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Showing posts from October, 2019

Two major forces contribute to hate: racism and inequality

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The connecting line between addiction and hate, according to Dr. Gabor Maté, is trauma.
Two major forces contribute to hate: racism and inequality.
"The research is absolutely clear," Maté says. "The more inequality in a society, the more hate, the more dysfunction, the more mental illness, the more physical illness." It should come as no surprise, then, that we see more addiction and more mass shootings since "the inequality is rising all the time." Violence against racial, ethnic, or religious groups "is a manifestation of a society that foments division amongst people and sets people against each other."
We can reduce the harm of hate by not letting it boil over. We can vote for legislators who will enact gun laws to reduce the harm in those moments that it does.  And we can create an environment that allows parents to be there for their children emotionally to prevent trauma — that includes paid family leave and stopping the f…

The Violent Backbone of Slavery

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In 'Stolen,' Five Boys Are Caught In A Reverse Underground Railroad Toward Slavery
Ilana Masad, October 16, 2019, National Public Radio

In the second episode of 1619, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ New York Times-produced podcast, she interviews sociologist Matthew Desmond about the ways in which the institution of slavery in the United States both drove and was driven by economic concerns.

"[M]any of our depictions of the cotton plantation are bucolic and small," Desmond says at one point. "[Y]ou might see a handful of enslaved workers in the fields, and an overseer on a horse, and then the owner in a big house. That's not how it was. It was incredibly complex... [C]omplex hierarchies with mid-level managers... Complicated workforce supervision techniques were developed... Professional manuals and credentials were developed... But behind all the sophistication, behind all this capitalistic rationality, was violence."

Indeed, slavery wasn&…

Amazon’s “Rekognition” technology (Of the 28 misidentifications, 50% were Patriots players.)

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Amazon Facial Recognition Falsely Links 27 Athletes to Mugshots in ACLU Study Massachusetts’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter revealed Amazon’s “Rekognition” technology falsely linked the faces of 27 professional athletes in New England to mugshots in a criminal database. In the case of Amazon’s facial recognition software, “recognition” might be a misnomer.
The Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced this month that Amazon’s “Rekognition” technology falsely linked the faces of 27 professional athletes in New England to mugshots in a criminal database.
As part of a probe on face surveillance, the Massachusetts ACLU filtered 188 local athletes through a database of 20,000 mugshots.
Among the misidentified were Patriots running back James White, Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, and three-time Super Bowl winner and Patriots safety Duran Harmon. (Of the 28 misidentifications, 50% were Patriots players.)READ

Andrew Johnson back in spotlight for 1868 impeachment brush

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Andrew Johnson back in spotlight for 1868 impeachment brush
David Crary, October 12, 2019, AP News



The president traveled the country, fanning racial animus. He viewed the Congress with disdain. He also tried to undo some of the most important achievements of his predecessor, using executive power.

That was not Donald Trump, but another president who faced the ignominy of impeachment: Andrew Johnson.

As the impeachment inquiry of Trump unfolds, Johnson, never among America’s most famous presidents, though widely considered one of the worst, is attracting renewed attention.

Johnson was the first president to be impeached, by the House of Representatives in 1868. He escaped removal from office by a single vote short of the required two-thirds after his trial in the Senate, but was so disgraced he was denied his party’s nomination that year.

Trump and Johnson came from opposite ends of America’s social spectrum — Johnson from deep poverty, Trump from great wealth. Yet they share…

More than 4,000 people have been lynched in the U.S. Trump isn’t one of them.

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More than 4,000 people have been lynched in the U.S. Trump isn’t one of them.
Gillian Brockell, October 22, 2019, The Washington Post



They hang like coffins, more than 800 steel plates suspended from the ceiling, each representing a county in the United States where a lynching took place. Engraved on the broad face of each plate are the names of the victims and the days they were lynched: “Benjamin Hart, 05.08.1887,” “Maggie House, 12.21.1918,” “Unknown, 11.20.1899.” Some plates contain dozens of names.

