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When the past is present…

 

“No rights which the white man was bound to respect”

By Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC.com,

Daryl Parks, an attorney representing the family of Michael Brown, points to a diagram produced during a private autopsy done on Brown at the request of family members. Parks spoke to reporters during a news conference at Greater St. Mark Family Church in St. Louis on Aug. 18.

Daryl Parks, an attorney representing the family of Michael Brown, points to a diagram produced during a private autopsy done on Brown at the request of family members. Parks spoke to reporters during a news conference at Greater St. Mark Family Church in St. Louis on Aug. 18.

January 24, 2004. Timothy Stansbury. Brooklyn, New York. Unarmed.

November 25, 2006. Sean Bell. Queens, New York. Unarmed.

January 1, 2009. Oscar Grant. Oakland, California. Unarmed.

January 29, 2010. Aaron Campbell. Portland, Oregon. Unarmed.

July 18, 2011. Alonzo Ashley. Denver, Colorado. Unarmed.

March 7, 2012. Wendell Allen. New Orleans, Louisiana. Unarmed.

September 14, 2013. Jonathan Ferrell. Charlotte, North Carolina. Unarmed.

July 17, 2014. Eric Garner, Staten Island, New York. Unarmed.

August 9, 2014. Michael Brown. Ferguson, Missouri. Unarmed.

In the past decade alone, these men and hundreds of others have lost their lives to police. Local police report to the FBI killing at least 400 people a year.

From 2006 to 2012, a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country.

Leo Walker, left, and his sister Letrece protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Leo Walker, left, and his sister Letrece protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Which brings us back to Ferguson, Missouri, where according to a report in The Daily Beast, in 2009 police officers charged a man for property damage because he bled on their uniforms while they arrested him–and allegedly beat him bloody.

Ferguson, Missouri, where it took six days to release the name of the officer who shot an unarmed teenager to death.

Ferguson, Missouri, where police released images of someone who might be Michael Brown involved in a store robbery–and then hours later, said the robbery had nothing to do with why Michael Brown was stopped by the police officer who killed him.

Ferguson is just outside St. Louis, Missouri–the place where, as historian Blair Kelley reminded us this week in The Root, Dred Scott sued for his freedom, on the grounds that he and his wife had for years lived in a free state. His case eventually went to the Supreme Court. In 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that Scott had no right to sue because as a black man he was never intended to be an American. Speaking of the clause in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” Taney wrote:

Dred Scott, a slave who sued for freedom

Dred Scott, an enslaved man who sued for freedom in the free state of Missouri for his wife and himself. The judge in his unsuccessful trial famously stated that black men “have no rights which the white man is bound to respect.”

“It is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration.”

Taney went on to say that black men “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Watch the video of this piece here.

More breaking news here

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The Shooting of Mike Brown Leads to Media Controversy

From what I can tell, the facts of the Mike Brown case are this:

  • Mike Brown, a black teen, was crossing the street in Ferguson, Missouri on his way to his grandmother’s house when an incident occurred.
  • Mike Brown, a black teen scheduled to start college classes today, was shot multiple times by a police officer.
  • Mike Brown’s body was left uncovered in the street for some time.
  • A peaceful protest occurred when the neighborhood discovered what had happened, with people standing in the streets, with their hands in the air, shouting “No justice, no peace.”

More facts about the Mike Brown case:

  • The police in Ferguson stated that they suspected Brown of stealing either candy from a store down the street, or maybe a $1 cigarette from the Kwik Trip. No reports are quite clear on this. Furthermore, both stores have reportedly denied any shoplifting occurred.
  • It has been claimed that Brown fought back when the officers tried to place him in the back of the patrol car, and that no video or witnesses were present. However, multiple residents of the St. Louis suburb claim to have witnessed the horrific shooting, and did not keep silent about it on any social networking sites. Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook all have threads discussing the situation with those who saw it happen.
  • Rioting began in the streets when the police reacted to the protesters, reporting to the media that the people were yelling “Kill the police!” and acting violently.

I don’t know what happened to Mike Brown. I don’t know what the police officers in Ferguson were thinking when they shot an unarmed teen multiple times. What I do know is that another young black man, with a promising future and fulfilling life ahead of him, has been taken away from his family in the most brutal way. 

