The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

Shinners, I am a curious person. I like finding out all the five W’s and H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) to learn more about a subject of interest. Like birds – I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about them.

But damn, when your educational system prevents you from even knowing what you don’t know…neither curiosity nor all the will in the world will help.

I was never taught about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school. I guess whomever wrote the textbooks knew how much negative perception would go along with that knowledge – the deep-seated racism in this country, the pure evil of that mass murder, and the reality that would tarnish America’s well-crafted egalitarian image. It was only in the past year (I think it was on Rachel Maddow’s show?) that the veil of my ignorance was lifted. And for the first time, an American President has addressed it, on the shameful and tragic anniversary of its occurrence. Biden made a historic speech, in which his trademark empathy was on full display. But as we’ve started to see with Biden and Harris, words are just the beginning. And now, Biden is looking to begin to address some of the racial disparities that have been kept in public policy and hidden away from public view.

The Tulsa massacre has only recently entered the national discourse — and the presidential visit put an even brighter spotlight on the event.

Biden, who was joined by Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge and senior advisers Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond, also announced new measures he said could help narrow the wealth gap between races and reinvest in underserved communities by expanding access to homeownership and small-business ownership.

The White House said the administration will take steps to address disparities that result in Black-owned homes being appraised at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes owned by white residents as well as issue new federal rules to fight housing discrimination. The administration is also setting a goal of increasing the share of federal contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2026, funneling an estimated additional $100 billion to such businesses over the five-year period, according to the White House.

It is shocking to think that Black prosperity in Tulsa could have been extinguished so quickly. 30 blocks of “Black Wall Street” were destroyed, up to 300 Black Tulsans were killed, and the Greenwood area has never recovered, 100 years later. White people just couldn’t handle the fact that Black people clearly aren’t inferior – when they have equal opportunity, they are able to prosper – and so they made up some excuse about a black man stepping on a white woman’s foot to justify their murderous hatred. But really, they just wanted to stop Black Americans from prospering, and scare them into leaving all the money for white people.

The attempted coup on January 6th was the same type of rage. White men (mostly) are in a panic that when those uppity wimminz (especially Black women) gain power, their power diminishes; thus they decided to scream and attack and kill. Just as on that day in 1921 in Tulsa, no one got arrested on the scene, and it took national attention and a new Justice Department leader to really get the investigations moving. Republicans have begun to gaslight and try to wipe the horrific event from everyone’s minds.

I sure hope they don’t succeed.

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

So we are hitting 100 days since Biden took office. And frankly, he’s managed to do an impressive amount of good things, despite unprecedented (certainly in modern politics) obstruction from the QOP. Rethuglicans just can’t find a way to attack him. They are so desperate. And if it wasn’t for 2 awful Senators (rhymes with “Manchin” and “Sinema”), so much more would already be done to improve Americans’ lives…

This report from CBS this morning is a fascinating look the song “Strange Fruit,” made famous by Billie Holiday. Specifically this ties to Manchin and Sinema in their refusal to recognize how the filibuster has kept racist laws in America on the books. And continue to this day. I just saw a statistic: in the 24 hrs after the Derek Chauvin verdict, 6 people were fatally shot by cops. Meanwhile, cops in Newark, NJ, did not fire a single shot in all of 2020. It is possible to police without shooting people. We know because Newark, NJ has done it.

Here is a fascinating segment from CBS This Morning about the song “Strange Fruit,” immortalized by Billie Holiday. A song that in effect destroyed her life because she refused to stop singing it and the Federal government thought the song was dangerous. There is an interesting plot-twist half-way (at least a plot-twist for me because I was not familiar with the background on the song.) This is an open thread.

Image courtesy of KTSP TV

Widdershins, something truly extraordinary happened yesterday. Derek Chauvin, the psychopathic cop who was caught on video killing a Black man in cold blood, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Across the country, but especially in Minneapolis, the celebration and relief were palpable. Even though the officer’s guilt was documented clearly for all the world to see, and was not questionable by any seeing human being, most people were cautious in their hopes for accountability.

After all, murdering police officers are so rarely convicted for their crimes.

Garrett said there are hundreds of instances where police use deadly force each year but despite the fatality, very few of those incidents result in an officer facing criminal charges.

In the aftermath of Chauvin’s guilty verdict, Garrett believes there will continue to be a “rethinking” of how and when officers should be held civilly and criminally liable when they cause a death. The problem is that there is very little data available on deadly force used by police.

In police brutality cases, the question is whether the officer accused of misconduct acted “reasonably” and their behavior was necessary under the circumstances — but how “reasonable” is defined remains largely elusive.

“There are so few cases that tell us what reasonable is, and that’s why a conviction in the Derek Chauvin trial would set a standard for reasonable that we didn’t have before,” said Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and civil rights attorney.

The Chauvin trial is a rare example of “zealous prosecution” in hundreds of years where prosecutors have failed to prosecute White people for crimes against Black people, Browne-Marshall said.

