Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest – Rolling Stone

When black athletes choose to point their aggression towards larger, systematic inequalities, there’s always backlash

 http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/colin-kaepernicks-national-anthem-protest-w436704
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he will continue to sit during the National Anthem as protest.

 

The role of the famous black athlete has been a polarizing one for as long as sports have dominated American headlines, going all the way back a century to when Jack Johnson beat white boxer Jim Jeffries in 1910. During Johnson’s time, he was regarded as a “bad nigger,” not only because he was articulate and handsome, but also because he beat his white rivals. It was a direct representation of black masculinity as a threat to white supremacy. In recent times, however, this kind of resistance has evolved. From track and field medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists as a Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics to WNBA players wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts, black athletes are expanding their sportsmanship into political activism.

Last Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. By Saturday morning, what should have been a meaningless football game was dominating the national news.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said of his decision not to stand, the start of a protest that the quarterback said yesterday will continue until “there’s significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

While black men only make up six percent of the American population, they comprise a staggering seventy percent of NFL rosters. However, their power is mainly found on the field, since there are currently no African-Americans who are a majority owner of any team and no African-American CEOs or Presidents. The majority of NFL players are black, while the NFL fan base is 83 percent white and 64 percent male. These are people who pay staggering amounts of money to watch black men who have their bodies battered on the field. As long as they run and tackle, keep their helmets on, and their mouths shut, then they are acceptable to the white mainstream public. However, when black athletes choose to point their aggression not towards each other but to larger, systematic inequalities, that’s when the backlash begins.

White 49ers fans posted videos burning Kaepernick’s jersey and actor Chris Meloni took to Twitter to criticize Kaepernick’s method of political protest, because, as the Law & Order: SVU star saw it, the quarterback was disrespecting the American flag (Meloni later deleted the tweet). People swarmed social media, calling Kaepernick a disgrace, that he was a privileged rich athlete, that he was equally arrogant and ignorant to the sacrifices of American soldiers. And it all had a familiar ring to it.

This outcry is reminiscent of Muhammad Ali’s political activism when he refused to enlist in the Vietnam War in 1967. David Susskind, an American television host, said, “I find nothing amusing or interesting or tolerable about this man. He’s a disgrace to his country, his race, and what he laughingly describes as his profession.” The man that today we call “The Greatest” was ridiculed all across the country and media. “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America,” he said. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what?” What Kaepernick and Ali as black athletes unleash through their political activism is a rupture in what is expected of them and how their allegiance to this country has never been rightfully earned.

Toni Morrison once said, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” Kaepernick’s protest, just as Ali’s refusal to participate in the Vietnam War, tapped into an entrenched, historical fear of race in this country, that blackness is by default anti-American. This is why when gymnast Gabby Douglas did not place a hand over her heart for the pledge of allegiance during the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was heavily criticized to the point where she released a public apology. Meanwhile, white shot-putters Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs kept their hands down at their side and no one questioned them. Whiteness is considered to be intrinsically American; therefore, a white athlete’s allegiance to the flag is assumed whereas with black athletes, it is more heavily enforced. White people want minorities to pledge their allegiance to the flag and stand for the National Anthem because then it reinforces the false belief that everyone is equal and uniformly protected under the law and constitution. It is a form of cognitive dissonance that African-Americans are coerced into believing in; they are encouraged to forget that the flag’s creation transpired when African-Americans were still slaves and that the full version of the National Anthem condemned slaves who sought to fight with the British people in order to achieve freedom.

When Kaepernick chose to remain seated for the National Anthem, he chose to channel his aggression traditionally demonstrated through football and turn the focus in order to make a politically charged statement. As a politically conscious African-American male, his form of protest was not to disrespect the military, but to redirect the domestic aggression towards marginalized bodies like the one in which he inhabits. He, just like Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising black-gloved fists at the 1968 Olympics, LeBron James wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt on the court, and countless other African-Americans both athletes and non-athletes, do not feel protected at home because of the rampant videos of black persons dying at the hands of police who commit these murders with impunity. How can an oppressed person perceive the threats abroad when they feel threatened here at home?