At the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., more than 4,000 victims of racist terrorism are remembered over the heads of visitors.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump compared the House impeachment inquiry into his conduct to “a lynching,” generating a firestorm of condemnation.

Lynching is the extrajudicial murder of an untried suspect, usually by a mob and often by hanging.

In the United States, 4,743 lynchings were recorded between 1882 and 1968, acc…

How I got revenge on a plantation tour

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How I got revenge on a plantation tour
Nygel Turner, 18 October 2019, The Guardian



August is my favorite month because every year my family goes on an African American themed Caribbean Island cruise – replace the shuffle board with a basketball court, switch out the chicken nuggets for southern fried chicken, and get rid of whatever weak a capella group is performing and insert Fantasia. But the summer before my senior year in high school, my family and I flew to New Orleans instead – my dad had a surprise specifically for me.

When he met me in our hotel lobby with my uncle Al, I thought to myself, “A little father and son and uncle bonding time. I’m with it.” But then a luxury tour bus pulled up to the curb, and suddenly all these people piled out of the hotel and started boarding. “Oh, a wine tour?” I thought. My dad, my uncle and I hopped on last. I saw a digital sign above the bus driver’s head that read: “PLANTATION TOURS.”

There was not a single black passenger on th…

So you want to talk about lynching? Understand this first.

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by Michele Norris
Michele Norris is a former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and the founding director of the Race Card Project.

So you want to talk about lynching?
Okay. Let’s talk.
A lynching involved a man, but sometimes a woman or a child, who was dragged from home, heels in the dirt, body contorting, convulsing with fear.
A lynching involved another man — this time, almost always a man — finding a rope and making a noose, or perhaps finding a rope that had already been made into a noose, for this was not exactly rare in an earlier time. It took a special kind of rope to hold the knot, to hold the weight. A heavy rope. Corded and coarse.
The knot took skill; the act was impulsive, but the details relied on practiced technique. The genus, health and shape of the tree were important. Were the branches high enough? Thick enough? Healthy enough to accommodate the sudden plummet of death?
A lynching was bulging eyes and slobber and spittle.
It took a mob, a …

1619 Might Not Be the Right Year: 6 Shocking Facts About Slavery, Natives and African Americans

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Wikimedia Commons “Slaves working in 17th-century Virginia,” by an unknown artist, 1670. by Sep 12, 2017
1619, the year slavery was born, or was it?

The Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center at Norfolk State University (NSU) held a conference called 1619: The Making of America in September of 2013. That year is historically significant because it was the first year Africans were brought to the colonies, slavery was born and it was the year America’s first legislative body was founded.

In an admirable gesture to honor all of the cultural relations happening in the America’s in 1619, NSU hosted several Native speakers and those familiar with Native history to address many issues not often covered in today’s classrooms. During these sessions, many little known facts about African Americans, Native Americans and slavery were addressed in the years following 1619.

The Term Negro May Have Been Meant For American Indians
During the session Native Americans at 1619 Dr. Arica Co…

John Smith's Capture : more a legend than history

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The basic story of John Smith and Pocahontas, whether in fiction or history textbooks, is well known; indeed, it became more a legend than history. The fact that Smith failed to write about Pocahontas saving his life before 1624 (when the event actually happened in 1607) led many to believe that the story was actually a fable. Scholars now attribute this omission to the fact that the Virginia Company did not want any "hair-raising" stories about Virginia Indians to become public and possibly dissuade potential colonists from migrating to the colony. What is Smith's story about his captivity? What are Smith's attitudes toward these Indians? To what extent does Wingfield's report support Smith's story?

View the original documents by clicking on the links below. Both documents are from The Capital and the Bay. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.

Governor Edward-Maria Wingfield's Report, 1607
Decem.--The 10th of December, Mr Smy…

1745

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When two young black slaves escape into the wilds of 18th century Scotland, they must use all of their courage and strength to survive, unite, and stay free. 1745 highlights a forgotten part of Scotland’s history: while Scotland was fighting for its national freedom in that fateful year, its economy was in large part founded on the booming colonial slave trade. While the majority of slavery happened elsewhere - off-stage, across the Atlantic - there were African slaves here, kept as trophies and pets in the houses of their rich merchant masters. “1745” was inspired by advertisements that writer, Morayo Akandé, discovered for runaway slaves, placed in Scottish newspapers of the time.
The images on this website are used with permission from photographers Jonathan Birch & Christian Cooksey

Check out Moyo and Morayo's interview for The New Current magazine discussing 1745.

