Gawker editorial: "This isn't about ethics in journalism"

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A few days ago, Gawker posted a controversial and unethical article that outed a CFO who sought consensual sexual relations with a gay porn star. The CFO in question is not a politician with a history of crafting anti-LGBT legislation. Nor is he a renowned pastor famous for his anti-LGBT screeds. Outing someone in those circumstance is warranted. But this guy did nothing immoral or unethical.

In came Gawker’s managing partners who voted to remove the post (which is one reason why this post has no link to it; the other reason being HEY, even though this is the internet and the article has probably been saved somewhere, given the harm done, I’m not going to participate in spreading that tabloid bullshit). This was apparently an unprecedented move, as editorial was under the impression they had the final say on stories and they were pissed that the partners would overrule them. Virtually every member of Gawker editorial leadership protested removing the post.

Continue reading “Gawker editorial: "This isn't about ethics in journalism"”

Gawker editorial: "This isn't about ethics in journalism"
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Gawker editorial: “This isn’t about ethics in journalism”

00

A few days ago, Gawker posted a controversial and unethical article that outed a CFO who sought consensual sexual relations with a gay porn star. The CFO in question is not a politician with a history of crafting anti-LGBT legislation. Nor is he a renowned pastor famous for his anti-LGBT screeds. Outing someone in those circumstance is warranted. But this guy did nothing immoral or unethical.

In came Gawker’s managing partners who voted to remove the post (which is one reason why this post has no link to it; the other reason being HEY, even though this is the internet and the article has probably been saved somewhere, given the harm done, I’m not going to participate in spreading that tabloid bullshit). This was apparently an unprecedented move, as editorial was under the impression they had the final say on stories and they were pissed that the partners would overrule them. Virtually every member of Gawker editorial leadership protested removing the post.

Continue reading “Gawker editorial: “This isn’t about ethics in journalism””

Gawker editorial: “This isn’t about ethics in journalism”

Michael Davis: Manara's Spiderwoman #1 cover is "just" an image

Arist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive Michael Davis offers his opinions on the ongoing shitstorm at Mavel over Milo Manara’s alternate cover to Spiderwoman #1. Before I get to his comments, I want to address a few things he said at the onset of his post:

I admit I’m a bit of a girly man.

Most of my friends are women. Women raised me, I collect Barbies, and my favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. I tend to see things from a woman’s point of view, and I’m convinced in another life I was a woman.

I once attended a Barbie convention in—of all places—Georgia, and had the best time. Yuk it up fanboy, and when you’ve had a couple of real good belly laughs, think about this: my Barbie collection is a helluva conversation starter. I have yet to meet a woman who did not think a man who shows a bit of his feminine side was not damn sexy.

Feel free to engage in what for some, will undoubtedly be a jest fest filled with gay, limp dick, and sissy boy witticisms. I’ll spare you the trouble of debating whether or not I’m gay. I am.

To be honest, I would like people to NOT do any of that.  Don’t shame people because they enjoy things you don’t.  Don’t demean another human being or use the sexuality of others as an insult because they don’t conform to your archaic notions of proper behavior of the sexes.  Courtesy of our views on gender, a man who enjoys Barbies or expresses what he deems his ‘feminine side’ is viewed as unmanly.  As if there’s a definition of man that all men are bound by, and that definition excludes certain activities and views.  One of the things I learned after becoming a feminist is that gender roles are stifling.    They prevent the full expression of human nature, by binding us to social constructs on what constitutes proper behavior and they do so for no discernible reason.  No one is harmed by a man enjoying Barbies.  If a man wants to express his feminine side (leaving aside the idea that there’s a “side” to express; I think whatever feminine qualities Davis is referring to are human qualities that exist in all of us to varying degrees), let him.  Who is harmed?  No one.

Digression over.

As a man who embraces his feminine side, I’ve been watching with mild amusement the Spider-Woman/Milo Manara brouhaha. Here’s my two cents: Milo Manara is going to be Milo Manara, and what you see is what you get. Don’t be mad at Milo for doing what he does, that’s just silly. You want to be mad at something, be mad at Marvel.

I’m convinced being mad at Marvel will make a difference. I’m sure of it because I’m also sure Marvel cares. Marvel cares that without even trying they have usurped any and all post-San Diego Con conversations. They care about the massive amount of press surrounding the book. Press, sure as shit, that will lead to sold out multiple printings and mucho bucks for Mr. Mouse and company.

By and large, I agree with Davis here.  Marvel commissioned Milo Manara to create the alternate cover to Spiderwoman #1, knowing full well that his work is erotically charged. That they did so on a book specifically marketed at women, as part of a push on their part to appeal to women readers, places a huge amount of responsibility for the crappy cover on the shoulders of Marvel.  How they could think this decision was somehow congruent with appealing to women is beyond me.  It’s a great example of being tone deaf.  Marvel has been criticized (and let’s be clear here, it’s not just Marvel, they’re just one in a long list of examples) for the lack of diversity in its output.  This attempt to appeal to female readers is a laudable effort at increasing the diversity of the books they produce.   Diversity is not the only area where Marvel has been criticized though-many people, a lot of them women, have criticized Marvel for the depiction of women in their comics.  From the sexualization of female characters to the sexual objectification of same, Marvel has had (and continues to have) a problem with the depiction of women in comics.  It seems they decided to pay attention to one issue women have been criticizing them for, but downplaying or even ignoring one of the other big issues women have been vocal about.   The cover to Spiderwoman #1 is an example of sexual objectification and sexualization of female characters.  That sends a mixed message to readers (remember, women are the readers Marvel is ostensibly reaching out to with its push to create more female headlined books):  “We’re listening to you.  Sometimes.”

“Your concerns are valid. Except when they’re not.”

This conflicting message doesn’t negate Marvel’s recent track record (they currently have 8 books with women as the lead characters, with more on the way very soon, and more, IIRC in the pipeline).  It does, however raise doubts as to how much the company understand the concerns raised by women.  Davis goes on to say:

On Tumblr, Tom Brevoort, the senior vice president of publishing for Marvel Comics, said “the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.”

I like Tom, but as statements go, that’s pretty lame. It’s the ‘you have a right to be upset over something that upsets you’ line. It’s a non-statement, a safe company line and who could blame Tom for taking it?

Then he added that Manara has been “working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say ‘Manara cover,’ his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.”

In other words: “Yeah, we knew what we were going to get when we hired him, so deal with it.”

Whoa! Gangsta!

Frankly, I’m impressed that Tom came out like that. You can’t win a war when you’re fighting an army of ‘what I think.’ It’s impossible, so why not just tell the truth and be out?

Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion and seldom, if ever, will someone’s point of view change on subjects like this. I’m the last person (girl that I am) to reject what any woman sees as offensive but (yeah, but) all this for a drawing?

I was largely with Davis up to this point.  Now he veers off into the all too common isolationist view:  this is just a drawing.  Yes, it’s “just” a drawing, but it’s a drawing that does not exist in isolation. It’s not just this drawing.  It’s this drawing plus Greg Land’s cover.  It’s this drawing plus Greg Land’s interiors.  It’s this drawing plus the sexualized depiction of women in comics.  It’s this drawing plus the problem of T&A in comics.  If it was “just this image”, I doubt the outcry against it would be as huge as it has been.  It’s not just this image.  It’s this image set against a backdrop of the ongoing problem of women in comics being treated as sexual objects, rather than fully realized characters with agency (which itself is set against the backdrop of how society treats women in general).

Davis goes on to say something even more wrong headed, and displays an amazing level of ignorance:

Unless I’m missing something, Marvel is going to make a grip on this, then, like always, the subject will be shelved. That is until the next image of an imaginary character with impossible powers is put into a pose that makes some people upset. Then it’s outrage time again.

I get it.

What I don’t get is where was this level of outrage, this level of media coverage and broadcast saturation was when, not long ago, a woman was threatened with rape because she dared critique an artist’s depiction of some other comic book drawing.

That you didn’t see it means you weren’t paying attention, because there was quite a bit of media attention paid to the rape threats Janelle Asselin received because she criticized the cover to Teen Titans #1 (that’s five different links to media criticism of the rape threats against Asselin).  People rightfully called out that offensive, misogynistic bullshit. Aside from how wrong Davis was about that, he is using the rape threats against Asselin to change the subject because he doesn’t think it’s a big deal that Manara’s work sexually objectifies women.  For someone who claims such affinity with women, he is clearly not listening to their concerns in this case.

Do better Davis. Do better.

 

Michael Davis: Manara's Spiderwoman #1 cover is "just" an image

Michael Davis: Manara’s Spiderwoman #1 cover is “just” an image

Arist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive Michael Davis offers his opinions on the ongoing shitstorm at Mavel over Milo Manara’s alternate cover to Spiderwoman #1. Before I get to his comments, I want to address a few things he said at the onset of his post:

I admit I’m a bit of a girly man.

Most of my friends are women. Women raised me, I collect Barbies, and my favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. I tend to see things from a woman’s point of view, and I’m convinced in another life I was a woman.

I once attended a Barbie convention in—of all places—Georgia, and had the best time. Yuk it up fanboy, and when you’ve had a couple of real good belly laughs, think about this: my Barbie collection is a helluva conversation starter. I have yet to meet a woman who did not think a man who shows a bit of his feminine side was not damn sexy.

Feel free to engage in what for some, will undoubtedly be a jest fest filled with gay, limp dick, and sissy boy witticisms. I’ll spare you the trouble of debating whether or not I’m gay. I am.

To be honest, I would like people to NOT do any of that.  Don’t shame people because they enjoy things you don’t.  Don’t demean another human being or use the sexuality of others as an insult because they don’t conform to your archaic notions of proper behavior of the sexes.  Courtesy of our views on gender, a man who enjoys Barbies or expresses what he deems his ‘feminine side’ is viewed as unmanly.  As if there’s a definition of man that all men are bound by, and that definition excludes certain activities and views.  One of the things I learned after becoming a feminist is that gender roles are stifling.    They prevent the full expression of human nature, by binding us to social constructs on what constitutes proper behavior and they do so for no discernible reason.  No one is harmed by a man enjoying Barbies.  If a man wants to express his feminine side (leaving aside the idea that there’s a “side” to express; I think whatever feminine qualities Davis is referring to are human qualities that exist in all of us to varying degrees), let him.  Who is harmed?  No one.

Digression over.

As a man who embraces his feminine side, I’ve been watching with mild amusement the Spider-Woman/Milo Manara brouhaha. Here’s my two cents: Milo Manara is going to be Milo Manara, and what you see is what you get. Don’t be mad at Milo for doing what he does, that’s just silly. You want to be mad at something, be mad at Marvel.

I’m convinced being mad at Marvel will make a difference. I’m sure of it because I’m also sure Marvel cares. Marvel cares that without even trying they have usurped any and all post-San Diego Con conversations. They care about the massive amount of press surrounding the book. Press, sure as shit, that will lead to sold out multiple printings and mucho bucks for Mr. Mouse and company.

By and large, I agree with Davis here.  Marvel commissioned Milo Manara to create the alternate cover to Spiderwoman #1, knowing full well that his work is erotically charged. That they did so on a book specifically marketed at women, as part of a push on their part to appeal to women readers, places a huge amount of responsibility for the crappy cover on the shoulders of Marvel.  How they could think this decision was somehow congruent with appealing to women is beyond me.  It’s a great example of being tone deaf.  Marvel has been criticized (and let’s be clear here, it’s not just Marvel, they’re just one in a long list of examples) for the lack of diversity in its output.  This attempt to appeal to female readers is a laudable effort at increasing the diversity of the books they produce.   Diversity is not the only area where Marvel has been criticized though-many people, a lot of them women, have criticized Marvel for the depiction of women in their comics.  From the sexualization of female characters to the sexual objectification of same, Marvel has had (and continues to have) a problem with the depiction of women in comics.  It seems they decided to pay attention to one issue women have been criticizing them for, but downplaying or even ignoring one of the other big issues women have been vocal about.   The cover to Spiderwoman #1 is an example of sexual objectification and sexualization of female characters.  That sends a mixed message to readers (remember, women are the readers Marvel is ostensibly reaching out to with its push to create more female headlined books):  “We’re listening to you.  Sometimes.”

“Your concerns are valid. Except when they’re not.”

This conflicting message doesn’t negate Marvel’s recent track record (they currently have 8 books with women as the lead characters, with more on the way very soon, and more, IIRC in the pipeline).  It does, however raise doubts as to how much the company understand the concerns raised by women.  Davis goes on to say:

On Tumblr, Tom Brevoort, the senior vice president of publishing for Marvel Comics, said “the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.”

I like Tom, but as statements go, that’s pretty lame. It’s the ‘you have a right to be upset over something that upsets you’ line. It’s a non-statement, a safe company line and who could blame Tom for taking it?

Then he added that Manara has been “working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say ‘Manara cover,’ his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.”

In other words: “Yeah, we knew what we were going to get when we hired him, so deal with it.”

Whoa! Gangsta!

Frankly, I’m impressed that Tom came out like that. You can’t win a war when you’re fighting an army of ‘what I think.’ It’s impossible, so why not just tell the truth and be out?

Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion and seldom, if ever, will someone’s point of view change on subjects like this. I’m the last person (girl that I am) to reject what any woman sees as offensive but (yeah, but) all this for a drawing?

I was largely with Davis up to this point.  Now he veers off into the all too common isolationist view:  this is just a drawing.  Yes, it’s “just” a drawing, but it’s a drawing that does not exist in isolation. It’s not just this drawing.  It’s this drawing plus Greg Land’s cover.  It’s this drawing plus Greg Land’s interiors.  It’s this drawing plus the sexualized depiction of women in comics.  It’s this drawing plus the problem of T&A in comics.  If it was “just this image”, I doubt the outcry against it would be as huge as it has been.  It’s not just this image.  It’s this image set against a backdrop of the ongoing problem of women in comics being treated as sexual objects, rather than fully realized characters with agency (which itself is set against the backdrop of how society treats women in general).

Davis goes on to say something even more wrong headed, and displays an amazing level of ignorance:

Unless I’m missing something, Marvel is going to make a grip on this, then, like always, the subject will be shelved. That is until the next image of an imaginary character with impossible powers is put into a pose that makes some people upset. Then it’s outrage time again.

I get it.

What I don’t get is where was this level of outrage, this level of media coverage and broadcast saturation was when, not long ago, a woman was threatened with rape because she dared critique an artist’s depiction of some other comic book drawing.

That you didn’t see it means you weren’t paying attention, because there was quite a bit of media attention paid to the rape threats Janelle Asselin received because she criticized the cover to Teen Titans #1 (that’s five different links to media criticism of the rape threats against Asselin).  People rightfully called out that offensive, misogynistic bullshit. Aside from how wrong Davis was about that, he is using the rape threats against Asselin to change the subject because he doesn’t think it’s a big deal that Manara’s work sexually objectifies women.  For someone who claims such affinity with women, he is clearly not listening to their concerns in this case.

Do better Davis. Do better.

 

Michael Davis: Manara’s Spiderwoman #1 cover is “just” an image

Update on Avengers: Age of Ultron, a problem with the media, and IMAGE comics sees growth

Woo Hoo!  The first full frontal view of

the Vision in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron

 


 

 

Shaq wants to be a police officer.

Shaquille O’Neal has applied to be a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida, NBC reports.

The NBA veteran has played a police officer on Southlandand in Grown-Ups 2, as well as serving as a reserve police officer in Los Angeles, Miami Beach and Golden Beach, Florida over the years. In 2011, he was accused of abusing his contacts in Miami law enforcement to follow his wife when he suspected an affair.

I mention this story for a few reasons:

1- I find the obsession with celebrities in the United States to be utterly bizarre.  These are people that most of us will never meet, who have plied their talents to achieve varying degrees of fame, but at their core, they’re just as human as the rest of us.  Sure, in many cases, they have more money, more material things, and more publicity, but I just don’t understand the interest in following the lives of celebrities.  I am knocking it to a certain extent.  All too often, the trivialities in the lives of celebrities are deemed more important that ongoing civil rights violations, police militarization, violation of the rights of journalists, the ongoing treatment of immigrants, the use of drones to murder enemy combatants, the denial of climate change, the insidious attempts to inject creationism into the classrooms, and any number of other issues which impact the lives of millions of people.  By impact, I don’t just mean inconvenience.  For example:

  • The continued attempts to deny women the right to an abortion directly impact their ability to care for themselves and their families.  That contributes to poverty (among other things), which also negatively affects our economy.
  • The use of drones to kill enemies in other countries, with no trial being held, is a direct violation of human rights.
  • The opposition to marriage equality continues to be framed as an issue of “religious liberty”, yet at its heart, that is merely an excuse for bigotry.  Playing the “religious liberty” card doesn’t make bigotry disappear.  If anything it highlights the fact that some religious beliefs are harmful and should be discarded.  Why is it harmful? Oh, I dunno, bc people who play this card use it to deny basic rights to LGB individuals. To deny others their human rights is to not treat them as human.  Such dehumanization should not be tolerated in any society, let alone the so-called “exceptional” country known as the United States.
  • The ongoing examples-almost daily now-of police brutality in this country *ought* to horrify most people.  Yet far too many people support the actions of the police. These people don’t see that the increasing use of force by police departments across the country is not in proportion to the threat they face.  The use of extreme force has become commonplace, as has the presence of military equipment.  In fact, police departments across the country are increasingly adopting militaristic tactics.  All of this from people who are supposed to be ‘serving and protecting’ us, not treating civilians as enemy combatants.

These issues, and so many more *ought* to have the attention of the media, and the public consciousness far more often than they do.  Taking a look at news headlines, Facebook news feeds, or flipping through the channels on television, I know that human rights issues are covered.  I just don’t think they’re sufficiently covered, nor are they given the full analysis they deserve. What is given airtime, news coverage, or magazine stand attention is celebrity culture:  who’s dating whom, who broke up with whom, who is pregnant, who was sited somewhere, what someone was wearing and more.

Again, I’m not {completely} knocking that.  I certainly don’t want the news to  be filled to brimming with only issues of daily examples of gun violence, human rights travesties, or the continued struggle of black Americans to be viewed as fully human, but I do think that the media pays a disproportionate amount of attention to trivialities in the face of issues of far greater importance.  Yes, in some ways, they’re just feeding the desires of the public, but the media ought to do a better job balancing what people NEED to hear against what they WANT to hear.

2- (and this is a distant second, compared to my first point)- I found this story at Comicbook.com, yet the most significant link between Shaq and comic books is the movie Steela 1997 film based on the DC Comics character Steel.  Other than that, there is no tie between Shaq and comics. The news that Shaquille O’Neal wants to become a reserve police officer seems incredibly out of place on a comic book news site.

3- Tying back to my first point:  who cares? Obviously, I know that some people do, but this news amounts to “someone wants to become a police officer”.  Since when is that news?  Oh yeah, since many people in the US are obsessed with celebrities.   They don’t care if the average Joe or Jill becomes a police officer, but a celebrity?  That’s a different story.  That’s cause to perk up (or not, in some cases).

One thing that *does* interest me:  why does Shaq want to be a police officer?  I’ve begun wondering if law enforcement is attractive to authoritarian types:  those that love to have and wield power.  Those that are aggressive bullies who want to exert their power over others.  I don’t know that this is the case with Shaq.  In fact, I have no reason to suspect this, as I don’t know the man.  But I would like to know his reasons for wanting to be a police officer.  Given the abuses of power committed by an increasing number of officers in this country, I think the public is justified in knowing why an individual (no matter who they are) wants to enter the police force.

