bananapeppers:

warning for details of institutional torture of First Nations people

allthecanadianpolitics:

A former chief recalls the horrors of residential school: Q&A

How many spoonfuls does it take to eat a bowlful of your own vomit?
Edmund Metatawabin knows: 15.
As a young Cree lad at the notorious St. Anne’s residential school, he remembers throwing up his morning porridge into his bowl and being forced to eat it again — spoonful by disgusting spoonful.
And he counted. And he remembered.
Just as he remembers the other serial indignities and casual tortures he endured at the northern Ontario institution during the 1950s.
With Toronto author Alexandra Shimo, Metatawabin recounts many of these in Up Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, published this week by Knopf Canada.
He also recounts the alcoholism and depression that his boyhood trauma led him to as a man — and the traditional healing rituals and teachings he employed to reclaim his life.
The Star spoke this week to the former chief of the Fort Albany First Nation band. The is an edited version of the conversation.
You’ve gotten to a good place in your life now, a solid, happy place. What made you want to relive those horrors and make them public?
I think it’s good for young people, it’s good for people, it’s good for anybody to learn the true story about the past. And for me it was especially helpful when I read (Austrian neurologist) Victor Frankl who was a Holocaust survivor. I thought our story was bad, but here was somebody who was able to dissect everything, to explain everything, to help people understand what was happening to the children, to the women, to the men. And as a young person, it helped me understand what I was feeling about my own experience. I didn’t understand. I thought we were the only ones who went through that and I even began to feel that it was normal.
Can you briefly describe some of that experience, which you detail at length in your book?
I was slapped and strapped and made to suffer physically, sexually … A slap can happen anytime. Some of the other nuns used to pinch, but our supervisor was a slapper.
There was an electric chair … there’s a steel metal frame and we’re made to sit on that. And it’s attached to two wires going to a box where the brother would crank it up. So once the power starts you can’t let go of the chair’s arms. The power was on and kids, they were small, it would shake their whole body.
I was put in that twice. For nothing, for entertainment — entertainment on a Friday night.
What do you believe motivated the people who ran these schools? Was it simple sadism? Or did they just feel they were dealing with a lesser brand of human being?
Well they were dealing with a lesser brand of human being, that’s for sure. That’s in the history books. Duncan Campbell Scott (a Canadian poet and federal Indian Affairs bureaucrat in the early century) said that repeatedly. He said “my campaign is to get rid of the Indian problem until there’s no Indian problem left.” So I think he was talking about genocide when he was saying that. And, yeah, that was the attitude. You have to get rid of this problem any way you can. To make us frustrated was the intent. To frustrate us as much as possible.”
You write about how this kind of treatment came back to haunt you in later life. Can you talk about that and about how you came to heal yourself?
Well the memories are there, you remember everything. It’s when you see something, like a bag of oats in a store — the porridge incident would just come up. They call them triggers, and whatever you see — the colour of the strap, the colour of the ruler, the metal chair, those kind of things — effected you, making you remember.
And you do learn to hate yourself. You learn to try to harm yourself. You’re trying to hurt yourself. And alcohol was the best one. You can hurt yourself real well with alcohol. So we got carried away.
I lost everything. I lost any sense of self esteem. When I married, that’s when it sort of started to spin out of control. Me and my wife split for about six years. And it was a long process to come together.
But what brought me back were the ceremonies, the sweat lodges. Just going to the ceremonies and beginning to hear the elders talk about life experiences, life plans. And to wake up, to feel. My first sweat was physical, I had to walk out of there. My second experience in a sweat was totally, totally emotional. I couldn’t stop crying. We had a feast after. I was crying inside the lodge, I was crying outside, I recovered for the feast and I went home and cried for two more hours.
So there was a lot of stuff in my system. But after that time, then I began to think of my children and now my heart was feeling something. I began to see what I was doing, that I was hurting everybody.
Right now we are in the midst of the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission that’s looking into the residential school catastrophe. Seeing it unfold, do you have confidence that it will do some good for people who suffered through experiences like yours?
Not too much. I think it’s up to each individual to find out and heal themselves. It cannot be done as a group of people and saying “I have a resolution, magic, we’re healed.” It doesn’t happen like that. It happens over years. You have to feel pain at the discovery, at a certain point in your life, that, “Hey, I better do something here.”
My hope is to talk to the Canadian people and remind them that I have a band number. This is the year 2014. Why do I have a band number? Why do I live in a reserve? Why is the minister of aboriginal affairs in charge of everything I do? Why does the bank not listen to me when I want to borrow money for a major business enterprise? Why do they shove my business plan to a native liaison officer? I am not treated as a Canadian citizen. I am an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act. I am defined as a person that is not your average Canadian, I’m a second class person. I’m a nobody.
What I would hope … is that we gain access to the House of Commons, that our national chief is invited to sit in the House of Commons and have access to all the privileges the MPs have.

bananapeppers:

warning for details of institutional torture of First Nations people

allthecanadianpolitics:

A former chief recalls the horrors of residential school: Q&A

How many spoonfuls does it take to eat a bowlful of your own vomit?

