Book Recommendation: The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time (9780199936342): Christopher J. Lebron: Books

 

 

Christopher J. Lebron

Publication Date: September 9, 2013

For many Americans, the election of Barack Obama as the country’s first black president signaled that we had become a post-racial nation – some even suggested that race was no longer worth discussing. Of course, the evidence tells a very different story. And while social scientists are fully engaged in examining the facts of race, normative political thought has failed to grapple with race as an interesting moral case or as a focus in the expansive theory of social justice. Political thought’s under participation in the debate over the status of blacks in American society raises serious concerns since the main academic task of political theory is to adjudicate discrepancies between the demands of ideal justice and social realities.

Christopher J. Lebron contends that it is the duty of political thought to address the moral problems that attend racial inequality and to make those problems salient to a democratic polity. Thus, in The Color of Our Shame, he asks two major questions. First, given the success of the Civil Rights Act and the sharp decline in overt racist norms, how can we explain the persistence of systemic racial inequality? Second, once we have settled on an explanation, what might political philosophy have to offer in terms of a solution?

In order to answer these questions Lebron suggests that we reconceive of racial inequality as a condition that marks the normative status of black citizens in the eyes of the nation. He argues that our collective response to racial inequality ought to be shame. While we reject race as a reason for marginalizing blacks on the basis of liberal democratic ideals, we fail to live up to those ideals – a situation that Lebron sees as a failure of national character. Drawing on a wide array of resources including liberal theory, virtue ethics, history, and popular culture, Lebron proposes a move toward a “perfectionist politics” that would compel a higher level of racially relevant moral excellence from individuals and institutions and enable America to meet the democratic ideals that it has set for itself.

via Amazon.com: The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time (9780199936342): Christopher J. Lebron: Books.

“Mr. President, It’s Not What You Say, but What You Do” Dr. Wilmer Leon

OUR COMMON GROUND Voice

Dr. Wilmer Leon: Mr. President, It’s Not What You Say, but What You Do

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by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

“How shall integrity face oppression? What should honesty do in the face of deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? How shall virtue meet brute force….”  The Ordeal of Mansant – W.E.B. DuBois

Last week President Obama addressed the Zimmerman verdict and the ugly reality of racial profiling.  He spoke through the White House press corps to the American people.  He spoke forcefully and with surprising candor and empathy. He was measured in his tone and verbiage; clearly understanding that just one wrong word or improper inflection would ignite a firestorm of reaction.

For the sake of this piece I will not take issue with anything the president said.  I agree with most of what was presented. In his 2,156 words the president spoke volumes of truth.  He said what needed to be said and it needed to be said by him.  This was the perfect example of a president using the power of the bully pulpit to its fullest.  He placed into context, informed, and educated the country about a very sensitive reality that far too many don’t understand and/or have chosen to ignore.

The president was correct to state, “You know… Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago…I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”  He went on to say, “There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a Senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”

What made the president’s remarks so powerful was the fact that he told America that the history of racial profiling is his history; the experience is real because it’s his experience.  The community’s outrage, anger, and frustration are based in a context and reality that is shared byhim and cannot be ignored.

The president went on to say,”The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws.  And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.”

The president could not be more correct.  That history not only impacts how the African American community has viewed the Zimmerman verdict, it impacts our everyday lives.  It is not only a prism through which one interprets reality; it is reality!  There has been “a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws”.  An example of this recent history can be found in New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly’s “stop-and-frisk” laws.

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), New York Police Department (NYPD) officers have stopped more than 4 million New Yorkers since the Department began collecting data on the program in 2004.  The latest stop-and-frisk report shows that the NYPD stopped and interrogated New Yorkers 152,311 times between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2011. About 88 percent of those encounters did not result in arrests or tickets. Nearly 85 percent of those stopped were Black or Latino.

So, earlier last week while the country was grappling with the Zimmerman verdict and the president was preparing his remarks, he contradicted himself by endorsing Commissioner Kelly “as a worthy candidate” to succeed Janet Napolitano as head of the Department of Homeland Security.  The President stated on Univision – that “Kelly has obviously done an extraordinary job in New York,” and that the police commissioner is “one of the best there is” — an “outstanding leader in New York.”  The president went on to say, “Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he’s not I’d want to know about it. ‘Cause, you know, obviously he’d be very well qualified for the job.”

We all understand; it’s not what you say it’s what you do.  Actions speak louder than words.

NY neighborhoods with the highest number of stop/frisk interrogations included Inwood/Washington Heights, Central Brooklyn, Far Rockaway, Eastern Queens and the North Shore of Staten Island – all low-income neighborhoods of color. Whites, who represent 33 percent of the city’s population, accounted for less than 9 percent of people stopped. During the third quarter of 2011: All five precincts with the fewest stop-and-frisk encounters were concentrated below 59th Street in Manhattan and are majority white.

