This Week in Racism in America: Edition 2

Emily Silver, TWRA, 5-11 July

Your weekly sampling of stories reflecting the very reason national anthem protests against racism are wholly appropriate, justified, and still necessary


     Study Shows that Cities (via Police) Rely More Heavily on Fines and Court Fees to Raise Revenue in Predominately Black Cities (July 7, 2017) 

o   This study done by researchers at the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University found that in cities with predominantly Black populations, citizens were disproportionately subjected to fines and court fees. This is precisely the same trend that was found in the Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting.  As American as apple pie, Black people are singled out for mistreatment given their status as a disadvantaged population.

Study Shows that Blacks Hospice Patients Receive Worse Case Than their White Counterparts (July 6, 2017)

o   A Rand study showed mixed findings regarding the care that Blacks and Hispanics received at hospices.  As noted in the article linked within the title, the study found that Blacks received less timely care; their family members were treated with less respect; and their caregivers were of poorer quality as compared to white hospice residents.  The study also found that there was no disparity of care within a given hospice.  Not even near death can Black people escape racism and its effects.  Sigh.

Not…So Scholarly

Renewed Investigation of Police Officer’s Brutal Beating of Homeless Woman Amidst Video Evidence (July 11, 2017) 

o   This video is yet another example of excessive and unnecessary force by police.  Even if one were to view the facts in the light most favorable to the police, i.e. accepting the officer’s assertion that the victim bumped into him and grabbed his badge, the amount of force the officer used was wholly unnecessary and brutal.  The victim’s “resistance” was most probably an attempt to ward off the full force strikes he was levying at body and head, and for what?  And note that the investigation was reopened with the advent of the video, a recording which clearly shows yet another white male police officer violently out of control in his dealings with a Black woman.  Even more puzzling, the officer’s name has been withheld, though he is a public servant.  In fact, these slave tamers officers need to be named and shamed.     

Racist White Butcher Shop Owner Gives Black Deliveryman Noose As a “Joke” (July 8, 2017)

o   Think about the sadism involved in this kind of act by this white man, Joe Ottomanelli.  The victim, Victor Sheppard, was simply doing his job; and this racist decides that he wants to use the extremely painful history of lynching to intimate violence towards Sheppard.  And the use of nooses which, again, are representations of the murder of Black people, is a favorite amongst white Americans.  In 2017.  This begs the question.  What is it about white people that causes them to exhibit such unprovoked, unhinged, vitriolic, deep-seated hatred towards Black people? Black people who have not engaged in any acts of retaliation as a class for the unforgivable and retribution worthy harm whites have inflicted upon Black people as a class? This inhumane, sociopathic behavior needs to be seriously studied as something is clearly amiss.

Police Officer On Video Encouraging Niece to Say N-Word (July 6, 2017)

o    Here we have a police officer showing her true colors.  How many Black people has this officer interacted with?  How has she dealt with them?  Police officers enjoy an enormous amount of privilege, power, and protection in this country.  It is therefore especially disconcerting and problematic when they are discovered to be overtly racist, which is an epidemic throughout this nation, and has been for centuries.  And here again, we have the unprovoked, inexcusable obsession with engaging in acts designed to degrade and dehumanize Black people.  White obsession with facilitating Black pain is quite extraordinary in its pathology.  A cursory view of any article or Youtube video which contains a Black person, regardless of the item’s subject matter, will reveal the presence in the comment section of at least one anti-Black statement or slur.  Pathetic.

Judge in Philando Castile Case Writes “Don’t Worry About People Being Upset Over the Acquittal of a Racist Murderer, Ya’ll Did Good, Sweeties” Letter to Jury (July 5, 2017)

o   This is a serious WTF moment by a member of the judiciary.  What was William Leary, III thinking in writing this letter to the Castile jury???  Clearly Leary has his own racial biases.  Has he written a letter in any other case?  Is this the first jury acquittal in his courtroom?  And while it may be that no other case in his courtroom has received the coverage this case did, what was the point of writing the jurors weeks after the case was completed?  Of what relevance is the fact that the public was outraged by the acquittal of Jeronimo “I have no business carrying a firearm since I freak out at the first sign of imagined danger” Yanez??? These jurors are all adults who presumably could speak for themselves if they felt unfairly maligned.  Leary’s inappropriate, if legal, act is precisely why serious consideration must be given to having an oversight committee review all verdicts involving a police officer and a Black victim.

Leary, in laying out the elements of the charged offenses and providing legal analysis, is quite obviously attempting to justify the majority white jury’s verdict; and though writing a letter to jurors is indeed an unusual event, racism exhibited by judges is not.  In an transparent attempt to mollify the anticipated criticism from Black people reference the content of his letter, Leary had the audacity to include a quote from Malcom X.  Leary’s shame and disrespect for Black people apparently knows no bounds.  His disgraceful and unprofessional effort to silence rational, valid criticism of the Castile verdict, and excuse the racist extrajudicial killing of Black people, is a stark reminder that none of the ideals which represent this country, including justice, are properly afforded Black Americans.

Enough is Enough

“Blood on the Roots” 

July 7, 2017

 This thoughtful piece by Karsonya Wise Whitehead discusses the cognitive dissonance that exists amongst Black Americans trying to reconcile the ideals of America with the abhorrent treatment of our people.  Whitehead’s tone is a wistful one, as she muses about what she wishes American could be; but  it is very clear that she firmly grasps what America actually is.

It is the potential of this country that drives the motivation to force a much-needed course correction in hostile seas, and amongst turbulent winds, which will result in the liberation of Black people in these United States.

(Photo: Emily Silver, Flickr)