 

Some articles on the Mike Brown case:

“Residents of a suburb in St. Louis, Mo., took to the streets in protest Saturday after an officer killed an unarmed black teen, who was slated to begin college Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Details were sketchy about what exactly happened, but the St. Louis County Police Department is scheduled to hold a news conference early Sunday to discuss the incident that began about noon Saturday at the Canfield Green Apartment complex in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, reports USA Today.

The victim, Michael Brown, apparently was on his way to visit his grandmother when he was allegedly shot by the officer, according to his mother, Lesley McSpadden, Post-Dispatch reports. The officer’s name has not yet been released.

Piaget Crenshaw, 19, told the Post-Dispatch that she was waiting for a ride to work when she saw a police officer attempting to place Brown in the rear seat of a squad car.

“She then said she saw the teen, hands in the air, attempt to flee,” the Post-Dispatch writes. “Several shots hit Brown as he ran, Crenshaw said. She complied with a request that she give photos of the scene to authorities.”

Brown, who graduated this year from Normandy High School, was scheduled to begin classes at Vatterott College on Monday, the Post-Dispatch says.

The shooting touched off a vociferous protest in the community.

Hundreds of residents took to the streets in the St. Louis suburb, some shouting, “kill the police,” during a protest that lasted several hours, the Associated Press reports.

“Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather, held a sign that said: ‘Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!’,” writes the Post-Dispatch.”

~BY: , theroot.com

Read full article here. 

 

“FERGUSON, Mo., — The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday that it had opened an inquiry into the weekend shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer that sparked a night of looting and vandalism in this suburb of St. Louis.

Special Agent Cheryl Mimura, of the F.B.I.’s office in St. Louis, said that the agency had begun an investigation into possible civil rights violations connected to the death of Michael Brown, 18, who had been planning to begin college classes on Monday.

The circumstances of Mr. Brown’s death remained in sharp dispute two days after he was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, a city of about 21,000 northwest of St. Louis. The police have said an officer, who has not been identified, was “physically assaulted” before opening fire early Saturday afternoon. The authorities also said there had been a struggle “over the officer’s weapon.”

But critics have questioned the police’s account and demanded that the officer face prosecution.

On Monday, Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County Police said that an autopsy had shown that Mr. Brown had been “struck several times by gunfire.”

Chief Belmar’s agency has been leading the investigation, and Special Agent Mimura said the county police would continue their work as the F.B.I. conducted its review.

At a news conference on Monday, Chief Belmar pleaded for the public’s patience.

“I understand that the public has a right to be skeptical, and I appreciate that and I would expect that the public be skeptical oftentimes of government or some forms of it,” he said. “But I would also ask the public to be reasonable because it takes a long time to make sure we do this investigation the right way.”

~By JULIE BOSMAN and ALAN BLINDER, nytimes.com

Read full article here. 

 

“Following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, MO, social media exploded with photos, videos and calls for support.

The teen’s grandmother, Desiree Harris, reported seeing her grandson running through her neighborhood shortly before the shooting took place,according to the AP.

Brown was a recent high school graduate who was looking forward to starting his college career in less than a week, the teen’s mother,Lesley McSpadden told KSDK.

A spokesperson from the St. Louis County Police Department, who will conduct the investigation into the shooting, confirmed it was a Ferguson police officer but did not provide a reason for the shooting.

Local NAACP leaders are calling for a federal investigation of the incident.”

~by , thegrio.com

Read full article here

There has been even more outcry over less regulated social media sites, such as Tumblr and Twitter.

mike brown

mike brown 2

mike brown 3

There is also a hashtag taking Twitter by storm. #IfTheyGunnedMeDown has many furious people posting pictures of themselves looking both responsible and irresponsible, and asking the question– if they gunned me down, which picture of me would they use in the media? As awful as it is, it’s quite clear which pictures would be used.

mike brown 6

mike brown 5

mike brown 4

 

Why Am I Stepping Off the Sidewalk for White People in 2014?

By , theroot.com

Dear Race Manners:

When I’m walking on a sidewalk and white folks are approaching, do I step aside and hit the grass, or keep moving straight forward and make them move? Usually I’m the one who gives them the path, especially if it is a woman. But either way, I feel like I’m offending my ancestors or something by reinforcing a time when black people had to defer to white people on the sidewalk.

Some black people have wondered if they move out of the way of a white person on the sidewalk, are they being inferior to whites and bringing shame to their ancestors, or are they doing it just to be polite?

Some black people have wondered if they move out of the way of a white person on the sidewalk, are they being inferior to whites and bringing shame to their ancestors, or are they doing it just to be polite?

