divinedebris

america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie
"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."
— Marcus Garvey
Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.
Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).
The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”
This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.
Context Always Matters
“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”
— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)
A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.
“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  
St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.
On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 
Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”
— Wikipedia 

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless. 
These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed.  
Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.
It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid
“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”
— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion
America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.
But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression. 
Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”
In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”
The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.
Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”
—Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 
Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.
Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.
Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 
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america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie

"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."

— Marcus Garvey

Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.

Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).

The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”

This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.

Context Always Matters

“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”

— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.

“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  

St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.

On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 

Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”

Wikipedia

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless.

These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed. 

Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.

It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid

“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”

— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion

America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.

But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression.

Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”

In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”

The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.

Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”

Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 

Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.

Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.

Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 


thinksquad:

A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.
“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”
“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”
http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/missouri-state-senator-says-she-tweeted-fck-you-at-governor#32tdaru
thinksquad:

A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.
“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”
“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”
http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/missouri-state-senator-says-she-tweeted-fck-you-at-governor#32tdaru

thinksquad:

A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.

“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”

“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/missouri-state-senator-says-she-tweeted-fck-you-at-governor#32tdaru


Have you ever heard the phrase cockblocking? You know, you’re at a bar, talking to a girl, and what happens? Her less attractive friend comes over and ruins everything. Cockblock. Well I have to tell you something guys: I have been the less attractive friend, and you were NOT cockblocked. I was following orders from my better-looking friend that she did not wanna fuck you. …Girls have two signals for their friends: ‘I’m gonna fuck him’ and ‘HELP.’

Amy Schumer [x] (via rashaka)

The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.

(via madgastronomer)

YES

(via ellakrystina)

I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.

BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.

(via eastberlin)

Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.

(via thebicker)

I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.

(via castielsmiles)

We have done this. In fact, we are this. Because we are asexual and we don’t like alcohol so we never drink, we have gone with friends to parties/places where our sole job was to keep an eye out for everyone and be the permanent ‘aggressive man-sheild.’ Not one of our female friends has ever questioned this or found it all strange. In fact, often once they realized we were willing to do it, it would be pre-arranged. Every guy friend we ever did this in front of or tried to explain to looked flabbergasted. They had no idea that this was a) an intentional thing, b) a planned ahead thing, or c) universal.

Rape culture is the fact that every woman understands this. Male privilege is the fact that no guy on earth seems to know or understand.

(via cractasticdispatches)

I’ve been asked to pretend to be my friend’s girlfriend every time we go out at night, just because she wears clothes that show off her curves and guys won’t leave her alone. They only back off when I put my arm around her and act as if we’re together romantically, and sometimes not even then.

(via zaataronpita)

i once ran interference for a friend, only to receive the unwanted advances myself. he wouldn’t back off until my (male) friend literally wrapped me up in his arms and acted as if he was my S.O.

(via miljathefailcat)

It happens online too. A guy I know started Facebook-stalking me after a recent interaction, and my roommate immediately got on Facebook and told him she was my girlfriend. He thankfully backed off after that.

I can’t count the number of times I have pretended to be somebody’s girlfriend or sister in a bar when a guy wouldn’t leave her alone. Both with friends and strangers.

(via feministsupernatural)

After reading these, I feel like taking a shower. Because I’m the designated driver pretty much every time, not being a big fan of alcohol, but I rarely, if ever, intervene. And yeah, I’m small and pretty physically weak, but I could put my foot down verbally if it came down to it. I’m just too scared.

(via harperhug)

You’re probably scared of confronting the guys.  And you should be.  That’s what this whole post is about.  Rape culture is so prevalent and socially accepted as the rule of the land that if someone confronts a guy and tells him directly to back off, someone is getting hurt.  That’s why all of the testimonies here are examples of how to deflect.  How women all learn methods of pulling a woman away from a situation with a guy who isn’t allowing her to say no, by making up some lie that will get the guy to let her go without sending him into a rage and deciding to teach you both a lesson about knowing your place and submitting to rape culture.  Men are dangerous in these situations because all of society backs them up as just a nice guy who deserves a chance, and vilifies any woman who refuses to give him a chance.  Women are not allowed to say no.  So other women have to rescue the women saying no and pull them away with some made up excuse.  Otherwise the situation will escalate and the ones who get hurt are always the women. 

(via coffeegleek)

Women absolutely have to learn rescue tactics for each other, but it’s kind of funny how we describe really obvious facial expressions and body language as “secret signals.” The reality is that women telegraph disinterest in these aggressive men, making it super obvious, but men choose to ignore it. Total strangers who are just sitting nearby or happen to glace their way will be able to see that the woman isn’t interested, but the guy making the advances is somehow oblivious? Unlikely.

(via smitethepatriarchy)

And its fucked because women actively know the signs while men have refused to learn any body language signal of “leave me alone” that women do.

Women are always the one who have to accommodate their behavior to suit mens egos.

(via sourcedumal)

triflin’ ass dudes, take note. and please PLEASE, men, become interference runners for your women friends

(via weakdaes)

If we ever hang out and go dancing or to a bar or something, we’ll come up with a plan to deal with this shit.

(via aloneveganreed)