Wednesday, April 22, 2015

News in Baltimore, etc.

More than one thousand people have protested in Baltimore, Maryland over the death of Freddie Gray. People want answers and people are entitled to answers. Over one hundred people have won lawsuits against the Baltimore police over police brutality since 2011. There are many investigations involving the death of Freddie Gray. The Justice Department announced that it will begin their own civil rights investigation. The six officers involved in Gray’s arrest are the following people:  Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, and Officers Caesar Goodson, William Porter, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller. All six officers have been suspended with pay during the investigation into Gray's death. The protesters want justice. They are calling for all six officers to be arrested and charged with first degree murder. There are questions on what happened between the time Gray was placed in the police vehicle and the time when Gray died. The video footage shows officers carrying Gray into the police van, but he was never immediately carried into the hospital. Gray is clearly injured as shown by the video footage. Gray was sent into a police station and then then to the hospital for about a half an hour. Gray was taken down by the police. The take down procedure of the police caused the spinal cord injury of Gray. Gray died after experiencing a coma. The police have not released an autopsy. Gray asked for help repeatedly and the police refused to give him immediate medical attention. Speaking on CNN, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, admitted that while he was in police custody, Gray “requested medical attention” between one to three times, which was in turn “not requested for him” by police. Rawlings-Blake also admitted that the officers involved have yet to be comprehensively interviewed about what took place before, during and after Gray's arrest.  The mayor said that she will get to the bottom of it by saying that: “…because of our Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, we have yet to fully engage those officers, and we will get to the bottom of it.” One of the people who recorded the widely-viewed footage of the police arresting Gray claims that he began filming immediately after he witnessed police using excessive force against Gray. Speaking anonymously, he told CNN that “they had Freddie Gray up into what I would like to call a pretzel type of move, where they had the heels of his feet to his back, and then he was still in handcuffs, and they had his knee to the back of his neck.” Protester Harold Perry, 73, told a local news station that the arrest took place near his home, and that he heard Gray scream "You're hurting me! Get your knee off my back." He also heard Gray tell police "I'm an asthmatic." This situation is not just an individual case. It’s a systematic problem. We have to find out why he was arrested, the medical records, and the information on how he passed away. Obviously, the cops involved in this situation must be held accountable. I’m in solidarity with the protesters.

It is important that we resist. We must not only resist against the oligarchy, but develop strategies that can empower our communities too. Michelle Alexander and others are telling the truth about how the criminal justice system has oppressed black people, the poor, and the rest of the American people. One of the greatest points that Sister Michelle Alexander said is that it is hypocritical for the police to refuse to snitch on each other via the Blue Wall of Silence, yet the police want the community to snitch on people. The truth is that any unjust crime must be opposed regardless if it is done by a cop or non-cop. Police brutality must end. The Black Lives Matter movement is a new movement, but it has gained great strength. We have to mobilize and organize too. We need progressive legislation and community control of policing. Also, we have to address economic inequality and racism. Our criminal justice system is very racist as studies have documented. We all know that the police institution is an extension of the oligarchy or the 1 percent. It's an instrument of control, repression, and overt oppression. We have the right to subsequently stand up for our human rights. When we discuss about the Maafa, it didn't just occur centuries ago. It has happened with the NYC riots of 1863 when black men, women, and children were killed by racists, it occurred with the attack on Black Wall Street, and it has occurred in other places globally. This news shows us that we are all we got literally. Egoism, pettiness, etc. must be eliminated and we have to continue in the real work where our community can live in the Promised Land for real.

