John Oliver Uses Puppets To Explain US Prison System Is ‘A Lot Racist’ (VIDEO) [#quickhit: video]

Class vs. Race how the liberal elite just don’t get it [#quickhit: link]

Black Caribbean pupils are still four times as likely to be permanently excluded from school as White British pupils. There is still a culture of teachers having lower expectations of black children relative to their white or Asian counterparts. At the heart of racism is ignorance and fear, this is what is behind teacher’s expectations of young black people.

A must, must, must read. I’m not surprised that Radio 4′s Today presenters do not understand the implications of race (they are notorious for failing to understand anything that is not related to their white, middle class experience) but the prevalence of this view (and the idea that “we don’t see colour” any more) is more troubling.

As I was listening to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, I found myself gritting my teeth in frustration. The subject of black children and their aspirations was being discussed following recent research by Newsnight which shows that 21% of black children feel their skin colour would make it harder to succeed compared with 2% of white children.  Shockingly(!) the white male presenter could not understand the impact of racism, even at such an early age, on young black children’s aspirations.

What the presenter on Today could not fathom was that race could be a critical determinant. He suggested that poor white children face the same issues in terms of aspirations and life chances. There can be no question that poverty has huge impact on life chances. Poverty can be a vicious cycle which feeds into greater levels of exclusion. Children growing up in poverty are more likely to experience food poverty which has a knock-on impact on their ability to perform well in school. Statistics indicate that in the UK, by 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers which impact their earning potential over the course of their lives.

Rest: Media Diversified.

Sexists and racists are resorting to online sabotage. But they still won’t win

On This week, sexist and racist trolls have borrowed the tactics of the CIA and Scotland Yard and sent in agents provocateurs to spread disharmony among online activists. Using stock photos and the stolen information of real activists, users of sites such as 4chan started hashtags including #Endfathersday and #whitescantberaped that are deliberately designed to provoke sections of the social justice left into internal arguments.

Most of these trolls have posed as women of colour, whom they call “black bitches”. Other users have falsified racist tweets from prominent feminists and leftists, and created sock-puppet accounts to make sure the fake tweets are seen and condemned. Users including Shafiqah Hudson picked up on the scam, and identified at least 200 such accounts. Someone has gone to considerable effort to pull off a swindle intended to exploit the “weaknesses” of a movement that, despite a tendency to turn on itself, is growing in strength.


One third of Britons ‘admit being racially prejudiced’ [#quickhit: image]

One third of Britons 'admit being racially prejudiced'

One third of Britons ‘admit being racially prejudiced’

So the percentage of people who admit to being “somewhat” racist hasn’t changed hugely in 30 years (but that’s a fascinating finding in itself – so much for multiculturalism, etc.). Still, though, if you’re looking for quick explanations, 30% goes some way to explaining UKIP’s recent sweeps in the elections.

From the BBC:

Nearly a third of people in Britain admit being racially prejudiced, research has suggested. Social research organisation NatCen said the proportion had increased since the start of the century, returning to the level of 30 years ago. Its British Social Attitudes survey found 30% of more than 2,000 people polled described themselves as either “very” or “a little” race prejudiced.

NatCen chief executive Penny Young said the findings were “troubling”. The survey revealed that prejudice had risen since an all-time low of 25% of people in 2001. It also found wide variations currently across the country: 16% of people in inner London admitted to prejudice but the figure was 35% in the West Midlands. Older men in manual jobs were the most likely to say they were prejudiced, but the group recording the biggest rise was educated male professionals. Levels of racial prejudice increased with age, at 25% for 17- to 34-year-olds compared with 36% for over-55s. Education had an impact with 19% of those with a degree and 38% of those with no qualifications reporting racial prejudice. [Rest.]

Why is there such a culture of misinformation surrounding the case of Nigeria’s kidnapped girls?


The day after the abduction, the military claimed to have rescued the majority of the girls. It later transpired that they had done no such thing, but that 40 girls had – without any support from the authorities – managed to escape. Rumours are now starting to emerge that the girls may have been smuggled into Cameroon and sold for less than £10 each into forced marriages with militants.

