Tuesday, June 19, 2012

please SIGN & SHARE:

PETITION to END MASS INCARCERATION and racist, unconstitutional police STOP & FRISK campaigns.

Oppressions are fundamentally interconnected, therefore anti-oppression struggles are also fundamentally intertwined. If you are committed to resisting heterosexism, cisgenderism, and sexism, then you must also be committed to resisting racism, classism, ableism, sizeism, ethnocentrism, neo-imperialism, and so on.

Mass incarceration ensnares black families in a poverty-to-prison cycle for generations, thereby generating a crisis in black communities. 

Mass incarceration is killing black communities. Stop & Frisk, and white privilege fuels the mass (disproportionate) incarceration of the poor, especially poor blacks and Latinos.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Whiteness Kills: Trayvon Martin's Murder (Hasn't Murdered White Supremacy)

"His Name is Trayvon Martin" -- Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC
(the most powerful journalist commentary I've seen, thus far)

White privilege manifests in both benign and egregious acts of racial terror.

Because no matter how disenfranchised the white person -- no matter how poor, how oppressed under sexism, and heterosexism -- Becky, Brad, Bobby-Jean, and Billy-Joe never look "suspicious" enough to warrant being shot dead by police, civilians, who sometimes are not arrested, and who frequently, are acquitted for their crime/s against innocent, unarmed people of color.

Whiteness is so powerful that Tea Party whites can demonstrate in Washington D.C. -- the site of an inner-city -- openly brandishing weapons without provoking the rabid anxieties of locals who bawk about "gangs" (of whites) over-running their hood and threatening their lives -- without drawing local SWAT teams hurling tear gas, wielding batons, and killin' crackas.

Whiteness is so privileged...

that imagining the racial inverse of the Trayvon Martin murder -- where a black man in Florida -- in any fucking state -- stalks a white teen, shoots him to death in cold-blood, and walks away without even an arrest -- it's almost pointless to invoke the scenario -- because, in this country -- that shit would never happen. It doesn't happen. Ever.

Her are the 911 calls related to the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, a black male, pursued and then shot by white Hispanic George Zimmerman, self-appointed vigilante, for "looking suspicious" in a "hoodie."
(Scroll down the hyperlinked page to find the four 911 recordings).

Zimmerman said Martin had "sump'in in his hand". Was it before or after gunning Martin down that Zimmerman learned Martin wielded a dangerous bag of skittles and a can of Iced Tea? The most damning impetus for Zimmerman's concern, though, wasn't so much Martin's hoodie -- it was that Martin donned brown skin.

After listening to these calls, I am left to conclude only one thing -- and, yes, my conclusion is flooded with emotion and my exhaustive knowledge of the U.S.'s history of white terrorism -- legal and extra-illegal.

Zimmerman is an evil man.

Not because he's a sociopath, or a psychopath, or a serial killer (although he may be) -- and well, he won't become a serial killer of "suspicious" looking blacks, if justice is served, and Zimmerman is charged, arrested, and tried for murder.

Zimmerman is evil because Trayvon's life meant nothing to him.

As Zimmerman gazed down on the corpse of a 17 year old black male... what did he think? What did he feel? Did his heart hurt, because he stole a life? I doubt it. Because as he said in his 911 call, "They... these assholes...always get away with it."

Who is "they" George?

Well, you got one "asshole" didn't you. That asshole ain't never gettin' away again. Ain't never gettin' away to a family dinner, his high school prom or graduation, his first college classes, his college graduation, his first post-college job interviews, his wedding, his child's birth, his child's first birthday party, his child's graduation. Cuz you got that "punk," George.

And, what do Trayvon's parents get? To bury their son.
(hyperlink to Anderson Cooper video)

To me, Zimmerman's evil lies in his egoism, arrogance, delusions of grandeur, willful disregard for the law, his pattern of pursuing "suspicious" blacks, his disregard for particular human lives (not all of them -- white lives are worthy), and the fact that he wanted to hunt Trayvon. The dispatcher told him "no need to do that [follow Martin]." Zimmerman was on the hunt. And now, a mother and father's child is dead. And he ain't comin' back. An evil act by an evil man.

Zimmerman is also a racist man.

Zimmerman's father and neighbors have defended Zimmerman's actions -- his father said that his son was defending himself from Trayvon -- who was 100 pounds lighter than he, and not carrying a weapon, only skittles and iced tea. He also says that Zimmerman is not a racist. The circumstances surrounding Trayvon's death, Trayvon's dead body, and the ensuing police department cover-up or mis-handling of the case, suggests otherwise.

Yes, papa Zimmerman. We are that stupid. Your son stalked a 17 year old teen because he perceived him as black, and therefore suspicious, as someone that does not belong in Zimmerman's "nice" white neighborhood. But he's not racist. That's not racist.

