September 23, 2014

Deconstructing the Daily Show encounter

Adrienne Keene deconstructs the Washington Post's biased framed of the Daily Show confrontation reported in Redskins Fans Can't Take the Heat:

White tears and aggressive Indians: Native activists on the Daily Show

Keene quotes the original article and then responds:The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.Here’s the hook for the article–that one of the fan’s “left in tears” and “felt so threatened she later called the police.” So as the reader, we’re already on her side. Nobody wants a nice white lady to cry! I mean, she called the cops! That MUST mean the Natives were soooo mean to her! Shall we go on?“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,”Is this a quotation from one of the Native activists about how Racial Slurs fans constantly mock our culture at games? Sorry, no, it’s from the really oppressed fan. Won’t someone think of the white people? (that was an alternate title to this post, btw)said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”Ok, pause. I do feel bad for Kelli, that she was put in a position without her consent where she was forced to defend a position that she deeply feels is right, only to be told over and over again that it is wrong. Welcome to every time that Native people open their mouth about mascot issues. Though, (this is me being genuine now) confronting your own privilege is hard and scary, and it’s not easy to have to do it on national TV.

But to say you “felt in danger?” Of what? That one of the Native artists, comedians, journalists, educators, or lawyers sitting in front of you was going to physically attack you? Wow. Just, wow. No savage Indian stereotypes here…
Later in the article, more from O'Dell:“I said to him: ‘This is not how adults behave. This is not anything I signed up for.’ Tears were running down my face. I was shaking,” O’Dell said. “I told him to tear up my contract. He said, ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’”She was trapped, “this is not how adults behave”…tears, shaking. This actually describes exactly how I felt after a panel I did in AZ where I had to defend my work to a white audience, including several white males who got in my face after the panel, one pointing his finger in my face, telling me I was wrong, denying my doctorate had any value, saying mascots were “not an issue.” The difference? This is my identity we are talking about. The very core of my being. My people, my ancestors, my heart, my work. This is the pain I, and other activists, go through daily in this fight. Ms. O’Dell? She was crying and shaking because folks wouldn’t let her defend a mascot of a sports team. This is not the same thing, at all.Two days later, O’Dell said she called D.C. police and tried to submit a police report, but authorities told her no crime had been committed.LOL at “no crime had been committed.” This act, to me, says the most of the privilege and power involved in this than any other part of the story. If we’ve learned anything in the murder of Mike Brown, or any of the other young, unarmed, men of color shot by police forces in the last few years, and continuing issues with stop and frisk and police brutality, it is that police in the US exist to protect and serve whiteness. People of color would never, in a million years, believe that calling the police after being confronted and harassed in this manner would make any difference. Because this type of harassment is something that happens every. single. day for people of color, often by the police themselves. I say this in the most non-snarky way possible: only a white person would think that police intervention could help in this situation.Keene's conclusion:As I always say, you ask me why representations matter. They matter because in 2014 a panel of Native lawyers, artists, journalists, and activists, with several advanced degrees and decades of experience working with and in our communities, are still framed as aggressors, violent, confrontational, angry, and yes, implicitly savage. You can’t tell me that it’s not all connected. Our identities are erased and replaced with the stereotypes you see every weekend on uniforms at FedEX field.

But one final note: We have every right to be angry. We have every right to be aggressive. Society often wants us to confront racism the “right” way, which is the way that makes white folks feel the least uncomfortable. But we need to be loud, we need to make our voices heard. These are our identities and futures on the line. Respectability politics be damned.
And a comment from one of Keene's followers:It's ironic how often they tote the "thin skin, over sensitive" rhetoric in regards to people decrying acts of racism. It seems to me they quickly fall apart when they are personally confronted over their racism. I wonder how many times this woman has told a Native Aamerican they are being oversensitive about the mascot, and the moment she actually meets Native Americans in person to tell her how they feel she straight up breaks out in tears and runs away like spoiled brat preteen and even CALLS THE COPS. She is like the poster child of white privilege.

