The Week in Racism 7/5-7/12

White supremacy is a complex social phenomenon comprising actions, beliefs, and habits that enforce an artificial hierarchy of racial order that places white people at the apex, and all other races beneath them. One of the primary manifestations of white supremacy is racism-a system of oppression that concentrates the overwhelming majority of social, political, and economic power in the hands of white people and simultaneously enforces cultural norms and economic policies that disenfranchise, marginalize, and oppress People of Color while also downplaying, dismissing, or outright erasing their achievements and accomplishments. The roots of white supremacy and racism in the United States can be traced back to the brutal invasion of this country, the genocide of the Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and the establishment of a nation designed to benefit Europeans at the expense of everyone else.  Today, white supremacy and racism continue to be firmly enmeshed in USAmerican society, with no corner of our culture immune to their pernicious effects. Here are some of the links and articles I’ve read in the past week, with subject matter ranging from stories about the effects of the twin ills of white supremacy and racism on politics and culture to tales of their victims or the beneficiaries:

Many conservatives believe that prominent African-Americans like President Obama, Al Sharpton, and various Black Lives Matter activists espouse anti-police rhetoric that has contributed to a rise in anti-police sentiment, which in turn has made the lives of law enforcement officials increasingly dangerous. Uh-uh. Not so much, bc

Police have been safer under Obama administration than every president in 35 years: analysis

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) tweeted, “Obama’s words & [Black Lives Matter]’s deeds have gotten cops killed.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed the shooting had “roots” in the “anti-white/cop events illuminated by Obama.”

But according to an analysis by the Chicago Tribune, blaming Obama or Black Live Matter activists, who began protesting shootings by police following the death of Michael Brown, isn’t supported by any of the data available. In fact, their claims are outright false.

The Officers Down Memorial Page paints a different picture than conservatives would have the public believe. The site tracks law enforcement officers murdered in the line of duty in real time and shows an average of 101 police officers deliberately killed each year under the Reagan administration. Under George H.W. Bush that number fell to 90, to 81 under Clinton and 72 deaths per year under George W. Bush.

As for the Obama administration, that number has continued to drop. The average number of police murdered during his presidency has fallen to an average 62 deaths each year through 2015. Looking at projections for 2016, that number stays the same.

There are so few officers being killed intentionally that just the Dallas shootings skew the data showing a 44 percent increase. Without the murders this week, the year-over-year rise would only have been 17 percent.


 Serena Williams Uses Historic Wimbledon Win To Fight For Social Justice

“I don’t think that the answer is to continue to shoot our young black men in the United States,” she said, as reported by Ben Rothenberg.

I feel anyone in my color in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I’m thinking, Do I have to call them and tell them, ‘Don’t go outside. If you get in your car, it might be the last time I see you.’

That is something that I think is of great concern, because it will be devastating. They’re very good kids. I don’t think that the answer is to continue to shoot our young black men in the United States. It’s just unfortunate. Or just black people in general.

Also, obviously, violence is not the answer of solving it. The shooting in Dallas was very sad. No one deserves to lose their life, doesn’t matter what color they are, where they’re from. We’re all human. We have to learn that we have to love one another. It’s going to take a lot of education and a lot of work, I think, to get to that point.

But I think, in general, the entire situation is extremely sad, especially for someone like me. It’s something that is very painful to see happening.

She didn’t stop her pleas for equality there, though. Serena also spoke up about the importance of being a role model, and how she was able to achieve her dreams despite coming from a poor family on the streets of Compton.

Then, she once again reminded everyone not to look down on female athletes just because they’re women. She wants for women in sports to be treated with just as much respect as the men in sports are.

I’ve been given such a great opportunity, I’ve been given so much talent. I’ve been put in a position where I can inspire females, ladies, and men as well. Anyone, any kid out there that wants to be something, has dreams.

I’ve had great dreams. I didn’t come from any money or anything, but I did have a dream and I did have hope. That’s really all you need.

We shouldn’t put any female athlete in a box. Why do we have to be limited to just female athletes? We all work really hard. We just want to be known as just athletes.

