Ida B. Wells – not one to be pushed around.
If we push beyond those divided perspectives, however, we can find a trio of more complex intersections of race and the Declaration, historical moments and figures that embody both the limitations and the possibilities of America’s ideals…
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I read the Declaration of Independence yesterday, just to refresh my memory, so tt seems fitting today to debut a new featured post called “Tweet of the Month“, which will present some of the most thought-provoking, engaging interactions from our twittersphere every month. Wishing wish you and yours a happy, safe, Fourth of July, also!
By Robert A. Vella
I stumbled upon this fine exposé by David Nir of the Daily Kos which delves deep into the white supremacist psyche of Charleston Massacre shooter Dylann Roof. It reveals not only Roof’s hatred of blacks and other ethnic minorities, but also his disturbingly confused attitude towards Jews.
Although I won’t cite the text and quotations here (they’re very offensive), I strongly urge everyone to read the article for yourself. Keep in mind that the racist views of Roof are not limited to the lunatic fringe of right-wing extremism, and that they are indicative of a far more extensive problem in America regarding racial attitudes.
Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:
By Robert A. Vella
By now, you’ve probably heard about the incident in McKinney, Texas where police officer Eric Casebolt – who has since resigned (see: Police officer who slammed black girl to the ground at McKinney, Texas, pool party resigns) – went ballistic on a group of black teenagers attending a pool party. Understandably, it has reignited the ongoing national debate over race relations in America where actual and potential victims of police misconduct see all cops as racists and where white conservatives see all black people as criminals.
However, what really triggered this incident appears to have less to do with either predisposition and more to do with how police respond to citizen reports of “criminal” behavior.
From Terrance Heath of Campaign for America’s Future – Police Violence Against Blacks Has An Economic Context:
A similar economic backdrop exists in McKinney, Texas, where another incident of excessive use of force this weekend led to more headlines and protests. African-American residents of the Craig Ranch neighborhood, a gated planned community in McKinney, held an end-of-the-school-year party at the community swimming pool, attended by a racially mixed group of teenagers, most of whom lived in Craig Ranch. Residents complained that the teenagers were too rowdy. The organizer of the party said that a security guard appeared and began asking the black teenagers if they had pool cards, and insisting the black teenagers leave.
Witnesses agree that the situation escalated when a white adult resident told the African-American teenagers to “go back to section 8 housing,” got into an argument with, and slapped the African-American teenager who organized the party.
McKinney, Texas — which Money magazine ranked last year as the best place to live in America — has a long history of housing discrimination. The city is split by Highway 75. The wealthier section of McKinney (where the Craig Ranch community is) lies west of Highway 75 and is 86 percent white. The older, poorer section of town sits east of the highway, and is 49 percent white.
In 2009, McKinney settled a large housing discrimination lawsuit, alleging that the city was blocking the development of affordable housing for tenants with Section 8 vouchers, in the whiter, more affluent west side of the city. But a court settlement doesn’t mean the issue of housing discrimination is settled, as the reported comment about Section 8 housing indicate. The white resident alleged to have made this comment obviously associated African Americans with what she considered slum housing.
Another reported comment that the black teenagers should get used to the bars outside the pool because “that’s all they were going to see,” reflects assumptions many people make about young blacks.
Just because some racist, segregationist white people don’t like seeing blacks in their gated community, isn’t sufficient cause for police to blindly obey their perverse desires and engage in some sort of American-style ethnic cleansing. Before taking any action, the police should have thoroughly investigated the situation and, even if laws were indeed broken, resolved the matter peacefully. From what I’ve been able to determine, the only crimes which might have been committed are misdemeanor trespassing (by the teenagers) and misdemeanor assault & battery (by the residents) – neither of which warranted the type of police response exhibited by officer Casebolt.
The failure here, and evidenced throughout the nation, falls squarely upon law enforcement administration. Cops who are poorly trained in proper response techniques, or who cannot apply the law equally and without bias, are not qualified to be police officers and should be retrained or removed from duty. Obviously, such professional managerial oversight is severely lacking across America.
Originally posted on RHYMES&REASONS rebeccapells.com
The temperature of nationalism has been on the rise in Europe since the beginning of this century. Last week it came roaring it’s way over the threshold of the UK parliament seating itself firmly in the chambers of power. The middle ground is being pulled to the outer edges of fear and grievance.
At best nationalism is an invitation for the unwelcome guest to return home; at worst the exorcism of an unwanted presence in our homeland. We struggle to let go of the way we have decided to tell our story, embellished by time and enmeshed with grievance it provides us with a sense of belonging. Nebulous and lacking definition it longs for incarnation and roams with intent, seeking the portal of increasing support through which it can transmute and manifest. At the same time we are not quite knowing or recognizing the form of our intention. We explore the streets of our political landscape looking for firm ground but finding only rough terrain which keeps us off balance and unsure.
Instead of choosing to let go of the foundational memory of those we were wronged by, a false sense of self enables a collective pain to thrive and breeds fresh fear of a contemporary but false enemy. We cease to be afraid of our neighbours when we cease to carry the collective fear and injustice of our past, choosing instead to make friends with those we previously challenged with a beckoning hand to our future. To let go is to enable ourselves – our nation – to see our place in the world more elementally and clearly. It is to unburden ourselves from carrying the past and lighten the load, sweeping away the black cloud of history which was passed down to us and – without such bravery – we will inevitably pass to our children.
Withdrawal from the front line of demand and grievance enables us to realign and find a fresh perspective, viewed through a contemporary wide angle lens rather than the myopic glass of selective and painful memory. It is only from here we will find solid ground from which to step forward in friendship and have our voice heard in a different, clear fresh and powerful way.
We’ve been told, quite frequently and repeatedly that the problems in the black community that we’ve seen in Ferguson and Baltimore recently are not the fault of biased, paramilitary, paranoid and violent policing (even if the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that black people are three times more likely to be subject to law enforcement uses of force). They are not the fault of racist red-lining that created these impoverished neighborhoods in the first place. They are not the fault of bigoted lending and hiring practices that create roadblocks for those attempting to escape those neighborhoods. And the fact that black students are disciplined, suspended and expelled far more easily and quickly for the same or lesser offenses, isn’t the problem.
None of that is the problem. Nope. All of that is just too bad. Life is tough all over. Lots of people have got lots of problems. No, instead we’ve heard that the welfare benefits in Baltimore are “too lucrative,” because when you give people nothing they somehow get more, somewhere. That businesses won’t invest in these neighborhoods until something is done about those darn teachers unions. That it’s because of “too many gay marriages.” That ISIS is using Baltimore to recruit blacks. And, of course, when all else fails, blame Obama.
But what we’ve heard the most, is that the real problem is the Breakdown in the Black Family™. That too many black fathers have abandoned their children, allowing them to be raised by the streets like feral cats. They don’t learn morals, and they don’t learn values—so naturally police have to shoot them down like rabid, foaming dogs. Even when they’re unarmed. Even when they have their backs turned and are simply running away. It’s all just their own fault really.
If only black fathers would spend as much time and energy on their kids as white fathers do. If only…
Well, someone—the Centers for Disease Control—actually went to trouble of checking just how involved in their lives all fathers are, whether or not they are married to the mother of their children or live with them. What they found was that, in reality, black fathers are actually more attentive to their children than other fathers generally are.