Here’s Why the #AllLivesMatter Crowd Doesn’t Care About the Killing of an Unarmed White Teen by Police


If white America were to acknowledge white victims of police violence, it would call into question all the false narratives about black victims and undermine the idea that more policing makes everyone safer.

Posted: Aug. 11 2015 10:42 AM

Have you heard about what happened to Zachary Hammond? If you believe his attorney, the nation has been asleep about the fact that the 19-year-old was shot and killed by the police while on a date. If you believe his attorney, nobody has said his name or expressed outrage at yet another police killing because he is white.

“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” family attorney Eric Bland told the Washington Post. “The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”

He further noted“The issue should never be what is the color of the victim. The issue should be: Why was an unarmed teen gunned down in a situation where deadly force was not even justified?”

The attorney’s racial fantasy is commonplace. A common retort to protests denouncing yet another police killing of an unarmed black man or woman is, “But what about Troy GoodeDerek WolfstellerDillon TaylorGilbert Collar or the countless other white victims who died at the hands of police?”

Because these cases don’t always spark national news coverage, some think that this bias reveals the hypocrisy of a media intent on “playing the race card” and dividing America through misinformation and lies.

The claims that cases like Hammond’s are being ignored, despite widespread mainstream media coverage, are about furthering the narrative of white victimhood: that only #BlackLivesMatter to the media; that politicians have little interest in protecting white lives; that the justice system is ignoring the violence directed at white bodies.

If such claims were not so dangerous, they would be laughable. The Republican Party, Fox News and countless others continue to mobilize around the fallacy that the tides have turned and white America is swimming upstream. Even as the nation focuses on the killing of unarmed black men and women, it becomes a moment to lament how whites are getting the short end of the stick.

White privilege is so pervasive that outrage materializes to denounce the false belief that media is covering black deaths more than white deaths, never mind the history of policing in this country and the totality of these killings.

This narrative of white victimhood is a false equivalence that is central to white supremacy. To claim “What about Zachary?” requires a level of historic myopia. It requires ignoring a history of systemic racial terrorism against black people—the lynchings, the police dogs and the fire hoses.

It’s telling that the folks who support the claim that #AllLivesMatter have remained silent on Hammond. If Eric Bland and others are angry that Hammond isn’t trending, maybe they should look no further than the white leaders and activists who are too busy with lions, Iran and Tom Brady.

If the #AllLivesMatter crowd were to acknowledge police violence against whites, it would call into question all the reactionary arguments that African Americans are to blame for their own deaths. It would undermine the ubiquitous efforts to pathologize and criminalize black victims of police violence in order to explain away each and every case of racial injustice: that they were no angels, that they should not have run, that they should not have been drunk. Racism precludes these arguments from working with Hammond and other white victims.

Continue reading at The Root

When All the Angels Are White

 By David J. Leonard

Originally Published at Gawker 

When All the Angels Are White

I am an angel in this nation.

And I suspect the New York Times or Fox News would remember me as an angel if I am murdered in the middle of the road by a police officer in California, Florida, Missouri or Washington. Of course, I don’t worry much about being shot by a police officer. I have the ultimate get-out-jail-free card, the most powerful form of protection: whiteness.

I have no reason to believe that I will be written off as a disrespectful punk, a “thug,” a “troubled kid” looking for fights. I will be seen as just another white boy figuring out the world.

I stole a lot as a kid. That will not matter. I fought a lot. That will not matter. I punched holes in doors, and drank throughout high school. On the football field, I was known as “an enforcer,” a term reserved for the white athletes in my division who bullied and wreaked havoc. None of that will ever be counted against me.

I’d like to challenge the national racial logic that contributes to all too deaths, that sanctions and rationalizes the almost daily killing of black youth. I’d like to really question how this nation constructs and ultimately forgives its angels. Why are we angels always white?

In what has become a predicable playbook, Michael Brown’s death resulted in a public trial and conviction of the victim. The police and much of the media and the public engaged at what has become the ultimate two-step: first denying racism, only to quickly deny Brown’s innocence but implicate and convict him in his own death. In the words of John Eligon of The New York Times, Brown was “no angel.”

Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.

