In this time of mourning, rage and national reckoning with the legacies and realities of racist police violence – resources for connection, deeper engagement and different forms of action are flooding through the widening cracks of this broken system. Here is a partial compilation, from quick click actions to concrete alternatives to political education to visionary policy solutions. Please circulate and share with others.
A brief history reviewing the foundations of racism and classism built into policing the US, specifically focusing on the evolution of slave patrols and night watches. Part of the White Noise Collective Series – Exploring the Role of the “White Woman” within Systems of Violence and White Supremacy.
Like many Oakland progressives, my political alarm went off last year in response to the trend towards middle income and affluent neighborhoods hiring private security guards. For Oakland at least, the private patrol debate is relatively new, but it raises many familiar concerns about racial profiling and the feeding of racialized fears by misrepresenting the dangers of city life. Here I reflect on my learning from engaging in the patrol debate in my own mostly white, mostly home-owning neighborhood.
Since the hiring of private security strikes me as yet another example of those with class privilege investing precious time and money in methods that disproportionately target black and brown people and contribute to the increased privatization of our lives, I felt grateful not to be in a neighborhood contemplating a patrol — but soon enough it was my turn. In mid 2013 some people in my area began meeting to plan the hiring of our own security guard.… Read more
“The killings became more and more frenzied with days of Thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre.” (Susan Bates)
We often think of Thanksgiving as a time of family, football, giving thanks and gorging. I used to be of this mindset until learning more about some of the actual roots of this holiday. What I learned was that Thanksgiving has little to do with an amicable meal shared between the Pilgrims and Indians. While there is a documented meal shared at one point, and this is often what is referenced, the “National Holiday” was originally a marker of the celebrations of the massive genocide of Indigenous peoples across the Eastern coast of the US. Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly Slapin gives an amazing run down of many of these “origin story” myths we were taught about our country and some of the actual truths that they mask.… Read more
While the “social media moment” may have passed, the Zimmerman verdict represents just one of countless examples in an on-going pattern of unrecognized white privilege lending justification to violence against black men. The need remains to continue the conversation about this case, particularly with respect to this pattern. One element of the pattern that is specific to white women is our stereotyped role as virtuous victims who need protection from “bad guys.” Looking at the Zimmerman trial with an eye to this narrative reveals how the verdict was shaped by the white female judge’s decision to frame the case in terms of Zimmerman’s fear, the white female jurors’ description of their key decision as a response to fear, and the significance of the white female neighbor in justifying that fear.
The White Noise Collective has added our name to the list of organizations that support and endorse the California Prisoner Hunger Strikers. We do this as an act of solidarity and to stand in opposition to the structural racism of the prison industry. As part of that endorsement, we are sharing this announcement about an upcoming way for all of us to show support and solidarity. Please join us in making a call to Gov. Brown and encouraging him and the CDCR to negotiate. -the WNC
Hunger for Justice
On Wednesday July 31st, people around the world will fast and take other action in solidarity with the California Prisoner Hunger Strikers. Join family members of hunger strikers along with James Cromwell, Angela Davis, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Chris Hedges, Alice Walker, and Cornel West. We fast knowing that the criminalization that killed Trayvon Martin, and the criminalization that justifies the torture of prisoners in solitary confinement are one and the same.… Read more
As we collectively mourn for Trayvon Martin and feel outrage for him, his family and all people who live in fear of a criminal (in)justice system which is designed to entrap and persecute them or their loved ones, we must reflect on the dynamics of racism and fear in our culture that not only allowed, but encouraged, Travon’s murder. From theWe Are Not Trayvon Martin tumblr:
The Trayvon Martin case isn’t about an isolated incident but about a pattern of behavior. It’s assumed that racism some how magically ended in the 1960’s. Instead, we’ve slapped a fresh coat of paint over it and then remarked about how great it looked. But the problems didn’t disappear.
And we must have a conversation about the System of White Supremacy and the white women jurors who released George Zimmerman. As one of our collective members posted earlier today on facebook, “White Supremacy let Zimmerman go, but it was a jury of almost all white women who did White Supremacy’s bidding.” The Daily Mail reports:
A jury of six women, five of them white and the other a minority, decided George Zimmerman was not guilty in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin.… Read more
The years of fighting racism have taught us many lessons, perhaps the greatest of which is the recognition that we have to be clear about the type of racism we intend to confront. If we take a narrow view of racism as a set of stereotypes or personal beliefs, then educational efforts aimed at individuals have some impact. But taking on structural racism requires entirely different approaches. As scholar Eduardo Bonilla-Silva asserts,
“Social systems and their supports must be ‘shaken’
if fundamental transformations are to take place.”1
In order to shake such systems and structures, we would do well to keep in mind some important lessons – past and present – from the work of racial justice organizing:
▲ Leading with vision and principles, not just disparities. An example of this comes from the
1980s, when African American communities
began organizing to stop the nearby siting of
toxic waste dumps, sparking research showing a
pattern of what became known as “environmental
racism.” In fact, the very term suggested a
redefinition of racism as a structural problem
and helped define the kind of organizing
that, inspired by longstanding work in Native
American and other communities of color, led to
a powerful set of environmental justice principles
that went far beyond comparative disparities,
putting forth a bold vision of structural change
that challenges racism and seeks transformation of
the economic and political structures in which it