One argument that’s prevalent in certain circles is that mostly white people, particularly males, care about drones. This argument has become pretty prominent in the age of Obama. It’s typically made by Obama supporters to shut down critics of his counterterrorism policies, such as drone strikes. It’s an asinine argument that marginalizes nonwhite antiwar voices and provides a multicultural veneer to empire. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Race/Racism
Every 36 hours, a black person is killed by a police officer
While the death of Trayvon Martin has largely fallen off the public radar, the killing of black people by police officers, security guards, or armed vigilantes continues unabated. On May 6, Alan Blueford, an 18-year-old African-American male who was about to graduate from Skyline High School, was shot three times by two Oakland police officers. Oakland police stopped and frisked Blueford and his two friends that night for drugs or weapons. Shortly after, Blueford ran and the police chased him. During the chase, police claim Blueford fired at them to which they responded with three shots. A fourth shot was fired into an officer’s foot, which police also claimed came from Blueford.
However, according to witnesses, investigators, and a coroner’s report, Blueford never shot at the police. There was a pistol found at the scene but it was never fired and it’s unclear whether it belonged to Blueford. In addition, Oakland Police Department (OPD) admitted that the fourth shot was a self-inflicted wound. One of the officer’s shot himself in the foot but initially blamed it on Blueford — a kid who never shot them. On the bright side, the Oakland community has shown their outrage at the killing in the form of robust activism. There is now a “Justice for Alan Blueford” campaign with support from Occupy Oakland.
Trayvon Martin’s death and the need for alternatives to policing
Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Jr., the long list of African-American males killed by racist police officers or vigilantes goes on. On the evening of February 26, 2012, that list got longer. In Sanford, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American male, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a half-Latino/half-white self-appointed neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense. He was recently arrested, charged with second-degree murder, and the case is still in court.
Like so many cases of state or vigilante violence against people of color, this is an example of systemic racism. Systemic racism — a system of power and inequality in which one racial group subjugates another racial group. This is why there are massive levels of inequalities (in housing, employment, education, etc.) between whites Read the rest of this entry »
Wall Street was founded on slavery
Wall Street is a highly influential financial district but its history is rarely talked about. In order to understand the largesse of Wall Street and the system of global capitalism, it is crucial to know Wall Street’s history. Wall Street was founded on slavery and, to this day, it remains a key pillar in upholding racial inequality and economic oppression.
New York City was a Dutch settlement known as New Amsterdam in the Dutch colonial province called New Netherland during much of the 17th century. Through the Dutch West India Company, the Dutch utilized labor of enslaved Africans who were first brought to the colony around 1627. The African slaves built the wall that gives Wall Street its name, forming the northern boundary of the colony and warded off resisting natives who wanted their land back. In addition, the slaves cleared the forests, built roads and buildings, and turned up the soil for farming. Slavery was not a phenomenon limited to the southern American colonies. Northern colonies, such as Boston and New York, participated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Read the rest of this entry »
Santorum — An Ally of the Rich, Not the Poor (my opinion piece in TurnstyleNews)
About two weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece for turnstylenews.com, which is a great website powered by young (18-34) producers, reporters, and writers. I re-posted it on my blog here.
Despite his reputation, in some quarters, as a friend of the downtrodden, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and current presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is an ally of Wall Street and Corporate America.
Last week, Santorum made a racially charged comment that garnered a lot of criticism. Speaking to Republicans in Iowa, Santorum said his administration would cut welfare programs because they make people “dependent” on the government for help. His full statement was: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.” Read the rest of this entry »
Systematic Racism Still Exists
A few days ago, PolicyMic.com published my article on police brutality and systemic racism. Here it is below.
On New Year’s Eve 2009, Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old black male, was shot in Oakland, Calif., by white Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle. Several people witnessed the shooting and it was caught on tape. The police claimed that Grant was resisting arrest and posed a danger to law enforcement. As the video shows, however, Grant was unarmed, lying on the ground, and restrained by another police officer when he was shot — posing very little danger to anyone.
The shooting sparked major public outcry within Oakland and the wider San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the protests turned violent and prompted a trial on Mehserle’s killing of Grant. The trial was eventually moved from Oakland to Los Angeles because of extensive public scrutiny. Mehserle faced three charges: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. Mehserle’s primary defense was that he meant to pull out his taser, but accidentally pulled out his gun. The prosecution had to prove that Mehserle intentionally killed Grant, which is typically difficult to prove, especially when the defendant is a police officer. Read the rest of this entry »
Speech: “Imperialism, racism, and torture”
This is the text of a speech I gave at a panel Stanford Says No to War hosted called “It’s All About U.S.: Questioning U.S. Militarism”. This speech was given on May 26th, 2010 and is the last speech I gave at Stanford.
During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States began to colonize other lands, such as Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba. Since then, it has occupied and militarily intervened in several parts of the globe, such as in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. And let’s not forget the many democratically-elected leaders America overthrew in places like Chile and Iran. The United States currently occupies two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – and has a network of over 700 bases across the planet. Thus, the United States is an empire. Read the rest of this entry »