I think the problem is that many people in America think that racism is an attitude. And this is encouraged by the capitalist system. So they think that what people think is what makes them a racist. Racism is not an attitude.
If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power.
Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.
You cannot be a racist without power. You cannot be a sexist without power. Even men who beat their wives get this power from the society which allows it, condones it, encourages it. One cannot be against racism, one cannot be against sexism, unless one is against capitalism.—
Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) answering a question about racism, sexism, and capitalism.
Almost every marginalized group that cites evidence of violence, especially police violence and abuse, is actually citing statistics against African-American members of that group.
1. Police assault a gay man. It is reported and framed as an “anti-gay” attack. White gay people say “look at the terrible violence we face!”
He is a black man.
2. Feminists decry the horrific new developments in regard to the criminalization of pregnancy, i.e. people with uteri who are prosecuted and/or sent to prison for refusing a c-section, having a miscarriage or stillbirth, having a mental illness, being perceived as “irresponsible”, et cetera.
White women: “this is happening to women!!!” News stories invariably show the pregnant bellies of white women. The stories are written by white women, and are addressed to white women. Which is also cissexist.
First, we describe characteristics of the women and the cases, finding that low-income women and women of color, especially African American women, are overrepresented among those who have been arrested or subjected to equivalent deprivations of liberty.
who are poor, and often living in the South, with its rich history of forced sterilizations and eugenics. South Carolina especially showed preference for sterilizing African American women.
From the report:
For example, in South Carolina thirty-four of ninety-three cases came from the contiguous counties of Charleston and Berkeley.
3. A white Autistic person writes the line, “Being mentally ill means that I am more likely to be shot by police”, and explains why hiding a mental illness can be a survival tool.
Unfortunately, here in reality, those Autistic people who are shot to death by police can’t hide the immediate, visual fact that they are Black men.
Stephon Watts, 15
Ernest Vassell, 57
Stephen Eugene Washington, 27
Roger Parker Jr., 9
4. The face of LGBT activism is white gay men writing about police violence toward white gay people. Pepper spray at a Pride Parade is big news. In fact, many articles defend a white gay man who assaulted a Black woman and told her to “go back to Africa”. White gay men love to write about how subject to violence they are.
and almost all of those (44 percent of overall) are against the “t” in LGBT
and nearly all of those crimes are against Trans* women of color
Also, trans* women of color are sent to prison for surviving a vicious attack. After a trial in which evidence of the attacker’s racism, swastika tattoos, and criminal history is suppressed.
5. Disability advocacy organization in Washington decries disabled children being criminalized, arrested, and prosecuted for minor or nonexistent infractions. News sites report that Mississippi School-To-Prison Pipeline “targets African American AND disabled children”, and uses this image:
all of them “children of color,” says Jody Owens, with the Southern Poverty Law Center–were routinely arrested at Meridian schools allegedly on the say-so of teachers or administrators, handcuffed and taken to jail where they were held for days on end without benefit of a hearing, a lawyer, or understanding their Miranda rights.
Meridian county is 55% African-American, and about 70% of schoolchildren are African American.
Disabled children of color face torture, imprisonment, vicious beatings perpetrated by teachers, and are African American children with or without disabilities are 3 1/2 times more likely to receive “disciplinary action” against them in school than white students.
6. There is a huge outcry against the NRA’s suggestion of armed guards at Elementary schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
A bare footnote or completely lost in this outcry is the fact that an overwhelming proportion of children of color, especially Black and Latino children, already go to schools with armed guards and police presence on the campus.
The notorious and unapologetic racist sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, has sent out more than 3,000 untrained “posse” volunteers to “police” schools under his purview. This is when his “trained” deputies already torture, abuse, beat, and murder people of color in Maricopa County on a terrifyingly regular basis.
To come full circle, the student shot dead by police in the link above also had a mental illness.
Almost every marginalized group that cites evidence of overwhelming discrimination and violence, especially police violence and abuse, is actually citing statistics against African-American members of that group.
The point of all this is that journalism repeatedly fails to accurately report that people of color suffer the overwhelming majority of police violence. The racism built into the very foundations of American society and culture ensures that this violence continues, is under-reported, misrepresented as evidence of criminality, when it fact it is evidence of the criminalization of people of color, especially Black Americans.
