Intersections of Power

OpEdThursday, 6-August-2015 we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Voters Rights Act. One of the cornerstones of Civil Rights in this nation, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and reauthorized by President Richard Nixon in 1970, President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford in 1975, President Ronald Reagan 1982, President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and last but not least President George W. Bush in 2006. It is important to note, all re-authorizations were with full support of both houses of Congress. Another important note, all US Presidents to extend the Voters Rights Act were Republicans.

The first of the GOP debates has taken place, sponsored by the infamous Roger Ailes and his propaganda machine Fox. It is important to note, not a single one of the candidates whether at the kiddie table or the Big Show supports the extension of the Voters Rights Act. Not one single one of them supports the right of all members of society to vote. In fact, those who are in a position to do so, or have been in the past have actively sought to restrict voter access through any means possible including; Voter ID laws, voter roll purges, early closing of polling places and other actions that would restrict voter access. Interesting isn’t it, though the laws have been coming into play for years, they didn’t reach the stridency or full on war against the ‘other’ until the election of this President, who represented everything they feared and hated, specifically the ceding of power to ‘other’.

The loss of White Male Power, had finally come to pass in a big damned way with the election of Barack Obama. It couldn’t be avoided any longer, it was in their face and up their nose; White Men no longer could rely on the ignorance of the citizen to keep them in power, there was a change in the air and something had to be done and by any means necessary. The first thing was Congressional action, without the consent of Congress this President was going to have a hard Presidency and the GOP had met and agreed, they would oppose this President at every turn.

To understand where we are as a nation, why it feels worse than ever before in our lifetime it is important to look at historical context. This is not the first time the backlash of the White Male tumblr_mdcctdnb471r4fn52o1_500Power Structure has risen up to retrieve authority and supremacy in this nation. In fact, it is fairly easy to trace the roots of racism, defined by institutional structures including Economic, Educational, Opportunity and even movement. Look at the historical intersections and how those in power created the great divide between people who should be banded together rather than fighting each other.

  • Until 1676, there were both African and European ‘slaves’ in the New World. Though the European ‘slaves’ were indentured for a set period they were treated no better than African slaves and frequently never lived to see their freedom. The Bacon Rebellion of 1676 saw the burning of Jamestown, Virginia and with it a new thinking by the ‘ruling’ class regarding their servants / slaves. New laws were created to separate the poor whites, whether indentured servants or free whites from the African whether Freeman or slave to prevent them from forming alliance in the future. These laws created the three (3) tier class system with the African at the bottom, the landowner at the top and all other White Men in the middle. This is considered, by many scholars, the beginning of institutional racism, along with the rule of law called Partus Sequitur Ventrem which means status followed the mother rather than the father, a distinct change to previous British common law.
  • For one hundred and eighty nine years (189) things went along swimmingly for slaveholders, the ‘Masters’ of all they surveyed and those who benefited from the status quo without recognizing their benefits. With the end of the Civil War the South entered into the period of Reconstruction, it wasn’t long from 1865 to 1877. This period saw the passage of the 13th, 14thand 15th Amendments which Abolished Slavery, Granted Black Men the Right to Vote and Prohibited the Federal and State governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on their Color, Race or previous condition of servitude.
19th century illustration via New York Public Library Digital Collection

19th century illustration via New York Public Library Digital Collection

  • The period of Reconstruction was short-lived; the loss of power by those who previously held all the power was not to be tolerated. Reconstruction led to backlash including the first KKK, the White League and Red Shirts, the first true home-grown terrorists, intent on preserving White Supremacy at all costs including violence against any they considered race traitors or those they considered uppity, their previous slaves. The true backlash though was the institution of the Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws throughout the South, including laws to disenfranchise the new Black voter from exercising their right to vote; Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests, Comprehension Tests, Residency and Record Keeping requirements (sound familiar?). While these laws disenfranchised poor whites as well, grandfather clauses allowed them to remain on the rolls, keeping those who should have found common cause apart once again.

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  • The Jim Crow period ushered in a new age of poverty and peonage. The Black Codes created a free labor force, empowering the police to arrest Black Men and Women for the slightest infraction, imprisoning them for long periods to forced labor for ‘loitering’ or ‘vagrancy’. For one hundred years, until 1964 and the passing of the Civil Rights Act, the Black family in America was segregated from active participation in American Life.
  • It was in 1954 though, with the SCOTUS decision of Brown vs. Board of Education the US saw the next rise of official terrorism and White Supremacy with the institution of the Citizens Councils aka The White Citizens Councils, across the southern states. Many state legislators, mayors and other influential White citizens were members of the Citizen Council, which met openly and whose entire agenda was the ongoing disenfranchisement and segregation of the American Black. Though usually their tactics were economic intimidation, they were not above violence when it suited them. During the last half of the 1950’s the Council produced children’s school books claiming heaven was segregated. They also opened and supported private segregated schools, some of which are still in operation today.

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These things have run in waves, fear and fear mongering is the red meat thrown out into the yard by those who know exactly how to keep the populace in line, keep them filled with hate of ‘other’. Now we have a more sophisticated model, the 24 hour news cycle but the message remains the same, hate those who are ‘not like you’, fear those who are ‘not like you’.

Do you see the pattern emerging? The prison industrial complex, the militarized police force, the systematic killing of Black men and women on the streets of every city in this nation without repercussion. Do you see a pattern emerge, when there is even a slight power shift and the election of Barack Obama was certainly that, those who define their supremacy based on race have risen up again through organized terrorism, the Tea Party is one example, another is the rise in membership of White Power / Segregationist groups such as Council of Conservative Citizens.

“I want my country back!”

The cry of those who feel the loss of power. We must ask where do they want to take us back too, from whom do they want it back from? The structures of institutional racism have been well established for centuries, each time we begin to break them those with the most power and the most to lose tighten their hold, we let it happen by not rising up and fighting back hard enough. By not understanding our own history and seeing the emerging patterns.

I don’t want my country back; I want my country to progress, to move forward. That is what I want.


Next, inter-sectional and women in the public domain.

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Be Damned

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

I am incapable of words to express my sorrow or my fury. I am at a loss where to begin to express my deep empathy for the families of those who were lost, the survivors, all victims of a terrible hate crime, a horrifying act of violence. I find I am at a loss at how to express my compassion for those left behind to survive the terrible repercussions of violence.

Where do you even begin?

Do we start with the grief that we have not risen from the past but instead nurture hate so closely it drives some among us to walk into places of worship and indiscriminately murder innocent people. How do we battle this cultural nightmare, this disease that continues to feast on heart, decimate soul and destroy future?

We did this, yes when I say we I am specific in my calling out. We, White Folks, those of us with the privilege of being born with skin the color of moonlight. Those of us who check the box, ‘Caucasian’,  or ‘White’ on the Census and all the other forms through our lives, we did this. It is ours, we own it and we have owned it from the first slave sold in this nation. From the Three-fifths Compromise to Dredd Scott, from Jim Crow to Separate but Equal and everything before, after and in between. Every step along the way, White People in power worked to keep those they considered ‘different’ and ‘less than’ powerless. Through economic, educational and justice policies, we have divided this nation’s people into cultural classes that not coincidently aligned along racial-color lines, keeping Black, Brown, White in their separate and unequal lanes.

Now, in this century, in this decade and after the election of the first Black President the hate and fear, the true ugliness of racism has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of political correctness and the result has been truly terrible to witness. Fear and fury rose up from the White community, from the dirt floor of the poorest house in the Appalachians to the polished marble floors of Congress, White Men rose up in protest at the Black Man in the White House. It was terrible to see, but we turned away. We shrugged our shoulders and said, ‘these are not the norm, these are the minority’. We did nothing, said nothing, demanded nothing be changed nothing be confronted.

