Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Son of Racism Is Bustin’ Out All Over

You think the deadly combo platter of two seemingly needless police killings of black men plus the Dallas killing of police officers by a black man has kinda lanced a boil on America’s psyche? Because everywhere there’s talk of racism — and the denial of same by white folks who are way too defensive about the whole thing.

Last week, I wrote about a bunch of racially-tinged incidents tainting the pure and blessed landscape of Vermont, and now we’ve got some more to share.

Coming up, signs that the authorities in Bennington Still Don’t Get It, even in the face of a potentially expensive lawsuit… and further evidence of cowardice in Vermont’s second city.

But first, the Burlington Free Press reports that some locals have their knickers in a knot because Ferrisburgh’s Rokeby Museum had the audacity to put up some “Black Lives Matter” placards.

The Rokeby is a small museum dedicated, in part, to Vermont’s role in the Underground Railroad. The Robinson family, who lived on the property, were Quaker abolitionists who sheltered runaway slaves. The signs were hung in May to honor “the legacy of the Robinsons as social justice activists.”

In the aftermath of the Dallas shootings, it’s gotten a little tense down Rokeby way.

A young man who came in to ask about the signs, became angry, thinking they supported violence against police and white people — himself included.

One person called and another posted a Facebook message on the museum’s page demanding the signs be taken down… By the end of the day on Friday there were at least five response that left staff feeling vulnerable.

(Note: yes, it’s incorrectly spelled “response” in the Free Press story. No proofreaders need apply.)

Funny, isn’t it, how a single incident of black-on-white violence can shatter the automatic assumption of safety that’s part of White Privilege in America?

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Keith Knight!!!!

Drove down to Dartmouth College today for a talk by one of my favorite comic artists, a guy who ought to be much more well-known than he is: Keith Knight, creator of three (count ‘em — three) syndicated comics. Hardest-working man in the funny papers.

Knight, for those tragically unaware, is a young black man whose work features a rich and dynamic mix of political commentary, true-life narrative, goofball humor, and a visual style that’s bursting with energy.

I first came across his original creation, The K Chronicles, in the comics pages of Seven Days. Unfortunately, a couple years ago the paper revamped its comics and dropped the strip. I don’t know if it was too black or too funny or what, but it was a great loss. Fortunately, you can find his work online and he’s published a half-dozen compilations, some of which are still in print.

The subject of his talk is a sadly recurring theme in his work: police violence against African-Americans. It was entitled “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They?” which is also the title of a published collection of his work on the subject. “I’ve been doing comics about police brutality for 20 years. I’m sick of it.”

A recent example after the jump.

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Bernie and the black vote

Here’s something I don’t write very often: Chuck Todd, NBC’s intellectual manifestation of the Beltway mindset, offered a real insight on the Democratic primary race.

On the night of March 8, during MSNBC’s coverage of the Mississippi and Michigan primaries, he noted that this would be an entirely different campaign if Bernie Sanders were simply holding his own among black voters.

It’s true. It’s damn true, as Kurt Angle would say. The number-one reason Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead among pledged delegates, and in total votes cast, is her overwhelming support from African-Americans. In Southern states, she’s drawing 80 percent or more of the black vote. In Michigan, she drew a “disappointing” 68 percent — still holding a better than two-to-one margin over Sanders.

That’s the single biggest handicap to Bernie’s candidacy. Bigger than the mainstream media coverage or lack thereof; bigger than the superdelegate system; bigger even than the occasional sniping of Your Obedient Servant.

This problem goes back to the very beginning, before the mainstream media even began to underplay Bernie’s chances or “anoint” Hillary. It goes back to sometime before that first confrontation with Black Lives Matter, when a couple of black activists usurped the microphone at a Bernie rally. That event was a symptom of a pre-existing ailment.

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Bernie in the briar patch

Maybe it’s his decades of residence in lily-white Vermont. Maybe it’s his stubborn streak. Maybe it’s the overweening self-regard that inevitably develops in the mind of the successful politician. But Bernie Sanders is having an awful time getting over his “black problem.”

It’s gotten to the point where a possibly innocuous move like visiting Jesse Jackson takes on a “some of my best friends are black” vibe.

“Longtime friends, the senator and the civil rights leader held a very productive, hour-long meeting on important issues confronting the country and the African American community,” spokesman Michael Briggs wrote in the statement.

Err, Mike. Don’t try too hard with the “longtime friends” stuff.

Bernie ought to be the candidate of racial justice as well as the economic variety. But he can’t quite seem to find his footing after twice being challenged by “Black Lives Matter” protesters. The latest gaffe came Sunday on “Meet The Press”:

CHUCK TODD: Buzzfeed has an article out this morning. Headline is this: “Sanders Campaign Reaches Out to Black Lives Matter Activists.” Quote, “I apologize it took our campaign so long.” Tell me more about it.

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, that was sent out by a staffer, not by me. Look, we are reaching out to all kinds of groups, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD: I understand that but, you said a staffer put it out, but you felt an apology was necessary?

BERNIE SANDERS: No, I don’t. I think we’re going to be working with all groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.

Well, that’s just great.

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