Posts Tagged ‘racism

26
Nov
14

Ferguson: Who Are We?

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Gazelle

[I’m so perturbed by yesterday’s & the continuity of ugly bombardment, 6 years+. I had to go inside myself, and wrote “Who Are We?”:

Who Are You?
When you reached that pinnacle of your own success,
And perhaps looked back at the ladders’ rungs beneath,
Upon which you crawled,
Which you gladly razored so others
Didn’t dare follow in your wake,

Who Are You?

You wrap yourself in your very narrow existence.
Are you The Chosen Oblivious?
Or a creature birthed
Between those rungs, and doomed to be willingly
Without humanity’s anchor?

And then, in giving you credence at our head table,

Who Are We?

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T. Thorn Coyle: An Open Letter to White America

I am sending out a call for compassion. I am sending out a call for reason. I am sending out a call for an expansion of our presence with one another. I am sending out the remembrance of the threads of our connection. We are not isolated beings on this planet. Collectively, in our gorgeous variance, we make up this living organism we call life… This morning, a Black woman tweeted that she thought she was okay, until she saw a group of children walking to school and burst into tears. I don’t know what it is like to live inside that sort of fear, anguish, grief, and pain.  But it doesn’t take much for me to imagine it.

The extrajudicial killing of Black and brown people by police is not a sometime thing. It is said that every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police or security agencies. Just looking at the news, and at my Twitter feed, this is not so hard to believe. Are all cops bad people? No. Are all cops racist? No. But the system they work within is. This is the system that stops and frisks Black and brown men in large cities every single day. The system that incarcerates and disenfranchises Black men at horrifically high rates. The system that tells Black women their bodies are both loathed and admired, but are not their own to hold and keep….

…When the system has not only failed you, but has actively put your well-being and your life, and your families’ lives in danger, how exactly are you supposed to respond? By trusting in that system? I don’t find random property damage done from grief and anger to be helpful or useful as a political tactic. That said: human life is worth more than human property. Always. In the United States? Particularly in White America? We seem to have reversed their importance, placing property over humanity, at least when those humans have darker skin…

More here

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Continue reading ‘Ferguson: Who Are We?’

25
Nov
14

The President’s Day

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President Barack Obama waves as he is introduced at Copernicus Community Center in Chicago to speak on immigration reform

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The President’s remarks on Ferguson

I need to begin by saying a few words about what’s happened over the past day, not just in Ferguson, Missouri, our neighbor to the south, but all across America.

As many of you know, a verdict came down – or a grand jury made a decision yesterday that upset a lot of people. And as I said last night, the frustrations that we’ve seen are not just about a particular incident. They have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly. That may not be true everywhere, and it’s certainly not true for the vast majority of law enforcement officials, but that’s an impression that folks have and it’s not just made up. It’s rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time.

Now, as I said last night, there are productive ways of responding and expressing those frustrations, and there are destructive ways of responding. Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk – that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.

But what we also saw – although it didn’t get as much attention in the media – was people gathering in overwhelmingly peaceful protest – here in Chicago, in New York, in Los Angeles, other cities.

We’ve seen young people who were organizing, and people beginning to have real conversations about how do we change the situation so that there’s more trust between law enforcement and some of these communities.  And those are necessary conversations to have.

We’re here to talk about immigration, but part of what makes America this remarkable place is being American doesn’t mean you have to look a certain way or have a certain last name or come from a certain place; it has to do with a commitment to ideals, a belief in certain values.  And if any part of the American community doesn’t feel welcomed or treated fairly, that’s something that puts all of us at risk and we all have to be concerned about it.

So my message to those people who are constructively moving forward, trying to organize, mobilize, and ask hard, important questions about how we improve the situation – I want all those folks to know that their President is going to work with them. Separate and apart from the particular circumstances in Ferguson, which I am careful not to speak to because it’s not my job as President to comment on ongoing investigations and specific cases, but the frustrations people have generally – those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed.

And so those who are prepared to work constructively, your President will work with you.  And a lot of folks, I believe, in law enforcement and a lot of folks in city halls and governor’s offices across the country want to work with you as well.

So as part of that, I’ve instructed Attorney General Eric Holder not just to investigate what happened in Ferguson, but also identify specific steps we can take together to set up a series of regional meetings focused on building trust in our communities. And next week, we’ll bring together state and local officials, and law enforcement, and community leaders and faith leaders to start identifying very specific steps that we can take to make sure that law enforcement is fair and is being applied equally to every person in this country.

And we know certain things work. We know that if we train police properly, that that improves policing and makes people feel that the system is fair. We know that when we have a police force that is representative of the communities it’s serving that makes a difference. And we know that when there’s clear accountability and transparency when something happens that makes a difference.

