Paris, #BlackLivesMatter, the Cultural Violence, and the White Western State

Paris, #BlackLivesMatter, the Cultural Violence, and the White Western State

January 8, 2015


By: Malik Nashad Sharpe

Today, I mourn with French society, especially the families who have lost their loved ones to violence during yesterday’s attack at Charlie Hebdo. I also stand in solidarity with all of the Brown people in France, who, because of media fear-mongering, and Islamist-blame-gaming, will be further excluded from French society by State-condoned racism.

I’m not French, but one doesn’t need to be in order to see how deeply racism runs throughout French, and Western, societies. The ruthless murders of cartoonists– cultural producers who were questionably using their art to dispel (or perpetuate?) racism to an already discriminatory public in the name of free speech–and the counter-attacks against everyday Muslims, who would prefer this incident not be blamed on their entire, diverse, multi-faceted community, provides us with another opportunity to think through solutions to violence issued on behalf of the State and those retaliating to such violence in the form of extremism.

paris1France, like every Western country, ruthlessly excludes Brown/Black people by using discourses of exceptionalism to dispel claims of State-perpetuated racism in order to protect racist hatred under the guise of free speech. Take a look at the Parisian suburbs, Clichy-sous-Bois and Seine-Saint-Denis. Look back at France’s imperialist occupation of Algeria, or the French parliament, and one can easily tease out how obviously anti-Black/Brown French culture has been and become.

But France is not alone, anti-blackness runs deep throughout the West, most particularly among White people who have enslaved Brown/Blacks, have deprived us, murdered us, appropriated our cultures and claimed them as their own, lynched us, isolated us, and tortured us, in the name of the State.

charllieI do not condone the killings of any sentient being, and, yet, the same people trending the popular, #JeSuisCharlie hashtag are the same people trending #KillAllMuslims. The same people who are throwing grenades at French mosques in counter-attacks are the same people who believed Charlie Hebdo wasn’t racist, but satirical. In fact, what we really need to question is why satirizing non-White cultures is seen as harmless, especially when Black and Brown people of these particular cultures have been murdered time-and-time again in the name of the State because of the maintenance of anti-Black, White racial supremacist ideologies.

However, what troubles me the most is the fact that the same activists who have been protesting police violence against people of color, especially here in the United States, are the same people who are shamelessly posting sympathies with Charlie Hebdo.

garnerLet me be frank. Islamophobia runs deeply within Western culture. The same activists who are screaming Eric Garner’s last words “I can’t breathe” throughout all of the world’s metropoles should be the same people taking a stand against the rampant Islamophobic now proliferating via media. State-sanctioned cultural violence against Brown Muslims in France, is connected to the State-sanctioned violence exacted upon Black bodies in the United States.

Let us not forget that when Michael Brown was murdered in the streets of St Louis, when Tamir Rice was murdered in front of a park in Cleveland, when Aiyana Jones was murdered while asleep in her bed in Detroit, that across the ocean, Bouna Traoré and Zyed Benna were murdered after being chased by Parisian police into an electrical substation where they were ultimately electrocuted to death.

Let us not forget that Western culture does not believe that the murders of Black/Brown people are worthy enough to be considered national tragedies.

Let us not forget that Charlie Hebdo cartooned racist caricatures of deprived Brown cultures in the name of free speech.

Let us not forget that no one became Christianphobic when White KKK members and other White racial supremacists burned crosses and murdered Black people throughout the United States in the name of Christianity.

Let us not forget the cowardice of Western media as they’ve attempted to focus on Black on Black crime or the recent, tragic, murders of NYPD officers by one Black man as a way of reminding Black and Brown people that we are capable of killing, too.

Media outlets are guilty of igniting the already fiery racial hatred that has been ablaze and guilty of forgetting to fully narrate the ways racial supremacy harms all of us. White people can bomb NAACP offices in Colorado or Mosques in France, and the United Kingdom, and not even get close to the same coverage as did the stories of the two police officers murdered in Brooklyn or that of the cartoonists murdered in Paris.

