Police Brutality And The Issue of Race

 

CNN displayed this statistics and a friend shared it on Facebook to show that the police in US don’t discriminate against African Americans when it comes to shooting people to death. It was further commented that race and hence distinguishing the victims of police brutality along racial lines divides people and therefore is not a good idea. But as reassuring as it is to know that the police are “equal opportunity” murderers, I beg to differ. First of all, who exactly are those 311 who constitute the “unreported race” group? But, even if we disregard those, while the whites’ population is over 5 times that of blacks (63% vs. 12.3%), their fatalities in the hands of the police is less than twice (1.8 times) that of African Americans, which means that blacks are 3.5 times more likely than whites to get killed by police. So, clearly, there is a bias and disproportionality as to whom the police are more likely to murder. But, even that doesn’t tell the whole story because not all killings are the same. The police are indeed likely to shoot and kill a white man who shoots at them or at others, as they are blacks, but their bar for killing blacks is much lower. They’re much more likely to shoot a black man fleeing the police or refusing to obey their commands, for example, than a white man in similar situations. They’re also more likely to plant evidence on their black victims compared to whites. 

While obviously race is used to divide people and scapegoat minorities, denying how racism actually affects and victimizes minorities and how it translates into more widespread police brutality against the victims of racism is tantamount to denying the existence of racism. Despite possibly good intentions expressed by stating that race or focus on race divides people and therefor we should not distinguish the treatment of the minorities from that of the majority, people cannot and will not be united unless the existence of racism and its effects on its victims is acknowledged, understood and dealt with. What divides people is racism, not its acknowledgement or emphasis. People don’t get united against oppressors by simply saying we’re all the same because minorities know we’re not and therefore such a comment comes through as insensitive and disingenuous and isn’t helpful. Unity can only come by acknowledging how we are all treated differently and by uniting to raise the issue of discrimination together, not by denying or defocusing it. Unity must be around the lot of the lowest common denominator and the most oppressed. That doesn’t mean we should not focus on the brutality against the majority, but we should also focus on the fact of the discrimination and acknowledge it as part of and prerequisite of unity. 

The Forgotten Genocide

  

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area from the San Gabriel Valley in the East to San Fernando Valley in the NorthWest, including Pasadena, Glendale, Hollywood, North Hollywood and Van Nuys, among others, is home to the largest Armenian community outside the Republic of Armenia. 

Armenia which is located in the mountainous area of the Caucuses between Turkey on its West, Republic of Georgia on its North, Iran on its South and the Republic of Azerbaijan on its East, is one of the oldest nations in the World. The Armenian Kingdom, formed around 533 BC, at one time spanned a territory from the Mediterranean Sea in the West to the Black Sea in the Northwest to the Caspian Sea in the East snd the Parthian or Persian Empire (currently Iran) in the South, with an estimated population of 20 million and was ruled by different dynasties from the Nairi (1400–1000 BC) to the Kingdom of Urartu (1000–600 BC). Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, formerly Erebuni, was founded in 782 BC by King Argishti I. In 428, Western Armenia fell under Byzantine rule, and Eastern Armenia was conquered by the Sassanids of the Persian Empire. It fell to the Saljuks in 1045 and was later conquered by the Ottoman Empire before joining the Soviet Union in 1920 as one of the 15 republics of the Union. 

In 1915, an estimated 1.5 million defenseless Armenians living under the rule of Ottoman Turks were brutally and savagely massacred by the Turkish government of the time. The victims included women and children of all ages. This was the first genocide of the 20th Century for which the word “genocide” was coined and used for the first time and is known as the “Armenian Genocide”. 

The genocide also drove many Armenians to seek refuge in neighboring countries which created the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, France and the United States, mostly in Fresno, California and Boston, Massachusetts. The Armenian community of Los Angeles, however, arrived mostly from Iran after the revolution of 1979, from Armenia after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989-1990 as well as from Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

The Turkish government refuses to this day to admit that there ever was a genocide against Armenians and its continued denial drives many Armenians around the World to protest at Turkish embassies to get them to admit and acknowledge and to make sure it’s not forgotten. This effort by Armenians, both in Armenia and diaspora, has become an Armenian tradition. Due to pressure by their Armenian citizens, many governments around the World, including most European governments, have officially recognized the the 1915 Genocide. All efforts to get the US government to also do the same, however, has fallen on deaf ears, due to the military and political relations between the two countries, not to mention the existence of a large US military base in Turkey used as leverage against Russia. Israel, which claims to be sympathetic to the survivors of the Jewish Holocaust also refuses to recognize the Genocide. It’s ironic because Hitler was reassuring his subordinates that the extermination of the Jews too would soon be forgotten when he asked rhetorically: “who remembers the Armenian Grnocide?” 

