Ben Carson’s destructive lies: 4 racist assumptions endorsed & magnified by Black conservatives

Ben Carson's destructive lies: 4 racist assumptions endorsed & magnified by Black conservatives

(Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio)


The neurosurgeon-turned-candidate has eagerly joined the GOP in its campaign against racial justice

Through the first few months of campaign season, one thing has become indisputably clear: The Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization, and openly uses white racial resentment — along with old fashioned racism — to win the support of white voters.

To wit: The Republican Party’s leading 2016 presidential candidates include open racists and nativists such as Donald Trump, as well as “dog whistle” racists such as Jeb Bush, who channel Ronald Reagan by way of “Southern Strategy”-inspired narratives about “welfare queens” and lazy blacks who want “free stuff” from white people.

And then, of course, there is the curious case of Ben Carson, who recently said that black people who support the Democrats are essentially stupid, unsophisticated, hyper-emotional, irrational, and incapable of thinking for themselves. In Carson’s delusional alternate reality, Republicans do not “see race,” and, unlike the Democrats, are the real advocates for racial justice and positive change along the color line in the United States.

Ben Carson is not alone in his twisted fantasy land. He is joined by other black conservatives — a select group of racial mercenaries who are routinely trotted out on Fox News and elsewhere — who, to great approval from white conservatives, also repeat the same anti-black propaganda.

The white racist fantasies given credence by black conservatives consist of several repeated themes.

1) Black people are on a Democratic or Liberal “Plantation”

This twisted interpretation of the political agency and intelligence of black Americans is immensely popular on the White Right. The “Democratic Plantation” lie is rooted in a white supremacist fantasy and “Gone with the Wind”-style fairy tale of happy black slaves singing, dancing, having sex, and being protected by benevolent white masters. This racist fiction ignores how black Americans self-manumitted, fought in the Civil War to free themselves, remade democracy with Reconstruction, and then made the reasoned choice to switch over to the Democratic Party en masse because of the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and then later those of the Johnson and Kennedy administrations.

In reality, the slave “plantation” was a charnel and rape house. It quite literally used the bodies of millions of black people as fuel for (white) American and European empire.

There is a special hostility in the United States towards black Americans and their history of struggle, survival, and freedom. No one on mainstream cable news, among the commentariat, or in the class of political elites would dare to suggest that Jews who support the Democratic Party are in a type of “gas chamber” or “death camp.” Such an egregious insult can only be leveled with impunity at African-Americans.

2) Black people are extremely emotional and are unable to make intelligent political decisions 

This white supremacist fantasy reflects centuries-old racist beliefs that white people are supremely rational and that people of color—blacks in particular—are impulsive, unintelligent, libidinous, and impulsive.

On a range of public policy issues, black Americans have shown a remarkable amount of foresight and wisdom, being years or decades ahead of white public opinion on issues such as ending the Iraq War, the failures of George W. Bush’s leadership and administration and access to healthcare, among other issues. Social scientists have also detailed how African-Americans use complex decision making and other heuristics to factor in the realities of life in a racist society, the importance of the Black Freedom Struggle, and individual self-advancement. Some scholars of American politics even go so far as to suggest that black people may be more sophisticated in their political behavior than whites because of the former’s need to more carefully discern power dynamics and be sensitive to political partisanship and ideology.

3) Black Americans vote Democrat because they want “free things”

As I wrote in an earlier essay at Salon, this claim is both ahistorical, and also overlooks the most basic nature of politics. Politics is fundamentally about receiving benefits from the State. This is the core of interest group behavior, voting, and advocacy. To the degree that black people want “free things” they are no different from any other group. Moreover, in reality, it is White America that has been built on stealing “free stuff” from people of color (most obviously land from First Nations peoples and labor from black folks) and whose members receive a disproportionate amount of subsidies from what is known as “the submerged state”.

4) Black Americans are low-information voters who are ill-informed

As documented by the American Press Institute (API), Black Americans and whites may have slightly different news consumption patterns and habits, but the claim that African-Americans are somehow massively “less informed” than white people is specious.

The API reports that,

“Even with concerns about coverage of their communities in the news, large majorities of African Americans and Hispanics are avid news consumers and their general news habits are similar to national averages. Substantial numbers of Americans say they watch, read, or hear the news at least once a day (76 percent) and also say they enjoy keeping up with the news a lot or some (88 percent).

“But there are some differences by race and ethnicity in the frequency of news consumption. Non-Hispanic whites (80 percent) are more likely to say they get news daily than are African Americans (70 percent) or Hispanics (70 percent).”

The suggestion that black Americans are somehow ignorant and “tricked” into supporting the Democratic Party because they do not have access to correct information is especially absurd given that Fox News viewers, the vast majority of whom are white, constitute one of the least informed publics in the United States.

* * *

These defamations and slurs on the civic virtue, character, and intelligence of Black Americans are easily refuted. However, these lies are still especially dangerous because black conservatives like Ben Carson give them a veneer of truth and authenticity—thus validating the racist anti-black beliefs held by many white Americans.

A question still remains. Why do today’s black conservatives allow themselves to be used this way by the Republican Party?

Black conservatives are highly prized by Republicans. As such,they are well compensated on the lecture circuit, by the right-wing media machine, and are coddled and protected by a network of well-funded conservative think tanks and public relations firms. Their designated role as the “best black friend” for Republicans, the “special” and “good one,” is ego gratifying. And because the Black Freedom Struggle is in many ways a burden that some black folks are either too weak or unwilling to carry, black conservatives from the Reagan era onward have chosen to betray that honorable past for reasons of convenience, cowardice, lucre, and self-aggrandizement.

Black conservatives who channel racist talking points about African-Americans in the service of institutional white power are not a new phenomenon. During chattel slavery, for example, the role of “the driver” on the plantation—the middle manager who was responsible for much of the day-to-day discipline and operation of the slave labor camp—was often a black man. Likewise, for reasons humane (protecting one’s family and kin from white enslavers) and craven (owning black human property to extract wealth and income from their bodies, minds, and labor), a very small number of African-Americans in the antebellum South chose to own slaves.

Some people choose to challenge power by lying down and surrendering to it; others decide to benefit from its injustices and inequalities. The black conservatives in today’s Republican Party have made a strategic choice to do both.

H/t: DB

“You think the f*cking Tea Party determines public policy?”: Dick Gregory on racism, the 1 percent and why black Americans are angry at the wrong people

"You think the f*cking Tea Party determines public policy?": Dick Gregory on racism, the 1 percent and why black Americans are angry at the wrong people

(Credit: AP/Matt Sayles)


Salon talks to activist and comedian Dick Gregory, who will be the subject of a new documentary

Dick Gregory’s had a long, rich and strange life as an entertainer and activist. I hadn’t heard of him before I started talking with Andre Gaines, a film producer and lifelong Dick Gregory fan who wanted to do a Black Lives Matter-themed documentary focusing on Gregory’s idiosyncratic philosophy and beliefs about the “secret history” of the United States.

It’s a strange world we live in today when the modern incarnation of the civil rights marches is being organized and reported on through Twitter and Mr. Gregory’s reentry into the world of political activism is through a Kickstarter–and it’s a testament to Gregory’s staying power as a media name that the Kickstarter drew enough attention that it’s already closed thanks to an outside investor coming in to back the project.

It’s especially strange for me to be connecting with Dick Gregory’s legacy as a possible writer for the documentary, a 31-year-old Chinese guy from Ohio born decades after his heyday. The more I learned about him the more fascinated I was–a groundbreaking stand-up comedian who paved the way for names like Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, an activist who marched in Selma with Dr. King, who marched for the ERA with Gloria Steinem and who went on hunger strike for the hostages in Iran. And an eccentric conspiracy theorist who denounced the official reports both on JFK’s assassination and on 9/11, who got Hunter S. Thompson’s write-in vote for president in 1968, and who now makes a living partly by promoting a raw fruit and vegetable diet.

For him to reenter the political arena at the age of 82, through an electronic medium invented when he was past retirement age, is a big deal. For someone like me to be asked to work with him to bring his message to a new audience is a huge responsibility, and I sat down with him for an hour to try to get to know him and his beliefs. Though there’s much he said that I don’t completely agree with or even fully understand, I was captivated the whole time by his raw, unfiltered candor and I definitely look forward to hearing more about what he has to say in the documentary.

Well, first of all I have to ask–as someone who was born in the Jim Crow era and who marched in the civil rights movement, what do you think of the progress we’ve made since then?

Well, we’ve come a long ways but the important thing we haven’t even started changing is the mental thing. See, going from slavery to the early ’60s we had to worry about being physically beat up, physically lynched. I mean, if someone got lynched tonight we’d be shocked, whereas up until the ’60s, we wouldn’t have been. But now it’s a mental thing. Until you solve the mental thing… that’s the interesting thing about the history of black people in America, we’re the only people on this planet who went through what we went through and opted for education instead of liberation.

We’ve never been liberated. I mean, George Washington wasn’t beating up the British so he could open up another college. The sign don’t say, “Give me education or give me death,” it says, “Give me liberty or give me death.” And so to have a bunch of people that are educated not liberated, man… of course, they don’t know it.

When a black person teaches their child: “Be careful if this white racist cop pulls you over, don’t talk too fast, don’t move too fast, cause he might kill you.” Any time you tell a child to respect and fear, to behave, for a murderer — children don’t hear what you mean, they hear what you say. So they think there’s something wrong with them. Why else would my mother and father tell me to be afraid of a cop, unless I’m doing something wrong?

So… you’d say the fear of violence does more harm to black Americans than violence itself? Would you agree with people who say the solution needs to come from within the black community rather than outside, then?

We’re like people who’ve been taking aspirin for 20 years because they thought they had a migraine but then one day they found out they had a brain tumor. I can’t bring you aspirin no more, but I don’t know how to get it out.

Just cause I’m black, I don’t know how to get it out. You want somebody doing heart surgery, then you’re going to get a heart surgeon to write it up. Not just somebody who had a heart attack. What do they know about it?

What happens with fear? When you go into fight or flight? What kind of poison and chemicals go into your body? How do you deal with it? How much sex and drinking and drugs do you do?

A lot of black folks dealt with it by looking to God. God and fear can’t occupy the same spot, you see. We saw them, back in the day — black women, little children, black men. King and them. It worked for a time.

But then they came out with the guns.

A lot of those cops were Klansmen. When King gets the call, “N***er, we’re gonna blow up your house at 2:00 in the morning,” he can’t call the police. They’re probably the ones that made the call. So he’s gotta grab two children, and Coretta grabs two, and on their faces the children see something they’ve never seen before. Fear.

Fear works different on different people. You see a mother go down to the garage, jack up the car to change the tire, then the phone rings, then she comes back and the baby pushed the jack under the car and fell under it–and she lifts up the car! Soldiers on the front lines, taking that hill. That’s fear, that’s fear that comes and goes, it does its job and disappears.

But when you study what fear does to people who’ve been in it so long… You can go down the South, to Mississippi, to see black folks who’ve got three PhDs who still look like sharecroppers. The jaw fell, the eyes sunk…

Someday we’ll find out how all this works, all the chemicals, what makes us die so much younger, but it comes down to fear, fear, fear, fear. You see a cat that sees a dog, how its body changes, its hair swells up, its muscles clench. That’s how we live every day. We got used to it, we live with it, but that’s what’s happening.

Most white folks don’t know it but you can smell racism. You can smell fear and you can smell hate, just like I can smell whether my mom’s cooking barbecue or baking a cake. Black folks know it when they’re around it, it’s animal, it’s chemical.

Wow. So, you’d say that the power of the civil rights movement was faith staving off fear? And the end of the civil rights movement was a case of fear ultimately overpowering faith?

Look at the Haitians. Napoleon had the greatest army in the history of the planet at that time and they went over there and the black folk whooped their ass. Napoleon came in and they said no, you get back. And what did they blame it on? Voodoo. Now they teach everyone that voodoo is something mysterious and something negative. But “voudou” was just a word meaning spirit. It was spirituality.

We had something with King, with the movement around him. He had no guns, man. They had no evilness. They didn’t say nothing on those cameras or when then the cameras left. “Those no-good honkies, man” — there was none of that. It was a different thing.

And I learned so much from that. I never thought I’d see the day I’d sit here and tell you I’d rather be killed by somebody than kill somebody. That’s what I got out of that movement. We took on the greatest nation in the history of the world and brought them to their knees. With no meanness, no bitterness.

And everybody’s talking about where it went wrong, the thing they miss — When they killed Jesus, they didn’t get none of his disciples. When they killed Caesar, they didn’t mess with his friends in the Senate. When they came after us, they wiped everyone who had the power to change things. Malcolm. Martin. Medgar Evers. You go down the row, the list of names, and see what happened.

And you think that after those leaders were killed, the community gave in to fear?

When you stop and think… It’s like, what do you say when white folks bring up the Confederate flag? We think Hitler was one of the most powerful tyrants — them Nazis one of the most powerful governments that ever existed — but you can’t go to Germany and see a swastika. Not in public. So what does that say about us here?

We’re more vicious. These white American racists were more vicious than Hitler and them Nazis they hung on years after the war was over. You know how long World War II’s been over? And yet to this day they’ve got Nazi sympathizers but it’s not permitted in public. But we Americans don’t demand that of our racists. Black Americans don’t demand it.

You know we have thousands of black cops in America. And you never turn on the TV or hear the radio or pick up the paper where a white family is crying because these black cops shot their loved one in the back of the head 40 times. You think black folks don’t do that because they’re more spiritual? You think they don’t do that because they’re better? No! They know white folks won’t tolerate it! And as long as we do tolerate it it’s gonna happen.

By don’t tolerate it, I don’t mean get no gun. I mean organization, boycotts. When white folks say they’re gonna boycott Christmas shopping until they get this change–they get it.

The gays proved that. In March, when the governor of Indiana who was gonna sign a law saying businesses did not have to serve same-sex couples? And then the gays, and the people who were friends to the gays, rose up so bad, and then all at once people started canceling out conventions–and he changed that so fast like he always meant to do it.

And so let me give you an example. There’s still five states that display the Confederate flag in their state flag in some fashion. (Ed note: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas. Nine states, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, continue to display the Confederate flag on license plates.)

Now you saw what happened in Charleston, right? Now let me tell you how this white racist system feels about us. After 50 years, after nine people were massacred, they finally took that flag down in South Carolina. Let me tell you something. If black folks were to come together and said we’re holding a press conference today, and said to this state here or that state there, if that Confederate flag is not gone from official display, all the Negro athletes in your state are gonna start a boycott — no more black men coming to play sports in your state?

It’d be gone that night. That’s what they value–black athletes, compared to human beings.

It sounds like you’d clearly disagree with people who think America has somehow entered a “post-racial” era. Do you think America is still, fundamentally, a racist country?

See, a black person cannot be racist. Even some black people don’t know that. I can dislike a white person because they’re Jewish, I can dislike them because they’re Italian, or if they’re Russian. That’s prejudice.

But racism is the ability to control somebody else’s fate and destiny. And I can hate white folks all I want. I won’t have the power to take their job or see to it their kids go to a bad school.

The problem is really white supremacy. Most white folks don’t know what that means. They believe it means prejudice based on race. No, no, no. That’s the excuse. It’s supremacy. Who is supreme? Compared to you?

When Hitler decided he was trying to create a perfect race he wasn’t talking about black folks versus white folks. He was talking about Germans versus everyone else. Anyone who was a misfit got killed, white-looking or not. Consequently ‘whiteness’ is not a skin color, it’s an attitude.

There’s people in this world making millions of dollars every year just as interest on their money. That’s what I mean by “white folks.” I perform 200 days out of the year, and every time I say if I took over America, the first thing I’d make the black folks do is apologize to the white folks–because you’re mad at the wrong white folks! The white folks you’re mad at couldn’t hit at you if they’d like to. You guys get mad at the white folks at the Sears & Roebucks, the Walgreens, but I want you to be mad at the Saks Fifth Avenue ones. But they’ve got power, and you’re scared of that.

Who are you mad at? The Ku Klux Klan? Lynch mobs? How many black folks died from lynching as opposed to the effects of public policy? You think Negro-hating rednecks who can’t read or write, you think they determine public policy? You think the fucking Tea Party determines public policy? Let me tell you, if they do shut down the government that’s because the damn Rockefellers in power want it to be shut down. If that one percent didn’t want you to do something they could have tanks in your neighborhood and wipe you out before they’d let you get away with it, you understand?

The people who run this country, who run the world–I’m an old Negro. Coming up I wanted to be white because I thought white folks knew what was going on. Now I find out you white folks are as dumb as we are. Schools only a little bit better than ours. The same game they run on us they run on you.

Well, the buzzword the kids use these days for that is “intersectionality,” that all of us have the same problems in the end even if they manifest in different ways. You, for instance, were just as committed to fighting for women’s lib as for black civil rights–did you see those as connected?

Look at it this way. When I was a boy a woman who had a billion dollars couldn’t buy a house or a car unless a man signed for it. A white woman didn’t get to vote until 1921. Black men legally had the right to vote with the 13th/14th/15th Amendment. I live in a country of white men so vicious and evil, a white woman–that’s his momma, his daughter, his wife–she didn’t have the right to vote. Those white men, they gaveme the legal right to vote before her.

And every time she went to trial, before she could vote, if she was framed for killing somebody she couldn’t get before a jury of her peers because you have to vote to serve on the jury. Men decided what she owned, men voted for her, men sent her to prison.

It’s supremacy. That’s what this is all about.

Looking just how much power the people in power have, are you optimistic that anything’s going to change in your lifetime? Or mine?

Well, the only reason I’m optimistic (laughs) you’ve heard of this thing called the Indigo children? Kids born with IQs of 2000, traveling to other planets while their parents sleep–that could change things, if it’s happening.

But just on the face of it? No. We’re where the Romans was just before they fell. Their people didn’t know it. Our people don’t know it. But you can’t keep doing all this bullshit without it coming to an end.