Worse than the rising up has been our acceptance of this ‘new normal’. We see it, we witness the horror of violence, we turn away. We justify our apathy with, ‘but it isn’t me, I am not a racist’. We11164745_892454580813961_4783942740135091392_n watch in horror as another act of violence is carried out, another unarmed black man, woman or child is beaten or killed by police or civilians but we do nothing except perhaps wring our hands and pretend we don’t understand why. We listen to the nuanced language, the media spin trying to justify the horror show of murderous rampages by white thugs, whether cops or civilians, against those they deem unworthy of life, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness in the land their ancestors helped to build in chains. We pretend we don’t see it, we forget within the next news cycle.

The state of South Carolina flies the Confederate flag, a symbol of all that is wrong, a symbol of traitors who fought to maintain the status quo of enslaving human beings. The Sons of the Confederacy can whitewash and bullshit all they like, can cry their tears of states’ rights, liberty and freedom as the driving factors of their ancestor’s reasons for secession from the lawful government and their own reason for continuing to worship the Stars & Bars. We should pull that scab off the wound that was the Civil War, demand the history books be revised to tell the truth and call those who would say otherwise damned liars. The war of secession was fought  to keep human beings enslaved and preserve a way of life for wealthy White men and women who did not wish to give up their privilege. The majority who died fighting in that war were poor, ignorant and fearful, they were convinced if the slaves were freed they would be displaced, their women would be raped and their jobs taken. The language of the traitors was eerily similar to those of the Tea Party today, hauntingly analogous to many of those who would be President.

“Government Overreach”

10407515_10203057948409525_2425821899359663210_n“Preservation of Constitutional Values”

“Preserving Liberty and Freedom”

Yes, familiar rhetoric isn’t it. The hubris of those who would preserve a way of life built upon the blood and misery of others is exceeded only by the ignorance necessary to believe the lies. The amount of money spent to divide us, keep us separate, maintain the horror of racism and ignorance exceeds the budgets of some nations, yet we allow it to continue without rising up. We, owe ourselves better than this, better than more blood, more hate, more division based on ignorance. We must demand a change, an accounting; we must say no more.

We, each of us with the privilege of our Whiteness intact must stand up and demand the same privilege for those not born with skin the color of moonlight. We must demand history books tell the truth of America, of slavery, of Jim Crow, of enslavement through poverty, miseducation, unequal justice and incarceration; we must demand an accounting and we must apologize for our own ignorance and blind acceptance of the lies we have told to preserve our own power. We must rise up and against hate and hate groups, we must stop turning away and instead call them what they are, Domestic Terrorists. We must demand an accounting of media that uses their power to criminalize Black victims while whitewashing even celebrating White murderers. We must begin to call things and people what they are, we must hold accountable those who refuse to do so.

We must stop giving a pass to any person who refuses to stand up and call out Hate Crimes and Racism for what they are. We must hold those who would lead to the highest standard and demand they call the nation towards healing, towards justice, towards equality and fairness. Those who will not stand up and call racism what it is, who will not call out their followers for their racist remarks and acts, they do not deserve leadership roles, certainly don’t deserve to be President.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

We all need to start demanding better, doing better, teaching our children better and demanding of our leaders better than they are today. For the lives that have been lost, we need to give them names and bear witness to their tragedy. For those who took their lives, we need to give them no name but murderer, thug, terrorist we need to give them no excuse for their act but the one they gave, racism and hate.

Cynthia Hurd, 54

Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49 Myra Thompson, 59
Clementa Pinckney, 41 Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lee Lance, 70 Daniel L. Simmons Sr., 74

Tywanza Sanders, 26

On this Day, Dream

bvwcku1icaapeh“Well, you know, you can’t change what’s in the hearts and minds of the white folks in the South. You can’t legislate what’s in their hearts.” He says, “Well, you can’t legislate what’s in their hearts, but I tell you what: If you can just stop them from lynching me, that’s progress. That’s a pretty good thing.” And over time, hearts and minds catch up with laws. That’s been the history of progress in this country.

Dr. Martin Luther King


 

Honestly, I have been trying all week to find the heart and the voice to write. It has felt as if my heart has been stopped in my chest and my voice has been silenced. Today is the day we honor Martin Luther King, many say we should treat this day as a day of service in honor of those who marched and served the cause of Civil Rights, worked to eliminate the egregious Jim Crow Laws and broaden Voting Rights Laws for all citizens. Imagine, there are those who do not know this history do not remember a time when our fellow citizens could not vote, could not sit at the counter or share a table in a restaurant simply because of the color of their skin. Despite how recent this history, there are those who wish to erase it from our school books and our memories.

Many today say it is better then when the brave men and women stood upon the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday, 7 March 1965 and faced down State Troopers and civilian posse’ armed with tear gas and clubs wrapped in barbed wire on Bloody Sunday. There are those, including some who were there that say 2015 is better than 1965, we have made progress. I am hard pressed to find this much discussed much vaunted progress in light of the tragic and terrible across this nation. Is it me?

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Someone asked me yesterday if I thought it was getting better or worse. I had to consider the differences and the changes since 1965, what the meant. Have things really improved, as some would have us believe? Are some of us simply overreacting to the news cycles, which is what some say to those of us who follow and write about the issues of Race in America. Or are things regressing, going backwards having never truly changed only gone into hiding until the all clear signal was sounded the election of Barack Obama bringing out all the fears and fury of the dwindling White majority.

I had to think about it, consider my answer carefully. Ultimately, my answer was option three (3). Maybe it got better for a little while, things moved forward and improved on the surface. As a nation, we took seriously ending segregation, ending Jim Crow, ending lynching, ending the disparities in education and access to jobs for fifteen years before the disaster of Ronald Reagan and his War on Everything. Yes, I said it, the nation began a slow decline with his election, he was in my humble opinion the worst thing that could have happened to anything slightly resembling progress. We need only look at what he ushered in or who he attacked on his road to the White House, with his ‘Welfare Queen’ meme. Then his War on Drugs and the disparity in sentencing laws, started during his time in office, which have only begun to be addressed by this administration. Finally, we need look no further than the the slow disintegration of our infrastructure, education systems and the rise in poverty to understand what he started has finally come to fruition. If there is an afterlife, Saint Ronnie must be gleeful.

Has it gotten better?

What could possibly lead any of us to believe it is better? Truly, the scales over our eyes must be iron plated that we believe it is better. But let’s examine so maybe I and others can be convinced of this ‘better’.

Voters Rights, the act was originally authorized in 1965 and until 2006 was reauthorized as required with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress and signed by the President, no matter the party. In 2006, thirty-three members of the GOP House voted not to reauthorize the Voters Rights Act, they went on record as being against protecting the rights of all citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote. In 2013 the Supreme Court gutted, in a vote of 5-4 the most critical portion of the Voters Rights Act Section 5, freeing states to change their voter laws without oversight by the Justice Department; in essence paving the way for a return to pre-1965. For a good synopsis of the Voters Rights Act and Voting in America, go here.  Since the gutting of the VRA, multiple states mostly in the South, have enacted new voting laws including Voter ID, changes to hours, changes in the availability of voting equipment primarily in minority districts, reductions in early voting, changes to mail in voting and a host of other ‘conveniences’ that predominately impact minority voters.

