Part of the reason I don’t watch much TV news

While major news networks have struggled to figure out the right way to cover the Trump administration, political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit.

I was thinking the other day, I don’t really watch much TV news. Ok I don’t watch any live TV anyway but News would be very low in that tiny percentage.

However I do watch a lot of Comedy news from last week tonight, the daily show, realtime with bill maher, etc. That backed with reading news from credible news sites makes up most of my news. News sources which take a longer view on things, rather than whats happening right now.

Boris Brexit Bus
I will never forget the Boris Brexit Bus

The nonsense from our politicians is alarming and theres only a certain amount I can personally take. The only way to cope is to laugh at how stupid the whole system is and not breath in too much of it.

I guess because of this I sleep pretty well at night (especially with my new hours) I certainly don’t do the  doom scroll thing, worrying about what I saw on the news.

The story behind the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute

John Carlos and Tommie Smith made headlines across the world when they raised the black power salute on the podium after winning in the 1968 Olympics. That protest brought them death threats, and they were expelled from the games.

Vox is on fire recently. The story behind the 1968 Olympics black power salute is something worth watching.

The incredible story of Freedom house ambulance service

I learned today about the incredible story of Freedom house ambulance service thanks to 99 percent invisible. Generally the story goes that back in the 70’s in Pittsburgh, if you call for help in getting to a hospital, a hurst driver or the police would throw you in the back and take you to hospital.

A man called Peter Safar from Europe, proposed that together they could train lay people to be medical professionals and  start providing ER quality treatment right away, before the patient arrived at the hospital.

After designing advanced ambulances and putting people through a  intense 300-hour course. They had their first comprehensively trained first responders. They were all black people and operated in black parts of Pittsburgh where taxi driver, hurst drivers and the police were not reliable or wanted to go.

Its was a massive success and became the start of the profession we know as paramedics.

Group photo of Freedom House attendants and the Pitt physicians who
trained them. At front row, center, is Nancy Caroline, M.D., who developed national standards for emergency medical technicians. At far left, in white lab coat, is Peter Safar, M.D., known around the world
as the “Father of CPR.” Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

However!

Freedom House’s five ambulances were running nearly 6,000 calls a year. And not only were they getting to the patients faster than the police, but they were also providing demonstrably better care. At a city council meeting, Safar presented data showing that as many as 1,200 people a year had been dying needlessly while in the care of other emergency services. Freedom House paramedics, by contrast, had saved 200 lives in the first year alone. Doctors and medical directors from around the country flocked to Pittsburgh. Freedom House medics were invited to conferences as far away as Germany. Everyone wanted to see what they were doing and learn how they could copy it.

Photo credit: University of Pittsburgh; Freedom House paramedics with ambulance.

But in spite of its growing fame, Freedom House would eventually become a victim of its own success. Other neighborhoods were wondering why this predominantly Black community was receiving better care than theirs.

Of course there is more to the story but I was struck with the similarity to something Douglas Ruskoff talked about in his most recent monologue.

How Centuries of Black Strength Created a Blueprint for Economic Recovery – Black communities have for centuries harboured a spirit of support and mutual aid. It’s time the rest of the country followed their lead. However In the monologue there is something oddly similar to the Freedom House story.

Economic success in Black communities inevitably leads to white jealousy, which in turn inspires more oppression, pogroms, and murder.

And there you have it… How many other stories from the past have this same pattern. How many of these stories are happening today?

I haven’t had a chance to check out the book Douglas mentions, A history of African-American cooperative economic, but he’s right its well circulated. Here is a interview with the author Jessica Gordon Nembhard.

The great white lie?

This is something which really got me thinking. All that white marble really has changed the way we think about the past. The lack of colour I always thought was a cost and material thing but to know it was originally there but removed is … lets say almost sinister?

Seeing all that white marble does have an effect on the way we see the past.