And America? Let me tell you what I say about America. If that universal God up there don’t destroy America, then that God owes Sodom and Gomorrah a serious apology, hm? OK? Supposed to be the most Christian society in the history of the planet, they sing that hymn, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I tell them, “You weren’t there then and you wouldn’t be there now.”

And if Jesus came here today and started bugging the wrong people again, they’d give him the electric chair. And then we’d have Christians with electric chairs around their necks singing, “Were you there when they electrified my Lord?”

This ignorance–no, no, no.

But… you don’t know, man. You don’t know what can change overnight.

What would have to happen for you to believe that things could change?

If we had a John Brown. My heroes–if I had to rank ‘em, it’d be John Brown at No. 1, everyone else falling behind. A white man that’s willing to kill or be killed–to liberate me! Had his two sons with him at Harpers Ferry.

Look. You can’t get no blacker than me. I’ll fight for black folks, but I–I won’t take my children with me. He did. He had 26 people with him, five of them black. That movie, “Django Unchained“? John Brown was like that, but it really happened.

And had it not been for John Brown, the world wouldn’t have been the same. Because of John Brown, the Civil War started. Well, that was the soldiers singing that. That was the North singing, as they were marching off to fight, “John Brown’s Body is a-Mouldering in his Grave…”

On my birthday, Oct. 12, I don’t go nowhere but down to Harpers Ferry, and thank John Brown’s spirit. Oct. 16, that’s the day Harpers Ferry hit. And Dec. 2, it used to be in Virginia, now it’s West Virginia, I go where they hanged him, the tree is still there. And I remember the speech he said as he was walking to the gallows. He left the courtroom, walked to the street, turned left, walked 2 ½ blocks, turn left, walked 3 ½ blocks and there’s the tree. And I remember what they said.

“N***er-lover! What you got to say!”

He said, “I’m fixing to die and if I did it for rich white men I’d be the hero.”

So he walked from the scaffold, and they tied up the rope, and he said, “Oh, by the way. I talked to God last night, and God told me to tell you, that you’ve lost the last chance to free the Negro slaves with no blood. And he told me to tell you, when the Negroes gonna be free, it’s gonna be the biggest bloodbath in the history of the planet.”

It took me a long time before I realized, it wasn’t just the Civil War he meant. John Brown, may he be at peace. But not us.

H/t: DB

Tea party and Trump supporters can’t accept people like Jorge Ramos and Barack Obama as Americans


attribution: JorgeRamos.com    |     American


Let’s start with the obvious. Given that the candidate himself has characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, we can’t be surprised that one of his partisans told Jorge Ramos, the most influential Latino journalist there is, to “get out of my country.” Ramos responded: “This is my country. I’m a U.S. citizen too.”  Clearly thrown by the idea that this man with a Spanish accent might actually be an American, the Trump supporter spluttered: “Well, whatever. No. Univision. No. It’s not about you.”  Ramos, able to form actual sentences in English, calmly replied, “It’s not about you.  It’s about the United States.” It’s not clear whether Trump’s rhetoric exacerbates this kind of bigotry, or simply attracts those who already possess it. Either way, he and his supporters are a perfect match.

At a press conference only a few minutes earlier, Trump himself had dismissed Ramos—and, by extension, his large Latino audience—with the insult: “Go back to Univision.” This was after the journalist asked a question about the candidate’s immigration plan without waiting to be called on. Trump’s insult sounded to many Latinos a lot like: “Go back to Mexico.” Ramos discussed the interaction here.

Beyond this incident, in just the past week or so we saw two brothers—one of whom stated that he was inspired by Mr. Trump—ambush a man they targeted as Latino, leaving him with a broken nose, “battered” arms and chest, and, just for kicks, a face full of urine. Trump, in response, offered that “it would be a shame….I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Indeed.

Keep reading, and we’ll take a closer look.

An array of hate was on display in the crowd at a recent Trump rally in Alabama, where neo-Confederate activists passed out flyers, a reporter heard a number of “off-color remarks about minorities,” and one especially enthusiastic gentleman couldn’t stop chanting “white power.” Speaking of white power, you remember former KKK grand wizard David Duke, right? He endorsed Trump, declaring that the Donald “understands the real sentiment of America.” By the way, Duke isn’t the only white supremacist, white nationalist, or Neo-Nazi jumping on Trump’s bandwagon. What does Trump say about all these cheeky rapscallions who think he’s the Great White Hope? When asked about Duke’s endorsement, Trump claimed he hadn’t heard of him. He then added, “people like me across the board. Everybody likes me.” Well, not quite everybody.

The hate we’ve been discussing here largely stems from white racial anxiety about our country’s demographic future, an anxiety that, as I’ve written elsewhere, we ignore at our own peril. In terms of electoral politics, these sentiments strongly resemble those that motivate the tea party.

In their extensively researched book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, Vanessa Williamson and Theda Skocpol found that tea party members expressed a significant degree of racial animus, and that their positions on various policies followed. Tea party rhetoric defines Latinos and African-Americans as being outside the national community. Supporters expressed profound resentment over what they saw as government redistributing the wealth of “hard-working” (read: white) Americans to “undeserving” (read: black and brown people) takers. In another article, Skocpol summarized:

[Tea Party members] are overwhelmingly older, white, conservative-minded men and women who fear that “their country” is about to be lost to mass immigration and new extensions of taxpayer-funded social programs (like the Affordable Care Act) for low- and moderate-income working-aged people, many of whom are black or brown. Fiscal conservatism is often said to be the top grassroots Tea Party priority, but Williamson and I did not find this to be true.

Similarly, a study published by Florida State University sociologists in the journal Social Science Research found race-based anger to be a “distinct factor” pushing people to embrace the tea party, a factor that operated “largely independent” from actual ideology. Here’s more from this study:

The Tea Party movement is an outlet for mobilizing and expressing racialized grievances which have been symbolically magnified by the election of the nation’s first black president….The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values….Conservatives who were more racially resentful were substantially more likely to claim Tea Party movement membership.

