Monday, July 22, 2013

I make jokes, but the shit's not funny.

I learned yesterday of a friend who was attacked physically for no reason at all by a drunk person. Her attack falls very snugly under "Hate Crime." However, due to increased tensions among people of color and the police in this area of California, my friend did not call the police, nor press charges. 

Unfortunately, in America, these types of stories are not unique. People of color are often left defenseless in gross violations of their bodies, property, and space, yet are constantly blamed for their unhappiness and cajoled by their oppressors to "Keep hope alive." When I was a kid, calling the police was simply something you didn't do. If there was a murder, theft, domestic dispute, or any other type of altercation in the neighborhood, we simply handled it ourselves or let it pass quietly. If we called the police, they would arrive hours after the incident, asking questions of people who knew that if they told the whole story, the friends of the aggressor would be looking for them later. If the police arrived while the violence was still occurring, there was a huge chance that somebody (whether involved or not) would get beaten, shot, shot at, arrested, and/or the entire neighborhood would be violated and harassed for weeks following. It just wasn't worth it. 

I hurt for my friend. I hurt because things like this have happened to me in the past and when you know that the police are against you on general principles, there's nothing you can do about it. I'm not sure why she didn't call the cops, but I know why I don't call the cops.

After I learned of the attack, I wrote a satirical piece entitled "Send Blue's Black Ass Back To Africa." Naturally, people laughed, were disgusted, or asked me where in Africa I want to go.  However, despite the comical nature of that post, I was not laughing at all when I created it. In fact, I very rarely laugh when I create my art. It's because the shit's not funny to me. 

The following is the post I made yesterday about my friend. There are details of the event and some added commentary because, what am I if not a commentator? 

San Francisco yesterday:

Filmographer friend writes: "was just assaulted, called a Black Nigger Bitch by a very small drunk white woman. She hit me in my face and kicked me but I didn't call the cops."

The filmographer friend was working an event in a community space. Many people saw the attack and the friends of the aggressor apologized for the woman saying, "she's not racist."

In Oakland/San Francisco, black people know that if they call the police due to an altercation with a white person, they (the black person) might get shot by the police. This is a realistic fear that is not only statistically supported, but also viewable on youtube through news reports and amateur videography of actual events involving unarmed black people and Bay area police.

Other notable information:

Large cities and rural southern towns have become so hostile toward black and brown people that an attack by a white person is just "something that happened", even in a public space and the police are conditioned to protect white people first in the event of an altercation that involves multiple races.

Statistics have shown that blacks are more likely to receive harsher punishment for crimes against whites than crimes against blacks. Blacks also receive harsher punishment for crimes against whites than whites receive for crimes against blacks.

High profile cases like the George Zimmerman trial and the Chain of Rocks Bridge case are reminders of how race, class, and privilege play out in courts. Statistics surrounding social order maintenance initiatives like Stop & Frisk and Stand Your Ground show evidence that race, class, and privilege are determining factors in who is protected and/or violated where these initiatives are practiced.

Despite there being more crimes committed by whites than blacks (since there are more white people than black people in this country and there is no shortage of crime), the "criminal black male" stereotype is propagated which encourages increased fear of black men.

American prisons are disproportionately populated by black men and women (80% black/brown to 20% white on average), despite white on white crime being the leading cause of crime in this country.

American media (both liberal and conservative) portrays blacks as sub-human, inferior, lazy, and interested primarily in their own economic gain or in welfare. America has built upon the negative myths of black people which have existed for centuries.

Among conservatives, poor people in this country (who are disproportionately black and brown) are used as scapegoats for the economic and social problems in America, with the arguments that their laziness, lack of desire for education, and higher reliance on government assistance is the foundation for the downfall of America.

I would like to bring your attention to the following article from the British Library. This article describes the climate of Nazi Germany just before the Holocaust. As a person who is, for all intents and purposes, Black, it is in my interest to notice such parallels between the circumstances of my people and the circumstances of other peoples throughout history, as history is one of the best teachers we have.

Filmographer friend writes today,

"Things I am sure of this morning:

1. If someone calls someone else a Black Nigger Bitch it most certainly means they are racist.

2. If multiple people approach the person (me) called such name/s to say "I know her and I know she's not a racist," those people are also racist.

3. No amount of apologizing for her, even from her, is going to make this right.

4. No amount of alcohol in the world "makes" someone say or do anything, especially not calling me or anyone else a Black Nigger Bitch.

...I'm angry but okay. My face hurts a lil."


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