripped over a tree branch and fell. According to his family attorney, Towns then struggled to walk, tired from having fled. The officers handcuffed him and used a stun gun to prod him and keep him moving forward, the attorney said.

    “He was handcuffed behind his back when this happened, he didn’t have a weapon, he wasn’t the fighting the officers. He was tasered because he was tired and not getting up fast enough,” said Chris Stewart, the Georgia attorney who has been working with Towns’s family. “It’s not just against the law, it’s inhumane. You don’t use a Taser like a cattle prod.”

    Attorneys for the two officers could not be immediately reached for comment.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the trials turn out.

    ‘I don’t want to die in your cell:’ Police release video of Ralkina Jones taken prior to death

    “I don’t want to die in your cell.”

    Ralkina Jones spoke those words to Cleveland Heights police officers about 15 hours before she was found dead in the bed of her jail cell.

    Jones’ family is still awaiting the results of an investigation into her July 26 death. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to release her cause of death, but said an autopsy found no suspicious injuries.

    In about a half hour worth of body camera footage released by Cleveland Heights police, Jones is seen discussing her various health issues with police officers at the jail. She expressed concern about her health, and emphasized that she needed to stay in contact with her family and take her prescriptions.

    Jones, 37, listed at least five medical conditions for which she was being treated.

    Jones told the officers she suffered from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which causes lightheadedness and fainting upon standing up. She also said she was taking medication for seizures, ADHD and depression.

    Jones also told police about a brain injury she received from abuse from her ex-husband, the man who Jones was accused of assaulting the night of her arrest.

    Jones’ sister in an earlier interview also said Jones had a heart murmur.

    The officers in the video were cooperative and friendly with Jones. One of them suggested moving her to a cell where she would have access to a phone to speak with her family. But he said her current cell was better situated for jail personnel to monitor her health.

    Jones was taken to a doctor a few hours after the recorded conversation. A jail employee found her appearing “lethargic” the evening of July 25. She was evaluated and released within a few hours.

    Police say they checked on Jones periodically throughout the night.

    The next morning at 7:30 a.m., the jail administrator found Jones unresponsive in the bed of her cell. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    So even with all of that, something didn’t quite go as well as it should have.

  100. rq says

    Cost of Police-Misconduct Cases Soars in Big U.S. Cities. Yep, having badly behaved police ain’t cheap! Can’t get to the full article, but there seem to be a lot of large numbers in it.

    Podcast: We Still Rely On Volunteers To Tally The Victims Of Police Violence

    “How prevalent are police killings in America? Where are the places where there are hot spots of police violence? And where are the places that may be models for police being able to do their job without killing people? We couldn’t answer those questions without using the data, and so we had to collect it and analyze it ourselves. Now that we have the data it’s possible to hold police chiefs and policymakers accountable to actually reducing and ultimately eliminating the number of police killings.” — Samuel Sinyangwe

    APD officers will stand trial for murder in shooting of James Boyd, as seen previous via different channels.

    I think it’s important to have a reasoned response to unethical practice in order to avoid falling into the trap of being accused of being an angry (brown) girl on Twitter.

    I pitched a story to The Guardian* back in June 2014. It was about Muslim drag queens and it came after building a relationship with one of the queens. She felt open talking to me and granted me access to her world. I began to build relationships with others, who were mainly South Asian (like me) and we had some shared experiences, (not least the language, which many conversations took place in, but also where we lived in London, etc). It was commissioned.

    The director was bought onto the project as a replacement after the original director could no longer do it. The new director was bought on four months after the commission, by which time I had already, obviously, done a substantial amount of work on it. Helped by my storytelling, access, time in the edit, scripting and voiceover, we made a great film together. The film, for which I supplied research, contacts and – as the only Asian member of the production team – cultural insight and some measure of reassurance to the participants that their stories would be told in a sensitive and appropriate manner, was completed and published on the Guardian website in January 2015.

    It was a success (half a million views first week etc) and it no doubt brought a lot of praise for the commissioning editors.

    After the film was made, it transpired that Channel 4 would be making an hour-long doc with Swan Films and the director.

    (The Guardian and Channel 4 offered different accounts of who approached who for their TV documentary – but as all my communications with C4 were via confidential emails, I can’t divulge which way round it was).

    One of the Guardian commissioners had a previous professional relationship with the production company, and said director. The hour-long doc was commissioned. I was not part of any of these conversations. I was only made aware that this was happening a few weeks later by one of the queens got in touch to ask why I wasn’t involved. I emailed the relevant parties at The Guardian, Swan Films and C4 to let them know what had happened and aired my ethical grievances. I made the point of how crucial it is that minorities should be able to tell their own stories, and that I had been cut out. The emails, and responses are at the bottom of this post.

    A admittance that I should have been part of the conversations with Channel 4 was made, but it became clear that the Guardian’s view was that, as I had signed a commission form, I was bound by the terms of the Freelance Charter; and that under the Charter the Guardian has the right to take my story and sell it to a third party without involving me, asking my permission, or paying me. This stands up, and there is no legal case to be made against The Guardian multimedia. The only grievance I had was an ethical one, which has been flatly ignored. The doc is now led by a team of white men, has a white director, and is narrated by a high-profile (white) male actor. It is as if I never existed. It feels very much like a deliberate and concerted effort to take the research, contacts and ideas from a person of colour and to carve them out of a major subsequent development contract, simply because that person is young, relatively inexperienced in TV, and therefore exploitable.

    To reiterate, this story wouldn’t have existed without me. The director was bought on after I had pitched the treatment, 
with access I had already secured to the contributors, and the Guardian
 film relied heavily on my extensive research. The fact the story was told the way it was, and the director was able to get
 to access these people and spaces, was solely thanks to my understanding 
of the culture, as a minority very close to it.

    There’s more at the link, but if you ever wonder why writers of colour just don’t try harder to become visible? Maybe it’s not the writers.

    Tombstone Of ‘Roots’ Author’s Grandmother Vandalized: ‘White Lives Matter’, as seen previous.

  101. rq says

    New book about Danziger Bridge carnage is powerful even for those who know the story: Jarvis DeBerry.

    On Sunday morning Sept. 4, 2005, two New Orleans teenagers competed in a foot race to Danziger Bridge. The week after Hurricane Katrina is not remembered for frivolity. But according to Jose Holmes Jr., “We were in a happy mood, making the best of out things, laughing and joking.” And so it was that Jose, 19, challenged his friend James Brissette Jr., 17, to race him.

    JJ, as Brissette was called, got dusted. He stopped halfway to the bridge to catch his breath. Jose was sure that cigarettes were the blame for his skinny friend’s slow speed and pathetic endurance. As the winner, Jose had plenty time for JJ and for his auntie and her family to catch up. He sat on a railing on Danziger Bridge. He bent to tie his shoe.

    Ronald and Lance Madison, a 40-year-old mentally challenged man and his protective older brother, walked past him. Jose’s group was headed to Winn Dixie to search for Glucerna, a nutrition shake for his auntie’s diabetic mother. The Madisons were headed to their brother’s dental practice.

    The New Orleans police arrive.

    Officers sprang from a Budget rental truck with two AK-47s, an M4 assault rifle, a .40 caliber Glock 22 semiautomatic pistol and a Mossberg shotgun.

    They killed JJ. They shot Jose. They shot Jose’s aunt, Susan Bartholomew. They shot her husband, “Big” Leonard Bartholomew III. They shot Jose’s cousin, Lesha Bartholomew, and they shot at (but missed) his cousin, “Little” Leonard Bartholomew IV. One officer chased down a bloody Ronald Madison on the other side of the bridge and killed him, too.

    After all that unprovoked bloodshed, the police arrested Jose and Lance Madison and accused them of trying to kill eight police officers.

    With what?!

    Well, that was new… and horrible. And read on, apparently the police might still get a chance to have their story become the official one.

    Two former East Point officers charged in death of handcuffed man, as seen previous.

    Three More Transgender Women Of Color Killed. Let’s hear it for all black lives matter.

    As LGBT activists continue to rail against what they say is a nationwide “crisis of violence” against transgender individuals, the bodies of three more murdered transgender women have been discovered this past week.

    The deaths of Tamara Dominguez, who was killed Saturday; Kandis Capri, who was killed in an attack Aug. 11; and Elisha Walker, who had not been seen since October 2014, but whose body was discovered Thursday, bring the nationwide toll of transgender homicide victims found in 2015 to 17. Fifteen of those victims were transgender individuals of color.

    In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Chai Jindasurat, co-director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said the three killings were “terrible tragedies.”

    “This crisis of violence is killing transgender people, particularly transgender
    women of color, at alarming rates in 2015,” Jindasurat said.

    More on each victim at the link, but I was heartbroken by this:

    Gaines said her child’s transgender identity makes her wonder if Capri was killed as part of a hate crime.

    “He identified as transgender,” Gaines told the newspaper. “Initially I was against it, but eventually I determined that was my child and I still loved him and I accepted him as he was.”

    If she couldn’t use the right pronoun, did she really accept her child’s identity?

    DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President. Didn’t know this was in dispute, but congrats, Obama, you’re still the first!

    Ep 48: The Year of Ferguson, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and More!

    Join us with this week’s show as we discuss the year since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and how things have changed for our community. We also discuss Bernie Sanders and #BlackLivesMatter, Donald Trump, gun registration efforts, and football’s return.

    Audio at the link.

  102. rq says

    The Short, Hard Life Of Freddie Gray

    Baltimore burned after Gray’s death because his demise was emblematic. He was one of many unarmed black men and women to die at the hands of police — not just in Baltimore, but across the United States. In more than one way, however, Gray’s life was even more representative than his death.

    According to the U.S. census, the poverty rate in Sandtown-Winchester, the West Baltimore neighborhood where Gray grew up and where most of his arrests took place, is roughly double the national average. At 51.6%, according to the Justice Policy Institute, its unemployment rate is twice that of Greece’s, a country widely acknowledged to be a paradigm of economic collapse. The Baltimore Health Department puts the neighborhood’s life expectancy at roughly 69 years — about the same as North Korea’s. And according to the Justice Policy Institute, residents of Sandtown-Winchester are incarcerated at rate 13 times higher than the national average.

    Beginning with a childhood marked by crippling poverty and a poisonous environment, Gray faced difficulties familiar to many black residents of America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. The story of those difficulties is preserved in the archives of the Baltimore court system. It is a story that, according to several defense attorneys, two former police officers, and one former prosecutor, could belong to any number of young black men from West Baltimore.

    (Unless otherwise stated, all the facts in this article come from the court records for 16 criminal cases and one civil lawsuit. Gray was a defendant in 23 cases throughout his adult life, but several of those files were consolidated. His juvenile record is sealed. Billy Murphy, the attorney for Gray’s surviving family members, declined to make his clients available for an interview and did not comment on an extensive summary of this story. BuzzFeed News reached out for comment to every person mentioned in this story.)

    Court records show that Gray was arrested over and over again, for everything from possessing drugs to playing dice in a public housing development where he didn’t live. Over and over again, records show his family and friends accrued debts with bail agents to keep him out of jail. Over and over again, overworked prosecutors dropped all charges. On the few occasions when he was actually convicted, he was given relatively light sentences — mostly a reflection of the exhausted pragmatism of Baltimore’s overcrowded courts.

    “What you saw in Gray’s cases is systemic,” Marc Schindler, the executive director of the nonprofit Justice Policy Institute, told BuzzFeed News. “This is the front line of the failed drug war of the United States. This is the day-to-day — people getting chewed up and spit out by a failed public policy.”

    By the time of his final arrest, Gray had learned that a rational response to an arriving police car was to run away.

    There’s much more at the link.

    Martin Luther King’s hate mail eerily resembles criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Plus ca change…

    ‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Store Now Selling George Zimmerman’s Confederate Flag Paintings – seen around and elsewhere. As the subtitle says, it’s totally not about race, AMIRITE???

    ‘Muslim-free’ gun shop teams with George Zimmerman to sell Confederate flag prints, that’s just the Washington Post version.

    ACLU blasts St. Louis County for belatedly charging Ferguson demonstrators. They’re going after last year’s arrests.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have blasted St. Louis County for belatedly filing criminal cases against demonstrators arrested during the 2014 unrest in Ferguson.

    “We condemn this action as a blatant violation of constitutional rights and an appalling misuse of our already overburdened court system,” the ACLU said in a statement released jointly with the St. Louis University Law Litigation Clinic and the lawyers group ArchCity Defenders late Tuesday afternoon.

    The ACLU estimates hundreds of charges could now be filed against those arrested during the protests that followed the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

    Those charged will be cited for violating county ordinances.

    Journalists included in those counts, too.

    Important read: Secret aid worker: there is still racism within humanitarian work

    I started my career as a humanitarian worker in Sudan. A year out of university, after a brief interlude teaching English, I volunteered for an aid agency. Despite being no more committed or able than my Sudanese colleagues, I found myself rising rapidly through the ranks. After a few months, I was put in charge of a team of sanitation engineers, and within a year I was logistics manager leapfrogging a dozen national staff and in charge of a £1m budget.

    The rationale for my promotion was that, as a non-national, I would be immune from participating in corruption that national staff may be vulnerable to; an unfortunate assumption of assuming the worst of national staff. So, having originally set off with ideals about creating global equality, I found myself in a scene often depicted in sepia colonial photos – white people in management seated at the front and Africans around the edges in junior roles.

    Personally, the impact was more subtle. I would find myself becoming testy with people twice my age or complaining about the tardiness of a cleaner. I was dimly aware of a gulf opening up between how I said I wanted the world to be and the conditions I heartily accepted. I had become a typically entitled white person.

    This uncomfortable taboo is rarely discussed among socially progressive NGO workers. As aid workers, we assure ourselves that we are “here to help” the people in our host countries. We call it a “post” or an “assignment”, as if we’re on a special secret mission, and forget that we’re guests. By seeing ourselves as the helpers, we often forget that the work we’re doing is more nuanced and complicated than an easy moral black-and-white.

    As a liberal progressive humanitarian worker, I entered the profession wanting to make the world less unfair, but found myself asking: can you be the beneficiary of a profoundly unequal society and it not affect you? What can one do about this? Those I know who have never let it affect them and have truly become part of the societies they work in have been missionaries and priests.

    And remember, these white-superior attitudes also infest local organizations. Sometimes it’s not inadvertent but an unwillingness to relinquish power to those who might wield it differently, those who are not like you.

  103. rq says

    Virginia cop’s arrest reveals larger cracks in ‘blue wall of silence’

    The movement in the Torres case follows a series of more recent cases from Portsmouth, Va., to Los Angeles in which police leaders, realizing that lack of public trust in police ultimately puts officers at risk, have favored transparency over political expediency or concerns about officer morale. Gallup recently found that public trust of police is at a 22-year-low.

    “Many police chiefs are now reacting [by offering transparency] when it comes to procedures after a police shooting,” says Laurie Robinson, a law professor at George Mason University in Fairfax and co-chair of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. “Part of it is self-protection, but it’s also from a professional standpoint, to ensure that the community finds any investigation a credible one.”

    Among the recent high-profile cases:

    – In Los Angeles in May, civil rights activists commended Police Chief Charlie Beck after he publicly said he was “concerned” about the fatal police shooting of an unarmed homeless man that month.
    – In Portsmouth, Va., the police chief this spring quickly brought in an outside agency to investigate two officer-involved shootings, citing new national guidelines on police accountability and transparency.
    – After a university police officer in Cincinnati was accused of killing an unarmed motorist last month, a grand jury was quickly convened. In those proceedings, two other responding officers contradicted their colleague’s contention that he fired because he feared for his life. The now-fired officer, Ray Tensing, faces a murder charge in the death of Samuel DuBose.
    – This month in Arlington, Texas, police moved quickly to fire an officer-in-training named Brad Miller for breaking safety protocol. He is accused of killing Christian Taylor, an unarmed teen who was ransacking a car dealership.
    – On Tuesday, a judge in Albuquerque, N.M., found enough probable cause in the 2014 shooting death of a homeless camper to schedule a murder trial for Officer Dominique Perez and now-retired Officer Keith Sandy. Albuquerque police have killed 40 people in the past five years, and the US Department of Justice found last year that callous disregard for life had become part of a “pattern or practice” in the department. The shooting in question helped lead to an overhaul of Albuquerque’s use of force policy.

    In Fairfax, it took a judge to force the disclosure of information. In April, Fairfax County agreed to pay Geer’s family nearly $3 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit. On July 31, Torres was fired.

    His arrest this week marks the first time in the 75-year history of the Fairfax County Police Department that an officer has faced criminal prosecution in connection with an on-duty shooting.

    Undercover Police Have Regularly Spied On Black Lives Matter Activists in New York. Show of hands, who’s surprised?

    Documents obtained by The Intercept confirm that undercover police officers attended numerous Black Lives Matter protests in New York City between December 2014 and February 2015. The documents also show that police in New York have monitored activists, tracking their movements and keeping individual photos of them on file.

    The nearly 300 documents, released by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad, reveal more on-the-ground surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists than previous reports have shown, conducted by a coalition of MTA counterterrorism agents and undercover police in conjunction with NYPD intelligence officers.

    This appears to be the first documented proof of the frequent presence of undercover police at Black Lives Matter protests in the city of New York, though many activists have suspected their presence since mass protests erupted there last year over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, a police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

    The protest surveillance and use of undercover officers raises questions over whether New York-area law enforcement agencies are potentially criminalizing the exercise of free speech and treating activists like terrorist threats. Critics say the police files seem to document a response vastly disproportionate to the level of law breaking associated with the protests.

    The documents were released to activists after several requests under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, which asked for records from the MTA, MTA Metro-North, the New York State Police, and the NYPD pertaining to Black Lives Matter protests at Grand Central Terminal between November 2014 and January 2015.

    In the 118 pages released by the MTA, the names of undercover police officers are redacted at least 58 times in five December 2014 protests, 124 times at five protests in January 2015, and 10 times at one protest in February 2015. The Intercept has been unable to contact any of the undercover police reporting on protests because the MTA said it redacted the “names of undercover police officers,” citing the New York Public Officers Law stipulating that certain records, which “if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person,” may be withheld. Metro-North also redacted the names of undercover officers. Both entities also said they redacted location and contact information for regular MTA police named in the documents.

    Together the 118 MTA and 161 Metro-North documents also showed monitoring of an additional protest in November 2014, 11 protests in December 2014, nine protests in January 2015, and two protests in February 2015 by MTA officials and undercover police working at times in conjunction with NYPD officers.

    As a good person recently commented on FB, are they keeping as close tabs on the KKK and flag rallies and sovereign citizen groups?

    The Rebellious, Back-Flipping Black Figure Skater Who Changed the Sport Forever, because sports and fun!

    In the 1980s and ’90s, competitive figure skating enthralled me. The sport’s balletic arm movements and glittery-glam unitards, along with its powerful leaps and dizzying triple axels, guaranteed that I’d be seated in front of a TV during every Winter Olympics of my childhood. But not even in my most far-fetched girlhood fantasies did I ever imagine myself on the ice. Early awareness of my athletic limitations aside, figure skating just never seemed like a sport that was welcoming to black women and girls. If it were, I reasoned, more of us would’ve taken it up. Instead, I only recall seeing three black women figure skating on an Olympic level in my two decades of fandom: Tai Babilonia (who is of black and Filipino heritage), Debi Thomas, and the French Surya Bonaly—and none of them seemed to have an easy go of it. Babilonia battled substance abuse, after withdrawing from the 1980 Olympics due to her partner’s injury. Thomas was saddled with a late-career reputation for being “unsportsmanlike,” following the 1988 Olympics. And Bonaly—the brownest, strongest, and most convention-flouting of the three—was penalized for her daring.

    In the first half of the 20th century, figure skating needed to do more than “work on its diversity.” It needed to eliminate the blatant, de rigueur discrimination that barred black athletes in most U.S. sporting fields from participating.

    Mabel Fairbanks—who, in 1997 became the first African American woman inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame at the age of 82—was never allowed to skate competitively. Though she’s credited with breaking the sport’s color barrier, having toured with an overseas company and started her own integrated skating school upon return to the states, Fairbanks had to circumvent the segregation that barred her entry to practice rinks and to all U.S. competitions. She developed her own professional ice shows and performed for mostly black audiences in Manhattan before becoming a coach who worked with some of the earliest black competitive figure skaters, including Babilonia and Thomas.

    Even after black figure skaters were allowed to compete, other obstacles prevented an influx of aspiring black athletes. The hardest impediment to overcome was expense. In an interview with The Root, Bonaly mentioned the costs associated with training for competitive skating: “It’s starting to be a little better, but back in the day, skating was so expensive. I mean, it’s still an expensive sport. […] I was lucky because my mom was a skating coach, so it was easier for me, but that’s not the case for everybody.”

    In addition to pegging herself as a rebel during that practice session, judges seemed prejudiced against Bonaly. In his Rebel On Ice interview, Frank Carroll, a former U.S. Olympic coach, said, “Even though she was wonderful [and] spectacular and she did great performances, she didn’t look like the ‘ice princess.’” (Until recently, “ice princesses”—skaters who emphasize graceful artistry over raw athleticism—were preferred among judges. A recent ESPN article asserts that this may be changing.)

    Retta, who recalls watching Bonaly’s performances on TV as a child, also thought Bonaly’s appearance made her conspicuous on the ice. “She was shorter. She had a ‘black girl’s body,’ [which meant] thicker legs. She was never going to look like the other skaters.”

    In the documentary, Bonaly is candid about race. “I don’t know if race made it more difficult, but definitely it made me stronger, knowing that I [had] no excuse [for] making mistakes or being kind of so-so, because maybe I [wouldn’t] be accepted as a white person [would’ve been]. But if [I was] better, they had no choice but to accept it and say, ‘She did so well.’” Bonaly’s comments call to mind the “twice as good” narrative, in which black people aspiring to white-dominated fields have to continually exceed expectations to be as successful as their white peers.

    There’s more at the link.

    16 Trans Women Have Been Murdered This Year. Here’s One Theory Why Cops Haven’t Caught the Killers. The numbers aren’t the same from source to source, either.

    The media and the police were both quick to report the July 23rd killing. But they disagreed over one detail: whether Haggard was a man or a woman. Some news outlets described the incident as the 11th homicide of a transgender woman this year—and the second such homicide within the span of a week, after a transgender woman was found murdered in Tampa Bay, Florida, on July 21. In Fresno, members of the community gathered at the scene of the crime to honor Haggard, with placards that read, “trans rights” and “we are everywhere.”

    But when the local police put out a statement to the press, it referred to Kenton Haggard, also known as K.C. or Casey, as a man. “Officers located a 66-year-old male suffering from a wound to the neck,” Lt. Joe Gomez, a spokesman from the Fresno Police Department, told me, adding that Haggard had been identified as a man by the coroners.

    Three weeks later, the department has yet to arrest a suspect. Of course, it’s not uncommon for homicide investigations to take time or fizzle out, but Haggard’s homicide might be even harder than usual to solve, in part due to the discrepancy over pronouns. The gender and name used by the police to describe a victim can affect the success of an investigation, says Chai Jindasurat, a program coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project, a New York-based advocacy group that has tracked homicides of transgender women for decades.

    When investigators refer to a transgender woman victim as a man, Jindasurat says, it can confuse witnesses, who, in turn, may offer fewer tips for the investigation. “If [community members] see a report that doesn’t reflect the person they knew, in terms of gender and name, they may not associate the report with the actual person they knew,” Jindasurat says. Officer Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department, agrees. If a transgender woman is killed, he says, “the witnesses would remember seeing a female, not a male.” If cops refer to her as a man, Esparza says, “it would contradict the investigation.”

    And yet, activists say police officers frequently “misgender” and “misname” victims. After a 20-year-old transgender woman was fatally shot in Detroit on August 8, law enforcement told media that a male had been killed, and the county medical examiner’s office released her male birth name. When India Clarke’s body was found near a basketball court in Tampa Bay last month, initial calls to 911 identified her as a woman, but a detective said investigators would not categorize her as transgender, and a local news report described her as a “man dressed as a woman.” On August 10, the Dallas police identified as male a 22-year-old transgender woman whose body was found badly decomposed in a field last month; in a separate statement, they noted that the victim had been wearing a blue-and-white tube top with straps, a black wig, and sunglasses, along with fake pink-tipped nails.

    The confusion over pronouns makes it difficult to know how many transgender women are murdered each year, and how many of these murders were hate crimes. “We know transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, experience disproportionate violence, deadly violence, and it can’t just be random occurrences—it’s often associated with their identity,” Jindasurat says. “When law enforcement refuse to recognize someone for who they were, it leaves out a huge piece of the story.” Some activists say at least five transgender women have been killed or found dead since the attack on Haggard in Fresno, including 35-year-old Kandis Capri, who was fatally shot in Phoenix on August 11, and 20-year-old Elisha Walker, whose body was discovered two days later in a crude grave in Johnston County, North Carolina.

    So there you go, police microaggressions that aren’t even micro, against transgender people. Do better.

    Virginia ex-cop charged with murder for killing compliant man standing in doorway of his home, Raw Story on the John Geer shooting.

    ‘Everybody’ Arrested In Ferguson Last August Is Being Charged, Lawyers Say. Don’t say why, though.

  104. rq says

    Velda City recalls all warrants. Small steps forward?

    19 Science-Fiction And Fantasy Novels By Women Of Color You Must Read, because no matter how much we talk about them, they never seem to get enough exposure.

    The Bernie Sanders Kerfuffle, #blacklivesmatter, and White Progressive Colorblindess. At least we’re talking about Bernie, eh?

    The Pacific Northwest is so overwhelmingly white that some jokingly refer to it as the Great White North. In a region where white people are so overwhelmingly the majority, racism becomes all the more difficult for the white majority to see. Even when it becomes visible, it’s all to easy to ignore.

    In my years in the Northwest, I found that pointing out racism can result in retaliation, even from left-leaning whites. I was sometimes labeled a provocateur, or, worse, accused of creating fictions in order to use innocent people I was falsely accusing of racism as whipping boys on whom to vent my anger over something else.

    I say this to make a point: I know something about white progressives. I may even be something of an expert on the subject, though I can’t claim objectivity because, over the years, many of them have become close friends. More than anything, what I’ve learned is that we’re all just human after all.

    It was these years of experience that made the much discussed disruption of a mostly white rally in Seattle featuring Bernie Sanders by #blacklivesmatter activists last Saturday of such interest to me. The disruption catalyzed an exaggerated version of the same racial dynamics that loomed large in nearly every struggle I have been involved in in the Northwest. And, as usual, to no good end.

    Moreover, the discussion following that incident feels like it’s turned into a referendum on a whole movement, bordering even on a contest over the primacy of race or class in progressive politics; a contest that has been waged since, well, forever in terms relevant to this moment. All that incited by two Black women, just two, saying something that we should be listening to if we really do believe that Black lives matter, no matter how or to whom they said it, and maybe especially for just those reasons.

    We should be listening if we are concerned about the crisis of racism in America because acting on that concern must begin with consideration of our own racism. And isn’t that the demand that angered folks the most?

    If we don’t begin there, we are misunderstanding how deeply rooted and ubiquitous racism is in America. We are a profoundly racist state, founded upon native genocide and race slavery, divided by a civil war fought over the simple proposition that Black people are human beings, and today, still, a country deeply divided over issues that disproportionately affect people of color – issues like immigration, mass incarceration, drug criminalization, Islamophobia, the so-called war on terror, welfare, food stamps, educational equity, Obamacare (on which the deepest divisions are in the blackest states of the South). And the list goes on.

    In such a state, do we really suppose that racism is only a problem of other people?

    More at the link.

    St. Louis Cops Kill Another Teen, Massive Protests Sweep The Streets, with pictures of the streets last night (tear gas and armed cops). The anniversary of Kajieme Powell’s death.

    NYPD and NYC Transit Used Undercover Officers to Monitor Black Lives Matter Protesters: Report, The Root on protestor surveillance.

    Yes, It Is Time Teachers Start Actively Challenging Racism in the Classroom, and no, it’s not just the job of teachers of colour, but white teachers, too. Especially white teachers.

    In the shadow of the recent church killings of nine blacks at the hands of a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, Education Week invited me—along with the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, a UCLA professor, and two other distinguished educators—to write an op-ed answering this question: Are there steps the K-12 community can take to change the current narrative around race?

    My thesis was simple: The first step teachers can take to rid America of racial injustice is to self-assess to what extent, if any, they believe the racial lie. For example, if you would teach black children, but no-way-in-hell live next door to them, you probably believe the lie.

    You see, I have this radical view that teachers are just as human as anybody else, and that we sometimes give ourselves a pass because, after all, we’re overworking, self-sacrificing teachers. I founded the nonprofit Teachers Who Pray because I’ve discovered that even the most well-meaning educators sometimes fall subject to universal human failings, including racial prejudice. Teachers need healing too!

    Little did I know that my op-ed would set off a firestorm of controversy. While the majority of the feedback I got was supportive, a few educators wrote comments like this:

    … the leading cause of the huge disparity in social statistics for Blacks: a ballooning out-of-wedlock rate resulting from irresponsible/promiscuous sexual behavior.

    Recalling ‘white flight’ of 20 (more like 30), years ago really has no relevance today. The only thing that this type of rhetoric does is to reinforce the negative and mistaken opinions that some Blacks have about society today.

    If you are going to throw that kind of visceral indictment [that some teachers have low expectations for black students], you better have some empirical evidence, and [Marilyn] doesn’t have any…

    Forgive me, but for the purposes of a short opinion piece, my life as a black student and now teacher in a poor, racially isolated inner-city community was the “evidence.”

    I’m sure the Good Doctor is a great, charismatic guy, but he left me speechless when he informed me of my “victim mentality.”

    “Ms. Rhames, what the mind believes, the mind achieves,” he wrote. “I am waiting for one of my black colleagues to write an article pointing out how they do not see a need for racial definitions…”

    His words are the perfect illustration of white privilege—race doesn’t matter; race is neutral and has no historical context.

    Good Doctor, racial injustice is not merely a figment of black people’s collective imagination. It was the chains of our enslaved ancestors, and the handcuffs that disproportionately incarcerate African-American men today. It caused the whites to flee when blacks moved into the neighborhood, and it has no interest investing in the ghetto. It caused the bloodiest war in American history, and it keeps scores of Americans clinging to their beloved Confederate flags.

    My sincerest apologies if my op-ed assigned blame to my white colleagues. Guilt will never lead to racial unity, and shaming was not my intention. In fact I wrote, “Sadly, some [blacks] have internalized the lie and have surrendered any will to defy it.” I challenged ALL educators—black, white, and in between—to look within themselves to squash the racial lie before for expecting others to do it.

    More at the link.

  105. rq says

    Here’s three different fundraising links to the same Ferguson organization, Millenial Activists United. Currently raising money for their legal defense fund. They’ve been out on the streets protesting and working for awareness since last year.
    any and all funds donated to our fundrazr account is strictly for legal defense.

    or you can donate via Paypal for organizational support or legal defense. Paypal: millennialau@gmail.com

    Crowdrise: https://www.crowdrise.com/millennialactivistsunitedlegalassistancefund/fundraiser/mausupport

    Maybe someone out there can help them out a bit.

  106. rq says

    St. Louis police fatally shoot teen while trying to issue search warrant, hopefully more and clearer information coming up about this, as police version is currently being doubted by protestors who were nearby when it happened.

    The killing of an 18-year-old black man by St. Louis police in the city’s Fountain Park neighborhood ignited protests once again Wednesday, with an angry crowd disputing police accounts of the incident.

    By nightfall, fires were set near the scene of the shooting near Page Boulevard and Walton Avenue, with at least one car and vacant dwelling consumed. Earlier, police used tear gas to attempt to clear crowds.

    Police say a young black man pointed a gun at officers about 11:30 a.m. after they arrived to serve a search warrant. Two officers, both white men, fired a total of four times.

    The St. Louis medical examiner’s office identified the man who was shot as Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, of the 1200 block of Redman Boulevard in the Spanish Lake area.

    The shooting almost immediately attracted protesters, many of whom had gathered downtown Wednesday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of another young black man killed by police.

    Some of those who gathered to hear Police Chief Sam Dotson speak Wednesday afternoon grew angry at his account. As the crowd grew, so did the tension with officers, who arrived in large numbers. At least three people were taken into custody after police in SWAT gear and an armored vehicle told the crowd to disperse.

    “This is an unlawful assembly,” police warned.

    At least two officers were pelted with plastic water bottles during the tense few hours after the shooting.

    “Police officers are out doing their jobs,” Dotson told reporters. “We need support in the community.”

    Confrontations with police escalated in the hours that followed.

    Note: escalation included smoke bombs from police. Ghastly pictures.

    If you have any outrage left, muster it up now: Officer’s Lawyer: Sanders Death Not Racial

    Bill Ready Jr., the attorney for the white police officer who killed a black man after a traffic stop in July, has nearly four decades of experience handling civil-rights cases. His father, William Ready Sr., is also a lawyer and has worked on civil-rights cases for 50 years.

    For these reasons, many in eastern Mississippi were surprised that the junior Ready took on the defense of Kevin Herrington, the Stonewall police officer who stopped 39-year-old Jonathan Sanders on a dark road on July 8, with Sanders then dying from asphyxiation. The events that preceded Sanders’ death are disputed. Many in Stonewall believe the incident was racially motivated; Herrington’s lawyer says that’s nonsense.