Edmund Metatawabin knows: 15.

As a young Cree lad at the notorious St. Anne’s residential school, he remembers throwing up his morning porridge into his bowl and being forced to eat it again — spoonful by disgusting spoonful.

And he counted. And he remembered.

Just as he remembers the other serial indignities and casual tortures he endured at the northern Ontario institution during the 1950s.

With Toronto author Alexandra Shimo, Metatawabin recounts many of these in Up Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, published this week by Knopf Canada.

He also recounts the alcoholism and depression that his boyhood trauma led him to as a man — and the traditional healing rituals and teachings he employed to reclaim his life.

The Star spoke this week to the former chief of the Fort Albany First Nation band. The is an edited version of the conversation.

You’ve gotten to a good place in your life now, a solid, happy place. What made you want to relive those horrors and make them public?

I think it’s good for young people, it’s good for people, it’s good for anybody to learn the true story about the past. And for me it was especially helpful when I read (Austrian neurologist) Victor Frankl who was a Holocaust survivor. I thought our story was bad, but here was somebody who was able to dissect everything, to explain everything, to help people understand what was happening to the children, to the women, to the men. And as a young person, it helped me understand what I was feeling about my own experience. I didn’t understand. I thought we were the only ones who went through that and I even began to feel that it was normal.

Can you briefly describe some of that experience, which you detail at length in your book?

I was slapped and strapped and made to suffer physically, sexually … A slap can happen anytime. Some of the other nuns used to pinch, but our supervisor was a slapper.

There was an electric chair … there’s a steel metal frame and we’re made to sit on that. And it’s attached to two wires going to a box where the brother would crank it up. So once the power starts you can’t let go of the chair’s arms. The power was on and kids, they were small, it would shake their whole body.

I was put in that twice. For nothing, for entertainment — entertainment on a Friday night.

What do you believe motivated the people who ran these schools? Was it simple sadism? Or did they just feel they were dealing with a lesser brand of human being?

Well they were dealing with a lesser brand of human being, that’s for sure. That’s in the history books. Duncan Campbell Scott (a Canadian poet and federal Indian Affairs bureaucrat in the early century) said that repeatedly. He said “my campaign is to get rid of the Indian problem until there’s no Indian problem left.” So I think he was talking about genocide when he was saying that. And, yeah, that was the attitude. You have to get rid of this problem any way you can. To make us frustrated was the intent. To frustrate us as much as possible.”

You write about how this kind of treatment came back to haunt you in later life. Can you talk about that and about how you came to heal yourself?

Well the memories are there, you remember everything. It’s when you see something, like a bag of oats in a store — the porridge incident would just come up. They call them triggers, and whatever you see — the colour of the strap, the colour of the ruler, the metal chair, those kind of things — effected you, making you remember.

And you do learn to hate yourself. You learn to try to harm yourself. You’re trying to hurt yourself. And alcohol was the best one. You can hurt yourself real well with alcohol. So we got carried away.

I lost everything. I lost any sense of self esteem. When I married, that’s when it sort of started to spin out of control. Me and my wife split for about six years. And it was a long process to come together.

But what brought me back were the ceremonies, the sweat lodges. Just going to the ceremonies and beginning to hear the elders talk about life experiences, life plans. And to wake up, to feel. My first sweat was physical, I had to walk out of there. My second experience in a sweat was totally, totally emotional. I couldn’t stop crying. We had a feast after. I was crying inside the lodge, I was crying outside, I recovered for the feast and I went home and cried for two more hours.

So there was a lot of stuff in my system. But after that time, then I began to think of my children and now my heart was feeling something. I began to see what I was doing, that I was hurting everybody.

Right now we are in the midst of the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission that’s looking into the residential school catastrophe. Seeing it unfold, do you have confidence that it will do some good for people who suffered through experiences like yours?

