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Reposted from Vyan by Yasuragi

The video title says that Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes "Explodes" when CNN's Erins Burnett asked him "Isn't 'Thugs' the right word to describe these [looters and rioters in Baltimore]?"  Actually Carl was pretty calm as he de-Whitesplained what she really meant and was truly asking.

“No, it’s not the right word to call our children ‘thugs,'” Stokes said. “These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us.”

“But how does that justify what they did?” Burnett countered. “That’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old persons’ home. I mean, come on.”

“Come on? Just call them n*ggers. Just call them n*ggers,” Stokes told her. “No, we don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that. That is exactly what we’ve sent them to. When you say, ‘Come on,’ come on what? You wouldn’t call your child a thug if they should do something that would not be what you expect them to do.”

To which Burnett responded that she [hoped she] would call her own child a "Thug" if they ever set fire to a CVS?  But I wonder, would she?  Has she ever?
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Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by Denise Oliver Velez
So, we have 'white riots' (because we lost the game), and 'black riots' (because we're losing our lives). Guess which riots national and mainstream media choose to demonize?

As Occupy Democrats state in their meme below, violent and destructive sports riots barely make the news.

It's a problem. Carl Bialik with the polling aggregation site, Five Thirty-Eight, writes more about the riots we don't see:
"After Wisconsin upset Kentucky in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament Saturday night, there was a riot near Kentucky’s campus in Lexington. People threw bottles and set fires, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The police used pepper spray and arrested 31 people. And this wasn’t the first time people in Lexington reacted violently after a big Wildcats game. Last spring, the police arrested dozens of people after riots when Kentucky lost in the national championship game. And they arrested dozens of people in two separate riots in 2012, after Kentucky’s wins in the national semifinal and final. Those are four of about 50 North American sports riots in the past five decades…" See chart
TYT/The Young Turks did an amusing take on this issue in this YouTube clip. There is a good amount of profanity, so you may want to lower/turn off your speakers, if you're at the office (depending where you work) or if you're at home with children around:
Does this make the Baltimore rioting right? Not at all. It makes mainstream media and a little more wrong.

Thank goodness for social media. We don't always get it right, but we certainly add a whole lot more perspective and information, which mainstream media wouldn't dare touch for fear of losing their high dollar sponsors. Here's to the social, civil, and economical diversity we find everyday at our fingertips.  

Reposted from Coby DuBose on Criminal Injustice, Race, and Poverty by Yasuragi
Imagine for a moment that a man's neck was almost severed, nearly clean cut in the most painful way possible, while in the custody of the people charged with the duty of protecting and serving. Imagine that man died, alone, in a prison cell, while his cries for help were blatantly ignored. Now imagine that in the wake of that tragedy, a government had been infantile in its ability to explain even the basic details of what happened.

That's the revolting reality in Baltimore. And through it all, the dominant white response was muted. From different reaches of the Internet, prominent civil rights leaders weighed in on the travesty, offering perspectives on another data point in an ever-growing body of evidence that the police state is still being mobilized against black Americans. And sure, the death of Freddie Gray received some national media attention.

But it wasn't the concern of the average guy who looks like me. White Americans are immune to these problems, isolated from the realities of police brutality and oppression. Severed spines are a problem in the abstract, but certainly not something to get all bothered about. For some of us, the Freddie Gray travesty was another opportunity to reflect on the moral failings of the afflicted, noting that if Freddie had been a law-abiding choir boy, he wouldn't have found himself in the crunching grasp of Baltimore's police force. For others, it was an opportunity to remind the world that not all cops are bad, an impulse that's certainly correct, even if ill-timed.

But the brutal death of Freddie Gray, an example of police brutality that could have reminded us all of the dangers faced by inner-city black men on a daily basis? Well, that's just not occasion enough for us to offer an opinion.

Now imagine that in response to this one particular tragedy, the citizens of Baltimore - most of them black, but many white - rose up to question the culture of brutality that's produced more than 100 successful claims against police over the last few years. Imagine that in the midst of those protests, a debatable number of mostly young, mostly angry men smashed some windows, threw some rocks and bottles, and destroyed some property. A few of those men even got violent with those around them.

After sitting on the sidelines, silent at the lynching of Freddie Gray, you'd think that some property damage and non-lethal violence would fail to shake the conscience of the average white viewer. You'd be wrong.