(incidentally, it may seem like a paradox that on the one hand, I’m complaining about trivial stories while blogging about pop culture, but the difference is I’m not part of the media.  It is not my job to report on the news that the public needs to hear.  The media is and *should* be held to a higher standard than a blogger.  Of course, one can look through my posting history and see how often I do talk about important issues, and realize that I do in fact, follow my own advice-while I’m interested in pop culture issues and I certainly do blog on them-this blog entry being a prime example-I also, and very often, discuss issues of human rights; remember, I’m not against discussing celebrities and pop culture-I’d just prefer a better balance from the media)

 


 

 

Image Comics h
as experienced continuous growth in the last 5 years.  More growth than Marvel or DC, who continue to dominate the comic book market.  Why is that?  Chase Magnett at Comicbook.com speculates:

I have some guesses, but they are speculation. The numbers are limited to telling us that Image is growing. Observation and experience will have to be our guide when discovering what the publisher is doing right. I believe the answer is two-fold: quality and diversity.

Image prides itself on the high quality of all of its publications. Semi-annual Image Expos are used to show off upcoming releases and the top tier talent associated with them. There are plenty of unknowns discovered there as well, but few receive the kind of attention that a popular writer like Jason Aaron or Matt Fraction does when announcing new titles. The consistent quality of a large array of titles has also helped to create an Image brand – one that assures readers they can expect Image comics to be consistently better than the standard fare.

That same array of titles is, in addition to being well crafted, also very diverse. What I mean by diverse is not limited to a single factor. The characters, stories, and settings all reflect a wide variety of experiences. Image publishes comics that can be classified as science fiction, fantasy, horror, slice of life, superhero, and a number of other genres, unlike Marvel and DC, which primarily focus on the superhero genre.

This second factor I believe to be every bit as important as the first, if not more so, because it opens the door to new readers. Readers have a variety of tastes; not everyone loves the same things. In every successful narrative medium a diverse number of types of stories can be found. Yet in comics, the majority of stories are about the same concept. Image may be attracting more readers simply by offering quality comics that are about something besides superheroes. In doing this, they are capable of not just shifting the market share, but growing the entire market.

It is estimated that in 2012 Americans spent about 10.9 billion dollars on movies and 15.4 billion dollars on video games. In 2012, Diamond sold 518 million dollars of comics to comic stores. Even accounting for digital sales and sales abroad, that number does not come close to 1 billion. Comic properties may be big business for Hollywood, but comics are still a small business. The name of the game isn’t control of the current market; it’s growing that market. No publisher is showing the same skill or efficiency in playing that game than Image Comics.

The story is not that Image is successful, but that it appears to be expanding its audience. That’s what I think these numbers are saying and, if I’m right, the rest of the industry needs to start paying attention to what Image is doing right. Comics are an inherently creative medium that is too powerful to be restricted to a small readership.

One of the strengths of Image is that they produce a diverse array of comic books.  I think they (along with lesser known comic book publishers, such as BOOM!, IDW, and Dark Horse) recognize that for comics to continue to be a successful entertainment market, they have to appeal to a wide variety of people.  To do that, one must open up the storytelling possibilities to genres other than superheroes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking cape comics.  Hell, I love them.  At the same time, I recognize that not everyone does, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to create a diverse array of titles to appeal to a diverse array of tastes.

Update on Avengers: Age of Ultron, a problem with the media, and IMAGE comics sees growth

This country needs to talk about Ferguson and more

From The Good Men Project, an article about a school district that banned the discussion of the events in Ferguson.

On Thursday, August 21, the following message was released to parents of students in Edwardsville School District 7–a district roughly 30 miles outside Ferguson, MO.

Subject: Discussion of the Ferguson/Florissant Incident

On Friday, August 15, 2014, and Monday, August 18, 2014, Dennis Cramsey, EHS Principal, and I were inundated with calls from parents complaining that some EHS teachers were biased and injecting their own opinion regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18 year-old African American student, by a Caucasian police officer in the Ferguson/Florissant community. The general consensus of parents who called was that if the administration did not get a handle on this situation, there might be violence among students occurring at EHS.

As Superintendent, I will take full responsibility for not preparing administrators and staff members how to deal with this volatile situation. As a result, on Monday afternoon, the decision was made to cease discussion of the event because of the tension, emotion, and anger surrounding the Ferguson/Florissant events.

It was not our intent to ignore the educational relevance of these events. However, we felt it was important to take the time to calm a potential situation at the high school and to prepare administrators and teachers to approach this critical issue in an objective, fact-based manner. Everyone has an opinion – the sharing of which can be polarizing. Far too many facts remain unknown, and without these facts, none of us is in the best position to moderate between opposing views.

 


 

 

20 Powerful Protest Signs That Prove America Stands with Ferguson

Here are a few:

 

 

I’m not “there”, but I’d still be pissed off and blogging about it.

It’s nice when white people understand their privilege.  Now if only more of them did.

 


 

7 Things Worth More Than a Black Person’s Life in America

This will make you madder than you probably already are, because of how true it is.

 


 

 

6 reasons America must stop ignoring its black youth.

 


 

 

What We Mean When We Say ‘Race Is a Social Construct’

 

Our notion of what constitutes “white” and what constitutes “black” is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a “Southern race” and not see the Civil War, the creation of an “Irish race” and not think of Cromwell’s ethnic cleansing, the creation of a “Jewish race” and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of “whiteness” or “blackness,” not even today. It is quite common for whites to point out that Barack Obama isn’t really “black” but “half-white.” One wonders if they would say this if Barack Obama were a notorious drug-lord.

When the liberal says “race is a social construct,” he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth. We do not go around testing the “Irish race” for intelligence or the “Southern race” for “hot-headedness.” These reasons are social. It is no more legitimate to ask “Is the black race dumber than then white race?” than it is to ask “Is the Jewish race thriftier than the Arab race?”

The strongest argument for “race” is that people who trace their ancestry back to Europe, and people who trace most of their ancestry back to sub-Saharan Africa, and people who trace most of their ancestry back to Asia, and people who trace their ancestry back to the early Americas, lived isolated from each other for long periods and have evolved different physical traits (curly hair, lighter skin, etc.)

But this theoretical definition (already fuzzy) wilts under human agency, in a real world where Kevin Garnett, Harold Ford, and Halle Berry all check “black” on the census. (Same deal for “Hispanic.”) The reasons for that take us right back to fact of race as a social construct. And an American-centered social construct. Are the Ainu of Japan a race? Should we delineate darker South Asians from lighter South Asians on the basis of race? Did the Japanese who invaded China consider the Chinese the same “race?”

Andrew writes that liberals should stop saying “truly stupid things like race has no biological element.” I agree. Race clearly has a biological element — because we have awarded it one. Race is no more dependent on skin color today than it was on “Frankishness” in Emerson’s day. Over history of race has taken geography, language, and vague impressions as its basis.

“Race,” writes the great historian Nell Irvin Painter, “is an idea, not a fact.” Indeed. Race does not need biology. Race only requires some good guys with big guns looking for a reason.

 


 

 

The complicity cost of racial inclusion

 


 

Ferguson fallout: Black Americans grapple with victim-blaming

 

When pol
ice in Ferguson, Missouri, released a video showing Michael Brown allegedly robbing a store and shoving around a clerk shortly before the unarmed teen was shot dead in a seemingly unrelated confrontation with an officer, many accused the department of engaging in deliberate character assassination — a tactic that some rights advocates say is commonly used against African-American victims of excessive force in an attempt to shift blame from perpetrators to victims.

Hassane A. Muhammad, chief operating officer for Black Lawyers for Justice, called the decision to go public with the footage an act of “visual provocation” that played into old stereotypes of black men as violent.

“It’s a common playbook used by police to criminalize black victims of excessive force,” said Muhammad, whose group has been active in the local protests that erupted — and at times turned violent — after the killing of 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9 by police officer Darren Wilson. 

“Instead of giving us an ounce of justice, they would rather send in troops and spend taxpayer money to defend one white man,” Muhammad said. “It shows you how much value they place on his life versus Brown.”

Rights advocates say such character assassination operates on a broad level, through public discourse that lends credence to the victim-blaming theory of poverty or in the idea that lower-income communities are responsible for their conditions because of poor decision-making.

What connects the Brown shooting with cases such as that of Trayvon Martin — an unarmed black teen shot dead by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Florida in 2012 — is that both shooters perceived a risk, said Yohuru Williams, a professor of history at Fairfield University

 


 

 

Why the Feds are investigating Ferguson

 

This country needs to talk about Ferguson and more

Voting in Ferguson, a televangelist lies, and more

GOP Calls Ferguson Voter Registration Drive ‘Disgusting’; Terrified Community Will Start Voting

The executive director of Missouri’s Republican party could barely contain his rage when he learned that one of the facets of recent protests in Ferguson has been a voter registration drive. His reaction betrays a sense of entitlement that comes from living in an age of political apathy: citizens shouldn’t be allowed to vote for change when they see injustice in the world, that isn’t “fair.” Have we gone mad? That’s exactly what voters are supposed to do.
Like many economically distressed communities around the country, Ferguson’s voter turnout for the last few elections has been dismal. Just 12% of residents bothered to vote one way or the other in the last election. It may explain why Ferguson’s politicians are mostly white and mostly out-of-touch with the residents.


 

Right-Wing Media Continue To Decry Ferguson Residents Registering To Vote

Breitbart: “Liberal Activists” Are Promoting Voter Registration Drives That Local GOP Calls “Disgusting.” On August 18, Breitbart quoted the Missouri Republican National Committee executive director who attacked the registration effort as “completely inappropriate” and characterized voting rights advocates’ calls for Ferguson residents to “get on the juries, choose your leaders” as “liberal activism”

[…]

Fox News: Voter Registration Booths In Ferguson Show That “Protestors Aren’t Out There For Free Speech.” On the August 21 edition of Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman complained that Ferguson residents protesting the fatal shooting “aren’t out there for freedom of speech. They’re out there to push their side.” Co-host Clayton Morris responded, “Setting up a voter registration booth? Yeah, you think?”

[…]

Rush Limbaugh: Registering Voters In The Wake Of Michael Brown’s Death “Encompasses Everything That The Democratic Party Is.” On his August 19 radio show, Limbaugh also criticized the Ferguson voter registration drive, and condemned Democrats for “try[ing] to ramp up black turnout” by exploiting Brown’s death


Hey Look! Pat Robertson told a lie!

Televangelist Pat Robertson on his “700 Club” show today decided that repeating many right-wing lies about what happened in Ferguson during the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown would be a good idea.

Robertson called the unarmed college-bound teen a “giant” and surmised that he must have been on a “hallucegenic” [sic] or “PCP” because he “acted like someone who was crazy” who “beats the daylights out of” officer Darren Wilson. The octogenarian also wondered aloud why the police didn’t “do a blood test on that guy, on the dead man,” whom Robertson couldn’t bother to mention by name.

Robertson also repeated the lie that officer Darren Wilson’s “occipital bone was crushed.”

And he chastised Attorney General Eric Holder for standing up for the oppressed — which is in part his job.

“It just looks bad,” Robertson lamented — not once ever offering one word of sympathy for the death of Michael Brown.

I’m shocked, I tell you! SHOCKED that Pat Robertson displays not compassion for the death of a young unarmed black man.


 

Missouri Councilman Excuses His Racism As Being ‘A Very Active Republican’

 

Says it’s a feature not a bug.




 

okay but when you have holocaust survivors and people who were activists during the civil rights movement supporting mike brown and then KKK members and neo nazis supporting the officer you should be able to figure out which side is the right one.

(via blastortortoise)

 

 

(source: sand&glass, via angrynativefeminists)

 


Houston Gay, a 103 year old who marched with MLK 50 years ago, at a peaceful demonstration in Ferguson.

(source: zubat; via angrynativefeminists)


 

Voting in Ferguson, a televangelist lies, and more

New Information about Ferguson

From Twitter:

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster said this when I asked why he came to visit protesters: “These are my bosses. I work for them.

Yamiche Alcindor

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster said a grand jury will be convened at 9 am tomorrow. He gave protesters the news

Yamiche Alcindor

GovJayNixon will not ask McCulloch to recuse himself from #MikeBrown case

Jason Rosenbaum

Missouri attny general: grand jury (3 people) for #michaelbrown case tomorrow includes one woman of color.

Durrie Bouscaren

Me:  This next one I include only to categorically, emphatically condemn it:

Chant of choice tonight is a variation of the “hands up/don’t shoot.” They end it with “shoot back” instead.

Rachel Lippman

Me: Do NOT do that.  Shooting back will escalate the situation, and could result in injuries and loss of life.  The way to protest loss of rights is not to infringe upon the rights of others.

Just talked to @slmpd commander John Hayden. He said they are prepared to let protesters stay here all night.

Rachel Lippman

Police trucks across the street from burnt#QT . Barking from caged K-9 units audible.

Joe Mike Leahy

Parker Jacobs from San Diego. He has first aid training and a first aid bag. Here for peace.

Willis Arnold

#Ferguson police department dress code : daytime – overtime – weekend

Anonymous Press

(you won’t understand the above Tweet unless you click the link)

Capt. Ron Johnson says police have been receiving calls of “shooters on top of buildings” in Ferguson

Jon Passantino

#Ferguson=no joke. Peeps at @CNN handed me THIS before I even got a mic on. #GasMasks for reporters — in USA? Yup.

