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Category Archives: BlackLivesMatter

Cop in Grand Rapids Pulls Gun on Teens Walking In Front of Their Homes

There really was no justifiable reason to do this. In Grand Rapids, 5 black teens are accosted at gunpoint by a Police Officer, supposedly looking for an armed black male. There are a lot of ways the Cop could have approached this issue without drawing a firearm. Especially since it seems he had substantial backup less than 10 seconds away.

This Cop just cemented any suspicion in these kids minds, that the Police are armed thugs instead of community protectors.

Hat Tip to “The Advise Show” on this one. Advise is a YouTube Channel out of Houston, with interesting content.

‘Stop crying, bro! They gonna think we did something!’: Unarmed black teens sob as cop holds them at gunpoint

Last month, officers in Grand Rapids, Michigan were responding to a call about an armed suspect when they pulled their gun on five teenagers minding their own business.

The body cam video posted by BuzzFeed revealed sobbing teens forced to lay on the ground as the officer pointed his gun at them.

“Guys, get on the ground. Keep your hands out,” a Grand Rapids police officer tells a group of youths in the video. “Just follow our directions and we’ll be all right, OK?”

The teens are seen raising their hands before laying on the sidewalk.

“Stop crying, bro! They gonna think we did something!” one of the boy’s friends can be heard saying.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Racism and Perception

Why do Police see guns in black men’s hands when there are none? Science attempts to explain.

Not sure I buy into the concept entirely, as many of the shooting situations were created by the Officers in the first place. That implies , differently from the science that perception may well have a component of pre-meditation.

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The shooting of Walter Scott involved no weapon in Scott’s hands. He was running away from the Policeman.

A neuroscientist explains how racism hijacks human perception

If you’re black in the United States, you’re more than twice as likely as a white person to be unarmed if you’re killed in an encounter with the police. Why? Some kind of racial profiling is at work, but the precise psychological mechanism is poorly understood. Investigations into police shootings show that the officers often perceive cellphones and other non-threatening objects as weapons in the hands of a person of colour. So do police officers misinterpret what they see, or are they actually seeing a gun where there is none?

The classic psychological account would ascribe these mistakes to a failure of executive control, provoked by some external stimulus. That is, the problem comes from the brain’s inability to resolve the conflict between an automatically activated stereotype, and a consciously held egalitarian belief. Seeing a black face might automatically activate the stereotype that black men are more dangerous, leading to activity in brain areas implicated in fear responses. But this automatic response, which could trigger a fight-or-flight reaction, should be suppressed when the fear is irrational. Yet the tensions between automatic and control processes are not always readily resolved, and result in errors.

New strands of work in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy of mind challenge this brain-centric orthodoxy. Researchers of ‘embodied cognition’ focus instead on the brain’s interdependence on physiological processes that allow an organism to sustain itself. From this point of view, the mind must be understood as embedded in a body, and the body as embedded in a physical, social and cultural environment. Reality is not simply out there for the taking, but is summoned via the constant fluctuations of our own organic matter. As the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote in Phenomenology of Perception (1945): ‘The body is our general medium for having a world.’

Among neuroscientists, it’s increasingly popular to think of the brain not as a passive organ that receives and reacts to stimuli, but as more of an inference machine: something that actively strives to predict what’s out there and what’s going to happen, maximising the chances of staying alive. But the body isn’t simply controlled top-down. Rather, its signals are constantly combining with the brain’s inferences to generate our perception of the world. Imagine you hear a door slamming: you’re more likely to picture an intruder if you’re watching a scary movie than if you’re listening to soothing music. You make that prediction (otherwise quite unlikely) because it accounts for your fast heart-rate and the sound of the door.

We still know very little about exactly how these processes might relate to the phenomenon of racism, but now we have some idea of where to look. If the predictive story of behaviour is correct, perception (including that of the police) suddenly seems a lot closer to belief, and is a lot more embodied, than we used to think. Recent studies highlight the influences of visceral signals across many domains, from emotional processing and decision-making to self-awareness. For example, scary stimuli are judged to be more fearful when presented during heartbeats, rather than betweenheartbeats.

