Interviewer: But the question is more, how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation, violence?
Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking? Yeah see, that’s another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life and walk out on the street everyday seeing white policemen surrounding you… when I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was. But I was a black women and I had a natural and they, I suppose thought I might be “militant.”
And when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, you know, whether I approve of violence. I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether I approve of guns.
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs, bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street. Our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that, at any moment, we might expect to be attacked. The man who was, at that time, in complete control of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, “Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood. We better expect some bloodshed tonight.” And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived, one of them lived next door to me…I was very good friends with the sister of another one. My sister was very good friends with all three of them. My mother taught one of them in her class. My mother—in fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, “Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.” And they went down and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then, after that, in my neighborhood, all the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again.
All I can say is…wow. Not a good feeling.
Officer Darren Wilson’s gofundme has more money donated than Michael Brown’s memorial fund. White privilege at it’s finest.
I don’t usually post about stuff like this, but please share this in hopes of more people donating to Michael Brown’s family. You can find the gofundme page: here.
"Our options are invisibility, complicity, or resistance, and black rage is a clarion call for standing on the correct side of the color line, and for reaping the collective rewards of justice."
Soya Jung, “Why Ferguson Matters to Asian Americans”
Don’t let the straightforward title fool you into passing on this. Soya’s essay is searing and impassioned, and exactly what I needed.
Solidarity: You are doing it wrong
I have been gone too long, tumblr-land. I have returned to discuss with you the stupidity of navel-gazing, antiquated racial nationalism and how white supremacy has bled into the brains and hearts of our people, so much so that they can’t even remember history correctly.
To prevent me from burying the lede, I will state this upfront: Asian American organizations, associations, and institutions, especially the professional ones and the ones with influence or power, need to stop being so goddamned self-absorbed and show solidarity with other communities of color. This post is about a tragic example of that not happening. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that there’s no such thing as neutral. If AAPI groups aren’t standing against white supremacy, they are supporting it. Stop supporting white supremacy.
And now, for some rambling and ranting.
Once upon a time, I wrote a journal article that went something like this: Asian Americans cannot buy political empowerment. Some Asian American leaders have bought wholesale into the Model Minority Myth, and think they can buy political empowerment, but they are wrong. That road leads down only the crumbs of white supremacy and the gluttony of unreformed capitalism for a small elite, none of which do the smallest shit for the Asian Americans who are struggling the most, nor for all Asian Americans insofar as creating a society based on justice and free of white supremacy protects us from the sort of not-so-random acts of racist violence and discrimination that Asian Americans face daily, whether or not media and Asian American political elites choose to recognize it.
When I wrote that article, however, I didn’t imagine that something like what happened at at the Asian American Journalists Association national convention this week could happen. And what happened was this:
One would think that, in a gathering of all of the most prominent Asian Americans who have inherent in their job titles the responsibility to report the news, the convention organizers, or the speakers, or the panelists themselves would want to talk about the most important story of the day. Perhaps the most important story of the year. Namely, the dawning realization of non-Black America that police and vigilantes have and are killing unarmed Black women and men even yet now, in the 21st century, as seen now in Ferguson, where a teenager named Mike Brown, just about to start college, was shot six times by a police officer for jaywalking. Regardless of the specifics of what happened between Mike Brown and the police officer, regardless of what the teen was or was not doing before the encounter, the fact remains that there was an unarmed Black teen who said “don’t shoot” and raised his hands in surrender, for which he was shot and killed by a white police officer.
But if one thought that the AAJA, a group of journalists, would talk about the story that has dominated the 24-hour news cycle for the last week, one would be wrong. Gil Asakawa of Nisei Blog reported that he only heard Ferguson mentioned twice by panelists, and agreed with the Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince (to whose article he was responding) that there were, in fact, no official convention events or talks or opportunities to discuss the issue.
Here’s a general digression, for a moment: Look, folks, I realize a professional association convention is a very complicated thing to organize. My wife organized one recently for a professional science association, for an attendance of about the same size as AAJA, and that business is no joke. It takes a long time to find speakers, panelists, and to figure out all the topics to be covered. All these things are planned ahead of time. But if there was some discovery in that scientific field that happened at the same time as the conference, you can bet that every speaker and panelist would be trying to figure out how to link that discovery to their work, and in any case, everyone at the convention would be buzzing about it. You wouldn’t be able to not talk about it.
And yet the exact opposite is exactly what happened at the AAJA conference. Huge news story, only two of many many speakers seem to care.
Oh yeah, they were in D.C., with tons of Ferguson solidarity activism happening immediately around them.
All this is to say, Gil Asakawa needs not not be defensive about Richard Prince calling out the AAJA for their major solidarity fail on this one. I’m not going to link Asakawa’s blog post here, because he doesn’t need to get more clicks, but it’s full of stupid historical untruths, and even worse analysis. Instead, I’ll just summarize and refute his nonsense excuses for you.
Gil’s first excuse is that the conference was planned months ago, to which I say, see above.
Gil’s second excuse is that Asian Americans just don’t protest. Seriously. What, you think my summary is inaccurate? Fine, this is what he says:
When I think about it, there haven’t been many instances of Asian Americans protesting and marching as a group. Individuals have been involved in political activism – some high-profile Japanese Americans were involved in the civil rights movement, for instance, and marched alongside black leaders (and even with the Black Panthers, though it turns out, as an FBI informant). There were protests during the era that established Asian American studies in universities. And there were protests after the Vincent Chin murder in 1982, arguably a pivotal moment when an “Asian American” identity came together.
But there weren’t mass protests when Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to concentration camps during World War II.
Wow. Just wow. No Asian American protesting or marching as a group? He seems to have forgotten the 70s and 80s entirely. It wasn’t just college kids, dude. And way to go promoting those unproven potential jacketing of hero Richard Aoki. I guess if you can’t even show solidarity to your own folks, what hope is there for you? Sorry, this excuse is just too factually incorrect and nonsensical for me to continue any further with.
Gil’s third excuse, Asian American cultural values keep us from public displays of anger. Has this guy actually ever been around other Asian Americans? What is this Model Minority nonsense? Asian Americans get angry all the time. Individually, I could write all sorts of funny examples. But collectively, come on. No one would know who Cesar Chavez was if it wasn’t for Pilipino farmworkers organizing first, and then pushing the reluctant Chavez to strike Delano farms. Those farmworkers were some angry folks, and publicly. Asian American kids and elderly got into brawls with SFPD trying to stop them from evicting the residents of I Hotel. I’ve personally yelled my voice gone alongside other Asian Americans at living wage marches, rallies against racist ballot propositions, rallies against tuition hikes, protests against occupation and apartheid.
There is no excuse that Gil can give, no amount of hand-wringing and “I hope we aren’t as bad as we look” that he can pantomime that explains why Asian American journalists (journalists!) couldn’t even issue a statement in solidarity with those reporters in Ferguson who were being arrested for doing their jobs, as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has done. Better yet would have been a statement supporting those residents of Ferguson who were also trying to exercise their own First Amendment rights (the assembly part; it’s not just about the press, you know).
There is no excuse.
This is not how AAPI build solidarity. This is not how anyone builds solidarity. Asian Americans, and especially our journalists, need to be telling these stories. First, because it is morally right, and justice demands it. White supremacy in America is white supremacy, and like Voldemort, must be called by its true name. But even for those who want to be selfish, who think they can get away with playing Model Minority and that racism will never catch up to them, even they must recognize that when something happens to AAPI, whether we have built actual and meaningful coalitions, whether we have stood with others when they needed us to, that will determine if anyone else covers our story, joins our cries for justice, stands with us.
This is a fail, and the Asian American journalists who have not been covering the story in Ferguson should all be ashamed. As for the rest of us, we should be pushing those who claim to represent us, in the media world, in other professional arenas, in the halls of money and power, to recognize the fact that white supremacy exists, and that we all suffer for it. We suffer from it now when it is strengthened by the attacks on the freedom of Black Americans, we suffer from it when our Black and Brown brothers and sisters are racially profiled, and we suffer from it when we, ourselves, with no one left to stand with us, become the ones facing down the sinister barrel that is racism in America.
