Saturday Morning Open Thread: On Valid Atonement

The Reverend Dr. Barber is a wise man, and an expert on this topic, so I figured it was worth front-paging his latest from the Washington Post, “How Ralph Northam and others can repent of America’s original sin”:

If Northam, or any politician who has worn blackface, used the n-word or voted for the agenda of white supremacy, wants to repent, the first question they must ask is “How are the people who have been harmed by my actions asking to change the policies and practices of our society?” In political life, this means committing to expand voting rights, stand with immigrant neighbors, and provide health care and living wages for all people. In Virginia, it means stopping the environmental racism of the pipeline and natural gas compressor station Dominion Energy intends to build in Union Hill, a neighborhood founded by emancipated slaves and other free African Americans.

Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism. We have to talk about policy. But we also have to talk about trust and power. If white people in political leadership are truly repentant, they will listen to black and other marginalized people in our society. They will confess that they have sinned and demonstrate their willingness to listen and learn by following and supporting the leadership of others. To confess past mistakes while continuing to insist that you are still best suited to lead because of your experience is itself a subtle form of white supremacy.

At the same time, we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy. If anyone wants to call for the governor’s resignation, they should also call for the resignation of anyone who has supported racist voter suppression or policies that have a disparate impact on communities of color…

In our present moral crisis, we must remember that real repentance is possible — and it looks like working together to build the multiethnic democracy we’ve never yet been.

Read the whole thing, please.

Initiatives like this seem like a worthy start — “Democratic group to spend $30M on voting rights effort”:

With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, one of the largest outside Democratic groups announced on Thursday a $30 million effort to register voters, push ballot measures that expand voter rights and fight Republican-backed laws in court that restrict ballot access.

“At every stage of the game, Republican and conservative state legislatures around the country, when they are given the opportunity, make it more difficult for people to vote,” Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, told The Associated Press. “Essentially what you have are the descendants of Jim Crow who are trying to make it difficult for people to reach the ballot box.”…








Excellent Read: “Get Off Kamala Harris’s Back”

There’s been some much-deserved pushback to Ryan Cooper’s “only white men like me can be allowed to serve as True Progressives” manifesto — I particularly liked Wonkette‘s “Sure Guys, It Is Awesome That We Are Shitting On Kamala Harris” — but Brittney Cooper’s essay for Cosmopolitan definitely deserves wider distribution among us political types:

The future of the Democratic Party does not rest on the back of Kamala Harris, the junior senator from California. Furthermore, it is unfair for the Democratic Party to keep hanging its hope on black messianic figures, whom it hopes can bring new relevance to a struggling party. To be clear, there is a lot to like about Harris, the first black woman to hold a Senate position since Carol Moseley-Braun in the 1990s. Despite Ryan Cooper’s screed last week about “why leftists don’t trust Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Deval Patrick,” Harris’s policy positions on free college, single payer health care, an increased minimum wage, and criminal justice reform, are solidly to the left. Still. Black women are not Jesus. It’s not right to expect us to fix what white Americans are so committed to breaking. This debate, then, isn’t about Harris, but about the emotional and political labor that black women are expected to do to save America’s soul…

The biggest lie that members of the so-called “Sanders Left” told during the 2016 elections is that there was no appreciable difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. After six months of having Donald J. Trump lead the country, it’s quite clear that the left should have listened to 94 percent of black women voters. We know a disaster when we see one.

Now, to add insult to injury, those on the left are conceding the political narrative of the right. What do I mean? Did Hillary Clinton lose the election with 3 million more popular votes, or did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians while the GOP engaged in massive voter suppression to steal the election? Yes, I get the electoral college system. However, 3 million more popular votes is a win, and not only is there mounting evidence of collusion, but voter suppression was a significant problem, too. As a black “xennial” voter, I was horrified watching the GOP roll back the protection of the Voting Rights Act in locales across the country. So while it is true that if less than 53 percent of white women had voted for Donald Trump, Clinton’s popular victory might have been more resounding, there is something deeply wrong with a Left that thinks the first problem in a stolen democratic election is not theft and voter suppression but a failure to run up the vote totals on the clearly winning side…

In 2016, we were offered two kinds of revolution, one in which the “Sanders Left” tore shit down and one in which the Trump Right tore shit up. Surely you can see why black women, the ones who have been called to take the scraps handed to us by the nation and painstakingly build communities, families, and institutions, would turn down the sledgehammer no matter which white hand was holding it. Revolutionary destruction is still destruction, and black folks are the casualties of these kinds of political visions. Kamala Harris has work to do. But bearing the cross of the Democratic Party and fighting off angry white Sanders voters isn’t her work. So get off her back, and let her soar. In case you missed the memo: Black women are reclaiming our time.








