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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Brown

Blacks killed by Police: Nothing changed since 2014?

Note: Re-edit of “A few Statistics: Victims of Police Violence Are Mostly Blacks, December 1, 2014

Apparently, Nothing has changed since 2014, concerning the violent behavors of Police toward Black citizens. We all hope that this daily mass demonstrations in most US city for the death of George Floyd will make a qualitative change.

Pew study found that 63% of white and 20% of black people think that Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson (who resigned the force) is not about race.

Those people are wrong.

When Force is Hardest to Justify, Victims of Police Violence Are Most Likely to be Black

African Americans are, in fact, far more likely to be killed by police.

Among young men, blacks are 21 times more likely to die at the hands of police than their white counterparts.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true.

Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black” (source).

1 (4)

That’s data from the FBI.

This question was also studied by sociologist Lance Hannon.

With an analysis of over 950 non-justifiable homicides from police files, he tested whether black people were more likely to take actions that triggered their own murder. The answer was no.

He found no evidence that blacks were more likely than whites to engage in verbal or physical antecedents that explained their death.

There is lots more evidence if one bothers to go looking for it.

So, no. Just… no.

This is about race. It is very, very obviously about race.

It’s not a matter of opinion; it’s a scientific question that has been asked and answered.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Note: Centuries of oppressions and uprising have left their mark on the racial issue in the USA.

White are scared shit of blacks, even female blacks, and Blacks are afraid shit of the police force when it converges to the neighbourhood, and especially when the blacks are away from their neighbourhood.

Most probably, new recruits from white police officers are not comfortable when confronting a robust black male, and any sign of closing distance between the two bring a violent reaction from the white officer.

On the other hand, many blacks take advantage of the police force keeping a distance from them in order to exaggerate their outlawed activities, mainly the petty thefts and mugging.

Note: In Minneapolis, between 2000 and 2018 unemployment rose from 6.8% to 8% among black people, while it dropped from 2.5% to 1.9% among whites. In many other US cities where protests have erupted in recent days, the pre-pandemic racial gap in unemployment is striking:

 

A few Statistics: Victims of Police Violence Are Mostly Blacks

A Pew study found that 63% of white and 20% of black people think that Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson (who resigned the force) is not about race.

Those people are wrong.

When Force is Hardest to Justify, Victims of Police Violence Are Most Likely to be Black

African Americans are, in fact, far more likely to be killed by police.

Among young men, blacks are 21 times more likely to die at the hands of police than their white counterparts.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true.

Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black” (source).

1 (4)

That’s data from the FBI.

This question was also studied by sociologist Lance Hannon.

With an analysis of over 950 non-justifiable homicides from police files, he tested whether black people were more likely to take actions that triggered their own murder. The answer was no.

He found no evidence that blacks were more likely than whites to engage in verbal or physical antecedents that explained their death.

There is lots more evidence if one bothers to go looking for it.

So, no. Just… no.

This is about race. It is very, very obviously about race.

It’s not a matter of opinion; it’s a scientific question that has been asked and answered.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Note: Centuries of oppressions and uprising have left their mark on the racial issue in the USA. White are scared shit of blacks, even female blacks, and Blacks are afraid shit of the police force when it converges to the neighbourhood, and especially when the blacks are away from their neighbourhood.

Most probably, new recruits from white police officers are not comfortable when confronting a robust black male, and any sign of closing distance between the two bring a violent reaction from the white officer.

On the other hand, many blacks take advantage of the police force keeping a distance from them in order to exaggerate their outlawed activities, mainly the petty thefts and mugging.

 

Ferguson Protesters To Be Prosecuted? Like the Palestinians in Israel?

President Barack Obama strongly denounced violence that occurred during demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, and called for prosecutions against those committing “criminal acts” Tuesday night.

“Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts. And people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts,” Obama said before giving a speech on immigration in Chicago, Illinois.

(Obama was upset because they were destroying their community).

Protesters stormed the streets of Ferguson Monday night, after a grand jury declined to indict the white police officer, Darren Wilson, who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown last August.

Wilson has said he acted in self-defense, but protesters disagree and argue the killing is part of a larger problem of police discrimination.

The demonstration quickly turned violent with numerous businesses and cars torched by the crowd. More than 60 protesters were arrested and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he would deploy over  2,000 National Guard troops to keep order Tuesday evening.

Obama said it would be inappropriate for him to address the specifics of Wilson’s case.

However, as he did in a speech following the verdict, Obama spoke generally about his sympathies with the community’s broader frustrations. He said he ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to look into improving police training and diversity across the country.

