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

The Culture of Whiteness

RubyA Ruby Sales Ted Talk? Hell yes. This is just an excerpt. Watch and listen to the entire talk here.

Now that we’ve touched the hurt, we must ask ourselves, “Where does it hurt and what is the source of the hurt?” I propose that we must look deeply into the culture of whiteness. That is a river that drowns out all of our identities and drowns us in false uniformity to protect the status quo.

Notice, everybody, I said “culture of whiteness,” and not “white people.” Because in my estimation, the problem is not white people. Instead, it is the culture of whiteness. And by culture of whiteness, I mean a systemic and organized set of beliefs, values, canonized knowledge and even religion, to maintain a hierarchical, over-and-against power structure based on skin color, against people of color. It is a culture where white people are seen as necessary and friendly insiders, while people of color, especially black people, are seen as dangerous and threatening outsiders, who pose a clear and present danger to the safety and the efficacy of the culture of whiteness. Continue reading

Martin Luther King, the Beloved Community and the Socialist Idea

obery hendricksA classic from theologian Obery Hendricks, re-posted from The Huffington Post (May 2, 2014).

I speak the password primeval…I give the sign of democracy; By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpoint of on equal terms.
Walt Whitman

Recently on The Huffington Post I explored Martin Luther King’s rejection of capitalist logic and his endorsement of Democratic Socialism as an antidote to the ills and injustices inherent to the capitalist system he so fervently opposed. These include capitalism’s subordination of human welfare to the pursuit of profits; its transformation of greed from Christianity’s Third Mortal Sin to the preeminent capitalist virtue (based on a selective reading of Adam Smith); and its rejection of the biblically-mandated responsibility to “love your neighbor as yourself,” i.e., to care for society’s poor and vulnerable. In addition to the consternation that I would dare to use Martin Luther King and “socialism” in the same sentence, a number of readers also seized on King’s endorsement as confirmation of the old charge that he was a Communist sympathizer. Continue reading

Tone Policing

Oluo

PC: SeattleSpectator.com

From The Sun Magazine‘s brilliant interview with Ijeoma Oluo author of the recently released So You Want to Talk about Race:

Tone policing is when someone disputes a statement by focusing on how it was said, not on its content. It’s when you’re told to “calm down” or “be more ladylike” or “be less emotional.” The person who’s suffering has to express their experience in a way white people will accept before whites are willing to listen. You all think you’re a better judge of what’s proper than black people are, and that you have the authority to deem our complaints invalid. Your comfort level is more important to you than stopping the brutality we’re facing. Continue reading