Another aspect of systematic racism

I have talked about the system of racism over the last few weeks, but I didn’t even think about this aspect. (although its an American view, I wouldn’t be surprised if similar policies existed in the UK)

In US news and current events today, Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law author, continues his lifelong mission to debunk the myth of de facto segregation and explain how modern day segregation is enforced by US law and policy. Insidious tactics like redlining have contributed to modern day segregation, and it leads to modern school segregation, modern housing segregation and housing discrimination, and so much more. De jure discrimination didn’t end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, it simply became more insidious and baked into the housing, lending and education systems that have prevented Black Americans from earning and keeping wealth. Modern segregation is no less immoral and unjust than explicit segregation, and the entire system needs an overhaul if we are ever to reach true equality and assert that Black lives matter.

What have you actually done for #blacklivesmatter?

Black lives matter brand responses from twitter

Been looking at ways to keep an eye on what all these companies who claim to be antiracist and support . I found this piece from wired.

Its good but what we really need is a collaborative database like airtable, of all the pledges of support.

Black lives matter brand responses from airbnb

The best I have found is this slide deck from Lexie Pérez, Julian Cole, Stephanie Vitacca and Davis Ballard.

As protests and unrest have taken over the U.S. and other parts of the world –  brands rushed to speak out and align themselves with anti-racism.

We’ve gathered 100 + examples of brands responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve highlighted their responses, their actions and some reactions.

Black lives matter brand responses from linkedin

Its huge with about 130 companies covered from  Fashion, Retail Luxury, Technology, Sports & Fitness, Finance, Food & Restaurants, Entertainment & Media, B2B, Gaming, Advertising, Agencies, and Beauty & Health.

There’s some really shocking insights in there including these

Black lives matter brand responses from MarvelOdd one because Disney pledged $5 million to support nonprofit organizations that advance social justice, beginning with a $2 million donation to the NAACP. You would have thought Marvel would echo this?

Black lives matter brand responses from BeatsNow this lack of action was a surprise….!

Black lives matter brand responses from Facebook

This reaction was not!

Sure there must be some way to turn this great store of information into something we can use to keep the companies accountable in 3/6/12/18 months time? The data is there and I’m sure the authors won’t mind if its used for accountability…

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2020)

Hackers hoodwink facial recognition software with masks

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed considering the new normal for cybersecurity or uber’s underhanded approach to get its Jump bikes back.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with projects to finally make clear IOT devices more legible and the EU putting weight behind Free and Open software.


The world we want post Covid19

Ian thinks: I have read a lot of post covid19 predictions, even started writing my own. But this one really felt more like a manifesto for where to go next.

Technology which perpetuates racism

Ian thinks: Good look at tech policy decisions which directly affect people of colour.

Beyond the tweets of support, where’s your tech being used?

Ian thinks: There is a real murky history of tech companies helping to arm law enforcement with stronger and ways to enforce without real regulation or legal oversight.

How do you defend against an opaque system of surveillance?

Ian thinks: Terrifying story of a man wrongly accused by an algorithm. He’s not the first and won’t be the last, the call for transparency, legibility and legal oversight is ever so strong.

How Taiwan used digital tools, to solve the Covid19 pandemic

Ian thinks: Taiwan mainly avoided the Covid19 lockdown. Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, shares how tools/techniques like crowdsourcing, a transparent supplies system and the use of humor on social media have resulted in less than 500 confirmed cases.

Is anonymous or actually hacktivism which is back?

Ian thinks: Theres been an uptake in techniques similar to anonymous & occupy in the wake of . Its a mistake they are back when this simply the future of protests?

Why is the police body camera a false hope?

Ian thinks: Its all American body cameras in the studies, however there are similar aspects in the UK which are starting to stir.

Different ways to defeating facial recognition

Ian thinks: Great summary of techniques to defeat facial recognition complete with demos. Take your pick which most suits your style.

A comprehensive guide book to manifesting reality

Ian thinks: I know a lot people prefer paper to digital, and the node zine is a great e/book covering a lot of the digital technologies I cover in the public service internet newsletters. You can download if for free or order a nice print copy.

The future of work post covid19?

Ian thinks: There’s a lot debate over the advantages and disadvantages of working from home. Each case is different but I found this economist video had all the points nicely wrapped up in short video. Lots to think about as the world starts to open again.


Find the archive here

Officer there is a black man…!

I mentioned a while ago how upset I was when watching the Amy Cooper video in central park. It became plain and clear if you call the cops and say the words “black person is doing X

Heck who could forget the guys sitting in Starbucks?

Heck when I was working in Starbucks (yes it happened believe it or not) there was a older white woman who came every day to read the free paper and rearrange her baggage, using the toilet and all while pouring free milk for herself. Did we ever call the police? Nope, never!

Trevor Noah covers a lot of cases, but he’s got zero on on the hashtag #Airbnbwhileblack. Although Airbnb has made changes, its not enough in a system of racism.

IC3 means excessive force, seems to be the call always?

There is a trend. When IC3 (police code for black male) is mentioned, excessive force is somehow authorized.

From the Guardian

Huugo Boateng was taking part in a charity bike ride with his father along the River Lea in north London when he says he was grabbed from his bike by a plainclothes police officer, threatened with a stun gun and fell face first into thorny bushes.

The 13-year-old told the Observer: “I’d turned around to see if my dad had caught up behind me, and suddenly this man came out of nowhere. He was crazy angry and shouting. I got scared because I thought he might be mugging me or trying to give me corona so I ran, but there was nowhere to go but in the bushes.”

While he was down on the ground, the teenager says the officer pointed a Taser at him and threatened to shoot. The officer then arrested Huugo and put him in handcuffs. Further down the towpath, his father, Andrew, 43, was told to get on his knees and put his hands behind his back. Andrew was also handcuffed. The two were detained, suspected to have been involved in a stabbing in the area.

The most ironic thing about the whole incident is…

The family were visited by a community officer later that evening. “Huugo didn’t want them to come in so they stayed on the doorstep and asked if we were OK,” said Andrew, who works at City University. He is also active in local projects including coaching a youth football team and volunteering for the outreach programme Kickoff@3 , which is co-run by a black Metropolitan police officer, Michael Wallace.

“I couldn’t vouch for a more humble and more dedicated member of the community,” said Wallace. “The irony is that Kickoff@3 is about building good relationships with youth and the police, and Andy is instrumental in helping with that programme. The bike ride he was doing was organised by us – we were raising money for a homeless charity and a domestic violence one.

If there was any doubt about the UK being less racist, its simply not. The racism is different but its still there

#blacklivesmatter, why I know this time we may see lasting change

John Carlos and Tommie Smith made headlines across the world when they raised the black power salute on the podium after winning in the 1968 Olympics

A couple of things confirmed to me this time we may see some changes. The question is will there be enough change?

White middle class people protesting in white middle class spaces

I was surprised last Wednesday afternoon, riding through Cholton in Manchester the amount of white people actively protesting on the side of road sides with signs. It was deeply humbling to see people even giving the black power salute and taking a knee.

Its never been a black only problem, and I have a lot of time for protests in places which don’t make the press.

The true horror of the Atlantic slave trade

There has been so many calls to educate people about the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade and people of colour’s history.

Its being taken more seriously and the white fragility which held it back is being pushed a side for the better of society and the future.

 

The deconstruction of systematic racism block by block

Trevor looks at how depictions of police in film and TV can skew public perception of cops and glorify officers who break laws and use violence unnecessarily on the job

Its incredible the long history of the rouge police people who get the job done with violence, pressure and intimidation. We have gotten so numb to it that we just can’t/don’t connect whats happening in cases like the central park 5 and the excessive force in the cop dramas.

The deconstruction of these cultural programming is so important in the take down of systematic racism.

A understanding its not just about the police

Systematic racism will happily throw the police under the tracks, when a good number are actively anti-racist.

The amount of positive searches

Google hasn’t released the exact figures and of course this is well produced in their favor, but its telling and interesting to see if it grows beyond summer?

Finally watched When they finally see us….

