The Real Substantive Issue

IlhanAn excerpt from the article “How targeting Ilhan Omar instead of white supremacy furthered both anti-Semitism & Islamophobia” at BlackYouthProject.com by Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Margari Hill, Rakel Joseph, and Asha Noor:

The false charges of anti-Semitism divert public attention away from the real substantive issue at hand: human rights abuses by the Israeli government in Occupied Palestine and Israel itself. According to the UN Human Rights Council, over 6,000 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including children, journalists and medical personnel, were shot by military snipers during the “Great March of Return” protests in Gaza in 2018. Continue reading

In Ever-More Predatory and Beguiling Forms

BWKFrom Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s recent release Principalities in Particular: A Practical Theology of the Powers That Be (Oct 2017):

In the struggle for racial justice the recognition of “institutional racism,” that insidious structural element far beyond personal prejudice, was a huge step toward seeing racism as a principality. Ironically, however, the liberal preoccupation with its institutional character would prove progressively blind to its overpowering spiritual dimension. The African American freedom struggle, founded under SCLC’s early banner, “To Heal the Soul of the Nation,” tended to become more and more a civil rights movement with a largely legislative agenda. In the several decades since Stringfellow’s address, the legal apparatus of our American apartheid has been all but dismantled. End of racism, right? No. We ignore its spiritual reality at the peril of our national soul. And there is no force in our history that has proven more relentless or devastatingly resilient than white racism. It is empirically a demon which again and again rises up transmogrified in ever-more predatory and beguiling forms, truly tempting our despair. The frustration we suffer is not unlike that of the disciples who were gently upbraided by Jesus, “This kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.”
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We’re Not in that World Yet

StevensonIn a New York Times Magazine interview, Bryan Stevenson was asked, “What would the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. think of America if he were alive today?” This was his answer.

When he found out that one in three black male babies born in this country is expected to go to jail and prison, when he saw the level of poverty, when he heard some of the rhetoric that we frequently hear, I think he would be heartbroken. But I also think he would be excited that if he called a meeting, thousands would come. And that’s what has to happen, even without Dr. King — that we have to be willing to make that commitment so that we can create a world where if Dr. King emerged, he would be so proud to say his dream has finally been realized. We’re not in that world yet.

Bryan Stevenson is the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014) and the co-founder of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (informally known as the National Lynching Memorial).

Until They Became Landless Non-Citizens

MadleyFrom Benjamin Madley’s An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873, quoted early and often at last week’s Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute in Southern California.

…federal lawmakers expelled California Indians from mainstream colonial California society and relegated them to a shadowy legal and social status between man and beast. This was not preordained. In each phase of legislation, anti-Indian views prevailed over more sympathetic voices, each time pushing Indians farther beyond the bounds of citizenship and community. Through a succession of laws, legislators slowly denied California Indians membership in the body politic until they became landless non-citizens, with few legal rights and almost no legal control over their own bodies. Indians became, for many Anglo-Americans, nonhumans. This legal exclusion of California Indians from California society was a crucial enabler of mass murder.

Book Recs from Professor Kendi

KendiFrom a Bill Moyers interview with Ibram X. Kendi, the author of Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (2017). Kendi was asked what five books should be mandatory reading (once readers were done with his book). 

I think that it really depends on what they’re interested in. But I think books that are critical in understanding the popular sort of discussions that we’re having now that have to do with race injustice. Of course, there is Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, which I think really takes the reader through understanding how much of a problem the death penalty is, how much of a black problem it is, and how virulently racist the policies and operators are within that — in Alabama and other places. Continue reading

Practices Cannot Be Separated From The Bodies That Practice Them

Hara1An excerpt from Tada Hozumi‘s brilliant piece “The Key to Healing Whiteness is Understanding Cultural Somatic Context,” originally posted on the Selfish Activist site last month.

Intellectualism itself is a white colonialist pattern. It’s only natural that whiteness can’t be solved through brain wrangling. Usually what happens is that the intellectual quality of systemic analysis often leads people to burn out, usually with their micro-aggressing behaviors intact. Continue reading

Anti-Semitism and Hypocrisy at the Top: a Jewish response

OmarBy Wes Howard-Brook

Three, young, powerful, brash women of color have come down upon the Capitol and left the old while folks there sputtering in their wake. The most well-known—so much so that she already can be recognized by her initials, AOC—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY)—has blown the doors off Congress by daring to offer her “Green New Deal” vision. The other two are both Muslim women, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Tlaib and Omar have strongly promoted the international “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” campaign to pressure the Israeli government to withdraw from West Bank settlements. Continue reading