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gollygee's Journal
gollygee's Journal
May 27, 2018

On 'White Fear Being Weaponized' And How To Respond


On the other side of the ledger, people who were fighting against this kind of ethos in our country — this very punitive, racialized ethos — want to resist this now, so they're much more likely to pull out their cellphones ... and because of cellphone video and its ubiquitous role in this conversation, all of us are bearing witness to the problem.

Policing in general, it's got to begin to reflect on the fact that people who they've been policing under various forms of zero-tolerance policies or "broken windows" policies has created tremendous mistrust — and done tremendous harm in those communities.

And as such, every police encounter between a white caller and an African-American or Latino suspect doesn't come with a blank slate. It comes with a history. It comes with a present. And police agencies have to develop new training protocols that deliberately deal with that. I like to think that we could imagine a situation where these nuisance calls are quite distinctly handled from emergency phone calls.

We've got to come up with some policies that raise the costs of bad behavior — of treating people differently than you would want to be treated. And that is a problem of white fear being weaponized, and that is a problem of police officers being a little too prickly when people are upset about having been judged harshly or inappropriately.
May 26, 2018

An unlikely outcome of Starbucks: Kindred spirits and a social media campaign


Michelle Saahene may not be visible on the now famous Starbucks video — viewed more than 11 million times on Twitter alone — but her voice is quite clear:

“They didn’t do anything,” the 31-year-old says as police lead Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson away in handcuffs at 18th and Spruce. “He asked to use the bathroom, and the woman said it was for paying customers only. They didn’t do anything.”

Melissa DePino, 50, the Philadelphia novelist who posted the video, saw how Saahene was the first person to speak up in Starbucks that day. She saw how the police didn’t pay attention to the black woman, but how, eventually, nobody could ignore a video posted by a white person. But the women had both been witness to something traumatic, so DePino asked a mutual acquaintance if she could reach out to the brave woman.

A couple days later, they met at a restaurant not far from Starbucks, and they talked about what they could do.

(more at link)
May 26, 2018

Slate: The NFL has now sided with Donald Trump's campaign against black political power.


It was the silence and simplicity of Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality that make the response now so striking. Kaepernick’s decision to quietly take a knee during the anthem, to recognize those who still struggle for equality before the law, has caused him to be all but blacklisted from the NFL, blasted by right-wing commentators for perceived disrespect, and condemned by Republican politicians, including the president of the United States.

For Donald Trump, who ran on a platform of stoking white racial resentment, the attacks were predictable. What’s more striking is that the NFL has decided to oblige. On Wednesday, team owners voted to fine teams whose players do not stand for the anthem. Those who want to kneel can stay in the locker room during pregame ceremonies. If the league can’t persuade Kaepernick and others like him to give up their protests, then it will try to compel them into standing, or at least, hide them away from view and relieve the pressure placed by the president.

This entire spectacle—of a white, racially demagogic president demanding punishment of protesting black players—is part of a history of rebuke and outrage against black athletes who challenged American racism, like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, and Tommie Smith. It also echoes an even older dynamic in American life: the country’s fraught relationship to black political activity. From his attacks on Barack Obama to his broadsides against Kaepernick, Donald Trump has always been on the side of those who see a threat in black advocacy and power.

Trump built his whole political brand on attacking prominent black Americans as illegitimate holders of status and influence, so Kaepernick was a natural target. To attack him—and other kneeling players—was to play the old hits, priming and harnessing the anger of those who view these vocal blacks as ungrateful and presumptuous—in other words, uppity. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired,’ ” Trump told a sea of white supporters at a campaign-style rally in Alabama last September.
May 25, 2018

The Unbearable Whiteness of NFL Ownership


At least 70 percent of NFL players are black, according to the latest information available from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES, at University of Central Florida. Yet ownership of the league is much less diverse, according to TIDES: Only two teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills, have people of color in majority ownership — a Pakistani-born American and an Asian-American, respectively. What’s more, the entire league doesn’t have a single African-American team owner — not one. And it is the team owners who are making the executive decisions in this case. The NFL players union announced that they weren’t even consulted before the team owners voted and made their announcement about the ban of any on-field demonstrations during the national anthem.

Trump railed against NFL players who demonstrated during the national anthem and ultimately found team owners that were sympathetic to his demands.
Race — and the corresponding life experiences, cultural understanding, and perspective that comes with it — might inform American politics now more than it ever has. No demographic was more likely to vote for Trump than white men. In an anonymous straw poll of NFL players undertaken by Bleacher Report, 21 out of 21 white players professed their support for Trump, while 20 out of 22 black players supported Hillary Clinton. Many of the team owners are huge Trump donors and supporters. Trump appointed Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, to be the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom.

So while Trump railed against NFL players who demonstrated during the national anthem, using the ugly phrase “son of a bitch,” and said Wednesday they should consider leaving the country, he ultimately found team owners that were sympathetic to his demands. Again, whiteness is at the root here. Mike Freeman, of Bleacher Report, found intense hatred of Kaepernick among team executives. One executive literally called Kaepernick a “traitor,” and another said he was the most hated player in the league since Rae Carruth — a convicted murderer.