At my lab at Royal Holloway, University of London, we decided to test whether the cardiac cycle made a difference to the expression of racial prejudice. The heart is constantly informing the brain about the body’s overall level of ‘arousal’, the extent to which it is attuned to what is happening around it. On a heartbeat, sensors known as ‘arterial baroreceptors’ pick up pressure changes in the heart wall, and fire off a message to the brain; between heartbeats, they are quiescent. Such visceral information is initially encoded in the brainstem, before reaching the parts implicated in emotional and motivational behaviour. The brain, in turn, responds by trying to help the organism stabilise itself. If it receives signals of a raised heart-rate, the brain will generate predictions about the potential causes, and consider what the organism should do to bring itself down from this heightened state. This ongoing heart-brain dialogue, then, forms the basis of how the brain represents the body to itself, and creates awareness of the external environment.

In our experiment, we used what’s known as the ‘first-person shooter’s task’, which simulates the snap judgments police officers make. Participants see a white or black man holding a gun or phone, and have to decide whether to shoot depending on the perceived level of threat. In prior studies, participants were significantly more likely to shoot an unarmed black individual than a white one.

But we timed the stimuli to occur either between or on a heartbeat. Remarkably, the majority of misidentifications occurred when black individuals appeared at the same time as a heartbeat. Here, the number of false positives in which phones were perceived as weapons rose by 10 per cent compared with the average. In a different version of the test, we used what’s known as the ‘weapons identification task’, where participants see a white or black face, followed by an image of a gun or tool, and must classify the object as quickly as possible. When the innocuous items were presented following a black face, and on a heartbeat, errors rose by 20 per cent.

Yet in both instances, when the judgment happened between heartbeats, we observed no differences in people’s accuracy, irrespective of whether they were responding to white or black faces. It seems that the combination of the firing of signals from the heart to the brain, along with the presentation of a stereotypical threat, increased the chances that even something benign will be perceived as dangerous.

It’s surprising to think of racial bias as not just a state or habit of mind, nor even a widespread cultural norm, but as a process that’s also part of the ebbs and flows of the body’s physiology. The heart-brain dialogue plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate, as well as motivating and supporting adaptive behaviour in response to external events. So, in fight-or-flight responses, changes in cardiovascular function prepare the organism for subsequent action. But while the brain might be predictive, those predictions can be inaccurate. What our findings illustrate is the extent to which racial and possibly other stereotypes are hijacking bodily mechanisms that have evolved to deal with actual threats.

The psychologist Lisa Barrett Feldman at Northeastern University in Boston coined the term ‘affective realism’ to describe how the brain perceives the world through the body. On the one hand, this is a reason for optimism: if we can better understand the neurological mechanisms behind racial bias, then perhaps we’ll be in a better position to correct it. But there is a grim side to the analysis, too. The structures of oppression that shape who we are also shape our bodies, and perhaps our most fundamental perceptions. Maybe we do not ‘misread’ the phone as a gun; we might we actually see a gun, rather than a phone. Racism might not be something that societies can simply overcome with fresh narratives and progressive political messages. It might require a more radical form of physiological retraining, to bring our embodied realities into line with our stated beliefs.Aeon counter – do not remove

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Trash Can of History – NOLA Finally Begins Removal of Confederate Statues

A bit of “History” which should have been removed a long time ago – These statues are nothing more than the symbols which divide America.

Putting these “memorials” up is no different than putting up a statue of Hitler in front of a synagogue.

The protesters were carrying candles? Surprised they weren’t burning crosses.

New Orleans Begins Removing Statues Commemorating the Confederacy

New Orleans on Monday began removing four statues dedicated to the era of the Confederacy, capping a prolonged battle about the future of the memorials, which critics deemed symbols of racism and intolerance and which supporters viewed as historically important.

Workers dismantled an obelisk, which was dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place and was erected to honor members of the “Crescent City White League” who in 1874 fought against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

The workers were dressed in flak jackets, helmets and scarves to conceal their identities because of concerns about their safety, The Associated Press reported.

Pieces of the monument were put on a truck and hauled away.

Other monuments expected to be removed include a bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in a traffic circle, named Lee Circle, in the city’s central business district since 1884; an equestrian statue of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general, and one of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

Citing security risks and threats to contractors seeking to do the work, the city would not reveal details about the removal of the other statues.

The monuments were erected decades after the Civil War ended by people who wanted to demonstrate that the South should feel no guilt in having fought the Civil War, the mayor’s statement said.

“The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance,” Mr. Landrieu said. “This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly — choose a better future.”

The debate over Confederate symbols has taken center stage since nine people were killed at a black church in South Carolina in June 2015. South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag, which flew at its State House for more than 50 years, and other Southern cities have considered taking down monuments.

After moving the statues into storage, New Orleans will seek a museum or other site to house them. The city said it gained private funding to relocate the statues, though it did not say how much money it secured or identify its source.

