The Southern Coalition for Social Justice partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the south to defend and advance their political, social and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Contact us at: info@southerncoalition.org

 

odinsblog:

White woman defends black man against DC police (power dynamics and other observations)

Last week, an elderly African-American man was walking through a wealthy neighborhood just outside of Washington D.C when he was confronted by two African-American Washington Metro Police.

Without any reason, the officers stopped the man and began to question him.  The man had allegedly expressed some dissatisfaction with how he was being singled out, and the officers then ordered him to get on the ground.

Jody Westby, a white, female attorney and CEO of a company called Global Cyber Risk LLC, witnessed the altercation while working from her home office.  She immediately ran out to confront the police, and asked her housekeeper to record the developing situation.

Westby quickly ran to the man’s (Dennis Stucky) defense, saying that he was a friend and associate of many people in the area.

The police informed Westby that they were responding to a report of burglary, and said that they stopped to question the man to see if he had anything to do with the incident.

Westby did not back down, and demanded that the officers tell her the address of where the report came from.  When they provided her with the address, she informed them that they were blocks away from the alleged crime and weren’t even in the right neighborhood.

She then informed the officers that she is an attorney and that they did not have the right to detain him.  After threatening to report the officers, she picked the man up and carried him away, saying to the them “please leave our neighborhood.”

Westby then said to the officers as they were driving away, “Just because he’s black doesn’t mean he’s here to rob a house. He works for us. He’s been in this neighborhood for 30 years.”

Westby later said that “You got a white woman and a Hispanic woman standing up for a black man against two black cops…It was shameful how they behaved. And if it were Columbia Heights, or some other neighborhood, it’d probably just be worse. It was very interesting, in the sense of getting a picture of how black cops treat black people…And how humiliating that was for him. And how they were treating him just like a dog.”

Read the full article HERE

My three biggest take aways from the video:

1. This is what being an ally looks like. Please note that Ms. Westby did not quietly watch the incident unfold and then talk shit about the sticking it to “the man” after the police departed. Nor did she engage in crier dening or say “weeeeelll, I don’t know if it was really racism" or "who can really say what’s in their hearts" —those are flat out racism hall passes white people reflexively issue to other white people far too frequently

Westby effectively weilded her white privilege to aggressively intervene 

(SN: yes, there is an obvious caviat: specifically, would Westby have acted similarly if the police involved were also White? It is a fair question, but from different accounts of the incident I’ve read, I’m not giving her sainthood, but I think I’m at least willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. As long as their name isn’t Tim Wise or Macklemore, and they don’t display a white savior complex, I don’t demand absolute perfection from white anti-racism allies, just genuine and timely *actions* instead of flowery words…and NO, trips to Africa for photo ops & bragging rights about how you (white people) helped save Africa do not count)

2. Black police officers are not ignorant. They know *precisely* what would happen to them if they did to a white woman (wealthy or otherwise) what white police routinely do to Black people who try to get involved in active police brutality incidents…and rest assured, there wouldn’t be any endless equivocations like, “everyone should just wait for all the facts" if Westby had been shot dead (while unarmed) because the Black officers claimed she seemed "threatening" 

And I remind you—this is important—that in the cases of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford, Jonathan Ferrell, Shantel Davis, Ezell Ford, Yvette Smith, Dillon Taylor, Amadou Diallo, Vonderrit Myers, and a host of other UNARMED Black people…they were all shot dead by the police within 60 seconds of first contact with law enforcement. Let me repeat that: it took the police less than a minute to escalate from visually sighting an UNARMED Black body to applying leathal force.  Ms. Westby interacted with the two Black officers for nearly three times as long, almost three minutes, and her life was never in any danger despite her (appropriately) aggressive tone and threats to report the officers. A standard American jury wouldn’t even bother looking at any video to find them guilty of murder

And the interesing thing is how everyone involved instinctively knew their “places” in this drama. The Black officers knew what would happen to them if they even thought about harming an unarmed white woman, and the white woman also knew that, even completely unarmed, she held a fair degree of (social) power over the officers

Black people frequently face dire consequences for intervening between the police and other Black people

White privilege is real af

(SN: And for the record, I strongly disagree with anyone who says classism was at work here. What the officers were “respecting” the most was Westby’s race. I argue that those two Black officers could have been in the worst trailer park in the country, and they would have *still* known that they would’ve been in for a world of hurt, then harshly prosecuted and then executed if they even dared to shoot an unarmed white woman dead. And God help them if she was even moderately attractive. If you think I’m wrong, just ask Richard Sherman what happens when a Black man becomes a bit too boisterous in close proximity to an attractive white woman)

Many (usually white) people like to inject classism into convos about race when they want to sell the idea that racism is juuust about over & done with, but the real truth is that poor white people only face classism—but all Black people face both racism AND classism  

3. Merely adding a handfull of Black people to racist police forces is a woefully incomplete solution. Because many Black people have learned to internalize racism and direct it at other Black people

There are four very simple and plainly obvious solutions to the rash of shootings of unarmed Black people by the police:

First, end ALL racial profiling (aka “pedestrian checks" aka Stop-and-Frisk) by the police. It is legalized racism (actually, racism-by-proxy) and over policing and it is disproportionately done in Black communities

Second, immediately and vigorously prosecute ANY officers who murder unarmed people who were minding their own business and presented no credible threat. Fuck the paid leave while the shooting is “investigated” by friends of the police

Third, place more police on the force who actually live in the neighborhoods they police. That will probably do wonders for community based policing and foster more good will between the police and Black neighborhoods

Finally, place the police under genuine civilian (non-partisan) oversight where the oversight board possesses actual power to hold the police accountable for harassment and general misconduct 