When campaigning, most US presidents promise to their Armenian constituents to recognize the Genocide if elected and walk back from it when in office due to pressure from the Turkish government, which continues to actively pressure governments against its recognition and threatens with cutting of relations. President Obama was the latest to renege on that promise. 

Armenians feel that the acknowledgement of the Genocide is important insofar as making it known to the world and breaking the silence and denial which is tantamount  to condoning it. The recognition will allow the Genocide to be more widely known not only to the population of Turkey who are being kept in the dark by the denial, but people everywhere who might rely on Turkish sources and historians to learn about the history of that region. The recognition would also serve for Armenians as a kind of closure to that terrible tragedy.

So, every year, on April 24, on the anniversary of the start of the 1915 Genocide, Armenians in Los Angeles, as they do elsewhere, march in the commemoration of the Genocide and hold a protest rally at the Turkish Consulate for continuing its denial. This year, being the first centennial of the Genocide, Armenians of Los Angeles are preparing to have their largest march and rally ever. Laemmle Theaters of LA began to show a movie for the occasion called: 1915. Its description reads:

On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide comes 1915, a mind-bending psychological thriller about one man’s mission to bring the ghost of a forgotten tragedy back to life. More than a cutting-edge mystery, 1915 is also an explosive call to action against the silence and denial that have fueled a century of genocide.

http://sakosefiani.com

Elections, Democrats and the Underclass

  

A lot has been said about the Democrats cozying up to Wall Street and big corporations. But, this very complaint assumes that the Democrats could be any different from who they are and what or whom they represent. This very complaint reveals the false liberal perception that the state power can be won by ordinary working wage-earning people through election campaigns that are mainly and mostly financed by big corporations, a perception or rather a misrepresentation which helps keep the state power in the hands of the billionaires by presenting elections as the way to change from the party that had a chance but didn’t right the wrongs back to the one that had the chance the previous time which is now going to do better and the cycle continues and things never change, despite huge campaign signs promising “change”. The truth is however that the state isn’t an independent entity to be shifted from one class to another whenever there is an election which is determined by big money, anyway.

Liberals also help shift the focus away from the fact that once the elections are over, it’s not the people’s lobbyists who will pressure and dictate policies to the former candidates but the corporate lobbyists for corporate interests, interests which for many decades have been presented as the same as those of people’s by both parties. The Democrats aren’t different from Republicans in whom they represent, but by how much or how little they want to give to the working class at any given time, which varies by time and based on political conditions and calculations. Both parties would be open to giving more than before depending on political “facts on the ground” and both are equally likely to take back when conditions are conducive to taking back. In fact, Democrats are often more capable and therefore more likely to venture in such take backs since they don’t elicit as much outcry from unions and liberals. The good cop is often more likely to win a confession than the bad by employing a somewhat different approach. The point that should be kept in mind is that they both work for the same institution. Electing a Democrat and being surprised why working people’s lot didn’t get any better reminds one of Einstein’s explanation of insanity: doing the same experiment every time and expecting a different result.

When I state these facts which no one is able to refute and disprove, some ask rhetorically: so whom do you suggest we vote for? The answer is: when you have a problem that you want solved, first you must start from analyzing and understanding the facts. That itself can do a bigger service in the long run to bringing about the solution than sticking to a tried and tired “solution” that never works. And the reason it doesn’t is because it’s based on a wrong assumption: that the Democrats do or can really represent working people, that the state is there for the taking by a class of people who aren’t in power, who don’t own or control the media or the police or the courts or the military or the decision making power of large corporations which have budgets bigger than many nations’, that such entrenched power can easily and without a large and protracted people’s movement change hands. That’s the false message and miseducation perpetrated by liberals and Democrats, a false message that allows the state to remain in the same hands as it has been through lies and deception. That’s the contribution of the Democrats to people’s political awareness: hamper and prevent their awareness and understanding, promise that things will get better for the middle class through and within the system and channel their anger against the other party, rather than to bring about real and fundamental change.

