All Articles Tagged "racism"
The headlines have almost become a weekly occurrence: Black person shot and killed by the police.
Usually it is Black men. But sometimes it is women.
In the majority of times, they are unarmed. And most of the time, their deaths were for no damn justifiable reason at all.
Yet, despite the video evidence and eye witnesses accounts and just flat-out appreciation of history in this country, some folks still don’t believe race is a factor.
So let’s play a game. It’s a game I created based around my favorite scene from the film A Time to Kill (based on the John Grisham book of the same name) when Jake Tyler Brigance, a young snappy lawyer (played by Matthew McConaughey) defending Carl Lee Hailey (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who is on trial for the murder of the two White men, who raped his 10-year-old daughter, tells the all-White Mississippi jury to close its eyes and imagine that the little girl victim is White. For those who haven’t seen the film, the scene is pretty climatic as it is supposed to be the moment when the all White jury has an epitome about their own biases against Black people.
I’m not going to tell you to close your eyes and imagine anything – or else how would you read the rest of this essay/list?
But I’m going to tell you that during this slideshow of 10 White Armed Men NOT Killed By the Police, in hopes that it inspires some of y’all to take off your rose colored glasses and put away your colorblind blinders and ask yourself in the most serious tones: what would happen if these men were Black.
Companies aren’t immune to doing things that are tasteless, insensitive or downright wrong. Barneys coughed up $525,000 to settle racial profiling situations in their stores. While we certainly don’t have the answers on what to do in every situation, we can make our voices heard when it comes to where we spend our money. Here are some tips on how to legally protest a business.
A lot of people were complaining that while President Obama was quick to speak on the death of Robin Williams, he had yet to speak on unjust killing of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.
But today the White House Press Secretary released a statement from the president. It read as follows:
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community deserve.”
Are you glad to see President Obama spoke on the matter? What do you make of his statement?
According to E!Online, Charlize Theron did not try to get Tia Mowry banned from their fitness class.
More specifically, the site reports:
“Charlize Theron may have played an evil queen, but she isn’t going around lording it over people at SoulCycle. In response to a report that Theron wants Tia Mowry banned from the celeb-favored spinning franchise in the wake of an alleged exchange-gone-wrong between the two of them, a source assures E! News that “this is totally fabricated and completely not true.”
Phewsh, well that is a sigh of relief! I thought for a second we might have to get Iyanla Vanzant to shake a calabash full of cowry shells around those two or something. Of course, there is still the matter of the original incident, where Mowry alleges Theron rudely cut down her introduction with an “Oh My God!” But honestly, who cares? Amirite?
Seriously, who really cares that Theron didn’t speak to Mowry at SoulCycle? For one, what the hell is SoulCycle? I don’t know, I do Zumba. And secondly, is there some sort of law, which requires us to speak to the Mowry sisters all the time? Because if so, I want that law struck down and the Congressman, who introduced it, impeached and tried for treason.
What I’m saying is that there could be hundreds of reasons why she didn’t speak to Mowry. Theron could be an introvert, who doesn’t particularly like strange and unfamiliar women interrupting her SoulCycle class for her. Or she could not have recognized the one-half of the stars from “Sister, Sister.” Or she simply could be she is just not a fan of the goodie-two shoe twin spawns of Claire Huxtable’s respectability and just really wanted her to go away. That is a huge possibility and I wouldn’t be mad at Theron in the least if that is the case. Or Theron could just be a big, fat (physically skinny) racist. That could be a possibility right?
No. Well, why not? Eye roll. Oh yeah, the African thing…
What most annoys me about this story is reading comment thread after comment thread of Black folks in particular, denouncing even the possibility that racial bias played a part in Theron’s rude behavior simply because Theron grew up in South Africa. Now, I’m not saying that Theron is racist or even her exchange with Mowry was racial. I’m saying that we shouldn’t instantly exclude the possibility of racism – or even give her a pass – simply because she might know some Black people in Africa.
Yes, this is totally petty. But it is pettiness spawned out of years of hearing Black folks make ridiculous claims about Theron’s relationship to blackness. The belief, as it has been told to me since this White woman stepped on the scene confusing everybody, is that Theron, who was born and reared on a small farm in Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa, is more African than most African Americans because she was born in South Africa around native Africans, so by default, she’s African too – or more specifically, an Afrikaan. Sounds confusing. Yeah, well you know how I feel every time some one says this to me.