Do I even need to ask why Sandford police decided that Zimmerman had the legal right to defend himself from a teen less than half is size, a kid branding snacks when confronted by a man with a gun. Didn't Trayvon Martin have that same right?
(VIDEO: hyperlink includes audio of Trayvon Martin's cell phone call to his girlfriend)

The man confronted Trayvon WITH A GUN. Sounds like grounds for self-defense to me.

She "assumed he [Zimmerman] was going to be arrested. Common sense will tell you. And, he wasn't."
As stated in the NBC news report (hyperlinked above), legal analysts say that Florida's "justifiable use of force" law (thanks for that Gov. Jeb Bush! Dick) does not justify Zimmerman's murderous actions, because the 911 dispatcher instructed him not to follow Martin.

Excerpts from another 911 phone call:

"He was sayin' 'help!' Why didn't someone come out and help him!"

"They just said they shot him dead! The person is dead laying on the grass!"

"I don't want to be a witness or anything. I'm just scared."

"It's a young boy... I've never seen anyone killed."

"I'm too scared to live here."

"I would have helped if I could of." (crying)

Well, nice white lady, you will never look suspicious enough to prompt a vicious murder of you, or any nice white person that you love, in cold-blood.

And what does the 911 dispatcher tell this nice white lady, this former teacher, to do as she cries at the sight of Trayvon's dead body. He says: "If it's going to make you emotional looking out the window, then you should walk away for now."

Don't look. Don't react APPROPRIATELY -- by grieving this teenager's death. Retreat into white racial denial.

The same kind of white racial denial that killed Trayvon Martin.

I hope to God that white denial will not prevent Martin and his parents from achieving justice in a country and a state with a (so-called) criminal "justice" system that is institutionally racist -- as white supremacist in ideology (however hidden) and practice since its inception. (The latter statement hyperlinks to a video interview of Michelle Alexander, author of the New Jim Crow).

The 911 caller says that she "wish[es] I could have done something for the person. When someone yells for help you feel like you wish you could have helped the person." (crying)

I wish police & wanna-be-police would stop killing brown people.

I wish the known & unknown 1000s upon 1000s of slaughtered children, women, and men had equal access to the U.S justice system.

I wish that Trayvon's death will matter to more than just his friends, family, and those who already see the injustice done to him.

I wish Trayvon's death, and it's significance, would be engraved in our national memory. Along with all the others... so many others (Aiyanna, Brisenia, Sean, Oscar, Tarika, Kathryn, Barry, Amadou... too many... too many...)

(VIDEO: slam poem/call to action honoring the legally lynched)

I know... it's just a wish.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why do white people...

Why do some white people think that they are being silenced, when people of color and white allies call them out on their racism?

Rather than thank people of color and white allies for educating them -- ie., the white person who is unaware of their conscious, unconscious and unexamined racism -- they scream about damage done to their first amendment rights; accuse their those who critique them as ganging up on them, and shaming them; in sum, they locate themselves as victims of angry, confused people of color.

Now, I know that, for a white person whose racial denial is challenged or shattered for the first time, that the path to becoming a white ally is a long one. And I praise those white people, who are courageous enough to embrace the journey to racial enlightenment (which, if they become white allies, they understand they will never achieve; but the pursuit of enlightenment is still worth while).

But when white people reject becoming allies to people of color in the struggle against racism, and locate themselves as the victims of angry people of color who "just don't get it"... those white folks are more than annoying.

They are dangerous.

Because those same white folks are the ones that perpetuate white supremacy in the U.S., and around the world, to their benefit.

In other words, they are a pain in my queer, black ass.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Racial Blame Games: abortion, welfare, crime and prisons

I have a habit of reading blog comments -- even the ones on FOX's propaganda "news" station --because I like to know what folks are thinking. While the comments I read are extremely varied, the ones that invoke, mobilize, and manipulate racist-sexist-classist (etc) misinformation sometimes bore me, often bug me, and always concern me, because not only these comments present factless opinion as irrefutable truth, the beliefs they reflect uphold existing institutional inequalities and oppression.

How 'bout some truth-telling.

Contrary to popular stereotypes (rooted in the racialized meritocratic myth that, in the U.S., hard work yields success for everyone) about women/girls who undergo abortion, welfare recipients, "criminals," and imprisoned people:

In the U.S., WHITE WOMEN HAVE *MOST* ABORTIONS (even without Census statistics, which verify this fact, it's safe to presume white women have *most* abortions because white people are the numerically dominant population in the U.S. Interesting that many people presume the opposite. Why is that, I wonder... ).

