THIS WEEK IN WHITENESS: Shaken Bottles (1-04-12)
1 April, 2012
Although gags abound in celebration of April Fool’s day, the compilation of headlines today are no laughing matter.
Before we start, we’d like to highlight a headline from last week:
Last week in whiteness, Canada’s Supreme Court took a surprising but excellent turn for the better when it solidified legislation that would work in favor of indigenous Canadian Indians facing convictions. Judge Louis LeBel was quoted as saying:
“When sentencing an aboriginal offender, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and, of course, higher levels of incarceration for aboriginal peoples,” he said.
And now for this week’s news:
Rick Santorum and the Government Negotiator
During a recorded event in Janesville, Wisconsin, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum stopped himself from calling President Barack Obama a “nigger” during his speech, which is available here. “It has been suggested he was trying to say “-nik”, as in peacenik or beatnik,” the Guardian's Paul Harris writes. “That is possible. Or perhaps, it was some non-specific verbal tic: a random vowel-consonent flub.”
Here, Santorum has previous form. In Iowa, he stumbled when discussing conservative opposition to welfare programmes:
"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
In the face of later outrage at singling out black Americans, he insisted that he had not said “black”, but instead vocalised “bleugh”, as his mind became confused over his own train of thought. Full article available here.
We at This Week in Whiteness have always believed that Santorum’s rather frothy brand of racism would eventually slip out in a blatant way.
Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin Continues
To add to the many problematic elements surrounding the open case of Trayvon Martin, the Sanford Police Department released video footage from George Zimmerman’s visit to the police station shortly after murdering Trayvon Martin. While Zimmerman’s lawyer claimed that Martin had broken Zimmerman’s nose, the footage shows that Zimmerman was not bloodied, nor showed any signs of injury. ABC reported gaining access to the footage on Wednesday.
There is, unfortunately, more. A white supremacist recently hacked into Trayvon Martin’s email and social media accounts in an attempt to prove that Trayvon Martin was a thug, and was seen gloating about doing so on 4Chan. Gawker’s Adrian Chen reports:
A screenshot of Trayvon’s Gmail inbox our source provided us is heartbreaking. Martin apparently used his Gmail account for his college search, and it’s filled with emails about upcoming SAT tests and scholarship applications. (“Trayvon, now is the best time to take the SATs!”) One email included the results of a career aptitude test, our source said. It “talked about his interest in aeronautics and stuff.”
The Huffington Post has more details available here.
Update: Chicago Residents Demand Justice for Rekia Boyd
On Tuesday, Chicago residents held a rally demanding justice for Rekia Boyd, the young woman who was killed by an off-duty cop while socializing with friends near Douglas Park. The Black Youth Project reports:
Around 1 am last Wednesday, an off-duty officer approached a group of people in his car and asked that they quiet down. One of the individuals, 39 year-old Anthony Cross, approached the officer. Thinking he was holding a gun, the officer open-fired, striking Cross in the hand and (inadvertently) RekiaBoyd in the head. Rekia died later that afternoon. Full article available here.
About 200 protesters gathered in front of the officer’s home. For footage, visit The Huffington Post’s recap of the event.
Liar, Liar, Comic on Fire
Amid a flurry of criticisms,the University of Texas (Austin)’s school newspaper pulled an incendiary comic that suggested murdered teenager Trayvon Martin’s innocence was a lie. The image, drawn by now former employee Stephanie Eisner, appeared in theTexan’s Opinion section on Tuesday. By Wednesday evening, the newspaper issued multiple statements, including one from the cartoonist herself:
“I apologize for what was in hindsight an ambiguous cartoon related to the Trayvon Martin shooting. I intended to contribute thoughtful commentary on the media coverage of the incident, however this goal fell flat. I would like to make it explicitly clear that I am not a racist, and that I am personally appalled by the killing of Trayvon Martin. I regret any pain the wording or message of my cartoon may have caused.”
The cartoon and several updates are available here at The Daily Post.
Black Parents Murdered For Asking Man Not to Shoot
Raeford, NC resident John Oliver Hill, Jr. was shooting his gun outside and near the home of Thalia Rebecca Mook and Tommy Brown this past weekend. Brown had been outside with his and Mook’s children when Brown asked Hill to stop firing his gun, expressing concern for the children in the area. Hill responded by shooting Brown in the head, then Thalia Mook when she came outside. Their three children were present for the shooting. Extra details are available at ABC.
Black College Student Killed By Cops
In yet another case of “we thought his wallet was a gun,” young college student Kendrec McDade was killed by police officers after Pasadena, CA resident Oscar Carillo called 911 reporting being robbed at gunpoint by two Black teens. The police stated that they were set in looking for someone with McDade’s description and, after cornering him, shot him multiple times from their patrol vehicle as he reached for his waistband. He was unarmed, and no stolen goods were in his possession. For more info on the case, check out this article at the Pasadena Star News.
White Woman Stands Her Ground, Attacks Black Teenager
We will offer two accounts of what happened without comment:
We at This Week in Whiteness want to take a moment to reflect upon whiteness and the concept of belonging. All of these events have occurred because a person of color was somewhere they didn’t “belong,” even in their own neighborhoods. While history books will help one conclude that people are willing to defend their spaces to the death - of themselves, but preferably others - what does that say about white spaces in the 21st century? And what happens when white spaces expand to include almost ever pocket of the country?
The answer is that we have an open season on people of color - and while POC have always been under attack, those who aim and fire feel significantly more comfortable acting violently in broad daylight. Trayvon Martin’s death has triggered the shaking of a bottle of emotions. What will become of us, then, when the cork pops from the pressure?
This Week in Whiteness