So there are specific things we can do, and the key now is for us to lift up the best practices and work, city by city, state by state, county by county, all across this country, because the problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem.  And we’ve got to make sure that we are actually bringing about change.

The bottom line is, nothing of significance, nothing of benefit results from destructive acts. I’ve never seen a civil rights law, or a health care bill, or an immigration bill result because a car got burned. It happened because people vote. It happened because people mobilize. It happened because people organize. It happens because people look at what are the best policies to solve the problem. That’s how you actually move something forward.

So don’t take the short-term, easy route and just engage in destructive behavior. Take the long-term, hard but lasting route of working with me and governors and state officials to bring about some real change.

And to those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that. I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.

But for the overwhelming majority of people who just feel frustrated and pain because they get a sense that maybe some communities aren’t treated fairly, or some individuals aren’t seen as worthy as others, I understand that. And I want to work with you and I want to move forward with you.

Your President will be right there with you.

Rest of transcript from today’s speech here

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President Barack Obama discusses immigration reform with community leaders

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President Barack Obama with Billy Lawless who introduced him

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President Obama addresses three hecklers who rudely interrupted him while he was speaking about immigration reform

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25
Nov
14

Why Can’t You See Our Humanity?

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I came back home last night, turned on the TV, and saw the news that there would be no indictment in the murder of Michael Brown. I remember falling to my knees and crying with one thought playing over and over in my head: “We are human. We are flesh and blood. We are human and they can’t even see it.”

Black people get up everyday and contribute to the prosperity of this society. We are children, we are teenagers, we are parents, we are students, we are business owners, we are doctors, we are lawyers, we are everything A to Z. We are human. Yet everyday you are killing us. You are killing our children, you are killing our brothers, you are killing our sisters, you are killing our parents. A Black person gets stopped by the cops and shakes in fear, trembles with fear that he or she makes it home alive. Your white parent, child, brother, or sister will never know this fear but every Black person knows that fear or will experience it. This is a horror in a country that calls itself exceptional. A Black man or woman walks out the door, comes back home, and looks to the heavens, thinking “thank God, I lived today.” This is a scourge in a country that proclaims to be great.

I continue to look forward to the day when the lines “all men are created equal” and “with liberty and justice for all” will become reality and not some refrain we toss around. I continue to look forward to the day when society recognizes our humanity. And as always, we carry on.

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Joy

Good morning all. I rarely post but I had to this morning. As you see I live in Barbados but I am Jamaican and am therefore a West Indian. Why is this significant because I have two sisters and a brother in the US one sister who lives in New York has a son who is twenty years old and I have numerous friends from the West Indies with sons who live in various parts of the US. I cried last night when I heard the outcome. I cried for them. I often call my sister and remind her to speak to her son. He is a regular 20 year old, he goes to college, he wears his cap backwards, he goes to the cinema with his friend, he does the things that you would expect them to do at that age. When I read of these killings my heart hurts for all young men in the US who may not grow up to live their dreams. What next?

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Rikyrah

went to sleep with the images of Mike Brown’s parents on my mind.

White people simply do not understand the fundamental lack of trust in law enforcement that exists within the Black community. And, they don’t understand why that undermines this country as a whole.

I’m not talking about Pookey and Ray-Ray having no trust.

I’m talking about my and the overwhelming swaths of Black America that gets up, goes to work everyday, and loves their family. The people like me, who have never had nothing more than a parking ticket in terms of ‘ infractions’.

I do not trust law enforcement.

If on a jury, I would never give them the benefit of the doubt.

I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of their mouths.

Period.

I have three degrees and I have no more trust in law enforcement than Pookey.

If you don’t understand what that means…

oh well.

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Don

It gets tiring singing “We shall overcome someday” all the time, just saying. Black people are the only people that have to sing songs and love the very people that don’t love us. It is a miracle that every black man in America isn’t schizophrenic, we are told to turn the other cheek and forgive the very people that brutalize us. A white kid can walk into a school and kill as many kids as he can and the first thing out of everyone’s mouth is that kid needs help. But a black kid walking down the street with his pants sagging and baseball cap turned sideways is considered a menace to society. At this point in time I’m not ready to forgive or forget, and I’m not interested in holding hands and singing songs.

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Police Brutality

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OurManFlint

yes it is depressing. recently in Toronto, my father elderly father in-law was followed by two cops, (one black and other white), in a cruiser while walking through a field while wearing his hood up. they eventually stopped him and asked where he was going and such. he did not take kindly to that and asked why had they stopped him, they said Oh to remind folks to be safe …. he then gave them a piece of his mind and said now he knows exactly what black youths are facing; and asked them what should he say to his grand kids that it is not safe to be out, or that they could be stopped. While at the same time people of other races cut through the same field and are never followed or stopped. They drove away and waited till he emerged on the other side of the field and waved at him. I guess they were ashamed but who knows…

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