On Saturday a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager on his way to college this week. Brown was shot multiple times, though his hands were in the air. His uncovered body was left in the street for hours, as a crowd from his neighborhood gathered to stand vigil. Then they marched down to the police station. On Sunday evening, some folks in the crowd looted a couple of stores and threw bottles at the police. Monday morning was marked by peaceful protests.
The people of Ferguson are angry. Outraged. The officer’s story is dubious. Any black kid with sense knows it is futile to reach into an officer’s vehicle and take his gun. That story is only plausible to people who believe that black people are animals, that black men go looking for cops to pick fights with. Absurdity. Eyewitness accounts like these make far more sense.
It seems far easier to focus on the few looters who have reacted unproductively to this tragedy than to focus on the killing of Michael Brown. Perhaps looting seems like a thing we can control. I refuse. I refuse to condemn the folks engaged in these acts, because I respect black rage. I respect black people’s right to cry out, shout and be mad as hell that another one of our kids is dead at the hands of the police. Moreover I refuse the lie that the opportunism of a few in any way justifies or excuses the murderous opportunism undertaken by this as yet anonymous officer.
The police mantra is “to serve and to protect.” But with black folks, we know that’s not the mantra. The mantra for many, many officers when dealing with black people is apparently “kill or be killed.”
It is that deep irrational fear of young black men that continues to sit with me. Here’s the thing: I do not believe that most white people see black people and say, “I hate black people.” Racism is not that tangible, that explicit. I do not believe most white people hate most black people. I do not believe that most police officers seek to do harm or consciously hate black people. At least I hope they don’t.
I believe that racism exists in the inexplicable sense of fear, unsafety and gnawing anxiety that white people, be they officers with guns or just general folks moving about their lives, have when they encounter black people. I believe racism exists in that sense of mistrust, the extra precautions white people take when they encounter black people. I believe all these emotions have emerged from a lifetime of media consumption subtly communicating that black people are criminal, a lifetime of seeing most people in power look just like you, a lifetime of being the majority population. And I believe this subconscious sense of having lost control (of the universe) exists for white people, at a heightened level since the election of Barack Obama and the continued explosion of the non-white population.
The irony is that black people understand this heightened anxiety. We feel it, too. We study white people. We are taught this as a tool of survival. We know when there is unrest in the souls of white folks. We know that unrest, if not assuaged quickly, will lead to black death. Our suspicions, unlike those of white people, are proven right time and time again.
I speak to this deep psychology of race, not because I am trying to engage in pop psychology but because we live in a country that is so deeply emotionally dishonest about both race and racism. When will we be honest enough to acknowledge that the police have more power than the ordinary citizen? They are supposed to. And with more power comes more responsibility.
Why are police calling the people of Ferguson animals and yelling at them to “bring it”? Because those officers in their riot gear, with their tear gas and dogs, want a justification for slaughter. But inexplicably in that moment we turn our attention to the rioters, the people with less power, but justifiable anger, and say, “You are the problem.” No. A cop killing an unarmed teenager who had his hands in the air is the problem. Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.
We are talking about justifiable outrage. Outrage over the unjust taking of the lives of people who look like us. How dare people preach and condescend to these people and tell them not to loot, not to riot? Yes, those are destructive forms of anger, but frankly I would rather these people take their anger out on property and products rather than on other people.
No, I don’t support looting. But I question a society that always sees the product of the provocation and never the provocation itself. I question a society that values property over black life. But I know that our particular system of law was conceived on the founding premise that black lives are white property. “Possession,” the old adage goes, “is nine-tenths of the law.”
But we are the dispossessed. We cannot count on the law to protect us. We cannot count on police not to shoot us down in cold blood. We cannot count on politics to be a productive outlet for our rage. We cannot count on prayer to soothe our raging, ragged souls.
This is what I mean when I say that we live in a society that is deeply emotionally dishonest about racism. We hear a story each and every week now about how some overzealous officer has killed another black man, or punched or beaten or choked a black woman. This week we heard two stories – Mike Brown in Missouri and John Crawford in Ohio. These are not isolated incidents. How many cops in how many cities have to murder how many black men — assault how many black women — before we recognize that this shit is not isolated? It is systemic from the top to the bottom.
Every week we are having what my friend Dr. Regina Bradley called #anotherhashtagmemorial. Every week. We are weak. We are tired. Of being punching bags and shooting targets for the police. We are tired of well-meaning white citizens and respectable black ones foreclosing all outlets for rage. We are tired of these people telling us what isn’t the answer.
The answer isn’t looting, no. The answer isn’t rioting, no. But the answer also isn’t preaching to black people about “black-on-black” crime without full acknowledgment that most crime is intraracial. The answer is not having a higher standard for the people than for the police. The answer is not demanding that black people get mad about and solve the problem of crime in Chicago before we get mad about the slaughter of a teen boy just outside St. Louis.
We can be, and have been, and are mad about both. Violence is the effect, not the cause of the concentrated poverty that locks that many poor people up together with no conceivable way out and no productive way to channel their rage at having an existence that is adjacent to the American dream. This kind of social mendacity about the way that racism traumatizes black people individually and collectively is a festering sore, an undiagnosed cancer, a raging infection threatening to overtake every organ in our body politic.
We are tired of these people preaching a one-sided gospel of peace. “Turn the other cheek” now means “here are our collective asses to kiss.” We are tired of forgiving people because they most assuredly do know what they do.
Mike Brown is dead. He is dead for no reason. He is dead because a police officer saw a 6-foot-4, 300-plus-pound black kid, and miscalculated the level of threat. To be black in this country is to be subject to routine forms of miscalculated risk each and every day. Black people have every right to be angry as hell about being mistaken for predators when really we are prey. The idea that we would show no rage as we accrete body upon body – Eric Garner, John Crawford, Mike Brown (and those are just our summer season casualties) — is the height of delusion. It betrays a stunning lack of empathy, a stunning refusal of people to grant the fact of black humanity, and in granting our humanity, granting us the right to the full range of emotions that come with being human. Rage must be expressed. If not it will tear you up from the inside out or make you tear other people up. Usually the targets are those in closest proximity. The disproportionate amount of heart disease, cancers, hypertension, obesity, violence and other maladies that plague black people is as much a product of internalized, unrecognized, unaddressed rage as it is anything else.
Nothing makes white people more uncomfortable than black anger. But nothing is more threatening to black people on a systemic level than white anger. It won’t show up in mass killings. It will show up in overpolicing, mass incarceration, the gutting of the social safety net, and the occasional dead black kid. Of late, though, these killings have been far more than occasional. We should sit up and pay attention to where this trail of black bodies leads us. They are a compass pointing us to a raging fire just beneath the surface of our national consciousness. We feel it. We hear it. Our nostrils flare with the smell of it.
James Baldwin called it “the fire next time.” A fire shut up in our bones. A sentient knowledge, a kind of black epistemology, honed for just such a time as this. And with this knowledge, a clarity that says if “we live by the sword, we will die by it.”
Then, black rage emerges prophetic from across the decades in the words of Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay who penned these words 95 years ago in response to the Red Summer of 1919.
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
I offer no answers. I offer only grief and rage and hope.
Last night police in riot gear marched down West Florissant Avenue, ordering people to leave the area and firing tear gas onto the streets. Police even fired tear gas into the backyard of a home where several people held their “hands up” in what’s become a symbol of protest over the shooting of Michael Brown.
Daily RFT caught the melee on video.
The incident occurred after police had already evacuated nearly everybody on West Florissant Avenue. Between tear gas firings, a police officer bellowed “go home” into a loudspeaker. It took about an hour, but nearly everybody within vicinity of the police left the streets.
Yet a group of four male protesters remained defiant on West Florissant, screaming profanities at the police and putting their hands in the air. The police responded with threats of tear gas.
"Turn around and leave or we will deploy gas," shouted a police officer through a loudspeaker. Residents in their backyards pleaded for the men to get out of the street. After a few minutes of prodding, they did so. But the police still decided to advance.
Standing in his backyard along with a few friends and family was 24-year-old Rich West. And after seeing the police deploy tear gas as they marched down the empty street, West and his friends felt like protesting.
"You go home! You go home!" they chanted. As the police come closer, they all put their hands up.
Once again, the police officer with the megaphone ordered the protesters to go home.
"We’re in our yard!" they responded.
At one point West walked to his fence with his hands high up in the air.
"This my property! This my property!" he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face. He moved at the last second.
"This my shit!" West screamed irately after narrowly avoiding the gas canister. Eventually a friend grabbed him and pulled him back to calm him down.
"This is my backyard! This is my shit!" West continued screaming into the camera. He turned to the police: "Y’all go the fuck home!"
"This is our home. This is our residence," West’s brother added. "Why do you think people say ‘fuck the police?’ Because of that shit."
Flora Busby, West’s mother, a soft-spoken woman in her 60s, came into the backyard to see if her sons were alright.
"We in our backyard!" she said. "Why you gotta shoot us?"
Again West shouted at the police. And again they fired another gas canister into the yard — this one nearly hitting his house.
"It’s pure ignorance," West responded after catching his breath. "I pay property taxes here. I should be able to be in my backyard any time."
He said that regular harassment by the Ferguson police department, often in the form of traffic stops, has been occurring ever since he was sixteen years old.
"They ain’t gotta be throwing tear gas in my backyard," added Busby. "This is my property. We were just standing back there, my son was standing back there, and I go to see about him and they threw it."
