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Tag: "racism"

The Carceral State

[ 104 ] July 28, 2014 |

It’s entirely possible that in 100 years, historians will look back on the early 21st century United States and remark not only on the racist prison system that shows how little advanced we are from the Jim Crow era but also how little most Americans, even most liberals, really cared about the issue. Yet the imprisonment of millions is a really defining characteristic of the country today:

Mass incarceration’s effects are not confined to the cell block. Through the inescapable stigma it imposes, a brush with the criminal-justice system can hamstring a former inmate’s employment and financial opportunities for life. The effect is magnified for those who already come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Black men, for example, made substantial economic progress between 1940 and 1980 thanks to the post-war economic boom and the dismantling of de jure racial segregation. But mass incarceration has all but ground that progress to a halt: A new University of Chicago study found that black men are no better off in 2014 than they were when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act 50 years earlier.

The common retort is that people of color statistically commit more crimes, although criminologists and scholars like Michelle Alexander have consistently found no correlation between the incarceration rate and the crime rate. Claims about a “black pathology” also fall short. But police scrutiny often falls most heavily on people of color nonetheless. In New York City alone, officers carried out nearly 700,000 stop-and-frisk searches in 2011. Eighty-five percent of those stops targeted black and Hispanic individuals, although they constitute only half the city’s population. Overall, NYPD officers stopped and frisked more young black men in New York than actually live there. Similar patterns of discrimination can be found nationwide, especially on drug-related charges. Black and white Americans use marijuana at an almost-equal rate, but blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession nationally. In Pennsylvania, Illinois, and other Midwestern states, that arrest disparity jumps to a factor of five.

The collective impact of these policies is as rarely discussed as it is far-reaching. Mass incarceration touches almost every corner of modern American society. Any meaningful discourse on racism, poverty, immigration, the drug wars, gun violence, the mental-health crisis, or income inequality is incomplete without addressing the societal ramifications of imprisoning Americans by the millions for long stretches of time with little hope for rehabilitation.

Today in American Racism

[ 84 ] July 17, 2014 |

A little racism with your breakfast.

Some of the opposition has also bordered on the extreme. A few of the protesters who marched against a proposed shelter in Vassar, Mich., on Monday were armed with semiautomatic rifles and handguns. In Virginia, an effort to house the children at the shuttered campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville caused such an uproar that federal officials pulled out, even though a five-month lease had been signed. Someone spray-painted anti-immigrant graffiti on a brick wall at a former Army Reserve facility in Westminster, Md., that was being considered as a shelter site.

Some cities have raised health and security concerns. Northeast of Oyster Creek, League City passed a resolution opposing any shelters from opening even though the federal government had no plans to do so. The resolution claimed that “illegal aliens suffering from diseases endemic in their countries of origin are being released into our communities.”

It’s worth noting that it’s far from clear whether anything approaching a sizable amount of the American populace hold strong beliefs opposing these child immigrants. Rather, it seems to be just a small group of racists who already hate Obama and oppose immigration anyway. Still, the fact that this small group has the entire Republican congressional delegation at their fingertips does make it a problem. But I don’t see that Obama himself has anything to lose by going all the way on this and creating his own path here. When your enemies are fireeaters who would never pass any legislation on the issue that you might propose and you don’t have to face reelection, this is literally no downside to just ignoring them. This statement pretty much applies to the rest of Obama’s policy initiatives as well.

Latino Lynchings

[ 106 ] July 13, 2014 |

We think of lynching as something whites did to African-Americans and that was of course often the case. But the use of extralegal violence to eliminate perceived threats without a trial was pretty common. Whites were often lynched, especially in power struggles in the West. There’s also a long history of lynching Latinos in the Southwest, a part of American history almost totally forgotten. That’s especially tragic because the white supremacy driving the lynchings of African-Americans was the same impulse leading whites to kill Mexican-Americans at the same time. Our racial history is so often reduced to black-white, but it’s really whites versus all people of color.

The True Anti-Racist President

[ 179 ] July 7, 2014 |

The only logical follow up for Pat Buchanan now that he’s written a book arguing Richard Nixon wasn’t racist is a book definitively showing that the greatest civil rights president was Andrew Johnson.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor

[ 104 ] July 4, 2014 |

The whites of Murrieta, California sure know how to celebrate July 4. They kick it old school, through expressions of white supremacy.

MURRIETA, Calif. — Suddenly, this city in the desert has become the place that turned away the immigrants.

When the three busloads of immigrant mothers and children rolled into town for processing at a Border Patrol station this week, they were met by protesters carrying American flags and signs proclaiming “return to sender” as they screamed “go home” and chanted “U.S.A.” Fearing for the safety of the migrants and federal officers, immigration officials decided to reroute the buses to San Diego, an hour south.

And a day after many here celebrated what they saw as a temporary victory, more than a thousand residents packed a high school auditorium on Wednesday night for a town-hall-style meeting that lasted more than four hours, voicing fears about an influx of migrants.

“What happens when they come here with diseases and can overrun our schools? How much is this costing us?” one resident, Jodie Howard, asked the mayor.

“How do you know they are really families and aren’t some kind of gang or drug cartel?” another person asked federal officials.

What about when they violate our white women creating mongrelized children and undermining the white race? Who will protect our young women from committing race suicide with these savages? And what about their foreign ideologies they bring up with them from the jungles? Only a campaign of 100% Americanism will save us from this foreign threat.