Philando Castile’s Killer Walks

To the surprise of exactly no one paying attention in 21st century America, another extrajudicial killing by a cop ends with the killer walking free:

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop was acquitted on all charges by a jury Friday, a decision that came nearly a year after the encounter was partially streamed online before a rapt nation in the midst of a painful reckoning over shootings by law enforcement.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile’s car over in Falcon Heights, a suburb near Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the officer later said he thought Castile matched the description of a suspect in a robbery. The stop quickly escalated.

Yanez fired into the car, saying later he thought Castile was going for his gun, a claim Castile’s girlfriend, sitting in the seat next to him, disputed. She began filming the aftermath of the shooting with her phone.

I’m going to outsource anything I might say entirely to NPR Code Switch/Post Bourgie’s Gene Denby:

 

Again: I’d bet good money there is no one conscious in America today didn’t expect this outcome at all un.  Which is the most enraging fact of all within this wretched story.

Over to you.  I’ve nothing left but blank depression and incoherent rage.

Update:

Via AP:

A Minnesota city says it will dismiss a police officer even though he was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of a black motorist.

The city of St. Anthony says it concluded the public “will be best served” if Officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON’-ih-moh) Yanez no longer works for the city. The statement says the city plans to offer Yanez a “voluntary separation” so he can find another job.

The city says Yanez will not return to active duty.








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Never Stop Fighting Back

A few more photos of the Women’s March in DC, courtesy of commentor ET.

And an excellent reminder from Buzzfeed‘s Bim Adewunmi, “The Road Women Marched On This Weekend Was Paved By Black Resistance“:

In the Culture galleries at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, there is a whole section on style. Written on a museum sign is a quote attributed to Tony Award-winning playwright George C. Wolfe, which reads: “God created black people and black people created style.” On the eve of the Trump inauguration, black people came out in style, and gathered at the NMAAHC, nicknamed the Blacksonian, to attend the inaugural Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance, a “gathering to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the past four years and the vow to continue to be the change we want to see in the world”…

… It felt fortifying, like an enriching blood tonic. “This is not a game. This is not reality TV,” actor Danny Glover said to the crowd. Writer and activist Naomi Klein laughingly called the night “the eve of the apocalypse” before adding, more seriously, “Tomorrow is not a peaceful transition of power – it’s a corporate coup d’état.” Children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman led a fiery prayer (“God, forgive and transform our rich nation and us…”) and urged the assembled guests to “go out there and cause a movement”. Playwright Eve Ensler led the crowd in a series of pledges, to “resist, disrupt, love deeper, to rise”.

“We will not compromise, we will not negotiate. We will not go backwards,” Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter declared. “Are you with me?”…

I had come [to the Women’s March] to talk specifically to black girls and women about why they were at the march. Statistically speaking, black women already got in formation at the election (and beyond), and if more white women had followed in their footsteps, perhaps this particular march might not had occurred?

I saw so many black women at the Women’s March, and each one I spoke to gave me a variant of the same answer: They were here because they had to be. To have sat it out would’ve been to cede to a feminist movement that was all too willing to discard them, when they had been the silent workhorses of the collective for so long. It was evident in the number of placards and signs I saw, happily quoting from the rich and grand tradition of black feminist theory and thought: Angela Davis, a speaker at the march, popped up often via her words, as did Maya Angelou. The most quoted was Audre Lorde, whose abundant written legacy is a treasure trove of march-friendly quotables. It was about representation, a group of African women told me. They were here, representatives of African women a continent away from this march, each with their own feminist histories, currently living their own feminist realities. This is for us too, all the black women I spoke to were saying. Putting ourselves back into the narrative, where we have always been. So I approached multigenerational groups of black women and asked to take their photo, and I looked out for groups of multiracial teenage girls, eyes wide and almost overwhelmed by the crowd. We are physical manifestations of our parents’ dreams, and I saw so many parents with a proud gleam in their eyes on Saturday afternoon…
Read more








Amen!

If you missed the sermon by the Reverend William Barber, please watch this theologically conservative, liberal, evangelical, biblicist speak about right and wrong, and the heart of our democracy. You owe it to yourself.

Via PBS

ETA: I found the full speech by Mr Khizr Khan, in which he is accompanied by his lovely wife. Also this.

Special mention of the gentleman delegate with the fab red turban.