The opposition to the monuments’ removal — expressed in op-ed articles, social media posts and shouting at public meetings — was vigorous. A group opposing their removal said it had collected 31,000 signatures for a petition.

Demonstrators gathered for a candlelight vigil on Monday as workers removed the Liberty Place monument.

Robert Bonner, 63, who said he was a Civil War re-enactor, protested the monument’s removal. “I think it’s a terrible thing,” he told The A.P. “When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you’ve been.”

The removal happened on Confederate Memorial Day, which is formally observed by Alabama and Mississippi to commemorate those who died in the Civil War.

An organization dedicated to preserving monuments in New Orleans, the Monumental Task Committee, opposed removing the statues.

In a statement on Monday, Pierre McGraw, the group’s president, said the removal process had been “flawed since the beginning” and that the use of unidentified money reeks of “atrocious government.”

“People across Louisiana should be concerned over what will disappear next,” the statement added.

In December 2015, the City Council voted 6-1 to take the statues down. In January 2016, a federal judge dismissed an attempt by preservation groups and a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to stop their removal.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Color Lines – Appearances Can Be Decieving

Race in America is a amorphous thing. Most likely what “classification” you fall into will be based on your looks.

I have a family relationship with the Shinnecock Tribe, and from the pic below, knew this author’s mother, and possibly her father. The Reservation is pretty small, and all of the teens often gathered together at the beach. There was a NYC connection as well. I am not Native American (Not one drop according to my DNA test), however one of my Uncles married a Native American and lived on the reservation. I spent a number of summers both working and visiting the Reservation and am an Honorary Member of the Tribe. Which doesn’t mean anything in terms of identity, but does mean because of my Uncle’s marriage I have a few cousins there.

My family has everything from blonde haired, blue eyed to deepest ebon. The first of which caused a lot of problems back in the day. As a teen, I struggled with the existence of both black and “white” relatives. To understand that, you have to understand the historical context of the 60′ black “awakening”.

I don’t share Ms Joseph’s thoughts about Donezal. The only thing I see there is a tragedy.

Stealth sisterhood: I look white, but I'm also black. And I don't hate Rachel Dolezal

Stealth sisterhood: I look white, but I’m also black. And I don’t hate Rachel Dolezal

I am white, I am black, I am Native American. And I know what it’s like for people not to see all of who I am

On a hot, humid New York City morning in 1980, I stood with my mother in the checkout line of an A&P supermarket near our home. As she pushed our groceries along the cashier’s belt with me trailing behind, mom realized she had forgotten her wallet at home, but she had her checkbook. Leaving me standing alone in the line for a moment while she saw the manager to have her check approved, the clerk refused to bag our groceries and hand them to me. She was black, and I was white. “These groceries belong to that woman over there,” the woman nodded towards my mother. “They ain’t yours.” Confused, I said, “But that’s my mother. I’ll take them for her.” She looked me up and down. “No,” she said, her voice cold.

The clerk refused to believe that indeed I belonged to, and came from, my black mother, until mom returned to find me choking back tears. She gave the clerk a tongue lashing, which was not her style, and we left the market.  Later, mixed Native American and black children threw stones at me near my home on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation as I rode my bike. They yelled, “Get off our land, white girl!” These painful and strange experiences gave me my first taste of racial prejudice, and they have stayed with me all these years.

I am a child of many nations. I am white, I am black, I am Native American. I am West Indian, German, Irish. Brown and light together — integrated, not inter-racial, because race means nothing when you come from everywhere.

This Sunday’s New York Times Race-Related section ran a fascinating piece on DNA and racial identity by West Chester University professor Anita Foeman. For the past decade, she has asked hundreds of people to take part in ancestry DNA tests, and to date, over 2,000 have participated. “But first,” she wrote, “I ask people how they identify themselves racially. It has been very interesting to explore their feelings about the differences between how they define themselves and what their DNA makeup shows when the test results come in.”

Those results are often startling to the subjects and rife with racial stereotypes, Foeman found. According to her studies, some who came up with surprise Asian heritage in spite of looking white or brown noted, “That’s why my son is good at math!” Others who explored African heritage responded, “I thought my biological father might be black; I heard he liked basketball.”  Many of us harbor deeply-rooted prejudices that we aren’t even aware of, until it matters to us.

I don’t remember what mom said that day in the supermarket, but I can tell you that while she had been the object of many, many racist remarks and challenging situations in her life, she was not entirely prepared for what happened that day. That’s not to say she didn’t talk about the reality of how our family was different from others. To try to address the dearth of literary references to kids who looked like me, my mother physically altered my childhood books, using markers to make one parent brown and other other white, while the child originally drawn remained white-appearing, like me. But the scene in the supermarket still took her by surprise.