Even in the west, we know that black lives are not valued, and black female lives even less so. We saw this in the stark contrast between media coverage of the racist murders of Renisha McBride and Trayvon Martin last year. The subsequent outrage at this, where it existed, seemed to be concentrated among black women, and to take place online, outside the traditional halls of power.

Similarly the reaction to the Nigerian tragedy is happening largely on Twitter, and seems to be concentrated among Nigerians, other Africans, and members of the African diaspora. Nigerians are demanding that the government, and the world, take the issue seriously.

On New Statesman.

This is the US criminal justice system

Rich white man gets no jail time for raping three year old. Meanwhile, they’re now seeking 60 years for Marissa Anderson’s warning shot in self-defence.

On Feminist Philosophers.

Disgusting and distressing.

More on the first story from feministing:

I can’t really imagine a story that more perfectly illustrates how totally broken the criminal “justice” system in the US is.

Robert H. Richards IV, a rich unemployed heir to a chemical baron fortune who lives off his trust fund, was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter. He also allegedly admitted to abusing his toddler son. But a Delaware state Superior Court judge decided that he “will not fare well” in prison, so he should get probation and treatment instead.

As a public defender in the state notes, the sentence might make the public skeptical about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.” Um, ya think?

Nobody fares well in prisons. Because they are terrible, dehumanizing places. And, while treatment is sometimes presented as an alternative to incarceration–usually in cases of drug addiction–in the vast majority of cases, the US criminal justice system does not give a flying fuck about how prison affects the incarcerated. If it did, the system would look nothing like it does today. If it did, solitary confinement would be understood to be torture and outlawed as such. If it did, prison rape would be treated like the serious epidemic it is instead of as a punchline. If it did, literally millions of black men would not be condemned to second-class citizen status for minor drug offenses. If if did, there would be no mentally ill people in our prisons. If it did–if rehabilitation was really considered the goal–the world would probably be a better and safer place.

But that’s not the world we live in. As Kendall Marlowe, executive director of the National Association for Counsel for Children, says, “Our prisons should be more rehabilitative environments, but the prison system’s inadequacies are not a justification for letting a child molester off the hook.” If we’re gonna start giving a shit about whether incarcerating people is really a productive way to address criminal behavior–which, again, I would love for us to do–I can think of way better places to start than with a one percenter who raped his daughter. [Rest.]

See also Shakesville for coverage:

Shades of the sentencing of Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old wealthy white Texas teenager who received probation after killing four people while drunk driving, because he suffers from “affluenza,” i.e. being a privileged shit who’s never held accountable for his actions.

As I said regarding that case, I agree that the worst way to deal with a lot of criminalized behavior is sending people into our terrible for-profit prison system, and I strongly believe that the US prison system needs major reforms, but “rich white cis male perpetrators get probation and therapy” does not constitute meaningful prison reform. Privileging the privileged merely entrenches existing inequities.

Further, this is a man who raped his own child. (Possibly both his children: He also stands accused of sexually abusing his infant son.) He is vanishingly less likely to benefit from treatment than a person convicted of just about any other crime. [Rest.]

The trouble with #WhiteHistoryMonth is that it is not history

Here’s John Pilger, writing as late as Friday, March 21, on on the continued theft of Aboriginal children in Australia:

… Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed-race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labour; many were abused.

Described by a chief protector of Aborigines as “breeding out the colour”, the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997 a landmark report, Bringing Them Home, disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured “the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state”. The report called this genocide.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as “reconciliation” and “Stronger Futures” cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society. When in 2008 prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the stolen generation, he added: “I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.” The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a “shrewd manoeuvre” that “cleared away a piece of political wreckage in a way that responds to some of its own supporters’ emotional needs, yet changes nothing”.

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been “removed”. This is five times the number when Bringing Them Home was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal – from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone. []

“But frankly, I am plumb tired of doing that…

But frankly, I am plumb tired of doing that. You can look it up on the internet for yourself. To enter that discussion is to jump down an endless rabbit hole of contention to which there is no bottom, in which your racial privilege and angst are the perpetual centre of gravity. There is no relationship of love in the darkness of that debate, no way to make you understand, no reason for me to stay. So let’s make a deal, WILWP. You don’t ask me to explain history’s connection to the present, and I won’t ask you to reimburse generations of poverty created by slavery and indentured servitude, head taxes, internment, and discriminatory education and employment practices. You don’t ask me when you can stop feeling guilty, and I don’t ask you when I’m going to get back those conversations I didn’t have with my grandparents because my family decided that I would have a better chance at life in Canada speaking English instead of an obscure Chinese village dialect. You don’t ask me what your place is in the “struggle for racial equality,” and I don’t tell you that you directly benefit from oppression that has resulted in my personal trauma. To borrow a phrase from the Daria theme song, “Excuse me, you’re standing on my neck.

- Dear Well-Intentioned Liberal White People

Intimate Inequality at the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter, 1960 Ed

Ed, at Gin and Tacos, made a fantastic observation about this photo of a 1960 lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, NC, protesting the exclusion of black customers.


When I first saw this picture and learned about this period in our history… I thought that racism was about believing that another race is inferior. Like most people I got (slightly) wiser with age and eventually figured out that racism is about keeping someone else beneath you on the social ladder… If you actually thought black people were dirty savages you wouldn’t eat anything they handed you. But of course it has nothing to do with that. You’re fine being served food because servility implies social inferiority. And you don’t want to sit next to them simply because it implies equality.[Rest.]

REBLOG: Free Marissa Alexander Now


Emphasis added.

Angela Corey Aims to Increase Marissa Alexander Sentence to 60 Years; Outrageous Targeting of Alexander Impacts All Women and Their Right to Self Defense.

Demonstrating a stunning abuse of power, Florida State Prosecutor, Angela Corey, announced that she aims to increase the prison sentence for Marissa Alexander from 20 to 60 years in the upcoming July 28th trial. In 2012, Alexander – an African American mother of three in Jacksonville, Florida —  was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years for firing a warning shot upwards into a wall to defend her life from her abusive estranged husband. She caused no injuries. Alexander successfully appealed the unjust trial and was granted a new trial. In November 2013, after serving nearly three years in prison, she was released on bond to home detention until her new trial.
Yet as a consequence of winning the appeal to hopefully secure a more fair trial, Alexander now faces the alarming prospect that the original devastating sentence could be tripled in the new trial.  In the upcoming trial, Corey says she intends to seek three 20 year sentences for Alexander to be served consecutively rather than concurrently, tripling the mandatory minimum to 60 years.


Contributions to the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fund can be made at Free Marissa Now can be reached at,, and on facebooktwitter, and tumblr at “freemarissanow”.
The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is an international grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, Radical Women, INCITE!, and the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander. [Rest.]

This is terrifying and unbelievable. 

REBLOG: Free Marissa Alexander Now

what is so wrong about the statement “we are all the human race”


“Since the notion that we should all forsake attachment to race and/or cultural identity and be “just humans” within the framework of white supremacy has usually meant that subordinate groups must surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and assimilate by adopting the values and beliefs of privileged-class whites, rather than promoting racial harmony this thinking has created a fierce cultural protectionism.”

― bell hookskilling rage: Ending Racism

Criminalization of black girls and women


@PrisonCulture, @profragsdale, @freemarissanow and @ChiefElk, along with many others including me shared tweets on the topic of women’s incarceration and the criminalization of girls and women, especially in incidents of abuse where survivors are treated as criminals.

My contribution focused on teen Black girls and Black women, but the conversation had much good input from many on several perspectives, which can be viewed at these hashtags: #CrimVAW#FreeMarissa, and #SaturdaySchool. Also see @prisonculture and @ChiefElk‘s tweets; the former shared important information on the history of women and incarceration; the latter on Indigenous women, abuse and the role of the State.

My Storify: The Criminalization of Black Girls and Black Women. In my tweets I discussed: how #FastTailedGirls stereotype contributes to sexual abuse, academic challenges and school-to-prison pipeline for Black girls, how the needs of Black trans girls are neglected/how punishment can be harsher for them, how racist and misogynoiristic stereotypes impact Black girls, and some information on the role of the State in criminalizing adult Black women in relation to domestic violence.

Uncomfortable Historical Truths: On White Privilege and the Movie “12 Years a Slave”

Read all of this. It’s an excellent account of the dissonance between the portrayal of slavery in 12 Years a Slave and the reality of black slavery. Includes first hand experiences. On alternet:

This is an image of a 19th century wood engraving called “Slaves in Brazil: The Terrible Torture of a Slave”, from ‘Journal des Voyages’.  It depicts a black slave being boiled alive above a huge cauldron.

The film 12 Years a Slave was a Disney version of the Maafa and the crimes against humanity visited upon black people during the centuries-long slave regime in the Americas.

No mainstream American film would dare to show the true range of white on black torture and cruelty that took place during slavery in the West because such depictions would not be believed by the general public: those deeds would be either described as “unrealistic” or diminished to the level of the “ridiculous” by the moniker “torture porn”.  Read the rest.

Sunday feminist roundup (2nd February 2014)

It’s been a busy week at work and play. Here’s the little of what I’ve been reading.

Those poor Swedish singles (dailylife). (Not sure about that title.)

- Not a word about military sexual violence in last night’s State of the Union (feministing)

- Rand Paul says there’s no War on Women because his niece is going to be a veterinarian (feministing). Ah, well then.

- It’s not just Cameron who has a woman problem, it’s the whole political system (theguardian)

- Why Page 3 is Porn and Why That’s Important by @HelenSaxby11 (aroomofourown)

- “That can’t be sexual assault because it’s normal” (iblamethepatriarchy)

- On ‘toxic Twitter feminism’ and being called out (thefword)

- The challenge of achieving a gender-balanced boardroom (theguardian)

- Celebrity abusers, rape culture and Jim Davidson (sianandcrookedrib)

- I Complained to Channel 5 About Celebrity Big Brother’s Sexism, Here’s What They Said (vagendamag)

- 7 Commenters You’ll Meet as an Online Feminist (everydayfeminism)

- Do men control the key student societies at university? (theguardian)

- The lack of British women in comedy: where is the UK’s answer to Girls? (newstatesman)

- The politics of black hair (newstatesman)

Sunday feminist roundup (26th January 2014)

The one before finally, some great pieces on Feminist Times this week (I only just worked out how to get its RSS):

Finally, two posts on Women in Leadership in The Guardian (which I find cringingly patronising and so-very-middle-class at times but a point’s a point):

Aboriginal mothers like me still fear that our children could be takenaway

Indigenous women have been told for the better part of two centuries that we’re not fit to raise children. Time and time again, we have borne the brunt of racist and cruel policies.

From theguardian:

My children have missed days at school because of economic reasons. A year ago, I would not have admitted that. A year ago, I would not have said a word. A year ago, I would have kept my head down and my mouth shut for fear of drawing unwanted attention to myself and the problems I was facing. In the back of my mind, I always hear the voice that says “don’t ever let anyone know you’re doing it tough, because they will take your kids from you”.

I don’t live far from Lightning Ridge, a place where 41 children were removed from their Aboriginal parents. In some parts of the country, Aboriginal children are 10 times more likely to be put into care. As an Aboriginal mother, these numbers are horrifying. As an unemployed single Aboriginal mother, these numbers are terrifying.

Neither of my children would have missed days at school (except if sick of course) had there been programs in place that would have helped me. A simple lunch program for disadvantaged kids. A school shoes payment plan for low income families. And on the odd occasion, a bus pick up for scorching hot or pouring rain days. Instead of addressing the problems that arise with poverty, the government has now put in place an initiative that employs truancy officers in Indigenous communities, at a cost of $24m.

The feeling of a cold hand of fear on the back of my neck, always present, can only intensify.[Rest.]

Sunday feminist roundup (19th January 2014)