What fucks me up about the Darren Wilson fundraiser is that he hasn’t been charged with a crime. He doesn’t have to hire a lawyer. He’s on paid leave, so he’s not losing wages. This is not covering his expenses, because he doesn’t have any additional expenses. This is a reward. He’s getting a $250,000 reward for murdering an unarmed black kid, two days away from starting college, in broad daylight.
Bull Connor represents—and even in the story of sundown towns—a kind of exceptionalism in this country’s history where we can distance ourselves from this kind of rabid, racist personification of the past that distances ourselves from what is with us today. And so making the connection to the systematic microaggressions—just the simple abuse of authority and disrespect that happens every single day—what happened to Michael Brown, just like what happened to Eric Garner, is just the most extreme form of this. So when you hear people in Ferguson talking about how police harassment is a way of life in this community—and in other communities all around it—that’s what has to be the frontier. Because that’s the story of Black people in America. In the South it was vigilantism. In the North, it has always been police violence. And if we don’t make that connection, if we don’t say that history is actually fairly flat in this instance, then we have not moved the needle in nearly 100 years when it comes to Black people making claims on liberty.
Apparently it takes the death of more than one unarmed teen to get an arrest, I’m wondering how many stores it takes to be looted before one loses their after-dark First Amendment rights to assembly.
I want to mourn the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, and I want to question why the deaths of Renisha McBride and Islan Nettles and Kathryn Johnston haven’t gotten similar traction. Why the beating of Marlene Pinnock isn’t on all of our lips. Why the nation is not familiar with the names of Stephanie Maldonado, or of Ersula Ore. And how many women’s names do we not know because they don’t dare come forward? Because the violence they experience at the hands of the police is sexual, and the shame and stigma around sexual violence silences them?
You realize that everything the police are doing in Ferguson is carefully calculated, right? They’re purposely turning peaceful protests into riots. They’re purposely committing violence to incite violence. From saying ‘We won’t be answering 911 calls,’ which is a very clever way to set themselves up to be able to say, ‘We were afraid for our safety - any call could really be an ambush, our lives were in danger’ right down to the camouflage and the military tanks and wearing more body armor than a soldier in a war zone. Its exactly why they’re going for a media blackout - yet allowing certain photos through - they WANT you to see their tanks. They want you to see their riot gear. They WANT you to see a war-zone. They’re trying to sell the world the idea that this community is inherently and constantly a source of violence and turmoil - they want you to think that they [the police] are being attacked daily in a place so vicious they need full body armor. You know why? Because then, at the end of the day, you might just be able to believe the story they’re going to spin. They’re going to tell you that this (white) officer goes to work in this war zone every day - that he spends every working moment in constant fear for his life. They’re going to tell you that Michael Brown attacked this officer. And then they’re going to bring up everything that has happened in the aftermath and try to use it to convince you that he shot that little boy because he was afraid for his life. They’re setting up a defense. You mark my words, they’re trying to set up a defense.
White teens who kill receive kind words and humanizing obituary-esque headlines surrounding their crimes, whereas black teens who are killed are covertly demonized or belittled and no worth is attached to the stories covering their death.
This is the world we live in.
Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear
your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify
against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and
shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the
reasons they are dying.
A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all. “Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.”
You know, I’m amazed how we don’t judge the choices that rich white men make. Look at how we don’t prosecute bank executives who illegally foreclosed on middle class families and rigged international lending rates. Look at how we defend mutli-million dollar pay packages for CEOs running their companies into the ground and yet scrutinize even a 10-cent increase in the minimum wage. Look at how we make excuses for male politician after politician who drop their pants and then make comebacks (pun intended!).
But poor women, especially poor women of color, immigrant women—we judge every choice they make. We judge them if they have children. We judge them if they get abortions and don’t have children. We don’t care that General Electric doesn’t pay any taxes— but we care that poor women of color collect public assistance AND have too nice of a cell phone.
The definition of racism in public discourse has been so distorted that any mention of race is construed as racist, mostly by opportunistic right-wingers looking to deflect from their own racist beliefs.
Any analysis of race and racism in America that does not account for the country’s white supremacist foundation is useless. Ultimately, racism is a system of oppression that has disproportionately benefited those classified as “white” and regards others as second-class citizens. For a policy/thought/action/statement to be racist, it has to reinforce that second-class status. Absent the power of doing so, we’re not talking about racism. Bigotry, perhaps, or personal hatred, but not racism. Racism needs power.
It’s why Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk is racist, and de Blasio’s pointing out that his son could be a victim of stop-and-frisk isn’t. One uses the power of the state to impose second-class citizenship on a group and justifies it by employing rhetoric that deems them inherently criminal and inferior; the other is a personal testimony of how that affects the lives of those who are targeted.
we're screw-ups. I'm a screw-up and I plan to be a screw-up until my late 20s, maybe even my early 30s.
25-year-old east coast women's college graduate with a laptop and no original thoughts.