Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread

#ICantBreathe

20 comments… add one
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 5:09 am

    That’s a great clip. He’s always so spot on. How more people aren’t enraged by this injustice is beyond me.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy December 6, 2014, 6:55 am

      It’s been on my mind a lot this week. I’m just so disgusted and sick about it, and so sad with the state of things in our country. Sometimes it seems like we’re making progress and then you have weeks like we’ve and recently where the news is damn depressing and it makes you wonder if our potential will EVER be closed to met.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 9:31 am

        I’m sick about it. Really really disgusted by it and by all the racist comments I’m seeing by so many of my FB “friends.” It’s a big joke to so many and I just don’t get it. It’s infuriating.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 9:35 am

        Anyway, all this to say: I definitely agree

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite December 6, 2014, 8:38 am

      You should see Eric Garner’s widow’s clip when they ask if she’s accepted the apology. I should dig for it.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 9:34 am

        Oh I can’t watch it. It’s all so sad.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy December 6, 2014, 9:49 am

        I watched it. It just made me sadder thinking about how this family — a widow and her six kids and a number of grandkids and extended family — are without their husband/dad/grandpa/etc. for what? For what? Because some out-of-control punk jackass cop couldn’t handle the idea of a black man questioning his authority? And for those who don’t know, the cop suspected Garner of selling loose cigarettes. That’s it. Garner said he didn’t do it and that he was minding his own business and the next thing you know, this cop choked him to death. AND ISN’T BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE. It’s disgusting, appalling, and horrifying. And, yes, the racist comments I’ve seen — not on my FB page, thankfully, as I long ago weeded out the racists (at least any vocal ones) from my friends list — have made me even sadder.

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  • avatar

    Sara December 6, 2014, 10:37 am

    I participated in my first demonstration ever – #shutitdown – (no arrests) because I am so heartsick about all of this. Wish I could do more.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra December 6, 2014, 11:41 am

    I get protesting, but here in Minnesota protesters shut down a major highway a couple days ago. From what I hear it was a standstill for 2+ hours. The thing is, what if there was an ambulance with someone who desperately needed to get to a hospital and was stuck in that? I don’t know what shutting down a major highway really accomplishes.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy December 6, 2014, 12:07 pm

      Shutting down major highways is kind of the point. Inconveniencing people enough that they start paying attention is the point. Major civil rights battles have not been won until people were inconvenienced to some some extent.

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      • Miel

        Miel December 6, 2014, 12:26 pm

        I think that both of you have a point. Back home, I’ve seen issues where a lot of people started to protest. Then the protests became so intense it was out of hand. Then a lot of people who agreed with the cause, disapproved of the protests, and a lot of people who had nothing to do with the cause would join the protest and turn them into riots. Then the government passed an anti-protest law which caused a lot of people to start protesting, not for the original cause but against the anti-protest law.
        .
        In the end, the cause had to be heard and discuss, but the too many, too intense protests turned a lot of moderate people into radical people, for or against, and that didn’t help toward finding a solution.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra December 6, 2014, 9:14 pm

        Exactly. I definitely agree, especially that they can get so out of hand that it doesn’t really help. That’s what I meant when saying “I don’t see the point”. Of course I understand the concept, but how does it help solve the issue at hand?

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    • mylaray

      mylaray December 6, 2014, 12:24 pm

      I totally understand that. A few weeks ago there were protests on the highway in Atlanta and the traffic is already horrible here, and at the time, I was admittedly annoyed, just wanting to get home. Some people were really angry that they had to pay a lot of extra money for being late to pick up their kids at after school programs. But of course it was selfish of me.
      .
      Here’s a long quote from an article that I think captures why I think protests like that are good:
      .
      “Nice is the enemy of justice because to raise one’s voice against oppression is to be instantly pegged as not nice, as disruptive, as unruly, as dangerous. To block traffic, or interfere with the all-important Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center is not nice. To interrupt the symphony orchestra in St. Louis, or the drunken revelry of nice white baseball fans at a Cardinals game is not nice. To signify sympathy for a murdered young man in Ferguson, with even a gesture as simple as raising one’s hands as you come out of the tunnel before the football game is not nice. It is, to some—who would rather just watch black men entertain them with a few nice interceptions—worthy of punishment, or professional discipline. How dare they, say the nice white people who paid good money to see black men play gladiator for the glory of the hometown team.
      .
      Nice people change nothing. They never have and they never will. Those who are nice are so invested in their niceness, in their sense of propriety and civility that they rarely raise their voices above a whisper, even in the face of sweltering oppression. Nice white people were the ones who didn’t own black folks during the period of enslavement but also didn’t raise their voices against the ones who did. Nice white people are the ones who didn’t spit on sit-in demonstrators but also had no problem spending money with businesses that had remained segregated all those years.
      .
      To be nice is to have an emotional stake in the prevention of one’s own pain. Nice people don’t like to look at the ugly. It’s upsetting, and most of all because it puts us on the hook and calls forth our humanity to actually put an end to that pain. Precisely because most people are good and decent and nice, they turn away from any evidence that the world, and their society is less decent than the sum total of its citizenry. It’s too much to take in. This is the irony of niceness: unlike persons with antisocial personalities or severe sociopathy who quite enjoy pain and suffering and often seek to cause it, those who are nice are so wrapped up in rainbows and lollipops as to make gazing upon the truth a bridge too far.
      .
      Nice people do not protest, angry people do; and right now, I’d trade every nice white person about whom Chris Rock was speaking for 100,000 angry ones. But not those who are angry at black folks or brown immigrants or taxes—we have more than enough of them. I mean 100,000 who are angry enough at a system of racial injustice to throw ourselves upon the gears of the machine, as Mario Savio once insisted. A hundred thousand angry enough to join with our brothers and sisters of color and say enough. A hundred thousand who are tired of silence, tired of collaboration, tired of nice, and ready for justice.”
      .
      http://www.alternet.org/nice-white-people-who-stick-their-heads-sand-and-perpetuate-murderous-injustice?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy December 6, 2014, 12:57 pm