Not too much. I think it’s up to each individual to find out and heal themselves. It cannot be done as a group of people and saying “I have a resolution, magic, we’re healed.” It doesn’t happen like that. It happens over years. You have to feel pain at the discovery, at a certain point in your life, that, “Hey, I better do something here.”

My hope is to talk to the Canadian people and remind them that I have a band number. This is the year 2014. Why do I have a band number? Why do I live in a reserve? Why is the minister of aboriginal affairs in charge of everything I do? Why does the bank not listen to me when I want to borrow money for a major business enterprise? Why do they shove my business plan to a native liaison officer? I am not treated as a Canadian citizen. I am an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act. I am defined as a person that is not your average Canadian, I’m a second class person. I’m a nobody.

What I would hope … is that we gain access to the House of Commons, that our national chief is invited to sit in the House of Commons and have access to all the privileges the MPs have.

haiweewicci:

lastrealindians:

86 years ago today (1927) Gutzon Borglum began defacing the sacred BlackHills with Mt. Rushmore.

Everyone must remember that “Mt. Rushmore” (the Black Hills) does not legally belong to the federal government, and especially not to South Dakota.  It was acknowledged as belonging to the sovereign Lakota Nation in the Sioux Treaty of 1868.  The federal government STOLE the Hills from the Lakota, breaking the law they wrote with their own hands!  The US is a repeat criminal but no one holds them accountable!

haiweewicci:

lastrealindians:

86 years ago today (1927) Gutzon Borglum began defacing the sacred BlackHills with Mt. Rushmore.

Everyone must remember that “Mt. Rushmore” (the Black Hills) does not legally belong to the federal government, and especially not to South Dakota.  It was acknowledged as belonging to the sovereign Lakota Nation in the Sioux Treaty of 1868.  The federal government STOLE the Hills from the Lakota, breaking the law they wrote with their own hands!  The US is a repeat criminal but no one holds them accountable!

seawitchintraining:

what-a-catch:

jean-luc-gohard:

the-goddamazon:

We know why.

Don’t forget Charlie Sheen. He’s been arrested for domestic violence at least six times and shot a woman. With a gun. And he’s still got a career.

And Sean Penn.

And Michael Fassbender
And Bill Murray
And Gary Oldman

seawitchintraining:

what-a-catch:

jean-luc-gohard:

the-goddamazon:

We know why.

Don’t forget Charlie Sheen. He’s been arrested for domestic violence at least six times and shot a woman. With a gun. And he’s still got a career.

And Sean Penn.

And Michael Fassbender

And Bill Murray

And Gary Oldman

atane:

zuky:

nezua:

Flappers shaming Miley Cyrus.

Oddly enough we could say that Miley Cyrus is following solidly in the appropriative footsteps of white flappers, who in the 1920s grabbed national attention and stirred alarmism concerning the end of civilization because they partied to Black music, wore their hair short like Josephine Baker (who fled US racism to become a superstar in Europe), and imitated dance moves from Baker and other Black dancers. The famously flapperesque Charleston was lifted from the African American dance called the Juba, which had West African roots and was danced in secret in the South and the Caribbean. The dance sped up when it reached Harlem, giving birth to both tap dancing and the Broadway hit called The Charleston, which spread like wildfire from there. White people didn’t sway their hips this scandalously prior to that era, making flappers roughly equivalent to white twerkers of the Jazz Age.

