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.

Previous thread


  1. says

    Thanks PZ!


    I know racism is dead in the United States, so I’ll need an alternate explanation for this-
    Watch: Black man stopped by AL cop for 30 minutes bc he didn’t like the way he was walking:

    According to Deonte Lynn, he walking from his job at a Subway store in Pleasant Grove, to a nearby shopping center to return a Redbox movie when the police officer stopped him twice by the road.

    In YouTube comments, Lynn explained, “I wasn’t walking on the wrong side of the street I was walking normal across a red light intersection. he was sitting at red light and once it turned green he came and pulled up on me and told me to get across the road. I said ok n kept it moving, then like 1 min later he pulls up on me again but this time gets out his car. so yea pretty much no reason he just really wanted to mess with me. I guess he was bored.”

    In the video, Lynn can be heard asking repeatedly why he was stopped.

    “I’m going to give you just a little bit before you go to jail,” the cop tells him.

    “You stopped and told me, ‘don’t walk like that’ and I said, ‘ok,’” Lyn said while arguing his case.

    “No, I said, get on across the road,” the cop responds. “You’re about come to a standstill.”

    “When you told me that, I was already at the gas station,” Lynn replies.

    According to the officer, Lynn was walking in the road at which point Lynn notes that there are no sidewalks, asking again why he was stopped.

    “I can come out and talk to you anytime I want to,” the officer replies.

    “You’re not telling me why you f*cking stopped me,” Lynn says.

    “I don’t care. At this point, I’ll tell you why you’re going to jail,” the cop answers.

    At that point the officer tells him to place his hands against the police cruiser so he can check him for weapons.

    I just can’t shake the feeling that this situation was race-related. Buy maybe that’s just me and my race-baiting.

    Louisville students protest after school president and staff pose in racist costumes for Halloween.

    The university and school President James Ramsey have both apologized for the photo, showing the school’s leader and staffers posing in stereotypical Mexican costumes with sombreros and “bandido” mustaches, saying it was not their intention to be offensive.

    “I want to personally apologize for the recent incident and any pain that it may have caused our students, faculty, staff, and community,” Ramsey said in a statement. “We did not intend to cause harm or be insensitive.”

    Despite the apologies, students at the school are demanding that Ramsey step down, going so far as to create a Twitter campaign under #RacistRamsey.

    About fifty students took over a hall at the school on Friday with a list of demands, including sensitivity training for staffers.

    The photo was taken as part of a story on the mansion by the Courier-Journal and visitors to the party attending were reportedly issued their sombreros and mustaches by President Ramsey’s wife, Jane, who was also decked out is similar attire.

  2. says

    I read about that yesterday and just shook my head. It takes white people being affected by the War on Drugs for some of them to stand up and say “maybe we should take a look at this war”.
    Shame they didn’t think of that decades ago. But to do that, they’d have to believe that Black Lives Matter.

  3. roachiesmom says

    Tony, regarding your #1, I have been stopped three times in my town for Walking at Night with a Backpack. One time I was actually ticketed less than a block from my house (That was Halloween three years ago, actually.) The second time that happened, the cop could not tell my gender when he first pulled up and made me stop, and consequently, the cop who pulled alongside me and told me ‘wait right there, buddy’ and the one who suddenly realized I was female on his way over closer were almost like two entirely separate people in the same body. Both cops (both incidents, I mean) gave me a hard time for walking at night (it was around 2-3 AM both times.) And neither was very nice about it in general. But that second time, that cop actually told me I should not ‘walk like that’…apparently I was walking “male” not “female”. (Although I can’t imagine how walking that late at night could be safer had I been walking however it is females are supposed to walk?” ) And he was super-pissed off that I “fooled” him like that, making him act one way at first and having to be all awkward and embarrassed like that. (The third time, the cop seemed a good mix of being mildly suspicious of the hour of my walking and genuinely concerned as to how much further I had to walk. A 4th time happened in the daylight, because I had rescued hubcaps from the roadside. *sigh*)

    Don’t get me wrong. I am sure that if I had been out at night Walking While Black, it would have been worse. At least I didn’t get arrested, and thankfully there was no fine with that damn ticket.

  4. F.O. says

    I’ve heard arguments pro and against hate speech laws, and found neither side convincing.
    The idealist in me thinks free speech is paramount and hate speech legislation would be prone to abuse; the pragmatist in me thinks that words can have indirect but very significant consequences, and a law would be a string statement by the society that intolerance and xenophobia are not tolerated.
    I have hard time reconciling the two, and while I will be happy to read what people here think, I would especially appreciate any suggestion for link or resources on the subject.

  5. rq says

    I feel that that is a topic more suited for the ‘Interesting Stuff’ or possibly even ‘Political Madness’ thread.

    Please see comment 79 of the previous iteration, after the ‘+++’, especially this part:

    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.

    Your story might fit better in the Feminism thread, too, considering the obvious sexism of the officers.

  6. says

    Ah good. We’re back up!

    First up is an excellent and insightful comment from a blogger on Tumblr who has some things to say about “Not all cops”:

    I work in a non-restraint facility for special needs kids (21 and under) with extreme behavioral issues. I’m talking real violent stuff. Sixteen and twenty-one year old boys who can (and do) home-run swing desks at your head.

    As a non-restraint facility, we are trained to respond to these outbursts in the most non-threatening, non-confrontational way possible, while still protecting both the bystanders and the person currently attacking us.

    We are monitored every second of our shift to make sure the safety and dignity of our clients is maintained, especially–and just let me emphasize this–the safety and dignity of the person attempting to hurt us. Their right to be treated fairly and with empathy is not forfeit just because their brain chemistry fucked them up today.

    We have to be calm, regardless.

    We have to be gentle, regardless.

    We can never respond with any kind of force, ever.

    Those rules apply to all the staff, all the time, no matter what.

    So when I hear bullshit about how somebody “reached for their waistband” or they were “resisting,” when I hear yet another police officer got off because the situation was “scary” or he “feared for his safety” or whatever the fuck, I lose my shit.

    You wanna talk about how you were frightened for your safety, walking up to someone in the middle of a psychotic episode? Yeah, well, I’ve been there. Pretty regular–probably twice a week, at least–no gun, no taser, with guidelines that state I cannot even use my fucking thumb because that’s considered “grabbing” and therefore a “restraint.”

    And you know what? I’ve walked away from every one of those. I haven’t died. I’ve never even been seriously injured. We defused the situation in ways that didn’t involving riddling the other participant with bullets and at the end of the day, everyone went home. Go fucking figure.

    And yet–and fucking yet–I keep hearing “not all cops.”

    “Not all cops” are bad. “Not all cops” shoot innocent people .3 seconds after rolling up on the scene. “Not all cops” are racist fuckbags, misusing power for a personal joyride. “Not all cops” rape people at gunpoint (and get off scott-fucking-free).

    Yet, at my place of employment, somehow everyone is calm in a crisis. Somehow everyone responds to violence with non-violence. Somehow everyone is always able to act like a goddamn compassionate human-being in the middle of the worst kind of street fight–

    but you’re telling me that cops, people paid to protect, can’t all do what I do?

    You’re telling me that cops, trained to respond to crises, can’t all respond to the same crises, with the same skill, that I do?

    And you’re telling me that cops have to stick together in the face of these “potentially false” accusations. That cops have to support each other, no matter what, because their job is dangerous or whatever. That yeah, some cops, but ~actually, sweetie, not all cops~

    Fuck that noise. My job is dangerous, too. But you better believe that if anyone sees a member of our staff breaking regulation, their ass gets reported immediately. That person loses their clearances; they can no longer be hired in the field, anywhere. There’s no moving to another district. There’s no finding another location. We make it stop.

    So until every cop is cleaning house, until every cop stops this strategically blind bullshit, until every cop refuses to stand by and watch the rampant abuse and corruption inherent in this system, until all the bad cops are weeded out and unemployable–

    Until that moment, then yeah, all cops.

    All of this!

    And now here’s one from a writer who explains why he stopped saying “some white people”:

    When discussing racial issues, we cannot pretend that all bigotry is equal. It renders the discussion empty to reduce it to personal meanness or problematic individuals. This is a cultural problem and it should be addressed as such. Every Halloween, white people routinely don blackface. Now, does that mean that every white person does so? Of course not. But, it’s unnecessary for me to point out that fact when the behavior is so routine that it indicates a deeply ingrained cultural belief. For the same reason that we say “America has an obesity epidemic,” we have to say white people have a race problem. Saying “some Americans are obese,” helps us all feel better and decide that we’re “not the problem.” But, when you present the problem as something that is widespread and entrenched, it communicates a certain societal urgency. This is who we are and we have to make wholesale changes to address it.

    Saying “some white people” only makes it easier for an individual to say “that’s not me” and deflect. They can tell themselves “I have Black friends.” They can tell themselves “I don’t say the N-word.” They can tell themselves “I voted for Obama–TWICE.” And, they can decide that the problem is somewhere “over there.” Racism is never “me.” It’s never their friends or family. As long as white Americans are comfortable deflecting, white supremacy remains strong in this country. When I say “white people,” it’s to make sure everyone understands that this is a societal issue that is centuries-old. The “Colored Only” signs of the Jim Crow era were just the later manifestation of a supremacist ideology that forged the entirety of the modern western world and was exported throughout the globe via imperialism. You being buddies with a Black guy at work does nothing to address that reality. You have to view it through a larger lens. The entrenched white supremacy that conditions us to cross the street when we see a Black guy coming is also what makes a Black student more likely to get suspended and Black crime to be prosecuted with more vigor and zero tolerance.

    Just this week, the New York Times published a piece regarding the resurgence in heroin addiction among young white people over the last ten years. In the piece, entitled “In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War On Drugs,” it is revealed that more and more white voters and politicians are looking to soften the approach to curbing the drug epidemic. No police battering rams in the suburbs like the ones that we saw breaking through doors in inner cities throughout the 80s and 90s. No ridiculously long drug sentences for possession or petty dealing. No stigmatizing reports about “heroin babies” a la “crack babies” and no presidential push to vilify heroin dealers. Because white parents and politicians empathize with young white kids. Just because you’re not burning a cross on a lawn, doesn’t mean you aren’t endorsing or enabling white supremacy and racist double standards. It doesn’t mean you see yourself when you see Black and other non-white people. Racism is more than intentional malice; it is cultural conditioning. Black lives didn’t matter so much to politicians who were passing down strict sentences that disrupted and destroyed Black families. They didn’t matter much to politicians when Black voters asked for reform and treatment, as opposed to aggression and incarceration. Because those politicians didn’t empathize with Blackness. But when a young, suburban white girl named Courtney Griffin overdoses, those who empathize with her need to understand why it happened and how to prevent it from touching them and those like them ever again. And those white folks who empathize have the political leverage to actually affect change in a way that is compassionate and comprehensive. When it’s Keshia from East New York, however, there is little-to-no empathy from those outside her community. If that community has no political leverage to seek similar compassion from the powers-that-be, Keshia’s death becomes ammo for politicians to “crack down” and increase their “war” on drugs. The language is different because the approach is different; and the approach is different because the spirit fueling it is different.

    Whether or not you think “all white people are racist” is more or less irrelevant in the wider picture. It starts with individual behavior but it doesn’t end there; because the structural and institutional problems will still affect Black peoples’ liberties and mobility. The reason why white racism is bigger than bigotry is because that racism fuels so much of how we determine who has access to resources and influence in this country. White fraternities and sororities declaring via chant or email that they don’t want Black people isn’t just problematic because its socially exclusionary. It’s most problematic because those college kids are in the pipeline to power and influence in this country and they will one day be racist CEOS and politicians. They will be in positions of power and influence because of their race and background and they will bring their racist ideologies with them. I’d have to be quite naive to believe that they are a political or ideological minority.

    USAmerican citizens live in a pro-white people society. The bias in favor of white people extend throughout our social, political, economic, and religious institutions. Growing up in that environment means that we’re *all* going to absorb all sorts of social messages that signal that white is “best/superior/more important”. By that I don’t mean driving down I-95 seeing a sign that says “White people rock! Everyone else sucks!” I’m talking about cultural messages like white people not being racially profiled by cops or white people not being disproportionately incarcerated compared to their percentage of the population or white kids facing less severe punishment in schools for infractions than PoC or white people being the ones with the majority of economic power in this country. Those messages exist all around us and reinforce a narrative that the most powerful and important people in society are white folks. And everyone else is inferior.

    Why Asian-Americans don’t vote Republican:

    In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won 73% of the Asian-American vote. That exceeded his support among traditional Democratic Party constituencies like Hispanics (71%) and women (55%).

    Republicans should be alarmed by this statistic, as Asians weren’t always so far out of reach for Republicans.

    When we examine presidential exit polls, we see that 74% of the Asian-American vote went to the Republican presidential candidate just two decades ago. The Democratic presidential vote share among Asian Americans has steadily increased from 36% in 1992, to 64% in the 2008 election to 73% in 2012. Asian Americans were also one of the rare groups that were more favorable to President Obama in the latter election.

    This dramatic change in party preference is stunning. No other group has shifted so dramatically in their party identification within such a short time period. Some are calling it the “GOP’s Asian erosion.”

    Moreover, Asian Americans as a group have a number of attributes that would usually predict an affinity for the Republican Party.


    As shown by Andrew Gelman and his coauthors in their book Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do, income is a powerful driver of political party preferences. Generally, richer voters are more likely to vote Republican.

    Asian Americans’ income is, on average, higher than any other ethnic group in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2009, the median Asian household had a higher income (US$65,469) than the median white household ($51,863). Median black and Hispanic household incomes were $32,584 and $38,039, respectively.

    So why are Asian Americans leaning left instead of right?

    My research with Alexander Kuo and Neil Malhotra offers one explanation. The feeling of social exclusion stemming from their ethnic background might be pushing Asian Americans away from the Republican Party.

    The hated question

    Asian Americans are regularly made to feel like foreigners in their own country through “innocent” racial microaggressions. Microaggressions are “everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent.” An example is being asked “Where are you really from?” – after answering the question “Where are you from?” with a location within the United States. Another is being complimented on one’s great English-speaking skills. In both cases, the underlying assumption is that Asian Americans are outsiders.

    According to a 2005 study by Sapna Cheryan and Benoit Monin, Asian Americans are right to feel excluded. The study shows Asian Americans are seen as less American than other Americans.

    A 2008 study by Thierry Devos and Debbie Ma confirmed this result. The study found that in the mind of the average American, a white European celebrity (Kate Winslet) is considered more American than an Asian-American celebrity (Lucy Liu).

    But while Asian Americans are perceived as less American by other ethnic groups, Cheryan and Monin found that Asian Americans are just as likely as white Americans to self-identify as American and hold patriotic attitudes. This makes attacks on their identity as Americans hurtful.

    The impact of racial microaggressions on exclusionary feelings can be magnified in political contexts, such as advertisements, political rhetoric, and policy positions on issues related to Asians like immigration.

    How is this politically consequential?

    We posit that rhetoric from Republicans insinuating that nonwhite “takers” are taking away from white “makers,” as well as their strong anti-immigrant positions, has cultivated a perception that the Republican Party is less welcoming of minorities. Since the Democratic Party is seen as less exclusionary, we find that triggering feelings of social exclusion makes Asian Americans favor Democrats.

    We conducted an experiment in which Asian Americans were brought into a university laboratory. Half were randomly subjected to a seemingly benign racial microaggression like Trump’s clueless remarks to Choe before being asked to fill out a political survey. The white assistant was instructed to tell half of the study participants “I’m sorry. I forgot that this study is only for US citizens. Are you a US citizen? I cannot tell.”

    Asian Americans who were exposed to this race-based presumption of “not belonging” were more likely to identify strongly as a Democrat. They were also more likely to view Republicans generally as close-minded and ignorant, less likely to represent people like them, and to have more negative feelings toward them.

    Our finding is remarkable given that the racial microaggression was mentioned only once, and was of the most benign nature. Our experiment confirms that Asian Americans associate feelings of social exclusion based on their ethnic background with the Republican Party.

    Social exclusion based on race is common

    When we examined the 2008 National Asian American Survey (NAAS), a nationally representative sample of over 5,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we found that self-reported racial discrimination, a proxy for feelings of social exclusion, was positively correlated with identification with the Democratic Party over the Republican Party.

    Analyzing the NAAS data, we find that racial discrimination is not rare. Nearly 40% of Asian Americans suffered at least one of the following forms of racial discrimination in their lifetime:

    being unfairly denied a job or fired
    being unfairly denied a promotion at work
    being unfairly treated by the police
    being unfairly prevented from renting or buying a home
    treated unfairly at a restaurant or other place of service
    being a victim of a hate crime.
    It is important to note that our findings do not mean that social exclusion is the only reason why Asian Americans are Democrats. However, they do provide some insight on why Asian Americans are leaning left today.

  7. llewelly says

    One problem I have with the whole concept of an “anonymous” group first announcing a doxxing operation, and then later carrying out, is the announcement sets the stage for anyone to pretend to be the “anonymous” group, and hoax a bunch of reporters. This seems to have happened a few times, and now it seems to have happened again, perhaps.

  8. rq says

    RACE MATTERS IN JURY SELECTION, pdf from the Northwestern University Law Review.

    A lot of things matter in jury selection, and often the biggest thing that matters is what a lawyer trying a case fears most—even if that fear is an issue of race or possible juror biases. Patrick Brayer’s essay, Hidden Racial Bias: Why We Need to Talk with Jurors About Ferguson,1illustrates the importance of confronting one’s fears even when it involves talking about a difficult subject with prospective jurors. In his essay, Brayer discusses the challenges of picking a jury less than ten miles away from Ferguson, Missouri, just days after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an
    unarmed 18-year-old African-American. Brayer confides in his readers his concern that potential jurors may have harbored biases that would work against their ability to decide the charges against his client fairly, but he had
    doubts about saying the word “Ferguson.”2 While Brayer did not see race as a major issue in the case, how the jury viewed law enforcement was an important concern in his client’s case.3 Brayer’s fear of discussing the jurors’ views about law enforcement is exactly why he needed to talk with jurors about Ferguson.

    Keep reading at the link.

    St. Louis names Maya Angelou’s birthplace a landmark, which is just kind of nice.

    A Ballerina’s Tale with Misty Copeland, with video.

    Iconic ballerina Misty Copeland made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer of the legendary American Ballet Theater.

    Join Misty Copeland and Nelson George, director of the new feature documentary A Ballerina’s Tale, and moderator Gayle King, for the incredible, behind-the-scenes story of how she overcame a tumultuous upbringing and near career-ending injuries to become one of the most revered dancers of her generation. More than just a ballet success story, Copeland’s journey is a hugely inspirational, universal tale of perseverance.

    Apparently she’s been told that she puts too much emphasis on being black. Huh.

    U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Racial Bias in Selecting Jurors

    Prosecutors used green highlighters to mark the names of black people on a list of potential jurors. Five black panelists qualified to serve were the first five on a government list of “definite NO’s.” And prospective black jurors were noted as “B#1, B#2, and B#3.”

    On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether those are signs that Georgia prosecutors impermissibly based their jury selection choices on race, ending up with an all-white jury in the murder trial of a black man.

    Not sure what that decision will mean, in the end. More at the link.

    Disturbing Halloween KKK ‘Prank’ Has Lahoma Residents Upset. They call it a ‘prank’, because it’s white people doing it.

    It was Cary Sharp wearing the white robe and hat last night.

    He is married to the Lahoma mayor Theresa Sharp.

    She was adamant she was nowhere near this party, away trick-or-treating with other family members.

    But there were a lot of people upset about what her husband did.

    Cary Sharp was caught on camera dressed like a member of the Ku Klux Klan at a Halloween party on a property in Lahoma.

    It was a bonfire and the photo shows torches and a cross but Cary Sharp and his friends insisted no cross was burned despite flames being visible behind it in the photo.

    I think wearing the white hood was quite enough.

    White supremacist conference proposes whites-only states: We’ll ‘give the blacks Manhattan’, because white people are idiots. Scary, frightening idiots with a whole lot of power.

  9. rq says

    Want to be surprised? Just KIDDING! Poll: On police conduct, whites and blacks have starkly different views.

    Ferguson in Focus, “How the tragedy of a police shooting became a national industry.” By the awesome Sarah Kendzior.

    For many, the first glimpse of Ferguson was a sign, handwritten on a torn piece of cardboard, held by a middle-aged black man in a tank top and jeans: “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” The photo was posted to an Instagram account, now deleted, and circulated throughout social media on the afternoon of August 9, 2014. The man was Louis Head, the stepfather of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old resident of Ferguson, Missouri, who was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson in broad daylight, his body left in the sun for four and a half hours.

    People sometimes say the story of Ferguson began with a body in the road. But Ferguson attracted attention not because of a body but a person, Michael Brown, and those who loved him—a community who took to the streets in anguish and grief. On a hot August day, Brown’s family, friends and neighbors surrounded the scene of what they deemed murder by cop. They refused to remain silent about Brown’s death, but at the same time were hesitant to speak out. Before Ferguson became a buzzword dropped by pundits and politicians, it was a tale told with reluctance. When the first reporter to hit the Ferguson scene, Brittany Noble of St. Louis television network KMOV, attempted to interview Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, McSpadden would only consent to a brief interview distributed on Instagram.

    “They’re not telling me anything,” she said of the police. “They haven’t told me anything. They wouldn’t even let me identify my son. The only way I knew it was my son was from people out here showing me his picture.”

    The lines being drawn were clear: the local black community was trustworthy, the rest—media, police, officials—were not. The mourners that assembled where Brown lay near his residence in the Canfield Green apartments saw not a body in a crime scene, but a teenage boy, cruelly executed by an officer with no respect for the law and no fear of repercussions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the largest paper in the city, immediately characterized the scene as “Fatal shooting by Ferguson police prompts mob reaction.” Outcry prompted the paper to change the headline from “mob” to “crowd,” but the narrative die had already been cast.

    To believe that Brown’s death was unjust was to believe his life mattered. Debate over that belief—later summarized as “Black Lives Matter,” a statement of dignity so basic that its ensuing controversy only speaks to its necessity–dominated the months to come, and persists to this day.

    Keep reading at the link. I’ve really missed her writing. “The “Ferguson” and #Ferguson of the public imagination are moving further from Ferguson, the place. Ferguson is what you want to see, when you want to see it.”

    Medical Examiner Releases Autopsy Report of Amonderez Green, the most recent police-involved fatality near Ferguson. That I know of.

    How a heroin epidemic among white Americans led to a softer war on drugs, but probably mostly as applied to white people, right?

    Public officials have by and large responded to the ongoing opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic with a softer approach than previous drug crises. Part of that is states trying to save money after decades of expensive tough-on-crime policies. But some critics have pointed to two very different factors: race and class.

    In light of that, the New York Times on Friday published a revealing story by Katharine Seelye about how race and class are driving a different reaction to the opioid epidemic compared with previous drug crises. Take, for instance, this quote from a police officer:

    So officers like Eric Adams, a white former undercover narcotics detective in Laconia, are finding new ways to respond. He is deployed full time now by the Police Department to reach out to people who have overdosed and help them get treatment.

    “The way I look at addiction now is completely different,” Mr. Adams said. “I can’t tell you what changed inside of me, but these are people and they have a purpose in life and we can’t as law enforcement look at them any other way. They are committing crimes to feed their addiction, plain and simple. They need help.”

    Adams can’t explain what changed inside of him. But it’s possible that race could have played a factor: Maybe Adams and other police officers are more likely to see a heroin addict as a victim simply because the addict is now more likely to be white and middle-class.

    More at the link. Why is it so hard to empathize with black victims of addiction? You tell me.

    What That Trayvon Martin Costume Says About Your Idea of a ‘Post-Racial’ America, in video.

  10. says

    Ed Brayton follows SCOTUS cases closely. I asked him his opinion of this case-he told me that the racial bias case is important and could potentially have strong ramifications, but he’s not confident SCOTUS will issue a good ruling here. :(

    CO man goes on murderous rampage after 911 dispatcher lectures panicked caller on open-carry law:

    Naomi Bettis called 911 Saturday after spotting her neighbor, who she recognized but did not know by name, walking outside his home with an AR-15 rifle, reported the Denver Post.

    “He did have a distraught look on his face,” Bettis said. “It looked like he had a rough couple days or so.”

    However, the 911 dispatcher declined to send police and reminded Bettis that Colorado allows gun owners to legally and publicly carry their firearms out in the open.

    Police eventually did respond — but not until 33-year-old Noah Harpham had already shot two women and a man with the rifle that had concerned his neighbor at least several minutes earlier.


    Dispatchers declined to respond to the report about Harpham, who was white, and reminded the caller, who is also white, that Colorado is an open carry state.

    However, dispatchers in Ohio sent police to two calls last year involving John Crawford, a black man, and Tamir Rice, a black boy, who were each shot and killed on sight by law enforcement officers — although they were each carrying toy weapons in an open carry state.

    Another black man, Darrien Hunt, was fatally shot by police who responded to a report of him carrying a sword — which turned out to be a replica — along a commercial boulevard.

    Notice the white privilege there?
    White guy with actual weapon=not a threat
    Black folks with fake weapons=deadly threats

    Hey y’all. There was a riot this weekend. Wait. Scratch that. It was a brawl. I keep forgetting white people don’t riot.

    3,000-5,000 people riot at UC Berkeley, incident is called a ‘brawl’:

    Over this past weekend, a riot involving 3,000 to 5,000 individuals near the University of California, Berkeley campus resulted in three arrests and one hospitalization.
    The extremely large altercation also resulted in property damage and is being considered a “fight,” despite an officer from the Berkeley Police Department saying there were “reports of guns and knives” being used during the brawl.
    Lt. Andrew Rateaver, an on-duty watch commander with the Berkeley Police Department, was quoted as saying he “wouldn’t go so far as to call it a riot.”

    According to ABC News, “Officers dispatched to the vicinity of Channing Way and Piedmont Avenue around 12:30 a.m. found an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people “milling about” the area – which is near numerous sororities and fraternities as well as the University of California, Berkeley campus.”

    On Monday, Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discussed the altercation involving thousands and how the incident is being spun to say those involved were fighting – not rioting.
    Martin told the NewsOne Now discussion panel, “It’s amazing how many media folks ignored this story.”

    “Please convince me that if three to five thousand Black folks lost their minds, there would not be wall-to-wall coverage,” said Martin.

    Sorry buddy, I can’t convince you of that. Because we know that every network would be showing images of that.

  11. rq says

    Greta Christina: The Brown Crayon: A Lesson In Racism, Literally Taught By a Teacher at School.

    Clinton Atlanta Rally Interrupted by Black Lives Matter Supporters Singing, ‘Hell You Talmbout’. She addressed them (which was nice) but had them escorted out (which was not).

    This homework assignment says a lot about how America treats its history of slavery – with a video on racism at the bottom.

    The answers, tweeted above by the student’s mother, are revealing. Where did your family immigrate from? Africa. When did they immigrate? Whenever the slave owners took them. Why did they immigrate? Because the white man wanted free labor. Who did they immigrate with? Other slaves. Did they know anybody here before they came? No, because they were stolen. What was life like when they first came here to live? Horrible. Do you still have family where they came from? I don’t know. Why is it important to know your family history? So that you know traditions and family values.

    It is perhaps the last question and answer that’s most revealing. The point of these assignments in school is to reflect on your family’s origin and what it means to you today. And for many kids, that means reflecting on European, Latin American, or even US roots that are easily traceable.

