White robes and hoods are no longer required to reign supreme.
Big thanks to reader “Ess” for passing along this video of a talk given by White Rage author Dr. Carol Anderson at Emory University. Feel free to pass along to friends who wish to deepen their understanding of systemic racial injustice in America.
White supremacy, in its urgency to minimize or vanquish the existence of Blackness for the benefit of not sharing America with others, has repeatedly presented itself as an existential threat to the very nation it claims to cherish. I think Dr. Anderson made this point clear in her recollection of how pro-segregation politicians from the South — in the face of a nationally-mandated focus on education in preparation for the so-called space race with Russia — placed more energy toward preserving segregated school schemas than providing equitable education for all races. Only rage can explain such targeted, consistent, and centuries-long marginalization toward African descendants.
More broadly, consider the wasted energy White supremacists spend on achieving — in lack of a better term — superiority. Their chase toward an apocryphal status, with citizens of a different color or status cast under raging wheels, only has left a trail of tattered dignity, violently-drawn blood, a ripped constitution, and a stronger will to animate America’s promise.
What White supremacists fail to understand is that the status they rage after is ever-fleeting. And they’re running out of road.
Video is embedded below.
song currently stuck in my head: “wind, sand and stars” – emanative feat. heidi vogel and geoff wolley
With 40 million Americans out of work while the coronavirus pandemic has scared most other Americans out of resuming life as usual, should there even be a question about President Donald Trump passing another round of fiscal stimulus to avoid what could easily become the second Great Depression?
No question at all, in my brain. Emphasis on brain.
I realize how politicians are quick to help large businesses and rich folks but only talk about the middle class during an election year — but THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR.
That’s why I ignored Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wet-towel response to a second stimulus round a few weeks ago.
The government can continue to think business-first all day, but consumer spending still represents 70 percent of the US economy.
Making new widgets few can buy and reopening stores even fewer will visit ignores the fact that that the people — empty wallets and all — still have the power.
Plus, this is an election year.
So sure, there will be more stimulus to pass around. I just hope policymakers will think to help the poverty class more.
But none of us have been terribly good at predicting this year. My tarot cards quit in January. And Trump doesn’t deal in the logical thought patterns like the rest of us would hope.
Still, he appears to want the Big Chair for another four years …
song currently stuck in my head: “sweet wine” – cream
A message of hope, amidst a pandemic and the struggle to make Black Lives Matter across the world
Within the past hour, Prince’s official Twitter account posted a cover of Prince’s “The Cross” song, performed by musicians from his former bands “The Revolution”, New Power Generation (NPG), and 3RDEYEGIRL.
Bandmates that span all four decades of Prince's performance and recording career got together virtually for an all-star rendition of "The Cross," which they released today "as a message of hope, love and peace." https://t.co/MuHPEnUuPG Credit: @ProductionsKaj
“The Cross” originally appeared in Prince’s Sign o’ the Times album — my favorite Prince album, by the way. Former Prince band member and current KAJ Productions head Kirk Johnson produced the new cover.
KAJ Productions released the following statement:
In the midst of widespread unrest gripping Minneapolis and America, and the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the performance is presented as a message of hope, love and peace. Prior to recording and producing the song, Johnson queried Prince’s fans via social media asking for song suggestions and the collective consensus was “The Cross.” Musicians then recorded parts individually within their homes, sending to Johnson who assembled the isolated parts into the unified performance.
I dig the move by the team and the song to release, given Prince’s strong childhood roots in Minneapolis, which is also the city where George Floyd lost his life to police officers late last month.
The production is strong and the musicians are sharp. I’m impressed by how the team managed to pull off this level of quality with all the pandemic social distancing protocols in place. I’m sure Prince has given the head nod.
Prince w̶a̶s̶ is a Rocker. And Prince w̶a̶s̶ is Black music. No contradiction at all.
Prince: Question — You like Rock & Roll?
Prince: Me too. One difference though, I like Rock and Roll — Fun-kay.
—Prince, live in Montreux, Switzerland; July 15, 2013
Can’t forget Prince’s birthday today!
We all miss him. One of the greatest performers I’ve ever seen.
While Prince clearly earned all of his Pop Music creds, He doesn’t get enough props for being one of the most important purveyors of Black music — ever.
I just watched the third day of his 2013 Montreux performance today, where he and his band 3RDEYGIRL smashed down another music history lesson. The NPG Horns and Funk legend Larry Graham also joined in to teach. Prince connected diasporic nodes for the audience by laying down styles of early-Van Halen Rock, Blues, Funk, New Wave, and EDM. I embedded the show below.
The band’s opener, a 76-or-so-bpm version of “Let’s Go Crazy”, beats the original, in my ear. The sly “Frankenstein” tease in the middle was yet another gorgeous et cetera out of many gorgeous et ceteras Prince tends to throw at audiences.
