From Black Skeptics Los Angeles
Historically, black churches have provided refuge from white supremacist subjugation and violence, while also being premier targets for white terrorism. Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal was a sterling example of this. Founded in 1816 by black parishioners who broke from the racist leadership of the white Methodist Episcopal Church, Emanuel AME was a forerunner for radical activist leadership. In July 1822 founder Denmark Vesey and five others were executed for organizing what would have been the largest slave insurrection in American history. The church was subsequently burned down by white supremacists then rebuilt in 1834, providing a vehicle for cultural events, political solidarity and civil rights organizing.
The massacre of nine Emanuel leaders and members by a white terrorist is a brutal reminder of the towering role community churches play in the lives of African Americans who are still not considered human nearly two centuries after the foiled Vesey revolt. It is also an indictment of the nation’s spineless leadership on gun control and the authoritarian sway of the NRA lobby. In his chilling message to his victims, the 21 year-old gunman (yet another addition to the swollen ranks of young white male mass murderers) allegedly said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country—and you have to go”, evoking the nativist Birth of a Nation and Tea Party rhetoric that has been used to justify the lynchings of black people from the early 20th century to the present. While Charleston is a hotbed of white supremacist and KKK activity, most terrorist assaults on black lives are within the province of state sanctioned violence. The loss of vibrant community members and activists (a librarian, state senator and coach among them) is a heartrending outrage and yet another example of the violent myth of “Millennial” post-racialism.
By Sikivu Hutchinson, from The Feminist Wire
In Alice Walker’s short story “The Flowers” a little girl happens upon the decomposing body of a lynching victim while she is out picking flowers. Walker contrasts the light tranquility of the girl’s walk with the savagery of her discovery; suggesting that to be a black child is to never be shielded from the “adult” horrors of racist dehumanization. As the girl lays down her wreath of flowers Walker’s narrator declares that “the summer was over”. Summer’s metaphoric end signifies the brutality of a segregated nation in which black children are already othered, racialized, and criminalized in the pools, parks and recreational spaces that define white childhood innocence.
The videotaped assault and sexual harassment of 14 year-old Dajerria Becton by a rampaging white police officer after a pool party in McKinney, Texas makes it clear that it continues to be open season on black women and girls. In the video officer Eric Casebolt grabs, straddles and violently restrains the young woman while she is lying face down on the ground in a bikini. Ignoring her cries of pain and anxiety, he sadistically sits on her back while handcuffing her. Casebolt then pulls a gun on a few young people who attempt to intervene. Some of the good white citizens of McKinney have reportedly praised Casebolt’s thuggery.
The assault of Becton is an enraging reminder of the particular brand of sexual terrorism black women routinely experienced in the Jim Crow South at the hands of white law enforcement and ordinary white citizens. In her important book, At the Dark End of the Street, Danielle McGuire chronicles how institutionalized sexual violence informed black women’s civil and human rights resistance. Even as they were eclipsed in the mainstream civil rights movement by charismatic black male leaders, black women activists like Ida B. Wells, Recy Taylor, Claudette Colvin and Endesha Mae Holland drew on their experiences with sexual terrorism to galvanize black women organizers around the nexus of gender, race and class apartheid.
The McKinney incident underscores how even within the context of “recreation”, “normative” gender boundaries that automatically “feminize” young white women do not exist for young black women. Little black girls can never occupy the space of carefree, feminine innocence that little white girls expect as their birthright. They can never rely on the damsel in distress image to “rescue” them from American-as-apple pie state violence. Continue reading “Police Criminals and the Brutalization of Black Girls”
By Corvalis Cohen
There are quite a few social and political issues I have seen that really bother me. I find these to be issues mainly because of their context. These issues are often used to spin “minorities” or any opposing political party in a negative light. They are also used subjectively to push personal agendas rather than facts and actual topics. They mostly tie into one another, which is why I believe they all need to be addressed. Here are a few of those issues:
My first issue is the repetition of biased or false information in some political stances. I find that right wing and conservative speakers often repeat false or biased information. For example, some use surveys with small selective groups to provide a biased result in order to prove a point and possibly spread misinformation. This strategy takes advantage of an average person who most likely does not have any background information on the topic. They will learn this information from what they believe to be a factual source, when it is actually heavily biased and selectively pulls information to help prove conservatives’ point instead of what the information was meant to reflect. This biased manipulation of information causes many misconceptions and misguided views among people today.
Another issue I have is religion’s placement in political and supposedly professional environments. I find that religion is often used as a weapon or is relied on too heavily for guidance in areas it should not be, such as politics. I’ve seen many moments of this during Continue reading “Toxic Political Spin: A 9th Grade Atheist Freethinker Speaks”