This is what happens when political resistance goes digital

By: Imani J. Jackson

To many millennials’ chagrin and not of our own doing, American capitalism continues to operate despite its negative impact on Black and Brown communities. Confronted with this economic system and sustained government violence against Black and Brown people, activists are increasingly combining traditional civil rights tactics, like protests and economic boycotts, with digital resistance.

How many more brutal police videos do we need until we take police abolition seriously?

I grew up in Oakland, California in the nineties and have been arrested and harassed by police more times in my life than I can count.

I have been one of the people running away when we heard the call, “5-0! 5-0!” signalling that, no matter what we were doing – lawful or otherwise – it was time to disperse because the police were coming. I have never needed videos showing other Black people being terrorized across the country to understand intimately the consequences of the State’s hypervigilant criminalizing of Black folx in Black ‘hoods. Frankly, I am confused why anyone, at this point, still does.

Trump Adviser wants President Obama ‘dead of mad cow disease’, Michelle Obama to ‘return to being a male’

**This post references extremely graphic materials which may be triggering. Topics: racism, sexism, death, bestiality, misgendering**

 

To say that the language coming out of the Donald Trump campaign this election season has been obscene, racist, and sexist is an understatement. It has reached every depth of disgusting that political language could possibly reach (*cough* “p-ssy grab” *cough*). Even Trump’s surrogates have taken up the language of their leader.

Carl Paladino, President-elect Trump’s New York co-chair and ex-Republican candidate for NY Governor, recently suggested Michelle Obama was actually a man who should live in Africa with gorillas and that he would like President Obama to die of mad cow disease after Valerie Jarrett dies of decapitation.

I’m not making this up.

Leslie Mac’s Facebook Ban Is The Latest Development In Racially Biased Censorship

Yesterday morning, activist, creator and co-founder of Safety Pin Box Leslie Mac found her Facebook account temporarily suspended after writing the following post:

The post appears to be related to the Adam Saleh/Delta Airlines controversy. Mac took to Twitter to express her frustration, explaining to her followers that the post was likely flagged after actor Matt McGorry shared it on his profile–which apparently offended many of his white followers.

Her tweets were widely shared—over 1600 retweets—and shortly after, Facebook issued this apology:

Image via Twitter

It seems like a simple mistake, however this seems to be a common occurrence for activists who share their thoughts on Facebook, particularly those of color.

In September, New York Daily News writer Shaun King was blocked from accessing his account after posting a screenshot of a racist email sent to him. Facebook called that a ‘mistake’ too. Earlier in the year, Facebook deactivated Korryn Gaines’ profile upon request from the Baltimore Police Department—right before they shot and killed her.

All the while, posts containing racist language (and some threats) are routinely ignored by Facebook’s seemingly overzealous ‘community standards’ monitor. It would be quick and easy to place this blame solely on Zuckerberg et al (although they should start taking responsibility.)

However, all of these incidents are reflective of a much bigger problem: a cultural norm in which speech censorship targets people of color while protecting the speech that antagonizes them. Two decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled speech laws aimed at banning racial antagonism, like, for example burning crosses, unconstitutional in the landmark case R.A.V. vs. City of St. Paul.

And who can forget COINTELPRO, a covert program run by the FBI that tracked Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., and Black Panther Party members like Huey Newton?

Even now, more and more Black Americans are finding themselves behind bars after being charged with “contempt of cop”—Ferguson PD’s way of punishing those who talk back to them during traffic stops, or record their encounters with smartphones.

American society only tolerates speech expressed by people of color so long as it does not upset the status quo, which is ironic, since the whole notion behind the passing of the First Amendment revolves around was to ensure that individuals who wanted to speak out against injustices could do so without fear of government persecution.
What happened to the likes of Mac, King and Gaines is terribly frustrating, but it is as American as apple pie, and highly likely to continue occurring.

Get to know Black Youth Project’s staff this holiday season

I am blessed enough to work with a staff of young writers who inspire me every single day. They are graduate students, community activists, educators, and content producers who make my job as Managing Editor that much easier. So, I wanted to take some time to spotlight them and give you a chance to get to know them a little better.

Liz Adetiba (Contributing Writer), Jordie Davies (Assistant Editor), Alyx Goodwin (Contributing Writer), Akudo Mez (Social Media Coordinator), and Keith Reid-Cleveland (News Editor) are the core voices of Black Youth Project. I got the chance to ask them a few questions about their thoughts as we move out of 2016 and into 2017. Here are their responses:

Why ‘Taking the High Road’ Won’t Save Us and Maybe a Little Shade Will

By Jasmine Banks

“Taking the high road” is a myth and a distraction from revolution. It wasn’t even two days after the United States of America established Donald Trump as president that calls to “take the high road” started. The calls came from white folks who did and didn’t vote for Trump and Black folks who were seemingly embarrassed that the nation, yet again, held a referendum on Black folks and their humanity and confirmed that they could not vote for our wellbeing.

In fact, the ‘high road’ is covertly coded language that leads Black folks to believe that if they act in a way that others deem respectable, that we can elevate ourselves above our own oppression. Taking the high road applies pressure on the victims of oppression to modify their anger and rage in order to package their experiences and reactions for consumption and judgment. The fact is: how Black folks choose to express themselves should never be a measurement of their worthiness to live lives free of harm and domination.

It matters that Emory University is offering a course on ‘The Power of Black Self-Love’

I was one of those people who didn’t have the vocabulary or knowledge to understand my complex racial, gender, and sexual experiences until I was already in my (late) twenties. And my predominantly white college was the last place that I was going to figure any of that out.

In college, I fumbled through figuring out I was bisexual. I trudged through understanding how to love myself after I was sexually assaulted in high school. I even took years to figure out how the intersections of my identities made me predisposed to certain type of discrimination, harm, and violence. So, when I heard that Emory University was offering a course on “The Power of Black Self-Love,” it resonated with me so deeply.

Muslim Man Claims Delta Airlines Kicked Him Off Flight After Speaking Arabic [VIDEO]

It looks like it doesn’t take a lot to scare airline passengers, as a Muslim man was kicked off of a flight after allegedly speaking Arabic on the phone to his mother and making them “uncomfortable.”

Adam Saleh, who is actually a YouTube star with over 2 million subscribers, was on a Delta Airlines flight to New York City early Wednesday morning, according to Fusion. Saleh claims that after being asked by a flight attendant to lower his voice during the call, he was asked to step off of the plane. That’s when he began to livestream his experience. 

Kentucky Shopper Yells ‘Go Back Where You Came From’ In Racist Tirade

Combining the stress of shopping during the holiday season with the newfound freedom of racism in the U.S. and you’ve got all you need for the latest accumulation of angry shoppers being caught on video in the middle of racist tirades.

The latest features a woman in Louisville, Kentucky verbally attacking two Hispanic women who were ahead of her in line, according to Raw Story.

Black Lives Matter, Taiwan’s ‘228 Incident,’ and the Transnational Struggle For Liberation

By: Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein

Someone was selling cigarettes illegally. The State didn’t need the money, but it did want to be in control of how everyday citizens made money. When the authorities showed up, the enforcers could have let the sale of contraband cigarettes go, but they didn’t. Instead, they used force and the cigarette seller ended up on the ground. Not long after, a man was dead.

On first thought, this sounds like it’s just the story of Eric Garner’s death on July 17, 2014 in New York City, USA.

But Eric Garner’s story resonates across the continents and the decades. The story above could have been describing not his death but instead an incident that occurred decades earlier in another hemisphere, with the death of an unnamed man in a crowd that gathered when the cigarette seller was attacked by police on February 27, 1947 in Taipei, Taiwan.