Fun Times with the First Amendment

Baggy, sagging pants might not be protected by the constitution, while Klans robes and Nazi uniforms are. That’s at least what white, at least middle-class, not-young Danny Cevallos thinks in a piece for CNN. 

I get the “sagging pants don’t have a clear message” argument (however, I hope people wearing their pants low in actual solidarity with prison inmates can continue wearing them low then) but my main question is: Why does (can) the State govern regular clothes at all? How can this be, ACLU? Besides the fact that kids in the neighborhood usually don’t have the legal funds racist groups or conservatives have.

Junot Diaz on Vampires’ Reflections and Representation.

Via lovingmyselfishard:

““You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.””

– Junot Diaz 


Telling [people of color] they’re obsessed with racism is like telling a drowning person they’re obsessed with swimming.

Hari Kondabolu 

[This version of Kondabolu’s line is paraphrased. This is the original line. Both are on point.]



Detroit cop who killed 7-year-old girl walks free after mistrial

Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley was spared a felony conviction on Tuesday over the killing of a 7-year-old girl after a jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared, according to Detroit Free Press.

Weekley shot and killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones on the night of May 16, 2010, as officers executed a search warrant on the duplex her family lived in. The officers entered Stanley-Jones’s home searching for a murder suspect who was later found in the adjacent unit, throwing a flashbang grenade into the room where the girl was sleeping with her grandmother, then shooting her in the head seconds later.

The series of events was partially caught on tape by a camera crew following the officers that night. A&E producer Allison Howard, one of two people who filmed the raid for the show “The First 48,” eventually released that footage of her own accord and now faces charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Footage shot from outside the house shows officers lobbing a flashbang grenade into the living room. Seconds later a gunshot rings out.

Lawyers for the prosecution cited the footage to claim that Weekley shot the girl from outside, before even walking in to the building. Weekley’s defense insisted it was just a tragic accident and that the girl’s grandmother had attempted to hit the officer’s gun.

Weekley was subsequently charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm resulting in death, carrying with them the potential for 15+ years in prison. However, both charges failed to stick on Tuesday afternoon, after three straight days of jury deliberations failed to produce a conviction.

signal boost #2 because let’s be for real, had this been the pic of a little white girl surrounded by disney princesses with the words “innocent shot by cop” this would have had thousands of notes in hours, a lifetime movie, book etc. instead, mostly the poc community weeps while everyone else fails to feel as much empathy towards this kind of verdict.

This is horrible, terrible, no good, very bad, fucked up. First couple of times I saw this I didn’t reblog, because it made me so fundamentally sad, but the story needs the signal boost…

Among young black men in America, about 10 percent are currently incarcerated. It’s shocking, but we’ve almost grown used to it.

But while those young men are in prison, what’s happening to their wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters?

Eviction. A new study coming out of Milwaukee shows that eviction is for black women what incarceration is for black men. One in 20 households there are evicted every year. In predominately black communities, that rate doubles to 1 in 10 families.

USA: Eviction is for black women what incarceration is to black men by Megan Cottrell

Another terrible problem many people probably aren’t aware of – and that has no easy solution.

I’m obviously not the only person who understands gun violence to be an issue about families and gender. I had to check Mitt Romney a few months ago about his comments about unwed mothers contributing to gun violence. I disagreed with him for a lot of reasons, the main one being that most of the perpetrators of gun violence are not single mothers, or mothers at all. Shooters are usually men. We make violence sexy to men. We package and sell violence, and guns, to men. And we do this on an even larger scale to young men; and on a disproportionately larger scale to men of color. Violence is a part of how we gender our society.

Not only does this packaging of violence give us the sexy, hyper-masculine men of our Western dreams, it also helps us disproportionately target, criminalize, police, and continue to dominate communities of color. This is where we see a difference between numbers and exceptions. When we think about the death of the 15-year-old girl who performed at the inauguration, we think of someone who didn’t belong on the receiving or giving end of a bullet. But who does? I think about that 15-year-old girl and then I think about Number 500, the Westside man who was shot and became the 500th person to be murdered in Chicago in 2012. Or I think about Tony Dunn, my loved one, who I’m sure has a number assigned to him as well. Poor, uneducated men of color are the face of “the shooter.” And when they are shot we are allowed to look away, add a tally mark, and continue to report on how people like them kill folks who get to have names and not numbers.