The frustrations that people have generally, those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed. And so those who are prepared to work constructively, your president will work with you. A lot of folks, I believe, in law enforcement, and a lot of people in city halls, and governors’ offices around the country want to work with you as a well,” Obama said.

While he noted he understands why many are upset by the situation, Obama said he has “no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”

“The bottom line is nothing of significance, nothing of benefit, results from destructive acts. I’ve never seen a civil rights law, or a healthcare law, or an immigration bill result because a car got burnt,” he said.

“Take the long-term, lasting route of working with me and governors and state officials to bring about some real change. And to those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-violent-ferguson-protesters-should-be-prosecuted-2014-11#ixzz3KN9InRon

Note: The Palestinian youth in the West Bank are arrested administratively while in their home under no charges whatsoever and are incarcerated for over 6 months. These stone throwers are shot by live bullets, mostly in their backs and heads.

 

On Being a Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, in America in 2014

Just like Michael Brown, comedian and commentator W. Kamau Bell is six feet four inches tall. And he knows it.

I am afraid of the cops. Absolutely petrified of the cops.

Now understand, I’ve never been arrested or held for questioning. I’ve never been told that I “fit the description.” But that doesn’t change a thing.

I am afraid of cops the way that spiders are afraid of boots. You’re walking along, minding your own business, and SQUISH! You are dead.

By Cassie Wright/Getty Images for SXSW

Simply put, I am afraid of the cops because I am black.

To raise the stakes even further, I am male. And to go all in on this pot of fear, I am six foot four, and weigh 250 pounds.

Michael Brown, the unarmed Missouri 18-year-old shot dead by police this summer, was also six foot four. Depending on your perspective, I could be described as a “gentle giant,” the way that teachers described Brown.

Or I could be described as a “demon,” the way that Officer Darren Wilson described Michael Brown in his grand-jury testimony.

I don’t engage in any type of behavior that should place me in a cop’s crosshairs. I don’t live in “one of those neighborhoods,” or hang out with a “bad crowd,” (unless you count comedians).

I am not involved in felonious activity. I’m not bragging. I’m just boring. But the fact that I’m not involved in any of that stuff doesn’t leave me any more confident I won’t be killed.

That’s because I’ve been endowed with the triple crown of being killed for no good reason: big, black, and male.

On Monday night, I went out for ic 000019F2 e cream at 12:30 A.M. I walked a while because I live in a pretty sleepy neighborhood in Berkeley, California.

I had my hoodie up, because it was cold and it made it easier to listen to the podcast in my headphones.

By the time I found a late-night convenience store, I had passed a few—by my eye—unsavory characters of all races. So, as I walked in the store I had to take some precautionary action.

For starters, I took the hood down. I took it down even though my afro had become a flat-fro from being squashed underneath. I didn’t touch anything that I wasn’t absolutely sure I was going to buy. (Just like my mom had taught me.)

I kept my hands out of my pockets with palms clearly visible so the clerk behind the counter could easily see that I wasn’t shoving things in—or maybe more importantly about to pull something out of—my pockets.

And as soon as I decided on an It’s It ice-cream sandwich, I went directly to the counter and gingerly placed my selection down, again keeping my palms visible and only making the movements I needed to get the money out of my wallet.

All seemed to be going well. But I was so preoccupied with not seeming unsavory that when the clerk said “two twenty-five”, I thought he said, “one twenty-five.” As he wordlessly stared at the two bucks I had given him without looking me in the eye, I realized my error and simultaneously had a tiny jolt of adrenalin.

“Uh-oh!” I thought. “He’s going to think I’m pulling some sort of scam!” I envisioned him getting loud, “WHAT ARE YOU UP TO HERE?” Then I imagined myself trying to calm him down . . .

He misunderstands, and pulls out a gun. I run out of the store. He calls the cops. Since I live in a good neighborhood they show up quickly. They cut me off as I’m running home. They leap out of their car, guns drawn. I start to truly panic, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! IT WAS A MISTAKE!” I put my arms up in the air. At this point I realize I’m holding the It’s It, which I never paid for. I wave my hands frantically and say, “I DIDN’T MEAN TO STEAL THIS!” The cops take in all my hand waving, crazy talk, and B.B.M.-ness and then, POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! I’m dead.

The next day, it comes out that earlier that night I’d had a fight with my wife . . . and that I had recently written a blog about comedians and depression . . . and that in my standup act I have jokes that are critical of police.

The media reports that when I was in high school I was an assistant instructor at a kung-fu school. Headline: Black Comedian, a Martial-Arts Expert Who Hated Cops, Fought with His Wife, and Was Clinically Depressed, Demonically Steals Frozen Treat From Local Merchant.

That all went through my head—in about a second.

And I was just trying to buy ice cream. I don’t live in a socio-economically deprived neighborhood. I haven’t been denied a good education by my local government. I don’t generally feel trapped by my circumstances. But I do feel every bit of my six-foot-four-inch, 250-pound body, and every bit of my black skin.

And lest you think I am exaggerating in the above scenario, know that it contains elements of the deaths of Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Kajieme Powell, Eric Garner, and others.

The fact is that being a B.B.M. has consequences. Being a B.B.M. is why I smile quickly. It’s why I don’t usually stand to my full height. I slouch and bend.

When acquaintances haven’t seen me for awhile, I often hear, “I forgot how tall you are!” I know you did. It’s because I’m trying to make you forget. This is what being black in America has done to me, to others like me, and in some sense, even to you.

It’s not that I think that I will be killed by a police officer. It’s just that if I am, it won’t be a surprise.

W. Kamau Bell’s “Oh, Everything!” Comedy Tour runs through the end of January 2015. He is also the co-host of the new podcast Denzel Washington Is Greatest Actor Of All Time Period with his longtime collaborator Kevin Avery available on Wolfpop.com.

Could real democracy be deadened with too many soldier heroes?

‘Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him.

It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.”

The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

But it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible

You don’t protect my freedom:

Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy

It’s been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end

It has become impossible to go a week without reading a story about police brutality, abuse of power and misuse of authority.

Michael Brown’s murder represents the tip of a body pile, and in just the past month, several videos have emerged of police assaulting people, including pregnant women, for reasons justifiable only to the insane.

It is equally challenging for anyone reasonable, and not drowning in the syrup of patriotic sentimentality, to stop saluting, and look at the servicemen of the American military with criticism and skepticism.

There is a sexual assault epidemic in the military.

In 2003, a Department of Defense study found that one-third of women seeking medical care in the VA system reported experiencing rape or sexual violence while in the military.

Internal and external studies demonstrate that since the official study, numbers of sexual assaults within the military have only increased, especially with male victims.

According to the Pentagon, 38 men are sexually assaulted every single day in the U.S. military. Given that rape and sexual assault are, traditionally, the most underreported crimes, the horrific statistics likely fail to capture the reality of the sexual dungeon that has become the United States military.

Chelsea Manning, now serving time in prison as a whistle-blower, uncovered multiple incidents of fellow soldiers laughing as they murdered civilians.

Keith Gentry, a former Navy man, wrote that when he and his division were bored they preferred passing the time with the “entertainment” of YouTube videos capturing air raids of Iraq and Afghanistan, often making jokes and mocking the victims of American violence.

If the murder of civilians, the rape of “brothers and sisters” on base, and the relegation of death and torture of strangers as fodder for amusement qualifies as heroism, the world needs better villains.

It is undeniable that there are police officers who heroically uphold their motto and mission to “serve and protect,” just as it is indisputable that there are members of the military who valiantly sacrifice themselves for the sake of others.

Reviewing the research proving cruelty and mendacity within law enforcement and the military, and reading the stories of trauma and tragedy caused by officers and soldiers, does not mean that no cop or troop qualifies as a hero, but it certainly means that many of them are not heroes.

Acknowledging the spread of sadism across the ranks of military also does not mean that the U.S. government should neglect veterans, as they often do, by cutting their healthcare options, delaying or denying treatment, and reducing psychiatric services.

On the contrary, if American politicians and pundits genuinely believed that American military members are “heroes,” they would not settle for sloganeering, and garish tributes. They would insist that veterans receive the best healthcare possible.

Improving and universalizing high quality healthcare for all Americans, including veterans, is a much better and truer way to honor the risks soldiers and Marines accept on orders than unofficially imposing a juvenile and dictatorial rule over speech in which anything less than absolute and awed adulation for all things military is treasonous.

One of the reasons that the American public so eagerly and excitedly complies with the cultural code of lionizing every soldier and cop is because of the physical risk-taking and bravery many of them display on the foreign battleground and the American street.

Physical strength and courage is only useful and laudable when invested in a cause that is noble and moral. The causes of American foreign policy, especially at the present, rarely qualify for either compliment.

The “troops are heroes” boosters of American life typically toss out clichés to defend their generalization – “They defend our freedom,” “They fight so we don’t have to.”

No American freedom is currently at stake in Afghanistan.

It is impossible to imagine an argument to the contrary, just as the war in Iraq was clearly fought for the interests of empire, the profits of defense contractors, and the edification of neoconservative theorists.

It had nothing to do with the safety or freedom of the American people. The last time the U.S. military deployed to fight for the protection of American life was in World War II – an inconvenient fact that reduces clichés about “thanking a soldier” for free speech to rubble.