After watching this video, I am forced to wonder how much further along America would be if White people immediately and routinely called out racial bias and abject racsm each and every single time they saw it

President Ronald Reagan officially declared the current drug war in 1982, when drug crime was declining, not rising. From the outset, the war had little to do with drug crime and nearly everything to do with racial politics. The drug war was part of a grand and highly successful Republican Party strategy of using racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare to attract poor and working class white voters who were resentful of, and threatened by, desegregation, busing, and affirmative action. In the words of H.R. Haldeman, President Richard Nixonʼs White House Chief of Staff: “[T]he whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

The New Jim Crow: How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste 

Michelle Alexander

(via radical-bro)

wakeupslaves:

☆Bass Reeves☆  former US. slave overcomes white people to become a US Marshal, capturing and locking up over 3000 white criminals in his career before retiring unscaved

by Art T. Burton
(1838-January 12, 1910)

Bass Reeves

During the late 19th Century no area in the United States was a haven and a refuge for criminals like the Indian Territory, pre–statehood Oklahoma. The jurisdiction of this territory fell to the United States court for Western Arkansas, located at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Fort Smith, a frontier town, was located on the eastern border of the Indian Territory. The court was the largest federal court in United States history covering over 75,000 square miles. In 1875, Judge Isaac C. Parker, was given the task of cleaning up the territory by President Ulysses Grant. It would not be an easy task. Parker authorized the hiring of 200 deputy U.S. marshals to sweep over the territory and arrest felons and fugitives. The Fort Smith federal court never hired that many deputies to work, there were usually between twenty and thirty deputies at any one time.

The Indian Territory was originally the domain of the Five Civilized Tribes, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole. Due to the fact that some of the Indians fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, the western portion of the territory was taken away and set aside as reservation space for Plains Indians. The Five Tribes had their own governments, courts, and police, but could not arrest white or black men who were not citizens of the tribes. This task fell to the deputy U.S. marshals who worked out of Fort Smith. Also, the deputies were responsible for arresting Indians who committed crimes against white or black men.

One of the first of the deputies hired by Judge Parker’s court was a former slave from Texas named Bass Reeves. It is believed that Reeves fought in the Indian Territory during the Civil War with the Union Indian brigades. Reeves was known as an expert with pistol and rifle, stood about six foot, two inches, weighed 180 pounds, and was said to have superhuman strength. Reeves had a reputation throughout the territory for his ability to catch outlaws that other deputies couldn’t. He was known to work in disguise in order to get information and affect the arrest of fugitives he wanted to capture.

Reeves was involved in numerous shootouts but was never wounded. He stated that he killed fourteen men in self defense, at the time of his death newspapers reported that he had killed over twenty men. In 1901, Reeves was interviewed by a Territorial newspaper, at that time he stated he had arrested over 3000 men and women who had broke federal laws in the Indian Territory. The Indian Territory, later to include the Oklahoma Territory, in 1890, was the most dangerous area for federal peace officers in the Old West. More than one hundred and twenty lost their lives before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Bass Reeves escaped numerous assassination attempts on his life, he was the most feared deputy U.S. marshal to work the Indian Territory.

Reeves according to research is the only deputy on record who started working for Parker’s court in 1875 and worked up to statehood in 1907. Bass Reeves worked a total of thirty–two years as a deputy U.S. marshal in the Indian Territory.

Being a former slave, Reeves was illiterate. He would memorize his warrants and writs. In those thirty–two years it is said he never arrested the wrong person due to the fact he couldn’t read.

On one occasion, Reeves son, Bennie committed a domestic murder against his wife. Bass took the warrant and bought his son in for murder shortly thereafter his son convicted and sent to Leavenworth.

At the age of 67, Bass Reeves retired from federal service at Oklahoma statehood in 1907. He was hired as a city policeman in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he served for about two years. Reeves had a beat in downtown Muskogee, during that time it is reported there was not one crime reported on his beat. It was told by residents that Reeves while walking his beat he would have a sidekick who carried a satchel of pistols.

African American deputy U.S. Marshals who worked the Indian Territory had the authority to arrest whites, blacks or Indians who broke federal laws. This was a very unique reality for black men given the Jim Crow laws of the U.S. after the end of Reconstruction in 1877. On one occasion Bass Reeves was given the warrant for Belle Starr, it was the one time she turned herself in at the Fort Smith Federal Court. Bass Reeves was a legend in his own time. He was the epitome of dedication to duty, Judge Parker’s most trusted deputy and one of the greatest lawmen of the western frontier. On January 12, 1910, Bass Reeves died at the age of 71, in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Did You Know?

The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, (Muscogee) Creek and Seminole Indian tribes were forcibly moved to Indian Territory on what became known as the Trail of Tears. The Arkansas River served as a water route to Fort Smith where they received supplies before crossing the river into Indian Territory.

The real Lone Ranger didn’t look like whitewashed TV.

blackhistoryalbum:

Vintage HBCU | The Black Victorians | 1899

—- Roger Williams University Students, Nashville, TN
Source: Library of Congress

blackfemalescientist:

shmurdapunk:

justice4mikebrown:

Mike Brown was murdered 64 days ago

This is something school lessons really downplay.

I legit thought it only lasted a week or two and was shocked when I learned otherwise.

Because to acknowledge the length of the protests/boycotts is to suggest that the United Stated resisted the right thing. They like to pretend like the country just didnt know what it was doing and only had to be tapped gently on the shoulder before it changed everything. They don’t want people to know that the country clung to its racism for almost a decade after the movement really started. Hell, they act like rosa parks, the million man march and the civil rights act all happened in one year or less. It didnt.

Most asylum seekers are law-abiding but are detained in spite of international law.