I wished the YouTube uploader submitted a better-quality video, though. Still, I’m thankful. Another heads-up: you’ll clearly notice some audio problems near the 1:38:20 mark.
Listen and dance. You deserve this moment.
I’m always open to hear or see a Prince show. Feel free to send your YouTube or audio cloud links my way!
What if your innocent and non-threatening family member or neighbor was attacked by a police dog — like then-52-year old Desiree Collins was when she was taking out her household trash nearly three years ago?
How do you think Collins should feel about the experience after it happened?
Do you think she would be emotionally triggered when she sees dogs from now on?
How should Collins’ family and community members feel about her experience, and the possibility that a police dog may attack another adult or child?
How can Levar Jones’ family members and friends watch a video of him being shot by a police officer for retrieving a driver’s license — just after being asked by the officer to show a driver’s license — and not experience emotional trauma? Fortunately, Jones survived the gunshots. Pay special attention to the second an third shots and Jones’ hands in the embedded video below.
How did that incident change Jones’ behavior during future interactions with police?
Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter sat in the same car as Philando Castile when he was shot to death by a police officer, after Castile declared his possession of a legal firearm and prepared to show the officer identification.
Isn’t it fair to assume that people like Reynolds and her daughter would be traumatized by this experience?
And how about the youth of color, who have been stopped-and-frisked in their communities by police officers on a recurring basis? What do you think will be the youths’ recurring reactions when they see police cars nearby?
What will be the emotional toll on your children, spouse, partner and community members, who witness police officers beating, choking, or shooting you to death?
How can that experience not affect them? How can that experience not psychologically affect you, should you survive?
Research exists to support the connection between police violence and the mental health of marginalized communities.
Published through the Journal of the American Medical Association network in 2018, the study titled “Association of Exposure to Police Violence With Prevalence of Mental Health Symptoms Among Urban Residents in the United States” collected community members’ experiences with police officers in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland to conclude that police violence is not only more prevalent in communities of color and LGBTQ persons, but the violence also brought lasting, negative health consequences:
Our main findings were that 12-month police violence exposures were commonly reported among adult residents of Baltimore and New York City; communities of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities were disproportionately affected, and these exposures were associated with greater odds of current psychological distress and concurrent (12-month) suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and psychotic experiences.
“Association of Exposure to Police Violence With Prevalence of Mental Health Symptoms Among Urban Residents in the United States” (source page with pdf).
This finding is significant because sufficient evidence already proves that marginalized communities are over-policed when compared to white communities.
The study goes on to mention that agitation, depression, hopelessness, and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness are mental health outcomes of police violence.
Without qualifiers, over-policing — or police operating in marginalized communities like an occupying force — is unhealthy.
And the resulting mental health issues can adversely affect educational achievement, job performance, community and family relationships, as well as the ability of existing health systems to support these affected people.
And the solution is in the hands of these same Americans, who should press state and local governments to:  Implement alternatives to current policing methods;  Increase availability of mental health resources to support people affected by police violence; and  Collaborate with community-based organizations who have a detailed understanding of these issues and create interventions that help people heal.
Be sure to call out all political officials who want this kind of mental health crisis to remain — before you vote them out.
Police violence is just one of many oppressive systems that adversely affect communities. There’s plenty of work ahead for all …
song currently stuck in my head: “dead man walking” – terrance martin feat. rose gold & nick grant
Eff them. They didn’t completely leave the force, but they should.
I’ll riff off an old Funkadelic song: America eats its old.
Peak oppression displays one of its most dangerous inhumane tendencies to the world when institutions begin to publicly abuse children and elders who appear to question authority. The violently-repressive nationwide response by police officers after Americans began their peaceful protest of African American George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officers leaves no question about the state we’re in today.
Almost all of us saw the two officers from Buffalo, New York’s police department push 75-year old Martin Gugino to the ground. Please scroll past this video and the upcoming photo if you’re triggered by violent scenes.
I can’t say that I’m shocked by this since I’m quite aware of how far authority will go to protect injustice.
But these actions, and the resulting blood that streamed from Gugino’s ear to the ground are still horrifying — well, to most people.
Likely not sufficiently horrifying to the 57 members of Buffalo’s Emergency Response Team who resigned out of protest when the city suspended the two cops who shoved Gugino.
This means we have 57 people who do not respect humanity, especially the elders.
… [C]ity Mayors and other locally-elected officials are nearly scared to death of how police unions — who deal in their legendary superpowers of creating large and unbreakable voting blocs, influencing public opinions, and executing work stoppages or other forms of selective law enforcement — can end political careers.
mental unrest, 6/5/2020
The police union playbook is unfolding in plain view, hoping Buffalo will fold to the aggressor’s will.