This was in-line with what she had said earlier in the week, when she defended equal prize money (again) and said she wanted to be known as one of the best athletes of all time, not just one of the best female athletes.


Man who witnessed Alton Sterling’s death sues Baton Rouge police for stealing surveillance video without warrant, locking him in car for four hours (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

The convenience store owner who captured Alton Sterling’s death on video said police stole the surveillance video from his store, took his cellphone and locked him in a car for four hours.

Abdullah Muflahi, who owns the Baton Rouge Triple S Food Mart where Sterling was killed on July 5, claims that police confiscated his phone and locked him in the car, in a lawsuit filed with the Baton Rouge district court.

Sterling, a 37-year-old black father of five, was tackled and wrestled onto the hood of a car, then the pavement, by two police officers around 12:35 a.m. The officers fired five shots at Sterling, who was hit once in the chest and once in the back.

In a 42-second cellphone video taken by Muflahi, one of the two officers takes a gun from Sterling’s right pocket, despite earlier reports that the man had pulled the gun on the officers.

According to the lawsuit, police took surveillance equipment and video from the Triple S Food Mart without a warrant, as well as Muflahi’s cellphone with the video of the shooting.

Well I don’t know about readers, but I simply can NOT trust the account of Muflahi, bc the police in the United States are all filled with the utmost integrity and decency. They would never lie or deceive members of the public. They would never engage in any immoral behavior or duplicitous actions. And certainly tomfoolery like this guy claims they engaged in is beneath them. The police are paragons of morality. They simply would never do such things.

(scale of one-to-ten…how convincing was that?)


11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US

A fundamental, but very challenging part of my work is moving white people from an individual understanding of racism — i.e. only some people are racist and those people are bad — to a structural understanding.

A structural understanding recognizes racism as a default system that institutionalizes an unequal distribution of resources and power between white people and people of color. This system is historic, taken for granted, deeply embedded, and it works to the benefit of whites.

The two most effective beliefs that prevent us (whites) from seeing racism as a system are 1) that racists are bad people, and 2) that racism is conscious dislike.

If we are well-intended and do not consciously dislike people of color, we cannot be racist. This is why it is so common for white people to cite their friends and family members as evidence of their lack of racism.

However, when you understand racism as a system of structured relations into which we are all socialized, you understand that intentions are irrelevant. And when you understand how socialization works, you understand that much of racial bias is unconscious.

Negative messages about people of color circulate all around us. While having friends of color is better than not having them, it doesn’t change the overall system or prevent racism from surfacing in our relationships. The societal default is white superiority, and we are fed a steady diet of it 24/7. To not actively seek to interrupt racism is to internalize and accept it.

As part of my work I teach, lead and participate in affinity groups, facilitate workshops, and mentor other whites on recognizing and interrupting racism in our lives.

As a facilitator, I am in a position to give white people feedback on how their unintentional racism is manifesting. This has allowed me to repeatedly observe several common patterns of response. The most common by far is outrage: “How dare you suggest that I could have said or done something racist?”

Given the dominant conceptualization of racism as individual acts of cruelty, it follows that only terrible people who don’t like people of color can commit it.

While this conceptualization is misinformed, it functions beautifully to protect racism by making it impossible to engage in the necessary dialogue and self-reflection that can lead to change.

Outrage is often followed by righteous indignation about the manner in which the feedback was given. I have discovered (as I am sure have countless people of color) that there is apparently an unspoken set of rules for how to give white people feedback on racism.

The Rules of Engagement

After years of working with my fellow whites, I have found that the only way to give feedback correctly is not to give it at all. Thus, the first rule is cardinal:

1. Do not give me feedback on my racism under any circumstances. If you do, you break the cardinal rule:

2. Proper tone is crucial – feedback must be given calmly. If there is any emotion in the feedback, the feedback is invalid and does not have to be considered.

3. There must be trust between us. You must trust that I am in no way racist before you can give me feedback on my racism.

