Dispatch #71 June 18th 2020
Day 1316 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1244 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
In his New York Times column titled ‘An Insatiable Rage’ Charles Blow acknowledges that Black people are burdened with an everyday struggle to neither fall into despair nor explode in anger.
People are marching as a way of screaming, a way of exhaling pain, as an enormous group catharsis. This isn’t only about the pain of police brutality, it’s about all the pain. This is about all the injustice and disrespect and oppression. This is about ancestry and progeny…. It took centuries for America to hone its instruments of oppression. Every time part of it fell, it simply re-emerged in a more elegant form…. Racial oppression is infinitely transmutable….
In fact, America listening and responding to these protests, respecting them, is one of the healthiest things the country can do, because as protester Kimberly Latrice Jones said at the end of her viral video, “They are lucky that what black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.” www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/opinion/us-protests-racism.html
The urgent task for white people is to school ourselves about the 400 years of Black people’s lived experience under White Supremacy in America. We must school ourselves to the point where we are deeply empathetic with the notion that Black People could justifiably desire revenge. We must school ourselves to the point where we are deeply convinced about enacting/establishing Reparations necessary to achieve Equity and Social Justice for Black people.
We white people don’t deserve thanks for taking our responsibility; we deserve rebuke when we are unwilling to correct our woeful ignorance and thereby take real action. Our enduring responsibility began accruing 400 years ago. Schooling ourselves is definitely not about acknowledging our white privilege. Instead, schooling ourselves thoroughly and deeply be about finally understanding how 400 years of White Supremacy have ravaged generations of Black people. Then we white people will become outraged and out-raging about dismantling White Supremacy and enacting reparations.
In response to this unprecedented moment of widespread public outrage and protests about police brutality and the epidemic of Black Americans being victimized and killed by the police, we see many prominent public officials/leaders demurring about systemic racism and the need for complete change in community safety policies. So white people must school themselves about the origins of American policing — how those origins put violent control and criminalization of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
In his book The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press 2010) Khalil Gibran Muhammad documents that slave patrols were the origins of policing from the moment that enslaved Black people were brought to the colonies to work the plantations. Slave patrols required all white men of every class to work together to control and punish Black people thus ensuring buy-in by poor whites to controlling slaves and protecting rich white men’s property. After the Civil War the Ku Klux Klan emerged as the post-Reconstruction slave patrols. As Black people migrated north to escape the KKK reign of terror, the police in northern cities assumed the role of control and abuse of Black people; e.g., enforcing segregated housing, ignoring or participating in white mob attacks on black people, allowing the confiscation or destruction of black property and resources, indiscriminate and violent policing.
Spend one hour and listen to the NPR Throughline Podcast “American Police” that presents a discussion with Dr. Muhammad about his book and provides detailed information about his research and his conclusion regarding the throughline from slave patrols to 21st century policing in America. White people must understand how and why the current version of police created and informed by White Supremacy and black criminality must be dismantled. www.npr.org/2020/06/03/869046127/american-police
Spend 20 minutes with an On The Media podcast and learn about the emergence of the current police abolition movement that urges consideration of policies designed for community safety instead of policies premised on social control and oppression.
…for racial justice movements and racial justice organizations, defund marks a moment where large swaths of the American public are, one, grappling with the problem being the institution of the police. Right. So it’s not simply about an individual bad police officer or an individual incident gone wrong. But the problem is the scale of the police, the power of the police, the tools of the police to use violence against everyday people. For abolitionists, defund is a strategy to delegitimize the police, force a question about what work police are doing in our communities, and how else we might be dealing with social problems like homelessness or domestic violence or theft. www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-media-its-going-down
In his New York Times column titled Why Did Cup Foods Call the Cops on George Floyd? Moustafa Bayoumi argues that current nuisance abatement laws force stores in low-income neighborhoods to operate almost as an arm of law enforcement.
For many small-business owners in low-income neighborhoods, the decision to not call the cops is not so easy. The problem isn’t that you will subject yourself to more crime without the police. It’s that the authorities often force the business owners to operate almost as an arm of the police. If they refuse, they risk being shut down by the city through nuisance abatement laws
Starting in the 1990s, more aggressive policing became the norm in major urban centers on the country, as did the growing use of nuisance abatement laws compelling shopkeepers into doing the police’s work for them. In 2016, an investigation by ProPublica and The Daily News revealed that the New York Police Department was targeting small, immigrant-run stores in low-income neighborhoods… These laws are part of what is known as “third-party policing,” which transforms immigrant businesses into nodes of surveillance, expands the power of the police and the courts, and drives wedges between vulnerable communities. www.nytimes.com/2020/06/17/opinion/george-floyd-arab-muslims-racism.html
The trajectory of police violence and social control in the urban North included several decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the influx of immigrants from Ireland and Europe. Dr. Muhammad writes that the police, who were barely more than gangs with badges, rode roughshod on these immigrants at the behest of politicians and the monied class to ensure segregation into slums and availability for low-wage work. The legacy of state-sanctioned abuse of immigrants and low-income people is a throughline to the 17-year-old Cup Foods employee who called the police about a counterfeit $20 bill.
Yeah, the past is always present.
In her New York Times column “Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor argues that the collapse of politics and governance in the US leaves no other option.
What are the alternatives to protest when the state cannot perform its basic tasks and when lawless police officers rarely get even a slap on the wrist for crimes that would result in years of prison for regular citizens? If you cannot attain justice by engaging the system, then you must seek other means of changing it. That’s not a wish; it’s a premonition.
The convergence of these tragic events — a pandemic disproportionately killing black people, the failure of the state to protect black people and the preying on black people by the police — has confirmed what most of us already know: If we and those who stand with us do not mobilize in our own defense, then no official entity ever will. Young black people must endure the contusions caused by rubber bullets or the acrid burn of tear gas because government has abandoned us. Black Lives Matter only because we will make it so.
This is not new in our history. After World War II, city-dwelling African-Americans saw the contradictions in a society that put a man on the moon, while allowing rats to maul black children in their cribs at night. The federal government underwrote the substandard housing that African-Americans were consigned to because of residential segregation. Everywhere African-Americans looked, the state was not only impervious to their suffering but an accessory to the crime. This was the source of the black urban uprisings that swept cities around the country in the 1960s, the same era as the civil rights movement in the South. www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/george-floyd-minneapolis.html?
People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave. Assata Shakur