(Huffington Post) The writer of a much-maligned New York Times article about Michael Brown admitted on Monday that he had made a mistake when he described the slain teenager as “no angel.”
Those two words that John Eligon chose, along with a series of of descriptions about Brown’s “dabbling” with drugs, alcohol and rap music, set off a scorching round of criticism for the way the paper had characterized Brown. The Times dug an even deeper hole for itself by writing a concurrent article about Darren Wilson, the man who killed Brown, in which Wilson was described as a “well-mannered, relatively soft-spoken, even bland person.” Many said that the contrast seemed to fit a pattern in which black victims of crime are maligned in the media.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s send up of this article is freaking legendary, people.
Please read this piece to get some historical context:
Shortly before the Civil War, many white writers—especially abolitionists—began anxiously debating whether black children who died could become angels, and if so, whether they needed to become white first. As I write in my book, Racial Innocence, the 1862 abolitionist story “Poor Little Violet,” by Lynde Palmer, included a very disturbing scene in which Violet, an enslaved girl, discusses death and angelhood with a white slaveholding girl named Carrie. Violet asks,“[W]hen we goes to Canaan, that old Sambo sings about, may I be your little slave then, Miss Carrie, ’cause you’s allus so kind?”
“I don’t think there will be any slaves there,” said Carrie, slowly, pondering over the matter.
“Why, what will the black people do, then?” cried Violet, with curious round eyes.
“Maybe,” replied Carrie hesitatingly, “maybe there won’t be any black people—you know, Violet, our bodies are covered up in the ground,”—Violet shivered,—“but our souls go to heaven, and they must all be white.”
“All of ’em?” asked Violet, eagerly.
“Yes, mamma told me that no soul can go till it is washed white in Jesus’ blood.”
“And can my soul be white?” whispered Violet.
“Yes,” said Carrie, “if you ask God.” (Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, p. 59)
The Times's reference to Michael Brown as “no angel” is so deeply hurtful because it extends a historical libel that African Americans, and African American children in particular, cannot be innocent. As the slaveholder Carrie tells Violet, to be an angel is to be white. And in this white-authored text—which was intended to critique slavery—a black girl joyously receives this information with hope that she can shed her blackness, become white, and become an angel.
If you don’t believe that racism in the job market is real, then please read this article by Yolanda Spivey. Spivey, who was seeking work in the insurance industry, found that she wasn’t getting any job offers. But as an experiment, she changed her name to Bianca White, to see if employers would respond differently. You’ll be shocked and amazed by her phenomenal story.
Before I begin, let me quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington who said, “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”For two years, I have been unemployed. In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years. Not one employer responded to my resume. So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response. I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.
Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site. This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers. Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment. You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped. At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead. That still had no effect on my getting a job. So I decided to try an experiment: I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.
First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca. I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White. Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.
That very same day, I received a phone call. The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls. Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time. But they were commission only sales positions. Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.
At the end of my little experiment, (which lasted a week), Bianca White had received nine phone calls—I received none. Bianca had received a total of seven emails, while I’d only received two, which again happen to have been the same emails Bianca received. Let me also point out that one of the emails that contacted Bianca for a job wanted her to relocate to a different state, all expenses paid, should she be willing to make that commitment. In the end, a total of twenty-four employers looked at Bianca’s resume while only ten looked at mines.
Is this a conspiracy, or what? I’m almost convinced that White Americans aren’t suffering from disparaging unemployment rates as their Black counterpart because all the jobs are being saved for other White people.
My little experiment certainly proved a few things. First, I learned that answering the diversity questionnaire on job sites such as Monster.com’s may work against minorities, as employers are judging whom they hire based on it. Second, I learned to suspect that resumes with ethnic names may go into the wastebasket and never see the light of day.
Other than being chronically out of work, I embarked on this little experiment because of a young woman I met while I was in school. She was a twenty-two-year-old Caucasian woman who, like myself, was about to graduate. She was so excited about a job she had just gotten with a well-known sporting franchise. She had no prior work experience and had applied for a clerical position, but was offered a higher post as an executive manager making close to six figures. I was curious to know how she’d been able to land such a position. She was candid in telling me that the human resource person who’d hired her just “liked” her and told her that she deserved to be in a higher position. The HR person was also Caucasian.
Another reason that pushed me to do this experiment is because of the media. There’s not a day that goes by in which I fail to see a news program about how tough the job market is. Recently, while I was watching a report on underemployed and underpaid Americans, I saw a middle aged White man complaining that he was making only $80,000 which was $30,000 less than what he was making before. I thought to myself that in this economy, many would feel they’d hit the jackpot if they made 80K a year.In conclusion, I would like to once again quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington when he said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
The more America continues to hold back great candidates based on race, the more our economy is going to stay in a rut. We all need each other to prosper, flourish, and to move ahead.
