There was a protest in Birmingham. Echoes of the past keep reverberating don't they? A few days before Christmas a group organized through facebook called "black lives matter" like many other groups around the country they planed to block traffic at a high end shopping center.
But the protest turned out to be more of a lesson for some of the protestors. A lesson I think many of us here can benefit from.
New Yorkers are divided by race on performance of the Police Department (67 percent of whites positive, 76 percent of blacks negative) A majority said minorities are not treated fairly by the criminal justice system, most think police officers are treated too leniently. 2/3rds feel that the officer who choked Garner should have been indicted.
The freedom and dignity of all black people is conditional on good behavior which must be better than the behavior of white people. If too many of us have emotions (emotions like anger, emotions that are fully human) and if too many of us act on those emotions then these simple requests, to have our lives respected can and will be dismissed. So, please be humble peaceful and cowed. Be good or be dismissed. If any one of you is not good enough all of you will be dismissed for the actions of noncompliant one. Do not upset the powerful white people. You will be dismissed.
What's new is the media attention. There were protests before. But they were never integrated before. Why did it take so long for (more) white people to see this was real?
This photo makes me physically ill. I experience a jolt of emotional trauma looking at it because it is erasing so much with it's imagery.
There has been a lot of celebration and glee over the exposure of a few members of the KKK. This action has been framed as fighting back against racism in the context of #Ferguson. Emotionally charged imagery that invokes the lynching of black people was a part of this effort.
But what is outing KKK members doing to make black people safer? How will it help get those killed by the police without any good cause justice?
On twitter very few black people are excited by the "help" from anonymous. Far from it, many of us are feeling quite critical because it feels like misdirection.
#Ferguson is not a battle against the KKK, it is a battle against the systemic violence black people face from the police. Like anonymous the KKK tries to insert itself into this situation to try to seem bigger and more relevant than they acutely are.
The KKK is not directly responsible for the suffering and oppression of black people in the way that they once were. But fighting the KKK makes racism seem like a simple one dimensional problem with good guys and bad guys. This is not the reality we live with.
Some of those among the anonymous, no doubt, have their heart in the right place, some are just in it for the LULZ, but it takes more than that to fight racism effectively.
So, could we go back to ignoring the KKK?
There are other more serious issues with voter ID laws than this. But, it is always something that has bothered me. Those of us who do not drive (and there are a great many in some states like NY) have two main options for ID. A passport which is notoriously expensive or something called the:
Think about that. Almost every other ID card I have ever had identifies me as SOMEONE: a student, an American etc. But, this card identifies what I'm NOT.
And in a car-centric country like the USA it's not a badge of honor to be a "non-driver." In fact it could just as well say:
Outsider ID or
2nd Class ID
Imagine if all of us mathematicians made those of you who have not studied calculus get a "non-mathematicians ID" or what if all of the long distance runners enforced a "non-marathoners ID" isn't it odd and a bit degrading to carry a card that explains what we can't or have not learned to do? Even when they are called "State IDs" instead it is still a reminder that you are a square peg in a round hole. The world is set up for those who drive... the rest of us must work around you.
Risk perception is a fascinating field it seeks to study the reasons for rifts between the opinions of experts on a subject and the general public. Notable example include:
* The Safety of Nuclear Energy
* The Danger Posed by Climate Change
* The Health benefits or dangers of gluten
* The danger posed to the US by self monitoring person who may have been exposed to ebola.
From the New York Times:
There will be a rally outside Bellevue calling for completely rescinding the quarantine rules, led by public health experts and AIDS activists. Noon.
I thought some of you might want to know. I do not have more information about this rally, so share what you know. The sane voices are the minority so we need to be louder!
This is not just a matter of civil liberties it is also a matter of life and death.
Top NIH Ebola Specialist Says Quarantines Will Jeopardize Americans
Roslyn Gray is Liberian-American and she has not been to Liberia since March, yet when she sought medical care for an allergic reaction to an antibiotic she had been prescribed she was meet with fear and needless panic.
It is clear that my Governor Cuomo has rushed into this decision to quarantine returning aid workers from the countries affected most by this epidemic. This is very much a populist decision caving to the uninformed, overblown fears of the general public and placing the need to calm that fear above the lives of people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
New York City can be dangerous, but most people do not correctly assess what the true dangers are. Murders, muggings, rapes and assaults can be random but just as often those crimes are the result of arguments and existing tensions between people, in other words, if you have a peaceful life and no criminal friends you are not that likely to have crime randomly wander into your life. This is true even if you live in a high crime area. Traffic deaths and injuries, on the other hand, are quite random. We are all at risk whenever we leave our apartments and co-ops. Not even the sidewalk is safe since pedestrians and even children have lost their lives while walking on the sidewalk.