Governor Nikki Haley signs law to take down Confederate Flag (photo via ktla.com)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a historic bill Thursday that will remove the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol grounds, where it has been a source of friction for more than half a century.
Haley’s signature ends the fighting over the flag, seen as an emblem of Southern heritage by some but condemned as a symbol of racial oppression by others.
The flag flew over the dome of South Carolina’s Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war — and stayed as a protest to the civil rights movement that shattered Jim Crow segregationist laws across the South. After protests from civil rights leaders, the battle flag was moved in 2000 from the dome to its current location on the Capitol’s front lawn.
Haley said the flag will “come down with dignity”…
As with so many debates in our 21st century moment, the question of race and the Declaration of Independence has become a divided and often overtly partisan one. Those working to highlight and challenge injustice will note that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration and its “All men are created equal” sentiment, was like many of his fellow founders a slave-owner, and moreover one who might well have fathered illegitimate children with one of his slaves. In responses, those looking to defend Jefferson and the nation’s founding ideals will push back on these histories as anachronistic, overly simplistic, exemplifying the worst form of “revisionist history.”
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…
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!
NBCNews.com just published an editorial by Bernice A. King about her thoughts this year on Martin Luther King Day, the day we honor her father’s work. She reminds us that we mustn’t just honor him passively, however. She says:
“The national theme for the 2015 MLK holiday, “Remember! Celebrate! Act!: King’s Legacy of Courage for Our World” calls on people everywhere to do something courageous — make a commitment to nonviolence as a way of life which we, at The King Center, refer to as Nonviolence 365.
“Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness” is a conversation that takes seriously the intellectual and political exchange between Native Studies and Black Studies, focusing on how anti-Black racism intersects with settler colonial logics. An opportunity for exploration and critical conversation, “Otherwise Worlds” stages a series of discussions that seek to interrogate concepts such as “people of color” and how such concepts operate to dilute the specificity of state violence. Particularly with the rise of Afropessmissm, increasingly more scholars in Black studies are focusing on the centrality of anti-Black racism within U.S. society. This work has intervened within Ethnic Studies by insisting on the specificity of anti-Black racism that cannot be addressed through either “people of color” politics or Ethnic Studies intellectual models. Similarly, scholars in Native Studies have often positioned Native studies in opposition to Ethnic Studies under the argument that Native peoples should be analyzed under…
The background of this situation: Lawrence O’Donnell reported that after reviewing the transcripts of the grand jury, his analyst discovered that the assistant district attorneys working for Bob McCulloch gave the jurors an outdated copy of Missouri law, which stated all that was required for an officer to use deadly force is their “reasonable belief” that there was a threat.
In 1985, in Tennessee v. Garner [ ]directly before Darren Wilson’s testimony giving the impression that all that was required under the law for Wilson to kill Michael Brown with impunity was his belief that he was in danger, without the additional requirement of probable cause for such a belief.
The Missouri AG now proclaims that was wrong, and that the Missouri Law needs to be changed and updated to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling.
A New York City grand jury has decided not to indict the New York Police Department officer accused of killing the 43-year-old unarmed Eric Garner by putting him in a prohibited chokehold. The NYPD is now preparing for more protests stemming from the decision. RT’s Ameera David and Alexey Yaroshevsky have the latest details.
Despite the conservative media narrative that racism against minorities is a thing of the past, race, racism, and inherent biases on all sides are a part of what’s happening in Ferguson and communities across America — as are systemic and institutional factors spanning several generations, from the Watts riots in 1965 to the riots in various cities in 1967 and ’68, to Los Angeles in 1992. While an inciting incident — usually involving the police and communities of color — sparked the violence, a tinderbox of underlying frustrations awaited that spark.
After each of these incidents, reports issued by government commissions seeking answers cited hauntingly identical findings. Police brutality, poor relations between the police and the community, a sense of hopelessness fueled by a lack of jobs, economic inequality, inadequate schools, discriminatory housing practices, an unresponsive political system many felt shut out of, along with policies that created segregated neighborhoods which further isolate communities of color were highlighted again and again. Again and again the recommendations included expanding community policing strategies and social programs, making them more consistent with the extent of the problems.
The man who was with Michael Brown the day he was murdered is Dorian Johnson. His testimony to the Grand Jury is posted on scribd.com, and you can read it (and download it) here.
Just from reading the testimony, I think any fair-minded person would say that Johnson is a truthful and open witness. He was so treated by the prosecutors. He was something of a role model to the younger men in the community who came up to him and asked about how he was able to transition out of poverty and violence to be able to hold a job and have an apartment of his own. (Consider that fact, reader. Having a job and apartment are considered difficult feats requiring guidance to young men in certain parts of this country!) He had lived in the neighborhood about eight months and had a girlfriend and daughter.
I was appalled by Jeffrey Toobin’s analysis of the decision of the grand jury in the Darren Wilson indictment hearings. Toobin, a legal analyst for CNN is a former prosecutor as well as defense attorney. The reason the DA, Robert McCulloch, did not prosecute Darren Wilson during the hearings was because, Toobin says, he could not have convinced a trial jury that Wilson was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, even of involuntary manslaughter, the least of the possible charges. What good is an indictment—which is based on probable cause—Toobin would have us believe if there is no or little chance of winning at a trial?
So for Toobin, and who knows how many other extraordinary legal minds, it’s win or don’t bother. The legal proceedings in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death were all a game, to be won or lost…