Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rest in Peace, Troy Anthony Davis

The United States has shamed itself once again. I am sad beyond words. My heart goes out to his family and to all who suffer in the belly of the beast -- guilty or innocent. We will never stop fighting for you.

This is how we do it in New Orleans.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Will Georgia Lynch Another Innocent Black Man Today?

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has ruled that Troy Davis will die at 7:00 p.m. tonight. Davis was convicted of the shooting death of a police officer twenty-two years ago. I blogged about the case yesterday and the media is blazing with discussion on the issues involved. As I go through my day today, I will be mulling over some questions:

1. How many innocent Black men do you suppose have been gunned down in cold blood by the police in this country over the past twenty-two years without it even being considered a crime?

2. The family says they need closure in the death of their loved one. Wouldn't "closure" include knowing that the actual murderer was held accountable, rather than that he walks around free -- bragging about getting away with killing a police officer -- while an innocent man is sacrified?

3. Doesn't Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm (phone number: 912-652-7308) realize that, since he can personally intervene to save Troy Davis' life -- or not -- public attention to this case and how it's handled will make it political suicide for him to let Davis die?

4.  How long are we going to continue begging for relief from a rampant White Supremacist criminal not-just system before it dawns on us that it isn't going to change until we make it change?

5.  What would it take to make it change?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Same Song, 4th Verse: Don't Kill Troy Davis

Three years ago -- almost to the day -- I first heard and blogged about Troy Davis. And here he is, having been on death row for nineteen years, facing execution once more (for the fourth time) on Wednesday, while a horrified world watches. The Atlanta Journal Constitution says the case has been "perhaps the most extraordinary and controversial legal odyssey in the state’s history."

Despite the fact that most of the family of the police officer Davis was convicted of shooting to death twenty-two years ago still hold fast to the idea that he is, in fact, guilty, seven of the nine "witnesses" recanted their original testimony in 2003. One of the remaining "witnesses" is, unsurprisingly, a guy who is said to have confessed to his family and friends that he was the one who actually committed the murder. These folks have come forward and signed sworn statements, which would seem to make a difference in the state's commitment to kill Troy Davis, but such is not the case.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Toshi Reagon: The Battle of the Broken Word

When are we going to stop buying what we're told as the truth?

I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brotha Wolf: The Deepest Pain

Sometimes, when a Person of Color says or writes something I could never have adequately expressed because it is communicating something extraordinary from their perspective, I try to serve as a bridge between them and others. It's part of the responsibility I feel as a person who looks like me to work toward change in a White Supremacist world. Yesterday, I read a blog post by Brotha Wolf I felt that way about. He had been inspired to write it by another blogger's post and that is how the blogosphere works. Here's to modern technology. And here's to Big Man and Brotha Wolf.

Big Man, the brotha behind the popular blog Raving Black Lunatic, wrote an excellent piece about the thoughts and feelings about today’s world relating to how some people have been on top for so long mostly due to the destruction of other people without any large-scale repercussions while those who still benefit from it avoid any responsibility to try and do the right thing. It also describes the need for vengeance as a way to ease the pain and sadness, and questions why such destruction happened or was allowed to happen in the first place.

I think I know what he was getting at. For me, personally, they were thoughts that I constantly have every day and night, thoughts about the history and reality of white supremacy. Despite the fact there are some whites who do accept responsibility and are working hard to change things, most whites are still so blinded by a world they’ve created they see nothing wrong with it. It is a reality that keeps me either angry or depressed.

Monday, September 05, 2011

How "The Help" Can Help

In the past few weeks, I had read a number of reviews of "The Help" (one of the hot movies of the summer), but nearly all of the ones I saw began with the words, "I haven't actually seen this movie, but..." followed by a castigation of every possible aspect of the film. Reviews without the benefit of reading the book, seeing the film, or hearing the music send up a sociological flag on my analytical playing field. So despite the fact that I thought I'd probably agree with the reviews even after watching the movie and very concerned that I was about to waste time and money on one more flick about how only White people can save Blacks, I decided I needed to see it. Then one of my Black students who is very forthright about pretty much everything -- and especially race -- told me that she had gone to see it twice and loved it. So today, I gathered up my trepidations and went to the theater.

In brief, I give it an eleven on a scale of one to ten with one being "made a White person look like a Savior-figure while making darkies look like sheep" and ten being "made White people in general look like icy-faced monsters who probably deserve to drown in shallow water while being stung by killer bees and eaten alive by starving red ants simultaneously." I have absolutely never seen a better, more nuanced, more ghastly depiction of what real ordinary White people in the U.S. acted like in the 1960s. The fact that many White people still act the same way today is another point and I'll come back to that momentarily. But I kid you not, White folks walked out of the theater after watching "The Help" today veeeery quietly, while Black folks were talking to no one but each other. It's that kind of flick. I give it a "must see" with a warning: if you have any consciousness at all, this one will piss you slap off and if you haven't gotten ahold of your rage yet, you should probably just go ahead and skip seeing it for now.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Not-Just Not-Legal System

I just finished watching "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" and I'm ready to stick my head out the window and scream. Darryl Hunt, for those of you who may not know, is a a 46-year-old man who did twenty years in prison for a crime of which he was "wrongfully convicted" in 1984. The crime was the brutal rape and stabbing murder of a young White newspaper woman. The location was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And Darryl Hunt, of course, is Black.

Friday, September 02, 2011

That Mean Old Yesterday

Last year, I read a book by Stacey Patton entitled That Mean Old Yesterday. It affected me greatly. As a person who studies race relations in the United States.  As a person born with a vagina instead of a penis in a country -- and a world -- where that fact matters greatly. And as a person who later reconnected with memories of childhood torture by my own mother, a memory quite frankly that I might not have found the strength to face had I not read Patton's book.

It's well, well written. In fact, it's so well written, it'll make you crazy. Like a horror movie where you wind up peeking through your fingers, but unable to look away or run from the darkened theater. I often wanted to put it down and sometimes did -- mid-paragraph. I had to stop reading it at bedtime entirely because it gave me creepy dreams. But, at least partly for this reason, I had to finish it. I mean, if you can open a non-fiction book that begins with the narrator lurking in sockfeet outside her adopted parents' house in the rain in November with a 9mm automatic, working up the courage to blow their brains out -- and then not have to follow it to its end, you're way less curious than I am.