Extrajudicial killings, we even have a name for it now this murder by cop, sounds all official and everything, like somehow these murders are somehow acceptable within a civil society. Well based on outcomes apparently they are, no police officer is being prosecuted for murdering an unarmed man or woman, in fact they are being protected by the public servants we pay to protect us, from cops to district attorneys all the way up to Governors. There was a time in this nation when at least people had the courtesy to murder in the dark of night, with white sheets covering their shame. Now? Not so much. Now police, in their uniforms murder unarmed men, women and young boys in broad daylight and the middle of the street knowing they will get away with it. Hell, the media will help them by digging up every minor flaw in their history, painting their victim as the aggressor despite the truth, using language to convince an ignorant and unthinking public to be afraid of the ‘other’, language like ‘criminal’, ‘thug’, ‘gang member’, ‘hulk like’, ‘monster’ and ‘demon’. We heard terms like these about every single unarmed person the police murdered, every single person some citizen murdered, every single unarmed Black child, man or woman; they were other and somehow deserving of their death.

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We have the highest prison population in the free world. Now there is something to be proud of. This country has divided families, created horrific poverty, destroyed communities and developed a de facto slave economy with their for profit prison solution. We have men in prison for decades, men who did not commit the crimes but who were railroaded by dishonest cops and DA’s into prison. We have Black and Brown men and women in disproportionate numbers filling our systems up with far longer sentences than their White counterparts for the same crimes, oh wait we have the Affluenza Defense for White Folks, kill people, rape children your own or others, but don’t go to jail if you are White.

These are just some of my observations. I wish I could say I thought it was getting better. I don’t think it is getting better at all. I think perhaps, there are some of us out here who have shed our bigotry and bias, but we are not doing enough, we are not speaking up, we are not lending our support and standing up with those who need us to stand up with them. What we are doing is allowing those who would like nothing better than a return to Jim Crow and the day’s pre Civil Rights, pre Loving-v-Virginia, pre VRA and pre Integration to be voted into Congress at a state and national level, to remain seated on the highest courts of the land and what they are doing is dismantling every single protection and piece of progress ever made.

Do I think it is better? No, I don’t think it is better. I think in many ways it is far worse. I think it is worse because I know it could be better but we are sitting back and allowing our nation to falter through our apathy. I weep for all of us, for the loss of life and the loss of our promise, for the loss of a great dream.

Sit Down Shut Up

tears_of_sadnessWhat do we do? What do we owe?

Those of who still make up the majority of this nation, who are still walking through the world with a certain privilege bought by the lack of melanin in our skin; we owe something. You might not think so, but we owe something. Oh, I know I have heard the song and dance many times before I could likely put it to music and do a soft shoe shuffle:

  • I didn’t own slaves
  • My family didn’t own slaves
  • My family fought for the Union
  • I have Black Friends, it isn’t me
  • I voted for Barack Obama, I’m a Liberal it isn’t me
  • Slavery was 200 years ago, racism is dead

The list goes on, sometimes ad infinitum. So, I ask the question again, what do we owe those of us privileged not to walk through the world in fear, what do we owe?

There are those who would answer nothing. To them I say, leave my sight, get out of my space, don’t breathe my air, please. Yes, I try to say it nicely.

There are those who would say, little; maybe, they could send money because money soothes their conscious and allows them to continue with their comfortable lives unencumbered with the dirt xbckx8mqslodq9a6j3fa84xfixqc9lj5and grime of what is happening outside. To them I say, well make it a big check and remember your children might someday ask what you did, where you were and how you made a difference. How will you answer them?

Then there are those, like me who struggle with the question. Who struggle with how to reach across the chasm of righteous fury, who can no longer find the words to express our own fury at the quagmire of injustice, blood and brutality that is now in the light of day. There are those, like me who are not the enemy, but we surely do look like them. What can we do, even as we stand up and try to reach across the abyss of mistrust and fury, what can we do? Our empathy is shallow, we who cannot walk in the shoes, cannot slip into the skin; we cannot fully empathize because we cannot place ourselves even for a minute in the position of the mother mourning her dead child, the father who cannot find work simply because of the color of his skin, the youth stopped and frisked one hundred times before he is eighteen for walking on a city street; we cannot feel what they feel, not even for a minute.

What can we do, our compassion seems almost misplaced, sometimes more like sympathy or pity both of which are unwelcome and most especially as we barely move from our comfortable chairs. What can we do, our anger at the injustice seems unfocused as we sit contentedly ensconced in suburbia, nodding our heads and listening to other people telling us, ‘it is terrible out there’. There are those like me who are at a loss, our voices silenced by our inability to speak coherently our own rage, our own fear, our own pain; despite our inability to walk in shoes already filled, some of us, many of us are enraged and want to find our place in a fight that should be ours as well. What do we do, when we can only speak from what we know and who we are, from our own experiences and our own hearts and minds, how do we bring that to a table brimming with righteous pain, rage and mistrust.

 

Featured Image -- 94374What do we do? What do we owe?

I don’t know the answer to either question anymore. I know we must stop trying to over-write and invalidate the clarion call of the movements for justice.

#BLACK LIVES MATTER            ≠              #ALL LIVES MATTER

I know we would all like to think ‘All Lives Matter’, it has a pretty ring doesn’t it? The fact is, right now, it isn’t a movement of ‘All Lives’, some of our lives have always mattered, some of us have always had a preferred position, a front seat on the bus. This right now is a different thing, it is not all about ‘All Lives’, it is not about us or you, it is a movement for Justice, for Equality in Justice and it is focused on a community of people who have not received justice since the first sale of African Slaves, known as the ’20 and odd’ in 1607 on these shores.

Historical Arch

From 1607 through centuries of slavery, Jim Crow to today with institutional and structural racism built into every corner of our social, cultural and geo-political foundations we have proven ‘all lives’ do not matter, only some matter. What can we do? We can stop hijacking movements, stop being insulted when ‘we’ aren’t included as a matter of principal, stop arguing that we matter; we have mattered for four hundred years, get over it. For once, we can honor the call of another movement, rally to a call that is not specifically ours, be foot soldiers instead of officers, if the movement for justice is to be cohesive and acknowledged, we can simply repeat the call rather than change it.

What do we owe?

I don’t know. Maybe we owe our bodies on the front line, standing in front of police in riot gear protecting those who have been without shields for far too long. Maybe we owe that. Maybe we owe our voices, our demands added to theirs for justice, for equality; maybe we owe that as more than lip service.

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I don’t know, what we owe. I don’t know what we can do. Maybe we ask and if we are told nothing, we have done enough; just maybe we should take it, accept it sit down and shut up and wait until we are invited to the party rather than demand our voices be heard.

Perhaps we see ourselves as something other than the enemy, but you know maybe it is just too damned late, maybe it has gone on too damned long. Perhaps, we have allowed by our inaction, our blind indifference the disparity of our systems to corrupt our nation to such an extent, even those of us who wish to reach across the chasm can’t find the right bridge.

What is the answer? I wish I knew.

Ham Sandwich and the Zimmerman Defense

screen-shot-2014-11-25-at-4-34-05-pmThere is now a process for how it is done, a script to follow, a recipe to mix from that insures a free pass for the right kind of killing. Everyone knows it, in fact, I am going to guess there is a super-secret class taught and only some of the good ole boys are invited to attend. Maybe it is part of the graduation ceremony, or perhaps they wait a little while suss out what kind of good ole boy you are going to be before issuing the invitation, but chances are eventually if you have feelings of superiority combined with a powerful need to kill, you will get invited.

Let’s call it the Zimmerman Defense.