Sadly, it is true, that black women have abortions at a disproportionate rate (but that's more a reflection of the historical, instutionalized racism, sexism, and classism that severely limit or entirely eliminate black women/girls choices and opportunities (e.g. jobs and education), rather than an indication of moral bankruptcy. Post-World War II U.S. government policies, for example, created a racial wealth gap in the U.S. that maintained blacks disproportionate and severe impoverishment. All poverty is terrible. And black and Latino/a poverty is even more severe than the poverty in which poor whites live.

-- most WELFARE recipients are white (white women -- not black people, or black women as the prevalent, historical racist-sexist-classist stereotype encourages people to believe)

-- Justice Dept. statistics also show that most CRIMES are committed by white people (mostly white men, who commit mostly violent crimes against mostly white women and children);

-- most DRUG USERS are white (73% is the conservative estimate;

-- most DRUG DEALERS are white
(Yet, the majority of those incarcerated for the aforementioned crimes, and for crimes in general, are black and Latino/a. Why is that? Racially and economically discriminatory police practices, judicial practices, crime and prison discourse, as well as unequal education, social services, etc, are some of the causes for black and Latino/a men and women's disproportionate imprisonment rate).

-- when whites are victimized by VIOLENCE, they are most often victimized by other whites

-- the overwhelming majority of RAPES are INTRA-RACIAL, acquaintance rapes (i.e., people tend to rape within their own racial/ethnic group. So, white women aren't raped by a black or Latino male stranger jumping out of the bushes. Like all women, white women and girls are raped most often by men and boys that they know. And when interracial rapes occur, most of the time, it's white men and boys that are raping/sexually assaulting women/girls of color. That's a historical and present day FACT.

One need look no further than the historical sources and texts on rape in the U.S. South's slavery institution for abundant evidence of white men/boys sexual violence against black women and girls. This racial trend in sexual/gender violence did *not* end with slavery's abolition. It continued in the post-emancipation Age and under Jim Crow as the majority of (legally) employed black women/girls did domestic work for white employers. Domestic toil for white families made black women/girls vulnerable to the rapacious appetites of the white men that employed them, and the white boys, friends, and relatives for which they were hired to serve).

(For a history of sexual and gender violence in the slavery South and Early America, see Deborah Gray White's brilliant "Ar'n't I a Woman?" Female Slaves in the Plantation South and

1) For info on abortion & race, see: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0100.pdf

**ADDITIONAL reading:

Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America's Poor, edited by Tara Herivel and Paul Wright

Prison Profiteers Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration, also edited by Tara Herivel and Paul Wright

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hot White Mess: Christine O'Donnell & her Tea Party

Christine O'Donnell.
Sarah Palin knock off.
A more frightening version of the original protype, which I previously thought impossible.
A recent beneficiary of the United States' long tradition of Affirmative Action for wealthy white folks, this time, in higher education (O'Donnell may not be wealthy, but her campaign coffers are teeming!) --about which the GOP, right leaning Libertarians, Tea Party members, and all the cantankerous white folks that regularly voice their rage at their tax "enslavement" under black supremacist, (*cough*), I mean mixed-raced president Barack Hussein Obama, as the Rolling Stones article entitled "Teas & Crackers" aptly demonstrates, will not utter a complaint.

"Big government" ain't a problem when the beneficiaries are perceived to be hard working whites, and therefore, implicitly deserving and worthy.

News flash for the uninformed harborers of white racial resentment: the beneficiaries of U.S. "big government" programs are always overwhelmingly white.

And while O'Donnell benefitted from the Affirmative Action/racial preferences historically, and most frequently reserved for rich white men, she can do so while also being a representative of the significant inroads white women have made in the decades that followed the passage of LBJ's 1964 Civil Rights Act, barring gender and race discrimination in the workplace, and the Nixon Administrations Affirmative Action programs and policies (intended to resolve the problem of the severe poverty that disproportionately ensnares African Americans -- didn't work). After all, white women have been and remain Affirmative Actions primary beneficiaries, even while 100s of 1000s have organized to abolish it, and continue to actively oppose it.

But you shouldn't say that to the (always white) victims of "reverse racism" -- it'll just confuse them.

Read this Huffington Post expose on Tea Party candidate, Christine O'Donnell, and join me in being really really pissed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/29/christine-odonnell-claremont_n_743130.html

Christine O'Donnell's LinkedIn profile says that she has an undergraduate degree from New Jersey's Farleigh Dickenson, an expensive private college; that she was a graduate fellow at Claremont Institute; that she attended Princeton and Oxford University.

And, guess what, it's a pack of lies! One clever Huffington Post journalist didn't have to dig far to hit bullshit. He learned that O'Donnell's so called "educational background" had been manipulated to misrepresent her "accomplishments."

I want to know why Farleigh Dickenson gave O'Donnell a degree TWENTY ONE years after she took her last undergraduate class at the school...

This pisses me off!
(and I can guess their very capitalist motive for doing so).