    “I’ve been involved in cases where I can definitely tell you, ‘Oh, hell yeah, something was racially motivated,’ or (that) it was motivated because a person was homosexual. Oh yeah, I’ve been involved in those. This incident, I am convinced, was not racially motivated.”

    Online news organizations have widely reported claims from Sanders’ family attorneys Chokwe A. Lumumba and C.J. Lawrence that Herrington used a racial slur when he encountered Sanders at the CEFCO gas station in Stonewall (an accusation the Jackson Free Press initially declined to report without further evidence, but has since become the central theme in the case).

    “Everybody seems to be wanting to make it a race issue between a white police officer and a black man,” Ready said, “but what makes it a race issue? Because it’s a black man and white man? I don’t see any facts or issues in this situation that makes it racial.”

    Sounds like an idiot.

    ICE Officer Will Not Be Charged In Death Of Terrance Kellom, Killed During Detroit Arrest

    An officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old black man four times at his home will not be charged, Wayne County’s prosecutor said Wednesday.

    Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced during a morning press conference that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Mitchell Quinn’s shooting of Terrance Kellom was justified.

    A fugitive apprehension task force made up of Quinn and six other officers from local and federal agencies came to serve two arrest warrants for Kellom, a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man, on the afternoon of April 27.

    Officers and Kellom’s father, Kevin Kellom, offer conflicting accounts of what happened during the attempted arrest. Quinn said Terrance Kellom advanced on him, holding a hammer, despite orders to stop, and he shot in self-defense while moving backwards. Kevin Kellom has said Terrance was unarmed and not resisting when he was shot multiple times.

    A, but armed with a hammer he surely deserved to be killed, right. Still not inclined to believe the police.

    Police shoot and kill suspect in north St. Louis – he’s an 18-year-old who just graduated high school, and he is a ‘suspect’. Everywhere.

    Chief Sam Dotson says two young armed male suspects ran out of the back of a home near the intersection of Page and Walton in north St. Louis on Wednesday. Two police officers executing a search warrant chased the suspects running from the home.

    Officers told the suspects to drop their weapons. Police say one of the suspects raised his gun and pointed it at officers. One of the officers then shot at the suspects. The other officer then fired three more shots. The injured man in his 20’s continued running until he collapsed. Police say the other suspect got away.

    A stolen gun from Rolla, MO was recovered near the suspect’s body.

    Oh, that ‘near the suspect’s body’ is apparently way up the street, according to witnesses who were nearby or present. And considering VonDerrit Myers, I think people have doubts about whether it was actually on the victim.
    In other words, police shot two young men, killed one of them, wounded the other, because they may have raised what could have been a gun. What if it was a phone, to film the police…?

    Somerville hangs ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner at City Hall. ANy bets on how long it will stay up? How many complaints do you think they’ve had by now…?

    “We see this as an important opportunity for an important national conversation” about race, Curtatone said. He said the move was “a very clear statement we are making to the community that we recognize that structural racism exists in our society; it exists in our public and private institutions.”

    By hanging the banner, Curtatone said, he is calling on other cities to foster conversations about improving race relations.

    The 4-foot-by-12-foot banner, a symbol of the beginning of a collaboration with the group, will stay up “as long as it has to” to drive the message home that Somerville is a city determined to strengthen trust between government agencies and people in the community and to treat everyone equally and fairly, Curtatone said.

    “I have a responsibility as the chief executive of public institutions in this city and our municipality to lead that,” Curtatone said. “If any one group feels that our public institutions are not treating them fairly, or our policies drive a certain structural racial overtone, I have a responsibility to lead that change.”

    When asked if he thinks racism is a problem in Somerville, he said, “Racism exists everywhere.”

    “In our public institutions, we can remove it,” he said.

    Somebody seems to get it. I wish him courage in the days to come.

    The White Folks Who Need “Proof of Racism”, yes, more white-folk reading! This is our issue!

    I will never again fall for the Show-Me-Proof-of-Racism gotcha-request that many white people resort to whenever a black person or another person of color expresses their experience with racism.

    You can dig up study after study, research after research, video after video, testimony after testimony, expert after expert, scholar after scholar, scientist after scientist from the most prestigious academic, journalistic, and scientific institutions in the entire world and it won’t matter a single, solitary bit.

    Whatever proof you show–whether it is evidence to demonstrate the presence of systemic racism or social racism; implicit racism or explicit racism; conscious racism or unconscious racism–will NEVER be enough. They will employ every move-the-goal-post, bait-and-switch, logical-fallacy, false-equivalence,appeal-to-the-absurd, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt, bar-raising, unrealistic-expectation, persnickety-pseudo-science tactic at their disposal to deny that what you’ve brought forth is solid and correct or even mildly reasonable. And the shade is that if you don’t bring it forth, they’ll accuse you of being the racist. They think this is the perfect no-win situation in which to place you.

    They will ask you if you can read the minds of white people. Yes. That’s their favorite one. The only way you will be able to prove racism to these white folks is if you’re telepathic. And even then, they’d question the accuracy of your telepathic abilities and will request a white telepath to co-sign on your knowledge. Anything to avoid having to confront and admit that racism exists, that they benefit from it–and often participate in and perpetuate it.

    So I won’t oblige this request anymore. Beyond being a sign of intellectual laziness, psychological ineptitude, and a gross exploitation of unearned authority and privilege, it’s emotionally sophomoric and an insidious and pathological deflection strategy designed to protect white people from encountering any reality that doesn’t make them feel like the most special and innocent snowflake at the dead center of the crystalline universe.

    They don’t want the answers, Sway!

    Traipsing around, they sing the most inane and blighted of songs:

    There are no stars in the sky. There is no ground below the feet. There is no racism to be found anywhere–especially not in me.

    The entire purpose of the request for proof is merely an attempt to exhaust me and return to the white person the moments of reprieve they feel I stole from them–the moments in which they didn’t have to deal with me or my experience with racism. And they can go back to their lily-white, fairytale version of existence that my presence and my testimony threatened to undo. That they are asking for proof is, in its own way, proof of the very thing they think they are hiding so well.

    The whole point of them asking me to convince them is so that could pretend and tout that they made a good-faith effort all while hiding the fact that the goal was always to never be convinced.

    It’s a complete and utter waste of time of my time and energy. And I shall not indulge these sadists for another second.

    There’s more at the bottom from Toni Morrison. Stop asking for proof, white folks. Listen to what is being said to you, accept it, strive to do better, be the change you want to see. Don’t deny the experiences of others, especially if they’re so radically different from yours that you have trouble relating. You don’t have to relate, you have to listen and believe.

  107. rq says

    Protesters march through downtown St. Louis to renew focus on killing of Kajieme Powell – this is prior to the shooting, of course.

    Holmes v. Garvey, from the ACLU.

    Roxbury resident Mary Holmes, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Howard Friedman, filed a civil rights lawsuit on August 19, 2015 against two MBTA police officers for police brutality and the violation of her constitutional right to free speech. Ms. Holmes was pepper-sprayed, beaten, and arrested by the officers because she spoke out to prevent MBTA police from abusing a person in her community.

    In March 2014, Ms. Holmes was at the Dudley Square MBTA station in Roxbury when she saw Officer Jennifer Garvey scream at and shove an older Black woman. The situation worried Ms. Holmes so she tried to calm the woman and asked Officer Garvey to stop being so aggressive. When these efforts failed, she called 9-1-1 for help. In response, Officer Garvey and her partner, Officer Alfred Trinh, pepper-sprayed Ms. Holmes in the face, beat her with a metal baton, and arrested her, handcuffing her hands behind her back while forcing her to the ground.

    “The MBTA has signs everywhere telling people ‘if you see something, say something.’ This is exactly what Ms. Holmes did. She saw something wrong, and she spoke out. We need more people to follow Ms. Holmes’ lead and do the same,” said Jessie Rossman, staff attorney at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Unfortunately, the officers’ reactions are part of a broader, troubling trend, in which police officers mistreat individuals exercising their constitutional rights. It has to stop.”

    Civil War re-enactment canceled after Charleston slayings. That actually seems like a kind thing to do. Cue whiterage!

    ‘We’re surrounded by murders’: a day in St Louis’s most dangerous neighborhood, the kind of neighbourhood everyone loves to put down and point to as being what’s wrong with the black community, and never wondering what they can do to help.

    Rawlings-Blake says arrests up amid ‘domino effect’ of Baltimore crime. Did the police start working again?

    Zachary Hammond lawyer: police may need federal oversight after teen’s death. So it takes a white boy dying for police to need oversight and for this to be mentioned in a way that seems to be taken seriously? I mean, I agree, I definitely agree, but… maybe some earlier voices could have been listened to…

  108. rq says

    Amy Poehler’s brand of feminism just urinated on black women worldwide

    Amy Poehler has recently been reprimanded by the media for featuring a joke about R&B singer R. Kelly urinating on Blue Ivy, Beyoncé’s child, in her upcoming show, Difficult People. The joke, which is spoken by Julie Klausner’s character, perpetuates the rape-culture plaguing Western societies and is bizarre, due to Poehler’s self-prescribed identity as a feminist. But, in the context of white feminism, her editorial behavior is nothing short of mundane.

    In action, white feminism ignores other forms of marginalization affecting women of color. They fail to recognize that women of color do not experience sexism the same way they do. White feminism is truly only concerned with freeing cis middle-class white woman from their single bond: sexism. They deny the extent to which women of color experience racism, transphobia and ableism. And, unfortunately, they are the faces people see when they hear about feminism in mainstream media. White feminists like Poehler, Allen and Taylor Swift are suffocating feminist spaces for women of color to reside peacefully.

    White feminists love to peddle the all-inclusive definition of feminism: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. But they do not abide by their own philosophy. White feminists love to tell men to “check their privilege” when it comes to sexism, but when it comes to racism or transphobia, they rebuff all criticisms directed towards them. What they fail to realize is that, even when it is not intentional, their actions are damaging and degrading women of color. Black women’s perceptions is black women’s reality. Black women’s lived experience is much more valuable than white feminists perceptions. So instead of denying your racist actions, recognize that what you are doing and saying is real and devastating to women of color all over the world. Realize that calling out women for their racism and transphobia is not a form of pitting women against each other. It is an authentic attempt to derail a narrow form of feminism.

    Stop centering your whiteness — get real and get intersectional.

    Cross-posted to the discussion on feminism.

    How Black Reporters Report On Black Death

    In the 12 months since, the national conversation about police brutality has reached a higher pitch than we could have imagined. We’ve all become part-time cops reporters and part-time criminal justice reporters. We’ve interviewed weeping family members, scrutinized dash cam footage and witnesses’ YouTube uploads, and wrestled with the long-term political implications of what this moment might mean. At this point, I’m probably approaching 30,000 words on the subject of race and policing. It’s everything you want in a story — consequential, evolving, complicated. This work will matter in a way that so many other stories don’t or won’t.

    But this beat has also been distressing and unrelenting. I’ve come uncomfortably close to handing in my resignation, asking to cover anything but this. I can’t even remember which case or video got me to that point, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Over the past month, I’ve talked to a dozen other black reporters who’ve covered race and policing since Michael Brown’s death — or even further back, since Oscar Grant or Ramarley Graham — and it’s been a relief to learn that I’m not the only one. That sinking feeling when a hashtag of a black person’s name starts trending on Twitter, the guilty avoidance of watching the latest video of a black person losing his life, the flashes of resentment and irritation at well-meaning tweets and emails sent by readers asking me to weigh in on the latest development in the latest case. The folks I talked to for this story share many of the same, contradictory impulses I wrestle with when a new case comes to light, torn between wanting to jump on a plane — or start sketching out a long essay, as the case may be — and wanting to log out of Twitter and block out emails from my editors.

    Every black Ferguson resident I interviewed last year had his own story about an unfair encounter with local cops. And, unsurprisingly, nearly all black journalists I’ve talked to mentioned a similar story from their off-the-clock lives. Joel at BuzzFeed told me he’s been stopped three times a year by the police since he started driving two decades ago. Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote earlier this year about how his son, a Yale student, had a gun pulled on him by campus police who thought he didn’t belong at the school’s library. And so on.

    I have my own stories along these lines. These stories, these moments, pushed many of us into journalism in the first place. Today, a lot of us occupy desks in national newsrooms at a time when questions about policing and race have become arguably the biggest story in the country. At the same time, many of us are puzzling out what it means to be black reporters reporting on black death in an industry that’s traditionally operated like this: Some people tell the tough stories (white, upper middle class, mostly male), and other people have tough stories happen to them. It’s an industry that’s long boasted a nebulous ideal of “objectivity” without considering that the glaring homogeneity of its ranks helps make that claim believable.

    As calls for newsroom diversity get louder and louder — and rightly so — we might do well to consider what it means that there’s an emerging, highly valued professional class of black reporters at boldface publications reporting on the shortchanging of black life in this country. They’re investigating police killings and segregated schools and racist housing policies and ballooning petty fines while their loved ones, or people who look like their loved ones, are out there living those stories. What it means — for the reporting we do, for the brands we represent, and for our own mental health — that we don’t stop being black people when we’re working as black reporters. That we quite literally have skin in the game.

    Please read. So much in there. SO MUCH.

    Vultures, from Seven Scribes, in partnership with Kinfolks: a journal of black expression.

    It is 2012. In my second apartment since graduating college, with my third set of housemates, I am drinking wine at a socially unacceptable hour. José and I have known each other since high school. We are co-workers, we are friends (sometimes), and we are family, raised in different-colored poverties on opposite sides of the same city. José and I talk about family and what it means to be college graduates, to be artists, to be artists with college degrees, and what that means to our families, who are supportive of our career choices but still long for security. So we decide we’re going to get Pulitzer Prizes, so that our parents can breathe easy and loosen their grips on our degrees.

    It is today. I am in a workshop and José and I are no longer housemates, are still co-workers, still friends (sometimes) and are sitting across from each other writing about what we wish for. After a long list of things for my community, city and family, I scribble “Pulitzer Prize” and am somewhat ashamed for writing anything at all about myself.

    The day that José and I moved in together I purchase a movie called The Bang-Bang Club with no clue about the plot (Ryan Phillippe is the leading man, and I have worshipped him since Cruel Intentions). The film depicts four photographers active in South Africa during apartheid. One story in particular stays with me. Kevin Carter was a wartime photographer and journalist. In 1993 he sold a photo of a Sudanese child, bloated from starvation, laying in a fetal position, being preyed upon by a vulture. In 1994 he won a Pulitzer Prize for featured photography.

    I wonder how long before someone asked him if he took the time to feed the boy.

    From 2006 to 2011 I am in school at Grand Valley State University. In 2010, working on the last group project of my soon-to-be-ex-education major, I am with three white girls (one from Ann Arbor, one from Southfield, and one from someplace Americans can’t point to on a map) all wearing Uggs and North Face. We are discussing our pedagogy. They all want to go back to Detroit and save black kids (they didn’t say “save,” but they basically said save).

    And I wonder what they mean by “back.”

    And then I think, who am I to judge them? Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, I live in privilege. I avoid seeing my family on the South Side as much as possible during the summer. I know what happens when niggas get hot.

    Keep reading.

    NOPD officers convicted in Danziger Bridge shootings will get new trial, mentioned in passing in the previous article about the book on the Danziger Bridge shooting.

    Mike Huckabee: MLK would be ‘appalled’ that #BlackLivesMatter is magnifying race issues. Yes, let’s appropriate MLK some more.

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) accused Black Lives Matters movement of approaching race relations in a negative way during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

    “I understand that people had great passions, but I also understand that the way you begin to resolve them is you do it by loving people and treating people with dignity and respect,” Huckabee told host Wolf Blitzer. “You don’t do it by magnifying the problems, you do it by really magnifying the solutions.”

    The Republican presidential candidate’s remarks came in response to footage of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meeting with members of the movement last week.

    Protesters affiliated with the movement have also disrupted appearances by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Huckabee’s fellow GOP candidate, ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush.

    Huckabee told Blitzer that he considered racism “more of a sin problem than a skin problem,” and said that he faced death threats while pushing to integrate an all-white church 35 years ago. According to reports, he was the pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas around that time.

    “When I hear people scream ‘black lives matter,’ I’m thinking, of course they do,” he said on Tuesday. “But all lives matter. It is not that any life matters more than another. That’s the whole message that Dr. [Martin Luther] King tried to present, and I think he’d be appalled by the notion that we’re elevating some lives above others.”

    Members of the movement have criticized the use of the phrase “all lives matter” as a response to their movement, arguing that it is a way for people to downplay police use of excessive force against black communities.

    In Mississippi, defenders of state’s Confederate-themed flag dig in. They would, wouldn’t they. Heritage not hate!!! Sickening.

  109. rq says

    16 Trans People (That We Know Of) Have Been Murdered this Year, “At least 14 of them were black or Latina women.”

    A Curious Case: 9 Mysterious Details About Kendrick Johnson’s Death That Will Make You Go Hmmm…(LIST) No word yet on how the investigation into that is going.

    Family questions medical care in Pemiscot Co. jail after 33 year old dies

    Michael Robinson, 33, of Hayti, died early on Sunday, hours after being taken by ambulance from the Pemiscot County Jail.

    Now, Robinson’s family questions whether he received the medical treatment he needed behind bars.

    Robinson’s sister and fiancee say Kennett police arrested him early on Friday morning, August 14 on a warrant for back child support.

    They say officers transferred Robinson from Kennett to Caruthersville on Friday afternoon.

    Robinson is a severe diabetic, they say, and would have needed an insulin shot at least twice a day.

    While they are not sure when he had his last injection before being arrested, Robinson’s family questions if Pemiscot County jailers provided him with proper medical care.

    The family said Robinson was taken to the hospital in Hayti late on Saturday night, then eventually transferred to a hospital in Cape Girardeau.

    Robinson was pronounced dead in Cape Girardeau early on Sunday evening.

    Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell said he’s asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate Robinson’s time in his jail, and what kind of treatment he received.

    Decision soon in police shooting of Terrance Kellom. This came prior to the previous article posted here, which states that there will be no charges. Justice at work, eh?

    The Number of Cops Indicted for Murder Spikes Upward

    At least 14 cops have been charged in recent months with committing murder, homicide, or manslaughter while on duty. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that two Albuquerque policemen must stand trial for killing a homeless man as he appeared to surrender. The same day, “two former East Point police officers were indicted on charges that they murdered a 24-year-old father by repeatedly using their Tasers on him while he was handcuffed and sitting in a creek,” The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

    On Monday, The Washington Post reported that “a former Fairfax County police officer was charged with second-degree murder, nearly two years after he shot an unarmed Springfield man who stood with his hands raised in the doorway of his home.”

    At the end of July, prosecutor Joe Deters announced that University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing will face murder charges for shooting an unarmed motorist during a traffic stop. In June, a South Carolina grand jury indicted former officer Michael T. Slager for shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he ran away from a traffic stop.

    In May, a Baltimore grand jury indicted six cops on homicide and assault charges in the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. And a Tulsa deputy who grabbed his gun instead of his taser was charged with manslaughter in April.

    There are a couple of ways to contextualize these numbers.

    Observers have noted the fact that American police officers kill orders of magnitude more people than their counterparts in other western democracies. Now, the number of U.S. cops arrested for killings in the last five months exceeds the total number of people shot and killed by cops in England going back five years. This is particularly extraordinary given how reluctant many U.S. prosecutors are to file charges against police, and how much deference police reports are given in the absence of video or forensic evidence, like a bullet in the back, that blatantly contradicts their story.

    Are U.S. police now being charged at a higher rate than before? Maybe. Over a seven-year period ending in 2011, “41 officers in the U.S. were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with on-duty shootings,” The Wall Street Journal reported in 2014, citing research by Philip Stinson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. That figure works out to an average of 5.8 officers charged per year, but excludes officers charged in non-shooting deaths.

    More at the link.

    Private Prison Company Employees Profited From Unpaid Prisoner Labor, Former Inmates Say. Slavery by any other name…

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  110. says

    Before Ferguson, white cop shot black former athlete; jury weighs fate:

    In September 2013 Mr. Ferrell wrecked his fiancee’s car on his way home after an outing with friends and sought help at a house in a neighborhood east of Charlotte. The homeowner, afraid someone was trying to break in, called 911. Officer Kerrick and two other officers responded, and the deadly confrontation ensued.

    Kerrick fired 12 shots – eight of them at Ferrell’s fallen body.

    Following the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released a statement calling the shooting unlawful. “The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” police said in a statement the day of the shooting. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”

    During the trial, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Capt. Mike Campagna testified that Kerrick’s actions were not consistent with law enforcement training and department policy, as The Christian Science Monitor previously reported.

    A racially diverse jury, made up of eight women and four men, will decide whether Kerrick used excessive force when he fired 12 shots – eight of them at Ferrell’s fallen body – or whether he was justified because he thought Ferrell posed a deadly threat. If convicted, he could face up to 11 years in prison.

    Prosecutors say nonlethal force should have been used to subdue Ferrell, but Kerrick’s attorneys argue that the officer feared for his life when he shot and killed Ferrell.

    Before jurors began deliberation on Tuesday, prosecutor Adren Harris told jurors that unarmed Ferrell never made threats to Kerrick.

    “All they’re trying to do is demonize this young man, because it’s easy to say this person deserved what they got when you muddy them up,” Mr. Harris told the jury, according to the Associated Press.

    Since Ferrell’s death, high profile shootings in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, New York, and Los Angeles have sparked several waves of protests across the United States.

  111. says

    Conservative assholes have targeted Black Lives Matter activist Shaun White (who blogs at Daily Kos) with accusations that he is lying about his race and is really white:

    King was responding to accusations first published by conservative blogger Vicki Pate, who has admittedly “stalked” King and his family. Pate began writing about King after a dust-up with conservative blogger Chuck C. Johnson over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Pate uses mostly circumstantial evidence to “prove” King is white, though King claims to be biracial.

    King, in turn, said his family is mixed to the point that “no two siblings in my family have the same set of parents,” then adding, “If you have known me from when I was in elementary school at Huntertown Elementary until now, you’ve known me as black or bi-racial.”

    He said he has never lied about his race, publicly or privately.

    “Out of LOVE for my family, I’ve never gone public with my racial story because it’s hurtful, scandalous, and it’s MY STORY,” he tweeted. Right wing bloggers don’t really care about his race, they just “want me to shut up.”

    He did not make any false claims to get into historically-black college Morehouse or to win an academic scholarship allowing him to go, he wrote.

    Pate, who runs the blog Re-NewsIt, claims to have tracked the lineage of King to a white father. King has claimed to be the son of a white mother and black father, according to the New York Daily News.

    Pate and another right wing blog, Breitbart, also claim that King falsified details of an alleged racially-motivated attack King suffered at a young age.

    “Over 20 years ago, when I was 15 years old, I was beaten so badly I missed the next 20 months of school recovering from fractures to my face and ribs, and severe injuries to my spine,” King responded via Facebook. “I had three brutal spinal surgeries during that time and it changed the entire course of my life. I received counseling for PTSD and have had multiple spinal surgeries and years of physical therapy since.”

    Breitbart cites the Daily Caller, another conservative website, in refuting King’s claim that he had serious injuries from the 1995 attack at his high school in Kentucky. The Caller’s Chuck Ross cites a police report that he says characterizes King’s injuries as minor.

    King has written a long, detailed piece at Daily Kos refuting the accusations, and revealing personal details of his life that he would have preferred to keep secret.
    Among them:

    My freshman year in high school, another student and I got into a huge fight at a football game. The fight ended up setting off a powder keg of racial tensions at our school. The school paper back then referred to me as black and him as white. We were suspended for three days and while we were out, racial tensions boiled over so much that hundreds of white students staged a walkout because they had just been banned from wearing Confederate flags.

    When I returned to school from that suspension, the collective anger of the racist white students was focused on me daily. Dozens of my close friends experienced this racist hate alongside me and it broke us down in the worst ways. I was consistently called nigger, spat on, had a jar of tobacco spit thrown in my face, forced into fights, and on two different occasions chased by pickup trucks attempting to maul us. In 2007, one of the students in one of those trucks wrote me a beautiful, moving apology for calling me a nigger and more on that scary dark night. I published it back then.

    In March of 1995, it all boiled over and a racist mob of nearly a dozen students beat me severely, first punching me from all sides, then, when I cradled into a fetal position on the ground they stomped me mercilessly, some with steel-toed boots, for about 20 seconds. That day changed the entire trajectory of my life. Thankfully, multiple credible, unbiased eyewitnesses to this traumatic day have come out publicly and spoken on my behalf in the past 48 hours. A few days after I was assaulted, I was at home recovering when a group of rednecks literally pulled up in my driveway at night, but were chased off by a neighbor with a big flashlight. That neighbor just posted his memory of it.

    I had fractures in my face and ribs, but most badly damaged was my spine. I ended up having three spinal surgeries and missed 20 months of school over it. My entire family endured this deeply painful time in my life ranging from the surgeries, the brutal recovery, physical therapy, and professional counseling. It was rougher than my words will ever do justice. Many people have said that in the police report it listed me as white—as if I checked the box and that was some deep admission. Today, that officer admitted to the New York Times that I never said I was white, but that he assumed so when he saw my mother. He and the school badly mishandled my case. We sued the school system for years because of their mishandling of it. They fought it tooth and nail and my mother and I eventually just gave up on it.

  112. says

    African-Americans discriminated against in access to public services:

    The study finds that email queries coming from senders with distinctively African American names are four per cent less likely to receive an answer than identical emails signed by ‘white-sounding’ names.

    The difference in response was most evident in correspondence to sheriffs’ offices, with ‘black-sounding’ names seven per cent less likely to receive a response than ‘white-sounding’ names.

    Responses to ‘black-sounding’ senders were also less likely to have a ‘cordial’ tone, that is, respondents were less likely to address the sender by name or with a salutation (such as “Dear” or “Hello”).

    Co-author of the study Dr Corrado Giulietti, from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), comments: “Despite the fact that prohibition of racial discrimination by the government is a central tenet of US law, our finding shows that not all citizens are treated equally by local public service providers.

    “Local services constitute the majority of interactions between government institutions and citizens and perform central functions, for instance in education. The discriminatory attitude that our study uncovers could be one of the factors behind the disadvantaged position of black people in American society and could be a major obstacle towards addressing racial inequality.”

    The researchers conducted what is known as a correspondence study, a well-established approach of detecting discrimination that has previously been used in contexts like job applications and the housing market.

    Using this strategy, the researchers sent emails soliciting information relevant to access a public service, such as office opening hours or documentation needed for school enrollment, from 19,079 local public offices around the country. Targeted services include school districts, local libraries, sheriff offices, county clerks, county treasurers and job centres in every US state. Four correspondent names (two to represent each ethnicity) were chosen as most distinctively recognisable to each group, based upon information from previous studies.

    While emails signed by ‘white-sounding’ names received a response in 72 per cent of the cases, identical emails signed by ‘black-sounding’ names received a response 68 per cent of the time – a four-percentage point difference. The difference was the largest for sheriff offices (seven percentage points), while small and statistically insignificant for county clerks and job centres.

    There was also a difference in the tone of the response; 72 per cent of responses to people with ‘white-sounding’ names addressed the sender by name or with a salutation, as opposed to 66 per cent of responses to people with ‘black sounding’ names.

    While discrimination is often thought of as being stronger in different regions of the country, the gap in the response rate is not concentrated in a specific area of the US.

    Co-author Professor Mirco Tonin, from the University of Southampton, explains: “We find similar levels of discrimination in each of the four regions defined by the Census Bureau (North-East, Mid-West, South and West). We do find a stronger racial gap in rural rather than urban counties. Moreover, it appears that discrimination is not solely due to the perceived lower socio-economic background of black senders. We obtain very similar results when we indicate the very same profession (real estate agent) in the signature of black and white senders.”

    Regarding possible interventions to address the problem, Dr Michael Vlassopoulos, also of Southampton, comments: “When trying to identify the race of the respondent, we find suggestive evidence that black respondents are less likely to ignore emails from black senders than white respondents. This suggests that increasing diversity among the public sector workforce, particularly in the services where we detect higher discriminatory attitudes, could be an effective way of addressing discrimination.”

    The paper, Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US, was just published by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, as IZA Discussion Paper No. 9290. It can be found online at: http://ftp.iza.org/dp9290.pdf

  113. rq says

    In 141, you call him Shaun White, not Shaun King – bit of a slip. :/


    ACLU, other activist groups blast county decision to charge protesters a year after events – because it makes sense, don’t it. To wait a whole year. :P

    Two different worlds. Two different scenes in #STL tonight: #SFvsSTL game at Busch .(via @nickpistor). #PageandWalton (via @Rebeccarivas). (Last night = two nights ago.)

    After Fatal Police Shooting, St. Louis Police Use Tear Gas on Late Night Protestors

    According to CNN, Police Chief Sam Dotson said that the tear gas was used to disperse crowds after they repeatedly ignored the officers’ requests. He also said that demonstrators threw bricks and bottles at the officers.

    People on the ground say the bricks and bottles were thrown after the teargas was deployed.
    In a residential neighbourhood.
    With children playing in nearby streets.
    With elders at a church.
    With people on their porches and in their backyards.
    Teargassed bad enough that yesterday, when they went to mow their lawns, the residue was lifted up and was enough to irritate anew.

    The name of the victim was not given, but Dotson said he was appeared to be in his early 20s. In regards to the demonstrators, Dotson said the police will “maintain an increased presence” tonight at the site of the protests.

    Ball-Bey was eighteen. “Appeared to be in his early 20s”. Well, I guess that’s close.

    #MansurBallBey. This is him.

    #MansurBallBey was the very first straight male friend that treated me like a human being while knowing i was gay. A true thug, indeed, neh? The police are pushing the drugs-and-crime narrative pretty damn hard, but the family seems to be resisting. Of course, the one does not negate the fact that he may have been a good human, too. But I think it’s important to remember the person behind these kinds of tweets, instead of the caricature the police are trying to paint.

    The cops shot #TyroneHarris the same day they killed #MikeBrown. When pol came together for #KajiemePowell the cops executed #MansurBallBey.
    A sick sort of anniversary.

  114. rq says

    Here is Jason Flanery, the officer who killed #VonDerritMyers, in N. STL today after a black boy was killed by police.
    And on the subject, We received this an hour ago via email. It’s an unverified letter claiming that Flanery was put on duty in order to provoke protestors into violence. It also claims that the fires were set by police plants. About those fires, there’s a comment on that coming up.

    Being a good ally definitely DOES NOT include setting shit on fire, breaking anything in the presence of black people facing the police. Mm, lost the actual tweet I thought I had, but there were several, from several people, saying that all fires set that night were set by white people running away from the scene once things were burning.
    The police, of course, are using the fires as a convenient excuse to show how unruly and rowdy them there black folks are.
    It’s disgusting.

    Four different types of chemical warfare being used in St. Louis city right now against black bodies. If anyone wants to look at the pictures and tell us more.

    This family and all these kids were all tear gassed. Their crime. Living there. Not protesters, just living there. But the police just don’t care! I wonder how many of these people are more willing to stand up with the protestors now?

    STL City Police are shooting smoke bombs at protesters! Just a short video of what it looked like.

  115. rq says

    Missouri Supreme Court upholds release of internal police investigation documents – in other words, rules in favour of police transparency and possibly accountability.

    Justice Dept. Presses Civil Rights Agenda in Local Courts. This is good.

    Burlington, Wash., was a small city fighting what seemed like a local lawsuit. Three poor people said that their public lawyers were too overworked to adequately represent them in municipal court cases. The dispute went mostly unnoticed for two years, until the Obama administration became involved.

    Unannounced, the Justice Department filed documents in the case and told the judge that he had broad authority to demand changes in Burlington and nearby Mount Vernon. The judge quickly agreed and ordered the cities to hire a new public defense supervisor. He also said he would monitor their legal aid program for three years.

    That 2013 decision was a significant victory for the Justice Department in a novel legal campaign that began early in the Obama administration and has expanded in recent years. In dozens of lawsuits around the country involving local disputes, the federal government has filed so-called statements of interest, throwing its weight behind private lawsuits and, in many cases, pushing the boundaries of civil rights law.

    The federal government has typically waded into local court cases only when the outcome directly affected a federal interest, such as national security or diplomacy. Recently, however, the Justice Department has filed statements of interest in cases involving legal aid in New York, transgender students in Michigan, juvenile prisoners in solitary detention in California, and people who take videos of police officers in Baltimore. The government has weighed in on employment discrimination claims brought by transgender plaintiffs and a lawsuit over the right of blind people with service dogs to be able to use Uber, a car-sharing service.

    “The Justice Department is sending a clear message: that we will not accept criminal justice procedures that have discriminatory effects,” former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in February after filing documents in a case involving high court bonds in Alabama. “We will not hesitate to fight institutionalized injustice wherever it is found.”

    May this initiative find great success and little work.

    “1 Shot Fired by Officer”, “The shape-shifting story of a cop who pulled over a driver and ended up shooting himself.” Except he’s blaming the driver he stopped, of course.

    District Attorney Roger Echols, working closely with the police department, then launched a criminal case against Riley—claiming that Riley shot Stewart with Stewart’s gun. The DA kept mounds of evidence away from the jury that proved Stewart shot himself. And he pressed his case against Riley all the way to trial, where Stewart testified, under oath, that he did not shoot his gun.

    Earlier this month, a jury acquitted Riley of shooting Stewart, bringing a just end to a deeply troubling story. During the trial, defense attorney Alex Charns repeatedly described the prosecution’s strategy as “a shell game, a cover up, and a railroad.” Examining the evidence, it is nearly impossible to come to any other conclusion.