Indians Poisoned At Peace Meeting

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West Point in King William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic) Indians Poisoned At Peace Meeting By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009 1. Indians Poisoned At Peace Meeting Marker Inscription.  In May 1623, Capt. William Tucker led English soldiers from Jamestown to meet with Indian leaders here in Pamunkey territory. The Indians were returning English prisoners taken in March 1622 during war leader Opechancanough’s orchestrated attacks on encroaching English settlements along the James River. At the meeting, the English called for a toast to seal the agreement, gave the Indians poisoned wine, and then fired upon them, injuring as many as 150, including Opechancanough and the chief of the Kiskiack. The English had hoped to assassinate Opechancanough, who was erroneously reported as having been slain; they succeeded in 1646.

Erected 2008 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number OC-3.)

Location. 37° 32.289′ N, 76° 47.68′ W. Marker is in West Point, Vir…

Rich Hoarding Opportunities? ‘The Bob Dylan of Genocide Apologists’

Trump vs. Trump: Kurds Edition pic.twitter.com/eqMMwNWtlg — The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 17, 2019

The rich are hoarding opportunities: America has a social mobility problem. Children born in 1940 had a 90% chance of earning more than their parents. For children born in 1984, the odds were 50-50.
Most accounts of this trend focus on the breakdown of upward mobility: It’s getting harder for the poor to become rich. But equally important is the decline of downward mobility: The rich, regardless of their intelligence, are becoming more likely to stay that way.
Any survivor of genocide will tell you that disbelieving or dismissing their experience is a continuation of genocide. A genocide denier is an apologist for the next genocide. As for Mr. Handke, The Irish Times reported, “When critics pointed out that the victims’ corpses provided evidence of Serb atrocities, the writer replied: ‘You can stick your corpses up your ass!’”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/opinion/…

Trapped in History

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Class Bias in Hiring #classism

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Study shows class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech "Our study shows that even during the briefest interactions, a person's shape the way people perceive them, including assessing their competence and fitness for a job," said Michael Kraus, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. "While most hiring managers would deny that a job candidate's social class matters, in reality, the socioeconomic position of an applicant or their parents is being assessed within the first seconds they speak—a circumstance that limits economic mobility and perpetuates inequality."

"We rarely talk explicitly about , and yet, people with hiring experience infer competence and fitness based on estimated from a few second of an applicant's speech," Kraus said. "If we want to move to a more equitable society, then we must contend with these ingrained ps…

When it comes to the word “diversity,” what are we really referring to?

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How Happy I Am to Have Seen This Little Corner of America in a MuseumJohn Yau  October 19, 2019 Before I write about “what” I saw, I want to explain the “why,” having already stated exactly “where” this revelatory experience happened.

The five works were not part of a group show. They were in close proximity but not isolated from the other works. Rather, my reaction sprung from turning the corner and catching sight of these works simultaneously.

It was an encounter that led me to think once again about the meaning of “diversity,” and how the principle has been framed.

When it comes to the word “diversity,” what are we really referring to? Is it the individual’s sexual orientation, race, ability, age, financial resources, geographic location, or some combination?

The four paintings and one sculpture I encountered at Crystal Bridges are figurative. They share a preoccupation with the relationship of race, ethnicity, society, and history.

READ

The DNA of Democracy

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The United States is Not a Healthy Democracy: An Interview with Richard C. Lyonsby Jonathan Montano and Andrew Fletcher "Power is aggregating away from the people’s representative assemblies of house and senate and into the executive branches myriad agencies and into the judicial branch." Diagnosis: Not healthy.