More heartbreaking news: While Khadr is now out of Guantanamo and in a Canadian maximum security prison (which is not much better), he is currently being sued by a US soldier and the wife of a US soldier who was killed while arresting/torturing Khadr. These people are suing him for fifty million dollars because, while carrying out an attack against Khadr as child, they were injured.
Please keep Khadr and all of the other victims of this torture in your hearts
US Constitution, First Amendment: The right to assemble, to have free speech, to have freedom of the press.
Ferguson Police: Kicks out media and limits protestors to a “First Amendment Area”
funny, i thought the WHOLE COUNTRY was a first amendment area. silly me.
Wow. They are going to have so many lawsuits when all is said and done.
"Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?"
LAPD officer Sunil Dutta, writing 100% seriously in a WaPo op-ed entitled (I kid you not) “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.” (via hipsterlibertarian)
The sense of entitled, sadistic, “moral disengagement” by the police is truly disheartening. How can they build trust in a community they are using for their role-playing FPS fantasies?
He basically said:
"Give up your rights as a citizen, civilian, and human being when dealing with me, and I might let you live.”
If You Think the Water Crisis Can’t Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained
We’re pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it’s gone, the real crisis begins.
Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future.
We are at our best when we can see a threat or challenge ahead. If flood waters are rising, an enemy is rushing at us, or a highway exit appears just ahead of a traffic jam, we see the looming crisis and respond.
We are not as adept when threats—or threatened resources—are invisible. Some of us have trouble realizing why invisible carbon emissions are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere and warming the planet. Because the surface of the sea is all we see, it’s difficult to understand that we already have taken most of the large fish from the ocean, diminishing a major source of food. Neither of these crises are visible—they are largely out of sight, out of mind—so it’s difficult to get excited and respond. Disappearing groundwater is another out-of-sight crisis.
Groundwater comes from aquifers—spongelike gravel and sand-filled underground reservoirs—and we see this water only when it flows from springs and wells. In the United States we rely on this hidden—and shrinking—water supply to meet half our needs, and as drought shrinks surface water in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, we rely on groundwater from aquifers even more. Some shallow aquifers recharge from surface water, but deeper aquifers contain ancient water locked in the earth by changes in geology thousands or millions of years ago. These aquifers typically cannot recharge, and once this “fossil” water is gone, it is gone forever—potentially changing how and where we can live and grow food, among other things.
A severe drought in California—now approaching four years long—has depleted snowpacks, rivers, and lakes, and groundwater use has soared to make up the shortfall. A new report from Stanford Universitysays that nearly 60 percent of the state’s water needs are now met by groundwater, up from 40 percent in years when normal amounts of rain and snow fall.
Relying on groundwater to make up for shrinking surface water supplies comes at a rising price, and this hidden water found in California’s Central Valley aquifers is the focus of what amounts to a new gold rush. Well-drillers are working overtime, and as Brian Clark Howard reported here last week, farmers and homeowners short of water now must wait in line more than a year for their new wells.
In most years, aquifers recharge as rainfall and streamflow seep into unpaved ground. But during drought the water table—the depth at which water is found below the surface—drops as water is pumped from the ground faster than it can recharge. As Howard reported, Central Valley wells that used to strike water at 500 feet deep must now be drilled down 1,000 feet or more, at a cost of more than $300,000 for a single well. And as aquifers are depleted, the land also begins to subside, or sink.
Unlike those in other western states, Californians know little about their groundwater supply because well-drilling records are kept secret from public view, and there is no statewide policy limiting groundwater use. State legislators are contemplating a measure that would regulate and limit groundwater use, but even if it passes, compliance plans wouldn’t be required until 2020, and full restrictions wouldn’t kick in until 2040. California property owners now can pump as much water as they want from under the ground they own.
California’s Central Valley isn’t the only place in the U.S. where groundwater supplies are declining. Aquifers in the Colorado River Basin and the southern Great Plains also suffer severe depletion. Studies show that about half the groundwater depletion nationwide is from irrigation. Agriculture is the leading use of water in the U.S. and around the world, and globally irrigated farming takes more than 60 percent of the available freshwater.
read more from Nat Geo
photo one and two by PETER ESSICK
Photo three by GEORGE STEINMETZ