Sunday, May 27, 2018

Something to Thing About . . .

When my friend Cathy shared the above cartoon on Facebook, someone responded: "Oh please, this [i.e., the NFL's policy against protesting players] should not be compared to slavery." Following is how Cathy responsed to this statement.

Of course it's not the same as slavery but if you think there doesn't continue to be a pattern of discrimination and oppression against black folks you are indeed living in a small world. And white folks don't like when black folks block the freeway or protest at other public events, so then they protest quietly – and that is not acceptable to people either. It continues to be the same concept of Shut up, boy, and do what we tell you to do.

And here's Cathy response to another comment she received in which someone asked: "Why can’t it just be about people? People protesting? Why is race always brought up?"

[T]he reality is that for people of color it is always about race. For goodness sakes, they are barbequing in the park or sleeping in their dorm room and people call the police on them because they don't think they belong there. So as much as you and I can ignore it, the reality is that black folks pay a price in big and small ways every single day because of their race. So, yeah, we have to talk about race until we get to a place where black folks can go about their daily lives without regularly wondering if the cops are going to be called . . . or worse.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The NFL: "A Modern Example of Nakedly Racist Authoritarianism in America"
Progressive Perspectives on Colin Kaepernick and the “Take A Knee” Movement
Quote of the Day – April 23, 2018
Quote of the Day – November 13, 2017
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The NFL: "A Modern Example of Nakedly Racist Authoritarianism in America"

Karen Attiah has penned one of the most incisive commentaries I've read on the National Football League's new policy on players protesting police brutality and racial injustice during the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of games.

Entitled “It's Time to Cancel the NFL's Plantation-style Politics,” Attiah's piece in The Washington Post was published on the same day as the New York Daily News's cover story (above) on how the NFL “dishonors the flag” with its new policy. The newspaper's cover illustration, which shows the names of victims of police brutality (including Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and Eric Garner) stitched into the stars and stripes of the American flag, is described by social commentator and civil rights activist Shaun King as “bold” and “essential.”

Following is an excerpt from Attiah's piece.

If you want a modern example of nakedly racist authoritarianism in America, look no further than the National Football League. The NFL announced Wednesday that “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem” and that a “club will be fined if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” If a player wants to not stand for the anthem, he can stay in the locker room until after the anthem is done.

Make no mistake: Forcing players to go inside the locker room or face fines is a blatant attack on the free speech of black players (who make up almost 70 percent of the league). As a reminder, the black players were never protesting the flag or the anthem itself. They were making a statement about the racism, injustice and police brutality in the United States. However, the NFL, like America in so many ways, has shown that it is more interested in silencing the speech of black players than in “advancing the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of society,” as its new policy claims. In attempting to make white America comfortable, the NFL has decided to to deny players the very freedom of speech that our military members have fought for and died to protect. In that, the NFL’s policy is way more disrespectful to what the flag and anthem represent than a player kneeling could ever be.

. . . The NFL said that it was “honored to work with its players to drive progress” on social issues. Yet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement never mentions the words “race” or “racism” — the original reasons that the players decided to take a knee in the first place. And let’s not forget that Colin Kaepernick, who has been effectively blacklisted from playing in the league for taking a knee, was not even invited to the player-owner meetings discussing social justice issues and NFL policy.

To read Attiah's commentary in its entirety, click here.

Related Off-site Links:
The Real Reason NFL Owners Want to Punish Players for Protesting During the Anthem – Dave Zirin (The Nation, May 23, 2018).
There Would Be No NFL Without Black Players. They Can Resist the Anthem Policy – Shaun R. Harper (The Washington Post, May 24, 2018).
Jets Owner Says If Any Player “Takes a Knee” He'll Pay NFL Fine – David Badash (New Civil Rights Movement, May 23, 2018).
Trump Praises NFL Decision and Questions If Protesting Players Should Be in the Country – Domenico Montanaro (NPR News, May 24, 2018).
NFL Bans National Anthem Protests on Same Day Video of Police Tasering of NBA Player Is ReleasedDemocracy Now! (May 24, 2018).
New York Daily News Rips NFL Over Anthem Kneeling Ban – Lee Moran (The Huffington Post, May 24, 2018).

