They kill white people too.
Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez
As a black woman, I’m used to living with racial hatred against me and mine. It’s just one of those things that is part of the wallpaper of my life. When you are black it just “is”. It doesn’t take over my life, and I don’t worry about it daily. It’s just the the way my world is ordered—with an underlying malaise you start learning to live with as soon as you are old enough to know you are somehow "different". Have lived through segregation and Jim Crow signs, seeing the Klan up close, and being spit on, beaten and jailed when fighting back. I've had partners and friends shot down by racist cops. I deal with racial microaggressions daily.
I also know that on the left we have white allies against racism, and that's important. But too often that alliance is to stop racism against blacks, or latinos or asians or native americans, and there is not enough discussion about how racism and white supremacy affects white people.
Perhaps more white people will wake up to the danger to their lives and their world if they realize that white supremacists don’t just kill the Goodmans and Schwerners and Liuzzos of “our side” of the struggle against injustice. They don't just massacre Sikhs in a temple.
Nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by active users of the leading racist website, Stormfront, according to a report released today by the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. Registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the web forum became the first hate site on the Internet in 1995, a month before the Oklahoma City bombing. The report found that hate killings by Stormfront members began to accelerate rapidly in early 2009, when Barack Obama took office as the nation’s first black president.Read the data they've compiled on White Homicide Worldwide:
A similar racist web forum, Vanguard News Network (VNN), was used by neo-Nazi and former Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller, who has been charged with the Sunday murder of three people he mistakenly believed were Jews in Overland Park, Kan. Miller, who apparently changed his last name in recent years to Cross, logged more than 12,000 posts on VNN, whose slogan is, “No Jews, Just Right.” “Stormfront is the murder capital of the racist Internet,” said Heidi Beirich, report author and Intelligence Project director. “It has been a magnet for the deadly and deranged. And VNN is almost as bad.”
Stormfront users have included Wade Michael Page, who shot to death six people before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012; Richard Andrew Poplawski, who murdered three Pittsburgh police officers in 2009; and Anders Behring Breivik, who bombed a government building in Norway, killing eight people, and then massacred 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a summer camp in 2011.
A typical murderer drawn to the racist forum Stormfront.org is a frustrated, unemployed, white adult male living with his mother or an estranged spouse or girlfriend. She is the sole provider in the household. Forensic psychologists call him a “wound collector.” Instead of building his resume, seeking employment or further education, he projects his grievances on society and searches the Internet for an excuse or an explanation unrelated to his behavior or the choices he has made in life.
His escalation follows a predictable trajectory. From right-wing antigovernment websites and conspiracy hatcheries, he migrates to militant hate sites that blame society’s ills on ethnicity and shifting demographics. He soon learns his race is endangered — a target of “white genocide.” After reading and lurking for a while, he needs to talk to someone about it, signing up as a registered user on a racist forum where he commiserates in an echo chamber of angry fellow failures where Jews, gays, minorities and multiculturalism are blamed for everything
The rabidly imbalanced legions inspired by Stormfront and other whites supremacist hate groups are egged on by the paranoid ravings on hate-talk radio and on the teevee nightly on Fox get white folks killed too. Look at Las Vegas. At the Georgia Courthouse. (Sadly there was no mass public outcry about the Sikh temple massacre. They were othered by being brown with turbans.)
As long as cops are required to be public servants of a government which allows a black man to sit in the White House, they are targets of white supremacists with visions of a new world order with them back on top where they believe they should be—by right.
The right of whiteness.
Jewish Americans know that they too are at risk. The anti-black haters in this country also reject Jews by spewing virulent antisemitism. Jews are still not white in their book, and any one not a wing-nut Christian loses their white hang-out card. But supremacists also target law enforcement, and the police shootings have been of mostly white cops. No coincidence that the ADL released this after the Las Vegas shootings:
“The two police officers who lost their lives are only the latest in a series of casualties in a de facto war being waged against police by right-wing extremists, including both anti-government extremists and white supremacists,” said Mark Pitcavage, ADL Director of Investigative Research. “Some extremists have deliberately targeted police, while others have responded violently when meeting police in unplanned encounters. The killings are not the effort of a concerted campaign, but rather a series of independent attacks and clashes stemming from right-wing ideologies.”The GA Courthouse shooter, Dennis Marx, has been tied to the Sovereign Citizens, who have a history of violence
Jerad and Amanda Miller -- identified by their Internet writings as anti-government extremists of the “Patriot” movement variety -- are suspected of fatally shooting Las Vegas Police Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo and a civilian before taking their own lives on June 8.