More reactions

Local Redskins fan says he was duped by "Daily Show"

By Tom RobinsonAccording to a Washington Post story, Maurice Hawkins, identified as a 43-year-old sales consultant from “Hampton Roads, Va.,” agreed to be interviewed in Washington, D.C. by “The Daily Show’s” Jason Jones. After the interviews, however, and despite allegedly being told there would be no face-to-face meeting between the fans and activists, a “group” of Native Americans walked into the room.

Included was the lead plaintiff in a trademark protection case that went against the team this year, Amanda Blackhorse.

The fans were accused of backing a racist mascot and endured other verbal abuse, according to a female fan from Alexandria.

“Going up against Amanda Blackhorse?" Hawkins was quoted as saying. "It’s like playing football and they’re going to have (Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III). I am just an average fan. These are activists who have media training and talking points.”
Media training? No. Blackhorse was simply better than you because the facts were on her side.

Fan Showdown With Native Americans

By Matt Essert[M]ore importantly, though these fans felt attacked, they are supporters of a racist team name and mascot, and they should be ready and willing to defend their views to the very people their racism hurts. It's one thing to try to ignore the racism in the comfort of your own home watching your team play once a week, but it's an entirely different, and more real, situation when you're actually being confronted by the very people you continuously attack with your ignorant and hateful words. This team name debate has been around for long enough that those who still support this name should have given their views some very serious thought. You can keep telling yourself you're just "honoring Native Americans," but the truth of the matter is that you're not, and it shouldn't take a group of Native Americas staring you in the face to realize that.Another column wasn't a response to the Daily Show, but it suggests how desperate the NFL is for good news.

Could ditching ‘Redskins’ take heat off the NFL?

By Jonathan CapehartWhat the NFL needs right now more than anything is something so mind-blowing that it changes the relentless and deserved negative narrative about the league and its haphazard handling of players embroiled in personal and legal troubles. All that’s required is for Dan Snyder to change the name of his football team, the Washington “Redskins.”

Snyder has been adamant about not changing the offensive name. Last year, he told USA Today, “We will never change the name of the team.” When ESPN asked him this month why not, he gave a laughable answer. “The name of our team is the name of our team,” Snyder said. “It represents honor. It represents pride. It represents respect.” No, it doesn’t. The team’s name is a slur against Native Americans.

That’s why my colleagues on The Post editorial board and I wrote last month, “[W]hile we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves.” That’s why Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is seeking to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status. “This is not about team tradition,” she said at a news conference Tuesday. “This is about right and wrong.” And that’s why Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation was able to slam the football league as “showing commercial and moral arrogance, and a blatant lack of respect for those being negatively impacted.”

With one decision, Snyder could reverse some of the commercial and moral arrogance the NFL has placed on ample display. No doubt, it would be a highly cynical move. The name change would be big news that would bump off the front pages, for a few days at least, the domestic violence and child abuse charges facing Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Jonathan Dwyer and Greg Hardy. But the long-term impact would benefit the Washington team and the league—both their respective bottom lines and their reputations.

September 22, 2014

South Park mocks "Redskins"

‘South Park’ mocks DC football team in ad targeting hometown fans: Your name is ‘offensive to us’

By Tom BoggioniComedy Central ordered up a very specific promotional ad for the network’s South Park show, mocking the Washington Redskins nickname controversy, and then running the ad only in the DC market for the hometown fans to see.

According to SBNation, the ad ran during the fourth quarter of the ‘Skin’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The one-minute promo shows team owner Daniel Snyder confronting Eric Cartman over using the Redskins name for his new company.

“In the name of decency I am asking that you please stop using the name Washington Redskins to your company, ” Snyder says, adding ” You have no right to get attention.”
Comedy Central Takes on Dan Snyder in South Park’s 18th Season Premiere: Teaser Ran in Commercial during Washington/Philadelphia NFL GameComedy Central weighed in on the Washington NFL’s team name controversy during the Washington vs. Philadelphia game in a commercial aired Sunday afternoon.

FOX aired the one-minute ad promoting the premiere of the 18th season of “South Park” during a fourth-quarter commercial that was seen in the Washington D.C. area only.

The ad was a teaser for the episode that will air Wednesday. The ad is a parody of Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder’s claim that that his continued usage of the R-word for the Washington football team is to honor American Indians.

In the upcoming episode Cartman is running a business named as the same name as the Washington NFL team. Dan Snyder finds it offensive. Cartman is doing it to “honor” Snyder and the football team.