It's in the defense of that property - those CVS stores owned by faceless individuals and those police cars being bashed in - that we've seen the strongest response from the dominant element of society. Social media is a good indication, but certainly not the only one. There, on sites like Facebook and Twitter, folks have spoken up about Freddie Gray for the first time. They've not come to the defense of the oppressed. Rather, they've spoken up in condemnation of those "animals," "thugs," and "criminals" who are "destroying their own city."

It's some combination of historical illiteracy and racial animus that drives the response. The prevailing white view has been tragically non-curious from an intellectual perspective. Rather than asking what might cause a people to risk life and limb in an effort to smash to bits their own neighborhoods, we've responded with a stupid, incredulous look on our faces. "Look at them," we've said. "Burning down their own city." We understand that we would never do something like that - not even when our favorite hockey team failed to win Lord Stanley's Cup. But we fail to ask that critical next question - if these people, who are in so many ways like us, would do something that we wouldn't think of doing, what must the conditions be like to drive that behavior?

To put all of the blame on the lack of historical literacy of white folks in America would be letting too many off the hook. Even if they don't know about the history of red-lining, the effects of the drug war, and how Jim Crow has shape-shifted into the modern criminal justice apparatus, many of these people would be unmoved if their eyes would open. Simply put, for them, it's racial animus that drives the boat.

But white Americans, many by their own choosing, are painfully unaware of the historical context in which a mostly-black protest in Baltimore might take place. What are these people so mad about? we ask, as if the answers are too complicated to be discerned from one extended reading of anything by Ta-Nehisi Coates or Greg Howard.

As a white man, I'm in little position to pass judgment on the behavior of people so beaten down that they have little hope. I'm certainly not in a position to offer the tired white liberal tripe, asking black folks in places like Baltimore to sit quietly and trust the system, waiting for me and those like me to rescue them through legitimate democratic means. While rioting, looting, and lighting stuff on fire is certainly not a productive way to achieve equality and real civil rights, I won't lie to these people and tell them that by doing so, they're undermining progress that might have been made through legitimate protesting.

That's because I understand the unfortunate reality that powers this kind of destructive protesting. That is - these people are aware in a way I can never be aware, that whether they choose to jump on cars, sing Civil Rights hymns, hold signs, or stage peaceful letter writing campaigns to their local congressperson, the situation is going to stay mostly the same.

Why do you see destructive rioting and looting? It's not because people think it's the best way to get things done. It's because the people have finally come to realize that no matter what they do, nothing gets done. No matter how loud they scream, the system still crushes them under its weighty wheels. Their macro situation in many ways mirrors their individual situations. These people are expressing not just anger and frustration at another black man killed by another group of police officers. Rather, they're expressing anger and frustration at a socio-economic reality in which they are the bones and scraps left over after the best meat's been taken.

Despite living in the wealthiest state in the country, the residents of Baltimore's inner city find themselves in abject poverty. No group is hit harder than young people. In fact the child poverty rate in Baltimore is 36.5-percent, according to a 2014 report by Catholic Charities of Maryland. Around two in every three high school students will graduate, a number that is even an improvement over how things were just a few years ago.

These are young people who live in communities torn to pieces by the War on Drugs, where violence is the norm. They're young people who are considered a "success story" if they achieve what people in my community would call the base level of productive existence - graduating high school without dying or being sent to prison. They're young people who, if they were to achieve what my parents would call success, will be a story so rare that Hollywood might come calling for the movie rights. The handful of young people who escape horrible Baltimore neighborhoods and find themselves in the middle class are the exception that proves the rule.

And they're smart enough to know it. Centuries of oppression, and more specifically, decades of policies targeted at the economic destruction of black communities in places like Baltimore, have led to this reality. They're the bubbling furnace that powers the kind of frustration necessary for destructive protesting.

As a white male, I don't particularly care for looting and rioting. I wouldn't like to be one of the store or property owners who will have to replace or rebuild. But I'm forced to recognize this destruction as the final option for a group of people so systematically disenfranchised that their voices have not been heard. And I have to ask myself a difficult question - who is the worse moral monster: The young man whose hopelessness leads him to jump on the hood of a cop car, or me, a person who has acquiesced to a system that creates justified hopelessness among young people in places like Baltimore?