Based on their Internet writings, the Millers believed in common militia-type conspiracy theories about the “New World Order,” including “concentration camps” for Americans, coming martial law and “chemtrails,” among others. The most recent entry on Jerad Miller’s Facebook page on June 7 chillingly read: “The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it.”
When a sovereign feels particularly desperate, angry, battle-weary and cornered, his next government contact, no matter how minor, can be his final straw. The resulting rage can be lethal. In 1995 in Ohio, a sovereign named Michael Hill pulled a gun on an officer during a traffic stop. Hill was killed. In 1997, New Hampshire extremist Carl Drega shot dead two officers and two civilians, and wounded another three officers before being killed himself. In that same year in Idaho, when brothers Doug and Craig Broderick were pulled over for failing to signal, they killed one officer and wounded another before being killed themselves in a violent gun battle. In December 2003, members of the Bixby family, who lived outside of Abbeville, S.C., killed two law enforcement officers in a dispute over a small sliver of land next to their home. And in May 2010, Jerry and Joseph Kane, a father and son sovereign team, shot to death two West Memphis, Ark., police officers who had pulled them over in a routine traffic stop. Later that day, the Kanes were killed in a fierce shootout with police that wounded two other officers.They have a warped history
The ideas of the "sovereign citizens" movement originate in the ideology of the Posse Comitatus, an anti-Semitic group that raged through the Midwest in the late 1970s and 1980s...Sovereign citizens also often distinguish between so-called "14th Amendment citizens," who are subject to federal and state governments, and themselves, who are also known as "organic citizens" — an ideology that causes adherents to claim that black people, who only became legal citizens when the 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War, have far fewer rights than whites. Some of the more famous adherents of sovereign citizens ideology include Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and members of the Montana Freemen.Virulent racism against black folks doesn’t just affect us people of color. Those same supremacist white nationalist and sovereign terrorists are also anti-LGBT and anti-women.
If you aren’t black or a person of color—you need to think about this—in your own self interest. They could decide to kill you. Someone you know or love or work with or live next door to may be the next person gunned down or caught in the crossfire, or bombed. This is not about “lone wolf” mentally deranged loners. Don’t kid yourselves. And it isn't just about guns (though these people should have zero access to them and we need to take on the NRA), since virulent haters use bombs and other means to kill.
Take off the blindfold.
You are either part of the problem or part of the solution—but first you need to accept that there is a problem, and it isn’t just one for black folks or brown folks, or red folks or Muslims, Sikhs or Jews.
I was thinking about Martin Niemöller's words:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--If you are white substitute and change that to:
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
First they killed and dispossessed Native Americans...
then enslaved, lynched and still target blacks...
and close with..."then they came to shoot me".
News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
Charles Cobb’s new book, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, tells the story of black Southerners who fought to exercise their 14th, 15th—and Second—amendment constitutional rights. The Root: Shotgun Behind the Door: How Armed Black Southerners Helped Fight for Civil Rights.
Most history students never learn that even Martin Luther King Jr.—arguably history’s greatest spokesperson on behalf of nonviolence—had armed guards stationed outside of his home and a pistol tucked in his sofa in 1955 when he emerged as the leader of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala.
But he did.
As time went on, he came to trust in the philosophy of nonviolence in his personal life as much as he believed in its power politically, and eventually got rid of both the guards and guns. At some point, though, we glossed over this complexity and began to think of nonviolence as preordained and as a natural outgrowth of the movement.
We don’t teach our children about the training civil rights activists had to endure in order to prepare their minds and bodies for nonviolent protests. And we don’t often think about how the movement functioned in rural places, far from the glare of the spotlights of network news cameras. Outside of the national gaze, what might check the violence of white segregationists who resisted every attempt by black citizens to assert their right to vote and to organize politically? How did the movement work in the face of the violence in rural Union County, N.C.; Lowndes County, Ala.; or Sunflower County, Miss.?
That’s the story masterfully told by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee field secretary and now journalist Charles Cobb in his challenging and important new narrative, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, which adds to a growing list of important histories that expand what we know about the way organizing had to work in rural communities.
First Lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey were three of the biggest names to speak at a memorial service honoring the late poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou that was held Saturday. The First Lady gave a very personal tribute saying that Angelou's poem Phenomenal Woman changed the way she saw herself. Chicago Suntimes: Michelle Obama gave a very personal tribute to Maya Angelou.
I was struck by how she celebrated black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before. Our curves, our stride, our strength, our grace. Her words were clever and sassy; they were powerful and sexual and boastful. And in that one singular poem, Maya Angelou spoke to the essence of black women, but she also graced us with an anthem for all women—a call for all of us to embrace our God-given beauty.