I suggest that a police department that was on pace to stop and interrogate a record number of totally innocent New Yorkers is operating outside of the moral and constitutional ideals that it was created to protect. When you have a department that during the first three quarters of 2011 stopped totally innocent New Yorkers 451,000 times – the overwhelming majority of whom were Black or Latino you as a citizenry have a problem. If Ray Kelly were empowered to implement NY style stop-and-frisk policies nationwide coupled with the use of drones and NSA style wiretapping and the PRISM program, America would have a serious problem than it has today.

The president spoke very powerfully and eloquently about the history of and problems with racial profiling in America. I listened very carefully to what he said and then compared it to what he is supporting. “How shall integrity face oppression? What should honesty do in the face of deception…?”  The actions speak louder than the words.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirisu/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon” Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.comwww.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com

© 2013 InfoWave Communications, LLC

5 CONSPIRACY THEORIES WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE Truth Theory

5 CONSPIRACY THEORIES WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE

There are types of stories called “conspiracy theories” and the people who teach them are considered by “society” as crazy fanatics who often need medical treatment. What if I tell you that “society” should take some of that medical treatment, because sometimes such incredible stories, nobody believed in, turn out to be 100% true.

What if I tell you that the doctors did not treat us, just wait until we die to cut our bodies?

1. Tuskegee syphilis experiment

In the years 1932-1972, there were a series of experiments on about 400 syphilis-infected black citizens of the United States. The study selected the poor, simple and uneducated – most of them did not even know about their illness. U.S. Public Health Service had promised free treatment to patients. In fact, they were given aspirin. The purpose of this “experiment” was to observe a progressive disease in representatives of the black race, and the scientific autopsy of deceased participants in these studies. As a result, 28 people died directly of syphilis, 100 died as a result of complications directly related to the disease, 40 women were infected by unconscious patients, and 19 children were born with congenital disease.male_blood_testThe sad truth about the Tuskegee Experiment was confirmed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, who officially and publicly apologized to the eight surviving participants in these studies.

What if I tell you that the U.S. government itself commits “acts of terror” on its land, just to have an excuse to invade another country?

2. Operation Northwoods

In 1997, as a result of the murder of J.F. Kennedy, fifteen hundred pages of documents entitled “Operation Northwoods” were declassified. In the 60s, the United States was preparing for war with Cuba. To fire up the war machine public support was needed. In turn the defense secretary presented a paper called “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” so they had a whole range of interesting provocations, such as terrorist attacks involving the blowing up military bases, starting fires, aircraft hijacking, “landing” of Cuban troops , bombings, and even the sinking of a boat full of armed Cubans.
 see the full document for yourself: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/northwoods.pdf

see the full document for yourself here

These false flag terrorist attacks were to be carried out by the CIA on a massive scale so that the citizens of the United States would feel threatened by Fidel Castro and the government had an excuse to start a war. The plan was never implemented however, as president Kennedy met with the General Lyman Lemnitzer the plan for the operation was rejected. This time it did not work …

What if I tell you that it is just about oil?

3. Nayirah Testimony

In August 1990 there was conflict between Iraq and Kuwait, mostly over oil fields as Saddam Hussein accused Kuwaitis of theft of these resources. On October 10th the whole world turned its eyes toward a fifteen-year old girl named Nayirah, who wept profusely as she talked about inhumane crimes committed by Iraqi soldiers. The young Kuwaiti was to witness the killing of more than 300 babies in a hospital. The dramatic speech touched the hearts of viewers and managed to drum up overwhelming support for the involvement of the United States in this conflict and the outbreak of the Gulf War.
liar1When the battle dust settled, someone took a closer look at Nayirah. Quickly it became apparent that the sobbing girl in front of millions of viewers was the daughter of Sheikh Saud Nasser Al-Saud Al-Sabah – Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States and a member of the royal family. The child was handed to PR whizzes – Hill & Knowlton company, where she passed a course in comprehensive acting training. It had to work out – the company bosses signed an $11.9 million contract with the Kuwaiti royal family. The task was simple — to persuade the U.S. military to take action against Iraq. Nayirah lied. This time it worked …

What if I tell you that the leading Nazi scientists got a job in the USA after the war?

