Who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence? She’s the modern-day Joan of Arc who calls out Hollywood and its sexist pay structures while still headlining some of the biggest films of the year. Well, Chris Rock, like many people of color doesn’t believe Lawrence is the great light for equality. Rather, he suggests that her focus on pay differences for women misses how race also plays a factor.
A lot of folks struggle with the idea that systemic racism actually exists. This video from Brave New Films details why this confusion is completely unfounded.
Black folks still struggle to get employment even with the same qualifications as Whites. Black folks are still preyed upon by private businesses and loan officers. And, sadly, Black people are still targeted for petty crimes like marijuana possession at much higher rates than Whites?
This film simply asks: If this isn’t racism, what is?
It is often assumed that, since White folks are a majority in this country, the key to ending racism is just making them happy or “listening” to them. Sadly, this has never worked. And, the suggestion that President Obama should waste his time on an angry White people “listening tour” is both ignorant and racist.
The fate of affirmative action currently lays in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court following Wednesday’s oral arguments on whether 25-year-old Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas because of her race.
Social movements over the years have taught us that politeness and respectabiility rarely result in lasting social change. When 15-year-old Claudette Colvin first resisted public bus segregation in Alabama on March 2, 1955, she did so knowing that she’d be classified as unruly, dangerous, and a threat to the very fabric of American society. Nine months later, when Rosa Parks did the same, it was groundswell effect of women like Colvin’s actions which helped to shift the public’s attention to the nonviolent but very disruptive actions of Blacks in Montgomery, Alabama. But these women, their fellow organizers and their tactics weren’t polite. So, why is anyone demanding politeness from young Black organizers today?
In the days following the June 17th massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, at least six predominantly and historically Black churches were set ablaze. It has only been a few days since the last Black church in the South was burned. Sadly, the brief reprieve from church burnings inspires both relief and foreboding as one has to wonder if the trend will resume in the coming weeks. Given that there has been little to no coverage from mainstream media outlets, many on social media have asked: Who is burning Black churches? Unfortunately, this is a question we may never see answered. Here is what we do know right now:
1. The first church burned was College Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. The church was determined to have been attacked by arsonists just four days after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. However, investigators believe it was not a hate crime because there were no signs left behind indcating that the church was targeted for hate.
2. The second church fire was at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia on June 23rd. Like the first fire, this event was determined to be an act of arson yet officials chose not to comment on why exactly the fire was set.
3. Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina was the third Black church to catch fire in the days following the Emanuel AME massacre. Investigators revisited this case after several other church fires denoted a pattern. They have not yet determined if this incident on June 24th was a hate crime.
4. On June 26th, nine days following the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina was set on fire in the wee hours of the morning. After originally suggesting the fire might have been caused by an electrical problem, further investigations of the cause of the fire were inconclusive.
5. Also on June 26th, Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee, Florida was burned down. State officials determined that this event was an accident rather than an act of arson.
6. The last church (we know of) which has burned in the last two weeks is Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina. The fire, which happened on June 30th, has been attributed to lightning. Officials have specifically stated that there was “no criminal intent” involved in this incident.
While fire investigators and officials have determined several of these church burnings to be accidental and non-criminal in nature, many people looking on struggle to see how these events could possibly be disconnected. Given this country’s long history of racism and intimidation from hate groups like the KKK, it seems odd that there would be any question as to who is behind the burning of Black churches in the South. Some congregants and pastors of Black churches have spoken out concerned that this issue has not been addressed in a more material way by mainstream news outlets.
These are all of the documented cases of Black churches burnings as of July 5th. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Photo Credit: CLAREDON COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT VIA TWITTER
Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.
Michael B. Jordan has a few words for the racist trolls upset that he will be portraying Johnny Storm in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” film.
From Entertainment Weekly:
You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”
It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?
Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.
This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.
To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.
Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images/IMDB
By Jay Dodd
Earlier this week, Arrogant Internet White Man #456 or Chuck C. Johnson used Twitter to fundraise a “taking out” of community organizer and movement curator Deray McKesson. The threat spread quick and many mobilized to hold Twitter accountable for allowing such threats. While Black Twitter was critical in the quick response, McKesson’s high profile status signaled a larger issue around threats and harassment on the platform.
In the days following, news broke that Twitter permanently suspended Johnson from the site and many rejoiced. Johnson, however, is allegedly trying to sue stating, “Twitter doesn’t seem to have a problem with people using their service to coordinate riots, but they do have a problem with the kind of journalism I do.”
This case study in Arrogant White Man self-victimization is commonplace from academia to entertainment and seems to have found a complex home online. While Black folk experience threat and harassment in a variety of forms online, social media, Twitter especially, has provided a critical space for folks to claim identity and combat erasure. These are seemingly new tactics in Black survival and socio-cultural resistance; keeping up with the modernization of White terror.
We are undoubtedly not living the world of our parents or grandparents’ racism. As technology, wealth, and power continued to shift, strategies of systemic or covert racism has become standard. Erasure and silencing now gag the throats of Black resistance and scholarship. Overt actions of racism, like lynching and fire bombing are easier to shame but those, too, are still happening. The false outcry of many (white) millennials is that we are living in a “post race” utopia with President Obama as a beacon of that cultural shift. However, consider his welcome to Twitter.
Red-blooded American spoke to the President of the United States with the most vitriolic racism. Whatever you want to say about patriotism, or the lack of surprise, consider how quickly American pride is proven as a fallacy. Any reverence that POTUS would be afforded is lost because of his Blackness. Not only is there the disrespect of alleged nationalism, but with the prevalence of threats and harassment on Twitter, are these trolls unbothered by potential repercussions. (by the way, threatening the president of the United States is a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.) Only racism’s arrogance can reveal such disparities in cultural codes or standards.
While technology and social media a multitude of ways to communicate and build, technology does not undo or minimize intergenerational racism. New media has unfortunately also meant a lack of ethics, accountability and safety for many Black folks online. There have been concerted efforts to defame, silence, and threaten Black/Indigenous (Trans) Women online. Government and news organizations vulture social media to co-opt/disable resistance movements.
While Black folk have truly begun mastering the digital landscape as a new world for us to connect through, we (unfortunately) are still vulnerable to White threat. It is on us to build our digital literacy and demand safety for our voices and narratives.
Photo: Jay Dodd/Twitter
Jay Dodd is a writer and performance artist based in Boston, originally from Los Angeles. After recently graduating Tufts University, Jay has organized vigils and protests locally for Black Lives Matter: Boston. When not in the streets, Jay has contributed to Huffington Post and is currently a contributing writer for VSNotebook.com, based in London. Jay Dodd is active on social media celebrating Blackness, interrogating masculinity, and complicating queerness. His poetic and performance work speaks to queer Black masculinity and afrofuturism.
There are still people, who, despite reality, refuse to accept that racism is pervasive. These people are exhausting and they include everyone from government officials, to your Facebook friends. If you’re tired of explaining that racism isn’t over, this video is here to help. Watch the video below: