Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Michael Brown and Addressing Anti-Black Violence

Some excellent pieces on Michael Brown and the killing of Black people in America:

America is not for Black people (Greg Howard, the Concourse)

Black kids don't have to be college bound for their deaths to be tragic (Jasmine Banks, The Root)

In defense of Black rage (Brittney Cooper, Salon)

I have zero answers here, but I've been thinking about what the structures are that enable violence, especially state-sanctioned and white violence, against Black people, queer people, Black queer people, and other people of color of various sexualities and genders to occur without repercussion (often--thankfully Renisha McBride seems to be an exception to this rule) and with impunity.

As Mia Mckenzie (Black Girl Dangerous) points out in her latest piece, "In this country, police protect property while killing human beings. Sometimes they, as well as civilians, kill human beings in order to protect property."  This one thought brings together the interlaced nature of white supremacy with corporate power. In our current oligarchy (to paraphrase Chomsky: "There is one party; the business party.")  And corporate power almost uniformly is held by white people (usually white men).  These men usually present as straight and/or gender conforming (i.e., cisgender) but who knows?  The take-away here is not whether they are or not, but rather they present as such, likely to retain their power and privilege in way that would be compromised (although perhaps not depleted) if they weren't.  For the record, I have no illusions that a gay white corporate power broker would be more just, less racist, or more equitable than a straight one, as illustrated by the numerous times non-powerful gay white men articulate and act on their white privileged worldview.

In our increasing carceral society (Foucault was right!) police power and the prison industry is tied to corporate interest and money.  I don't know if white supremacy is able to be defeated or even mitigated without de-powering corporations and the police.  I of course still believe in education and I think us white educators need to teach not just the evils of racism (i.e., don't be racist because racism is violence), but the harmful effects on all people (i.e., don't support racist policies and tactics because they're violence and they are also bad for you).

This is a small chip, and it might be my (or anyone's) primary chip, but I think it's going to take a long fight against the increasing state/police power our government at multiple levels is exerting against all its citizens, corporate influence on our political processes, and corporate ties with police and prisons. (In addition to the increased militarization of police as demonstrated in this article and others, I'm seeing more stories on police serving/protecting the citizens who can afford them.  A recent news story from a nearby town detailed a woman was charged a fee because she called police to investigate a situation at her house!)

TL;DR: Anti-black / anti-POC violence by police and white people is supported through corporate-government-police ties and it seems to me those ties must be dismantled or damaged.  How to do that however?  That, I have no idea.  I'm just sharing my latest thinking out loud.  Violence and state violence  in this country against Black and queer people has always existed.  Black people and their allies helped address some of it, but it seems to be gaining strength as white corporate interests continue to increase their power.