    From the start, Stewart’s attempt to detain Riley looked like bad policing. Stewart was driving an unmarked vehicle and dressed in plainclothes when he pulled Riley over—for “fishtailing” down the road, he alleges. Riley says he was pulled over for driving while black. Stewart claims the car slid forward during the stop, and he dove in to grab the emergency brake. Riley claims the officer pulled out his gun and screamed, “Get back, I’m gonna fucking shoot you!” At one point, Stewart claimed he was standing outside the car during the fight. Later, he claimed Riley wrestled him onto his back in the passenger seat then climbed on top of him.

    Both men agree about what happened at the end of the encounter: One bullet was fired from Stewart’s gun into Stewart’s leg. The officer made a quick recovery. Riley was sent to prison.

    Danny And The Human Zoo, upcoming entertainment.

    Danny And The Human Zoo is a 90-minute fictionalised account of Lenny Henry’s life as a working-class teenager in 1970s Dudley.

    The story centres round Danny Fearon, a talented impressionist, and his working-class Jamaican family, as he rises to fame as a stand-up comedian.

    It is a distinctive portrait of ordinary life in a first-generation Jamaican family, a world not often seen on British TV.

    Danny’s world is a series of complex minefields which he has to negotiate. His home life – which his ebullient mother rules with an iron fist in an iron glove; his love life – where the white Irish girl he’s in love with won’t give him the time of day until he wins his first competition – and finally the ups and downs of his emerging career.

    When Danny wins a talent competition at the local club he soon finds himself working the comedy circuit. Audiences can’t get enough and applaud Danny as he effortlessly morphs into Muhammad Ali, Tommy Cooper and Frank Spencer; eventually hitting the big time on TV, an unheard-of achievement for a young black boy. But an unscrupulous agent takes advantage of Danny and forces him to star in a show, which even by Seventies’ standards, was a byword for racism – The Black And White Minstrel Show. Danny hits rock bottom.

    Having made his name by becoming other people, Danny has to save himself by finding out who he really is.

    Danny And The Human Zoo is a drama about a kid trying to make it big. It’s a high-energy, nostalgic period piece about the decade we love to hate, and its music, fashion and television.

    Bail set at $1M for officer charged with attempted murder – just as an example of the privileges you get when you’re an LEO. Because he got the money paid, and is now out on bail. Or bond. However that works.

    Second man sues Michael Slager, North Charleston over alleged wrongful use of Taser. Cops with a history of violence will continue to be violent unless they are explicitly stopped. But funny how nobody believes they are wrongfully or excessively violent until someone dies.

  116. rq says

    Won’t be on CNN. Beautiful vigil for #CaryBall tonite on 2-year anniversary of murder #Ferguson

    Are Bernie Sanders’ Supporters His Biggest Problem? Some signs do point to Bernie himself being his own problem…

    The issue isn’t about Sanders’s politics in particular. The Sanders campaign has faced legitimate criticism for its rhetoric centering around economic justice on the grounds that it is an inadequate pathway for addressing specific racial justice concerns. But to Sanders’ credit, he has responded to those concerns with the beginnings of the very kind of race-specific written policy proposals that Netroots protesters demanded, such as specifically addressing the plight of black women and carving out actionable policy on police violence. As this kerfuffle has started to occupy whatever media spots are left exposed by the thin shadow of Donald Trump’s toupee, Sanders himself has done a decent job of responding and building momentum.

    But his supporters? Quite a different story.

    This “Bernie Bunch” has responded to all reservations towards their candidate by young black people with a deluge of condescension and racially tinged invective that seems absolutely chat-roomish in character. There are the white writers who lecture black protesters to trust their “best friend,” unaware of the racial politics behind generations of white people declaring themselves besties with unwitting black folk. There are the celebrity liberals with no political or activism experience somehow entitled enough to explain to protesters how protesting works. And there are the legions of Tea Party style copy-and-paste trolls that will flood my Twitter mentions after this. They all persist in direct contradiction to the fact that Sanders actually did respond to protests in exactly the way protesters wanted, and that his decision has pressured and will pressure other candidates to do the same.

    Their message, distilled: Shut the hell up if you want to sit with us.

    At first glance, much of this debate can be characterized—and critiqued—as a desire for civility. However, hidden in the language of civility is something deeper: silence. It is worth noting that the “Sanders is your best friend” line of defense existed long in advance of any protests as a response to general pre-existing black misgivings about the candidate. He’s your best bet, so shut the hell up and vote. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so shut the hell up and vote. We voted for Obama, so you owe us one. Shut the hell up and vote. Civility is only the aim of the Bernie Bunch to the extent that it ensures silence from would-be protesters.

    The climate today is not unlike that surrounding the 1964 Convention. The south is re-segregating in many aspects and diluting the black vote. Black people are dying at the hands of police and being incarcerated at alarming and rising rates—so far 40 percent of all unarmed people killed by police in 2015 have been black and other inequalities have been found at virtually every turn in the criminal justice system. But a rich multitude of organizing voices has emerged to challenge all parties and people to create a more perfect union, not by being perfect or perfectly civil themselves but by being real and human. If Sanders supporters really want a shot in 2016, they’d do well to follow their candidate’s lead and actually listen to all of those voices instead of trying to silence them.

    There’s more at the link, but gadsdamn white progressive liberal Sanders supporters who are not fervent BLM supporters, get your shit together.

    The alarming effect of racial mismatch on teacher expectations

    Along with colleagues at American University and Johns Hopkins University, I begin to address these questions in a recent study. We find evidence of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for the educational attainment of black students. Specifically, non-black teachers have significantly lower educational expectations for black students than black teachers do when evaluating the same students. We cannot determine whether the black teachers are too optimistic, the non-black teachers are too pessimistic, or some combination of the two. This is nonetheless concerning, as teachers’ expectations likely shape student outcomes and systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for student success might contribute to persistent socio-demographic gaps in educational achievement and attainment. As Ms. Peeples noted in her interview, it is important that all teachers maintain and convey high expectations for all students.

    Our study identifies systematic biases in teachers’ expectations using data from a nationally representative survey of U.S. tenth graders that asked two teachers per student how much education they expected the student to ultimately complete. The research design is motivated by the intuitive idea that if two teachers disagree about the expected educational attainment of a student, at least one of the teachers must be wrong. One possibility is that such differences are random in nature, owing perhaps to idiosyncrasies in the chance encounters that occur between students and teachers during the school year. However, if such differences in teachers’ expectations are related to the demographic match between students and teachers, this suggests that teachers have systematically biased beliefs about students’ educational potential for at least a subset of student-teacher relationships.

    Having two teachers provide their expectations for each student is central to our strategy for disentangling the causal relationship between student-teacher demographic mismatch and teachers’ expectations for students from other, possibly confounding factors. For example, student and teacher race may be correlated with school resources, which might influence the likelihood of being assigned to an other-race teacher, but also influence expectations about educational attainment. However, comparing two teachers’ expectations—one black and one non-black—for the same student at the same point in time eliminates such concerns.

    When looking at average effects across all students, we find small, statistically significant effects of student-teacher racial mismatch on teachers’ expectations. However, these relatively small average effects are entirely driven by much larger effects among black students. For example, when a black student is evaluated by one black teacher and by one non-black teacher, the non-black teacher is about 30 percent less likely to expect that the student will complete a four-year college degree than the black teacher.

    The question is, how do you point people towards this and then explain to them that they themselves are part of the problem, and then have them introspect deeply enough to change things?

    Murder suspect sought after San Jose cops kill 2 cohorts. Let’s pretend for a moment he is a murderer, not just a suspected one – did he really deserve to die?

    Jacquez crashed the car and took off running , Garcia said. Earlier reports that he had reached for his waistband before police fired on him were recanted, with Garcia instead saying the officer shot “based on public safety concerns” as Jacquez reached for the door of an unknown residence.

    Police did not find a weapon at the scene.

    So, was the woman actually in danger, if he took off running? Did he really deserve to die?

    And here’s another example of police excess: Police fired 600 ‘unnecessary’ shots, killed hostage in unprecedented car-chase shootout. The whole stories has echoes of ‘Brelo’ all over it.

    Ah, police can release this video: Police Video: Protesters Throw Rocks, Bricks at Police, but not the scenes prior that show them launching smoke bombs and tear gas at protestors. Skewed much?

  117. rq says

    Why does a black person who reads & thinks have to be labeled “conscious”? As if the default for black is stupidity. The tweet links to a tweet with a link to the article itself, but I just wanted to put that thought out there. I’d never thought about that. Which is rather sad.

    Police Group Makes A Big Admission About ‘Justifiable’ Police Shootings

    The Police Executive Research Forum, a research and policy group whose members include commanders from the largest U.S. police departments, said officers generally receive far too little training in de-escalating conflict and often are embedded in a culture that encourages them to rapidly resort to physical force.

    Many recent high-profile police shootings have been legally justified, but there are sometimes “missed opportunities to ratchet down the encounter, to slow things down, to call in additional resources,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the group, wrote in the report.

    It’s no wonder. Disengagement and patience, the report found, are “sometimes seen as antithetical” to traditional police culture.

    “Some officers, with the best intentions, think that their job is to go into a situation, take charge of it, and resolve it as quickly as you can,” Wexler wrote. “Sometimes there is a feeling of competitiveness about it. If an officer slows a situation down and calls for assistance, there is sometimes a feeling that other responding officers will think, ‘What, you couldn’t handle this yourself?'”

    The study found that many police agencies give officers extensive training on how to shoot a gun, but officers spend “much less time” learning the “importance of de-escalation tactics and Crisis Intervention strategies for dealing with mentally ill persons, homeless persons, and other challenging situations.”

    It seems a small admission, but given the general culture and atmosphere, it’s a big thing… and there’s a nice chart comparing how many hours they spend training in what, and firearms gets a whopping 58 hours (with self defense at 49), while first aid training takes up 16 hours, and de-escalation – 8. Frightening really.

    A Young Leader Gets Real on Ferguson, Police Brutality, and Why #BlackLivesMatter. Johnetta Elzie.

    I first met Johnetta Elzie earlier this year in the dead of winter. She had just landed in New York City on a flight from Chicago, and we were meeting on behalf of our respective social justice organizations. As many young activists are, we were both weary from the actions required of us on behalf of our causes. We were brought together by the highly publicized death of Michael Brown, the African-American boy who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. I think of Johnetta — who is affectionately called Netta — today because of what happened last week, on the one-year anniversary of Michael’s death. Netta, a St. Louis native, and other activists returned to the streets of her hometown to commemorate the event. Clashes with police ensued, and, just as they had been a year ago during several weeks of civil protests in the wake of Michael’s death, Netta and her fellow activists were met with riot gear and tear gas. A state of emergency was again declared, and Netta was among those arrested for participating. She stepped over the police line while filming officers interacting with protestors on her cell phone. She was released four hours later, and no charges filed.

    But before Michael’s death on August 9, 2014, and before Ferguson put police brutality against black people in the headlines, Netta was just a normal 25-year-old mourning the recent death of her mother and figuring out how to take care of her younger sister. After the initial Ferguson protests, Netta has become one of our generation’s leading civil rights activists, with mentions and profiles in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine. In the Times story, she poignantly said, “Our demand is simple: stop killing us.”

    In addition to documenting and participating in the protests immediately following Michael’s death, Netta joined Mapping Police Violence, an interactive map of police violence, and We The Protestors, a resource that announces rallying events around the country. Both initiatives work from a simple premise: communities should be informed and engaged.

    After Michael, the soon-to-be college freshman, was killed, his body lay in the middle of the street in 90-degree weather for four hours. Neighbors and people passing by stopped and watched, they called their friends and soon all of Ferguson knew what had happened. The response was immediate. Conflicting narratives began, with some witnesses reporting that Michael’s hands were up at the time of the shooting, and others racing to the cop’s defense. But on social media, a rallying cry began, slowly at first, and creeping to a tenor so loud that all were forced to listen: Racial discrimination by police was a rampant problem in Ferguson, and this was the town’s boiling point.

    Netta’s story continues at the link. Please read. She has not only faced down the systemic racism of police and the justice system, but the rampant sexism within activist ranks themselves.

    Photos from last night. #MansurBallBey #STL

    ‘Death of My Career’ “What happened to New Orleans’ veteran black teachers?”

    “Death sticks out to me,” the former special education teacher says. “Death from the storm, death of a school system, death of my career.”

    Just five months after floodwaters engulfed her home in New Orleans East, Dolce, living in Dallas, got walloped again. She was fired. After more than 30 years of teaching, she, along with almost every one of the 7,000 employees of the New Orleans public schools, was dismissed.

    Dolce does not forget. She does not forgive, either, not least of all because she has never received an apology. Resentment remains, she says, because she lost her job under the pretense that she failed her students.

    “I resent the nation being told we weren’t good enough. You’re going to tell me I was a bad teacher, that we were not here to educate children?” Dolce says, the frustration in her voice rising. “Oh, hell no. You’re not going to say that to me and you’re not going to say that to the majority of the teachers. [That’s] a lie.”

    Dolce taught at the former Colton Middle in the city’s Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. A community art center in the storm’s aftermath, the campus now houses a Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, charter school.

    For thousands of teachers like Dolce, the decision to lay off educators was a financial blow and a deep insult to one of the pillars of the city’s black middle class. The mass firings—dealt in large measure to African-American women—continue to infuse the debate over the future of public education in New Orleans with a particular bitterness.

    When she was let go from the school system, Dolce, now 63, took a reduced set of retirement benefits and was able to get health-insurance coverage through her husband’s employer. But she has not found peace with what happened. Were it not for being fired, she’d still be teaching. Others didn’t fare as well.

    End of the Line?

    Last spring, a long and winding legal battle over the teachers’ lost jobs reached its likely end. After several years of wins and losses in the judicial system, the U.S. Supreme Court declined an appeal on behalf of the fired New Orleans teachers.

    The appeal stemmed from a class action brought on behalf of the fired educators by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

    Some separate lawsuits involving the dismissed teachers’ rights brought by the United Teachers of New Orleans were settled, but the class action continued on. It met some success in lower state courts where judges ruled that there had been due process violations and a failure to follow a state law that requires terminated teachers be placed on a two-year recall list.

    “It was a moral victory,” says Katrena Ndang, who taught in New Orleans for 17 years. “I remember telling people that they better enjoy it while they could.”

    Those wins carried enormous symbolic weight, even if it was unlikely to pay off monetarily .

    “It wasn’t about that darn suit and trying to get any money,” Dolce says. “We just wanted an apology.”

    Indeed, the victory was short-lived. Last fall, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled against the teachers and dismissed their case. The court held that local education officials had not broken the law when they did not give the teachers priority consideration for rehiring. The court also reasoned that the chance that any other teachers would actually be rehired appeared remote.

    In their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the dismissed teachers argued that the local Orleans Parish school board—the elected body that governed all schools in the district before the storm—and various state defendants “violated well-settled constitutional law regarding … due process rights of tenured public school employees.”

    The teachers “here had a reasonable expectation of resuming their pre-Katrina employment positions upon their return to New Orleans,” the appeal said.

    The Supreme Court handed down its denial on May 18.

    Obama Will Travel To New Orleans To Commemorate Hurricane Katrina Anniversary. I guess Obama does care about black people?

    President Barack Obama will travel to New Orleans on Aug. 27 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

    Obama will meet with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) and residents throughout neighborhoods that were effected by the storm. Obama will also deliver remarks during his trip, according to the White House.

    Can’t believe it’s been 10 years already.

  118. rq says

    Quiet start 1 day after fires, tear gas in wake of St. Louis police shooting of teen. They say Mansur Ball-Bey pointed a gun at police, and that’s why he died:

    Unrest followed the police shooting of an 18-year-old who they say pointed a gun at officers. He was fleeing a home where police were serving a search warrant for guns and drugs.

    (Current newest info is that he was shot in the back… and still a danger to police.)
    Well check this out under #CrimingWhileWhite: Standoff ends at St. Charles home where armed man barricaded himself in basement

    Police said the man pointed a handgun at officers from the basement. The officers retreated and left the home. SWAT officers were called in to assist.

    The man’s identity was not released but police said he is 48 and had an arrest warrant for violating parole.

    Oh and look he’s alive. This is bullshit, all this shooting of young black men. BULLSHIT.

    Times Regrets ‘Slave Mistress’ in Julian Bond’s Obituary

    After Julian Bond’s death on Saturday, The Times published a lengthy and well-written obituary summing up the life and work of the civil rights champion. But many readers were bothered by a single sentence in the front-page article:

    “Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.”

    Many readers wrote to me to protest the phrase, on the grounds that a slave, by definition, can’t be in the kind of consensual or romantic relationship that the word “mistress” suggests. One of them noted it wasn’t the first time the phrase had appeared in a Times obituary.

    And a reader, Walter Lipman of Pawling, N.Y., wrote me: “One can be a mistress. One can be a slave. One cannot be both, for a mistress has the element of consent in what she decides to do. A slave does NOT.”

    I brought the concerns to the attention of Times editors on Wednesday; they were already aware of the complaints. After meeting with editors to discuss it, the executive editor, Dean Baquet, responded. (Mr. Baquet, it’s worth noting here, made history last year when he was named the first African-American editor to lead The Times newsroom.) He said that The Times regretted using the expression: “It is an archaic phrase, and even though Julian Bond himself may have used it in the past, we should not have.”

    There’s no question that Times editors heard readers’ voices loud and clear. Retiring this phrase and expressing regret about using it has nothing to do with political correctness. It’s about recognizing the history of slavery in America, at a time when race is at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness. Language matters. This is the right call.

    Cue anti-PC outrage.

    Breaking: Grand jury votes not to criminally charge two #SouthJersey cops in car stop shooting death of #JerameReid.

    Youth on bike seems to text in disbelief at police response to protests in North St. Louis. @LBPhoto1 8/19 Just a neat photo.

    St Louis 8/19/2015, a Storify of Antonio French’s tweets from that night.

  119. rq says

    Teen killed by St. Louis police was in wrong place at wrong time, not a criminal: family

    The St. Louis teen whose death by police sparked violent protests Wednesday night was supposed to start college soon and was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, his family and friends said.

    Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, was shot after police say he tried to run during the execution of a search warrant and pointed a stolen gun with an extended magazine at two cops.

    Officers said they found crack cocaine and stolen guns at the scene in a crime-riddled neighborhood. A teen who was with Ball-Bey escaped.

    The distraught family said they could not believe the police account because Ball-Bey, who went by Man Man, was not capable of those crimes: he had just graduated from high school, held a steady job and was heading to college.

    “They f—ed up. They shot the wrong person. And they know it,” cousin Tyren Cotton-Booker wrote on Facebook, noting Ball-Bey had no criminal background.

    Ball-Bey’s dad, Dennis, said he believes police made a mistake and is going to consult lawyers to investigate.

    “It was a bad loss, but he was a good son. All these people loved him. He wasn’t the type to run the streets or be disrespectful to the family,” Dennis Ball-Bey told the Daily News.

    Ball-Bey’s social media accounts show he was an aspiring music producer and rapper who held guns in pictures and music videos with friends. One picture was captioned, “Gang Gang” with the name Trakcistan Mafia, which Ball-Bey had previously referred to as his rap group.

    But his dad said Ball-Bey had the guns only to act in music videos, not because he was using them to commit crimes.

    “They make rap songs and videos and call it gangsta rap,” Dennis Ball-Bey said. “They was making music.”

    According to family accounts, Ball-Bey stopped by an aunt’s house to meet up with his cousins on his way home from his part-time job at FedEx. They were met by police in an unmarked car and Ball-Bey “got caught up in some bs being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Cotton-Booker said.

    He was still in his FedEx uniform when he got shot, family said.

    “But I’ll be damned if I believe that he left work stopping by, not even being there over 5 minutes and pulls a gun out on the police. Naw I’m not believing that one. Not at all!” Cotton-Booker wrote.

    He was 18, for fucks’ sake.

    Photos of Last Night’s Rainbow Reveal St. Louis’ Cultural Divide

    But as photos of the rainbow and following sunset spread across social media, they began to reveal a deeper truth about the state of St. Louis. Two groups were most likely to be outside and see the rainbow: baseball fans enjoying an unseasonably cool night at Busch Stadium and a crowd gathering five miles away, protesting the police killing of an African-American teenager in north St. Louis’ Fountain Park neighborhood.

    Two worlds, I say. Two separate worlds.

    Could A Middle-Aged White Man Ever Become President? *Facepalm* It’s about O’Malley.

    A young woman in a peasant skirt raised her hand. “As mayor of Baltimore, you oversaw an era of mass arrests of nonviolent offenders,” she told the candidate, citing statistics—“110,000 arrests were made in one year in a city of 620,000 people”—before getting to her question. “What are we supposed to expect from you on the issue of mass incarceration and institutional racism?”

    As he listened, O’Malley’s smile grew forced and his jaw began to bulge. He has a temper. Plus, he doesn’t like to be called out. As mayor, O’Malley once paid a visit to a couple of radio hosts criticizing him for being insufficiently concerned about crime. “Come outside after the show,” he scolded them, “and I’ll kick your ass.”

    Now, in Iowa City, O’Malley seemed on the verge of unloading again. He’d been on edge since April, when riots erupted in Baltimore after cops were implicated in the killing of an unarmed black man named Freddie Gray. Years of mistrust between the city’s police and its black citizens were glaringly exposed—and suddenly the two terms O’Malley spent as the city’s mayor from 1999 to 2007 were subject to brutal re-examination. O’Malley—who had always taken plenty of credit for slowing crime by employing tough “zero tolerance” policing techniques—found himself being blamed for the city’s racial acrimony.

    David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun reporter and creator of The Wire, declaimed that “the stake through the heart of police procedure in Baltimore was Martin O’Malley.” On Meet the Press, Chuck Todd incredulously asked O’Malley, “Do you think you can still run on your record as mayor of Baltimore, governor of Maryland, given all this?” And when O’Malley launched his presidential campaign, protesters crashed the festivities, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and burnishing NOMALLEY signs. In the wake of police violence in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York, and now Baltimore, the old-school good-governance dictates about getting tough on crime seemed out of touch. Suddenly Democrats were scrambling to take up the mantle of police reform, and O’Malley was stranded on the wrong side of one of the defining issues for liberals today.

    “You weren’t in Baltimore in 1999, but I was,” he told the young woman, with more than a hint of contempt in his voice. “It looked more like Mexico City than an American city, and the gutters quite literally ran with blood.” There was no applause. These people didn’t get it, he seemed to be thinking. What he’d done in Baltimore was worthy of their respect and not, as the woman in the peasant skirt suggested, part of “the long history of brutalization” of “communities of color.” He was the guy, he wanted to tell them, who could save those communities—the guy who knows that you don’t stop criminals by asking politely and that turning around a city isn’t as easy as replacing open-air drug markets with shabby-chic condos. But that kind of talk had fallen out of fashion. The political hand O’Malley had been planning to play was now a loser. The man who wanted to be president swallowed hard and tried to pivot to something else.

    It’s going to be some tough questions about his time in Baltimore.

    August is the month of our discontent, by Deray McKesson. Not sure if it’s a video or what but it’s not showing up for me.

    Slay, Dotson call for calm, peace after St. Louis police shooting. Call off the cops, that might help.

    St. Louis judges want sculpture to honor slaves who sought freedom here

    The “Freedom Suits” memorial will be situated on the east side of the Civil Courts Building downtown, between it and the Old Courthouse, where most of the suits were tried, a statement says.

    Slaves filed “freedom suits” under Missouri’s “once free always free” laws, helped by pro-abolition lawyers, the proposal says. Missouri law said that if a slave was taken into a free state long enough for the slave owner to gain residency, the slave became free and stayed that way when they returned to Missouri.

    Many slaves won their freedom, but the ones who did not faced the prospect of being “sold down the river” to the more repressive states of Mississippi and Louisiana, the proposal says.

    Dred and Harriet Scott were among those who won, although their victory would later be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1857.

    The sculpture has a total budget of $200,000, and the St. Louis Bar Foundation will be raising funds, a statement said. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 9, and more information and the request for proposal can be found on the court’s website, stlcitycircuitcourt.com.

  120. rq says

    The Loud Silence When Trans Women of Color Are Killed. This article gets its own comment.

    Eyricka Morgan, 26, was a black transgender woman. She was a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She was an activist. She was fatally stabbed in September 2013. She was my friend.

    I last saw Eyricka — alive and happy — in November 2011 at a Rutgers conference focused on the experiences of LGBTQ residents in Newark. There, she fearlessly shared her story with the packed room of attendees. She talked about the unique challenges she overcame in her home, schools and broader community. She shed light on a growing trend that is largely ignored: the brutal violence enacted upon trans women of color.

    On Saturday, Tamara Dominguez became the latest trans women of color to be murdered in the United States, when she was repeatedly driven over by a truck in Kansas City, Missouri. Dominguez is among at least 17 trans women of color who have been killed in the country so far this year.

    Like Eyricka, Dominquez’s life was violently taken from her with no widespread public outcry. Dominguez, Elisha Walker, Shade Schuler, Amber Monroe and Kandis Capri are just some names of the most recent casualties of the war against trans women of color, even as people like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox break cultural barriers in mainstream media.

    Eyricka’s life was an intersection of identities and challenges. As a black woman, she was a target of the sexist and misogynistic actions of men — white, black and brown alike. As a black trans woman, invisibility and trans-antagonism were common in both cisgender LGB and heterosexual spaces. She also grew up under modest conditions in Newark, where her life was fraught with a range of economic challenges.

    The many harrowing stories of murdered trans women of color are also Eyricka’s story. After she was killed, one local news outlet misgendered Eyricka, referring to her as a “he”; Eyricka was burdened by trans-antagonism even in death. Misgendering transgender victims this way is a common practice of willful prejudice. Shortly after 21-year-old Islan Nettles was killed in New York City in August 2013, she, too, was repeatedly misgendered, even at the vigil held in her honor.

    Nettles’ friends spoke up against this mistreatment. After Eyricka died, we, her friends had two options: Speak up or remain silent. As cisgender allies we could choose to do our part to ensure Eyricka’s story was shared, or we could do nothing. But true allies are not absent when they are needed most.

    Many trans women of color are fighting just to live, and dream of stopping the onslaught of violence in their lives. Among LGBTQ communities, trans people are most susceptible to police violence; trans women in particular are most likely to be killed by hate violence homicides, according to the advocacy organization the Anti-Violence Project.

    “Black trans women should never have to live in fear that today will be their last day,” Elle Hearns, a field coordinator at the LGBTQ advocacy organization Get Equal, told AlterNet. “It is a national emergency that we must pay attention to by taking action to support and sustain the lives of trans women who are under attack.”

    Hearns is right. The public can no longer remain silent and still as trans women face economic vulnerability and violence. Trans women of color are our sisters, daughters, friends, partners, mothers and colleagues. But even when they bear no relation to us at all, they are human beings deserving of wellness, equity and life.

    It is impossible to realize this truth, however, if cisgender people refuse to name and demolish our biases. Cisgender people must be self-reflective enough to admit that our privileged vantage point often frustrates our ability to empathize with trans women of color. After Nettles’ murder, for instance, trans advocates and allies questioned the response of cisgender individuals who fit under the so-called LGBTQ umbrella. “I am ashamed of lesbian, gay and bisexual people right now,” Christian Fuscarino wrote at the Huffington Post. “We’ve had a great tragedy in our community, and few of us have reacted with even an ounce of the effort we’ve put into the fight for marriage equality.”

    Monica Roberts, curator of TransGriot, an online platform that has long been at the forefront of reporting on violence against trans women of color, wrote a similar piece in response to the recent killing of 25-year-old trans woman India Clarke in Florida: “Once again I ask the question of my African-American cis brothers and sisters: When will #BlackTransLivesMatter? When will your trans brothers and sisters see ministers and politicians decry the loss of these lives as loudly as you do for cisgender Black people?”

    Trans women of color need us all to listen to their stories when they are alive so that we are not grief-stricken when they are slain. We could all have fewer occasions to shed tears if we followed the lead of trans women of color in the fight to end trans antagonistic violence now. Eyricka, Tamara, Elisha, Shade, Amber, Kandis, Papi, Lamia, Ty, Yazmin, Taja, Penny, Kristina, Keyshia, London, Mercedes, India, K.C. and so many other trans women of color killed deserve more than silence. It takes self-reflection and determined effort to overcome complacency in a society that often treats those who defy rigid cultural norms — like gender nonconforming and transgender people — as unworthy of respect or safety, but it should not have to take a friend’s death to remind us to speak up.

    Cited in full.

  121. rq says

    Florida bill would ban confederate flag on government property. About time.

    6 Police Officers Across the US Were Charged with Murder This Week, Proving Strength of Protests. Ill consider protests as ‘working’ once actual convictions start rolling in. A “bad week for killer cops”, indeed. Boo. Hoo.

    Justice Department reports on Ferguson could cost more than $1 million.

    And another example of getting it right, Nashville Hotel Boots White Supremacists!

    The Guesthouse Inn in Nashville has canceled rooms booked by the Council of Conservative Citizens for a planned annual event this weekend, supposedly after the hotel’s leadership was alerted to the group’s views. The CCC is the white-supremacist organization that has been linked to views espoused by accused Charleston Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof. Brad Griffin, a board member of the CCC, allegedly told his members not to come to Nashville for the weekend. “All [Dylann Roof] did was read our website. I’m sure he watches television, he reads newspapers like I do,” Griffin told The Tennessean.

    A Tale Of Two Cities. Same protest. Different neighborhoods. Different police response. via @oregon_girl3
    Yep, they took protest to a white neighbourhood, just six blocks away.
    I think they should do this first thing, next time.
    Because we all know there will be a next time.

    Response to Reports of Excessive Force by St. Louis Police Department Against Protesters – though AI has been criticized for a rather late and tepid response.

    The following can be attributed to Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA:

    “We are deeply concerned about reports of mass protest dispersal tactics, including tear gas, in residential areas of St. Louis last night,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. The St. Louis Police Department must immediately take all measures to prevent the unnecessary or excessive use of force.

    “We have seen this time and again in St. Louis and Ferguson, and again we call on the Department of Justice to conduct a full, impartial investigation of both the police-involved shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey and the response of the St. Louis Police to the ensuing protests.

    “As ever, we stand with the communities of North St. Louis, the community of Ferguson, and communities around the country who are demanding rights-respecting, accountable policing, and who are at risk from the very people sworn to protect them.

    “The St. Louis Police should be facilitating and not restricting the right to peaceful protest.

    “Nobody should have to fear for their safety when they attend a protest. No one should have to fear being tear gassed in their own homes.

    “Police officers have a right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the public, but in doing so, they must act with restraint and in accordance with international standards. Force should only be used when nonviolent means have been exhausted or proven ineffective, and lethal force should only be used in situations where it is necessary to protect life.

    “We call for an end to the unnecessary or excessive use of force by police in all jurisdictions throughout the country. We call on U.S. authorities to bring local, state, and federal laws in line with international standards.”

    “The world is watching, and so are we. Enough is enough.”

    The article includes background from last year:

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

    Last summer, Amnesty International USA was invited to Ferguson, Missouri to work with the community on nonviolent direct action in the wake of clashes between protesters and Ferguson police. Staff and members have continued to stay involved in the Don’t Shoot Coalition, and local Amnesty members in the St. Louis area have engaged in solidarity as legal observers, street medics, and jail support. Additionally, AIUSA sent delegations of human rights observers to Ferguson to monitor policing of protests in the weeks following Mike Brown’s killing, and in the weeks before and after the announcement of the St. Louis grand jury’s decision in the case in November.

    Those delegations found clear evidence of unlawful use of excessive force and lack of compliance with international law and standards with respect to policing and human rights. Those findings were documented in the reports On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson and in Deadly Force: Police Use of Deadly Force in the United States.

  122. rq says

    Some behind stuff from Friday:
    Seattle Protest: Stop Denying White Privilege

    Note: Most of the Popular Resistance team participated in the anti-racism protest held in Seattle on August 17th at the end of the Localize This Action Camp organized by the Backbone Campaign. Our hope is that activists across the country will emulate this protest to highlight the reality of white privilege and the need for the people of the nation to continue to work for racial justice.

    We urge you to hold an event like this in your community, we can provide you with a pdf of the flier used, the elephant used can be shipped to you (it just goes in a suitcase) and below is the mic check we used to tell the story of racism in the United States. Of course, you can also modify all of these things and make your own version. The elephant does not have to be three dimensional, but can be a large cardboard cut out. However you want to do it, do it, we urge you to highlight the reality of racism continuing in the United States.

    Study shows African Americans discriminated against in access to US local public services, from the University of Southapton.

    The study finds that email queries coming from senders with distinctively African American names are four per cent less likely to receive an answer than identical emails signed by ‘white-sounding’ names.

    The difference in response was most evident in correspondence to sheriffs’ offices, with ‘black-sounding’ names seven per cent less likely to receive a response than ‘white-sounding’ names.

    Responses to ‘black-sounding’ senders were also less likely to have a ‘cordial’ tone, that is, respondents were less likely to address the sender by name or with a salutation (such as “Dear” or “Hello”).

    Co-author of the study Dr Corrado Giulietti, from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), comments: “Despite the fact that prohibition of racial discrimination by the government is a central tenet of US law, our finding shows that not all citizens are treated equally by local public service providers.