For more on South Park, see Native Canadians in South Park, "Tardicaca Indians" in South Park, and South Park: "Red Man's Greed."

September 21, 2014

Shriners as Indians, Arabs, and clowns

Shriners Play Indian in ND Parade; Should Stick to ClowningAs part of an annual parade we are told is organized by a man named Scott Johnson in the capitol city of the State of North Dakota, a float full of White guys all in Red Face, donning fake headdresses--in the present day--actually made it all the way through with out being booed, pelted with eggs or confronted to have their mock head-dresses removed. Seriously. This is 2014 and in this part of the USA, Native Americans and forward thinking, socially conscious people are subjected yearly to this annual Parade. The parade float was sponsored by the Bismarck Masons and the Bismarck-Mandan Shriners. The Shriners are known throughout the country as people who usually dress up as clowns and do good will wherever they are, but in North Dakota I guess they also think they can dress up as Indians, Orientals, and Arabs. They seem to have fit in perfectly with the annual racially charged themes in which White appropriation of non-White cultures and/or Peoples is encouraged and celebrated. The Mandan Indian Shriners (who apparently were on the float) have units in their organization with names such as the Arab Patrol, Oriental Band, and maybe other 1950s White privilege influenced unit names and practices of their El Zagal Shriner organization, founded in 1942 by A.B. Welch. From the links below it is clear that White people have been playing Indian in North Dakota since the early 1900s.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Debating an "Arab" Parade Float.

September 20, 2014

Even at the starting line?

See? Black and white people were side by side at the starting line. Why can't blacks make it to the finish line?

Someone asked me, "Where is the Native American path?" Alas, Natives had to go back to start when they lost their land, obviously.

For more on the subject, see Myth of the Level Playing Field and Whites Think They're Losing to Blacks.

September 19, 2014

Redskins fans can't take the heat

The Daily Show springs tense showdown with Native Americans on Redskins fans

By Ian ShapiraThe four die-hard Redskins fans thought the opportunity was as golden as the vintage helmets of their favorite football team: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” wanted them to appear on the Comedy Central program to defend the team’s name, which has been under relentless attack.

The Redskins Nation citizens eagerly signed up, most of them knowing they might get mocked in their interview with correspondent Jason Jones. But several hours into the Sept. 13 taping of the yet-to-air episode, the fans, all from Virginia, said they were suddenly confronted by a larger group of Native American activists — all of whom were in on the showdown prearranged by “The Daily Show.”

The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.

“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and didn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
Comment:  Well, cry me a river. Some fans felt "defamed"...just like Indians feel many times a day when they see stereotypical images and hear stereotypical terms. You know, like those involving the Washington team.

As some people said on Facebook:If you believe in it so whole-heartedly, why did you balk when confronted by the people who are against the name?

If you are such a fan of the team and believe it honors Native Americans then you should be able to say that to Native Americans. I mean what do they really have to be afraid of if they believe they are right and honoring Native people?

Don't deign, denigrate and demean an entire class of people if you can't handle the consequences.

Soooooo what exactly is the problem? Oh, they got a taste of their own medicine? Boo hoo for them. Now they know how we feel when white guys scream "it's an honor!!!!!" When we correct them.
Below:  "Gregg Deal, 39, a Native American from Culpeper, Va., is an artist and activist. He poses with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones at the filming of the segment Sept. 13 at the Park Hyatt hotel in Dupont Circle." (Courtesy of Gregg Deal)

September 18, 2014

"Nation to Nation" treaty exhibit

NMAI To Open New Exhibit Exploring Native and U.S. Relations

By Madeline McGillSince its opening, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has dedicated itself to the promotion of native identity and cultural understanding. Now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the D.C. museum, it is launching an ambitious exhibit this September that seeks to highlight the role of treaties between the United States and Native Nations.

Upon opening September 21, 2014, the exhibit “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations,” will explore the Native diplomats and leaders who crafted some of the earliest agreements with the Founding Fathers.

Amongst the many artifacts expected to be on display, the exhibit will feature 8 prominent National Archive treaties from the approximately 374 ratified between the United States and Native Nations. These treaties will trace a timeline of diplomacy from first meetings to present, touching at the core of how U.S. and Native relations have impacted culture and development.

