Posts tagged ‘police’

Orlando Whiplash – Yall We Forgot the Intersectionality

The massacre at a gay club in Orlando has created a groundswell of unfortunate responses by both the political right and left on the issues of immigration, guns, and policing. These poor responses include erasure of a queer identity and (un?)intentional racially/immigration status oppressive politics.

I have been trying to hold back my initial reactions to the Orlando shooting. Some of that has been a deliberate with holding of opinion, and some has been due to how numbing these sorts of events can be. Processing the news, the grief, the fear, and then the responses on all sides is a major intellectual and emotional undertaking. A lot of my friends in LGBTQ communities around the world have been struggling with the fear, sorrow, anger, etc. that the massacre created.

What I have noticed is similar to the observations of others – mainstream reaction to the Orlando shooting involves a lot of jumping to conclusions and ignoring the victims and survivors. What this does is add insult to injury for lgbtq and poc communities, and ultimately I say leave the door open for more future oppression and violence against those communities.

The reality that the shooting at Pulse happened on Latinx night and involved many people of color and immigrants seems to have been overshadowed by outside agendas to promote an anti-immigrant response. Even though the shooter was a man of color and american citizen born and raised. Outside forces are twisting this tragedy to fit the narratives they have already written. The anti immigrant crap is largely coming from the political right. Were this a white shooter, it would be a lot easier to suggest it was a racially motivated attack. The shooter being of color himself, and a first generation American makes it not so cut and dry. However, the issue of the identity of the victims must not be ignored in analysis. Many of the victims were immigrants, the children of immigrants, from the colonized territory of Puerto Rico and some undocumented folks as well. Responding to this shooting with anti immigrant legislation, and legislation which will ultimately result in more racial profiling is NOT honoring the victims and survivors. It is basically spitting on their graves.

The political left has their own contradictory bill of malarky to sell the public in response to this incident. The anti gun whiplash response is in full effect, largely ignoring the facts about existing gun laws, guns, and the not great political implications of their suggested gun laws.

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Public Forum Set Between Richmond Police and Protesters? REALLY!?!

In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests in and around Richmond, NBC 12 reports that a public forum is scheduled between police and protesters.

donttalktocop

I am not an organizer of these protests although I have participated in several and support the movement as much as I can. And I am white, and it is certainly delicate territory for me to critique organizing being done by folks of color. But in this case, I think it is necessary, as a safety precaution and because this sort of event has the potential to affect activists of all types in Richmond.

I support 110% the concept of Diversity of Tactics. No one has to organize like anyone else, as long as we have points of agreement we are working towards. However, I am highly skeptical of and concerned about a meeting with the Police.

Generally speaking, when organizing protests or events, folks I organize with operate with the idea of having as little interaction as possible with the police. This is coming from a largely anarchist organizing scene, so if these protesters are not anarchists, that might explain their different approach. But anarchist or not, it can be very harmful to a movement to have some folks deal with the police. There are many reasons for that.

Significantly, is that Police can lie. They are trained interrogators, and when involved in a conversation they can lie and manipulate you with ease. While the police can lie, you can not. It is illegal for you to lie to the police. If you want to know your rights, check out this post full of useful info, or get in touch and I or someone else will happily come to your group to do a Know Your Rights or How to Copwatch workshop. Trust me, many cops do not know your rights, and aren’t required to tell you much about them. They aren’t even legally required to give you a verbal Miranda Rights anymore. The news article says “They say they’ll be asking questions like “If an officer asks me to take my hands out of my pockets, do I have to?”” – look, you do not have to go talk to the police to find this information out. Yes, you do need to take your hands out of your pockets or else the police might think you are doing something dangerous and shoot you. When you are detained the police have the right to pat you down to feel for any weapons. They can not go into your pockets for anything other than something which feels like a weapon unless you give consent. Never give them consent to search. Always say, “I do not consent to a search”. But do not physically resist a search, just repeat loudly that you do not consent. See you do not need to go to police to get this information.