The terrible thing about the Zimmerman Defense, if you are a cop the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will aid and abet you presenting your defense in the media and to the Grand Jury, thus you will never be indicted for your heinous acts of murder. It is damned near the perfect murder. If you are a sociopath, in need of a bit of blood, simply join your local police force. If you are a racist asshat, in need of a bit of mayhem, have at it put on the uniform; you know the one with the patch that says ‘To Serve and Protect’.

Join the local police force and prepare your Zimmerman Defense, you will have friends in high places jumpstarting your road to freedom, your opportunity to continue your life of violent crime sanctioned by the uniform you wear. Not only will the Chief of Police be on your side making public statements about your sanctioned murder, the Police Union will stand behind you, the Prosecutors Office will lie for you, Governors will protect you, the media will work hard to show your ‘side’ of the story, no matter how insane it is. Finally, if you are truly the type of person everyone loves to whimper over as if your murderous actions were somehow heroic, they will raise money for you and you will become rich and famous; not infamous as you should, not a convict downloadas you deserve, but rich and famous.

The most ludicrous part of this entire situation is we the people pay for this. We the people, pay the cops who kill. We the people, we pay the District Attorney to lie and warp the justice system in favor of Killer Cops. We the people, we pay the salaries of the Governors who call out the National Guard to ‘control’ peaceful demonstrators exercising their Constitutional Rights at Free Speech, or maybe in at least one case (Ferguson) Jay Nixon knew the fix was in and he wanted to avert riots from overflowing into White parts of town (yeah, I am suspecting this was likely it). The fact is, we the people pay for all of this, we pay for Apartheid, we pay for Genocide and we turn our backs, failing to acknowledge these acts for what they are. Making excuses for the murderers in our midst wearing the uniforms we pay for, with those patches that clearly say, ‘To Serve and Protect’. Obviously, they were not intended To Serve and Protect the communities or the people they are with abandon murdering in cold blood.

Do I sound bitter? Do I appear to be one sided in my views? I was told, as recently as yesterday my credibility on this subject was lost for several reasons:

  • My views are too far left to allow me to see things with any degree of reasonableness
  • Despite the obvious lack of melanin in my skin, I am more Black than White
  • Given my past associations, marriages and otherwise my opinions are not credible

Those are just the highlights; some of the others were even more insulting to my intelligence. I let them slide, I didn’t respond to the person saying them instead taking a page from someone I care for deeply, blocking them and ending the conversation. Am I bitter? Why yes I am, I find this nation growing worse rather than better, I find this nation instituting laws to disenfranchise communities of people, stop their voices and strip them of their rights and those of us who could do something instead do nothing. I watch as voices are silenced, men and women are slaughtered in our streets, prisons are filled, schools are emptied and we do nothing. I listen to those who should be our leaders as they say the most blatantly racist and sexist things in public forums and are re-elected to high office; we sit back and do nothing. I watch as our justice system is corrupted to serve the few, we do nothing. In fact, we do worse than nothing; we nod our heads and remain silent.

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We watch as an 18 year old is gunned down and left to lie in the street for four hours, we say nothing instead allowing his name to be tarnished. We listen as they call him Thug, Thief, Demon and MB1we nod our head and accept this as maybe truthful, maybe Michael Brown did ‘puff up as the bullets entered his body’ as that murderer Darren Wilson claimed in his Grand Jury testimony. No, No it didn’t happen that way. No, Michael didn’t punch him on the right side of his face while he was still in the car, no he didn’t go after his holstered gun either. The murder, Darren Wilson lied he applied the Zimmerman Defense and was aided and abetted in doing so. The murder, Darren Wilson is lower than a ham sandwich and anyone with an ounce of common sense knows it. The problem is we watch then hang our head, refusing to do more.

tamir riceWe watch as police roll up on Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old child and shoot him dead in an empty park. We see it all on video, we see they make no attempt to talk to him, no attempt to determine whether his ‘gun’ is real or a toy, despite the 911 caller said he thought it was a toy. They just roll up and before the car stops moving they shoot to kill, not wound but kill. Will they be indicted? Likely no, the DA in Cleveland is planning the Grand Jury route on this one also.

We watched as Eric Garner is taken down in a chokehold, as he says eleven times while face down on the sidewalk of New York, “I can’t breathe”, we watched cops pile on him, we watched knees eric garnerplaced on his head forcing his face further into the concrete. We listened and learned that chokehold had been banned, made illegal twenty-years earlier and then we watched as the Grand Jury came back with a No Bill against the cop who killed Mr. Garner with that chokehold. That cope, Daniel Pantaleo is another who is lower than a Ham Sandwich.

murders

How dare we condemn other nations for their civil rights violations when we think it is perfectly acceptable to gun down unarmed Black and Brown men and women in the streets of our cities, or choke them to death, or beat them on the side of the road, or perform no-knock warrants and kill infants in the process. How dare we even consider condemning other nations for their records when we have undeclared Apartheid in our own nation, with each whittling away at Voting Rights it becomes more declared and more obvious. How dare we look outside of our borders to point fingers at the bad behavior of any other nation when we are incapable of living up to our own declared standards of behavior, even the basics of ‘All Men are Created Equal’.

Bitter, hell yes I am bitter and I am ashamed of this nation and its people.

Bow Your Head and Weep

harriet tubman“If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If there’s shouting after you, keep going.
Don’t ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”
― Harriet Tubman

Today across this nation in Cleveland, Ferguson, St. Louis, New York, Beavercreek, Salt Lake City and countless other cities families will sit down to dinner with less to be thankful for, with an empty chair at their table and it is likely mothers and fathers will weep at the loss of their child to violence. Parents, spouses and children will bow their heads and instead of thanking whatever god they pray to, they will ask “Why”. They will weep as they find themselves bereft of their loved one and struggling to understand why the system they were told to trust did not work, why the life of their husband, father or child did not matter. Today across this nation, families will weep as they mourn the loss of their beloved and lost members to police violence.

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We are a terrible nation, a nation that turns away from entire communities, blaming them for their failure to thrive within a greater society determined to see them as always ‘less than’ and undeserving of the rights and privileges embodied by this nation’s founding documents and ‘moral’ standard. We are a tragic nation, built upon theft of land and resources, blood of innocents, indentured servitude, forced labor, rape and violence; yet we have the unmitigated gall to hold ourselves, as a nation, up as a standard of excellence. We dare to act as police and moral arbitrators, condemning violence and human rights violations across the world while within our own nation we fail to uphold the Rights and even Humanity of our own citizens.

Today, families weep and we should all be weeping with them. Those of us who do not send our children out into the world with fear in our hearts each time they leave our side, we should hang our heads that we do nothing, say nothing and enable this genocide within our borders to continue. Yes, I said it, We Enable. By our silence, through our failure to stand up and say,  ‘no more’, each timescreen-shot-2014-11-25-at-4-33-18-pm we fail to demand answers for the depraved acts of murder by those tasked with defending the law and protecting citizens, WE ENABLE and WE AGREE they are in the RIGHT. Each and every time we listen to media pundits, elected officials, journalists, has been’s and never were’s such as Rudy Giuliani disparage entire communities WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE along with them for enabling the horror story of structural and institutionalized racism that has destroyed the soul of this nation and its people. It is us, as much as them that allow and enable Genocide to escalate unencumbered by Law or Justice.

I am saddened there are those in this nation who refuse to face up to the fact there truly are two nations, truly two systems of justice, two systems of opportunity, two systems for damned near everything. It is not about ‘responsibility’ and ‘accountability’ as some would have us to believe. It is not about pulling your pants up, speaking better English, getting a job or any of the other idiotic and ignorant bile that spews forth from the lips of those who have never been at risk a day in their life simply for the skin they were born in.