And, oh, how desperately black girls needed that message. As a young woman, I needed that message. As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head.
Remember this story? Kiera Wilmot, now 17, is trying to move on as she preps for college after graduating from high school, but one thing still hangs over her: her arrest record. The Root: What Happened After Fla. Teen Was Charged With 2 Felonies for a Science Experiment.
Kiera, now 17, is still trying to get back into a routine of normalcy, doing the things normal teens do, starting with graduating. She and her older twin sister, Kayla, graduated from Bartow High School in Florida on June 3, and both are looking forward to the bright future that was threatened last year.
By way of refresher, Kiera is the whiz kid who was arrested at her school in April 2013 after a science-project idea gone wrong, in which she mixed toilet-bowl cleaner and tinfoil in a water bottle to see what would happen. She had brought the project to the school to have it approved by her science teacher, who had told the class to bring ideas for the science fair. When she attempted a demonstration for her peers, there was a “pop” from the bottle as the cap blew off, followed by some billowing smoke.
No one was hurt, no property was damaged, and yet her experiment got her arrested by Bartow police for two felonies: “possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school sponsored event or on school property and making, possessing, throwing, projecting, placing, or discharging any destructive device,” according to the incident report.
On top of everything else, although Kiera was never officially charged by the state attorney, let alone convicted, the arrest record is still there weighing her down. Her mother, Marie Wilmot, is working tirelessly to make it disappear, but it could take years, depending on how legal proceedings turn out, before the record is scrubbed clean.
“To clarify, these are sort of what they call uncharted territories, so based on everything the attorney has read and understood and conveyed to us ... on clearing felony charges, you’d have to go through a five-year period and kind of keep your nose clean [to get the charges cleared],” Marie Wilmot said.
“Usually when they say we can expunge one [felony], it’s after you’ve been convicted or officially charged,” she continued. “The Bartow Police Department arrested her with these two felony charges, but the state attorney office did not file formal charges, so she wasn’t convicted of anything. So we’re not really sure. Records need to be cleared, yes. But we’re not really sure how the law is interpreted at this point,” the 50-year-old single mother added.
The Advancement Project, which describes itself as a multiracial civil rights organization, is working with the Wilmot family to tell Kiera’s story and hopes to change the narrative. The organization is using Kiera’s case as an example of the stark racial disparity evident in the way students are punished. The organization put a video on YouTube detailing these harsh disciplinary “zero tolerance” policies and how they affect students of color.
Kayla and Kiera Wilmot
COURTESY OF THE WILMOT FAMILY
Eugene de Kock was the head of South Africa's death squad, which tortured and killed opponents of apartheid. Matthew Marsh, now playing De Kock in the play A Human Being Died That Night, recalls an astonishing meeting with the assassin in a Pretoria jail. The Guardian: The day I hugged apartheid's 'Prime Evil'.
We arrived at Pretoria Central Prison on a special family visiting day. There were long queues, and we were searched twice before a bus took us across the vast compound. Paperwork was handed in, followed by more waiting, then we were let into a large visiting area, partly open to the air. There was a tuck shop where visitors could buy burgers, sweets and soft drinks for prisoners. The space was filled with short benches facing each other.
I waited by the entrance and noticed an open doorway with a guard. Beyond this, I could see a metal grill door. A tall, dark-haired man in orange prison clothes stood behind it. He wore glasses and seemed nervous, as if he had been waiting for some time. It was Eugene de Kock. After a few seconds, we made eye contact. He waved. I waved back and smiled at the man I am currently playing on the London stage – a former police colonel and assassin who did such unspeakable things during apartheid that he became known as Prime Evil.
With me is Noma Dumezweni, who plays Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela in the play. Called A Human Being Died That Night, the drama is based on the book she wrote about her encounters with De Kock while serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. The two met at the maximum security wing of this jail, the professor and the former head of South Africa's death squad, which tortured and killed opponents of apartheid. De Kock had been sentenced to 212 years in 1996. He went before the TRC, expressed deep sorrow, and offered information about how his victims died and the location of their bodies. His sentence stood.
We sat on the benches and spoke for an hour. I can't remember our first words, but they may have resembled De Kock's opening remark to Gobodo-Madikizela in the play: "It's a pleasure to meet you." The conversation flowed easily and covered a lot of ground beyond just his past and our experience of doing the play. Napoleon and the second world war were touched on – he has been doing a lot of reading in prison, and was obviously always an intelligent man.
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