And yet Black folks specifically repeat this sophistry proudly and with a straight face. And also without the least bit of irony. You know the kind that might make one think about colonialism and imperialism. At the very least, the apartheid system in South Africa, which by design, was created to keep native African culture separate and subjugated under whiteness including the Afrikaners
And especially the Afrikaners.
For those, who don’t know, the Afrikaan language and culture is a derivative of the language and culture of early Dutch European “settlers” (‘cuz folks were already inhabiting those lands they “settled” into), who arrived along the coast of modern day South Africa in the mid 1600s. You can read this Wiki page for the full history of the Afrikaners (and definitely check out the annotations at the bottom of the page in case you need more insight).
But just to highlight some points: despite being in a land of Black people, the Dutch “settlers” were kind of separatist (some owned Black slaves) and made sure to keep themselves insular from the natives, hence the “founding” of two provinces called Orange Free State and Transvaal, which later became the birthplace of everybody’s favorite African American, Charlize Theron. As well as the creation of their own language, Boer-culture and even religion, known today as Afrikaan. And by 1948 this “culture” and its Afrikaan Nationalist Party would gain control of the South African government and begin restricting Africans (the Black kind) from having access to housing, education, employment, citizenship (got-damn citizenship on their own land) and even voting rights in the government.
Now the point of this rushed history lesson is to get folks thinking of the ridiculousness of calling an “ethnic” group, which intentionally existed separately from actual Africans, African. An “ethnic” group, which still has largely white-only enclaves in apartheid South Africa. An “ethnic” group, which contains a loud and vocal subgroup of “ethnic” Whites called the Boers, who even to this day feel that they are entitled to homeland in South Africa because God supposedly told them that. And a group, who also to this very day, is identified South African National Census – not as Black or coloured or Asian – but as White.
Because even in Africa, a white person is to be still treat and regarded as a white person. And yes, there is also a Wiki page for that.
So yeah, Theron might be an Afrikaner from South Africa but she is no African. Now does her Afrikaan heritage make her a racist? In all truthfulness, one can make a very good case that the whole culture was formed out of White supremacy, so therefore, yeah! Not to mention her tone-deaf response to Viola Davis’ comments about the lack of roles for Black women in Hollywood. At the very least, she is pretty aloof.
With that said, she also adopted a Black baby boy, so that means something right? But now that I think more about it, so did Madonna. And Strom Thurmond had a Black kid too. His was even biological. Point is, using a non-Black person’s affinity for Black folks, including their abilities to not be racist, based on arbitrary reasons like who they might live by, date or even call family is a huge mistake. One made with foggy blinders on, which probably got cloudy during SoulCycle class.
I learned about the murder of 18-year-old, unarmed and college-bound Michael Brown a bit late. After an event filled weekend, on Sunday I was scrolling through my Instagram timeline. I’m not from St. Louis but I went to school in Missouri so a lot of people I know from college are from, and many, still live in the city. The first inclination that anything had happened came from one such person who wrote “Last day in #StLouis. I love you but you made me feel sad…” I thought that’s a weird caption but I kept scrolling. Then I started seeing pictures of riots, a busted window at a Quick Trip, buildings consumed by fire, a line of police officers standing with guns and shields. By this time I learned this was all in reaction to the unjust killing of Mike Brown. It looked like a war zone. In many ways, it is a war zone.
Then I saw another person one of my Instagram followers posted a tweet from David Banner.
Basically, I wanted to ask David Banner what the hell does one thing have to do with the other? Are we somehow saying that the devaluing of Black life is a new phenomena? That before Black on Black crime, as the media has so cleverly labeled it, White people or law enforcement gave a damn about Black life? They didn’t. The fact that many politicians and law enforcement officials were members of the Klan themselves is a very well-documented fact. In fact, the Klan was so powerful and so prevalent, in 1870 and 1871, Congress had to pass The Enforcement Acts just to make sure that states were enforcing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, (the ones that gave full citizenship to anyone born in the US, including freed slaves and the one offered suffrage rights to any American citizen, regardless of race.) That was over a 100 years ago, and we know, even today politicians are still introducing stipulations that disenfranchise Black voters.
And I know for a fact that the voting laws are not the only ways in which racist, Klan founded and fueled practices still dominate our law enforcement and justice system. Mistrust and demonization of Black people, men and women, is far from new and has nothing to do with Black people perpetuating violent crimes against each other. It’s an American tradition to kill Black people for no reason. And what we think of ourselves has little bearing on that undeniable fact.