Bullard

[ 36 ] June 29, 2014 |

If you aren’t familiar with Robert Bullard, the founder of the study of environmental justice as a line of academic inquiry, you should be. For over 30 years, Bullard has straddled the line between academic and activist, working with local communities to fight for environmental justice and forcing rich white environmental organizations to come to terms with the structural inequalities in society and in their own movements that marginalize the concern of the poor. At the end, most environmentalism should protect the poor because it is the poor that are most effected by pollution due to their inability to move away from it and their lack of political power to prevent it from occurring near their homes. Unfortunately, this has not always been recognized by the environmental community as important. That has slowly changed, but it’s largely been more superficial than real, as the big green organizations remain mostly dominated by whites. An excerpt of this interview Guernica did with Bullard:

Guernica: As a corollary to marginalized communities shouldering a disproportionate toxic load, do you see the equity issue playing out in access to green energy? Because to date that appears largely clustered in communities of privilege.

Robert Bullard: Oh yes. We have a term for that: energy apartheid. At the same time that all this emphasis is being placed on going green and clean and renewable, if you look at the equity impact, there is a class bias, and a racial bias embedded in class. People with resources can have better access to clean energy and renewables, and better access to green transportation, while at the same time a lot of the dirty energy industry facilities are still getting placed in working-class, lower-income communities of color. We’re talking clean and acting dirty.

Look at the fact that the nuclear power industry is trying to redefine itself. There had not been a nuclear power plant built in decades, and it is not by accident that the first two plants to get permitted are being placed in Waynesboro, Georgia, which is overwhelmingly African-American and that already has two nuclear power plants. So you’re talking about a community of lower-income African-Americans that is going to be used as a guinea pig for restarting nuclear power, a very risky operation. We have to point out the inconsistency of these things—who is going to benefit from this green economy, who’s getting the jobs and the contracts and the benefits? There is a disconnect. If we are going to have a green economy and move toward a green future, we have to make sure that future is equitable and not an opportunity for some communities to just get more dirty industry.

Root for Your Washington Dead Savage Heathen Heads

[ 143 ] June 20, 2014 |

What does “Redskins” mean exactly?

What is germane to the conversation? What is semantics? That is debatable. The fact remains that to many Native Americans, the term “redskin” has long meant the act of our ancestor’s scalps being collected for bounty.

Last Hired, First Fired

[ 21 ] June 13, 2014 |

Not surprising in the least that economic hardship exacerbates racial bias. Good to gain greater understanding of how this occurs.

Today in the Post-Racial Society

[ 67 ] June 4, 2014 |

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Racism is dead:

Two black workers in a Tennessee cotton factory just filed a federal complaint against a domineering white supervisor who called them “monkeys” and was recorded lamenting racial integration while telling them the water fountain and microwave were for whites only. Happy 2014!

The men, who worked at the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse in Memphis, shared their story—and their secret recordings—with WREG-TV. The video above has to be seen to be believed.

The cotton industry’s history reminds some people of slavery.

Antonio Harris and Marrio Mangrum say their former supervisor was stuck in the past.

“He would be like, ‘You need to think like a white man,” said Mangrum.

“He pulled his pants down in front of us and told us to kiss his white tail,” said Harris.

He said after months of racist comments and feeling powerless, he decided to use his phone as a weapon to fight back.

At a cotton gin even.

Obviously the victim is the white supervisor for being accused of racism. Only a black racist would accuse a white of racism.

America’s Nicest Man

[ 41 ] May 9, 2014 |

Donald Sterling:

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling reportedly claims he made his now-infamous racist comments to his personal assistant V. Stiviano because he was jealous that she was being courted by black men.

“The girl is black. I like her,” Sterling said in an audio recording, which was obtained by Radar Online and published Friday. “I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her. So what the hell. Can I in private tell her, ‘I don’t want you to be with anybody?’ Am I a person? Do I have freedom of speech?”

The tape of Sterling explaining the context behind his remarks is the second recording of the Clippers owner that Radar has released in as many days. In audio released Thursday, Sterling pushed back against the idea of selling his team, even though he is banned for life from the NBA, and denied that he was

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a racist.

In the latest recording, Sterling also expressed surprise that Stiviano would tape their private conversation.

“I’m trying to have sex with her. I’m trying to play with her,” he says. “You know, if you’re trying to have sex with a girl and you’re talking to her privately, you don’t think anybody’s there. You may say anything in the world, what difference does it make?”

Nothing turns someone on like racism.

A New Brown v. Board is Needed

[ 296 ] May 5, 2014 |

This is an excellent but depressing piece of reporting on the resegregation of Tuscaloosa schools after a series of Supreme Court decisions rolled back the progress made in integrating America’s public schools. Be sure to view the slideshow and the full story.

Of course, the schools never were fully integrated thanks to racist parents either moving to all-white suburbs or sending their children to private or religious schools to not have their pretty young white daughter dating a big black buck driving her around in his welfare Cadillac and dining her on t-bone steaks. Of course the language of the 1970s isn’t acceptable today, but the reality of education and race is pretty much the same, whether because of the only slightly more veiled racism of Tuscaloosa or because liberal professors are sending their children to private schools because the public schools “are bad.”

Still, before we can have another Brown that truly integrates our schools, we need a much better Supreme Court, which means electing liberal Democrats regardless of their flaws, a fact I will be throwing in the face of everyone who says that 3rd party voting is OK because the Dems suck on their pet issue they’ve prioritized over the concerns of everyone else in 2016.

The Sterling Backlash

[ 41 ] May 3, 2014 |

With each passing hour, conservatives decide that the real victim in the Donald Sterling case is of course Donald Sterling.

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