Let us not forget the pregnant Muslim woman who was attacked for wearing a Niqab in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil. She not only suffered from anti-Islamic taunts by her attackers, but also had her veil ripped, hair cut off, and most depressingly of all, her soon-to-be born baby murdered via miscarriage.

Let us not forget the White couple who caricatured Eric Garner’s death on ABC Live but did not receive any backlash from Western media.

Let us not forget the Turkish Muslims in Germany fearing for their lives, as Neo-Nazi’s paraded through the streets of German cities, while being excluded from the folds of German society.

Let us not forget that Islamophobia is not just about religion, but more particularly about race, and that even though Charlie Hebdo caricatured France’s White right-wing sensibilities, White people are the only one’s who benefit from racism.

Let us not forget that racism kills, too.


MalikMalik Nashad Sharpe is a queer experimental choreography, poet, writer, and radical thinker from New York, who  is now based in Chicagoland. His choreographic works have been showcased in London, Tokyo, and in Williamstown, MA, and his poetry has been published with New Bourgeois. He graduated from Williams College with a BA in Experimental Dance and Live Art, and also studied radical performance theory, choreography, and contemporary dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance in London, UK. His artistic work can defined specifically as a form of politics, using the organization of time, space, bodies, and words to formulate radical commentary and resistance.




Guilty Pleas in Mississippi Hate Murder Case

Horrific hate crime that prompted SPLC lawsuit in Mississippi concludes with final guilty pleas

It was a vicious hate crime that shocked the country – a black man in Jackson, Mississippi, attacked by a group of white teens and killed when he was deliberately run down by a pickup truck.

Captured by a motel security camera and broadcast on CNN, the murder of 47-year-old James C. Anderson in June 2011 prompted an SPLC lawsuit against the seven teens involved. That case ended with a confidential settlement.

This week, the criminal case came to an end when two men – John L. Blalack, 20, and Robert H. Rice, 24 – became the last of 10 defendants to plead guilty in connection with Anderson’s murder and other, earlier hate crimes against African Americans in Jackson. Convicted under the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, they each face up to 10 years in prison.

“This case was a sickening reminder of the consequences of racism and hate,” said SPLC Founder Morris Dees. “James Anderson was brutally murdered for no other reason than the color of his skin. And the lives of these young people have been ruined. As a nation, we must work even harder to confront the legacy of white supremacism that continues to haunt us.”

In 2012, Deryl Paul Dedmon, 22, the driver of the truck that ran over Anderson and the alleged ringleader of the group, pleaded guilty to murder and hate crime charges. He was sentenced to life in prison after Anderson’s family urged the prosecutor to not seek the death penalty.

In court yesterday, according to The ClarionLedger, Blalack admitted that he and the others had cruised the streets of Jackson, which they called “Jafrica,” on at least 10 occasions to harass and attack African Americans. On one trip, they beat a man near a golf course until he begged for his life.

On the night of June 25, 2011, seven of them left a party in nearby Puckett, armed with beer bottles to throw. Sometime after midnight, they found Anderson, an autoworker and the lead tenor in his church choir, in a motel parking lot. One of the teens knocked him to the ground as the assault began. One reportedly shouted “white power” during the attack.

Blalack recounted how he left the scene with three others and later received a phone call from Dedmon saying, “I just runned that n—-r over.” He said he returned to see people huddled around Anderson’s body.

Anderson, who worked at a nearby Nissan plant, was described by U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis as a “wonderful human being” and loving family man – “a father, a son who called his mother every morning, a brother and a partner.”

Others who pleaded guilty earlier were John Aaron Rice, 21; Dylan Wade Butler, 23; Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 22; and Joseph Paul Dominick, 23, all from Brandon; William Kirk Montgomery, 25, from Puckett; Shelbie Brooke Richards, 21, from Pearl; and Sarah Adelia Graves, 21, from Crystal Springs.