In black communities across this country, though, Kaepernick is a cult hero. Murals are painted of him. His afro will be ubiquitous in black art, on T-shirts and posters at every black festival across the country this summer.

(much more at link)
May 25, 2018

American sitcoms are dealing with race more than ever, but too often the jokes reinforce stereotypes


On CBS’s Mom in the same week, a tipsy female character watches TV with a Hispanic man and says, “Everything’s in Mexican.” He responds in Spanish, without subtitles, then he and his wife exit the scene as they continue speaking in Spanish, still without subtitles and over a laugh track. The Spanish language is reduced to a comedic prop, the meaning of the dialogue irrelevant with the implication that the humor lies in its loud foreignness. We’re laughing at, not with.

Meanwhile, on NBC’s Will & Grace, Will says to Joyce, “Wow, you’re tan.” Joyce responds, “Like Moana, but thin like Pocahontas.” Contrary to popular misconception (perpetrated by quips just like this), Polynesians like the Disney character Moana are naturally dark-skinned, not “tan” versions of white. Such statements inaccurately imply an identity that can be easily appropriated while also subtly fetishizing brown women’s bodies, the darker realities of skin color washed over to suit the punchline for a white gaze—part of the reason why blackface is considered such an explicitly racist offense.

These references are not intentionally offensive, and some are probably even meant to be positive or inclusive. The fact that they’re comedic also makes them more challenging to debate, making critics seem like bad sports unable to take a joke. Mutual laughter can unite audiences, and sometimes comedy is meant to be controversial. But comedic context can also be a way of deflecting criticism about undeniably disparaging undertones. This becomes especially damaging when the laughter or controversy satisfies one group at the expense of another, creating more walls than connection because, as experiments have shown, messages of bias picked up through humor can lead to discriminatory behaviors.


Furthermore, the same researchers found that not all stereotypes are created equal. Different groups have different degrees of immunity from humorous jabs, which means minorities and marginalized communities are more likely to suffer from discrimination than whites and other socially secure groups. Groups with more malleable social reputations, like gay men, are more likely to face increased discrimination because of comedic routines than those whose social standings are already fixed.

(more at link)

May 25, 2018

Huff Post opinion piece: Hate Speech Is Not Something That 'We Can Agree To Disagree' About


White people feel entitled to a lot of things, but their opinions ― especially on what America should be ― are at the top of the entitlement list. Last week, lawyer Aaron Schlossberg embodied this reality as he went on a public rant at a New York restaurant/market, berating and threatening employees for speaking Spanish at work. His vitriol was loud, pointed and took over the entire space as he painted a picture of what “[his] country” should be: English speaking, white-centered and subject to his comfort, opinions and expectations.

Schlossberg is a caricature of something that is very normal in America ― the unyielding defense of the notion that “white is right” and that anything that diverts from whiteness as normative deserves not only public verbal abuse, but needs to adjust to cater to him, to his whiteness. This sense of entitlement is easy and lazy, it doesn’t require truth or empathy; only conviction, a platform and some gusto.

This is the danger of a white supremacist society ― it always seeks to defend and legitimize itself to the detriment of everyone else.

What is more concerning than the incident itself (which is par for the course in Donald Trump’s racist America) is that people have come to the defense of Schlossberg. Angry citizens held a series of protests outside his home and place of employment, and taunted him with over 2,900 one-star Yelp reviews of his law practice that plummeted his public business rating. The general sentiment of Schlossberg’s defenders is that it isn’t fair or nice to respond to his bigotry in a way that makes him uncomfortable or threatens his livelihood, with seemingly no regard to Schlossberg’s threats to the livelihood of the Spanish-speakers he accosted.
May 25, 2018

Fresh off royal sermon, bishop warns 'somebody woke up Jim Crow'


Washington (CNN)Less than a week after his star-making sermon at the British royal wedding, Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry set his sights on American politics, leading a church service against what he and other Christian leaders call "a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership" in churches and government.

"It's like somebody woke up Jim Crow," Curry told CNN in an interview before the Thursday evening service, "and said let's not just segregate Americans over race, let's separate people along religious and political and class lines, too."

Curry said the service and a following candlelight vigil at the White House, along with a statement by Christian leaders, are intended to dig beneath those divisions and remind Christians of Jesus' core values.
May 23, 2018

Boy Says Teacher Told Him It Will Be His Fault When Police Shoot Him At Age 16


Malachi Pearson, a 10-year-old black boy, says a teacher used the prospect of his death in a police shooting to chastise him when he was goofing off at school.

The fourth-grader at Rosehill Elementary School in Lenexa, Kansas, told FOX 4 that he was playing around with a friend in a lunch line when the unidentified teacher intercepted and pushed the two children apart, assuming they were fighting.

“She told me when you turn 16 and the police shoot you, the only person you can be mad at is yourself,” he said.

Malachi said the comment made him cry. His father was shot and killed in Kansas City when he was just an infant.

(more at link)

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