Not done, Eligon painted Brown as a “handful,” a child who spent a lifetime wreaking havoc, defying authority, and otherwise getting into trouble. “When his parents put up a security gate, he would try to climb it. When they left out pens and pencils, he would use them to write on the wall. He used to tap on the ground, so his parents got him a drum set; his father played the drums.”

If Brown were white, and his murderer black, would his experimentation with drugs and alcohol, his love of rap music, and any other mistakes be been dismissed as youthful indiscretions? If he’d been white, would the story have been that he was curious because he wanted to explore beyond the security gate, that he was a budding artist who expressed himself through his drawings and his music?

Like me, Mike Brown might have smoked marijuana and even sagged his pants prior to being gunned down in the streets. In response to Times piece, and the persistent criminalization and demonization of black victims, people took to Twitter to express their outrage, questioning why Darren Wilson, the Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, or James Holmes were provided more sympathetic narratives than Brown, Martin, McBride, or countless others.

African Americans took to social media to challenge the double standards and societal stereotypes that govern black entry into public discourse. #IfTheyGunnedMeDown juxtaposed images that mirrored dominant stereotypes with the others defying expectations of white America: a young black male puffing smoke and wearing a hoodie; the same young man in his Navy uniform.

The question was, if the time came, which photo the media would use, and which person white America would see: a thug, a criminal, a pot-smoking threat, or a soldier, a student, a professor, a doctor, a son, daughter, father, mother and loved one?

Why are all the angels white? Out with my teenage friends one Saturday night, we found ourselves, loitering, seemingly looking for trouble on the Santa Monica Promenade. Standing around, we were talking shit, mad-dogging and scowling every dude the block. We were teenage boys, entitled, white, and without a worry in our minds. That didn’t change when a group of bicycle cops rode up

Continue reading at Gawker 

You aint funny or cutting edge: A letter to Jason Horton

Dear Jason  (@Jason_Horton), AKA “the world’s only white male comedian”; AKA the man who played the slave master rapist in ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.’

How does it feel to be part of one the most vile videos I have seen in a long time.  Spare me your explanations about comedy and satire.  You participation (your role) and the video itself are all about as funny as Paula Deen and Rush Limbaugh.  Your Los Angeles address and hipster jeans don’t mean anything to me.  I cannot see into your heart, but your “work” tells me something. I see a video that perpetuates racism, sexism, and violence.  It traffics in dehumanizing images, finding pleasure in other’s pain. I see you and your partners in moral crime (Simmons and others who made this video deserve plenty of criticism and condemnation – go here and here and take a read and then come back to reflect on your own responsibilities) as merely recycling  ideas that have for centuries justified black suffering, sexual violence directed at black women, and enslavement.

I know the satire argument is coming, but it’s not funny, it’s not satire (what are you satirizing? toward what end?) and if you think that is funny, what does that say.  What does it say that you were willing to be a piece  that feels like a remake of Birth of a Nation.  This slavery porn pathologizes black bodies, renders them as objects of ridicule and violence.

Jason, you once noted “I also grew up in the punk rock/hardcore rebellious culture. I really have a similar mentality when it comes to comedy. I think comedy should be dangerous.” What is dangerous about reinforcing many centuries of white supremacy?  What is dangerous in perpetuating stereotypes about oversexed black women seducing their white masters?  What is dangerous in profiting and relishing off black death?  Stereotypes?

You seem very invested in positioning yourself as cutting edge, as new, and as hip?  Congratulations, you just participated in a video that would make D.W. Griffith proud.  You just acted in video that seems to have taken cues from some of America’s most racist forms of popular culture.  Cutting edge is not 19th century minstrelsy.  Is that what you call hip? Is that what cutting edge looks like to you?  In your eyes, would Thomas Dixon be a cutting edge writer; would bull connor be a cutting edge police man; George Wallace an edgy politician; would Henry Ford be a cutting edge business man?

I imagine you think this video is funny – what is funny about slavery, about rape, about the thousands of black men and women, beaten, brutalized, and enslaved at the hands of people who look you and me.  I predict that you think it’s just a “joke,” but maybe that’s because the “joke” isn’t about you, isn’t about your family and community.

The mere idea that anyone could find humor here is the ultimate expression of privilege – male privilege, white privilege.  Is it easy to reenact rape, to mock black suffering and death, from a distance?  How can you not feel the anguish and pain resulting from your participation and that pain is not just in history but evident today?