Additionally, police operate with a hierarchical system. They assume everyone else does too. I couldn’t count the number of times some cop has asked us to speak to whomever is in charge, just to receive laughter in response. No one is in charge silly cop. Of course, that is after they usually approach the biggest white male first, under the assumption that they are in charge. What this means in terms of talking to the police, is that if one person or group of persons comes to any agreement with the police, the police are liable to hold the entirety of ‘demonstrators’ to those agreements. Even though many who might protest a variety of issues had no say in those agreements.

In certain protest situations, this has resulted in protesters who had agreements with the cops, actually policing other protesters. Sometimes this means protesters trying to detain, assault, or have arrested others involved in the protest. This pretty obviously sucks. Even if things do not get to that point, any agreement with the police by some protesters basically gives the police leverage to try to hold all protesters to that agreement, and places more folks in potential danger.

The location of the forum, is at the Police Training Academy on Northside, hardly neutral ground. There are folks who might want to participate who validly do not feel at all safe in that space. There are tons of folks who do not feel comfortable sharing any space with police. And folks who do feel safe in those spaces need to be careful to not speak for those who do not. This is a highly tricky situation.

The forum is also a fairly transparent means through which the police are trying to get good media coverage. They are being nice, reasonable etc. These are still the police who terrorize men of color, engage in stop and frisk activities in Northside neighborhoods and others too, lock up all kinds of people for non violent offenses, and generally harm our communities. They do not have to be regularly murdering people in a direct manner for their very existence to be oppressive and harmful.

The article also says that questions from demonstrators will be submitted written and read by a third party. I don’t know about yall, but thats not how I imagine a DIALOGUE going. Conceivably questions might be ignored or censored as the police please. It seems that there is no assurance of an opportunity for response or rebuttal. So this might just be a forum to give the police a platform to answer soft questions and look good for the media. Not a win in my mind.

It is unstated as to whether or not ‘demonstrators’ will be allowed to bring in recording devices to capture their own take on the situation.

City Council’s new President Michelle Mosby is quoted talking about “mutual respect” between protesters and police. Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. NOPE! I speak for myself only, but am fairly certain there are plenty of folks in Richmond who do not have respect for the enforcement arm of racism, capitalism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, etc. I mean, the police!

The question of legitimacy and the process of de-legitimization is also present here. Who represents these movements and has the legitimacy to engage with the police. What does this do to others in the movements who do not want to talk to the police or support this tactic. There are certainly people of color who are not supportive of this forum, if my facebook feed is at all representative. Unfortunately, this forum will de-legitimize those protesters in the polices’ eyes.

Movements need leadership, but not necessarily leaders. If folks are perceived as in charge by the police, this also puts them in a tricky situation of being accountable for an entire movement. It can be dangerous to be a police liason. And it can put folks in a position of being pressured by police to force protesters to engage in something they do not want to do.

If you are talking to the police, be very careful. Be considerate of others involved in the movements, and make an effort to avoid speaking for or representing others. Ask tough questions if you are going to ask questions. And remember that people choose to be police, choose to enforce unjust laws, choose to engage in a system of racism and transphobia, and generally choose to be oppressive.

That’s all I’ve got right now. Just make sure this is something you want to do and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
See you in the streets.
Over n Out.

Where We Go Wrong: Terrorism, Religion, Racism, and Rights

AKA: Where DON’T We Go Wrong?

Watching the back and forth reactions to both the bombing of the NAACP headquarters in Colorado Springs and the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris on social media is enough to give me whiplash.

Navigating the intertwining issues of race and religion isn’t something at which us humans are very good. Add in jargon like “terrorism” and “rights” and suddenly we have added complex emotions to some already emotional issues. Entire books have been and will be written on these issues*. And ultimately, we all need to take more time to have long discussions and studying of these concepts and how we use them. There is power in words.

Yes, you have the right to free speech, and the right to draw images of a Muslim prophet Mohammad that many people believe ought not be depicted. But yes, it does make you an asshole if you choose to exercise this right.

