White Suspects > Black Victims

WELP:

WHITE SUSPECT

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That’s how the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal chose to present the story of Amy Bishop, a former college professor who eventually pleaded guilty to killing three colleagues and wounding three others at a faculty meeting in 2010.

BLACK VICTIM

victim 7

And that’s the headline AL.com ran about the shooting death of a 25-year-old black man in Alabama earlier this year.

WHITE SUSPECT

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This is how the Staten Island Advance covered the case of Eric Bellucci, a mentally ill New York man who allegedly killed his parents.

BLACK VICTIM

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Meanwhile, NBC News ran this headline during ongoing coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing.

More at HuffPo (h/t).

“You can’t win a person’s heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at his or her chest”

Ferguson, Michael Brown, Mike Brown, #michaelbrown, #mikebrown

Afghanistan War veteran Paul Szoldra:

In Afghanistan, we patrolled in big, armored trucks. We wore uniforms that conveyed the message, “We are a military force, and we are in control right now.” Many Afghans saw us as occupiers.

And now we see some of our police officers in this same way. “The militarization of law enforcement is counter-productive to domestic policing and needs to stop,” tweeted Andrew Exum, a former Army infantry officer.

If there’s one thing I learned in Afghanistan, it’s this: You can’t win a person’s heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at his or her chest.

Afro-Punk (AKA The Story of My Life)

afropunk

Pretty much sums up my adolescence/early adulthood/current state of existence (I’m so old I remember when being black and playing rock/punk/metal was a radical, disruptive act, etc):

Bonus: Interview w/ James Spooner, director of Afro-Punk: The Movie:

Also, too: Live performances (because AGGRO):

 

The Murder of #MichaelBrown And Why ‘Black Rage’ Is Entirely Justified

Michael Brown, Ferguson

MSNBC, quoting Dorian Johnson, eyewitness to the shooting by Ferguson, MO police of Michael Brown:

“There are two crowds. An older crowd that wants justice but there’s anger. Then it’s the younger crowd that wants revenge but there’s anger there, too… . What do you expect when something is steadily occurring and its hurting the community and nobody is speaking out or doing anything about it. I feel their anger, I feel their disgust.”

Michael Brown, Ferguson

Brittany Cooper:

Mike Brown is dead. He is dead for no reason. He is dead because a police officer saw a 6-foot-4, 300-plus-pound black kid, and miscalculated the level of threat. To be black in this country is to be subject to routine forms of miscalculated risk each and every day.  Black people have every right to be angry as hell about being mistaken for predators when really we are prey. The idea that we would show no rage as we accrete body upon body – Eric Garner, John Crawford, Mike Brown (and those are just our summer season casualties) — is the height of delusion. It betrays a stunning lack of empathy, a stunning refusal of people to grant the fact of black humanity, and in granting our humanity, granting us the right to the full range of emotions that come with being human. Rage must be expressed. If not it will tear you up from the inside out or make you tear other people up. Usually the targets are those in closest proximity. The disproportionate amount of heart disease, cancers, hypertension, obesity, violence and other maladies that plague black people is as much a product of internalized, unrecognized, unaddressed rage as it is anything else.

Nothing makes white people more uncomfortable than black anger. But nothing is more threatening to black people on a systemic level than white anger. It won’t show up in mass killings. It will show up in overpolicing, mass incarceration, the gutting of the social safety net, and the occasional dead black kid. Of late, though, these killings have been far more than occasional. We should sit up and pay attention to where this trail of black bodies leads us.  They are a compass pointing us to a raging fire just beneath the surface of our national consciousness. We feel it. We hear it. Our nostrils flare with the smell of it.

James Baldwin called it “the fire next time.” A fire shut up in our bones. A sentient knowledge, a kind of black epistemology, honed for just such a time as this. And with this knowledge, a clarity that says if “we live by the sword, we will die by it.”

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Bag News Notes:

For these acts and images to do more than express the release of anger over one more senseless killing — fueled by the invisible crisis in America of a two-tiered economic system, the rage over institutional racism and the persistent harassment of black youth on town and city sidewalks by increasingly militarized police departments — is still another textbook example of America’s racial and class polarization. The looting photos should not be fodder for finger wagging or utterances of “what do you expect?” Rather, as transient reactions to the same impoverished and marginalizing conditions that spawn these meager “convenience” franchises in the first place, acts of violence — sensationalized as they are — are little more than one more (albeit shocking) expression in a constellation of of cause-and-effect.

Michael Brown, Ferguson

Update: Mia McKenzie (h/t):

I wish I didn’t have to tell some of you that victim-blaming when a Black person is murdered by police is a huge no. That it doesn’t matter if they were on the honor roll, or smoked weed sometimes, or were going to college, or what brand of hoodie they wore, or even if they spent time in jail at some point. That the right to walk down the street without being a target for murder by the police isn’t a right one should have to prove themselves worthy of. That we should all just have that right by virtue of being human beings.