Today, Ali is revered as one of our greatest American icons as well as a political hero. It will take decades before we can judge if Kaepernick will be viewed in the same way. Nevertheless, his position as a black male athlete will never be a fixed one. Through his protest, he has moved from being a mere football player performing for white spectatorship and one who is conscious and partaking in a larger movement for liberation of oppressed Americans of color. People aren’t merely upset because he is disrespecting the flag; they are upset because Kaepernick’s anger illuminates just how divided this nation is and has always been.

Source: Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest – Rolling Stone

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The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters – Rolling Stone

The GOP’s Stealth War Against VotersWill an anti-voter-fraud program designed by one of Trump’s advisers deny tens of thousands their right to vote in November?The Crosscheck program is a response to the imaginary menace of mass voter fraud. Mark Makela/ReutersBy Greg PalastAugust 24, 2016More NewsWhat It’s Like Voting in a State That Takes Voting SeriouslyAri Berman on the Fight for American Voting RightsThe GOP War on VotingAll Stories »When Donald Trump claimed, “the election’s going to be rigged,” he wasn’t entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of “voting many, many times.” What’s far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.

The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.ADVERTISINGinRead invented by TeadsRELATED 2016: First Presidential Election Since Voting Rights GuttedAmerica will vote for president in a country where it’s easier to buy a gun than vote in many statesLike all weapons of vote suppression, Crosscheck is a response to the imaginary menace of mass voter fraud. In the mid-2000s, after the Florida-recount debacle, the Bush administration launched a five-year investigation into the allegedly rampant crime but found scant evidence of wrongdoing. Still, the GOP has perpetuated the myth in every national election since. Recently, North Carolina Board of Elections chief Kim Strach testified to her legislature that 35,750 voters are “registered in North Carolina and another state and voted in both in the 2012 general election.” Yet despite hiring an ex-FBI agent to lead the hunt, the state has charged exactly zero double voters from the Crosscheck list. Nevertheless, tens of thousands face the loss of their ability to vote – all for the sake of preventing a crime that rarely happens.

So far, Crosscheck has tagged an astonishing 7.2 million suspects, yet we found no more than four perpetrators who have been charged with double voting or deliberate double registration.On its surface, Crosscheck seems quite reasonable. Twenty-eight participating states share their voter lists and, in the name of dispassionate, race-blind Big Data, seek to ensure the rolls are up to date. To make sure the system finds suspect voters, Crosscheck supposedly matches first, middle and last name, plus birth date, and provides the last four digits of a Social Security number for additional verification.In reality, however, there have been signs that the program doesn’t operate as advertised. Some states have dropped out of Crosscheck, citing problems with its methodology, as Oregon’s secretary of state recently explained: “We left [Crosscheck] because the data we received was unreliable.”In our effort to report on the program, we contacted every state for their Crosscheck list. But because voting twice is a felony, state after state told us their lists of suspects were part of a criminal investigation and, as such, confidential. Then we got a break. A clerk in Virginia sent us its Crosscheck list of suspects, which a letter from the state later said was done “in error.”The Virginia list was a revelation. In all, 342,556 names were listed as apparently registered to vote in both Virginia and another state as of January 2014. Thirteen percent of the people on the Crosscheck list, already flagged as inactive voters, were almost immediately removed, meaning a stunning 41,637 names were “canceled” from voter rolls, most of them just before Election Day.We were able to obtain more lists – Georgia and Washington state, the total number of voters adding up to more than 1 million matches – and Crosscheck’s results seemed at best deeply flawed.

We found that one-fourth of the names on the list actually lacked a middle-name match. The system can also mistakenly identify fathers and sons as the same voter, ignoring designations of Jr. and Sr. A whole lot of people named “James Brown” are suspected of voting or registering twice, 357 of them in Georgia alone. But according to Crosscheck, James Willie Brown is supposed to be the same voter as James Arthur Br

Source: The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters – Rolling Stone

Private federal prisons more dangerous, damning DoJ investigation reveals | US news | The Guardian

 

Private federal prisons more dangerous, damning DoJ investigation reveals
‘Low risk’ inmates at contract prisons were nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown and put in solitary confinement than others in the federal system
A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from his ‘segregation cell’ back into the general population at the Adelanto detention facility in California.
A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from his ‘segregation cell’ back into the general population at the Adelanto detention facility in California.

