Tag Archives: #blacklivesmatter

If people stopped throwing things away, this would lead to less anxiety for garbage collectors, who are only trying to do their job.

{Image: Clip from facebook. Post says, "Shaun King: Introducing a 25-part series on reducing police brutality. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions." A comment below the post, by "Robert McGrath," reads "how about people stop breaking the law. this might in turn lead to less anxiety for the police who are only trying to do their job. but then again its easier being the victim than it is admitting more could be done from the american people themselves..."

how about people stop breaking the law. this might in turn lead to less anxiety for the police who are only trying to do their job.

If people stopped breaking the law, there would be no job for the police to do.

It is their job to deal with law-breakers.  Preferably non-lethally.  The problem arises when they (demonstrably) deal with similarly-situated law-breakers breaking similar laws (CD/cigarette sales; traffic violations) or similarly-situated citizens not breaking any damn laws at all (driving with a legal concealed-carry permit; being a behavioral therapist trying to prevent harm to a client) based (demonstrably) on the color of their skin or their disability.

“They were breaking the law” is not an excuse for the unequal application of lethal or even non-lethal force by the police.  “Do your damn job,” is the appropriate response to this excuse.

I get that it is a hard and dangerous job, and I deeply respect the good people who have stepped up to do it.  But it is a job in which we as a society trust you and give you  — yes, give you; it’s not yours without the badge that we give you — the right to use force when appropriate.  If you’re not up for doing that fairly — regardless of how brave or heroic you may be — it is not the job for you.  Take your biases to a job where they are less likely to cause physical harm and death.

#googlemapsprivilege

All of my anger today is for cops who murder Black people and evil fucks who murder cops. In the wake of this, as every, police shooting, we remember the others.  Michael Brown. Tamir Rice.  Eric Garner. Sandra Bland.  #blacklivesmatter

But some of the stories and posts I’m seeing brought to mind a different hashtag:

#googlemapsprivilege

The ability to take a simple drive and get to your destination at about the time Google Maps says you will, that is, without being randomly stopped, suspected, delayed, and generally fucked with simply because you are (1) Black and (2) in a car.

Last night, a professional woman who sits on the board of our non-profit recounted this story in a Facebook comment:

I was pulled over right outside Denver Botanic Gardens by a cop who said I “looked like I was trying too hard to get away from him” after leaving the drive-thru at Wendy’s. I had on a really menacing business suit.

Ed Garnes — who I don’t know but whose post was shared enough times that I got to read it — recounts this incident:

Black Death is a sport. This is a fact with history on it’s side. When the police are involved my “fancy” education, two parent household upbringing, and clean criminal record will not save me. This year alone I have been followed by police over 10 times. I have paid over 400 dollars in tickets that were not warranted. This past weekend I was followed for 5 miles by an officer in Douglasville. Luckily, I was able to find a “safe area” with people as the officer pulled up beside my car and stared me down. I called a friend who then escorted me back to the highway so I could return to the south side. A few months ago, someone called the police on me for merely retrieving items from my vehicle at the univ of Tennessee, a campus where I work and attend school. My 4.0 gpa meant nothing. In Knoxville the past 3 weeks, someone has spit in my food at a local eatery and spit on my car leaving tangible evidence of hate. This is my reality as a Black man dodging death like some super hero who never knows if this minute is my last. If I die today, y’all better fight for me. Fuck a hashtag.

Same with this astonishing list from John Fleming:

Have you ever:

1) Been accused of being a drug dealer in a neighborhood b/c you’re driving a nice car and get racial profiled?

2) Been stopped and detained in a parking garage in downtown Austin by EIGHT state troopers and be accused of being an alleged rapist (who they then said was a white red head male after they finally let me go) from Georgetown, TX?

3)Had a gun drawn on you b/c you went to reach for your WALLET for a traffic stop?

4) Lived your entire life wondering how from when I was a little boy until this very post how your cousin, who was a State Marshall in Texas, (whom you looked up to and admired) was found dead in his East Texas home and his death was never solved?

5) Been WALKING from your office after a day’s work to the parking garage and get stopped by a UTPD Police officer and asked for your ID without cause at the Blanton Parking Garage b/c someone reported that an African American male was seen strung out on drugs selling drugs in the garage? I was held and detained for approximately 30 mins while they ran my license with UTPD, APD, State and Nation.

6) Been pulled over traveling south on I-35 in Oklahoma just a few miles before crossing back into Texas and have a Oklahoma State Trooper pull you over for TRAVELING 60 in a 70mph area for speeding, get asked to step out of your car while your sister and her 3 daughters are in the car and be escorted back to the front seat of the Troopers K-9 Ford Expedition with a barking vigilant German Shepard in the back seat as you are interrogated and then released for a warning when he learns that your cousin is STATE SENATOR FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA?