Certainly it is possible to say that one wants to “take our country back” without being motivated by racism. As conservative pundit Byron York rightly pointed out, Democrats from Al Gore to John Kerry to Howard Dean all used a version of that phrase during the George W. Bush administration. However, the tea partiers who talk incessantly about taking their country back aren’t just talking about ideology, as the research cited above makes clear. It’s not just the use of those words—it is what’s behind them, the hate we saw expressed in countless other ways by members of the tea party.

Racist anti-Obama signs.

attribution: The Colbert Report screenshot

The above is a compilation of signs from tea party rallies put together by the staff of The Colbert Report. Host Stephen Colbert noted that it took them “almost 15 seconds to put that together.” What they show is much more than a rejection of Barack Obama’s policies. They show both a profound degree of racism, as well as a rejection of Obama as an American. That’s why the tea party embraced birtherism for so long and so loudly. And which prominent individual has clung longest and most loudly to birtherism, right up to the present in fact? Donald Trump.

We didn’t constantly see signs expressing bigotry at Gore, Kerry, or Dean rallies. And that’s the difference. When the tea party talks about taking their country back, it’s about more than politics alone. Likewise, when Donald Trump talks about Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals in order to gin up anger over undocumented immigrants, it’s about more than just concern regarding the rule of law. That anger—fueled by racial anxiety—is what we saw in the video where a “passionate,” “inspired” Trump supporter clearly saw Jorge Ramos as not American.

This isn’t just one guy, one video, and one insult. It provides another window into the soul of right-wing America, an entity so full of hate that almost any little scratch brings the bile right up and out of its mouth. You can see the hate on that Trump supporter’s face, and you can hear it in his voice. That hate fuels the tea party, and it fuels support for Donald Trump. It is, in fact, the very same hate. That hate may not motivate every single participant in those two movements, but their successes would be impossible without it.

Daily Kos Staff

V.A.-Funded Federal Contractor Rejects 251 Black Applicants, Hires Sloppy White Crooks Instead


Undoubtedly the practice is widespread.  This is just one contractor that got busted.


How the hell does anyone argue racism is a thing of the past when the same criminal prejudice haunting every dark corner of history, even quite often proudly prancing and frolicking forth in the grand light of day throughout our history, is still doing “The Curly Shuffle” all over the unalienable rights of anyone who is not white, male, straight, conservative and corporate-oriented?

Take this federal contractor out in Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee, who rejected with extreme prejudice 251 black applicants for positions with Brookfield’s United Mailing Services (UMS). Instead of hiring any of those black folks, made up presumably of both men and women, UMS decided a bunch of white guys lacking driver’s licenses who didn’t even competently complete their job applications in the first place, sporting criminal records to boot, were the much better hires.

Hell, United Mailing Services doesn’t just show us racism is alive and well – sexism is, too!

And this information comes via the Department of Labor as of Monday.

Isn’t that something right out of the early 60s? The 50s? 40s and on back? Back when folks think of the civil rights movement that has really, truly never been “won” and has neither gone away.

That UMS received over $3.6 million in federal funding for processing Veteran Affairs mail while it was openly discriminating against black U.S. citizens puts some extra stank on it, too, don’t you think, considering the number of African-American citizens who have given their lives for their country, and more to the point, for the American people?

Luckily, in this case, UMS got busted and is paying the price. According to the Labor Department, United Mailing Service now has promised to pay $120,000 (plus interest!) to each and every one of the 251 African-American applicants rejected by the company. The company also said it would hire 23 of the applicants turned away.

Imagine the joy of being one of the 23 black folks mandated to work in a racist company. Sure, you’re glad to have the job and see justice win out, but you’re also surrounded by racist a$$holes. Even legal wins can lack a bit of luster, sometimes. There’s one more example of white privilege for you.

What is perhaps most irritating, however, is that United Mailing Services never had to admit it was racist or had done anything wrong at all. They just throw some money at it and begrudgingly hire 23 of the rejected applicants and it’s like nothing ever happened. How nice.

At least the Office of Federal Contract Compliance states the company “violated federal employment law,” so… there’s that.

Is that progress, or a plateau? Because it sure as hell isn’t history.

Featured image via Pixabay / Flickr composite

7 Racist Moments From Your Favorite Disney Movies That Will Ruin Them Forever

Here’s the thing regarding Disney movies:  Yes, racism was there but it was everywhere during that time. An unfortunate part of the political and social status quo of the era.

Most cinema studios reflected such things then and now, unapologetic  and myopic to problems with race.

However, to the “minority” child observer and his Disney loving parents: “Okay that sucks, but the rest of the movie is so good!”


As children of the ’90s, we were often taught to be “colorblind.” What passed for anti-racism in our youth hinged more on ignoring each other’s racial differences — “Skin color doesn’t matter!” we were told — than embracing, celebrating, acknowledging and critiquing how these differences shape our lives.

This memo seems to have gotten lost on its way to Walt Disney Studios. The animated films that defined our “colorblind” childhoods — torn from their cushioned packaging and shoved into our waiting VHS players — had no qualms about resorting to the most blatant forms of racism that could still earn a “G”-rating.

Ignoring race did nothing for us then. Now we know better, and our darlings must be killed. Racism can be so inconvenient that way.

1. Dumbo (1940)

Source: Dumbo Lover/YouTube

The lead crow character in Dumbo, a gravel-voiced, thickly accented piece of black comedic relief (pun intended), is actually named “Jim Crow.” The name is a glib reference to the systems of state-sanctioned terrorism that defined black life in the American South throughout the early to mid-20th century.

The crows’ role in the film also mirrors the film industry’s rampant racism at the time, during which black performers were relegated to stereotypical comic roles, or supporting musical entertainment. Fun!

2. Peter Pan (1953)

Source: peterpan3401/YouTube

The song, “What Makes the Red Man Red?” sung by a chorus of Native American caricatures that rapidly devolve into outright minstrelsy, contains lyrics such as, “Once the Injun didn’t know all the things that he know now … but the Injun, he sure learn a lot, and it’s all from asking ‘How?'”