So the Chauvin trial turned out the way it should have, which is a rare victory for the forces of social justice. But not everyone felt that way. Some seemed to feel that Chauvin, as a white man, should have had the right to kill George Floyd however and whenever he wanted to. (No wonder the Republican House voted against Kamala’s anti-lynching law in 2019!) If you look over at Foxnews.com (don’t worry – I did it for you and I need disinfectant), you’ll see some normal-seeming headlines surrounded by batshittery: a straightforward description of the verdict is in the same space as accusations of “mob justice” from Candace Owens and Democratic extremism from some random Black guy in a MAGA hat. (I don’t know who he is, and my life is better for it.)

As so many have said, this is one very tiny step towards a better world, and it wouldn’t have happened if some very brave people didn’t record the murder on their phones. What will happen to the police officers who murdered a 15-year-old girl in Columbus on the same day the verdict was returned (yes this really f*cking happened)? What about Chauvin’s fellow officers who helped him – what will become of them when they are tried in August? Will the Senate be able to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act now? (I predict no, not without reforming the filibuster!)

So many questions about what comes next…at least we’re asking them knowing George Floyd’s killer will be held accountable.

Ze thread, she is ouverte.

On March 13th, #2020, 26-year-old emergency room technician Breonna Taylor was murdered by police in her own home for the crime of living while Black in Louisville, Kentucky. The pain of this injustice, along with the racist murder of George Floyd by white policemen captured on video, breathed new life into the Black Lives Matter movement, and inspired people across the country to “Say Her Name.”

As I write this blog post, I see a ray of hope for Black people in this country because of the way the Mayor of Louisville has settled Breonna’s family’s lawsuit. This may not be complete justice yet – but it is a step in the right direction, and one I can’t imagine would have happened without the months of activism on her behalf.

Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday apologized to the family of Breonna Taylor – a Black woman who was shot dead by police in a botched raid on her apartment in March – and said the city will pay $12 million to the Taylor family and implement new police reforms.

FISCHER: “My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”

While the settlement was accompanied by reforms, it did not explicitly admit wrongdoing on the city’s part.

No police officer has been criminally charged over Taylor’s death, but Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to bring the case before a grand jury this week, and Lonita Baker – an attorney for Breonna Taylor’s estate – said she was confident an indictment was coming.

If you marched in protest of Breonna’s or George Floyd’s horrific deaths, or donated to the cause, or signed petitions, or posted on social media – you helped to do this. You helped to get Breonna’s death recognized by the mayor; you helped her family get compensatory damages (possibly the largest in history paid to a Black family); and you helped the state Attorney General bring the criminal justice system to bear on the cops who shot her.

It may not feel like it matters – but it always, always does.

This is an open thread.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hello Widdershins! It’s been almost a year since many of us marched, in the largest protest in American history, to show our solidarity with women across the nation. The inauguration of this cruel, bigoted and misogynistic President brought out people who had never marched before – even my 75-year-old father! Martin Luther King Jr. would have been proud of us.

That terrible, yet fortifying and loving day spawned the resilient, organized and powerful movement called #TheResistance. I don’t think any of us knew it would be as widespread and passionate as it is. On social media, in the streets, with calls and emails and signed petitions, we are now, and for the foreseeable future, making our voices heard. Hear us roar!

In these days, when we have “human error” causing Hawaiians to fear for their lives while the President golfs and tweets about his press coverage; when the racism of the leader of the free world causes more and more damage every day; when the Republicans lie shamelessly and continuously to protect their political futures and (I think) their dirty, dirty money; well…it’s hard to believe that we are living through it and somehow, hanging on to our sanity. So let’s take a look at the various ways #TheResistance is still alive, well, and thriving.

Here are a couple of photos from our very own Contrask, who protested last weekend. Amazing!

Yesterday, hundreds of Haitians protested near Mar-A-Lago, explaining to Drumpf (as he golfed on MLK Day) that Haiti “is not a Shithole.” (Still incredulous. I’ll never get over what he said.)

And oh my! What terrible reviews Trump properties are suddenly getting on Yelp!

It didn’t take long for people offended by President Trump’s remark that African nations were “shithole countries” to turn the insult back around on his family-owned company’s properties. The Yelp page for the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue has been swamped since Thursday afternoon with one-star reviews calling the 263-room luxury hotel a “shithole.”

“It’s a shithole. The owner is a racist senile old man. Don’t waste your money. #shithole,” reads one review. Another tells readers, “But I hear you can get incredible ‘service’ if you bring in your own Russian hookers to give you the ‘golden treatment.’”

Speaking of Shithole activism: I think this is my favorite.

There are Women’s March Anniversary protests set up for this weekend. Get out there and march if you can!

This is an open thread.


Biden illustration: REBUILD WITH BIDEN

Nice picture of our gal

Madam Vice President

Our President

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