On the ballot were a measure to reduce the size of the island legislative branch in a way that would consolidate power among the current ruling party and make it impossibly hard for third parties to obtain seats in it, and another to severely restrict the right to bail. And while the results were scarily close, and the side supporting both measures had much better funding, both measures were soundly defeated. And how does that make me feel? Here’s a hint:
(Content Note: racism, eliminationist violence, white supremacy, terrorism)
Because terrorist attacks such as yesterday’s Oak Creek shooting are things which leave more thoughts than my limited powers expression know what to do with, I instead leave you with the thoughts of smarter, better people than me.
Mitt Romney [emphasized by me for uniformity] calls the shooting a “senseless act of violence,” which, as I’ve previously noted, elides the fact that, in a frame of racist eliminationism, a crime like this absolutely “makes sense.”
Unequivocally, the sensibilities by which such a crime not only “makes sense” but is considered eminently reasonable, or even heroic, is racist, violent, eliminationist, and vile. But we can’t pretend that particular brand of sense-making doesn’t exist.
Somehow, it seems, [the alleged (*1) shooter, Wade Michael Page ] had become convinced that these people, these peaceful families, were his enemies. He had no basis for deciding this because it was, in fact, not true. These people were not his enemies. Nor were they the enemies of anyone else. And yet, somehow, this man got it in his head that they were — he somehow came to believe that they were an enemy, a threat, a menace to be countered with sudden, lethal violence.
And we all know that “somehow” is not a mystery.
That somehow is a multi-billion dollar industry. The leading figures of that industry are respected, powerful, wealthy people who have grown rich and famous through an infotainment empire that pours gasoline with one hand while shooting sparks with the other — all while denying responsibility or culpability or any association at all with the fires that “somehow” keep erupting.
The crimes of white supremacists are not exceptions and do not and cannot exist in isolation from more systemic forms of racism. People of colour face legislated racism from immigration laws to policies governing Indigenous reserves; are discriminated and excluded from equitable access to healthcare, housing, childcare, and education; are disproportionately victims of police killings and child apprehensions; fill the floors of sweatshops and factories; are over-represented in heads counts on poverty rates, incarceration rates, unemployment rates, and high school dropout rates. Colonialism has and continues to be shaped by the counters of white men’s civilizing missions. The occupation of Turtle Island is based on the white supremacist crime of colonization, where Indigenous lands were believed to be barren and Indigenous people believed to be inferior. The occupation of Afghanistan has been justified on the racist idea of liberating Muslim women from Muslim men. Racialized violence has also always targeted places of worship–the spiritual heart of a community. In Iraq, for example, the US Army accelerated bombings of mosques from 2003-2007 with targeted attacks on the Abdul-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque, Abu Hanifa shrine, Khulafah Al Rashid mosque and many others. And so I repeat: the patterns of hate crimes have a sense, have a logic, have a structure – they are part of a broader system of white supremacy.
(If any of the writers would like for me to remove these passage, or feel I have violated their copyrights, let me know.)
This was not an unavoidable tragedy, nor was it one for which no lessons can be drawn (although the lessons, in this case, are ones many people, including some who pretend otherwise, already knew). Claiming that there is no context for this, that it exists in a vacuum and that therefore nothing can be done in order to prevent it from happening again is dishonest and irresponsible in the extreme. My heart and thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and/or the sense of security to which they have every right to, and my contempt is with those in power who are either dishonest or silent about the reasons for this catastrophe.
(*1) : Journalism/Legal question: Okay, I know the proper protocol is to describe suspects as “alleged [type of criminal]”, even when guilt is beyond reasonable doubt; does that still apply when those suspects are dead?
(Hat tip to Shakesville)
[Trigger warning for sexual violence; rape apologia; victim-blaming.]
This is a copy of the letter I’ve sent the New York Times over this article, in which the writer would have you believe that the account of the defendant in a rape case is more important than that of the victim, despite evidence that it also false. I urge my [X amount of readers] to let the Times know how much they suck at this and why it’s wrong and actively harmful by contacting the Public Editor.
Dear Mr. Brisbane and the Editorial Staff of the New York Times:
I understand that “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the cornerstones of our legal system. However, adhering to that maxim does not mean that one should try to skew sympathies to favor the defendant, which is what reporter John Eligon has done in the article “In Rape Trial, Officer Calls Woman the Aggressor and Says They Only Snuggled”. The article is problematic in many significant ways, which, when combined with the Times‘ equally wrongheaded reporting in the recent Texas gang rape case, leads me to believe that the newspaper cannot be trusted to cover rape or sexual assault in a responsible manner.
First, the headline, which as one learns in Journalism school, will often be the only part of an article a reader will read, and therefore needs to summarize the news article accurately. Does “In Rape Trial, Officer Calls Woman the Aggressor and Says They Only Snuggled” do that? As it turns out, no: we learn later that in a secretly recorded statement “in which [Officer Moreno] made several statements implying that he had had sex with her.” However, that bit of information, despite putting in question everything the officer claims and being the most important piece of information in the whole piece (and therefore, something that should be placed in the lede) is to be found in the article’s nineteenth paragraph–long after many readers will have stopped reading the article. What does a person who only read the first few paragraphs end up thinking? That a responsible officer, despite doing his best to help, only gets a rape accusation for his troubles. Moreover, the article is written to allow the reader to follow the defendant’s point of view, letting us know (irrelevant) details about the officer’s life and casting him in a sympathetic light, while the victim is not described in any terms that are not those of the defendant. This is not an unbiased account of the facts.
Part of the reason why rape as a whole remains under-reported is because it can open the victims to accusations that they are liars, despite the lack of factual support for such a narrative. In writing this article, John Eligon and the New York Times have continued to reinforce that narrative, therefore helping assure that rape victims will not get the support they need, and that rapists continue to rape, safe in the assurance that their side of the story will be the one that will be heard.
Luego de informarme sobre la noticia más ubicua del día, tuve un sentimiento extraño de…deja vu.
¿Con que la gente permanecerá estupefacta mientras prescencian actos violentos? ¿Con que Youtube y otros programas permiten la diseminación masiva de eventos con una velocidad que hace dos años no tendría precedente? Puerto Rico, bienvenidos a septiembre 2007.