When we, as white folks, seem more eager to speak up in defense of property than we are to speak up in defense of another slain black man, we demonstrate that the righteous anger of those doing the rioting is justified. We show that our unwillingness to invest resources in their future is not a coincidence, but rather, the intentional workmanship of our decrepit value system, which tosses away young black men as readily today as it did 200 years ago.


Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 11:29 AM PDT

Throwing the Bones of Dreams

by Onomastic

Reposted from Onomastic by Yasuragi

There should be voices singing laments, old songs for a new burning time.


There should be drums pounding, feet marching, by the hundreds of thousands. Black feet, white feet, all the colors in between beating the pavement together, if justice truly mattered. There are some, but you don't hear about them on the nightly news. There isn't a focus on the drum beats of twenty thousand feet hitting the pavement of Baltimore's streets, pounding out the old rhythm for justice when the same old, same old, becomes far too much to bear.


You don't hear about drunk white baseball fans sitting outside Baltimore bars last Saturday as protestors marched by. You don't hear about the well worn racist names being hurled at people marching for justice. You don't hear about the bottles and bar stools that went flying. Only black people are outside agitators. Not some good old boys and girls from suburbia.

Of course some protestors fought back. Other protestors tried to break it up. But all protestors are too blame, right? No one should ever lose their temper, no matter what the provocation. Just keep on taking it with a smile, a nod, a - Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, Ma'am.

Only white people get to yell epithets. Only white people get to throw bottles. Only white people get to throw anything at all - curses, bottles, stools, laws, indignation, silence, dismissal - at people of color marching for an end to legalized violence being written upon their bodies.

Tens of thousands of feet marched for days because a man was left screaming, broken, and finally dead by Baltimore's finest. Just one more instance of screaming, breaking, and death in Baltimore. Just one more instance of cover up and denial across this country. Just one more reason for fear and despair growing stronger in communities large and small.

Then Monday night, Baltimore supposedly began to burn.

But, Baltimore has been burning for a long time. It has been devoured by flames of poverty that white America doesn't even notice. It has been burned by injustice that is never rectified. Baltimore's people of color have been consumed by generations of white indifference.


    Black infants in Baltimore are almost nine times more likely to die before age 1 than White infants. AIDS cases are nearly five times more common in the African-American community.

“Only six miles separate the Baltimore neighborhoods of Roland Park and Hollins Market,” interim Hopkins provost Jonathan Bagger said last year. “[B]ut there is a 20-year difference in the average life expectancy.”

That inequality is staggering when you consider that one of the best health systems in the world — Johns Hopkins Health System — is based in Baltimore. And many of the nation’s top government health care officials live in or commute to Baltimore, to work at the Medicare and Medicaid office.

Yet Baltimore’s infant mortality is on par with Moldova and Belize.

Babies have been dying in the ignored fires of racism. A grandmother's bones were broken.
A pregnant woman was violently thrown to the ground. Millions of dollars were paid out to numerous victims of police brutality. And almost none of us noticed!
Our outrage is reserved for "looters" who left stores with Tide, toilet paper, and diapers. You'd think those people were worse than the Wall Street pillagers who brought the country to its knees. You'd think the people in Baltimore were worse than the politicians who allowed Wall Street to suck the life out of all our dreams. How awful those rioters were. Look at them - stealing Tide, toilet paper, and diapers for their babies. Nothing excuses such behavior. Not their babies dying. Not their grandmothers and wives being assaulted. Not the grinding poverty. Not the breaking, the screaming, and dying. Not the lack of justice, for any of it.

How dare they throw bricks. How dare they do anything but die quietly.

After all, we've stolen their dignity, self worth, hope. All they have left are the bones of their dreams - despair, emptiness, and rage. Let young men and women throw those bones, and we shall call it violence.

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Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by Yasuragi
Actors Saginaw Grant and Loren Anthony on the set of 'Ridiculous Six.' Image source:
Sometimes comedies are just not funny.

