Rest In Peace…
to Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell And the countless other lives that have been taken away from this world due to prejudice.
And an honor to the many people in Ferguson standing up, fighting, hoping that some kind of justice can be had in the midst of chaos.
y’all, i called this shit. white lefty leftist anarchist communists whatever the fuck are taking to ferguson to try to incite their version of “revolution” that doesn’t honor the self-determination of the Black communities there and is definitely not a show of solidarity
I apologize if this comes off as disrespectful to Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin. Or their families. Or YOU, the reader. I’m not about that. That’s not why I drew this.
I am just really freaked out that 40% of Americans (and 47% of White Americans) do not think that the killings and violence in Ferguson ‘raise any racial issues.’ Fellow White Persons, this is our chance to learn. This is our chance to change.
When Trayvon Martin was murdered because Full Grown Men in America are frightened to violence by the presence black children, the dialogue turned very quickly into a conversation about gun control.
And gun control is an issue that deserves our attention.
But it won’t change the massive poverty in Black America. The arrest rate. The education statistics. The institutional, systemic, casual, and passive racism that plagues our country.
And it wouldn’t have saved Michael Brown.
Anyway. I’m sorry if this comes off as disrespectful or insincere or preachy. I’m sorry if my execution (or personality) gets in the way of what I’m trying to say. I am an imperfect artist, an imperfect person, and I am, undoubtedly, blinded to a million things by my own glaring whiteness. So this might be… Lord, this might be awful. I’m so sorry if it’s awful. Really.
But. I just keep thinking… Look, my wife is pregnant with our first child. A boy. We’re nervous, we’re excited, we’re SO ANXIOUS because what the hell do you do with babies? WE don’t know. But if we were a black family… in this country… we would be so terrified. Because we live in a nation that murders the children of black parents, puts it on the news WITH RIOTS AND TEAR GAS as decoration, and still half of us don’t even see it as a problem. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine bringing a child into that reality, to face the odds we lay out for black kids?
That would break me. I’ve never known anything like that. No one should ever know anything like that.
So let’s talk to our friends about race. Lets talk to our families. And when actual victims of racism try to tell us what’s going on in, say, a peaceful community protest as they are being gassed and shot at by cops WE SHOULD LISTEN TO AND BELIEVE THEM. Let’s talk to each other about this until we are all on the same page.
And then let’s turn the damn page.
hair shirt, patrick mceown.
Frank Santoro talked once about how he was surprised that Patrick McEown’s Hair Shirt wasn’t talked about as much as he thought it would be. I picked up the book this past weekend and I agree with him. I need to reread it but this is a book that I think that more people should pick up especially for the dream sequences and flashbacks.
If I had to pick a song that would be the soundtrack to a riot, it would be this one. It’s also one of the few Black Flag songs performed by Henry Rollins that I prefer his version against the Keith Morris one.
Reposting it because I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately. My heart and sympathies go out to the people of Ferguson right now. They’re never far from my head.
1. Join a peaceful protest.
They’re happening all around the country tonight, including at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, around 7 p.m. Eastern.
2. Recognize that Michael Brown’s death was not an isolated incident.
In 2012, more than 300 black people were executed by police, security guards, or vigilantes. In the last month, three other unarmed African-American men—Eric Garner in New York, John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles—have been killed by police. Those are the ones we know about.
3. Stop saying “This can’t be happening in America.”
I understand the impulse, I really do. But that impulse only comes to those who are insulated and isolated from how America treats poor people and people of color every day. Langston Hughes wrote “America never was America to me” in 1935. If you didn’t quite understand that poem in your junior high or high-school lit classes, read it again, while you think about what’s happening in Ferguson. Let it sink in.
4. STFU about looting.
And call out your friends and family members who won’t. It’s been five days since Michael Brown was murdered. On one of those days, some furious, grieving citizens caused some property damage. Nine have been arrested. Every other day since then, police with more gear than American soldiers going into battle have been occupying the neighborhood where Brown died, attacking peaceful protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets. They’ve tear-gassed a state senator and Al-Jazeera reporters, and arrested an alderman. They’ve demanded that reporters leave the area and arrested two who didn’t move fast enough. “Disproportionate” doesn’t begin to describe it. If you look at all that and still think it’s important to talk about looting for “balance,” you should know that you sound like a racist asshole.
5. Look Around You.
If you live in an urban environment, you’re in a position to bear witness and document inappropriate and abusive police behavior. If you see an African-American neighbor being detained by police, wait to see what happens. Get your phone out. Download the ACLU’s “Police Tape” app, and if you see something that looks off, take a video that will upload directly to their servers, in case your phone is confiscated. Whatever police may tell you, this is your legal right.
7. Educate yourself about the systematic inequality that leads to civil unrest.
The St. Louis American ran a powerful editorial today that fleshes out the history of Ferguson. When you finish reading that, go somewhere quiet for a bit and settle down with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations.” Don’t stop there.
8. Put pressure on your elected representatives.
Institutional abuse of African-American citizens is happening all over the country, and it demands a federal response. Talk to your senators and congresspeople about enacting policies to protect citizens from their protectors. While you’re at it, maybe suggest they work to limit the amount of military weaponry police can inherit from the armed forces.
9. Listen to your African-American friends when they try to tell you why this hurts.
If you don’t have any African-American friends, you might want to think about why that is.
10. Okay, go ahead and tweet.
And Facebook. Tumblr. Instagram. Vine. Amplify the voices of people on the ground, and help counteract the damaging narratives being propagated by some mainstream media organizations. It’s the very least we can do.Written by Kate Harding
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Excalibur promo art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer