Say Their Names - a Quite Good Read

SAY Their NAMES: How Black Lives Came to Matter in America – by: Curtis Bunn, Michael H Cottman, Patrice Gaines, Nick Charles, and Keith Harriston provides an excellent summary of Black perspectives on the systemic nature of racism and the evolution of Black resistance to it.

Quotes follow:

“I don’t know.  I mean, I thought I understood where Black Lives Matter was coming from.  I thought I understood that there were biases in America,” she said.  “But that…the way George Floyd died, as if his life didn’t matter…and worse, the officer seemed to know nothing would happen to him.  It broke my heart.” (p.33)

(regarding the 1793 yellow fever epidemic) Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia civic leader who signed the Declaration of Independence, called on Black people to assist white people to assist and treat sick white people, claiming, without any evidence, that Black people were immune to the deadly illness.  Rush was also a doctor, which lead credibility to his inaccurate positions. (p.74-5)

“It’s important to note that the United States is the only industrialized, well-resourced country that has a rising maternal mortality rate,” Hardeman said.  “And it’s driving up because Black women are three to five times more likely to experience maternal mortality in comparison to their white counterparts” (p.91)

Traffic stops.  Stop and frisk tactics that were used in New York City and targeted mostly Black and Lationo males.  Creating reasons to question Black men and women: not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign; broken brake lights on vehicles; obscured license tags.  These policing attitudes reinforce stereotypes about Black people as criminals and thugs, which factors into the implicit bias that some researchers believe leads police officers – both white and Black – to more quickly draw their weapons on Black people.  In the hands of a Black person, a mobile phone looks like a gun.  Food looks like agun.  Empty hands hold guns.  Hands cuffed behind a Black man’s back magically maneuver to his front, grab a handgun, point it at an officer with a finger on the trigger. (p.132)

When an officer does report bad behavior – or intervenes to stop it – sometimes the consequences are career- ending.  Take the case of former Buffalo, New York, officer Cariol Horne.  She stepped in to stop her white partner, Officer Gregory Kwiatkowski, from applying a choke hold on David Neal Mack, a Black man.  … Once outside, Horne’s partner cuffed Mack with his hands in front of his body.  From behind Mack, Kwiatkowski reached around Mack and held his right forearm tight against the front of Mack’s throat.

Horne heard Mack yelling, “’ I can’t breathe,’ so I said, ‘Greg you’re choking him.’  He didn’t stop choking him, so I grabbed his arm from around [Mack’s] neck.

Her partner then punched Horne in the face, knocking loose two of her teeth.  But when other officers who were on the scene talked to investigators, “They said I was jumping on officers, kicing ass and taking names.  But why would I do that? … “The hearing officer said that what I did was so awful that I should be fired,” she said.

Horne was found guilty in an administrative department hearing for violating several regulations and wasnfired from the force. …

Years later, Officer Kwiatkowski was indicted on federal civil rights violation charges of excessive force in an unrelated case. …

,Kwiatkowski recovered a BB gun from the vehicle in which the suspects had been riding and handed the BB gun to one of the other two Buffalo Police Department officers on the scene.   These two officers were accused of shooting one of the suspects with the BB gun while he was handcuffed in the backseat of the police car.  Those two officers were acquitted at trial. (p.134-5)

“Why else would they put their hands on their guns?  I was standing there holding all that University of Maryland gear I had just gotten.  But to them, it was clear that I was an‘other’ on campus.  I was viewed as a threat.” … The troopers didn’t know that Ivey’s father, Glenn, was a recent state’s attorney – the highest ranking elected law enforcement office in Prince George’s County, … and his mother, Jolen, was the chair of the county delegation to the state legislature. (p.141) “… If I ever thought that I was somehow privileged, that I was somehow protected… it stopped that day.  I could have been shot.  And my mother was right there.” (p.142)

.  mass incarceration is caused by policies enacted by both Democrats and Republicans, Wetzer said, “Bill Clinton put mass incarceration on steroids and the situation was worsened by federal monies making military equipment available to law enforcement.” (p.195)

“It (note: the civil rights movement) was never lead by the Black church.  That’s a myth. (p.216)

“The white evangelicals’ overperformance also shows, unfortunately why the racist appeal Trumpmade in this campaign was effective,” Milbank wrote.  “White evangelicals were fired up like no other group by Trump’s encouragement of white supremacy.” (p.238)

…Patriot churches.  It’s a small patchwork of non-denominational congregations that view the Democratic Party and the political left as godless and giving succor to socialists, the LGBTQ community, and those who favor a women’s right to choose.  It’s not accident that Trump threatened to form his very own “Patriot” party  to challenge hat is left of the traditional Republican one. (p.245)

Republican Rick Brattin sponsored a law that called for the use of deadly force by law enforcement against protesters on private property to be legal, and to grant immunity to people who run over with a vehicle demonstrators who are blocking traffic. (p.292)

He$231,400, while the average renter’s wealth was $5,200.

… Black home ownership feel to a record low of 40.6 percent in the second half of 2019…  Whites had a 2020 home ownership rate of 76 percent… (p.300)

“Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?” (note: Spike) Lee said.  (p.303)

This book gives a lot of excellent examples in multiple areas discussing how systemic racism is tied to the police, our legal system, classism and much more.

It is a book well worth reading




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