    “Her hesitation was in the way the assignment was worded. It suggested the students ‘go back as far as you can,’ but continually referred to ‘immigrants,'” the student’s mother said in an email. “That immediately made her think of relatives/ancestors that came to America from another country. And for us that would obviously be west Africa. Of course we know the history of how today’s African American came to be in America and I find it to be one of America’s dirty little secrets and this assignment is proof positive of that.”

    Something a bit different, yet so much the same: There is No “We”: V-Day, Indigenous Women and the Myth of Shared Gender Oppression

    On February 14, 2013, Eve Ensler and her organization V-Day hosted an event called One Billion Rising. It was slated as a global movement to end violence against women, with countries around the world participating in dance events to bring attention to what Ensler describes as shared gender oppression among women. The idea is that all women of all backgrounds around the world are subjected to sexualized violence, so we can all come together with common needs.

    Last year on the 14th, Ensler decided that One Billion Rising, Canada was going to spotlight Indigenous women. What she failed to recognize and acknowledge in her spotlighting efforts was that February 14th is already an important day on the calendar for Indigenous women across the country, and has been so for decades. This year will mark the 23rd annual Women’s Memorial March, which originated in Downtown Eastside in Vancouver and has since spread across the country. These events are specific and important because they were created in the context of structural and societal indifference towards Indigenous women, and in response to the widespread problem of their disappearances and murders.

    The actions made by V-Day on February 14, 2013 bulldozed and railroaded existing grassroots organizing by Indigenous women, and then attempted to silence Indigenous women for dissenting. This was not the first time that V-Day and Ensler were condemned by Indigenous women, and these actions are unfortunately emblematic of mainstream feminism and its anti-violence movement.

    Today, One Billion Rising is bigger and louder than ever, with thousands of events planned around the world. A short film about them premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Pop singer Pink recently led a dance in their support. In San Francisco, One Billion Rising events will feature famous performers, including a rapper from the Black Eyed Peas. Natalie Merchant is singing in NYC. V-Day has also partnered with SAFER Campus, called Campus Rising, to produce initiatives to influence campus assault policy and procedures. The organization also has massive support from law enforcement, prosecutors, and city officials in cities across the country, and even launched the U.S. Prisons Project.

    LOTS more at the link. Highly recommend.
    So let’s recognize the efforts of women of colour to tell their own stories, and highlight those, instead of inventing new events. Don’t overshadow those already overshadowed.

    And one more for intersectionality, The African-American Suffragists History Forgot and I’m going to quote from the end this time:

    Alas, while black women fought and fought hard, many of their Caucasian sisters remained locked in the racist conventions of the day. When the stunningly accomplished Ida B. Wells, who founded the Chicago-based Alpha Suffrage Club, arrived in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 1913 suffrage parade, organizers asked the black women if they would mind very much marching at the end of the demonstration.

    They messed with the wrong lady. In 1884, 71 years before Rosa Parks wouldn’t budge from that bus seat, a conductor on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad ordered Wells out of the first-class ladies car. She sued. This time around, she attempted to get the white Illinois delegation to disavow the parade’s enforced segregation; it refused. Wells in turn refused to take her place at the back of the line. Bystanders on that day, more than a century ago, would have seen her emerge from the crowd and take her place between two white delegates, striding into history.

    The article has several other (unheard) names of black women who fought for the right to vote – not just for themselves, but for all women. Their stories are probably worth a movie or two, as well.
    As Nannie Helen Burroughs said (from the article),

    “When the ballot is put into the hands of the American woman, the world is going to get a correct estimate of the Negro woman. It will find her a tower of strength of which poets have never sung, orators have never spoken, and scholars have never written.”

    Such a pity that they still aren’t heard nearly a loud as they should.

    And from Sweden, that haven of liberality and xenophobia: Racist murder sparks Sweden’s Black Lives Matter. Slightly different context, but the goal is the same: recognizing that Black Lives Matter.

  12. says

    More on that riot brawl at UC Berkeley-
    3 arrested, 1 hospitalized after fight near UC Berkeley:

    Three suspects were arrested and one man was taken to a hospital when police responded to a report of a fight in a crowded area near student housing in Berkeley early Sunday morning.

    Officers dispatched to the vicinity of Channing Way and Piedmont Avenue around 12:30 a.m. found an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people “milling about” the area – which is near numerous sororities and fraternities as well as the University of California, Berkeley campus

    Andrew Rateaver, an on-duty watch commander with the Berkeley Police Department, said officers received several reports of guns and knives being involved in the fight.

    One victim suffered moderate injuries and was transported to a hospital. Three suspects were arrested, according to Rateaver.

    Early reports described the incident as a riot, but Rateaver said it was mostly just a large group of students and other people out celebrating for Halloween.

    Oh, but if it were a bunch of black folks, they’d be “rioting”, not celebrating Halloween.


    Spirit Airlines accused of discrimination after 6 black passengers kicked off plane:

    According to CBS News Los Angeles, a flight attendant asked a couple to change seats because the airline had overbooked. Witnesses say the couple told the attendant that asking them to move was unfair because they’d done nothing wrong. The flight attendant reportedly called the police to have the couple escorted off the plane. When some passengers protested the couple’s treatment, the flight attendant asked police to remove them from the plane, too.

    “I’m really humiliated, just for the simple fact that you hear about this type of stuff happening in America, discrimination issues and stuff like that, but to actually experience it firsthand … ” passenger Alexandria Wright, who was escorted from the plane, told CBS News.

    Witnesses told the news station that passengers were removed from Flight 868, headed to Dallas, after a white flight attendant told police that the group was a threat.

    “It’s a business dispute,” LAX police spokesman Rob Pedregon told the New York Daily News. “It’s up to [Spirit] to define what is disruptive.”

    Spirit Airlines issued a statement to CBS News explaining why the additional passengers—not the original couple—were asked to leave the plane.

    “Four passengers became unruly and were causing trouble with other passengers,” the statement read, according to CBS News. “Flight crew asked them to stop. When they did not, law enforcement was called and they were removed from the flight.”

  13. rq says

    Police Release Dashcam Video After Professor Says She Was Stopped For “Walking While Black”. Move along, nothing to see here. It was all very professional.

    Stop Pretending the “Ferguson Effect” is Real

    This week, FBI Director James B. Comey became the latest public figure to claim that national scrutiny of police has contributed to a “spike” in violent crime in America. This nefarious theory, dubbed the “Ferguson Effect” has become a regular talking point on conservative media and has been endorsed by well-respected publications such as the New York Times. This theory, as many experts have noted, relies on assumptions and not facts. Three assumptions form the foundation of the “Ferguson Effect”:

    1. Police have become less aggressive post-Ferguson because they face increased scrutiny and don’t want to become the next “viral video”

    2. Violent crime has increased nationwide after Ferguson

    3. The increase in violent crime is due, at least in part, to this change in police behavior

    FBI Director Comey himself has conceded there is no evidence to support the “Ferguson Effect.”

    There is, however, evidence to debunk it.

    Debunkation follows at the link. Worth the read.

    Perfect 10 as Biles joins gymnastics greats – and you can imagine the backlash she has been getting for showing such Black Excellence. No, really. Some people just can’t be happy for her.

    One more name for the lists: Did New York police lie about the death of Mohamed Bah?

    It was early afternoon when Hawa Bah summoned the ambulance. She had arrived the previous day from Guinea on her annual visit to see her son, Mohamed Bah, the favorite of her four children. She found him upset and depressed, but he refused to go to the hospital. So she called 911.

    Instead of paramedics, however, police in tactical gear swarmed the red-brick Harlem building where Mohamed Bah lived in apartment 5D. Once inside, they opened fire. When Mohamed was finally loaded into an ambulance that day in September 2012, he was dying from eight gunshot wounds, including one to the head.

    The three officers involved in the shooting were quickly cleared by a Manhattan grand jury. But Hawa Bah is now is urging authorities to reopen the investigation, joining a flood of families who view this year’s debate over police use of deadly force as an opportunity to demand justice for past shootings.

    Buoyed in part by the Black Lives Matter movement, discouraged families that had put down their protest signs are picking them up again, while others are clamoring for vindication from the Justice Department, civil rights lawyers and police reform advocates say.

    “We now know that when authorities want to be transparent and efficient with information, they can,” said Daryl D. Parks, a civil rights lawyer who represents relatives of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., and Corey Jones, who was killed by police in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “Most of the families now feel a little bit better, in that justice seems to be a little bit better had.”

    I hope there is lots of justice in the future for families such as these.

    TW for discussion of suicide. ‘Being Mary Jane’ gracefully tackles a touchy subject black people often avoid

    Last week, TV show creator Mara Brock Akil told The New York Times that she aims to portray black women who are “black on purpose.” Previously, she did so with her “highly underrated” (to quote Roxanne Gay in Bad Feminist) now defunct sitcom Girlfriends, which aired from 2000 until 2008 and tackled the dating lives and friendships of four black women. Currently, she’s doing so with Being Mary Jane, which stars Gabrielle Union as a single, successful, primetime news host named Mary Jane Paul, who deals with the complexities of seemingly having it all—except a healthy relationship. In the most recent episode of the show, Brock Akil also tackled something a little bit deeper, an issue rarely portrayed with normalcy and depth on television, and still somewhat touchy subject for the black community: Mental health and suicide.

  14. says

    Google is giving $2.35 million in grants to groups fighting racism:

    Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, is giving millions to groups in the Bay Area fighting systemic racism. According to USA Today, the company has set aside $2.35 million to support #BlackLivesMatter activism as well as groups addressing income inequality, the criminal justice system, and other issues. The move represents a particular outsized statement from the tech giant, especially when tech companies continue to face scrutiny concerning the presence of women and people of color in their ranks.

    An official announcement will reportedly take place tonight at San Francisco’s famous Castro Theatre during a screening of 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, a documentary about the shooting death of Jordan Davis, an unarmed black 17-year-old shot outside of a Florida gas station in 2012. The decision to hold the announcement there is clearly meant to help put a fine point on Google’s desire to help the disenfranchised in the city. “We hope to build on this work and contribute to this movement for racial justice,” Justin Steele, Google.org’s lead in the Bay, told the paper.

    Note the bolding. I don’t know how much the BLM group will get, but the fact that a major corporations is doing this is important. I hope this means we’ll see more from other companies.

  15. says

    Douchebag: The white racial slur we’ve all been waiting for:
    Long read (and from last year), but highly interesting.

    I am a white, middle class male professor at a big, public university, and every year I get up in front of a hundred and fifty to two hundred undergraduates in a class on the history of race in America and I ask them to shout white racial slurs at me.
    The results are usually disappointing.
    First of all, everyone knows that saying anything overtly racist in front of strangers is totally taboo. So the inhibitions to participation in this insane activity are already pretty great. Even so, most of these kids are not new to conversations about race; the majority of them are students of color, including loads of junior college transfers, student parents, vets, and a smattering of white kids, mostly freshmen. Of course some are just scared of speaking in front of so many people, no matter what the topic.

    So I cajole a few of them into “Cracker” and “Red Neck.” We can usually get to “Hillbilly” or “Trailer Trash” or “White Trash,” possibly even “Peckerwood,” before folks recognize the “Cletus the slack-jawed yokel” pattern of class discrimination here. And being that we are at a top ranked west coast university, not only do we all share basic middle class aspirations, but we can feel pretty safe in the fact that there are no “Red Necks” here to insult.
    The 60s era black nationalist terms come out next, usually from one of the all too few black male students in the room, sometime from a student athlete. “Honky!” This gets a chuckle from the class, after all, it is a funny word to say out loud. “Whitey” and its weak hip hop variant “Wigger” are voiced to more giggles. The black power aggression of “look out whitey” are only a memory of a failed black militancy that has lost its pinch.
    Hispanic students find their way to “Gringo,” just as a student perhaps from Atlanta or Houston offers “Yankee.” Still other students give their own regional variant insult for white imperialists and tourists — such as “Haole.” From this we learn that race is defined by place, and that where you are white matters.
    It is either a sign of their ongoing potency or proof of the decline in the category of ethnicity, but the old racial slurs for Italian, Irish, Greek, Jewish, Catholic, German, Polish, etc., never get heard. Is this silence because these groups are or are not white? Maybe these kids have never heard someone use the word “dago” before, apart from that Jewish guy in The Godfather?

    The point of this sanctioned spewing of hate speech is that none of these words can hurt me. Because I am an individual. I can choose to not be offended, not to be affiliated with any group and rest assured in my sense of self.
    White racial slurs are not common in our colorblind age because they don’t work on people who possess white privilege. When it does work, like “Red Neck” or “Cracker,” it has the power to engage a class politics that draws together people of color and urban, middle class whites (otherwise known as the Democratic party).

    White privilege is the right of whites, and only whites, to be judged as individuals, to be treated as a unique self, possessed of all the rights and protections of citizenship. I am not a race, I am the unmarked subject. I am simply man, whereas you might be a black man, an asian woman, a disabled native man, a homosexual latina woman, and on and on the qualifiers of identification go. With each keyword added, so too does the burden of representation grow.
    Sometimes the burden of representation is proudly shouldered, even celebrated. But more often this burden of representation becomes a dangerous, racist weight, crushing and unbearable. Michael Brown was killed in part because of this burden (the stereotype of black male criminality), and his body continues to carry this weight as the protests mount (the martyred symbol that black lives matter).
    But white men are just people. Normal. Basic Humanity. We carry the absent mark which grants us the invisible power of white privilege. Everyone else gets some form of discrimination.


    “What about douchebag?” I asked the students, experimentally.
    “Have any of you ever called some one black or brown or Asian a douchebag?” A silence descended on the lecture hall as wheels began to spin. “How ‘bout women or gay folks?” And with each refining question — “Ever call a poor person a douchebag?” — their widening eyes became knowing nods, nods became spoken agreement, and the scattered “yes” gathered into a room of collectively blown minds. Including mine. Yes, it turns out, only rich, white heterosexist men are douchebags.
    We had just contradicted the point of the racial slurs discussion, but that was lost in the rush of discovery. Here, hiding in plain view, was a viable white male racial slur. Because while “cracker” and “honky” don’t hurt me, I would totally be offended if someone called me a douchebag. And I would need some sort of definition against which to launch my personal defense.
    So why had none of us recognized this before? Why did this slur actually work?

    The douchebag is, quite literally, a useless sexist tool. And that is why it makes for such an attractive, even overused insult. But what does the human douchebag really look like? Why do we call him that and what do we hate about the douchebag?
    The douchebag is someone — overwhelmingly white, rich, heterosexual males — who insists upon, nay, demand their white male privilege in every possible set and setting.
    The douchebag is equally douchey (that’s the adjectival version of the term) in public as in private. He is a douchebag waiting in line for coffee as well as in the bedroom. This definition marks him, like the atavistic, dusty rubber douchebags of our grandmothers’ generation, as a useless, sexist tool. Armed with this refined definition, I believe the term “douchebag” is the white racial slur we have all been waiting for. We have only to realize this. White privilege itself has blinded us to the true nature of the douchebag’s identity. But it’s been there all along.

    Read the rest. It’s entertaining.

  16. Saad says

    Tony, #20

    Very interesting. I never looked at the word that way before.


    Elementary schools across Texas punish black children more

    An analysis of discipline in elementary schools across Texas shows that black students, especially boys, are suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates and are labeled as troublemakers as early as pre-kindergarten.

    The study by Texas Appleseed focuses on the second-most populous state, but it mirrors school discipline patterns nationwide. It also comes as concern grows about suspensions, which researchers have linked to greater risks of academic failure, dropping out of high school and involvement in the juvenile justice system.

    “You have hundreds of thousands of removals per year of very, very, young students, and think about the kids who are actually impacted by that,” said Morgan Craven, director of nonprofit Texas Appleseed’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project. “Particularly when you think some students are feeling these punishments at unequal rates and certain students are targeted by this system, there is a really compelling reason to change what we’re doing.”

  17. says

    Human zoos: For centuries, Indigenous peoples were displayed as novelties:

    ICTMN: Indigenous people from all over the world were brought to the United States and Europe and displayed at fairs and circuses during the 1800s and 1900s. Why were these displays so popular?
    Egan: Most historians who study these exhibitions agree they were a way of reinforcing or illustrating the racist notions of white supremacy that seemed to be built into the logic of empire and colonialism. Most nations took great care to try and mold the people they put on display into images that justified their own colonial power. In some cases this meant trying to create “savages.” In other cases, they tried to use these displays of human beings to illustrate how the colonial presence was “civilizing” people. These exhibits also played into other forms of popular entertainment. They were a mix of imperial ambition and circus.

    You studied a group of indigenous Aymara Bolivians who were brought to New York destined for the Chicago fair, but got stranded in New York. What happened?
    These men were brought to the U.S. to be displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, but they never made it to Chicago. They attempted to make a living putting on their own musical shows in New York and Philadelphia, but everywhere they went they were basically told that they weren’t exotic enough. After an unsuccessful tour with a circus through Philadelphia, the group was abandoned by their managers and José Santos Mamani, the member of the group dubbed the “giant” by the press, died shortly after they walked back to New York City. The rest of the group eventually found work in fairs and on Coney Island, but could only find work making feather headdresses and performing supposed North American Native American dances for a New York audience. They struggled to make it back to Bolivia, and I’ve only been able to trace them as far as Panama on their return journey.

    How was what Mamani and his companions went through similar to the experience of other “imported” indigenous people who came to the United States?
    Their story definitely sounds exceptional, but what’s really shocking about the history of these “human zoos” is that it isn’t. One study I read estimated that more than 25,000 indigenous people were brought to fairs around the world between 1880 and 1930. These people struggled under harsh and changing conditions. Many of them had to change their hair, their clothes, their entire appearance to fit the expectations of the organizers and the audiences they were supposed to perform for. Some people were the targets of racist violence while they were on display, while others experienced more subtle forms of violence and were used as subjects of scientific study on racial differences during the exhibition. And, like Mamani, many people died during these exhibitions.

    Janelle Monae adds actress to her resume with first big screen role.

    The film is an adaptation of the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell McCraney and is being backed by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment company and A24. “Moonlight” follows a young man who comes of age during the “War on Drugs” era in Miami. There is no word yet on the role Monáe will play.
    Monáe joins the cast alongside actress Naomie Harris, who recently starred in “Southpaw” with Jake Gyllenhaal and 50 Cent.

    “Moonlight” will hit theaters fall 2016.

    AL cop may lose medal earned for shooting suspect after video shows he was lying about man’s gun:

    The Birmingham Police Department temporarily rescinded the Combat Cross Medal late Tuesday awarded to Aguirre in May after AL.com published a dashboard camera video obtained from a confidential source.

    Aguirre was awarded the medal after shooting Aubrey Williams during an April 24, 2014, robbery investigation.

    He and Officer Richard Haluska had been looking for suspects when they confronted Williams and Devon Brown, and police later said that Aguirre used a Taser on Brown after the suspect struggled with the second officer.

    Aguirre told investigators that Williams then pointed a gun at him and Haluska and refused to drop the weapon.

    The officer then shot Williams twice, but the suspect survived and now faces two charges of attempted murder.

    But the suspect’s attorney said the video contradicts Aguirre’s account.

    The video shows Haluska handcuffing one suspect while Aguirre drops a Taser from his left hand and approach Williams — who is on his hands and knees.

    Aguirre is holding a gun in his right hand, and he fires twice as he rolls Williams over in an apparent attempt to search him.

    The officer kicks away a sack and gun from underneath Williams — but the suspect never holds the gun during the video, which begins just a couple of seconds before the shooting.

    “This video provides evidence that Police Officer Daniel Aguirre shot Aubrey Williams twice despite the fact that Williams was on his hands and knees and not in a position to fire a weapon,” said activist Frank James Matthews III, head of the Outcast Voters League. “It is clear that the Birmingham Police Department attempted to prevent the release of this footage, and it seems that Officer Aguirre’s actions were rewarded based on outright lies.”

    The civil rights group is asking Birmingham police to rescind the medal awarded to Aguirre after the shooting.

    It’s not clear whether the the Awards Committee or police investigators had seen the dashcam video before it was published.

    He needs to lose more than a damn medal.

  18. says

    Saad @21:
    I’m not sold on it being a slur for white people (I think it can and should apply to anyone who is spouts harmful bullshit or is actively a danger to others…especially men who spew hateful shit or are a danger to women) but it was still interesting to read.

  19. Saad says

    Tony, #23

    Yeah, the image it conjures up for me is of a jerk who is white, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a racial slur. A racial slur would have to have a historical or on-going connection to oppression by another group (which isn’t true of American white people). That’s what sets a racial slur apart from mere insults.

  20. rq says

    Remember this guy? Jury Selected For Cop Who Allegedly Raped 13 Black Women; Twitter Questions Lack of Media Coverage. Funnily enough, it’ll be ana ll-white jury, too!

    Daniel Holtzclaw, 28, was a Oklahoma City police officer who allegedly sexually assaulted 13 women between December 2013 and June 2014 while on duty. All of the victims were Black women. Holtzclaw faces 36 counts of rape, sexual battery and other charges that carry a possible sentence of life in prison.

    Holtzclaw, 28, was arrested in August 2014 after an investigation uncovered similarities to unsolved assault reports. Detectives were able to identify six more women who said they’d been assaulted, raped, or forced to expose themselves to Holtzclaw.

    A recent report by the Associated Press has found at least 1,000 officers from 2009-2014, had been decertified for sexual assault and acts of sexual misconduct.

    Holtzclaw faces 36 charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

    Eight white men and four white women will serve on the jury for Daniel Holtzclaw. One male and one female have been selected as alternates. Prosecutors said they plan to call about 80 witnesses during the trial, which is expected to last for most of November.

    The twitter reactions mentioned in the title follow at the link.

    Why the US needs black lawyers even more than it needs black police , a asomewhat related topic from the Guardian.

    In response to last year’s killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, La June Montgomery Tabron, who heads WK Kellogg Foundation, one of the US’s largest philanthropies, issued a statement in which she astutely noted that deaths like Brown’s “demonstrate that the law enforcement and justice systems in our nation are broken”.

    Yet as the tally of killings continues to climb, protests have mainly focused on police with an often-cited criticism: the force is too white.

    Well, the legal profession is even whiter, and the job much more subjective.

    Consider the role of prosecutors, who, without objective criteria, decide what the charges will be. They alone decide whether to offer a plea bargain or proceed to trial.

    They are usually allowed to exercise this power with impunity and outside of public view, but in the last year, the curtain has been pulled back.

    In a rash of high-profile police killings of unarmed black males – John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Walter Scott – white prosecutors appeared reluctant to vigorously pursue indictments, even when facts were highly disputed. Reports by Talking Points Memo, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post conclude that almost none of the police officers who kill roughly 1,000 people each year are ever charged.

    By contrast, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby joins a strong block of prosecutors, including the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, and her predecessor Eric Holder, who are able to respect and support law enforcement without ignoring the complexities of police power. All of them happen to be African American.

    The article continues at the link.

    Diversity is for white people: The big lie behind a well-intended word. The intro-subtitle kind of says it all:

    “Diversity” sounds polite and hopeful. It’s how we talk when we can’t talk about race, or when whites get nervous

    Later in the article:

    Here’s what I’ve learned: diversity is how we talk about race when we can’t talk about race. It has become a stand-in when open discussion of race is too controversial or — let’s be frank — when white people find the topic of race uncomfortable. Diversity seems polite, positive, hopeful. Who is willing to say they don’t value diversity? One national survey found that more than 90 percent of respondents said they valued diversity in their communities and friendships.

    Define ‘diversity’, though – does it mean I have some vegetarian friends, some vegan friends and some meat-eating friends (who happen to be all white)? Are my friends both men and women, with a token gay person in there too? It seems that ‘diversity’ is most difficult to talk about when it is, in fact, about race.

    For some reading pleasure about John Coltrane, A Love Supreme: A Visit to Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church.

    Oh! Here’s a bit more on diversity: Thought on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult. I’m not sure where to find Part 1, but either way, it’s probably worth the search.

    BuzzFeed on Holtzclaw (TW for rape, just in case). Cop Who Allegedly Abused Black Women Faces All-White Jury.

  21. rq says

    Study: Half of black millennials know victim of police violence. Is this a surprising find?

    Years before the high-profile deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, more than half of African-American millennials indicated they, or someone they knew, had been victimized by violence or harassment from law enforcement, a new report says.

    The information, from the “Black Millennials in America” report issued by the Black Youth Project at the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, reflects starkly different attitudes among black, Latino, Asian and white millennials when it comes to policing, guns and the legal system in the United States. Researchers, who have surveyed millennials several times during the past decade, point out that the disparities existed well before the “Black Lives Matter” movement began.

    In the 2009 Mobilization and Change Survey, 54.4 percent of black millennials answered yes to the question “Have you or anyone you know experienced harassment or violence at the hands of the police?” Almost one-third of whites, 1 in 4 Latinos and 28 percent of Asian-Americans surveyed said yes to the same question.

    More at the link.

    This Voter Measure Wasn’t Just About School Funding. It Was About Segregation and Racism in a White, Wealthy Dallas Enclave. Do tell:

    According to anonymous emails that circulated in advance of the election, if the bond passed and the schools increased in size, Section 8 housing could spring up in the sliver of Dallas that’s part of the Highland Park Independent School District. And if that happens (spoiler alert: it won’t), who even knows what type of riffraff will crawl into the high-performing, affluent, and overwhelmingly white, schools: “non-English-speaking” students from all over Latin America, Middle Eastern refugees, assorted other low-income scum. As one of the emails put it, “Diversity is an innocuous sounding method of diluting excellence.”

    “What has captured people’s attention is that the Highland Park School District overlays Highland Park,” Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, told me, “but it extends just a little bit into Dallas, so the scare tactic is that in that little bit of Dallas, there will be low-income apartments with all kinds of people we don’t know, including potentially Syrian jihadis, people crawling out of Mexico across the border all the way to Dallas with their automatic weapons slung over their shoulders, going into those apartments and sending their kids into these schools. This is ludicrous on its face, but in a campaign it raises all sorts of concerns about the dilution of the Highland Park School District.”

    To understand the context of this bond election requires some background on Highland Park and University Park (where SMU and the George W. Bush Library are located), the two adjacent minicities within Dallas that are collectively known as the Park Cities. The Park Cities are two things above all else: rich and white. Really, really white: As of the last census, Highland Park, the more exclusive of the Park Cities, was 94 percent white and .5 percent black. The city surrounding it, meanwhile, is 42 percent Hispanic and 25 percent black. As for Highland Park, well, it welcomed its first black homeowner in 2003. (It is worth clicking on this link just for the incredible lede from one local article marking the milestone: “Guess who’s coming to dinner … and staying for a while?”)

    Sounds like one charming community.

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office Report Regarding the Review into the Shooting Death of Kajieme Powell, pdf. I have not had a chance to read it yet.

    More on racism as it manifests in educational facilities, #MizzouHungerStrike is what happens when universities disregard black lives

    So what sparks this level of protest, where a student is willing to sacrifice his life?

    Butler states in the letter above:

    “…students are not able to achieve their full academic potential because of the inequalities and obstacles they face. In each of these scenarios, Mr. Wolfe had ample opportunity to create policies and reform that could shift the culture of Mizzou in a positive direction but in each scenario he failed to do so.”

    Many incidents are outlined in his letter, including black students being called racial slurs on campus (including the student-body president and the Legion of Black Collegians Royalty Court members during homecoming), the university cancelling Planned Parenthood contracts, graduate student health insurance subsidies being removed earlier this semester, and even an incident last week that involved a swastika drawn with human feces found in a residence hall on campus.