It also implies that Native peoples got their complexion because an “Injun prince” kissed a “squaw” a million years back and everyone has been “blushing since.” Such degrading portrayals of Native peoples have undergirded centuries of terrorism, plunder and degradation, and helped justify racist myths of Native inferiority. Cool!

3. Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Source: Crowley/YouTube

The stereotype of the sneaky, devious East Asian is on full display with the twin Siamese cat characters — Si and Am — in Lady and the Tramp. Aside from their heavily minstrelized rendering (both have buck teeth, thick accents and narrow eyes), their song, “We Are Siamese, If You Please,” features choreography in which the two wreak sly havoc in a house, and try killing a bird and a fish.

Similar stereotypes were used to reinforce fear of the so-called yellow peril in the late 19th century. Specifically, the notion that sneaky East Asians posed a mortal danger to the rest of the world led to strict fierce anti-immigration policies to keep them out of the United States. Wow!

4. The Jungle Book (1963)

Source: tahlee/YouTube

To feature a group of monkeys and apes singing like Louis Armstrong wannabes is one thing. But The Jungle Book‘s larger racial significance stems from its source: author Rudyard Kipling, who penned perhaps the defining manifesto of white imperialism in his 1899 poem, “The White Man’s Burden.”

In it, he lauds the nobility of white colonizers who leave their idyllic white lives behind to bring so-called “civilization” to their “new-caught, sullen,” “half devil and half child” “captives” — the people of the Philippines, in this particular case, and the rest of the non-white world. Amazing!

5. Aladdin (1992)

Source: Welcome/YouTube

Aladdin‘s first song, “Arabian Nights,” contains the lyrics: “I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam … where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!” It goes on to detail how the people living on said land will “cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.”

The stereotype of Arab savagery and barbarism has existed in Western iconography for years. But over the past two decades, it’s also fueled the cultural wing of the so-called “War on Terror” — an absurd rhetorical battle that pits an inherently violent culture, the Islamic Middle East, against an inherently benign one, the Christian West — fueling renewed expression of racism in the United States and beyond. Win!

6. The Lion King (1994)

Source: DisneyMusicVEVO/YouTube

“How can The Lion King be racist?” you ask. “There aren’t any people in it!” Indeed. How curious that the first Disney animated film set in Africa does the same work the worst portrayals of Africa do: presenting it as “one big wild animal preserve” without a human in sight. Disney’s second film set in Africa, 1999’s Tarzan, does not feature a single African person.

Not to mention that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed — Scar’s three buffoonish hyena goons — also happen to the most sonically ethnicized, once again mirroring age-old Hollywood conventions wherein black and Hispanic performers are relegated to stereotypical comic relief. Go team!

7. Pocahontas (1995)

Source: Disney Movies Anywhere/YouTube

Nobody expects Disney films to be pillars of historical accuracy. But if they obscure histories of kidnapping and abusive sexual coercion, they may be better left to storytellers more equipped to relay that.

From the Powhatan Renape Nation (Pocahontas’ real-life tribe) website:

“The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.
“During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a ‘special interest’ in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe … Thus, in April, Matoaka, also know as ‘Pocahontas,’ daughter of Chief Powhatan, became ‘Rebecca Rolfe.'”

Turns out Pocahontas was not a modelesque woman who talked to raccoons, trees and hummingbirds, but a teenaged colonial prisoner whose release was predicated on her entering a non-consensual, lifetime sexual relationship with a thirsty English stranger.

Thanks, Disney!

Zak Cheney-Rice

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?

Media pundits have already started to use the “mental illness” narrative to characterize suspected shooter Dylann Roof. Why not call him a suspected terrorist? (Facebook account of Dylann Roof)

Some people are speaking about about this frequent problem…


This racist media narrative around mass violence falls apart with the Charleston church shooting.

Police are investigating the shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in an effort to terrorize the black communities that those churches anchored. One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

But listen to major media outlets and you won’t hear the word “terrorism” used in coverage of Tuesday’s shooting. You won’t hear the white male shooter, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, described as “a possible terrorist.” And if coverage of recent shootings by white suspects is any indication, he never will be. Instead, the go-to explanation for his actions will be mental illness. He will be humanized and called sick, a victim of mistreatment or inadequate mental health resources. Activist Deray McKesson noted this morning that, while discussing Roof’s motivations, an MSNBC anchor said “we don’t know his mental condition.” That is the power of whiteness in America.

Continue reading here…

H/t: DB

America’s war on Black girls: Why McKinney police violence isn’t about “one bad apple”

America's war on Black girls: Why McKinney police violence isn't about "one bad apple"

(Credit: MSNBC)


Many have been quick to dismiss or make excuses for the shocking video out of Texas. Here’s the truth of the matter

In just over two months, we will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that ravaged communities along the Gulf Coast. This tragedy was made infinitely worse not only by decades of governmental neglect and far-ranging poverty, but also by the fact that so many Black people could not swim.

That nearly 60 percent of Black people cannot swim is directly attributable to decades of segregated pool facilities in this country. While that problem ostensibly went away with the desegregation efforts of the mid-20th century, de facto segregation of pool facilities persists to this day, because community pools are now largely private amenities in suburban neighborhoods that many Black youth don’t have access to.

This is the backdrop of the troubling and traumatizing incident that occurred in McKinney, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, over the weekend, when 19-year-old Tatiana Rose threw a pool party and invited several friends to use the community pool in her neighborhood. Many of those friends were Black, and many of those Black friends also live in the neighborhood. At some point, as Tatiana says in a video interview, two white adult women began yelling at her and her friends to “go back where they came from,” “back to section 8 housing,” and calling them “black fuckers.” When a 14-year-old girl responded, the women further ridiculed her, prompting Tatiana to tell the adults that the girl was 14 and their comments were inappropriate. According to Tatiana’s account, the white women then approached her; one “hit her in the face” and the other began participating in the attack.

According to reports, multiple calls came into police. At least one call came from either Tatiana, her mother (who was present) or her friends, reporting that these white women had attacked the partygoers. Other calls came in from residents who reported that many Black children who were unauthorized to be there were there and fighting. Apparently, the party got larger and some children jumped over the fence to get to the party.