What do I do? Keep it movin’ or move to the side? I really need to know what to do. When my son sees me step aside, he gives me that look like he thinks I’m a punk. I’m a 30-something black guy. —Sidewalk Sensitivity

It’s entirely possible that you’re just a really polite person and you do this for everyone, but because of your awareness of America’s racial history, you’re hyperconscious of stepping aside when you do it for white people.

But assuming that you really are giving race-based special sidewalk treatment, I can see why your own actions would bother you (and your son, and your ancestors, and maybe even many of the white people themselves, if they were conscious of what was happening) by suggesting that your access to a clear path is unimportant because you’re black.

Here’s the easy answer: Stop it! Seriously. Offer a little extra room to people of all races who are in wheelchairs or pushing strollers or who appear to be in a much bigger rush than you are (and women, if that type of chivalry is your thing), and don’t be so aggressive as to cause a collision with anyone, but never let a fellow walker’s color determine when you “hit the grass.”

Perhaps that’s easier said than done (I’m guessing it is or you would have answered your own question).

Of course, you didn’t pull this practice out of nowhere. You’re no doubt aware of the expectation in the Jim Crow South that African Americans step off sidewalks to allow white people to pass (sometimes called “giving whites the wall”), when failure to adhere to this racist rule could have deadly consequences.

It’s true that that type of explicitly enforced white supremacy stopped governing black people’s foot travel decades ago. But there’s a case to be made that the attitudes behind it—you know, the ones that make black men and boys transform into threats simply by, well, existing—persist.

We were reminded of them in discussions of the racially disparate impact of New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy, the facts leading up to the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, and the evidence that “Stand your ground” laws tend to benefit defendants whose victims are black more than those whose victims are white. Plenty of parents of black boys have opened up about their lessons to their sons on best practices for appearing nonthreatening and navigating potential stereotypes on the part of law-enforcement officers and everyday white Americans.

Given all that, you definitely wouldn’t be crazy or alone if, in the back of your mind, you worried that any one of the possible misunderstandings that can come with bodies being in close contact could end badly for you if you failed to clear the sidewalk.

Read full article here

More Breaking News here

 

Spontaneous Summer Job Program Spawns Loyalty and Support

Inner-city resident and theater producer/actor André Lee Ellis shows what can be done with little money and lots of love

By Andrea Waxman, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Last Saturday, 62 young men showed up to work in the community garden near the corner of 9th and Ring streets and surrounding blocks. Six or eight adult professionals, most of whom said they grew up in the central city, addressed the group with words of encouragement and support.

Andre Lee Ellis, an unsung hero of grassroots goodness, mentors the young men living in his neighborhood.

Andre Lee Ellis, an unsung hero of grassroots goodness, mentors the young men living in his neighborhood.

As on the previous 14 Saturdays, Andre Lee Ellis, the program’s founder and sole administrator, came up with $20 for each young man, from donations and his own pocket, for four hours of gardening and clean-up work.

During the week and especially on Saturday mornings, a steady stream of people visited Ellis in the garden or on his porch two doors up the street. They came to give him the $20 bills he needs to pay his workers. People donated refreshments and offered help with services such as transportation.

Ellis insists that his grassroots “We Got This” initiative designed itself. The summer jobs program for neighborhood boys and young men just happened, he said.

“It’s hard for me to say what I’m going to do next because I didn’t know I was going to be doing this,” said Ellis, when asked about the program’s future.

Once summer ends and school resumes, Ellis would like to continue supporting the young men in the community by turning the program’s focus to education and more skill building.

Read the full article here.

Find more Breaking News here.

 

Historic slave barracks unearthed in Maryland

by Jennifer Franciotti, WBAL

 

SHA-dig-jpgJust feet away from the onetime plantation home of Francis Scott Key’s grandmother in Millersville, Maryland, field techs are hard at work on a significant archaeological find.

While looking for signs of French Commander Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau’s 1781 encampment, archaeologists instead uncovered perhaps something even more valuable — slave quarters.

“To be able to have those surfaces survive in an archaeological context is astounding,” said SHA chief archaeologist Julie Schablitsky. “You can see that the bricks here are turned on their end, and there are some wear marks in here. This is the exact surface where they worked and walked 150-250 years ago.”