UPDATES: Cowardly NFL Goes Backward with Anthem Decision – Jim Souhan (Star Tribune, May 25, 2018).
Serena Williams Praises Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for Doing "So Much ... for the Greater Good' – Courtney Han (ABC News, September 1, 2018).
NFL Owners’ Treatment of Colin Kaepernick Disgraces League and Country – Jesse Jackson (Chicago Sun Tribune, September 3, 2018).
Colin Kaepernick Named Face of Nike's 30th Anniversary of 'Just Do It' Campaign – Tim Daniels (Bleacher Report, September 3, 2018).
Don’t Speak for My Military Family: A Veteran’s Wife on Colin Kaepernick and the Nike Boycott – Lily Burana (Salon, September 5, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Progressive Perspectives on Colin Kaepernick and the “Take A Knee” Movement
Quote of the Day – April 23, 2018
Quote of the Day – November 13, 2017
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quote of the Day

There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.

The president’s opponents have yet to craft a coherent narrative about the Trump administration’s corruption, even though the only major legislative accomplishment Trump has to his name is cutting his own taxes. But his supporters have, ironically, crafted an overarching explanation to account for how the president they voted for, who came to office promising to eliminate official corruption, has come to embody it. The “Deep State” narrative is no more complicated than an attempt to explain the accumulating evidence of misbehavior on the part of the administration as a wide-ranging conspiracy to frame the president. The more evidence of wrongdoing that comes to light, the more certain they are that the conspiracy theory is true. In their own way, Trump supporters have recognized that Trump’s burgeoning list of scandals is made of branches from the same twisted tree.

– Adam Serwer
Excerpted from "There Is Only One Trump Scandal"
The Atlantic
May 21, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
GOP Senator on Trump and the State of Politics: "We May Have Hit Bottom" – Daniella Diaz (CNN, May 23, 2018).
Trump’s Strategic Assault on Democracy, Word by Word – Karen J. Greenberg ( via Truthdig, May 20, 2018).
Donald Trump and the Disturbing Power of Dehumanizing Language – Brian Resnick (Vox, May 18, 2018).
The Coming Collapse – Chris Hedges (Truthdig, May 20, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – March 12, 2018
Quote of the Day – February 6, 2018
Global Condemnation for Trump's Latest Ignorant and Racist Comments
Hope in the Midst of Collapse
With Republicans at the Helm, It's the United States of Hypocrisy
Donald Trump: A View from Australia
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
Quote of the Day – April 6, 2017
Quote of the Day – March 26, 2017
A Profoundly Troubling and Tragic Indictment
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump
Election Eve Thoughts
Carrying It On
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump
Trump's Playbook
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders

Saturday, May 19, 2018

"What You Feed, Grows! (It's All About Love)" – MayDay 2018 (Part 2)

This evening I share a second collection of photos from this year's MayDay parade. As I mentioned in Part 1, on Sunday, May 6, I attended the 44th annual In the Heart of the Beast Theatre's MayDay parade in south Minneapolis.

This year's theme was "What You Feed, Grows! (It's All About Love)."

The words of wisdom and inspiration that accompany my photos are excerpted from the MayDay 2018 program guide. Enjoy!

Parade Story, Section 1: We Feed You Love

Young people from our neighborhood have great power. Young people across the country and around the world have great power and are stepping up to use it . . . for love, for joy, for concern and protection of each other and our world.

The three groups of young people we work with in our neighborhood all expressed wanting to feed people. They use their power, sharing positive messages and fun energy to feed and inspire us. Step up with us, share a slice of the power, speak your truth, and share in the love!

– HOBT's Phillips Project

Section 2: Tas'ina Wicahpi/Star Quilt

Star quilts are used by many Native people to honor community members and show gratitude and affection. A tas'ina wicahpi/star quilt is comprised of cloth diamonds that depict the morning star. In this section we feature cloth diamonds that carry stories from youth and families who have lost loved ones, and community words of encouragement. This large quilt is called Tas'ina Wicahpi Tewa'ila (Love Star Quilt).

Tas'ina Wicahpi draws attention to images of the cosmos in the hope that it will awaken the sensibility that we are all a part of a greater story and responsible for its flourishing.

Attention is a basic form of love.

Our attention is on the youth who, like the stars, are guiding lights. Youth are now the enlivening force of movements such as Water is Life, Black Lives Matter, defending DACA, LGBTQI activism, and the call to put an end to gun violence in our schools and communities.

Tas'ina Wicahpi Tewa'ila brings visibility to Native youth and holds up all youth.

We honor youth who have become ancestors all too soon. We are deeply disturbed by the increasing rate of youth suicide, particularly amid Native youth who are significantly, and often invisibly, plagued by this reality. Native Americans make up 1% of the nation's population, yet Native youth have greater rates of suicide than any other racial group, disproportionate to the general population.

We recognize these tragedies are entangled amid deeply rooted systems of oppression, a time of unprecedented extinction of life and profoundly disturbing fragmentation of community. We look to the youth, and to the stars, for renewal and guidance and we work to heal these leaders so that they may shine.

– Graci Horne, Madeline Helling and Laura Korynta

Section 3: The Ground On Which We Stand

We do not grow plants – we nourish soil so that the soil may grow plants. When the soil has nutrients, so does our food. When it is depleted, so are we. How may we regenerate the soil, restoring the ground we walk on, as we restore ourselves? Soil is a naturally occuring dynamic system at the interface of air and rock. Soil is the very skin of the earth – a living, breathing being – and its thriving ensures our surviving.

We evoke soil as a metaphor for ancestors; the ground in which we're planted; the "parent material" of which we're made – where our roots lie.

Soil is a symbol for the climate we inhabit; toxic colonial legacies and a broken ecosystem but perhaps more important, an underground resistance that has long been rising up with bold, irreverent and enduring movements for social and environmental justice.

– Allison Osberg, Mary Plaster and Shannon Kemp

Section 4: Growing Momentum

Growing Momentum celebrates the growing of the world we want to live in. The heart is a seed, waiting to spring forth. The earth holds both the perennial roots and the possibility for the better future we can create.

Community is the heart of our city and the heart of the parade. How we work together and support each other creates a network of roots that gives us strength, lessens the spaces between us , and brings nourishment to our communities, encouraging us to grow. We want to honor and bring visibility to the work that's happening right now – how the seeds of change are constantly being planted. There is wild growth happening all around us.

If we have given attention to the current state of the world, it's difficult not to feel a little despair. It's easy to get stuck in questions of why, and forget to ask what we can do to make the word we want to see, and how to embody it. We want to bring attention to want we can do now and the work being done by those around us, while remembering those who gre those first seeds that we build on each season.

Values are communicated and reinforced by attention. What ways can you make the world you want to see? Attention, like water, bring life. Where are you putting your attention? What are you growing?

– Andrew, Angie, Malia and Marcelo

Section 5: Nourish the Garden – Welcome to the Time of "One"

On a microcosmic level, the universe is as a garden, where laws of Harmony, Love, Polarity, Beauty and symbiotic frequencies serve as necessary nourishment among all elements and beings to thrive as ONE.

The Heart, in the center, radiates healing colostrum or essence. Sun, Spiral, and Calla Lily speak to the nourishment among all elements and necessary to thrive as ONE.

– Jim Cook, Dee Henry Williams and Edgar Bey III

Section 6: Bloom!

Bloom is the celebration! These splendid blossoms are why we stay optimistic, glimpsing the inspired future and the actualized community and world we long for. Bloom is an appreciation of living things, the work of healers and helpers, detoxifying masculinity, expressions of love, the sun, moon, and earth. We recognize the glorious result of working with natural systems of the earth to solve problems and sustain ourselves and other living creatures. The action of pollination is a reminder that everything we achieve is a result of interactions and interdependence. The blooming flower is the tangible result of feeding what you want to grow.

– Gustavo Boada, Lindsay McCaw and Ashlie Paulson

A circle is a healing and connecting prescription accessible to everyone. Every family, any group anywhere can form one.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

Above: With my friend Mahad at the 44th annual MayDay parade – Minneapolis, Sunday, May 6, 2018.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
"What You Feed, Grows! (It's All About Love)" – Mayday 2018 (Part 1)
Photo of the Day – May 6, 2018
"Imagine, Heal, Resist" – MayDay 2017 (Part 1)
Photo of the Day – May 7, 2017
"Radical Returnings" – MayDay 2016 (Part 1)
"Radical Returnings" – MayDay 2016 (Part 2)
"Our New Possibility": Photo of the Day – May 1, 2016
"And Still We Rise!" – MayDay 2015 (Part I)
"And Still We Rise!" – MayDay 2015 (Part II)
Mystics of Wonder, Agents of Change (MayDay 2014 – Part 1)
"The Spiritual Dialectic of WONDER?!" (MayDay 2014 – Part 2)
See the World! (MayDay 2013)
The End of the World as We Know It (2012)
"Uproar!" on the Streets of South Minneapolis: Part 1 (2010)
"Uproar!" on the Streets of South Minneapolis: Part 2 (2010)
Getting Started: MayDay 2009 (Part 1)
Celebrating Our Common Treasury: MayDay 2009 (Part 2)
MayDay and a "New Bridge" (2008)
The Time is Now! (2006)

Images: Michael J. Bayly.