Van Jones

6yo Alerion Smith asked his mom to bring him to protest. “When someone has their hands up that means they surrender”

Wesley Lowery

Protesters have begun marching in a group of 300. Staying out of the street, for the most part.

Robert Klemko

Mo. Highway Patrol is asking for ID to drive down Florissant. These teens declined to provide and we’re turned back.

Robert Klemko

SENDING A MESSAGE: Protestor tells those who’ve sparked #Ferguson violence to go home.

Eli Rosenberg

The United States rejects international criticism of Ferguson Police:

A State Department spokeswoman pushed back against countries like Egypt, Iran and China that have chided U.S. law enforcement for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown.

Marie Harf said such countries, which, at best, have mixed records on human rights and free speech, should avoid comparing themselves to the United States.

“We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world,” Harf said. “When we have problems and issues in this country, we deal with them openly and honestly. We think that’s important, and I would encourage the countries you named particularly to do the same thing.”

I can’t believe  State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf even uttered those words.  The United States does not confront it’s problems transparently and honestly.  In a great many cases, the problems aren’t confronted at all.  When they are, at best they just give lip service to the problem, without actually tackling the root of the problem.

  • We have huge issues with race, as we’ve seen yet again, in the ongoing civil rights and constitutional rights violations occurring in Ferguson, MO (problems which are *not* limited to that city).
  • We have major issues with our politicians and political parties that the mainstream media and the government refuse to address.
  • We have a Rape Culture that devalues women and normalizes, minimizes, and excuses rape, which is not discussed in the mainstream media or by the government.
  • We have the erosion of civil rights for People of Color that have been ongoing, and it doesn’t get addressed.
  • Capitalism is worshiped almost as much as christianity in this country and it’s created a huge gap between the haves and the have nots, and that’s rarely discussed.
  • Our educational system is slipping compared to other industrialized nations, and creationists keep trying to undermine science in the classrooms, and the MSM and government barely want to tackle that problem.
  • Our government is still involved in torturing suspected terrorists
  • Across the US, women face the problem of not being able to exercise the full extent of their reproductive rights, thanks to the efforts of the GOP and fundamentalist religious believers, and this problem is one that is not tackled head on.
  • The United States is involved in drone attacks in other countries which take innocent lives.  Do we see the US talking about this significant violation of human rights? No.
  • We have major healthcare issues in the United States, which the ACA only just barely begins to tackle.
  • We have people in this country who won’t accept that LGBT people are humans deserving of equality, and neither the media nor the government will tackle this problem head on.
  • We have a country with a huge problem with unemployment, yet the government certainly isn’t doing all it can to rectify that, nor are they being transparent about the extent of the problem.

Those are just some of the problems facing the United States.  We categorically do not deal with our problems honestly and openly. Half the time, the problems aren’t even admitted.  This country is in denial.  Deeeeeeeep in denial.   The US government has no right to claim a moral high ground on anything.

The National Bar Association has Filed a Lawsuit Against the City of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department Seeking Pertinent Information Related to the Shooting 

Earlier today, the National Bar Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Ferguson, MO and the Ferguson Police Department seeking any and all incident reports, investigative reports, notes and memorandums prepared by Ferguson Police officers, in-dash camera video, photographs, cellphone video and recordings in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The National Bar Association also sent a Preservation of Evidence Notice to both entities requesting that they preserve the police officers’ raw notes of all statements, observations, and data collected from the scene of the incident, specifically including the officer involved and all responding officers, officer detail logs from the crime scene, and video & photographic evidence related to the August 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent arrests of protestors in the City of Ferguson.

“There can be no full, fair and accurate accounting in any state or federal criminal or civil action unless any and all footage is carefully preserved,” stated Pamela J. Meanes, President of the National Bar Association. “We want to ensure the family of Micheal Brown and the residents of St. Louis understand correct measures are being taken to protect evidence regarding this tragic incident.”
In wake of the recent events taking place in Ferguson and across the country, the National Bar Association has developed a task force that will evaluate complaints of police misconduct and/or police brutality nationwide, an online petition has been created calling for an independent investigation for the death of Micheal Brown Jr. and an open book request has been filed in 25 cities and states for information on police actions.

The lawsuit comes days after the City of Ferguson Police Department released the name of Darren Wilson, the officer identified of shooting Brown.

 

New Information about Ferguson

Ferguson protests would be more peaceful without the police

I’m convinced at this point that the protests would be a lot more peaceful without a police presence.  The protesters are justifiably angry, and the presence of the militarized Ferguson PD last week amplified those tensions (you really don’t need military grade weaponry to ensure the safety of protesters in a small middle American town).  The use of tear gas, the LRAD sound cannon, and rubber bullets is inflaming tensions. The community already feels as if law enforcement doesn’t care about them, and this is only solidifying those opinions.  Add in the fact that there continues to be no word on the detainment of Darren Wilson, and the community is not pleased with the actions of the police and National Guard.  

It is also important to remember that the press has been treated poorly as well.  Being shoved around, arrested, and threatened, members of the press have had their Constitutional rights infringed.  The actions of the police and National Guard are shameful.

Here is another roundup of links about the situation in Ferguson:

Protester wanted to help out, gets hit with tear gas instead:

The atmosphere in Ferguson is growing more tense after shots were fired near where protesters were gathering. News 4 was able to interview a protester from Austin, Texas who was hit by tear gas.

“I wasn’t there when it (tear gas) was initially fired,” Billy, a protester in Ferguson said. “I was coming back to help people.”

Billy said he had been following the events in Ferguson, saw the way protesters were being treated, and decided to travel to Ferguson to help.

“I felt like I needed to come,” he said. During the evening, Billy was hit by tear gas deployed by police. With eyes watering, he continued saying his biggest concern was helping younger citizens deal with their emotions.

 

Ferguson images by photojournalist Scott Olson.  Olson was one of the journalists who were arrested by police.  

 

Instagram photo of a man hit with tear gas.  I hope I’m never hit with this stuff.  Remember, tear gas has been banned in wartime, yet the police and National Guard think it’s just fine to use against civilian protesters.  

Tweets:

Photojournalist down.

Timothy Burke

So what happens now that the police in have violated this signed court agreement not to arrest journalists?

Trevor Timm

Can we all agree that Scott Olson completely nailed his arrest photo?

Ryan J. Reilly

Ferguson community members confront Revolutionary Communist Party who have been inciting people to fight police 

Alex Medina

They circled us, shot tear gas. We’re in bushes. Street we needed to get to car was blocked off by officers in armed vehicles.