If you are a white person, and you experience a particular axis of marginalization and want to give statistics on the violence you face as an oppressed person, especially in regards to police violence, you should consider checking whether these statistics accurately reflect the violence against white members of the marginalized group you belong to.
And also of note: police violence is the measure of which overtly sanctioned violence perpetrated by U.S. government and society is glaring gateway into overall violence and discrimination is perpetrated again people of color, especially Black Americans. It permeates the education system, the medical and mental health systems, the social security and welfare systems, the legal system, the higher education systems, the banking systems, the commercial and entrepreneurial systems, and every single institution.
how morally bankrupt are we to see all these receipts, to listen to the horror stories from PoC, to hear how people suffer at our hands, to read how it’s not enough to eradicate their culture and traditions through colonialism, how we then take their culture and their language and their identities for our own (white transethnics)
and to then turn around and DENY that it ever even happened
to say that to point it out is racist in and of itself
I swear to God, if you actually listen to PoC and you are STILL going to turn around and complain about how WE’RE NOT ALL LIKE THAT or that generalizing white people is JUST AS BAD, you are a shit of a person and I hope horrible things happen to you
and don’t go thinking that NOT doing the above earns you a gold star because it’s just decent human behavior
serves only to divide you from potential allies and limit your own learning. — From 28 Common Racist Attitudes & Behaviors (PDF Link) By Debra Leigh, Organizer, Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative (via whatwhiteswillneverknow)
“Do you have proof? Convince me that this is harmful and racist or else everything you say is invalid!”
Oh, how I fucking hate this derail.
Basically, it’s set up to put PoC on the defensive, and that’s why white folks and “colorblind” racists do it — they make us feel defensive about our experiences, our feelings, and our perceptions, which are all valid.
Yet they need to invalidate them and try to drive us insane by forcing us to give them evidence, which they usually always dismiss. They try to make us not trust our own gut instincts and intuition, saying that they’re inherently “unreasonable” and “irrational.”
Which, when it comes to racism? PoC are going to know more than white people. Automatically. We experience it, so of course we’re going to know. Racism and whiteness are the things that are unreasonable and irrational, not PoC’s perceptions, experiences, and very valid feelings with living through it.
And you wonder why a lot of PoC don’t trust white people? We constantly feel like our minds and hearts are being put on trial.
We don’t have to prove shit. If you’re not open-minded enough to at least hear about what we have to say and consider it without automatically invalidating it because you’re so afraid of your whiteness being deconstructed and your perception not being the only one that’s “right” and “true,” then the burden’s on you to prove to us why we need to give a shit about your opinions and why we should waste any of our time and energy on you.
When I ask you not to use the word Gypsy
It’s because it hurts me.
It’s not because I think you’re a bad or evil person. It’s not because I hate you as person.
It’s because it hurts me. It hurts my family. It hurts my parents, my child, and it hurts my ancestors.
I’m not being dramatic or emotional. I’m not being a bitch or being mean.
The word Gypsy is a racial slur and is used against us every day. It means we can’t get jobs or houses; health care or education; a place to live; food; water. It means we live in used shipping containers; in old toxic factories; on trash dumps and abandoned land behind high walls designed to keep us out.
Being “racist” is seen as something terrible and evil. We all think we’re good people and we wouldn’t act that way. We might think that because we only took the good parts (the skirts or the music or the femininity) that it can’t be offensive. We think that our intent shoves the dark aspects of the word away and leaves only the pretty pieces.
But, there is nothing good about the word “Gypsy”.
We are Romani. We are Sinti. We are Kale and Calo; Manouche and Pavee. We are mothers and daughters, uncles and sons.
We are so much more than a hideous word etched into our skin or written in arcane and draconian laws.
In France headlines this week read “Riot Police take on Gipsies” as hundreds of my brothers and sisters were evicted, again, forcibly.
Racist TV shows like American Gypsies are allowed and encouraged by international media (American Gypsies Breaking Old Stereotypes but Creating New Ones).
And countries such as the Czech Republic continue to harass, marginalize, and victimize Romani on a daily basis…. “While “never again” happens again”.
So, I’m not trying to rain on your parade, be a “reverse racist” or imply that you’re somehow bad…
I’m simply asking you to please stop hurting me. Stop hurting my son. Stop hurting my people.