On September 8th, the NMAI welcomed the arrival of the Treaty of Canandaigua from the National Archives and Records Administration. Enacted between the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Six Nations or the Iroquois Confederacy) and the U.S., this treaty was signed by George Washington in 1794 to establish peace, friendship, and affirm land rights to the Haudenosaunee in modern day New York State.
Treaties Exhibit Ushers in 10 Years of American Indian Museum

By Bridget BowmanThe National Museum of the American Indian will open its first exhibit exploring the contentious issue of treaties between the U.S. government and Indian Nations next week.

“This exhibit is a tangible reminder of the federal government’s relationship with sovereign tribal nations of this country,” Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Thursday. “It’s also a reminder of the moral and legal obligations that the United States has to honor and uphold our treaties with Indian country.”

Tester addressed a group gathered at a day-long symposium at the museum discussing the exhibit. “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” opens Sept. 21, which is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum. The exhibit will continue until the fall of 2018.

Museum Director Kevin Gover said during a preview Tuesday that the display was years in the making and came at the request of a number of tribes and members of Congress.
Comment:  Some people live-tweeted comments during the day-long symposium discussing the exhibit. Here are the ones I retweeted:

Senator Jon Tester @SenatorTester · Sep 18
This exhibit is a tangible reminder of the federal government's relationship with the sovereign tribal nations. #NationToNation

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Clinton: Early treaties re friendship became vehicles for land dispossession. #HonorTheTreaties #NationToNation

Mark Trahant @TrahantReports · Sep 18
Clinton: 1868 Ft Laramie, Lakota had won, US suing for peace. "If conquest" brings rights "we should be speaking Lakota."

Mark Trahant @TrahantReports · Sep 18
Clinton: IRA spurred "sovereign to sovereign" relationship req'g consent and negotiation. "Treatymaking is back." #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Gover: Want to put concept of Native sovereignty into American's knowledge of American Indians. #NationToNation #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Harjo: American's don't realize treaties are AMERICAN, too, made by American govt with Native Nations. #HonorTheTreaties #NationToNation

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Gover: With tribes managing resources themselves, resources (salmon) are making comebacks. Good for all. #NationToNation #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Listening to Macarro highlights (for me) how disgusting it is that California schools focus on missions. #NationToNation #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Deloria: Task is to teach students that history matters to the present and future. #NationToNation

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Cladoosby: Has US kept its word? George Washington made promises he didn't keep. #NationToNation #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Cladoosby: "Sometimes I think we are more patriotic, maybe because we were on this land first, we love her more" #NationToNation

Mark Trahant @TrahantReports · Sep 18
"We can love this country despite the incredible, painful history ... despite promises not kept," Brian Cladoosby. #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Gover: Congress apology to Am Indians, sponsored by Brownback, was buried, but signaled US beginning to acknowledge history

Mark Trahant @TrahantReports · Sep 18
Kevin Gover: NMAI act is an apology; yes US did these things. Thus the oppty to tell Native story and for US to listen. #HonorTheTreaties

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Gover: History is being mis-taught in formal education systems in US. All of us have to un-learn those things. #NationToNation

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Gover: Justice is achievable because Indians never give up. We always insist on a just outcome. #NationToNation

Debbie Reese @debreese · Sep 18
Harjo: Arguments that 'too much time has passed, therefore, move on' is bogus argument. Treaties matter. No end date. #NationToNation

You can see all the tweets on the symposium by searching the #NationToNation and #HonorTheTreaties hashtags in Twitter.

For more on treaties, see Myth of the Level Playing Field and Tamara Johnson Ad Sparks Outrage.

September 16, 2014

Cantwell challenges NFL over "Redskins"

Lawmaker to introduce bill to end NFL’s tax-exempt status because of Redskins name

By Ian ShapiraSen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of its refusal to address the name of the Washington Redskins.

Flanked by several tribal chiefs, Cantwell, who is the former chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, condemned the team’s name as a slur against Native Americans.

“The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century,” she said. “It is about right and wrong.”

Cantwell made her remarks at a press conference called by a coalition of Native American and social justice groups leading the campaign against the Redskins’ name.

The group, Change the Mascot, which includes the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, is calling on the owners of the 31 other NFL teams to force fellow owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s moniker.
Cantwell ties NFL tax status to Redskins name

By Joseph WhiteOverall, the message from the "Change the Mascot" leaders was that they don't plan to go away, despite Redskins owner Dan Snyder's vow not to change the name. They presented a letter that will be sent to every NFL owner except Snyder, asking each to use his "position of authority" to end the league's "promotion of a dictionary-defined racial slur."

Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said he hoped an owner will take a bold position against the name. He cited Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who integrated major league baseball by signing Jackie Robinson, and longtime Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who changed his NBA's team from Bullets because of the violence associated with the term.

"We're looking for the Branch Rickey, looking for Abe Pollin," Halbritter said. "They're out there. We know the owners don't share in this, but they share in the profits."

Halbritter had harsh words for the league as a whole, referencing the NFL's handling of health problems suffered by former players, as well as the recent Ray Rice domestic violence saga and the child abuse charge levied against Adrian Peterson.

"The NFL is currently facing an integrity crisis. ... While these are different issues, they are joined by a common thread of showing commercial and moral arrogance and a blatant lack of respect for those being negatively impacted," Halbritter said.

September 15, 2014

Headdress protesters file claim over brutality

Native Americans Ejected from SF Giants' "Native American Heritage Night" File Police Brutality Claims, Demand Giants Take Stand on Cultural AppropriationApril Negrette and Kimball Bighorse are filing tort claims today against the City and County of San Francisco. The claims are the first step in suing the City and County for police brutality that occurred when the Giants called in SFPD to eject Negrette and Bighorse from its June 23, 2014, “Native American Heritage Night” event and game. SFPD officers threw Ms. Negrette to the ground by her hair, violently twisted her arms and kept her in an excruciating pain compliance hold for an extended period of time. When Mr. Bighorse video-recorded this with his smart phone, SFPD officers also subjected him to excessive force and an invasive search, accused both of being drunk (neither had had any alcohol), and detained them until the end of the game.

Ms. Negrette and Mr. Bighorse, who did not know each other before that night, had peacefully confronted a group of inebriated men who were inappropriately and disrespectfully wearing a plastic counterfeit Native American-themed headdress, explaining that what they were doing was offensive and wrong. The group gave the offending headdress to Ms. Negrette. The Giants then ordered the San Francisco Police to eject Negrette, who is Shoshone and Paiute, and Bighorse, who is Cayuga, Navajo, and Seneca–but not the drunken men, most of whom were white–from the stadium. The police then returned the headdress to the group, who returned to wearing the imitation headdress and enjoying the rest of the game undisturbed. The Giants’ and SFPD’s actions violated Negrette and Bighorse’s constitutional rights and the UN General Assembly’s "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" (DRIP) adopted overwhelmingly on September 13, 2007 (see

“I am tired of being walked all over,” April Negrette explained. “Nobody would call me a sq*aw to my face, but they will make fun of our culture–the cultures that were outlawed, forcibly removed from us, beaten out of us in boarding schools, that people were murdered for simply because we were different–and play dress up in it now because all of a sudden it’s cool to be a Native? No way. We live, breathe and die this everyday. We walk around with the influences of those things ingrained in us to this day.”

In addition to filing a claim against San Francisco, Negrette, Bighorse and the National Lawyers Guild have demanded an apology from the Giants and that the Giants expressly prohibit headdresses and other appropriations of Native American spirituality and culture at their games, provide cultural sensitivity training to their security staff, not display racist team names and imagery (such as the Cleveland Indians or Atlanta Braves), and issue a public call to all Bay Area professional and college sports teams and all Major League Baseball teams to adopt similar policies.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see SF Giants to Ban Headresses?

September 14, 2014

Killing blacks = "perfect crime"

In defense of black rage: Michael Brown, police and the American dream

I don't support the looting in Ferguson, Missouri. But I'm also tired of "turning the other cheek" and forgiving

By Brittney Cooper
I believe that racism exists in the inexplicable sense of fear, unsafety and gnawing anxiety that white people, be they officers with guns or just general folks moving about their lives, have when they encounter black people. I believe racism exists in that sense of mistrust, the extra precautions white people take when they encounter black people. I believe all these emotions have emerged from a lifetime of media consumption subtly communicating that black people are criminal, a lifetime of seeing most people in power look just like you, a lifetime of being the majority population. And I believe this subconscious sense of having lost control (of the universe) exists for white people, at a heightened level since the election of Barack Obama and the continued explosion of the non-white population.

