Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Andrew Breitbart, far-right media blowhard and Karl Rove/Lee Atwater fetishist, most famous for the scandal he fabricated about community organizing group ACORN, may have finally been caught in the act.

A few days ago, he released a clip of USDA official Shirley Sherrod seemingly regaling the crowd at a local NAACP event with the tale of her denying a white farmer the help he so sorely needed. The media was up in arms, brimming with appropriate outrage. So were the USDA and NAACP — the latter immediately condemned her actions and the former forced her to resign immediately (apparently insisting she tender her resignation from wherever she was, via Blackberry).

As it turns out, Breitbart only showed a fraction of her 40-minute speech. Not only did that apparent abuse of power happen in the late ’80s, and not during her USDA tenure, but there was no abuse of power. The selected portion of her speech was part of a larger one in which she explains how she went from considering whites less disenfranchised (and thus, less deserving of her help) than blacks, to deciding that poor whites were getting shafted just as much as blacks were. She then goes on to detail her efforts to save this white farmer from the lawyer who was supposed to be helping him save his farm (also white, seeing as we’re playing Racial Bingo here), and spends the rest of the video preaching racial unity and co-operation with a touching sincerity. (more…)

The Grant case isn’t over yet. Some comfort (small and cold, though it may be) may be on the way. The Justice Department may be ready to intervene. Highly unlikely, considering the justice department’s record of making grand declarations, and then doing nothing once the news cycle ends. Still, I feel like if Eric Holder had his way, things would actually happen. On a multitude of fronts.

 The article also shares some other news — some good, some bad. The good?

Federal officials planned to begin their civil rights investigation after the conclusion of the state case against Mehserle, who faces sentencing Aug. 6.

Involuntary manslaughter convictions call for two to four years in prison. But since the jury also found Mehserle used a gun during the crime, the judge could tack on an additional three to 10 years — an option Oakland officials hope would quell additional unrest in the city.

The bad? Probation is still a possibility, though a distant one.

To appeal to the judge to consider the gun enhancement at the August 6 sentencing, write to:

Judge Robert J. Perry
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center
210 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

You can also call (213) 974-5394. Regardless of the misleading voicemail, this is for Perry’s court.

Grant Mural

Noah Berger/AP

Last week, Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oakland native Oscar Grant in the early hours of Jan 1, 2009. He was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and second-degree murder charges. Involuntary manslaughter convictions carry a sentence of two to four years.

I’m surprised he was found guilty of anything. And that makes me angry. Or rather, I should be angry, but I’m so used to these injustices that I can’t muster up the rage. So I’ll just say a few things:

(more…)

TrueBlood3

Charitable Spoiler Alert: Turn away if you haven’t reached the mid-point of Season 2, and want to remain somewhat surprised.

So, HBO’s True Blood is back, and I find myself truly shocked at how satisfying Sunday night’s season premiere was. I used to watch this show in fits of laughter, yelling “this is the worst thing on TV!!” at the screen. Then somewhere early in the second season, it crossed over from “so bad, it’s good” to “pretty good” territory.

I didn’t expect to comment on this premiere, but I found myself reading an open thread at Racialicious, in which Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) state of mind after losing her boyfriend had commenters all in a tizzy. (more…)

J-Money Wondamix

I know, I know. Another Janelle Monáe post.

But my blog-homeslice and Racialicious cohort Latoya Peterson wrote a great piece for The Root, commenting on Jenny Money’s** place in an industry dealing with the legacy of “race music”.

**Dayo, my musical mirror image renamed her this. Not only does it crack me up, it’s far easier typing for repeated references to an artist with an accent in her name. (more…)

So, police in Illinois arrested a man on suspicion of grand theft auto and attempted to send him “back to Mexico.” The only problem? Dude’s American. They refused to believe him, even after he provided a birth certificate showing he was born in the US colony of Puerto Rico. Hey, if it’s good enough for the president…

Seriously, Arizona. Bad idea.

READ MORE AT GAWKER 

Poster Boy: NYPD

Art by Poster Boy

When my friend Lina tipped me off to the case of a shooting incident involving a Philadelphia cop, she did so in an email simply titled “asshole.” For a second, I was like “well, fuck you, Lina.” But I read on, all the same.

It turns out Sergeant Robert Ralston, a white guy, shot himself and blamed it on a black assailant. An age-old tale, not worth getting the pulse up over, no? But let’s go over the details again. This isn’t like the recent case of Conrad “The Player” Zdzierak, or even the eons-old practice of white ladies crying rape at the hands of black men. In those cases, there was at least a utilitarian point to the racial Red Herring. Zdzierak would be absolutely ineligible as a suspect the instant he ditched the mask, and the white ladies had to explain their unladylike sexuality somehow — victimhood was more acceptable than sexual agency in women of that era.

Susan Smith wanted her kids out of the way so she could land a rich husband. Even Ashley Todd could argue she really just wanted her guy to win. And Lindsay? Well, she’s just fucking Lindsay. (more…)