Any one of us can say all day long, “I personally am not a racist”. However, the problem with that statement, so long as ‘I personally’ do nothing to actively fight against the institutionalization of racism within this country I am passively agreeing to its continuation, I am by my refusal to stand up and speak out, by my refusal to put myself in harm’s way agreeing my life, my way of life matters more.

screen-shot-2014-11-25-at-4-34-05-pmTime and again, the President of this nation has been called divisive by those who hate him for only one reason, who fear him for only one reason. Time and again, the Attorney General has been called divisive for speaking out on issues of race and violence. We have had for nearly six years our first Black President, our first Black Attorney General; this combination scares the hell out of those who see their power base slipping and they are fighting hard, with ugly tactics to convince this nation these two men are the cause for the rise in violence, the rise in racist language and attitudes. Those who see these two men of calm as divisive have deceived their base and even many of us into believing a story, a fable of Black and Brown rage and danger, one that is escalating and must be controlled by occupation forces and murder. The truth is, this President and this AG have spoken infrequently and with cautious language on issues of race, they have used the Bully Pulpit rarely and with great restraint so as not to offend those who would use their words to stir the already boiling caldron of White Rage and Fear.

We are not divisive because we point out racism, whether it is police murdering or the KKK marching with police escorts while peaceful protesters are tear gassed and shot with wooden bullets. We are not divisive because we identify the documented fact a Black Man is 4 times more likely to die in custody than a White Man, a Hispanic Man is 2 times more likely to die in custody than a White Man. We are not divisive because we find it disturbing when mass killers are taken into custody alive if they are White, but Black Men and Black Children with toy guns are killed by cops. We are not divisive when we identify the difference between media coverage of college students rioting during a sporting event or festival for squash and communities rioting in response to police murdering their children without fear of reprisal. We are not divisive when we point out a wealthy White teenager walking out of a courtroom with a new syndrome, Affluenza (he is to wealthy to go to jail it might harm his delicate sensibilities or future) preventing him from going to prison after killing four people in a drunk driving joy ride, but a Black teenager is killed for jaywalking.

We must begin to stand up, to point out what is wrong with this nation and the leadership of this nation that we do not demand better. We are not divisive, what we are is challenging a system that has consistently shown itself to be Racist, unjust and weighted towards one group in this country. Either we are one nation, with one rule of law, one set of values and principles, striving toward the betterment of all citizens … lifting all boats in a rising tide; or we are a Slave State, intent on the debasement of an entire group of our citizens, the death of their next generation.

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Today, families gather to give thanks far too many of those families will instead shed tears of anger even fury at the loss of a loved one to violence at the hands of police.

Where does it end?

We must begin to stand up, to scream our demands for change. We must begin to silence those who turn away and refuse to see what is before them; we must demand those who are tasked with protecting our citizens; we must demand those who are elected to office high or low, perform their tasks to the benefit of all citizens not just those who can pay for their services; we must stand up and demand journalists, pundits and others tasked with delivering information become fair, balanced and perform their tasks with integrity and ethical standards or be taken off the air, a return to the standards of old is necessary to raise this nation out of the mire of ignorance we have fallen into.

It is time to rise up out of our apathy. It is time for us to bow our heads and weep with the families who will gather today with an empty chair at their tables. It is past time for us to demand a change to this failed experiment that is the two-nation system of have and have not, divided by the color of our skin and the privilege those of us born with the fortune circumstance of White skin have not earned.

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It is time to acknowledge we have a problem and it is not the criminality of the Black Community it is the Criminality of a nation built on privilege, brutality, greed, violence and a desire to retain what was never earned but stolen.

It is about fixing what is broken in this nation no matter the cost.

Anonymity and AssHats

OpEdRecently I was listening to one of the various talk radio stations I listen to on the way to work, or on the way home I don’t remember which now. What I do remember about that day is the caller who was furious and righteous in his fury. Now and then I find myself talking to the radio, sometimes I even curse and I do know many terrible words in a couple of languages even. This particular caller caused me to use them all; I tell you he was beyond ignorant and bordering on downright stupid, perhaps even evil.

It is my assumption that most people have some grain of good in them and some grain of intellectual honesty as well. I know, it is never good to make assumptions they are usually wrong and they usually disappoint. Another thing I know, social media, as well as, radio call in shows allow people the mask of anonymity, thus giving the privilege / right to be gigantic Assclowns without fear of discovery or retribution.

So what turned my crank? Got me screaming foul names at my radio and most certainly looking like a raving idiot at 70mph, well it went something like this:

Radio Host: You are on the air, what did you want to say?

Caller: I just wanted to say, if it wasn’t for White People there wouldn’t be any science, art; nothing. Everyone would still be living in caves and dirt huts grubbing for food like they do in Africa.

Radio Host: What are you saying Caller that you think all advancements came from Caucasians in Europe throughout history?

Caller: Well of course. White people are the only ones with enough intelligence to invent anything; all the modern conveniences came from white people.

This conversation went on for a minute with the caller getting uglier, more racist and ultimately more stupid in his remarks, the host finally shut him down without ever explaining to him just how wrong he was.

I have a secret; it is an important one I think, something we should have all learned in school, something we should all know by now and should all consider critical in how we view the world and our fellow man. So I am going to share it and then find something else to talk about for a day or two, I am going to take a break from my current bout of rage for a few days. Honestly, I am weary of the ignorance I am surrounded by and it seems only to be getting worse.

So here is my secret.

If it were not for those people of Africa, Asia Minor and Asia there would be no Civilization as we know it today. Going back to the time before Christ (how time is measured) while Europeans were barely walking upright, great civilizations rose and fell. Do you wonder what in Hades I am saying, what in Hell I am referring to?

I just bet you do. Well, let me first refer you to the following maps so you understand the definitions of Africa, Asia Minor and Asia.

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I know, you know what Asia Minor, Asia, Africa and even the Middle East are and didn’t need that small refresher course, did you? However, really it was likely a good thing I provided it. Here you were thinking all good things came from Europe and White Men, just like that caller the other day. I mean really that is what you thought in the back of your mind, right? If you were raised in the US of A, it is what you were conditioned to think, no matter how Liberal your family, how well rounded your education, you were none the less trained to think all good things came from those with pale skin and with few exceptions, a penis.

Let me provide a baseline from which we can leap into the pool of understanding.

Were it not for the people of Asia Minor in particular, but also Africa and Asia there would be no “God” of the Jews, the Muslims or the Christians to fight over. Certainly, there would be no Jesus Christ for the Christians to claim as their own. Were it not for the ancient people of Asia, there would be no Buddha. There is not a single religion, not one that was founded by Europeans, that is by Caucasians or White folks. There are offshoots such as Mormons or Snake Handlers they are though all based on something that came before them and not ‘new’. So just to get this straight in our heads, the faith based religions most White Folks follow so fervently, the ones they are willing to kill for and die for these were all created by Brown Folk. Jesus Christ himself, he was of Jewish / Arab racial descent, would have been brown eyed, with black hair, swarthy skin; in fact he would look much like the men and women we fear today in the airport.

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Without religion, there would be no philosophy. Just thought I would throw that one out there as a bone to chew on.

The next great one that did not come from Europe, did not come from Caucasians or more commonly known as White Folks…Writing. Nope, we did not invent any form of written communication. This was first discovered and then improved upon in other parts of the world. In fact, those same parts of the world we are so quick to condemn as barbaric and backward are the seat of early civilization where the first forms of written communication and math are documented.

Some of the Great Wonders of the World could not have been built without Architectural genius and advanced Mathematics.

