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The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’

NB Commentary: Great article! Well written! Points well taken.

The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’
 07/25/2016 05:57 pm ET 
Editor-at-Large at HumanisticPaganism.com and editor of Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans
Why “Black” Makes Us Uncomfortable
Dear fellow white people, let’s have an honest talk about why we say “All Lives Matter.” First of all, notice that no one was saying “All Lives Matter” before people started saying “Black Lives Matter.” So “All Lives Matter” is a response to “Black Lives Matter.” Apparently, something about the statement “Black Lives Matter” makes us uncomfortable. Why is that?
Now some white people might say that singling out Black people’s lives as mattering somehow means that white lives don’t matter. Of course, that’s silly. If you went to a Breast Cancer Awareness event, you wouldn’t think that they were saying that other types of cancer don’t matter. And you’d be shocked if someone showed up with a sign saying “Colon Cancer Matters” or chanting “All Cancer Patients Matter.” So clearly, something else is prompting people to say “All Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter.”
Many of the people saying “All Lives Matter” also are fond of saying “Blue Lives Matter.” If you find that the statement “Black Lives Matter” bothers you, but not “Blue Lives Matter,” then the operative word is “Black”. That should tell us something. There’s something deeply discomfiting about the word “Black.” I think it’s because it reminds us of our whiteness and challenges our notion that race doesn’t matter.
The Problem With “Colorblindness”
If you’re like me, growing up, the word “Black” was always spoken of in whispers in your family. It was like we were saying something taboo. Why was that? Because itwas taboo. We might feel more comfortable saying “African-American,” but not “Black.” The reason is that we were raised to believe that “colorblindness” was the ideal for whites. We were taught that we shouldn’t “see color.” And saying the word “Black” was an acknowledgment of the fact that we did “see color.”
The problem with being “colorblind” — aside from the fact that we’re not really — is that it is really a white privilege to be able to ignore race. White people like me have the luxury of not paying attention to race — white or black. The reason is because whiteness is treated as the default in our society. Whiteness is not a problem for white people, because it blends into the cultural background.
Black people, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of being “colorblind.” They live in a culture which constantly reminds them of their Black-ness, which tells them in a million large and small ways that they are not as important as white people, that their lives actually do not matter as much as white lives. Which is why saying “Black Lives Matter” is so important.
“Black Lives [Do Not] Matter”
“All Lives Matter” is a problem because it refocuses the issue away from systemic racism and Black lives. It distracts and diminishes the message that Black lives matter or that they should matter more than they do. “All Lives Matter” is really code for “White Lives Matter,” because when white people think about “all lives,” we automatically think about “all white lives.”
We need to say “Black Lives Matter,” because we’re not living it. No one is questioning whether white lives matter or whether police lives matter. But the question of whether Black lives really matter is an open question in this country. Our institutions act like Black lives do not matter. The police act like Black lives do not matter when they shoot unarmed Black people with their arms in the air and whenBlacks are shot at two and a half times the rate of whiteseven when whites are armed. The judicial system acts like Black lives don’t matter when Blacks are given more severe sentences than whites who commit the same crimes and are turned into chattel in a for-profit prison-industrial complex.
And white people act like Black lives do not matter when we fail to raise the appropriate level of outrage at unjustified killings of Blacks or when we respond with platitudes like “All Lives Matter.”
But we still say it. We say it because “All Lives Matter” lets us get back to feeling comfortable. “Black Lives Matter” makes us uncomfortable. Why? Because it reminds us that race exists. It reminds us that our experience as white people is very different from the experience of Black people in this country. It reminds us that racism is alive and well in the United States of America.
The New Face of Racism
Now, I just said the “R” word, so you’re probably feeling defensive at this point. You’re instinctively thinking to yourself that you are not a racist. You may be thinking that you have Black friends or that you don’t use the N-word or that you would never consciously discriminate against a Black person. But most racism today is more subtle than that. Sure, there is a lot of overt racism that still goes on. The KKK is still active and some white people do still say the N-word. But overt racism is really culturally unacceptable any more among whites today. The racism that we need to face today is much more insidious than white hoods and racial slurs. It is the racism of well-meaning people who are not consciously or intentionally racist.   
The racism that we need to face is the racism of average white middle-class Americans who would never think of saying the N-word and would vociferously condemn the KKK, but nevertheless unwittingly participate in institutionalized racism. We most often participate in racism by omission, rather than commission. We participate in racism when we fail to see it where it exists. We participate in racism when we continue to act like race is a problem that only Black people have. We participate in racism when we seek comfortable responses like “All Lives Matter.”
What We Can Do: Embrace the Discomfort
We white people need to embrace our discomfort. Here are some things we can do:
1. Recognize that we are not “colorblind.”
We can start by recognizing that we all have an “implicit bias” toward Blacks. Think you don’t have it? Consider how we mentally congratulate ourselves when we treat the random Black person the same way we treat white people. Here’s a tip, if you give yourself brownie points for treating Black people like you do white people, you’re not really treating Black people like white people.
Still don’t think you have unconscious bias, go to the Harvard implicit bias testing website and take the tests on race and skin-tone. Even white anti-racism activists like me have these biases. And they come out in all kinds of subtle ways, as well as not so subtle ways.
2. Work against unconscious bias by spending time with Black people in Black spaces.
Next, go out of your way to spend time with Black people in Black community settings. Many of us live segregated lives in which we have little to no interaction with Black people. Let’s face it, Black people make us white people uncomfortable. It’s because we’ve been socialized by a racist system to fear Black people.
Even if you feel comfortable around individual Black people, you most likely do not feel comfortable in a room full of Black people. You might have Black friends, but you probably socialize with them in white spaces. Have you ever been to a Black space and felt uncomfortable? Maybe you felt like no one wanted you there. Welcome to the everyday experience of Black people in white culture.
And when you go to a Black space, go to listen rather than lead. Learn to follow. Leading is a white privilege. Let go of it for a while and learn from those whose experience you will never have. Listen to Black people, and if what they are saying or how they are saying it makes you uncomfortable, so much the better.
3. Talk to white people about institutional racism and say “Black Lives Matter.”
It’s no good sitting around feeling guilty about white privilege. We need to do something about it. One thing we can do is to use our white privilege to dismantle it.
One white privilege we have is that other white people listen to us. We can go into white spaces and talk to white people about implicit bias and institutional racism. We can unapologetically proclaim that “Black Lives Matter.”
After the Orlando shooting, I went to an interfaith vigil in my small conservative town. Almost no one among the speakers said the words “queer,” “gay,” or “lesbian.” This was probably unconscious, but it revealed a lingering, but deep seated discomfort among heterosexuals with gayness and queerness, a discomfort that the popular use of the acronym “LGBT” obscures. Similarly, we whites are uncomfortable with Black-ness. We don’t even like like to say the word. It feels wrong in our mouths. We hide it by using code words like “inner city” or “urban,” terms which allow us to hide from our unconscious racism. We need to say “Black Lives Matter” because we need to overcome our discomfort with Blacks and face up to our unconscious bias.
Join the Second Civil Rights Movement
Dear fellow white people, we are in the middle of a second Civil Rights Movement. Most of us white people idealize Martin Luther King, Jr. and we like to think that we would have been on his side of things during the Civil Rights era. But the fact is thatthe majority of the American public did not support the Civil Rights movement while it was happening and only came to see King as a hero after he was killed.

