#blacklivesmatter, here comes the difficult part!

Canary in the coal mine

I found this guardian opinion piece pretty apt.

Everyone applauds a movement for social justice until it “goes too far” – when it starts making “unreasonable demands” in the service of its “political agenda”. This moment, where sympathetic onlookers start shimmying away from their earlier expressions of solidarity, was always inevitable. It is easy to agree that black lives should matter. But it is hard to contemplate all the ways the world needs to change to make them matter – and for most people, it’s simpler to say that the goal is admirable, of course, but that these particular demands from these particular protests at this particular moment are just going too far. We project our failures of imagination on to the movement, and we decamp from the cheerleading stands into the peanut gallery. “Defund the police”? How about we come up with a less provocative slogan, for a start? These Black Lives Matter protesters, they don’t make things easy for themselves, do they?

We tend to think that protest is confrontational, and change is consensual – first, a painful moment with marches in the streets and impassioned orations, followed by something less dramatic, a softer path of negotiation and adaptation. But the opposite is true. Protest is the easy bit. More specifically, protest is a smooth part sandwiched between two very rough ones.

The momentum to change things for the long run is always the issue. How do you make sustainable change? This is part of the reason why I’m interested in the public pledges by companies.

You didnt come this far to only come this far
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Me personally, I have doing other things in the background. For example I took the opportunity Tech for good put out on twitter to record 3 podcasts with other people of colour.

I along with other noble colleagues have taken up the challenge of reverse mentoring the all white all male senior management at work. I’m taking it very seriously as its a great opportunity to actually make some long lasting changes.

There’s more happening but I need to keep that quiet for now. Hope to have more details to share soon!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Climate disaster is just around the corner

I have nothing but respect for the people who are taking part in the Extinction Rebellion, its about time! I had hoped Al Gore’s inconvenient truth would be the start of this? But it wasn’t. You can blame the media, trump, etc but the fact is we are running out of time.

Extinction Rebellion - Rebel for life
Its unbelievable and downright scary to hear mainly older peoples views on “kids” truanting from school and blocking London. I understand the worry about legal and illegal protest, however each and everyone of them understand how much of a knife edge humanity is on.

I was listening to Episode 127 of TeamHuman “All Hands On Deck” Extinction Rebellion with Gail Bradbrook and Clare Farrell. Although I thought they were interesting its their pulling people together which is most important. Always reminded of Eric Nehrlich’s find the others post.

I found this cartoon quite powerful by the way.

 

OkCupid protest for equal marrage rights…

Okcupid protest for equal gay rights

Good on OkCupid! Text reads…

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.

However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid: