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Whiteous Indignation


"How cute!" my adults would say when they passed a black baby or a small black child. They'd grin approvingly at the baby and smile their acceptance at the baby's mom. Sometimes they'd extend a hand to brush the baby's cheek to prove their gentility. And then they'd walk a bit further, lean into each other and snark the zinger that angered me then and now, "yeah, they're cute now but wait till they get older." There it was. There it is. The not so subtle prejudice I witnessed in my family that millions of impressionable children witnessed in theirs.

As far back as I can remember I was offended by this language. But others in my family, in my generation, were not. Many assumed the attitudes and language of our adults and continued these prejudices into their adulthoods. Some more strongly than others. Some used the "N word." Some used "ditsoon," the Italian pejorative for blacks. In my large extended family, that includes several police, racial insensitivity was the norm.

That same racial insensitivity ran throughout my New York community. They weren't violent racists. They didn't burn crosses on black people's lawns. They held no memberships in the Klan. They never attended segregated schools or used "white only" bathrooms. But somehow they just knew that they were "better." They had that white smugness - that air of superiority I still witness on some faces. I see it on the faces of certain whites in the House and Senate when they speak of President Obama. I see it on the face of CNN's Lou Dobbs when he conspires against President Obama. I saw it on the faces of the thick blue line of police unions on July 24th when they challenged three Black officials (President Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons) for speaking against racial profiling and the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates.

I've seen persistent smugness from Gates' arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley, in his encounters with the press. This supposed expert on racial sensitivity has shown no sensitivity at all. But he does seem pleasantly taken with his fame. And why shouldn't he be? He out-maneuvered the President. He arrested a man for yelling-while-at-home and scored a beer at the White House as reward!

And, of course, there's no chance of an apology. Not from smug Sergeant Crowley!! He's the winner! Here, see for yourselves:

The police unions, the few officers of color who fell meekly behind their blue line, and the many who won't acknowledge their part in perpetuating inequality, made a dreadful error in supporting Crowley's arrest of Gates. This is a win for racism. Rather than narrow the gap of insensitivity, they've expanded the racial divide.

On December 13, 2007, Congressman John Conyers of Michigan introduced the "End Racial Profiling Bill of 2007" (H.R. 4611) into the 110th Congress where it died, just like other Bills before it in previous sessions of Congress and the Senate:

110th Congress: S. 2481Dead

109th Congress: S. 2138Dead

108th Congress: S. 2132Dead

108th Congress: H.R. 3847Dead

107th Congress: S. 989Dead

107th Congress: H.R. 2074Dead

End Racial Profiling legislation is long overdue, yet it will probably languish for many more years because legislators don't Do The Right Thing (love ya, Spike!!). If such legislation did exist, Professor Gates would have more leverage to challenge Sergeant Crowley. But just like single-payer health care, that which levels the playing field is too uncomfortable for Washington to do. Only when We-The-People rise for equality will reforms be enacted. Until that time, law enforcement will retain its power to target certain victims. Corporations will retain their power to target certain victims. Be they the Sergeant Crowleys of America, the Aetnas or the Cignas, inequities will continue until The People make them end.

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
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War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
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April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
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April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
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May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
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May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
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May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
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May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
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May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
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June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
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