ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

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institutional racism

I've been following the situation in Ferguson, MO with horror since Sunday, when a young man was killed by a police officer in yet another example of the extreme institutional racism that results in the murder of hundreds of black people by authority figures in the US every year. My heart breaks for all of us, but especially for black folks, who bear the burden of this shitty, shitty system. My twitter stream is blowing up with this, but I haven't seen as much here, and I want to share some resources and information more broadly:

This article from Colorlines gives you an update on what's happening in Ferguson:

To keep up moment-to-moment, I've been following St. Louis Alderman Antonio French on twitter:

This article from AlterNet is more than a year old, but still unfortunately apropos to the topic of the systemic murder of black men in particular by police (and vigilantes):

And on that topic, while this is all happening in Ferguson, another young black man was killed by police in LA on Tuesday:

Finally, before you start talking about the killing of these teens and the response of their communities, please read this post by Black Girl Dangerous on things to avoid getting distracted by in the conversation:

Now is a good time to mention the book The New Jim Crow ( [which, full disclosure, I have not been able to read, because it's too upsetting, but it's a huge privilege I have to be able to NOT take in every detail of this when many people are living deep inside it]. Highly structured and systematized racism is far from a thing of the past.

Another long, worthy piece on the topic of the wide-ranging impact of centuries of institutional racism is Ta-Nehisi Coates's case for reparations:

It's not okay that the police have developed such an adversarial relationship with the communities they're supposed to be a part of, and it's further not okay that this adversarial relationship is so focused on black folks, other people and communities of color, and poor people. It's not okay that our police are so militarized. It's not okay that we're not working harder to root out racism from our institutions of power.

I feel pretty powerless in the face of all of this, but I think that it's especially important for white people to engage and recognize that this is real and happening. I know that I benefit from institutional racism, as much as it pains me, and as much as I wish I could legitimately say that everything I have I deserve. But that's not true for me, or for you, so I think we have a special responsibility to be part of the solution.
Tags: culture, politics

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