Confrontations over race can still catch Americans unprepared, such as when Rachel Dolezal, the now-former head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP, appeared on the media radar. Dolezal, who stopped by Salon recently to talk with me on her book tour, was born white but identifies as black and calls herself “transracial.”

Dolezal was “outed” two years ago by her biological parents for not being black as she had claimed, and subsequently resigned from the NAACP. She became a polarizing figure under heavy media scrutiny as she appeared to dodge questions about her unconventional chosen identity. She has been unable to continue to work as a university instructor of African and African American art history, and to this day is despised by many observers, black and white, for posing as a black person.

My Salon colleague D. Watkins, an African American writer from Baltimore, wondered why Dolezal couldn’t just “use her whiteness to advocate for black people,” rather than making up and living in her own fantasy world where race and ethnicity no longer cause any social or political delineations. He is one of many to hold this opinion, and it’s one I agree with.

Rebecca Carroll wrote for Dame in 2015 about what she calls Dolezal’s “apocalyptic, White privilege on steroids” with a palpable anger shared by many people of color. When I talked to my childhood writing mentor Barbara Campbell, a former New York Times reporter who is African American and has two multiracial sons, she wondered about Dolezal with a mix of anger and genuine confusion. “What is wrong with that woman? I feel empathy for her, because she is clearly delusional, but she can step out into the world as a white woman any time she wants to stop being ‘black.’ Black women don’t have that luxury.”

Campbell explained that growing up in St. Louis, she had many light-skinned relatives who resembled Dolezal and could “pass” for white, but otherwise lived their lives as people of color. “They would go to ‘work white,’ because they could earn more money and get better-paying jobs, but then they would go home and be black.”

But this Dolezal thing — this is a horse of another color entirely. Why, wondered many, would someone white want to live within the very real challenges of being black in America, when she had a choice? Dolezal’s explanation? She doesn’t define herself by race, just a feeling of affinity with the black culture she’s always had.

As one might expect, the last few years have been tough since her exposure, she told me, noting her newly adopted legal name, Nkechi Amare Diallo, which she claimed was a “gift” to her by a Nigerian man. When she arrived at our offices, it was hard to know what to think, or believe. Frankly, it was hard to feel any animosity at all, despite the vitriolic sentiments many of my dark and light-skinned family, friends and colleagues had for Dolezal. She arrived carrying her beautiful, light brown baby son, Langston Hughes (Yes. Stop. That’s his name. What can you do?), who was cared for by her adopted black sister, Esther. Dolezal appeared like any other tired, working mom. I offered her coffee, and empathy, rather than taking an adversarial approach.

I did suggest, however, that some of the passages in her new book, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World,” were outrageous and possibly specious. Dolezal shrugged. “I don’t expect everyone to agree with or believe me,” she said. Among her claims: she grew up living in a tee pee in Montana (my Native American percentage shudders). She was beaten by her parents and forced to weave and wear a coat loomed from dog hair. She identified with people of color from an early age, after reading her grandmother’s National Geographic magazines, and spread mud on her face to try to feel what it was like to have brown skin. Dolezal has said some very polemical things, some — dare I say — dumb things, that do not make her a sympathetic figure. Comparing her white Montana childhood to what chattel slaves experienced, even if indeed she was miserable, is a stretch by any measure, and engendered rightful animus from real black folks…Read the Rest Here

 

 
 

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Teens BLM Inspired Prom Dress Lights Up the Internet!

Wow! A heck of a creative idea!

Image result for Black Lives Matter Prom Dress

Teen’s prom dress honoring Black Lives Matter movement goes viral

Milan Bolden-Morris attending Boston College to play basketball

Image result for Milan Bolden-Morris

It’s a prom dress with a message, and it is a message that is going viral on social media.

Milan Bolden-Morris wore a customized dress to her prom honoring the Black Lives Matter movement, featuring black and white images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and others.

Morris shared the photo on her Instagram page with the caption: “Yes I’m black. Yes I’m 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that is bigger than me.”

The photo has garnered a lot of attention, both positive and negative, on social media. The Palm Beach senior is also a basketball star, having been recognized by The Palm Beach Post as an “all-area player.”

She will continue her basketball career in Massachusetts at Boston College.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Black Auburn University Student Eviscerates White Supremacist Richard Spencer

White Supremacist Richard Spence is having another bad week.

