"Looting and Rioting"

First, people need to understand something about the “riots” in Ferguson: I get the feeling that a lot of White people are somehow thinking “Wow, those Black people just stood up in their living rooms and basically set fires to their own residences”

Not the way it works…

You know what neighborhood businesses typically get burned? The ones that aren’t Black owned. You’ve seen them — the pawn shops, the quick-marts, the pay-day loan stores, the liquor stores, the third tier rent-to-own stores…you know, the kind of stores you rarely see on every other corner in middle class White neighborhoods. In short, all the businesses endemic of profiteering and structural poverty…the same businesses that like to follow innocent Black people around in stores for no reason. The businesses that won’t hire many of the Black people living in the neighborhoods they’re profiting off of. The businesses that charge twice as much for the same goods & services that are half as expensive in White neighborhoods

THOSE are the businesses that typically get burned in impoverished neighborhoods. Now, while I’m not necessarily advocating riots, I will repeat the words of Martin Luther King Jr, I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard

Second, Other than corporate media outlets repeating what the police are telling them, I haven’t seen much hard evidence of honest to God unprovoked “rioting”…but what I have seen is lots of white police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. I’ve seen militarized police aim guns, tanks and sound cannons at unarmed civilians in their own neighborhoods. I’ve seen police not interviewing, but arresting key witnesses. I’ve seen people getting gassed in their homes—THEIR HOMES—for committing the crime of what, being Black at home?

The media goes on and on about “looting and rioting” without focusing too much on the police’s strong-arm tactics, they’re complicit in furthering the ratings meme of “unreasonably angry Black people” 

False media narratives: do the words match the facts?

Academics have developed complicated theories and obscure jargon in an effort to describe what is now referred to as structural racism, yet the concept is fairly straightforward. One theorist, Iris Marion Young, relying on a famous “birdcage” metaphor, explains it this way: If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way, and connected with one another, serve to enclose the bird and ensure it cannot escape.

What is particularly important to keep in mind is that any given wire of the cage may or may not be specifically developed for the purpose of trapping the bird, yet it still operates (together with other wires) to restrict its freedom.

—  Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

New Orleans PD shoots unarmed black man in the head, doesn’t report incident for 2 days
August 17, 2014

While most of the nation’s attention has been focused on the police shooting deaths of unarmed African Americans around the country — most notably Michael Brown and Ezell Ford — one story managed to slip under the media’s radar. News of a young African-American man shot in the head by a New Orleans police officer on Monday managed to go unreported because the police department never released details about the shooting.

The victim, identified as 26-year-old Armand Bennett, was shot in the head Monday during a traffic stop with a New Orleans police officer. He has been admitted to the intensive care unit of a local hospital. Armand’s attorney Nandi Campbell told UPTOWN via email, “My client was shot in the head and staples were required to close the wound.”

He was with his brother in a parked car, near the Tall Timbers subdivision, when officers confronted them with their guns drawn. Tall Timbers is a fairly affluent neighborhood, where Armand’s brother is a resident. The brother reported that a female officer fired two shots at them.

Campbell also tell us, ”He was not armed. After the first [shot], Armand started running toward his brother’s home. He was fired upon again as he was running. I’m unclear about whether he was in car when first shot was fired, but he was close to the car when the first shot happened.”

The story was first reported on Monday, which had a bare bones report that an “officer needs assistance” call was placed on the 3700 block of Mimosa Ct. in Algiers, a community in New Orleans. The NOPD reported an officer, recently identified as Officer Lisa Lewis, suffered a minor injury to her right hand during a scuffle with a combative suspect around 1:30 a.m. Details were not released that anyone had been shot or what the confrontation was about.

Campbell said there is an ongoing investigation into her client’s ordeal. At this time, Bennett has been charged with five outstanding warrants, including illegal possession of a weapon, resisting an officer (Gretna, LA), resisting an officer (New Orleans), possession of marijuana, and criminal damage to property, according to WWLTV.

A public records request for information fell on deaf ears over at the NOPD until Wednesday evening when the following statement was released:

On Sunday, August 10, 2014, around 1:19 a.m., a Fourth District NOPD officer was conducting a traffic stop in the 3700 block of Mimosa Drive. During the traffic stop, the officer was injured and the suspect, 26-year-old Armand Bennett was shot.