MILLIONS of people don't stand a chance of getting into a four yeaBoldr college because they don't have the money or the skills -- because the elementary and/or secondary education they recieved did not adequately prepare them, or provide them with the resources to attend a four year college. And this is largely because those schools were over-crowded and under-funded, since the property tax basis for school funding in the U.S. PLAINLY privileges those who live in middle and upper class suburbs, and disprivileges, and disfranchises those who live in rural, suburban, and urban poor and working-class communities.

Many of the students who attend these schools, or drop out of them, are FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE!

It's LEGALIZED economic segregation that plays out along race lines -- F*CKED UP.

That should NEVER be allowed to happen in the richest country in the ENTIRE world.

Is it realistic of me to expect anything more from a country that got rich by stealing from the poor -- for over four centuries...

Millions of people bust their asses to get into a four year college, and 100s of 100os of them stay in despite having to work 40 to 60 hours a week while taking a full course load , and this jackass can just call a higher up at Farleigh Dickenson, throw some donation money their way, I'm certain, and say, "hey" how about overlooking the fact of my NOT completing course requirements -- just give me the degree, so I can get liberal and left critics off my back! And then position myself to infiltrate the government! This is CRAZY!! This woman should not be able to acquire the institutional power of government.

She can vote -- it should stop there!

And this is how it is -- got lots and lots of money? Then you got EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prisoners are bad people.

Or that's what mainstream U.S. culture encourages us to believe.

The vast majority of incarcerated people aren't there because they committed a horrible
crime -- like rape, or rape or murder of a child. The overwhelming majority of
imprisoned people are in carcerated for:

1) Possession of an illegal substance/drugs (inc. drug use -- or drug addiction. Drug addiction should not be criminalized but treated -- with compassion, therapy, support, and a access to resources that would prevent addiction, or help a person recover. Deprivation of (institutional) resources -- for ex, access to any kind of health care, access to quality health care, access to quality education and jobs) would help A LOT of people avoid addiction, or overcome it.

2) Possession of an illegal substance/drugs for sale (drug dealing)

3) Robbery (which is, historically, a crime that poor people commit, because they are trying to access the cash/goods to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves. I'm not *justifying* robbery -- I know that people who are robbed are hurt in these scenarios. I also know that, based on a close examination of historical patterns, and institutionalized oppression -- which robs people of choices, or constrains/limits them, thereby practically forcing them to break the law -- that far fewer people would steal, sell drugs, or use drugs, or commit most of the crimes for which people are arrested (because I wholeheartedly agree with those who point out that most people who break the law are NEVER arrested or convicted -- and most of those people are middle and upper class people (an overwhelmingly white income group) who already have so much power and privilege that they A) don't need to commit the crimes that poor people do to survive, or B) won't ever get caught because the police aren't patrolling their neighborhoods, the police and public don't hold them under great suspicion and racially profile them under the *assumption* that they are innately criminal, or tend to commit crimes, or C) when they are caught, they can hire the best of lawyers to ensure they won't be incarcerted, and/or D) the government and courts will simply "pardon" them for their "high crimes," their "white collar crimes," that rob BILLIONS of ordinary working people of BILLIONS -- but, hey, that's a "just a mistake" worthy of forgiveness, a slap on the wrist, and a fine).

**Most drug users (73%) and most drug dealers are white yet the overwhelming majority of those incarcerated for those crimes are black (70 to 90% depending on the state) and Latino/a -- WOMEN and MEN (not just black or Latino men). Poor women are funnelled into prison in droves for "crimes"in which poor people disproportionately engage, like sex work (prostitution), drug use and drug dealing.

**The real crime is poverty, unequal access to resources, and the government's war on poor people ( = "War on Drugs").

Individual decisions (can't call them "choices" -- people choose when they are free to choose, when ALL choices are EQUAL) made in the context of poverty explain the crimes most people in prison committed, and explain why it is so difficult not to "re-offend" upon release -- why recidivism (re-incarceration) rates are so high.
(White ex-convicts are FOUR TIMES more likely to be hired than black ex-convicts, AND even often more likely to be hired than black people who HAVE NEVER BEEN
IMPRISONED. That's wild, right?)

***My sources: Tim Wise's short essays...

1) "A Quite Deliberate Failure: Reflections on The Politics of Crime"

2) "Excuses, Excuses: How the Right Rationalizes Racial Inequity, Part Two (Criminal Justice)"

3) "The Mother of All Racial Preferences: Reflections on Affirmative Action for White Folks"

4) "Racial Profling and Its Apologists"

5) "Of Danger and Double Standards: Police, Prison and Preferential Treatment"

6) "Fear and Loathing in Suburbia: Crime and the Irrationality of White Racism"

Find Tim Wise on Facebook (he's awesome!) www.timwise.org