During the production of Adam Sandler's upcoming film called, The Ridiculous Six, the offensive script and condescending film staff caused 12 Native actors to walk off the set last week. In an exclusive story for ICTMN Vincent Schilling interviews several of the actors who quit the movie:

The actors, who were primarily from the Navajo Nation, left the set after the satirical western’s script repeatedly insulted native women and elders and grossly misrepresented Apache culture. The examples of disrespect included Native women’s names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, an actress portraying an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe, and feathers inappropriately positioned on a teepee.
One of the Native actors who left the film was Loren Anthony, also the lead singer of the metal band Bloodline. Anthony was discouraged with how uncompromising the film staff was, even after multiple concerns were expressed:
“They didn’t want to change anything in the script and said they’d put a lot of money into it so far, so they didn’t feel like we were a priority. We had a cultural adviser, who served as a consultant, and he’d constantly be letting the director and writers know what was wrong as far as cultural taboos, but they didn’t listen to him, so he felt disrespected and decided to walk off. One of the directors said, ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave.’ And then we all walked off.”
The film stars Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. Sounds like a boy's night out, with no women mentioned in the leading roles. Allison Young, a former Dartmouth film student said the whole ordeal of insults was pretty upsetting.
"When I began doing this film, I had an uneasy feeling inside of me and I felt so conflicted," she said. "I talked to a former instructor at Dartmouth and he told me to take this as finally experiencing stereotyping first hand. “Nothing has changed,” said Young. “We are still just Hollywood Indians.”
An older actor and member of the American Indian Movement was all too familiar with this kind of stereotype. David Hill, Choctaw, had little tolerance for the movie script written by Sandler and Tim Herlihy. Hill expressed sadness that people, who really needed the work, felt compelled to walk out. The 74-year old said:
"We understand this is a comedy, we understand this is humor, but we won’t tolerate disrespect. This isn’t my first rodeo, if someone doesn’t speak up, no one will.”
This is not a new issue. Below is a 1973 clip from the 45th Academy Awards where Sacheen Littlefeather voices similar concerns.

Thank you to those willing to walk away from a Hollywood paycheck/film credit, for the sake of women, race, and cultural integrity.

Follow ICTMN's Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter
Sources: Indian Country Today Media Network & Daily Beast

Reposted from gchaucer2 by Yasuragi

Update:  Good lord -- Baltimore is burning!  Please let this end.  

There have been many great diaries today on the tragic rioting in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddie Gray.  Tasini's "Baltimore Protest, Elite Ripping Off America More Important than Baseball:  Baltimore Baseball Owner",

Angie in WA State's "What if the people assembled peaceably & Got greeted by Mayor/City Council instead of #Riot Police?",

idledilitante's "Widespread Protests in Baltimore Continue;  Police Becoming Increasingly Aggressive",

jpmassar's "Baltimore. Tweetpics from the Streets."

Within these diaries, judgments have been made regarding the rioting.  I hate riots but I understand them.  I do understand them in Baltimore because I know the City.  I'm just going to repeat a comment I made in Angie's diary:

I feel I need to respond to some of the comments herein and elsewhere regarding the rioting.  I know Baltimore -- I was born, early educated and lived 13 adult years there.  I lived on the east side but right near Charles Street which divides the city in half.  It was/is a gorgeous, diverse neighborhood.  

Walk a few blocks further east or cross MLK Blvd in the west and you find yourself in another Baltimore.  Horrific schools, squalid rowhouses, rip off cash checking joints, no real grocery stores, remnants of decades decaying projects.

It smells of despair.  It smells of death.  It has been said that the murder rate is only a bit lower than DC because of Maryland Shock Trauma.  Generations have lived in these ghettos and it is easy for this old white woman to comprehend unbridled rage when you've been treated like animals.  When you can't get a frigging decent education.  When basically everyone knows someone who has been murdered.

I hate rioting because it turns the clock back always, destroys neighborhoods, crushes empathy, injures and kills folks.  All the news media and folks not involved remember is the rioting -- not the peaceful marching of over a thousand.  The calls for calm from the community.

I just needed to get that off my chest because I'm sick of the tsk tsking.

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Reposted from Onomastic by Yasuragi

Thoughts are swirling like Fall leaves on a windy day. But it's Spring in America. A time of rebirth, renewal, of May's green rush after a long winter. Even so, too much of our country remains covered in a blanket of distorted white, blinding in the glare of a twisted history that has refracted truth into a thousand pieces.

Too many of us are stumbling blind - blind to ourselves, to others, to the long years that have led to now.

How do we see clearly again? How do we see ourselves and one another for all that we are, what binds and what divides? How do we stand in the glare and face the dark, united? Do we dare to even try?