    But this isn’t Butler’s first protest by any means. Just last month he and the others involved in the student group Concerned Student 1950 (1950 was the year MU admitted its first black student) protested during the annual homecoming parade by standing in front of President Tim Wolfe’s car, chanting, sharing history about the university’s treatment of black people and making speeches to the crowd. Although there were some supporters in the parade crowd, other onlookers instead shouted the University’s “MIZ-ZOU” chant to drown out the protest group.


    On Monday evening, Tim Wolfe released the following statement by email, essentially defending himself and saying he hopes that Butler will protest in a different manner:

    “It is extremely concerning when any of our students puts their health and safety in harm’s way. I sincerely hope that Mr. Butler will consider a different method of advocating for this cause. I respect his right to protest and admire the courage it takes to speak up.

    “I believe that the best course of action is an ongoing dialogue about the racial climate on our four UM System campuses. Immediately after my initial meeting with the ConcernedStudent1950 group on October 26th, I invited Jonathan to meet again so we can build a deeper relationship and open a frank conversation about the group’s frustrations and experiences. I remain hopeful that they will accept my invitation.

    “This meeting with the ConcernedStudent1950 group is one example of our engagement at the UM System level on this complex, societal issue. I have met with our chancellors, campus diversity officers, students and faculty about the scope of the problem, so that collectively we may address these issues that are pervasive and systemic in our society. We must always continue our efforts to affect change at our UM System campuses.”

    Butler plans to continue going to class, work and even hosting study halls focusing on systems of oppression (racism, sexism, etc.) this week during his hunger strike. Students and faculty alike are standing in solidarity with him. This morning, Butler tweeted his intentions to remain committed to his hunger strike until Wolfe is removed.

    Breaking News: Police Officers Who Killed Kajieme Powell Won’t Face Charges. I guess that’s the summary of that.

  22. rq says

    From a cultural slant, 6 Ways You’re Taught to Appropriate (Not Appreciate) Other Cultures

    Maybe you think you couldn’t possibly hurt anyone just by styling your hair a certain way. Maybe you think you’re honoring another group by wearing their clothing. Maybe you think everyone should share their cultures, because that’s how we learn about each other and grow as people.

    I don’t believe any of these ideas justify cultural appropriation – but I do understand where they come from.

    It’s easy to confuse appropriation and appreciation, because in the United States, we’re all taught some disturbing lessons that can make you think cultural appropriation is okay.

    Cultural appropriation happens in the context of white supremacy. Whiteness is the dominant culture in the US, and through your lessons about other cultures and your own, whiteness is normalized.

    Through lessons biased in favor of whiteness, all of us (but especially white Americans) are encouraged to appropriate other cultures – not appreciate them.

    Stealing from oppressed groups has become normalized, so you think that’s how to appreciate another culture or harmlessly express yourself. And the pain that appropriation causes has been invisibilized, so you don’t even notice your negative impact.

    I can speak to the experience of having cultural appropriation harm me. And I can tell you that it’s even harder to heal when the people get defensive and refuse to consider that they’re doing anything but “appreciating” my culture.

    But you don’t have to just take my word for it.

    Here are some of the ways you’ve been taught to appropriate cultures – and how you can shift your thinking to stop causing harm.

    The six ways follow at the link, from being taught white-washed history to seeing people as stereotypes to intent mattering more than impact.

    And connecting poverty (oh, but read on!) with crime. Why It’s Hard to Be a Poor Boy With Richer Neighbors

    A new study from Corina Graif, a sociologist at Penn State University, found that low-income teenage boys living in “extremely poor” neighborhoods — those in the bottom 5 percent for income — were actually more likely to get into trouble if their neighborhoods were surrounded by more affluent ones.

    Graif’s paper, published in August in the journal Criminology, used a novel strategy to study the effect of geography on kids and crime. Instead of looking only at a teenager’s own census tract, an area that contains about 4,000 residents, Graif also considered the “extended neighborhood” — one’s own census tract plus the four that surround it. In an urban area, census tracts are geographically small; New York City, for example, contains over 2,000 tracts.

    Poor girls who lived in extremely poor census tracts, but whose extended neighborhoods included predominantly middle-class tracts, had fewer delinquent friends and believed more strongly in their ability to attend college and get a good job.

    The opposite was true for boys.

    When boys in extremely poor census tracts lived near middle class tracts, they fared worse by many measures. In interviews, they reported having more drug-using friends and more psychological distress than poor boys in two other control groups: those who lived in extremely poor tracts surrounded by other extremely poor tracts, and those who lived in middle class census tracts surrounded by other middle class census tracts.

    The poor boys in the mixed extended neighborhoods were also more likely to have witnessed gang behavior, stabbings, and shootings. Their lack of hope in the future and association with delinquent peers caused them to have more contact with police, regardless of the underlying crime rates in the neighborhoods where they lived.

    The study was based on interviews with nearly 1,600 poor teenagers who lived in the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York metro areas between 1994 and 2002. Sixty-three percent were black. The subjects’ families were participants in a federally financed experiment called Moving to Opportunity, which studied the impact of using housing vouchers to move poor families to middle-class neighborhoods. The initial results from Moving to Opportunity were disappointing: Poor boys who moved remained poor into adulthood and were more likely to use drugs and get arrested than those who stayed in poor neighborhoods.

    But over the past year, a group of scholars began to reassess the program. Harvard economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence Katz have found that moving from poor to middle-class neighborhoods can help children earn more money as adults, but only if the move happens before the child is 13 years old. By examining extended neighborhoods, Graif’s research sheds light on why older kids struggled. “It could be that they started in a world where everybody around them was the same, and when they moved to this mixed environment, they saw all the opportunities that other kids had but they didn’t,” she said. “They felt excluded, and that created a sense of injustice.”

    Lots more at the link.

  23. rq says

    Lawsuit Accuses Missouri City of Fining Homeowners to Raise Revenue. Guess which homeowners are disproportionately affected? If it’s not drivers then it’s homeowners.

    On Wednesday, lawyers from the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest firm based in Arlington, Va., filed a civil rights complaint against Pagedale, which like Ferguson is in north St. Louis County. The complaint, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, accuses the city of violating due process and excess-fines protections in the Constitution by turning its code enforcement and municipal court into “revenue-generating machines” to go after residents.

    The complaint, which seeks class-action status, calls for an injunction against the city’s reliance on such fines.

    “We hope that if the court agrees with us, the residents of Pagedale will no longer be treated as walking cash machines by their city government and that the city will limit its regulatory authority to things that actually affect health or safety,” said William R. Maurer, the managing attorney of the Institute for Justice’s office in Washington State. The three named plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Ms. Whitner and her partner, Vincent Blount.

    Sam Alton, the city attorney for Pagedale, said the city strongly disagreed with any assertion that it had pursued housing violations to make money. The portion of revenue the city derives from such tickets is small, Mr. Alton said, adding: “It’s got nothing to do with driving up revenue. And it’s got everything to do with making the properties code compliant and safe.”

    After the Justice Department’s report, which asserted that Ferguson was using law enforcement to generate revenue for its budget, Missouri lawmakers enacted legislation that lowered a cap on how much of a city’s revenues may come from traffic fines; in St. Louis County, cities were limited to 12.5 percent of their revenues.

    But that law addresses only traffic violations, and some here worry that St. Louis County municipalities are turning to nontraffic fees and fines to make up the lost revenue. In the case of Pagedale, Mr. Maurer said he believed the city had begun doing that years ago when an earlier limit on traffic revenues was imposed. In the mid-1990s, the traffic-fine cap had been 45 percent until legislation began gradually reducing it.

    “I think it’s appropriate for policy makers to be mindful that there may be another wave of profiteering that manifests itself in a different form, and continues to create a cycle of poverty,” Eric Schmitt, a Republican state senator who had pressed for the tougher limits on traffic fines, said in an interview. “If we see that, all options are on the table.”

    Racial Slurs Are Woven Deep Into The American Landscape, a map of USAmerica.

    In the wake of a nationwide backlash against Confederate symbols and President Barack Obama’s decision to restore the Native American name of the nation’s highest mountain, Vocativ used our technology to cross-reference every derogatory term listed in The Racial Slur Database with the 2.2 million official names of locations listed in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). Vocativ tallied and mapped hundreds of places with names that evoke racial oppression and a legacy of hatred.

    Places with derogatory names exist in every state, though the largest clusters are in the West and the South. California has at least 159 place names that are offensive to Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese people and Italians. The thickest and most diverse cluster of racist place names is in Arizona.

    Some specifics at the link, it goes into derogatory place names by category. Find the closest one near you!
    There are probably a number in Canada, too (most recent obvious example I can think of is N*gg*r Falls in Quebec). Someone should map that.

    Yale Investigates Claims Of ‘White Girls Only’ Fraternity Party. Not a story that shines a particularly positive light on frat culture (I will not call it Greek culture – it’s not quite appropriation, but far too confusing).

    Zendaya, Malia Obama, Amandla Stenberg Named as ‘TIME’ Magazine’s Most Influential Teens. Now THIS I like.

    Zendaya, Malia Obama and Amandla Stenberg were all named on TIME magazine’s annual 30 Most Influential Teens list. Jaden Smith and “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” mastermind Silentó also scored a nod.

    With her wise-beyond-her-years wisdom, it’s easy to see why Zendaya landed a spot on the list. The 19-year-old Nickelodeon star has remained composed in the public eye (remember how well she handled Giuliana Rancic who said that her locs looked like they smelled like “patchouli and weed”?) and constantly emits body positivity.

    “I keep it real,” the actress and singer told TIME. “I do what Zendaya does. I do what Zendaya feels like doing.”

    Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg, 17, has emerged as a voice for all young Black women. She made headlines earlier this year when her video expelling cultural appropriation in pop culture went viral.

    Calling her a “cultural icon,” First Daughter Malia Obama was selected for her increasing status and influence. TIME editors pointed out that the world is eagerly awaiting her college decision, and after a photo of her wearing a Pro Era shirt went viral, traffic to Joey Bada$$’s Wikipedia page spiked to record levels.

    I hope they keep being recognized for their smarts and social justice and activism. The world is theirs.

    Denver police union files lawsuit over body camera program

    The Denver Police Protective Association said in a news release it does not oppose officers wearing body cameras. But the union said the policy that was put in place in September is ill-conceived, and the union’s lawsuit questions multiple aspects of the program, including how it will affect officers’ workloads when wearing them on off-duty security jobs.

    “An ill-conceived body camera program breeds distrust amongst community members and the officers expected to operate this important policing tool,” the news release said. “Unfortunately, an ill-conceived body camera program is exactly what we face in the City of Denver.”

    They might have a point (uploading from home, seriously?), but I can’t help thinking that they’re simply going for the few actual errors to avoid implementation. I might be too uncharitable in that opinion, though, who knows.

  24. rq says

    Oh right, and this happened: A partial list of pundits, politicians and media outlets who used Joseph Gliniewicz’s death to push the ‘war on cops’ narrative, TW suicide.

    We now know that Fox Lake, Illinois police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz killed himself in what local officials are calling a “carefully staged suicide,” likely to cover up the fact that he had been embezzling public funds for years. But in the days following Gliniewicz’s death, pundits, new outlets, and advocates quickly lumped his death in with that of Houston Dep. Darren Goforth to blame police critics, Black Lives Matter, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, and just about anyone else who was worried about police brutality for fostering and encouraging a “war on cops.”

    We now know that not only was Gliniewicz’s death a suicide, but the man who killed Goforth, Shannon J. Miles, has a history of mentally illness, and once nearly killed a man over an argument over what TV show to watch, but no connection to Black Lives Matter or any other anti-police brutality activist group.

    Yep, his death was connected to BLM via the flimsiest of threads, because it was probably just convenient rather than face up to the fact that police officers are under a lot of strain and pressure and forced into a high-stress mentality pretty much 24/7. Not to mention that non-existent war on cops. Not making that up:

    Experts caution that the number of police killed on duty this year is not out of the ordinary, and the reasons behind the deaths are a complicated mix of factors that go well beyond the current climate.

    But, heightened attention given to police deaths, and a perception amongst police of growing hostility towards them, is taking a psychological toll on officers, law enforcement leaders and police advocates say.

    “We’re telling our people from the time you put that uniform on to the time you walk in your house your head needs to be on a swivel and there is no downtime anymore, no getting lunch and relaxing for a few minutes,” said Richard Beary, chief of the University of Central Florida Police, who also serves as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

  25. says

    I wanted to comment on something I read that annoyed the fuck out of me from rq’s link to the Vocativ story about racist place names in the U.S. :

    To get an idea of what an offensive landscape looks like, Vocativ took a road trip through Arizona, the most toponomically racist region in America. For historical context on each location, we met with Arizona’s official state historian, Marshall Trimble.

    “Things that were more acceptable before aren’t anymore. What’s politically correct—that all really started growing in the ’70s or ’80s and you wonder sometimes where it’s going to stop,” Trimble said, before referencing a concept coined by historian William Manchester. “He called it ‘generational chauvinism’, where each generation likes to judge and condemn the past historical people and events by the standards or by the wants and needs today, and they reinterpret history.”

    As I said on Facebook:
    It is not “generational chauvinism you ignorant fool! These locations have their names because WHITE people were in charge of naming them. Do you honestly think that an Indigenous woman would have named a town ‘Squaw’? Do you think a black person would have named a city “N*ggertown”? Do you think a Chinese-American would have named some place “Chinaman”? No, they most likely would not have. White people did these things bc they were not concerned with the opinions of people of other races/ethnicities.
    The comment from Trimble is dismissive of all the people over the centuries who I’m sure took issue with the naming of places, but who were not allowed to have a voice in the naming of things. This isn’t just a matter of people today judging the actions of people in the past. It’s not reinterpreting history to recognize that these words have a long history of offending people. But it must be nice to be able to sit back in your fucking ivory tower and look down on all the PC warriors with you nose to the sky and your disdain spewing from your nose.
    Fucking ignorant tool!
    Carlotta Ferlito sparks fury with racist jibe at new world champion Simone Biles:

    An Italian gymnast has provoked outrage after claiming the sport’s first black world champion only won because of her skin colour.
    American Simone Biles, 16, made gymnastic history when she became the new all-round world champion on Friday.
    But moments after Carlotta Ferlito finished fifth, she told a journalist that she had joked with teammate Vanessa Ferrari, who come fourth, that they should paint themselves black next time to stand a chance of winning.
    The 18-year-old told the interviewer: ‘I told Vanny (Ferrari) that next time we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too.’

    She apologized, but gave no indication that she understands why her comments were racist.

    She isn’t the only one who has made racist comments about Biles’ win:

    But the row has now escalated after an official in the Italian team tried to justify the comments in a posting on Facebook, according to the Chicago Tribune.
    USA Gymnastics has demanded an explanation of subsequent comments made by an Italian Gymnastics Federation official David Ciaralli.
    According to the Chicago Tribune, he said: ‘Carlotta was referring to a trend in gymnastics at this moment, which is going towards a technique that opens up new chances to athletes of colour (well-known for power) while penalising the more artistic Eastern European style that allowed Russians and Romanians to dominate the sport for years.’

    Yeah, bc a black girl only wins when a white girl is penalized.

  26. says

    Long article from the New York Times about Edna Lewis(b.1916, d.2006), an African-American chef and author, whom the author of the NYT piece feels is not accorded the respect she deserves. Not a piece on racism per se (though certainly racism affected Lewis throughout her life and impacted her personally and professionally in a multitude of ways), but I think highlighting the accomplishments of African-Americans (as well as other PoC) is important in a country that has traditionally ignored or dismissed their contributions.

    It was tasty, that chicken, in the way that pre-fried chicken plucked out from a pile under heatlamps can be tasty: salty and greasy, slicking the lips with bird fat. But Lewis, who placed Southern cooking in the pantheon of great cuisines, respected fried chicken as a special-­occasion food. She made hers not by punishing it in a pot of hot grease, but by patiently turning it in a shallow pan, crisping it over time in a blend of lard, butter and country ham, a technique that reflects something greater than the flavor of conjoined fats. When Lewis was growing up in Freetown, she learned that there was a season truly perfect for frying chickens — late spring to early summer, when the birds were the right size and had the right feed — just as there was a season for peaches and a season for blackberries. Foods, Lewis argued, are always temporal, so all good tastes are special. And when you have only a few chances every year to make something, you make it well. You use home-rendered lard to cook the bird. You brown the breasts first, then lay them on top of the sizzling legs so that they finish cooking gently in the heat above the pan. You slip in a slice of country ham to season the fat. That’s how you give thanks for it.

    Along the way, fried chicken has become a fraught food, somehow both universally beloved and also used in ugly stereotypes of black people. But Lewis treated all the food she prepared, perhaps all things she did, with dignity and sensitivity. You get this sense in photos of her: She always stood tall, often dressed in clothes made of African fabrics, her white hair crowning her head. Almost everyone who met her describes her as ‘‘regal.’’ It’s almost as if her parents knew, when they gave her the middle name Regina.

    Lewis went on from Freetown to become a revered chef and cookbook author, a friend to literati and movie stars and the winner of nearly every award our culinary institutions had to give. Today, her name is revered among food-world cognoscenti but less well known than your average Food Network star, and yet her championing of Southern food, and cooking it close to the land, is more relevant than ever. ‘‘We weren’t ready for her then,’’ one of her acolytes, Alice Waters, says. ‘‘Now we are.’’

    ‘‘Our mother was an excellent cook,’’ Lewis’s younger sister, Ruth Lewis Smith, told me recently. ‘‘Our Aunt Jennie was an excellent cook. A lot of our family went to Washington, D.C., to work as cooks. When they came home, they all learned from each other.’’ The elite homes of Virginia, going back to the days when the Colonial elite socialized with French politicians and generals during the Revolutionary War, dined on a cuisine inspired by France. It was built on local ingredients — many originally shared by Native Americans or brought by slaves from Africa — and developed by enslaved black chefs like James Hemings, who cooked for Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Because this aristocratic strain of Southern cuisine was provisioned and cooked largely by black people, it came into their communities as well, including Freetown. Smith is 91 and still raises chickens; a cage of quail coo in her kitchen. When I called her, she asked me to call back later because her apple butter had been on the stove for two days, and it was ready for canning.

    As a girl, Lewis busied herself with gathering berries, sewing and other home-taught skills. She watched the older women intently, learning to cook alongside them. After leaving Freetown, she made her way to New York City, where she took a job at a laundry and was fired three hours later: She’d never ironed before. She became a Communist and bristled at having to enter employers’ buildings through the back door but nonetheless worked for a time as a domestic, helping to put her baby sister Naomi through art school. At one point, she became a sought-after seamstress, making dresses for Doe Avedon and Marilyn Monroe, and dressing windows for the high-end department store Bonwit Teller. Surrounded by bohemians and fashion figures, she gave dinner parties for her friends, channeling her memories of her mother and aunt at the stove.

    In 1948, Johnny Nicholson, a regular at Lewis’s table, was getting ready to open a cafe on the Upper East Side. As Nicholson used to tell it, Lewis walked by, about to take another job as a domestic, when she looked into her friend’s place and said it would make a terrific restaurant. A week later, Lewis was cooking lunch at Cafe Nicholson. She offered a tidy menu: herbed roast chicken, filet mignon, a piece of fish, some cake, a chocolate soufflé. The restaurant was a smash. It had a dining room like a fabulist’s dream: floral displays and soaring palm fronds dipping down to kiss the heads of guests like Paul Robeson, Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal. Truman Capote would come into the kitchen, purring at his new friend Edna for a fix of biscuits. William Faulkner once flattered Lewis by asking if she had studied cooking in Paris. But no, her sister Ruth Lewis Smith told me: She learned to make soufflés from their mother, back in Virginia. Smith, in fact, often made them herself, after the restaurant took off and she came to help out.

    The restaurant critic Clementine Paddleford reviewed the restaurant in 1951 in The New York Herald Tribune, calling that soufflé ‘‘light as a dandelion seed in a wind’’ and noting a sense of pride in the chef: ‘‘We saw Edna peering in from the kitchen, just to see the effect on the guests and hear the echoes of praise.’’ But Lewis wasn’t just the chef. With Jim Crow in full effect and de facto segregation the reality in most of the North, this granddaughter of slaves had become a partner in a business that counted Eleanor Roosevelt among its favorite customers.

    In 1961, Judith Jones, an editor at Knopf, ushered in an era of fascination with French cuisine by publishing an intensely detailed cookbook called ‘‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking,’’ written in part by a tall, warbling woman named Julia Child. A decade later, Jones was looking for someone to help America turn its sights to the glories of its own tables. One day, the chief executive of Random House, Knopf’s parent company, asked Jones if she would meet his friend, a socialite named Evangeline Peterson. Peterson had taken a liking to a wonderful caterer and wanted to write down her recipes. Unsure of what the meeting would yield, Jones agreed to it. ‘‘But when Edna swept into my office, in this beautiful garb, her hair piled up, she was just such a presence that you were a little awed by her,’’ she says.

    After leaving Cafe Nicholson in the mid-1950s, Lewis had continued her cinematically eclectic life. She and her husband, a Communist activist named Steve Kingston, spent time as pheasant farmers in New Jersey, until all the birds died overnight from a mysterious disease. She opened and closed her own restaurant. She began catering and teaching cooking classes and took a job as a docent in the Hall of African Peoples in the American Museum of Natural History. A slip on a snowy night broke her ankle and, bored during her recovery, she accepted Peterson’s invitation to write together.

    They had essentially finished writing a book, ‘‘The Edna Lewis Cookbook,’’ that Jones thought was fashionable but characterless. But when Lewis started talking, recalling scenes of growing up in Freetown and the foods they had gathered, grown, harvested, shot, hooked and cooked, Jones lit up. ‘‘I knew this was a voice that could teach us,’’ she said. This was the story of American food that she had wanted to hear. Peterson graciously went home, Jones asked questions, Lewis wrote answers on yellow legal pads and the seeds of her classic, ‘‘The Taste of Country Cooking,’’ were sown. Lewis would go on to write more books and to hold chef posts at esteemed landmarks like Middleton Place in South Carolina and Gage & Tollner in New York. But she will be forever remembered for writing the book that started with that meeting.

    ‘‘The Taste of Country Cooking,’’ published in 1976, is revered for the way it shows the simple beauty of food honestly made in the rhythm of the seasons — the now common but at the time nearly forgotten ethos of eating farm-to-table — and for the way it gave a view of Southern food that was refined and nuanced, going beyond grease, greens and grits. ‘‘Until recently, we Southerners were very apologetic about our food,’’ Lewis’s friend, collaborator and eventual caretaker Scott Peacock told me. ‘‘But she wrote about it with such reverence.’’ She inspired generations of Southern cooks to honor their own roots. Alice Waters, who is usually credited for sparking the American organic-and-local movement at Chez Panisse in California, says: ‘‘It was certainly revolutionary at that point. I was such a Francophile, but when I discovered her cookbook, it felt like a terribly good friend. By then, we were already in a fast-food world, and she showed the deep roots of gastronomy in the United States and that they were really in the South, where we grew for flavor and cooked with sophistication. I had never really considered Southern food before, but I learned from her that it’s completely connected to nature, totally in time and place.’’


    Similarly, this piece from the Washington Post on on American Indian police departments gaining access to federal criminal databases is not directly about racism, but the information that will now be available to various tribes will serve to enhance their safety. Given the treatment of Indians in the United States for well, the entire history of this country, I’d say this is one of a bazillion measures that ought to be taken.

    The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has chosen 10 American Indian tribes for a pilot project in which their courts and police departments will be authorized, for the first time, to have direct access to criminal information in federal databases.

    The 10 tribes will be the first of the nation’s federally recognized 567 Indian tribes to be given training and computer equipment to obtain federal criminal records and other national data, as well as to submit information, without having to rely on local and state officials.

    “This innovative program will allow an unprecedented sharing of critical information between tribal, state and federal governments, information that could help solve a crime or even save someone’s life,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates. She added that the Justice Department will try to get more funding from Congress to more broadly deploy the new Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information.

    The dearth of shared criminal information between federal agencies and the nation’s Indian reservations, which are sovereign nations, has been a source of tension for decades. It has also had deadly consequences.

    Last year, a 15-year-old Native American boy and member of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington who killed four classmates and himself at his school near Seattle got access to a gun that his father should not have been able to purchase.

    The Tulalip tribal court had issued a restraining order against the father after he allegedly threatened his girlfriend and had hit and slapped her. But the information about the restraining order did not show up in a federal criminal database, which allowed the boy’s father to buy the gun.

    Melvin R. Sheldon, chairman of the Tulalip Tribes, praised the Justice Department’s pilot project as a critical and long-needed step forward in Indian country.

    “This is a very important tool for all the tribes,” said Sheldon, who was in Washington for the White House Tribal Nations Conference with President Obama. “Cities, counties and states don’t always accept that tribes are municipalities, and getting access to criminal records is difficult. People with criminal records have been known to go from reservation to reservation. Without a one-stop place for information sharing, we’re all kind of working in the blind.”

  27. says

    Expert weighs in on accusation of racism at Yale fraternity:

    A female student says on Facebook she was turned away a because they were only allowing “White Girls Only” inside.

    “Obviously there was a sense of discomfort that needs to be addressed and that we’re working to fix,” said Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity president, Grant Mueller.

    He says they turned people away because police told them their party was too crowded and denies any discrimination.

    “After the investigation we’ve done, we found out that no one said it and so far with the information we have we believe,” said Mueller.

    “This is not the first time I’ve heard of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in the news,” said UConn Professor of Sociology Dr. Matthew Hughey.

    Last year, a video surfaced of an SAE Oklahoma chapter singing a racist chant, but Hughey says SAE is not alone when dealing with racism in chapters. He says fraternities and sororities are, on average, 96-percent white.

    “In many ways that means that fraternities and sororities are more racially segregated than the societies in which they exist in and much more segregated that the campuses on which they reside,” said Hughey.

    He says diversifying is only the first step. “We should really start moving the discussion past the notion of diversity or diversifying these organizations. There was diversity on slave ships. There’s diversity in our prisons. Diversity without justice. Diversity without equality isn’t saying much.”


    Yale University devotes $50 million to boosting faculty diversity:

    Yale University says it will devote $50 million over the next five years to increasing the diversity of its faculty.

    The investment was announced Tuesday by university President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak.

    They said in a prepared statement that initiatives over the last three decades have helped to foster a more diverse and inclusive faculty but more can and should be done.

    The Ivy League university has faced some criticism on the issue. A group of graduate students seeking to form a union at Yale list faculty diversity among the issues they would like to discuss in contract negotiations.

    The school’s newly announced effort calls for more resources to support faculty recruitment and development as well as a university-wide teaching academy.

    Chimamanda Negozi Adichie wins top women’s fiction prize:

    Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction recently announced that author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded their ‘Best of the Best’ award for her novel “Half of a Yellow Sun.”

    “Half of a Yellow Sun” was first awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2007 and now has won ‘Best of the Best’ of the second decade of winners.
    “To be selected as ‘Best of the Best’ of the past decade is such an honour. I’m very grateful and very happy,” Adichie said on winning the award. “Over the years it’s [the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction] brought wonderful literature to a wide readership that might not have found many of the books. I have a lot of respect for the books that have won in the past 10 years and also for the books that have been shortlisted – I feel I am in very good company.”

  28. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The racism, obviously, is as fucked as fucked gets. However, students at the University of Missouri have been engaging in a strong principled critique of the university President, Wolfe.