Leave, y’all. Please.
The gang-of-fifty-seven didn’t resign from the police department, but they should. Or the city should fire them, if a legal path exists.
Every officer in the immediate vicinity of this assault who chose not to connect with Gugino’s humanity yesterday should leave their jobs as well.
Buffalo deserves more than having officers with this level of inhumane discretion patrolling any street. They are a public health danger.
And yes, the two officers who attacked Gugino should be fired. And arrested.
Instead, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is talking about suspension. For now …
Needless to say I could never hope to keep a job at Macy’s or the Ritz Carlton if I split open a guest’s head …
Meeting voices for justice with terror.
What is terrorism? What is a public health issue? You just saw them in this post.
Smashing a liquor store window for the purpose of stealing Salon Champagne bottles for resale, or snatching Herradura tequila to make margaritas for the looting afterparty isn’t cool. No one should be killed or brutalized for those offenses, but looting — a minority behavioral group when compared with the overwhelming majority of protestors for George Floyd’s justice — is wrong.
But organized assault against an elderly civilian for the purpose of suppressing peaceful expression is an example of state-sponsored terrorism.
And the public can now see terror in real life or high-definition television.
Gugino is reportedly in stable condition. We all wish him well …
song currently stuck in my head: “hand of god” – sa-roc
But I think Minnesota Councilperson Phillipe Cunningham took the show with his case for defunding the police. His plain-language reasoning and approach sound less-shocking than the branding may appear. More on Cunningham later …
First, about the former President …
Almost five years ago, and after reading then-President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing task force report [pdf] — a reform roadmap for city officials, police departments and communities — I smirked.
And I shrugged. Here’s why.
There is a longstanding leadership model that cautions executives to against handing out instructions to audiences unless you understand their abilities and skill levels to carry out those instructions. Your response to that assessment should be to provide or identify the tailored supports that will help them execute your plan.
Obama and his team have damn-near 3D-zonal-chess-to-the-unlimited-power skills to know that city Mayors and other locally-elected officials are nearly scared to death of how police unions — who deal in their legendary superpowers of creating large and unbreakable voting blocs, influencing public opinions, and executing work stoppages or other forms of selective law enforcement — can end political careers.
Therefore, I smirked. And I shrugged.
Nearly five years later, and after hearing Obama reference his report yesterday, I laughed when I realized that I smirked and shrugged again. He did admit that the follow-through wasn’t successful.
I mean, what cop on which American street needs a bayonet for duty? And why did Obama’s Defense Department ship bayonets to these police departments?
And I still say that Obama’s Justice Department should have swung a strong hand — and send a message to police departments nationwide — by going after the City of Ferguson, Missouri with RICO charges since the city was running the most modern gangsta white-collar-and-ninja-suit racketeering operation that preyed on poor Black people. The federal government instead settled with Ferguson under less-damaging charges.
But we have Obama’s report, with mentions of implicit bias with no recommendations to assess for bias prior to onboarding new cops; or other measures that many of us have heard before and are in place (e.g., body cameras and community policing), but police violence and racial profiling continue.
Anyway, The three reform ideas Obama offered are not new, by any mark. The only difference between making these three asks years ago and now is that a brutal murder of George Floyd out of many others became a tipping point for gathering an audience to listen.
Still, they are not awful ideas, and can be used in a broader election strategy.
Defund the police — a simple case
Councilperson Cunningham’s argument for defunding the police (he enters the discussion at 33:32) is not new to activists, but it’s a fresh-out-the-factory concept to many government organizations.
With violent crime decreasing in Minnesota, Mayor Jacob Frey proposed a $10 million funding increase for the local police department, bringing that department’s budget to $193 million — one of the largest line items in the city’s total budget.
Affordable housing received only $31 million. And crime prevention? $400,000.
According to Councilperson Cunningham, the proposed increase made no sense when paired with the city’s largest source of 911 police calls: domestic assaults.
There’s always political will to put more money into the police budget.
The police budget in Minneapolis is … almost $200 million, and we have right now, we have approved last year a budget of $1.6 billion. [The police department] take[s] up a huge chunk.
I had to fight relentlessly to get $50,000 for a domestic violence intervention program strategy for us to implement, despite the fact that in Minneapolis, the number-one reason for 911-initiated police calls for service is because of domestic assault.
Mayor Frey used irrational math to request $10 million to hire more cops — to break up domestic violence situations?
Cunningham’s reason for a lower-cost solution is — well, reasonable:
We are not successfully getting to the root of these issues, so having a systemic institutionalized new approach to public safety that is community-led, that invests in communities with the prevention intervention as well as thinking big, even moving further upstream thinking about housing, jobs, employment, training, education, thinking about all of that — that is what true, comprehensive public safety is …
Is asking police departments to justify their budgets from a bottoms-up perspective anti-police?
