I’m overwhelmed with discourse. The amount of content that floods my consciousness every day is seemingly infinite, despite my very finite time and cognitive capacity. However, in all of these conversations, there are inevitably things that we are NOT talking about.
Discourse is writing about a subject in a particular style, and asking the same questions and getting the same answers. Discourse often supports stereotypes by causing people to look for answers in certain questions. For example, if we ask “Is being LGBT a choice or not?” Then we avoid having to address how institutionalized structures prevent LGBT people from equality. In response to mass shooters, we say “they were deranged,” which allows us to put the blame on their unique upbringing and avoid how we are all consuming the same divisive rhetoric.
Some of the things we are NOT talking about today are…
1. BOTH the Dallas and the Baton Rouge shooters were veterans.
I haven’t seen any articles on this trend, rather, the shootings are used as an opportunity to deride #blacklivesmatter protesters. The experience of Black troops, who fight for our country abroad just to come home and find themselves as second class citizens fighting the system they were sworn to protect, is essential to supporting our troops and mental health.
This is a conversation that many people have been having for a very long time, pretty much during every American war since Emancipation and Reconstruction. Here are some links…
- Buffalo Soldiers faced racism at home, fascism abroad during World War II (video): World at War (via Cleveland.com)
- James Meredith ‘Still At War’ 50 Years After Ending Segregation On Mississippi Campus (via BBC First Person)
- “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?” Muhammad Ali Risked It All When He Opposed The Vietnam War
(via Huffington Post)
2. The tone deafness of those describing stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination against police.
Every time I hear about why police need to be protected, I hear language like, “Police are being targeted for their uniform;” “When my spouse/parent/sibling/child goes to work, I don’t know if s/he will come home.” “People treat me differently when they see that I’m a cop.”
Each of these statements is REGULARLY said among the Black community and has been said since the inception of the Atlantic Slave Trade. If we swap COP for POC, we might learn something: “People of color are being targeted for their skin color;” “When my spouse/parent/sibling/child leaves the house, I don’t know if s/he will come home;” “People treat me differently when they see that I’m not White.”
Dealing with stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination is part of living in a society. But it’s different when it is people working on behalf of the government that is sworn to protect you are stereotyping, discriminating, and killing you because of the amount of melanin in your skin. Being Black in America is dangerous. Statistically more dangerous than being a cop.
But that is not the point. The point is that, despite cribbing the language of the oppressed (e.g., “bluelivesmatter”), these supporters are unable or unwilling to acknowledge that the fear and panic that cops are feeling right now is the same fear and panic that Black people have felt for the past 400+ years. Furthermore, we are not talking about how police, as ill equipped representatives of the system, are being screwed by the system which put them on the front line of repressing the slave class (read: Black people) since Emancipation.
I encourage my students to explore their feelings of frustration when they are slighted for whatever demographic reason. Now imagine if that happened to you every day. Now imagine if that also meant you or your spouse/parent/sibling/child could be arrested or killed instead of simply “slighted.”
Then I tell them the story of Emmett Till. Then I tell them the story of Tamir Rice. Then I tell them the story of Sandra Bland. Then I tell them the story of…
3. The hundreds killed in Baghdad by a suicide bomber.
We in the Occident seem to only realize that there are terrorists in the world when it affects us. Since the beginning of 2015, the Middle East, Africa and Asia have seen nearly 50 times more deaths from terrorism than Europe and the Americas. There is an ongoing global war that we ignore, despite the horrific loss of life. So the people of this region are in peril at home and being stereotyped and ignored abroad. Take the time to look at some of the lives lost.
- Portraits of loss: Victims of the Baghdad bombing (via Associated Press)
4. How can Donald Trump be the “Law And Order” candidate with a child rape charge levied against him?
Oh you didn’t know? I wonder why that is? Somehow, Trump is getting the softball treatment with respect to his background. Which is particularly interesting given that his main opponent has had her background publicly inspected for the past 25+ years. Every day, a story breaks about Trump’s actions in the past, but he vociferously denies them on Twitter and in stump speeches, and his supporters give him the benefit of the doubt (which, by the way, is racist).
- Why The New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored (via Huffington Post)
- Trump has been listed in at least 3500 different court cases (1300 as the defendant) in his business career (via USA Today) and 169 federal cases (via lawnewz.com), and has a long list of scandals (via The Atlantic) that is unprecedented for a presidential candidate.
- He is a fan of litigious bullying: This Is What It’s Like to Try to Sue Donald Trump (via Mother Jones)
5. Republicans are criticizing Bernie Sanders for supporting Hillary Clinton while simultaneously trying to rally their party around Donald Trump…
I hope this speaks for itself. However, listening to (Republican Presidential Nominee) Donald Trump say, “Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs” (via Twitter) made me say out loud, “Or poor people endorsing a 4-time bankrupting millionaire who made his wealth from stepping on poor people.”
Speaking of the hypocrisy in the campaign, here is my favorite editorial cartoon of last week…
Just for fun, things we are talking about…
- Taylor Swift goes on defensive once again over ‘Famous’ song (via Fox News)