    Now? One black football player started a hunger strike to catch the attention of the administration and to attract public scrutiny to the pitiful response to repeated problems with racism on campus by President Wolfe. The other black football players? They decided to do what they could to support their teammate’s principled stand: All the black players on the football team have gone on strike until the hunger strike is over. Since the original striker said he was on strike until the university president resigns, the black players as a unit say they’ll hold out that long as well.

    But was does the old-white-guy who is head coach of the team do in response to the black players boycotting all football activities including practices and, if Wolfe isn’t gone by Saturday, a game that is worth millions of dollars?

    You can just feel it coming can’t you?

    He got all the coaches together for a meeting, came out of it, contacted the players that weren’t part of the strike and got them all together for a solidarity picture. The white head coach stands with the black players in sabotaging the source of revenue that pays his own salary until leadership that has tolerated racism is gone.

    Fuck. I’m literally crying here as I type this. This is the most hopeful thing about racism on college campuses in the US I’ve read in a long time. We’ve bitched and moaned about too many dollars going to football and not enough going to academics, but now it’s the middle of the season and the University of Missouri is suddenly discovering that those priorities have put a hell of a lot of power in the hands of students. When they could trust the head coaches to shut down student activism, the students’ power was only theoretical. They had too much to lose. But these savvy men did the right thing and the head coach backed them. Literally dozens of large schools are going to have conniptions shoot through their administrations thinking about how they can grab back this power lest the students-of-color-dominated football and basketball teams suddenly gain the ability to demand better from their institutions.

    Me? I think Gary Pinkel just cost himself his job and maybe his career even if Wolfe resigns tomorrow and the team never misses a game. Mizzou won’t fire him this week, of course, but whenever his contract ends, I doubt it will be renewed, and higher-ups at big-time college football schools aren’t going to want to bring in a man who supports players in their efforts to get the higher-ups fired.

    If there’s any justice in the world, you’ll get a whole bunch of pro players grow out of the program in the next couple of years who help each other, help the teammates who can’t earn pro money, and help any coaches who lose jobs over this.

    This shit is potentially revolutionary. Racism getting in the way of football???? Even Mississippi might take some token actions designed to be just shy of effective at punishing the toleration of racism if football was threatened.

    Here’s one story about the situation.

  29. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    At the university of Missouri, there has been a series of racist incidents that students feel have not been taken seriously. There has been a great deal of criticism directed at Tim Wolfe, the UofM System President. One black student athlete on the football team decided this week to go on a hunger strike. Saturday night, after this week’s game was over, all the black men on the team got together and decided to support their teammate by boycotting all practices and games until their brother-athlete was off the strike. Since the original hunger striker was striking for Wolfe to be fired, the black students stated that they were unanimous in their insistence that they would not participate in football in any way until Wolfe was gone.

    Of course, the majority of them are on scholarship. Missing practices or other “football obligations” can get you in trouble and cost you your scholarship.

    So what did the old white guy coach at UofM do?

    You can feel it coming can’t you?

    He had a meeting with all his coaches, then got together will all the students not part of the strike. He sent a message to the strikers to come meet with the rest of the people affected by their actions.

    And together, the head coach, all the other coaches, the black players that initiated the boycott, and every other player on the team took a solidarity picture.

    And the coach canceled practices so the students couldn’t get in scholarship trouble. And then they tweeted the damn picture of all of them arm-in-arm to the whole world. Though it doesn’t actually say, “Fire Tim Wolfe” it does say that the whole team stands together. So it might as well say “Fire Tim Wolfe”.

    Universities have prioritized blacks as athletes without doing what they need to for them as students. They have over-funded athletics and underfunded academics. But now, because of those choices, a handful of students who **don’t** have a racist fuck for a coach have the power to bring down the most powerful man in the connected U of M system.

    I can feel the quaking spreading through every football and basketball-heavy school.

  30. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    crap, I thought my post didn’t go through. Sorry about the double post everyone.

  31. says

    Thank you *so* much for that link. As I’m sure you know, this shit gets so depressing and frustrating some times, so stories like that, where a white person in a position of power uses their privilege to support people of color in the fight against racism is…DAMN. S’all I can say.

  32. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    one of the things I liked about the coach’s stand was that HE didn’t call for the ouster of the university prez. Had he done that, it would have been too much like taking over (and taking credit) for me to appreciate. But he didn’t. He simply said that he stands with his players and let the players do what they need to do and get the credit they deserve to get. Good choice on his part. When I was telling the story to my partner last night, I burst into tears all over again. My kids wanted to know why I was said and I tried to explain that, yes, I was sad, but I was also happy and it’s because…

    …too much. Too much kids. Just take your momma’s word for it, there are a number of good things happening, and the sadness is simply because I feel those things are too rare.

    Weird moment. But they’re used to those from their gimpy, transsexual, USAnian love-momma.*
    *as opposed to birth momma. Birth momma became their momma by giving birth to them. I became their momma by loving them, thus “love-momma”.

  33. says

    Get. The. Fuck. Out.
    University of Missouri President resigns amid claims of racial insensitivity.
    Holy. Fuck.

    University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday morning amid racial controversy in which students and faculty staged walkouts and hunger strikes to bring attention to the issue.

    “I take full responsibility for this frustration, and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred,” Wolfe said in a press conference announcing his resignation.

    The embattled president has faced blazing criticism from black students at the university who say that he has not done much to stop racially charged incidents on campus. As NPR notes, over the past few months the university has seen increased racially charged incidents, including one in which someone drew a swastika in a dorm bathroom using human feces.

    In October, student protesters confronted the president at a homecoming parade. Wolfe, however, did not address them, and the students said that the vehicle in which Wolfe was traveling nicked at least one of them as it drove off. Since then, one student has been on a hunger strike and black football players have said that they will not play another game until he resigns. Their coach and white teammates have supported them, the news site notes.

    A bright spot in the battle against racism. Oh my fucking god. Someone get me a chair to collapse into.

  34. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I knew he was going to get his ass fired. I knew it. Football is even more important than racism to those people. Wolfe said he was going to issue new guideline to students on how not to be racist fucks and the guidelines would be released “in April”…and that people should just wait. he knew that that would be too late for the football or basketball teams to do anything about it (if the basketball team was still playing in April, it would be at least in the sweet 16, would they really drop out of the tournament then? And “April” includes a lot of days after the bball championship game even if Mizzou were to go all the way this year). On top of that, the people who had the best picture of the situation would also be the most likely to graduate immediately thereafter.

    “They’ll be released in April. Be patient.”

    Yeah, right. Slimy, disingenuous jerkwad. He knew exactly what he was doing, he just didn’t think that the students could actually do anything about it. Right now, I’m thinking that the University of Missouri has, on average, the smartest players in all of college football.

    Goodbye, Wolfe. We won’t miss your complacent, racist ass.

  35. says

    Why the University of Missouri football boycott is the biggest American protest of the 21st century:

    I wasn’t alive in the 50s and 60s and 70s when mass boycotts to protest racial injustice was more commonplace and more infused with our national cultural zeitgeist. I, like most of you, am very aware of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other, less publicized, boycotts (like the New Orleans citizens boycott). But, again, reading about the spirit of a time in a textbook and hearing about it from your parents is a vastly different experience than living through it.
    I am, however, old enough to remember the late 80s and the 90s. As well as (obviously) the last 15 years. And I can honestly say that I have never seen a more meaningful and more effective American boycott than the one staged by the University of Missouri football players, whose actions forced President Tim Wolfe to resign.
    Now, there have been other boycotts and protests where the stakes were higher. The recent unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore and Cleveland and other cities — as well as the #BlackLivesMatter movement — happened as a result of actual lives being taken by law enforcement. And, while the conditions at Missouri have apparently been racially antagonistic for some time, there’s no real comparison between that and the unjust murder of another human being. But this particular act, this present-day congealing of our racial, athletic, academic, and political worlds, will resonate for decades and might fundamentally alter revenue-generating college athletics, college itself, and, to quote Dr. David Leonard, the “religiosity of American sports culture.”
    This is some major shit.
    Because, as absurd and problematic as the countless calls for the players to have their scholarships revoked were, it’s equally absurd that a couple dozens or so kids threatening to not play one football game had such an extensive and decisive impact — on the college, the state, the conference, and the nation — that it took less than 72 hours to get the university president out. It’s nothing short of amazing that those kids had the wherewithal and courage to put their scholarships and livelihoods (current and future) on the line to stand up for what they believed in, and it’s nothing short of terrifying that nothing anyone else on that campus would have done would have mattered the same way. No hunger strikes — and thank you, Jonathan Butler, for sparking this flame — no protests, no petitions signed by students and teachers, no votes of no confidence would have earned the same result as quickly.
    Well, it’s not terrifying to me. But it should be to every Division I football and basketball coach in the country, and every administrator who happens to be at a school where the head ball coach makes 10 times as much money as the chancellor. This could very well be the college athlete’s Neo in the hallway moment; when this exclusive and presumably powerless and thoughtless population becomes fully aware of the power they possess. And if this does happen — if this collection of young and mostly Black men continues to decide to wield this power — it will reverberate down (to high school sports) and up (to professional sports). And then there will be more serious conversations about taking fundamental steps to pull the plug on this power. On reexamining our country’s relationship with sports.
    And then, well, and then we’ll see what happens next.

  36. says

    Crap. I get the feeling that events at the University of Missouri are going to get worse before they get better.
    Here’s a re Tweet from Shaun King about threats black people are receiving from racist white shitheels-

    Security has been increased at the University of Missouri in the wake of threats against black students.

    That asshole from Natural News thinks the students extorted UoM in an effort to get the president fired.
    Apparently he’s not just a woo-meister, but a racist shitnuggett too.

    Threat called in to Black Culture Center during Black Caucus meeting.

  37. Saad says

    White terrorism plot foiled – 3 white supremacists arrested for planning on bombing and killing black and Jewish people

    Two Virginia men have been arrested on accusations of being white supremacists plotting to bomb black churches and synagogues as part of a race and hate war, federal authorities said Tuesday.

    Robert Curtis Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney III were arrested Sunday as part of an undercover FBI operation in which an agent posed as an illegal arms dealer selling weapons and explosives to the two Virginia men, the FBI said in documents filed in federal court in Virginia.

    Doyle and Chaney wanted to rob businessmen, such as a jeweler and a gun store owner, to prepare for a so-called race war, according to a law enforcement official.

    The men wanted to use the proceeds to stockpile weapons and begin paramilitary training, the official said. They allegedly planned on bombing or shooting members of black churches and Jewish synagogues, but the official said: “They were a long way from actually pulling off an attack.”

    A third man, Charles Daniel Halderman, was also arrested on accusations that he was going to help Doyle and Chaney in robbing and killing a silver-jewelry dealer as part of their extremist beliefs, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

  38. says

    Ithaca College students just staged a walk-out:

    According to a piece in the Ithaca College student newspaper The Ithacan, the school isn’t all that different from the University of Missouri: “At both institutions, student protest groups have spoken out against systemic racism and called for the resignation of their college’s presidents.”

    Today, the two schools further mirrored one another when Ithaca students staged a walkout around 1:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday over alleged racial injustices, according to the Ithaca Journal:

    According to the Facebook page for the event, members of the campus community will be “walking out for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally. With University of Missouri’s president stepping down, we demand Rochon to do the same as it is vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment.”

    According to a tweet from Journal reporter Kelsey O’ Connor, “at least a thousand” students were present at the walkout. Many students held signs, some of them indicating their displeasure with Ithaca college president Tom Rochon.

    The Journal recounts “several controversial incidents” at the school since the start of the semester, including a campus-run panel where a woman of color was repeatedly referred to as a “savage.” (The president later apologized.)

    I wonder if the events at UoM served as a spark. I dearly, dearly hope so.

  39. says

    Trussville schools under federal investigation for racial harassment issues

    The probe by the Office for Civil Rights began Oct. 29, 2015, according to the Department of Education statement. “But since it’s an open investigation, we cannot provide case-specific information or details,” according to the statement.

    “Opening a complaint for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination on the merits of the case,” according to the statement. “Rather, the office is merely a neutral fact-finder. It will collect and analyze all relevant evidence from the parties involved in the case to develop its findings.”

    Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill stated in an email Monday afternoon: “As with any complaint, we release information at the conclusion of the investigation.”

    A school board member on Monday referred any questions to Neill’s assistant.

    The school system’s attorney, Donald Sweeney, said the school system had not received a copy of any complaint related to a Department of Education investigation. The DOE, however, had previously confirmed that a complaint had been filed.

    Sweeney said that it had come to the attention of the school system’s administration allegations regarding the basketball program. The administration did what it thought was necessary to address the issues, he said.

    Sanderson, the son of former Alabama basketball coach Wimp Sanderson, was suspended from his position as coach but continues in his job as a teacher.

    AL.com recently obtained a 14-page complaint filed Aug. 1 to the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights. It was filed by a parent who alleges Sanderson had bullied players, sent inappropriate emails, and also accuses Sanderson of attempting to create division among minority players.

    The complaint also alleges problems throughout Trussville City Schools. The complaint states that the system has ignored a pattern of minorities being marginalized, harassed and bullied. For example, the complaint alleges that bus drivers and other school personnel have ignored cases of racism or bullying.


    King: Tamir Rice investigation has taken unjustly long time:

    On November 22, 2014, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehman shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice outside of his home as he played at the neighborhood park on a snowy weekend afternoon.

    It took police seeing Tamir just 0.792 seconds to shoot and kill him.

    The entire incident — including the four and a half minutes officers completely ignored Tamir as he bled out in the snow — was filmed by a nearby camera.

    Since then, though, the investigation has gone on for an outrageous 352 days. That’s 8,442 hours or 506,880 minutes, or 30,412,800 seconds

    It’s safe to say that the prosecutor and the investigators have carried this on to the point of ridiculousness.

    Initially, the case was passed around like a hot potato. First, the Cleveland Police Department was heading the investigation. They then passed it on the Cuyahoga Sheriff’s Office.

    By January of this year, and for most of the past 10 months, the investigation was being overseen by the Cuyahoga Prosecutors Office and their lead attorney, Tim McGinty.

    Never did the family of Tamir Rice, or his grief-stricken classmates, believe that they would go a full year without even a decision being made on whether or not the officer will be prosecuted.

    To make Tamir’s family and friends wait an entire year is a brand new injustice in and of itself. If the ultimate decision is to not prosecute the officers involved, even after a year long investigation (which has left so many people in an emotional limbo), it will be just another kick in the gut.


    ‘Insufficient evidence’ to charge ex-Milwaukee cop who killed Dontre Hamilton:

    Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney was fired after fatally shooting Dontre Hamilton on April 30, 2014. Federal authorities reviewed evidence collected in the death of Hamilton, who struggled with Manney, the Justice Department said in a statement.

    “The evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Manney acted willfully with a bad purpose to violate the law,” the Justice Department said.

    Manney shot Hamilton, an unarmed 31-year-old mentally disabled black man, 14 times during a struggle in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee. Manney opened fire after Hamilton took his baton and hit him, according to authorities.

    “Mistake, misperception, negligence or poor judgment are not sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation,” the Justice Department said.

    So fucking angering.
    If civilians did something like this, they wouldn’t get away with it. But cops? They get protected by the criminal justice system.


    Judge dismisses charges against Black Lives Matter organizers of MOA protest:

    A Hennepin County judge on Tuesday dismissed charges against organizers of the massive Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America in Bloomington last Christmas season.

    The leaders of the protest, which drew more than 2,000 people to the mall on Dec. 20, had faced misdemeanor charges of aiding and abetting trespass, aiding and abetting unlawful assembly, and aiding and abetting disorderly conduct.

    In a 137-page decision, Chief Judge Peter Cahill dismissed all charges against the 11 organizers, while keeping in place trespass charges against 17 individual protesters.

    “We stand proud today. We stand vindicated today,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, a University of St. Thomas law professor and one of the 11 organizers. “And we continue to stand in solidarity with people across the country who are declaring that Black Lives Matter and who are disrupting the status quo in their attempts to get justice.

    “Judge Cahill made a fair and just decision in dismissing our charges,” said Levy-Pounds, who was recently named president of the Minneapolis NAACP. “We knew they were trumped-up charges, and we were being politically prosecuted by the Bloomington city attorney’s office.”

  40. says

    5 famous billionaires are dismantling black public schools:

    The biggest racists in the US aren’t running around with white hoods and burning crosses. They’re running Fortune 500 companies and burning public school systems across the country in favor of privately-run, publicly-funded charter schools.

    While none of the famous billionaires on this list are dues-paying members of racist groups, they’re engaging in actions that prey on the linchpins of the black community — public K-12 schools. Education reform by itself isn’t overtly racist, but when looking at the actions of these billionaires with a wider lens, it becomes apparent that the effort to privatize public education is primarily taking place in minority communities.

    The charter school movement is particularly insidious, as it’s essentially a form of institutionalized racism veiled in altruism. In reference to the charter takeover of the New Orleans, Louisiana school district, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch put it this way:

    “These heavy-handed tactics require a suspension of democracy that would not be tolerated in a white suburb, but can be done to powerless urban districts where the children are black and Hispanic,” Ravitch told In These Times. “That model requires firing all the teachers, no matter their performance, allowing them to reapply for a job, and replacing many of them with inexperienced TFA recruits. That model requires wiping out public schools and replacing them with privately managed schools that set their own standards for admission, discipline, expulsion, and are financially opaque.”

    While charter schools have lately been able to brag on themselves as reports tout their higher test scores in math and reading compared to public schools, these studies leave out the fact that many charters refuse to help struggling children and instead dump them into public schools, in order to boost their own statistics. According to NY Chalkbeat, charter schools in New York City suspended 11 percent of students during the 2011-2012 school year, while public schools suspended just 4.2 percent. In fact, 11 NYC charter schools suspended as many as 30 percent of students that year. The charter suspension rate is likely higher, as charters don’t have to report in-school suspension rates.

    Bill Gates, Carl Icahn, the Walton Family, Mark Zuckerberg, and Rupert Murdoch.

  41. says

    Veterans Day Google doodle shows diversity gets racist backlash:

    As the recent uproar over Starbucks’ apparently not-festive-enough holiday cups has demonstrated, a contingent of right-leaning Americans has taken to bemoaning what they perceive as the country’s downward death spiral at the hands of political correctness.

    Their latest target? Wednesday’s Google Doodle, which celebrates Veterans Day. Visible on the search engine’s homepage, the Doodle depicts a row of smiling veterans representing various branches of the U.S. armed forces.

    Some critics take issue with the apparent ethnicities of the veterans depicted. Of the seven veterans in the cartoon, six appear to be people of color, and one is light-skinned. Critics say the Doodle fails to represent the many white veterans in America. Moreover, one person wrote, Google is “unfairly trolling” these white veterans by highlighting ethnic minorities.

    A number of people have taken to Twitter to express their Doodle-focused disgust.

  42. blf says

    I don’t follow this discussion thread very closely, so please accept my apologies if the following has already been brought up, It’s so dangerous to be a black American, I’ve sought asylum in Canada by Kyle Lydell Canty, who apparently has studied law. It’s an interesting powerful and short read, but starts out with some over-the-top hyperbole, “[…] We were brought to America as slaves, and the country hasn’t changed its ways at all since then.” Not at all? Um…

    Ignoring that cringe-worthy start, this gentleman makes provides a neat abridged list of the problems: “Throughout my life, police departments have harassed me and made me fear for my life — this is something many other people of color will have experienced too.

    “If you’re black in the US you will always have to go through persecution and discrimination at some point in your life. Black Americans are killed in large numbers by the police, regularly denied the same education and access to housing as white Americans and face hurdles when trying to vote. All these forms of discrimination are racist — yet they continue nonetheless.”

    There’s no mention if the gentleman’s dossier — his self-penned paperwork supporting his asylum claim — is available or not. He describes his dossier as “[including] 18 exhibits describing the conditions of my country from a human rights perspective. All of the exhibits deal with racial disparities and police brutality and come from credible sources, such as the United Nations.”

  43. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Furthering the discussion of Mizzou, there’s an article on Fusion right now, with a short, but telling illustration of casual racism. Everyone should read it, but here’s the meat of the casual racism examples from the beginning of the article:

    “They came here just for welfare TV,” Alexander heard one of them say. “There’s no way they could be students here,” she heard another say loudly.

    It’s not the n-word uttered at Payton Head, the university’s student body president, that Alexander hears frequently. But it’s an example of what the University of Missouri senior calls the “casual racism” prevalent on campus. Once, when there was a group of black students talking loudly together, Alexander heard passersby say they’re hanging out on campus because “they don’t have a job.”

    “That sort of comment is pretty typical to hear around Mizzou all the time,” Alexander told me.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Here’s an interview with Butler that got overshadowed because it was only up for a few hours before Wolfe resigned. Let’s not let it get lost:

    Washington Post: So what are you fighting for through this hunger strike?

    Butler: For me, I’m fighting for justice. It’s really plain and simple.

    When you localize it to the hunger strike it really is about the environment that is on campus. We have reactionary, negligent individuals on all levels at the university level on our campus and at the university system level, and so their job descriptions explicitly say that they’re supposed to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students … but when we have issues of sexual assault, when we have issues of racism, when we have issues of homophobia, the campus climate continues to deteriorate because we don’t have strong leadership, willing to actually make change. So, for me, I’m fighting for a better tomorrow. As much as the experiences on campus have not been that great for me — I had people call me the n-word, I had someone write the n-word on the a door in my residence hall — for me it really is about a call for justice. I’m fighting for the black community on campus, because justice is worth fighting for. And justice is worth starving for.

  45. says

    A conversation on race is a horrible goal:

    A conversation about race in 2015 is not a goal.

    It is not a good goal, it is not a reasonable goal, and it is not an equitable goal. In fact, treating the conversation like a goal is offensive to thinking people who have been having these conversations longer than you or your daddy or your grandfather have been alive, let alone the people forced to live as the subjects of your well-meaning conversations. It is offensive for you to ask me to repeat myself, and depending on how that conversation goes – you know, the one I didn’t ask to have – it is even more offensive that whatever pain I associate with the subject be served up like this week’s food for thought. It’s why some of you are arguing with Black people right now about the reporter who got (wrongly) shoved away by the well-meaning (now resigned from an appointment but still employed by U of M) professor while trying to capture the protesting at the University of Missouri that’s happening now: because you refuse to empathize. And that is racist.

    Not to mention that most of you are horrible conversationalists. You come to the dialogue with tons of cultural determinist baggage. You assume the expanse of my knowledge based on a profile picture. You stereotype. You only think about racism when the issue makes you boil over here and there, while I have to contend with it – think, deal, confront, navigate, process, argue about, swallow it – all of the time. You have the luxury of not having to concern yourself with the worst parts of racism entirely, and the uncomfortable parts only as long as you wish to stay in the room. The minute you step outside reality bends to your values, protects your body, distracts you from your sins. Considering the topic of conversation, you don’t have a lot of skin in the game.

    And here’s the saddest part: Black people are used to it.

    We’re used to every side of this. We’re used to the arguing, we’re used to the dismissal of our suffering, we’re used to the stone cold straight-up bigots on Twitter and Facebook, we’re used to constantly having our pain scrutinized for validity…we’re even used to the actual racist acts that started this whole scenario. And let me tell you something else that’s going unheralded: what happened at UofM is kind of mild-to-medium racism and it is unerringly consistent with the general Black experience on and off campuses nationwide. None of this is news to Black people. The only newsworthy aspect of any of this is that the news has deigned to cover it. But the racist things that happened? Typical. The reaction by students? Not new. The reaction of administration to the students’ reaction to racism? Completely by the book. All of this is happening all of the time on some campus in this country. If there was a website where students could record incidents, protests and responses from across the country, there wouldn’t be a day when schools are in session that such a site wouldn’t be updated. The only news here is how powerful a football player is, and if we’re honest that’s also not a new concept. We’re just not used to seeing it applied. My point is that these conversations are beyond repetitive; they’re mundane. Which means my history and my feelings about it have been relegated to banal.

    Hey, that’s my life, we’re talking about here.

    So I have to budget for my time when it comes to racism. It’s pretty entrenched, so I have to keep moving like a Great White Shark, except I’m not fishing for chum; I’m fishing for time. Time to live, time to experience good things, time to learn new things that aren’t for cultural self-defense, but knowing in the back of my mind that whatever I’m into that week will have to navigate the fact that I am the one doing it. I can’t just take a knitting class and just worry about my Reverse I-cord. I get to live in a constant state of dreading the moment when someone is going to remind me that knitting clubs are just, you know, an odd place to find a random Black person. It’s exhausting, all of these good intentions. I don’t have time for that. I’ve got life to live. I’m already five years more wore out than my white counterpart. I have to keep it moving if I’m going to find some semblance of solace in this life. Time is important. Everybody thinks so. Time is the way we measure life in concrete amounts. Time is the gauge of what life is.

    But you? You have the luxury of time that a political conversation about race requires. Statistically speaking, I’ll either be incarcerated or killed by police brutality by the end of this essay. Figuratively speaking, I don’t have time to keep talking about racism with people who got it in their head that day to question its authenticity or reach. That is time better spent dealing with people who already have some basic functional understanding of not only racism, but of the many ancillary issues associated with it (or at least the tools to determine what those issues might be). Or better spent getting on with the business of fending off the many micro- and macroaggressions society loves to Space Invader over my head every day. Pew pew pew, I got you, passive-aggressive customer who thinks I will render unto them negligent service only to discover I give really good Frasier voice. Pew pew pew, well-meaning hippie child who assures me he understands my plight because he’s 1/16th Navajo.

    In short, I’m pretty much done teaching freshman level racism to random white people who read headlines and get riled up. And honestly, more people should be done with those conversations too, and here’s why: because it’s 2015.


    Spike Lee rips Hollywood on lack of diversity:

    While accepting his honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards, Lee pointed out the hypocrisy of those in attendance: the heavy hitters in Hollywood who are liberal, until it comes to diversity.

    “This industry is so behind sports, it’s ridiculous,” Lee said. “It’s easier to be the president of the United States as a black person than to be the head of a studio. Honest. Or the head of a network.

    “I’m getting real here,” Lee told the attendees. “Everybody here probably voted for [President Barack] Obama. But when I go to offices, I see no black folks, except for the brother man who is the security guard who checks my name as I go into the studio.”


    There’s a good reason protesters at the University of Missouri didn’t want the media around:

    This wasn’t a problem with Tai’s character or his journalistic integrity; he was doing his job, and his past outstanding work speaks for itself. But in this conversation over “public space,” we’ve overlooked the protesters’ message — that conditions on campus make it an unbearable environment for black students to live and learn in. Their approach to creating a safe space should have been better conceived, but reporters should also feel a responsibility to try to understand and respect their pain, instead of rushing to judge them and panicking about an imagined assault on press freedoms.

    Further, as reporters, we have to drop our sense of entitlement and understand that not everyone wants to be subjects of our journalism. Our press passes don’t give us the license to bully ourselves into any and all spaces where our presence is not appreciated. It’s one thing to demand access to public lands; it’s another to demand access to people’s grieving.

    In many communities that historically have been marginalized and unfairly portrayed by the media, there’s good reason people do not trust journalists: They often criminalize black people’s pain and resistance to racial oppression. We saw it in coverage of Ferguson and Baltimore, when news stations seemed more concerned with the property damage than with the emotional damage that prompted it. Though peaceful protests in Ferguson had been going on for days, reporters didn’t descend on the town in large numbers until there were clashes with police. Suddenly, coverage spiked, but most of it was about “cars vandalized” and “buildings burned.” On Fox News, the channel most watched for Ferguson coverage at the height of the unrest, protesters were called “thugs.” Reporting from the protests, CNN’s Don Lemon noted, “Obviously, there’s a smell of marijuana in the air.” We heard comparatively little about the residents’ long-held grievances about police harassment and brutality.

