For a few days now, I’ve been trying to assemble my words into a coherent narrative to help make sense of the last few days. I still have nothing entirely complete (and certainly nothing profound). I have shards of thoughts — bits and pieces of emotions and ideas that rise to the surface and then recede. I’ve tried to grab a few of them to share here. Be gentle.
“We feel powerless.”
Something I’ve known for a long time (but never completely verbalized) finally cemented itself in my mind this past week. To be African-American in this country is to feel — and often to actually be — nearly powerless. In a recent piece Michael Eric Dyson summed up this feeling:
Day in and day out, we feel powerless to make our black lives matter. We feel powerless to make you believe that our black lives should matter. We feel powerless to keep you from killing black people in front of their loved ones. We feel powerless to keep you from shooting hate inside our muscles with well-choreographed white rage.
This powerlessness is nothing new. Throughout history, be it through police shootings, lynch mobs, the chain gang or the chains of slavery, black bodies have always been subject to the fear, anger and disgust of white people.
At all times we know that our achievements live under the ominous cloud of white supremacy. That despite our best efforts to build strong families, strong communities, viable businesses and stable wealth, when the rain comes — and the rain always comes — our works, our livelihoods, indeed our lives are at risk of being washed away. No umbrella has ever protected us, no amount of prayer or patience or respectability has spared us. There has only ever been the flood.
And now, a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice is tackling the other half of the ‘Ferguson effect,’ myth — that protests around the country have demoralized officers so severely, that crime is once again on the rise. They find no evidence of a Ferguson or ‘viral video’ effect (as FBI Director James Comey prefers to call it). Between 2014 and 2015 crime rates largely stayed level across the country’s 30 largest cities.
Here are some key takeaways from the Brennan report:(more…)
I know it’s not Friday, but whatever. Recently Blake Lively thought it’d be funny to go on instagram and post photos of herself with the caption “L.A. face with an Oakland booty”. Because white women are beautiful and glamorous and live in Los Angeles while black women are ghetto and have big butts and live in Oakland.
The more I think about this, the angrier I get.
I’m tired of living in a world where people stumble into racist, anti-Black sentiments that blatantly set up whiteness to mean ‘beautiful’ while blackness is reduced to exotic and oversexualized body parts.
But Lively’s comments up the ante even further, not only claiming beauty for whites while dismembering black bodies but also giving it a geography. Somebody needs to let the 3.8 million black people in LA know that they’re living in a city synonymous with white beauty. Don’t they know their place is in Oakland?
There’s so much more to say on this… but for right now I’ll leave you with Franchesca Ramsey and crew to talk about the pernicious evil of white beauty standards.
Lately, media outlets and politicians have made claims that demands by activists for greater police accountability and reform are generating a climate of hostility towards nation’s police force. This hostility is manifesting itself greater levels of violence aimed at police officers and more police deaths.
“In the last six years under President Obama, we’ve seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric.” Claimed Gov. Scott Walker in a blog post published earlier this month. “Instead of hope and change, we’ve seen racial tensions worsen and a tendency to use law enforcement as a scapegoat…This inflammatory and disgusting rhetoric has real consequences for the safety of officers who put their lives on the line for us and hampers their ability to serve the communities that need their help.”
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz shared similar sentiments “They’re feeling the assault from the president, from the top on down as we see, whether it’s in Ferguson or Baltimore, the response of senior officials of the president, of the attorney general, is to vilify law enforcement. That is fundamentally wrong, and it is endangering the safety and security of us all.”
The only problems with these claims, of course, is that they appear to be entirely wrong. In fact, the data clearly states that the exact opposite is true. A police officer today has a much lower likelihood of being killed in the line of duty than they have at any point in the past 55 years. (more…)