The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the Center works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups. Our innovative Teaching Tolerance program produces and distributes – free of charge – documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance and respect in our nation’s schools. We are based in Montgomery, Ala., the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, and have offices in Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, Fla., and Jackson, Miss.

Poverty leads to death for more black Americans than whites | Money | The Guardian

Poverty leads to death for more black Americans than whites | Money | The Guardian.

Poverty leads to death for more black Americans than whites | Money | The Guardian

Being poor has an adverse effect on one’s health and poorer communities have a higher mortality rate. That’s no secret, admits Amani Nuru-Jeter, associate professor at University of California Berkeley.

What is less well known is how race plays into it. It appears that living in poverty takes a harsher toll on black Americans than white Americans, according to the conclusions from Nuru-Jeter’s research.

Setting out to find out how income inequality affected communities, Nuru-Jeter and her colleagues found that living in poverty leads to higher death rates for black Americans.

“When we did the statistical analysis, the databases showed us that for one unit increase in income inequality … [there] were 400 to 500 fewer deaths among whites and 27 to 37 [more deaths] among African Americans,” Nuru-Jeter told the Guardian.

This means that living in poverty can lead to more deaths for blacks communities, but not white ones.

Nuru-Jeter and her team spent eight months combining data from the US census bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Lewis C Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research for 107 metropolitan areas with a black population of at least 10%.

The difference between mortality rates for black and white Americans was much greater than she expected. The team especially did not expect to see fewer deaths in white communities as income inequality went up. That, however, can be attributed to economic segregation, which is more prevalent in black neighborhoods, Nuru-Jeter theorized.

She said that poor white Americans are more likely to reap the benefits of living near areas with better resources and higher incomes, while poor black Americans tend to live in relatively isolated inner-city neighborhoods.

“When low-income whites can reside in close proximity to higher-income whites then they reap the benefits of living in a higher-income area and everything that goes along with that,” Nuru-Jeter said.

In black communities, economic segregation is much higher. Higher-income black people are more likely to move away from low-income black people. Poor black communities often struggle with higher crime rates, fewer grocery stores, a higher proportion of liquor stores and less green space such as parks.

“In terms of opportunity to lead the healthy life, the environment doesn’t really support that,” Nuru-Jeter said.

food stamps
About 22% of food stamp recipients are black. Photograph: Leigh Vogel/Corbis

In general, black Americans are more likely to struggle financially.

In 2013, the poverty rate for black Americans was almost three times that of white Americans – 27.2% compared to 9.6%. That same year, median household income for white Americans was more than $58,000, while for black Americans it was just $34,500.

In November, the unemployment rate for black Americans was 10.6%, more than twice the unemployment rate of white Americans, which was 4.6%.

A college education, commonly believed to be a ticket out of poverty, is expensive. In fact, about half of black college students graduate withmore than $25,000 in student loans. Yet even a college degree doesn’t guarantee that they will be better off. In fact, a recent Demos analysis of Americans’ net worth revealed that white high school dropouts have about the same wealth that black college graduates do.

As a result, some black Americans are often stuck in poverty.

What is killing black Americans?

The mortality rate in the study considers all types of death, from homicide to cardiovascular disease to infant mortality.

“It’s a crude measure of population health, but a very reliable and sensitive indicator of the well-being of the population,” Nuru-Jeter said.

“We were interested in population health as opposed to the health of individual people. As income inequality in the area increases, what does that say about how well the population in general is doing?”

The black communities were doing much worse than the white ones, she found.

police officers



Black Americans are 21 times more likely than whites to be shot by cops. Photograph: Aaron Lavinsky/AP

In general, the black population in the US has poorer health.

A recent Gallup poll showed that black Americans are more likely to be obese and have high blood pressure. More than a third of black Americans surveyed by Gallup are obese.