This is 100% true. The period from the jazz age to the beat generation, comparatively speaking was the height of cultural appropriation of black art. The beat generation used lingo popularized by Lester Young. They then appropriated the style, dress, and lingo of bebop musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, down to the beret, glasses, and soul patch. Bebop musicians, Parker and Gillespie in particular, were the blueprint of their image. Norman Mailer wrote an essay titled “The White Negro" that tackles this phenomenon. I’m no fan of Norman Mailer, but at least he admitted that white people were stealing from blacks. He wrote it in 1957.
With regards to the flappers, apart from Josephine Baker, they also liberally borrowed from black vaudeville performers. They would copy dance moves from black performers, and then introduce it as their own. Many dances attributed to whites are from black vaudeville performers who were forced to perform on the chitlin’ circuit because of segregation and Jim Crow laws.
It really is astonishing how nothing has changed in this regard. For example, people to this day still call Benny Goodman “the king of swing”, when what he did was procure charts for arrangements from Fletcher Henderson, a black man. Goodman’s biggest hits were from Henderson. It’s amazing how much credit Goodman gets for another man’s work. Of course Goodman became “the king of swing”, while Fletcher Henderson remains a footnote in history. How a white man becomes the king of something innovated by blacks is astounding. Benny Goodman is called “the king of swing”. Paul Whiteman is called “the king of jazz”. Elvis Presley is called “the king of rock n roll”. Is Eminem the king of rap? What about Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke with r&b? Miley is soon on her way to become “the queen of twerking”.
Anyway, apart from getting his charts from Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman got his ass handed to him by Chick Webb at the Savoy Ballroom when they had a battle of the bands. Goodman is often noted as being one of the few white men in the segregation era to have black men in his band, and the narrative is typically presented as if he did it out of benevolence. He did it because there was no way to get around the fact that swing music was the domain of black folks, and he poached the best black players he could find to bolster his band, and black musicians went with him because as a white man, he was able to pay them more than black bandleaders, and they wouldn’t have to deal with indignity while traveling. Many hotels refused black bands, so they often had to sleep in cars, bus terminals, or crash at the homes of hospitable blacks. A big portion of Duke Ellington’s money went towards renting out train cars and making sure his orchestra had a place to sleep while on the road because hotels often turned them down because they were black. These were issues Goodman wasn’t going to face. Black musicians certainly didn’t go with him because he was the best. Goodman even later hired Henderson to arrange and play in his band. He wasn’t doing it because he loved black people. Black people were the ones creating and innovating. Where else would he get the best charts and arrangements? Now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, Goodman gets all the credit. Funny how that works.
This stuff has been going on for a long time. Miley is the 2013 version. Twerking has been around for a long time, but Miley convulses on national tv and all of a sudden, dictionary definitions of twerking are made. Definitions complete with no mention of black people, like all this happened in a vacuum. It’s history repeating itself over and over again. I see the same thing happening with afrobeat music.

atane:

zuky:

nezua:

Flappers shaming Miley Cyrus.

Oddly enough we could say that Miley Cyrus is following solidly in the appropriative footsteps of white flappers, who in the 1920s grabbed national attention and stirred alarmism concerning the end of civilization because they partied to Black music, wore their hair short like Josephine Baker (who fled US racism to become a superstar in Europe), and imitated dance moves from Baker and other Black dancers. The famously flapperesque Charleston was lifted from the African American dance called the Juba, which had West African roots and was danced in secret in the South and the Caribbean. The dance sped up when it reached Harlem, giving birth to both tap dancing and the Broadway hit called The Charleston, which spread like wildfire from there. White people didn’t sway their hips this scandalously prior to that era, making flappers roughly equivalent to white twerkers of the Jazz Age.

This is 100% true. The period from the jazz age to the beat generation, comparatively speaking was the height of cultural appropriation of black art. The beat generation used lingo popularized by Lester Young. They then appropriated the style, dress, and lingo of bebop musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, down to the beret, glasses, and soul patch. Bebop musicians, Parker and Gillespie in particular, were the blueprint of their image. Norman Mailer wrote an essay titled “The White Negro" that tackles this phenomenon. I’m no fan of Norman Mailer, but at least he admitted that white people were stealing from blacks. He wrote it in 1957.

With regards to the flappers, apart from Josephine Baker, they also liberally borrowed from black vaudeville performers. They would copy dance moves from black performers, and then introduce it as their own. Many dances attributed to whites are from black vaudeville performers who were forced to perform on the chitlin’ circuit because of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

It really is astonishing how nothing has changed in this regard. For example, people to this day still call Benny Goodman “the king of swing”, when what he did was procure charts for arrangements from Fletcher Henderson, a black man. Goodman’s biggest hits were from Henderson. It’s amazing how much credit Goodman gets for another man’s work. Of course Goodman became “the king of swing”, while Fletcher Henderson remains a footnote in history. How a white man becomes the king of something innovated by blacks is astounding. Benny Goodman is called “the king of swing”. Paul Whiteman is called “the king of jazz”. Elvis Presley is called “the king of rock n roll”. Is Eminem the king of rap? What about Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke with r&b? Miley is soon on her way to become “the queen of twerking”.