What historically are the telltale signs of a healthy democracy? A.  A balanced, mixed constitution of executive latitude of diplomacy, truly representative legislative assemblies and an independent judiciary. B. Equality before and the equal application of laws which arise solely out of the legislative branch with the consent and enforcement of the executive and judicial branches. C.  The maintaining of power nearest the local level where it is applied.  D. A hands off policy regarding competing associations of faiths, charities, businesses. E. Free expression, private ownership and individual rights.

A Movie Envisions the Trial that Eric Garner Never Had

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A Movie Envisions the Trial that Eric Garner Never Had Roee Messinger’s American Trial: The Eric Garner Story does the radical work of imagining a trial and envisages a future that was denied to Eric Garner and his family, thanks to the extremely racist and flawed legal system in the United States. Messinger’s film is fictional but mostly unscripted; he does not use any actors except Anthony Altieri, who plays Pantaleo and speaks only from Pantaleo’s public statements and from information gathered from his attorney. After having researched the case thoroughly, real-life lawyers play the defenders, prosecutors, and the judge, and litigate as if they were fighting a “real” case in a “real” court. The experts and the witnesses called to testify in the mock trial are all people who would have been summoned had there been a real one. Related news clippings and opinions from activists and legal experts also feature in the narrative.

Parasite

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READ: Inequality Is a Feature, Not a Bug The smartest mainstream film about class made in many years, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite lays bare the lie that hard work can bring anyone closer to their dreams. From its start, Parasiteis an excruciatingly on-point depiction of hustle, in terms far too unglamorous to ever attach a hashtag to the idea. The members of the Kim family are busy folding pizza boxes in their shitty basement apartment, with the two 20-something kids trying to find an open WiFi signal they can use. (The network they’ve been bogarting suddenly has password protection.) From there, writer/director Bong Joon-ho takes the idea of the gig economy into the time-honored tradition of the con film, before turning it into a reverse home invasion thriller and then curdling it into a horror slasher. It’s the smartest mainstream film about class made in many years, and the fact that it is also supremely entertaining is just icing on the bloodied cake

Missing Chapter: A new series about hidden histories

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HBCUs pay higher fees to borrow money. Research links that premium to racism.

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HBCUs pay higher fees to borrow money. Research links that premium to racism. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) looking to raise money for major projects face higher fees than their non-HBCU counterparts, according to research recently published in the Journal of Financial Economics. The financial premium is especially high for HBCUs in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the researchers find. Historically black colleges and universities looking to raise money for major projects face higher fees than their non-HBCU counterparts, even when agencies that rate credit risk give HBCU-issued bonds their highest scores, according to research recently published in the Journal of Financial Economics.
There’s one big reason for the additional cost, according to the authors: racial discrimination.

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In the News

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Five black men raided Harpers Ferry with John Brown. They’ve been forgotten.
Eugene L. Meyer, October 13, 2019, The Washington Post


Five African American men joined John Brown (bottom center) on the 1859 Harpers Ferry raid. Clockwise from bottom left:
John Anthony Copeland Jr., Lewis Sheridan Leary, Dangerfield Newby, Shields Green and Osborne Perry Anderson.


It was chilly and damp on Sunday evening on Oct. 16, 1859, when abolitionist John Brown climbed onto a horse-drawn wagon for the five-mile ride down a dark country road to Harpers Ferry. There he and his small band of men would seize the town and its federal arsenal in a futile attempt to foment a slave rebellion and bring down the South’s “peculiar institution” of slavery.

In front were two men shouldering arms. Behind were 16 more, marching two abreast in silence, “as solemnly as a funeral procession,” and that’s exactly what it was. None would survive, except for the author of those words, Osborne Perry Anderson, who w…

The People in this Room give me hope

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Ginsburg predicts historians will call this political era an 'aberration' Historians in the News
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered her thoughts Thursday on how historians will view this period of American history.
"An aberration," the 86-year-old justice said when the question was posed to her at an event hosted by Amherst College, the Boston Globe reported.
The event's moderator, Amherst College President Carolyn Martin, asked several other political questions of Ginsburg, who sidestepped controversial topics like the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
Instead, she spoke about broader aspects of political life in America today.
“The people in this room gives me hope," Ginsburg replied when Martin asked her what she thinks will fix the divisions in the U.S.
Ginsburg also said she believes that the protection of freedom of expression is going well.

