We are about half-way to our goal. I have several more thank you notes to write--and that is a nice task which I enjoy completing.
If you have not, and are able, please do throw some gold, silver, or copper into the virtual begging bowl and collection pile.
One of the reasons I started WARN was to host a virtual salon where I could engage in interesting conversations with smart folks. As fans and supporters of WARN know, I am particularly invested in the many questions surrounding the colorline, power, popular culture, and the Black Freedom Struggle in America.
While there were/are a few sites that offered rich conversations and analysis on those topics, I also realized that there was a huge opening for a site that could offer smart commentary while leveraging empirical and "expert" knowledge with a playful wink and nudge when appropriate.
In creating WARN, my goal was also to give the readers a set of practical deliverables while striving to be ahead of the mainstream media regarding the analytic and narrative frames we use to understand the colorline in post civil rights era America. As I am fond of saying, "racism is not an opinion".
Racism and white supremacy are also not "unknown unknowns". Rather, they are concepts and social practices that can be understood, interrogated, and on occasion either navigated around and/or subverted. Ultimately, when one understands the interlocking systems of oppression that operate in the United States (and the world) he or she is more likely to maintain their sanity and emotional well-being.
For example, Michael Brown's killer Darren Wilson will not face charges in Ferguson, Missouri. Yesterday, a grand jury in New York decided that the cop who choked Eric Garner to death, a wicked deed that was recorded on video, and judged by a coroner to be a "homicide", will also not face any criminal charges.
These are body blows to the psyche of Black America (and all good people across the colorline). But, these gut shots should not be surprises. If one understands American history and white supremacy in the present, they ought to be able to tighten up their stomach muscles before the blow is landed.
As I have repeatedly argued here on WARN and elsewhere, Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed by white racial paranoiac thinking.
White racial paranoiac thinking turns the black and brown body into a weapon and monstrous Other as viewed by the White Gaze. Because the White Gaze is the lens of White Supremacy, the black or brown victim is made into the aggressor because white racial paranoiac thinking distorts reality. The White Gaze is ethically, morally, and philosophically corrupt as it warps empirical facts to support the material and psychological wages of Whiteness.
As seen by White Gaze and white racial paranoiacs, Eric Garner killed himself. "Stop I can't breathe" is translated into "I am big, black, and dangerous." He and Michael Brown were "giant negroes" that had to be killed and subdued so that White America can feel safe.
White racial paranoiacs are everywhere. Here is one of their comments from Alternet's story about Eric Garner's murder and the exoneration of the white police officer who stole his life:
We're back on that mythical "choke hold" as cause of death. Garner died because he was obese and forced into a prone position, not because of a choke hold.
This problem evidently is common enough to have it's own name.
The term "choke hold" is a misnomer. In MMA where submissions are forced with so-called "choke holds", the loser doesn't actually have his breathing cut off. Rather, he has the blood vessels to his brain blocked off, leading to a quick submission. Otherwise, the fighter might work his way out of the position. According to the video of the takedown, the officer applying the "choke" didn't have his hands in position to apply enough pressure to cut off the windpipe.
I happen to think that there was excessive force used in this case, but not because of a "choke". Given this guy's size, I'd like to know how the cops were going to get this guy back on his feet when they cuffed him.I wrote "The Black Body is Always a Threat: White Racial Paranoiac Thinking Killed Eric Garner" several months ago. All work can be improved upon; but, I stand by my (then) analysis. If you have not read The Black Body is Always a Threat, please do so. It will help you to understand the repeated pattern where despite overwhelming visual evidence, how the White Gaze and white racial paranoiac thinking can distort the thought processes and values of too many White Americans when non-whites are subjected to violence by white people.
Judith Butler, whose work on white racial paranoiac thinking and the Rodney King case is essential, also informs how we can understand the video recorded killing of Eric Garner:
It is not, then, a question of negotiating between what is "seen," on the one hand, and a "reading" which is imposed upon the visual evidence, on the other.
In a sense, the problem is even worse: to the extent that there is a racist organization and disposition of the visible, it will work to circumscribe what qualifies as visual evidence, such that it is in some cases impossible to establish the "truth" of racist brutality through recourse to visual evidence. For when the visual is fully schematized by racism, the "visual evidence" to which one refers will always and only refute the conclusions based upon it; for it is possible within this racist episteme that no black person can seek recourse to the visible as the sure ground of evidence.
Consider that it was possible to draw a line of inference from the black male body motionless and beaten on the street to the conclusion that this very body was in "total control," rife with "dangerous intention.'' The visual field is not neutral to the question of race; it is itself a racial formation, an episteme, hegemonic, and forceful.The Black Body is Always a Threat is an example of the type of analysis and commentary that I strive to bring you here on WARN. Again, if you can, and are able, please throw some change into the donation bucket, so that I can keep the energy going forward as I expand our endeavors.
How would you expand on, amend, or add to The Black Body is Always a Threat in light of the grand jury's decision to not indict the New York cop who killed Eric Garner?