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…

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/

How to make people of colour’s life a little easier

Wedding
Photo by Slim Emcee on Unsplash

I saw this piece from Vice and was shaking my head in agreement going through the list.Heres some key ones for me…

2. Don’t assume that all people of color share the same views. We are not a monolith.

Absolutely… Can’t tell you how many times people assume they know what my views are simply because of my race

6. Oh, and rest assured that literally no person of color ever wants you to get back from holiday, show off your tan and excitedly exclaim, “Look, I’m almost as dark as you!” Cease and desist.

I always find tans super strange, especially when people compare them to my skin. Stop doing it…

20. Understand that some days are even more mentally exhausting for people of color thanks to the news cycle. Try not to badger us for our opinions on the latest atrocity that has occurred. Leave us to grieve.

I generally ignore the news cycle as I know it doesn’t help my mental health. If you want thoughts on news items, let it sink in first and see what other people of colour are writing.

22. Share articles relating to the everyday experiences of race and racism written by people of color.

There is the hashtag #everydayracism, use it, repost, retweet and retoot. Just like there is #everydaysexism. More people see it the more peopel will realise.

23. But don’t be that person who is weird and sycophantic and loves to demonstrate their wokeness constantly to the people of color around them. Be thoughtful.

You don’t think I notice when you say Yo to me but not to anyone else? We notice

26. Have a critical eye when watching TV and movies. How are they portraying people of color and why? What purpose does it serve?

Just like the Bechdel test you should check out the DuVernay test

31. If you have kids, buy them dolls of color and books with characters of color.

I don’t have kids but I was very happy when a friend bought his daughter a black doll. That child will hopefully grow up being much more comfortable with people of colour

42. People can be Black and gay and disabled and trans and middle class. Blackness is expansive. It doesn’t look one way. Keep this in mind.

Indeed! This is why we need to start thinking much more intersectionaly.

Mixed race couple
Photo by Creative Hina By.Quileen on Unsplash

48. Never try and pull any uninvited “race play” shit in the bedroom. Seriously, what the fuck?

I had quite a few times while dating, discussions about never having sex with a black man. Its massively upsetting and is like number 50, being called exotic! If this happened in the bedroom it would be over in a heartbeat.

59. Look around your workplace—are the only people of color cleaners or assistants? What can you do to change that? (The answer is almost never “nothing.”)

One of my biggest problems, companies who have a diverse workforce but all the people of colour are cleaners, security guards, assistants, etc.

70. Don’t? Vote? For? Racist? Politicians? Can’t believe I need to say this one but it seems like possibly, maybe, some of y’all did not get this memo.

Its simple, don’t vote for those who make their views clear about which side of the fence they sit. People seem to forget this when election time comes around.

78. If you have ever thought a phrase like “Black lives matter” is too assertive, consider why you’re so uncomfortable with Black people standing up for our humanity.

Absolutely… You need to check your white fragility because people of colour of dying

90. Care about race on the 364 days that aren’t Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Black history month is something which bugs me, I get there are seasons but it feels so insulting that everything is held to then or not bundled together because of that month.

96. Understand that nothing in your life has been untouched by your whiteness. Everything you have would have been harder to come by if you had not been born white.

Its hard to discuss but we are getting closer to the point when we can finally have those conversations. That is progress

99. Recognize that fighting racism isn’t about you, it’s not about your feelings; it’s about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.

The problem is systematic racism, we need each other to make things better for everyone.

Family stands for black lives matter
Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

Racial microaggressions I have heard in the past

Racial microaggressions

I found this on the black leaders facebook network which I was invited to a while ago. I have had at least a couple of these thrown at me in the past. Usually with people who just met me. I do tend to look up thinking here we go again…

Most minorities face microaggressions. If you are woman, LGBTQ+, have a disability, are neurodiverse, etc.

Its tiresome and the people who say it just don’t think. But its certainly time to start making super clear its not alright by playing the question back on the other person.

Re-watching the Watchmen TV series

Spoiler alert!!!

If you have not seen the Watchmen the TV series, Do not watch the explainer above. Instead watch this one,

I can’t tell you how amazing the TV series is and its excellent follow up to the excellent film.

I’m watching it again because although its amazing, and I needed to watch it all again to understand it all. However I also wanted to watch it during the black lives matter protests for its extremely strong race in America storyline and references. This is how I found out about Tulsa in 1921.

Changes due to #BlackLivesMatter

There is a lot happening around black lives matter and sometimes its worth celebrating some of small things as we move closer to a much more antiracist stance (don’t get me wrong I know its a long long way off, but hearing some news it feels closer than ever)

BLM supporter speaks out after carrying counter-protester to safety
When I saw the picture on twitter I was blown away, I read the story and then found the channel4 interview.

Reddit’s co-founder resigns, asks to be replaced by black candidate
This happened quite soon after the first set of protests and I was surprised. Reddit has had its problems in the past and this could be actually a genius move.

Removing slave and master from openZFS, GitHub abandons ‘master’ and ‘slave’ and theres been moves to remove terms like whitelist.
I remember the first time I learned to build a PC being faced with the IDE/UDMA bus with master and slave devices. It bugged me but just lived with it. Its about time it was changed because it can easily be called something else. Its only legacy which has kept it as it is.

Content warning

A number of movies and TV shows have faced up to their bias and racist prejudice. This of course has upset people but they will likely return with a content warning.

List of companies supporting black lives matter (at least on social media channels)
A nice list with a archive which will be very useful to look back in 6, 12, 18, 36 months time.

A friend (thatgirlvim) shared with me this fundraiser for a research study into Diverse & Equal Black Tech

Finally another  good friend floated this lecture series to me recently. Modernity + Coloniality A free online summer course on coloniality and decoloniality. Looks really good but I’m not so keen on the open zoom, after my experience of zoombombing.

Make no mistake this is worldwide system of racism

Lots of people are focused on whats happening in America, but its super important to remember we are facing a worldwide system of racism. From judges to the police. It happens everywhere including the UK and doesn’t always manifest in death.