Anyway, apart from getting his charts from Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman got his ass handed to him by Chick Webb at the Savoy Ballroom when they had a battle of the bands. Goodman is often noted as being one of the few white men in the segregation era to have black men in his band, and the narrative is typically presented as if he did it out of benevolence. He did it because there was no way to get around the fact that swing music was the domain of black folks, and he poached the best black players he could find to bolster his band, and black musicians went with him because as a white man, he was able to pay them more than black bandleaders, and they wouldn’t have to deal with indignity while traveling. Many hotels refused black bands, so they often had to sleep in cars, bus terminals, or crash at the homes of hospitable blacks. A big portion of Duke Ellington’s money went towards renting out train cars and making sure his orchestra had a place to sleep while on the road because hotels often turned them down because they were black. These were issues Goodman wasn’t going to face. Black musicians certainly didn’t go with him because he was the best. Goodman even later hired Henderson to arrange and play in his band. He wasn’t doing it because he loved black people. Black people were the ones creating and innovating. Where else would he get the best charts and arrangements? Now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, Goodman gets all the credit. Funny how that works.

This stuff has been going on for a long time. Miley is the 2013 version. Twerking has been around for a long time, but Miley convulses on national tv and all of a sudden, dictionary definitions of twerking are made. Definitions complete with no mention of black people, like all this happened in a vacuum. It’s history repeating itself over and over again. I see the same thing happening with afrobeat music.

allthecanadianpolitics:

Aboriginal women ask Stephen Harper: Am I next?

Am I next?

That’s the question aboriginal women are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a new online campaign to renew pressure on his government to call a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women.

Coming on the heels of Harper’s "sociological phenomenon" blunder, the campaign is the brainchild of Holly Jarrett. She’s the cousin of Loretta Saunders, a 26-year-old Inuit student at Saint Mary’s University who was murdered earlier this year. At the time of her death, Saunders was working on her thesis on murdered and missing aboriginal women.

"She had come through a lot of the same kind of struggles that a lot women affected by colonialism and residential school stuff," Jarrett told PressProgress Friday, a day after  launching the Am I Next campaign.

"We wanted to move it forward for her. She was really passionate about telling her story, to stand up and tell the brutal truth," said Jarrett, an Inuit from the Labrador coast who’s now based in Hamilton, Ont.

After organizing one of the largest petitions at change.org calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women, Jarrett decided to launch the Am I Next campaign.

It’s inspired by the Inuktitut word ain, a term of endearment for someone you love in her native language.

Here are some of the faces of the viral campaign:

as-an-expression-of-love:

azgunguy:

***ATTENTION*** This is the latest anti-Semitic/ racist salute. It was first claimed to be anti Zionist but has escalated to anti-Jewry and anti-semitism all around. If you see anyone doing this salute called the/a “Quenelle” swiftly punch them in the face, scold them, whatever you feel like, just recognize that this is a symbol of hatred!

Please be careful guys (esp. Jewish, queer, or disabled people, or people of color.) I’ve seen Neo-Nazis do this, and they can be really dangerous groups of people to be around.

as-an-expression-of-love:

azgunguy:

***ATTENTION***
This is the latest anti-Semitic/ racist salute. It was first claimed to be anti Zionist but has escalated to anti-Jewry and anti-semitism all around. If you see anyone doing this salute called the/a “Quenelle” swiftly punch them in the face, scold them, whatever you feel like, just recognize that this is a symbol of hatred!

Please be careful guys (esp. Jewish, queer, or disabled people, or people of color.) I’ve seen Neo-Nazis do this, and they can be really dangerous groups of people to be around.

uglyfoxybaby:

jonsnowflakes:

Collegehumors’ new video is on point as always

DYING !!

wrapyourselfaroundmyfinger:

jonny-poopoo-pants:

thepoliticalfreakshow:

For The First Time Ever, All Four Eyewitness Accounts of The Murder of Michael Brown Put In Chronological OrderThe most detailed side-by-side telling of each eyewitness account of the Mike Brown murder in chronological order #JusticeForMichaelBrown [@ShaunKing]

Reblog the fuck out of this

BOOST^^^^^^^

Aug. 27 1:35 pm

justice4mikebrown:

princesswhatevr:

iwriteaboutfeminism:

Darren Wilson supporters are the literal worst. 

HOLY. SHIT. I mean wow.

Fuck cops. Fuck that murderer. Fuck his supporters. Fuck white people.