Jaqueline Lee

Here’s the WTF reaction of reporters seeing the police opening prayer.

Ryan Binaco

(I’m curious about the context of the reaction to the prayer.  I obviously think prayer is useless, but I’m curious why reporters had a WTF moment. It’s extremely common for people to resort to prayer in an attempt to appeal to their deity of choice to intervene in a situation.  I’ve yet to hear of it working though, although come to think of it, proving that prayer works would be difficult.)

Constitution what? Put away that camera phone. We will shoot your face

Krys

Couple minutes ago a few bottles were thrown at police. Nights ago that would’ve been followed by gas.

Trymaine Lee

Tear gas has wafted up the street. Everyone’s eyes are burning.

Trymaine Lee

Cops demanding anyone not media to leave immediately. Media forced to designated area.

Trymaine Lee

Car driver offered to give a ride home to remaining protesters. Police stopped the car, guns drawn

Amanda M Sakuma

Photo of our reporter (rear) and being arrested last night in .

The Intercept

More media around the net:

MSNBC reports on police violence and clashes with the protesters and media:

The grief-stricken community of Ferguson was once again wracked by violence and chaos overnight Monday.

Police fired tear gas at protesters amid the sound of explosions, shots rang out and armored police trucks sped down Florissant Avenue. At least two people, both males, were shot “in the dark of night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a press conference. Two guns and a Molotov cocktail were confiscated. There were two fires, one at a local business and another at an unoccupied residence, Johnson said. Police were hit with bottles and
rocks. Thirty-one people were arrested by 2 a.m. CT.

Johnson said police did not fire any bullets at protesters, whom he encouraged to turn out for demonstrations during the day.

“There is a dangerous dynamic in the night,” Johnson said, noting that the criminal activity overnight “came from a tiny minority of law-breakers.”

Sadly, a great many people will zero in on that tiny minority of law-breakers and treat them as if they represent all the protesters.  What those people did is completely wrong, but they shouldn’t be the focus of what’s going on in Ferguson.  Remember:

  • murder of unarmed black man by police officer,
  • mishandling of the investigation,
  • refusal by police to engage with community and give them answers,
  • introduction of military grade weapons on a peaceful population,
  • violation of 1st Amendment rights of citizens and press,
  • smear campaign against Michael Brown in an attempt to justify his murder,
  • use of excessive levels of force against protesters

This is what the focus should be on.  I’m fine with the media reporting on the looters or rioters, it’s news.  But that should not overtake the main story here, and that’s what has been happening in places (hell, I had an ex-boyfriend take me to task over my anger at the focus on the looters/rioters, and accusing me of making ignorant comments about the situation in Ferguson.  Ignorance is not an insult. We’re all ignorant of a great many things.  In this case though, I don’t think I’m ignorant of the situation, and he was unable to point out what I’d gotten wrong. Show me that I’m wrong.  Give me the evidence. Prove it.  If you can’t do that, you’ve no grounds to claim I’m ignorant.)

 

For people unfamiliar with Ferguson, here is a map of key areas (thanks MSNBC):

 

 

Ferguson protests would be more peaceful without the police

Ferguson around the Net

Malkia Cyril argues that Net Neutrality is important in the civil rights struggles of African-Americans:

As hundreds of Black residents in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson march into another day of protests against the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown; a threatened, but still open, Internet thrust the story into widespread, necessary visibility. It’s one of the reasons that keeping the Internet open is not an abstract issue for me as a Black person living in America, but a life or death one.

From digital activism that echoes local demands for police accountability, to the humbling bravery of Black bloggers that have traveled to Ferguson to speak truth to power–the open Internet is a critical battleground where Black communities can connect across geographic lines, fight media misrepresentation, and oppose the police violence we find in every city, in our own voices.

#Ferguson, and moments like this one that lay this nation’s greatest contradictions at our feet, is the reason a new generation of African American change-makers are demanding that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassify the Internet as a common carrier service. Too often, our lives depend on our ability to tell stories of the abuse of power, without interference from corporate gatekeepers.

As the people of Ferguson join the ranks of cities across the country raising their hands in civil disobedience against the systemic abuse of Black bodies by law enforcement agencies, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering network neutrality rules that would force Black Twitter and Black blogs to enter the conversation on police brutality through a digital “poor door”; their content tracked into a digital slow lane by expedient, piecemeal regulation that lets the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) discriminate through a pay-to-play scheme called paid prioritization.

I would ask you to imagine the impact of an Internet with the legal right to discriminate; if you’re Black, though, I think you already know. Black cable isn’t bringing the story of police brutality in Ferguson to your kitchen table, the Black Internet is.

The media treats black victims differently than white victims:

On the afternoon of Aug. 9, a police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Details remain in dispute. Eyewitnesses have said that Brown was compliant with police and was shot while he had his hands up. Police maintain that the 18-year-old had assaulted an officer and was reaching for the officer’s gun. One thing clear, however, is that Brown’s death follows a disturbingly common trend of black men being killed, often while unarmed and at the hands of police officers, security guards and vigilantes.

After news of Brown’s death broke, media-watchers carefully followed the narratives that news outlets began crafting about the teenager and the incident that claimed his life. Wary of the controversy surrounding the media’s depiction of Trayvon Martin — the Florida teen killed in a high-profile case that led to the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman — people on Twitter wondered, “If they gunned me down, which picture would they use?” Using the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, users posted side-by-side photos, demonstrating the power that news outlets wield in portraying victims based on images they select.

On Monday, Twitter user LordSWVP tweeted out a photo driving home another point: Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.

Local store owner is aided by Ferguson community in the aftermath of his store being looted:

I had to immediately come over here, and I tried to get into the area. I couldn’t get into the area because the whole area was blocked. And I was like, ‘People are robbing my store, can I just go and put some boards on it?’ They did try, but then in the middle they changed their mind and said no, it’s too risky or something, please wait. They took my information and told me they’re going to call me as soon as the area is clean. That was about 1:45, 3:45 a.m., I’m just waiting.

Nobody calls me, so I just decide to come over. So I get here around 5, 5:30 a.m. There are a few people outside, some reporters were outside too, but the whole store was open, people could come in and out and take what they want at their leisure.

So that’s on the sad part. The good part is the people who were out here were waiting outside, they wanted to help me. So as soon as I got here, they said ‘Can I help you? Can I do this, can I do that?’ I wanted to take my time and clean as part of my therapy, as part of dealing with the situation. But some of them would not leave unless they did something to help, unless they got a hug or something. So that was very overwhelming, I didn’t think I’d come in there to be so overwhelmed by the community. So that’s very sweet.