The Civil Rights movement was unpopular among most whites when it was happening. It was unpopular because it made white people deeply uncomfortable. Today, the Black Lives Matter movement makes us uncomfortable, too. In forty years we will look back on this second Civil Rights movement and have to ask ourselves whether we were on the right side of history. If we want to be on the right side of history this time, we have to make ourselves uncomfortable. There is no comfortable way to change. And the change can start with saying this simple but powerful phrase: Black Lives Matter.


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WTF? White Man Gets Off Easy After Admitting To Choking His Black Wife To Death

WTF? White Man Gets Off Easy After Admitting To Choking His Black Wife To Death

NB Commentary: Hmm, he got 31 years… I guess you could call that easy if you ain’t going to jail. And you definitely don’t know about jail house justice when it comes to killing women, rapists and pedophiles.

He probably plea bargained so he wouldn’t get life, but 31 years may as well be life. It could very well be about race, but for some reason, I don’t get the sense it is. And at risk of sounding like an apologist, some stuff is just what it is. He plea bargained, he got his mom off end of story. Shit happens.
I often wonder why folks want to have someone killed because they killed someone, it never made any sense to me, neither does the death penalty. As for Erica’s family, how is killing this dude gonna bring their daughter back? She may have really loved him. Do you think she would want her family to have him killed? He was obviously a drug addict and she was obviously co-dependent. Would it help her spirit to rest if they killed him?

To me capital punishment is barbaric. Whatever happened to rehabilitation? So now, the prison industrial complex has another slave laborer. Who really wins in this scenario?? 

