I have some conflicted feelings about father’s day. Every year it reminds me that I didn’t have the relationship I wanted with my father, and that my children do not have a grandfather in their lives. But I also love watching their relationship with their dad grow, and see how hard my husband works at being the best dad he can be.
Today we also got to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday today. We stuffed ourselves with delicious food, chased the kids around the house, and picked cucumbers in the garden. And then, after everyone was gone, and the kids were in bed, I opened facebook and was met with such horrible news.
Just after midnight, in London, a man drove a van into the crowds leaving several mosques after late-night prayers. At least one person was killed and several were injured.
This all following a rough week after Philando Castile’s murderer was acquitted.
So many lives lost to hate, so many families hurting today. A friend posted on facebook about how much discomfort it takes for people to overcome their apathy and be moved to empathy. It is easy to be filled with our lives – we are all busy, we all have struggles. But things will not improve – black lives won’t matter, muslim men, women, and children won’t be safe – until we all step up and and stand for each other. No one else will do it. Each of us have to.
NPR did a story in 2015 looking back at the 1985 bombing of the MOVE compound in Philadelphia. I had never heard of this, well, it feels like state-sponsored terrorism. A fortified house was bombed, an entire block caught fire, the mayor was saying things like, “any means possible,” and 11 people were killed. 5 of them were children.
Click through to read the whole story, which interviews residents to see what they remember about the horrific events.
Then go ahead and read about the 2016 documentary Do Not Resist. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s next on my list. Watch it and we’ll discuss it on the blog.
There has been another story in the news lately of black young women punished for being black – specifically for wearing their hair in braids.
Race, Racism and the Law has a long but excellent read on the way black bodies are both policed and punished in schools: Detangling the Politics of Racially Conscious Dress Code. Although this happens across society (the military only allowed some hairstyles in 2014), it is especially problematic in schools where these policies reinforce implicit racism in our children. Here’s a snippet:
A trait is “a quality that makes one person or thing different from another.” When Americans see the name Shaquanda Jackson, and *1262 mentally distinguish her from others by designating her as a “Black person,” her very name becomes a trait associated with Blackness. Acknowledging this relationship is fundamental in understanding trait discrimination. Americans hear a name like Shaquanda Jackson or see a hairstyle like dreadlocks, and mentally code both name and hairstyle as racially Black. Trait discrimination takes this mental recognition a step further, by actively prohibiting speech, names, clothing, hairstyles, etc. that Americans mentally associate with a specific race. Though Black persons are not born with dreadlocks or pre-destined to be named Shaquanda, these traits become avatars of Blackness. Because race is such a real and tangible thing in American culture, these avatars cannot be separated from their racial significance.
Click through to read the whole thing and learn how these traits that have become synonymous with blackness are part of America’s implicit bias against Black Americans.
“Not only have Jordan’s brothers lost their best friend; they witnessed firsthand his violent, senseless, murder,” the statement reads. “Their young lives will forever be altered. No one, let alone young children, should witness such horrific, unexplainable, violence.”
83 Black Americans have been shot and killed by police this year* according The Washington Post’s database.
James E. Lewis
Ronnie Lee Shorter
Kevin Darnell Washington
an unidentified man
Jamake Cason Thomas
Johnnie J. Harris
Curtis Jamal Deal
Quanice Derrick Hayes
Jocques Scott Clemmons
Carlos Keith Blackman
Darryl L. Fuqua
Alonzo E. Ashely
Willard Eugene Scott
Kenneth Lee Bailey
Jean R. Valescot
Chance David Baker
Morgan London Rankins
Timothy Lionel Williams
Lorenzo Antoine Cruz
Epthen Lamont Johnson
Dennis Todd Rogers
Luke O. Stewart
Rashad Daquan Opher
Cordale Quinn Handy
Frederick Ricardo Brown
Patrick Earl Gatson
Rodney James Hess
Reno Joseph Owens
Richard Xavier Summers
Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu
William D. Spates
Selwyn Aubrey Hall
James Edward Ray
Black Lives Matter
4 months. 2 were female, 81 male. 5 were under age 18. 11 had known mental illness. 12 are known to have been unarmed. North Carolina and Texas are the worst offenders by state, with 7 killings each.
I know very little about the criminal justice system in my privileged world. So today’s readings are going to cover that perspective, inspired by this article I saw in Mic, regarding a new fellowship program for formerly-incarcerated artists.
Netflix is streaming an eye-opening, troubling original documentary film called 13th. In it, the film makers take the viewer through the transition from a post-slavery nation to the disenfranchisement of African Americans (through Jim Crow laws, segregation, and violence), to the criminalization of minor offenses and harsher sentencing practices (especially during the “war on drugs” and the through the targeting and profiling of black men), and leads the viewer to see the mass incarceration in the United States as nothing more than a modern day slavery. Continue reading “It’s Monday!”→