“I am not Mike Brown. I am white. I am middle class. I am female. I am small. I am not considered a threat. When police see me they see someone who looks like them. They see their mothers, their daughters, their sisters, themselves. I am not at risk of being shot by police for existing while black. I am not at risk of being shot while unarmed. I am not at risk of being shot while armed with nothing more than a BB gun. I am not at risk of being shot for reaching for my wallet. I am privileged.
But I am outraged. And if you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention. This is America in 2014. This is our reality. It’s so easy to get jaded and to ignore these atrocities, to act like this doesn’t affect us. It’s so easy to get apathetic. In the past it was the youth who protested. Where is the rage of the youth? Where is our rage?
Like I said, I am not Mike Brown. But I am outraged.”

One of a million stories

Taylor’s birthday was Monday, so it seems right to tell these stories now.

I grew up in an small, pretty much all-white town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. That’s where I made most of my oldest friends, so most of them are white, too. The exception to this was Taylor, the boyfriend of another friend. He was this huge, funny, gothy, outrageous black guy.

Taylor was a massive vampire fan and played in our local V:TM LARP. One evening, though, while our group was gathering at a local cafe for a game, a fight broke out. Not among our players, I think. I wasn’t there when the fight started. But I was there when it ended – Taylor got right into the middle of it and put a peaceful stop to the brawl.

But someone had already called the cops. By the time they arrived, things had pretty well died down. One of the first people the cops talked to was my then-boyfriend, now-husband; a tall, clean-cut white guy. Their first question: “Was it the black guy?”

What? We were all utterly aghast. Hell no, it hadn’t been “the black guy”! Taylor was the hero of the damned night! We all made this perfectly clear to the cops – who, naturally, didn’t take Taylor’s word for it – and eventually they cleared off.

Later, we moved down to the nearby city of Sacramento and this ridiculous instance of racist cops seemed far behind us. Late one night, Taylor was riding somewhere with Aron and some more of our male friends. I no longer recall where they were going or coming home from. Maybe another LARP gathering.

But a cop pulled the car over. Taylor immediately put his hand on the dashboard, went perfectly still and told all of the other guys to do the same. The other boys – all white – laughed and didn’t do anything different. They thought he was joking.

Aron was driving and addressed the cop, who as it turned out, was just concerned because four sweaty young men had fogged up the windows considerably and the officer was concerned about visibility. At least, that’s what he said. He probably wondered if it was smoke. Pot was still highly illegal at the time. Taylor remained still and silent, with his hands on the dashboard the entire time, staring straight ahead. He wouldn’t even reach into the glove box to hand Aron the registration.

So Aron turned on the defroster full blast and they moved on. The guys teased Taylor for months about his reaction to the cop who had pulled them over. Taylor was a sweet man and took it all in stride. He never got angry with us for the jokes. Maybe he realized that a bunch of white kids from a moderately wealthy mountain town just didn’t understand. Taylor wasn’t joking this time.

It wasn’t until years later that we really began to understand what had happened. Not until it was far too late to apologize, to tell him that we understood – even if our skin color prevented us from ever truly empathizing – why he reacted the way he did. By then, he and our friend had ended their relationship (peacefully and equitably, of course) Taylor had moved out of town. And died too young of a heart attack.

We miss you, man. I’m sorry we didn’t understand.

By Gemma Correll.

Oh, yeah. And it likes email and text messaging.

Update

Aron and I are a couple of weeks into work on our next project, a weird western currently entitled Hangman’s Cross. Aron’s written ten chapters, but I’m having a hard time keeping up with the editing. I’ve been in a pretty deep depressive slump, which takes a baseball bat to my productivity. But these phases always pass and we hope to have the first draft of Hangman’s Cross done by the end of the years and the book published by the end of first quarter next year.

In the meantime, I’m excited about the next few months in the world of books! I’ve preordered Lock In by John Scalzi, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams and Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s going to be a fun fall!

postcardsfromspace:

According to a Pew Research survey, only 37% of white Americans think the events in #Ferguson raise important issues about race.

Okay, fellow white people. We need to talk.

Let me tell you a story: I was an angry punk teenager. Not violent, but I did a shitton of trespassing, and I got into a lot of screaming matches with cops.

I have never been arrested.