Is It Because He Is White? White Man Gets Off Easy 

After Admitting To Choking His Black Wife To Death

A New Jersey man is getting off light after he admitted to prosecutors that he murdered his wife and then tried to dispose her body in the next state over.
While everyone was grieving beside Kyle Crosby, he knew that he has chocked her to death during a domestic dispute and then employed his mother to help him dispose of the body.
Kyle Crosby recently plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter for the 2014 death of his wife Erica Crippen.

Crosby sold his deceased wife’s clothes for drug money and his mother was involved in covering up the crime after the couple had a simple argument that turned deadly.
Crosby, of Mount Laurel, N.J., man has pleaded guilty to killing his wife last year on New Year’s Eve and later disposing of her body in a rural area in Maryland, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday.
Kyle Crosby, 29, entered a guilty plea to aggravated manslaughter and Hindering Apprehension, ABC7 reported.
Crosby will serve a 31-year sentence in state prison.
According officials, Crosby admitted in court that on December 31, 2014, he fatally choked his wife, Erica Crippen, 26, inside their Mount Laurel home and later transported her body to Maryland.
Investigators found Crippen’s body March 17 along a rural road in Sykesville, Maryland. She had been missing since New Year’s Eve, and her body was discovered under some branches and brush. Prosecutors have said the body was wrapped in a blanket; her arms, legs and neck were bound with an electrical cord and duct tape was on her face and nose.

Crosby’s mother, Jo Crosby, 68, of Sicklerville, N.J., was indicted in April on one
count of Hindering Apprehension and one count of Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence. But she is getting off clean.

After posting $12,500 bail and as part of the the plea agreement with Kyle Crosby, the charges against his mother will be dismissed at sentencing.
The question remains is: how does the murderous husband get off with manslaughter convictions and his mother, who was a felony accomplice after the fact, get off unscathed?

The Economic Destruction of Baltimore, by Rob Urie

    Baltimore, Police Violence and Economic Justice
    by ROB URIE
    “We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The ‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out’ for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”
    Hillary Clinton 1994
    The Economic Backdrop
    American politics is the realm of Immaculate Conception where actual policies and accumulated history disappear behind a veil of personal characteristics and unrelated acts. The (mis)leadership class pretends that ruling class machinations— trade agreements, financial deregulation, imperial wars, surveillance and policing have no bearing on social outcomes. American cities bear the imprint of these policies plus the residuals of slavery, genocide and the particulars of Western capitalism that have embedded history into current social relations. This is to argue that the individualist explanation of Western history may be interesting for those so-inclined, but it fails as description in every conceivable dimension.
    Freddie Gray. Original Image source: cnn.com
    Political explanations of public policies like trade agreements and financial deregulation put a political face on fundamentally economic arrangements. When Bill and Hillary Clinton instituted the ‘tough-on-crime’ policies that so exacerbated mass incarceration there was a political explanation— pandering to White suburban voters’ manufactured fears of a Black urban underclass to garner votes, but the policies tied closely to American economic history as well. From slavery to convict leasing to urban dispossession, racial repression has produced economic value that has been expropriated. The Clinton’s neoliberal trade policies exacerbated the urban industrial exodus while deregulation of finance ‘monetized’ Black wealth for the taking. Seemingly unrelated ‘political’ policies often have economic explanations.
    Economic history ties America’s cities to political and economic hierarchy through the dimensions of this hierarchy. Washington to Baltimore to Philadelphia to New York was the land route North for Southern Blacks fleeing slavery. This was also one of the routes to industrial jobs following WWII. Sequential (engineered) oil crises in the 1970s roiled industrial America. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Federal Reserve policies decimated the industrial economy by increasing the value of the U.S. dollar. Bill Clinton passed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and his deregulation of Wall Street provided the money needed to finance the relocation of a large portion of the U.S. industrial base overseas. None of these policies were crafted by the inner-city residents.