The irony is that black people understand this heightened anxiety. We feel it, too. We study white people. We are taught this as a tool of survival. We know when there is unrest in the souls of white folks. We know that unrest, if not assuaged quickly, will lead to black death. Our suspicions, unlike those of white people, are proven right time and time again.

I speak to this deep psychology of race, not because I am trying to engage in pop psychology but because we live in a country that is so deeply emotionally dishonest about both race and racism. When will we be honest enough to acknowledge that the police have more power than the ordinary citizen? They are supposed to. And with more power comes more responsibility.

Why are police calling the people of Ferguson animals and yelling at them to “bring it”? Because those officers in their riot gear, with their tear gas and dogs, want a justification for slaughter. But inexplicably in that moment we turn our attention to the rioters, the people with less power, but justifiable anger, and say, “You are the problem.” No. A cop killing an unarmed teenager who had his hands in the air is the problem. Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.
Ferguson Just the Latest in Long Line Of Racist Fueled Tragedies

We are moving backwards because of the persistence of racism and a relaxation of the fight against it.

By Bob Herbert
Poverty in America, said Bush, “has roots in a history of racial discrimination which cut off generations from the opportunity of America.” He added, “We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.”

Anyone who took Bush’s pledge seriously would have ended up disappointed because nothing of the sort happened. The poor black people of New Orleans faded back into the invisibility from which they had come.

It was ever thus: Some tragic development occurs; the media spotlight homes in on black people who had previously been invisible; instant experts weigh in with their pompous, uninformed analyses; and commitments as empty as deflated balloons are made. This time it’s Ferguson, Missouri, in the spotlight. And you can bet the mortgage that this time will be no different.

The precipitating events that cause these periodic national spasms can vary widely—the flooding of New Orleans, the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the beating of Rodney King. But these tragedies all emerge from the same fetid source—the racism embedded in the very foundation of America.

And it’s that racism—stark, in-your-face, never-ending, frequently murderous—that has so many African-Americans so angry and frustrated, so furious, so enraged. Black people all across America, not just in Ferguson, are angry about the killing of Michael Brown. And they remain angry over the killing of Trayvon Martin. And many are seething over the fatal chokehold clamped on the throat of Eric Garner by a cop on Staten Island in New York—a cop who refused to relent even as Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

They are angry about all those things, but they are also angry and frustrated about so much more.
The 'Perfect Crime' in America Is Killing an Unarmed Black Man and Claiming Self-Defense

By H. A. GoodmanTens of thousands of police officers throughout the nation interact with people on a daily basis and everyone survives these interactions without a ruling of homicide, as in the case of Eric Garner.

That being said, there have been at least five unarmed black men killed in the past month according to The Huffington Post, and when you combine these deaths with the manner in which they've elicited a public divide in perception, one can only come to this conclusion: Killing unarmed black men and claiming self-defense is the perfect crime in today's America.


The crime of killing someone is now turned into a battle of narratives where the only other person who could challenge the narrative is dead, and millions of people simply believe that the unarmed black man deserved his fate.

The reason for this sad and un-American reality is that once an unarmed black teenager like Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin is no longer breathing, the shooter can simply claim self-defense or get close to a million dollars in support like Darren Wilson. After all, the fact that being unarmed and walking toward a destination doesn't matter in the minds of many people. If he's a "thug" or a black male who allegedly robbed a convenience store (which the Ferguson officer had no way of knowing at the time), then their fate lies in the fact that they possibly used profanity, presented some sort of threat, or gave their shooters a reason to shoot and kill. Even the testimony of witnesses like Rachel Jeantel or Dorian Johnson, refuting self-defense narratives, are meaningless in the minds of many people.
Afrophobia, and Proper Negro Stress

By Johnny SilvercloudIt is immensely frustrating living in a false reality that claims everyone is considered equal.