If you listen to the statements of the candidates, after you disregard all the patriotic nonsense about “American exceptionalism”, you will realize that except for some extremely reactionary and crazy ones, those who have a shot at winning all say and promise pretty much the same things, especially when things have been looking down. After spending over a trillion dollars on the two wars started by Bush, candidates of both parties were promising “change”. And now, with income and wealth gap being at levels never before seen, with corporations wreaking an unprecedented amount of profits and the vast majority struggling to survive, with millions still out of work, including new college graduates who can’t find work even after undertaking tens of thousands of dollars of debt and many families still not able to afford to see a doctor due to the out of pocket costs, they all are talking about the unemployed, the income gap and vanishing middle class. And as for those millions who aren’t exactly considered in middle class, which itself is now defined at a much lower stratum than in years past, those who work two or three jobs when and if they can find them and still struggle to pay their bills, who have no time to spend time with family and whose poverty is considered a natural and normal part of the system, those who in fact through their cheap labor contribute the most to the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy, they aren’t even mentioned. And for good political reason: they actually don’t count because most of them have instinctually realized what most liberals can’t after many “intellectual” and “theoretical” discussions: that voting won’t make any difference to them. They’re “poor” in theory and can’t convince you “intellectually” why their voting won’t make a difference. But they know it won’t, nevertheless. And politicians have learned through experience to not count on them because they know most of them don’t vote. But, they’re partly right in their thinking, only partly. They think they have no power to ever change things and get out of the poverty they’re in and that’s the part they’re wrong about.

Police Brutality: A National Endemic in Need of a Civil Rights Movement in Response

  

Browsing the Facebook I ran into a page dedicated to “Michael T. Slager Defense Fund”. He’s the South Carolina cop who shot 50 year old Walter Scott in the back 8 times killing him in North Charlotte. 

Every time a racist white cop kills an unarmed black man, a “defense fund” is set up for the killer. After Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, not only a fund was set up for him that attracted a huge sum, some even wore T-shirts proclaiming support for him. Former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani  said on Fox News that Officer Wilson “should be commended” for what he did. 

Meanwhile, after the protests in Ferguson, Chicago State legislators proposed a new law which makes filming police officers a crime punishable by 4 years in prison. Earlier, Illinois Supreme Court struck down a similar law that criminalized recording of interactions with the police without their consent. Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) is introducing legislation that makes it a crime to videotape officers from within 25 feet. Instead of trying to stem the tide of police violence and brutality which goes on unabated in the face of so many violent killer cops going unpunished, these legislators are actually trying to encourage such unbridled killings, which speaks volumes of the state of so-called “race relations”, which is a more polite way of describing racism.

Police brutality and killings, especially against the minorities, is nothing new in this country. Neither is their planting of incriminating “evidence” such as drugs and weapons on their victims. What is new is the ubiquity of cell phone cameras that have shed a light on this national travesty. There is absolutely no doubt that if the video of the killing of Mr. Scott never surfaced, the officer would never have been charged and would be patrolling the streets again the next day. 

There is hardly a day that passes without someone getting beat or killed by police. When the victim isn’t killed, he’s more often than not charged for resisting arrest or interfering with police work or some other trumped up charges on top of the injuries he suffers from the beating. I once was a witness to such a case during an anti-Israel protest in Los Angeles when a police officer came down from his horse and beat someone who was waiving a Palestinian flag and then arrested him for “assaulting a police officer”, which he never did. I went to court to testify that the man not only didn’t assault the officer but was actually beaten by the police. Courts have historically been much more willing to believe the police than civilian citizens, especially if they’re African Americans or other minorities. All it takes for an individual to get beaten and then arrested or shot and killed execution style is to challenge their authority and power and their power hungry ego. 

While all the attention is diverted and channeled towards “terrorism”, which is used to justify endless wars and government eavesdropping on the citizens, the police are given free pass to kill people on the streets in numbers that dwarf all terror attacks committed since 9/11. It has been estimated that there is far higher chance of getting killed by police than an act of terror. While people’s emails, text messages and Facebook posts are read and their visited Internet sites are tracked and monitored, they let cops with repeated cases of brutality roam free and now want to make it hard for people to identify and expose them. 

What we must realize is that the problem isn’t some “bad cop” within this or that police department or isolated to this or that city or the result of bad or inadequate training. The problem is institutional, nationwide and systemic and requires a nationwide, militant and protracted response by people on the streets. We must stop treating such incidents as isolated cases. This is an issue of civil rights and requires a civil rights movement to deal with it.