To me, David Banner’s tweet sounds an awful lot like Don Lemon’s list. Pull your pants up and then they’ll respect you. Stop littering and then maybe they won’t throw you in jail at a rate far higher than any other racial/ethic group in the country. Stop using the N-word and they won’t shoot to kill. Banner’s tweet seems to suggest that he’s dealing with some of his own psychological baggage, where no matter what, Black people are always somehow deserving of unethical, inhumane and downright evil treatment. I know I love and value myself and all people. I’ve never committed a crime against a Black person; but I also know that if I do something to somehow displease a White person in power, it could cost me life or limb and that White person could very easily walk away from the ordeal scott-free.
Last night, all I knew is that an unarmed boy was shot and killed by a police officer. This morning I got the full story. First reports claimed that he ran from an officer. But according to the New York Times, officials are now claiming Brown didn’t just attempt to run from the officer, he tussled with him, trying to get his gun. According to officials, a patrol car stopped Brown and another man around noon on Saturday. As the officer was about to exit the vehicle, one of the men pushed him back into the car and physically assaulted him. The claim has been met with outrage from the largely Black community of Ferguson, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), resulting in everything from peaceful protests to rioting.
Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, on the day his son was executed, held a cardboard sign that read “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son.” But the St. Louis county police chief, Jon Belmar, seems to be spinning a different story. He said “The genesis of this was a physical confrontation.”
Family members of Brown say he was walking to his grandmother’s house when the shooting occurred. Desiree Harris, Brown’s grandmother told KMOV she saw him running in her neighborhood when she passed him in her car. Then minutes later, after she’d gotten home, she heard a commotion and then saw his body lying in the street just two blocks away. His body would remain in the street for some time, guarded by officers while neighbors gathered, many taking pictures. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden told reporters her son had just graduated from high school and was planning to attend Vatterott College.
Does that not show that he valued himself? But the officer didn’t see that. And sadly, that is the narrative when it comes to Black youth in this country. They’re trouble makers not young people with potential, a life ahead of them. Oftentimes the media is not any better in their opinions of Black youth. We all remember how Trayvon, was basically tried for his own murder, being portrayed as a weed smoking, gang affiliated, hoodie wearing thug. It was this history in mind that several Black people on Twitter and Instagram started the hashtag and account #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, where they posted pictures of themselves and how the media would most likely choose to run the stories of their hypothetical and unjust murders with questionable photos rather than ones that show them succeeding, giving back or being loved, treasured and valued by someone.
Sadly, we’ll never know what Brown’s college graduation picture looked like. And I couldn’t state that any more clearly than the way Brown’s mother did in her interview with KMOV.
“You took my son away from me. Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many Black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway. ‘They’re going to try to take me out anyway.’
Today, the Associated Press broke the story of Renisha McBride’s killer, Theodore Wafter ,being found guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. But just because you’re the first, doesn’t always mean you’re the best. Because this is what they tweeted:
In case you missed the glaring problems with this tweet, let me help you. First, at this point in the game Renisha McBride’s name is highly recognizable to most people who have been paying attention. Second, in high school English we learned about positive and negatively connotative words. Not definition, connotation. And there’s a lot of that in this here tweet. Theodore Wafer, the man who shot and killed Renisha for basically banging on his door is described with words like “suburban” and “homeowner.” Both of which are arguably positive in our society. The word associated with Renisha? “Drunk.” Alarmingly negative. Even the fact that the words “convicted” and “murder” belong to some third party who assigned them to this suburban homeowner. As if there was ever a question that he did indeed kill McBride. Wafer would have told you that himself.
It’s problematic and indicative of the way in which the media has historically, and apparently, continues to frame stories featuring Black and White subjects. When the Sandy Hook and Dark Knight shootings went down, the news media talked about how mentally disturbed these men were. That was the reason they behaved so unspeakably. But Chris Dorner, the man who was on a mission to attack the Los Angeles Police Department was described as a wild animal. How many times was the phrase “manhunt” used during that investigation?
Black people have been following this Renisha McBride story, hoping the justice system did the right thing. So when the AP sent this tweet, Black Twitter was all over it and quickly developed the hashtag #APHeadlines, lampooning the organization with more racially biased wording to prove a point. See what they had to say.
According to the Associated Press, Theodore Wafer, the man who shot and killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride has been convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Wafer took the stand earlier in the trial claiming that he acted in self defense when he fired through his screen door killing McBride who showed up on his porch, pounding on his screen door, around 4:30 in the morning. Her autopsy later revealed she had been drinking. He testified that he “wasn’t going to cower” inside of his own Dearborn Heights home, in the Detroit metropolitan area.