Can you name 5 things about Tubman (or even slavery); maybe if you spent less time making infantile YouTube videos and more time reading, you would have known better.  But your lack of knowledge aint my concern. Your participation in this video is reprehensible; your participation is a sign of disrespect and ignorance about Harriet Tubman; you have spit on her life and legacy, her struggle for freedom and justice.

In case you get some time, I encourage you to read about Tubman, about slavery, and about the history of rape and lynchings.  Trying something else cutting edge – intelligence, knowledge.  Try studying and you might learn about the history of black resistance in the face of white supremacy in all its forms. As I am not sure if you will open a book, at least read this brief summary of Tubman’s life from @prisonculture

Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman) became a “slave for hire” at the age of 5. She did domestic work, field work, cared for children…She once said that one of her mistresses would savagely whip her almost every day, first thing in the AM. When she was teenager, she stood before an overseer who was in pursuit of another slave. He took a lead weight & crashed it on her head. She was deeply wounded. She said that the blow “broke her skull.” She was carried back bleeding. She had no bed. They lay her on the floor. She was sent back to her parents who thought she would die. She survived. She went on to become Harriet Tubman. She freed slaves daringly & without fear. This is the person who @UncleRUSH laughed.

That is the person you mocked; that is the person you disparaged; that is the person whose community you enacted violence on today; that is the person you pretended to rape.  Read it again. Learn about the “Moses of her people”

You have said very little since the release of your historic porn. But I can hear the defense of this video and its participants.

Ignorance is not a defense.  And “I am sorry if I hurt your feelings” is not an apology.   The ability to be ignorant, to be unaware of the history and consequences of racial bigotry, and misogyny, to simply do as one pleases, is a quintessential definition of privilege.  The ability to disparage, to demonize, to ridicule, and to engage in racially hurtful practices from the comfort of one’s YouTube channel, from one’s segregated neighborhood, from one’s hipster enclave reflects both privilege and power. If you refuse to see, think, or feel outside your own experiences you are merely cashing in on those privileges.  At whose expense?

The ability to blame others for being oversensitive, for playing the race card, or for making much ado about nothing are privileges codified structurally and culturally.  Jokes about slavery, about sexual violence, about rape, about a history of white supremacy, about Harriett Tubman, are never a neutral form of entertainment, but loaded sites for the production of damaging stereotypes and violent images.

How about you take some responsibility and condemn yourself for being part of this video; now that would be cutting edge?


Post Script – In addition to the articles above, I encourage any to read Kimberly Foster’s Twitter timeline, this piece by Jamilah King, and this from K Lynn Dreher

Please also read this important contextual piece at Feminist Wire.

Apologies for few typos/errors in original post and getting Mr Horton’s first name wrong.  Should be all corrected now

The NBA’s “model minority”: The Exceptional Spurs

While not explicit there seems to be this subtle tone that the Spurs success reflects the number of international players.  The constant references to their unselfishness, team-first, and playing the right way encapsulates these sort of narratives and tropes.  The constant discussion of their teams intelligence (last night Boris Diaw was celebrated as a smart basketball player — nevermind that every NBA players has a high basketball IQ – right before he went for terrible steal leading to foul on Duncan) operates through a particular racial and national landscape.  The imagination of the Spurs as “model minorities” given the league’s demographics and their team roster should give us pause.  The imagination of the Spurs as hard working “immigrants” who play the game “the right way” is a window into some larger discussions and discourses

From “NBA Finals boast record international presence”

Social media has allowed sports fans all over the world to connect with one another in ways they never have before, and for the 2013 Finals, the NBA is taking that inclusiveness to even greater heights.

The NBA announced in a press release that the Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will be broadcast in 215 countries and territories and be translated into 47 languages.

This year’s Finals features a record 10 international players between the two teams. The Spurs feature three French players (Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Nando de Colo) as well as Argentinian Manu Ginobili, Brazilian Tiago Splitter, Australians Patrick Mills and Aron Baynes, U.S. Virgin Islands native Tim Duncan and Canadian Cory Joseph. The Heat feature Canada native Joel Anthony.