4. Operation Paperclip.

World War II was coming to an end and nothing more could change the situation of the Third Reich. American special forces had acknowledged that it would be a pity if some people lost their lives, especially those whose knowledge and experience could potentially serve the interests of the United States. As part of Operation Paperclip, they smuggled into the U.S. a group of gifted scientists from the Nazi rocket industry, medicine and chemical weapons divisions.
operation-paperclip-picIn the safe arms of Uncle Sam there were, among others, Wernher Von Braun (SS-man, the creator of the famous missile V-2), Kurt Blome (a doctor specializing in biological weapons, which tested their inventions on prisoners in Auschwitz) and Hubertus Strughold (“father of space medicine” who examined the effect of extremely low temperatures on the human body in camp Dachau). In total, 700 German “men of science”, found their new home on American soil.

What if I tell you that the government controls your mind?

5. MK-Ultra

It turns out that playing with people’s minds was actually done by the CIA a good half a century ago! In the 60s, thanks to the NY Times reporters, details of the MK-Ultra project came to light, which was aimed to investigate the human ability to be controlled by the use of certain chemicals, subliminal messages, electrical impulses and psychoactive substances. The project itself consisted of a number of sub-projects. For example, MK-Search was designed to create the perfect truth serum that could be used on captured Russian spies.
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They also looked into research on the practical use of LSD. Experiments were conducted on prostitutes, prisoners and people with mental illness. Often times without their knowledge or consent. One such experiment was to give the drug to seven volunteers continuously for 77 days … Among the substances, with which the CIA dealt was alsoamphetamines, psilocybin and mescaline. They also experimented with hypnotic seances. When information about MK-Ultra was released to the public, a number of committees of inquiry were established and this research was formally and publicly condemned.

It is often said that the infamous project was one of the factors which resulted in the generation of the hippie movement. Ken Kesey – author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, as a volunteer, was participating in one of the experiments, prepared by the CIA. The effect of LSD on the human mind intrigued the writer so much, that he became one of the first proponents of the use of psychedelic drugs in the context of recreation. Another member of psychedelic experimentation was Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead …

 

We know that these theories turned out to be true. And how many more are waiting to be revealed? There are some people who do a lot to hide the truth.

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Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People [UPDATE] MXGRM

Every 36 Hours [UPDATE]

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Posted on Jul 9, 2012 in Statements and Positions

Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People

 

This report was produced for the “No More Trayvon Martins Campaign”, demanding a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. This is the 2nd Major report of the Campaign.

Download the Fully Illustrated Version of the Report Using this link (PDF).[UPDATED: Monday, July 16, 2012]

A human rights crisis confronts Black people in the United States. Since January 1, 2012, police and a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes have murdered at least 120 Black women and men. These killings are definitely not accidental or random acts of violence or the work of rogue cops. As we noted in our April 6th, 2012 “Trayvon Martin is All of US!” Report (see http://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/), the use of deadly force against Black people is standard practice in the United States, and woven into to the very fabric of the society.

The corporate media have given very little attention to these extrajudicial killings. We call them “extrajudicial” because they happen without trial or any due process, against all international law and human rights conventions. Those few mainstream media outlets that mention the epidemic of killings have been are unwilling to acknowledge that the killings are systemic – meaning they are embedded in institutional racism and national oppression. On the contrary, nearly all of the mainstream media join in a chorus that sings the praises of the police and read from the same script that denounces the alleged “thuggery” of the deceased. Sadly, too many people believe the police version of events and the media’s “blame-the-victim” narratives that justify and support these extrajudicial killings.

However, we have studied each of the reports of these deaths — including false, implausible and inconsistent claims by police and witness reports that contradict police reports. From this study and many peoples’ experience, we must reject the corporate media’s rationalization for the horrible fact that in the first six months of this year, one Black person every 36 hours was executed. This wanton disregard for Black life resulted in the killing of 13 year-old children, fathers taking care of their kids, women driving the wrong cars, as well as people with mental health and drug problems.

This report documents how people of African descent remain “without sanctuary” throughout the United States. Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion. All Black people – regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress – are subject to the whims of the police whose institutionalized racist policies and procedures require them to arbitrarily stop, frisk, arrest, brutalize and even execute Black people.

Invasive policing is only one aspect of the U.S. states comprehensive containment strategies to exploit Black people and to smother resistance. To contain the upsurge of the Black liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and protect the system of white supremacy the institutional forces of racism have worked through governments at every level to destabilize the Black community via community divestment, massive employment discrimination, outsourcing, gentrification and other forms of economic dislocation. In addition, schools, housing, healthcare, other social services and transportation in Black communities have been denied equitable provision and distribution of public goods and resources.