First, one of his supporters picks on the wrong anti-racism protester…

Then the students chase his scum followers off campus…

And instead of handing Spencer a Pepsi…This lady slams him.

Watch this Auburn University student smack down white supremacist Richard Spencer in just 30 seconds

When white supremacist Richard Spencer decided to speak at Auburn University despite the safety concerns of students, teachers and staff, he was met with violence as well as tough questions.

One student, however, challenged Spencer so perfectly.

“How are white people more racially oppressed than black people? Because I’m a black woman at a predominantly white institution and I want to know what challenges y’all face that I don’t?” she asked.

A man behind her can be heard shouting out “Affirmative Action” though it was unclear if he was saying she was an Affirmative Action student or if that was a challenge he faces as a white man at the university.

“And then another question: How did it feel when you got punched in the face at the inauguration?” she asked as the audience laughed and applauded.

 

Got really bad news for you, Spencer. It ain’t your South anymore.

 

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Florida Finally Apologizes for Legal “Lynching” and Murder of Groveland Four

The wheels of Justice only took 70 years this time… Took about 15 minutes to convict the boys of something they couldn’t possibly have done.

70 years to admit a wrong that only took 15 minutes to commit.

‘We’re truly sorry’: Fla. apologizes for racial injustice of 1949 ‘Groveland Four’ rape case

In the summer of 1949, a 17-year-old white girl named Norma Padgett accused four black men of kidnapping her from a dark road in central Florida and then, in the back seat of their car, taking turns raping her.

Neighbors quietly doubted the girl’s version of events, and others speculated that the elaborate, detailed account was merely a coverup for the bruises she’d collected from her husband’s suspected beatings.

But this was the era of Jim Crow, in the middle of Lake County, where the local economy was sustained by orange groves that white men relied on black men to nurture.

And there to ensure law and order was Willis V. McCall, a sheriff buoyed by his segregationist, union-busting, white supremacist reputation.

Within days of Padgett’s accusations, three black men from the city of Groveland were in jail and a fourth, Ernest Thomas, was dead, shot and killed by an angry mob — led by McCall — who had chased him 200 miles into the Panhandle. In Groveland, black-owned homes were shot up and burned, sparking chaos so intense the governor eventually sent in the National Guard.

Based on little evidence, a jury quickly convicted the living three.

Charles Greenlee, just 16 at the time, was sent to prison for life.

Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin, friends and Army veterans, were sentenced to death, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned their convictions and ordered a retrial. Before that could happen, though, McCall shot them both. Shepherd died at the scene, but Irvin — who played dead — survived, and his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

The saga of the men who became known as the “Groveland Four” has spanned nearly seven decades, tarnished the reputation of the town that endorsed it, inspired a revelatory, Pulitzer Prize-winning book and became the subject of an online petition demanding that Gov. Rick Scott formally exonerate all four.

After 68 years, and several previous failed attempts, the state of Florida has finally found the words that justice had been waiting on all this time: “We’re truly sorry.”

On the floor of the Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday, lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution apologizing to the families of the “Groveland Four” and exonerating the men. It also calls on Scott to expedite the process for granting posthumous pardons.

None of the “Groveland Four” are still living.

“This resolution is us simply saying ‘We’re sorry’ understanding that we will never know nor be able to make up for the pain we have caused,” said Rep. Bobby DuBose, a bill sponsor, according to the Miami Herald.

Then he asked House members to stand and face relatives of the “Groveland Four” who were present.

“As the state of Florida and the House of Representatives,” DuBose said, “we’re truly sorry.”

The formal acknowledgment of the case, now widely considered a racial injustice, has been years in the making. A book by author Gilbert King, “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America,” revived interest in the decades-old case and unearthed new evidence from once redacted FBI files that cast doubt on Padgett’s version of events.

Then in 2015, after reading King’s book in a college history class, University of Florida student Josh Venkataraman was driving from Orlando back to campus when he passed the road sign for the city of Groveland.

The book had “touched him,” he told a Miami Herald columnist in 2015, but seeing the physical place made it real.

He reached out to Carole Greenlee, the late Charles Greenlee’s daughter, who was living in Nashville, and asked if he could help.

At first the woman was skeptical, but eventually gave Venkataraman her permission to start a petition.

“I’m in the mode of trying to get my father exonerated,” she told the Herald years ago, “and I need all the help I can get.”

Exonerate the Groveland Four” was born, and in the two years since has garnered nearly 9,000 signatures…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter

 

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