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None of them strangely enough in Europe, none of them oddly enough from White Folks. With all this being said, I don’t want anyone to believe I don’t give credit where credit is due. Once the Romans conquered, marching through Asia Minor and parts of Africa, along with much of Europe, spreading joy and book burnings wherever they went, things changed quickly. Slavery for the sake of slavery came into vogue, violence and blood sports as a national pastime (think murder for the masses) and new forms of economic Democracy (vote buying) that have been passed down to us here in the good old US of A.

In the meantime, simply to put things in perspective here are just some of the Black Folks who have contributed to the betterment of our human society.

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To the caller and anyone else who thinks this way, please educate yourself or simply find the pit in Hell and jump in. You and your kind are why we are in the pitiful condition here and elsewhere in the world. It is your thinking that causes the problem. It is your thoughtless ignorance that starts the wars, kills our children and draws borders around nations. It is you, your ignorance that has people, both men and women, young and old lying on the streets of this nation dead by police too quick to fire their guns. Your ignorance, your xenophobia, your misplaced pride in something you had nothing to do with other than being born with the ‘right’ level of melanin.

You are the problem and you truly should seek help for your ignorance. Someone I love continues to tell me racism is a disease. I wish you and everyone like you would work toward a cure, I truly do.

White Man Improvements

White Privilege Black Burden

OpEdFor days now, I have been without words, speechless. It isn’t that I have been without thought, it is simply I have not had the heart to write the words. More and more I find myself truly at odds with my own innate desire to believe in the goodness of man and moving toward a more cynical outlook. We are a nation built on the backs, the blood, sweat and tears of others. We are a nation defined by genocide and built by slaves, yet we refuse to acknowledge our history or the unwilling sacrifices of those who died so we could have all we have.

I have been without words. In truth, I thought I had no right to speak.

Nate Silver predicts the Republicans will take the Senate in 2014. Not by much and it isn’t a sure thing, but if they do the obstruction this President has contended with during the first six years of his administration will be nothing compared to the all-out war of the last two. If the Senate and the House are in the hands of the GOP the horror story we have seen growing on the edges since the days of Ronald Reagan’s disastrous economic policies, if not truly since Nixon’s Southern Strategy will come to full fruition and this nation will finally and fully divide between have and have not. We will show our true colors to the world I think. Perhaps this will be a natural breaking point for some who up until now thought they were welcome and others who continue to insist things were getting better. Those hangers on to the tent poles of the GOP will find out what contempt they are truly held in when the flaps of the tent are fold down and they are begging at the opening with no ticket to enter the victory party except as the help or a party favor.

You know who you are even if you don’t want to admit it. You men of any Color, you women in general, you members of the LGBT and you white folks who haven’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of; yes all of you puppets who are trotted out now and then, whether high or low you will find out just how contemptible you truly are when your adopted tribe flushes you to the curb.

It is time to strip the blinders from our eyes. It is time call bullshit.

The United States of America is not and has never been the Greatest Moral Nation In The World.

1857 Smithsonian map prior to the Civil War, pink shows the slave states

1857 Smithsonian map prior to the Civil War, pink shows the slave states

We are a nation founded on principles that included Manifest Destiny, Genocide, Inequality and the Enslavement of Human Beings. These principles are written into the founding documents, the words of the founding fathers and court cases coming into this century. These principles were carried out by those who put their stakes in the ground and built the nation. While it is important to acknowledge it wasn’t all the signers, it remains vital we understand the compromises made leading to the horror show of today.

Michael Brown was laid to rest this past Monday, I was at work and so I listened on headphones to parts of his ‘Going Home’ memorial.

I listened and I wept, for him, for his family and for us as a nation because we simply don’t care enough to demand change. To stand up for what is right and good. To hold accountable Darren Wilson, the White Cop who shot at him at least ten times hitting him six. I wept because we do not see Michael Brown as our son, we do not embrace his parents as part of our tribe and feel their pain and weep with them and for them in their loss. No, we don’t feel any of this, our hearts do not crack or break at the loss of another Black child lying in the street without comfort as his blood runs out and his community records the depravity of his murderer standing over him.

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We don’t seek justice for the victim; we seek excuses for his murderer. We don’t seek to comfort the family in their grief; we seek to silence and appease the community in their righteous fury. We approve even celebrate the police in their riot gear, their tear gas and their wooden bullets aimed at more Black Children.

Michael Brown, a young man who was to start college, a young man who was loved by his family; suddenly is vilified by police and press alike. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Where have we seen this before? Oh, yes we have seen this every single time a cop or for that matter a White Man, shoots an unarmed Black person. We accept the Black person as the enemy of the State, we acknowledge they are somehow ‘scary’ and not part of our tribe and allow them to be maligned by the press, by the talking heads and in social media so their murderer can walk away with a pat on the back and a ‘job well done’.

During the memorial service for Michael, Al Sharpton said:

“We sit like we have no requirements. Like it’s somebody else. But all of us are required to respond to this. And all of us must solve this.”

I have pondered this statement, all week I have pondered this one single statement. Now Rev. Sharpton was clear he was going to be political in his eulogy, I think this was approved by the family. Others spoke of who Michael was, giving comfort to the family on a more familiar level. This service though, the image of Michael in the middle of the street, it was a pivotal moment for Ferguson and for a nation. His memorial could not remain personal or private; could not be only a moment of comfort for his grieving family, their strength in allowing his death to be a gift, a reminder of just how far we are from The Greatest Nation In The World is shattering.

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I thought I had no right to speak.

Here I sit, in my safe haven of privilege brought to me because I am fortunate in my birth. Sure I could have been born a man, that would have made me doubly fortunate but I was born White, I was also raised in a middle class household, even if it was dysfunctional as hell, I remain privileged in my birth. My rose-colored glasses are difficult to set aside, the latch on the gate to Hopeland hard to lift; nevertheless, there are things that need to be said, truths we all need to hear and accept. Without these truths, there will never be true change and all hope is lost, not just for those who need it most but for all of us.

We do not live in a post racial society. If you believe we do you are lying to yourself and anyone you say it to. If you are White, you are privileged every single day you are privileged, no matter how poor you are your skin gives you privilege whether you take advantage of the opportunity you are afforded by that privilege or not.

White Privilege is a Burden / Hardship for the Black person; for every single privilege we enjoy they pay for due to nothing other than the melanin content of their skin. This is a truth we do not understand, cannot understand ever. We do not wake up in their life, though some of us might wake up lying beside them, sharing their lives day to day, we do not wake up sharing the burden we have visited upon them by our complete and utter contempt for their humanity for the past nearly three hundred years of their inhabiting this land with us. Our forefathers, by Constitution and court order defined the humanity of their slaves as ‘less than’ their own. In fact as exactly three-fifths, now I will grant you the original three-fifths rule was to prevent Southern Slave owners from gaining greater votes in Congress by counting their Slaves as ‘Whole Men’, this single ugly diminishment of humanity has demeaned and diminished the citizenship and humanity of the Black community ever since. The three-fifths rule was in part the foundation of the Dred Scott ruling and has been used in other similar rulings as well. My heart tells me this rule is why so many people find it so easy to kill young Black men and women today. Why so many people find it easy to debase them, leave them lying in the street without care or comfort. This rule, stripping them of even one-fifth of their humanity is why so many find it so easy to murder them and walk away without guilt.

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I thought I had no right to speak, but I do have a right to speak because I am human and my heart is whole.

We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot allow our young people to die in the streets without speaking up no matter the color of their skin they are part of us, members of our tribe, citizens of our nation. We must end this. We must come together and build a true movement to end the police state that quells peaceful marches with violent retribution. We must demand our representatives, at every level from President to School Board, speak for us and to our issues; that they stop playing politics and start working to solve the problems of this nation. It is ridiculous that our President cannot speak to the horror story of a national tragedy for fear of giving offense during an election cycle.