    Modern day Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago have neighborhoods left behind by policy decisions that decimated the economic bases that once supported them. When there were jobs people worked. When the jobs left people either stopped working or found other, less remunerative work in the service sector. The housing boom and bust monetized inner-city houses until the bubble burst. Rather than forcing Wall Street to clean up the mess inner city residents were left with their former wealth in the hands of bankers and an economy that imploded in the Great Recession. While this story is full of malefactors, Bill Clinton has major policy responsibility for mass incarceration, for neoliberal trade deals and for bank deregulation.
    The bankers who destroyed Baltimore discuss their bonuses
    with Congress. Image source: google images.
    The Murder of Freddie Gray
    The wholly implausible storyline that Freddie Gray severed his own spine being put out by the Baltimore police is a Rorschach test for social accountability. The political strategy of officialdom is to peel away those who will accept any explanation in favor of police actions, no matter how implausible, to marginalize protestors. That a significant portion of the population, both Black and White, wants to believe that the police always act in good faith illustrates a preconception that will only be effectively challenged through political estrangement. The fabrication adds insult to Freddie Gray’s murder and as such, to the conduct that the Baltimore police department needs to be held to account for. Freddie Gray was murdered in police custody. Technocratic explanations of the particulars only serve to obscure this basic truth.
    When videotape revealed the brutal beating the Los Angeles police inflicted on Rodney King the defense was able to convince a jury and a substantial portion of America that Mr. King had assaulted the police ‘batons’ with his head. One might wonder how graphic footage of a group of cops beating Rodney King within an inch of his life in plain public view could be construed otherwise. The tactic used was similar to the comments from officialdom, including the Black (mis)leadership class, toward protestors in Baltimore. Mr. King was alleged to have been in an angel dust rage that made him impervious to pain and to rational thought— he was an ‘out-of-control’ Black man. Likewise the protestors in Baltimore were deemed irrational ‘thugs,’ criminals with no legitimate right to political action.

    Graph (1) above: the official storyline has unknown forces producing intractable poverty in American cities when many of the forces are quite visible. Mass incarceration is racially targeted and causes wholesale immiseration by precluding meaningful employment. Wall Street’s subprime lending fiasco racially targeted neighborhoods and emptied them of residents as local wealth was transferred to the bank accounts of the already wealthy. It is paradoxical that public discussion of ‘looting’ in Baltimore has focused on angry citizens without deep discussion of what they are angry about. Home foreclosures in Baltimore (Graph (1) above) have followed the national housing boom – bust because Wall Street made predatory mortgage loans targeting neighborhoods of color. Rather than charging bankers with making fraudulent, predatory loans the citizens of Baltimore were forced to bear the consequences of banker malfeasance. Source: Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition.

    In telling form, officialdom’s concern for property overshadowed care for the life of Freddie Gray and the many other Black, Brown and poor White youth and men murdered by the police. These misplaced priorities are thinly veiled socio-cide, concern with what can be replaced in place of what can’t be. The rapid vilification of protestors was accompanied by Immaculate Conception politics, denial of responsibility for the circumstances being protested. However, made apparent by events in Baltimore is that police murders only enter the American consciousness when buildings and police cars burn. Assertions that peaceful protests are the only legitimate form face the burden of history and official hypocrisy. Moral suasion through peaceful protest assumes a capacity that divergent class interests render improbable.
    Democracy Now! illustrated one such experiential divide when a Baltimore mother refused to join local youth who had volunteered to clean a burned CVS store because, as she put it, the police need to be made to understand that they can’t murder Black youth with impunity. Left unexplored, and apparently unconsidered by the youth who saw the local CVS outlet as ‘their’ store, is that through direct purchase and their Caremark consulting business CVS has put hundreds of locally owned pharmacies in inner city neighborhoods out of business and replaced them with minimum wage jobs and extractive economic practices. Likewise, the Ace Cash Express that was burned is a payday lender whose business model is to make usurious loans in poorly banked communities under terms that lead to permanent debt servitude.
    State police or police state? Original image source: spaulforrest.com.
    National Mis-Leadership Meets Local Mis-Leadership
    When President Obama called protesters in Baltimore ‘criminals and thugs’ he neglected to mention the class divisions that have as his major campaign contributors the Wall Street bankers who engineered the housing boom – bust still devastating Baltimore and whose subsidiaries are the payday lenders who destroy lives and neighborhoods there. Some fair portion of these campaign contributors would have been ‘criminals’ if Mr. Obama’s Justice Department had not shielded them from prosecution for their crimes. The term ‘thugs’ is widely used as racist code for Black and Brown youth and could be more appropriately applied to American drone operators so regularly slaughtering wedding parties across the Middle East. And the term most certainly applies to the police who murder Black and Brown youth with alarming regularity and officially sanctioned impunity.
    Much of the reaction to events in Baltimore harkens to the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s quip that “justice is incidental to law and order.” Implied is that justice may be set to the side if order can be maintained through systematic injustice. The conceptual problem is that, as with President Obama’s and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s slander of protestors as ‘thugs,’ class interests lie behind class-based policing. Heavily armed, militarized police could storm Wall Street (as metaphor for geographically dispersed finance) and corporate executive suites kicking in doors, handcuffing everyone they meet and opening fire on those who aren’t immediately compliant under the same theorized justification they have for doing so in Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia or Los Angeles. That they don’t is evidence that neither law nor justice is behind police actions in poor communities.
    If peaceful change is possible, why have the police been militarized to prevent it?
    The Department of Homeland Security calls protestors ‘terrorists’
    and the Ferguson, MO police department calls them ‘the enemy.’
    Original image source: google images.
    The economic crises affecting communities of color in Baltimore and elsewhere tie directly to government policies like trade agreements that benefit financiers, upper class ‘professionals,’ industrialists and the owners of capital. Official indifference to the social consequences of industrial relocation has produced economic dead zones in major cities since the 1960s. Wall Street’s predatory mortgages decimated black wealth in cities like Baltimore and with it the capacity for economic investment. Elite chides that citizens are destroying their future prospects through rebellion provide cover for the economic forces they control for their own benefit. In the last decade Wall Street has destroyed more of urban America than citizen rebellions ever could.
    The problem of the economic capture of the mis-leadership class suggests that political resolution is unlikely to come through the ballot box. Blacks have joined this mis-leadership class with co-optation being the singular result. American political economy is set up to perpetuate existing class relations with the racial residual of history as a component. Martin King began addressing economic justice with the understanding that it is a prerequisite to social justice. He was murdered shortly thereafter. The interest in ‘property’ in the face of the loss of life at police hands is clear indication of what drives official concerns. Therein lies the political paradox— economics is the more dangerous dimension of social injustice to address but it is also the most necessary. The U.S. has subverted democratic movements and invaded countries to prevent implementation of a minimum wage. But how is life possible without a living wage?
    Rob Urie is an artist and political economist.  
    Weekend Edition May 1-3, 2015