All of the above are true and they HAPPENED TO ME!

It’s a privilege to stay alive and it’s another privilege to get to your fucking destination without having to pull over and have a discussion about the way you drove out of the Wendy’s drive thru, or what sort of car you’re driving, or the fact that no, except for skin color, you do not look like the robber/rapist/drug dealer they are looking for, or your broken tail-light, or your expired plates.  I’ve been driving on expired plates since February, it was recently pointed out to me BY A FRIEND, NOT BY A COP.

I have been pulled over approximately five times in my life.  All but one of them were for my admitted habit of driving 10-25 mph over the speed limit.  In other words: righteous stops, for which I got tickets and points.   The other was for making a right turn without signaling.  Suburban Minnesota.  Late at night.  Officer shined the flashlight in my eyes.  I kept my hands on the wheel.  I got a warning not to do that again and was sent on my way.

I think this is some of what Justice Sotomayor was talking about when she use the term “civil death.”

We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. See L. Guinier & G. Torres, The Miner’s Canary 274–283 (2002). They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

Utah v. Strieff, No. 14-1373, 2016 WL 3369419, at *16 (U.S. June 20, 2016) (Sotomayor, J., dissenting).

#whiteprivilegeisreal.  So is #googlemapsprivilege.

I’llRideWithYou?

After North Carolina made the brilliant decision to police its citizens’ bathroom habits, a movement arose urging cis folks to be available to accompany trans or genderqueer folks to the restroom or other gendered spaces.  It’s called “I’ll Go With You.”   It has a website … and buttons!

This week, two more Black men were assassinated by the police under circumstances that defy rational understanding, but that share with so many other similar murders this feature:  they would not have happened to a white person.

What can a random middle age white lady do about all this killing?  I can march, shout, post . . . all things that announce my horror, anger, and sadness.  But I can’t force grand juries to indict murderous cops or juries to convict them.  And worst of all, I can’t stop the shooting from happening in the first place.

Or can I?   What if I were there?  Could enough of us be there for our Black friends, allies, and fellow citizens to stop some of the random killing?  If we’re willing to go to the bathroom as a show of solidarity with our trans and genderqueer friends, is there a way we ride along with our Black friends to show solidarity or, y’know, be a human shield?  Call it the White-People Ride-Along program*, placing random white people in the cars of random African-Americans while they drive to work, run errands, go out to dinner, stay up late, joy ride, and other things white people can do in cars without risking death at the hands of law enforcement.  It would work like a sort of reverse Uber. When the Black driver is ready to go somewhere, he or she enters the information in the WPRA app and connects with an available white passenger.  Voila!  Instant, if unfounded, respectability and potential survival.

Wild-ass idea, right?  Or maybe not.  Anyone with the balls & tech skills to get this rolling:  I’m in.

***************

*Yes, I’m intending to copy the police “Ride-Along” label.

Imagine for a moment . . .

. . . that CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) published a photo of Donald Trump with a scattering of bullets next to his head.  How about a Black Lives Matter tweet with photos of police and bullets?  Heads would explode.  Pundits would rant.  Investigations would be launched.  Conservatives would be outraged.

But this?  It’s apparently acceptable for a leading conservative cause to use this image:

Image: copy of tweet from NRA with showing photos of a black woman in a red-checked suit jacket and a white woman in a green turtle-neck and black suit jacket with four bullets arrayed next to the photos.  Text reads:  "sounding off on one of the most ridiculous anti-gun schemes introduced in some time.

Why isn’t this terrorism?  If terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims,” this certainly qualifies.  Violent intimidation in pursuit of political aims.  The only silver lining is that they are losing and this shows their desperation.

One of these is not like the other

White 18-year-old walks up and down city streets with a loaded shotgun.

Result:  is approached and questioned by police, refuses to show ID to prove that he’s carrying legally, lives to make a total dick of himself on the evening news.

Image: snip from local news showing reporter on the left (white; male; salt & pepper hair) talking to white teenager with shot gun.  Caption reads "Teen Records Open-Carry Encounter.  18 year old faces misdemeanor charge."

Black 12-year-old plays with toy gun in a park.

Result:  shot dead by police 2 seconds after they arrive by car on the scene.

Image:  clip from newscast with photo of black boy with caption "Boy with toy gun shot 2 seconds after police arrived.  Police:  cop told boy 3 times to show hands before the shooting."