Post Racial my happy ass.

I can only say this, if you have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote get off your butt, stand in line and do it. If you have the opportunity to march for freedom, for justice, for change do it. If you have the opportunity to show up, show your support, be part of something larger than yourself do not let your fear hold you back, do it.

Do not let your legacy be your apathy.

Get Real War on White Folks WTF

OpEdI have tried to take a high road and not speak on some of the true ignorance dripping from the mouths of those elected to high office. In truth, I have been absent lately for the simple reason the world has cracked my heart, I haven’t known whether I was broken hearted or simply damned angry. I am both; truthfully, I am both. It is difficult to sit in my safe enclave and watch from afar the horrifying and tragic events unfolding in this nation without being both. Anyone with a drabble of humanity who is able to watch this nation burn, listen to hate filled rhetoric of those who set the flames and not be furious are in my humble opinion less than human.

I don’t know where to start; I am stunned by the brain dead blathering of Republicans whether they are elected officials, those who desire high office or the talking heads who seem to be held in such esteem. The utter idiocy of their positions, the ignorance of what flies out of their mouths at times causes me to want to lock myself into a closet, never to emerge again. I am embarrassed at times to admit my own heritage as it links me to them at least on the surface through a shared gene pool. Fortunately, I do not dwell on this for too very long, realizing our shared genetic markers do not condemn me to ignorance, greed or a failed moral standard, as these are all choices they have made for themselves.

You will need to forgive me if I descend into less than ladylike language, I have lost my temper and my normal Southern charm and aplomb. 

WAR ON WHITES…WTF

Yes, you read that correctly. This is the position an idiot Congressman, Mo Brooks (R), out of Alabama has taken, the Democratic Party has declared a ‘War on Whites’. Now this truly isn’t new, southern White Folks have genuinely believed they have been disenfranchised and abused since the end of the Civil War when they lost their source of free labor with the emancipation of the slaves. With Civil Rights came new levels of anger and fear, White Folks in America began to band together under a variety of banners, primarily these:

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Until we got to the election of the very first Black American President, Barack Hussein Obama in 2007, suddenly shit hit the fan. Now mind you, our President is in fact a true representative of the American experience being of both African and European lineage. Few recognize this President as having a ‘White’ side, when they look at him they see him as Black and he unsurprisingly self-identifies as a Black Man. What option, in this America would he have when his Melanin saturation is the only thing that identifies him for 99% of Americans.

POTUS & FLOTUS Obama Take it all with grace

POTUS & FLOTUS Obama
Take it all with grace

When things truly begin shifting in our cities and towns was September 11, 2001. If that date rings a bell it should, that was the day we all realized we were vulnerable and said to the government, ‘save us from those evil brown people who want to kill us, who want to change our way of life’. Yes, we said that, we also said without realizing it, tear the stitches off the decades long wound to the White Power Structure of Civil Rights and social courtesy be damned, if it ain’t White, Christian with able to pee standing up, it ain’t right.

All bets off, since 2001 the tone of the argument changed and in the mind of White America the enemy was clear. Politicians latched on and adjusted their rhetoric to suit the mood of the nation, along with the vitriol came the money and the weapons to control the masses. Senators and Congressmen from every state in the union put their hands into the till and came out with new toys for controlling their own constituents. Police forces were militarized, becoming capable of imposing martial law in the blink of an eye. We were at risk, but more importantly our inner cities, were at risk those who were considered ‘outsiders’ and not ‘like me’, were at risk and they didn’t know, yet. The one thing we have to know, there is a distinct difference in how the law is executed, note below and see if you can tell the difference from these pictures.

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WAR ON WHITES….WTF

Since September 11, 2001 a war was on but it wasn’t against White Folks, we have not lost our privilege we haven’t lost our ground. In fact, we have fought through our elected officials and our corrupt courts all the way up to the highest court in the land to take back what we perceive lost previously. If I say so myself we have done a damned fine job of putting our heel on all those who we think of as ‘less than’ and ‘not like’ and crushing the life out of them. This includes the following:

  • American born Black Men and Women, those who came here in servitude and somewhat freed by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, but have yet to achieve true enfranchisement within this nation. Men and women who have for centuries contributed their labor, served in the military, paid taxes, contributed to our arts and sciences yet whom we have failed miserably to welcome into society as equals.
  • American born Hispanic Men and Women, those who immigrated or were born here and have every right to claim citizenship, who live and work alongside their White neighbors every single day, who serve in the military, pay their taxes and contribute to our arts and sciences, yet who we continue to see as outsiders and ‘illegals’.
  • Immigrants from all nations, some who have come here through legal means and others who have not. Some who have come seeking political asylum and some who have come seeking a better life for their families, seeking the promise of opportunity, democracy and freedom. Many who come from the ‘darker’ nations, those nations that create the diversity of faith and color within this ‘United’ States of America.
  • The original owners of this once abundant land, the People, the Tribes, the Native and Indigenous of all the lands including Alaska and Hawaii, we can never forget those who once roamed freely and called this home. Remembering they have also been disenfranchised and left with dross after the European Anglo Saxon landed and following a policy of Manifest Destiny subsequently proceeded to enslave, commit genocide and steal out from under them this very land now referred to as the United States of America.
  • Let us not for a minute forget women, this war has been ongoing and insidious for a while now and it is ratcheting up every year. Women are the target of a strategy to remove them from the workforce, remove them as an economic force and remove once again their authority over their own body. This war cuts across all race lines and leaves only one line uncrossed, that of the very wealthy who will always have access to what is needed to remain free and unencumbered.

WAR ON WHITES…WTF

What is this fabled war I ask and how is it being waged? Have people of European descent somehow been prevented from access to any of the things they were formally use to accessing?  Are their families broken apart by unfair sentencing laws and the men of their communities targeted for more frequent police stops, despite White folks are far more likely to have contraband (e.g. drugs, guns) in their cars. Are their communities and neighborhoods targets of stop and frisk tactics, swat team home invasions and military policing? Are their schools locked down and falling down? Is the poverty rate, the unemployment rate and the dropout rate higher by double digits, in their communities than anywhere else in the nation. Are their sons bleeding out in the streets of the cities, shot down or chocked out by cops while unarmed with their hands in the air, begging for their lives?

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No? I didn’t think so.

With coded language and sometimes not so coded language there is indeed a war being fought it is not though a war against those of my heritage, it is not against White Folks. Those of us who are wandering through life thinking we are not privileged or that we are somehow losing our privileges need to think again, we need to get a grip on ourselves. We need to remind ourselves when we speak to our children about the facts of life we aren’t telling them about how to conduct themselves during a police stop to save their lives, rather we are telling them where babies come from.

WAR on WHITES…WTF INDEED.

I am heartbroken by what is happening in this nation. Only we can stop it, only those of us with a conscious can stop what is happening in this nation. Only those of us who are sentient and willing to put ourselves on the line can stand up and say enough. Stand Up, Hands Up, Enough. All men and women are my brothers and sisters. All men and women deserve the same rights and privileges. The victim is the one lying dead on the ground, not the white cop who shot him eight times despite the barrage of media trying to turn him into a thug, as someone I love has named it using the Trayvon Defense.

 

Mike Brown lay on the street for more than 4 hours.

Mike Brown lay on the street for more than 4 hours.

 

Time to stand up, no time left to sit back and rest on our laurels, no time for apathy, no time for apathy, no time to turn away from what is uncomfortable. Stand up and say enough, no more children bleeding in our streets.

