Chief constable Andy Bennett was so right

 

Sorry but Chief Constable Andy Bennett was absolutely right to leave the protestors last week alone as they torn down the statute of Edward Colston.

Any kind of confrontation would have ended up in something far worst. Can you even imagine the police standing in the way of protesters defending a slave owner!

No, Andy Bennett showed incredible cultural intelligence. No matter what anyone else says.

“To arrest suspects would likely to lead to injuries to suspects, injuries to officers, and people who were not involved in damaging property being thrown into a very violent confrontation with the police that could have had serious ramifications for the city of Bristol and beyond,” Mr Marsh said.

“Can you imagine scenes of police in Bristol fighting with protesters who were damaging the statue of a man who is reputed to have gathered much of his fortune through the slave trade?

“I think there would have been very serious implications and whilst I certainly do not condone crime or damage of any sort, I fully support the actions of my officers.

Black lives matters is passing that reflection point into action?

BLM protester uses the knee which killed George Floyd while also giving the black power salute
Powerful pose, using the knee restraint which killed George Floyd while also giving the black power salute

During the Bristol Black lives matter protests on Sunday, Colston’s statute ended up in the docks. I did say there will be larger questions hung around the necks of other slave trade statutes around the UK and maybe elsewhere including America.

A lot of the discussion have been bubbling under but it feels like things are actually changing? Ok so far Robert Milligan: Slave trader statue removed from outside London museum is the only one. But questions are being asked

Cecil Rhodes: Protesters demand Oxford statue removal

The Scottish streets and monuments built on the slave trade

Slave owner statue debate ‘long overdue’ says Sturgeon

Winston Churchill: Hero or villain?

Updated

Bill Thompson made an excellent point to me via another person he knows.

Those statutes were never permanently fixed to the base. Almost like someone knew their day would come one day. So much of what we see seems unmovable but they are built on poor foundations.

Its an analogy which can apply to many different things including the system of racism or the massive tech corps currently in play.

I used to be racist

https://i1.wp.com/www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/v6rxbn.jpg?w=840

I can’t tell you how amazing it was to read a facebook post from a friend. It started with those words…

I used to be a racist…

Obviously I won’t say who, as something like this is something them may be ok with sharing with close friends but not the general public. People will judge although they should likely look in the mirror first.

This person outlined how they were not what you typically think of as a racist but rather someone who would have said 10 years ago all lives matter. They had spent most of their earlier years blind to the reality of inequality of women, different races,, people with disabilities, etc.

With a small number of people, I was named as having a significant impact on their world view. So much so, they were very happy to post black lives matter on their facebook timeline and call for the eradication of racism now. Personally this was incredible to see and read completely out of the blue.

I was blown away by this, and it gives me real hope this time we can together make enough of a dent in systematic racism.  That is what we are fighting not police, not the judges, we are fighting a system of privilege which spans centuries.

Reading/Listening to White Fragility again

I had a re-read/listen to Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility again as its been a while since I heard it the first time, I also felt the context and timing was well worth a re-listen.

There is a lot of hate for this book but honestly its one of the books I highly recommend along side Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.

 

Why Im no longer talking with white people about race bookWhy Im no longer talking with white people about race book

Screenshots from my Likebook reader

Theres a few lectures and podcasts for those who don’t have the e/book or audiobook.

Bristol was divided about Colston, not anymore?

BLM protester uses the knee which killed George Floyd while also giving the black power salute
Powerful pose, using the knee restraint which killed George Floyd while also giving the black power salute

I don’t quite know how I feel about the Edward Colston statue which was torn down, dragged to Bristol docks and throw in today.

I’m slightly torn… only slightly

I am very proud to come from Bristol and for to be massively supported (5,000 people!) in a city with 15% people of colour. The protest looked from what I could see of the coverage. I have been aware of the Colston statue while growing up but the worst that ever happened was he ended up with a traffic cone on his head.

Bristol have been debating if it should be taken down for a while and theres been attempts to show the historic horror of the slave trade in the UK.

I’m with the protestors. But I also think about the democratic process and encouraging people to take things into their own hands. This is also what the establishment always wanted, a way to condemn the black lives matter movement on top of the public health risk. Priti Patel is just the start of the torrent of negative press coming. I also imagine other protests in other cities might consider similar?

