Archive | August 2016

Black Lives Matter Savannah puts focus on local black-on-black crime

Jomo Johnson, founder of Black Lives Matter Savannah, preaches to his congregation in Forsyth Park on Sunday.

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About 30 people gathered in the grassy area beside the Forsyth Park fountain as Jomo Johnson, the founder of Black Lives Matter Savannah, began the organization’s first church service with an introduction to the evening’s topic: black-on-black crime.

“Lots of protests happen when a white police officer shoots a black person, but when a black person is killed by another black person, not much is said,” Johnson said. “Why do we say nothing?”

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What Is Racism?

Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others.

What Is Racism?

Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. Continue reading

Are we asking the wrong questions in the Marina Abramovic racism row?

Are we asking the wrong questions in the Marina Abramovic racism row?

Are we asking the wrong questions in the Marina Abramovic racism row?

Whether Marina Abramovic is racist or not is definitely not the conversation we should be having, says performance artist Sarah-Jane Norman, who spent two weeks in a shed with Abramovic during her residency in Sydney last year.

‘Put it this way, I like her old stuff better than her new stuff,’ Sarah-Jane Norman says of fellow artist Marina Abramovic, who has been swept up in a social media storm for comments about Aboriginal people leaked from her forthcoming memoir.

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Police ‘treated UK Black Lives Matter protesters more harshly due to race’

Lawyer for four people arrested in Nottingham cites restrictive bail conditions and contrasts with treatment of EDL marchers

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Activists in Nottingham shut down part of the city centre tram and bus network during the Black Lives Matter protest on 5 August. Photograph: Edward Smith/PA

Protesters arrested during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Nottingham have claimed that police treated them disproportionately harshly because of the colour of their skin.

Yvone Francis-Parmar, 50, Eshe Graham, 20, Lisa Robinson, 48, and Malachi Glaiester Thomas, 30, appeared at Nottingham magistrates court last week charged with wilful obstruction of a highway.

On 5 August, the four protesters brought traffic to a standstill when they chained themselves together and lay across tram tracks near the Royal Centre tram stop in Nottingham city centre.

The demonstration was part of a national day of action by Black Lives Matter UK, to protest against what they describe as “a nationwide crisis of racism”. The campaign group was originally formed in the US in response to police shootings of black people.

“My clients feel that they have been targeted because of the colour of their skin,” Haroon Shah, the solicitor representing the four, told the Guardian. He argues that the bail conditions were disproportionately harsh.

Nottinghamshire police said they could not comment on the allegations due to the ongoing court proceedings.

The initial bail conditions, which prevented the four accused from contacting each other or taking part in any organised protest, were lifted following representations from Shah.

The presiding magistrate, John Lock, agreed to lift the conditions and released the four on unconditional bail until their next hearing on 6 September.

“The day after they were arrested there was an [English Defence League] march where all the tram lines were shut down and sections of the city were brought to a standstill at the cost to the taxpayer to the tune of about £200,000,” said Shah.
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“Obviously [the anti-racism protesters] feel aggrieved that nothing is done in relation to those people that are marching, where there was basically a shutdown of the whole [city centre], and yet when they’re trying to make their [protest], they are then arrested for obstructing the highway.”

On 6 August, extra officers were drafted in from forces across the country – including Greater Manchester, Durham and Lancashire – to policethe protest by the far-right EDL and a counter-protest by anti-fascist groups.

Nottinghamshire’s police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping, estimated that the entire operation would cost the force around £200,000. Five arrests were made, with three people released without charge and another two given court dates.

Shah acknowledged that, unlike the EDL demonstrators, his clients had not obtained permission from the police to hold their protest, but he said that although both groups had similar objectives, to protest, he believes his clients were treated differently to the EDL supporters.

The national day of action this month was timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police, sparking nationwide riots. An inquest found that Duggan, 29, had been “lawfully killed”.

Protesters blocked the roads leading to Heathrow and Birmingham airports. Police in London arrested 10 protesters, while West Midlands police arrested five.

A statement from the group, released on the day of the protests said: “This morning UKBLM have #Shutdown roads in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham to mourn those who have died in custody and to protest the ongoing racist violence of the police, border enforcement, structural inequalities and the everyday indignity of street racism.”

The group highlighted statistics showing that black people are far more likely to die in police custody. They are up to 37 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and three times more likely to be arrested than white people.