        Yes, yes, yes!!!!!!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 1:20 pm

        one more: yes!!

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      • Lyra

        Lyra December 6, 2014, 8:49 pm

        Hmmm. I really do find that quote interesting.
        .
        As a self-proclaimed “nice” person, I *do* think I make a difference…through how I treat other people. Especially as a teacher, I demonstrate for my students the behavior that I expect such as how to show respect towards other people, how to appreciate other cultures and how to be sensitive to differences in other people, how to be kind, how to have a positive attitude, how to help others, and many many more things. Sure it may not bring justice to this particular situation, but it helps shape and change the future, one kid at a time.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray December 6, 2014, 1:18 pm

      What I don’t get is how, even though we have all this information about the police targeting black men and killing unarmed black men (on video, no less) without being held accountable, the one thing that seems to be upsetting many white people is how the protests are inconvenient or pointless (I say this because that is what motivates them to comment – they don’t comment about the deaths). It speaks volumes about their priorities and lack of empathy.

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      • something random

        something random December 6, 2014, 3:42 pm

        I think we have all become a little desensitized to violence and injustice. The United States in particular has so much domestic abuse, homicides, and violence I think its easy for issues to get blurred together. There is the Eric Garner Case, The Michael Brown Case, The John Crawford case. People are protesting for one miscarriage of justice. Or people are protesting for several miscarriages of justice that are symbolized by one or two or three cases.

        I think from such a remote perspective its easy to assume one can’t or doesn’t have the ability to understand or influence change. Because what are we trying to change? Is this about police brutality? Or racial profiling? Is this about a lack of oversight? Are grand juries enough to see to oversight? My understanding is that grand juries are heavily influenced by what prosecutors ask for in an indictment. If these are the same prosecutors that work with the same police force how do we ensure accountability? And with all the details differing from state to state its no wonder so many people feel apathetic, uninformed, and disempowered.

        These are complicated issues but they can’t be shut down because conversations are big and hard and hurt.

        I am personally in a very conservative suburb in a conservative city in a conservative state. There is a large amount of military families. The area is filled with people who believe in respecting authority instead of challenging it and abhor “liberal talk” and gun control and more state regulations and oversight. They are more afraid of police being unable to protect them because of regulations than the police making mistakes no matter how unlawful, prejudicial, or tragic those mistakes are. Because on a simple detached level it seems the lesser of two evils.

        But these issues are not simple. They involve thinking and caring enough to get involved. Even if involvement feels intimidating. Even if it alienates or discomforts people. I’m personally am ashamed of how scared I am to speak up. I’m ashamed that I have been removed from these stories and haven’t formed much of an opinion except “this is so bad”. I’m ashamed I’ve let fear of looking stupid or ignorant stop me from participating in conversations. This event has motivated me to come out of my liberal closet more. I’m absolutely terrified of Facebook. I have been scared and mistrustful of large groups of people most of my life. I love my internet anonymity. But its time to start taking risks and stepping out more. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra December 6, 2014, 8:01 pm

        I understand the concept of the protesting. I get that it is the best way to get the word out. I’m upset by the events just as much as the next person. I’m thinking of life and death type situations like I mentioned above where the ambulance isn’t able to get through. The state patrol closed exit ramps so there wasn’t a way to get out of it. Life and death situations like that aren’t just simply “inconveniencing” someone else, it’s preventing EMTs from doing their — incredibly important — jobs.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom December 8, 2014, 2:03 pm

    I wonder if the reason we are seeing so much of this happening across the country is because all over the country we’ve seen states do deep tax cuts and so everything that is publically funded takes a hit. When it is a school courses and teachers are cut. In our local schools all of the business classes were cut from the high school. There are no computer courses. The elementary schools cut back on music, gym and art. Pay was frozen for years with the teachers getting a total of .5% pay increase in five years. Public libraries are able to purchase fewer materials and limp along with old, outdated, heating systems and pay is frozen. If a police force has a lower budget what do they cut? The number of officers, training and continued training. Maybe background checks to weed out undesirable officers. They also have to freeze pay so they end up attracting people who are willing to work for low wages and then can’t train them properly. We ultimately get what we pay for and poorer communities can’t afford to pay for quality officers.

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