THINKERS:
best comment:
The USA has never been anything…

COINTELPRO

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The news reminded some of the FBI's Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the 1960's and 70's that targeted Black activism. It is important to understand how government agencies, in particular law enforcement, work to obstruct Black people from organizing. The history of COINTELPRO illuminates why so many Black radical and grassroots organizations were previously destroyed and why it remains so difficult to organize today.

READ: Incognegro: How Law Enforcement Spies on Black Radical Groups | History News Network

John Brown, catalyst

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Facial Hair Friday: John Brown
Vincent Bartholomew, October 4, 2019, Pieces of History (National Archives)

Abolitionist John Brown, who was previously clean shaven, grew a robust beard during his preparations for the raid on Harpers Ferry as a way to disguise himself to keep it secret. The two years before the raid is the only time Brown had a beard.

After the raid and his arrest, Brown delivered his final address in a courtroom in Charleston, Virginia (now West Virginia), on November 2, 1859. His words echo through time: “I believe, that to have interfered as I have done in behalf of His despised poor, is no wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say ‘let it be done.’”

While antislavery advocates saw him as a…

The Real Texas

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The Real Texas
Annette Gordon-Reed, October 24, The New York Review



Andrew J. Torget begins his 2015 book Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800–1850 with the story of five people whose journey into what was then “northern New Spain” effectively captures the origins of what would become the largest of the contiguous states of the American Union. In 1819 “Marian, Richard, and Tivi” escaped from slavery on a plantation in Louisiana, hoping to find freedom in Spanish territory. The following year, James Kirkham, the man who claimed ownership of them, went looking for the escapees, and on his way encountered another Anglo-American, Moses Austin. Austin, a Connecticut-born Missouri transplant, would gain a place in history for getting the first land grant “from Spanish authorities to begin settling American families in Texas”—the name the Spanish had given the region that they had fought to take from the Comanches for over a cen…

One hundred years ago: The Elaine massacre

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The Forgotten History of America’s Worst Racial Massacre
Nan Elizabeth Woodruff, September 30, 2019, The New York Times



One hundred years ago this week, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history unfolded in Elaine, Ark., a small town on the Mississippi. Details remain difficult to verify. The perpetrators suppressed coverage of the events, and the victims, terrified black families, had no one to turn for help. In fact, local police were complicit in the killing of untold numbers of African-Americans.

The Elaine massacre was among the worst instances of racial violence in American history, and it took place in a region, the Delta, that defined itself by its violence and oppression. One African-American, William Pickens, described the region as “the American Congo.” Elaine, though an isolated plantation region, was part of the broader social upheaval following World War I that came in the form of massive strikes and racial confrontations, both at home …

Classism: the big invisible ism

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Richard Ford suggests we’re missing the point of the recent ruling that Harvard University did not discriminate against Asian American applicants. He points out that the US university system is built on classism: One of the university’s aims—if increasingly crowded out by others—is the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. If this alone were the goal, admissions might be based solely on academic promise, which grades and test scores reflect in a limited and imperfect way. But this is not the only mission. To many, universities today are “supposed to be the engines of social mobility and the gateways to dreams,” as New York Times columnist Frank Bruni colorfully puts it. This suggests universities should consider who would benefit most from admission. More prosaically, many universities manage several semiprofessional sports teams, for which they must recruit, necessitating a preference for athletes. And prestigious universities, in particular, have historically been …

Slavery as a way of life

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400 years later, America still has so much to learn about its racial historyby Lonnie Bunch
Slavery was central to the country’s formation: its economy, its government, its identity, its entire way of life.
If America aspires to live up to the democratic ideals written into its founding documents, hoping to build a more perfect union in which everyone is granted full access, we must let go of the myths that obscure the whole truth about who we are as a nation.

White Fragility

Little Man Little Man