Photograph: John Moore/Getty
Oliver Laughland in New York  @oliverlaughland
Friday 12 August 2016 08.46 EDT Last modified on Friday 12 August 2016 09.17 EDT

Privately operated government prisons, which mostly detain migrants convicted of immigration offenses, are drastically more unsafe and punitive than other prisons in the federal system, a stinging investigation by the US Department of Justice’s inspector general has found.

Inmates at these 14 contract prisons, the only centers in the federal prison system that are privately operated, were nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown than inmates at other federal prisons and were frequently subjected to arbitrary solitary confinement. In two of the three contract prisons investigators routinely visited, new inmates were automatically placed in solitary confinement as a way of combating overcrowding, rather than for disciplinary issues.

The review also found that contract prison inmates were more likely to complain about medical care, treatment by prison staff and about the quality of food.

Contract prisons almost exclusively incarcerate low-risk inmates convicted of immigration offenses. These facilities house around 22,000 individuals, mostly deemed “low risk”, at an annual cost of $600m. They are operated by three private companies: Geo Group, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and Management and Training Corporation (MTC).

Investigators determined that these facilities were also more dangerous than others in the federal system. For example, the report found that inmate on inmate assaults were 28% higher in contract prisons, and confiscation of contraband mobile phones occurred eight times more.
Prosecutions of illegal entry a driving force in mass incarceration in US – report
Read more
At the Eden detention center in Texas, operated by CCA and one of the three institutions routinely visited by investigators, the inspector general found that staff failed to discipline inmates in over 50% of disciplinary incidents.

“This is the latest in a whole series of reports and investigations that have found very serious issues with Bureau of Prisons shadow systems of private prisons,” said Carl Takei, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s national private prison project and one of the authors of the 2014 report Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped In Our Shadow Private Prison System, which investigated contract prisons in Texas.

“Federal officials should be reconsidering their alliance on private prisons and developing plans to begin cancelling these contracts, rather than continuing this experiment.”

Among the most stark of the ACLU’s 2014 findings was the severe medical understaffing and “extreme cost cutting” that limited inmates access to healthcare.

Elements of these findings are replicated in the inspector general’s report, which identified serious flaws in the oversight of medical care in a number of contract prisons.

“In one instance,” the report documents, “when an inmate had trouble breathing, the contract prison medical staff told him to place a sick call, which would put him on a list of inmates waiting to be seen by medical personnel instead of being treated immediately.

“However, after he died, the mortality reviews showing this deficiency gave the onsite monitors no guidance on what steps to take to require corrective action. As a result, contractor deficiencies went uncorrected and corrective actions were delayed.”

The inspector general recommends that the US justice department should convene a “working group” to probe the causes of the disparity in safety standards between contract prisons and publicly operated facilities, and states that federal government should strengthen oversight provisions across the board.

Source: Private federal prisons more dangerous, damning DoJ investigation reveals | US news | The Guardian

Discriminology – Public School Ratings, Scholarly Literature, Educational Videos & News

WASHINGTON — Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection. Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent,” said author Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles. The study was published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology®.

Researchers tested 176 police officers, mostly white males, average age 37, in large urban areas, to determine their levels of two distinct types of bias — prejudice and unconscious dehumanization of black people by comparing them to apes. To test for prejudice, researchers had officers complete a widely used psychological questionnaire with statements such as “It is likely that blacks will bring violence to neighborhoods when they move in.” To determine officers’ dehumanization of blacks, the researchers gave them a psychological task in which they paired blacks and whites with large cats, such as lions, or with apes. Researchers reviewed police officers’ personnel records to determine use of force while on duty and found that those who dehumanized blacks were more likely to have used force against a black child in custody than officers who did not dehumanize blacks. The study described use of force as takedown or wrist lock; kicking or punching; striking with a blunt object; using a police dog, restraints or hobbling; or using tear gas, electric shock or killing. Only dehumanization and not police officers’ prejudice against blacks — conscious or not — was linked to violent encounters with black children in custody, according to the study.