Positive things to come from this…

“I believe that one candidate for his replacement would be Paul Stephenson. He led the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, started because Bristol Post announced in 1961 that black workers were refused work despite a worker shortage due to a resolution from the Transport and General Workers’ Union. The Boycott influenced the creation of the Race Relations Act.

  • Its clear this time black lives matter is going to have some serious legacy with lots of good people and companies standing alongside.
  • The calls to reform history education to include much more about the UK’s role in the slave trade, have been ignited once again.

Are you culpable or a true ally?

Been back and forth about why black lives matter isn’t something you can sit on the fence with. I personally hate binary choices but its clear the middle ground is a problem. Its a problem because silence works in the favor of the system of oppression against the minority. Exactly why the #metoo movement was/is so important.

There’s been a lot of anger at the police and honestly I was crying my eyes out seeing not only Floyd’s murder but other black people’s death at the hands of police officers. I have had enough bad experiences to be weary of the police (Recently I even did the work for them before they would come and help!). I do think all the police involved in the call to the Floyds murder are culpable/responsible for his murder. Not just the one with his knee blocking his airway. But its not just the police, thats just chipping away at the surface.

Think about the courts which hand out police officer short sentences for killing black lives

Its the system of oppression/systematic racism. A system which is built on white privilege and maintains that state no matter what (shootings, throwing as many black people in prison, whatever it takes). Its even the smaller things like the gig-economy, sharing economy , waiting for a meeting, etc.  There is so much to understand and learn if we are going to change it. I say we, because… The only way to change the system is with unity from all.

This is why its been really interesting to see the amount of white people who have also joined the movement. I’m sure they realised this isn’t just a black problem. The system of oppression affects all, the more true alies the better.

I can’t believe it but Cosmo magazine actually has a really good guide to share with parents and friends who don’t understand the problem. While Vogue has a detailed ally guide.

Black lives matter protest Manchester

George Floyd mural in Manchester's Northern Quarter

I did make it to Manchester’s Black Lives Matter protest via the George Floyd mural in Stevenson Square. I stayed back and watched from a far, as I wanted to make sure I was social distanced.

BLM protest

While walking around Manchester I today I was looking at peoples faces and theres a sense of real anger but also that something might actually change?

Black Lives Matter Manchester

Although I did have an encounter with some folks I knew as I walked back. They were complaining about lots of people protesting and breaking the social distancing guidelines. I explained I was there too and left saying, when people are faced with a system which is killing you, what would you do? They left in silence.

One of the best signs I saw today was this one…

Your activism must continue after this protest

Your activism must continue after this protest…

Be the change

This is exactly where I am, right now. Protest is the first step but the next one is how to make sustainable long lasting change. We need to organize and break down the systematic state of racism.

I have thoughts and currently looking for the others. A few people have also made the point there should/could be a focus on the UK/European problems which is very much the same but sometimes more subtle in nature?

Dramatic images are money

I have seen a number of images from black lives matter protests, some of them are dramatic in nature. Sometimes clashes with police, teargas, etc. Its the stuff which sells and we all need to remember this! Most protests generally are peaceful.

For example, here is the Manchester protest where around 50 people took a knee.

Simple, peaceful and in the eyes of a newspaper, boring but real

Its quite a different look from what you see in the La Times

Now is the time to listen…

Thankfully a few friends have reached out to me and asked how they can help or do something in regards to the murder of George Floyd and the systematic racism.

My thoughts are all over the place but I would start by listening!!!

As many of us have said over and over again its not simply this one murder. Its all the others and the systematic racism.

Start with the Daily Tech News show which did a special which had me in tears. Heck it finally got me to sign up on patreon to support them (first time).

We’re taking a day off to hear from black contributors to DTNS and its wider circle.

There has been many others who have spoken out including Clara on BBC Radio 1.

Another powerful piece video is Trevor Noah of the Daily Show, who connects all the pieces together in the way I was trying to explain in my previous post.

No matter what you think… just listen…

What happened in Tulsa “Black Wall Street”?

I heard about what happened in Tulsa a long while ago but didn’t really understand fully what it meant. Then during the Watchmen TV series I saw the Tulsa 1921 massacre play out and looked it up for the first time.

Shocking stuff even for 1921.

So why am I thinking about this? Well for many reasons plus it was 99 years ago yesterday the massacre happened

If you can’t get access to HBO, here is a video which explains the first episode and why Tulsa.

Unconscious bias kills black lives

There is so much I have been thinking about in the last few days. I found Baratunde’s discussion with Leo quite relaxing to listen to. While America is on a knife’s edge with Trump once again making things much worst. Thankfully his Democratic opponent Biden is right on edge extending his ears and heart to understand.

On May 29th one of my favorite cities in America, Minneapolis’ police killed George Floyd because he was accused of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The new york times have a good video explaining what happened using a number of different camera views including security footage. I’m not going to share because its a very difficult watch and been shared widely.

The almost the same day Amy Cooper (white lady) in central park calls the police on Christian Cooper (black man) saying shes an “African American” was threaten her. No one died thankfully, Amy was fired from her job and Christian makes clear its not about Amy but the systematic racism in our culture.

Don't forget white women voted for Trump
(If you didn’t get the Karen reference here is Bill Maher to explain it for you.)

Systematic or institutional racism as defined during the Stephen Lawrence case is exactly why so many black men and women in America have died at the hands of the people who are meant to be protecting us all. Heck even Ben & Jerrys knows its true! Its clear to me there could have been two deaths that day simply by calling the police out to a IC3 incident.

As Baratunde says we need everybody to get involved. This isn’t that tonedeaf all lives matter stuff.  I am humbled to see London, Berlin protest and see a sheriff rejecting orders from the white house.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Sept 2019)

johnny mnemonic

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking down at our feet or watch how democracy is being gamed and broken. 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.

With a focus on new models in business, technology, society, policy, processes, etc. I present my public service internet newsletter.

You are seeing aspects of this happening as people rethink public transport.

Don’t forget if you find this useful, you will find “Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?” at the RSA London on 21st October  2019, right up your street.

Reflections on capitalism gone wild system

Ian thinks: Rushkoff’s monologue at Betaworks Studio is breathless, funny, tragic and worth every minute of your time.

Ghosts in the smart home

Ian thinks: Lancaster University’s short about smart homes, is a design fiction which is fun, informative and enjoyable to watch. Sure some the living room of the future and petras workstream had a influence?

Black lives matter’s alternative systems

Ian thinks: Theres a question later about the media, Alicia talks about creating their own systems not just relying on what already exists.

Surveillance systems head to head 

Ian thinks: Cambridge Analytica’s whistle blower and Russian investigative journalist, go head to head discussing surveillance capitalism and government surveillance.

Suicide Is an epidemic and therapy apps are not helping

Ian thinks: As we turn to apps for everything a thoughtful look at therapy apps market good and bad. Theres not an app for everything.

The real johnny mnemonic (contains surgery pictures)

Ian thinks: Ever since Quantified Self people started embedding NFC under the skin, I wondered how far it would go. Perfect name for the software

We are not ready, privacy in 2019

Ian thinks: Really good list of the leaks, abuses, dumps and thoughts if we are ready for even more? Question is how many more before the end of year?

Emotional and erotic intelligence for an enlighten future (NSFW)

Ian thinks: Although a talk about sextech is uncomfortable for people, the subject of intimacy, human connection and self reflection are so much more important than our personal discomfort.

Danilo Milovanović public space interventions

Ian thinks: Excellent to see more thoughtful playful artistic interventions in the public realm.

A couple of powerful talks I have heard recently

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQOm6efNVW4

Its powerful and critical advice for all by Wade Davis (Netflix VP of inclusion). With only 40 views, it deserves so much more attention.

Also while watching a bunch of new videos, I came across the incredible talk from the Festival of dangerous ideas. Alicia Garza and Stan Grant – Why Black Lives Matter

#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others call for change is insistent and consistent. So what does need to change in politics, in the media and in everyday lives to transform race relations and ensure justice and recognition for all?

Viewers might find this disturbing

Manchester Ferguson protest

The last 2 weeks have been difficult to take. Theres been too much I have wanted to say and so much I have wanted to do. I have been thinking and deeply worried we have taken a few steps backwards in evolution.

For me two videos have summed up so much, and I do worry they exist in spaces like Facebook.

Video one is the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in St Paul, Minnesota. but you can clearly see this isn’t the case, in a city I have visited and actually enjoyed in the past.

The second video comes in the days after the EU Referendum or Brexit. It shows a racist tram abuse at 8am in the morning in Manchester.

Each person who filmed the killing and abusive attack, showed incredible bravery to stand up and put a camera in the face of such situations. If you are old enough to remember the Rodney King beating, its important to remember George Holliday who filmed the beating.