    The unfair portrayal of black people in the news media is well documented. One study analyzing news coverage by 26 local television stations, black people were rarely portrayed unless they had committed a crime. A 2015 University of Houston study found that this imbalanced coverage may lead viewers to develop racial bias against black people because it often over-represents them in crime rates. Recognizing this kind of bias in news media, black Twitter users started the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag to call out news images of Mike Brown that many felt criminalized him in his death.

    That black students would be skeptical of media is understandable. We’ve already seen the kind of headlines they undoubtedly feared. In an Atlantic piece headlined “Campus Activists Weaponize ‘Safe Space’,” Conor Friedersdorf calls the protesters a mob and insists they are “twisting the concept of ‘safe space.’” Again, a journalist criminalizes black people for expressing their pain. It was another piece centering the reporter’s privilege over the students’ trauma. Friederdorf’s piece completely ignores the intolerable racial climate that forced the students to establish a safe space in the first place.

    There were other ways to cover these students’ protest without breaching their safe space and without criminalizing them.The human chain students formed provided ample b-roll and still photos. Students could have been interviewed outside of that space. I would have pitched a story to my editors with the headline, “Why Black Students Were Forced To Secure A Safe Space On A Public Campus.” But to do that requires self-reflection and not a condescending, self-absorbed soliloquy about the First Amendment.

    For journalists, the Missouri protests are a big news story. For the black students we’re covering, however, it’s a fight for their humanity and liberation. Tai is correct: he was doing his job. But in that stressful moment he may have failed to realize that the space he wanted to enter was a healing one that black people had worked to secure.

    Black pain is not an easy subject to cover, but the lesson we can take from this encounter at Missouri is that our presence as journalists, with the long legacy of criminalizing blackness that comes with it, may trigger the same harmful emotions that led to the students’ protests in the first place.

  46. qwints says

    Right in PZ’s area of the country: #Justice4Jamar

    Protesters shut down I-94 in Mpls.; 51 arrested

    According to authorities, officers arrived and a physical altercation took place with Jamar Clark. Authorities say Clark was not in handcuffs. During the struggle, an officer discharged his weapon, striking the suspect, according to Minneapolis Police.

    But several witnesses say Clark was in handcuffs at the time of the shooting.

    “Every witness account I heard said he was handcuffed. Every witness account. Put a knee on him and shot in the head. That’s the account I’ve heard from young people, older people, etc,” said Jason Sole, criminal justice chair for the Minneapolis NAACP.

  47. says

    Student finds racially charged death threat on apartment door, president call for university-wide conversation:

    According to the latest Safety Bulletin update, Capital University Police is investigating this occurrence as “a report of aggravated menace.” No university officer was available for further comment.

    “I’m not sure who did it. And I don’t know if it was a sick joke, but I definitely feel I’ve been targeted, like someone is constantly watching me,” Mitchell said.

    It is not clear whether the perpetrator is a Capital student or a non-student.

    “I saw it and I was stunned. Shocked,” said Mitchell. “I ran into the house and texted my roommates.”

    Mark Bartus, the only roommate in town at the time, was asleep and did not read Mitchell’s text until later that morning.

    “I didn’t want him to stay in the apartment, whether it was a hoax threat or not,” Bartus said. “I was fuming and really, really disgusted by [the note] and that someone felt the need to do that, not that their reason would be excusable.”

    Bartus was not the only one outraged. On Saturday afternoon, Mitchell shared a picture of the note on Facebook. The post received more than 220 likes and 130 comments from concerned friends, family members, and faculty.

    Asked whether he feels safe on campus now, Mitchell said he has grown more aware of his surroundings and makes sure his doors are locked all the time.

    As for Mitchell’s emotional well-being, the junior music performance major said he finds strength in his faith, the foundation he was given as a child, and love from his Capfam.

    “There’s something that I’m supposed to learn and get from this situation,” Mitchell said. “As alone as I may feel, I’m not alone. I’m a fighter. You don’t give up because something like this happens. Your fight might be an example someone else needs to look to so they come out just as victorious as you were before this happened.”

    Mitchell believes that Capital and the campus community handled his situation in the best way it can.

    “Res Life [Resident Life] was offering me multiple places to stay,” Mitchell said. “But because it happened on a weekend and the perpetrator was extremely anonymous, no one saw anything …When it’s so unwarranted and so random, I’m not sure how much more they can do.”

    Capital is not exempt from the racial tension breaking across many American universities, seen through the student protests at the University of Missouri and locally at The Ohio State University.

    “I feel like I’ve always known there’s a certain hidden racism at Capital,” Mitchell said. “When you look at the school’s demographics, [students] will be unintentionally [and] naturally divided. I do believe there are things being done to bridge the gap, but [it’s] not enough. Racism is not exempt anywhere. As much as we like to think how progressive and diverse we are, racism is no respecter of person. Persons, institutions, organizations—it doesn’t matter. This issue will come [to our campus] if we choose to ignore this situation.”

    In light of the hate crime committed against Mitchell and other tragic events happening in the world, President Denvy Bowman called for a university-wide conversation about “diversity and inclusion and the essence of human dignity” at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16 in the Kerns Religious Life Center Chapel.

    Conversation leaders will include Almar Walter, director of Capital’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI); Pastor Gary Sandberg, dean of the chapel; and Branden Smith, associate director of the ODI.

    Watch: Jay Leno absolutely supports the Missouri student protesters; says their president was ‘clueless’:

    I’ve never been a fan of how a white liberal can make an anti-racism comment and it’ll hold more weight, and make more of an impact, than when a black person has something to say about the issue. I understand the unique perspective different kinds of people can bring to the table, but we shouldn’t value some perspectives and opinions more than anyone else’s.

    But Jay Leno’s recent comments about the issue are dope because he opened up about his own experiences with racism and the impact he saw black student protesters make as a college student.

    During an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher on Friday, Maher asked Leno and the other panelists whether we’re teetering toward extremism when we oust racially insensitive people from their jobs. He was talking about Tim Wolfe’s resignation from his post as president of the University of Missouri because of the racist climate on campus.

    I’d like to interrupt this to point out that Bill Maher is once again an asshole. “Teetering towards extremism”?! I’ll take ‘hyperbolic rhetoric for $1000, Alex’. There’s no extremism going on. You want extremism? Look at the actions of the Daesh. Look at right-wing extremists who blow up abortion clinics. Don’t look at protesters calling for asshole university presidents to resign.

    “Do we purge even clueless people from their job now?” Maher asked. “Is that where we are with the battle against racism?”

    Sorry, another interruption. No one is being purged. People have been bringing this shit to the attention of university officials across the country for who knows how long. And they haven’t been listening. They haven’t cared about the concerns of many of their students. That’s not doing your job effectively, and I support peaceful and disruptive protests aimed at changing the guard. That’s not ‘purging’ though.

    “I say yes,” Leno said plainly. “You know why? Because if you’re president of the university, you shouldn’t be clueless.” He argued that the efforts of the student protesters were validated.

    In the case of Mizzou’s president, he wasn’t careless. He knew the concerns of many black Mizzou students. He just didn’t care.

  48. Pteryxx says

    Criminal justice reform getting perverted by the Powers That Be, because the only real criminals are the ones cops beat up. Rawstory: Koch brothers hijack historic criminal justice reform

    The Kochs have made a significant public relations push to bolster their image as bold reformers, weaving talk of criminal justice reform with complaints of cronyism to create a false equivalence. Although activists have long warned that the billionaire brothers’ push for criminal justice reform is actually a trojan horse to force massive deregulation to aid their business holdings, we now have some of the first firm evidence pointing to such a scam.

    On Monday, House Republicans released their version of a criminal justice reform bill, the Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015. As the Huffington Post reports, the bill “would make it more difficult for federal authorities to pursue executive wrongdoing, from financial fraud to environmental pollution.”

    A key provision of the bill lessens the level of culpability business executives who run afoul of white collar laws face. As the conservative Heritage Foundation, a big supporter of the Republican legislation along with the Koch Brothers, explains, white collar crimes hardly cause grave societal impact and thus shouldn’t be classified as crimes at all. As Heritage suggests, the Republican reform bill reclassifies reckless, negligent or grossly negligent acts by corporations as no longer criminal. The Huffington Post explains:

    While current law allows corporate crime prosecutions of high-level managers based on negligent or reckless behavior, the House legislation would require many such offenses to be “knowing” crimes, in which executives were explicitly aware of the activity being conducted by other employees. In some cases, prosecutors would also have to prove that the executives knew that the activity was illegal.

    Because the hurdle of proving intent has worked so well to shield murdering, brutalizing and racist cops, let’s have a heaping truckload of those fig leaves for the 99% white leaders of major corporations that do things like rip off disproportionately non-white homeowners and pollute disproportionately non-white neighborhoods.

    “There is a significant difference between regulations that carry civil or administrative penalties for violations and those that carry criminal penalties,” Heritage argues on behalf of corporations found criminally liable for pollution or financial fraud. “People caught up in the latter may find themselves deprived of their liberty and stripped of their rights to vote, sit on a jury, and possess a firearm, among other penalties that simply do not apply when someone violates a regulation that carries only civil or administrative penalties.”

    Gee, how terrible for those white (-collar) criminals to maybe lose their rights to vote just for being convicted in a court of law.

    WaPo in 2014

    In Florida, more than one in five black adults can’t vote. Not because they lack citizenship or haven’t registered, but because they have, at some point, been convicted of a felony.

    The Sunshine State’s not alone. As in Florida, more than 20 percent of black adults have lost their right to vote in Kentucky and Virginia, too, according to the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for reforms to sentencing policy that reduces racial disparities.


    States have been ratcheting back such policies on their own. Doing so had been a running theme of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s time in office, for example. But more than 1 in 15 adults — all adults — in Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida can’t currently vote because of felon bans. Those states spend more than $6 billion combined on corrections, with more than 3 million people disenfranchised.

  49. says

    Iowa neo-Nazi stomps helpless black man’s face, knocks out woman who tries to intervene:

    Federal authorities charged 40-year-old Randy Joe Metcalf under the federal Hate Crime Act for the Jan. 12 beating, and he also faces state charges in the attack that left a 31-year-old man with a broken eye socket and other facial injuries, reported the Associated Press.

    FBI agents said Metcalf had been drinking with his fiancé for several hours before they got into an argument with Lamarr Sandridge and his friends over the jukebox at a bar in Dubuque.

    Witnesses said Metcalf had been showing off a large swastika tattoo on his abdomen, saying, “This is what I’m about.”

    He has a second swastika tattoo on his shoulder and another tattoo on his chest that says, “FRYS,” a white supremacist Iowa prison gang.

    During the argument over music, Metcalf used racial slurs toward Sandridge and two white women sitting with him, which FBI agents said then triggered a brawl.

    Authorities said Metcalf’s friend, 41-year-old Jeremy M. Sanders, put Sandridge in a headlock, and the man’s son, 21-year Joseph Sanders, repeatedly punched the black man in the face until he fell motionless to the ground.

    Metcalf then kicked and stomped the semi-conscious man’s face and head until a bartender tried to push him away.

    But he continued stomping Sandridge’s face until the man’s friend, Sarah Kiene, tried to intervene — but he hit the 29-year-old woman in the face with the back of his hand, knocking her out and fracturing her cheek bone.

    Witnesses said Metcalf then referred to Sandridge with a racial slur, and then said: “He got what he had coming.”

    Metcalf has a lengthy and violent criminal history, with previous convictions for burglary, domestic abuse and child endangerment.

    His attorney denies the beating was racially motivated. Uh huh.


    Kean Twitter threat: I will shoot black students at Kean University:

    An anonymous Twitter user sent messages threatening to shoot black students at Kean University Tuesday night, at the same time as students were holding a rally to raise awareness of racial unrest at college campuses.

    The user @keanuagainstblk began the series of tweets with a message around 10 p.m. that said “kean university twitter against blacks is for everyone who hates blacks people” and a tweet about there being a bomb on the campus, and then continued with several other tweets about shooting black students at the university.

    i will kill every black male and female at kean university
    — kean university (@keanuagainstblk) November 18, 2015

    Around 10:30 a.m. today, the account was suspended from Twitter.

    Overnight, students sent messages on the platform asking for the school to take action.

    Everyone please alert @KeanUniversity to the death threats coming from the @keanuagainstblk account.
    — #BlackLivesMatter (@SKiNNYiLL) November 18, 2015

    This morning, the school responded on social media accounts, advising students that they are working to identify the person behind the account, but that classes will be held as scheduled.

    “Although we have taken appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of our community, we respect your right to use your own best judgment in deciding whether or not to come to campus. We are profoundly troubled by this display of hatred which does not reflect in any way the values we hold sacred on our diverse campus,” said the message.

    The message also explained that the tweets came during a rally on campus to raise awareness about racial unrest on campuses across the country.

    “Approximately 100 Kean University students participated in a peaceful rally on campus last evening with 10 students spending the night at the clocktower, joining students across the nation to raise awareness of recent racial unrest at the University of Missouri and other college campuses,” the university said. “Shortly after the start of the rally, threatening racially motivated tweets were made against the black community at Kean University from an anonymous Twitter account as well as a bomb threat against the campus at large.​”


    Protesting Princeton students plan to stay in Nassau Hall overnight:

    A group of Princeton University student protestors arrived at Nassau Hall Wednesday afternoon with sleeping bags, toothbrushes and backpacks in hand.

    They said they were determined to stay and sleep in university President Christopher L. Eisgruber’s office until he agrees to make campus-wide changes for black students.

    The move came after a protest and sit-in earlier Wednesday organized by a student group, the Black Justice League, who demand the university to improve, “the social and academic experiences of its black students at Princeton,” according to a letter they presented to Eisgruber.

    The league convened outside of Nassau Hall late Wednesday morning with numerous students in tow and called for Eisgruber to implement three proposed changes to campus policy and structure.

  50. says

    Another Trump rally descends into racist violence:
    “Get him the hell out of here”: Trump sics supporters on black protester who gets beaten and kicked:

    CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond posted video to Twitter of a black protester being shoved down, punched, kicked and tackled during a political rally for Trump in Birmingham, Alabama — a city with a long history of racial violence.

    In the video, Trump can be heard continuing to speak in the background, then can be heard saying, “Get him the hell out of here,” as the crowd jeers.

    According to Diamond, the protester seemed to be saying, “Black lives matter,” to which at least one Trump supporter responded, “All lives matter.” He was tackled to the ground, punched and kicked by white Trump supporters.

    It’s really fucked up to even make the claim ‘All Lives Matter’ shortly before beating on a black person. Clearly you don’t think that person’s life matters!

  51. says

    This powerful artwork will show you what it means to be transgender and resilient:

    Every year on Nov. 20, transgender people and their allies gather for Transgender Day of Remembrance to mourn those that have died as a result of violence against transgender people. With 2015 being called one of the worst for transgender violence, activists in the trans movement have an especially important message: We can honor the dead and work for the living.

    This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance also sees the launch of Transgender Day of Resilience, a collaborative project that paired trans and gender-nonconforming artists with trans justice organizations to produce art that paint trans people not only as victims, but also as leaders of justice and arbiters of change.

    Mic spoke with two black transgender women, artist Wriply Bennet and Black Lives Matter activist Elle Hearns, about the importance of resilience, the power of art and the necessity of intersectional activism.

    According to Hearns, Black Lives Matter has supported transgender women in local communities before, but this year was its first official participation in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Hearns and Bennet teamed up to create this work to show how trans rights fall under the umbrella of the Black Lives Matter movement.

    “Black Lives Matter focuses on intersectionality and different voices, so it was really important that [the image] captured the intersections of black life, especially black trans women, who are subject to so much violence,” Hearns told Mic. “We wanted to create a picture that created a vision that dreamed beyond death and showed that our children could dream beyond death and that trans people could dream freely.”

    Bennet told Mic she chose to feature India Clarke, the trans woman who was murdered in July, because Clarke’s story resonated with her. At the top of the image, she put the words “She Could Have Been Me” with a hashtag.

    Bennet said she included hashtags in her artwork to encourage discussion of the plight of black trans women across the social sphere.

    “There were all of these hashtags going through social media gaining folks’ attention and I didn’t see that happening to the black trans women we were losing,” Bennet told Mic. “I think this project is a very great reminder that before I am trans, before I am queer, I am a black person. That was one thing nobody had to tell me. That was one thing that was always right there.”

    Bennet said that, only a year ago, she’d seen people in conversations on Twitter telling trans women to “wait their turn” to get the attention they so sorely needed and deserve. Her artwork pushes back on that sentiment.

    Bennet has been active in her local chapter of the Transgender Women of Color Collective in Columbus, Ohio, which responds to problems trans people face within LBGT communities.

    Black Trans Lives Matter.

    Y’all remember how MLK, Jr. gave speeches that magically eradicated racism in the United States and ushered in the age of the post-racial USAmerica? So glad he did that bc if not, then I’d think this was an example of racism. But we all know there’s no such thing anymore, eh?

    DOJ releases knockout video in racist attack of elderly Texas man:

    The Department of Justice on Friday released a video of a “knockout game” attack against an elderly black man by a white man in a hate crime that resulted in the 29-year-old receiving a six-year federal prison sentence, according to CNN.

    Last month, Conrad Alvin Barrett, 29, of Katy, Texas, was sentenced to six years in jail after pleading guilty to attacking Roy Coleman, 81, in November 2013. Coleman suffered two jaw fractures and was hospitalized for several days after the incident, the report says.
    On Friday, officials released Barrett’s video that shows him narrating and then attacking Coleman.

    “The plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?” he says in the video. Barrett then says he’s “completely unable” to hit defenseless people, but then he stops his car, approaches Coleman and hits him so hard that the elderly man falls to the ground.
    “When I first saw the video, I was devastated … It broke my heart to see someone hit my father,” Donna McNeal, Colman’s daughter told CNN affiliate KPRC.

  52. says

    9 facts that show white on white crime far exceeds black on black crime and how media outlets conceal it:

    Edward Wycoff Williams, an author, columnist and political analyst for MSNBC, conveyed a reality that many do not seem to know is real. Williams wrote for The Root: “It seems that the media in general and white American society in particular prefer to focus on crime perpetrated by African Americans because it serves as a way to absolve them from the violence, prejudice and institutionalized discrimination engendered for generations against blacks. It offers a buffer against responsibility, a way to shift blame and deflect cause and effect. But the truth, and numbers, tell a different story. At the heart of an increasingly violent society is not a subculture among Blacks, but the violence and criminality of many Americans, and whites in particular. No one seems to speak about this. Why? Because the snake oil was duly purchased and consumed. It is time for race-based pseudo-facts to be challenged and dismantled.”

    There are 6 pages to read.

    Don Lemon aspires to be like Malcolm X if he wasn’t a journalist.
    Journalist really should be in quotation marks.

    CNN’s Don Lemon has repetitively made headlines for not covering the news but becoming the story himself. In 2014, Lemon was considered by the Columbia Journalism Review to be one of the worst journalists working in the industry.
    “As one of the most recognizable anchors on CNN, Don Lemon has helped lead the cable network’s coverage of the biggest stories of the year. Live television is exceedingly difficult to produce, of course, but Lemon’s gaffes this year offer a case study in how to choose words wisely — or not,” according to the CJR.
    There is no secret that Lemon has become a de facto Black “representative” for the mega media company. His show CNN Tonight is when the day’s most pressing issues concerning race in America are discussed. He is treated like Ta-Nehisi Coates but Lemon has little to no apparent knowledge of racial history in this country and it seems to be highlighted when tragedy strikes.

    For example, on June 22, the anchor was paraded out front to discuss the racial and historical significance of the confederate flag. He then asks his audience does the word “N*gger” offend them.

    Just last month Lemon had a disagreement with attorney Sunny Hostin over the incident at Spring Valley High, South Carolina.
    In a recent interview for The New York Times Magazine, Lemon was asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t a journalist and Lemon replied, “I’d probably be a writer like James Baldwin. Or I would probably be an activist. But not like Dr. King, even though I admire him. I’d probably be more of a Malcolm X. I believe the best way to improve yourself is to improve yourself.”
    The irony is that Lemon wants to be like people who boldly disagree with the notion of living under white supremacy. Baldwin and X would have not allowed themselves to be a puppet. They would not have allowed themselves to be marched out nightly to shuck and jive, denounce their Blackness, or mock the issues that were important to Black people. These men would not allow themselves to be embarrassed the way Lemon has.
    Lemon’s full interview will be on stands Sunday, November 22.


    NY Supreme Court rules that Eric Garner grand jury minutes will remain unsealed.

    Black Lives Matter activists and journalists sue Berkeley cops for protest beatings:

    The civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court on Sunday by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild against the city and police of Berkeley and nearby Hayward. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

    The Dec. 6, 2014 march stemmed from the decision days earlier by grand juries in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, to not criminally charge police officers for killing unarmed, black men, the complaint said.

    The Berkeley demonstration was one in a flurry of such protests to erupt in cities across the country over the past year and a half against systemic racism and police violence under the banner of Black Lives Matter.

    “The Berkeley Police responded brutally, clubbing peaceful protesters and journalists, often from behind, some in the head, indiscriminately and unnecessarily; and using profligate amounts of teargas without justification,” the complaint said.


    Several colleges across the country put forth concrete plans to address issues of racial diversity in wake of Mizzou:

    Since October, an estimated 30 colleges have made their grievances heard. This month, the #BlackonCampus movement began to spread coast to coast with the same vigor as the Black Lives Matter movement. In the past few weeks, Black and white students stood in solidarity with Missouri. It has put universities across the country on edge. Schools like Brown University have introduced a $100 million dollar initiative that would hopefully address the racial issues at the Ivy League institution. Over the next decade, the college will use that money to help low-income students, research race and social justice and create a diversity committee. According to University President Christina H. Paxson, the draft action plan includes the following:

    “Creating a just and inclusive campus community is key to Brown’s ambitions as a university. Legacies of structural racism and discrimination in our society and on our campus undermine our goals of being a diverse, inclusive, and academically excellent community. Although we cannot solve these problems globally, we can ensure that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect, and are provided the opportunities they need to reach their full human potential.”

    On the west coast, University of California Irvine Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas Parham announced last Friday that the college will take on the diversity issues of its college campus with a similar initiative.
    According to Parham, there will be an African-American scholars and excellence hall in the Arroyo Vista student housing community. A Black Resource Center was also approved, a Black studies program that “demonstrate skills to recognize, critically analyze, and question structural systems of oppression” is also underway. The college has also appointed Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes as the task force’s current chair.
    As Black students make their grievances known, universities will eventually have to come to terms with the reality that their respective campuses cannot conduct business as usual without change.

  53. says

    Chicago police superintendent moves to fire police officer who fatally shot Rekia Boyd:

    A board that reviews allegations of misconduct by Chicago police officers recommended in September that Officer Dante Servin be fired for the shooting of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement Monday night that he agreed with that assessment.

    McCarthy said Servin showed “incredibly poor judgment.”

    Boyd died after one of the five bullets from Servin’s handgun pierced her head. Servin said he fired because he felt threatened when he confronted a group at a park. A judge found Servin not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and other charges during a trial that ended in April.

    McCarthy says the charges justifying Servin’s firing will be sent to the Chicago Police Board, which makes disciplinary decisions, for further action.

    “After considerable deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that Officer Dante Servin showed incredibly poor judgement in his efforts to intervene in a low-level dispute while off-duty,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “His actions tragically resulted in the death of an innocent young woman and an unthinkable loss for a Chicago family and community. In the end, CPD has rules that we all must live by. Officer Servin violated those rules and he’s going to be held accountable for that.”

  54. says

    WWU suspends classes after threats against students of color.

    I wanted to copy/paste, but the above page is taking over 3 minutes to load and I’m impatient.

    The future police chief of Farrell, Pa., Thomas Burke, publicly apologized about using the n-word in an email about a reading fundraiser:

    Thomas Burke, who is set to become the chief of the Farrell, Pa., Police Department on Jan. 1, gave a public apology on Monday for using the n-word in an email sent out earlier this year, WKBN reports.

    Burke, who is white, issued his formal apology on Monday in the rotunda of the city’s municipal building, the news station notes. “To everybody here, to everybody out there, my deepest … I cannot tell you, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. I apologize deeply,” he said.

    The email in question, which was related to a reading fundraiser, was sent in April and read, in part, “Good morning. Please click and review. Even a one dollar will be greatly appreciated. Them Sharon n–gers gotta learn how to read.”

    Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan acknowledged that Burke admitted to using the slur, but she stood behind him as chief.

    “As the mayor of Farrell and as an African American, I stand behind Mr. Burke as police chief for the city of Farrell,” she said, according to the news station.

    “Until you get to know a man’s character, you can’t judge him by one off-the-cuff remark, or else we would have to judge all white people as equally guilty,” she added. “I have spoken with Mr. Burke and consider the matter as closed.”

    Other residents, however, weren’t so quick to brush aside the comment.

    “I am concerned because there are many young blacks in Farrell who are already unruly, who are already disenfranchised,” Bishop Martha J. Sanders, a Farrell resident for the past 82 years, said.

    The Rev. Tiffany Holden of Redeemed Sanctuary Church echoed the bishop’s concern. “It is not OK for someone who is going to be head of this community to be allowed to say such words,” she said.

    Chicago cop shot Laquan McDonald six seconds after leaving his car as teen was walking away: prosecutors:

    Cook County prosecutors said in court Tuesday that a Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder opened fire six seconds after exiting his squad car as 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was walking away from him.

    Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, prosecutors told Judge Donald Panarese at bond court.

    The judge ordered Van Dyke held without bail until the judge can personally view a police dash-cam video of the shooting on the Southwest Side in October 2014. The judge will view the video on Monday.

    Van Dyke, 37, turned himself in to state’s attorney investigators at 7:41 a.m. CST in their offices at the criminal courthouse, booking records show. As he arrived, Van Dyke kept his hands in his jeans pockets, looked straight ahead, and did not answer questions from reporters as he briskly walked into the Leighton Criminal Court Building with his attorney.

    Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of McDonald “without legal justification and with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm,” according to the one-page criminal complaint filed against him.

    Meanwhile, Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, set up a GoFundMe page asking for online donations for her husband’s bond. Although the page did not mention her husband by name, it described him as a 15-year veteran officer “fighting for his freedom and justice.”

    “He is a highly decorated and respected officer,” Tiffany Van Dyke wrote. “He was in a shooting that has been covered extensively by the media and we ask for your patience for all the facts to come out in the trial. We want him to be home with his family as we go through this judicial process.”

    The page asked for donations “very quickly” so Van Dyke can pay whatever bond is set and he can be home for the holidays.

    As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, donors, mostly anonymous, had given more than $10,000 of the $80,000 sought. The page also had attracted a number of negative comments, and shortly after 11 a.m. it was taken down.

    The dash-cam shows Van Dyke jumping out of his squad car and within seconds unloading 16 rounds into McDonald, lawyers for McDonald’s family have said.

  55. says

    These are serious allegations:

    During an interview on Tuesday, CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Williams to react to breaking news that two men had been arrested in connection to shootings that injured at least five people who were protesting the killing of Jamar Clark.

    “We’re hearing two [arrests] at this time,” Williams explained. “But we don’t necessarily trust that. We know that the police department is behind this, this is our personal belief after receiving witness accounts.”