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas publicly apologized on Wednesday for taking two days to release details about the shooting. “In this particular case it’s a complete snafu on the part of my team. I take responsibility for it, I apologize for it, and I don’t want it to happen again,” said Serpas. He said that a press release was prepared on Monday, but somehow slipped through the cracks.

“I find it simply unacceptable to you and to the public that our office failed to get the information out,” Serpas added.

After the information was made public Wednesday evening,  Campbell had this to say via email, “Normally traffic stops do not include officers approaching the car with guns drawn. [The NOPD] Chief cannot decide if it was a traffic stop or if [the] officer stopped my client because she was aware of [the] outstanding warrant.”

She continues, “According to my client and his brother, there was no tussle, wrestling, or physical altercation with my client and the officer. They totally dispute the statement made by the chief.”

Photo credit: Bennett Family



My sis Rell (Twitter: Awkward_Duck, Tumblr: swearimnotangry), did some investigative work today and found that Donald Sterling has ties to private prison investments, which led the two of us to an excellent discussion about the private prison industry.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. With contract mandates specifying 90% occupancy rates, private prisons feed directly into our problem with mass incarceration.

The private prison industry has become a lucrative business with some of our financial institutions heavily investing in them (Not to mention the music industry invests in them also, but I wont go there today). 

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) & GEO are the nations leading providers of correctional services. CCA has flourished as a business and has done so well ensuring that states maintain that 90% occupancy rate, that last year their Board of Directors authorized a $675 MILLION dividend to its shareholders. -_____-

I don’t even need to tell you who these prison beds are occupied by as I’m sure you all know the stats and demographics, but feel free to check out the links below.

Financial institutions that invest in private prisons:

CCA authorizes $675 million dividend to shareholders:

CCA being sued for widespread abuse in prisons:

anonymous asked:

I'm not sure why your post about pot and discrimination is even relevant. I'm from Washington and even if a white person on the street was selling marijuana would get arrested. It's not legal to sell unless you have a whole store and even then you can only get it with a green card and prescription... Just thought I'd inform you.

[re: this post]

"Not sure why discrimination is even relevant"…you’re not black, are you anon?

Dear white people: I’m black. I made a post about institutional discrimination against BLACK people. Please try not to lose your collective fucking minds just because one goddamn tumblr post didn’t make white people the preferred fucking recipients to be privileged from a fucking marijuana prohibition law that has it’s origins in anti-black racism

Criminalizing Blackness is the reason marijuana was criminalized to begin with. Marijuana prohibition was racist from the start (x)

Black people are the only people who are shot to death, choked to death, arrested unfairly or jailed solely for meeting the fucking description of LOOKING BLACK

Black people—even those without a criminal record and with no drug arrests—are the only people who are more likely to lose out on a job callback when pitted against a white person with a criminal record (x)

Black people are the only ones who can make up 4 percent of a state’s population, but still be most of all drug arrests in a state like Colorado (x

Black people are the only ones who can make up 4 percent of a state’s population, but still be 100 percent of the prison’s death row population (x)

So you and the other cowardly anons can get back to me as soon as you gather up as many white people who want to END racism as badly as they want to buy and sell legalized weed & become pot barons. Until then you can fall back, go reserve that stadium full of seats and stfu

The “whites only” signs may be gone, but new signs have gone up - notices placed in job applications, rental agreements, loan applications, forms for welfare benefits, school applications, and petitions for licenses, informing the general public that “felons” are not wanted here. A criminal record today authorizes precisely the forms of discrimination we supposedly left behind - discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service. Those labeled criminals can even be denied the right to vote.
—  Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander: White men get rich from legal pot, black men stay in prison
March 14, 2014

Ever since Colorado and Washington made the unprecedented move to legalize recreational pot last year, excitement and stories of unfettered success have billowed into the air. Colorado’s marijuana tax revenue far exceeded expectations, bringing a whopping $185 million to the state and tourists are lining up to taste the budding culture (pun intended). Several other states are now looking to follow suit and legalize. 

But the ramifications of this momentous shift are left unaddressed. When you flick on the TV to a segment about the flowering pot market in Colorado, you’ll find that the faces of the movement are primarily white and male. Meanwhile, many of the more than  210,000 people who were arrested for marijuana possession in Colorado between 1986 and 2010 according to a report from the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, remain behind bars. Thousands of black men and boys still sit in prisons for possession of the very plant that’s making those white guys on TV rich.