Horror stories about Muslim misogyny have long been used by western patriarchs to justify imperialism abroad and sexism at home. The Guardian’s Katharine Viner reminds us about Lord Cromer, the British consul general in Egypt from 1883. Cromer believed the Egyptians were morally and culturally inferior in their treatment of women and that they should be “persuaded or forced” to become “civilised” by disposing of the veil.
"And what did this forward-thinking, feminist-sounding veil-burner do when he got home to Britain?" asks Viner. "He founded and presided over the Men’s League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage, which tried, by any means possible, to stop women getting the vote. Colonial patriarchs like Cromer … wanted merely to replace eastern misogyny with western misogyny." More than a century later, the same logic is used to imply that misogyny only matters when it isn’t being done by white men.
This is about more than Michael Brown.
If you thought the protests in Ferguson were only a response to the shooting and death of Michael Brown, these numbers might change your mind.
That’s for a city of 21,135 people.
All those fines and fees were a big boost to the city’s finances. Of Ferguson’s $20 million in revenue in 2013, $2.6 million of that was a result of these arrests. That’s good for the city’s second-highest income stream, NPR notes.
A racial disparity makes this much worse: Of course, those arrest warrants aren’t handed out equally for everyone in the city. Many are issued for traffic violations, for which black residents are disproportionately stopped. Eighty-six percent of those stopped by police are black, even though they only make up two-thirds of Ferguson’s population. Compare that to whites, who are stopped less than 13% of the time, despite making up 29% of the population.
Another infuriating thing to consider: While blacks in Ferguson were twice as likely to be searched after being stopped — and twice as likely to be arrested — searching whites was actually more likely to produce contraband, according to a report from ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-based public defender group.
"Folks have the impression that this is a form of low-level harassment that isn’t about public safety," the group’s founder, Thomas Harvey, told NPR. “It’s about money.”
Major impact: It’s not just police procedures that take their toll. The ArchCity Defenders report notes that the municipal court in Ferguson will start hearings early, then lock the doors five minutes after the scheduled start time, meaning someone showing up just a little bit late for a hearing can receive an additional “failure to appear” fine.
The impact these procedures have on public opinion is clear. “They’re searching to find something wrong,” one defendant said in the report. “If you dig deep enough, you’ll always find dirt.”
Brown’s death was a tragedy well beyond the scale of a car search or court fine. But statistics like these give insight into the anger of many protesters.
Source: Matt Connolly for Mic
This is happening in many municipalities due to shrinking revenue from the recession and tax cuts. Poor people are being squeezed to make up the difference in budgets.
So local governments are not only profiling, harassing, and in some cases, assaulting and murdering the poor and POC, but extracting their operating costs from them too.
Distressing Video Captures EXACTLY How Cops Treat Black People
I had to reblog this again because it just reduced me to tears.
As most of you know, I am an attorney. And I am an attorney licensed in Minnesota. This is the state where I took an oath last year to uphold state and federal laws and to protect the rights of the citizens.
It PAINS me to see this. To see these unjust cops who I for all intents & purposes, have to stand along side. When they are abusing EVERY SINGLE OUNCE of POWER. Minneapolis/St. Paul have BEEN a war zone. I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed.
Not all officers are bad. Please don’t let that be the take away. But police brutality is VERY FUCKING REAL.
Watch this. If this doesn’t move you, if this doesn’t make you cry out in agony and want to change the world, I don’t know what will.
Have you noticed that the Ferguson situation has deliberately moved away from Michael Brown, and the media is now making the protestors the story? How many times have you heard the name of the police officer, or anything resembling investigative journalism on who this officer is…?
Don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe trick…
(H/T Kamakura Faure)
Since this happened so recently and social media played such an important part in publicizing the story, it’s pretty easy to see that the national media only became interested in Ferguson once the protests began, not after Micheal Brown’s murder. They became even more interested when the situation in Ferguson became photogenically violent.
Now the national coverage is mainly about the protestors (usually slanted in a negative way) or about police militarization, which is usually portrayed as a problem for civil liberties in general. With some exceptions, they are doing their best to minimize the central role of white supremacy in all of this.
Tell me about a time where a white child was killed and black people made a hashtag mocking their death, a Halloween costume mocking their death, or a celebration of their death in any way shape or from. NEVER!!
Black pride has never been about hating white people, but white supremacy has always been about hating black people.
— James Baldwin, “A Report from Occupied Territory” The Nation, July 11, 1966