4. Our relationship must be issue-free. If there are issues between us, you cannot give me feedback on racism.

5. Feedback must be given immediately, otherwise it will be discounted because it was not given sooner.

Read the rest at the linky.


Two Memphis Police Officers Suspended Over Racist Snapchat 

Also on Thursday, an officer in Memphis, Tennessee, shared a photo on Snapchat that makes all too clear the connection between racism and police shootings: an image of his white hand aiming a gun at a black running man emoji, local Fox News affiliate Fox13 reported.

“I’m angry, frustrated and disappointed that we continue to go down this path,” Memphis Police Department interim director Michael Rallings said in a press conference. “We cannot survive if we do not work together. We are not your enemy, we are your ally.”

While no word has been released on the officer’s name or motive, it’s hard to imagine the picture wasn’t related to the recent deaths of two African-American men — Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on Wednesday and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday — at the hands of police.

“The image is disgusting and will not be tolerated,” Rallings said. But the officer responsible for the snap, as well as another officer who reposted the picture to Twitter, haven’t been permanently removed from the MPD; rather, they’ve been suspended, with pay — a fact that has some on social media bristling.

Oh, so the officers are just on vacation. Good to know that posting racist imagery gets you paid time-off!


Racism in Radio Advertising

Q: The Jim Crow Museum was recently asked about radio advertising that promoted racist items in the early radio days. The question was asked by the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

A: Here is what we found.

During the heyday of radio, many advertisers sponsored entire shows. Advertisers sponsored dozens of shows that featured minstrel type performances. For example, Rinsol, Lever Brothers, Pepsodent, and Campbell’s Soup sponsored the Amos ‘n’ Andy show from the 1930s to the 1950s. The Pick and Pat show was sponsored by Dills Best and Model Smoking tobacco. Postum sponsored the Beulah show, which initially was voiced by a white male actor Marlin Hurt. Molasses and January were featured performers on the Dr. Pepper Parade show. The Jack Benny show, which was sponsored by Jell-O, sometimes featured Eddie Anderson, playing African-American valet Rochester, with blackface performers in skits.

Fairbanks Gold Dust created “The Gold Dust Show” (also known as “The Gold Dust Twins”) featuring “Goldy” and “Dusty,” played by Harvey Hindemeyer and Earle Tuckerman, in blackface. The show was on the air in the 1920s; the Gold Dust twins would sing;

“light novelty numbers, often in Negro dialect. Hear Dem Bells was a favorite. In publicity stills, they posed in burnt cork and kinked hair. Their catchphrase, opening and closing, as an invitation to let them “brighten the corner where you live” (On The Air pg. 285).

Unfortunately, most radio shows from the 1920s are lost due to the expensive and cumbersome recording process. I was able to find one recording of the Gold Dust twins as they held a sort of reunion on the Behind the Mike show in 1940. (Gold Dust Twins segment starts at 15:55; Sing song at about 16:30-19:50) a/behind-the-mike/stoogedom-1940-10-27

Since there were hundreds of items with racist caricatures and racist names on products, such as Picaninny Freeze, were these products advertised on radio as well?

I could not answer this question because I could not find radio ads for many products, but that does not mean there were not any. For instance, Chlorinol Baking Soda had a print ad featuring three black children on a boat with the quote “We are going to use Chlorinol and be like de white nigger.” There may have been radio ads about Chlorinol using the same quote, but I was not able to find any. The same is true for “Picaninny Freeze” ice cream, “Pickaninny Peppermints” from Whitman’s Chocolates, and other products. I was not able to find radio ads, but they may have run on radio programs in the 1920s and not have been recorded.

I hope friends of the Museum will know of some sources where we can find old radio ads that used racist words and slogans.

However, having a blatant racial product name or a racist tagline is not the only form of racial advertising. Products including Jell-O, Maxwell House, Rexall, Alka-Seltzer, Post, and Pepsodent used racist caricatures or people in blackface in their advertisements.


Rudy Giuliani Tells Black Parents to ‘Teach Children to Be Respectful to the Police’

“There’s too much violence in the black community,” Giuliani said. “If you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police, and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police, the real danger to them 99 out of 100 times … are other black kids who are going to kill them. That’s the way they’re going to die.”

