Tag Archives: police brutality

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

We are tired. We are tired of seeing our Black men get gunned down, we’re tired of seeing our Black women get gunned down, and particularly unarmed Black people get gunned down to an excessive extent—11 bullets, 21 bullets, 41 bullets. We are tired of it, and we know that it is not just happening in Ferguson.

Ashley Yates, of Millennial Activists United, speaking to democracynow about how the actions in Ferguson are an opportunity to speak out against police violence.

(via because i am a woman)

The absence of Officer Wilson’s indictment is consolidates a series of historic and systemic protections and managements of Whiteness and its fatal “fear” of Black bodies. Despite studies of “unconscious bias,” the American consciousness puts an economic and socio-cultural value on Black folks and its utter disregard for justice on these bodies speaks volumes.

Only Whiteness can kill an unarmed Black boy with his hands up and leave him for dead in the street. Only whiteness can assume terror on the body of a Black woman asking for help. Only whiteness can shoot a Black girl in her home as her grandmother tried to protect her from police raid. Whiteness can with kill in cold blood freely despite revolutionary documentation. Whiteness can have a criminal history of abuse and assault and walk free from dashing Black life so young. And as we have seen this weekend in at Keene State whiteness can even wreak havoc in streets with out so much of a single bullet shot.

Jay Dodd, Iconography of Supremacy: Officer Wilson, Keene State, and Whiteness

(via spinsterette)

The phrase “rubber bullets” is often used to describe what are more accurately termed “rubber-coated metal bullets”, heavy steel projectiles with a minimal coating of 1mm or 2mm of rubber, that are regularly used to lethal effect alongside — not instead of — live ammunition.

Rubber-coated metal bullets are fired from metal tubes placed on the end of high-velocity rifles such as the M-16s commonly used by Israeli troops. Tubes contain around 8 rubber-coated, cylindrical, steel projectiles, which are powered by blank rounds fired from the gun’s magazine.

[….]

Writing in the medical journal, The Lancet, [doctors] said firing the bullets at civilians made it “impossible to avoid severe injuries to vulnerable body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso, leading to substantial mortality, morbidity and disability.”

They added: “We reported a substantial number of severe injuries and fatalities inflicted by use of rubber bullets when vulnerable upper-body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso were struck.

“This type of ammunition should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control.”

Misleading terminology: “Rubber” bullets

(via because i am a woman)

I don’t care if Mike Brown was going to college soon. This should not matter. We should not have to prove Mike Brown was worthy of living. We should not have to account for the ways in which he is suitably respectable. We should not have to prove that his body did not deserve to be riddled with bullets. His community should not have to silence their anger so they won’t be accused of rioting, so they won’t become targets too.

–Roxane Gay, in “Silence Is Not an Option.”

(via shakesville)

Police violence against racial minorities may never stop. Racism has been an indelible feature of American society and police-minority relations since slavery. Indeed, police arms, chains, and ropes are not new to the necks of black men, as well as black women and Latino/as. The killing of Eric Garner not only symbolizes the tight hold racism has on our society and individual psyches, but it is also a reminder of how normalized violence against non-white bodies is in the media and across racial/ethnic groups.

A history of police brutality against people of color.

(via KEW)

There remains an uneasiness with discussing American racism alongside the myth of American exceptionalism, because the myth is easier to digest. We continue to be asked to stop. We continue to be told we’ve won enough.

Emancipation was supposed to be enough. ‘Separate but equal’ was supposed to be enough. Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to be enough. The Civil Rights/Voting Acts were supposed to be enough. Affirmative action was supposed to be enough. A black president is supposed to be enough. Yet, here we are, facing mass incarceration, food insecurity, chronic unemployment, the erosion of the social safety net, income inequality, housing discrimination, police brutality and the seemingly unending deaths of our young people at the hands of police and armed vigilantes. Pardon the ‘profound gloom.’

What some call depression or pessimism, I would call impatience and rage. Our impatience and rage is what has produced progress. That we are still impatient and angry reflects not black people’s failing but how far America still has to go. My question/challenge to white people who claim to be on the side of equality and justice: when will you get just as angry that these things have been done in your name?

–Mychal Denzel Smith, “The Function of Black Rage”

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

Feminists too must organize against police brutality, the military build up, and first of all war. Our first and most important step must be to oppose the recruitment of women into the armies, which regrettably was introduced with the support of some feminists in the name of women’s equality and emancipation. There is much we can learn from this misguided policy. For the image of the uniformed woman, gaining equality with men through the right to kill, is the image of what globalization can offer to us, which is the right to survive at the expense of other women and their children, whose countries and resources corporate capital needs to exploit.

–Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero: Reproduction, Housework and Feminist Struggle

(via knowledge equals black power)