Why Do People Riot? Baltimore? Boston Tea Party?

NANA BAAKAN”S COMMENTARY


In reality, when folks are connected to that which is around them, they are less likely to tear it up. But when you have disenfranchised people who are neither cared about or engaged and encouraged to be apart of what is around them in their environment, but instead are told to walk here, be there, leave this and don’t interfere with that, they are alienated. How many of those who riot are gainfully employed by the establishments that surround them? How many of them own the property? How many of them are even co-owners? How many of them care and how many of them are “unaware” that these establishments have insurance to cover damages.

What Ferguson Cops Can Learn From LAPD Response to Rodney King Riots

By Monica Alba

“The Los Angeles Police Department’s response to the Rodney King riots 22 years ago could provide a blueprint for what happens in the coming months and years in Ferguson, Missouri, as police work to repair their reputation in the wake of Michael Brown’s fatal shooting, according to experts on the LAPD’s transformation.” READ MORE


When people are policed and restrained, ordered and separated, they will not feel attached to their environment. They will see the environment as much of the enemy as they will see the Police or the so-called “Authority that Polices them”. They will not see or feel a connection to their environment but will feel caged and imprisoned by it.

Systemic racism and re-gentrification alienates the inhabitants of the community, particularly as business and corporations set up shop in the communities they do not live in. They are more representative of the oppressors than they are considered neighbors. The businesses set up in these communities have an ingrained attitude about the inhabitants of the communities that they are financially benefited by. They do not see them as humans but more as commodities. They are as alienated from those whom they depend on to support them financially as those who spend their money there.

19 Shocking Images from the Baltimore Riots

Apr 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm | By  

EXCERPT: “There was an uprising on social media calling for a violent protest to take place, and resultantly things exploded yesterday afternoon in northwestern Baltimore around the area where Gray’s funeral had taken place that morning. Images of looting, destruction, arson, and violence have since streamed from the area as the city was placed under a state of emergency.”

It may appear reckless to riot but rioting is a deeper sign of an even deeper chasm between the haves and the have-nots. When people are actively involved in their own communities that they feel an ownership of and an ability to control, they are less likely to be destructive. It’s simply human nature, and to expect what happened in Baltimore to fall outside of the confines of human nature is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is denial of what is truly the cause of what is happening when people riot.

Black Time Travel | Rioting isn’t new. In fact, America was founded on rioting

By Evette D. Champion
EXCERPT: In the midst of the rioting that is going on in Baltimore, many people are thinking that rioting and looting is something that has only been done within the past 50 years to show civil unrest. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Did you know that this country was founded on looting and riots?
During the 1760s in Boston, Massachusetts, there was a lot of political activity going on that rose a lot of eyebrows and ruffled a few feathers. The early settlers were in the midst of constant and violent protests against the British. A lot of the credit for the Revolution belongs to Sam Adams and the group called “Sons of Liberty.” READ MORE

EXCERPT“A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation’s busiest port,” the part of the curriculum pertaining to the Boston Tea Party reads, according to CBS Houston. “Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities.” READ MORE

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