The reason why this is a frustrating existence, is because we have a sizable majority who actually believe that as a reality, and in turn will not listen to your concerns. It’s the allegory if Plato’s Cave. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of the 77.9% are chained in the cave living an illusion while only the majority of the 13.1% are free to understand reality as it exists. In life, the 13.1% suffer a level of undue stress that the 77.9% does not. The majority does not listen to the minority. And the majority who are chained in the cave are the ones who makes all the rules.

I learned to read at an absurdly young age. I also learned how to speak more so from television than my own environment. In turn, I spoke proper beyond those of who made my surroundings. I always been the “smart guy.” I’m not sure how old I was, but I do remember I was in elementary school as a fourth grader when I was fully cognizant of the stereotype of the dangerous black male. Of course, what I did from there was simple; from then on I put forth a consistent effort to NOT fit the bill. I was the bookworm, the smart guy, the brains, the analytical, the inventor, the cerebral, the engineer, the maker, the black and nerdy. Kinda.

What I realized as an adult reflecting on the path I took explicitly, is that at a young age I was fully cognizant of white fear of my skin tone. It’s not a matter of knowing right from wrong, it’s a matter what white America thought of me. From then I knew what Afrophobia was. I was around nine or ten as a fourth grader, and that’s a young age to be thinking of socio-psychological matters if you ask me. In being socially aware since ten years of age, I now realize that I put forth conscious effort to be the “proper negro.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see A Hunger to Deny Racism and White Privilege = "Willful Blindness.

September 13, 2014

A hunger to deny racism

It’s racism, not “principled conservatism”: The South, civil rights, GOP myths — and the roots of Ferguson

True GOP believers insist their small government beliefs have nothing to do with race. They're deluding themselves

By Paul Rosenberg
This lack of longer historical memory is part of what helps to support a popular brand of revisionism that claims the South turned Republican because the people there embraced “principled” “small-government” conservatism. There are numerous problems with this explanation. First, if that’s why the South changed, then why didn’t the shift happen earlier? Second, if the change is explained by gradual economic development (as some such as Real Clear Politics senior analysis Sean Trende have argued), then why did Herbert Hoover do almost as well in 1928 as Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952? And why did the Democratic share of the Southern vote drop precipitously by 20 percent in 1948, as noted above, the year the Democrats put a civil rights plank in their platform, and the Dixiecrats walked out?

Third, what exactly is meant by “small-government conservatism”? And how does that square with the fact that Southern states almost universally get far more money from the federal government than they send in by way of taxes? And finally, how to explain the findings in a 2005 paper by Nicholas Valentino and David Sears, which found that “whites residing in the old Confederacy continue to display more racial antagonism and ideological conservatism than non-Southern whites,” and that “Racial conservatism has become linked more closely to presidential voting and party identification over time in the white South”?

But there’s also another problem with the “it’s-not-race-it’s-principled-small-government-conservatism” explanation — namely that race and small government conservatism are inextricably linked. This is not to say that all small government conservatives are racists. But it is to say that racial attitudes and attitudes toward robust government activism are strongly linked, statistically; the more positive (or negative) your attitudes toward activist government are, the more positive (or negative) your attitudes toward blacks are likely to be, and vice versa as well. Negative racial attitudes manifest both in terms of opposition to black political power, and in blaming blacks for their subordinate status. If this sounds like a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t sort of situation, you’re right. That’s exactly what it is.

As I explained in a recent article, the earliest statistical evidence of this relationship came from one of the classic studies of American public opinion:

The year after the March on Washington, pioneer pollsters Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantril conducted surveys that were the basis for their 1967 book, The Political Beliefs of Americans; a Study of Public Opinion. They found that those opposed to five forms of federal spending were three times as likely as those who supported the spending to think that blacks should have “less influence” in politics. Since blacks only had five representatives of Congress at the time—just over 1%, compared to 11% of the population—the notion that they had too much influence was ludicrous on its face—and clearly racist. Yet, that’s precisely what 60% of those ‘small government conservatives’—people like Rand Paul and the Tea Partiers—believed.