I have never been violently attacked by police. Hell, I have never been seriously threatened by police.

I am fully aware that I’ve survived to adulthood largely on the benefits of my race.

When you are white in America, you get away with all sorts of shit. Have you read this account from a white dude who actively tried to get himself arrested? You should. It’s telling.

So, if that’s your main frame of reference for dealing with law enforcement, it is really easy to assume that when someone else gets targeted by the police, they must have done something really bad. After all, you know the police aren’t that petty, right? They’re there to help: That’s what TV tells you, what your teachers told you, what your parents told you. “If you’re in trouble, find a police officer. They’ll help.” And, y’know, if you’re white,most of the time, that’s probably true.

When you’re white in America, it is awfully easy to pretend that you don’t live in a country where the nonviolent physical presence of black people, especially black men, is considered sufficient threat to justify use of lethal force. It’s really easy to pretend that laws are enforced equally; that arrest rate has any demographic resemblance to actual crime rates; that the police are there to protect us from the bad guys.

And, I mean, I get that. It’s a lot more comfortable to pretend that safety correlates to virtue than to confront the ugly truth that a system that benefits you very directly does so at the cost of other people’s lives; that what you were taught was the just reward for being a good person is, in fact, the privilege of your skin. That’s a big part of why we work so hard to retcon narratives about how the black people our police murder must have been dangerous, highlight every casual infraction like it’s a killing spree. We are so desperate to believe that the system that feeds us is just.

It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that stuff. It feels gross. A system we trusted—one we should be able to trust, that should work for the benefit and protection of everyone has made us accomplice to some deeply horrifying shit.

But here’s the thing:

This happenedThis is happening. Not recognizing it; stonewalling and insulating ourselves in our little bubbles does not make it go away.

And not acknowledging it, not having asked for it, does not make us any less complicit, or any less responsible for owning and fixing this. We are actively benefitting from a fucked, corrupt, murderous system. That is on us. As it should be.

So educate yourself, get the tools, and start dismantling this fucker. You have the time: after all,  no one’s shooting at your kids.

Privilege is the bandwidth to speak up and dismantle because you’re not in fear for your life. And there is no conscionable excuse for failing to use it.

FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a police officer, sparking protests around the nation, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday found.

One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.

Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front…

donrickles:

  • Donate money to have those arrested in Ferguson released on bail. These people belong on the streets, especially at a time like this.
  • Send a note of condolence to the family of Michael Brown. Let’s not forget the tragedy that started this.
  • Donate to the Michael Brown Memorial Fund. This is an official fundraiser run by the Brown family’s lawyers. They are going through so much, lets make sure at the very least it isn’t a financial burden.
  • Help get people on the ground. There are activists and reporters who want to do their part and get to Ferguson. Donate and get them there. I am so far aware of Zellie ImaniZak Jemmott, and JR Valrey(a reporter for SF Bay View).
  • Donate to the Ferguson Youth Initiative.The children of this community deserve better than to be gunned down. Make sure they get that in the future.
  • Feed the children of Ferguson. Many children in America rely on school to get their meals and thanks to the civil unrest caused by the police, the children of Ferguson have been without school since Monday. These people want to make sure that doesn’t mean anyone is going hungry.
  • Find a National Moment of Silence in your area. If one doesn’t exist, start one. Share this experience with others. Solidarity is important.
  • Keep awareness up. Not just among the like-minded people on tumblr, this is something everyone needs to be aware of.
  • Spread accurate information. There is a lot of distortion going on here and spreading every piece of information as it is reported only makes that worse. First and foremost make sure you are listening carefully, then share what is important and relevant.

If you are aware of any good causes or ways to help that I have missed, please reblog and add them.

Ferguson from my TL

thewilsonblog:

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(From what I understand, the police thought they heard a gunshot and started throwing tear gas into the crowd. Correct me if I’m wrong)

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Ferguson PD, please stop. Just stop. You’re hurting the people you need to protect.

(via dduane)

khaleesibeyonce:

LOL YES.


Oh my, yes. A thousand times yes.

khaleesibeyonce:

LOL YES.

Oh my, yes. A thousand times yes.

(via msjayjustice)

reapersun:

PUNK SPACE PIRATES SPOCK AND KIRK

mostly i wanted to draw spock with this hairstyle…

Oh, my heart…

(via dduane)