    “Wait, wait, wait,” Baldwin interrupted. “You said you believe the police department is behind what?”

    “We believe the police department is facilitating the injustice, bullying the protesters,” Williams replied. “And we also believe that they’re involved in this shooting. We know from blackboards and chat rooms and also videos that we have posted on our website that police that are from different counties, police from different districts have come down to entice the protesters, have come down to bully the protesters.”

    Baldwin, who was broadcasting from Paris, noted that Williams had made “serious allegations” on national television.

    “And we are standing behind it, we do not back down from these allegations,” Williams insisted.

    “Where is your evidence that they were involved in the shooting?” Baldwin pressed.

    According to Williams, police were “lurking” near the shooting and then refused to provide help to the injured protesters.

    “This is what you’ve been wanting,” she recalled one of the officers saying.

    “It took 15 minutes for the police to even arrive and shortly after that, they began to Mace the crowd,” Williams said. “So if you’re not part of the problem, if this is not something you’re trying to cover up, why would you not attend to victims who paid for your salaries?”

    Williams said that her group had “video evidence of an undercover cop getting into an unmarked car.”

    “We believe — and we stand behind our belief — that the Minneapolis Police Department is not protecting us and therefore they stand with racist white supremacists who want to destroy a peaceful movement,” she concluded.

  56. Pteryxx says

    The video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting has just been released.

    Chris Hayes on MSNBC reminds us that the original story got little attention, back in October 2014 – a knife-wielding teen supposedly lunged at an officer and was shot once. Only after FOIA requests turned up the autopsy report, with 16 shots into his body, did journalists request further information and video. And finally, over a year later, a first-degree murder charge is filed against the cop who emptied his gun into Laquan.

    Kos background – Shaun King in April here, Eric Nelson in June here.

    At least this time MSNBC is only showing the video up to the first shot fired, and only a couple times per hour.

  57. blf says

    qwints@64, That’s Irving Texas (there’s also an Irving in California and probably other places as well), which is the same place as where Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bring a clock to school (as the newspaper editorial points out).

  58. qwints says

    It gets worse.

    An anti-Muslim group that brought guns to an Irving mosque has published the home addresses of dozens of Muslims and “Muslim sympathizer[s]” in the city.
    Wright, who is convinced that America is due for a Paris-style attack by Muslims, also posted the addresses to his personal Facebook page, a couple hours after he wrote in another thread: “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”

  59. says

    Officers involved in fatal Columbia Heights shooting identified:

    The Department of Public Safety says Columbia Heights Sgt. Erik Johnston and Fridley Officer Shawn Murphy shot 45-year-old Michael Kirvelay of Montrose after he refused to show his hands.

    Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officials say the officers were responding to a report of a person with a gun at a Columbia Heights business.

    Kirvelay’s sister, 25-year-old Tiffany Kirvelay, says the family first thought it was a BB gun, but now isn’t sure he had even that.

    “Very emotional and hurt,” Kirvelay said. “And I don’t understand why they took my brother’s life. I don’t understand it.”


    News site posts gif of Laquan McDonald’s killing, internet revolts:

    In a move that shows yet again that Black lives really don’t matter to some media outlets, The Daily Beast turned the just-released video of Laquan McDonald’s death into a gif.

    Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who is White, fatally shot McDonald, a Black 17-year-old, in October 2014. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder yesterday, and Chicago Police Department (CPD) released a graphic dashcam video of McDonald’s death. Police officials refused to release the tape until a Cook County judge forced them to do so. The video reveals that McDonald was shot 16 times, and that the police account of events does not match the reality of the situation.

    In a Chicago Tribune article immediately after the shooting, CPD said that McDonald stabbed the tires of a couple of squad cars, damaged one of the windshields and lunged at police. But the video shows that while McDonald was carrying a knife with a three-inch blade, he was walking away from Van Dyke when the officer pulled the trigger. And 13 of the shots were fired after he hit the ground. The Chicago Tribune reports that the video prompted hundreds of people to protest in Chicago streets.

    While many outlets choose to post and air the video, somehow, The Daily Beast thought it was a good idea to loop McDonald’s killing into an animated gif. Thanks to most social networks’ autoplay feature, anyone who stumbled across the gif was exposed to the violent death. Critics argue that it was a move that trivialized the life and death of this Black boy who died at the hands of a White police officer.


    Arab-American journalist put through psychological torture by federal officials:

    Kim Badawi, a Paris-born American photojournalist of Arab descent, recently took to Twitter to describe an episode of “psychological torture” by Homeland Security officials at a Miami airport.

    In a series of November 22 tweets, which you can see below, Badawi described a 10-hour detainment in Miami. He claims he was harassed because of his work in the Middle East.


    Badawi elaborated on his detainment and tweets in an interview with Buzzfeed. He explained that he was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Texas with his Brazilian partner. He said that during a Miami stopover, Homeland Security officials invited him into a large waiting room where he was the only person with an American passport:

    “I was the only one with a blue passport in the room,” said Badawi, referring to the color of a U.S. passport. His parents — who are also U.S. citizens — registered him as American at birth in Paris.

    Badawi, who had been covering Syrian refugees in Brazil, said officials interrogated him about work as a Middle East correspondent for CNN and the Wall Street Journal. He claimed that the Homeland Security officials combed through his entire media presence and opinions. He also said he wasn’t allowed to use his cellphone to contact his partner about his whereabouts:

  60. says

    Burger King manager tells grand jury Chicago cops erased security video of Laquan McDonald shooting:

    According to Darshane, after police examined the video of the night, his employees discovered an 86-minute gap covering the period between 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. “I was just trying to help the police with their investigation … I didn’t know they were going to delete it,” Darshane told the Chicago Tribune.

    The shooting occurred at about 9:57 p.m., according to the timestamp on a police dashcam video released last week. It is not clear what the Burger King video might have shown, as the restaurant’s cameras pointed toward the parking lot, but allegations of tampering have further fueled the anger of protesters who accuse police of mishandling the case.

    However, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the allegations of tampering were “absolutely not true.”

    “There were apparently technical difficulties, but in no way, shape or form that anything was tampered with,” he reportedly said.

    Sorry (notsorry), but I don’t believe you. Cops around the country have squandered any benefit of the doubt I used to have for law enforcement officials. I no longer believe that what you say is the truth. Especially in cases involving use of excessive force. Too often cops have lied, and their fellow cops as well as police chiefs have assisted in cover-ups.


    Expert reports by Tamir Rice family attorney call shooting “objectively unreasonable”:

    Attorneys for the family of Tamir Rice released reports Saturday from two use-of-force experts who determined the shooting of the 12-year-old boy by a Cleveland police officer was “objectively unreasonable.”

    The reviews stand in direct contrast to three expert reports commissioned and released by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, who Tamir’s family, activists and religious leaders have repeatedly called to remove himself from the case.

    Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra and the New York law firm of Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady have called McGinty’s expert reports “utterly biased and deeply flawed.” The attorneys represent Tamir’s mother in a pending civil lawsuit filed against the city, the two officers involved in the shooting and the Cleveland police department.

    At the legal team’s request, police procedures consultant Roger Clark and former deputy police chief of the Irvine Police Department Jeffry J. Noble, both California-based nationally renowned experts in police use-of-force issues, pored over investigative material and determined the shooting was not justified.

    I’d love to hear the reasoning used to determine that McGinty’s reports were ‘biased and flawed’.


    Prosecutor releases enhanced surveillance images of Tamir Rice shooting:

    The images are among 326 released Saturday night by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty that offer frame-by-frame analysis of what two surveillance cameras captured during the Nov. 22, 2014 shooting outside the Cudell Recreation Center.

    The images released Saturday were enhanced by Grant Fredericks of Forensic Video Solutions in Spokane, Washington. Fredericks used metadata from the surveillance video to establish the timeline of events leading to Tamir’s shooting. (See the images in the document viewer below.)

    Fredericks is a contract instructor at the FBI National Academy and is “one of the most experienced video experts in North America,” according to the company’s website.

    Text overlays detail what is seen in certain images.

    In one frame, Tamir, who had a plastic replica gun tucked into his waistband, stands up from a bench under the recreation center’s gazebo as a police cruiser drives toward him.

    It is unclear if he sees the cruiser, which would come to a stop in front of him about 10 seconds later.

    About four seconds after standing up, Tamir puts his hands together in front of his stomach. In the next second, Tamir walks toward the police cruiser as it reaches the gazebo.

    As the nose of the cruiser moves past Tamir, the boy moves his right arm toward his waist.

    In the next frame, Tamir walks toward the moving cruiser and continues moving his right arm toward his waist. The cruiser’s passenger door opens.

    The next frame shows Tamir lift his right shoulder and arm. The cruiser remains in motion as officer Timothy Loehmann springs from the passenger seat.

    A frame later, Loehmann shoots Tamir.

    The images appear to support arguments made in a trio of expert reports made public by the prosecutor’s office beginning in October. In each report, the experts determined that it was reasonable for Loehmann to believe that Tamir was armed with a gun, despite the fact that the initial 911 caller said that the boy was likely a juvenile and that the gun he had was “probably fake.”

    That information was never relayed to the responding officers.

    “This decision, in my opinion, was clearly objectively reasonable, given the totality of the circumstances,” certified Florida law enforcement officer, instructor and consultant W. Ken Katsaris wrote in his analysis released last month.

    Subodh Chandra, one of a team of attorneys representing Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, in a pending civil lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and the officers involved in the shooting, released a statement saying the release proves that Tamir was not reaching into his waistband.

    “The video continues to reveal police officers rushing upon 12-year-old Tamir without assessing the situation, and officer Loehmann fatally shooting the child immediately,” Chandra said. “And the officers fail to administer first aid to the boy while he lay bleeding and dying on the ground.”

    Chandra also criticized McGinty for giving the video to media outlets.

    “The frames contain editorial comments that attempt to make excuses for the officers,” Chandra wrote. “Tamir, for example, may be lifting his arm in shocked reaction to being shot. The effort to characterize the evidence is hardly fair play and is one of many reasons the Rice family and clergy throughout Cleveland lack confidence in the prosecutor’s fairness in this matter.”

    Trial to begin for first Baltimore police officer accused of killing Freddie Gray:

    Officer William Porter, 26, is the first of six officers scheduled for separate trials in Baltimore City Circuit Court for the death in April of Freddie Gray.

    Trial will begin with jury selection. Judge Barry Williams last week ordered the identities of jurors to be shielded to keep them from facing outside pressure.

    Gray, 25, died from a spinal injury suffered in the back of a police transport van after he was taken into custody. Porter is accused of ignoring Gray’s requests for medical aid and not putting a seatbelt on him, even though he was shackled and handcuffed.

    Porter faces charges of second-degree assault, manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. If convicted on all counts he could face more than 25 years in prison.

    I hope he receives a fair trial and that the verdict is a just one.

  61. rq says

    Some stuff I picked up over the last week:
    Donald Trump’s Recipe for More Tamir Rices

    Revisiting Tamir’s death reminds us to stand up against those who would prefer to excuse these killings. In the latest episode of my podcast, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz reminded me of Congressman John Lewis’s call to make “necessary trouble” in order to tell the stories of boys like Tamir. We need to confront a toxic cultural climate in which a 12-year-old black boy with a toy gun is seen as a deadly threat. And we need to push back against the likes of Donald Trump, who would have us believe that these deaths are somehow just.

    Mercutio Southall, Jr. interrupted a Trump rally and promptly got his ass beat for it. Several white male Trump supporters assaulted the Birmingham activist Saturday morning after he began chanting “Black Lives Matter!” As he was being kicked and punched, a Washington Post reporter saw one of the men put his hands around Southall’s neck. A woman looking on reportedly yelled, “Don’t choke him!”

    Trump himself wasn’t as concerned with Southall’s health as he was with continuing his speech. “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?” Trump yelled from the podium. Security made sure that happened, but that wasn’t enough for the Republican front-runner. He doubled down the next morning, telling Fox News that “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” He added, “I have a lot of fans, and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy who was a trouble-maker who was looking to make trouble.”

    This was not the first time Trump fans have committed violence in his name. In August, one of two Boston men who urinated on a homeless Hispanic man before beating him with a metal pole cited Trump’s extreme rhetoric about immigration as inspiration for the act. Trump initially refused to condemn the assault, saying, “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

    The most Trump has to worry about here is his political future, and that seems in pretty good shape; his polling strength seems renewed after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The stakes for those of us whom Trump scapegoats for votes, potentially even a future Tamir Rice, are much higher. We are left to be increasingly concerned about how our fellow citizens, particularly the police, approach us in everyday interactions. We become inhuman and beastlike, as Brown did in the eyes of the Ferguson cop who killed him. Our children magically transform into adults, as officers considered a bleeding Tamir to be at the scene of his shooting. (“Shots fired, male down, um, black male, maybe 20,” one said.)

    Just as this idea of an inherent criminality is forced upon people of color, we are similarly pushed to accept police as universally heroic and deserving of the benefit of the doubt. There’s at least one case, Tamir’s, in which that is plainly not the case. Whether or not his death was the result of a racist act is less my concern, frankly, than the fact that it fits an all-too-familiar script of immediate and inherent suspicion. It is a mindset that made a boy with a toy into a threat, one that will only continue to prevail if the likes of Donald Trump are given the reins of power.

    26 Children’s Books That Celebrate Black Heroes (real-life heroes and role models, that is). It doubles as a short-list of a lot of ‘first’ black people in various fields, from athletics to music to science. And more.

    Why So Many Minority Millennials Can’t Get Ahead “Without the financial support that many white families can provide, minority young people have to continually make sacrifices that set them back.”

    A seminal study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives on wealth accumulation estimates that as much as 20 percent of wealth can be attributed to formal and informal gifts from family members, especially parents. And it starts early. In college, black and Hispanic Millennials are more likely to have to work one or two jobs to get through, missing out on opportunities to connect with classmates who have time to tinker around in dorm rooms and go on to found multibillion-dollar companies together. Many of them take on higher levels of student debt than their white peers, often to pay for routine expenses, such as textbooks, that their parents are less likely to subsidize.

    “Student debt is the biggest millstone around Millennials, period, and an even larger and heavier one around the necks of black Millennials,” said Tom Shapiro, the director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. “It really hits those doing the right thing. [They’re] going through all the hoops.” He explained that, unlike in previous decades when college tuition was drastically lower, the risks of educational costs are now passed down to the individual.

    Recent polls indicate that a large portion of Millennials receive financial help from parents. At least 40 percent of the 1,000 Millennials (ages 18 to 34) polled in a March USA Today/Bank of America poll get help from parents on everyday expenses. A Clark University poll indicated an even higher number, with almost three-quarters of parents reporting that they provide their Millennial children with financial support. Another survey saw nearly a third of Baby Boomers paying for Millennials’ medical expenses. A quarter of Boomers subsidized “other expenses” so their Millennial offspring could save money. Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to be the recipients of this type of support.

    Ironically, even though black and Hispanic Millennials are less likely to receive financial support from parents, their parents are more likely than white parents to expect their kids to help financially support them later on. According to the Clark poll, upward of 80 percent of black parents and 70 percent of Hispanic parents expect to be supported. And most studies show that a primary reason why people of color are unable to save as adults is because they give financial support to close family. This is important because when emergencies happen, many Millennials won’t have the reserve money to cover them.

    A Millennial who gets regular financial gifts and support from parents will either have the money to cover an emergency themselves, or (more likely) have a parent or grandparent cover it so there’s no damage to their credit. They won’t have to borrow from predatory-lending institutions, move into unsafe neighborhoods to save on rent, or start from financial scratch each time.

    It doesn’t even have to be a life emergency. In the decision between paying for a professional networking event or a cell-phone bill, the latter is likely to win out. It should come as no surprise that Millennials who are free to choose both are likely to benefit more in the long run. When this happens once or twice on a small scale, it’s not a big deal. It’s the collective impact of a series of decisions that matters, the result of which is displayed among ethnic and class lines and grounded in historical privilege. [bolding mine – rq]

    Keep reading at the link.

    Laquan McDonald and the ‘System’

    I spent Wednesday night following a gaggle of protesters through the streets of downtown Chicago. The air was unseasonably warm, but the sentiment in the air burned with a rage and revulsion.

    Disturbing video had been released of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He had been shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke. Most of the shots were fired when McDonald was no longer standing. Some entered through his back.

    Shortly before releasing the tape, the Cook County state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, announced Van Dyke would be charged with first-degree murder.

    Broad discontent rippled through the crowd of protesters as people suggested a wide-ranging cover-up, from the $5 million settlement the city paid to McDonald’s family and its timing (it was reached days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel won a runoff re-election), the 400 days it took the prosecutor to bring charges even though the video existed, the silence of the other officers on the scene, and efforts to suppress the video itself. One young man with a megaphone led the protesters in a chant that went in part: “The whole damned system is guilty as hell.”

    Truly, there are many troubling aspects to this case. But having covered so many of these cases in the last couple years, it strikes me that we may need to push back and widen the lens so that we can fully appreciate and understand the systemic sociological and historical significance of this moment in our country’s development.

    While police departments definitely have distinct cultures, in a way they are simple instruments that articulate and enforce our laws and mores, which are reflections of our values.

    The only reason that these killings keep happening is because most of American society tacitly approves or willfully tolerates it. There is no other explanation. If America wanted this to end, it would end.

    The exceeding sad and dreadfully profound truth is that America — the majority of America, and that generally means much of white America — has turned away, averted its gaze and refused to take a strong moral stance in opposition. That’s the same as granting silent approval.

    Charles M Blow, folks. Hats, removed, all that. More at the link.

    A Response to Randall Kennedy, who responded to black tape being put over his portrait’s face at Harvard here (also linked to in the response).

    Randy suggests that the students are being childishly hyperbolic – losing sight of the big picture on which he and other seasoned observers are focused. But couldn’t the gap between Randy’s reaction and the protesters’ complaints at Harvard Law School and around the country have another source? Is the problem one of oversensitivity or insensitivity? Exaggerated racism or understated racism?

    Like many others in the HLS community, we have been engaging with students on these topics extensively for some years. In those discussions, we have noted two very different, but often overlapping and confused, definitions of “racism” in play. We suspect that these profoundly different definitions are at the core of the disagreement between student protesters and the administrations and faculties they are protesting.

    The version that is most common and that seems to animate Randy’s op-ed assumes a force that is conspicuous and malevolent: Bull Connor, George Wallace, the KKK, and so on. Racism of that sort is no longer of us or from us. It is foreign – an alien from another time. It is pathology, sickness, and a deviation from the norm. And it is ugly and despised. Like a bloodthirsty dragon emerging from its lair, we would eagerly join forces to chase it down and slay it. In fact, that has been the project of previous generations, to which this group of students should be grateful and deferential. That is why such explicit racism is relatively rare these days and why we need to be painstaking not to mislabel some behavior “racist,” lest some innocent be hurt or some values be compromised.

    The student protestors understand that version of racism, but they (and, to be clear, we) are focused on a second, very different version. This type of racism can be hard to see and is often easy to dismiss. It is malleable and insidious. It’s in the architecture of expectations, the ranking of authorities, the sway of circumstance, the nudge of defaults, and the grammar of culture. It hides behind flowery truisms and elaborate self-deceptions. It’s in the norms, customs, precedents, and incentive structures of institutions, jobs, and roles. It’s in the decorative euphemisms for revenue sources, the devilish details of doctrine, the artful camouflaging of motives, the clever rationalization of outcomes, and the river of neural synapses that link some concepts more definitively than others. It’s in the hard-to-see privileging of certain ideas – buffered by unexamined baselines, illusions of neutrality, and elastic categorical boundaries. It’s in the body language of dominance and submission, the harness of manners and professionalism, the limits of suitable conversation topics, and the hierarchy of acceptable emotional reactions. It’s in the traditions that make us “us” (and them “them”) and the selective memory and beneficence those traditions memorialize. It resides in the familiar. It is of us, around us, and within us. This version of racism is in the epistemic, existential, and relational systems that constitute us.

    More at the link.

  62. rq says

    Meanwhile, in Canada…
    White student union Facebook groups on Canadian campuses appear to be a hoaxappear to be. I certainly hope that’s true.

    At least five Canadian universities have been targeted in what appears to be a series of fake Facebook groups claiming to represent white student unions.

    Officials at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Western University in London, Ont., and McMaster in Hamilton have all denied these Facebook groups have official standing on campus or are endorsed by the administrations. Additional groups appear to have been started at the University of Victoria and University of Toronto.

    Similar Facebook pages appearing to be affiliated with several American schools contain near identical wording about the purported groups.

    “Students of the European diaspora on college campuses face unique and immediate challenges that are ignored or even actively denied in today’s cultural climate,” says a Facebook post on the UBC White Student Union page.

    “We unapologetically provide a safe space for white students to air their true feelings about the future of our nation, discuss and reflect on the lessons laid down for us by our great writers, philosophers and artists”

    These pages have sprung up in the midst of heightened racial tensions on American college campuses such as the University of Missouri.

    Someone has a pretty sick sense of humour.

    Also in the Great White, Cop ‘lost (his) cool’ in killing Sammy Yatim, Crown tells Forcillo’s murder trial. I can only hope it ends with a conviction for the police officer. The trial’s still in progress.

    Back to the USAmerica, The 7 stages of denial when blacks are killed by police. It’s probably repeat information for followers of this thread, but also a good review.

    If we have learned anything from the previous deaths of other young African-Americans at the hands of police — like Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Walter Scott — it’s that folks will try to change the narrative.

    It’s just a matter of time before McDonald’s story in Chicago is retooled, just as similar ones were in New York City, Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland and North Charleston, S.C.

    Some people prefer a more palatable tale, one that doesn’t take too much effort to digest and that doesn’t alter the preconceived notions they have about race and justice. That way, they can continue to live comfortably in the idyllic world they’ve created in their mind — one that hasn’t existed in America for 300 years.

    It is easy to spot the people I’m talking about. You hear the doubt in their voices when they talk about the shootings. You read it in their Twitter feed. You hear it in the jokes they crack in the men’s restroom.

    They’re the ones who take you aside and say: “The video’s been released. Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s been charged with murder. What’s everybody so riled up about?”

    Don’t think for a minute that it’s easy to arrive at this oblivious state of insensitivity. Like the seven stages of grief, there are also seven stages of denial for people who refuse to accept that African-Americans are disproportionately slain by officers whose job is to protect and serve.

    But unlike grief, denial is a contagious disease that is spread by ignorance and reinforced by talk radio and television pundits. Here are the signs to watch out for

    … continues at the link.

    60 Years Later: From Rosa Parks to Black Lives Matter – a timeline of sorts. A history lesson.

    On March 2, 1955, a fifteen-year-old high school student, already sitting near the back of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, refused a bus driver’s order to surrender her seat to white passengers coming on board. The bus driver called police, who forcibly removed the teenage girl, Claudette Colvin, dragging her from her seat.

    Alabama civil rights activists believed the incident, coming just 10 months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, could be a test case to challenge segregation on public buses. A local NAACP member, Rosa Parks, helped to collect contributions for Colvin’s legal fees, but the campaign was eventually dropped. Colvin’s resistance to her arrest and the discovery that she was several months pregnant, forced activists to wait for a better test case.

    Then, on the evening of December 1, 1955, Mrs. Parks herself was arrested after refusing to give up her seat — already in the colored section of a local bus — to a white man who boarded the bus three stops after she had. As everyone now knows, the arrest of Rosa Parks led to a year-long bus boycott, a U.S. Supreme Court decision and the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Today, 60 years after the civil rights movement’s most famous act of civil disobedience, it’s worth remembering what has and hasn’t changed since 1955. Some changes reflect the progress of our community. State-sanctioned segregation has ended, African-Americans have become more politically powerful and the U.S. has elected its first Black president.

    Other changes reflect the still simmering tension that exists within our community. Remember, it was the politics of respectability that kept Claudette Colvin’s case from becoming the face of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, but that debate over which victims and leaders are acceptable to project in the struggle has not subsided.

    We saw this after George Zimmerman’s defenders portrayed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as a thugged-out weed head, leading some to question whether Martin should have been the face of the cause. And we’ve seen it most recently with critics who question activists’ embrace of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald and other victims of police brutality in search of a more perfect victim.

    When Bayard Rustin, a draft-resisting communist and Black gay man, arrived in Montgomery in February 1956, his presence sparked immediate controversy, as David Garrow recounts in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “It was the feeling of this group that Bayard should be urged to leave Alabama and return to New York,” one leading activist wrote at the time.

    Today, the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded by three Black women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi — including two queer women, is often represented by several Black gay men, including Darnell Moore and Deray McKesson, among others. This new, more diverse image of Black leadership looks dramatically different from the days when Montgomery organizers wrestled with the question of what to do about Rustin.

    One of the key organizers in today’s movement, Johnetta Elzie, considers Black Lives Matter to be “all-inclusive” because, as she says, “Blackness is all-inclusive. Blackness is not just black straight men. There are gay men in this work doing amazing work. There are queer folks. There are trans folks. There are gay and lesbian folks, bisexual, there are religious black people, there are atheist black people.”

    More at the link.

    Obama also had a statement on Rosa Parks: Statement by the President

    Rosa Parks held no elected office. She was not born into wealth or power. Yet sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks changed America. Refusing to give up a seat on a segregated bus was the simplest of gestures, but her grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice helped spark a Civil Rights Movement that spread across America. Just a few days after Rosa Parks’ arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, a little-known, 26 year-old pastor named Martin Luther King Jr. stood by her side, along with thousands of her fellow citizens. Together, they began a boycott. Three-hundred and eighty-five days later, the Montgomery buses were desegregated, and the entire foundation of Jim Crow began to crumble.

    Like so many giants of her age, Rosa Parks is no longer with us. But her lifetime of activism – and her singular moment of courage – continue to inspire us today. Rosa Parks reminds us that there is always something we can do. It is always within our power to make America better. Because Rosa Parks kept her seat, thousands of ordinary commuters walked instead of rode. Because they walked, countless other quiet heroes marched. Because they marched, our union is more perfect. Today, we remember their heroism. Most of all, we recommit ourselves to continuing their march.

  63. rq says

    ANd who can’t resist free books!!! Towards the “Other America”, “Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter EPDF format”.

    As the Black Lives Matter movement has taken to the streets and courageous Black activists around the country have shaken the racist foundations of the country, there has been a groundswell of anti-racist action in white communities. With millions of white people questioning their assumptions about race, longtime and new white anti-racists have mobilized to declare “White Silence = Consent.” Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter is a call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it.

    Less thinking for the rest of us white folk! Now we just have to read the damn book.

  64. Saad says

    Timothy Loehmann, the police officer who murdered Tamir Rice, speaks about the killing (spoiler alert: he felt threatened)

    In a signed statement given to investigators and released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann doesn’t mention Tamir by name.

    He says he saw a suspect “pick up an object and stick it down in his waistband” as he arrived outside a Cleveland recreation center with his partner on November 22, 2014. He says he yelled “show me your hands” as loudly as he could. And he says he thought the suspect “appeared to be over 18 years old and about 185 pounds” and was pulling out a real gun.

    “With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active,” Loehmann wrote in the statement, which was dated Monday.

    The officer says he fired two shots toward the gun, based on his training.

    In addition to Loehmann’s statement, the office of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty released a statement from Loehmann’s partner, who also says he believed the gun was real and that the person waving it was an adult.

  65. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Even without knowing what he did that put him in this position, it’s pretty clear what’s going on here:

    Knollenberg told WXYZ that his comments were taken out of context, noting that he had an African-American employee, and offered to apologize to people who felt offended.