“There’s a hunger to deny that race matters”: The new segregation and white America/black America divide

Ferguson shows whites don't want to see race. Blacks don't have a choice. Here's a new way of bridging the gap

By Paul Rosenberg
“This Article argues that outsiders and insiders tend to perceive allegations of discrimination through fundamentally different psychological frameworks,” the article’s abstract explained. It continued:

These previously unrecognized differences have profound legal consequences. A workplace may be spatially integrated and yet employees who work side by side may perceive an allegation of discrimination through very different lenses because of their disparate racial and gender identities…. Studies show that blacks and whites are likely to differ substantially in how they conceive of and define discrimination. White people tend to believe that widespread expressions of a commitment to racial equality and the reduction in overt expressions of racist attitudes reflect reductions in racism, whereas black people tend to believe that racist attitudes and behaviors have simply become more difficult to detect. While many whites expect evidence of discrimination to be explicit, and assume that people are colorblind when such evidence is lacking, many blacks perceive bias to be prevalent and primarily implicit.

It’s important to note that Robinson’s account describes everyone involved as generally meeting the legal standard of acting like a reasonable person, given their personal histories and experience: “[B]oth the outsider [blacks and women] and insider [whites and men] may be reasonable and yet differ substantially as to the likelihood that discrimination occurred; neither can be wholly blamed for the disparity because of irrational perceptions.”

Robinson’s article focused specifically on workplace discrimination, drawing on several large-scale studies, including a Rutgers University workplace study of about 3,000 employees. It’s clear that racial discrimination persists as a much common problem than most whites realize. Regarding the Rutgers study, Robinson noted, “Half of the African-American respondents said that ‘African-Americans are treated unfairly in the workplace,’ while just 10% of white respondents agreed with that statement.”

What’s more, reporting discrimination is no guarantee that it will be redressed, Robinson also reported, “the employee making the charge of discrimination was more likely to be transferred or fired as a result of the complaint (5% of the time) than the alleged perpetrator (2%).” Hence, blacks “reasonably” choose to under-report the discrimination they experience, and whites “reasonably” conclude that discrimination is much rarer than it actually is.

When Whites Just Don’t Get It

After Ferguson, Race Deserves More Attention, Not Less

By Nicholas Kristof
Indeed, a 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

Yes, you read that right!

So let me push back at what I see as smug white delusion. Here are a few reasons race relations deserve more attention, not less:

• The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)

• The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.

• A black boy born today in the United States has a life expectancy five years shorter than that of a white boy.

• Black students are significantly less likely to attend schools offering advanced math and science courses than white students. They are three times as likely to be suspended and expelled, setting them up for educational failure.

• Because of the catastrophic experiment in mass incarceration, black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned.

All these constitute not a black problem or a white problem, but an American problem. When so much talent is underemployed and overincarcerated, the entire country suffers.
When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 2

By Nicholas KristofNancy protested on my Facebook page: “We can’t fix their problems. It’s up to every black individual to stop the cycle of fatherless homes, stop the cycle of generations on welfare.”

There was a deluge of such comments, some toxic, but let me try to address three principal arguments that I think prop up white delusion.

First, if blacks are poor or in prison, it’s all their fault. “Blacks don’t get it,” Bruce tweeted. “Choosing to be cool vs. getting good grades is a bad choice. We all start from 0.”

Huh? Does anybody really think that we all take off from the same starting line?

Slavery and post-slavery oppression left a legacy of broken families, poverty, racism, hopelessness and internalized self-doubt. Some responded to discrimination and lack of opportunity by behaving in self-destructive ways.

One study found that African-American children on welfare heard only 29 percent as many words in their first few years as children of professional parents. Those kids never catch up, partly because they’re more likely to attend broken schools. Sure, some make bad choices, but they’ve often been on a trajectory toward failure from the time they were babies.

These are whirlpools that are difficult to escape, especially when society is suspicious and unsympathetic. Japan has a stigmatized minority group, the burakumin, whose members once held jobs considered unclean. But although this is an occupational minority rather than a racial one, it spawned an underclass that was tormented by crime, educational failure, and substance abuse similar to that of the American underclass.

So instead of pointing fingers, let’s adopt some of the programs that I’ve cited with robust evidence showing that they bridge the chasm.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see White Privilege = "Willful Blindness and Fox News's White Privilege Problem.