The 34-foot by 34-foot slave barracks are rare and speak to the wealth of the property owners in the late 1700s and 1800s, Schablitsky said. The site was found beneath a 20th century house on the 175-acre property currently owned by a private school called the Rockbridge Academy.

Full article here.

More Breaking News here. 

 

What If…President Obama Were White?

This was the headline in the paper of record yesterday: More Rejoin Labor Force; Jobless Rate Up to 6.2%

Below is the news report – and a poster that came to us via Facebook. Think about them…

white Pres. Obama poster

Little to rave or rant about.

That was the view among economists of Friday’s jobs report, in which the Labor Department estimated that the economy added 209,000 jobs in July, continuing a string of sturdy monthly advances above 200,000 but lower than in recent months and less than analysts had expected.

And while the numbers didn’t soar to new heights, they completed the strongest pace of job creation over a six-month period since the prerecession year of 2006, while helping to calm concerns on Wall Street that the economy was about to accelerate to a point where the Federal Reserve would be under pressure to start raising interest rates earlier than anticipated.

 Read the full article here.

Find more breaking news here.

 

Man Says Angry UPS Driver Gave Him a Noose Made From Packing Materials

By , theroot.com

David Mitchell says a white UPS driver gave him a noose after shoving boxes into his chest.

An Atlanta man says that tensions got so high between him and a white UPS driver that the driver fashioned a noose out of packing material and handed it to him during an office delivery.

While working, David Mitchell was given a make shift noose out of packing material from a white UPS driver who was reported acting very odd towards Mitchell.

While working, David Mitchell was given a make shift noose out of packing material from a white UPS driver who was reported acting very odd towards Mitchell.

According to WSB-TV, David Mitchell said that during a routine workday that includes receiving packages as they come into the office where he works, the white UPS driver, whose name has not been released because UPS is still investigating the incident, began acting strange.

“I go pick up and this is what he made in front of me and handed to me. Signifying a noose. A makeshift noose,” Mitchell told the news station.

Mitchell said that the driver shoved boxes in his chest prior to fashioning the makeshift noose out of packing material.

“It is under investigation, and we are taking this very seriously. We have met with the customer, and there is nothing more to share since it’s still being investigated,” a UPS-issued statement read, WSB-TV reports.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Mitchell told the news station that the beef between him and the driver started to escalate after an incident in the loading dock area a month ago.

“He refused to give me the package to deliver and I said, ‘I work here,’” Mitchell told the news station.

Mitchell notes that UPS told him that it has reassigned the driver to another route but hasn’t issued any serious punishment.

“They said it’s a ‘he-said-she-said,’” Mitchell told WSB-TV. “I don’t go to work with makeshift nooses in my back pocket.”

Read full article here

More Breaking News here

 

No ‘Rainbow Families’: Canadian Fertility Clinic Refuses to Match White Patients With Nonwhite Donors

BY: , theRoot.com

Dr. Calvin Greene, the administrative director at the Regional Fertility Program, told the Calgary Herald that his stand on race mixing is firm and has been policy since the clinic opened in the 1980s.

Dr. Calvin Greene, the administrative director at the Regional Fertility Program, told the Calgary Herald that his stand on race mixing is firm and has been policy since the clinic opened in the 1980s.

A Canadian fertility clinic doesn’t want to create “rainbow families” so it refuses to match clients with donors of different ethnicities, claiming that children should be able to easily identify their “ethnic roots.”

A 38-year old white woman named Catherine (she didn’t want to give her last name) told the Calgary Herald that she was looking into the process of in vitro fertilization and was shocked when the Regional Fertility Program, a Calgary clinic, told her that she could only use sperm donors who were also white in order to avoid “creating rainbow families.”

“I was absolutely floored,” she told the newspaper.

Catherine believes that because of the clinic’s policy, many of the same men have been chosen by different patients in the area, which was one of the reasons she cited as having wanted to broaden her search to include other races.

“Frankly, it’s appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy,” she told the Herald. “A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked.”

Dr. Calvin Greene, the administrative director at the Regional Fertility Program, told the newspaper that his stance on race mixing is firm and noted that the policy has been in place since the 1980s.

“I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants,” Greene told the Herald. “That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

Read more here.

