For the last week, the world has watched Ferguson, Mo., set ablaze by racism and the calculated indifference of the town’s police force. And over the course of the same week, the media, which was slow to do any reporting at all, has now cannibalized a story about the murder of an unarmed teenager at the hands of a police officer, into one which villainizes the dead and dismisses the living.
Now dead for a over a week, there is no shortage of ink devoted to understanding who Michael Brown was, despite the fact that he is dead and his killer remains free, alive, anonymous, and enjoying paid time off. To justify racist paranoia about the perceived threat of black life, blacks who die at the hands of white vigilantes and police, the reputation of the dead undergoes an active smear campaign, perpetuated and promoted by the media. Keep reading »
As sometimes happens, I came to it — rockabilly — for the clothes. I started collecting vintage clothes from the 1940s through the early ’60s when I graduated from college and was entering the working world, because I wanted more than black pants and a sweater for business casual. I clicked away hours on my laptop, gleaning important bits of knowledge from old photos and bloggers everywhere from Australia to Austin. These stylish women were wonderfully put together for work and play, and danced to a soundtrack of music more powerful and raw than what I’d been listening to at the time. Keep reading »
I hate that you and your family must join this exclusive yet growing group of parents and relatives who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence. Of particular concern is that so many of these gun violence cases involve children far too young. But Michael is much more than a police/gun violence case; Michael is your son. A son that barely had a chance to live. Our children are our future so whenever any of our children – black, white, brown, yellow, or red – are taken from us unnecessarily, it causes a never-ending pain that is unlike anything I could have imagined experiencing. … You will experience a swell of support from all corners of the world. Many will express their sympathies and encourage you to keep fighting for Michael. You will also, unfortunately, hear character assassinations about Michael which I am certain you already have. This will incense and insult you. All of this will happen before and continue long after you have had the chance to lay your son to rest.
Time.com has published an open letter from Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, to the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was killed on August 9th by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In the two years since Martin’s murder, Fulton and Trayvon’s dad founded The Trayvon Martin Foundation to provide support for the family members of victims of violent crimes. I encourage you to read the full letter at the link. [TIME] [Photo: Getty]
What would my life be like if I wasn’t white? If I didn’t benefit from white privilege? Certainly being female provides me with a tablespoon’s-worth of inequality perspective, but that’s nothing when it’s measured against a gallon’s-worth of racial inequality.
When I consider how charmed my life has been – not by virtue of a lifetime’s worth of law-abiding, responsible decisions, no – due to the invisibility afforded me thanks to the color of my skin. No one was paying attention to a middle-class, white, teen-aged girl as a potential law-breaker. In point of fact, my teen-aged self only caught law enforcement attention when I was with my black friends. Because then, and only then, was I suspect. Keep reading »
I’m not going to lie. I won’t pretend that I’m not a white woman from an upper-middle-class family from a relatively affluent suburb of Chicago, that the word “sketchy” has never come out of my mouth relating to majority black or Hispanic neighborhoods, that I was never told to avoid “certain areas” of the city. I’m just going to say that it hasn’t happened in a good long while, because I grew the fuck up and both got educated and educated myself about race and economics, gentrification, white flight, gerrymandering, the consequences of privatization, municipal budget allocation, and on, and on, and on.
Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington, creators of the super-racist app SketchFactor and grown-ass adults who should know better, didn’t get the memo. The app combines user-contributed reports and “publicly available data” to rate the relative “sketchiness” of different parts of your town. In effect, of course, this will be used to single out neighborhoods because of the way that they look, regardless of your actual chances of being victimized or how nice the neighborhood might be if you bothered to do more than pass through while trying to avoid traffic on the expressway. Keep reading »
Last week, I found myself grateful for the conviction of Renisha McBride’s murderer, Theodore Wafer. This conviction did not bring back Renisha McBride. It did not atone for the miscarriage of justice that happened when George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. It did not lay to rest my fears for my niece growing up in a country where Black girls and boys, men and women, are still fighting to see the completion of our ancestors dreams and hopes for equality.
But I was grateful.
I was grateful because I thought that this may be a step in the right direction — an inching towards our goal. I was still reeling from the death of Eric Garner in New York, still raw from the violence against Professor Ersula Ore, but this was a bright spot in the overwhelming despair. And then Saturday happened. Keep reading »