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Showing posts from November, 2016

More on the Construction of Black Criminality

I forgot to include this video animation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' take on the myth of Black criminality. His narration picks up after I said, "However, while antebellum slaves were generally considered loyal, religious, morally upstanding, and only threatening when they suffered from drapetomania (the so-called mental illness that caused slaves to escape captivity)." Never forget that slaves who escaped their masters stole their bodies in violation of US American law. 

The Construction of Black Criminality

On September 19 this year a man named Terence Crutcher was driving home after attending a music class at a community college in Tulsa, OK. His car broke down and he was forced to stop on the road and seek assistance. The police showed up with their guns drawn responding to a 911 call from another motorist worried about a threatening man by a car stopped in the middle of the road. Video footage from a police helicopter hovering overhead shows Cutcher with his hands up. In the audio one of the pilots remarks, "looks like a bad dude…might be on something." Moments later, officer Betty Shelby shoots and kills him.
There are many curious and horrible aspects of this tale. First and foremost, it is horrible that a human being was killed by people sworn to protect him. What was curious was the diagnosis of drug use and the determination of evil intent, made from hundreds of feet above Crutcher and the scene unfolding below. Without the benefit of hearing the man, seeing his facial…

Chickens and Eggs, Oppression and Race

Here's a riddle: Long ago, did race exist and then people decided to oppress people based on it, specifically in the form of slavery? Or did oppression exist first, followed by the emergence of race at a later time? To many (most) this sounds like a chicken-or-the-egg question. But it's only a riddle because of the society in which we live, and the continuous and pervasive lessons we learn while immersed in it. In fact, the answer is clearly spelled out in our nation's history, and there is a bright line that connects the distant past to our current state of affairs. Following this bright line can help us understand much about our country, from police shootings, to the paucity of people of color on our university faculties, to the emergence of an autocratic racial demagogue as our national leader. 
So let's go back and take a look. What follows is spelled out in greater detail in this essay, and this book (and here and here).
The ~Start of That Bright Line
In 1619, a D…