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micdotcom:

Potent minimalist art sends a strong message about police and vigilante brutality in America

Journalist and artist Shirin Barghi has created a gripping, thought-provoking series of graphics that not only examines racial prejudice in today’s America, but also captures the sense of humanity that often gets lost in news coverage. Titled “Last Words,” the graphics illustrate the last recorded words by Brown and other young black people — Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and others — who have been killed by police in recent years.

Let us not forget their voices

This.

When a local government’s very existence depends on its citizens breaking the law — when fines from ordinance violations are written into city budgets for the upcoming year as a primary or even the main expected source of revenue — the relationship between the government and the governed is not one of public officials serving their constituents, but of preying off of them. When the primary mission of a police department isn’t to protect citizens but to extract money from them, and when the cops themselves don’t look like, live near or have much in common with the people from whom they’re extracting that money, you get cops who start to see the people they’re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential sources of revenue, as lawbreakers to be caught. The residents of these towns then see cops not as public servants drawn from their own community to enforce the laws and keep the peace, but as outsiders brought in to harass them, whose salaries are drawn from that harassment. The same goes for the judges and prosecutors, who also rarely live in the towns that employ them.

The history of American policing is tied tightly to its relationship with black Americans and other minorities. The earliest police antecedents were slave patrols and anti-native militias, built to suppress rebellion and combat Native Americans. After the Civil War, Southern whites used police as a new tool for control, terrorizing blacks under the guise of law enforcement, from lynchings—often organized or supported by local sheriffs—to convict leasing. Elsewhere, in the industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest, policing became a pathway for immigrant mobility. At the same time, police attention turned to black migrants, who were condemned as lazy and criminal. As historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes, police during the New York race riots of 1900 and 1905 “abdicated their responsibility to dispense color-blind service and protection, resulting in … indiscriminate mass arrests of blacks attacked by white mobs.”

There is a reason why, in all the Gamergate rhetoric, you hear the echoes of every other social war staged in the last 30 years: overly politically correct, social-justice warriors, the media elite, gamers are not a monolith. There is also a reason why so much of the rhetoric amounts to a vigorous argument that Being a gamer doesn’t mean you’re sexist, racist, and stupid—a claim no one is making. Co-opting the language and posture of grievance is how members of a privileged class express their belief that the way they live shouldn’t have to change, that their opponents are hypocrites and perhaps even the real oppressors. This is how you get St. Louisans sincerely explaining that Ferguson protestors are the real racists, and how you end up with an organized group of precisely the same video game enthusiasts to whom an entire industry is catering honestly believing that they’re an oppressed minority. From this kind of ideological fortification, you can stage absolutely whatever campaigns you deem necessary.
….
The idea is that we’re all so equal now that true intolerance begins with even noting that anyone is different from the norm, said norm of course being a young, straight, middle-class white guy. To get to this mindset requires a certain willful blindness to privilege and the ways it has embedded itself in the very structures of American life, which is how you wind up with people saying things like, “For some reason, some black people kind of hold onto the ‘back in the day,’ the slave thing, or they feel they’re not being treated right.” Cluelessness about institutional inequality isn’t a crime, but it’s a major contributing factor to the grand nerd myth of the internet as a perfect meritocracy in which everyone is equal and the worst crime is special pleading.

[F]or the first several years the SAT was offered, males scored higher than females on the Math section but females achieved higher scores on the Verbal section. ETS policy-makers determined that the Verbal test needed to be “balanced” more in favor of males, and added questions pertaining to politics, business and sports to the Verbal portion. Since that time, males have outscored females on both the Math and Verbal sections. Dwyer notes that no similar effort has been made to “balance” the Math section, and concludes that, “It could be done, but it has not been, and I believe that probably an unconscious form of sexism underlies this pattern. When females show the superior performance, ‘balancing’ is required; when males show the superior performance, no adjustments are necessary.”

“Gender Bias in College Admissions Tests”, FairTest.org

And then people urge me everything is fine, of course it is, when you’re ignoring statistics that is.

(via cwnl)

Fun fact: SAT tests predict college performance pretty well for men, but they strongly underpredict college performance for women. http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/12/20/1948550612469038.abstract

HMMMM

(via brute-reason)

I think I’ve reblogged this before, but that study needs to be shared.

(via conjecturesandconversations)

(Source: aaabbbbbbiiieee)

On the surface they seem unrelated: you’ve got racist white citizens who are attacking black people in the streets, and then years or decades later, you have the police acting violently in the black community.

In response to all those riots in the 1910s and 1920s, civil rights commissions were set up in cities, and there was pressure on both local and federal governments to address white vigilantism and white rioting against blacks. And while it was not particularly effective, it certainly had this censuring quality to it. And then what historians would agree happened is that, in so many cities, the police became the proxy for what the white community wants.

So one of the answers is that police became the front line of the white community — or, at least, the most racially conservative white community. It’s the police that are called out, for example, when black people try to integrate white neighborhoods. It’s the police that become that body that defends whites in their homes.

We start the war on crime in 1965, which, of course, is very much in response to these protests by black people. Because politicians decide that protests against things like police brutality are exactly the same thing as crime — that this is disorderly. This is criminal.

And so, police are specifically charged with keeping order and with stopping crime, which has now become synonymous with black behavior in the streets. The police, again, become that entity that polices black boundaries. And I will tell you that one of the most striking things about the media coverage of Ferguson is that they are absolutely doing what they did in the 1960s in terms of the reporting: “This is all about the looters, this is all about black violence.”

Until black life is valued to the same extent white life is by members of law enforcement and by the criminal-justice community, there will be this question of legitimacy of the police and their actions, particularly among black folks who are routinely stopped. And then, people get angry. And then, people do start throwing rocks and bottles. But make no mistake about it: the police don’t use rubber bullets. It’s never a fair fight.

Most people are not being arrested for raping and robbing, murdering and stealing. It’s this low level, oppressive policing of black communities on the basis of marijuana possession. Low-level drug busts. Riding up on people. Throwing them against cars. Not because blacks do drugs more than whites, not because they possess it more, but because black communities are where the over policing is.

The ugly history of racist policing in America: For Ferguson and St. Louis, it’s much more about the fact that there is an absolute unwillingness to deal with the core issues in American society about equality in the streets: [the principle that] a black citizen and a white citizen really do have equal rights under the laws. Black citizens don’t believe it. They shouldn’t believe it. It’s not true that they have equal rights under the laws. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of innocence. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of peaceful countenance.

Full article here.

(via odinsblog)

iwriteaboutfeminism:

Protesters carry a mirrored coffin. 

Saturday, October 11th

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