You know how important it is to be safe, right? With so many U. S. states enacting laws to permit guns on college campuses, folks might consider body armor…and why not body armor with a little school spirit? “Protect your student body!” Body armor emblazoned with the names of state universities of states promoting campus carry laws. What could be cooler? StudentBodyArmor.com.
Category Archives: Politics
I don’t know, but people are saying, people are talking about Trump these days…they are talking about him—Donald Trump—a lot, and these are people who know a thing or two, even his pals at Fox News,…they are talking about how he’s just, you know, I don’t know, playing the media. Even the Rush-kin said it, way back in December of 2015, saying that he was going to explain “how it is that Donald Trump owns the media.”
So, do you wonder if his campaign isn’t really about public policy, but more about airtime, clicks, audience? Do you think, maybe, he figures he wins if he loses and he wins if he wins? Laughing all the way to the bank?
On this date in 1939, Samuel Wilbert Tucker and six collaborators staged what has got to be one of the cleverest civil rights sit-ins of all time. One by one, William Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange went to the circulation desk at the Alexandria (VA, US) Public Library and requested library cards. As each was refused a card to use the library his taxes supported, he quietly went to the stacks, selected a book, sat at a table, and began to read it. Then the next followed with the same request, result, and action.
S. J. Ackerman’s 2000 account, published as “Samuel Wilbert Tucker: The Unsung Hero of the School Desegregation Movement” in Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, begins with the priceless description of these events shown at the right. Eventually, of course, library managers and city officials summoned the police. Meanwhile, according to story, Robert Strange (the sixth collaborator) raced to Mr. Tucker’s nearby law office and alterted him about how the events were occuring.
Inside the library, the police arrested the miscreant readers and led them outside. When they emerged from the library, the officers and five collaborators found 300 spectators, according to Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Tucker’s ploy had worked spectactularly on the ground, though it didn’t generate as much press as one might have hoped. According to Mr. Ackerman’s account, “The media paid scant attention to the episode. Preoccupied with the Hitler-Stalin pact, disclosed that same day, the Washington Star missed the story. The Post reported that ‘five colored youths’ had staged a ‘sit-down strike.’ The Times Herald and the African-American Washington Tribune used similar terminology.”
Even if it didn’t make a big splash, the 1939 sit-down strike in a public library sounds like an early incident in something pretty important. Civil rights. Non-violence. Rule of law. Access to public services. The list could go on and on….
There are sequels to this story: Mr. Tucker was later offered a library card for a “colored library,” and he refused it. He later co-founded an eminent law firm in Richmond (VA, US) and argued important civil rights cases, many before the US Supreme Court (including Green v. County School Board of New Kent County). He served for many years as the representative of Virginia’s NAACP. And very much more.
So what happens if you’re Black and you have a police encounter and, lucky you, you don’t get killed? You just get stopped, detained, arrested….
Writing for Slate, Andrew Kahn and Chris Kirk explain “What It’s Like to Be Black in the Criminal Justice System.” They provide graphics illustrating statistical differences in how Black, White, and other non-Black AMERICANS (yes, I’m shouting) are treated in our American criminal justice system. It’ll only take a couple of minutes to read.
As Mr. Kahn and Mr. Kirk show, these days we don’t need John Griffin to expose how that old racism is lurking about in our society. We simply have to look at the data. Of course, some people will likely try to argue away the data and Mr. Griffin’s Black Like Me case study, but their arguments won’t actually hide contemporary racism, let alone mitigate it.
At the end of Mr. Kahn’s and Mr. Kirk’s article, if you have the strength, you can watch a video interview that Slate has been running during the last week of July and the first week of August 2015 (as I recall). It features a drive around Baltimore featuring an interview with Michael Wood, Jr., a former Baltimore (MD, US) police officer who has spoken out about problems with police training in urban environments. It’s about 12 minutes long, but it’s pretty informative. Mr. Wood explains why, he thinks, urban police officers are essentially trained to respond improperly to Black citizens.
If you’re an unarmed citizen and you have a police encounter, your chances of being killed by police depend on your ethnic group
As of 8 August 2015, police officers in the US have shot and killed 585 people during 2015, according to reporters Sandhya Somashekhar, Wesley Lowery, Keith L. Alexander, Kimberly Kindy of the Washington Post. In just over 90% of those cases, the police killed armed citizens, but in 24 of the 60 cases where they killed unarmed citizens, those citizens were black.
So far this year, 24 unarmed black men have been shot and killed by police – one every nine days, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings. During a single two-week period in April, three unarmed black men were shot and killed. All three shootings were either captured on video or, in one case, broadcast live on local TV.
Those 24 cases constitute a surprisingly small fraction of the 585 people shot and killed by police through Friday evening, according to The Post database. Most of those killed were white or Hispanic, and the vast majority of victims of all races were armed.
However, black men accounted for 40 percent of the 60 unarmed deaths, even though they make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population. The Post’s analysis shows that black men were seven times more likely than white men to die by police gunfire while unarmed.
Writing under various headlines— “Black and unarmed: One year after Michael Brown’s shooting death” or “Police gunfire: Unarmed black men: 7 times more likely to die than whites ”—that point to the same story, Ms. Somashekhar and colleagues present a thorough examination of the data they have assembled (and made public). There are compelling personal accounts and thoughtful analyses.
I used their data to create the graph shown here. (Please note that my quick extraction has slightly different counts than those they report, likely because a combination of different counting rules and weaknesses in my technical skills.) The data set is available on GitHub, so others can analyze them; the data set will also change as more incidents are added to it.
In Racism is Real, Brave New Films illustrates just a few areas where bias lurks for people of different ethnic backgrounds. In what, to many white people, are everyday life events, actors illustrate different experiences documented in research studies. Go ahead a watch it now. It’s brief—only about as long as a TV break.
Perhaps you saw it in the spring of 2015 when it was first airing. At that time, the film got some coverage from the press. For example, Ana Swanson of the Washington (DC, US) Post suggested
[I]f you have any doubts about whether racism still exists in America, this 3-minute video from Brave New Films, a California-based company that makes films to spur political activism, might clear them up. The video counts down eight reasons that racism is still very real in America, using research from Yale University, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New England Journal of Medicine, among others.
|Ave. Number Killed per US state per 100,000||White||Black|
Now, please add one more statistic. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported the number of deaths due to firearms per 100,000 population by race or ethnicity for the year 2013. Guessing that these numbers haven’t changed much in the last couple of years, I took a look at them. Some states did not report numbers because there were not sufficient data or because reporting the data would identify specific individuals. To get an idea of the difference by white and black groups, I eliminated the states where there were not per 100,000 rates for one or the other group. Then I simply tool the mean (and standard deviation) for the remaining 34 states. Those are the data you see in the table.
I may be a bit late to the dance, but I still want to admire the provo-like action of Kansas University student Chloe Hough. According to a story by Rochelle Valverde in the Lawrence (KS, US) Journal-World, while working as a waitron in a local restaurant, Ms. Hough served Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on 2 May 2015; Gov. Brownback has been leading an effort to make substantial reductions in Kansas state spending, including on education, on the argument that lowering government costs and reducing taxes will spur substantial growth in business, industry, and jobs. When Ms. Hough presented the governor with the check, she annotated the check with a personalized message. You can see an image of the check and get the full story in the LJ-W‘s version of Ms. Valverde’s story.