The U.S. state maintains and reinforces these economic injustices with the militarized occupation of Black communities by the police and a web of racist legislation like the “war on drugs”, discriminatory polices like “three strikes” and “mandatory minimum” sentencing. The result is a social system that mandates the prison warehousing of millions of Black people and extrajudicial killings where the killers act with impunity and more often than not are rewarded and promoted for murder. The oppression and police occupation of Black communities parallels the brutalization, denial of human rights and killings being committed by the Israeli occupying forces in Palestine, and the persecution of Afrodescendants in Columbia and the Indigenous peoples of Brazil over the past several years.(1) Nothing short of the structural integrity and survival of the Black community is at stake when we consider the historic record.

For those who doubted the framing of the “Trayvon Martin is All of Us!” Report, this 6thmonth update proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the institutionalized violence of white supremacy is not only alive and well, but is, in fact, intensifying. To complete the picture, we must take into account the extrajudicial killings and other repressive policies directed at other targeted peoples and communities such as Indigenous peoples, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants. These, in conjunction with the oppression of Black people, demonstrate that the U.S. government remains committed to maintaining the system of white supremacy created by the aggressive and illegal European settler-colonies that first established the national-state project.

This crisis can only be stopped through decisive action. First, the Black community must organize its own self-defense. Second, we must build a broad, mass movement capable of forcing the government to enact transformative legislation based on our demands. The fundamental transformative demand must be for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to eliminate institutional racism and advance the struggle for self-determination. The Black community itself will determine the specific contents of The Plan, drawing from the foundation of CERD (the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination) and the DDPA (Durban Declaration and Programme of Action).(2)

We call on everyone who believes that decisive action must be taken by Black and other oppressed peoples to confront and defeat national oppression and white supremacy to join us in developing an independent, mass movement for human rights that builds power in our communities and will have the capacity to force the Federal authorities to implement a comprehensive National Plan of Action for Racial Justice.  You can join us immediately by helping us secure 1 million signatures to our petition (seehttp://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/), organizing Copwatch and People’s Self-Defense campaigns, fighting for elected Police Control Boards, the demilitarization of our communities, and the reinvestment of the military and security budget into community reinvestment and social programs amongst other suggestions provided in our “Local Struggles” paper (see http://mxgm.org/no-more-trayvons-campaign/). We also encourage communities to organize their own grassroots crisis intervention, domestic violence prevention/control and mediation teams so families in crisis do not become so desperate for help that they compound their problems by calling 9-1-1 and inviting the police into their homes.

We also call all organizations and individuals who agree with the demand and framework for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to help us build the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights (NARJHR) as a structure that will help us develop and implement a comprehensive national plan that centers oppressed peoples’ right to self-determination and the full realization of our human rights.

For more information about the Report or any of these action proposals, contact Kali Akuno at kaliakuno@mxgm.org.

Highlights from the Report

120 Black People Executed without Trial by Police, Security Guards and Self-Appointed Law Enforcers between January 1 – June 30, 2012

1. These executions destroy Black communities’ future and spirit by stealing the lives of our youth. Of the 120 lives taken:

  •  13 or 11% were children under 18 years old.
  • 22 or 18% were 18-21 years old, just entering adulthood.
  • 48 or 40% were 22-31 years old.
  • 20 or 17% were 32-41 years old
  • 10 or 8% were 42-51 years old
  • 5 or 4% were over 52 years
  • 2 or 2% were of undetermined age.

  1. These executions continue nationwide: from north to south; east to west; in rural towns and large metropolitan areas. Like in the years of lynching, there is no geographic sanctuary. Yet some cities—especially in the South– execute Black people without trial in numbers disproportionate to the size of their Black populations. Here are the cities with 2 or more executions. (This Table below was updated July 12, 2012, based on newly-found killings and updates on the Census website: quickfacts.census.gov)

 

A larger copy of this map is attached at the end of this report.

City

# Executed

1/1/12-6/30/12

Black

Population

(From 2010 Census)

Ratio of deaths per million Black people

Atlanta Metro(includes Clayton County)

10

396,115

25

Chicago Metro(includes Calumet City, Dolton & Riverdale)

9

946,745

10

New York City

9

2,084,659

4

Dallas

8

532,831

15

Memphis

6

409,481

15

New Orleans  (includes Gretna)

5

212,935

23

Jacksonville, FL

4

252,288

16

Baltimore

4

395,552

10

Saginaw*

3

23,745

126

Tulsa*

3

62,313

48

Cleveland (incl.Maple Heights)

3

227,282

13

Miami/Dade County (and Pompano Beach)

3

521,925

6

Dothan, AL*

2

21,286

94

Fayetteville, NC

2

84,036

24

Sacramento County (incl Sac’to), CA

2

156,535

13

Birmingham, AL

2

155,791

13

Washington DC (includes Landover)

2

323,974

6

* These towns have relatively small Black populations, so only two killings will make their murder rates very high. But unless the rates are calculated over a longer time span, it is risky to draw conclusions for places like Dolthan. The meaning of two killings happening every year would be very different than 2 happening once every ten years.
3. A significant proportion of the 120 were killed because they suffered from mental health problems or were intoxicated and behaved in ways the police allegedly could not control.