Read more Breaking News here

 

How Race, Gender And Fatigue Have Affected The Coverage Of Renisha McBride’s Death

By , HuffPost Live

 Renisha McBride and the man charged with second-degree murder in her death, Dearborn Heights, Mich., resident Theodore P. Wafer (From the Dearborn Heights Police)


Renisha McBride and the man charged with second-degree murder in her death, Dearborn Heights, Mich., resident Theodore P. Wafer (From the Dearborn Heights Police)

It’s no secret — the Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride killings have striking similarities. Both were young black victims and in each case, the killers claimed self-defense. But despite the parallels, it appears that the two cases are being treated differently — even within the black community.

Although the Martin case elicited strong opinions and outrage from various communities, these same circles seem to have stayed quiet about McBride.

“I haven’t seen a lot about this in my newsfeed. I haven’t seen a lot of people posting about Renisha, said Brittney Cooper, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University.

As Cooper explained in a recent HuffPost Live conversation, much of the reactionary difference could be explained by the sheer number of African American killings that have taken place recently.

“A lot of it’s fatigue. I mean we’re all heartbroken this week over the killing of Eric Garner last week,” she told host Marc Lamont Hill. “So, you know, it’s like every other week we’ve got somebody else being hemmed up by the police. Two weeks before that it was the detaining of Ursula Orr and slamming her on the ground in

In Oklahoma in 1911, a 13 year old black boy, L.D. Nelson, shot in the leg a white deputy who came to his house to investigate the theft of a cow. He and his mother, Laura, were dragged out of their jail cells by a mob. Laura was raped then hung from a bridge. L.D. was also hung there, after apparently being castrated.

In Oklahoma in 1911, a 13 year old black boy, L.D. Nelson, shot in the leg a white deputy who came to his house to investigate the theft of a cow. He and his mother, Laura, were dragged out of their jail cells by a mob. Laura was raped then hung from a bridge. L.D. was also hung there, after apparently being castrated.

Arizona…” she said.

Fatigue aside, there may be another reason that could explain why McBride’s story hasn’t had the same impression that Martin’s did.

“While there is a historical narrative that shows black men have faced violence from their white counterparts, we don’t often acknowledge that “black women have these violent encounters with white folks too,” Cooper said. “I don’t know that we know how to think about, fully, what happens when the kind of violence that we’d usually think would happen to a black man, then happens to black women.”

But the question of gender in McBride’s situation runs even deeper.

“Studies show that black women are frequently misperceived as black men or are often thought to be masculine and stronger than they actually are physically, Cooper said. “So there’s all kinds of stuff here going on about the misperceptions of femininity.”

Watch the video interview of Professor Brittney Cooper here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

For African-American Women—and All Women—Let’s Make Every Day Equal Pay Day

By , theroot.com

When we talk about the gender pay gap, most of us are already familiar with the fact that women make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. While this remains true, not all women are even that fortunate. For African-American women the wage gap is even larger. African-American women make just 64 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts.

Representative Terri Sewell strongly speaks out for the equal for all women.

Representative Terri Sewell strongly speaks out for equal pay for all women.

This discrepancy is unacceptable. And we need better policies and more leaders who will fight for policies that will begin to change this imbalance. We need women in elected office who will speak up for the millions of women across the country who are working hard while not being paid a fair wage.

And here’s what the wage gap really means: It takes a white man and an African-American woman vastly different amounts of time to earn the same amount of money, regardless of the fact that they started working on the same day. If they both began work on Jan. 1, 2013, he would earn a full salary by Dec. 31, 2013—while it would take until July 21, 2014, for her to earn the same amount.

That’s why today, July 21, is her Equal Pay Day.

But her paycheck doesn’t reset today. Every day the wage gap pushes her earnings further and further behind. That gap keeps growing, putting her and her family’s future in jeopardy. If we allow continuance of the pay gap, she’ll never catch up.

That’s why Democratic women in Congress are fighting to make sure Equal Pay Day is not an annual occurrence, but every day. That’s why Democratic women have been championing policies to end gender discrimination in pay for years—because we understand the economic and social consequences of allowing the pay gap to persist—discrimination that hits women of color the hardest.

Earning 64 cents on the dollar is the national statistic for African-American women. But in Alabama, that gap is even larger: African-American women in Alabama make just 56 cents for every dollar earned by their white male colleagues.

These women will not reach their Equal Pay Day until Oct. 13.

According to studies, there are more than 177,000 African-American women in Alabama working full time, year-round, making an average annual income of less than $28,000. Their annual wage gap is more than $21,000. Many of these women bring in half or more of their families’ incomes, which means that when these women lose income, the economic security and stability of their families is diminished.

Read full article here

More Breaking News here