Action of the day: check out ways to be a white accomplice

If you’re interested in getting more involved in the fight for racial justice, check out the useful site White Accomplices.  As the site’s creator writes,

The actions of an Accomplice are meant to directly challenge institutionalized racism, colonization, and White supremacy by blocking or impeding racist people, policies, and structures.

Realizing that our freedoms and liberations are bound together, retreat or withdrawal in the face of oppressive structures is not an option.    

Accomplices’ actions are informed by, directed and often coordinated with leaders who are Black, Brown First Nations/Indigenous Peoples, and/or People of Color.

They offer a useful list of nine ways to act as an accomplice, going beyond protesting and donating to think about how to build anti-racism into your work, your childrearing, or your art.

Article of the day: online allies can help to curb harassment

In proof that there may yet be hope for comments sections everywhere, a new experiment has shown that there are effective ways of asking people to use less racist language online.  As The Atlantic reports,

In the summer of 2015, Greg, Rasheed, and a few of their peers started fighting back against racism on Twitter. They found people who used the n-word and gently admonished them, reminding them that they were harassing and hurting real people.

Which is ironic, since neither Greg nor Rasheed were real people themselves. They were bots.

They were the creations of Kevin Munger, a politics student at New York University. By programming a variety of Twitter bots to respond to racist abuse against black users, he showed that a simple one-tweet rebuke can actually reduce online racism. “I like to read this as optimistic,” he says. “It is possible to change people’s behavior and not just for a short amount of time.”

Action of the day: get involved with Showing Up for Racial Justice

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is an organization which provides ways for white Americans to get involved with the fight against racism.  As they put it,

Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.  We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.

At their website, you can get access to anti-racism resources and learn about opportunities to volunteer or organize in your local area.

Article of the day: mistrial declared in shooting death of Walter Scott

The Washington Post has the story:

A jury deadlocked Monday in the case of a former South Carolina police officer charged with murder after he was recorded on video last year firing a barrage of bullets at the back of Walter Scott, a fleeing driver, in one of the most high-profile shootings to rattle the nation in recent years.

“We as the jury regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all members, we are unable to come to a unanimous decision,” the jury wrote in a note that Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman read aloud in the courtroom.

The officer, Michael Slager, will be re-tried in state court, and also faces a range of federal charges related to violations of Scott’s civil rights.

Article of the day: five essential books on American politics by women

Following up on yesterday’s article, here are five excellent books on contemporary American politics by women.  If you purchase any of these through the Amazon Affiliate links below, all the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.

  • $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.  Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Schaefer made a surprising discovery as they wrote this book: more than 1.5 million Americans of all races, ages and genders live with nearly no cash income.  The book covers their diverse survival strategies, and the pervasive shortcomings of the welfare system.
  • The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America.  Naomi Murakawa’s work provides a useful complement to The New Jim Crow.  She traces the roots of the contemporary penal system to WWII-era attempts to protect the rights of minorities by expanding the government’s policing capacities — powers which would later be used as tools of control over the same groups.
  • Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law.  Martha Nussbaum writes eloquently about the philosophical roots of attempts to regulate sexual behavior through the law.  A useful analysis of “moral” arguments against queer rights.