I first watched the first episode of When they finally see us and couldn’t watch further episodes. It was a difficult watch and didn’t get around to finishing the show. Part of the reason is I remember the case as I grew up, it was just before the murder of Stephen Lawrence from memory.

When they finally see us

If you have not seen the series, go watch it and look out for the Opera interview with the 5. You will be in tears…

Powerful clip from Black-ish TV series

Its worth noting this clip was from the TV show Black-ish in 2016.

Its a powerful but simple speech which speaks volumes about where we are in 2020. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to bring up children in the system of racism we live in.

 

 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt African Americans are feeling today.

Its still early days but I quite like it, especially the discussion with Matthew McConaughey who brings up the notion of “White Allergies” – I have never heard the term

Where we were raised and how we were raised in our history growing up, there’s certain just imported obvious ways that we’re prejudiced in ways that we don’t even understand. We got white allergies and may not even know it. And so, I was sitting there, you know, looking at my own life, and I go, all right. To me, Longview High School, it’s over 50% Black. I applied to Grambling (a historically Black college). I was the first white [person] to ever work at Catfish Station, [a] Black blues bar on 6th Street. I am married to a non-white immigrant. I have Black friends all through my life and still do. But, what prejudices may I have via white allergies that I may not even be aware of?

I think like myself Acho hadn’t heard the term but got it…  He pointed to a example of backhanded compliments, such as “You don’t talk Black,” or ”You’re pretty for a Black girl.”

This reminded me of an experience I had in America on the road while getting some food, I think I was in Iowa or Wisconsin

I walked in to a takeaway place, the white woman with blonde hair  behind the counter. Says to me

“Yo yo brother, whatsup, how ya doin, whatdu want?”

I looked shocked and said in my normal English accent…

Ummmm what….!?

She was so shocked like I had suddenly changed my form completely. I can’t forget the way her face and posture changed.
It was clear she hasn’t heard a black man with a British accent and you could see her world view evaporate like a magician.blowing a puff of smoke.

Systematic racism, a look at the prison system

13th

I recently watched 13th and learned a lot including about ALEC (plus the companies which have dropped support) and the effect of systematic racism on the crime & punishment systems.

Some quotes to think about…

Prison industrial complex, the system, the industry, it is a beast. It eats black and Latino people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I think a beast is exactly right. The beast no one wants to talk about?

Police violence, that isn’t the problem in and of itself. It’s reflection of a much larger,brutal system of racial and social control known as mass incarceration, which authorizes this kind of police violence.

Exactly what I’ve been saying. This isn’t about the police, its about the system which encourages excessive force as black lives don’t matter.

People say all the time,
“I don’t understand how people could’ve tolerated slavery. How could they have made peace with that? How could people have gone to a lynching and participated in that?
How did people make sense of the segregation, this white and colored-only drinking…
That’s so crazy.
If I was living at that time, I would have never tolerated anything like that.”
And the truth is, we are living at this time, and we are tolerating it…

Its a quote which sums it up. Its hard to see how the status-quo is the problem when you are in it.

Updated

Just today John Oliver from Last Week Tonight, makes clear the threat of Covid19 and people stuck in Jail and Prison where social distancing isn’t an option and nor is soap! As most people in American prison’s are people of colour, it doesn’t take a lot to realize how devastating this virus is in a prison.

Well worth watching if you have access to HBO or a VPN.

Systematic racism

I think this says so much…

Black communities have been telling the nation, for more than a century, that they have been targeted, beaten, falsely accused and killed by the police and other institutions meant to protect them.

They have not been believed until recently, when the rise in camera phones and social media finally enabled them show and disseminate proof.

Even after the video of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, there remains defensiveness and denial among white Americans and institutions—a defensiveness that prevents change to the root of the problem: systemic racism. In this video, eight powerful voices share perspectives on blackness in America, and why white inaction and white politeness must end.

To learn more about what you can do to end the racist status quo, educate yourself and take action. Here is Robin DiAngelo’s list of resources: https://robindiangelo.com/resources/