Humiliation of young Nic Naitanui fan shows ‘anti-racists’ are just a cruel mob

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THE persecution of a young fan of AFL star Nic Naitanui proves today’s anti-racist is now often just a bully.

Anti-racism, once a noble cause, has instead become a licence to humiliate even children.

First, these anti-racist hypocrites turned a 13-year-old girl into the “face of racism” in Australia and named and shamed her for yelling “ape” at AFL star Adam Goodes at the football.

Never mind that she said she did not mean the insult in a racist way and was tearily sorry.

Never mind that she was a mere child. No, she was identified on national television, detained by police and evicted from the stadium.

It was disgusting to then see powerful adults — football administrators and champions, media heavies and activists — line up to smash a powerless girl from a broken home.

That was shameful enough, from moralisers claiming to be fighting for a kinder and less judgmental world. But now their latest victim is a grade four boy.

His sin: to have so idolised AFL star Nic Naitanui, of Fijian Indian background, that he wanted to look like him as much as possible for a school dress-up day, even getting his mother to colour his skin.

“He is pasty white,” explained his mum on the Facebook wall of Perth blogger Constance Hall. “If I sent him in (just) a wig and footy gear, no one would tell who he was.”

Be clear here. If racism is belittling people of a different “race” or skin colour, this boy and his mother are innocent.

Indeed, the boy clearly admired Naitanui, and, painted brown, was given a prize at his school’s best-dressed parade by judges who appreciated this obvious tribute to a local hero.

Is this not exactly how we’d wish our children to be: so far from despising a darker skin colour that they’d wish to share it to be closer to someone they admire?

Yet our anti-racists are dead to both pity and reason. They did not judge this boy by his heart or his intention. They judged him instead by the colour painted on his skin.

“Racist!’ they screamed, and, having somehow sniffed out evil, these witch-hunters felt licensed to commit evil of their own.

The abuse they heaped on the boy’s family on social media was astonishing — some of it vile and some of it threatening.

“We have been in tears and are too scared to leave the house,” the mother said. Her son did not dare go to school.

Hall, whose blog had run a picture of a boy posing as Naitanui, was so frightened that she pulled down the post and put up a picture of herself crying as she pleaded for mercy.

Hall insisted she was “culturally sensitive” and never believed the boy and his mother racist.

Yet said she’d never received so much abuse.

“Please stop sending me these horrible messages and writing these things on my wall, I am feeling really broken and alone right now and I don’t have the strength for this.”

Good God. This is the work of people claiming to be more moral? To send death threats to women?

To humiliate and scare mere children? Innocent children, at that?

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I am so sorry Naitanui fell in with this mob, though he rightly said the mother had meant no offence and her son was in his “innocence merely attempting to emulate his hero”.

Naitanui should have left it at that — a finding of not guilty — and called out this fraud. Yet he still felt driven by the social media hysteria to cast his fan’s loving gesture as inherently racist.

“It’s a shame racism coexists in an environment where our children should be nurtured not tortured because they are unaware of the painful historical significance ‘blackface’ has had previously on the oppressed,” he tweeted.

Seriously? How about judging an action by the intention?

Judging a boy and his mother by their hearts?

Why make some tenuous connection with some distant past practice few people remember or understand just to take an offence when clearly none was intended?

And in what way is Naitanui — so admired and well-rewarded — among the “oppressed”?

If anyone is “oppressed” here, how about the boy too scared to go to school?

Such frantic offence-taking and drawing of racial lines is becoming sinister. Divisive. Inflammatory. Cruel.

Don’t tell me the pack turned on the boy just to root out racism — because here there was none.

Wellesley residents gather to reject racism

  1. WELLESLEY — About 300 people set up beach chairs and spread blankets on the grass outside Town Hall Sunday, sharing handshakes and hugs in a spirit of unity following a series of allegedly racist social media messages posted by some local high school students.

Many in the diverse crowd were Wellesley residents, but others came from Rhode Island and Connecticut to show their support for the family of Tendai Musikavanhu, immigrants from South Africa who were targeted in Facebook messages.

Musikavanhu asked his neighbors in this wealthy, predominantly white town to remember the American ideal that people of all backgrounds can live harmoniously.

“Hatred, division, and lies never built any noble country,” he said. “Only love, unity, and truth stand the test of time.”

The event was organized by World of Wellesley, an organization that celebrates diversity in the town, to show solidarity with the family after classmates of Musikavanhu’s 15-year-old son allegedly posted the private messages, which Musikavanhu said included racial slurs and references to lynching and genocide.

