black. mother. womanist. queer. writer. veg. lover

If black folks are honest, many of us will admit to both internally and vocally balking at the very “free” ways that we have heard white children address their parents in public. Many a black person has seen a white child yelling at his or her parents, while the parents calmly respond, gently scold, ignore, attempt to soothe, or failing all else, look embarrassed.

I can never recount one time, ever seeing a black child yell at his or her mother in public. Never. It is almost unfathomable…

White children in general are raised to be Columbus, to “discover” the world anew and then to manipulate and order the universe to their own liking. If we take away the colonizing impulse in living this way, I think it would be amazing to have the luxury of raising black children who also view the world as a space of their own making, a space to be explored, a space to build anew. A space where occasionally, simply because you live there, you can opt to walk in the middle of the street instead of being confined to the sidewalk, much as you might sling your leg across the arm of a chair in your own home, because it is home.

But for so many black children, these kinds of frivolous choices will get you killed or locked up. For black children, finding disciplinary methods that instill a healthy sense of fear in a world that is exceptionally violent toward them is a hard balance to find.

The thing is, though: Beating, whupping or spanking your children will not protect them from state violence. It won’t keep them out of prison. Ruling homes and children with an iron fist will not restore the dignity and respect that the outside world fails to confer on adult black people.

In California some of the most racist policies and “reforms” in recent history have been advanced by politicians of color. We are not interested in increasing racial, gender, and sexual diversity within existing hierarchies of power – within government, police forces, or in the boardrooms of corporate America. When police departments and municipal governments can boast of their diversity and multicultural credentials, we know that there needs to be a radical alternative to this politics of “inclusion.” Oakland is perhaps one of the most glaring examples of how people of color have not just participated in but in many instances led – as mayors, police chiefs, and city council members – the assault on poor and working class black and brown populations. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan speaks the language of social justice activism and civil rights but her political career in city government clearly depends upon satisfying right-wing downtown business interests, corrupt real estate speculators, and a bloated and notoriously brutal police force.

There is no more depressing cautionary tale of the fate of 1960s-era politics of “changing the state from within” than the career of Oakland Mayor Quan. Quan fought for the creation of an Ethnic Studies program at UC Berkeley in 1969, but in 2011 penned a letter to Occupy Oakland listing an array of state-approved social justice nonprofits in order to justify mass arrests and a police crackdown on protesters attempting to establish a community center and free clinic in a long abandoned city owned property. In response to a season of strikes, anti-police brutality marches, and repeated port shutdowns in response to police assaults, the state offered two choices: either the nonprofits, or the police. Quan and other municipal politicians are part of a state apparatus that is rapidly increasing its reliance upon militarized policing to control an ‘unruly’ population, especially poor people of color in urban areas. Policing is fast becoming the paradigm for government in general.

Anti-Oppression Activism, the Politics of Safety, and State Co-optation (via socio-logic)

Dismantle these racist institutions and systems.

(Source: rs620, via sharpeyes91)

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