This week saw US police parade a black man on a rope while the Tories ramp up Stop and Search
12 Aug 2019
Photography by Wesley Marçal
In both India and America, communities have been inhumanely fractured and displaced. In the US, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have brutally swept the country, with agents detaining over 680 allegedly-undocumented workers from food processing plants in Mississippi. Hispanic children were left crying in schools as their parents were taken away in the callous onslaught.
It was also decided on Monday, without the consultation of any Kashmiri people, that Indian-administered Kashmir would be fragmented, and revoke Article 370, which gave the territory autonomy over its affairs. Five hundred Kashmiris were detained during India’s lockdown, while a curfew and internet blackout were enforced. Importantly, Article 35a – which stopped those from outside the state buying property in Kashmir – was also revoked, meaning there is nothing to stop India’s Hindu population displacing the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. It has sparked fears of “ethnic cleansing”.
Here’s what else went down this week.
The police force that paraded a black man on a rope needs to release the footage
You may have seen a horrific image circulating of Donald Neely being led with a rope by two white police officers on horseback. The photo, that looks like it was taken straight out of Roots, was captured this week in Galveston, Texas. The police led Donald Neely, a homeless black man, through the streets after arresting him for trespassing. Police have since apologised for the “unnecessary embarrassment”, saying: “Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest.”
Donald’s sister-in-law, Christin Neely, spoke to gal-dem about seeing the photo: “Of course being African American, slavery is part of my history. Even though I didn’t live in those times, and my grandmother didn’t, her grandmother did. A lot of people are saying ‘ya’ll don’t even know anything about slavery’. That’s a part of me, whether I have gone through it personally myself or not. It is never going anywhere, so when we see things that resemble those eras, it can’t do anything but spark those feelings of ‘wow this is how they think we deserve to be treated’.”
She explained that Donald himself “felt nothing” about the way he was treated, but that the local black community, and many white people, were “livid”. Bodycam footage was recorded, but the police are refusing to release it, despite Christin requesting it numerous times. She told us, “We believe there might be some commentary that could be damaging to those officers.”
A white actress apologised for being white, but is this helpful discourse?
American actress Rosanna Arquette had a realisation about how as a white woman, she benefits from the oppression of people of colour. This week, she wrote on Twitter: “I’m sorry I was born white and privileged. It disgusts me. And I feel so much shame.”
White people becoming aware of their privilege is a great thing, and it seems like she was coming from a good place. It’s positive that she has educated herself and opened up a conversation, but her self-loathing statement on Twitter is unhelpful. Unfortunately, Rosanna received a lot of hate on Twitter, which is equally unhelpful. I’m sure if she understood why her outpouring of self-hatred actually victimised herself and detracted from those she wants to help, she would learn and grow.
Apologising for being white actually removes any sense of personal responsibility or control over everyday racism. It is something that no one had a choice over, so by apologising for that, it came across as a selfish attempt at “wokeness”. Reni Eddo-Lodge’s podcast episode on why “White Women Crying Is Racist” comes to mind here (spoiler: it’s because it makes it about their emotions). Instead, taking personal responsibility for individual prejudices and unconscious bias is much more powerful than public self-shaming.
• Despite proof that stop and search doesn’t work and inordinately targets black men, Boris Johnson is lifting restrictions on stop and search powers, meaning officers would not need permission to do so by a senior officer, and there is a lower threshold for use.
• You can work on the set of Insecure season four by sending in a video with your best friend about why you should work on the set for this year’s #InsecureOnSetContest.
•Terry Crews and Ludacris are set to star in John Henry – a modern adaptation of the traditional African American folktale.
• A survey has been launched to record BAME charity workers’ experiences in the sector, exploring recruitment, personal development opportunities, and racism. If this applies to you, fill out the survey before September 30.
• Sigmund Freud must have cried in his grave at the verbal slip the leader of the Straight Pride Coalition made in a city council meeting this week. The crowd erupted with laughter when Don Grundmann said “we’re a totally peaceful, racist group” at the end of his speech on how their group is not racist. Whoops!
• Racist fans of Zenit St Petersburg football club held up banners after black player Malcolm joined the club from Barcelona last week. Signs read that “the absence of black players is an important tradition”.
• An obscenely racist and homophobic 14-year-old white vlogger, Soph, described Pride as “30-days of AIDS-carrying paedophile victims patting themselves on their backs.” She then said she would kill the YouTube CEO after they deleted her videos.
• The State of Illinois passed a law ensuring state schools teach the role and contributions of LGBTQIA+ people in American history.
• The death of 24-year-old black trans woman Pebbles LaDime Doe is the 15th known murder of a trans person in the US this year, and the third in less than a week.
• I regret to inform you Slumflower is back on her bullshit, declaring that feminism is only fit for Twitter – not when you’re trying to secure a boyfriend.
• Priyanka Chopra made waves on Twitter after a fan kindly asked her not to encourage the bombing of Pakistan. She responded by saying she had Pakistani friends and told the audience member: “don’t embarrass yourself”. Ok…
Moment of the Week
The trailer has been released for Lena Waithe’s new film Queen & Slim, which stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a new age Bonnie and Clyde.