Listen to the minorities, they are telling you something important

Doing my bit to Inject feminism into daily conversations with other men (people!) I have been more and more aware of how controversial my enlighten views on feminism seem to be. Luckily I have recently been surrounding myself with people who are equally enlighten in their views. Rebecca posted on her facebook wall something which is linkbaity but I clicked and read/watched for about 30mins solid. The 39 most iconic feminist moments of 2014, will have you almost in tears and punching the sky in a FTW style.

Some of the best parts for me include…

Mo’ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”

When the 13-year-old Davis led her team to the Little League World Series, it’s safe to say she captivated the nation. Poised and confident, Davis was an instant role model for millions of little girls — and boys — and also was the first Little Leaguer to grace a Sports Illustrated cover. To top it off, she was also recently named Sports Illustrated Kid‘s “SportsKid of the Year.” You go, girl.

Beyoncé danced in front of the world — and a gigantic feminist banner.

…Beyoncé’s 16-minute performance was quite literally a sight for sore eyes. The world’s biggest diva proved feminism wasn’t just accessible, it was cool. As Time remarked, the entire show was about women’s empowerment.

Aziz Ansari broke down feminism for dudes.

During his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in October, Aziz Ansari made some crucial points about feminism to an otherwise pretty mainstream late night audience. “If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it just means that men and women have equal rights,” he said. “And I feel like everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. But I think the reason people don’t clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture.”

Aziz Ansari is exactly the point of view enlighten man should be thinking. That is what everyman can do to help the movement of diversity and equal rights for all.  And further to that, the words play deconstruction is great.

Ansari’s message was clear — feminism is not about pitting men and women against each other. “If you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work,” he said. “You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ Oh, so you’re a dermatologist? ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No no, not at all, not at all.'”

Whats also interesting for me is continued rise of black women. Outside of the Beyonce’s, Olivia Pope’s, Lupita Nyong’s, etc. You have Roxane Gay, Shonda Rhimes and so many many more strong black women standing for their rights and doing the right thing.

Women stood at the front lines of Ferguson.

Despite reports of women being silenced or interrupted by male activists, women made sure their voices were part of the growing chorus of dissent coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. “Historically, women have always been leading,” protester Thenjiwe McHarris told MSNBC. “A lot of times women are often unseen leaders because women are all just doing it — we’re all just doing the work.” In addition to helping lead marches and chants, women like Jamilah Lemieux from Ebony also fearlessly reported on events from the ground. Although police Officer Darren Wilson was ultimately not charged in the killing of Michael Brown, the conversation about racial justice will continue, with women as some of its most invaluable warriors.

Absolutely the protest/rally I was a part of last week was arranged and put together by black women wanting to show their support from Manchester. This is why I was so upset when it got hijacked by other organisations.

Looking at the battlegrounds of , its easy to look at it and think, “well theres little I can do…?

But just like feminism, we need support from all sides. You don’t have to be Black to understand or at the very least listen…!

When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.

When a black person tells you something is racist, believe them.

Don’t be an online bystander in the face of sexism.

Don’t be an online bystander in the face of racism..

I find the link between feminism and racism far too obvious in my mind but so many people don’t get it. Its about being who you are and not an idealised version which the media and society want you to fit into. Being a woman like being black is not something you can just tone or up/down to fit in with the patriarchy.

I could be talking about another race, age, LGBTQ, Disabled, etc, etc people. We should never have to apologize for who we are

On the last train home to Manchester last night from Newcastle, I was on a very very busy train between Newcastle and Darlington. I did have to throw somebody out of my table seat but he was pretty understanding in the end. His friend was less understanding but by the time the train started moving, he started talking to me. Now to be fair it was 10:15pm on a Saturday night so there was a lot of alcohol involved. but he started talking to me about racism.

I don’t see colour…” So I engaged and carefully suggested maybe he does and actually it might be better if he did? (wasn’t going to bring up the fact he was talking about it with the only black man on a predominately white train) might be counter to his argument). Anyway the guy who I throw out of the seat, standing next to me. Could hear the conversation and seemed a lot more sober, and interjected about the doctor whom saved his daughter who was black. As you can imagine the conversation went on quite a bit but the crux came down to not or seeing colour.

My thoughts is you need to see diversity before you can respect it and do something about it. Pretending we are all born equal is not a mistake. Yes we should/must strive for equality and also celebrate diversity but we are a long long way from either right now.

https://twitter.com/lsarsour/status/541426219657748481/