I got a chuckle out of a recent SNL skit lambasting Trump’s racist voters. The skit is accurate and rather tame, really, but it’s bold and edgy by the show’s standards. It’s a good sign that they are now willing to point out and mock the hate and absurdity that comes from Trump and his supporters. Still doesn’t excuse them inviting Trump to host the show last year, though. Much of the blame for Trump’s rise can be put squarely on the media’s shoulders. In their fevered chase for ratings, they’ve given a platform to some of the most hateful and damaging elements of America.
“No, the time for justice, the time for freedom, and the time for equality is always, is always right now!”
Following the shooting of two police officers in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for activists to stop the protests until after the officers were buried.
“It’s important that regardless of people’s viewpoints that everyone step back,” de Blasio said at a Police Athletic League event Monday, his first of two public appearances to discuss the Brooklyn shootings that day. “It’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time.”
If I were a New Yorker, my reply would be: hell no.
The deaths of the two officers was a tragedy, and it came at a particularly horrible time as the city and the nation are dealing with the serious topic of police brutality and the bigoted policing of minority communities. That, however, is no excuse to call for end to the protests.
I sympathize with the Mayor, really. Idiots like Rudy Guilliani have blamed him in part for the officers’ deaths, and he is also dealing with the near insubordination and inflammatory comments coming out of the NYPD. He’s probably just trying to get a grip on the situation and keep it from becoming more heated. But the cat is out of the bag.
The frustrating part is that the Mayor’s comments are hardly a surprise. One of the most common tactics used to silence those who call for change is to attempt to put off the discussion until a later date. You see this a lot in the aftermath of mass shootings. The calls come immediately to stop discussing gun violence and gun laws.
“It’s too soon”
“Stop being divisive, people were killed!”
“Don’t use this tragedy to score political points”
One can see why we get these remarks: because merely talking about making possible changes to the status quo upsets people, and rather than try to have an honest conversation, they attempt to claim the moral high ground and guilt people into avoiding the issues altogether.
But that’s bullshit. We can mourn the slain police officers and continue the protests and calls for justice for victims of police brutality. It’s not an either/or situation. People who say otherwise are only trying to silence those who are calling for change, and that’s not acceptable.
Max Read ponders why anyone should respect the law when the law does not reciprocate.
Many people have decried the blatant unfairness – and outright hostility – of the American justice system lately. But Albert Burneko says the system is working the way it was designed to. A snippet from his piece:
America is a serial brutalizer of black and brown people. Brutalizing them is what it does. It does other things, too, yes, but brutalizing black and brown people is what it has done the most, and with the most zeal, and for the longest. The best argument you can make on behalf of the various systems and infrastructures the country uses against its black and brown citizens—the physical design of its cities, the methods it uses to allocate placement in elite institutions, the way it trains its police to treat citizens like enemy soldiers—might actually just be that they’re more restrained than those used against black and brown people abroad. America employs the enforcers of its power to beat, kill, and terrorize, deploys its judiciary to say that that’s OK, and has done this more times than anyone can hope to count. This is not a flaw in the design; this is the design.
Some good stuff from Gawker Media lately. A lot of their stuff is silly nonsense, but they got a handful of good writers.
I’m working on a poem and another short story. I hope to publish the poem on Thursday.
I’d like to share some of the more interesting and enlightening pieces on Ferguson I’ve come across. Among other things, they argue against the belief that riots and some of their more aggressive aspects – looting, property destruction – are inherently bad. Do take a moment to read them. Even if you don’t entirely agree with the writers’ conclusions, you might walk away with a a more nuanced perspective.
“Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“In Defense of the Ferguson Riots,” by Robert Stephen II.
“Smashy, Smashy: Nine Historical Triumphs to Make You Rethink Property Destruction,” by Jesse A. Myerson and Jóse Martín.
“In Defense of Looting,” by Willie Osterweil.
A great quote from Osterweil’s piece:
The mystifying ideological claim that looting is violent and non-political is one that has been carefully produced by the ruling class because it is precisely the violent maintenance of property which is both the basis and end of their power. Looting is extremely dangerous to the rich (and most white people) because it reveals, with an immediacy that has to be moralized away, that the idea of private property is just that: an idea, a tenuous and contingent structure of consent, backed up by the lethal force of the state.
Last week, I had a conversation with some family members about the events in Ferguson. With the grand jury’s decision on the way, some of them were confident that Darren Wilson was going to be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown. Their confidence came largely from watching news coverage of the protests that had been going in Ferguson since the killing. They saw the anger and the desire for justice and said there was no way they would not indict him.
I disagreed. My reasoning was as simple as it is truthful: this country does not give a damn about justice for black people. People can protest demanding justice, they can demand reforms, they can sign petitions, they can write eloquent op-eds and think pieces, and it will do nothing to change the minds of a frightening number of our fellow citizens. In fact, such actions serve only to harden many of their hearts.
I wanted to write something on Ferguson ever since the grand jury decision came down on Monday, but I kept myself from doing so because I was too angry and too disappointed and my thoughts were more disjointed than usual. Where would I even begin? There are so many infuriating, depressing aspects to this tragedy: the murder, Wilson not going to trial, the media’s stunning incompetence and obfuscation, the astonishing amount of vile and hatred unleashed online.
The disease that has plagued this country since its inception – racism – continues to fester, taking lives and rotting the host. And still many refuse to even acknowledge the disease, making it that much harder to come up with a cure. What the fuck are we supposed to do against such ignorance?