Continue reading here

Texas Cop Suspended After He’s Caught On Video Grabbing Black Girl By Her Hair And Sitting On Her

cop pool partyjpg



A video uploaded to YouTube on Saturday shows predominantly white cops detaining, handcuffing and, at one point, physically holding down black teenagers at a neighborhood pool. At one point, an unidentified white officer grabs a black teenage girl in a bikini by the hair and wrestles her to the ground. When other black teenagers try to intervene, that cop draws his weapon and briefly chases after two black young men. After these two African American young men flee, the cop returns to the girl in the bikini, forcing her face into the ground and then sitting on her in an apparent effort to prevent her from standing up.

This cop may face disciplinary charges. A statement issued by the McKinney, Texas Police Department says that “McKinney Police later learned of a video that was taken at the scene by an unknown party. This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department. At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.”

The statement also claims that police responded to a “disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool” regarding “multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave,” and that “Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.”

It’s unclear whether some or all of the teens were actually at the pool without permission, but it appears likely that they believed that they were attending a pool party that was open to the public. Zahid Arab, a reporter for a local Fox affiliate, reported that a party at the local pool was advertised on social media:

The police department’s claim that “juveniles were now actively fighting” may also be literally true, but subsequent reporting suggests that white adults who lived in the neighborhood bear the lion’s share of the blame for this fighting. According to teens interviewed by BuzzFeed News, “the police were called after a fight broke out between adults and youths at the pool after the adults made racist comments telling the black children to leave the area and return to ‘Section 8 [public] housing.’” One white teen added that “when she and her friends objected to the racist comments about public housing an adult woman then became violent.”


I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing

A protest in Cleveland, Ohio, after police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted for the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. | Ricky Rhodes, Getty Image


On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with.

That’s a theory from my friend K.L. Williams, who has trained thousands of officers around the country in use of force. Based on what I experienced as a black man serving in the St. Louis Police Department for five years, I agree with him. I worked with men and women who became cops for all the right reasons — they really wanted to help make their communities better. And I worked with people like the president of my police academy class, who sent out an email after President Obama won the 2008 election that included the statement, “I can’t believe I live in a country full of ni**er lovers!!!!!!!!” He patrolled the streets in St. Louis in a number of black communities with the authority to act under the color of law.

That remaining 70 percent of officers are highly susceptible to the culture in a given department. In the absence of any real effort to challenge department cultures, they become part of the problem. If their command ranks are racist or allow institutional racism to persist, or if a number of officers in their department are racist, they may end up doing terrible things.

About that 15 percent of officers who regularly abuse their power: they exert an outsize influence

It is not only white officers who abuse their authority. The effect of institutional racism is such that no matter what color the officer abusing the citizen is, in the vast majority of those cases of abuse that citizen will be black or brown. That is what is allowed.

And no matter what an officer has done to a black person, that officer can always cover himself in the running narrative of heroism, risk, and sacrifice that is available to a uniformed police officer by virtue of simply reporting for duty. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was recently acquitted of all charges against him in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both black and unarmed. Thirteen Cleveland police officers fired 137 shots at them. Brelo, having reloaded at some point during the shooting, fired 49 of the 137 shots. He took his final 15 shots at them after all the other officers stopped firing (122 shots at that point) and, “fearing for his life,” he jumped onto the hood of the car and shot 15 times through the windshield.

Not only was this excessive, it was tactically asinine if Brelo believed they were armed and firing. But they weren’t armed, and they weren’t firing. Judge John O’Donnell acquitted Brelo under the rationale that because he couldn’t determine which shots actually killed Russell and Williams, no one is guilty. Let’s be clear: this is part of what the Department of Justice means when it describes a “pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive force.”

Nevertheless, many Americans believe that police officers are generally good, noble heroes. A Gallup poll from last year asked Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in various fields: police officers ranked in the top five, just above members of the clergy. The profession — the endeavor — is noble. But this myth about the general goodness of cops obscures the truth of what needs to be done to fix the system. It makes it look like all we need to do is hire good people, rather than fix the entire system. Institutional racism runs throughout our criminal justice system. Its presence in police culture, though often flatly denied by the many police apologists that appear in the media now, has been central to the breakdown in police-community relationships for decades in spite of good people doing police work.

Here’s what I wish Americans understood about the men and women who serve in their police departments — and what needs to be done to make the system better for everyone.

1) There are officers who willfully violate the human rights of the people in the communities they serve

As a new officer with the St. Louis in the mid-1990s, I responded to a call for an “officer in need of aid.” I was partnered that day with a white female officer. When we got to the scene, it turned out that the officer was fine, and the aid call was canceled. He’d been in a foot pursuit chasing a suspect in an armed robbery and lost him.

The officer I was with asked him if he’d seen where the suspect went. The officer picked a house on the block we were on, and we went to it and knocked on the door. A young man about 18 years old answered the door, partially opening it and peering out at my partner and me. He was standing on crutches. My partner accused him of harboring a suspect. He denied it. He said that this was his family’s home and he was home alone.

My partner then forced the door the rest of the way open, grabbed him by his throat, and snatched him out of the house onto the front porch. She took him to the ledge of the porch and, still holding him by the throat, punched him hard in the face and then in the groin. My partner that day snatched an 18-year-old kid off crutches and assaulted him, simply for stating the fact that he was home alone.

I got the officer off of him. But because an aid call had gone out, several other officers had arrived on the scene. One of those officers, who was black, ascended the stairs and asked what was going on. My partner pointed to the young man, still lying on the porch, and said, “That son of a bitch just assaulted me.” The black officer then went up to the young man and told him to “get the fuck up, I’m taking you in for assaulting an officer.” The young man looked up at the officer and said, “Man … you see I can’t go.” His crutches lay not far from him.

The officer picked him up, cuffed him, and slammed him into the house, where he was able to prop himself up by leaning against it. The officer then told him again to get moving to the police car on the street because he was under arrest. The young man told him one last time, in a pleading tone that was somehow angry at the same time, “You see I can’t go!” The officer reached down and grabbed both the young man’s ankles and yanked up. This caused the young man to strike his head on the porch. The officer then dragged him to the police car. We then searched the house. No one was in it.