If a soldier deserves gratitude, so does the litigator who argued key First Amendment cases in court, the legislators who voted for the protection of free speech, and thousands of external agitators who rallied for more speech rights, less censorship and broader access to media.

Wars that are not heroic have no real heroes, except for the people who oppose those wars.

Far from being the heroes of recent wars, American troops are among their victims. No rational person can blame the soldier, the Marine, the airman, or the Navy man for the stupid and destructive foreign policy of the U.S. government, but calling them “heroes,” and settling for nothing less, makes honest and critical conversations about American foreign policy less likely to happen.

If all troops are heroes, it doesn’t make much sense to call their mission unnecessary and unjust. It also makes conversations about the sexual assault epidemic, or the killing of innocent civilians, impossible. If all troops are heroes, it doesn’t make any sense to acknowledge that some are rapists and sadists.

The same principle of clear-eyed scrutiny applies to law enforcement agencies. Police departments everywhere need extensive investigation of their training methods, qualifications for getting on the job, and psychological evaluation. None of that will happen as long as the culture calls cops heroes, regardless of their behavior.

An understandable reason for calling all troops heroes, even on the left, is to honor the sacrifice they make after they die or endure a life-altering injury in one of America’s foolish acts of aggression.

A more helpful and productive act of citizenship, and sign of solidarity with the military, is the enlistment in an antiwar movement that would prevent the government from using its volunteer Army as a plaything for the financial advancement and political cover of the state-corporate nexus and the military-industrial complex of Dwight Eishenhower’s nightmares.

Given the dubious and dangerous nature of American foreign policy, and the neglect and abuse veterans often suffer when returning home wounded or traumatized, Americans, especially those who oppose war, should do everything they can to discourage young, poor and working-class men and women from joining the military.

Part of the campaign against enlistment requires removing the glory of the “hero” label from those who do enlist.

Stanley Hauerwas, a professor of divinity studies at Duke whom Time called “America’s best theologian,” has suggested that, given the radical pacifism of Jesus Christ, American churches should do all they can to discourage its young congregants from joining the military.

Haurwas’ brand of intellectual courage is necessary, even among non-Christians, to combat the hysterical sycophancy toward the military in a culture where even saluting a Marine, while holding a coffee cup, is tantamount to terrorism.

The men and women who do enlist deserve better than to die in the dirt and come home in a bag, or spend their lives in wheelchairs, and their parents should not have to drown in tears and suffer the heartbreak of burying their children. The catastrophes become less common when fewer people join the military.

Calling all cops and troops heroes insults those who actually are heroic – the soldier who runs into the line of fire to protect his division, the police officer who works tirelessly to find a missing child – by placing them alongside the cops who shoot unarmed teenagers who have their hands in the air, or the soldier who rapes his subordinate.

It also degrades the collective understanding of heroism to the fantasies of high-budget, cheap-story action movies.

The American conception of heroism seems inextricably linked to violence; not yet graduated from third-grade games of cops and robbers. Explosions and smoking guns might make for entertaining television, but they are not necessary, and more and more in modern society, not even helpful in determining what makes a hero.

A social worker who commits to the care and advocacy of adults with developmental disabilities – helping them find employment, group home placement and medical care, and just treating them with love and kindness – is a hero.

A hospice worker in a poor neighborhood, providing precious comfort and consolation to someone dying on the ugly edges of American healthcare, is a hero.

An inner-city teacher, working hard to give essential education and meaningful affirmation to children living in neighborhoods where bullets fly and families fall apart, is a hero.

Not all teachers, hospice workers or social workers are heroes, but emphasizing the heroism of those who do commit to their clients, patients and students with love and service would cause a shift of America’s fundamental values.

It would place the spotlight on tender and selfless acts of solidarity and empathy for the poor. Calling all cops heroes too often leads to pathetic deference to authority, even when the results are fatal, and insisting all members of the military are heroes too often reinforces the American values of militarism and exceptionalism.

The assignment of heroism, exactly like the literary construct, might have more to do with the assignment of villainy than the actual honoring of “heroes.”

Every hero needs a villain. If the only heroes are armed men fighting the country’s wars on drugs and wars in the Middle East, America’s only villains are criminals and terrorists.

If servants of the poor, sick and oppressed are the heroes, then the villains are those who oppress, profit from inequality and poverty, and neglect the sick.

If that is the real battle of heroism versus villainy, everyone is implicated, and everyone has a far greater role than repeating slogans, tying ribbons and placing stickers on bumpers.

David Masciotra is the author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky). He writes regularly for the Daily Beast and Splice Today. For more information visit http://www.davidmasciotra.com.


 

 


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