Things to Read.

The past few days have been incredibly emotional to say the least. The killing of both Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights not only brings more pain and anger but the videos of both also show the graphic violence of police brutality and fatal nature of white supremacy. I won’t be linking to either video and you don’t have to watch either to fully understand the violent nature of how these two men and many like them were murdered.

There are many people who are writing and tweeting about all of this in a significantly better way than I ever could so here are the things I’ve been reading and keeping in mind: Continue reading

The necessity of #BlackLivesMatter and the distraction of #AllLivesMatter

One of the easiest ways to get me to roll my eyes in the most dramatic way possible is to sincerely say ‘all lives matter’ in response to hearing the phrase ‘black lives matter‘. The reason why? It’s partly because just as Common states in the song ‘Glory‘: “justice for all just ain’t specific enough”. And Julia Craven wrote to stop telling her that all lives matter, specifically saying that:

Race brings on individual issues for each minority group. Saying “all lives matter” causes erasure of the differing disparities each group faces. Saying “all lives matter” is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect. Saying “all lives matter” is unnecessary.

The entire point of the All Lives Matter seems to really only be in direct retaliation and deflection to Black Lives Matter. It really just seems like a way to shut up activists calling for justice, take away from the entire point of the BLM movement, and the fact that people of color (and particularly black people) are disproportionately dehumanized, profiled, attacked, and killed in the US.

One major point of the Black Lives Matter movement, at least to my limited understanding, is to highlight the fact that as a society, we tend to devalue black lives as a whole. Brianna Cox wrote about the dangers of the ‘All Lives Matter’ rhetoric and said that:

 …when people use #BlackLivesMatter, they’re saying “black lives matter too,” not “black lives matter more.” The hashtag is a declaration that signals the need for others to care about how our country treats black people, especially law enforcement.

Whereas #BlackLivesMatter is at the crux of what’s one of the largest social movements of our time, #AllLivesMatter is a hypocritical at the very least, and offensive at most. Even outside of the context of black lives, #AllLivesMatter also sweeps other issues of oppression under the rug—all for a façade of inclusion.

It’s important to remember that if you truly believe that all lives matter, you wouldn’t be offended over the black lives matter movement. And it’s important to understand the movement  and learn the things you shouldn’t be saying. And if you’re white like I am, it’s important to remember among other things that reverse racism doesn’t exist.

Israel, Palestine, and #BlackLivesMatter

free_palestine_now_by_kartix1I have a significantly limited knowledge and understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict so this post is more about referencing others’ work about what is happening and some historical context.

 

There has also been many connections between the fight for racial justice in the US and the struggle for justice in Palestine for decades.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

#MikeBrown – one year later

It’s been one year since Micheal Brown Jr. was shot and murdered by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. The last year has been emotional and full of protests calling for justice. Protests have happened all over the nation for the past year, with more and more people unfortunately and tragically becoming hashtags after their death at the hands of police.

There has been an incredibly moving memorial happening in Ferguson and other places in memory of Micheal Brown Jr today.

To all those marching today, to all those who can’t but still honor Mike Brown Jr., to all those fighting for justice, and especially to the family and friends of Mike, thank you for your presence. Thank you for your fight. I’m so sorry for the violence, for all the pain and suffering. Sending so much love and prayers to everyone today.

Understanding Race, Racism, and White Supremacy as a White Person.

This is yet another post to not only my fellow white people but to myself as well. As white people, we need to not only acknowledge the history and context of white supremacy and racism within the US that puts us into a position of power but also start to actively destroy the current system and status quo. Acknowledging racism and tearing down the system of white supremacy as white people will be uncomfortable at times but it is completely necessary. Dr. Robin DiAngelo wrote about why it’s so hard to talk to white people about race, highlighting in the beginning that:

Social scientists understand racism as a multidimensional and highly adaptive system — a system that ensures an unequal distribution of resources between racial groups. Because whites built and dominate all significant institutions, (often at the expense of and on the uncompensated labor of other groups), their interests are embedded in the foundation of U.S. society. While individual whites may be against racism, they still benefit from the distribution of resources controlled by their group.

I wrote recently about some starting points for myself and other white people, in which I included the PBS production Race – The Power of Illusion. The reason I’ve referenced this twice now over a short span of time is because of the impact the production had on my own understanding of race and racism. PBS has a plethora of online resources to read but everything I’ve found about the actual video seems to indicate that you’d have to order the video straight from PBS in order to see it all. If you ever do get the chance to watch the film, I definitely recommend it.

And it’s important to keep in mind that the way in which we as white people experience the world is completely different than people of color. Maisha Z. Johnson wrote up a list of examples that prove that white privilege protects white people from the police, highlighting the fact that racial profiling and implicit biases impact how police interact with people of color and many other factors.

Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote a letter from Black America about the relationship that many black Americans have with police. Jezebel Delilah X also wrote about four reasons why the US police forces is an extension of slavery and white supremacy. And The Guardian points out that black Americans are significantly more likely to be unarmed when killed by the police than white Americans and people of color are proportionally more likely to be killed by police overall.

RaceCharts11There’s also this belief for many white people that the US is a post racial society after the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964. (Like, for example, the success of some means racism is over.) But Braden Goyette and Alissa Scheller came up with 15 charts and stats that prove that we are far from a post racial society. (One in which is to the left.) Crystal Fleming wrote a piece talking about white supremacy and the killing of Walter Scott, particularly highlighting:

Black precedent reveals that a black president is not enough to halt the onslaught of anti-black violence that has always been routine in our nation. What we continue to need is sustained multiracial activism and political engagement to bring about a more just and compassionate society — the kind of grassroots work being done by organizers and activists pushing for police reform in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland and across the country.

Also reverse racism (racism to white people) is not a thing. Dain Dillingham wrote an article with 5 questions for anyone who thinks they are a victim of ‘reverse racism’. Racism, simply put, is a systemic power + prejudice, something that only white people have within the US.

Lastly, there are a few more articles I wanted to include – most having to do with what we can do as white people. Jamie Utt wrote last November about how Ferguson calls on white people to regain our humanity. Utt also wrote another article about a month ago about how as white people, a big way to end racism is to invest in other white people. This, of course, sounds like the wrong way to go but Utt wrote that:

…the more that I think about it, I realize that White people who wish to work in racial justice solidarity and who strive for allyship need to realize our fundamental responsibility to do more than simply “call out” other White people.

We must take up the long, difficult, often emotionally-exhausting work of calling them in to change.

SpectraSpeaks wrote something similar long before Utt did though – calling for white allies to stop unfriending other white people over Ferguson. Spectra wrote that as an afrofeminist Nigerian advocate, she was not able to do the same things that we as white people are. She particularly calls on white people to step up more, saying:

I need you to step up in a major way, and leverage the connections you DO have to address ignorance with conversation and interrogate white privilege with compassion. Because I will not do this. I cannot do this.

My rage as a black person witnessing yet another moment in the endless cycle of racism in the US prevents me from engaging in “level headed” conversations with people who see this terribly unjust Ferguson ruling as just another news story to banter about at the water cooler.

#BlackoutBlackFriday

Yesterday was Black Friday, the day of the year when massive sales help put corporations’ bottom line into the black. This year, however, was a little different in many places. Protests took place in many cities, including St. Louis, Oakland, NYC, and Seattle. Photos, videos, and tweets from the protests are incredible as hundreds and hundreds of people protested in malls against the decision to not indict Darren Wilson and the continuing police brutality.

In Oakland, several protesters locked themselves together and to the BART, causing the transit system to shut down for two hours. Protesters shut down the St. Louis Galleria in St. Louis with protests and a die in. In Chicago, Wicker Park Street was closed because of protests. Seattle also saw protests, which caused Westlake Center to also close down early and protesters rallied outside of New York City’s Macy’s in Herald Square.

Other protests last week included traffic halting on northbound I5 near San Deigo and there were protests in Portland, OR as well (these are just photos).

I definitely recommend looking through the photos and videos from yesterday’s protests on Twitter – there are some amazing leaders continuously working towards justice in this movement.

The Grand Jury Decision

Last Monday night, the grand jury decision to not indict Darren Wilson of the death of Mike Brown was announced. Since then, protests not only in Ferguson but around the US and world have been going on. Articles and responses to the decision, grand jury testimony and evidence, and US racism are continuously coming out and fundraisers are being held to support those being arrested because of the protests (including this one for black folks arrested in Oakland) (and another about how you can show up for Ferguson).

Several people have written about their own experiences:

Others have also poked holes in the testimony and evidence from the grand jury:

The protests have also been covered:

There are really great people to follow on Twitter, including:

deray mckesson

Alexis 

BrownBlaze

Awkward_Duck

Shaun King 

Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous 

I definitely recommend following the above and so many more to see what is happening on the ground in real time.