The survey – for which more than 272,000 Americans were interviewed – found that for every age group, black Americans were more likely to be obese than their white, Asian and Hispanic counterparts. Almost half of black Americans 45 to 64 years old were also being treated for high blood pressure. For those 65 and older, 70% were receiving such treatment. Black Americans are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.


Not only are black Americans more likely to suffer from these chronic conditions, but they are also more likely to be uninsured. According to a census survey from 2011, the uninsured rate for black Americans was 20.8%; for whites, it was 11.7%.

The Affordable Care Act has made a dent in the number of uninsured Americans, but many still remain. Overall, the uninsured rate for black Americans is 17.3%,according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, by June 2014 about 1.7 million black Americans 18 to 64 years old obtained health insurance since the official roll-out of the health insurance marketplace in October 2013.

While many uninsured black Americans might qualify for Medicaid expansion, the states where they live might not have expanded their Medicaid yet. Nearly 60% “of uninsured African Americans with incomes below the Medicaid expansion limit reside in states that were not planning to expand Medicaid as of late June 2013”, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

#SupportKelliMurray: Stop the Bullying of the Baltimore Co. FOP Lodge | LBS Baltimore

#SupportKelliMurray: Stop the Bullying of the Baltimore Co. FOP Lodge | LBS Baltimore.

Kelli Murray is currently an employee of the Baltimore County Government who works as a dispatcher. She is a wife and mother.  After the non-indictment of Daniel Pantaleo in New York City (the officer who killed Eric Garner), she posted a Facebook status that expressed her fear of her children interacting with law enforcement.  This is a fear that has been expressed by many people in light of the increased coverage of issues of police brutality.  She went out of her way to express that she appreciates the job that good police officers do, but that in light of the current events her fears persist.  This was the text of her actual post:


“UPDATE: 12/29: Since this article has been published, Kelli has been continued to be bullied online and in the media. She will likely have to move and find new employment. Kelli is a wife and mother of six who needs support. Please click here to donate to her family and support them during this time.  Kelli has also released a video public statement about her comments (at the bottom of this article).

Unfortunately most people who are talking about racism in the mainstream political discourse are not sufficiently literate in the dynamics of racism to properly apply it to the events that have dominated the mainstream news media.  Racism is about the power that white dominated and controlled institutions have over the livelihood of Black people and other people of color.  In the context of police brutality what we are seeing is racism as it exist in our society.

Racism does not exist in a form that requires ill intent of a white person against Black people.  We are not seeing evil white people conspiring to kill young Black people.  What we are seeing is police officers operationalizing their feelings of Black criminality and worthlessness that our society has been saturated with.  They are acting on impulses that all of us are socialized to have.  Black criminality and worthlessness are notions that have been with us since America’s inception.  From the 3/5’s compromise, to the system of Jim Crow, American civil society has been structured on popular narratives that justify our dehumanization.  It’s latest iteration has been embodied in the war on drugs that has decimated Black communities.”


“Instead of society admitting that there is a deep seeded problem of racism in our country beyond the rudimentary discourse of unfair treatment, our conversation about police brutality has been muddled.  Admitting that law enforcement (like all of the major institutions of society) is an institutions that perpetuates institutional racism doesn’t mean that you are anti-cop.  All it means is that you acknowledge that the criminalization of Black people has caused law enforcement officials to engage in behaviors that dehumanized Black people.  And if you are serious about effectively serving the people that you are designated to protect then you would take the time to take seriously the ways that internalized racism effects how you interact with Black people.”

10 Rational Fears Many Black People Have Living Under White Supremacy – Atlanta Blackstar

For Black people in the U.S. and around the world, there are devastating wages to be paid for living in a world dominated by white supremacy.

For Black people in the U.S. and around the world, there are devastating wages to be paid for living in a world dominated by white supremacy.

via 10 Rational Fears Many Black People Have Living Under White Supremacy – Atlanta Blackstar.