Of course not. Many organizations of varying sizes take this approach. That’s why Cunningham is asking the right question:
What would it look like for us to not need police? And work backwards from there.
If we need cops, so be it. I also hate domestic abuse. But adding more cops so they can respond to after-the-fact domestic assaults? I’m down for prevention here.
More expansively, as the councilperson hinted, working-class robberies are generally a meeting of desperation and opportunity. Why not provide training and employment opportunities where it makes sense to do so?
With such crime intervention measures in place, and as a city observes decreases in crime, would we need larger police budgets?
No, for the most part. We can then defund the police instead.
I’m going to add more music posts to this blog. All kinds of music. Old and new. We need to break up the heavily-political posts with a different set of vibes. But don’t worry — I don’t plan to dilute a single race or political post.
I’m currently relistening to the third installment of music podcaster Roger Williams’ Something Different series, posted last Sunday on Starpoint Radio. The songs fit a category I lovingly call “Groove” — a junction of sorts for Soul, Jazz-Dance (including the highly danceable forms of J-Jazz), Bossa and light House music to keep the head nodding.
And as always, you can download Williams’ broadcasts. Show is embedded below …
In my experience, no one is raised to say “Fuck the police.” People are conditioned over time to say it.
The people who say “Fuck the police” speak from their interactions with the police.
Or the experiences learned from friends, family and community members who have brutal or otherwise negative interactions with the police.
I know Jason Rosenberg well enough to know that he’s not a violent man.
He has a beautiful heart. Always ready to help others.
Jason has also been a staunch ally of Black Lives Matter.
So much of an ally, that calling him an ally is an understatement.
He also organizes with ACT-UP.
And despite Jason’s non-violent disposition, New York City cops brutally beat him and others last night.
Jason explains further in a video he shared on Twitter. Please scroll past the embedded media below and do not touch this link if you are triggered by violence or its results.
Jason now has nine staples in his head, in addition to a broken arm.
The police never gave Jason medical attention while in custody. They never cared.
Thankfully, Jason is out of the hospital today.
Needless to say the price for breaking the city’s curfew while peacefully protesting should never be a cracked skull and a broken arm — especially in a country that has promised freedom and democracy.
Perhaps NYPD, like other police departments across America, thought the cure to the current social unrest — prompted by George Floyd’s murder by Minnesota police, shooting deaths like transgender person Tony McDade by Tallahassee officers, and police violence in general — is suppressive force.
In other words, more violence.
But no one can suppress the idea and yearning for justice.
And the cops responsible for beating Jason and his comrades last night only succeeded in creating converts to the despised refrain:
song currently in my head: “1000 deaths” – d’angelo
The numbers suggest people demand change — regardless of what the stock market says.
People need to connect relevant reasons to protest with their personal lives so they can hit the streets with conviction. In many cases, these reasons combine to drive even more energy into crowds.
In the case of the George Floyd protests, the primary reason is straightforward: the man’s horrifying murder, literally at the knee of Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin.
But we also have protesters who aggregate other data points to shape their commitment.
The long-term oppression of the poor and people of color represent a family of reasons to protest. You can hear these reasons shouted in the streets.
There’s also the current blistering of the American economy, largely attributed to President Donald Trump’s inept handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 108,000 Americans are now dead from the disease. About 40 million are unemployed.
We can also attribute a simmering, decades-long reason for catalyzing people to demand justice: income inequality, measured by the Gini index, has now reached the highest level it has ever been during the past 50 years.
And it’s no surprise that African Americans and other people of color are over-represented at the bottom of the economic ladder.
How’s that for progress in the “Make America Great Again” economy?
American income inequality has been grotesque and constantly rising for decades. The problem didn’t begin with President Donald Trump.
However, this chart clearly shows the President piled on to make society even worse — a “Greater” country for the rich, and at the expense of everyone else, including the poor, White Americans who voted for him.
Corporations also share blame. For example, large businesses could have used Trump’s first round of tax cuts for innovation investments, or other activities that could expand business operations and wage growth.
Instead, the tax cuts were used to reward shareholders with stock buybacks.
Which is why I shake my head when people affiliated with Democrats and Republicans blame their ugly paychecks on each other’s political party, constantly blaming the wrong beautician as inequality becomes uglier, regardless of the President in power.
America has the highest Gini index among all industrialized nations. For years.
Show me a society with high inequality, and I’ll point back to show you a bunch of pissed-off people who demand change. I think some of this anger is also evident in the George Floyd protests.
None of this matters to President Trump, who would rather bulldoze peaceful protestors off church steps so that he can pose with a bible in front of it for cameras.
It’s up to us to make him see more clearly in November …
song currently stuck in my head: “amor verdadeiro (true love)” sivuca