She continued: “I’m angry about that. They shouldn’t be doing that. And they didn’t need to kill the poor little boy. “
This is used for “Terrorism” but was brought in 4 a peaceful protest after a kid is gunned down by a cop #MikeBrown #justiceformike #ripmikebrown
right, because black rage is terrorism, black tears are a threat, black people aren’t people
Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed crowd is raising their hands.
For anyone not following the Mike Brown story on Twitter: a 17 year old black boy named Mike Brown, who was supposed to start college tomorrow, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri by police while jaywalking. He was unarmed. He was shot 9 times.
Initial media reports claimed that an 18 year old black man had been shot and killed while fleeing police after shoplifting.
People in the neighborhood, including members of Mike Brown’s family, came out of their homes and began to protest, shouting “no justice, no peace,” and keeping their hands in the air.
Media reports claimed that a violent mob quickly formed around the shooting location shouting “kill the police.”
Spread this. Tell the truth about what happened to this boy. Tell the truth about what is happening NOW. The police and the mainstream media is painting him as a criminal, and his community as a violent mob.
SPREAD THIS. Don’t let them lie.
This Mike Brown Story is sickening. For those that don’t know, the cops shot an 17 year old kid because they suspected he stole candy from a store. They shot him 10 times, killing him, then leaving his body in the streets for hours. People from the community protest and rally against the cops and what do they do? Bring military weapons out and police K9’s. I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that police dogs were for sniffing drugs, no? This is crazy. This is what modern day genocide looks like. There is no article on it as of yet, why? Cause Amerikkka don’t care about brown boys and girls. The fact that one has to learn this from twitter says it all. Again, this is modern day genocide. White people are always the quickest ones to defend the cops because they’re not on the receiving end of this bullshit. Telling black people “don’t give the police a reason to fuck with yo black ass” is up there with telling women “don’t wear provocative clothes so you won’t get rapped.” The worst part about all of this is that A: this boy was schedule to start his freshman year of college this upcoming Monday and B: those cops are going to get away with it. John Crawford, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Andy Cruz, Michael Brown, Amadou Diallo, Darius Simmons, Johnathan Ferrell Trayvon Martin… when does it end? #MikeBrown #Ferguson #Missouri #PoliceBrutality #Cops #YoungBlackTeen #Genocide
A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.
Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.
The Staten Island resident was sitting in front of Bay Beauty on Bay St. and Victory Blvd. just before 5 p.m. when two plainclothes cops began questioning him about selling untaxed cigarettes, a video obtained by the Daily News shows.
“I didn’t do shit!” the 6-foot-4 Garner, wearing a sweaty T-shirt and khaki shorts, told the officers from the 120th Precinct when they approached him. “I was just minding my own business.
“Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” he yelled.
Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, tried to intervene, telling the cops his friend had just broken up a fight between three men and had not been selling cigarettes.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told The News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”
“They were choking him. He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me!’ and I didn’t hear any more talking after that,” said witness Valencia Griffin, 50, of Staten Island. “He died right there.”
At the video’s end, the cop who had choke-held Garner can be seen staring at the camera that was videotaping him.
“This had nothing to do with the fight, this had something to do with something else,” the cop said, and walked away.
According to bystanders, the dozen or so cops who were at the scene didn’t attempt CPR. They were more concerned about dispersing the crowd who seen the murder.
A man drinking canned iced tea in a parking lot was accosted by a plainclothes beverage cop who demanded to inspect his drink. He was placed in handcuffs and arrested. Even though the man was innocent and was only drinking tea, prosecutors are still trying to set him up with probation and community service.
One man, Christopher Lamont Beatty, was holding a canned beverage, while his friend, Tino Brown, was recording video using his cell phone. That’s when the two were interrupted by a man who was interested in the man’s choice of refreshments.
A man in plainclothes, claiming to be “the police”, insisted that he turn over his beverage for an inspection. Beatty refused the stranger’s requests, but pointed out that it was only an AriZona-brand drink, “Half-and-Half” iced tea and pink lemonade — not alcohol.
Brown and Beatty pointed out that they didn’t know the identity of the nosy man and that Beatty had committed no crime. Still, the man demanded to examine his beverage and would not take no for an answer.
The stranger then claimed that Mr. Beatty was under arrest. He became grabby and ended up putting Beatty in a choke-hold as he took him down to the ground.
The bully, who turned out to be Alcohol & Beverage Control Law Enforcer Rick Libero, forced Mr. Beatty face-down onto the concrete and placed him in handcuffs.
The government requests that Beatty “submit to a year of probation, do 24 hours of community service, have a mental health assessment, and submit to drug testing and warrantless searches,” reported the Fayetteville Observer.
“It would get it dismissed at the end, but I would still have to take responsibility for my actions, and I felt like I did nothing wrong,” Beatty said
Black in AmeriKKKa.
Stokely Carmichael, setting shit straight and placing responsibility for the “race problem” squarely where it belongs.