    Well, then. No way this legislator is racist in any way. I suppose this bit makes the rest of the article pretty unnecessary….

  66. Saad says

    Crip Dyke, #75

    Holy shit. I was trying to guess what racist comment it was and was expecting some out-of-touch with the times mildly racist faux pas comment.

    “We can’t fix that. We can’t make an African American white.” is full white supremacist.

  67. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    full white supremacist

    But, Saad! He’s got an actual Black employee working for him right now. How can you call him full white supremacist when he’s paying minimum wage to the Black man who picks his cotton field?

  68. says

    Ava DuVernay had a Barbie doll made in her image. It sold out in minutes. Maybe they ought to rethink some things.

    Many people were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Ava DuVernay doll Monday. From refreshing constantly on the Barbie Collection website to waiting for Mattel to release the link on Twitter, some were left disappointed when it came to actually being able to buy the doll. But there were others who were lucky as well as fast enough to purchase the doll.

    Twenty minutes after Mattel tweeted the link to its Barbie site, DuVernay’s doll was sold out. Potential customers tweeted their anguish and dismay after not being able to make their purchase. Then Mattel informed everyone that the doll would be available shortly at Amazon.com.

    Some people waited for Mattel to release the Amazon link, while others, like myself, searched on Amazon for the doll. And there it was, available for preorder. Once word got around on social media that the doll was already on Amazon, it was every eager consumer for him- or herself. Around 1:30 p.m. EST, Mattel finally tweeted the link to the Amazon.com site. But it was too late; the doll was already sold out.

    More tears. More disappointment for those eagerly waiting to get their hands on the doll.

    I’m pretty sure Mattel didn’t expect the doll to sell out, especially since the company hadn’t planned to mass-produce the doll. But how often is a doll made in the likeness of a great black filmmaker on the market? How about never.

    The fact that DuVernay’s doll sold out within minutes of its release is a testament to the fact that representation matters. People want to see dolls in their image and in the image of those people they admire. If Mattel wants to continue to make an impact, someone in its R&D department better start doling out ideas about how to jump on this.

    A DuVernay doll is just the beginning.

    How about a Viola Davis doll? A Kerry Washington doll? A Denzel Washington doll? A Neil deGrasse Tyson? Idris Elba, anyone?

    Remember back in the day when Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were all the rage? On Monday, DuVernay’s doll and the anticipation were the equivalent. Instead of fighting in stores, people were fighting against the clock and how fast they could refresh their browsers.


    Turns out people get angry when you say white Americans are terrorists, too:

    Let us run a headline by you.
    “White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States.”
    That was the headline of an article we published in late June about a new study that found non-Muslim extremists in the United States had killed nearly twice as many Americans since 9/11 as Muslim “jihadists.” Many of the non-Muslim extremists — whom we’ll just call terrorists from now on — were motivated by right-wing anti-government beliefs or white supremacist ideologies. Nearly all of them were white US citizens.
    Some readers saw what we were trying to do and applauded it. We were stating one of the study’s key findings about who was actually committing deadly acts of terrorism on US soil. We chose to describe those terrorists as “white Americans” not just because they were Americans and they were white, but because we were highlighting how the study unraveled a common post-9/11 assumption about terrorism in the United States — that it’s mainly the work of Muslims and foreigners. It’s not.
    Other readers were mad. Really mad.
    Some of them objected to our decision to call the terrorists “white Americans” instead of “some white Americans” or “white American extremists.” Without qualifying the term, they argued, we were claiming that ALL white Americans were a terror threat. Other readers worried that the headline, though correct, was unnecessarily divisive. Some thought it was unfair to focus on racial data when the study’s summary didn’t call attention to it.
    Other readers reported us to Facebook for posting hate speech. They called us racists and race-baiters. They said we were ignoring “white genocide.” They asked why were weren’t talking about “black-on-white crime.” One person threatened to file a discrimination lawsuit.

    It was a powerful reaction, and one we thought merited more discussion. So let’s take a closer look at the study and why we framed our story the way we did.
    What does the study tell us about terrorism?
    The New America study, which defines “extremist violence” or terrorism as “the use of violence in pursuit of any political ideology,” drew on court documents and news reports to compile a database of information about individuals who had either carried out acts of terrorism in the United States or had been charged with a terrorism-related crime since 9/11.

  69. says

    14 of the best nonfiction books by black authors in 2015.

    Muslim girl reportedly attacked, called ‘ISIS’ at Bronx public school:

    The outlet reported yesterday (December 7) that a hijab-wearing student was attacked at the Bronx’s P.S. 89. Citing an anonymous source at the school, the report said that the girl was playing at recess when three boys from her grade put her in a headlock and tried to remove her hijab. The report also says that one of the boys called her “ISIS” during the attack.

    Further, the report cites an anonymous police source who said that police responded to a 911 call, but did not take down an incident report.

    The alleged attack occured on November 19—just days after the Paris attacks, attributed to ISIS, left more than 100 people dead. School officials did not respond to Inside Edition’s request for comment, but the source indicated that the attackers’ disciplinary hearing has been “postponed in order to allow the boys’ families to hire legal representation.”


    First known biography of an African woman finally receives English translation:

    A 17th-century biography of an Ethiopian religious leader—the first known biography of an African woman—just received its first translation into English. It brings with it resurrected evidence of the saint’s “rapturous” same-sex relationship with another nun.

    Walatta Petros, the subject of this biography, lived from 1592 to 1642. A noblewoman, Petros left her husband and lead the resistance against Jesuits and their mission to convert Ethiopian Christians to Roman Catholicism. This work lead the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church to canonize Petros as a saint, and her biography was written by disciples in the Gəˁəz language in 1672. Since then, the biography has only been translated to Amharic, contemporary Ethiopia’s official language, and Italian, the language of Ethiopia’s 19th and 20th century European colonizers.

    That is, until now. “The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros” was translated and edited by literary scholar and Princeton associate professor Wendy Laura Belcher, with the assistance of historian Michael Kleiner. The Guardian reports that Belcher’s new rendition of Petros’s biography includes a ground-breaking component from the original manuscript, which was left out of subsequent translations: several nuns in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, including Petros, were involved in same-sex romantic relationships:


  70. says

    Citadel military college cadets caught wearing KKK hoods while singing Christmas carols:

    A woman who posted the photos said she was threatened and offered bribes to remove the images from her Facebook page, reported WCIV-TV.

    “I was threatened, harassed and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not ‘ruin their lives,’” the woman said.

    The TV station obscured her name to protect her privacy.

    The Facebook post indicates the cadets are singing Christmas carols while wearing the white hoods, and a man school president Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa calledan “upper class cadet” is shown taking part in one of the photos.

    School officials have not commented on the incident, but the station reported the incident is under investigation.

    A source said the men seen wearing the hoods are likely first-year students, or “knobs,” based on the way they are standing.

    The students are likely taking part in a form of hazing, the source said.

    The Citadel was founded in 1842 as a military college and arsenal established by Charleston, South Carolina officials to protect white residents from the city’s majority black population over fears of a slave revolt.

    A previous rebellion, in 1822, resulted in the arson destruction of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — the same church where a white supremacist gunned down nine worshippers earlier this year.

    Six black conspirators and 30 other slaves were hanged in the ensuing hysteria, and black churches were outlawed in 1834.

    The US military, ladies and gentlemen. So much to be proud of.


    Video catches men shouting N-word while attacking a white woman on a date with a black man:

    Serigne Diouf told The Bellingham Herald that he was picking up his girlfriend in Bellingham early Saturday morning when three men called him racial slurs and told him to leave.

    Cell phone video of the incident shows Diouf’s girlfriend getting punched in the face before Diouf attempts to retaliate with punches of his own. Racial slurs can be heard as one of the men tries to jump on Diouf.

    Bellingham police identified the man who punched Diouf’s girlfriend as 26-year-old Mario Zamora.

    An officer on the scene did not watch the video, and declined to file charges against anyone at the time. The officer claimed that all of the parties were drunk and that no one was seriously injured. But Diouf pointed out that he doesn’t drink and that his girlfriend had a black eye.

    The department later reviewed the video and decided to arrest Zamora on suspicion of fourth-degree assault. The other men were not expected to face charges. Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon told The Bellingham Herald that the men could not be charged with a hate crime just for using racial slurs.

    Diouf, who is black, insisted that the men had punched his girlfriend because they were a mixed-race couple. He said that he still wants to see all of the men charged.

    “Because I am a black man they jumped on me and called me a (racial slur),” he observed.

    There’s video available at the link. Raw Story’s Facebook page for this story has the following commentary for the above story:

    Just. Wow.
    What year is this?

    Which prompted me to make this Facebook video bc I’m so tired of seeing (or reading) shock that racism still exists (the video is set to public).


    Chicago Cops Caught on Video Tazing Black Man to Death in Custody:

    Chicago Police have released a third video of extreme police brutality in recent weeks, this time of Philip Coleman, a 38 year old black man who died in 2012.

    The video shows officers tazing Coleman repeatedly in his jail cell. The footage that was released on Monday, which does not contain audio, shows Coleman lying on his cot when six officers enter his cell.

    Seemingly, they engage Coleman in dialogue before they surround him and repeatedly shock him with a taser. After his body goes limp, they drag him out of his cell.


    The officers contend that they used force on Coleman for being uncooperative. He was shocked at least three times, which later led to his death after he was taken to a hospital.

    His death was ruled an accident by a medical examiner, who said he died from the drugs he was given in the hospital, but an autopsy proved that he had experienced trauma, including over 50 bruises and scrapes on his body.

    Percy Coleman, Philip Coleman’s father who has worked for 30 years in law enforcement, had previously sued the city for civil rights abuses against his son.

    Percy Coleman told reporters during a press conference that he was not notified in any way ahead of time by authorities that the footage was being released and said that it was difficult to process that decision. Bishop Tavis Grant, a representative speaking on behalf of the family, said that “This has been a roller coaster ride from hell for them.”

    The Coleman family does not intend to settle their suit against the city, as they have expressed a desire to change the systems in place rather than just receive money.

    It has become routine for the video of an incident to contradict the official police narrative. And that’s probably why they don’t want video taken (or if there is video, they fight to keep it from being released).
    Video available at the link.


  71. says

    Daniel Holtzclaw has been convicted!

    A former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted Thursday of rape related to accusations that he victimized 13 women on his police beat in a minority, low-income neighborhood.
    Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, faces a possible sentence of life in prison because of the conviction. He also faced more than 30 counts, including sexual battery and forcible oral sodomy.
    The allegations against Holtzclaw brought new attention to the problem of sexual misconduct committed by law enforcement officers, something police chiefs have studied for years.
    During a monthlong trial, jurors heard from 13 women who said Holtzclaw sexually victimized them. Most of them said Holtzclaw stopped them while out on patrol, searched them for outstanding warrants or checked to see if they were carrying drug paraphernalia, then forced himself on them.
    Prosecutors said in their closing arguments that many of the accusers have had troubled lives but that the law protects them as much as anyone else. Holtzclaw’s attorney described him as a model police officer whose attempts to help the drug addicts and prostitutes he came in contact with were distorted.
    Holtzclaw did not take the stand.
    The first woman to come forward was a grandmother in her 50s, who said Holtzclaw pulled her over during a traffic stop on suspicion of drunken driving. She said he ordered her into the backseat of his squad car, where he exposed himself and told her to perform oral sex.
    Holtzclaw’s youngest accuser was 17 at the time of the attack. She accused him of escorting her to the front door of her mother’s house. There, she said, he pulled down her shorts and raped her.
    Police said they used the GPS in Holtzclaw’s car and police databases to confirm he had been in contact with many of the women.

  72. says

    Scalia draws rebuke for comments about black students:

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, famous for his blustery rhetoric from the bench and beyond, finds himself in controversy again after suggesting that some black students might belong at “slower-track” universities.
    His remarks Wednesday during court arguments over an affirmative action program at the University of Texas have drawn rebukes from civil rights leaders, top Democrats and even the White House. And they returned a familiar spotlight to the feisty justice who doesn’t shy away from calling it as he sees it on issues like race and gay marriage.
    Scalia has a long history of making remarks in blunt terms without seeming to care about offending those in his sights, reflecting the sensibilities of a staunch conservative born in the 1930s who came of age as the civil rights movement was beginning.
    Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid denounced Scalia on Thursday for uttering what he called “racist ideas” from the bench.
    “The idea that African-American students are somehow inherently intellectually inferior from other students is despicable,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “It’s a throwback … to a time that America left behind a half a century ago.”
    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the comments stand in “quite stark contrast” to the priorities and values President Barack Obama has advocated through his career. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who attended the arguments, said he didn’t know “if I was in the courtroom at the United States Supreme Court or at a Donald Trump rally.”
    Wednesday’s arguments were about whether the University of Texas has compelling reasons to consider race among other factors when it evaluates applicants for about a quarter of its freshman class.
    Gregory Garre, the university’s lawyer, told Scalia that minority students admitted through the affirmative action program fared better over time than those admitted from the top 10 percent of all schools.
    Scalia prefaced his comments by noting that one of the briefs in the case “pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.”
    “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them,” Scalia said. “I’m just not impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer. Maybe it ought to have fewer. And maybe some — you know, when you take more, the number of blacks, really competent blacks, admitted to lesser schools, turns out to be less.”
    In his comments Scalia was referring to a legal brief from affirmative action opponents on research showing that minority students admitted to competitive universities through affirmative action can often struggle to succeed if they don’t have top academic abilities. This “mismatch” theory holds that minorities would be better off at less academically rigorous schools.
    The theory has been around for more than a decade and Scalia is not alone in embracing it. Justice Clarence Thomas, who is black, shared similar views in a 2003 case in which he said minority students admitted to the University of Michigan were unprepared for the work they faced.
    “I just think he’s a pull-no-punches kind of guy,” said Paul Cassell, a University of Utah law professor and former Scalia clerk who also served as a federal judge.
    “He’s also got a very sharp mind and he has less patience with arguments that don’t quite come to grips with the tough issues,” Cassell said. “Political correctness can obscure correct answers in legal cases and block discussion of the hard questions.”

    Someone is presuming that Scalia’s ‘pull no punches’ attitude is a reasonably one. Scalia can walk the fucking plank.

  73. says

    Oh look, Example #32909 of why the Black Lives Matter movement is needed:
    Long Island officer on trial for beating Kyle Howell found not guilty:

    Nassau County Court Judge Patricia Harrington issued the verdict Friday following a non-jury trial that concluded Nov. 24.

    Nassau County Police Officer Vincent LoGiudice was accused of beating a motorist, Kyle Howell, while trying to arrest him.

    Prosecutors said LoGiudice used excessive force after Howell tried to empty a bag of marijuana hidden in his glove compartment.

    Defense attorney William Petrillo said Howell’s movements made the officer fear for his safety.

    Charges were filed after video of the encounter surfaced.

    LoGiudice would have faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of felony assault and one year in prison if convicted of misdemeanor assault.

  74. says

    Sikh fans refused entry to Chargers Stadium because of turbans:

    The Broncos kicked the shit out of the Chargers last week in San Diego. As always, plenty of Broncos fans showed up to laugh at Philip Rivers, but a few fans almost didn’t make it in because stadium security was scared of their turbans. 10News San Diego caught up with Verinder Malhi, one of the men initially turned away, and he said his friends were told to take their turbans off if they wanted to come into the game:

    “Three of my buddies, they had turbans on, and it (was like, you guys got to take the turbans off,” Mahli said.

    They were finally allowed inside Qualcomm, but Malhi claims a security supervisor told him that if they ever come back, they cannot wear turbans.

    “It’s bad, I mean, this is embarrassing for me, because we are Americans at the end of the day. And we are not supposed to be afraid of fellow Americans.”

    Mahli and his friends apparently drove seven hours down from Fresno to get to the game. After the fans left their car to go into the stadium, another tailgater called the police to report that three turbaned men were moving stuff around in their trunk:

    A tailgater took a photo of a bomb-sniffing dog checking Malhi’s vehicle. Police told 10News the dog cleared the car. Malhi said they had simply put a bag in the car after realizing they weren’t allowed to take it in the stadium.

    This is one of the results of suggestions that people report “suspicious activity”.

  75. Saad says

    CN: description of gun related violence

    Gun-wielding anti-Muslim racist calls a Christian man from India a terrorist before shooting

    At first, the masked man with the long gun appeared to be carrying out a terrifying, but standard, convenience store hold-up.

    “He said, ‘Keep your hands up,” the manager of Bottlenecks Food and Drink Shop in Grand Rapids, Mich., who asked not be identified, told WOOD-TV. “Don’t look at me.”

    What happened next turned an already traumatic encounter just before midnight on Saturday night into a possible hate crime.

    After being handed a bag of money, the gunman took a second employee — a 34-year-old Indian American man who goes by the name “Tony” — into a backroom. Once inside, the suspect ordered the clerk to his knees and stuck his gun inside his mouth, the manager told WOOD-TV.

    At that point, the manager recalled, the robber said something along the lines of “I shot people like you overseas in the Middle East.”

    The assailant also called the clerk a “terrorist” and suggested he was a member of the Islamic State, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

    Tony, as WOOD-TV noted, is a Christian from India.

    “Tony thought, ‘OK, I’m going to die; might as well die fighting,’” the manager told WOOD-TV.

    The clerk grabbed the rifle, a struggle followed and — with the barrel of the gun still inside Tony’s mouth — the weapon was discharged.

    Instead of killing the clerk instantly, the bullet traveled through his cheek, according to WOOD-TV. The manager told the station that the man fired his gun two more times before fleeing.

    The news media reported that the shooting occurred in a storage room that lacks cameras.

    “He’s very lucky because it could have been a lot worse, but thank God he’s okay,” the manager said, referring to Tony, who is now recovering at home after being released from the hospital on Sunday.

    Fortunately, the gun survived and is doing well, but what a horrifying experience it must have been.

    But it’s just criticism of Islam, which is a religion. It’s nothing to do with racism, right? This Muslim just happened to not be a Muslim and was a Christian with brown skin instead.

  76. says

    Saad @88:
    In this country, some people are more concerned for guns than lives. They might have no problem with your typo.

    Following on the heels of the popular Marvel/Netflix series, Daredevil, and its follow-up, the equally (if not slightly more) popular Jessica Jones, will be Iron Fist. In the comics, Iron Fist is rich white guy Danny Rand, who ventures to Asia as a youth and is trained in the martial arts, becoming a master of Kung Fu, as well as gaining the mystical ability to channel his chi into his fist, making it ‘like unto a thing of iron’. A campaign (#AAIronFist) has begun to push Marvel Studios to cast an Asian-American Iron Fist (though I think it’s a shot in the dark, sadly)
    Darrius Stewart shooting-TBI investigative file now available for public view.
    Raw Story article about the above file:

    The investigation, conducted by the Tennessee bureau of investigation and released by the Shelby County district attorney general on Tuesday , includes two eyewitness accounts of the incident which describe Stewart as turning to run from the officer, contradicting the officer’s account that Stewart advanced at him.

    One witness said Stewart “stood up and ran away” from Schilling as the officer fired the second shot. Another witness claimed that the officer shot Stewart “as he turned away”. That same witness also claimed to hear Stewart yell “I can’t breathe” before the teen was hit with the second and, according to the Stewart family’s attorney, fatal bullet.

    The identities of all the witnesses were redacted before the file was made public and the investigation notes that “while no witness saw this incident in its entirety, each person saw a portion of it”.

    The incident occurred on 17 July when Memphis police officer Connor Schilling had stopped the car Stewart was riding in because one of the car’s headlights wasn’t working. Schilling ran checks for Stewart, the driver and a third passenger. The officer discovered two outstanding out-of-state warrants for the teen, including one for sexual abuse, and placed Stewart in the back of his patrol car. The officer did not handcuff the teen, who he said had been cooperative to this point, while he confirmed the warrants with his dispatcher.

    According to the officer, once they had been confirmed, he asked Stewart to exit and be handcuffed. Schilling said Stewart then resisted and the two men became engaged in an altercation on the ground. Schilling said during the scuffle Stewart grabbed at his duty belt, where the officer’s firearm was holstered. Eventually, according to Schilling’s account, Stewart got hold of the officer’s handcuffs and used them as a weapon, striking the officer in the face and arms.

    Fearing that the next strike could leave him unconscious and give Stewart access to his firearm, Schilling said he fired one shot from above the teen, and another as the teen had stood up and “advanced towards him”.

    The Shelby County district attorney, Amy Weirich, recommended a grand jury indict the officer for voluntary manslaughter and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony in November, but the grand jury declined. Schilling was supposed to face an administrative hearing on 13 November to determine whether he should be disciplined by his department, but the hearing was postponed because he reported he was sick.

    The release of the files comes after an announcement by the Department of Justice on Monday that it would, in conjunction with the FBI, conduct a “comprehensive review” of the case.

    Keep the bolded portion (my doing) in mind while reading the next story.
    Two Tennessee teens jailed for sagging pants:

    Two Tennessee high school students were arrested and spent two days in jail for wearing sagging pants to school.

    According to the Huffington Post, four students at Bolivar Central High School were charged with indecent exposure for reportedly wearing sagging pants to school in November, and two of the students were jailed for the offense in early December.
    “I just took it and went on,” one of the students, Antonio Ammons, a senior at the school, told Action News 5. “I didn’t know what else to do.” Ammons said that he’d never been arrested before, but for 48 hours he was inside a jail with other inmates.

    “I really didn’t like it,” Ammons told WREG about his jail time. Ammons is now left to figure out how he’s going to pay the more than $250 in fines and court fees, HuffPost reports.

    The school’s resource officer, Deputy Charles Woods, told WREG that not only do the sagging pants violate the school’s dress code, but the students have also been reprimanded several times about their low-riding pants.

    Woods is a stickler for keeping pants on the waists of young men; records posted by the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department indicate that from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15, four arrests were made for sagging pants under the state’s indecent-exposure law, three of them by Woods, HuffPost reports.

    The officer who made the fourth arrest was not listed on the report, the site notes.

    Although parents at the school don’t want kids to wear their pants saggy, some said that jail time was a little too harsh.

    “Maybe we have them do some community service, pick up some trash, help at the dog kennels, things like that,” Sharon Till told WREG. “I think putting them in jail is just a little bit much.”

    Remember when I told you to keep the prior story in mind? A killer cop doesn’t get indicted and it looks like he won’t face any substantial punishment for taking the life of Darrius Stewart, but two black kids with sagging pants went to jail. It is ridiculous that wearing your clothing wrong can get you sent to jail for any amount of time, but killing someone won’t. Not just ridiculous. It’s fucking outrageous.
    As for what type of punishment teens should face for violating dress code-whatever punishment is devised should not include the possibility of imprisonment. This is fucking clothing we’re talking about. Not only is putting them in jail ‘a little bit too much’, I question the idea of doing community service. I get that they need to adhere to a dress code (although why do I get the feeling that in practice, this one targets black kids more than any others?) but if the goal is to get them to stop sagging their pants, how is community service going to help? If the school is determined to get people to adhere to their policies, perhaps they should come up with something that doesn’t punish students for insufficient obedience. Perhaps an explanation of why the policy is in effect? Scratch that. How about communicating *with* students about the policy. Opening a dialogue between administrators and students as to why the policy is needed. Allow the students to have a voice and an opinion on the subject. Don’t train them to be obedient and then punish them when they violate the rules-especially when the violation causes no substantial harm to anyone.

  77. says

    Ferguson reportedly near agreement on federal police oversight:

    Officials in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Department of Justice are nearing an agreement that would establish federal oversight over the city’s troubled police department, according to multiple media reports Wednesday.
    Ferguson became embroiled in civic protests after the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, and in doing so, a focal point in the national discussion over race and excessive force used by police.
    Officer Darren Wilson was cleared in the shooting, but an internal investigation found a pattern of racial bias in the police department. The city was also found to be focusing its policing efforts on raising revenue, levying fees and tickets mostly on its majority black population.
    If approved, the monitored consent decree is expected to overhaul the city’s police department, but the agencies involved remained tight-lipped Wednesday.
    “While we cannot comment on the content of negotiations, the talks with the City of Ferguson to develop a monitored consent decree have been productive,” the Department of Justice told BuzzFeed News in an emailed statement. “The department believes that in order to remedy the Justice Department’s findings, an agreement needs to be reached without delay.”
    The agreement would need to be approved by the city council for it to be implemented. If not, the Department of Justice could decide to sue the city in federal court to implement the decree.

    Promotion for NYPD cop involved in shooting death of Amadou Diallo — shot 41 times in 1999 — pains victim’s mom:

    The mother of Amadou Diallo reeled at the news: One of the four cops who killed her unarmed son in a 41-shot fusillade is set for an NYPD promotion — and a raise.

    Old wounds reopened quickly Wednesday with word of Officer Kenneth Boss’ elevation to sergeant nearly 17 years after the divisive Feb. 4, 1999, shooting of the black West African immigrant by four white cops in the Bronx.

    “You have so many police officers out there who deserve to be promoted, and this man is being promoted?” a bewildered Kadiatou Diallo asked the Daily News.

    “For doing what? Killing my son? I don’t have any hatred or revenge in my heart, but my life was changed forever that day. This is a stab in the heart.”

    Boss, who fired five of the shots after Diallo, 22, innocently reached for his wallet in the darkness of his apartment building’s vestibule, will receive his controversial new rank Thursday.

  78. says

    Officer Jason Van Dyke indicted on six murder counts in Lacquan McDonald shooting:

    Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke is now formally indicted for the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

    The indictment includes six counts of first degree murder and one count of official misconduct.

    Van Dyke is free on bail. He’s due back in court on Friday.

    Step one accomplished.


    Department of Justice begins civil rights probe into Chicago PD:

    The U.S. Department of Justice began its civil rights investigation into the use of force by the Chicago Police Department on Wednesday.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel initially resisted calls for the probe, saying such an investigation would be misguided. But he has since changed course and said he now welcomes federal involvement. Emanuel said that the Department of Justice could be a fresh set of eyes to help make comprehensive changes that are long overdue.

    “We welcome them. They’re here, we’re gonna fully cooperate everybody and it is in our self-interest as a city that they’re here,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

    U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon was on hand as the civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department officially got underway. The Department of Justice launched the probe into the use of force by the police department following the release of video showing the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

  79. says

    Chicago cops fatally shoot 2 people:

    It’s unclear what led to a Chicago police deadly shooting. Two families are asking why officers responding to a domestic dispute killed a teenager and a woman early Saturday morning, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    By that evening, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that “anytime an officer uses force the public deserves answers, and regardless of the circumstances, we all grieve anytime there is a loss of life in our city,” according to the Associated Press.

    Emanuel, under pressure to resign over yet another police shooting, said the city’s Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident and will report its findings to the local prosecutor.

    The Tribune said a police statement about the shooting offered few details. According to the official version, a dispatcher told officers a caller reported that his 19-year-old son was threatening his life with a baseball bat.

    The officers arrived about 4:25 a.m. and “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals.”

    Sources identified them to the Tribune as Quintonio LeGrier, a Northern Illinois University student, and Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old downstairs neighbor.

    One of LeGrier’s relatives said the shooting apparently happened when he stepped out the front door. According to reports, neither the student nor Jones had a firearm.

    The teenager’s mother, Janet Cooksey, who was absent when the incident occurred, said her son “had mental issues,” and his father was afraid because their son was behaving unusually.

    LeGrier’s father later said he called Jones, who lived on the first floor, to warn her not to open her door until the police arrived. The father lived on the second floor of the two-apartment residence.