Palestinian solidarity with protesters in Ferguson:

We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.

From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.

We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.

And we stand with you.

We recognize the disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life endemic to the supremacist system that rules the land with wanton brutality. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight our own battles for basic human dignities. We continue to find inspiration and strength from your struggles through the ages and your revolutionary leaders, like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Kwame Ture, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale and others.

We honor the life of Michael Brown, cut short less than a week before he was due to begin university.  And we honor the far too many more killed in similar circumstances, motivated by racism and contempt for black life: Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Rekia Boyd and too many others to count.

With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.

Michael Brown: Facts and dog whistles

Actor Jesse Williams chastises the media over the narrative presented in Ferguson:

“We also have to talk about the narrative and making sure that we’re starting at the beginning. You’ll find that the people doing the oppressing always want to start the narrative at a convenient part, or always want to start the story in the middle. This started with a kid getting shot and killed and left in the street for four hours. I’ve never seen a white body left in the street for four hours in the sweltering heat. The cop doesn’t call in the shooting, the body isn’t put in an ambulance, it’s shuttled away in some shady unmarked SUV.

There’s a lot of bizarre behavior going on and that is the story, that’s where we need journalism. That’s where we need that element of society to kick into gear and not just keep playing a loop of what the kid may have done in a convenience store. That’s unfortunate, if that happened, that’s going to be factored in, like it or not. But we need journalism to kick in and start telling the story from the beginning, this is about finding justice for a kid that was shot, an 18-year-old that was shot, period.

This idea that because he stole a handful of cheap cigars, what’s that $5? I’ve lived in white suburbs of this country for a long time, I know plenty of white kids who steal stuff from a convenience store. [There’s] this idea that every time a black person does something, they automatically become a thug worthy of death when we don’t own drug crimes. We’re not the only ones who sell and do drugs all the time. We’re not the only ones that steal and talk crazy to cops.

There’s a complete double standard and a complete different experience that a certain element of this country has the privilege of being treated like human beings, and the rest of us are not treated like human beings, period. That needs to be discussed, that’s the story. That’s what gets frustrating for people — because you don’t know five black folks, five black men in particular, that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers. You can’t throw a rock and find five of them. We’re not making this up.”

 

Do you want to show support for Michael Brown and Ferguson?  Some helpful advice.

Janee Woods lists 12 things white people can do in the wake of Ferguson.  If you’re like, interested in fighting racism.  If you’re not, and you’d rather things just remain the same, then do nothing.  If you choose option #2, just know this: you’re a grade A asshole.

The reactions to the shooting of Michael Brown show stark racial divisions:

Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed.” Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown’s death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 14-17 among 1,000 adults, finds that the public overall is divided over whether Brown’s shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves: 44% think the case does raise important issues about race that require discussion, while 40% say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion. By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

An artist makes a statement about the situation in Ferguson:

There was some caution tape draped around the Love sign in Philadelphia two days ago. Yellow ribbon hung loosely beneath the iconic statue, the one with the “O” tilted just so, in Love Park, northwest of City Hall. In front of the sign, Keith Wallace wore a white t-shirt and blue jeans, a baseball hat in his left hand. An all-American uniform. His t-shirt was stained with what appeared to be blood. His right hand was palm-down on the pavement. His right ear was pressed up against the ground, his face looking back at the statue. Nearby, two individuals took turns holding a poster that read: Call Us By Our Names.
Wallace, 27, is a Philadelphia native. He went to Morehouse College and is pursuing an MFA in acting at the University of California, San Diego. He staged this hour-long silent performance on his last day home for the summer as a protest against the killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot multiple times and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
“It was something that’s been brewing for a while in my mind,” Wallace told me by phone. He was sick of seeing so many news reports about the murders of young black men. “You realize, in these cases, there’s a disproportionate amount of black men on the receiving end of this police brutality. And as a young black men, it strikes a different chord for me – it hits a little closer to home.”
“I just tried to think about a way I could use my spirit of activism coupled with my artistic passion to make a statement about what’s going on. So I just decided that for me, I’m a very image-driven artist. I think images speak louder than words can, most times. And so there’s some value in forcing a society to look at the most ugly parts of itself and just putting it out there for them to examine and discussed, and to be disgusted by, in the hopes of provoking some sort of dialogue or provoking some social change in an effort to eradicate some social ill, whatever that is.”
He settled on the rallying cry of “Call Us By Our Names” because “We hear about Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown. But there’s a slew of other faces and names who go unrecognized and unnamed,” he said. “And the media is slanted in cases where the victim is of color, passing them off as thugs, or gang- and drug-related. When it’s someone who is white, they’re ‘troubled’ or ‘disturbed.’”
{…}

Wallace also wanted to ensure he reached the biggest cross-section of people in the short span of time that he had. “I chose a place that has a very diverse community. All types of people come through Love Park. There was a Ukrainian protest the same day. There were Hebrew Israelites with a megaphone on the corner… I wanted to bring this to a group of people who I feel like might not experience this through the same lens that I do.”
He was expecting the police to make him leave within five or ten minutes. In a kind of inverse-Ferguson situation, the police instead respected Wallace’s right to peacefully protest; they stayed on the periphery “to make sure I was safe,” said Wallace, and shook hands when the protest was over.
Wallace enlisted two of his friends, Felicia Roche and Lee Colston II, to join him; they took turns holding up the poster and takin
g photographs. He couldn’t hear everything that passersby said and, as he spent the entire hour “motionless: I didn’t speak to anyone, I didn’t look at anyone.”
“Honestly, some of the things that were said were so ugly. And I’ve dealt with these kinds of issues before, and you hear about it all the time, but when it’s right in front of your face, it takes on a whole new reality. In trying to open other people’s eyes, my eyes were open, I had this complete revelation about this world we live in.”

{…}

Wallace had a sheet of paper handed out during his protest. As Philly in Focus reported, some of his statement read:
“I am racially charged not because I want to be, but because I have to be. I am racially charged because in certain instances, that hyper awareness may ensure that I make it home to my family at the end of the day. I am racially charged because I am not afforded the luxury to wander through life with my head in the (nonexistent) ‘post-racial America’ clouds. I see color because my color is seen, dismissed, devalued, and implicated as a threat everywhere I go. I am racially charged and if I make you uncomfortable by speaking out about it and calling attention to it, then I implore you to eradicate the ugliness I see every day in the world.”

 

Ferguson store owner:  Neither I, nor any of my employees dialled 9-1-1.

St. Louis local news is reporting that the Attorney for the Ferguson store, Jake Kanzler said the the Ferguson store owner, nor any store employee called the police to report any shoplifting of cigars, but, rather, a customer called the police.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ferguson around the Net