Expressing “support” for the police, as many racists do, even as they are on rampage throughout the nation killing innocent people everyday, can only mean one thing: support for war on minorities and embracing fascism. It’s way past the point when we can attribute such “support”, including that for so-called “police unions”, as if they’re some kind of workers’ unions, to naïveté or misjudgment or lack of awareness. Such support, at this juncture, is support for mass killings and fascism.

Democracy And The Liberals

It’s funny how liberals view “free speech”. They are vexed by the lies and reactionary politics and prejudices spread and promoted by Fox News and rightwing radio talk shows, but to them having a TV network like Fox News or reactionary radio talk shows is a sign of having democracy and is considered a good thing. This also leads them to disparage the policies of the Cuban government which doesn’t share their view of “democracy”. 

It doesn’t occur to liberals that it’s one thing for a wacko to scream nonsense like “Jesus loves you” at the corner of a street and quite another for a corporation founded on spreading and profiting from disinformation and exploiting and exacerbating people’s ignorance for its own narrow interests that go against the interests of the public to broadcast its lies into people’s homes all day long, everyday. They also don’t understand that the “freedom of speech” that’s supposedly afforded to the people in capitalist societies is limited in scope and breadth, as well as being conditional. You have “freedom of speech” as long as you either don’t use it or if you do use it, you don’t cause any change or threaten to cause any change. “Freedom of expression”, which is monitored by the NSA in the first place, is ultimately capped and put an end to by a large number of heavily armed police when it takes the form of a protest on the streets demanding change.

What liberals also fail to understand is that it’s only in capitalism that corporations are independent entities with special rights and powers that put them above the society and are free to use their accumulated money and power to impose their will on the society. In socialism, the physical and mental wellbeing, the needs and the future of the society isn’t left at the mercy of large omnipotent corporations. In socialism, resources are allocated according to and spent on meeting people’s needs, especially their urgent needs, rather than for the interests and based on the dictates and preferences of giant corporations. To allocate resources for creating a “Fox News”, there has to be a real and specific need and justification for it – physical, mental, educational, entertainment, etc. The mere existence of a Fox News in society that dominates the airways, in and of itself, isn’t proof of the need for having it. If Fox News didn’t exist, most would agree that there would be no need to spend badly needed resources to create it and give it such power and influence as their likes have over people and use it to spread lies and fear, but now that it has been created, through the sheer power of a vast amount of money, and does exist, then liberals’ attitude is: let it be. Not only “let it be”, but according to their worldview, it’s even a good thing to have it for “diversity” and “plurality” of opinions. To them, people’s needs and priorities and issues of war and peace and the future or wellbeing of the planet can all be subjected to and determined by the outcome of a “competition” of “ideas” and “opinions” amongst privately owned corporations (or their representatives in a government they own and control) over the airways and communication equipment which only large corporations can own and which the people themselves have no part of or influence over.

Liberals see my writing here, for example, as proof of my “free speech” and comparable to that of News Corporation or GE or Viacom or Disney. Their attitude about this issue is similar to their attitude about the so-called opportunities that “everyone” has in a capitalist society to strike it rich and enjoy the good life. In other words, I have the same opportunity to influence opinions as Fox News and the same opportunity to accumulate wealth and power as Exxon-Mobile and Bank of America, and the same opportunity to influence the politics and policies as the corporate lobbyists who have and use billions to get their laws passed. We all have the opportunity. How things actually shape up in society is all secondary, academic and even considered fair.

Even in the best case scenario of having a counterbalance (no MSNBC is  far from providing that counterbalance) to the corporate media, which we don’t, why do we need corporate networks whose mission is to perpetuate their own rule by spreading lies and disinformation and misinforming the public? 

Many liberals agree that giant multinational corporations commit “excesses” and degrade the environment for profits or push for wars or they have too much influence over politics and policies, but interestingly, aren’t bothered by their power of brainwashing, which they attribute to “freedom of expression”, not realizing that the first step in limiting their power is in limiting their power of influence and persuasion and the first step in creating a sane society is in having sane information.

What’s Happening in Yemen?

  

Shia rebels known as Houthis, took the capital city of Sanaa and ran president Hadi out of the capital and into exile in the southern port of Aden. The conflict between the Houthis and the government of Yemen is “seen as part of a regional power struggle between Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia” wrote BBC when reporting the news. In reaction, Saudi Arabia mobilized 150,000 troops and 100 US supplied fighter jets and began bombing the country and the Houthis. According to reports, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Pakistan have joined the Saudis in the war and the US is aiding them by providing intelligence on the rebel locations to maximize the effects of the bombings.