    It’s unclear why the police shot Jones, a mother of five. Jones’ daughter woke up when she heard gunshots and discovered her mother on the floor with a bullet wound to the neck.

    In a statement later that evening, the police said Jones was accidentally struck.

    For Americans of color, is Norway a racism-free utopia?

    It’s cold, with really short days in the winter. Like, sunset is at 3 p.m. And it’s white. Like, really white—as in the descendants of Vikings. But in the city center of Oslo, Norway, black American expats are living what seems to be the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.: being judged by the content of their character and whatnot.

    It’s so good at times that instead of worrying about random police stops when he leaves his house for work, Washington, D.C., native Anthony Durham is cheered with the nickname “Obama” when he walks inside his barbershop, which is operated by a Somali-and-Nigerian duo. He’s praised because he’s an American. White women don’t clutch their purses in his presence; instead, he says, most days he blends in with his new community. At most, he may get a glance out of curiosity when he and his wife speak English with an American accent.

    “They’re like, ‘Are they tourists?’” he says. “In Norway it’s like I’m American first and black second.”

    Oslo is the capital of Norway, a place you likely never think about unless you have to. History buffs may geek out over tales from the Vikings era, or be aware of the amicable U.S.-Norwegian relationship. Newsies may have read the headlines when Norway’s oil fund made all Norwegian citizens “technically” millionaires, or when there’s a cool Nobel Peace Prize laureate, like Malala Yousafzai. But it’s likely that most Americans don’t often think about Norway. Especially as a place to live.

    It’s Durham’s third year living there, and that’s because he met his ethnically Norwegian wife while in college in Belgium. Their friendship led to dating, which led to marriage and a journey to a new life in Norway “because she had the better job.” Chicago native Joneien Johnson’s story is similar to Durham’s.

    “My husband is Norwegian and we actually met at Iowa State University,” Johnson says.

    Johnson’s husband got a job in Norway, and two years later, she joined him.

    “When people meet me and hear me, they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re American,’” she says. “I don’t have to put anything in front of it or explain why I look the way I look. Here, I’m just an American girl. It’s always ‘African American’ in the U.S.”

    When Johnson’s husband asked his parents, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Johnson says it wasn’t a problem.

    “In fact, my mother-in-law was more concerned about how it will be for us in the States as an interracial couple. She’s well aware of the racism in our country,” Johnson says.

    Those are the first impressions that even visitors to Oslo will experience. The city center bustles with an international community that’s embedded, from the schools to the corporations. But that’s just Oslo. Durham explains, “Up until the ’70s, this was a largely homogeneous society. Even still now. If you go outside of Oslo, I think 86 percent of the population is ethnically Norwegian in Norway.”

    But even if you leave the city limits, you shouldn’t expect to experience a change in the way people treat you.

    “The history is just different than America’s,” Durham says.

    Meaning, racism isn’t a deeply embedded systemic problem.

    “Their Viking history lends to them being explorers—they’ve traveled and have been seeing, conquering and bringing new people back home for ages,” he says.

    It makes sense when you compare it with colonialism, where the system is to conquer, rape, kill and stay.

    Durham says it’s not utopia for everyone, though. He’s observed that Africans still have a problem.

    “So many times, these people will talk about blacks or Africans, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, not you, Anthony. You’re American,” he says.

  80. says

    That’s touched on a bit in the article.

    It makes sense when you compare it with colonialism, where the system is to conquer, rape, kill and stay.

    Durham says it’s not utopia for everyone, though. He’s observed that Africans still have a problem.

    “So many times, these people will talk about blacks or Africans, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, not you, Anthony. You’re American,” he says.

    Speaking up so others can hear his American accent has either spared him from poor treatment or granted him access.

    “I was eating lunch, and there were some white people who needed help,” he recalls. “I was on the phone talking. They walked past a table of Eastern Europeans, other white people, to get to me!”

    So it’s good in Oslo to be American, no matter your color. It’s still tough (it seems everywhere) to be African.

  81. rq says

    Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones deaths renew anger over Chicago police shootings. Doesn’t look like things are getting any better.

    “An innocent lady got shot as well because police just was [sic] trigger happy. I went to the hospital — my son has seven [bullet wounds] in him,” she told a CNN reporter.

    It’s not black-on-black crime that is destroying the community.

    What follows is a string of out-dated tabs. In something resembling reverse chronological order.
    Chinese State Media Fights Claims of Racism After Changing ‘Star Wars’ Poster – they made the black guy very small. But he’s still visible, that’s good news, right? Some more examples of racism in China at the link, too.

    White parents need to start talking about racial violence against African-Americans

    When I first saw the photograph of a teenage girl crying outside a Timberland store that was blocked Friday by protesters on North Michigan Avenue, my hope was that her mother would see this as a powerful teaching moment.

    The mother could speak to her daughter about the history of the civil rights movement, peaceful protests and the ever-present segregation in Chicago’s neighborhoods. She could point out that Friday’s protest was designed to shed light on the police killing of a 17-year-old African-American boy.

    “Laquan McDonald was about your age,” she could tell her daughter. “He could have been your classmate, a friend.”

    Instead, the next photograph I saw was of this girl’s mother heatedly arguing with protesters.

    The Tribune’s Kate Thayer tweeted those photos. And Tribune reporter Kim Janssen wrote about a Black Friday scene that encapsulated the idea of “two Chicagos.” He described the Magnificent Mile “bargain shoppers” who refused to empathize with or converse with those demonstrating on behalf of the gunned-down teenager.

    This disconnect isn’t isolated to the sidewalks in front of Michigan Avenue luxury shops.

    When national issues of racism arise — from police brutality to the murders of black churchgoers in South Carolina — many white people are disturbingly silent. Some become defensive, misinterpreting claims of racial injustice as an attack.

    This needs to change, and maybe more than anywhere else in the country, in racially segregated Chicago.

    But what are white parents doing to prevent their children from becoming the next Darren Wilson, Jason Van Dyke or George Zimmerman? Are they worrying that their young boys may grow up to be men who violently throw nonthreatening teenage girls to the ground as in those videos from a pool party in McKinney, Texas, and in a South Carolina classroom?

    Do they fear their sons will someday be in a viral video singing about keeping “n——s” out of a fraternity like we saw at the University of Oklahoma?

    It’s not an easy conversation for white families to acknowledge and confront racism, but it’s better than no talk at all.

    More at the link. But I do worry, that my kids will end up on the wrong side of their own privilege someday.

    The White Anti-Racism Tone Police: White Supremacy vs. White Privilege

    I often run into white people on social media who complain my style is too confrontational, and subsequently I’ll scare good-intentioned white people away from considering their role in our system of white supremacy and joining the ranks of those who fight against it. Indeed, those two words are a real sticking point with a lot of people.

    White supremacy.

    These words mean something. They are not prima facie references to the Klan, Nazis, neo-Nazis, or any other white terrorist hate group. In fact, these groups are only a small manifestation of what those two words come together to mean–and today, perhaps even one of the less significant ones.

    Yet almost every time I publicly use those two words–accurately–white people get upset. Someone inevitably tells me to say “white privilege” instead of “white supremacy,” because people wrongly associate the latter only with the KKK and hearing it scares them off. To those people I always have the same answer, and again reiterate, NO. These terms don’t mean the same thing and should not be conflated.

    So let’s clear up the difference between the two.

    Article continues at the link. I think we white people need to do better.

    A bit on Clinton, Or, Can She?

    Even in places where political capital was likely not at risk, Obama’s professorial tendency to present both sides of an issue–in this case anti-racism and racism–as equally legitimate morally or logically can be maddening. Obama’s five-year dabbling in respectability politics and admonishment of black fathers as a go-to move have also cost him more than a few points among the young black voter base. This has bled into a political woodenness, as Obama has been slow to address some of the pressing concerns of protesters in the realm of criminal justice.

    However, an analysis must also factor in what President Obama has done for black folks–the actual accomplishments–as well. For one, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) could very well double as a racial and socioeconomic stimulus, providing the equivalent of tax breaks to those in the American medical underclass, increasing access to care and reducing economic and health burdens to disease, and hopefully expanding lifespans and helping people of color live longer, more productive lives that have more likelihood of cashing in on pension and Medicare benefits.

    The DOJ under President Obama has relaxed mandatory minimums, relaxed drug enforcement, released thousands of incarcerated people and granted clemency to almost a hundred others, and has adopted new guidelines for drug sentencing that may make nearly half of all remaining federal prisoners eligible for early release. They are phasing in new education programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people alike. Shortly after protests in Ferguson were met with police in tanks, Executive Order 13688 reduced the torrent of military surplus armaments to local police. The administration has been in contact with at least some of the many groups operating under the broad Black Lives Matter umbrella, and the Presidential Task Force on Policing’s report was used in Campaign Zero’s framework.

    Again, these do not a flawless policy resume make. Inasmuch as the kinds of very conservative “community policing”-style reforms can actually bring the broad sea changes that black activists are looking for, Dyson is on-base with his assertion that Obama’s work could stand to be much more robust. However, a comparison of Obama’s policies with the actual policies that Hillary Clinton has elucidated on the trail does not reveal Obama to be a laggard. The New Republic reports:

    [T]he former secretary of state eventually advocated for a number of key racial justice reforms: A long-overdue overhaul of drug sentencing laws, legislation to prohibit racial profiling, and “banning the box,” a federal ban on employers asking applicants about their criminal history—a proven barrier to readjustment after prison. She also came out against the private sector’s encroachment of the prison system.

    These policies, save the language about prison privatization, are mere extensions of policy that the Obama administration has already committed to or implemented. So just what gives Dyson confidence that Clinton will take leaps and bounds beyond Obama?

    In an interview portion with Clinton, she reveals some new policy plot points. According to Dyson:

    In New York, when I asked Clinton what policies her administration would put forth to help black folk, she effortlessly rattled them off: She spoke of redirecting federal resources to local and state law enforcement. She spoke about black unemployment, a subject Obama has hardly acknowledged, the school-to-prison pipeline, which, she said, “often starts because black kids get suspended and expelled at a much higher rate.” She talked about creating “real alternatives to incarceration” for black people, adding that “we don’t want them being put into the prison system for nonviolent, low-level offenses, but we also don’t want them just thrown out on the street. There’s got to be a much better array of services that is available for people to try to get their own lives on the right track.” She touted community empowerment and “the use of the federal dollar to try to support small businesses, which are still the backbone of most African American communities”; she advocated job-training programs, addiction services, mental health treatment: the meat, the substance.

    Are these really meat and substance? Do police departments with armored personnel carriers and three or four expensive guns per officer need redirection of taxpayer money–or a complete repurposing? What would she do about black unemployment? How could the school-to-prison pipeline be fixed? What about addiction or mental health or job training for would-be incarcerated people has Clinton stated that has not actually been mentioned or attempted by the sitting President?

    Much more at the link, including some extremely racist language as per Clinton in 1994 right in the opening paragraph.

    For mainstreaming #BlackLivesMatter.

    If the Black Lives Matter movement is the engine driving a debate about racism in America, then social media is the fuel: Activists use it to organize demonstrations and demand reform. With over 320,000 combined Twitter followers, Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson are at the movement’s vanguard. They are part of the team that runs Mapping Police Violence, an online platform for data on police brutality, and they’ve chronicled protests from Baltimore to St. Louis, where both were detained for civil disobedience in August. That same month, they started Campaign Zero, which outlines policy proposals to eliminate police violence (for instance, requiring body cameras). It also grades presidential candidates on their criminal justice proposals.

    In October, campaign leaders met with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to ask, as Mckesson told the Baltimore Sun, “What would her first 100 days mean for black people?” Soon after, the Democratic National Committee sanctioned a town-hall meeting between candidates and activists — an indicator of the movement’s surging political clout.

    Listed as Global Thinkers for Activism in 2015. Deservedly so.
    More in a bit.

  82. rq says

    Batman Saves a Young Black Man From Police in Latest Issue of Dark Knight, though I suppose it’s not the latest issue anymore.

    In the comic, the Dark Knight encounters a young black man who, after being trailed by a police car while walking the streets of Gotham at night, finds himself facing down the barrels of two police guns.

    “Getting arrested,” the man texts to his friend. When his friend asks why, he simply replies, “The man don’t need a reason.”

    Swooping in from stage right is Batman. Emerging from the city’s shadows, the caped crusader lays the smackdown on the offending officers, saving the young Gothamite from peril.

    Go, Batman!

    10 Police Brutality Statistics That Are Absolutely Shocking. If you’re still capable of being shocked, that is:

    1. In May, the Washington Post analyzed the 385 fatal police shootings in the United States that had occurred so far in 2015. The Post noted its number, which came out to two officer-involved shooting deaths per day, was more than twice the rate that the government had recorded over the past decade.

    2. That same report found blacks to be killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities.

    3. It also found that almost a quarter of those killed were identified as mentally ill by police or family members.

    4. The youngest victims at the end of May, according to the Washington Post, were 16 years old (though at the time, nine ages were unknown).

    5. Another Washington Post investigation from August found that black men — who constitute 6% of the nation’s population — account for 40% of the 60 unarmed people who had been fatally shot by police by that time.

    6. The Guardian’s The Counted project, which crowdsources and reports on police deaths, analyzed the first half of 2015 to find that an average of three people were killed daily during that time.

    7. Mapping Police Violence found that black people living in Oklahoma were six times more likely to be killed by police than in Georgia.

    8. It also found 98% of these events did not end with an officer being charged with a crime.

    9. A 2014 article by KQED found California to be the state with the most frequent occurrences of deadly officer-involved shootings, with 102 in 2011.

    10. The Guardian also found that if this trend persists, the number of people killed by police will surpass 1,000 by the end of the year.

    I haven’t checked into The Counted lately. I’m a little scared to.

    One for black excellence. Nicki Minaj Fronts Billboard No. 1s Year-End Cover in Candid, Outspoken Interview: ‘Fans Know My Struggle. I Was Ruthless’

    To be clear: Nicki Minaj is a better musician than she is a celebrity. But she’s an awfully good celebrity. For Minaj, 33, it’s a job that entails more than the routine duties of 21st century multimedia fame — spreading your stardust across dozens of platforms, from recording studio to concert stage to red carpet to Instagram feed. Minaj’s brand of megastardom means inhabiting the eye of a storm that sweeps up contentious issues of race and gender and sexuality, while tending to more quotidian controversies like rap beefs and diva rivalries.

    During the past 12 months, Minaj has found herself playing the role of fearsome pop-culture provocateur — often, but not always, intentionally. She has scorned racialized beauty standards, one statement prompting a Twitter riposte, then a hasty apology, from Taylor Swift. She called out Miley Cyrus for cavalier appropriation of black culture. She stayed above the fray when a feud broke out between her new boyfriend, Meek Mill, and her longtime comrade and labelmate Drake; and she navigated the political thickets of the dispute that continues to roil that record label, Cash Money.

    Oh, yeah — she also spent the year holding down her day job, barnstorming arenas in the United States and Europe in support of her third album, the vibrantly genre-defying The Pinkprint. In 2015, that album spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Rap Albums chart and was just edged from the top spot on the Billboard 200 by Swift’s titanic 1989. The Pinkprint has sold 682,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Music, and spawned multiple hit singles including a pair of witty, lewd rap tracks, “Truffle Butter” and “Only,” which reached No. 1 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts. Both singles earned Grammy nominations, and The Pinkprint is up for best rap album. In short, it was a banner year in a career for which there is no precedent: that of a glamorous, politically engaged black female star who churns out extravagantly glitzy top 40 pop while maintaining as good a claim to the mantle of Greatest Rapper Alive as anyone, of any gender.

    One could add another title to Minaj’s résumé: Most Forbidding Interviewee. Her reputation for bluntness — a tetchy truth-teller who brooks no nonsense and lets no slight go unanswered — was confirmed by the publication, in October, of a New York Times Magazine profile that ended with Minaj tossing the story’s author, journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, out of her hotel room, punishment for a line of questioning that the star deemed sexist and belittling.

    There’s an interview later in the article. I don’t have to like her music to realize that she is absolutely badass.

    King: It doesn’t matter if he wins or not — Donald Trump has already awakened the white supremacist beast in America – which, I think, will be the most difficult to reverse consequence of his candidacy. These people feel validated, and that makes them bolder, and that is the last thing USAmerica needs. Or the world, seeing as how there’s still plenty of countries around the world that see USAmerica as THE example to follow. I’ll let Shaun King do the talking via the article, though.

    Black College Graduates Respond To Justice Scalia With #StayMadAbby, which I thought was a great bit of fun and a great showcase of examples and role models.

  83. says

    No charges for Cleveland police officers in shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice”>No charges for Cleveland police officers in shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice:

    Yeah, y’all read that right. Timothy Loemann shot Tamir Rice within 2 seconds of arriving. No time to assess the situation. No time to attempt to talk to him. No time to read him his rights. He came there, weapon drawn, ready to kill a black kid. And of course no CPR was offered, and they harassed his sister. Fucking fuck this shit to hell and beyond!

    After more than a year of investigation, a Cleveland grand jury declined to bring charges against either of the two police officers involved in the November 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy weapon in a park.

    Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced the decision Monday afternoon, adding that he did not recommend that grand jury bringing charges and that he believes both of the Cleveland police officers involved were reasonable in their belief that Rice had a real weapon.

    “The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it,” said McGinty, who called the shooting a “perfect storm of human error.”

    Human error, my ass!
    Loehmann did not have to shoot. He could have waited. He could have tried talking to Rice. He could have done any number of other things, but he chose to shoot him. And then he chose to not administer any aid.
    And this prosecutor? Oh fuck him. There was no reasonable belief he had a weapon. They didn’t even have time to check the situation out before they shot Rice. There is fucking video tape evidence that shows what the cops did. This should have been slam dunk. But no, once again black folks are reminded that the criminal justice system doesn’t give a flying fuck about our lives.
    Goddamn, I’m livid beyond words.

  84. Saad says

    Jeb Bush (oblivious of his white privilege): No racism in Tamir Rice killing and lack of indictment

    GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, weighing in on the decision not to indict police officers in last year’s shooting of Tamir Rice, said a grand jury has made a decision and that “the process worked.”

    “If there is a grand jury that looks at all the facts and doesn’t indict maybe there’s reasons for that,” he told reporters after a town hall in Lexington, South Carolina. “I don’t believe that every grand jury is racist.”

    The former Florida governor initially confused the case with another high profile police shooting case in Chicago when he was asked about Rice.

    “I think that Chicago’s got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust. The level of violence is abhorrent,” he said, when asked about the grand jury decision out of Cleveland earlier this week.

    [. . ]

    “These tragedies that take place, there’s way too many of them, and it doesn’t change my view — because we have those kinds of well-publicized cases of violence — that we should be supportive of law enforcement,” he later added.

    A 12-year old black kid gets gunned down by police and we should be supportive of law enforcement.

    Fuck off, Jeb.

  85. Saad says

    Racism and misogyny both in one nice package, courtesy of the governor of Maine

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday used racially-charged language to accuse people from outside his state of fueling a substance abuse epidemic, then fleeing home after “they impregnate a young, white girl.”

    Asked at a town hall meeting what his administration was doing to combat the state’s drug issues, LePage referenced new legislation aimed at traffickers, then delivered what many are describing as a racially-charged explanation.

    “These aren’t the people who take drugs,” LePage said, in comments first reported by the Portland Press Herald. “These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we’ve go to deal with down the road.”

    It’s the dark-skinned savages are after our white women narrative.

  86. says

    10 Defensive Reactions to White Privilege That Make No Damn Sense – But Are Super Common:

    I know it probably makes me a weirdo to want to talk about white privilege so much, but I actually enjoy conversations on this topic – even with people who disagree with me.

    Sure, these conversations can get heated, uncomfortable, and downright aggravating. But they’re also necessary in order for white folks and people of color to understand each other’s experiences.

    So let’s do this – let’s talk the gritty details of what racism does to people’s lives, be honest about the biases and shame we’ve internalized, face the uncomfortable truth about living in a society dominated by white supremacy.

    But if, at any point, you’re tempted to oversimplify these complex issues and just be defensive – then let’s not. I’ve lost patience for those defensive reactions that just try to deny the impact of white privilege.

    They have nothing to do with thinking critically about the issues or trying to understand each other’s experiences – and they make no damn sense.

    And unfortunately, I’ve got way too many examples to choose from, so here’s one to make my point more clear.

    I was talking with friend about whether or not he’s benefited from white privilege. I’ve known him for years, so I understood his perspective – he grew up in a low-income household with constant financial worries, and he couldn’t grasp how he could possibly be privileged in one way and struggling in another.

    It was a hard, but productive exchange. I sympathized with his feeling that his struggles were invisible. He listened to how my identity relates – I’m marginalized as a queer Black woman, but I have able-bodied and cisgender privilege. We were reaching a deeper understanding of the complexity of these issues.

    Until his roommate joined us. This guy had an argument I’ve heard many times before.

    “We have a Black president!” he declared, as if that definitive statement meant we should throw the whole idea of white privilege out the window.

    He saw Barack Obama as an exception to the rule – one Black man among the 43 white ones who’d gotten the most powerful position in the country. This, he believed, proved that Black folks saying racism is a problem are just complaining about nothing.

    The conversation shut down at that point. We went from sharing our experiences, trying to understand each other, and engaging deeply with the issues to arguing about whether or not Black folks should just quit complaining and be more like the president.

    It made no damn sense.

    I know white privilege can be hard to grasp.

    I know being white doesn’t mean you’ve had it easy. I get that you, too, have experienced oppression through classism, homophobia, ableism, or any number of forces.

    And because of this, I know that my perspective on white privilege might be a difficult one to understand, and that conversations about the topic can be uncomfortable and distressing.

    But I want us to actually be able to have those conversations – to honor the complexities of our truths without nonsensical, defensive reactions getting in the way.

    Here are some of the reactions I hear all the time in conversations on white privilege. Let’s unpack them so we can move on to engaging more deeply with issues about race.

    #NewBlack Alert: Wu-Tang Clan Founder RZA Says Dressing Better Could Prevent Police Harassment and All Lives Matter, Which Is Why He Doesn’t Eat Meat

    Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA had some interesting thoughts to share during a recent interview on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect. The rapper-director spoke on everything from today’s political climate to the much-talked-about topic of the Black Lives Matter movement and law enforcement.

    But it’s his comments about BLM and law enforcement that have some people shaking their heads. When asked about BLM, he definitely gave an interesting response.

    “Of course black lives matter,” RZA said. “All lives matter. I stopped eating meat because their lives matter to me. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to grow a cow to kill it.”

    Unfortunately, it’s not the livestock out there in the streets getting harassed and killed by cops. But go on with your vegan self.

    I hate, hate, hate hearing black men supporting white supremacist ideas like ‘All Lives Matter’. RZA clearly doesn’t understand a thing about why the BLM movement exists. And to equate the BLM movement with veganism? As the article says, livestock isn’t experiencing harassment and murder by cops. Nor are livestock experiencing horrible racial disparities in the criminal justice system. So wrong. He puts forth another highly problematic idea:

    But he also pointed the finger at the image some black people project, and seemed to say that if you wore nicer clothes, you wouldn’t have certain issues. This coming from a man who rocked hoodies and Wallabees for the majority of his life.

    “When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also got to have them take a look, and us take a look, in the mirror, at the image we portray. If I’m a cop and every time I see a young black youth—whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out—and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day—things that a man does—you’re going to have a certain fear and stereotype of them,” he espoused

    Leaving aside the fact that we shouldn’t have to dress “appropriately” to be free from police harassment and brutality and leaving aside the fact that white people dress in similar ways, but don’t experience police harassment and brutality, this ignores the fact that Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and so many other black people were dressed “appropriately”. If the rule is “you dress nice, cops play nice”, then there shouldn’t be any cases of properly dressed, properly refined black folks being killed. And yet…
    He needs to kick that love of Respectability Politics to the curb. Dressing “appropriately” (i.e. in a way that somehow doesn’t put White America ill at ease, however that is) is not going to prevent cops from utilizing excessive force against black bodies.


    Maryland accused of race discrimination over scrapping of Baltimore rail project

    In a Title VI civil rights complaint filed this week against Maryland, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) charges that the decision by the Republican governor, Larry Hogan, to eliminate the plans for an east-west light rail line in Baltimore – and transfer the state funds slated for it to road projects in largely white suburban and rural parts of the state – discriminates against the city’s black residents.

    “Maryland’s cancellation of the Red Line is the latest chapter in a long history of racially discriminatory decisions regarding the allocation of transportation and housing resources in the state,” said the complaint, filed with the US Department of Transportation on behalf of a coalition of civil rights groups and the African American residents of Baltimore.

    A transportation economist cited in the complaint found that the switch from a subway line to the new highways initiative would cost African Americans $19m in user benefits by 2030, while white Maryland residents will gain more than $35m in user benefits during that period.

    Mickey Martin, a middle-aged African American man waiting for a bus as cars streamed by near the Lexington Market, the city’s hub for public transportation, said he did not know if it was discriminatory or not, because he does not own a car and has no idea how the other half lives.

    For his part, Martin, who no longer works, said he spends around 14 hours a week on the city’s buses, making at least two transfers to make it out to Edmundson Ave, one of the areas the new light rail line would have reached.

    “It sucks,” said Amy Johnson, who was waiting on the bus to return home from her job at the University of Maryland hospital, of the city’s public transportation.

    Baltimore’s bus system functions so poorly that, last week, the city offered a $100k forgivable loan to the online retail giant Amazon, which opened a warehouse in the area, to fund shuttles because the bus system “does not provide access to where the jobs are available now”, a spokesperson for the Baltimore Development Corp told the Baltimore Sun. “From some parts of the city, the commute to some areas where there are jobs can be as long as 90 minutes each way.”

    Each day the city’s single existing light rail line is packed with people commuting south towards low-paying jobs at the BWI airport – the line’s final stop.

    Proponents of the proposed light rail line, called the Red Line, believed it would similarly allow many of the city’s impoverished African Americans to reach jobs they would not otherwise be able to take.

    “The lack of mobility, long commuter times, have critical implications for families in Baltimore,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel for LDF. “We regard the cancellation of the Red Line as a critically important moment that must be addressed and must be engaged.”

  87. blf says

    From the driving while black files, Black drivers in Florida receive double the number of seatbelt tickets — study:

    ACLU says racial disparity in enforcing mandatory seatbelt law is very alarming after 2015 saw several high-profile traffic stops escalate into fatal encounters

    Black drivers in Florida are stopped and ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt significantly more often than their white counterparts, raising “serious concern” that law enforcement may be racially profiling motorists, according to a study released by the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday.

    Using data collected under Florida’s seatbelt law, the authors found that in 2014 black motorists were ticketed nearly twice as often statewide and up to four times as often in certain counties.

    “This report brings forth new evidence suggesting that racial profiling in traffic enforcement is real,” said Nusrat Choudhury, an attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program and co-author of the report, Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement.


    The report notes that black drivers wear seatbelts slightly less often than white drivers, according to statewide and national studies. Even so, the difference is not large enough to account for the disparity, the report found.


    The ACLU has recommended that the Florida attorney general’s office of civil rights and local commissions charged with oversight responsibility investigate the agencies that met or exceeded the already large statewide racial disparity […].

    It also called on the Florida state legislature to adopt a law that would penalize law enforcement agencies that fail to comply with the reporting requirements. And finally the report’s authors recommended that law enforcement agencies analyze the data they collect about traffic and pedestrian stops to identify and address racial disparities.