The authors noted that police officers’ unconscious dehumanization of blacks could have been the result of negative interactions with black children, rather than the cause of using force with black children. “We found evidence that overestimating age and culpability based on racial differences was linked to dehumanizing stereotypes, but future research should try to clarify the relationship between dehumanization and racial disparities in police use of force,” Goff said.

The study also involved 264 mostly white, female undergraduate students from large public U.S. universities. In one experiment, students rated the innocence of people ranging from infants to 25-year-olds who were black, white or an unidentified race. The students judged children up to 9 years old as equally innocent regardless of race, but considered black children significantly less innocent than other children in every age group beginning at age 10, the researchers found.

 The students were also shown photographs alongside descriptions of various crimes and asked to assess the age and innocence of white, black or Latino boys ages 10 to 17. The students overestimated the age of blacks by an average of 4.5 years and found them more culpable than whites or Latinos, particularly when the boys were matched with serious crimes, the study found. Researchers used questionnaires to assess the participants’ prejudice and dehumanization of blacks. They found that participants who implicitly associated blacks with apes thought the black children were older and less innocent.

In another experiment, students first viewed either a photo of an ape or a large cat and then rated black and white youngsters in terms of perceived innocence and need for protection as children. Those who looked at the ape photo gave black children lower ratings and estimated that black children were significantly older than their actual ages, particularly if the child had been accused of a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

“The evidence shows that perceptions of the essential nature of children can be affected by race, and for black children, this can mean they lose the protection afforded by assumed childhood innocence well before they become adults,” said co-author Matthew Jackson, PhD, also of UCLA. “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”

Article: “The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online Feb. 24, 2014; Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, and Matthew Christian Jackson, PhD; University of California, Los Angeles; Brooke Allison, PhD, and Lewis Di Leone, PhD, National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Boston; Carmen Marie Culotta, PhD, Pennsylvania State University; and Natalie Ann DiTomasso, JD, University of Pennsylvania.

Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, can be contacted by phone at (310) 206-8614 (preferred) or by email. If Goff is unavailable, contactMatthew Christian Jackson, PhD, by phone at (814) 574-9781 or by email.

Source: Discriminology – Public School Ratings, Scholarly Literature, Educational Videos & News

For Colored Girls Like Korryn Gaines And the Black Men Who Hate Us

 

For Colored Girls Like Korryn Gaines And The Black Men Who Hate Us

What is it to be a black woman in America. For the burden of both racism and misogyny to lay at our feet.

Korryn Gaines was no fool. In her short 23 years she was all too familiar with the carnage of black bodies. This familiarity with state sanctioned executions empowered her to raise unafraid black children. With her thick Baltimore accent she instructed her five-year-old son to record the Baltimore County police who’d pulled her over for not having registered tags on her car. That day, she was ready to die. Her life was spared, but she wouldn’t be so fortunate again.

Her Instagram shows a warrior woman who believed in her right to legally bear arms. She was uninterested in cow-towing to the very system that kills even its most “perfect” victims. Instead of “hands up, don’t shoot!” shethought “#StopKillingUs is some begging ass shit” was more appropriate. Baby girl had no desire to be pleasant or respectable.

So when Baltimore County police showed up to her apartment to serve a warrant for her arrest over misdemeanor traffic violation charges, she knew it could very well be the day she took her last breath. In her last moments she took to Instagram to record her cute, chubby cheeked five-year-old son, her asking the questions, him predicting the outcome.

“Who’s outside?”
“The police.”
“What are they trying to do?”
“They trying to kill us.”

What happened next doesn’t matter much because the result is the same. It’s always the same. Korryn is dead. The police will lie. The media will corroborate the police’s lies. The public will blame her for her death. There will be no justice. Officials will call for peace. Family members are left to raise her children. And shortly we will have all moved on to grieve the next victim of police violence. The narrative is so familiar it shows up in our dreams. The tears feel the same as the ones we wiped the last time we mourned a black person who we did not know. Only this time those tears will only be cried by black women. All black lives are not mourned equally.