 

Some things to consider as part of this story:

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/06/ann_coulter_rips_apart_american_ebola_patient_for_going_to_disease_ridden_cesspool/

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/07/joan_rivers_has_more_terrible_things_to_say_about_palestinians_you_deserve_to_be_dead/

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/changing_lanes/2014/08/07/reince_priebus_responds_to_war_on_whites.html

http://crooksandliars.com/cltv/2014/08/white-guy-spews-racist-taunts

Sheets of Blood Streets of Pain

OpEdI have two sons and two grandsons; I am safe in knowing they will under all but the very worst circumstances be safe on the streets of most cities. Why and how do I know this? My sons and grandsons are White, they are Caucasian and they aren’t mentally ill, they are not in the targeted group commonly at risk when walking down the sidewalk in any city or town. For that matter, they are not at risk in their own homes except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Other mothers, mothers of Black sons and Brown sons cannot say the same thing. Mothers of Black and Brown sons and even of Black and Brown daughters must caution their children to be wary on the streets of their neighborhoods. They must caution their children to be afraid of the police. They must be afraid each time their children go out to play, go to the store even go to school; they must be afraid their child may not return. Other mothers, an estimated five hundred (500) a year bury their children due to police violence; violence that is rarely prosecuted, frequently ignored by the press and all too often excused as ‘justified’.

2012 Compare

Racism is not dead in this nation. Shame on any of us for trying to bury the inherent and blatant racism of the United States and its people, it has always been part of our makeup and it has come roaring back in its full and awful glory in the past decade, especially since the election of our current President. It did not start in 2007 with his win over John McCain though, it started emerging as accepted political and social fodder long before this, the best example is New York City and the Stop and Frisk policy initiated under Rudy Giuliani and escalated under Michael Bloomberg.

StopNFrisk

It seems instead of moving forward toward more acceptance of diversity within society we are reverting to our inglorious past of injustice, lynch mob mentality and criminalization based on melanoma content.

What is good for one is surely not good for another; we have examples of this across the nation. In Florida, Trayvon Martin was shot down by vigilante George Zimmerman; he lay on the cold ground out in the rain and then in the morgue for hours before his family was notified their child was dead. In a travesty of justice where Trayvon was put on trial, where Trayvon was depicted as a ‘thug’ and a ‘banger’, where Trayvon’s humanity and his right to exist were called into question, his killer was exonerated for his murder. This because he, this grown man, was ‘standing his ground’. In Florida, this very same state a Black woman in fear for her life, shot a warning shot at the ceiling as her abusive husband advanced toward her, now Marissa Alexander faces the possibility of sixty (60) years in prison. Her life, her motherhood, her fear is not as palatable to the judge or the district attorney, Angela Corey, as that of George Zimmerman.  Clearly, the life of Marissa Alexander, a Black woman is not of the same value as that of George Zimmerman or Angela Corey wouldn’t be so hell bent on pursuing her with such vehement hatred where she didn’t pursue George Zimmerman with the same vehemence.

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There is clearly a war on, the lives of primarily Black men and mostly those under thirty-five are definitely at risk when out on the street of any US city or town. It doesn’t seem to matter what they are doing, whether coming home from a day at the office, sitting on their porch having a beer with friends, returning from the store or in fact otherwise engaged in legal or illegal activities; the police assume the worst and open fire. All too frequently, the police are shooting first, shooting more times than required and shooting in the back.  Let me just say this, you are not at risk or in danger if a subject is fleeing, that is running away from you. So why in the hell are you shooting to kill if someone is running away from you? Why are some of these men being shot up to ten (10) times, or even more, in the back? How does anyone justify this as a “Justified” shooting? Why are these cops still on the job?

Yesterday eighteen year-old Michael Brown was shot down in the street of Ferguson, Missouri. His body was left where it lay for four hours or more. Now as reports of this ‘sanctioned’ murder come out the police are glossing facts with fiction, making Michael into the aggressor and trying to justify yet another police kill of a young and promising Black child. The police have a very different version of the facts than what witness reports, who do you think will win in this battle? It certainly will not be young Michael Brown; his life is over before it started.

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Just two days earlier, twenty-two year-old John Crawford was gunned down in Walmart for wielding a toy gun. A toy gun you all, in Ohio one of the bastions of Open Carry. I guess Open Carry only applies to those with limited or no melanoma, certainly it didn’t apply to John Crawford who at the time he was gunned down in WalMart had in his hands an unloaded MK-177 BB/Pellet Gun he had picked up off the shelf. According to the mother of his two children, who was at the time of his sanctioned murder on the phone with him and heard everything, the police shot first and ordered him to the ground after he could no longer obey their orders; he had been put down by their bullets. Clearly, John Crawford wasn’t afforded the same legal rights, as others with pale skin would have been. Now a young man is dead and three children will grow up without their father.

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Others like these assclowns in Aurora, Colorado who walked up and down the streets with loaded shotguns trying to ‘sensitize’ civilians to open carry. I am going to guess had these young men been Black or even Hispanic the outcome would have been very different.

This is what I find ugly and horrifying, tragic.

Reasons

What is important to know, there are no official records anywhere; the police are not required by any federal agency to self-report their own bad behavior. They are not required to track or maintain records on brutality, violence or murder. They do not provide this information to any other agency. Though there are some records, they are gathered through many sources and backbreaking legwork. Trying to find any sort of statistics, especially on a national level is nearly impossible since there is no single source. I commend those who have done the work to try to gather the information and provide at least some evidence of vigilante brutality that exists today, not just within the police forces nationally but across our justice system and embedded in our psyche.  The two reports I found that seemed to provide the best I have included here:

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Information Clearing House

I have included others as well, where information on both recent and historical data can be found and is important to read.

Based on the information I found, there is a person of color, primarily a Black Man and primarily a young Black Man murdered in vigilante justice, usually by the police somewhere between every 24 to 28 hours in the United States. We do not hear about most of these killings. The murderers are rarely penalized for their actions. Since 9/11 there have been approximately five thousand (5,000) vigilante murders by on-duty police / security guard and stand your ground murders in the United States. More than 75% of these are against Black people, less than 10% of these are against White people and most White people killed by police are killed after police stand-offs in highly publicized cases.

Something has to change. The motto of ‘Protect and Serve’ is no longer valid, especially not in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods of our cities and towns. The police are militarized and the “War on Drugs” has turned into something far more insidious and damaging to our nation and our people. We must stop turning away and pretending this isn’t genocide, it is. We must stop looking at other nations and speaking out against the genocide there until we begin to clean up what is broken here. This isn’t just bad behavior, it is murder and it is more than killing individuals, it is killing of entire communities and vital lifeblood within them.

We must stop this. Those of us with the will, the heart and the soul to stand up must stand up and say enough. We must stop turning a blind eye to the terrible ugliness within this nation and our people. We must fight back and demand justice for all the dead children, they are our children and our future.

Sign the petition for federal laws to force better policing:http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-please-enact-new-federal-laws-to-protect-citizens-from-police-violence-and-misconduct?share_id=oCtNFmJSac&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

 

http://www.nyclu.org/node/1598

http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data

http://theobamacrat.com/2014/08/10/are-black-lives-important-in-a-caucasian-world-of-white-privilege/

http://ushypocrisy.com/2014/08/10/ferguson-police-shoot-and-kill-another-unarmed-black-teenager-in-cold-blood-refuse-to-identify-name-of-shooter/

http://www.infowars.com/americans-killed-by-cops-now-outnumber-americans-killed-in-iraq-war/

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