The #Occupy Movement’s Race Politics

Kenyon Farrow makes some very cogent points on why the #occupy movement, while very visible nowadays, is not doing so well with the non-white demographics. As always with a lot of these movements, part of the issue is always a message delivery problem.

The economic crisis has disproportionately affected people of color, in particular African Americans. Given the stark economic realities in communities of color, many people have wondered why the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t become a major site for mobilizing African Americans. For me, it’s not about the diversity of the protests. It’s about the rhetoric used by the white left that makes OWS unable to articulate, much less achieve, a transformative racial-justice agenda.

A big issue with the coverage of police brutality a lot of non-white people have had is this idea that police brutality is so exceptional that when it goes down it should have been news yesterday. And you know what? That should be true. Police brutality should be that damn rare. However, try being POC in this country dealing with law enforcement.

Pundits have observed that many black people may be staying away from the Wall Street protests to avoid (additional) direct contact with police. Last year, New York City carried out 600,000 random stop-and-frisks, half of which were conducted on black citizens, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union; it makes sense that blacks, who are often in daily contact with police, would stay away from an event where interaction with law-enforcement officers would be inevitable. In fact, on October 22, scores of OWS protesters joined a Harlem demonstration against the practice of stop-and-frisk, during which several people were arrested.

But when the New York Police Department began to act violently against the mostly white protesters on Wall Street, many of the videos posted by OWS attendees on YouTube made the point that protesters were arrested, beaten, or pepper-sprayed “just for asking the police a question” or for “just exercising their right to protest.”

In contrast, many nonwhites assume the worst in any interaction with police, and if the worst doesn’t occur, we often consider that the exception, not the rule. [Emphasis mine]

Then there’s the fact that the middle class didn’t feel attacked till it was the white middle class getting attacked and then shiiiiieet. Suddenly, this mess doesn’t fly. Suddenly, we need to take this country back from corporations and corrupt congressmen. Unfortunately, for a lot of POC, we’ve never had anything that we’re supposed to take back.

Another fundamental flaw of white progressives (like many participating in the OWS movement) is the “take back our country and/or democracy” framework. In order to be invested in that idea, you have to see and believe that you had some stake in it to begin with. If you’ve been stopped and frisked 50 different times with as many fines to pay, or you’re HIV-positive and your welfare benefits were cut off because you were too ill to keep an appointment with a case manager, it’s hard to believe that the government is just broken—it seems pretty insistent and hell-bent on your demise.

Kenyon ends with:

Comparing debt to slavery, believing police won’t hurt you, or wanting to take back the America you see as rightfully yours are things that suggest OWS is actually appealing to an imagined white (re)public. Rather than trying to figure out how to diversify the Occupy Wall Street movement, white progressives need to think long and hard about their use of frameworks and rhetoric that situate blacks at the margins of the movement.

The piece doesn’t address everything, but it makes enough of a noticeable dent that’s worth repeating till something sticks.


Why I Am A Sex-Positive Feminist, Now In Bullet Point Form

In random bullet points because it’s late and I’m sleepy but I had to write:

  • I hate the word prude. I hate it like fire.
  • I hate the word slut. I hate it like fire.
  • I am kinky. This is not a bad thing. I like knowing that.
  • Being sex-positive involves acknowledging that the way this society, and more than that feminism, deals with sex and sexuality just doesn’t work.
  • Sexuality =/= Sex
  • There is no one way to be sexy.
  • There is no one way to have (or not have) sex.
  • Consent. Fuck yeah!

And more reasons in this gorgeous post here at The Pervocracy.

Also sex-positive feminism has a long way to go, especially with race politics.

Okay, back to bed.

Nigerian Senate Moves To Ban Gay Marriage

The Nigerian senate is moving to ban gay marriage as well as discourage any allies of the Nigerian LGBTQIA community. According to Nigeria’s Daily Times, all the senators participating in the ‘debate’ took the same stand. That gay marriage is wrong, both morally and spiritually.

“We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” said Obende [the bill’s sponsor]. “Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society.”

To make it worse:

Penal Codes in Nigeria already prohibit same sex marriages or carnal knowledge against natural order in Nigeria. Homosexuality can land men up to 14 years in prison in the South and capital punishment for men in areas under Sharia Islamic Law.

The bill prescribes three years imprisonment for couples convicted of same sex marriage and five years for any person that witnesses, abets and aides the solemnisation of same sex marriages.

Another unfortunate blow against collective LGBTQIA rights in Africa.

Enough Already!

I have absolutely had it with all those claiming that all of us enraged over Troy Davis didn’t give a shit about Lawrence Brewer (who also apparently ended Texas’ last meal policy).

Lawrence Brewer- convicted of murder after lynching James Byrd, declared before his execution, “As far as any regrets, no, I have no regrets…No, I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth”- was murdered yesterday. Troy Davis- whose case had holes the size of Georgia, including seven witness recanting- was murdered yesterday.

The bottom line remains, capital punishment is legalized murder. It comes from a long line of barbarity that included boiling to death and crucifixion and that we’ve moved on to more “humane” methods, like killing people with pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals. But no worries, right? Since they’ve been sedated beforehand, anyway?


Both of these men were murdered. However, note this.

80% of capital punishment cases involve white victims even though approximately 50% of murder cases involve white victims.

72% of cases approved for the death penalty by prosecution involved people of color.

As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims.

ACLU – Race and the Death Penalty

Are you still unaware of the reason why Troy Davis’ case was more than another cry against capital punishment?

Do you get it yet?

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