Author: crusaderq91

On Power and the Police

There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the United States without an opinion on the recent events involving police violence against black men. But I have growing concerns with the emerging narrative which paints the police as innocent (and powerless) victims of undue societal backlash. It is critical we understand that this is not, nor has ever been, the dynamic between the police and the general population, and it certainly has never been the dynamic between the police and people of color.

Often when the police are accused of misconduct, any investigation into the matter is the shrouded in mystery, with discipline and reprimand happening behind the closed doors of precinct offices and within police department hierarchies. This means that people die at the hands of the police, and we are left with doubts about whether or not those deaths were justified. But one thing is clear: In the conflicts that ensue between police and citizens (some unarmed), the police are the ones with both the guns, the trust of the public, and the preference of the law on their side. Here is an excerpt from the NYT article about the Darren Wilson case that makes this point: (more…)

What the Hell was Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s “‘Bye Sierra”?!

by contributing writer Quinlan Mitchell

Let’s get real. For just a minute, let’s get really real. Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s oh-so-lauded article in the HuffPost, for all its fanfare and academic jargon, is essentially a new dress for old and tired rhetoric. I repeat: it’s not new. So everyone stop spilling tea all over the place, and let’s unpack the issue.

To the article’s credit, it does an adequate job of picking apart Sierra Mannie’s highly controversial Time Magazine opinion piece, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture”. D’Agostino skillfully takes issues which are compressed in Mannie’s piece and unfolds them in all their complexity within his own.

But that’s where the credit ends, unfortunately.

Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s response to Sierra Mannie’s article is often completely delusional. And it is truly ignorant of how the underlying power relationships that define how this country function, even at its best.

Mannie’s article in Time Magazine represented a first, and earnest stab at dismantling some of the extreme patriarchy and racism that pervades gay culture. When she tells white gays to stop stealing from black women, she’s touching on a long tradition of appropriation and mockery that hurts black women deeply, and allows white gays, even as minorities, to exert control over another minority group for community gain.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what D’Agostino does (and ignores that he’s doing) in his response essay. (more…)

On the End of Black History Month: Why I Don’t Buy Diversity

by contributing writer Quinlan Mitchell

The problem with diversity as it is largely practiced in American culture today is that the term is more or less shorthand for “smiling-ethnic-people-waving-to-curious-white-onlookers.” Think early twentieth century World’s Fair style. If we’re being real, most talks about diversity, cultural showcases, and So-and-so’s History months are often just exploitative ways for white culture to ease its guilt about continuing oppression. I once went to something called a “Diversity Showcase” which consisted of (mostly people of color) dancing on stage for a large, white audience.

I was floored.

No dialogue, no voice for people of color, no meaningful cultural exchange. Just vaguely “ethnic” peoples dancing around in ‘authentic’ costume. For a lot of people, unfortunately, that showcase is what diversity is all about. People of color were oppressed before the Civil Rights Movement, but now we’re all equal so let’s celebrate—somebody find some ethnic performers to dance! (more…)