Because Korryn dared to be a vocal black woman — one who may or may not have been legally armed — there is no outcry for her except from other black women. There will be no outraged celebrities. Protesters won’t flood the streets in cities across the nation. Public officials will not demand accountability for the officers who killed her. Presidential candidates will not condemn the police department for their failure to de-escalate considering a child was present. President Obama will not tell the nation Korryn could’ve been his daughter. News and cable networks won’t profit off her death by hosting Town Hall meetings. Black men will not grieve her as they have the long list of black men killed similarly. In fact, black men will adopt the language of our oppressors to blame her for her own murder.

Black men couldn’t wait to vocalize their hatred for black women. “It’s looking mighty justifiable right now” and “Korryn Gaines deserved to die” and “Basically asked for it” and “She decided to be reckless with her son and her own life” and “Korryn Gaines was an ignorant, loud mouth little girl.” Those are just a few. Tucking in their hatred is hard to do, even when two black children are left without a mother.

Black men's hero, Malcolm X, telling the painful truth about black women.

Black men’s hero, Malcolm X, telling the painful truth about black women.

These are the same black men who automatically don’t trust police accounts in killings where the victim is a black man, but are quick to believe Korryn was pointing a gun at the police when they entered her home. Despite her documented recordings of run-ins with the Baltimore County police, black men aren’t thinking maybe this woman was targeted. Black men are not playing detective to figure out the truth in this strange story the police tell of using the landlord’s key to enter her home. Black men are not rallying for an end to a system that sends a SWAT team to someone’s home over non-violent traffic violations. Black men are not calling foul, because even if she was armed, white suspects with guns are apprehended alive all the time. Black men are not questioning how she could hold her phone to record, hold her son and allegedly hold a shotgun in her hand all at the same time. Black men aren’t sympathetic to her developmental disability due to lead poisoning, which could’ve affected her reasoning the day she was murdered. Nope. Black men are saying she deserved to die because she was a crazy fool and a shitty mother for daring to be free.

Ain’t that peculiar?

Black men must remove the word revolutionary from their vocabulary. One minute it’s “fuck the police” and the next it’s Korryn was reckless. Black men love the iconic photo of their hero Malcolm X looking out the window of his home, shotgun in hand to protect his family, but Korryn possibly having a gun means she deserved death. They cheer on Nat Turner but who does Korryn think she is to protect her family. Black men either don’t know what revolutionary really means or think the word is reserved for them solely.

Remove it from your tongues.

It’s not just about Korryn. It’s about black womenfolk being de mules of the worldat the hands of black men. Folks called Sandra Bland sassy. Said had she not talked back she would’ve lived. No one showed up for the Rekia Boyd rally in NYC. When we talk to black men about the dangers of street harassment we are met with death and rape threats. Statistics show violence against black women is mostly at the hands of black men, but we’re shouted over for bringing that up. Then when we tell black men that we, too, are killed by police, we are told now is not the time to be divisive. You will get to us after we take care of our “kings.”

But you see, that doesn’t work for me. My liberation is not going to come after. I’m not suffering through black men’s harmful misogynoir while black women’s freedom becomes a ‘maybe we’ll get to it in the next lifetime’ non-priority. I’m not adding a “not all black men” caveat to my truths in order to coddle hurt feelings. My life is literally on the line. And my freedom can’t wait.

Either cis black men are going to center black women so we can all get free together, or my freedom fighting will be reserved for black women and black queer folks. Do what you want with that. But my freedom can’t wait. I won’t wait for you to see my humanity while I fight for yours.

While you’re denying our humanity, remember this: Putting off black women’s liberation for tomorrow is a dangerous game. Because ain’t a single liberation movement survived without us.

To Korryn and Sandra and all the black women who refuse to bow, refuse to shutup, we got you. Rest easy knowing black women said your name and refused to let them forget.

Source: For Colored Girls Like Korryn Gaines And the Black Men Who Hate Us