Link Roundup: 12/2/14

Why Courts Can’t Solve the Problem of Cops Who Kill | ColorLines
A short article about why we can’t “indict our way to justice”

#BlackLivesMatter: A Longform Reading List | Autostraddle
A reading list slash syllabus that you should read about Black oppression

Ferguson Movement Moment Rapid Giving Information
Compiled list of different Ferguson organizations to donate to

Black Feminists Respond to Ferguson | ColorLines
An oldie from August, but still a good piece to keep intersectionality in mind

A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement | Feminst Wire
A piece by a co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and the queer Black women’s erasure from its later work

Obama’s Huge New Immigration Plan, explained
An overview of Obama’s new executive action and its severe limitations

Solidarity with All Lives Lost to Police and Hate Violence | CAAAV
One of the best Asian American statements of solidarity with police brutality that I’ve seen

Who has the Privilege to Protest? | Fusion
A piece pointing out white privilege of protestors, specifically at Oakland protests

In defense of blocking the highway | RI Future
An editorial about why blocking the highways is a legitimate form of protest for the Ferguson cause

Grace Lee Boggs, Close to Death, Asks Supporters for Help | ColorLines
Long-time Detriot activist Grace Lee Boggs asks for financial support for her medical bills

Image description: A grainy photo of two people's hands that are up in the air. One hand is holding onto another. The third hand is thrown up in the air in a "don't shoot" pose. There are protestors in the background.

#Ferguson: We Are Complicit

I take to the streets more than your average American. There are times when living in this godforsaken country makes my blood boil and my mind run in circles. I march to feel the pulse of the people. I cry out and shamelessly express my emotions. I protest to remember the power of the masses. And when Oakland mobilized around Darren Wilson’s non-indictment, I was also there.

The first night Oakland protest was largely a clump of White people, especially earlier on in the night. Some people in matching yellow shirts and holding a banner like it was some parade, some young White hipsters with jean jackets and bikes, and other White people from the Revolutionary Communist party.

I won’t whitewash the protestors. There were a significant number of people of color that turned up (even though I would have loved to see more solidarity from Asian Americans). But there were a far greater number of White people — not just present, but holding the bullhorn and microphones. We walked by numerous TV station reporters interviewing White people. When we looked back to see who was drowning out our chants with the bullhorn, it was a White man. White boys on bikes were weaving in and out of the police cars as if it was all a game. White skaterboys danced on the hoods of cars without any consequence. Then there were those awkward moments when the crowd of White people would throw up their hands and chant, “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” And I would just look away, muttering, The point is that you won’t get shot.

I wondered why some of these folks had turned up. There were so many spectators that were there for a joy ride — seeking out cool scenes to take photos and increase Twitter followers. It seemed like the protest a photo op, more than a display of community power. Then I came across an image on Twitter that said, “It’s not about Black vs. White, it’s about the lack of justice,” which increased my fear about some of the protestor’s motivations. Was it about the humanity of Michael Brown, or was it about the technicality of a non-indictment? Seeing how deep White privilege pervaded the protest that night, I’m more inclined to say the latter.

As for me, I understand Ferguson to be about something much greater than the indictment of one racist killer cop. It’s about the humanity of Black lives in this country and the violence that beats folks down everyday. And in that sense, it’s as much about us, non-Black folks, as it is about Darren Wilson. This type of anti-Black violence doesn’t only lie in Darren Wilson holding a smoking gun, aimed at Michael Brown. It’s engrained in all of us, and our actions of solidarity should not only consist of taking to the streets in outrage. Having ignorant White men on the streets screaming at police and looting for the sake of creating chaos will not bring about justice, nor a just society. First and foremost, we must look inwardly at the ways that we ourselves act out violence against Black communities everyday.

It’s about the way we think about Black people, the way we grip our purses when Black men walk by, the way we consume images of Black women twerking, the way we victim-blame Black trans women for their own murders, the way we appropriate the Black vernacular, the way we avoid East Oakland like the plague, the way we doubt the words that come out of Black mouths.

We are also complicit in the maintenance of the police state that terrorize Black, Latino, Southeast Asian, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities. For many of us, there is still an amount of power we give to the police state. Our instinct is to trust it. To believe it. To rely on it to mediate our problems. To depend on it for the “true” verdict. It’s about this interwoven system of violence that we have come to depend on so much.

Even when we yell out for the indictment of Darren Wilson, we are placing power back in the hands of the justice system — the power to determine his criminality rather than just declaring it so. Until we began creating new ways of connecting with people that does not involve detouring through the police and the criminal justice system, we will continue to be enacting violence upon the communities around us.

Anti-Black violence is incredibly deeply engrained in our lives, and we are all complicit. It’s about how unseeing we are, how numb we are to it. It’s about the Darren Wilson in each of us.

I think Ferguson should be about an internal reflection just as much as an outwardly expression of fury. I’m talking about a lot of self-work, cultural shifts, discussions, and self-criticism. It’s a long-term vision to build a type of movement that will stretch and grow, branch and merge, and spread to pervade everything. A type of revolution that will grow from inside each and every one of us, until it bursts the seams of this current society. I stand in solidarity with the Ferguson people, and believe in fighting to bring about #JusticeForMikeBrown and all those murdered by killer cops.

Stay Informed on #Ferguson

My Facebook newsfeed is by far the most radical, instant, open source of information that I have, thanks to my friends. Colorlines and Angry Asian Man are often days behind on the news. 

So here’s list of what popped up on my newsfeed today.

(Click HERE if you have no idea what’s going on and need to get caught up on #MikeBrown murder and #Ferguson. Also I would recommend that you get yourself a new batch of socially aware Facebook friends or watch actual news that is not CNN)


“Photos From The Protests In Ferguson, Missouri, You Won’t Believe Happened In The United States Of America” | The Business Insider
I, of course, have a tiff with the title — as in it’s only unbelievable if you don’t know U.S.’s history of police brutality and racism, but a good visual of the militarization of police & their over-the-top attacks on civilians.

Elegies for Mercy: Michael Brown and Ferguson, Mo. | The Gawker
A beautiful prose piece honoring the death of Mike Brown

I feel so useless sitting here. What can I do to help Ferguson? | Tumblr
A list of legal funds and anti-police brutality events you can support. Also a good list of compiled sources for articles/videos. Also you can donate to the Jail Fund for Mike Brown.

For the sake of Mike Brown | St. Louis American
A longer article giving social and economic context of St. Louis and its surburbs, where Mike Brown was murdered. Speaks to the history of police brutality and the racial tensions.

Palestinians teach Ferguson how to deal with tear gas | The Daily Dot
A series of tweets and primary sources connecting the dots between #FreeGaza and #Ferguson

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest | Washington Post
A reporter recounts his unwarranted arrest in Ferguson for filming the officers. Good example of the media control and lockdown that’s going on.

The QPOC Speakeasy Speaking Out With Love To Mike Brown | Autostraddle
Group of QPOC writes about their sad familiarity of this type of violence and how they relate to the events unfolding in Ferguson, MO

#OpFerguson Anonymous video
A little delayed, but the hacktivist group Anonymous released a 2-min video Sunday night detailing their demands for the local police and legislators

“Anonymous will not be satisfied this time … with simply obtaining justice for this young man and his family. Anonymous demands that the Congressional Representatives and Senators from Missouri introduce legislation entitled ‘Mike Brown’s Law,’ that will set strict national standards for police conduct and misbehavior in the USA.”