“In many ways the imagery doesn’t sit right,” said Michelle Alexander, associate professor of law at Ohio State University and author of  The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness in a  public conversation on March 6 with Asha Bandele of the  Drug Policy Alliance.  “Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?”

Alexander said she is “thrilled” that Colorado and Washington have legalized pot and that Washington D.C. decriminalized possession of small amounts earlier this month. But she said she’s noticed “warning signs” of a troubling trend emerging in the pot legalization movement: Whites—men in particular—are the face of the movement, and the emerging pot industry. (A recent In These Times article titled “ The Unbearable Whiteness of Marijuana Legalization,” summarize this trend.)

Alexander said for 40 years poor communities of color have experienced the wrath of the war on drugs.

“Black men and boys” have been the target of the war on drugs’ racist policies—stopped, frisked and disturbed—“often before they’re old enough to vote,” she said. Those youths are arrested most often for nonviolent first offenses that would go ignored in middle-class white neighborhoods.

“We arrest these kids at young ages, saddle them with criminal records, throw them in cages, and then release them into a parallel social universe in which the very civil and human rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights movement no longer apply to them for the rest of their lives,” she said. “They can be discriminated against [when it comes to] employment, housing, access to education, public benefits. They’re locked into a permanent second-class status for life. And we’ve done this in precisely the communities that were most in need of our support.”

As Asha Bandele of DPA pointed out during the conversation, the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. Today, 2.2 million people are in prison or jail and 7.7 million are under the control of the criminal justice system, with African American boys and men—and now women—making up a disproportionate number of those imprisoned.

Alexander’s book was published four years ago and spent 75 weeks on the New York Timesbestseller list, helping to bring mass incarceration to the forefront of the national discussion.

Alexander said over the last four years, as she’s been traveling from state to state speaking to audiences from prisons to universities about her book, she’s witnessed an “awakening.” More and more people are talking about mass incarceration, racism and the war on drugs.

Full article


Historically Accurate Disney Princesses:

Snow White: 
-Mid to late 1500s Germany
-Religious reformations affected women’s garments, which were heavy, dark, and austere
- 300s Arabian Peninsula 
- Pre-Islamic Arabia was a modest society, so women wore loose, shapeless clothing
- 1920s New Orleans, USA
- Although New Orleans was an epicenter of black culture, Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation 
- 1300s England
-Aurora was raised as a peasant before discovering she was a princess; although noblewomen were better educated, they led far more restricted lives than peasant women
- Early 1600s Virginia, USA
- Powhatan women decorated their skin with tattoos and rarely covered their breasts 
- 1700s France
- Belle married into royalty, who dressed extravagantly to display their status; the aristocracy was overthrown during the French Revolution 

On the surface they seem unrelated: you’ve got racist white citizens who are attacking black people in the streets, and then years or decades later, you have the police acting violently in the black community.

In response to all those riots in the 1910s and 1920s, civil rights commissions were set up in cities, and there was pressure on both local and federal governments to address white vigilantism and white rioting against blacks. And while it was not particularly effective, it certainly had this censuring quality to it. And then what historians would agree happened is that, in so many cities, the police became the proxy for what the white community wants.

So one of the answers is that police became the front line of the white community — or, at least, the most racially conservative white community. It’s the police that are called out, for example, when black people try to integrate white neighborhoods. It’s the police that become that body that defends whites in their homes.

We start the war on crime in 1965, which, of course, is very much in response to these protests by black people. Because politicians decide that protests against things like police brutality are exactly the same thing as crime — that this is disorderly. This is criminal.

And so, police are specifically charged with keeping order and with stopping crime, which has now become synonymous with black behavior in the streets. The police, again, become that entity that polices black boundaries. And I will tell you that one of the most striking things about the media coverage of Ferguson is that they are absolutely doing what they did in the 1960s in terms of the reporting: “This is all about the looters, this is all about black violence.”

Until black life is valued to the same extent white life is by members of law enforcement and by the criminal-justice community, there will be this question of legitimacy of the police and their actions, particularly among black folks who are routinely stopped. And then, people get angry. And then, people do start throwing rocks and bottles. But make no mistake about it: the police don’t use rubber bullets. It’s never a fair fight.