But jurors rejected that notion. After nine days of testimony and a day to deliberate, the jury, comprised of seven men and five women, sided with prosecutors who said Wafer, 55, should have called 911.
Under a 2006 Michigan law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break in, otherwise a person must prove that their life was in danger.
Wafer could face up to life in prison but reports claim his sentence is likely to be much shorter.
Prosecutors argued that McBride was seeking help after crashing her car a half-mile from Wafer’s house, several hours before the shooting.
Wafer is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, August 21.
In this day in age, celebrities should be used to having everything they say or do scrutinized. But these stars still let their controversial feelings be known on various topics, even if it labeled them as intolerant to gays, women and other people of color.
Stephen A. Smith
A few months ago NFL player Ray Rice was caught on camera dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator after he physically assaulted her. After the commissioner handed down a suspension, the story was once again a hot topic and ESPN’s “First Take” host Stephen A. Smith made a comment that many felt was sexist. Smith suggested women should make sure that they don’t do anything to provoke an attack. He later went on twitter to clarify his comments but that did nothing to quell the public outcry. Smith apologized for what he said and ESPN suspended him for a week.
When XO Jane published Ona Anosike’s article “I Am Sick of Seeing Women Crying Because of Their Dark Skin” earlier this month black women around the internet collectively rolled there eyes. We don’t know when the world is going to straighten their color issues out, but until then here’s a list of 15 things women with dark skin are tired of hearing.
Skin Color Isn’t That Big A Deal
It’s an unfortunate reality, but skin color effects the way you experience the world.
This past winter, we all mourned the tragic and senseless death of Renisha McBride, the 19-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed on the front porch of Theodore Wafer, a 55-year-old White man.
Now, Wafer is on trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter in Renisha’s death.
Al Jazeera reports that his defense attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, told the 12-person jury, consisting of four Black members, yesterday that Wafer was acting out of self-defense.
“He was acting and reacting to escalating fear. He had never been so scared in his entire life. It’s horrible and it’s sad that a 19-year-old woman is dead. But Ted is justified in what he did.”
The jury has to decide whether or not Wafer had a reason to shoot and kill McBride when she was banging on his door at around 4:20 am. An autopsy found that her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit for an adult driver. She had crashed her car a few hours before when she started knocking on Wafer’s door.
The prosecution is arguing that Wafer took a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach because “there was no sign of attempted burglary, there’s no evidence of any effort to breaking in. His actions that night are unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable. Because of that, a 19-year-old girl is dead on a porch in Dearborn Heights.”
Wafer and his attorney claim that he had no idea that McBride was Black or female and have tried to downplay the racial significance of it, especially in light of other Black teens being shot and killed by other, often older White men.
Civil rights advocates state that the fact that the defense is citing Wafer’s unawareness of McBride’s race prove that it is a factor.
Mark Fancher of the Racial Justice Project says that this case could be racially significant even if McBride’s race is not what initially motivated Wafer to shoot. He said, “I don’t know if the prosecution believes race is an element of the crime, but the defense felt they needed to head off assumptions the jury might make whether he’s biased or not … If they assume the jury will see this through a racial lens, then race is relevant here in that way.”
The prosecution has yet to mention race in their arguments, instead they’re focusing on the time and thought it took for Wafer to find, position and fire his weapon.
“It is the state’s position that taking a gun and having it loaded, having the safety off, opening a locked door and aiming at an unarmed stranger was a situation created likely to cause great bodily injury,” she said. “It has to be loaded, locked, the safety has to be off and the trigger has to be pulled. There’s no hair trigger on this shotgun. It requires 6.5 pounds of pressure to fire it.”
McBride’s mother and best friend have taken the stand so far during the trial. Between the two women, the jury learned that McBride and her mother argued that she hadn’t cleaned the house the evening she was killed. And they learned that she’d drunk vodka and smoked weed on Nov. 1, hours before she encountered Wafer.
She got into the car accident at 1 am, hitting Carmen Beasley’s vehicle. Beasley said that she tried to get McBride to wait for the police and an ambulance to arrive to the scene of the accident but as they were waiting, McBride left.
Beasley testified, “She just wanted to go home. She wasn’t belligerent. She was young and she just wanted to be at home. That was her goal, to be home.”
At this point, defense attorneys have yet to reveal whether or not Wafer will take the stand.
As this trial progresses, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the updates and final outcome.