As the Washington Post notes, this is not the first time Giuliani has stated such views, claiming in a 2014 interview on NBC’s Meet the Pressthat “93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks.”

Upon fact-checking the claim, the Washington Post ruled that the statistic used lacked significant context, saying that the statement was misleading.

Giuliani acknowledged Sunday that “whites have to realize that African-American men have a fear, and boys have a fear, of being confronted by the police because of some of these incidents,” but when CBS’ John Dickerson pointed out that those “messages seem to conflict with one another,” the former mayor swiftly countered, Politico notes.

“Of course, they don’t. If I were a black father and I was concerned with the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say, ‘[Be] respectful of the police, most of them are good, some can be very bad, and just be very careful.’ I’d also say, ‘Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because, Son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police,’” Giuliani said.

And here, ladies and gentlemen we see, in his natural habitat, the “Racist Asswipe who brings up black on black crime as a means of distracting from the BLM message of comprehensive police reform in the United States”. Watch as he spews racist stereotype after stereotype. His fractal wrongness is truly a wonder to behold.


Stop Punishing Black Children Just Because They’re Black

Schools should be held to higher standards than students. If schools irresponsibly impose discipline practices, then those rules (or leaders) should be expelled. However, when it comes to discipline, we give students the cane and schools a slap on the wrist.

“I’ll say up front: I am not here to offer any hard-and-fast rules or directives,” said Secretary of Education John King in prepared remarks for the National Charter Schools Conference. Careful not to offend the charter school community, which upholds autonomy as sacred, King added, “But I believe the goal for all schools should be to create a school culture that motivates students to want to do the best.”

Suspension and expulsion don’t work. Their elimination is the solution; all other “improvements” are effectively pain management. The racial disparities in school discipline reflect the cultural appetite to punish black children. The only way districts, schools, unions, charter leaders and Congress will find effective alternatives will be to take away those ineffective disciplinary practices.

King and the Obama administration must properly account for the deep belief society has in kicking students—particularly black students—out of school in order to increase graduation rates and reduce crime as part of the president’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative (pdf). A proper accounting means eliminating suspension and expulsion first. Mirroring the criminal-justice system, black youths are targets for punishment in school. Practices of expulsion and suspension are tightly stitched to zero-tolerance policing and to parents’ faith in corporal punishment. All are outmoded cultural practices that don’t work.

Our deep belief in punishing black students is the reason King must do more than make friendly suggestions to the charter sector and the rest of the nation’s public schools.

Blacks are more likely to be suspended for nebulous, nonviolent offenses like dress-code violations and tardiness. When students are punished for more objective, violent offenses, schools suspend black students 88 percent of the time, compared with 72 percent for white students, according to a 2009 study conducted in Missouri.

Even black toddlers aren’t safe. According to the U.S. Department of Education, black children (pdf) represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment in 2012, but 48 percent of preschoolers receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. As students move from elementary to middle school, the risk of suspension for blacks increases (pdf) by 18 points, compared with about 5 points for whites, according to a report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

When the Obama administration issued guidance in 2014 to states and districts to improve school climates, the Education Department and Department of Justice took aim at misuses of suspension and expulsion. “Positive discipline policies can help create safer learning environments without relying heavily on suspensions and expulsions,” said then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

In a joint statement by the Education and Justice departments, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder alluded to Department of Energy data (pdf) showing that while “black students represent 16 percent of student enrollment, they represent 27 percent of students referred to law enforcement and 31 percent of students subjected to a school-related arrest. In comparison, white students represent 51 percent of enrollment, 41 percent of students referred to law enforcement, and 39 percent of those arrested.

“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” Holder wrote.

Suspension and expulsion are patently bad for the individual as well as the community he or she is thrown out of. Out-of-school discipline takes away precious learning time, which reduces students’ chances of graduation. Expelling kids just moves students’ unresolved problems to another school (if they don’t end up dropping out).

The Week in Racism 7/5-7/12