“On White People, Solidarity and (Not) Marching for Mike Brown”

freeqthamighty:

image

Photo Source: Jamal Williams

On Thursday August 14th, 2014, Feminsta Jones called for a National Moment of Silence (NMOS) to pay ‘respect to fatal victims of police shootings and brutality’. New Orleans, a (for now…) majority black city with a long history of police violence against black bodies (including the famous case of Henry Glover, an unarmed black man who was shot by police who then burned his body in an attempted cover up), took part in the NMOS by hosting a vigil in Lafayette Park. According to the NOLA Defender, a young black woman named Chanelle Batiste organized and led the vigil activities:

image

Left Photo: Chanelle Batiste, Photo Source NOLA Defender

Right Photo: NOLA crowd in moment of silence, Photo Source Instagram @BMike2c

I showed up to the park and saw a racially diverse crowd of between 100-200 people. The largest racial groups that were visually represented were whites and blacks, and my initial thoughts were, ‘Well, if all these white folks gathered here today then they must at some level understand the targeting and criminalization of black bodies and its consequences, including Mike Brown’s death”

Baptiste started the vigil with a few words before asking the crowd to raise their hands in the “Don’t Shoot” pose that has become symbolic of Mike Brown’s death. Right before the moment of silence and call for raised hands, I took a moment to close my eyes and re-center myself. I re-opened them when Baptiste started reading the names of other victims of police violence after the moment of silence passed and was caught off guard by the numerous white people holding up their hands in the ‘Don’t Shoot’ pose:

image

Photo Source: Twitter #MikeBrownNOLA

After the reading of names, Baptiste and others announced follow up events to the vigil, then abruptly ended the gathering (it took no more 20 minutes from start to finish). When they stepped down from the steps they were speaking from, a collective, “Was that it?” feeling took over the park. I turned to a black woman activist friend of mine named Mshaiti A Uwenzo Siyanda and we quickly agreed that something about the brevity of the vigil did not feel right, did not feel like enough to encompass how we were feeling about the not-so-new phenomenon of disregard for black lives. Mshaiti and I took each other’s hands and made our way to the steps of the statue where I called out something along the lines of “EXCUSE ME! Is that all? I know too many busy people here who could be somewhere else but chose to be here. For Mike and others. There is too much collective energy here to waste. If we took to the streets, would you join us?”

Mshaiti and I stepped off the statue and into the street and led, what would be at its peak, a crowd of about 400 in a march. We led them through downtown Canal St to Jackson Square and eventually ended the event with the occupation of a police station in the French Quarter where participants peacefully aired their grievances against police nationally & locally (including an August 11th incident where an NOPD officer shut off her body camera and shot a black man in the head. The NOPD failed to immediately release a public report about it).

Photo: Man holds up local Newspaper whose front page reads “NOPD Shoots man during traffic stop” in NOLA police station during occupation of police building,    image

Photo Source Twitter: @2ChainzLyrics 

Up front, my friends (4 black women and 1 black man) and I were leading the group in chanting “Justice for Mike Brown” & “What do we want? JUSTICE. When do we want it? NOW” while a black man whom I did not know (pictured above holding newspaper) joined us in front and led a chant of ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’. Because the people leading the unregistered public event in honor of Mike Brown were black, we didn’t think twice about leading with that particular chant. At some point though, I stepped back and joined the body of the rally and it was at this point that I started getting upset.

As mentioned earlier, I had a brief instance during the moment of silence when I opened my eyes and saw a bunch of white folks with their hands raised in the same position that it’s believed Mike Brown adopted before he was shot. As I moved further back into the crowd of the march, I realized that everybody, including almost all the white people, had adopted the ‘Hands up’ pose. The initial rationalization I had done in the park when I first saw white folks in this pose disappeared as I watched white person after white person march past me with their hands up chanting ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!’ as if they would be criminalized and targeted by police because of the color of their skin. As if their existence was an inherent threat despite being unarmed and in a pose of surrender. As if their interactions with law enforcement as white people don’t usually look like this. I remember feeling the exact same way after Trayvon Martin died and white people, in their misguided attempts at solidarity, posted photos like this one:

image

Photo Source: Google Image search, White People I am Trayvon

Or when white people, after the criticism of the portrayal of Mike Brown (and other black victims of police violence) in the media posted photos like this one:

image

Photo Source: Twitter @goawayjoyce

Look, I understand wanting to show up and support, but white people need to understand that this symbolic act of raising your hands in a position of surrender is meant to illustrate how black people are violently targeted by police because of their race. If you don’t experience that, you should not mimic the gesture in an attempt at “solidarity”. It is centering yourself in a narrative that you cannot tell because of the protection your white privilege gives you. It shows a lack of understanding about the nature of systemic state sanctioned violence against black bodies. In fact, the day after the rally I was talking to a white male neighbor who had attended the rally (and marched with his hands up chanting ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’) who expressed that he thought the gesture was “too passive”. I had to literally break it down for him that the point of the gesture was so show that a non-aggressive surrender wasn’t enough to save Mike Brown because his blackness made him a threat, disposable, or both. In adopting this pose, Black people aren’t demonstrating passive surrender to oppression, they are communicating that they can make all attempts to appear non-threatening, but the historic and contemporary vilification of blackness in America has made the real danger the perception of their blackness as inherently threatening.

Another thing I noted as I went further back into the rally was the behavior of a number of white people in the crowd. These folks (all of whom that I saw were white with bandanas over their faces) were pushing over trash cans, taunting police officers in their cars as we passed them, spray painting public property and releasing colored gas canisters (as shown in this video of the march. A friend of mine told me after the march that he had seen one such white person throw themselves full force against a police car and there were outside reports that a window had been broken).

image


Left Photo: Yellow gas canister goes off during march, Photo Source Twitter: @what__bruh

Right Photo: Graffiti found after march, Photo Source Twitter: @what__bruh

This is when I got mad. How dare these white folks come ‘take part’ in this march by bringing unnecessary violence into a demonstration about unnecessary violence? We were already taking a risk by leading an unregistered rally in order to make a statement on injustice, and now it was being co-opted by the group of people least likely to face any consequences. Had the police reacted to the rally or the violence of these provocateurs, they would have been more likely to arrest myself or other Black people peacefully leading the march, not the white people actually causing the trouble. Later, it was revealed that this group of white folks was part of a local (white) anarchist group that was essentially taking advantage of the energy and numbers of the march to bring about their own agenda, mirroring claims of the same escalation tactics used by outsiders in Ferguson.

All of this backstory finally leads us to the title of the piece, White People, Solidarity & Why I Didn’t March for Mike Brown

Recognizing that the spontaneous rally in the business & tourist sectors of New Orleans did not reach most of the city’s black population who are most likely to be impacted by police violence, there were plans to organize a follow up march that would be more intentional about including this population. A friend of mine attended the organizers meeting for this next event (which had about ten people who were mostly people of color) where attendees discussed the route that should be taken, what to do about provocateurs and where/when the event should take place. At sometime during this meeting, it was revealed that one of the pseudo-national events that was originally announced at the vigil was already in the stages of being planned by a local (white) Anarchist group who would eventually make (and later delete) the Facebook page for the event. I showed up to the rally at Washington Square Park to support a black woman friend of mine who had posted that she was one of the organizers online, and this is what I saw:

image

There were literally more bikes than black people. After finding my friend, she took one look at me and said, “So you probably won’t be marching today huh?” I told her I probably wouldn’t, but stuck around to see if there was going to be any dialogue about this particular gathering for Mike Brown. There wasn’t. After the organizers met and decided on an acceptable route given the make up of those in attendance, they led the 90-95% white crowd out of the park with their hands up chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”. I turned and walked in the opposite direction with the four other black women I came with and we sat on a playground expressing our frustration about the strange energy of this almost all white group going through the streets of this ‘chocolate city’ chanting ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’.

I want to think that white people care about systemic racism. I want to think they are outraged by Mike Brown’s murder, that they are bursting with righteous anger and that they want to riot because the state of our country’s “criminal justice” system is unacceptable. I want to think that. But when I see white people smiling for pictures at protests, carrying the biggest sign that takes up the most space, bringing in unnecessary violence, and talking about how ‘we are all victims and all just need to get along’ during demonstrations about the targeting of black people…I can’t help but thing that maybe they’re just here to make themselves feel better about their own prejudice and advance their own agendas.

On Thursday I attended an event featuring Kalamu ya Salaam where a friend and myself expressed our frustration about the derailment of the first rally by white participants. A few elders in the audience reminded us that these tactics were not new, that they themselves had to deal with provocateurs and other tactics during the Civil Rights Movement. One in particular told us that when white people were using your issues to fight their own battles and doing so at your expense, then it was your responsibility to call them out before they do you more harm. So white people, this is me calling you out. Solidarity is not meant to be comfortable. It is not shining light on yourself as ally at the expense of the oppressed who are demanding their counternarratives be centralized. It is understanding that your whiteness protects you from certain things which in turn prohibits you from participation in others, because at the end of the day, when you get tired of marching and chanting, you can put your hands down and feel confident that the police won’t see you as a threat.