  • 28 people or 23% might be alive today if community members trained and committed to humane crisis intervention and mental health treatment had been called rather than the police.

4. What is the relationship between “stop and frisk” policies and procedures and racial profiling and these deadly encounters? This report documents how these encounters were initiated. Encounters that began because the “suspect was engaged in suspicious behavior or looked suspicious or was driving suspiciously” show how often racial profiling leads to death.

  • 48 (40% of 120) of police accounts explicitly cite “suspicious behavior or appearance” or traffic violations (“driving while Black”) as the reason for their attempt to detain the person who they eventually killed.
  • 24 (20% of 120) deadly encounters began with calls to 9-1-1 to seek help in resolving “domestic disturbances”. These included family members seeking assistance in dealing with mentally troubled people and people facing domestic violence. (some of these 24 people were also counted among the 28 who were intoxicated or behaved in ways the police allegedly could not control. Check the Tables for details.)
  • 11 (9% of 120) people who had violated no law or had not been involved in any harmful behavior were killed.
  • That leaves only 37 people or 31% of 120 killed in the course of police investigating activity defined as “criminal” in most states. (In most states, failure to follow an officer’s commands is illegal. Eg. It is a violation of the state law to run when an officer says “halt”. But here we are only talking about how the encounters were initiated, not what happened after the encounter.)

5.  Most of the people executed were not armed. Here is the breakdown:

  • 55  (or 46%) had no weapon at all at the time they were executed.
  • 43 (or 36%) were alleged by police to have weapons (including a cane, toy gun and bb gun) but this allegation is disputed by witnesses or later investigation. Police are infamous for planting weapons or deciding that a cell phone, wallet or other harmless object is a gun.
  • 22 (or 18%) were likely armed.

6. Police and other executioners typically justify their murders by reporting that the “suspect” ran away, pointed a gun or crashed into them with a car and therefore they had to use deadly force to defend themselves.

  • In the first half of 2012, police alleged that 42 of the people they executed attempted to run away from them.
  • 24 of the people who were murdered allegedly pointed guns at officers and/or attempted to crash into them.  Reports often do not mention if the officers were wearing uniforms or if the “suspects had any way of knowing their assailants were not civilians.

7. Regardless of how these encounters begin, whether they involve activity that violates the laws of the state or the laws of basic human decency, no one should be sentenced to death without a trial. In most countries, even with a trial, capital punishment is considered barbaric. So the use of deadly force is always “excessive” (and extrajudicial by international human rights standards) except in certain circumstances.

  • 15 cases in this report or 12.5%, if the facts reported are true, involve situations where the “suspect” shot and wounded and/or killed the police and/or others while the police were on the scene. Although it would have been preferable to stop them with non-lethal force, the use of lethal force in these circumstances can not be considered excessive. But in the remaining 105 cases, killings were extrajudicial, that is, they used lethal force with no legitimate justification and violated peoples’ basic human rights.

8. On gender:In the first half of 2012, only 5 out of the 120 executed people were women. Two were accused “car thieves”, two were “innocent bystanders” and one was beaten and smothered by police because they did not take the appropriate steps to calm her emotional agitation.

Please note: the most glaring way that women’s oppression enters the picture is in the high number of deaths (20%) that result from mothers, wives, lovers or other family members who call the police because they are desperate for help with their troubled, often frightening, kids and partners. Grassroots community crisis intervention and mediation would lighten the burdens that single mothers and survivors of domestic violence carry and also build towards more community self-reliance. As one mother whose emotionally-troubled son had been executed  said, “calling the police to calm a mentally ill child is like calling an undertaker to deliver a baby.”

9.The “justice system” gives impunity to murderers. The names of a few of the 120 people on this death roll have become nationally-known rallying cries for justice: like Trayvon Martin and Remarley Graham. Their murders have sparked massive mobilizations, media commentary, calls for government intervention, lawsuits and endless legal wrangling. However, after the initial announcements in local news media, the lives of most of those who were executed are forgotten.

  • The standard procedure in most jurisdictions is for police involved in fatal shootings to be given paid “desk-duty” while the department conducts an investigation of itself. The press applauds their fine records while it screams about the criminal records of the deceased. Almost all killer cops are routinely exonerated and quickly return to the street. Grieving families who invariably ask the modest question, “why did he have to die?” are ignored. If there is some demonstrated community outrage the case may be further investigated. The legal system almost never charges these executioners and even if they do, the killing continues.  A number of families attempt legal redress through the civil courts and seek financial restitution. After years of litigation a tiny minority may gain some solace from a financial payment. And the executions continue.
  • 38% of the Black people who were executed in the first half of 2012 seem to have been forgotten. A careful internet search could not find their names after an initial flurry of news about their killings.
  •  6 security guards and self appointed law enforcers (including  Trayvon Martin’s killer and the Tulsa murderers) have been charged.
  •  4 killer cops have been charged: one for vehicular homicide-DUI, three for manslaughter (Remarley Graham’s killer, Dane Garrett Scott Jr’s killer and Christopher Brown’s killer).
  •  That is, in 105 cases of extrajudicial killings, the legal system has only charged 9 people, or 8.6%. The outcome of these charges is yet to be determined.
  •  On July 11, 2012, for example, four months after even Newburg’s mayor and City Council called for an investigation by the Grand Jury and the Governor, the Grand Jury ruled the officers who shot Michael Lembhard in the back were justified. Cuomo refused to intervene.

10. A note on the research process:

The data for this report was collected by meticulously combing the internet during the last ten days of June 2012 and first 12 days of July 2012.  In addition to searching on “police-involved shootings”, “police killings of Black people” etc, we also went to the websites of the local press, blogs and police departments in the 100 cities and towns with the largest Black populations and followed wherever the links led. In the course of these searches, we found the names of an additional 17 people killed before March 31, who we hadn’t found during the research for the first quarterly report. Those names appear here. There is, as far as we know, no national database that tracks these killings. Wikipedia has posted a very incomplete list and detailed the other databases available.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_the_United_States

 

This report covers the deaths of 120 Black people: 57 from January thru March and 63 from April thru June, 2012. In other words, despite the huge mobilizations after the Remarley Graham and Trayvon Martin murders, the killing continued at an even faster pace. We do not believe the 120 deaths listed here include all the Black people killed by police and security guards. There are no doubt more—especially in places that do not have an active internet media presence. We found the names of more than 20 additional people killed by police whose race we could not confirm and countless others who the press never bothered to identify after police departments refused or delayed releasing their names. Again, there were countless others who were in critical condition from police shootings, but the press never reported on whether they survived. With time, we estimate another 30 to 40 cases might emerge. For more information on any given case, you can type “shooting of name, date, place” in your search engine. For more information on this Report or to contribute updated information, please contactarlene_eisen@sbcglobal.net.

“The Report on Black People Executed without Trial by Police, Security Guards and Self-Appointed Law Enforcers January 1 – June 30, 2012”, was produced by Arlene Eisen and Kali Akuno for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Special assistance was given by Ajamu Baraka.

FOOTNOTES

1 The figures for the number of Palestinians killed in 2011 can be found athttp://www.ochaopt.org/poc.aspx?id=1010002.  Figures for Afro-Colombians can be found at http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2322/,http://www.afrocolombians.com/pdfs/PCNonFTA-April12.pdf andhttp://news.afrocolombians.com/news/?sectionid=8.  Figures on Indigenous peoples killed in Brazil can be found athttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/world/americas/in-brazil-violence-hits-tribes-in-scramble-for-land.html.

2 To read the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination seehttp://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cerd.htm. To read the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action see http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ddpa.shtml.

A human rights crisis confronts Black people in the United States. Since January 1, 2012, police and a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes have murdered at least 120 Black women and men. These killings are definitely not accidental or random acts of violence or the work of rogue cops. As we noted in our April 6th, 2012 “Trayvon Martin is All of US!” Report (see http://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/), the use of deadly force against Black people is standard practice in the United States, and woven into to the very fabric of the society.

The corporate media have given very little attention to these extrajudicial killings. We call them “extrajudicial” because they happen without trial or any due process, against all international law and human rights conventions. Those few mainstream media outlets that mention the epidemic of killings have been are unwilling to acknowledge that the killings are systemic – meaning they are embedded in institutional racism and national oppression. On the contrary, nearly all of the mainstream media join in a chorus that sings the praises of the police and read from the same script that denounces the alleged “thuggery” of the deceased. Sadly, too many people believe the police version of events and the media’s “blame-the-victim” narratives that justify and support these extrajudicial killings.

However, we have studied each of the reports of these deaths — including false, implausible and inconsistent claims by police and witness reports that contradict police reports. From this study and many peoples’ experience, we must reject the corporate media’s rationalization for the horrible fact that in the first six months of this year, one Black person every 36 hours was executed. This wanton disregard for Black life resulted in the killing of 13 year-old children, fathers taking care of their kids, women driving the wrong cars, as well as people with mental health and drug problems.