Houthis also known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), practice a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism and constitute about a third of the population of Yemen, living mostly in the North. They take their name from Hussein Badr al-Din al-Houthi who led an uprising of the Zaidis in 2004, in which he was killed. Since then, they have had a few more revolts against the central government.

The political conflict unfolding in Yemen, which is the poorest nation in Middle East, is nothing new. The country has seen decades of civil strife and unrest due to poverty, uneven access to resources by different sectors of the society, corruption and political instability. According to the same BBC report, “unemployment, high food prices and limited social services mean more than 10 million Yemenis are believed to be food insecure”. 

One of the byproducts of such inequality, poverty and political instability has been the active presence of an Al Qaeda associate group known as Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is opposed to both the toppled president and the Houthis. Bring in imperialism headed by the U.S. to this mix, which as usual, sees the solution to just about every situation in bombing attacks against those it sees as its enemies, and we get the chaos we see in Yemen, today. The Obama Administration has for years conducted bombings by unmanned drones in Yemen, supposedly against AQAP forces in the country, which they determine who is and isn’t an Al Qaeda supporter in this nation of constant civil war, unrest and imperialist intervention. 

As the US continued its drone attacks, supposedly against AQAP, however, it has remained mum about its close allies, the Saudis, as they continued to finance and promote Sunni jihadis, including what gave rise to Al Qaeda and its latest variant, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to promote the extremist and fundamentalist version of their Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. 

As the Houthis advanced and took the capital, the U.S. pulled its special operations forces out of the country, but it didn’t quit its intervention; it just left the job of pushing back and defeating the Houthis to the Saudis, who in recent years have taken a much more aggressive posture in the region. The purported reason for the Sauidis’ involvement is to counter the supposedly growing influence of Shia Iran in the region. However, the situation and alliances being formed isn’t entirely along religious lines. The Saudi ruling dynasty has long aligned itself with imperialism in order to maintain its grip on power and the wealth it enjoys by selling its vast oil reserves. More and more, this alliance has meant intervention in the political strifes in the region on behalf of imperialism, a role Israel has played even more prominently. When a pro-democracy uprising broke out in 2011 against the US backed kingdom in Bahrain where the US has a large naval base, right at the doorsteps of Iran, the Saudi Kingdom sent troops to crush it. They have also been one of the main supporters and financiers of the terrorist groups, including the ISIS that are fighting the Syrian government, which the U.S. and its allies want to see overthrown. They have also gone against the demands of other member nations of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to dramatically increase their oil supply in order to lower its price and hurt Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan economies. Saudi Arabia has also taken a position in support of the military dictatorship of General Al Sissi in Egypt, the kingdom in Jordan and the despotic sheikdoms in the Gulf, all US puppets and allies, all complicit about Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians. Saudis themselves have been a silent partner of Israel, as they both try to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. Against this pro-imperialist alliance which besides Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan and Egypt, also includes Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Turkey, stand the governments of Iran and Syria and the Hezbollah of Lebanon. Although Iran herself has a medieval and autocratic government and Syria is by no means a model of democracy, they’re not politically and militarily allied with imperialism. They do not allow military bases and advisors of the US to decide for them their politics and policies, from how they vote in the UN to which nations they form and maintain relations with to who they sign their oil contracts with to what trade agreements they get into and who they buy their weapons from to how they relate with and treat multinational corporations. It matters not to imperialism who their allies are and what they do to their people. They can be the most brutal and misogynist dictators who cut the arms and legs of people for petty crime and jail, torture and execute journalists who criticize the corrupt leadership and who deny women even the right to drive. They can even help and support terrorists. None of that matters, as long as they cooperate with imperialist plans for world domination and crush their own pro democracy and anti imperialist uprisings and revolutions, which would be a barrier to imperialist exploitation and plunder. Just look to see which countries are on the US list of states sponsoring terrorism. You will not see Saudi Arabia, which is a big sponsor of Sunni terrorists or Israel which routinely assassinates Palestinian leaders, but Cuba, which has not committed a single act of terrorism, unless one considers helping repel the occupation forces of apartheid South Africa from then newly independent nation of Angola in early 1960’s, an act of terror, for which Nelson Mandela couldn’t thank Cubans enough. Really, he couldn’t have thanked them enough. 