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Reposted from DocDawg by 2thanks

In a teleconference with supporters last week, North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber (whom our own Denise Oliver Velez has called "a fiery prophet for social justice") previewed plans to call on civil rights supporters around the nation to join him and thousands of us on July 6th in Winston-Salem, NC for what he called "our Selma." Why Winston-Salem? Why July 6th? And why should you plan to join us then? Because it is time to say 'no' to Republicans' efforts to do away with our right to vote.

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind.

In August of 2013, less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina's governor and notorious Koch-puppet, Pat McCrory (R), gleefully signed into law House Bill 589, the Voter Information Verification Act (note the ironic acronym: VIVA), declaring:

North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot. I am proud to sign this legislation into law. Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.
Like most political speech, there's at least a tiny grain of truth here, albeit encrusted in an impenetrable shell of obfuscation juggled with sinister legerdemain. For, in 2011, Public Policy Polling indeed found that 66% of North Carolinians supported a voter ID requirement in principle. But what McCrory's signing statement failed to note was that, according to a contemporaneous PPP survey, only 39% of Tarheel State voters supported the very bill he was signing.

To understand the reason for this dramatic difference between Carolinians' apparent support for the Platonic ideal of voter identification on the one hand, and their opposition to the harsh reality of the law enacting it on the other, is to appreciate why Rev. Barber and the NAACP will ask supporters of civil rights nationwide to converge on Winston-Salem this July for the crowning action in this year's Forward Together Moral Monday demonstrations.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Cartoon decrying the Hamburg massacre of July 1876
Cartoon decrying the Hamburg massacre of July 1876
As people raise a hue and cry, for a media minute, about yet another police murder of an unarmed black man—this time Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, who was riddled with bullets by a white cop who must have seen too many reruns of The Deer Hunter—and as news and endless video loops of his death leave the headlines, just remember this: #Blacklives (still) matter to black people and our allies but nothing has changed in the systemic racism of America.

Who's it gonna be next week? Oh, wait ... next week has already happened. Spell it "Freddie Gray." Will it be my (or your) son-father-cousin-nephew-godson-husband-neighbor-student ... or me next? Sistas get murdered too.

They don't kill us in bunches anymore. Now they just murder us one by one.

Slaughtering black folks en masse was part of an agenda of open terrorism to end any possibility of black political and economic power, or successful black and white "fusion" during Reconstruction. History books dub them "riots" because riot evokes images of scary black people runnin' wild, but they were massacres. South Carolina is no stranger to murdering black folks. I've written here about a more recent one, in "Orangeburg, SC, 1968: The massacre of students you may not have heard of." But we need to dig deeper into the past to understand the rot at the roots of what we face today.

Follow me below the fold for the history of the Hamburg Massacre and others that took place during the same time period, perpetrated by white terrorist "Red Shirts" and backed by elected officials whose names are engraved on shrines and monuments to white supremacy.

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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 06:12 PM PDT

This Week in the War on Women

by ramara

Reposted from This Week in the War on Women by 2thanks
War on Women banner
This week's categories may seem a bit strange and lopsided. There is lots of interesting stuff about reproductive choice, including the choice more women are making not to have children at all. And there are other important national stories, especially the bizarre story of the Missouri mayor-elect whose election has led much of the town officials to resign, and the confirmation finally of Loretta Lynch. There is are only two international stories, but I think they are important enough to merit their own category.

So on to the news.

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Reposted from gchaucer2 by 2thanks

The Baltimore Sun has been bought and sold and bought since it was the newspaper I knew as a kid.  My grandmother worked for The Sun when Mencken wrote for them.  She believed he was the devil incarnate.  Odd coming from a woman who was a Ward Chief or some such for the Democrats and the money collected went right off to the IRA to buy guns and killing things.

Welp, The Sun, like many (most) newspaper outlets can be sad for stretches.  But the coverage and actual journalism (see ancient idea of investigative reporting) has been quite remarkable as to the Freddie Gray murder.  First time I heard the term, "rough ride," meaning handcuff behind the back, shackle, don't seatbelt an arrestee in the back of a van and drive like a fucking maniac through the streets of Baltimore.

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Reposted from Community Fundraisers by 2thanks
I last wrote in January about the troubles of long-time kossack aitchdee -- you can see that diary here.

Since that time, with the help of many people here, she's made significant progress, but she still needs some help. I won't repeat her whole backstory, since it's in the linked diary; there's plenty new to tell below the fold, mostly from aitchdee herself with a little editing from me.

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