    “Local services constitute the majority of interactions between government institutions and citizens and perform central functions, for instance in education. The discriminatory attitude that our study uncovers could be one of the factors behind the disadvantaged position of black people in American society and could be a major obstacle towards addressing racial inequality.”

    The researchers conducted what is known as a correspondence study, a well-established approach of detecting discrimination that has previously been used in contexts like job applications and the housing market.

    Using this strategy, the researchers sent emails soliciting information relevant to access a public service, such as office opening hours or documentation needed for school enrollment, from 19,079 local public offices around the country. Targeted services include school districts, local libraries, sheriff offices, county clerks, county treasurers and job centres in every US state. Four correspondent names (two to represent each ethnicity) were chosen as most distinctively recognisable to each group, based upon information from previous studies.

    While emails signed by ‘white-sounding’ names received a response in 72 per cent of the cases, identical emails signed by ‘black-sounding’ names received a response 68 per cent of the time – a four-percentage point difference. The difference was the largest for sheriff offices (seven percentage points), while small and statistically insignificant for county clerks and job centres.

    There was also a difference in the tone of the response; 72 per cent of responses to people with ‘white-sounding’ names addressed the sender by name or with a salutation, as opposed to 66 per cent of responses to people with ‘black sounding’ names.

    While discrimination is often thought of as being stronger in different regions of the country, the gap in the response rate is not concentrated in a specific area of the US.

    Co-author Professor Mirco Tonin, from the University of Southampton, explains: “We find similar levels of discrimination in each of the four regions defined by the Census Bureau (North-East, Mid-West, South and West). We do find a stronger racial gap in rural rather than urban counties. Moreover, it appears that discrimination is not solely due to the perceived lower socio-economic background of black senders. We obtain very similar results when we indicate the very same profession (real estate agent) in the signature of black and white senders.”

    Regarding possible interventions to address the problem, Dr Michael Vlassopoulos, also of Southampton, comments: “When trying to identify the race of the respondent, we find suggestive evidence that black respondents are less likely to ignore emails from black senders than white respondents. This suggests that increasing diversity among the public sector workforce, particularly in the services where we detect higher discriminatory attitudes, could be an effective way of addressing discrimination.”

    The article contains a link to the actual paper.

    Alabama officer accuses police chief of ordering black cops to work black protests

    A police officer in Homewood, Alabama has filed a complaint accusing the police chief of ordering every black officer in the department to come in and work a Black Lives Matter protest, even if they already worked that day or had it off.

    The complaint was filed by Officer Victor Sims, who also said he was turned down for a promotion after Police Chief Jim Roberson asked specifically if Sims had applied for one. The complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and named the City of Homewood Police Department as the agency that discriminated against him.

    “I believe I have been discriminated against based upon my race and color, and in retaliation for opposing discriminatory conduct in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,” Sims’ complaint reads.

    It also cites “race,”“color” and “retaliation” as the causes of discrimination.

    Specifically, Sims said that the incident occurred on or near July 26, 2015, when he and other African-American colleagues were specifically called in to work a protest by a supervisor because they are black. The order officially came from Roberson himself, and the website AL.com obtained an audio recording of the command.

    “This is chief. Nobody thought to have any of the black officers come in to work. I gave them a direct order. I want them called. I want them there. I want them in uniform. ASAP. Make sure that gets done,” the recording states.

    While Sims said he worked the extra shift, he added that he complained about having to do so and that his complaint eventually made its way to Roberson. A few days later, the chief then called Sims and another officer into his office to apologize “if [our] feelings got hurt,” the complaint reads.

    Sim’s attorney, Mary-Ellen Bates, told AL.com that a white officer has also contacted her to say he was upset he did not have the chance to work the protest because he would’ve liked the extra money.

    Meanwhile, Sims alleged that he was passed over two promotions because of his race.

    Protesters call for police board to fire cop acquitted in fatal shooting. As if they will.

    Community activists and demonstrators shut down a Chicago Police Board meeting Thursday night as they angrily demanded the firing of Detective Dante Servin, an officer acquitted in the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd in 2012.

    About 200 people packed the meeting at Chicago Police headquarters in the Bronzeville neighborhood, many wearing yellow shirts with black print reading: “Fire Police Officer Dante Servin.” The group comprised demonstrators from the Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 and We Charge Genocide groups.

    Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, yelled at the board in tears as he pleaded for Servin to be terminated.

    Birmingham News lays off last black reporter. It’s not so much that they should keep them just because they’re black, but the fact that they’ve never hired enough other black journalists for this to not be an issue. In Birmingham.

    The big news from Alabama Media Group’s (AMG) recent announcement of more newsroom layoffs was that among those losing their jobs was Barnett Wright, the last black reporter at the Birmingham News. The moves were made as AMG makes a transition to more digital and video content. Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, is 73.4 percent black according to U.S. Census data. Wright declined to comment for this story.

    “Staff reductions include 5 to 9 full-time journalists in each of our three main locations across the state,” wrote the Group’s vice president of content Michelle Holmes in a staff memo. “We know many of you will say goodbye to trusted colleagues and friends. We wish the best for those who leave our organization today and thank them for their dedication and good work.”

    Sherrel Wheeler Stewart is a founding member of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists, a lifelong resident of the city who served as a reporter for the Birmingham News from 1982 to 1987 then again from 1998 to 2012. “Birmingham is synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement. I grew up hearing about the struggles of black journalists to cover the movement. It was tough,” she recalled.

    When Stewart started at the newspaper in 1982, she said it was trying to do a better job to reflect the blacks in the community. “There were six or seven black journalists. As the staff grew, there was a greater emphasis on recruiting African-Americans on staff,” she said. “We networked to make sure that the pool of candidates was always diverse.”

    There are still some great reporters at the Birmingham News that work hard to do their jobs, said Stewart. “But at the end of the day, you look at the faces and there are no African-American boots on the ground in Birmingham,” she stated. “I’ve gotten calls from people including a judge and a business leader asking ‘who do we call now?’ It’s definitely a concern for the black community. These are people who read the newspaper and are engaged in the community.”

    All that power? What Should Black Lives Matter Do with All That Power?

    At this point, Black Lives Matter could be a historic civil rights movement that significantly changes America. Or it could fizzle out like Occupy Wall Street, an exciting and disruptive political force that briefly rose to prominence and then flamed out without leaving an indelible mark on the political landscape. Or it could go in another direction entirely. The Black Lives Matter movement is at a crossroads, and how it spends its growing political capital will determine everything.

    The movement has acquired that political capital because of the moral importance of its cause. New stories of shocking and deplorable police behavior, and the dead black bodies left in its wake, seem to emerge weekly, faster than the media can absorb them. So before America has finished processing the tragic death of Sandra Bland, it’s suddenly forced to work through what happened to Sam Dubose before blam! it’s on to Christian Taylor. Then the prosecutor from some previous saga, maybe Tamir Rice or John Crawford, pops back into the news again, saying that another killer has been arrested or indicted—or, more often, that they’re free to go.

    It’s emotionally and spiritually exhausting, and the Black Lives Matter movement’s controversially disruptive tactics have flowed out of that exhaustion—flowed from that sense of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Because the murders by police brutality is nothing new. Our parents and grandparents have their own stories of unarmed lives lost. The big difference today is technological—the ubiquity of cameras has made the stories undeniable and revealed just how often cops are lying.

    The disruptive tactics are appropriate given the dire nature of their cause, aimed at hijacking and redirecting a conversation that would not otherwise be about dead and endangered black bodies. They recall, for me, the ACT-UP protests of the late 80s, when gay-rights demonstrators disrupted all sorts of events in order to get the nation to focus on the AIDS crisis. To fixate on these tactics is to ask why communities that have long been ignored are being so impolite in the way they demand to not be unjustly killed. If you’re a so-called Black Lives Matter ally who has a problem with the movement’s tactics, then you’re not really an ally at all.

    The reality is, Black Lives Matter tactics are working. So far, this young group has shaped the Democratic presidential race more than any of the left’s old-guard special interest groups. Black Lives Matter activists have been extremely effective at forcing their concerns to the top of the Democratic agenda, forcing Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley to take meetings with them and release policy ideas that address the movement’s concerns. But Black Lives Matter is poised to accomplish more.

    We are in an era of deep partisanship, in which the presidential race no longer boils down to a battle for the middle. There is no longer a persuadable center in American politics any more. Nowadays, elections are not about persuasion, winning over independent or centrist voters. They’re about motivation—turning out the people on your side, instilling voters with a sense of urgency and importance that forces them to show up to the polls.

    Democrats know that if too many black people stay home next November, the party could lose the White House. And in this election, the black vote cannot be taken for granted because Black Lives Matter has sharpened black political power to a knife’s edge.

    Now, finally, Democrats are calling for criminal justice reform, no longer afraid that it will come across as evidence that they are “weak on crime.” So the moment is ripe to shove the Democratic establishment as far leftward as it can on criminal justice reform. The moment is ripe to change Black America’s relationship with American police. The political system may or may not respond to specific demands—but as Occupy Wall Street learned, the generalized message of a need for change can be easily shoved aside.

    Of course, Black Lives Matter’s leaders understand this. “The goal of Black Lives Matter is to transform America’s systemic hatred against Black people,” Cullors writes in the Washington Post. “Yes, we will fight for policy reform, but we know that every gain in this area can be retracted if we do not change the anti-Black culture in this country.”

    But policy reform will be critical in making concrete gains—the killings can be stopped by changing deeply-held racial biases, but that will take a long time. I hope Black Lives Matter will put its muscle behind one particular idea and try to force that idea into the political conversation in 2016. An idea that I believe is at the heart of our policing problem—the reason why police are positioned as occupying forces in so many working class communities of color, why some young black and brown people end up working in an underground industry that inevitably leads to police confrontations, fueling suspicion and fear. To me, the core of our policing problem is the War on Drugs.

    The War on Drugs helps fuel the illegal drug trade, making drugs more lucrative and thus making that industry valuable for economically devastated areas where people need jobs and, and are also looking for ways to help soothe soul-deep pain. The failed War on Drugs positions America to see all black men as potential criminals, and positions the police to play whack-a-mole in the hood while getting lots of federal money in return, despite doing little to actually curb the drug trade. The War on Drugs, as Michelle Alexander explained in her seminal book The New Jim Crow, positions black people as resources to be used—mass incarceration has allowed police, prosecutors, judges, politicians, prison operators and others to make money from black bodies.

    The only thing that could fundamentally damage the illegal drug trade is to end the War on Drugs by creating a legal option to buy and sell drugs. Allow the private sector to sell drugs in a way that is organized and taxed by the government like almost any other product. Without that we cede control of drug trafficking to the most dangerous members of society and forfeit billions in potential taxation. Without that we continue to hold out hope that prohibition will work, when it hasn’t for decades.

    So, some of you might be asking, should we just let people do drugs? Yes. Why are we criminalizing the choices people make about what they put in their own bodies? In what other capacity do you like the government serving as a nanny state, telling you what’s best for you? Several state governments are already getting out of that business, either legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.

    Prohibition will never work. We know this because we’ve tried. The US government has spent decades and trillions of dollars, and quintupled its prison population without lessening the availability of drugs. But what if we give drug dealers real competition from the private sector? It would make the entire arrangement less attractive, taking a significant swath of customers away from the underground economy, thus making the costs of smuggling and dealing drugs less lucrative, thus damaging and shrinking that industry and giving us a chance to refocus our policing. Ending the War on Drugs is essential if we are going to change the way the police interact with black men and women.

    Black Lives Matter could, in this political climate, with its current level of power, demand Democratic candidates start talking about ending the War on Drugs. If Sanders makes it a big part of his platform, then Clinton will have to discuss it, too. And if that happens then we may be on the way to seeing Black Lives Matter fundamentally change America.

    So that’s where that was going. Funny how, though, he never mentions anything about treatment programs or support programs for those who want to quit drugs. Needle-exchange programs and stuff. Sure, people can do the drugs they want – it’s their body – but they also need a network of support in case they want to get off the drugs and can’t do it on their own. And they should have the opportunity to do them safely – legalization does not necessarily mean regulation or adherence to health codes and the like.

  123. rq says

    14-Year-Old Shot By Cops After Fleeing Now Faces Assault Charge. Waistbands and guns.

    A Trenton, New Jersey, teen faces assault and weapons charges after fleeing from police officers who shot him multiple times.

    New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General announced three charges against the teen, identified by his lawyer as Radazz Hearns, in a news release on Tuesday.

    Hearns was released from the hospital on Friday. He has been charged for unlawful possession of a handgun, aggravated assault and possession of a defaced firearm.

    The assault charge comes because, authorities say, the teen allegedly pointed a gun at police officers as they chased him.

    “Law enforcement witnesses and a civilian eyewitness” told investigators that Hearns was holding a gun as he ran, and that one of the officers yelled “gun” before they shot the teen, hitting him multiple times in the legs and buttocks, the attorney general’s office stated.

    The office’s initial statement after the incident didn’t mention that Hearns was holding a gun. It said only that “witnesses reported” that he “was reaching into his waistband” while authorities pursued him, and that “a .22-caliber automatic handgun containing three rounds of ammunition was later recovered underneath a vehicle at the scene.”

    The kid is lucky to be alive! Oh, and he’s black. In case you hadn’t guessed.

    Protesters unveil demands for stricter US policing laws as political reach grows – all that protesting? It’s changing something. Still can’t say how much or how significantly, but it’s making change happen.

    Leaders in the new civil rights movement campaigning against the killings of African Americans by police set out their most comprehensive set of policies and demands so far on Friday, as they moved to intensify their rapidly increasing influence on US politics.

    The coalition of protesters outlined proposals for new laws at federal and state levels such as restricting the use of deadly force by officers, outlawing the supply of military equipment to police departments, instituting training to prevent racial bias and forcing the US government to keep a comprehensive record of fatal incidents.

    “We must end police violence so we can live and feel safe in this country,” the group stated on a new website, Campaign Zero, which also establishes an issue-by-issue system for monitoring the policy positions of candidates for the Democratic and Republican US presidential nominations.

    The unveiling of the detailed policy platform followed a series of disruptions by protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement of presidential campaign rallies held by presidential candidates across the country, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The actions have succeeded in pushing police and criminal justice reform to the forefront of the race for the Democratic nomination.

    “America is finally waking up to this very necessary and critical conversation about race, equity and preserving the life and dignity of all citizens,” Brittany Packnett, one of the activists behind Campaign Zero, said in an interview.

    “These policies, like our resistance, will save lives and introduce a new way of viewing political strategy,” said Aurielle Lucier, the co-founder of the Atlanta-based activist group It’s Bigger Than You. “This is a blueprint for ending police violence,” said DeRay McKesson, another leading activist involved in the project.

    More on the platform at the link.

    At Hurley High, Confederate battle flag is everywhere and means everything. What a bunch of rebels, eh?

    Chris Spencer is the only African-American student at Hurley High School, where the front doors he walks through each morning are painted with the Confederate battle flag, the first of many he’ll see on any given school day.

    The helmets of his Hurley Rebels football team sport a stylized logo of the flag, flying from a saber. Equipment in the weight room is stamped with the image too. Crossed battle flags are on the wall in the school’s main office. Rebel Man, with a rebel flag, adorns center court in the gym.

    But Spencer needn’t wait until he arrives at school to see such images. He carries one with him wherever he goes. The senior running back has a battle flag tattoo on the underside of his right forearm, where he cradles the ball on each carry.

    “It doesn’t mean racism to me,” Spencer tells USA TODAY Sports. “I just look at it as a flag. It’s our mascot. It just means our school.”

    That’s the party line in Hurley, a tiny coalmining community tucked into the southwest corner of Virginia, south of Kentucky and west of West Virginia, where longtime citizens say they just want to be left alone to rally around a symbol that’s been with them for as long as they can remember.

    “It means heritage, not hate,” Hurley High principal Pam Tester says. “You won’t find a single person in Hurley who thinks different.”

    And that includes Spencer, who wears his heart on his sleeve and his tattoo under it. In a community that’s overwhelmingly white, the artwork on his arm is often offered as Exhibit A for the defense.

    Rebels is the nickname at roughly 200 high schools across the USA and these days several are reviewing the name and attendant imagery. Southside High in Fort Smith, Ark., is phasing out its Rebels name and ending Dixie as its fight song. Vestavia Hills High in Alabama is rebranding its Rebels, keeping the name but eliminating some of the symbols.

    No such introspection is apparent in Hurley, an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, one of Virginia’s poorest. The county was founded in 1858, just before the Civil War, and according to the 2010 census had a population of a little more than 24,000, roughly 97% white.

    Hurley’s population is estimated a bit above 3,000. On game nights, it can feel as if all of them are at The Cliff, a one-of-a-kind stadium where Smiley Ratliff Field is blasted out of rock. Behind one end zone, and behind most of one sideline, is sheer stone. You can get a stiff neck peering up to the tree-topped summit.

    Tester says dynamite cleared the way for this field of dreams sometime in the early 1980s. “We’re miners here,” she says. “We know how to do that.”

    It’s the sort of can-do spirit that animates mountain pride hereabouts: When you can’t find 100 yards of flat earth, you make it. But coal is disappearing as a way of life and that means less work in Hurley. Darwin Bailey is out of work just now. His friend, Roger Hurley, finds common ground between unemployment and anti-flag deployment.

    “The liberals and the tree huggers want to shut down the mines,” he says. “And next thing they’ll want to shut down our flag too.”

    Remembering the lynching of Leo Frank, 100 years later – kinda missed the actual anniversary day.

    One hundred years ago this week, on Aug. 17, 1915, a lynching took place in Georgia that was no more or less horrible than any other. It was unusual because the victim, Leo Frank, was a white Jew convicted and condemned to hang based on the testimony of a black man. When the death sentence was commuted to life in prison, he was taken forcibly from jail and lynched.

    Under what circumstance, if any, can we justify standing by — rather than standing up — when we witness injustice? The power of outspokenness was demonstrated just prior to the Frank case, when a vocal Jewish community and Emile Zola sparked the pardoning of Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer wrongly convicted of treason based entirely on perjury and anti-Semitism. The power of turn-of-the century Americans to address injustice was demonstrated by the abilities of the then-newly minted NAACP and National Urban League to raise national consciousness regarding the far more common hate crimes against blacks.

    We need to remember the costs of silence now. The Internet and social media provide us with extraordinary abilities to document bigotry and injustice and to raise a ruckus to fight them. If there was little justification for silence a century ago, there is none today.

    In the cases of Freddie Gray, James Price, Eric Garner and many others, people have used this new power to participate in politics via social media. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has kept racist brutality in the public eye. Its members have met with Hillary Clinton and brought key issues regarding black America to the attention of other presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson. The perceived power of silence and its potential for misuse are evident in a recent Drexel University study identifying politicians and industrialists who have spent over $1 billion to suppress scientific evidence around global warming.

    To be sure, Frank was only one of approximately 4,000 lynchings in America that occurred between 1877 and 1950 in the South. The fear to speak out against lynching can be seen in President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 failure to support an anti-lynching bill, the Costigan-Wagner Act, ostensibly for reasons of political exigency. I have trouble supporting Roosevelt’s silence or the quietness of the Atlanta Jewish community, but I can only read about the social pressures of those times. There is no uncertainty regarding those who wish to ignore or suppress our past and present difficulties in this millennium. Albert Einstein’s statement that “If I were to remain silent, I would be guilty of complicity,” still applies.

    Leo Frank, along with many others, was a victim of his community’s fear of using its First Amendment right to speak out against injustice. The mob psychology and legal chicanery that led to his death is immoral. The 100-year anniversary of Frank’s lynching reminds us that the more subtle, and more insidious, power of silence is just as dangerous.

    Chief Dotson defends tactics during unrest; autopsy shows Ball-Bey died of wound to his back and the official story has changed over the weekend while I was away. Surprise, surprise. Locations have changed from alleys to backyards and now it appears that Ball-Bey wasn’t even at the property purportedly being investigated.

    St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson defended Thursday the tactics city police used the previous night during unrest that broke out in north St. Louis after the fatal police shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey. Later that night St. Louis police officers held back as a group marched to the intersection of Euclid and Maryland avenues and blocked traffic there for almost an hour.

    On Friday morning, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released a statement saying that the city’s medical examiner’s preliminary autopsy “indicates Ball-Bey sustained a single gunshot wound to his back.”

    Last August Dotson criticized St. Louis County Police for using militarized tactics in Ferguson, but city police used tear gas and an armored vehicle Wednesday night to disperse protesters blocking the intersection of Page Avenue and Walton Boulevard after bricks and bottles were thrown at police.

    “I was getting calls from aldermen saying my residents are concerned. They’re hearing that individuals have gasoline, have charcoal lighter, talking about setting buildings on fire—which they did. We had to get control of the situation,” Dotson said. “Last night no police officers were injured, no protesters were injured. So we get caught up in the optics, but the idea is to keep people safe.”

    At least one building and one car were set on fire Wednesday night, but not until after police dispersed the crowd with tear gas.

    Dotson also disputed claims from protesters that his officers gave insufficient warning before using the tear gas.

    About those burnings, too. No word on what witnesses were saying about white people lighting them and running away.

    Police patrol Rosedale neighborhood after man who waved Confederate flag charged in assault. Just a flag. Heritage not hate!

    Pietrowski told The Sun he was in his driveway when Herold approached him. Herold threatened to kill people in the neighborhood — “especially these [expletives],” he said, pointing at homes where black families live, according to Pietrowski.

    Neither Herold nor his family could be reached for comment Thursday.

  124. rq says

    Chris Ball-Bey wept for his brother Mansur at his vigil at Page & Walton in St. Louis. @LBPhoto1 photo 8/20
    March for Jamyla Bolden to Mike Brown memorial in Ferguson. @LBPhoto1 photo 8/20

    NEWS ROUNDUP: #BlackLivesMatter Activist Denies Lying About Race, Former President Jimmy Carter Has Brain Cancer…AND MORE I point you downstream towards the article that reads:

    Medical Examiner in Eric Garner Case is a Former NYPD Cop

    It was recently discovered that one of the medical examiners responsible for studying evidence for federal prosecutors in the Eric Garner case was a former NYPD officer. According to sources, Lieutenant Col. Philip Berran, who serves as a U.S. Army pathologist, worked on the case. “When I became a cop I never thought anything would get me out of the police world,” said Berran in his book. “Then I found something more interesting that combines all my skills, policing, law and medicine. My interest in pathology began with my admiration for the work of the New York City Medical Examiner.” Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by the Garner family, said he hopes Berran would realize the correct cause of death: asphyxiation at the hands of a police officer. “I would think that the military person (Berran) would agree that was the cause of death,” said Baden.

    Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

    From “teen” to “man”. From “pointed a gun” to “flourished”. The changing language of a public relations campaign. Re: language used in media to ref. Mansur Ball-Bey.

    Man killed by St. Louis police died from gunshot in the back. Note: “man”, not “teen”.

    An autopsy on Mansur Ball-Bey, whose death from police gunfire this week stirred protests, showed that he died from a single wound in the back, police officials said.

    Chief Sam Dotson said the wound’s location neither proves nor disproves the contention of officers at the scene that Ball-Bey refused to drop a gun and pointed it at them before being shot Wednesday.

    An investigation of the particulars continues, Dotson said.

    “Just because he was shot in the back doesn’t mean he was running away,” Dotson said. “It could be, and I’m not saying that it doesn’t mean that. I just don’t know yet.

    “What I do know is that two officers were involved and fired shots, but I don’t know exactly where they were standing yet and I won’t know until I get their statements.”

    It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy, but this has been a suspicious coincidence in the minds of many: Cumberland County settles suit over alleged jail assault of man later killed by police

    A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that Jerame Reid — the man shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Bridgeton — had pending against Cumberland County at the time of his death.

    Cumberland County recently approved a $340,000 settlement to be awarded to Reid’s estate, according to an official close to the case.

    The matter is headed to federal court for final approval and then a probate court will decide how the assets are to be distributed.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Camden in January 2011, alleged Reid was assaulted while held in the Cumberland County Jail. It names the county, Cumberland County Department of Corrections, Warden Robert Balicki, and three corrections officers: Victor Bermudez, John Zamot and John Ballard.

    The attorney representing Reid — Mark Frost of Mark Frost & Associates, in Philadelphia — said he will be filing a petition to approve the settlement by June 26.

    “The settlement has already been agreed upon and approved by the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders,” Frost said.

  125. rq says

    Are Traumatized Students Disabled? A Debate Straight Outta Compton

    An unprecedented, class action lawsuit brought against one Southern California school district and its top officials could have a big impact on schools across the country.

    On Thursday in Los Angeles, a U.S. District Court judge will preside over the first hearing in the suit against the Compton Unified School District. To understand the complaint, you need to understand Compton.

    The city, located just south of LA, has long had a violent reputation. Last year, its murder rate was more than five times the national average. Now, a handful of students say they’ve been traumatized by life in Compton and that the schools there have failed to give them the help they deserve.

    The complaint is a terrifying read — of kids coping with physical and sexual abuse, addicted parents, homelessness and a constant fear of violence.°[…]

    Susan Ko of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress says exposure to violence can have a profound effect on the brain’s ability to learn.

    “That impacts concentration, the ability to just listen to what the teacher is saying, to understand what you’re reading, to remember something that you learned or what the teacher just said,” Ko says.

    Not only that, many traumatized students live in a state of constant alarm. Innocent interactions like a bump in the hallway or a request from a teacher can stir anger and bad behavior.

    The lawsuit alleges that, in Compton, the schools’ reaction to traumatized students was too often punishment — not help.

    “They were repeatedly either sent to another school, expelled or suspended — and this went back to kindergarten,” says Marleen Wong, who teaches at the USC School of Social Work and has spent decades studying kids and trauma. “I think we’re really doing a terrible disservice to these children.”

    The suit argues that trauma is a disability and that schools are required — by federal law — to make accommodations for traumatized students, not expel them. The plaintiffs want Compton Unified to provide teacher training, mental health support for students and to use conflict-mediation before resorting to suspension.

    “That’s a very strong mandate, and it needs to be funded,” says the district’s attorney, David Huff. He argues the suit uses too broad a definition of disability and sends the wrong message to kids living in other struggling neighborhoods.

    “A sweeping declaration would effectively tell these children that they have now been labeled as having a physical or mental handicap under federal law.”

    Compton Unified has asked the judge to dismiss the case.

    Now that’s the kind of caring attitude I expect from educational institutions. :P Fuck them.

    Here, in tweet format, more comparison in the Ball-Bey shooting story: #MansurBallBey. (Short video there.)
    In original version, officers were in alley. In new version, they are in 2 diff positions in backyard.#MansurBallBey (Side-by-side text comparison.)

    Police union slams circuit attorney over investigation into officer-involved fatal shooting. Well waddayano, the police union is being an asshole.

    The head of the city’s police union slammed Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce on Saturday about her decision to conduct an investigation separate from the ongoing police inquiry into the killing of Mansur Ball-Bey by an officer this past week.

    Ball-Bey, 18, was shot in the back.

    The killing, and the violent confrontation between police and protesters that followed, came less than two weeks after officers and protesters faced off on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s killing by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

    Joyce’s decision is a departure from the usual protocol in which her office would wait until getting the results of the police investigation before conducting its own.

    The separate and simultaneous investigations did not sit well with Joe Steiger, president of the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, who called Joyce’s decision politically motivated.

    “Jennifer Joyce’s announcement is a discredit to the members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” Steiger said in a statement.

    Steiger also took exception to Joyce making her announcement while standing next to representatives from the NAACP.

    “The involved officers welcome an impartial investigation in which the sole purpose is to determine and report the facts of the incident,” Steiger said.

    Aligning herself with the civil rights organization, “suggests this investigation is motivated by political appeasement and not the pursuit of truth and justice,” he said.

    You can read her response, too: Statement from Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce in response to SLPOA

    I understand that this is an emotional and trying time for everyone, however, I am having difficulty understanding the position of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

    Our announcement clearly indicated the Circuit Attorney’s Office would be conducting the exact same review as under normal protocol; the Office is simply beginning immediately and expediting the process. This does not change the review, nor does it change the open-minded and objective approach to the investigation. There will be no rush to judgment.

    I personally spoke with the Chief of Police prior to announcing the change in the process and he expressed no objections to the new timetable. Furthermore, a top member of my staff also spoke with the leader of the Department’s Force Investigative Unit who, far from being offended, expressed his desire to get started with us Monday morning, pledging full cooperation.

    The role of the Circuit Attorney’s Office is to conduct a meticulous, thorough and independent review of the facts and circumstances of officer-involved shootings. Our sole job is to determine if a violation of Missouri law occurred and if such violation can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Our review will be conducted independently of the police investigation. Differences of opinion will occur when agencies are independent. This helps ensure fairness and justice.

    I have great regard for the hard working men and women of the police department. I am fully aware that police are much safer on our streets when community tensions are calmed. Expediting the review process is a step towards promoting community trust and public safety.

    I am proud to stand with the President of the NAACP as he shares our desire to help bring the community together and encourage witness participation in this process. We appreciate the efforts of all those who work together to ensure safety for everyone in our great city.

    A fine statement.

    Black Man Shot by Police in St. Louis Died From Bullet to Back, the New York Times.

  126. rq says

    Science Fiction Is Really, Really White. But we already knew that.

    The 2015 Hugo Awards, celebrating the year’s best works of science fiction and fantasy, will be held this weekend amid a giant squabble about diversity in the genre. A group of white writers who believe that the voting process has been manipulated to include too many minorities are fighting to steer votes towards authors that are truer to the genre.

    But if you crunch the numbers, it’s pretty hard to argue that white writers are being squeezed out at the Hugos. Vocativ tabulated every writer, editor and artist associated with the 65 works nominated this year in all 13 professional categories (there are four categories for fan work). Out of nearly 100 people responsible for those 65 works (some works had multiple authors), only three were non white.

    One of the three, Chinese writer Liu Cixin, became a nominee for Best Novel only after white author Marko Kloos withdrew in response to the controversy over diversity.

    We also added up all the nominees for Best Novel, the top honor, going all the way back through the Hugos’ 62-year history. Since 1953, there have been 300 nominations for Best Novel—and only five of those writers were non white. (There were three African Americans: Samuel R. Delany in 1969; Nalo Hopkinson in 2001; N.K. Jemisin in 2011; one Arab American writer Saladin Ahmed and one Chinese writer, Liu.) No minority writer has won the award yet.

    False alarm, Sad and Rabid Puppies, false alarm!

    New York over the weekend:
    #NicholasHeywardJr’s father speaks about his son, shot & killed by a NYC housing cop at 13-years-old.
    Five facts about #NicholasHeywardJr, a 13-year-old shot & killed by a NYC housing cop who was charged with NOTHING.
    It’s a police shooting dating back to 1994.

    One year ago: 2014: #Utah Cops Killed Black Anime Cosplayer With Toy Sword http://bit.ly/1WLBqAc #opDarrienHunt #BlackLivesMatter

    St. Louis Police Wives Association seeking donations. Maybe they can raise some funds and make some lunches for the black community, too. That would be a nice gesture.

  127. rq says

    First Kerrick juror speaks after mistrial, so a mistrial there – not the result people were hoping for.

    On the dry-erase board in the jury room, Moses Wilson wrote a question:

    “What did Jonathan Ferrell DO to warrant death? 10 shots.”

    Wilson, one of the four jurors who voted to convict Randall “Wes” Kerrick, said Saturday he never got a satisfactory answer to that question through the three-week trial of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer.

    Wilson, 67, the only African-American male on the jury, moved to Charlotte in 2008 after retiring from a career as a court constable in Boston.

    Wilson said he didn’t care for a defense strategy that seemed to make Ferrell into a villain in the fatal encounter two years ago.

    “Randall Kerrick wasn’t on trial,” said Wilson, a Vietnam veteran who served as a medic. “You know who was on trial? Jonathan Ferrell.”

    Kerrick’s attorneys used every opportunity to demonize Ferrell, said Wilson – pointing out he’d had a few beers, smoked some marijuana before crashing his car the night of the shooting and noting that he wasn’t able to stay in college.

    But Wilson said that Ferrell held down a job and was invited to join his friends, showing he was a sociable man.

    Wilson said he would not speak for other jurors or reveal the dynamics of the deliberations, but would share his personal experience.

    There’s more at the link. But I guess that’s the typical thing, isn’t it, paint the victim in such a way that it looks like they deserved death in some way. Ugly.

    Appeals Court: Woman Pepper Sprayed by NYPD Can Sue for Excessive Force. Hope she wins!

    Rapper Wiz Khalifa Violently Arrested by Cops at LAX for Using a Hoverboard

    On Saturday night, the chart-topping 27-year-old rapper posted a video taken by an onlooker that depicts a swarm of border patrol agents and police officers confronting him at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly refusing to get off a hoverboard.

    “This? I didn’t do nothing, anyway. What you want to do? Put me in jail because I didn’t listen to what you say?” he says to the cops. “We can have all the conversations you want to, you can end up on TMZ, destined to become as famous as you wanna be.”

    A further video of the incident shared by the emcee on his Instagram, whose time stamp reads that it was taken at 3:56 pm PT, shows Khalifa being slammed to the ground on his stomach by three officers yelling, “Stop resisting!” Khalifa doesn’t appear to be resisting at all in the video, and is shown lying still on the ground, calmly replying, “I’m not resisting, sir,” as the trio of cops continue to yell “stop resisting” at him whilst cuffing him and applying pressure to his back.

    Neither money, nor education, nor social standing, nor fame…

    St. Louis cop union mouthpiece Jeff Roorda’s idea of a “media” release. Note “To” line.
    I still don’t like Roorda.