This report documents how people of African descent remain “without sanctuary” throughout the United States. Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion. All Black people – regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress – are subject to the whims of the police whose institutionalized racist policies and procedures require them to arbitrarily stop, frisk, arrest, brutalize and even execute Black people.

Invasive policing is only one aspect of the U.S. states comprehensive containment strategies to exploit Black people and to smother resistance. To contain the upsurge of the Black liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and protect the system of white supremacy the institutional forces of racism have worked through governments at every level to destabilize the Black community via community divestment, massive employment discrimination, outsourcing, gentrification and other forms of economic dislocation. In addition, schools, housing, healthcare, other social services and transportation in Black communities have been denied equitable provision and distribution of public goods and resources.

The U.S. state maintains and reinforces these economic injustices with the militarized occupation of Black communities by the police and a web of racist legislation like the “war on drugs”, discriminatory polices like “three strikes” and “mandatory minimum” sentencing. The result is a social system that mandates the prison warehousing of millions of Black people and extrajudicial killings where the killers act with impunity and more often than not are rewarded and promoted for murder. The oppression and police occupation of Black communities parallels the brutalization, denial of human rights and killings being committed by the Israeli occupying forces in Palestine, and the persecution of Afrodescendants in Columbia and the Indigenous peoples of Brazil over the past several years[1]. Nothing short of the structural integrity and survival of the Black community is at stake when we consider the historic record.

For those who doubted the framing of the “Trayvon Martin is All of Us!” Report, this 6thmonth update proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the institutionalized violence of white supremacy is not only alive and well, but is, in fact, intensifying. To complete the picture, we must take into account the extrajudicial killings and other repressive policies directed at other targeted peoples and communities such as Indigenous peoples, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants. These, in conjunction with the oppression of Black people, demonstrate that the U.S. government remains committed to maintaining the system of white supremacy created by the aggressive and illegal European settler-colonies that first established the national-state project.

This crisis can only be stopped through decisive action. First, the Black community must organize its own self-defense. Second, we must build a broad, mass movement capable of forcing the government to enact transformative legislation based on our demands. The fundamental transformative demand must be for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to eliminate institutional racism and advance the struggle for self-determination. The Black community itself will determine the specific contents of The Plan, drawing from the foundation of CERD (the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination) and the DDPA (Durban Declaration and Programme of Action)[2].

We call on everyone who believes that decisive action must be taken by Black and other oppressed peoples to confront and defeat national oppression and white supremacy to join us in developing an independent, mass movement for human rights that builds power in our communities and will have the capacity to force the Federal authorities to implement a comprehensive National Plan of Action for Racial Justice.  You can join us immediately by helping us secure 1 million signatures to our petition (seehttp://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/), organizing Copwatch and People’s Self-Defense campaigns, fighting for elected Police Control Boards, the demilitarization of our communities, and the reinvestment of the military and security budget into community reinvestment and social programs amongst other suggestions provided in our “Local Struggles” paper (see http://mxgm.org/no-more-trayvons-campaign/). We also encourage communities to organize their own grassroots crisis intervention, domestic violence prevention/control and mediation teams so families in crisis do not become so desperate for help that they compound their problems by calling 9-1-1 and inviting the police into their homes.

We also call all organizations and individuals who agree with the demand and framework for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to help us build the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights (NARJHR) as a structure that will help us develop and implement a comprehensive national plan that centers oppressed peoples’ right to self-determination and the full realization of our human rights.

For more information about the Report or any of these action proposals, contact Kali Akuno at kaliakuno@mxgm.org.


[1] The figures for the number of Palestinians killed in 2011 can be found athttp://www.ochaopt.org/poc.aspx?id=1010002 Figures for Afro-Colombians can be found at http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2322/,http://www.afrocolombians.com/pdfs/PCNonFTA-April12.pdf andhttp://news.afrocolombians.com/news/?sectionid=8.  Figures on Indigenous peoples killed in Brazil can be found athttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/world/americas/in-brazil-violence-hits-tribes-in-scramble-for-land.html.

[2] To read the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination seehttp://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cerd.htm. To read the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action see http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ddpa.shtml.

