Friday, September 23, 2016

Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter—now with graphics

A casual glance shows police killings are racially disproportionate to our population — though black people are 13.3% of the US, 25% of people killed by the police are black. But that hides another fact: Police killings are racially proportionate to America’s poor. Which makes sense—though there are exceptions from all races, most people killed by the police are poor.
As I write, The Counted reports a total of 654 people killed by the police in 2016—166 black, 322 white, 107 Hispanic, and 59 Other/Unknown. Here’s the what that looks like for white and black victims:



The Kaiser Foundation reports 47,021,300 Americans in poverty in 2014–10,145,200 black, 19,796,700 white, 13,214,100 Hispanic, 3,865,300 Other. Here’s what that looks like for white and black people in poverty:



No, I didn’t use the same chart twice. The black and white racial statistics for police victims and Americans in poverty are perfectly proportional. That 2-to-1 ratio doesn’t change: In 2015, the police killed 581 white people and 306 black people. Over a decade, the police killed 2,151 whites and 1,130 blacks.
Including other races reveals a disproportionality, but it’s not about white and black — Hispanics are under-represented, perhaps because police killings tend to be urban while Hispanic poverty is more rural than white or black poverty.



Under “Other” is a neglected fact: American Indians are the group that’s most likely to be killed by the police. The Counted’s breakdown of people per million killed by police:
5.49 Native American
4.16 Black
1.89 Hispanic/Latino
1.63 White
0.56 Asian/Pacific Islander
The racial list of who is most likely to be killed lines up with racial household income: Native Americans are poorest, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, then non-Hispanic whites, then Asian Americans, who have higher incomes than white Americans. The basic rule for police killings: the richer the group, the less likely its members will be killed by police.
The effect of wealth applies within races, of course. Ryan Cooper notes, “…the difference in lifetime risk of incarceration is something like ten times as great for low-class blacks as it is for high-class blacks. If we assume that the police are generally arresting the same people they interact with generally, then something similar likely holds for police shootings.”
Focusing on black victims hides similar examples of white and Hispanic people killed under outrageous circumstances, like Robert Cameron Redus, pulled over for speeding and shot after saying sarcastically, “Oh, you’re gonna shoot me?” and Derek Cruice, killed while weaponless and wearing nothing but basketball shorts, and Andy Lopez, whose toy gun was mistaken for a real one, and Christopher Roupe, who answered the door holding a WII controller, and Kristiana Coignard, a bipolar 100-pound teen who entered a police station carrying a knife, and Autumn Mae Steele, killed by a cop who was aiming at her dog, and David Kassick, shot lying facedown in the snow after being stopped for an expired inspection sticker, and Brenda Sewell, whose guards withheld her prescription medicine.
We all know there are racist cops, but statistically, they don’t affect the larger picture. Our police are trained to kill when they feel threatened and have little training for dealing with people who don’t follow orders — which explains why half of the people killed by the police have a disability, which ties into most victims being poor: the disabled are twice as likely to be poor.
Martin Luther King almost certainly would agree with the majority of black folks who prefer #AllLivesMatter to #BlackLivesMatter; he once said, “…there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.”
He said that to support Basic Income as the best way to end poverty, but Basic Income also offers the fastest way to reduce police violence. In a pilot program for Basic Income in Namibia, crime fell by 42%. By reducing inequality and eliminating desperation, we can make a world where all Americans can see police officers as their friends, and the police can be free to protect and serve everyone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump isn't a racist—he's a right-identitarian

When people talk about identitarians, we're usually talking about centrists and leftists who prioritize social identity, the sorts of people who think it's more important to vote for a black or a female neoliberal than for a white male democratic socialist. But the traditional forms of racism and bigotry are also identitarian, and Donald Trump's a fine example.

He's not racist because he likes people of all races from all parts of the planet who enter the US through government channels and are not Muslim.

He's an identitarian because he rails against Muslims rather than terrorists, even though terrorists come from every racial and religious group—for two famous examples, Anders Breivik wanted to promote his form of Christianity and opposed all forms of Islam, and Timothy McVeigh, who committed one of the greatest acts of terrorism on US soil when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, was a white right-wing American Christian.

Mexican-Americans may be the best example of the divide in Trump's identitarianism. He loves Mexican-American citizens, especially if they're Republicans. He reviles people from Mexico who enter illegally in the hope of making a better life for themselves and their families.

Relevant: it's all one thing: Yes, Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik were Christian terrorists

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slut-shaming Lt. Uhura, or Feminists in Miniskirts

On Twitter, someone shared this quote by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek:
There was a great quote that D.C. Fontana said about Nichelle Nichols and having a black officer on the bridge and what my father said to that. Apparently, he would get letters from the TV stations in the South saying they won't show Star Trek because there is a black officer, and he'd say, "Fuck off, then."
In response, someone else tweeted,
The blind spot in this colour-blind egalitarian vision: Lt Uhura was a miniskirted receptionist.
Then someone tweeted the link to a post where I shared this bit from BBC Online - Cult - Star Trek - Nichelle Nichols:
How did you feel about your costume. It was very revealing.
So? I was wearing them on the street. What's wrong with wearing them in the air? I wore 'em on airplanes. It was the era of the miniskirt. Everybody wore miniskirts. It amazes me that people still make some remark about 'the revealing'. They revealed nothing. I had long black stockings on and boots up to my knees and the skirts and panties on and a skirt that gave you freedom to move in, - so what? It amazes me because everything is more revealing today on the street than those costumes.
I then tweeted to the person who had called Uhura a "miniskirted receptionist",
Martin Luther King was her fan:
Star Trek's Uhura Reflects On MLK Encounter : NPR
Are you slut-shaming her for liking a costume that was common at the time?

Apologies if my previous tweet seemed harsh. But '60s miniskirts were seen as liberating.

Many '60s feminists loved miniskirts because they rejected 1950s puritanism.

Here's Angela Davis, who I hope you recognize, in a mini-skirt.

The discussion seems to have ended there. But if you want a picture of another famous feminist in a miniskirt, visit Power Clothes: The Unabashedly Feminist History of the Miniskirt, which has an illustration for this:
...women like Gloria Steinem continued to hold on to the idea that the miniskirt was a transgressive act, wearing them to rallies and speeches, proving that you can be strong and wear feminine clothing at once.
ETA:


ETA 2: The slut-shamer replied:
I see that you, too, haven't quite grasped my point. Never mind, dear.
I tweeted back:
Your point is that historical context doesn't matter.

But what's possible today is due to what was accomplished in the past.