First, I will make a point because showing what I think of Dyson’s essay. As a community, we will not agree on every issue. We can agree to disagree on many things without using obscene, false invective. With that being said, I think that Dyson omits many things in his essay. He omits that Cornell West loves the President and his family as he has admitted. Love is not about unconditional agreement. Love is demanding and it is a strong force which can be used to stand up for justice as a witness. Cornell West just disagrees with the White House on many issues in strong terms. I don’t believe that Cornell West has lost his intellectual vitality. I don’t believe that he is some faint echo of himself. I agree with Cornell West in many his critiques of the President. My only disagreement with Cornell West is that some of his criticism (like calling him a Rockefeller Republican in “blackface”) is over the top (in my view). That rhetoric is the same rhetoric that white racists use to describe the President, his wife, and his children. Other than that, West is absolutely right to condemn the growth of the American Empire, to oppose police brutality, to disagree with corporate Wall Street bailouts, to disagree with torture, to oppose misogyny, to disagree with the President’s drone program, and to promote justice for all. Cornell West is speaking truth to power on those issues. The President calling black American people a "mongrel people" (you can Google this fact) and taking down to Morehouse graduates in offensive terms (when they did do the right thing), and saying that police terrorism is not endemic today are comments that I disagree with completely. I greatly respect West's recent speeches and I have read his recent literature (like the Black Prophetic Fire and the Radical King books which I do enjoy reading). Michael Eric Dyson has done great work in defending progressive hip hop, standing up for the poor (and he eloquently refuted the poor scapegoating lies shown not only by white reactionaries, but by black bourgeois compromisers), and his advocacy against police terrorism. Yet, Michael Eric Dyson omits the imperial policies and the neoliberal extremism being executed by the current administration. He can show his concerns with Cornell West in private instead of showing a note in a website. So, hopefully both men can iron out their differences. We need solutions. The divide and conquer deal doesn’t work. At the end of the day, we are one people and we want justice for our black people. Also, we have to keep our politicians accountable regardless of their skin color. Worship of any politician unconditionally is silliness. We love the truth.

Ben Affleck should have known that people would criticize him for not being upfront with exposing the fact of his slave owning ancestors. Also, Gates should have used more courage in presenting this fact in public. Why would he email a Sony CEO (Sony is part of the Hollywood empire) when his show is about outlining the transparent history of many groups of people? It doesn't make sense. Either way, Gates messed up badly. It is ironic that Affleck did this when he champions his liberal "credentials." Of course, he will apologize. Apologies are commonly shown these days. The larger picture is that we have to learn about the brutal history of slavery and understand that the legacy of slavery didn't end in 1865. People can talk about black slave owners (while these haters omit the fact that slave owners were mostly white in America. They ignore the massive psychological and physical abuse inflicted on our black ancestors), etc. but the origin of the Maafa wasn't done by black people collectively. The system of white supremacy is the origin of the Maafa and American slavery completely. Instead of some blaming black people collectively, we need to blame white supremacy for the origin of our oppression in the first place. This is a sad story. It shows that police officers who kill innocent, unarmed human beings readily receive no true accountability. Non-cops, who have done far less, have received lengthy jail sentences, yet the arrogant Servin killed a Sister and he has been found not guilty. This police terrorism is part of the corrupt system. From the slave patrols to the Texas Rangers using xenophobic terrorism over a century ago (when they worked for the Confederacy, and killed Native Americans), we faced repression and overt oppression. Murderous, evil cops have no respect from me at all. I send my prayers and condolences to the family of Rekia Boyd.
RIP Sister Rekia Boyd.
#Black Lives Matter.

I read the rest of the article on theGrio (about Hotep Twitter). The jest of the article is that hypocritical people (who claim to be conscious) actually try to use disturbing rhetoric against black women and other minorities (which is ironically the same agenda of white supremacy which these faux “conscious” people claim to oppose). To assume that every black feminist wants to dominate and harm black men in an oppressive fashion is stupid and ignorant. To assume that a patriarchal supremacist order can liberate black women is foolishness. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with using real programs in improving the conditions of black families. There is nothing wrong with promoting black unity either. It is true that some white women in the suffrage movement were racists. Also, the caricature above is blatantly offensive since it depicts black women who voluntarily choose to be feminists as monolithically oppressive and embracing misandry completely, which is not the case at all. The image above shows a black woman in a disrespectful fashion. Some black women call themselves womanists too. Many memes, as shown in social media, focus on demonizing people instead of inspiring people. I have looked at many memes on Instagram accounts that mock the physical appearances of black people in general (in disrespectful ways). Some of these reactionary extremists (who use “black consciousness” as a cloak) do blame the victim for rape, etc. One thing that these extremists rarely do is that they refuse to expose capitalist exploitation or how classism including racism has oppressed the black community. We have to promote more compassion with our people not make a sport out of degrading people in a vicious fashion. That is what realness is all about, because beauty is compassion. We can agree to disagree without callous, evil invective. We can be progressive, conscious, and authentic without misogynistic and xenophobic rhetoric (and white supremacists ironically embrace that evil rhetoric to the fullest). Promoting true altruism is what real living is all about. Also, we should never stereotype everybody in the black conscious community as anti-intellectual, retrograde people. There are countless sincere, courageous black male and black female people in the conscious community (like Sister Soujah and Solomon Comissiong) who have written great books, have stood up against white supremacy, and are helping black people in communities worldwide. Their work should be acknowledged and honored. At the end of the day, we, as black people, want freedom and justice.

By Timothy

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