These kinds of scenes play themselves out everyday all over our country in black and brown communities. Beyond the many unarmed blacks killed by police, including recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore, other police abuses that don’t result in death foment resentment, distrust, and malice toward police in black and brown communities all over the country. Long before Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown last August, there was a poisonous relationship between the Ferguson, Missouri, department and the community it claimed to serve. For example, in 2009 Henry Davis was stopped unlawfully in Ferguson, taken to the police station, and brutally beaten while in handcuffs. He was then charged for bleeding on the officers’ uniforms after they beat him.

2) The bad officers corrupt the departments they work for

About that 15 percent of officers who regularly abuse their power: a major problem is they exert an outsize influence on department culture and find support for their actions from ranking officers and police unions. Chicago is a prime example of this: the city has created a reparations fund for the hundreds of victims who were tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command from the 1970s to the early ‘90s.

The victims were electrically shocked, suffocated, and beaten into false confessions that resulted in many of them being convicted and serving time for crimes they didn’t commit.  One man, Darrell Cannon, spent 24 years in prison for a crime he confessed to but didn’t commit. He confessed when officers repeatedly appeared to load a shotgun and after doing so each time put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Other men received electric shocks until they confessed.

The torture was systematic, and the culture that allowed for it is systemic. I call your attention to the words “and officers under his command.” Police departments are generally a functioning closed community where people know who is doing what. How many officers  “under the command” of Commander Burge do you think didn’t know what was being done to these men? How many do you think were uncomfortable with the knowledge? Ultimately, though, they were okay with it. And Burge got four years in prison, and now receives his full taxpayer-funded pension.

3) The mainstream media helps sustain the narrative of heroism that even corrupt officers take refuge in

This is critical to understanding why police-community relations in black and brown communities across the country are as bad as they are. In this interview with Fox News, former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir never acknowledges the lived experience of thousands and thousands of blacks in New York, Baltimore, Ferguson, or anywhere in the country. In fact, he seems to be completely unaware of it. This allows him to leave viewers with the impression that the recent protests against police brutality are baseless, and that allegations of racism are “totally wrong — just not true.” The reality of police abuse is not limited to a number of “very small incidents” that have impacted black people nationwide, but generations of experienced and witnessed abuse.

The media is complicit in this myth-making: notice that the interviewer does not challenge Safir. She doesn’t point out, for example, the over $1 billion in settlementsthe NYPD has paid out over the last decade and a half for the misconduct of its officers. She doesn’t reference the numerous accounts of actual black or Hispanic NYPD officers who have been profiled and even assaulted without cause when they were out of uniform by white NYPD officers.

No matter what an officer has done to a black person, that officer can always cover himself in the running narrative of heroism

Instead she leads him with her questions to reference the heroism, selflessness, risk, and sacrifice that are a part of the endeavor that is law enforcement, but very clearly not always characteristic of police work in black and brown communities. The staging for this interview — US flag waving, somber-faced officers — is wash, rinse, and repeat with our national media.

When you take a job as a police officer, you do so voluntarily. You understand the risks associated with the work. But because you signed on to do a dangerous job does not mean you are then allowed to violate the human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of the people you serve. It’s the opposite. You should protect those rights, and when you don’t you should be held accountable. That simple statement will be received by police apologists as “anti-cop.”  It is not.

4) Cameras provide the most objective record of police-citizen encounters available

When Walter Scott was killed by officer Michael Slager in South Carolina earlier this year, the initial police report put Scott in the wrong. It stated that Scott had gone for Slager’s Taser, and Slager was in fear for his life. If not for the video recording that later surfaced, the report would have likely been taken by many at face value. Instead we see that Slager shot Scott repeatedly and planted the Taser next to his body after the fact.

Every officer in the country should be wearing a body camera that remains activated throughout any interaction they have with the public while on duty. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for officers when they are on duty and in service to the public. Citizens must also have the right to record police officers as they carry out their public service, provided that they are at a safe distance, based on the circumstances, and not interfering. Witnessing an interaction does not by itself constitute interference.

5) There are officers around the country who want to address institutional racism

The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability is a new coalition of current and former law enforcement officers from around the nation. Its mission is to fight institutional racism in our criminal justice system and police culture, and to push for accountability for police officers that abuse their power.

Many of its members are already well-established advocates for criminal justice reform in their communities. It’s people like former Sergeant De Lacy Davis of New Jersey, who has worked to change police culture for years. It’s people like former LAPD Captain John Mutz, who is white, and who is committed to working to build a system where everyone is equally valued. His colleagues from the LAPD —former Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, now a frequent CNN contributor (providing some much-needed perspective), and former officer Alex Salazar, who worked LAPD’s Rampart unit — are a part of this effort. Several  NYPD  officers, many of whom are founding members of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, the gold standard for black municipal police organizations, are a part of this group. Vernon Wells, Noel Leader, Julian Harper, and Cliff Hollingsworth, to name a few, are serious men with a serious record of standing up for their communities against police abuse. There’s also Rochelle Bilal, a former sergeant out of Philadelphia, Sam Costales out of New Mexico, former Federal Marshal Matthew Fogg, and many others.

These men and women are ready to reach out to the thousands of officers around the country who have been looking for a national law enforcement organization that works to remake police culture. The first priority is accountability — punishment — for officers who willfully abuse the rights and bodies of those they are sworn to serve. Training means absolutely nothing if officers don’t adhere to it and are not held accountable when they don’t. It is key to any meaningful reform.

Police abuse in black and brown communities is generations old. It is nothing new.

Racism is woven into the fabric of our nation.  At no time in our history has there been a national consensus that everyone should be equally valued in all areas of life. We are rooted in racism in spite of the better efforts of Americans of all races to change that.

Because of this legacy of racism, police abuse in black and brown communities is generations old. It is nothing new. It has become more visible to mainstream America largely because of the proliferation of personal recording devices, cellphone cameras, video recorders — they’re everywhere. We need police officers.  We also need them to be held accountable to the communities they serve.


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