When you’re Black, you don’t always get the benefit of being seen as a human being, though. Black people are seen as ‘up to no good’ by default. The truth is that our lives, like anyone else’s, are filled with good choices as well as mistakes, achievements we’re proud of as well as missed opportunities. Successes. Failures. Just like everyone else. But what’s also true is that we, as marginalized people, get fewer do-overs. The system is rigged to punish us at every possible opportunity. Longer prison sentences compared to whites who commit the same crimes and disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion for even Blackpre-schoolers attests to this.

If we were to talk about a victim’s past, we would have to talk about it in a context of oppression. But, you know what? We don’t need to talk about it at all. Because it is irrelevant to issue of their victimization. Just like bringing up a victim’s past to justify her rape is wrong, bringing up a victim’s past to justify his murder by police is also wrong. Yes, even when those people are Black.

Obligatory ZOMG CONCERNED!!1 #CancelColbert Post

Stephen Colbert Colbert Report #CancelColbert Suey Park Deadspin

Jamilah King breaks down #CancelColbert:

What’s important to understand here is that Park’s aim wasn’t necessarily to get The Colbert Show kicked off the air. Instead, it was to, as point out that satire isn’t always the best activism. “Well-intentioned racial humor doesn’t actually do anything to end racism or the Redskins mascot,” Park told the Jay Caspian Kang at the New Yorker. “That sort of racial humor just makes people who hide under the title of progressivism more comfortable.”

While I think Suey Park is entirely in the right (even if I share some of the middle ground staked out by Melissa Fong), part of me wishes that she had chosen a less alliterative and more immediately representative hash to define her campaign. “Cancel” erroneously projects a censorious sentiment that doesn’t reflect the actual end being sought. None of this excuses the subsequent rank, reflexive racism and misogyny in response to Park’s efforts (as if anyone could have cancelled Colbert over this, even if they wanted to). Nor do I believe that a less inflammatory hash would have made much difference when it comes to vicious, dickhead Colbert Nation fanbois and their vicious, dickhead fanboi-ism (oh, and Deadspin/Gawker can go piss up a flaming rope). But I do think that it was ill-chosen, counterproductive rhetoric.

Of course, since, as noted, Park (and pretty much any WOC who dares to do a digital end-around structural impediments to social justice — perhaps this will help) is damned if she does or doesn’t mind her P’s and Q’s, what’s the point in nominal allies (eg, yr’s truly ^^) honing in on such messenger-killing minutia anyway?

Aaron Bady:

I am left…with Park’s own statement that “There’s no reason for me to act reasonable because I won’t be taken seriously anyway.” For one thing, this is obviously true. When we are told that Suey Park “does not make any claim to objectivity or fairness,” we are seeing a sharp limit to how much a journalist in a fact-checked journalism publication can fully see from her perspective, or allow himself to, without bringing his own narrative frame into peril. Sympathizing with an activist makes it hard to make claims to objectivity or fairness; it makes people wonder if you might be an activist too, and therefore untrustworthy. Quick, better make her unsympathetic!

An activist is, in the end, a living medium; thanks to overwhelming dudebro aversion to empathy, the ultimate message of #CancelColbert has been completely distorted, not amplified, by the superficial meta of indifference (and in many instances outright hostility) couched in dehumanizing demands for impossible perfection.

SHOCKING: Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Suppress Democratic Votes

The NY Times:

Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.

Wait — it gets better:

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis.

A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.

“When I got there, the line was around the building,” said Jonathan Piccolo, 33, who said he had waited nearly eight hours to cast a ballot in Miami-Dade County the Monday before Election Day.

“It’s one of the most sacred rights you have,” Mr. Piccolo added. “They should make it as painless as possible.”

Features, not bugs, kids. Democracy is apparently a major impediment to Real America.

Update: A reminder from comments that voter suppression tactics are a burgeoning export market for Uncle Sam.

Provocation, Appropriation, and That Blackface Clitoridectomy Cake

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Here’s an idea for truly provocative art. No more male artists, black or white, speaking for African women. No more ever-more-graphic ever-more-voyeuristic art on the suffering of African women. Stop using the female African body as raw material to be worked – unless you happen to live in one. Then, notice that African women are making their own work about their lives and struggles. Look. Listen. Learn.

Shailja Patel, ‘The missing ingredient in Sweden’s racist-misogynist cake’

h/t Blind Man With A Pistol

Related:  T.F. Charlton & Ako Jacintho debate the meaning of the installation — on multiple levels; how Jonathan Pitts-Wiley stopped worrying & learned to love the blackface clitoridectomy cake.