    Angola Prison and the Shadow of Slavery

    A few years ago, I was on a panel at the Tennessee Williams Festival titled “Writing New Orleans: The Most Exotic place in America.” It was held in the largest room in the hotel where the annual literary festival is held, and the room was packed. This surprised me but shouldn’t have: people in New Orleans can be counted on to show an interest in New Orleans.

    My co-panelists were Nathaniel Rich, the New Orleans-based novelist and journalist; Kim Marie Vaz, a dean at Xavier University and the author of a book on the Baby Dolls, a women’s Mardi Gras organization; and Richard Campanella, the Tulane geographer and historian. After a lively panel discussion there was a Q. & A., at the end of which Jackie Clarkson, a longtime city-council member (and the mother of the actress Patricia Clarkson) took the microphone. She delivered a brief speech about the glory of New Orleans—how it was the greatest city in the world.

    Her remarks sounded to me like they were intended to sum up of the preceding discussion. I didn’t like the tidiness of the sentiment. When she was done, I leaned forward to the microphone in front of me and, almost to my own astonishment, said: “Hearing those words of praise for New Orleans makes me think of something that Stanley Moss, a poet I know, told me just before I moved down here. ‘New Orleans,’ he declared in his sonorous poet’s voice, ‘stinks of slavery.’ When I got here, I looked around and decided that this was not the case at all. If anything, race relations seemed more friendly than in the North. But the longer I am here, the more I see his point.”

    Immediately, most of the audience members went into bobblehead motion, half nodding vigorously in agreement, the other half shaking their heads. A wave of murmuring swept over the room. A few minutes later, the panel was adjourned. People crowded up to the table where we sat, some to praise my words, others to damn them. “You have it all wrong. Have you seen ‘The Princess and the Frog’?” one said, with a completely straight face, referring to Disney’s fairy-tale movie. “New Orleans is exactly like that!”

    Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick’s photographs from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which were taken between 1980 and 2013, are a subset of their work in the same way that the prison is a kind of annex to the world of New Orleans. The prison farm, which is commonly known as Angola, is the country’s largest maximum-security prison, in a state that imprisons more people per capita than any other in the United States. Situated a hundred and forty miles northwest of New Orleans, the prison was taken over by the state in 1901, having been founded, twenty years before, on land consolidated from several cotton and sugarcane plantations, the largest of which was named Angola, after the country its slaves came from.

    From the beginning, it was a brutal, for-profit farming operation, a system in some ways reminiscent of slavery, but with less incentive to keep the workers alive. Since the prison’s current warden, Burl Cain, took over, in 1995, Angola has become a less violent place, with a reputation for reform and a faintly entrepreneurial aura. It is known today for an on-site museum and for a biannual prison rodeo, begun fifty years ago and professionalized in recent decades, which draws thousands of visitors a year. But the prison still draws controversy for its use of solitary confinement, among other things: recent lawsuits filed in Louisiana courts allege that Angola’s inmates receive inadequate medical care and that inmates on death row are subjected to unsafe temperatures .

    More at the link.

    Last year, the phrase repeated the most at #afropunk was “Hands up, dont shoot.” This year, it’s “Black trans lives matter.” #AfropunkFest15

    Mixon: “I stand with marginalized groups who seek merely to be seen as fully human. Black lives matter.” #HugoAwards

  128. rq says

    Poll: Most black people prefer ‘all lives matter’. Though if you read, there’s no mention of how many black people were actually interviewed (as there were 1000 respondents, total). Just mentions a percentage: 64. Which, essentially, is meaningless.

    Group of black women ‘humiliated’ and kicked off Napa wine train for ‘laughing too loud’. The way the article presents it, it seems as if they were being awfully rowdy. I have a suspicion that they were being too happy and carefree for some of the white passengers – would they have been called out like this if it was a group of white women, out having fun together?

    MSNBC host crushes Huckabee: ‘Unsophisticated manipulation’ of MLK can’t stop ‘Black Lives Matter’

    MSNBC host Janet Mock shamed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee over the weekend for trying diminish the “Black Lives Matter” movement with “unsophisticated manipulation” of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words.

    During a recent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Huckabee had said that King would have been “appalled” by the “Black Lives Matter” movement because activists were “elevating some lives above others.”

    While guest hosting Melissa Harris-Perry’s show on Sunday, Mock addressed Huckabee’s remarks.

    “The message from BLM is that black people don’t have the power to stop the violence against them from agents of the state,” she pointed out. “It’s why they are appealing to people like you, people vying to represent the state.”

    “Offering ‘all lives matter’ in response to the assertion that ‘black lives matter’ diminishes the black lives that have an continue to be lost, and you should know that by now,” Mock insisted.

    She argued that Huckabee had “misrepresented” King in an attempt “to silence the very people and ideas that he fought to protect and died to protect.”

    “Because, yes, Martin Luther King Jr. was appalled by the notion that we are elevating some lives above others,” Mock said. “But you’re a little confused about the ‘we’ he was talking about.”

    “He was delivering a damning indictment against the United States government for it’s failure to secure for black people basic civil rights that relegated not only their citizenship, but their humanity to second class citizen status,” she continued. “When King watch [the Watts riots in Los Angeles] burn with fire and the indignation of black rage as we have seen in Ferguson and Baltimore in recent months, he saw in it not the wanton violence of looters and rioters, but a response to the systematic violence of institutional racism.”

    Mock recalled that King had explained the Watts riots by saying that “rage replaces reason.”

    “Did you get that governor?” Mock asked of Huckabee. “Because as long as you continue with your unsophisticated manipulation of King’s message, and as long as you and other candidates continue your rock-like resistance to the message of the movement, that is as long as you can expect to keep hearing those urgent screams of rage that ‘black lives matter.’”

    Video at the link.

    How The Hugo Awards Saboteurs Actually Disproved Their Own Best Argument – mostly tangentially related, but worthy of remembering, esp. since it was an official award that refused to acknowledge the attempts of white people to keep things white.

    Bernie Sanders meets with black voters in South Carolina: ‘We are going to end institutional racism’. How about he get that message out to his fan-base first? I mean in the sense that they better shut up and acknoweldge that institutional racism is an issue, period, and that black people have a right to be pissed off about it.

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his progressive populism to deeply Republican South Carolina, and made a pitch to connect with the black voters that provide most of the Democratic support in the early primary state.

    It was the Vermont senator’s first visit to the state since announcing his candidacy in late April, in a challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders had canceled a planned appearance in Charleston in June in the wake of the massacre at the city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that left nine dead.

    In North Charleston, the last of five stops in the state, he invoked the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Walter Scott, all unarmed black men who died in the hands of police officers in a little over a year.

    “We are going to end institutional racism and we are going to transform and make changes in the criminal justice system that isn’t working,” he said to loud cheering from a crowd of about 3,100. “When a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable. We need new rules on the use of force.”

    He also mentioned the Charleston slayings, which authorities have called racially motivated.

    “I’m not just talking about somebody who walked into a Bible study class, prayed with the people in that group and then took out a gun and killed nine people. I’m talking about the hundreds of hate groups that exist in this country today whose only function is fomenting of hatred of African Americans, gays, immigrants, Jews.”

    Somerville Mayor Explains Why City Hung Up ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banner

    “We put it up this week. We shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to put a banner up that says we are against police violence based on discrimination involving black people,” Curtatone wrote. “It shouldn’t be newsworthy when a government body says that it believes that all of our institutions should treat all people the same, regardless of the color of their skin. These aren’t ideas that should have to be proclaimed.”

    Institutional discrimination openly exists throughout the United States, the facts are backed by statistics and visual evidence. Curtatone feels it’s about time everyone bands together and faces the issue head on.

    “We put the banner up not to proclaim anything about Somerville or ourselves, but because we must stand in solidarity with the movement, acknowledge that painful reality, and work to change it,” Curtatone wrote.

    Curtatone added, “We know that “all lives matter,” but is it is black Americans who disproportionately are killed by those we entrust with upholding the law. It is black Americans who are disproportionately stopped, arrested, jailed and sentenced to longer prison terms.”

    According to Curtatone, the sign in no way is an indictment on the action of Somerville’s Police Department. He says Somerville chief of police, David Fallon, advocates for “fair, equal and community focused policing.”

    Somerville is in the process of instituting solutions by focusing on de-escalation training, true community policing, and planning for new training that will allow recognition of internalized prejudices.

    Curtatone says the banner is statement, but also a question regarding what Somerville can do to fix its part of the system.

  129. rq says

    Families seek answers about loved ones’ deaths in police shootings. Story from the Indy Star, but it could be Anywhere, USA.

    The shootings unfolded, like many of them do, in brief chaotic moments filled with stress.

    • Lenon Henry, 52, a suspected burglar, reached for his waistband after police told him to raise his hands. Officers shot and killed him. They later discovered he had no weapon.

    • Duane Slentz, 49, led police on a chase to a Southeastside home where he barricaded himself inside. Police fired at the home and killed Slentz when they said they heard him cock his gun.

    • Mack Long, 35, armed with a holstered gun, ran from police and turned, obscuring his gun side. An officer shot Long, who then tussled over the officer’s firearm. Another officer shot and killed Long.

    These officer-involved shootings in Indianapolis — like the vast majority of those across the United States — have one thing in common: The investigations that cleared the officers are secret and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

    The routine use of grand juries to investigate officer-involved shootings keeps evidence and testimony secret, even from the families of the deceased. Many such families are left with unanswered questions, forced to fight the system or blindly accept the version of events laid out in secret hearings before anonymous jurors.

    Prosecutors say grand juries have a purpose. And some say confidentiality is important to protect the identities of witnesses who would otherwise be unwilling to testify, as well as the officers whose reputations could be tarnished, even if their actions do not cross legal lines.

    In the post-Ferguson era, however, when the fairness of numerous shootings have been called into question, some say it’s time to ask if that confidentiality comes at too high a price.

    I walked into a prison expecting to meet criminals. Instead, I found a community of men. By Clint Smith III. The video is a repost from a longer article, but the shorter description is well worth reading again.

    Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters. If you think it doesn’t matter, it does.

    Early this year, that shift sparked a backlash: a campaign, organized by three white, male authors, that resulted in a final Hugo ballot dominated by mostly white, mostly male nominees. While the leaders of this two-pronged movement—one faction calls itself the Sad Puppies and the other the Rabid Puppies—broke no rules, many sci-fi writers and fans felt they had played dirty, taking advantage of a loophole in an arcane voting process that enables a relatively few number of voters to dominate. Motivated by Puppygate, meanwhile, a record 11,300-plus people bought memberships to the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, where the Hugo winners were announced Saturday night.

    Just before 8 PM, in a vast auditorium packed with “trufans” dressed in wizard garb, corsets, chain mail and the like, one question was on most everybody’s minds: Would the Puppies prevail?

    Laura J. Mixon, who won for Best Fan Writer, gave by far the most stirring speech. Her winning blog post had meticulously described the venomous behavior of a female, left-leaning troll (an Internet troll, not a troll-troll). “There’s room for all of us here,” Mixon said. “But there’s no middle ground between ‘We belong here’ and ‘No you don’t.’ I believe we must find non-toxic ways to discuss our conflicting points of view.” In closing, Mixon, who is white, added, “I stand with people from marginalized groups who seek simply to be seen as fully human. Black lives matter.”

    [stuff about racism and Vox Day and Correia etc.]

    The mainstream press first started reporting on the gaming of the Hugos’ nomination system back in April, when fan-favorite authors who were women and people of color had been largely edged out of the final ballot. But few outside the field really cared. They treated it like nerd-on-nerd violence—unfortunate and ugly, but confined to one of literature’s crummier neighborhoods.

    It’s not inconsequential, though. Not by a longshot. The Puppies’ revolt did not merely push back against the gains traditionally underrepresented people have made in a maligned literary sub-genre. It was a backlash against gains they’ve made everywhere. Like the sound of starship engines, the Hugos don’t exist in a vacuum.

    And there’s a lot more reading to do there. It’s fun and informative!

    DuBose murder prompts college police force reviews

    A University of Cincinnati (UC) police officer’s fatal shooting of a motorist he stopped over a missing front license plate has grabbed other colleges’ attention, prompting discussions and reviews of their own police policies.

    News of the July 19 shooting of motorist Samuel DuBose spread quickly through the campus law enforcement community. It has become a major topic of discussion by the State Universities Law Enforcement Administrators group, which includes representatives from all of Ohio’s state universities.

    “This tragedy led some of us to determine that we should review our internal practices and find out whether or not they can be improved,” said group spokesman John Peach, the public safety director at Kent State University.

    Peach said Kent State found no major changes needed after its review. The police chiefs at the University of Akron and University of Toledo (UT) say they continually review policies and procedures, but were rechecking them in light of the Cincinnati shooting.

    “I don’t expect any major overhauls, but we’re looking at our policies related to traffic stops and use of force with a bit more of a discerning eye,” said Jeff Newton, UT’s police chief and public safety director.

    Campaign Zero: Solutions, worth a read. Campaign Zero is a new anti-police-brutality campaign launched by the same amazing people who brought you We the Protestors and the newsletter.

  130. rq says

    American Airlines workers say they face racial taunts, discrimination. This feels like a repost. I feel like airline workers have recently been under scrutiny.

    Prominent Ferguson protesters publish anti-police violence policy platform. Oh, hey, it’s more on Campaign Zero!

    Prominent Ferguson protesters announced on Friday Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end killings by the police in the United States, and a website to help voters keep track of where political candidates stand on police brutality.

    “We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability,” the site says.

    The campaign was created by DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie and Brittany Packnett, three anti-police violence activists who rose to prominence after the unrest last year in Ferguson. It includes data analysis by Samuel Sinyangwe, a San Francisco-based civil rights activist who has published maps and graphics that visualize data on police brutality.

    One local urban policy expert called the campaign “sincere and sophisticated.”

    “This is an effort to put some policy meat on the protest bones and say, ‘We’re not simply for this or against that, but here’s what our policies would look like,’ ” said Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an expert on urban politics and policies.

    “It’s an appropriate evolutionary step,” he added. “Anyone who says ‘I don’t think the world is right as it is’ should be prepared to answer the question, ‘Well, what do you want to do about it?’ ”

    Among the 10 policy changes proposed by the campaign are an end to racial profiling and “broken windows policing” that overcriminalizes minor offenses such as marijuana possession; establishing civilian oversight of police and bringing greater transparency to police discipline; and creating standards and reporting for police use of force.

    The campaign also calls for independent investigations of police shootings; greater diversity within police departments; and requiring police to wear body cameras.

    More at the link, and at their website itself.

    Proposal to rename Prairie View A&M thoroughfare ‘Sandy Bland Parkway’. It would be a nice gesture!

    Here’s What Black Lives Matter Activists Want Politicians To Do About Police Violence, Huffington Post on Campaign Zero.

    Fairfax, Va., police officer charged with murder in shooting of unarmed man

    A Fairfax County police officer was indicted by a grand jury Monday on second-degree murder charges two years after he fatally shot a Springfield man while responding to a domestic call at the man’s home.

    Adam Torres, who has since been fired from the Fairfax County Police Department, was charged in the killing of 46-year-old John Geer. It is reportedly the first time in the police department’s history that criminal charges have been brought against an officer as a result of an on-duty shooting.

    Probably reposted information.

    St. Louis, Missouri Slave Patrols Kill “Moor” After Racially Profiling him as “Black”

    Today, St. Louis Slave Patrols (Police) identified Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, after stripping him of his Race and Nationality i.e. characterizing him as “black” based upon his skin complexion, thus discrimiting against his Moorish Race and Nationality on the basis of his color a common practice of “White Slavers” in America. See the U.S. Congress Apolgoy for slavery recording that “Africans were subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their Names and Heritage”.

    A representative of the Moorish Community in St. Louis, Missouri, informed us that Mansur was wearing a Fedex uniform. Brother Mansur Ball-Bey was not a black suspect, he was a Moorish-American Moslem, which is a law abiding citizen of the Untied States of America! According to Milton Moore-Bey “He was a member of the Saint Louis Chapter of the Moorish Science Temple of America, Subordinate Temple #5 and was born and raised in a Moorish-American family with no priors, thus this Moorish brother was not a felon and did not have a rap sheet. He never had as much as a traffic ticket. He had just gotten off work at Fed Ex. So, please do not fall for the propaganda of the so-called News! The Police have alleged that he was armed and that he attempted to aim a firearm at them. The actual suspect whom the Police were looking for fled and was said to be a black man in his mid to late teens, and police were still searching for him.‪“

    Just a different, interesting perspective.

  131. says

    11 members of the Sisters of the Reading Edge Book Club were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train. Apparently, one guest thought they were too loud what with their laughing and having fun. And somehow the wishes of this one guest were treated as more important than the 11 women who were having a good time:

    The members — all black women — were removed from the Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing and talking too loudly as they sipped their wine. “This isn’t a bar,” one of the passengers who was on the train complained to the group, Lisa Johnson, 47, told the San Francisco Gate. “And we thought, um, yes it is.”

    Outrage over the removal of the 11 black women from the train has spread across social media, along with the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack. Johnson posted a photo of a white woman on her Facebook page before the group was removed, pinpointing her as the one who “said our laugher annoyed her.”

    “It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest,” said Johnson. “I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out.”

    Some people have taken to Yelp to complain:

    On Yelp, the user review site, a woman claimed to have witnessed the incident, recommending that others “steer clear” of the business “if you would like to be part of the solution, rather than the problem of white supremacy and racism.”

    “I can only conclude that it was discrimination,” she added.


    There are dozens of posts like this, from people who are giving negative reviews on the train based on the news of the day, but who have openly never ridden the train. In the long term, some of these kinds of reviews might get removed (they don’t jive with the company’s review guidelines, which maintain reviews should be both “passionate” and “personal”). There are also mechanisms in place for businesses to remove reviews from people who have never visited the business.

    But for now, these reviews are still live. In their defense, the Napa Valley Wine Train spokesperson told the San Francisco Gate that “The Napa Valley Wine Train does not enjoy removing guests from our trains, but takes these things very seriously in order to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all of our guests.” The spokesperson added that they “received complaints from several parties” about the women.

    In a since deleted post (Johnson captured screenshots and shared them), the company’s Facebook page said: “Following verbal and physical abuse towards our guests and staff, it was necessary to get the police involved.”

    On a positive note, the women seem to have bounced back very quickly:

    I wonder why they deleted that FB comment…
    I checked the Napa Valley Wine Train’s terms and conditions, and while they do state:

    For the comfort and safety of all our guests, we reserve the right to relocate or remove anyone that, in our sole opinion, is creating a disturbance within any of the Napa Valley Wine Train’s offerings

    I find myself bothered by the fact that the managers appear to have kicked out these women based on complaints from one woman. Again, why was she treated so preferentially?

  132. rq says

    There’s also the fact that they said they talked to the women several times and told them to quiet down, when the women themselves say they were only spoken to once.


    NJ admits police killed Jerame Reid with his hands up, but he moved a bit, so, you know, no charges. Shaun King on Jerame Reid.

    After Hurricane Katrina, a Man-Made Disaster in New Orleans

    The worst of Katrina was an act of man, not an act of God.

    I heard something like that from every local I encountered in New Orleans earlier this year. No matter their age, race or religion, the people of this city pretty much agree that referring to Hurricane Katrina as a natural disaster is naive, even ridiculous. They all know it was a three-part storm. First, a Category 3 hurricane, then a massive failure of the levee and then the biggest disaster of all: the government’s involvement.

    Longtime residents of New Orleans were used to grappling with nature, but man was a harsher beast. Over 1,800 people across five states died as a result of the crisis in 2005, many because they were stuck in their homes. Thousands more suffered for days inside the Superdome before help arrived. The devastation that came after the storm was man-made: a combination of racism, opportunism, corruption and ignorance that has impaired the quality of life in this city for the past 10 years.

    In the months following Katrina, New Orleans became a battleground for vested business and political interests fighting for how they wanted the city rebuilt. Some saw a political opportunity, flying in from Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. Some simply crossed over from the suburbs or nearby university campuses to declare their plans for the city to anyone in then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s office who would listen.

    In the midst of the lobbying, map redrawing and back-door meetings, few people bothered to ask New Orleanians how they would like to see their city rebuilt. It was—though soggy, busted up and run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—still their home, after all. It was their interests, their houses, their lives that needed rebuilding. But instead of transparency and aid, they got bureaucracy and ignorance.

    The article continues at the link.

    ‘This Week’ Transcript: Donald Trump , notable for this part:

    LLAMOS: This rally in Alabama, a strategic choice for the Trump campaign in an early primary state. A new poll shows him now beating Jeb Bush in Florida. And the billionaire’s new immigration plan the focus of the campaign.

    TRUMP: You look at your gov — you look at Baltimore, you look at Ferguson, you look at lot of these places, a lot of these gangs — and the most vicious — are illegals. They’re out of here. First day, I will send them people — we. Those guys are out of here.

    And this:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: So if there’s no idea, how are you going to round them all up?

    Where are you going to get the money, where are you going to get the forces?

    Exactly how are you going to do it?

    What are the specifics here?

    TRUMP: George, it’s called management. And the first thing we have to do is secure the border. But it’s called management. And we’ll get people back in, the really good ones, we’re going to expedite it, so they get back in, so they can at least come in legally.

    But we have to do it…

    STEPHANOPOULOS: You keep declaring how you’re going to do it…

    TRUMP: It’s management.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: — but you don’t say…

    TRUMP: We don’t…


    TRUMP: Excuse me, George?

    STEPHANOPOULOS: You declare how you’re going to do it, but you don’t say how.

    TRUMP: George, I’m telling you, it’s called management. You can do this and we can expedite the good ones to come back in. And everybody wants that. But they have to come in legally.

    We have a country, we have to have — we’re a country of laws. We’re a country of borders.

    How can you have a country without a border?

    How can you have a country without laws?

    We have to do it. And by the way, what you said in your piece initially is the gang members. You look at the gang members in Baltimore, Chicago, in Ferguson, these people, a lot of them, are illegals. These are rough dudes. And we’re going to get them to hell out fast.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I understand that you think it’s a huge problem, but I still don’t hear specifics on how you’re going to do this.

    Are you example…

    TRUMP: Well, you’ll see…

    STEPHANOPOULOS: — for example…

    TRUMP: — my specifics, George. But my specifics are very sample — I’m going to get great people that know what they’re doing, not a bunch of political hacks that have no idea what they’re doing, appointed by President Obama, that doesn’t have a clue. I mean that man doesn’t have a clue.

    People are walking across the border right now, right in front of these great people that we have. We have wonderful Border Patrol people. They can do their job. but they’re not allowed to do the job.

    People are walking right into our country totally un — nobody even knows where they come from. They walk right past guards that are told not to do anything.

    Family of man killed by Bridgeton police demands federal civil rights probe

    The family of a man killed by Bridgeton police during a 2014 traffic stop held a press conference Saturday to call for a federal investigation of the shooting.

    A grand jury decided this week not to pursue criminal charges against two Bridgeton police officers involved in the Dec. 30 shooting death of Jerame Reid.

    Reid’s mother, Shelia, was joined by members of her family and community activist Walter Hudson at a home on Cedarbrook Avenue Saturday afternoon to talk about the grand jury’s verdict.

    “I feel that justice was not served,” Shelia Reid said. “We want justice and peace. I want a thorough investigation.”

    I do hope they get it.

    Dear White America: I know it’s hard, but you have to acknowledge what’s happening in this country

    As we mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of young Mike Brown and the uprisings it sparked in Ferguson, much-needed conversations about race that have occurred as a result are increasingly on our lips and our smartphone screens. As an actress and writer who is black, and whose work often addresses race, I aim to contribute to the conversation, but today I’m pausing to do something I don’t usually do; I’d like to specifically address white people who continue to deny the existence of white privilege. Far too many of you refuse to simply state that white privilege is real, and I’m here to say something that might surprise you:

    I understand.

    First of all, I’ve seen people angry about the moniker “white privilege” in and of itself, bemoaning the very existence of this annoying two-word phrase (and even more so the three words “check your privilege”) as nothing more than the verbal folly of the Outrage Committee and Social Justice Warriors who want to ruin the Confederate flag and gay jokes and everything good about America. I can understand the fatigue at the sheer amount of times we say the phrase—I even get tired of saying/typing it. But can you allow for the possibility that we’re saying it so much because you haven’t heard us yet and it’s crucial that you accept it as reality?

    Some of you say we’re the confused ones; that when we speak of “white privilege” we actually mean discrimination or prejudice, that we should focus on the specific bad stuff happening to us instead of the good stuff we think you possess. Well, we’ve been trying that, and some of us think it’s not been working out so well.

    Besides, white privilege and racial discrimination are neither interchangeable terms nor mutually exclusive ideas, and it helps to understand that so much “specific bad stuff” might not be happening specifically and disproportionately to black people without systemic privilege as America’s societal foundation.

    Semantics work against us in this fight, because the word “privilege” has a traditionally positive meaning, conjuring up images of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, and the biggest obstacle for so many is that you feel you can’t experience white privilege because your own life is not “privileged.” Poor white people, and the rich white people who don’t care about them but seek to use them to bolster their argument, simply point to Appalachia and think the conversation is over.

    The intersection of class and race come into play here, but white privilege cannot be dismissed as just a mangling of what is solely a class struggle; conquering structural racism will never come down simply to who has the most money.

    You could be living in significant financial and social struggle, or you could just be one of the millions of Americans dealing with unemployment or living paycheck to paycheck, making ends meet but certainly not feeling “privileged.” I get it. Jay-Z has more money that you ever will, he’s married to the preternaturally talented and beautiful Beyoncé, Michael Jordan reigns supreme and you’re wearing his sneakers on your feet right now, and Oprah changed the world.

    Meanwhile, you’re facing everyday ordinary challenges and possibly trying to keep your checking account on the right side of overdraft, and I have the nerve to call you privileged?

    Yes. To add to those black luminaries, President Obama’s two terms in office are wonderful (to me, anyway), and symbolize progress, but the individual achievements of specific black superstars don’t disprove white privilege as a systemic ill. It would be reductive to say “the exceptions prove the rule,” but when you breathlessly point out exceptions in the form of rich black entertainers and athletes, you are agreeing that they are remarkable and literally exceptional.

    Just as individual achievement does not disprove systemic oppression, nor does your individual innocence. Asking you to simply accept the reality of your privilege does not mean saying that you, personally, are actively or even consciously A Racist.

    As a white person in America today, you may not have personally ever done anything “wrong.” You’ve certainly never owned slaves, and if you’re reading this, you’re likely not a member of an extremist white supremacist group. Yet you can be complicit in a system that is much larger than you without ever even knowing it, and your lack of initial awareness doesn’t excuse continued denial once it’s been pointed out.

    Even “innocent” and well-intentioned white allies do themselves and the notion of racial equality a disservice if they persist in resisting the concept of privilege, but I can understand those who never even considered it. To be able to carry on day to day and not have your race impact your life to the point of reflection or critical examination is the very essence of the thing. Your privilege blinds you to your privilege in a sort of Russian nesting doll setup of exponential denial. Until you accept it.

    As I’ve written here, “people who resist the truth of privilege feel [justified] because in a world where we constantly compare paychecks and skin color and scholarships and such, it’s difficult for them to comprehend that you could be benefitting from what you don’t have, what you don’t fear, what you don’t even know about.”

    There’s more at the link, a great discussion on privilege.

    America Has Freaked Out Over Birthright Citizenship For Centuries, because eliminating it is a form of racism.

    The controversy over whether children of undocumented migrants should be citizens may be heating up now, but it’s just the latest in a string of similar moments in U.S. history. The citizenship status of every non-white racial group has been challenged for literally centuries.

    The original Constitution said nothing about who was a U.S. citizen. It gave Congress the power, exclusive of the states, to grant citizenship by naturalization, but it neither addressed the requirements for naturalization nor described the legal status of those obtaining naturalized citizenship. In 1790, Congress linked race to citizenship by allowing only “free white persons” to naturalize; racial restrictions of one kind or another were in effect continuously until 1952. The Constitution also provided that only a “natural-born citizen” could be elected president, but here too, the document failed to explain who was a natural-born citizen, leading to repeated controversies about the eligibility of candidates born out of the United States, such as John McCain, George Romney and Ted Cruz.

    And yet, even in the earliest days of the Republic, there must have been U.S. citizens. As the Supreme Court and other courts recognized, U.S. citizenship was granted by unwritten law. As a “common law” legal principle, in general, children born in the United States were citizens. However, because the rule was unwritten, its precise contours were debatable. The Supreme Court’s notorious Dred Scott case, decided in 1857, turned on the majority’s conclusion that a person of African ancestry was not a U.S. citizen, even though born here. The Court essentially found an unwritten exception to the unwritten law—namely, that it benefited only whites.

    Dred Scott was overruled by the Civil War. First in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and then in the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, Congress extended citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The second clause retained the traditional denial of birthright citizenship to children of foreign diplomats and enemy soldiers. The first clause rejected the Dred Scott Court’s reasoning and result.

    After the Fourteenth Amendment, African-Americans born in the United States were technically citizens, but controversies remained. In Elk v. Wilkins, an 1884 decision, the Court determined that Indians who were members of tribes were not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, and therefore were not birthright citizens. While in 1924 Congress granted citizenship to all Indians who did not already have it, Elk v. Wilkins leaves open the argument that even Indians born in the United States are ineligible to the presidency, because they are mere naturalized citizens.

    There’s more on other ethnicities and when they were considered worthy of citizenship by birthright at the link.

  133. rq says

    “A little girl is dead” – Frustrated mom’s #BlackLivesMatter Facebook rant goes viral

    Peggy Hubbard is frustrated with #BlackLivesMatter protesters in St. Louis. She is an African-American mother who says there is too much black on black crime.

    Hubbard says the demonstrators are marching for the wrong people. They should be standing up for innocent victims killed every night in the streets of St. Louis.

    A 9-year-old girl was shot and killed on Tuesday night while doing homework on her mother’s bed. On Wednesday night protesters took to the streets to march for an 18-year-old shot and killed by police. Officers say the teen pointed a gun at him.

    Hubbard’s commentary posted to Facebook has gone viral. Almost 30,000 people like the post and it has been shared over 131,000 times.

    This is a transcript of the six minute video posted from her account in Bellevile, IL. It has been edited for offensive language.

    Just so you know, there have been at least 2 marches now for the 9-year-old girl. Ball-Bey wasn’t a thug, he wasn’t even at the drug house (as per the changing police story, turns out he was sitting on the porch of a house two houses down). I can understand this woman’s pain and frustration in general, but that doesn’t mean she’s right about the protestors marching for the wrong people. And anyway, if Black Lives Matter, then ALL Black Lives Matter, even those of suspected criminals.

    Predicting police misconduct before it happens

    that connects data scientists with governments and nonprofits — are working to predict when officers are at risk of misconduct, the goal being to prevent problems before they happen.

    The effort’s part of the White House Police Data Initiative, which aims to increase transparency and community trust, while decreasing inappropriate uses of force. (That DSSG was approached by the White House wasn’t surprising; its program director, Rayid Ghani, was the Chief Data Scientist for Obama for America in 2012.)

    Police departments around the country — 21 in all — are participating in the national effort. (Chicago police were not one of the departments picked to participate.) The White House matched DSSG with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Like many agencies, CMPD has early intervention systems. The challenge for DSSG was to find ways to improve them and avoid misconduct.

    “So we’re trying to identify these opportunities to give them the information and training they need to avoid these negative interactions,” said Joe Walsh, a mentor with DSSG overseeing the project.

    CMPD currently looks at measures such as use of force, accidents and injuries, and sets a number of incidents that should trigger a response from the department. Officers who are flagged by the system will meet with a supervisor to review an incident, receive counseling or additional training.

    To find common patterns, the DSSG team analyzed incidents and anonymized data of the officers involved. They considered things like: when and where an arrest or traffic stop occurred; had the officer worked extra shifts; how long had they been on the force; even what the weather was like at the time.

    “Because it’s sort of a new problem, we spent a lot of time trying to grasp what was important and what wasn’t, and that’s something we’re still working on,” said fellow Kenny Joseph, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon.

    That explains why the group of data analysts got face-time with CMPD, meeting department top brass and even going on ride-alongs with officers.

    “We would not be able to do a good job had we not gone down,” said fellow Ayesha Mahmud, a demography student at Princeton University. “None of us had any idea coming in what the everyday life of a police officer was like.”

    Mahmud said she was struck by how much time a police officer spends during each shift just speaking with residents to gather information and diffuse problems.

    “I think we all came to the realization that the data can only capture a very small part of that story,” she said. “I think that really helped us think about this problem.”

    With the fellowship finishing up next week, DSSG has identified a few indicators they hope can identify possible problem officers — such as previous uses of force, working extra shifts, or responding to other stressful calls — all before they create problems.

    Still, each fellow was careful to point out they haven’t tested and refined the model enough to draw any causal conclusions just yet.

    I believe there is audio at the link, too.

    Arrests for minor crimes spur resentment in some Baltimore neighborhoods

    Baltimore police counter that they have abandoned the zero-tolerance strategy that led to mass arrests — and a 2006 lawsuit by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Statistics bear out that assertion. The number of arrests for minor crimes such as failure to obey, loitering and disorderly conduct has dropped significantly across Baltimore — from 5,401 in 2005 to 2,016 last year. There are also fewer cases in which police make arrests only to see prosecutors release them without charges; there were 10,844 such cases in 2009 and 956 last year.