The “Unsophisticated” Mirror of Rachel Jeantel thefeministwire

The Feminist Wire

The “Unsophisticated” Mirror of Rachel Jeantel

July 22, 2013

By 

By Lauren G. Parker

The prosecution needed to represent Rachel Jeantel as much as they represented Trayvon Martin because her assumed unintelligence and subsequent worthlessness were inadvertently assigned to him. Aware of this, prosecution attorney Bernie de la Rionda attempted, but failed, to insist upon her credibility in his closing statements. Before queering a Dr. King quote by saying that she “should not be judged by the color of her personality but by the content of her testimony,” he told the jury that she was “a little unsophisticated” and “uneducated.”Rachel_Jeantel_rtr_img

By insulting her to gain credibility, he complied with the idea that she was insignificant and by default, so was Martin’s life. Such inherently assumed superiority over Jeantel from the prosecution’s closing statement, the defense’s humiliating tactics and venomous commentary from cyber voyeurs was deeply remnant of a passage from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in which Morrison stated:

 All of us—all who knew her—felt so wholesome after we cleaned ourselves on her. We were so beautiful when we stood astride her ugliness. Her simplicity decorated us; her guilt sanctified us, her pain made us glow with health, her awkwardness made us think we had a sense of humor. Her inarticulateness made us believe we were eloquent. Her poverty kept us generous. Even her waking dreams we used—to silence our own nightmares. And she let us, and thereby deserved our contempt. We honed our egos on her, padded our characters with her frailty, and yawned in the fantasy of our strength.

Afraid to embrace those realities, many dwelled on their critiques of Jeantel’s dialect. Here, too, there was a deep politic that neither the talented-tenth, code-switching middle class Black folks who claimed to be ashamed by her nor those who maintained the racist ideology that she was merely another ignorant, fat black woman, could bear to acknowledge. James Baldwin’s 1979 essay, “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What is?” best presented this truth where he states,

…language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.

He further explains,

Language, also, far more dubiously, is meant to define the other–and, in this case, the other is refusing to be defined by a language that has never been able to recognize [them]. People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.

Just as many have never considered that Trayvon Martin, who we know for a fact was followed by George Zimmerman, was standing his own ground, many who shared Juror B-37’s condescending viewpoint and “felt bad” for Rachel who was “using phrases [they] never heard before” have not considered themselves ignorant for not understanding her. Those same individuals may never challenge the absurdity of having deemed themselves the standard of comparison; nor will they realize that they misnamed her “uneducated” in order to hide from the paralyzing fear of a heavy-set, dark skinned teenager unwilling to bow to their assumed superiority.

Rachel Jeantel cannot be reduced to just a witness in a popular trial because what she endured in court and from the media were private acts made public: the mocking and silencing of black women and girl’s stories as well as the devaluing of their traumas. In response to critics, Jeantel shared with Piers Morgan that  “[My critics] should be appreciating [me]. You should learn from this situation. If it happened to you or your family, would you step up or would you just say ‘oh, it ain’t my business’?” To my mind, she has remained brilliant and strong in spite of the overwhelming grief of losing a friend and then being publicly labeled as ignorant–as a national embarrassment–because she, like James Baldwin, knows that  “it is [never] the black child’s language that is in question, it is not [their] language that is despised: It is [their] experience.”

______________________________________

L_G_Parker-The_'Unsophisticated'_Mirror_of_Rachel_Jeantel-lgpLauren G. Parker is an undergraduate, intended Creative Writing major at George Mason University. Currently, she is co-coaching Richmond, Virginia’s internationally competing youth slam poetry team.

 

Zimmerman Verdict Truth l laprogressive

See on Scoop.itOUR COMMON GROUND Informed Truth and Resistance

Zimmerman Verdict Truth: George stalked an unarmed boy carrying junk food in a bag, and that he shot that boy before the boy could even drop the bag.

OUR COMMON GROUND Omnibus‘s insight:

"Trayvon Martin left DNA traces on the paper bag, but not on George’s head and not on George’s gun.  The picture was not ‘newsworthy’ because it showed the utter dishonesty of George’s constantly mutating lies.  . . .  I also know that he stalked an unarmed boy who was carrying junk food in a bag, and that he shot that boy before the boy could even drop the bag.  I know that the vote of six white women in Florida will never alter that truth."

Tom Hall

See on www.laprogressive.com

‘Fruitvale Station’ Captures a Dissolving Life In a Cell Phone Image

See on Scoop.itOUR COMMON GROUND Informed Truth and Resistance

The opening footage is shaky, blurry, and when at last you hear a gunshot, you know this is the sound of 22-year-old Oscar Gran’s life ending.

 

Cynthia Fuchs is director of Film & Media Studies and Associate Professor of English, Film & Video Studies, African and African American Studies, Global Affairs, Sport & American Culture, and Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University.

OUR COMMON GROUND Omnibus‘s insight:

 "For as the film asks you to see Oscar’s world as he might, it also asks you to see him as she does, as a son and young father, as a man at risk every day of his short life." 

– Cynthia Fuchs is director of Film & Media Studies and Associate Professor of English, Film & Video Studies, African and African American Studies, Global Affairs, Sport & American Culture, and Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University.

See on www.popmatters.com