Angela Davis, former Black Panther, is the go-to commentator on any protest or political uprising these days. (And, apparently, the go-to stencil for “street artists” designing nostalgic protest fliers.)
So why hasn’t anyone asked her how she feels about the DREAM Act — the national push to grant undocumented students and soldiers their citizenship, and one of the greatest civil-rights fights of the 21st century?
… as interviewer Derek Washington noted in a recent sit-down with Davis, there’s somewhat of a disconnect between the black struggle for equality and that of Latinos.
Washington said a lot of black people feel like, “That’s not my fight.”
We’ve observed some resentment among local black leaders toward Latinos who come to California to find work. Long Beach City Council candidate Robert Wideman, a top supporter of the Republican push to repeal our in-state DREAM Act, recently called the Latino influx an “invasion.”
Davis doesn’t see it that way. Here are her words on the importance of fighting for the DREAM Act, from the “Citizens for Immigrants” interview:
“It’s important because it represents one of the most important arenas in the ongoing struggle for civil rights in this country, and particularly those of us who have a history of struggling for civil rights — I’m speaking very specifically about the African-American community.
“It is a cause that black people should embrace. One of the things that we need to remember is that the victories that have been won in the struggle for black freedom never would have been possible if only black people were the ones who were active in those struggles. … I know my case would not have been won, as it was, had not it been for the activism of the Chicano community in San Jose when I was tried on charges of … conspiracy. In San Jose, there was a very minuscule black community there at that time. And it was in the Chicano community that the major organizing took place.
“I don’t understand how people can assume that its possible for each racialized ethnic group to go it alone.
“As people who have benefited from these freedom struggles, it is our responsibility to continue justice as Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out is indivisible, and justice for black people must be used on behalf of justice for Latinos, and justice for immigrants, and justice for undocumented immigrants.”” —From LA Weekly. The audio for the Citizens For Immigrants interview is here. (via racialicious)
- when she was in the California State Prison - 1972
- Interviewer: A year ago the black panthers were much more active. We heard much more about that type of struggle. Is the time of the black panthers past?
- Angela Davis: The black panthers still exist, and the black panthers are still extremely active in the Oakland community and communities all over the country. I’m not sure whether or not you are aware of what is now happening in the black panther party and the kinds of things that the members of that party are doing now.
- Interviewer: No but tell me.
- Angela Davis: First of all, if you’re gonna talk about a revolutionary situation, you have to have people who are physically able to wage revolution, who are physically able to organize and physically able to do all that is done.
- Interviewer: But the question is more, how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation, violence?
- Angela Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking? Yeah see, that’s another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life and walk out on the street everyday seeing white policemen surrounding you… When I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was. But I was a black women and I had a natural and they, I suppose thought I might be “militant.” And when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, you know, whether I approve of violence. I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether I approve of guns. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs, bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street. Our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that, at any moment, we might expect to be attacked. The man who was, at that time, in complete control of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, “niggers have moved into a white neighborhood. We better expect some bloodshed tonight.” And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived, one of them lived next door to me…I was very good friends with the sister of another one. My sister was very good friends with all three of them. My mother taught one of them in her class. My mother—in fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, “Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.” And they went down and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then, after that, in my neighborhood, all the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again. That’s why, when someone asks me about violence, I just, I just find it incredible. Because what it means is that the person who’s asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through, what black people have experienced in this country since the time the first black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.
Why don’t black people surf? That can be answered with another race-based generalization: Black people don’t swim. Consider the numbers: A 2010 study by US Swimming, America’s governing body of competitive swimming, found that nearly half of White children (42 percent) had low or no swimming ability. That number was topped by Hispanic American children; 58 percent of whom reported no or low swimming ability. Black children had the highest non-swimming rates at just under than 70 percent.
I suspect that the white numbers are slightly inflated based on the fact many that my Caucasian, land-lubbing friends define “swimming” as walking into a pool up to their waist, getting out, then applying more coconut oil. But that doesn’t change the fact that swimming rates among Black children are abysmal. Infinitely more worrisome is that Black children are around three times more likely to drown than White children, based on another study by US swimming, which is apparently the only organization who studies these sorts of things.
There is one problem with these studies: although the numbers are correct, the conclusion that we causally draw from them is utterly corrupt. The numbers tell us that many black people don’t swim; Our interpretation, however, is that black people are not swimmers, which is wrong. The truth is that American blacks have a long and well-documented history of loving to swim. In order to understand why African American culture does not currently enjoy a well established culture of recreational swimming, we need to delve under the stereotypes and generalizations and look at the history of exclusion that has accompanied their efforts to access the water.” —Loving this piece by Tetsuhiko Endo throwing down some serious history to debunk the myth that Black people don’t swim (or surf) on the R today. (via racialicious)
We do not have more major mental illness than most other countries. But we may be less caring of our mentally ill. Back in the Kennedy era, we launched community mental health programs to care for people with schizophrenia and similarly severe disorders, including depression. We wanted treatment available close to home, with compassionate supervision and with proper medication. We tried to stop the revolving door to the asylum, and, in fact, we tore down the large state hospitals. Our best intentions failed.
—Why does America lead the world in school shootings? – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs (via sociolab)
The program was never fully funded and our American system of care leaves much to be desired. The most serious mental illnesses, schizophrenia and depression, often become overt in adolescence. A boy who is smart enough to get into a good college becomes deluded, obsessed, strange, scary - and he gets rejected, isolated and stuck in a fantasy world. Those fantasies can become lethal. These forms of mental illness are seldom the source of homicide (far more often they torment and demoralize the disturbed individual). But when they are dangerous to others, we need good answers.
One of the world’s largest ever strikes began at midnight on Monday 27th Feb and will end at midnight tonight. Up to 100,000,000 Indian workers from different sectors and industries are calling for a national minimum wage, permanent jobs, and much more.
The experience of women who seek abortion and other reproductive services is as varied as the individuals involved. For some, there is safety, relief, and good medical care. For others, there is doubt, harassment, and stigma. For all, health care takes place in a politicized context in which even the most basic choices about our bodies, sexuality, and childbearing can be scrutinized.
The ACN and Split This Rock welcome the submission of poems on these themes. We will award the following prizes: First ($100), Second ($75) and Third Place ($50), and Honorable Mention. Judging will done by Split This Rock and ACN.” —
A reproductive rights themed poetry contest!! You guys, this is so cool and there is even a cash prize! I really encourage you to submit something!