    Baltimore police are now targeting the “worst of the worst,” said Col. Darryl DeSousa, who until recently headed the patrol division. Minor nuisance offenses are increasingly addressed with citations rather than arrests, he said.

    Still, many Baltimoreans complain that police continue to enforce nuisance laws unfairly.

    Although police officials have disavowed the mass-arrest strategy, African-Americans are still being arrested disproportionately for minor crimes, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis of city data. Blacks make up 64 percent of the city’s population but accounted for 93 percent of loitering arrests and 84 percent of trespass arrests in 2014.

    “The reason why the arrest disparity is so high is that police are posted all over in our neighborhoods,” said the Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon, a West Baltimore clergyman and president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “It’s like a police state.”

    Esther J. Cepeda: Ending the school-to-prison pipeline

    A recent poll seems to imply that the general public does not understand, and maybe has never heard of, the school-to-prison pipeline.

    It is a national trend in which children — more often than not, minorities — are caught up by “zero-tolerance” public school policies that criminalize minor infractions of school rules.

    In the past, such violations might have been handled by the principal. But the increase of law enforcement staff in schools has led to outsized punishments that set children at risk for further run-ins with the law and, ultimately, landing in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

    In February, The Civil Rights Project at UCLA reported that across the country, an overreliance on suspensions to maintain discipline in public schools has led to U.S. kids losing almost 18 million days of instruction.

    In terms of expulsions, the Civil Rights Data Collection, compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, shows that while in 2011-12, black students made up just 15.9 percent of the total student population, they represented 36 percent of students who were expelled.

    Additionally, black students were 34.6 percent of those subjected to corporal punishment, 30.1 percent of those arrested at school and 27.4 percent of those referred to law enforcement.

    This led the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education to publish a “Dear Colleague” letter in January 2014. It reiterated that school disciplinary policies can be determined by individual school districts, but: “Federal law prohibits public school districts from discriminating in the administration of student discipline based on certain personal characteristics. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ) is responsible for enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in public elementary and secondary schools based on race, color, or national origin, among other bases.”

    More at the link.

    Black pitmasters left out of US barbecue boom

    After a morning of peeling potatoes, Daryle Brantley sits at the only table outside of his counter-service restaurant C&K Barbecue. His daughter Jamila emerges from the midcentury building, a barbecue outpost that has been perched on a corner in north St Louis county since 1963. She has two white Styrofoam containers in her hands – rib tips with a side of baked beans and coleslaw, and the combination sandwich, which is two pieces of white bread piled with rib tips and crispy baked pig snouts. The meat is smothered in a tangy tomato- and vinegar-based sauce, which the restaurant is known for. Everything is made fresh each day, in house.

    Since taking over from the original owner in 1983, the Brantleys have enjoyed a great deal of success with their traditional St Louis-style barbecue. There are lines out the door, as well as accolades from both local and national media, from Maxim magazine to PBS. There’s even a line in the 2002 movie Barbershop extoling the virtues of the ribs at a fictionalized “C&K on 75th”.

    “You just got to believe in what you’re doing and keep it consistent. That’s why we’ve survived over the years,” says Daryle, then gestures to the steaming boxes in front of him. “Once you taste that, you’ll see.”

    But things aren’t as good as they used to be. Daryle once had three locations and sold the sauce bottled at local supermarkets – today he only has the original shopfront.

    The decline happened as factory jobs left St Louis and the recession of the 1990s took its toll. Once the outlook improved and he wanted to expand or make improvements, he found no bank would loan to him.

    “All I ever heard is, they can’t help us because I don’t qualify. I don’t have enough assets. My credit isn’t good enough,” he says. “Come on.”

    Daryle believes he knows exactly why he’s had difficulty accessing capital.

    “Racism,” he says. “I didn’t want to say it, but it’s structured racism.”

    Why does he think so? Read on at the link.

    Why We Do What We Do to Make the SLMPD Great, from Chief Dotson’s blog!

    The Metropolitan Police Department is committed to conducting a fair and impartial investigation into all officer involved shootings. My unequivocal commitment to the citizens of this community is to have a process that is fair, transparent and based on facts and evidence of the law, not speculation.

    Friday, the Circuit Attorney announced her intention to conduct an immediate and parallel criminal investigation into the shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey. As Police Commissioner, I support any thoughtful and independent review by interested law enforcement partners. I welcome the Circuit Attorney’s investigation. But I want to be clear, police officers in the City work in some of the most challenging areas and, sometimes, with little support. They do great work and have great skills, extensive training and well-created policies. They are among the best around the country and should receive recognition for their hard work and professionalism. The Circuit Attorney assures me that her comments were not a criticism of the men and women of this Department.

    However, some have seized upon a subsequent exchange of statements to the media between the Circuit Attorney and the Police Officers Association to support an insinuation that the Circuit Attorney’s action reflects a problem with our policies, practices and training. Just as I would refute any unfair criticism of Department members, I must refute an unfair challenge to our policies.

    To ensure that this Department uses best practices, the Force Investigative Unit (FIU) was created in August 2014. The FIU’s primary responsibility is to investigate all officer involved shootings in the City of St. Louis. The unit was created from a very successful model used by the Los Angeles Police Department. The policies of the FIU were co-written and reviewed by this Department, Professor David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and members of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. The agreed-upon policies include investigative steps and specific procedures for case transfer to the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

    The Department has made the FIU a priority and has invested tens of thousands of dollars to ensure the unit has the best training and equipment available for each investigation and includes highly qualified investigators.

    From the unit’s origins, it was agreed that at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the FIU, the investigative findings are to be referred to the Circuit Attorney’s Office for an independent review. This process ensures a comprehensive and thorough review of each case.

    And he keeps insisting no investigations are necessary that are external to the police force. Nope, everything fine here!!!

  134. rq says

    White supremacist convicted in plot to kill Obama with ‘death ray’ device, just, you know, to point out that it’s not black people who are posing a threat.

    The Worlds on Wheels: A Narrative Essay

    The autumn chill creeps into the blue-grey morning air as the season announces its presence. This world, at least, is a series of blocks and corridors, number streets and state avenues that loosely circumscribe a community of mostly black and brown families across town from new Camelot. It is a synergy of corner stores and bus stops and schools and salons. It is a mirror shard of the whole, both fragment and reflection.

    Before the sun finds time to rise, there’s a boy flexing out the stiff sleeves of a new jacket. Little brother walks a step to the right and a step behind, never leaving the security of his brother’s shadow and wrapped in the warmth and familiar smells of the hand-me-down jacket. The zipper doesn’t work, so big brother snaps the buttons closed over it so little brother don’t complain. They both hate the walk to the bus – who likes going to school?-but sometimes their neighbor drives them in that shiny new Benz. It ain’t so bad then.

    At the bus stop a mother frets over her daughter’s hair on the way to pre-school. It’s a losing battle. Life, death, taxes and her baby girl coming home with a fro. The young man beside them gets up when the elderly woman who works at a diner across town comes over. It’s as much politeness as fear: everyone knows about the Police Special she carries for safety on long walks home well after the sun has given up its vigil. She nods. She smiles. Eighty years worth of a hard life transmuted into the gold of joy radiate. Even in the desert, flowers bloom.

    The bus approaches.

    The driver has had this route everyday for years. Holidays, sick days. Even the day his own baby boy was born he put on the thick gloves and blue shirt and drove. Hundreds of thousands of miles. A legendary traveler circumnavigates the globe once in as many but did Magellan move as many men and women to and fro across the waves of time? Hundreds of conquistadores, big and small, Black and Brown and White, step aboard the noisy vessel daily and make their way to islands and familiar shores.

    This is the World, and like there are good sides of it. There are also bad. There’s a man who drinks too much. smells like it. He rides until it’s time to buy more. There’s a woman somewhere in another world whose grief expands to fill the void he created, an absence long before he was kicked out. There’s others. There’s violent men and women. There are addicts. There’s dealers. Crooks and thieves, But they are the margins. Like in any place, most people at any given time are in the center.

    Each world has a name. My world was the 64. It sometimes shared a space with the world inside the 63 and sometime I could see the faces of the women, men, children, children with children, who made up the manifest of the passing ship. Gravitic constants of narrow streets, the inertia of traffic jams. Traffic circles of elliptical orbits. People staring from the same glass bubbles into the same cold, howling world from which we had all taken refuge. Staring across the seas of silver stars, brake lights and traffic signals and bike reflectors, to our destinations. Bus stops or lonely ports back out in the world. Who knew the difference?

    There are other worlds. I’ve forgotten the names of more than I remember. But the X2 and the A4 and the A2 and the 72 and the whatever, regardless of the name, are all the biggest fragments of the big bang of the universe once known as Chocolate City. Poor people, rich people, homeless people, in between–mostly Black–wayfarers of the stars flung out into the far reaches at the edges of known space. They are the bold. They are the brave, the intrepid. The gravity of work, of school, of the dream of life unfettered draws them in daily, like cosmic moths to a cosmic flame. But when it grows dark and cold they board ships and return. The universe ain’t always such a kind place for them.

    Tomorrow the explorers set out again.

    ACLU says hearing on Officers’ Bill of Rights stacked against reform advocates, which just means the battle be that much more difficult.

    Tension escalates in a St. Charles County subdivision after a new neighbor moves in. Get this:

    Chamblee and others on the block point to a house behind them, where Maritha Hunter-Butler has lived since May 9. She moved in with her three sons, a female partner and their four dogs. The neighbors say the dogs bark at all hours of the night, visitors constantly come and go and Hunter-Butler has made threatening remarks.

    Hunter-Butler said the neighbors are trumping up charges against her because she is black and in an interracial lesbian relationship.

    She points to an anonymous report made to police four days after Hunter-Butler and her family moved in. The caller reported several black male subjects “walking down the street with dogs and a couple of them are snapping pics of homes. Caller (advises) that this is an all-white neighborhood and they do not belong.”

    After a police check, a notation was put into the report: “If caller calls back, (advise) them that a black family lives in the neighborhood.”

    Hunter-Butler said the move to St. Charles County from north St. Louis was to provide a dream home for her boys, 15, 18 and 21. But in the three months she has lived on the cul-de-sac of Brook Manor Court, the relationship with her new neighbors has continued to sour.

    White flight and all that.

    Autopsy indicates officer shot unarmed teen William Chapman from distance – in other words, not close enough to be a threat.

    An unarmed black 18-year-old was fatally shot in the face by a police officer from several feet away during their confrontation outside a supermarket in Virginia earlier this year, the findings of his autopsy indicate.

    The typical signs of a close- or body-contact shooting were not found around the bullet wounds William Chapman sustained in the head and chest when he was killed by Officer Stephen Rankin in the parking lot of a Walmart in Portsmouth on 22 April. Chapman was the second unarmed man to be shot dead by Rankin.

    “There is no evidence of close-range fire to visual inspection,” wrote Wendy Gunther, an assistant chief medical examiner for Virginia. Gunther said a definitive ruling would be made by the state’s department of forensic sciences.

    A copy of Gunther’s report was obtained by the Guardian from a source who was not authorised to release it to the media, along with a separate toxicology report from state forensic investigators that said Chapman’s blood showed no traces of alcohol or drugs.

    An inquiry into the shooting has been completed by Virginia state police and passed to Stephanie Morales, the Virginia commonwealth’s attorney for Portsmouth. The prosecutor also commissioned “additional investigative work” and tests by the state department of forensic science, according to Tamara Shewmake, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor.

    The spokeswoman said earlier this week that following a delay, Morales expected to have received all the forensic files by Friday 21 August.

    “Once all findings have been turned over to the commonwealth’s attorney, there will be a review and final prosecutorial determination,” Shewmake said.

    Sources familiar with the inquiry said the week-long delay was due to Morales commissioning an advanced type of forensic analysis that had never before been completed by Virginia state officials.

    The sources said Morales, who is 31 and newly elected earlier this year, had no intention of passing the case to an outside jurisdiction or special prosecutor, and that she had indicated she would present the case to a grand jury within Portsmouth, which is an independent city, if she decided to prosecute Rankin.

    Portsmouth police and Virginia state police still decline to confirm Rankin was the officer who shot Chapman. His identity was confirmed to the Guardian by Sean McGowan, the executive director of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, Rankin’s union.

    Once Rankin’s name was published, McGowan denied he had confirmed it, then suggested he had not been authorised to confirm it, then said he would never again speak to a reporter from the newspaper. McGowan has refused to identify Rankin’s attorney or an alternative representative.

    Rankin, 36, is a veteran of the US navy who earned a grey belt in the the Marine Corps martial arts programme, which requires the ability to “stop an aggressor’s attack” with hand-to-hand combat.

    The officer was placed on administrative leave after shooting Chapman. In April 2011 he fatally shot Kirill Denyakin, a Kazakh cook, less than three miles from the site of Chapman’s death. Denyakin was shot 11 times by Rankin, who was responding to a 911 call about the 26-year-old aggressively banging at the door of a building where he was staying.

    Rankin said he shot Denyakin because the cook, who was drunk, charged at him while reaching into the waistband of his jeans. The officer said he feared Denyakin would pull out a weapon. No weapon was found.

    A grand jury declined to indict Rankin on criminal charges and a jury in a $22m civil lawsuit brought by Denyakin’s family found in Rankin’s favour.

    Black people should just get pants with no waistbands. Apparently they’re a danger to police. Or something.

    Misleading title. I’m actually discussing how I allowed I stopped catering to the white gaze. Links to great Salon article with terrible title.

  135. rq says

    Here’s the previously mentioned article: I’m black, but I’m uncomfortable around black people

    But you see, my stylist embodies a certain Harlem black cool I’ve always been told (by white people) that I lack. Every time I walk into the black barbershop where she does hair, I feel like I’m going to be “found out.” In my mind when other black people see me, they’re thinking: “She may look black, but she’s not black black, if you know what I mean.”

    Where does this discomfort come from? And why do I think of Blackness as a test I am doomed to fail?

    Like most psychological problems, it all began in my childhood, specifically the eight years I spent living in all white towns in rural Wisconsin. If there was one phrase I heard more than “n*gg*r,” it was “You’re not black.” Talk about irony.

    Sometimes it was phrased as a “compliment,” meaning you’re one of the good black people. But other times it was meant so white people, whose sole interaction with black culture came through the distorted lens of racist media, could assert their own twisted version of blackness over me.

    “I’m blacker than you because I know more Tupac songs than you.”

    “You’re not black. Your lips aren’t even that big.”

    “You’re not even that black. Look, my ass is fatter than yours.”

    “I know so many white girls that can gangsta walk better than you.”

    “You’re not black, you can’t even dance!”

    It didn’t surprise me that Rachel Dolezal truly thought she was black. I’ve long known that, for many white people, being black is simply checking off a list of well-worn stereotypes.

    I always brushed off those comments, because I knew I was black enough to be called “n*gg*r.” I was black enough that white people stared at me everywhere I went in those lily-white towns. And I was black enough to be accused of stealing during shopping trips.

    But if you hear something enough, it can seep into your unconscious and start to guide your decisions. Somewhere along the way I started believing that I wasn’t black enough, whatever that meant. This is the clusterfuck of all realizations: Racism made me uncomfortable around my own people. Ain’t that some shit?

    How internalized racism can be psychologically damaging, I insist that you all read the rest of the article.

    “Stop F**king Crying!” SWAT Raids Wrong Home, Holds Naked Mom at Gunpoint in Front of Children
    , an example of the fine policing the SWAT team does sometimes.

    White people in New Orleans say they’re better off after Katrina. Black people don’t. Interesting how that works.

    A new Louisiana State University survey found that black and white people in New Orleans had starkly different assessments of their community’s strides since the storm.

    Nearly 80 percent of white residents of New Orleans say that Louisiana has “mostly recovered” since the storm, according to the survey from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

    But nearly 60 percent of black people say the opposite — that the state has “mostly not recovered” in their view.

    It isn’t just that white residents think things are better now than the day after the flood waters receded. Most white residents also believe the city is better than it was before the storm arrived. Most black residents, on the other hand, think the opposite.

    The responses reflect a truth about New Orleans that became impossible for the rest of the country to ignore once the levees broke: The city’s black residents were disproportionately affected by flooding. The African American population in New Orleans lived largely in the city’s low-lying eastern areas, which suffered massive flooding.

    Blacks accounted for 73 percent of the people displaced by the storm in New Orleans. And more than one-third of the black people in New Orleans displaced by Katrina were estimated to have been poor, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. (About 14 percent of the city’s non-black population displaced by the storm was poor.)

    More at the link, but also a link coming up with more numbers and graphs.

    How Solitary Confinement Became Hardwired In U.S. Prisons, from NPR, audio and text at the link.

    How The U.S. Is Neglecting Its Smartest Kids, also from NPR, with text at the link.

    Ferguson Judge Orders Withdrawal Of All Arrest Warrants Before 2015. Recently nearby Velda did the same. A good first step.

  136. rq says

    Shaun King on American Airlines: American Airlines being sued by African-American employees for overtly racist patterns and practices.

    Sandra Bland’s Death Launches Hearings

    The death of Sandra Bland in a rural county lockup launched a new review of jail safety in Texas, but state lawmakers were noncommittal Tuesday about whether Bland’s family would be part of the process.

    Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not say Bland’s name while announcing that legislative hearings on jail suicides would begin in September. He said a new Senate committee is not focused on any one death, and when the question of whether Bland’s relatives would be involved was raised, noted that the family had recently filed a lawsuit.

    But Democratic Sen. John Whitmire, who will chair the committee, made it clear that Bland’s death July 13 in a Waller County jail was the impetus. Authorities say Bland hanged herself with a garbage bag, a finding her family has questioned.

    “There’s no question that Ms. Bland’s tragedy has led us to this point,” said Whitmire, who added that he has yet to determine who will be invited to the hearings.

    Bland’s family would welcome involvement in the panel’s study, family attorney Cannon Lambert of Chicago said.

    “I can tell you they are unequivocally interested in testifying to the committee,” he said Tuesday night.

    Read more on JetMag.com: http://www.jetmag.com/news/sandra-blands-death-launches-hearings/#ixzz3jrGg4G5M
    Follow us: @getjetmag on Twitter | GetJetMag on Facebook

    More on Texas jails at the link.

    Sandra Bland: Texas records show racial breakdown of those stopped by same trooper

    Trooper Brian T. Encinia, 30, was hired by the Texas Department of Public Safety in January 2014. He reported for on-the-job field training July 14 and started making traffic stops on Aug. 7, 2014, according to records released to the Los Angeles Times last week.

    “As is standard during this training period, a new trooper’s [field training officer] will take the lead on traffic stops during the initial phase of training. Therefore, a trooper would not conduct traffic stops immediately upon reporting to the field for duty,” said Summer Blackwell, a department spokeswoman.

    According to the records, Encinia had stopped 1,537 drivers since August 2014. He appears to have stopped about the same percentage of African American and white drivers: 34%. About 21% of those he stopped were Latino, 8% were of unknown race, 2% were Asian and one person was Native American.

    Encinia stopped 501 women, 187 of whom were African American (37%), 178 were white (36%), 88 were Latinas (18%), 44 were of unknown race (9%), three were Asian and one was Native American.

    The trooper stopped more than twice as many male drivers as female. Of the 1,036 males he stopped, 350 were white (34%) and 336 were African American (32%). Twenty-three percent of the males were Latino, 3% were Asians and 8% were of unknown race.

    Phillip Atiba Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity and a visiting scholar at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, said he was struck by how many white drivers Encinia stopped, given that the area where he was working includes Prairie View A&M University, a historically black school in a city that is 89% African American.

    About 64% of stops by police in the area last year involved African American drivers, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which gathers information under a state statute that prohibits racial profiling by law enforcement. Statewide last year, only about 10% of DPS traffic stops involved African American drivers.

    Goff, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA who researches racial profiling, said it’s difficult to draw conclusions from Encinia’s traffic stops alone.

    I bet they’re going to spin it so that the arrest itself had no racial motivations whatsoever.
    But so what? Acting like an entitled asshole while in uniform is also not cool.

    Michael Slager, officer charged in Walter Scott’s death, likely to wait longer for bond hearing. I thought that was already done.

    Charged with murder in the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott, Slager asked a judge to postpone his bond hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday so lawyer Andy Savage could have time to recover from surgery.

    It wasn’t known when Circuit Judge Clifton Newman would rule on the motion for a continuance, but 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she would not object to the move, according to court documents. Slager asked that a new hearing be set no later than Sept. 10.

    He has been in jail since April 7, when he was arrested after a cellphone video surfaced showing the patrolman shooting Scott in the back as the 50-year-old man ran away. The two had been struggling over a Taser.

    Note acceptance of official police version as fact. The struggle over the taser.

    60 years ago today, Emmett Till whistled at a white woman — and he was executed for it four days later – from yesterday. Trigger warning for a recap of the events, including violence and mutilation.

    St. Louis’ longest-serving jail inmate has been sentenced after 7 years in limbo. Can’t imagine 7 years like that.

    The longest-serving inmate in the St. Louis jail system will go to prison for the rest of his life without the chance of parole.

    Calvin D. Brown landed in jail in 2008 after being accused of killing his grandmother.

    That’s a long time to be waiting.

  137. rq says

    Comment in moderation.

    Two transgender murders, one city: US fails to track new ‘state of emergency’. Referring to Kansas City, where Tamara Dominguez was recently murdered, number 17 for the year. :(

    It is Mexican tradition to amass red and white flowers at a funeral for a woman.

    But there were no flowers on Saturday for Tamara Dominguez, the record 17th transgender person reported killed in the United States this year, because her brother planned the service. And her brother still refers to Dominguez as a man named Jesus – even after she was run over three times by a sport-utility vehicle in a church parking lot.

    When they found out, friends and advocates rushed to a nearby florist and returned to Mt Washington Mausoleum Chapel with bouquet upon bouquet for the closed casket. Dominguez’s partner, whom the Guardian will call Cristian as he fears for his safety in this city that has become the epicenter of America’s transgender violence, still does not know if his girlfriend of six years is wearing men’s clothing inside.

    “I couldn’t see her, but I knew she was there,” Cristian said through a translator on Sunday. “A lot of people still cried for her.”

    The killing of Dominguez, after being initially reported in local media as a homicide investigation into the death of a man, has drawn national attention: the actor Laverne Cox used it to call trans murders “a state of emergency”, and Caitlyn Jenner has said “no one should be killed simply because they are transgender”.

    But the Guardian has learned that Dominguez’s case is the second killing of a transgender woman of color in as many months in Kansas City: Jasmine Collins is at least the 18th transgender person, unreported until now, to have been murdered in the US this year.

    There are still few answers as the trans community begins to grapple with yet another near-forgotten tragedy, because friends and potential witnesses did not know if Collins was dead or alive and advocates say police considered her to be “some guy”.

    What a horrendous attitude. I wonder how hard they’re actually trying?

    Here’s a pledge, of a sort: TAKE THE PLEDGE

    – Take a picture of your commitment to the protection of #BlackTransWomen
    – Send your pictures to blacklivesmatterdmv[at]gmail.[dot]om subject #TBackInBlackDC OR
    – Tweet them to @DMVBlackLives with the Hashtag #TBackinBlackDC

    Complete this tweet & share:

    I commit to _________________________ because I love & support #BlackTransWomen. #TBackInBlackDC #BlackTransLiberation

    Where Black Lives Matter Began – bringing it back to Hurricane Katrina.

    On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in 2010, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu preached unity. “With the rising water, differences and divisions were washed away,” he said, asking the audience to listen to each other, and embrace their common aspirations. “We will hear and we will learn the beautiful truth that Katrina taught us all,” he declared, “We are all the same.”

    With this, Landrieu invoked our national memory of the hurricane—a catastrophe that devastated New Orleans for all of its residents. In his own address on the fifth anniversary, President Obama struck a similar tone, with a message of rebuilding and harmony. “Five years ago we saw men and women risking their own safety to save strangers. We saw nurses staying behind to care for the sick and the injured. We saw families coming home to clean up and rebuild—not just their own homes, but their neighbors’ homes, as well.”

    In our current remembrance, Katrina is a synonym for dysfunction and disaster, a prime example of when government fails in the worst way possible. It’s also a symbol of political collapse. George Bush never recovered from its failure, and “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” stands with “Mission Accomplished” as one of the defining lines of the administration and the era.

    But there’s a problem with this capsule summary of Katrina and its place in national memory. It assumes a singular public of “Americans” who understand events in broadly similar ways. This public doesn’t exist. Instead, in the United States, we have multiple publics defined by a constellation of different boundaries: Geographic, religious, economic, ethnic, and racial. With regards to race, we have two dominant publics: A white one and a black one. Each of them saw Katrina in competing, mutually exclusive ways. And the disaster still haunts black political consciousness in ways that most white Americans have never been able to acknowledge.

    White Americans saw the storm and its aftermath as a case of bad luck and unprecedented incompetence that spread its pain across the Gulf Coast regardless of race. This is the narrative you see in Landrieu’s words and, to some extent, Obama’s as well. To black Americans, however, this wasn’t an equal opportunity disaster. To them, it was confirmation of America’s indifference to black life. “We have an amazing tolerance for black pain,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson in an interview after the storm. Rev. Al Sharpton, also echoed the mood among many black Americans: “I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner.” Even more blunt was rapper Kanye West, who famously told a live national television audience that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

    Among the first images of New Orleans after the storm were shots of low-income black Americans, stranded and desperate to escape the floods and debris. In the narrow sense, they were there because the city’s evacuation plan—which didn’t account for massive traffic out of the region—fell apart. Rather than bring remaining New Orleansians out, officials sent them to the Superdome and the convention center, which were quickly overcrowded and undersupplied. In a much broader sense, however, they were there because in a city defined by decades of poverty, segregation, and deep disenfranchisement, poor and working-class blacks (including the elderly, and children) would largely shoulder the burden of the storm.

    To black Americans around the country, this looked like neglect. In an ABC News and Washington Post poll taken shortly after the hurricane, 71 percent of blacks said that New Orleans would have been “better prepared” if it were a “wealthier city with more whites,” and 76 percent said the federal government would have “responded faster.” A Newsweek poll confirmed this sense among black Americans that the government responded slowly because most of the affected people were black. “I, to this day, believe that if that would have happened in Orange County, California, if that would have happened in South Beach, Miami, it would have been a different response,” said then Mayor Ray Nagin in a speech to the National Association of Black Journalists, a year after the storm.

    Instead, white Americans discounted claims of racial bias. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of whites said the government response would have been the same if the victims had been white, and only 32 percent said the event showed that racial inequality was still a major problem (for blacks, 66 percent believed the response would have been faster had the victims been mainly white and 71 percent said it demonstrated racial inequality). Other polls confirmed these findings.

    In addition to disbelief that Katrina was a racial story, research and polling also showed a white public that held survivors in contempt. In a 2006 study that examined white and black attitudes toward Katrina victims, political scientists Leonie Huddy and Stanley Feldman found that 65 percent of white respondents blamed residents and the mayor for being trapped in New Orleans. In a CNN/USA Today survey, half of all whites said that people who broke into stores and took things were “mostly criminals,” compared to 77 percent of blacks who said they were “mostly desperate people” trying to find a way to survive. (Pew had similar findings.) If you turned to right-wing media, you’d find unvarnished disdain for those left behind in the city.

    The idea that black Americans had a legitimate grievance was dismissed. The result was a collapse in black racial optimism. The year before Katrina, according to Gallup, 68 percent of blacks said race relations were either “somewhat good” or “very good.” The year after Katrina, that declined to 62 percent. The next year, it declined to 55 percent, the lowest point of the decade. In broader surveys from the Pew Research Center, the period after Katrina is an inflection point, where the percentage of blacks who say they are worse off finally overtakes the percentage who say their lives have improved. Black optimism stayed on a downward trajectory for the three years after Katrina. In another Gallup trend-line, black satisfaction with society dips from a steady 41 percent in 2005, to 37 percent in 2006, to 30 percent in 2007.

    Since 2012, but especially since last year, a rapid and steady succession of high profile shootings has moved black opinion to its pre-Obama, post-Katrina state of pessimism. Between the incidents and the outcomes—where shooters escape with little punishment or sanction—blacks have become more pessimistic about their place in American life. From 2009 to 2013, notes a Pew survey taken on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the percentage of blacks who felt a sense of progress dropped from 39 percent to 26 percent. As of this summer, reports the New York Times, just 28 percent of black Americans say race relations are generally good, which is in line with where they were in the months before Obama’s election.

    The Obama surge in black optimism is over. Now, black Americans are back to their post-Katrina consensus; a deep sense that America is indifferent to their lives and livelihoods. Indeed, when read in that light, a movement like Black Lives Matter seems inevitable. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and its impact on the collective experience of black America, sowed the ground for a reckoning. Yes, Obama’s election postponed it for a time, but the recent eruption of black death—at the hands of the state—gave it new urgency. And now, as we can all see, it’s here.

    There’s not a lot left in between to read, just a few more statistics and the glaring difference in perspectives by race.

    Powerful visual representation of what mainstream America wants to do with #BlackLivesMatter

    WATCH: White school board crowd boos NAACP, call blacks ‘racist’ over objection to ‘Dixie’ fight song

    Members of the NAACP were booed and called “racist” by white residents on Tuesday as they tried to make their case for removing Confederate symbols at Effingham County High School in Georgia.

    According the WTOC, over 500 people showed up at the Effingham County High School Board meeting on Tuesday to debate whether the school should stop using a Confederate soldier mascot and the pro-slavery anthem “Dixie” as a fight song.

    “We have come to make a petition to right the wrong that should have been corrected 60 years ago,” Effingham NAACP President Leroy Lloyd announced in front of the rowdy crowd.

    Also speaking on behalf of the NAACP, First Union Baptist Church Pastor Franklin Blanks, Jr. asked the school board to respect all citizens.

    “We asked that you discontinue the use of Dixie as a school fight song,” Blanks said, sending the crowd into an uproar.

    “You try to erase my heritage, you try to erase anything that you think is racist,” one supporter of the Confederate symbols told Blanks. “But the whole time you were over here, sir, I apologize, but everything you said was racist.”

    That sentiment earned a standing ovation from the mostly-white audience.

    WTOC reported that some of attendees were nearly escorted from the meeting by law enforcement, but it was not clear which was causing the disturbance.

    The school board said that a decision would be made at a later date.

    Katrina Washed Away New Orleans’s Black Middle Class, anotehr retrospective.

    New Orleans has emerged from a decade of destruction and rebirth as a changed city, smaller, wealthier and more diverse, but also more unequal than it was before the storm. Many locals, black and white, speak with pride about the city’s rejuvenated tourism industry, its ambitious (but contentious) overhaul of the school system, and the influx of educated, socially conscious young people who have turned New Orleans into a hub of entrepreneurship. But they also worry about rising rents, gentrification and the erosion of the culture that made New Orleans special in the first place.

    All of those changes are closely entwined with issues of race. More than 175,000 black residents left New Orleans in the year after the storm; more than 75,000 never came back.2 Meanwhile, the non-Hispanic white population has nearly returned to its pre-storm total, and the Hispanic population, though still small compared with other Southern cities, has grown by more than 30 percent. Together, the trends have pushed the African-American share of the population down to 59 percent in 2013, from 66 percent in 2005.3

    But it isn’t just that there are fewer black New Orleanians; their place in the city’s economic fabric has fundamentally changed. African-Americans have long accounted for most of the city’s poor, but before the storm they also made up a majority of its middle class and were well represented among its doctors, lawyers and other professionals. After Katrina, the patterns changed: The poor are still overwhelmingly black, but the affluent and middle classes are increasingly white.4 Moreover, what remains of the black middle class is graying. Many of the middle-class African-Americans who returned to the city were retired or nearing the end of their careers; younger black professionals, meanwhile, fled the city in search of better opportunities elsewhere.

    Much more at the link, including those graphs I mentioned earlier.

  138. rq says

    New Ferguson judge orders all arrest warrants issued before 2015 withdrawn, as seen previously.

    Campaign Zero: Black Lives Matter activists’ new, comprehensive policy platform, explained

    Black Lives Matter activists finally have an answer to critics demanding specific policy proposals.

    This has been a central question posed to the movement, which aims to eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, since it rose to national prominence following the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A lot of groups — from supporters to media to Hillary Clinton — have challenged the movement to define its policy agenda.

    “You’re going to have to come together as a movement and say, ‘Here’s what we want done about it,'” Clinton said in a meeting with Black Lives Matter activists last week. “Because you can get lip service from as many as white people as you can pack into Yankee stadium and a million more like it, who are going to say, ‘Oh, we get it, we get it. We’re going to be nicer.’ That’s not enough — at least in my book. That’s not how I see politics.”

    But now activists have an answer to Clinton’s call with the launch of Campaign Zero. The website details several proposals to limit police use of force, particularly shootings against black people who are disproportionately likely to die at the hands of police. The proposals aren’t particularly surprising for anyone who’s closely followed the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s the most comprehensive set of ideas ever released by advocates.

    As the introductory tweet said, your move, Clinton.

    Analysis Finds Higher Expulsion Rates for Black Students, something that isn’t surprising given other articles in how they are perceived by teachers and other disciplinary actions.

    The analysis, which will be formally released Tuesday by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on states where more than half of all the suspensions and expulsions of black students nationwide occurred. While black students represented just under a quarter of public school students in these states, they made up nearly half of all suspensions and expulsions.

    In some districts, the gaps were even more striking: in 132 Southern school districts, for example, black students were suspended at rates five times their representation in the student population, or higher.

    Do not be fooled, though, as this does not mean the North isn’t racist. Just maybe a little less obviously so.

    Dyett parents in 8th day of hunger strike to save school

    As parents pushing a community-backed proposal for the former Dyett High School entered their eighth day of a hunger strike, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten announced she’ll lend her support to the cause Wednesday.

    “I’ll be in Chicago on Wednesday to stand w/ #FightForDyett, help raise up their story. Chicago communities deserve better than more closures,” Weingarten tweeted Monday.

    Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School have lobbied for years on behalf of the neighborhood school, without success. After Dyett’s final class of 13 seniors graduated in June, Chicago Public Schools asked for other proposals without considering the coalition plan, which ultimately led to this month’s hunger strike.

    On Monday, the hunger-striking coalition also sent a letter to Little Black Pearl, a not-for-profit organization that has submitted a proposal for Dyett’s future use.

    “On behalf of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett, we respectfully urge you to withdraw your proposal for Dyett High School,” the letter reads. “The Coalition has worked hard over the past 3 years to build a community process where input and collaboration was utilized to create the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology academic plan. It reflects the vision of a broad cross-section of the community.”

    A representative from Little Black Pearl could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

    #PeoplesMonday has taken over the TKTS steps in Times Square to read the facts of #HenryGlover’s murder to the masses
    Five facts about #HenryGlover. NOLA cops shot & killed him, then burned his remains, as he fled Katrina.

  139. rq says

    Putting this one up at the top of the comment: #BlackLivesMatter organizers to rally for black transgender women

    Black Lives Matters organizers across the country will hold rallies on Tuesday calling attention to the number of black trans women who have been murdered this year. The rallies will be organized and led by organizers who are black and cisgender—men and women whose gender identities matched their sex when they were born.

    “Now is a call to action to get cis black people to stand up for black transgender lives,” said Aaryn Lang, a black trans woman based in New York who is calling on Black Lives Matter chapters across the country to organize rallies on Tuesday.

    At least 20 transgender women have been killed this year, 14 of them black women. Lang said organizers decided to call on the Black Lives Matter movement to speak out after three black trans women were found dead in the span of a week earlier this month.

    “Black trans women have been strategizing with the leaders of this movement but when we get killed there’s no outrage. Now is the time to shut it down for black trans lives,” said Lang in a telephone interview on Monday.

    The Black Lives Matter movement was founded by three black queer woman who have been explicit about including black trans women in their campaign. “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum,” reads a sentence on the Black Lives Matter website ‘about me’ page.

    Currently there are rallies set in five cities: Houston, Dayton, Nashville, Chicago, Columbus, and Washington D.C. Organizers are also encouraging supporters online to participate by using the hashtag #BlackTransLivesMatter on social media.

    “We say the names of Mya Hall, Kandis Capri, Elisha Walker, Shade Shuler, Ashton O’Hara, India Clark, Amber Monroe. We say the names of the black trans women whose lives have been cut short and demand that our cisgender family acknowledge that all Black Lives Matter,” said Elle Hearns, Black Lives Matter strategic partner and a coordinator at GetEqual, an LGBT civil rights organization.

    Lang said more cities were expected to announce rallies later on Monday. Details about the currently listed events are listed below:

    Sorry for the late notice.

    Book club kicked off Napa Valley Wine Train, another article on that incident.

    As of Today, Black Lives Matter Activists Can Point to a Thorough Police Brutality Reform Plan, Slate on the Campaign Zero platform.

    Post-Dispatch Deletes Mention of Fingerprints, DNA Evidence from Coverage of Police Shooting, because the police story keeps changing.

    This morning, eagle-eyed Twitter user @tchop_stl pointed out a curious change in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage of last week’s police shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey. Police say the eighteen-year-old pointed a gun before two officers opened fire, killing the teen, and the initial report from the Post-Dispatch included this detail:

    Police sources tell the Post-Dispatch that investigators found fingerprints and DNA on the gun police say Ball-Bey pointed at them, but the results are not yet available. Sources also say a witness has come forward who heard the officers’ shots, then saw Ball-Bey throw his weapon before running through a gangway and collapsing in the front yard.

    But the paragraph, preserved in a cached version of the story, was deleted without explanation sometime after the article was published.

    @tchop_stl tweeted his confusion about the missing, anonymously-sourced paragraph, rightly pointing out that the existence of DNA and fingerprints evidence is hardly a minor detail in this story. Lawyers for Ball-Bey’s family insist the teen was not armed when an officer shot him in the back on August 19, following what police say was a raid on a known drug house in the Fountain Park neighborhood. The existence of such evidence could add clarity to a police shooting that’s already the target of multiple investigations and intense public scrutiny.

    This wouldn’t be the first the time Post-Dispatch ran into problems with relying on “police sources.”

    When Dorian Johnson, a witness to Michael Brown’s death last year, was arrested in May during a block party, the Post-Dispatch initially cited unnamed police sources to report that Johnson was suspected of possessing a drink containing “cough medication mixed with what police believe to be an illegal narcotic.”

    When the drink was tested in a lab, however, no drugs were found.

    Another example can be found in the newspaper’s coverage of the November arrests of two local members of the New Black Panther Party. When the Post-Dispatch broke the news, the article cited “sources close to the investigation” to describe how the two men used a girlfriend’s Electronic Benefit Transfer card to buy pipe bombs.

    The detail was again mentioned up in followup story but disappeared from the Post-Dispatch’s later coverage. In June, we asked U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan about the matter, he said the “sources close to the investigation” were not from his office and that the details about the welfare card and girlfriend were flat-out false.

    As with the Ball-Bey article, no corrections were added to either story to acknowledge that the anonymously sourced police info wasn’t true.

    We’ve reached out to the two Post-Dispatch reporters bylined on the Ball-Bey story, Christine Byers and Jesse Bogan. We’ll update the story if/when we hear back.

    Some signs point to Roorda emailing advance (and false) information to a particular journalist.

    Here’s How Black People Actually Fare in Bernie Sanders’ Home State, because we’re still keeping an eye on him.

    But all is not well in the Green Mountain State. With a population that’s almost entirely white — 95.2%, according to 2014 Census estimates — and consists of just over 626,000 people, the brand of sequestered, small-scale liberalism that Vermont represents has rarely been tested by the strains of racial diversity. As such, a question arises: How does the state’s progressivism apply across racial lines?

    One answer lies in the numbers. According to data from Vermont’s Department of Corrections, this liberal enclave has one of the most disproportionate rates of black incarceration in the country.

    What does this mean? Black Vermonters make up just 1.2% of the state’s general population, but 10.7% of its incarcerated population. Meaning that, proportionally, there are nearly 10 times more black people locked up in Vermont’s jails and prisons on a given day than there are walking its streets.

    Few in Vermont seem able to explain how this happened. The black incarceration rate grew faster than any other in the state between 1993 and 2007, before it leveled out and stayed relatively constant. But shortly before its peak, the Sentencing Project reported that Vermont had the second-highest black-to-white incarceration rate in America — topped only by Iowa, another state with a small black population.

    Monica Weeber, administrative services director at the Vermont Department of Corrections, says it’s hard to parse where this disparity sources from. “I don’t really have the knowledge to speak to it specifically,” she told Mic. “But it’s clearly a systemic issue. Different people will give you different responses — but honestly, at the D.O.C., by the time people come to us the decision to incarcerate them has already been made.”

    Neither Matthew Valerio, Vermont’s defender general, nor Robin Weber, director of research at the Crime Research Group — a Vermont think tank — could point to specific policies that might have led to such rapid growth. “I have no information as to why,” Valerio told Mic. “The simple answer is that there’s bias in the system. But it could also be coincidental.”

    Weber adds, “We are concerned that there appears to be a racial disparity. But you’re also working with really small numbers here, so it’s hard to tell.”

    The confusion is felt on the ground level too. Curtiss Reed, executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, a state advocacy group, told Mic that it’s hard to draw anything conclusive from these figures because, “The devil is in the details. And we don’t have all the details.”

    Cop Fired For Being KKK Member, But Now He’s Working At Florida Elementary School, because teaching kids is exactly where they want him… right?

    Police Chief David Borst had resigned as the Fruitland Park deputy police chief back in July.

    That came after the FBI actually identified him as a member of the Klan.

    Officer George Hunnewell, was also fired for the same reason. Everyone had pretty much assumed they’d seen the last of him. That was until he showed up at Wildwood Elementary.

    “Kids are smart and they pick up on things. He might say a word or something and the child might hear it,” Yoma Isaac, a local parent said in an interview with local WFTV. “You never know what he could say.”

    Now, after only three days on the job, Borst has been fired. But parents want to know what their school district was thinking by hiring a notorious Klan Cop in the first place?

  140. says

    The Black Lives Matter policy agenda is practical, thoughtful, and urgent.
    From the Washington Post.


    Don’t want to ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train? Here are 5 black-owned wineries.


    Oh, and look at this!
    Napa Valley Wine Train admits they were 100% wrong for kicking black women off:

    In a newly released statement, CEO Anthony Giaccio says his management teamed handled the incident poorly.

    “The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” he said. “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.”

    Giaccio also penned an apology letter to the women who were kicked off the train.

    I want to apologize for your experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train on Saturday, Aug. 22. We accept full responsibility for our failures and the entire chain of unfortunate events you experienced.

    Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.

    We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.

    We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquires, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.

    In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.

    I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.

    As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.

    I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.


    Will an apology be forthcoming for a group of Latina women who were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train?

    Norma Ruiz, a graduate student in nursing at the University of California–San Francisco, said she and nine friends were celebrating her 28th birthday in April when another passenger told the group they were being annoying and loud, reported Slate.

    “We were kind of taken by surprise because we were just celebrating my birthday having normal conversation,” Ruiz said.

    A waiter told the group to carry on, and they decided to move to a dining car — where a train line employee told them to control their noise or be removed.

    “We were not making noise, (and) we felt very uncomfortable the way we were being approached and embarrassing our group in front of everyone,” Ruiz said.

    Ruiz said her group was entirely Latina, and mostly University of California–Berkeley graduates — and Saturday’s incident involving black passengers made her see it as part of a pattern of racial discrimination.

    “I think it was just that person complaining and then the manager seeing that we were Latino, basically decided to discriminate (against) us because we were Latinos and (a big) group,” she told Slate. “Now that I hear about this event with a group of African-American ladies being kicked out of the train, I’m seeing a pattern. I’m realizing that how I was treated was not normal.”

    A spokeswoman for the tourist attraction said the black women were ordered off the train last week after receiving several complaints about them laughing too loud.

    “After three attempts from staff, requesting that the group keep the noise to an acceptable level, they were removed from the train and offered transportation back to the station in Napa,” said spokeswoman Kira Devitt.

    The women, who are members of a book club and take an annual trip to wine country on the train, said they are considering a lawsuit.

    A company spokesman apologized to the women but defended their removal.

    White people who get together to drink and celebrate can be just as loud. I wonder how many instances can be found of any such group being kicked off…

  141. rq says

    #SayHerName | Chapel Hill, NC

    Maryland attorney general recommends profiling standard for police

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh will recommend a new standard for police investigations Tuesday aimed at preventing the type of discriminatory profiling that activists have blamed for tensions between authorities and inner-city communities.

    Frosh (D) has prepared a “guidance memorandum” stating that police activities must be neutral with respect to characteristics such as race, national origin and religion, except when the traits are legitimate components in crime investigations.

    The document, scheduled for release during a news conference Tuesday morning, does not carry the weight of law or create enforceable rights, but it confirms that discriminatory profiling runs afoul of the U.S. and Maryland constitutions, according to the attorney general’s office. Local police departments would have to adopt the same guidelines in order to make it enforceable.

    “We believe that this standard will provide an important measure of fairness and respect for members of all these groups, while improving the environment in which law enforcement conducts its work,” Frosh said in prepared remarks.

    Several Maryland police officials and advocates for criminal-justice reform applauded the attorney general’s memo in prepared remarks for Tuesday’s news conference.

    Baltimore’s interim police commissioner, Kevin Davis, described Frosh’s actions as an “important step forward,” adding that his agency will be committed to incorporating the standard “for the benefit of our officers and our community.”

    Maryland NAACP President Gerald Stansbury said he was pleased that Frosh modeled his guidance on the federal guidelines, adding that “we know that good policing can be done without improper and discriminatory police tactics.”

    Vince Canales, president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police, said Monday that discriminatory profiling is not a widespread issue in the state and that a task force appointed by the General Assembly to examine police practices in recent years has not identified any such problems.

    “The guidelines that the attorney general put forward are consistent with what law enforcement across the state of Maryland have been adhering to already,” he said.

    I love how the police union is all ‘no need for this’. Just being contrary, I suppose.

    Laclede Cab Fired Me for Black Lives Matter- My Response

    A friend of mine had been driving a cab for a long time for Allen Cab. Allen is now out of business; but back in the day was known as the “hood cab company”. He suggested I drive a cab. My friend Kelly Von Plonski from Subterranean Books also suggested cab driving may be good for me because I like to talk to people. I decided to talk to my grandfather who had been a cabbie in St. Louis in the 1950’s. Grandpa told me driving a cab was hard; but I should give it a try.

    I first applied to St. Louis County Cab. They told me I had to shave my beard. Not wanting to shave my beard I headed down to Laclede Cab and got hired immediately.

    One man runs Laclede Cab and that is Dave McNutt. It was his call to fire me after receiving complaints from racist trolls. While I’ve put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the pockets of Dave McNutt he wasn’t man enough to fire me face to face. Instead he had Kenny Whitehorn come in from vacation. I love Kenny, no hard feelings to him; because I know all he did is what Dave McNutt told him to do.

    My Twitter feed and Facebook inbox is flooded with support. I’m feeling the love. Now I just need to translate that into a new job with the quickness and if I can’t do that crowd-funding for the time being. Several people have remarked this may be a blessing in disguise. People say I’m over-qualified to be a cabbie. Why is an award-winning writer with bylines in The Guardian and Politico driving a cab?

    The truth of the matter is not only do I like driving a cab there hasn’t been a lot of full-time job offers on the table. Driving a cab you get to meet and talk to all sorts of people from low places to high places. I talk to them, listen to their stories, and they listen to mine. I’ll miss them.

    Ferguson Announces an Amnesty on Warrants, via the New York Times.

    The City of Ferguson, Mo., announced Monday that it was withdrawing thousands of arrest warrants for municipal violations and taking steps to prevent the incarceration of people who cannot pay fines and fees, a response to the sharp criticism of its court system that emerged after the killing of Michael Brown last year.

    The measures go beyond a state law set to take effect on Friday that limits the amount of money municipalities can keep from minor traffic offenses and imposes safeguards on the amount of time people can be locked up for failing to pay fines and fees. Several other municipalities in the region have announced similar warrant amnesties.

    “The hope is we can go through and have people come, get right, get rid of the excess fines and fees, and have people deal with the original issue that brought them before the law,” Mayor James Knowles III said.

    Yet court reform advocates, while applauding the measures as a step in the right direction, said the region’s municipal court system needed a complete overhaul. They questioned whether the changes announced Monday would withstand changing financial times and changing judges, and whether the new standards could be enforced.

    “Until we have full-time professional courts that don’t have conflicts of interest and can be meaningfully monitored, all of these municipalities are going to undo progress whenever they need the money,” said Brendan Roediger, a professor of law at St. Louis University School of Law.

    The changes, ordered by Judge Donald McCullin, who was appointed as Ferguson’s municipal judge in June, called for withdrawing all municipal warrants issued before Dec. 31, 2014. That should amount to nearly 10,000 warrants, the city said. It does not apply to state charges for more serious crimes.

    Defendants will get new court dates, according to the order, and may be put on installment plans to pay off their fines or ordered to perform community service instead. Some indigent individuals could have their fines commuted, according to the order.

    Defendants who continually fail to show up for court may have new arrest warrants issued, the order said, or they may get a setoff on their tax returns. People whose licenses were suspended solely because they failed to appear in court or pay a fine will have their licenses reinstated pending the disposition of their cases, the order said.

    Police Union: Circuit Attorney’s Investigation Undermines Police – yup, still unhappy!

    The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association is not backing down from accusations of political pandering by Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.

    Joyce launched an investigation into last week’s fatal police shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey on Saturday. She contends her news conference with the NAACP was to encourage witnesses to come forward.

    “I have to do my job and I cannot do my job if I don’t have witnesses coming forward,” Joyce says. “And if there is misinformation out there, then I may need somebody other than a middle aged white lady telling people it’s safe to come down.”

    Association President Joe Steiger says the investigation is undermining the police department.

    “If she wants to make an announcement about speeding up the process then do that,” Steiger says. “The way she did it, does affect the perception of the public and certainly of the police office.”

    Joyce disagreed with claims that she doesn’t support local police and says she stands with anyone who wants to help witnesses come forward.

    I’m all for unions, but police unions just have to go. Or need a heck of a lot of reform.

    Here’s more union stuff, this time from Seattle: The President of the Seattle Police Union Believes the Obama Administration Has Created a “War on Cops”

    This is some pathetic news right here. Ron Smith, the veteran Seattle cop who represents about 1,200 Seattle police officers as the head of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, believes the federal government is waging a “war on cops.”

    On Sunday afternoon, someone from SPOG posted a link on its Facebook page to a video of commentary by Fox News contributor Kimberly Guilfoyle, who says, “The White House and this administration have created a war against police officers in this country with their allegations [and] false assertions that there is widespread and pervasive racism in the United States of America that lives in the heart and minds of the men and women in blue.” SPOG added the caption, “Truth.” It garnered 50 “likes.”

    Smith has since confirmed that he was the one who posted the link and wrote the caption. After I asked Mayor Ed Murray about the post, Smith (or someone) deleted it today. Murray said he strongly disagrees with Smith and said it “isn’t a good sign” for reform efforts.

    All the bells and whistles.

  142. rq says

    San Jose police launch FAQ page for officer-involved shootings

    The FAQ page will include the department’s procedure for investigating officer-involved shootings, the department’s guidelines concerning use of force, the protocols and procedures for the department’s shooting review panel, officers’ duty manuals, the role of the Independent Police Auditor and the Santa Clara County District Attorney in an officer-involved shooting investigation and the Santa Clara County Police Chiefs’ Association Officer-Involved Incident Guidelines.

    “Transparency is one of the San Jose Police Department’s core principles,” the department stated in a news release. “We believe it is important for the community to understand the investigative process, oversight, monitoring and incident review process.”

    The FAQ page comes a week after two officer-involved shootings resulted in the death of two murder suspects believed to be connected to a Lundy Avenue homicide that left 38-year-old San Jose resident Christopher Wrenn dead.

    Link to the FAQ page itself is there. Not a bad idea.

    Mansur Ball-Bey was innocent bystander in police raid, family attorneys say

    Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, was not inside the house when St. Louis city police executed a search warrant on August 19 in a Fountain Park home, said attorneys representing Ball-Bey’s family at a press briefing today at the site where police shot and killed Ball-Bey.

    He was an innocent bystander watching the raid with his friend two houses away at 1233 Walton Ave., said the family’s attorney Jermaine Wooten.

    The story completely contradicts what police have said transpired when members of the police Special Operations Unit and Tactical Team searched for weapons and drugs at a home near Page Boulevard and Walton Avenue that Wednesday morning. The raid ended in Ball-Bey’s death on the front lawn of 1233 Walton Ave.

    Police said that Ball-Bey and a 14-year-old, both black males, fled out the back of the house that they were raiding and ran into the alley.

    However, Wooten said only two individuals were inside the house at the time of the police raid. One of them did not give a police statement, Wooten said, and the other told police and him that Ball-Bey was not in the house at the time of the raid.

    Sgt. Roger Engelhardt, head of the police department’s Force Investigation Unit, attended the attorneys’ briefing and confirmed with Wooten – away from the media – that the witness told police that Ball-Bey was not in the house, Wooten said. However, to the press, Engelhardt said he could not say what the witnesses told them. He said police had four witnesses but did not specify how many of them were police officers.

    [Ball-Bey and friend] were watching from the middle of the backyard when two police officers in plain clothes walked up and pointed guns at them, according to what the 14-year-old told Wooten. The boy also told him that the police didn’t say to stop or put their hands in the air, Wooten said, and they ran because they were afraid.

    Police have said that Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them and then ran. However, the attorneys said the two did not have weapons.

    “Mansur had just come from his job at Fed-Ex,” Christmas said. “Why would he have a gun? None of the witnesses we’ve talked with said he had a gun.”

    Wooten told the St. Louis American that Ball-Bey’s record was “squeaky clean,” and he was in the neighborhood to visit relatives.

    Police said they recovered the gun that they say Ball-Bey had. However, at the briefing, Engelhardt said the attorneys had witnesses that they have not heard from, and they would be interested in interviewing them as well. Police have not yet interviewed the 14-year-old who witnessed Ball-Bey’s death.

    Eh. I wanted to post this yesterday. #TransLiberationTuesday (August 25) Masterpost

    #BlackLivesMatter has consistently been supportive and in collaboration with black trans folks and especially with Black trans women. We have spent time developing principles,developing analysis,and creating deep practice that is full of love. There’s no action without practice. The time has come for us to practice what we have created. The time is now to resist in honor of Marsha P. Johnson. Islan Nettles. Cemia Dove. Amber Monroe. Penny Proud. Ashley Sherman and so many others. The time is now to join #BlackLivesMatter in action as we celebrate our sisters who are living- the very sisters who have fought next to us to sustain this declaration that has been heard around the world.

    A list of events and other things happening at the link.

    Amid national law enforcement debate, Md. attorney general condemns police profiling, Baltimore Sun on the new profiling standards.

    Marked as IMPORTANT: 24 Actions You NEED to Take to Help Trans Women of Color Survive

    K.C. Haggard. India Clarke. Mercedes Williamson. London Chanel. Kristina Gomez Reinwald. Penny Proud. Taja DeJesus. Yazmin Vash Payne. Ty Underwood. Lamia Beard. Papi Edwards. As of July 25th, this is the list of trans women murdered in 2015. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The trans community knows that we lose our sisters to more than just murder. Suicide. Overdose. Domestic Violence. HIV/AIDS. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    This isn’t just exhausting. This is intergenerational trauma, oppression, and maybe even genocide. This violence is specifically targeted against black and brown women, gender non-conforming folks, and especially trans women of color. Living at the intersection of blackness and browness and transcendence of gender normativity leaves us particularly visible and vulnerable to a lot of violence. We lose our jobs. Housing. Family. Support systems. We have to rely on sex work to get by. We have to rely on social services by nonprofits that fall short of meeting all of our needs. We welcome dangerous lovers into our lives because we don’t have intimacy or human touch. We think not using a condom will keep him with us and swallowing his cum will make him want to cuddle us a bit longer. (Not that all of us are straight or even attracted to men.) We are left starving for love, touch, intimacy, appreciations, and human contact. We might turn to drugs to escape the monstrous reality that awaits us when we wake up. This is the lived reality of trans women of color’s daily lives.

    With all of this in mind in one of the most visibly bloody years we’ve witnessed of violence against trans women of color, I wanted to make a list of things you can do to begin to change the culture of violence against trans women of color into one of love, appreciation, and transformative change.

    1. Listen. Trans women of color are brilliant, strong, powerful, and know our own experiences. When we tell you something has hurt us, you need to listen and work to understand what we’re saying instead of glossing over it. Also, listen to our stories, our histories, our tales of resilience and survival as well as our tales of violence and loss.

    2. Read. Read the books that have been written and published by trans women of color. There are a number of them that talk about the author’s history and life journey. Other books also capture the brilliance and raw emotion of academics and artists. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock is strongly recommended. Decolonizing trans/gender 101 by b. binaohan. Trauma Queen by Lovemme Corazon. Seasonal Velocities by Ryka Aoki. I Rise by Toni Newman. Cooking in Heels by Ceyenne Doroshow. Other writers include Morgan Collado, Micha Cardenas, Dane Figueroa Edidi, TS Madison, and soon Laverne Cox!

    3. Volunteer. There are numerous organizations across the country that serve trans women of color and are under resourced. Volunteering your time, energy, skills, ears, and money are all welcome to many of these organizations. You can also find one closer to home but these are some of my favorites:

    Transgender, Gender-Variant, Intersex Justice Project

    Trans Women of Color Collective

    Sylvia Rivera Law Project

    Audre Lorde Project

    Gender Justice LA

    Casa Ruby

    Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

    4. Donate! Many organizations don’t receive grants, sustained funding, or major donors and have to rely on community wallets to sustain their programming. We can change this!

    5. Hire us. Give trans women of color jobs! Job security, benefits, consistency in schedules can help someone turn their life around.

    6. Nurture our brilliance. Give us professional development opportunities. Help us dream and manifest magic in the world. Trans women of color are some of the most brilliant, powerful, and biggest change-makers this world has ever seen. We need the opportunity to shine, grow, and create. If you work in a clinic give them a job or volunteer opportunity. Have them run your programs or intern for you. Teach us the process you go through to make things happen. Teach us the skills that you have learned.

    7. Allow us to be our full crazy-beautiful selves. So often we don’t want to know the entire person and we just want to know the ‘good’ parts. Employees. Partners. Friends. Family. We need to be there for each other and learn to fully accept each other for our flaws, troubled pasts, traumas, and insecurities that we all hold. These are sacred pieces that make the complete picture of who we are. Welcome our whole selves into the light.

    8. Increase stipends/gift cards for participation in studies. We offer up our lived experiences, trauma, blood, opinions, and thoughts for $50 gift cards. Non-trans women of color often make careers off of our struggles. Our lives are sacred and many of us are unemployed, living off social security, and/or sex workers. Bring trans women of color into the fold and teach us these skills/give us an opportunity to learn and conduct the research ourselves. Figure out a way to funnel more money into our pockets.

    9. Work against the erasure and white washing of our community history. Recently there has been a movie and a number of claims that white gay men played a significant role in Stonewall. The Stonewall riots were led by trans women of color, primarily Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. We have historical accounts and evidence that this is the case (shoutout to Reina Gossett, who has done the important work to save this herstory!) We also have a surviving veteran in Miss Major, who was there.

    10. Organize with us. There has been an increased effort from the amazing trans activists to organize die-ins and other actions bringing awareness to the epidemic of violence our community has faced. Fight for our federal and state protections in housing, employment, access to health care and more! We need YOUR help to bring this awareness to the mainstream consciousness. We need to begin to make a cultural shift towards valuing all trans women of color lives.

    11. Love us. Romantically. Platonically. Appreciate us. Fall in love with us. Be our best friend. Go out in public with us. Claim that you are dating/loving/friends with/attracted to a trans woman of color. And DEMAND that we are treated with respect.

    12. Refuse to give up on us. We all make mistakes. Given the pure amount of trauma, violence, and abuse we hold, we’ve often been unaware of the impact these moments have had on us, and our behaviors. Bring this behavior to light and if you’re able, help us work on creating healthier habits that are not destructive.

    There’s another 12 items on this list at the link. Most of it regular common sense stuff that can be boiled down to ‘treat us like people’.

    I would never date a man who hates Beyoncé, a bit of a fun read.

    In the past, my dating life was a mix of Frank Ocean’s Bad Religion and the sadder Mary J Blige songs that you can somehow still dance to. And yet, things have slowly but surely gotten better – a direct result of me making important changes. As I’ve gotten older, I have been more vigilant about noticing the signs that a man might be a loser and promptly taking the exit ramp.

    This includes things like never dating a man who doesn’t know how to use “your” and “you’re” correctly. I don’t want to be a snooty writer, but I also don’t want to invest in flirting with a person who didn’t pay attention in third grade. Similarly, though it may be a struggle, I will try my best to avoid checking a guy’s social media feeds before actually getting to know him. It’s like looking at a person through a filter that’s not as favorable as he thinks it is.

    But the one I most adamant about sticking to – and I have encouraged everyone I know to act accordingly: I will never date another person who does not like Beyoncé.

    If there is one mistake I made repeatedly in the past, it was looking past this fatal flaw. Of all the men I’ve dated, the worst have all disliked Queen Bey.

  143. rq says

    Lonnie Johnson, Creator of the Super Soaker Awarded $72.9M in Royalties, article from April.

    Johnson Research and Development Co. and founder Lonnie Johnson have been in a royalty dispute with Hasbro since February, when the company filed a claim against the giant toy company. Hasbro underpaid royalties for the Nerf line toys from 2007 to 2012. The arbitration agreement resolves a 2001 inventors dispute in which Hasbro agreed to pay Johnson royalties for products covered by his Nerf line of toys, specifically the N-Strike and Dart Tag brands.

    Johnson, a nuclear engineer, Tuskegee University Ph.D. and former NASA scientist, founded his company in 1989. It was the same year he first licensed the Super Soaker, which generated more than $200 million in retail sales two years later. The toy was licensed to Larami Corp., which was later purchased by Hasbro.

    Johnson holds more than 80 patents, with more than 20 pending, the company said, which said sales of the Super Soaker have approached nearly $1 billion.


    10 Years Later, There’s So Much We Don’t Know About Where Katrina Survivors Ended Up

    Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the city of New Orleans on the morning of August 29, 2005, swept in by winds traveling at 127 mph. But the true damage came after the levees broke, when about 80 percent of the city flooded. At least 400,000 residents, nearly the entire city, were displaced—some for a few days, some forever.

    Ten years later, there is still no single, comprehensive source of information on what happened to displaced New Orleans residents—on where they went, or why. Beyond FEMA and U.S. Census data collected a year or less after the disaster, neither the local nor federal government had systems in place to systematically track Katrina’s castaways.

    What we do have are a handful of individual studies, lists, and mapping efforts, that, taken all together, paint a portrait of a decade of dramatic upheaval.

    More on this New Orleans diaspora at the link.

    white person: *reaches to the outer borders of our known universe* See attached. Remind you of any other arguments you may have heard around?

    Donald Trump gets a boost from former Klansman David Duke, which of course is a stellar endorsement. Actually, it gives a pretty good idea of the scary attitudes that will be legitimized if he does end up president. Or even actual Republican candidate.

    St Louis’ sons, taken too soon

    There is a park near my house in St Louis, Missouri, where I walk every day. To get there I walk past empty stores and vacant lots, past a brick whitewashed church onto which the proprietor painted decorative windows to make it look like the kind of place it could be if anyone around here had money.

    The park is always busy. Families hold barbecues, children climb trees, young men shoot baskets, fathers coach sports. Almost everyone who goes to this park is black. When I walk through the park, white policemen ask me if anyone is bothering me. When I walk through the park, black men preface inquiries for directions with the phrase “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you.”

    Those are the assumptions living in St Louis. Sometimes they are spoken, but usually they are just felt.

    At the far end of the park there is a teddy bear and a balloon tied to a tree. They were left there to commemorate a 20-year-old man who was shot and killed in July. Makeshift memorials like this line the landscape of St Louis. They remind passersby that the person who died was someone’s son: not an archetype or a statistic or a threat, but a son.

    Those the public are taught to fear are often the ones in danger.

    The shooting happened near a high school reunion in late July. It had nothing to do with the reunion, an annual park affair attended by enthusiastic graduates of a 90 percent black public school system. The shooting, which took place in another part of the park, seems to have been the violent outcome of a private feud.

    But around St Louis, on the internet, the chatter began. On websites, white St Louisans speculated on the inherent danger of such a large gathering of black citizens. They stated again and again that they were not surprised.

    A shooting in St Louis is never surprising, but it will always be shocking: that the cruelty of the act is complimented by the callousness of the reaction; that when a community cries, someone always finds a way to give it more to grieve.

    At my daughter’s bus stop in St Louis, the children would play games. They would chase each other and run, laughing and screaming, through neighbours’ yards. “You better watch it,” one child called to another. “I’m going to call the police. And it doesn’t matter what you do. They’ll put you in jail for nothing.”

    A white classmate asked the boy, who was black, what he meant. He said that had happened to his uncle. The white boy looked at the black boy blankly.

    You can live next to your neighbour and still exist in a different city, with different rights and rules. You can greet each other with sincere warmth, and never fathom the disparity of experience.

    In January, my daughter’s school held an event to celebrate the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. They called it “MLK: Not a Day, But a Way”. We marched through the neighbourhood, parents and children and local leaders, to show that the struggle against injustice was never over.

    But we all marched to different beats, to different histories, and it is foolish to pretend otherwise.

    In the auditorium, in a great public school that is, like so many majority black St Louis public schools, in danger of losing accreditation, we sang “We Shall Overcome”. My daughter clasped hands with a black boy, her partner in the afterschool science club. They sang a few bars then lost the words, and began whispering to each other about the movie “Frozen”.

    It was a scene of childhood innocence that advocates of a post-racial society like to promote: a black boy and a white girl, sweetly holding hands. But like all childhood innocence, it is an illusion. That boy will find danger when he ventures into the world unless St Louis – and all US cities – change their ways.

    There is a movement to heal St Louis. For St Louis to heal, we need to examine deep wounds: decades of discrimination and distrust. We need to protect the young black men who are threatened but portrayed as threats. Michael Brown is one of St Louis’ many sons taken too soon.

    50 years ago today, 58,000 new black voters registered in 4 Southern states after passage of Voting Rights Act on 8/6

  144. rq says

    City of Prairie View weighs renaming street after Sandra Bland, possibly a repost.