No, (Muslim dudes in Paris) you do not have the right to kill people for being assholes. No, (Obama and U.S. military) you do not have the right to use drone strikes to kill people for being in proximity to where you think assholes might be located. None of this is acceptable behavior.

It is difficult at this point to distinguish the chicken from the egg in the world of international terrorism. The place to start, it would seem, is in accepting accountability for one’s own nation’s actions, and working to end disrespectful and terrorist activity one’s for which one’s country is responsible. The finger pointing is a fun game for sure, but unless you support endless war and civilian casualties and mondo finger cramps, we have to calm down*** and stop.

Simply because we have the right does NOT mean that doing or saying the thing is as good idea. And it also doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences. The consequences for saying something racist or disrespectful obviously shouldn’t be getting your offices shot up. When someone says something that isn’t respectful, they should understand that any negative responses are not about curtailing their ‘right’ to say something mean, but rather are the fair market reactions. (more…)

Missing the Mark – Racism and Reporting

This was an article I wrote on Dec. 24, 2014, and submitted to a local paper. Not hearing back from them since the holidays, I figured I might as well get it out here. This is a response to an article written by Mark Holmberg which you can look up if you want to read it, I don’t want to give it the clicks.

Mark Holmberg is a staple of the Richmond journalism scene. I remember being a kid and reading his columns in the Richmond Times Dispatch. As an adult I have been interviewed by Mark for his new gig at WTVR CBS 6, and seen him at numerous protests and events around town. He’s been in my home on several occasions. Mark is a human, you know, like the rest of us, and a perfectly nice guy in person. Sometimes, Mark’s perspective which he infuses his reports with is sympathetic or similar to my position on an issue. But there are other times where Mark’s reporting makes a strong case for the old concept that if you don’t have nuthin nice to say don’t say nuthin at all.

Unfortunately, the views Mark has chosen to broadcast regarding the Eric Garner and Mike Brown protests fall into this category. His December 21st article, starts off badly and doesn’t get any better. He seems to draw ties from the world wide protests against police brutality, murder of people of color, institutional racism and impunity from accountability for the police to the mentally ill man who killed his partner, a woman of color, and then two NYPD officers. There is no connection between #blacklivesmatter protests and Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who shot the two cops, and there is no reason to try to delegitimize organizing and protest efforts by people of color and their allies around these issues based on faulty logic.

Mark draws rapid, trite conclusions, about both the Eric Garner and Mike Brown decisions. I have been patient with white people who do not understand or sympathize with the Mike Brown murder and Ferguson situation. I know it is hard for folks to see past their white privilege, especially without video evidence (sigh). But white people need to learn to listen to people of color and believe what is being said. White privilege protects white folks from certain experiences and blinds us to certain realities. (more…)

Don’t Wanna Pay $35 to use a Public Park? Stop the Privatization of Monroe Park

Check out my new article about the proposed privatization of Monroe Park being pushed by Richmond’ elites!
Don’t Privatize Monroe Park

keepmonroeparkopen

Suggestion for Councilwoman Mosby

http://m.nbc12.com/autojuice?targetUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.nbc12.com%2fstory%2f23201579%2frichmond-councilwoman-creates-suggestion-box-for-crime-fighting-ideasis my response to Councilwoman Mosby as interviewed by NBC 12 here:

Hello,

More police and more jail beds will never solve crime in Richmond. We need jobs, we need dignity, and we need education. Community will solve crime, not laws or encouraging people to call 911 when they see something suspicious. People of color, especially young men of color are already disproportionately targeted by the RPD who engage in unethical stop and frisk tactics. We already spend too much on police. We should be trying alternatives like mediation, counselling, mental healthcare access, etc. And calling on and supporting existing organizations like the Richmond Peace Education Center and ROSMU to help in developing alternatives to 911 and guides for building strong communities.

I would love to meet to discuss further.

Thanks

Mo Karnage

 

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