Most people are not being arrested for raping and robbing, murdering and stealing. It’s this low level, oppressive policing of black communities on the basis of marijuana possession. Low-level drug busts. Riding up on people. Throwing them against cars. Not because blacks do drugs more than whites, not because they possess it more, but because black communities are where the over policing is.

The ugly history of racist policing in America: For Ferguson and St. Louis, it’s much more about the fact that there is an absolute unwillingness to deal with the core issues in American society about equality in the streets: [the principle that] a black citizen and a white citizen really do have equal rights under the laws. Black citizens don’t believe it. They shouldn’t believe it. It’s not true that they have equal rights under the laws. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of innocence. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of peaceful countenance.

Full article here.


The voices of many scholars, activists, journalists, political prisoners and academics on the Prison Industrial Complex. 

You can find these photos and others by clicking on our photos on Facebook (go like and share them). 

Find The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander here for more information about the prison-industrial-complex and today’s greatest fight against racism in America. 

And watch a talk about the fight against the New Jim Crow here


We too often hear closed-minded white people suggest that the number of black men profiled and killed by police during arrest scenarios is merely commensurate with the black male crime rate. And this is supposed to make profiling and excessive force okay.

It’s a cheap and superficial argument, insinuating that black men are somehow asking for it.

Let’s take a look at some of the massive disparities between the white and black experiences within the criminal justice system:

–Right off the bat, younger inner city African-American men are far less capable of affording effective legal counsel and are therefore convicted more often than white suburban men.

–Around 13 percent of drug users are black, yet 46 percent of blacks are convicted on drug charges. Put another way, five times as many whites as blacks reportedly use and sell illegal drugs, yet blacks are incarcerated for drug offenses 10 times more often than whites for the same offenses. Why?

–Prison sentences for blacks are 10 percent longer than sentences for whites.

–Prosecutors seek mandatory minimums for black suspects 21 percent more often than whites.

–Blacks are 20 percent more likely to be convicted.

–The Justice Department reported that blacks and Hispanics are far more likely to be searched during traffic stops — three times more likely, while police officers are four times more likely to use force. Likewise, blacks are also three times more likely than whites to be arrested during traffic stops.

–A 2005 DOJ report based on 80,000 cases determined that even though whites represented 70 percent of the population, they’re only stopped nine percent of the time.

Could it be that the statistics showing astronomical urban street crime by African-Americans are significantly skewed by racial bias and profiling? Clearly.

Fold all of this into the awful reality that too many African-American neighborhoods have been rigged for poverty (and thus desperation and resentment) by the white establishment since Reconstruction, and no wonder there’s an appearance of an unmitigated black crime epidemic warranting ongoing fatalities at the hands of overzealous police officers.

White people don’t often notice the unfairness or the lopsided justice because we don’t really have to. It doesn’t really touch us. Everything’s comparatively great, so why bother? Consequently, too many white guys lash out from a place of total ignorance, suggesting that Michael Brown deserved to die because he was a “thug” and that blacks deserve to be profiled because they’re the real killers. No degree of trolling or flailing on cable news will erase the reality that harrowing injustices in the form of deadly systemic racism continues to thrive in our culture — racism that executed Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and which exonerated Dan Pantaleo and Darren Wilson.

Read the full article at

Related post: Racism by Proxy

Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
—  Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow

Jim Crow for kids: Schools prepare children for life behind bars
March 26, 2013

Gone are the days of children dreading a trip to the principal’s office or spending their lunch time in detention. Instead, children are now facing the possibility of being dragged out of their classrooms in handcuffs for conduct violations, such as a schoolyard brawl or being accused of stealing a student’s lunch money.

Increasingly, children of color and children with learning disabilities are being prepped for a life in the American injustice system as police officers have become as common of a figure at schools as the nurse. After the Newtown massacre in December, police presence in schools across the country jumped leaving the authorities to deal with school children just as they deal with criminals, in an arrangement commonly referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Recent cases of criminalization include a 12-year-old junior high student who was handcuffed and arrested for doodling on her desk in New York City; a 13-year-old Florida boy arrested and charged with disrupting a school function after passing gas; and a 6-year-old child handcuffed and arrested for throwing a tantrum in Georgia.