Musikavanhu said he was moved by the size of the gathering and the outpouring of support his family has received.

“What’s really heartening is just the love the community has shared,” he told reporters after addressing the crowd. “I managed to go through the whole speech without a tear, but wow, the number of people I’ve had weeping on my shoulder who are white, who know me, who know my family, and this hurts them.”

Musikavanhu and other people of color at the event said the offensive messages did not represent the views of most Wellesley residents, and that the town and its schools are generally welcoming. They said, though, that some residents are less inclusive.

Seboe Maparyan, who emigrated to the United States from Liberia five years ago and works at Wellesley College, said he has been treated with respect.

But a small number of children at a Wellesley elementary school taunted his daughter and called her “weird,” he said. At an after-school program, his wife said, one child told their daughter “I don’t want to play with you because you’re black. I don’t want to be friends with you because you’re black.”

When the family reported the incidents, Maparyan said, the school’s principal was quick to call a meeting and address the issues. His family felt supported by the principal and by his daughter’s teachers, he said.

Students of color who attend Wellesley High said most of its teachers and students are never overtly racist. But sometimes, the students said, they feel isolated or singled out because their classmates are predominately white.

Zimmie Obiora, 17, is one of several Metco students from Boston who attend Wellesley High and came to the event. She said some schoolmates reacted negatively two years ago when she called for a moment of silence at the school in memory of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Friends told Obiora, “ ‘This person called you this.’ ‘This person said this slur against you,’ ” she said. “It was really disheartening. But that’s as bad as it gets for me.”

Isis Glover, 17, of Wellesley, said she was among a group of students who reported the Facebook posts to police. One of the boys who wrote the messages had been a friend of hers, she said, but they had a falling out over his casual use of the N-word.

“I tried to open up a conversation about it and explain to him the history of African-Americans integrating into white communities and . . . how that word is not acceptable,” she said.

“Even if you’re saying it in an endearing way and a friendly way, it’s not a friendly word, and you can’t say it. He just didn’t really want to understand.”

Glover said she doesn’t believe her neighbors are racist, but some lack awareness of racial issues.

“It’s not their fault. It’s kind of like a bubble,” she said. “It’s just that they don’t run into a lot of minorities in towns like these, so they don’t think that they have a problem with those people.”

Musikavanhu said that it was painful to experience racism in such a “beautiful, idyllic town,” but he still loves Wellesley and believes in working with the community to make progress.

“Anger and revenge is not the way,” he said. “It never has been.”

Musikavanhu’s son, who also spoke at the gathering, echoed his father’s message of reconciliation.

“We know that it was love and forgiveness that Martin Luther King [Jr.] used, and that it is love and forgiveness that Jesus used,” he satyrid.

“And I know that it is love and forgiveness that we as a town have to use.”

DNC Chair: Trump Should Distance Himself From Alt-Right’s ‘Renaissance of Racism’

Democratic National Committee Interim Chair Donna Brazile called on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to distance himself from the so-called alt-right movement and the racist language of some of his supporters.

“This sort of alt-right movement is very disturbing, it’s almost like a renaissance of racism,” Brazile told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week” Sunday.

“There’s no question Donald Trump has had ample opportunity to distance himself from the kind of racist language that comes from some of his supporters,” she said. “I know you can’t choose your supporters out there … but he should distance himself.”

Brazile also addressed newly released emails that show Clinton Foundation donors looking for invitations to State Department events and requesting to sit next to Vice President Joe Biden.

The emails were released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and were shared exclusively with ABC News.

Brazile dismissed the revelations in the emails, saying that it is “normal” for supporters or donors to request access to government officials.

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“I’ve been a government official. So, you know, this notion that, somehow or another, someone who is a supporter, someone who is a donor, somebody who’s an activist, saying ‘I want access, I want to come into a room and I want to meet people’ — we often criminalize behavior that is normal,” Brazile said. “I don’t see what the smoke is.”

She also addressed the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee and responded to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s promise to release “significant” new DNC emails before Election Day.

“The DNC and other institutions are victims of a cybercrime led by thugs,” Brazile said.

“The notion that we’re going let some person, you know, put out personal sensitive information across the world, jeopardizing people’s privacy, and we’re interviewing him as if he’s going to have a smoking gun for October. The smoking gun is that we’re interviewing somebody who is involved in a cybercrime and not calling him a criminal,” she said.