The reason the US sells the Saudis some of its most advanced weaponry, which they have been buying in the billions, funneling some of their oil money into the coffers of US weapons manufacturers, isn’t just economic, but also strategic. Same is true about their so-called “economic aid” to Egypt, which is mostly to the Egyptian military to the tune of $2 billion a year to buy US weapons from US weapons makers – money that goes from US taxpayers and makes a trip back to weapons makers. Again, that’s just a side benefit; the real purpose is strategic: to expand the reach and hegemony of the collective of the corporate empire.

if you read or watch the news in empire’s media, what you learn is that Iran is causing the unrest in Yemen by supporting a rebellious Shia group and that Saudis who are Sunni and want to limit Iran’s influence decided on their own to bomb the rebels and reinstate the “elected president”. In other words it’s all about religion, Iran’s interference and Saudis “reasonable” bombing reaction. Nothing about poverty, unemployment, corrupt leaders tapped and kept in power by empire’s military support and empire’s pact with the most depraved, corrupt and brutal despots found on Earth for the long term interests of multinational corporations and their empire.

Racism and American White Liberals

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Steve Kornacki was discussing on MSNBC Dick Cheney’s comment that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were “playing the race card”. He had three guests: two African Americans and one white, which including the host, made the participants two whites and two blacks. When the question of whether or not Republicans’ unrelenting animosity and opposition with Obama and his black cabinet members and nominees like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch was brought up, as almost always and without a surprise, the white liberals took the position that Republicans’ unprecedented contempt, disrespect and opposition with Obama and his nominees, even when there are no reasons for their opposition, such as against Ms. Lynch, though wrong, was not due to racism. Despite desperate attempts by the well spoken black guests to get them to understand that race did play a major role in their attitudes, the white liberals did not get it.

Chris Hays, another white liberal with a show on MSNBC, said on his show that “race is not a real and physical thing” and that “there is no such thing as race”, but “racism is very much real”. It’s good that he acknowledges that racism does exist and is real, but he thinks to be against racism, you must be blind and not see any differences in physical attributes such as skin color or other visible physical features. In fact, some use the bogus “color blindness” to deny the need for remedies such as “affirmative action”. Some even go as far as using the
“color blindness” argument to deny the existence of racism, altogether, including their own. Some are of the opinion that if you just ignore racism, it’ll just fade away, that racism continues to exist because we discuss it. Some even think race is something you can adopt and pretend you’re black which I suppose would be a good way of showing you’re not a racist: hey I can’t be racist because “I’m actually black”. That’s exactly what Jay Smooth, founder of hiphopmusic.com claimed on Chris Hayes’ show on Wednesday. When Hays showed Mr. Smooth’s YouTube video lecture on “How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist”, his other guest, Nancy Giles from CBS News, who is African American, teased him for trying to sound and act like blacks in his video to which Mr. Smooth replied “I’m actually black, but you assumed otherwise”. What he seems to be advising in his video, which Mr. Hays agreed with, is that instead of calling someone racist, it’s better to just tell them that what they said was racist. Wow what an enlightening yet concept. I knew dealing with racism had to be so simple and everyone complicated it. But, of course, it’s easy for Mr. Smooth and Mr. Hays, despite all their good intentions – and I do believe Chris Hays does have his heart in the right place – to not call someone who’s racist a racist. It’s always funny when two white people, one of whom pretends to be black, speak louder about racism than the only other person there who is black. Mr. Smooth may have some good advice on racism, but I have one for him: dude, if you don’t look black you ain’t black. If you look like a white guy moving and talking like blacks and enjoying rap music and you even founded a Web site dedicated to rap music, you’re still white.

Liberals seem to have their hearts in the right place, but I’d much prefer if they had their brains in the right place. I’ve come to the conclusion that white liberals are incapable of understanding the society and social forces and phenomena, period, whether it’s social classes or political economy or imperialism or racism. I therefore believe that white liberals will not and cannot lead any social movement which among its demands also includes an end to racism or to even move the society towards ending racism. That will have to be done by black revolutionary leaders, not those who like Obama claim racism is no more or that racism is somehow the fault of the victims of racism or those who claim to be black. And given the centrality of the question of racism in the US and in US politics on all levels, I believe a movement for defeating racism, which first and foremost, among others, will take the form of countering police brutality, will have to be led by black leaders. It is with this understanding that we must support wholeheartedly militant black resistance against racist cops from Ferguson to New York. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of a movement like Occupy Wall Street. That’s also important. But it would have to link up with uprisings like the one in Ferguson and look to Ferguson-like movements for leadership.

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