    Unify or Die: Revolutionary Struggle and American Gangs

    The publicized deaths of young black men like Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray at the hands of the police has inspired a new generation of black liberation fighters in this country. This new wave of revolutionary consciousness is once again challenging the forces of systemic racism and the global capitalist system that supports it. As a result, local and national grassroots organizations like Black Lives Matter, Black Liberation and Heal the Hood have sprung up across the country. These movements have managed to attract a significant proportion of America’s youth from all racial, sexual and religious backgrounds. However a much less talked about trend is now happening on our streets: Organized street gangs like the Crips and Bloods are declaring truces and coming together to protect their communities. To many this may seem to be an unbelievable contradiction as many of these gang rivalries are generations old and still running. When one takes into consideration the revolutionary legacy that many street gangs come from, it becomes easier to understand. Similar truces between street gangs have come about during times of political revolt, such as the Watts riots of 1965 or the English riots in 2006. Understanding how and why these truces came about, and why they’ve fallen apart is crucial towards maintaining a sustainable, reliable and resilient self-defense against socio-economic and racial oppression. Towards that end we must first explore the history of America’s street gangs.

    Since America’s inception, its children have known violence to be their most effective method of communication. Much of that violence has been exported to far away lands who find themeselves unlucky enough to be part of America’s “national interests”. While billions of our tax dollars are spent supporting imperialist wars abroad, a much less publicized war is happening on our own streets. Like most wars this conflict has ravished and plundered the most disenfranchised, desperate and vulnerable communities. Heading the front lines are the organized street gangs who battle each other and the police for money, power and control. Yet hidden beneath the fog of war exists a hidden legacy of oppression and revolutionary struggle. A legacy which gangs share but are also tragically unaware of. It’s easy to forget this legacy when most of its story tellers are imprisoned or dead, and even easier when we can label them as nothing more than organized groups of ‘morally bankrupt’ thugs. However upon closer inspection, one will see that both the past and present have shown that there is a two-sided character to gangs. A two-sided character that comprises of both revolutionary politics and criminality.

    The civil rights era of the 1960’s would produce a radical change in Chicago’s gangs. It was during this time that the biggest African American gangs in the city: the Vice Lords, Blackstone Rangers and Disciple Nation (Gangster Disciples), began getting involved in local political organizing. Most of this organizing activity was conducted between the late 1950s and early 1970s. It was particularly during the civil rights era of the 60’s that the 3 largest gangs in Chicago formed an alliance called “Lords Stones and Disciples” (LSD for short). They began organizing rallies and marches against construction sites demanding that more black people from the local community be hired. These gangs would regularly hold meetings with Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panther Party to discuss how to further unite and organize the underprivileged communities of Chicago. Fred Hampton believed that only a multi-racial alliance of committed revolutionaries could destroy systemic racism. Hampton along with Jose Cha Cha Jimenez of the Young Lords, were instrumental in brokering a multi-racial ceasefire between Chicago’s most powerful gangs. At a press conference in May 1969, Fred Hampton would coin a truce called the “rainbow coalition” (a phrase that Jesse Jackson would later appropriate for use in his failed presidential bid 20 years later). This coalition initially included not just gangs but also the Black Panther Party, a white militant group known as the Young Patriots and a Puerto Rican gang known as the Young Lords. The Rainbow Coalition later expanded to include various left-wing organizations like the American Indian Movement and the Brown Berets.

    It’s pretty dense, but there’s a lot of great information in there.

    (2/3) Minimums are often related to firearms & drugs. Possessing a gun during a crime can lead to decades in prison.
    (3/3) Some states have revised their sentencing policies. The results are dramatic.
    I lost (1/3) somewhere.

    David Duke On Trump: He’s “Certainly The Best Of The Lot” Running For President – yeah, yeah.

    WATCH: ‘Not racist’ Louisiana man warns that renaming street for MLK will unleash his ‘racist ways’, because it’s the quiet, polite behaviour of his black neighbours that keeps his racism in check. So long as they behave according to his standards, he’ll be the least racist man you know!

  145. Saad says

    Ben Ferguson: Hispanics don’t under English

    “If you like Univision and Jorge Ramos and illegal immigrants in this country, you’re not looking at any Republican candidate, so I’m not worried,” Ferguson said.

    He continued with the line that became contentious on social media, “And to be real honest, if you’re watching Jorge Ramos, the chances you even understand the words coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth tonight — I highly doubt you’re going to know what he was saying anyway.”

  146. rq says

    Racist Fliers Reading ‘Let’s Get the Blacks Out’ Spark Outrage in Mich. Community. I certainly hope there’s outrage!

    There is a flier being distributed in Southfield, Mich., that shows a photo of a Klansman in a hood pointing his gun at the head of a black child who couldn’t be more than 6. The black child is wearing a white hoodie and is extending a bag of Skittles to the man.

    Another flier shows a photo of Trayvon Martin. The caption reads: “George Zimmerman was right. We will stop thugs like this.”

    And if the message wasn’t clear in the first two fliers, a third shows the photo of five white public officials, three of whom are expected to run for office in Southfield in upcoming elections, with these words: “Let’s get the blacks out of Southfield in November.”

    Angry residents told Fox 2 Detroit that the fliers begin showing up Sunday on the doorsteps of homes in the area.

    No one seems to be taking responsibility. How strange. You’d think all those white pride people would be ready to step up and be accountable.

    Despite strict voter ID laws, Alabama is in the process of closing 45 of 49 driver’s license offices, because who needs ’em, amirite?

    If you’re going to need a driver’s license in Alabama, you’re most likely going to have to figure out a way to get to one of only four driver’s licenses offices in the entire state:

    The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said budget cuts will result in closing driver’s license offices across the state.

    The agency said the cut will be in phases, with 33 offices closed during the first wave.

    In January 2016, a further 12 offices will close. By March, all but four offices in the entire state will shut their doors.

    The offices that will remain open, ALEA said, are Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, and Birmingham.

    This will no doubt have a devastating effect on lower-income residents. Considering 18.7% of residents live at “poverty level” and another 8.4% at extreme poverty levels, it’s another blow that will surely leave more people behind. Can you imagine a single parent needing to take an entire day—or even two days—to travel to a driver’s license office and then wait all day for their turn to take the test?

    Perhaps most frightening about these closures is the effect it will have on voting in Alabama, where a conservative legislature passed a law in 2011 which requires a photo ID to vote. Alabama has already been on a steady decline (41% in November 2014) and these closures certainly won’t help to bring those numbers up.

    Intended or not, these office closures and the strict voter ID law will have an effect on government, policy and even safety (more people like to drive without a proper license) for a long time to come.

    We’ve all been told “driving is a privilege, not a right.” In Alabama, even securing a driver’s license is about to become a privilege many cannot afford.

    There’s a small update appended saying this may be an empty threat due to budget cuts upcoming, but still… I can just imagine the lines at these 4 locations.

    LAPD Police Commission Acts Like it Wants to Incite Riots. It’s a police commission. You were expecting a better attitude?

    On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, activists from Black Lives Matter issued a subpoena for Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to appear before a people’s tribunal to answer to charges for the death of Ezell Ford. The very next day, LAPD officers shot and killed a woman named Redel Jones. A witness said Ms. Jones was shot in the back while running away, contradicting the official story that she moved toward officers with a knife.

    On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Steve Soboroff was either ignoring or interrupting Los Angeles residents as they spoke during public comments. He did not have the self-control or respect to remain silent and pay attention for two minutes at a time to give the people who had concerns and criticisms about the LAPD a chance to speak. One person who spoke said, “When we calmly spoke the commissioners began to ignore us every time we used words like accountability.” The LAPD Police Commission callously disrespects people outraged at the continual unchecked murders of black and brown people by the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Activists from various groups were present, including Black Lives Matter, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Youth Justice Coalition, LACAN, and Citizens Against Police Terror.

    But nope, apparently they’re not worth his time, patience, or respect. More at the link.

    BREAKING: #BlackTransLivesMatter protestors block traffic at 12th & Figueroa in #DowntownLA. Photo from last night.

    Iconic Ferguson Photo Subjects Are Being Charged A Year Later – we’ve read about the year-old charges being brought, but there’s more in the article on who, specifically, is being charged, and it’s not just those journalists.

    Why Ending Birthright Citizenship Would Be Terrible For Silicon Valley

    “We want the best and the brightest to be able to come to this country,” said Todd Schulte, executive director of tech lobbying firm FWD.us, in an interview with TPM. “So how does it make sense for the tech community or our country to tell people ‘please create jobs, please pay taxes, please grow the economy,’ but your children who are born here, they aren’t Americans?”

    Birthright citizenship foes target their criticism of the practice — widely believed to be enshrined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — towards so-called “anchor babies,” the derogatory term used for the children of undocumented immigrants. However, ending birthright citizenship would have broader implications for people of varying legal status in all areas of society, who can now take for granted that their children, if born here, will be considered U.S. citizens.

    “Getting rid of birthright citizenship would be chaotic in the United States. … It would create a whole new class of permanently undocumented or secondary citizens,” said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “This would result in dramatic change for everybody: high-skill immigrants, low-skilled immigrants, families, business.”

    “That tech engineer who is an immigrant who goes on to have children here but realizes their children are stateless, they’re going to take their expertise and return [to their home country], therefore taking a prime contributor to our economy away from us,” Noorani told TPM. “So the net effect here is driving the best and the brightest away from us as a country.”

    The tech community — which otherwise aligns with traditionally conservative values like less regulation and lower taxes — has came out in full force in favor of immigration reform. FWD.us was founded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates to push for an overhaul of the U.S.’s immigration system.

    To them, the push to repeal the 14th Amendment over largely unfounded concerns that birthright citizenship is a magnet for undocumented immigrants is the the latest sign of how far to the extremes the conversation has drifted since immigration reform legislation passed in the Senate but died in the House in 2013.

    “Why would we tell an engineer at a startup or a doctor or a small business owner, ‘You’re contributing, you’re paying taxes, you’re building a better life for your family but your child should forever be denied citizenship?’ It just flies in the face of everything we cherish about opportunity and American values,” Schulte said.

    I can’t help but think that this particular support for immigrant reform has racist under/overtones of its own. I may just be reading into it wrong at the moment, though.

    Pa. Judge Sentenced To 28 Years In Massive Juvenile Justice Bribery Scandal

    A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state’s juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as “kids-for-cash.”

    The AP adds:

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.

    Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. His attorneys had asked for a “reasonable” sentence in court papers, saying, in effect, that he’s already been punished enough.

    “The media attention to this matter has exceeded coverage given to many and almost all capital murders, and despite protestation, he will forever be unjustly branded as the ‘Kids for Cash’ judge,” their sentencing memo said.

    The Times Leader, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., reports that the court house in Scranton was overflowing this morning. More than a dozen people who said they had been affected by the judge’s decision stood outside, awaiting the sentencing.

    Jeff Pollins was in that crowd. His stepson was convicted by Ciavarella.

    “These kids are still affected by it. It’s like post traumatic stress disorder,” Pollins told the Times Leader. “Our life is ruined. It’s never going to be the same… I’d like to see that happen to him,” he said.

    That is some vile human trafficking right there. “Kids for cash” – and this is why outsourcing prisons to private companies and signing contracts with them about how many spaces should be filled – it’s just wrong. WRONG.

  147. rq says

    Keep an eye out for a new comment 179, I think I put in eight links instead of the maximum six.

    Road to Sandra Bland’s alma mater named for her. So they did it, yay!!

    ‘The wave has reached us:’ EU gropes for answers to migrant surge. Read within for a flavour of racism, European-style.

    Mom forced to quit as volunteer after complaining about youth cheer coach’s KKK shirt – shouldn’t the cheer coach be leaving? Let’s see:

    The head of an Alabama youth cheerleading squad resigned from his position after he showed up to a team practice wearing a KKK shirt. A photo of the team’s assistant vice president Brian McCracken and his friend was shared with parents and league officials after a mother went to the leaders to complain.

    “It’s awful, I mean, I don’t stand for it, I don’t want my kids around it. No one I know wants their kids around anything like that,” parent and former volunteer cheer coach Kayleigh Tipton said.

    So far so good. But then:

    Tipton thought the situation was over, but said the next time she went to practice, vice president for Boaz Cheer Melynnda McCracken asked her not to come back as a volunteer coach.

    Aha. What a great way to treat people who point out insensitivity and possible outright hatred within the community: ostracize them, too! Great decision there, McCracken. Stellar.

    High-profile STL cabbie says he was fired for political stances. I posted from his personal blog previously.

    Union on officer charged in shooting: ‘We could all be Adam Torres’. Yes, you could, and I wish you would all be charged in those situations where you shoot unarmed men for no reason at all. And convicted, too – you say it like it’s a bad thing!

    The Fairfax Coalition of Police Local 5000 released a long and sharply worded statement Monday, a week after one of its members, Officer Adam D. Torres, was indicted by a special grand jury in the fatal shooting of John Geer, 46, during a domestic-dispute call.

    “Officer Torres didn’t come to work that day looking to hurt or kill anyone,” the statement reads. “He didn’t get out of the car looking to hurt or kill anyone. What became abundantly clear soon after arriving on the scene that day almost two years ago was that he was dealing with an armed irrational subject that had made numerous threats to friends, family and police officers.”

    The statement, from President Sean Corcoran, later added of Fairfax County police officers, “we could all be Adam Torres.”

    The union also attacked Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh (D) for citing Torres’s “deteriorating” mental state at the time of the shooting in successfully arguing against bond for Torres at a hearing last week.

    Among other issues, Morrogh told a judge that Torres had told his supervisors that his wife was having an affair and that she had traveled to Hawaii to be with a boyfriend before the shooting. The union said the argument was based on “conjecture, rumor and fallacies.”

    “Hearing this salacious argument from what is supposed to be an officer of the court of the highest integrity was enough to make one retch,” the statement reads.

    The statement went on to ding the judge who denied Torres bond as well as the police department and county officials for failing to support Torres and other officers on the force.

    The statement is significant because it is the first from rank-and-file officers since Torres’s indictment and takes a sharply different tone from that of county leaders, who said Torres’s case should spur changes in how the department handles police shootings and communicates with the public.

    Well, that’s police unions for ya. They take it so personally.

    Police brutality in America should come as no surprise – Bryan Stevenson | Comment is Free , youtube video. Careful, though, it’s part of an automatic playlist. :)

  148. rq says

    Judge rejects subpoenas for prosecutors to take witness stand at first Freddie Gray hearing
    . Well done, judge. That first hearing is coming up fast, too.

    A judge has rejected an attempt by defense lawyers to put Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and other city prosecutors on the witness stand at the first motions hearing in the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

    Circuit Judge Barry Williams quashed the subpoenas sought by Catherine Flynn, an attorney for one of the officers, to put Mosby, five other prosecutors, two investigators and an assistant medical examiner on the stand at the hearing scheduled next Wednesday.

    Williams provided little explanation for his decision. He wrote that a letter Flynn sent to the court suggesting the hearing should consider evidence and therefore “take several hours to complete” was “inconsistent” with a court order that all communications in the case be filed through pleadings.

    “If the judge did not quash the subpoenas, then at the hearing, the conflict would be present,” Dillard said. “If the defense attorneys are allowed to call those witnesses that they have subpoenaed, then at that very hearing the judge would have to decide whether there is a conflict or an appearance of conflict between the Baltimore state’s attorney serving on a case in which she is also a witness.”

    “He would have been allowing the circumstances that could justify a recusal to actually happen in the hearing,” she said.

    How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks. That sounds like a headline way too dated to be a thing in this modern world… unfortunately…

    The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”

    She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.

    So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.

    The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.

    “It’s been sold?” Rose asked, memories soon flashing.

    She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.
    [skeevy person ingratiating himself and winning her trust]

    The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.

    In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000.

    Traditional settlements are paid in one immediate lump sum. But these structured agreements often deliver monthly payments across decades to protect vulnerable recipients from immediately spending the money. Since 1975, insurance companies have committed an estimated $350 billion to structured settlements. This has given rise to a secondary market in which dozens of firms compete to purchase the rights to those payments for a fraction of their face value.

    What happens in these deals is a matter of perspective. To industry advocates, the transactions get money to people who need it now. They keep desperate families off the streets, pay medical bills, put kids through school.

    “What we do is provide equity for those people to buy homes,” said Access Funding chief executive Michael Borkowski. He said his organization had no reason to think Rose was cognitively impaired, pointing to her high school degree, driver’s license and written documents in her name. He said Access Funding has no record showing that Brendan, whom he praised for “the highest level of professionalism,” took Rose out to eat, and he disputed that she’d been promised a vacation. “We’re trying to bring better value to people,” Borkowski continued. “. . . We really do try to get people the best deals.”

    But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. It’s here that one teen — diagnosed with “mild mental retardation,” court records show — sold her payments through 2030 in four deals and is now homeless. It’s here that companies blanket certain neighborhoods in advertisements, searching for a potentially lucrative type of inhabitant, whose stories recall the legacy of Freddie Gray.

    Every case spells out the deal’s worth. It lists the aggregate value of the lead victim’s payments, their present value and the agreed purchase price. A random survey of 52 of those deals shows Access Funding generally offers to pay around 33 cents on the present value of a dollar. Sometimes, it offers more. And sometimes, much less. One 24-year-old lead victim sold nearly $327,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $179,000, for less than $16,200 — or about 9 cents on the dollar. Another relinquished $256,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $166,000, for $35,000 — or about 21 cents on the dollar.

    Taken together, the sample shows Access Funding petitioned to buy roughly $6.9 million worth of future payments — which had a present value of $5.3 million — for around $1.7 million.

    Presented with these findings, Borkowski said Access Funding doesn’t target lead victims and that Baltimore’s glut of lead-paint lawsuits has artificially inflated that aspect of its business. He said interested investors set the purchase prices, which are lower than the payments’ present value because various factors — such as a life-contingency clause that stops payments if the holder dies — diminish their worth.

    “When you get all the way until 2052, that’s pretty far out there,” he said, adding that his company, which does 80 percent of its work outside Maryland, survives only by offering better deals than other firms.

    Still, Borkowski urged stricter legislation and more oversight. “These questions you raise touch on fundamental things we are going to be doing differently now,” he said. “We want to secure ourselves in the future from any potential questions like this again, so we can say, ‘No, that’s not us.’ ”

    There’s more to read, but it’s just so damn depressing…. Ruining families and honestly these people don’t give a shit. Gray was one of their victims, too, as was his sister, but this company just brushes it off with declarations of a good relationship with the family.
    It’s revolting.

    What We Don’t Know About Policing, Race and Mental Illness

    Witnesses reported hearing White yelling, repeatedly, “In the name of Jesus Christ” and “Help me.” They described his behavior as “bizarre” and “crazy.” Police dispatchers alerted officers to an assault with a deadly weapon — the cinderblock — but also warned that this was a potential 5150 call, the code for someone who’s mentally ill and poses a danger to himself or others.

    When police arrived, White was standing on a sidewalk and hitting a parked van with the jagged end of the broom handle. Five officers surrounded him — four with guns drawn, one with a police dog — yelling at him to drop the stick. He didn’t. Less than a minute later, at 1:30 p.m., White lay dying on a patch of dirt from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Michael Astorga, the San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who shot White, told investigators that he was holding the stick “like a spear” and had lunged at another officer. But no witnesses, including the four other officers, corroborated this account fully. Neither did the forensic evidence. This past June, during proceedings in a federal wrongful-death lawsuit filed by White’s parents, a county medical examiner testified that the bullet’s path — through White’s right forearm and into his chest — showed he was gripping the stick like a baseball bat when he was shot, holding it close to his torso, the thumb of his right hand facing up and turned inward. The four other officers said they saw White step forward, but the stick remained vertical.

    There were no attempts to use less-lethal force. The police dog wasn’t released because, his handler testified, he didn’t want the dog to get hurt — even though the dog had been trained to disarm suspects. The dog’s handler called out “less lethal” and “we need a beanbag” to Astorga, who had a beanbag rifle in the trunk of his car, but Astorga didn’t retrieve it. Astorga testified that he’d at first drawn his Taser, but decided against using it because it was too windy. The National Weather Service, though, showed the wind that day blowing at just 4 mph, according to evidence presented at trial.

    Hicks and co-counsel Carl Douglas never argued that White didn’t pose a threat to public safety. The question was whether, at the moment Astorga fired his gun, White posed such a threat that deadly force was the only option. To prevail in the case, the defense had to convince the jury to ignore the forensic evidence, ignore the witness testimony and believe Astorga’s version of events. “I just think fear permeated the courtroom and the jury box,” Hicks told this reporter recently. During closing arguments, a county attorney hoisted the stick in his right hand, held it above his shoulder — as one would hold a spear — and stepped toward jurors with a loud, aggressive stomp.

    On June 22 the jury — all white except for one Latina woman — deliberated for an hour before finding the shooting justified.

    More background at the link.

    Defense attorney says teen not under arrest after officer involved shooting

    The attorney for a seventeen year old who was shot several times by a police officer in Longview said his client is in the hospital and not under arrest as of Tuesday evening.

    Joshua Thomas was shot around 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday as he was leaving This Our Store on Mobberly Avenue. Surveillance video from the store shows Thomas turning a corner before police confronted him. Seconds later, the video shows Thomas fall to the ground after one of the officers opens fire.

    Assault? Well, he did, apparently, reach for his waistband….

    Woman dies in county jail; investigation under way. Another lengthening list.

    A woman has died in custody in the San Joaquin County Jail, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office reported this evening.

    Celestine Allen, a 50-year-old woman, was found unresponsive sometime Wednesday evening, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. The discovery happened during standard inmate checks.

    Attempts were made to revive her, but they failed.

    Allen was being held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. She had been arrested by Stockton police on Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

    An autopsy is being performed, and a protocol investigation into Allen’s death has begun, both standard in such cases, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

    Phantoms Playing Double-Dutch: Why the Fight for Dyett is Bigger than One Chicago School Closing. Those parents are, as far as I know, still on hunger strike.

    The first thing that struck me when I walked up King Drive to 35th Street, where the throng of people sat in front of the fourth ward alderman’s office, was the heat. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve been a Chicagoan since the day I was born, which means I was born for bad weather. I lived through the heat wave of 1995, when over 700 people died, and through the blizzard in 2011, when the cars sat stacked on Lake Shore Drive, still, like terracotta warriors. So it wasn’t the fact of the weather that got me; it was the old folks there in it. And the babies. And then, when my eyes lingered a bit longer, it was the mothers, and the teenagers, and—well, everybody. They sat in folding chairs under the scant, moving shade of skinny trees, or leaned against the wrought iron fence, or sat on the steps of the alderman’s office. They were gathered in the name of Dyett, the high school that the leaders of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced in 2012 would be shuttered at the end of 2015. This group of parents, community members, and students—many of them affiliated with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), one of the oldest black organizing groups in the country—sat in the 95-degree heat to demand a meeting with the alderman, Will Burns. They wanted him to consider their proposal to re-open Dyett as an open-enrollment, community-based school.

    I shared some bottles of water and sat for a while. It was hot. We moved the chairs periodically as the sun shifted across the sky. A city worker drove by in a pickup truck, hauling a trailer laden with park maintenance equipment. He raised his fist out the window and gave a cheer, and the folks gathered cheered back. I listened to Mrs. McCall1 talk about how her grandfather owned a store in Mississippi, how she moved north when she was 12 years old and spent her summers traveling back to visit him. She told me how to make the best of my time in graduate school. “What is your passion?” she asked me. “What do you love the most?” My gaze traveled across the street, to the King Branch library where I had once hosted afterschool research sessions so that my students could have help finding reference books, where many of them stayed in the afternoons because it was a safe, free place to do homework until their parents got off work, where if I stopped to just borrow or return a novel they would grin broadly, excited to see me outside of school. I pretended I had x-ray vision, and squinted my eyes to look through the library, to peer west one block and north three blocks, to where that school was, the school where I taught. What do you love the most?

    That day, that hot day, that was a year ago. Last week, I saw some of those same old folks, those same babies, in front of Dyett, at the northern end of the South Side’s sprawling Washington Park. And unlike all the other times I had seen them, they were not demanding a meeting. They were through with meetings. Today, twelve of them were beginning a hunger strike. I knelt in the grass next to Irene Robinson, a grandmother of nine children, who I saw get escorted away by police in City Hall a few weeks ago when she showed up to protest the closing of Dyett; every time I see her, she strikes me with the same two memorable traits—she wears fantastic purple or fuschia lipstick and, when we part, bids farewell by saying “I love you!” so enthusiastically that I am moved to say it back.

    “Are you scared, Ms. Irene?”

    “I’m scared,” she tells me, looking past me to the behemoth black building that stands empty behind my shoulders. “I’m scared for my grandchildren.”

    Tonight, as I write this, it is Sunday, day seven of the hunger strike. This morning, I attended a special service at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, where the pastor has joined the strike in a show of support. Ms. Robinson and the other hunger strikers sat in the front pews, across the aisle from where I sat with my niece, Leila, who at two (almost three) is nevertheless remarkably good at sitting quietly in church. She watched, wide-eyed, as KOCO’s lead education organizer, Jitu Brown, stood at the pulpit. I split my time between watching him and watching her, thinking about the nights I have spent scouring the internet for an affordable, high-quality place for her to go to preschool (spoiler alert: there aren’t any). I think about the map I saw recently in a report from the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children, charting the availability of state-licensed childcare in Chicago, community by community. Our neighborhood was noted as having .07 – .21 slots for every child aged 0-5, meaning that quality childcare would be out of reach for 79-93% of young children in the area. I think about how I wish Leila could at least get to three before the worry set in about where and how she would get access to a good education, before I am jolted back to the present by Jitu.

    “Even when we were in slavery,” he is saying into the microphone, “black people fought for schools. And “our ancestors evacuated the South to come here, to find a better life for their children…. The institution that our ancestors fought for and won—we’ve got to reclaim it.” As for why the time has come to lay his body on the line for Dyett, after years of meetings and proposals and arguments and civil disobedience, Brown says it plainly, tugging at the waistband of pants that have become looser in the last week. “You stop playing somebody else’s game when you realize the game is rigged.” I look back at Leila, who has fallen asleep in the pew next to me.

    Keep reading at the link.
    And see if there’s anything you can do to help save the school.

  149. rq says

    Something in this comment won’t post, here’s hoping it’s only in moderation because it has some excellent links.

    Judge rejects subpoenas for prosecutors to take witness stand at first Freddie Gray hearing
    . Well done, judge. That first hearing is coming up fast, too.

    A judge has rejected an attempt by defense lawyers to put Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and other city prosecutors on the witness stand at the first motions hearing in the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

    Circuit Judge Barry Williams quashed the subpoenas sought by Catherine Flynn, an attorney for one of the officers, to put Mosby, five other prosecutors, two investigators and an assistant medical examiner on the stand at the hearing scheduled next Wednesday.

    Williams provided little explanation for his decision. He wrote that a letter Flynn sent to the court suggesting the hearing should consider evidence and therefore “take several hours to complete” was “inconsistent” with a court order that all communications in the case be filed through pleadings.

    “If the judge did not quash the subpoenas, then at the hearing, the conflict would be present,” Dillard said. “If the defense attorneys are allowed to call those witnesses that they have subpoenaed, then at that very hearing the judge would have to decide whether there is a conflict or an appearance of conflict between the Baltimore state’s attorney serving on a case in which she is also a witness.”

    “He would have been allowing the circumstances that could justify a recusal to actually happen in the hearing,” she said.

    How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks. That sounds like a headline way too dated to be a thing in this modern world… unfortunately…

    The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”

    She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.

    So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.

    The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.

    “It’s been sold?” Rose asked, memories soon flashing.

    She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.
    [skeevy person ingratiating himself and winning her trust]

    The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.

    In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000.

    Traditional settlements are paid in one immediate lump sum. But these structured agreements often deliver monthly payments across decades to protect vulnerable recipients from immediately spending the money. Since 1975, insurance companies have committed an estimated $350 billion to structured settlements. This has given rise to a secondary market in which dozens of firms compete to purchase the rights to those payments for a fraction of their face value.

    What happens in these deals is a matter of perspective. To industry advocates, the transactions get money to people who need it now. They keep desperate families off the streets, pay medical bills, put kids through school.

    “What we do is provide equity for those people to buy homes,” said Access Funding chief executive Michael Borkowski. He said his organization had no reason to think Rose was cognitively impaired, pointing to her high school degree, driver’s license and written documents in her name. He said Access Funding has no record showing that Brendan, whom he praised for “the highest level of professionalism,” took Rose out to eat, and he disputed that she’d been promised a vacation. “We’re trying to bring better value to people,” Borkowski continued. “. . . We really do try to get people the best deals.”

    But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. It’s here that one teen — diagnosed with “mild mental retardation,” court records show — sold her payments through 2030 in four deals and is now homeless. It’s here that companies blanket certain neighborhoods in advertisements, searching for a potentially lucrative type of inhabitant, whose stories recall the legacy of Freddie Gray.

    Every case spells out the deal’s worth. It lists the aggregate value of the lead victim’s payments, their present value and the agreed purchase price. A random survey of 52 of those deals shows Access Funding generally offers to pay around 33 cents on the present value of a dollar. Sometimes, it offers more. And sometimes, much less. One 24-year-old lead victim sold nearly $327,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $179,000, for less than $16,200 — or about 9 cents on the dollar. Another relinquished $256,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $166,000, for $35,000 — or about 21 cents on the dollar.

    Taken together, the sample shows Access Funding petitioned to buy roughly $6.9 million worth of future payments — which had a present value of $5.3 million — for around $1.7 million.

    Presented with these findings, Borkowski said Access Funding doesn’t target lead victims and that Baltimore’s glut of lead-paint lawsuits has artificially inflated that aspect of its business. He said interested investors set the purchase prices, which are lower than the payments’ present value because various factors — such as a life-contingency clause that stops payments if the holder dies — diminish their worth.

    “When you get all the way until 2052, that’s pretty far out there,” he said, adding that his company, which does 80 percent of its work outside Maryland, survives only by offering better deals than other firms.

    Still, Borkowski urged stricter legislation and more oversight. “These questions you raise touch on fundamental things we are going to be doing differently now,” he said. “We want to secure ourselves in the future from any potential questions like this again, so we can say, ‘No, that’s not us.’ ”

    There’s more to read, but it’s just so damn depressing…. Ruining families and honestly these people don’t give a shit. Gray was one of their victims, too, as was his sister, but this company just brushes it off with declarations of a good relationship with the family.
    It’s revolting.

    What We Don’t Know About Policing, Race and Mental Illness

    Witnesses reported hearing White yelling, repeatedly, “In the name of Jesus Christ” and “Help me.” They described his behavior as “bizarre” and “crazy.” Police dispatchers alerted officers to an assault with a deadly weapon — the cinderblock — but also warned that this was a potential 5150 call, the code for someone who’s mentally ill and poses a danger to himself or others.

    When police arrived, White was standing on a sidewalk and hitting a parked van with the jagged end of the broom handle. Five officers surrounded him — four with guns drawn, one with a police dog — yelling at him to drop the stick. He didn’t. Less than a minute later, at 1:30 p.m., White lay dying on a patch of dirt from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Michael Astorga, the San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who shot White, told investigators that he was holding the stick “like a spear” and had lunged at another officer. But no witnesses, including the four other officers, corroborated this account fully. Neither did the forensic evidence. This past June, during proceedings in a federal wrongful-death lawsuit filed by White’s parents, a county medical examiner testified that the bullet’s path — through White’s right forearm and into his chest — showed he was gripping the stick like a baseball bat when he was shot, holding it close to his torso, the thumb of his right hand facing up and turned inward. The four other officers said they saw White step forward, but the stick remained vertical.

    There were no attempts to use less-lethal force. The police dog wasn’t released because, his handler testified, he didn’t want the dog to get hurt — even though the dog had been trained to disarm suspects. The dog’s handler called out “less lethal” and “we need a beanbag” to Astorga, who had a beanbag rifle in the trunk of his car, but Astorga didn’t retrieve it. Astorga testified that he’d at first drawn his Taser, but decided against using it because it was too windy. The National Weather Service, though, showed the wind that day blowing at just 4 mph, according to evidence presented at trial.

    Hicks and co-counsel Carl Douglas never argued that White didn’t pose a threat to public safety. The question was whether, at the moment Astorga fired his gun, White posed such a threat that deadly force was the only option. To prevail in the case, the defense had to convince the jury to ignore the forensic evidence, ignore the witness testimony and believe Astorga’s version of events. “I just think fear permeated the courtroom and the jury box,” Hicks told this reporter recently. During closing arguments, a county attorney hoisted the stick in his right hand, held it above his shoulder — as one would hold a spear — and stepped toward jurors with a loud, aggressive stomp.

    On June 22 the jury — all white except for one Latina woman — deliberated for an hour before finding the shooting justified.

    More background at the link.

    Defense attorney says teen not under arrest after officer involved shooting

    The attorney for a seventeen year old who was shot several times by a police officer in Longview said his client is in the hospital and not under arrest as of Tuesday evening.

    Joshua Thomas was shot around 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday as he was leaving This Our Store on Mobberly Avenue. Surveillance video from the store shows Thomas turning a corner before police confronted him. Seconds later, the video shows Thomas fall to the ground after one of the officers opens fire.

    Assault? Well, he did, apparently, reach for his waistband….

    Woman dies in county jail; investigation under way. Another lengthening list.

    A woman has died in custody in the San Joaquin County Jail, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office reported this evening.

    Celestine Allen, a 50-year-old woman, was found unresponsive sometime Wednesday evening, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. The discovery happened during standard inmate checks.

    Attempts were made to revive her, but they