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Killer Mike Says It Best…

June 26, 2020

“Plot, Plan, Strategize, Organize, Mobilize,” Killer Mike 

On May 25, 2020 George Floyd was murdered by four policeman. You can watch a video tape on online of the final nine minutes of his life. You can read the New York Times reconstruction of the murder here. 

Because this killing happened in my home town I feel the need to express my sadness and sympathy for George Floyd’s family. No one should have to live through this, yet black families repeatedly have to experience this type of horrific loss.  

I don’t write a lot about current events on the my blog. I am an old white woman. That I live a life of white privilege was first brought home to me as a third culture kid living in the Philippines with my ex-pat parents. Knowledge hasn’t always led to efficient or productive action.

I’ve Been Listening To:

I first saw Killer Mike on “Real Time with Bill Mahr” speaking eloquently against gun control and his need to have a gun.

He had this to say after the murder of George Floyd. 

In his July 6, 2020 episode of Patriot Act Hasan Minjah spoke about not being silent and the Asian American community.  This is really for everyone regardless of one’s race. Minjah has practical actions you can take right now, including suggestions for money donations to The National Bail Fund Network (Bail for Protestors), Campaign Zero (solutions to end police violence), and Know Your Rights Camp (Education for Black Youth and Legal Defense Fund).

I hope this is a moment of real change, but we need to go forward, fully aware of the sobering history of the aftermath of protests for racial equality in the US. For a timely primer read “The History of the ‘Riot’ Report” by Jill Lepore in the June 22, 2020 issue of The New Yorker. Her article reminds us how we often seem poised for change, and yet no change happens. 

John Oliver in his show “Last Week Tonight” provides a good place to start to find out about issues in digestible chunks that will help you see forward to action. On June 21 his talked about Coronavirus in US prisons and jails. That episode points out just one more reason to donate to the National Bail Fund. We should not forget that citizens are risking their lives by protesting at this time. And we should remember that because of systemic injustice minorities disproportionately make up the prison and jail populations.

Jane Elliott is an educator who has been fighting racism for decades. You can see an interview with her here as a start.

Many people are pointing out the need to register to vote. If you have concerns about standing in line during the pandemic to vote now is the time to look up how to vote by mail in your state. Reports that mail-in votes are a haven for voter fraud are proven false by the facts.

The following three books keep being recommended and brought up in conversations and in news interviews:

How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo (You can see her speaking on this topic here.)

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin J. DiAngelo

I would like to add it’s more important now than ever to read 

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder

I Turn To Comedy and Satire

I find that in times of social strife I look to stand-up comics and satirists to help me form my thoughts. Reminding the powerful of their ridiculousness can, if done well, also win over other hearts and minds.

I’ve been a regular viewer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I believe what he does is a public service and he’s the only reason I get calm enough to get any sleep since Trump was elected. Since the murder of George Floyd the other late night hosts have been having more minority guests. Something I hope continues. We need more voices in the public debate working for positive change.

Meanwhile, at Home…

A neighbor has put up a sign in his yard, “Things will be good again.”

I think he’s well-meaning. He believes when the pandemic is solved and the protests end we’ll go back to his idea of a civil society where everyone goes off to jobs in the morning, and all smile as we pass in the street.

But the reality is that for many people things have never been good, not in the sense of equal, comfortable, or safe. 

    • Margaret Gammell
    • June 26, 2020
    Reply

    Great commentary Roz. Thank you for posting the resources too.

    • Barbara Obergfell
    • June 26, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you Roz.

    • Gail Hight
    • June 26, 2020
    Reply

    Well said, Roz. Thanks for sharing Killer Mike’s speech, and all of the recommendations for reading.

    • george mellen
    • June 26, 2020
    Reply

    Thanks for this, Roz.

    • Rachel Kopel
    • June 29, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you. Robin DiAngelo has a good distillation of her message on YouTube, Seattle Library, June 28, 2018.
    I also recommend Waking Up White, Debby Irving. Very
    relevant to middle class white background and important information about such things as what the GI Bill did for white families that it didn’t do for black families. Yes, the Jill Lepore article was a very sad warning. Thank you.

    1. Reply

      Thank you for the heads up Rachel. I saw Robin DiAngelo talking on a news show just before the post which is why I included it and have it on order (because it is sold out). But I enjoyed hearing her talk so I’ll check out the source you mention. ANd I’ll look out for Irving’s book. I just saw a discussion of the GI Bill and how it didn’t help returning black GIs somewhere. In Minneapolis we also had the main freeway put through the center of the black community, splitting it into fractured bits; and redlining, which I didn’t know about until the Hennepin Historical Society did an exhibit on it in I think 2018. There is a short discussion of some of these issues in this blog post https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-08/mapping-the-segregation-of-minneapolis

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