Welp! And note how racists go “well we gave you rights” as if thats an act of benevolence or some shit, like treating human beings with a modicum of decency is something to fucking congratulate for.
TW: Extreme Antiblack misogyny (w/ facts), Murder, Abuse
no lies detected tho. remember when i said this was the case, someone tried to try me and say it was heart disease. but they too blinded to do the right looking to find the statistics that prove it true. i mean, we got a lot of rightful outrage over white ppl killing Black boys but not for Black men killing Black women and girls.
where are the statistics that prove this? cause i googled it and all i found were message boards and a conservative site that back this up which is not factual.I can think of four BW in my family rn off the top of my head whose SO caused their deaths…
BY THE NUMBERS
The Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., found these facts in its 2012 report of 2010 domestic violence statistics for black women:
94 percent of black womenkilled by men in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers.
Nearly 15 times as many black women were murdered by a man they knew than were killed by a stranger.
64 percent of black victimswho knew their offenders were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.
The number of black women shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner was nearly five times as high as the total number murdered by strangers using all weapons combined.
That is from the article ^^
In 1999, homicide was the third leading cause of injury-related death for all women (pregnant or not pregnant) of reproductive age, 15 to 44 years of age, after deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and suicide, and it was the second leading cause of injury-related death among women aged 15 to 24 years and among Black women of reproductive age.1 Moracco and Runyan reported the highest homicide rate occurring among women under the age of 35 and found that the homicide rate for Black women (15.8 per 100 000) was more than 3 times higher than that for White women (4.3 per 100 000).2
^^ this is from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449204/ and is related to 1999 but also pregnant Black women especially.
here is another source about IPV and homicide rates. rates have declined, as the article onelittlegee linked to also stated but more so for Black men than Black women and the rates have changed to an increase in Black women being killed more by Black men rather than vice versa.
also another report by the department of health pennsylvania also states homicide is the top killer for both Black men and Black women ages 15-24. Black men are generally killing other Black men. Black men are also killing Black women. this isn’t saying Black men are more prone to violence, simply that the violence we have experienced as a race has led to some fucked up misogyny that hurts Black women in ways that lead to death at a Black man’s hands, at a young ass age.
^^ i found this source, which is a free downloadable PDF, 9 sources down out of 10 in a google search of black women top killer homicide ages 15 to 35, the site starts as portal.gov something or other.
i’m still annoyed and angry as fuck these men tried to tell us that the number one cause of death of women ages 15 to 24 is heart disease. how much sense does that truly make? shut the fuck up. you are part of the problem.
Like, I wish all the folks who constantly try to downplay the physical and sexual violence Black women face by yelling “heart disease” would actually look at what that means. “Heart disease” is not just one thing. And the causes of it go beyond congenital defects and shit like that. Like, the stress and violence Black women experience on the daily, from physical violence like DV to psychological violence through microaggressions, can exacerbate “heart disease”.
Saying “heart disease” is actually a pretty empty statement unless you look at the context, causes, and so on.
Javon Johnson - “cuz he’s black” (NPS 2013) (by Button Poetry)
Tony Morrison and Richard Wright have obviously been wielding the word effectively.
Tulsa OK 1921: US Government Bombs US City
National Guard troops patrolling the streets armed. Thousands of black people held in a convention center. Hundreds of black dead, with bodies piled like wood. That was not New Orleans, that was Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June 1921.
On May 30, 1921 a young black man named Dick Rowland, stumbled into a white woman, while entering an elevator. He was accused of assault, and arrested the next day. Newly rich from oil Tulsa, was a Ku Klux Klan town. Rowland was sentenced to be hanged. The Tulsa Tribune called for a “Negro lynching tonight.”
The white mob was surprised when they were met by several dozen armed black men, dressed in their World War I uniforms. This led to a racist three day destruction of the black neighborhood of Greenwood. The Red Cross reported 300 mostly dead black people.
Greenwood called “Little Africa,” was a relatively wealthy community. White mobs, many deputized, destroyed every house, store, church or school. The mob met resistance from an armed black population. Governor Robertson declared martial law. The National Guard arrived with machine gun mounted trucks, and airplanes hovering over Greenwood. It was the first time an American city was bombed from the air, by the US government.
Over 6,000 black people, were round up and held in the convention center and fairgrounds, as long as eight days. The homeless were shuttled into a tent city, where typhoid and malnutrition took over. Blacks were allowed out of the convention center, with a tag, with an employers name. Thosands fled the city.
Attempts to turn Greenwood into an industrial zone were unsuccessful. For several years, it was deprived of paved streets, running water, and garbage collection.
See: Tulsa Reparations Coalition and thank you to Internationalist Group for presenting this story in your newspaper.
Always needs to be reblogged
Shit they don’t teach you in school.
What in the hell.