Some of us simply don’t have that luxury.

smearedwithscreams:

(Images should be read from the bottom, up.)

GoFundMe is allowing a campaign for people to donate money to Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

When called on this, and how it violates their ToS, GoFundMe’s response was to delete the hateful, disgusting, racist comments from the donations. They refused to end the campaign. Apparently it is only “promoting hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime” if people can see the deplorable sentiments behind the donations. Somehow deleting the evidence of those sentiments magically changes what those donations are for: rewarding a police officer for killing Michael Brown.

This is absolutely a direct violation of GoFundMe’s ToS, yet GoFundMe is refusing to act. These are people giving money to an individual that gunned down an unarmed black teen. He is profiting from this killing, and it directly promotes racial intolerance and violence. There is no reason why GoFundMe should allow this campaign to continue…

… Except that GoFundMe gets 5% of the cut. In this case, 5% of 235k is $12,500. GoFundMe and Darren Wilson both are profiting off the killing of Michael Brown, and GoFundMe has decided they’d rather take their cut of the money than follow their own ToS. $12,500 is apparently what it takes to abandon justice.

Please, join in the boycott of GoFundMe, and consider signal boosting this.

Thank you.

gatitaborrachita:

nitanahkohe:

Tina Fontaine, 15, was reported missing on Aug. 9. Her body was found in the Red River near the Alexander Docks at about 1:30 p.m., more than a week after she was reported missing. Fontaine, of Sagkeeng First Nation, had only been in Winnipeg for a month before her disappearance. “She’s a petite little thing — just turned 15, barely in the city for a little over a month,” O’Donovan said. “And she’s definitely been exploited and taken advantage of and murdered.” 
Fontaine was in the care of a Child and Family Services agency when she went missing, according to police. She had run away from her foster home before, including once in July of this year. Police said she was found wrapped in a bag, in “a condition she couldn’t have put herself in.”
“She’s a child. This is a child that has been murdered … Society should be horrified,” O’Donovan said. “That’s why we’re asking for people to come forward. And that’s why we’re asking for people to help us and to come forward with anything they know about this child.” Anyone with information can contact police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.

THIS SHOULD ENRAGE YOUTHIS SHOULD PISS YOU THE FUCK OFFOUR WOMEN ARE GOING MISSING AMD MURDERED LEFT AND RIGHT AND I DON’T HEAR ANY OF YOU
Y’ALL CRACKERS WANT TO CLAIM DREAMCATCHERS AND HEADDRESSES AS YOUR OWN BUT THE SECOND SHIT LIKE THIS HAPPENS Y’ALL ARE FUCKING SILENTYOU CAN’T CLAIM ONE PART OF A CULTURE AND LEAVE OUT THE OPPRESSIVE SHIT
CANADA IS NOT ALL SUNSHINE AND FUCKING RAINBOWS

gatitaborrachita:

nitanahkohe:

Tina Fontaine, 15, was reported missing on Aug. 9. Her body was found in the Red River near the Alexander Docks at about 1:30 p.m., more than a week after she was reported missing. Fontaine, of Sagkeeng First Nation, had only been in Winnipeg for a month before her disappearance. “She’s a petite little thing — just turned 15, barely in the city for a little over a month,” O’Donovan said. “And she’s definitely been exploited and taken advantage of and murdered.” 

Fontaine was in the care of a Child and Family Services agency when she went missing, according to police. She had run away from her foster home before, including once in July of this year. Police said she was found wrapped in a bag, in “a condition she couldn’t have put herself in.”

“She’s a child. This is a child that has been murdered … Society should be horrified,” O’Donovan said. “That’s why we’re asking for people to come forward. And that’s why we’re asking for people to help us and to come forward with anything they know about this child.” Anyone with information can contact police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.

THIS SHOULD ENRAGE YOU
THIS SHOULD PISS YOU THE FUCK OFF
OUR WOMEN ARE GOING MISSING AMD MURDERED LEFT AND RIGHT AND I DON’T HEAR ANY OF YOU

Y’ALL CRACKERS WANT TO CLAIM DREAMCATCHERS AND HEADDRESSES AS YOUR OWN BUT THE SECOND SHIT LIKE THIS HAPPENS Y’ALL ARE FUCKING SILENT
YOU CAN’T CLAIM ONE PART OF A CULTURE AND LEAVE OUT THE OPPRESSIVE SHIT

CANADA IS NOT ALL SUNSHINE AND FUCKING RAINBOWS