The Finals will be broadcast live in India on Sony Six as part of a new multiyear agreement, and many countries will have specialized experiences designed for them by the NBA.


Hate Violence Against LGBT Community Is On a Dangerous Rise – COLORLINES

Hate Violence Against LGBT Community Is On a Dangerous Rise

by Jamilah King, Tuesday, June 4 2013, 1:19 PM EST

It’s been less than a month since the brutal slaying of Mark Carson, an openly gay black man who was shot and killed in New York City’s West Village. Police continue to investigate Carson’s death as a hate crime and have had a suspect in custody since early on in the case, but the murder has become one of the more prominent examples of a frighetening increase in hate crimes targeting people in LGBT communities.

That increase is the focus of a new report on anti-LGBT hate violence released today by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. The report looks specifically at incidents of reported violence that took place in 2012 and found that transgender people of color were among the most impacted communities.

“Though the recent spate of hate violence incidents in New York City has captured the media’s attention, this report demonstrates that severe acts of violence against gay men, transgender people and LGBTQ people of color are, unfortunately, not unique to Manhattan nor to the past month, but rather part of a troubling trend in the United States,” said Chai Jindasurat, NCAVP Coordinator at the New York City Anti- Violence Project.

The report is the most comprehensive look at hate crimes against LGBT communities in the U.S. It draws on data from 15 anti-violence programs in 15 states.

Some of the key findings:

LGBTQ people of color were 1.82 times as likely to experience physical violence compared to white LGBTQ people

Gay men were 1.56 times as likely to require medical attention compared to other survivors reporting.

There were 2,016 incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence in 2012.

In 2012, NCAVP documented 25 anti-LGBTQ homicides in the United States, which is the 4th highest yearly total ever recorded by NCAVP.

The 2012 report found that 73.1 percent of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were people of color. Of the 25 known homicide victims in 2012 whose race/ethnicity was disclosed, 54 percent were Black/African American, 15 percent Latino, 12 percent white and 4 percent Native American.

via Hate Violence Against LGBT Community Is On a Dangerous Rise – COLORLINES.


Obama and the Death of White Power – News & Views – EBONY

Obama and the Death of White Power

by David J. Leonard

The re-election of Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States prompted a wide range of hateful reactions. From tearful Romney supporters to enraged bigots, the prospects of an African American leading the nation for another four years sent many within White America into panic mode or what I like to call “WDD:” White Delusional Disorder.

Teenagers took to twitter to hurl racial slurs without concern for the blowback; college students at Ole Miss and Hampden-Sydney (among others) took to the streets to voice their anger. In displays of violence usually reserved for sports celebrations, or disgust over an early bar closing, White males made their prejudices clear, hurling racial epithets and rocks with little fear of consequence. As editor Jamilah Lemieux said of those on twitter “the fact that there are so many people willing to publicly express these views… is troubling.”

Predictably, much of the chatter has focused on individual reactions, imagining racism in terms of emotion, anger, and frustration. The media’s shock and awe is not surprising given its failure to shine a spotlight on the resurgent White nationalism since 2008 and persistent racial inequality in the United States. Worse yet, the media has consistently portrayed racism as extreme in nature—-the extremely young, the extremely bigoted, the extremely Southern, the extremely uneducated, and the extremely low-class. But most of us know that it is more common than any newspaper may have you believe.

The anxieties, anger, and outrage weren’t so much about backlash against liberal values, but what Obama’s victory revealed about the nation. There was a clear, alarming message about demographic shifts and waning White male control. According to Keisha Bentley-Edwards, “The anger wasn’t only about President Obama and his re-election. It was overall frustration at the emerging power of diverse people in this country.”

It became yet another moment to lament “White victimhood,” a fantasy too fictitious for even Hollywood. It became an instance to mourn “the end of White America,” which for everyone from Bill O’Reilly to Donald Trump, from David Duke to White nationalists marks the demise of American civilization. O’Reilly laments “a changing country” given the increased power of “people who want things,” recycling the proven politics of White resentment.

Not surprisingly, while White tears were flowing, White nationalists seized upon President Obama’s re-election to further its movement. At, the hub for global racism, readers were met with a new introduction to the website:

Continue reading at Obama and the Death of White Power – News & Views – EBONY.