Earlier tonight, the Seattle Seahawks earned their way into the Super Bowl with a dramatic victory over the San Francisco 49ers as Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a San Francisco touchdown pass into a Seattle interception in the last minute of play. Sherman was understandably excited and not a little triumphant towards 49er players that had been trash-talking the Seahalks. In a post-game interview, he trash-talked right back with the obvious benefit of having just proven his point.
In the midst of the discussion on Twitter than ensued, I wanted to note the racialized way white people tend to use the word “thug”. As in the tweet above, I noted that “thug” is the sort of word white people will say when they really want to say another word but they know they’ll get in trouble if they use that. For all of the unmistakable racists quoted in that Deadspin article, there are going to be a LOT of somber editorials penned by white sports writers that are going to make the same exact point, just substituting “thug” for words they’d never be able to use in print.
This took on a more serious tone when I rewatched a commercial which had debuted earlier during the football game starring Richard Sherman. If you aren’t a football fan, Sherman grew up in Compton, California and attended college at Stanford. Actually, some of you on Tumblr may know Sherman from his "I’m Better At Life Than You" reaction during an interview with white sports pundit and well-known asshole Skip Bayless which has been gif’d a few times. Sherman has a reputation for bragadoccio, to be sure, but he’s also established himself as one of the most intelligent players in the league. In this ad for Beats by Dre titled "Hear What You Want", we see him in a locker room session with the press. His thoughtful answers reveal him not backing down from his confidence a bit, as this is who Richard Sherman is. But we also see an undercurrent of frustration with some questions about his character. The ad makes a point to establish his Compton background specifically so we can see Sherman relating to that. We see him taking the responsibility of a role model seriously as well as the pain of the insinuation that he isn’t a good one. The questions reach a crescendo when one reporter asks a down-right prophetic query given the post-game controversies:
"What do you think of your reputation as a thug?"
At this point, the sound goes out and Sherman slowly searches the room for the reporter who asked that. The camera lingers on his face, an unmistakable expression of frustration and pain from Sherman as he takes in the question. He resents being asked the question and all that the question means while at the same time, it is clear to us he knew it would be coming. It was unavoidable, but the sting is still real. He turns away from the reporter and softly shakes his head insisting, to himself more than the assembled microphones, that he doesn’t have that reputation. He then stops taking questions and puts his headphones on, revealing the double-entendre of the ad’s title: “Hear what you want”. Not just a selling point for high-priced headphones, but also a reality for Richard Sherman and so many black athletes like him who are defined by a media which shoves them into simplistic boxes informed by little more than racist stereotypes.
We’re going to see a lot of people “hearing what they want” about Richard Sherman in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, which makes this ad so chillingly effective. Because this isn’t new for Sherman. This is the cruel price media gatekeepers will extract for him because of his profession. These are the boxes racist white people will force onto young black people all while feeling perfectly entitled for no one to notice their racism because they abstained from using a slur.
broooer replied to your post: things i want from a wizarding movie set in 1920’s…I am desperately sitting here going “latino wizards give me south american wizards of all sorts”
yeah seriously tell us how wizardry’s done in the new world tell me how the wizards from france and spain and britain stamped out the brujos and the medicine men and set up their own schools tell me what the fuck the british raj did to fucking india because the patel twins are going to school in scotland and what are they told about their history, tell me about native american kids learning to say wingardium leviosa with hate in their hearts and tell me about wizarding rabbis bickering about whether you can use potions on the sabbath tell me about the slaves on their ships with their wands broken, mouthing curses in the dark tell me about the runaways that made it with garter snakes wrapped around their wrists that told them when they tasted dogs in the distance, tell me about the underground railroad and abolitionists with unbreakable vows and home-spun invisibility cloaks and disilusionments, using obliviate, using imperio, knowing that they served a higher justice, tell me about what happened to black wizards in the fifties, about what gates they were storming in the sixties tell me about queer wizards taking love potions every morning in their coffee to stay married to their husbands and their wives because what else could they do?
the world only begins and ends with straight white christians if you don’t bother looking any farther than that and too many people don’t and i am tired, tired, tired
Once Ciavarella was convicted, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed out 4,000 convictions issued by the judge.
Ciavarella appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to have his 28-year sentence overturned. On July 25, the court denied his request.
Racism is dead, tho’.
Four thousand children.
Four thousand children.
Four thousand children.
Sent to jail to make this horrific criminal rich.
Jesus fucking christ. At least he’ll rot.
This is it, y’all. This is what we are talking about when we speak of unfair sentencing, higher rates of convictions, lower rates of appeals, the school-to-prison pipeline of Black youths/people. He ruined* 4,000 lives. For what? Some money? ‘Cause Black bodies are dispensable, only valuable in terms of the all mighty dollar.
4000 babies sent to jail
Their lives were ruined by this man
Their lives were thrown away and it was all done for him to make a dollar.
Because Black bodies are to be used like currency in this country since its inception.
THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT TRUST THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
IT WAS MADE TO DESTROY OUR LIVES
y’all hear about this shit?
28 years doesn’t sound like enough… I’m (a tiny bit) encouraged that at least the PA Supreme Court overturned those 4,000 convictions, though I have to shudder at how many kids are still suffering because of what this monster did
Made rebloggable by request.
Here are the links used in the image, in order, if you wanna check my sources:
Do I look suspicious?
Students at Howard University made this video. It is really powerful and poignant. And it manages to be of the moment without dramatizing the moment, to make its message very clear (in all those faces, in all those clicking Skittles) without using a hammer.
After less than an hour of deliberation, a jury Wednesday found John Henry Spooner, 76, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide for fatally shooting Darius Simmons, his 13-year-old neighbor.
photo via chardline.tumblr.com
President Barack Obama, in a surprise appearance at today’s White House press briefing, delivering remarks without notes.
(Please note, this is not a partisan post or blog; I’m not taking any position on the President’s words, which I heard only minutes ago and haven’t even fully processed; this is that rare occasion where I’m just passing along something I find newsworthy without editorializing.)
President Obama made four major suggestions in his remarks, beyond the protests and vigils, in the aftermath of this tragedy:
(Long rambling about rape culture below. Because I’m a lady on the internet, so that’s, like, my job, right?)
This essay is really compelling to me because it touches on something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. In our oh-so-charming rape culture, there is no woman I know who hasn’t likely felt scared by a man alone in an elevator late at night, regardless of ANY of his characteristics beyond “appearing male.” It’s the result of being taught that being raped is a problem of not being safe enough, that our words/actions could cause an attack, that we could do something to deserve it (like, you know, be in an elevator while being a woman). And it’s a result of the simple fact that 1 in 4 women are raped and not only by obviously scary rapist dudes in obviously unsafe locations. I read this story and despite the description of how safe a building Questlove describes, I wouldn’t even blink if someone used the same setting to tell another story about how a tenant raped another tenant inside their superlux apartment. Rapists live in hard-to-get-into condos too.
Now, is it possible that, consciously or not, the woman in that elevator, or any woman, is disproportionately scared of Questlove because he’s Black and our society, along with all the rape culture bullshit, is also institutionally racist and teaches us to see Black men as violent? Absolutely. And that’s not okay because it’s not true and Black men are not any more likely to rape a woman in an elevator than any other man (I haven’t done any research but I feel comfortable with this assumption). So I see his point and I see that it feels hurtful. I sympathize with him. But, I still can’t help but empathize with that woman.
I walk home at night alone a lot. Most nights. Often pretty late. And because of all the aforementioned stuff, I spend most of those walks monitoring the people around me, waiting for someone to catcall or tell me to smile or say something that might even be charming if I weren’t so anxious (a la Questlove’s “flirting”), or worse. I usually cross the street if I’m about to walk near a man walking alone and I’ve even gone into a vestibule other than my own to wait for a guy behind me to pass my apartment. If you’re not a woman, ask a woman you know & she’ll confirm this is not just a me thing- it’s pretty universal. So I’m walking home, and I live in a relatively diverse neighborhood for this town, and every time I cross the street because I see a man alone coming towards me and he happens to be Black, I start thinking about this question. I’ve probably made someone feel the way Questlove feels in his story- like he ain’t shit because there was no danger and I just crossed the street because I felt unsafe because of something about him. And I always want to somehow explain that it’s not about him, or what he looks like, or something he did; it’s just about not feeling safe, ever.
So this essay is sticking in my brain for reasons unrelated to what it’s trying to say and why it’s being posted everywhere. Questlove is very eloquently trying to explain what it’s like to be a Black man in a racist society, one that specifically paints Black men as a threat. But he uses an example that I can’t help but see as part of what it means to be a woman in a rape culture that says women are responsible for preventing assaults on their body. And I understand his larger point and I sympathize, but I can’t get past the circumstance of the specific example. Not because it’s that the way the woman felt, the way I so often feel, is worse than how he felt. But because it’s easiest to identify with the person closest to you in a given story, I guess. And because I don’t know how to solve for x here given the variables we have- without racism then I could just argue that in our culture men need to understand that women never feel safe and they all, including Questlove, need to behave accordingly; without rape culture, I could assume that lady was being kinda racist, stay with the point of the piece and feel like Questlove deserves better. But with both, with what we actually have in the real world, we’re all just stuck there in that elevator, no simple solution, everyone feeling like crap.
i don’t ever want to criticize what women do to feel safe in rape culture, but statistics about white vs black incarceration, historical hysteria from white men about black men being with white women, and knowledge about intersectionality means that for me as a white woman, i tend to assume i’m more likely to be safe alone in an elevator with a black man than a white one, precisely because his male privilege intersects with his racialized experience. any white man knows he’d get away with attacking me, given the statistical probabilities that i’d report him/that it would be followed by charges/that he’d then be convicted. i figure most black men would never make the assumption that they’d get away with it as easily as a white man, because he knows he’s already likely to end up in jail for no real reason and that culture constructs him as violent and as especially dangerous to white woman, so as a white woman i can’t imagine assuming i’d be worth the risk of exercising his considerably reduced male privilege. maybe the black man with me in the elevator with is actually a rapist, but he’s probably smart enough to know when to act and when not to, and everything i know about rapists says they act when they think they’ll get away with it. schrodinger’s rapist is a great way to explain the problem of living in a rape culture, but i think it’s worth remembering that not all men experience their male privilege the same way.
Man, all of this commentary is aces, and I still don’t know how I feel about Quest’s article, but this is a lot of it. Privilege and power and race and rape culture and fear and frustration are all rolled up into a sticky mess in that elevator, and untangling it might be impossible, but I like that we all want to TRY.
After police arrived, Darius’ body remained on the sidewalk while police questioned his mother, Patricia Larry, in a squad car for approximately two hours.
During the police investigation of the shooting, they searched Ms. Larry’s home. Finding nothing, they proceeded to arrest Darius’ older brother for having truancy tickets.
John Spooner was granted a $300,000 bail, (only $30,000 would have to be posted for him to be free). Bail is uncommon when the charge is murder in the first degree.
This all took place in 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Mr. Spooner’s trial is to begin next month.
BOOOOOOOOST THE FUCK OUT OF THIS!!!!!!
what the fuck?