More guns, officers aggravate injustice

In his recent gun control proposal, President Obama slipped in a call to staff schools with police officers, further exacerbating the school-to-prison pipeline that unequally marginalizes black and Latino children. According to a study by the Civil Rights Data Collection—one that covered 85 percent of the nation’s students and 72,000 schools—black students are three and a half times more likely to be arrested than their white peers. The study also showed that 70 percent of students arrested were either black or Latino. Running in sync with the National Rifle Association’s call to put armed guards in every school, Obama’s plan will only intensify the school-to-prison pipeline, endangering children of color across the country.

Students with disabilities are also the victims of these harsh policies. Officers already receive very little training on how to handle suspects with mental disabilities, but even less so when it comes to children. Even though 8.6 percent of children in public schools have been found to have some sort of disability, they make up 32 percent of the youth in detention centers.

In a prison system that author Michelle Alexander has called “The New Jim Crow,” mass incarceration has led to one in six Latino men living behind bars, people of color making up 60 percent of the prisoner population and more black people in prison than there were slaves before the Civil War began. These same principles used to lock up people of color for petty “crimes” have found a way into classrooms, preparing these children for the racist injustice system they are statistically likely to encounter later in life by forcing them into the prison system early.

Not only have more security guards and police officers resulted in more bogus misdemeanor arrests, but they drain the already scarce funding for schools. School districts have spent upwards of $51 million on school security, while other much more vital aspects of education go underfunded, especially in poor urban neighborhoods of color.

A child is not a criminal

School-to-prison pipelines have been under fire recently with the expansion of the police state into elementary and middle schools, especially in places notorious for racial discrimination. In October, Meridian, Mississippi was sued for operating a pipeline where students were denied basic constitutional rights once they were arrested and taken to juvenile court. About 86 percent of the students in the Lauderdale Country School District are black, and every single one of the students referred to the court for violations were students of color. Not only were these students arrested, but they were denied legal representation, detained without probable cause, and weren’t advised of their Miranda rights.

Texas isn’t far behind when it comes to criminalizing students for minor infractions, such as disrupting class. According to The Guardian, the state tallied more than 300,000 Class C misdemeanor arrests in 2010 because of zero-tolerance policies and increased police forces on school grounds.

But this extension of the New Jim Crow has been found to have been the worst and the largest in Florida. According to the Orlando Sentinel, 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in public schools last year. Black students made up 46 percent of the referrals, even though they make up only 21 percent of the Florida youth.

According to the Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, these arrests make for long-lasting psychological damage to the student. Incarcerated youth are more likely to exhibit symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety issues. Detained students are also more likely to lose ground academically from juvenile detention. According to a study done on inner-city Chicago high school students, those arrested in the first two years of high school were six to eight times more likely to drop out than those who hadn’t been arrested.

Instead of focusing on education, school-to-prison pipeline policies are preparing America’s youth for a life in the injustice system. Scare tactics, zero tolerance policies, and police forces are quickly threatening the future of millions of young students. But this criminalization won’t end for them when they graduate high school because, as Alexander states, “mass incarceration in the United States has, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.”

- Graciela
The Boston Occupier
Larger graphic here

In Dellwood, Ferguson, basically, in North County, if you’re black, they’re going to stop you,” a resident said according to a new report on policing in the area.

For residents of Ferguson, Missouri, and surrounding municipalities in St. Louis County, it’s not surprising that racial tensions have boiled over. In a town of 21,000, two-thirds of the residents are African-American, and many reports have highlighted a fraught relationship between Ferguson’s residents and its mostly white police force. Only three people in the 53-member police department are black, according to the Washington Post, and the Ferguson Police Department disproportionately stops and arrests black drivers.

“Everybody in this city has been a victim of DWB, [driving while black],” Anthony Ross, 26, explained to the Post.

Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400, according to the ArchCity Defenders report. And in 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court issued 24,532 arrest warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.

Racially profiled *for profit* in Ferguson. From dirty tricks by the local courts to bogus traffic stops by the police, in a city where two thirds of the residents are Black people, these residents don’t just feel that they are getting stopped because of the color of their skin. Rather, they feel like they are getting stopped because of the color of their skin so that the city of Ferguson can profit off of them—for traffic tickets.

A literal “Black tax”

Read The entire article.