Thursday, October 23, 2014

Friday Fruit (10/24/14)

Anadolu Agency—Getty Images, Time
On Fridays, BTSF offers links to other discussions about race & Christianity. It's an opportunity for you to read other perspectives, and for me to give props to the shoulders on which I stand...


Weekly Round Up:


These are some of BTSF's links of interest this week. What are yours?

Feel free to contribute your own links in the comments section, or submit items you feel should be included during the week. Self-promotion is encouraged.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Open Letter to Attorney General Mike DeWine

Craig McCoy
The following letter was submitted by my friend, Craig McCoy, as part of a school assignment to write to a public figure regarding a current injustice. The students were instructed to model the letter after Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'Letter from Birmingham Jail,' quoting from it as appropriate. 

Craig's letter on the killing of John Crawford (background here) has since been mailed to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. I encourage you to read the whole thing and then submit your own letter to AG DeWine here.

Dear Attorney General Mike DeWine,

There is a concern that that I would like to discuss with you. It is about the incident in Beavercreek Ohio, when John Crawford was shot by police. While shopping in the Walmart, John picked up an airsoft gun off a shelf and was walking around with it. Someone by the name of Ronald Ritche placed a false 911 call. He stated that there was a man, pointing a gun at children and random people in the store.

The police responded, in full force, with military grade weapons. Instead of asking any questions, they shot Crawford, even after Crawford yelled that the gun was fake. So my question to you is would you pressure the Beavercreek City Council to withdraw funding for a militarized police and set aside that money for better police training?

It is obvious that the police caused panic. There needs to be reformed protocol and training in the Beavercreek police department. A famous quote from Martin Luther King’s (MLK) Letter to Birmingham Jail: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” A woman, who had her children with her, died of a heart attack when she heard gun shots by the police. Earlier when the woman passed Crawford, she didn’t think twice about him having a gun. She just kept shopping, when they passed each other. 

There were more 911 calls when the cops shot Crawford then when Ritchie placed the 911 call. There had to have been racial profiling. Racial profiling when, Ritchie called, and when the cops responded. Another famous quote from MLK’s letter to Birmingham Jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

When did he get the chance to explain his side of the story? Instead of asking questions the officers used racial profiling: Young black male, in a Walmart with a gun equals shoot him. The cop had to think the worst, when he got the call to respond to the scene. Racial profiling is still a real thing.

From a collection of 'last words'
The police are trained professionals on what is right and wrong in crisis situations. Even then, did the store customers at the time think it was a crisis situation? Why was this treated like a crisis, with no other evidence? Wouldn’t you think that if he was really causing trouble, that more than one person would call?

Even when Crawford said “it’s not real”, they didn’t even take the word said by Crawford in consideration. Wouldn’t this police training have a section about how to handle that consideration better?  To calm the situation down should be the first thing on the cops’ mind.  

You have to remember that Ohio is an open gun state. Which means that even if he had a gun on him, as long as he wasn’t causing harm to others, he was in full rights of the law. He was just shopping in the Walmart. Would it have been different if it was a white man that had the airsoft gun?
“When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of nobodiness - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” MLK
Being black myself, there is always the fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have to sometimes keep in mind to keep space from people at night, so they don’t get nervous. I remember to keep my hood down in the store, so I don’t worry anybody around me. It’s still a real thing when it comes to racial profiling. It is somewhat encoded when you’re a child. But better trained police would not make assumptions by color.

What is the purpose of S.W.A.T. if your normal police have the same resources? After 9/11, normal police have been getting military grade weapons to fight terrorists. Like anyone when you get new toys, you want to try them out. There is no reason for of local police force to have weapons of this power. Sure you could argue that there may be a time that, that military type force is needed, but at the same time with no confirmed disturbance, to respond like that and to act like that, is crazy.

It seems like there is no justice when you are a different skin color. We shouldn’t tell how a person is going to act just by skin color.  While reading a news article, I saw a demonstration poster that said “justice not served here.” That is true, I feel that there is no 911 number to call when you’re black. Just because you may think the system is ok, doesn’t make what happened right.
Attorney General Mike DeWine

There may be a time when I really need the police, but they might think I’m the bad guy in the situation. We should be able to trust the judgment of the police. We hope that they are the ones taking the middle ground to help and to protect us. Overall, the most important job in my opinion, is to protect and to serve.

But we need keep the people in mind when it comes to safely. We should be able to live in a world that you can walk in a public place, without the fear of getting shot, getting in trouble for no reasons. I hope that some of these reasons above will give you reason to pressure the Beavercreek city council and police force.

I know with your guidance, the police will be able to change the way that law enforcers view people of a different skin color. I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my paper. I hope that you can help this serous matter.

Sincerely, 
                 Craig McCoy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fruit (10/17/14)

Images of Bradford Young’s “Bynum Cutler”
courtesy of Creative Time, via Cololines
On Fridays, BTSF offers links to other discussions about race & Christianity. It's an opportunity for you to read other perspectives, and for me to give props to the shoulders on which I stand...


Weekly Round Up:



These are some of BTSF's links of interest this week. What are yours?

Feel free to contribute your own links in the comments section, or submit items you feel should be included during the week. Self-promotion is encouraged.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Creation Myths: Christopher Columbus



What we now accept as the true history of the United State in reality is comprised of decades of creation myths. After the American revolution, having separated ourselves from the rich history of Europe (and having sneered at this continent's indigenous histories to the point of annihilation), the newly formed United States found itself without a heritage with which to construct its new civilization. We were left without a history, without heroes or cultural icons. And the void needed to be filled.

As a result, we now have a cultural reliance on several sacred stories of our foundation. We revere the country's holy texts, and ritualistically repeat the essential creeds to our children. The stories of Jamestown, the pilgrims, and Plymouth Rock can be piously recalled. Yet none of the modern tales match the actual reality of our past. James Baldwin notes, "what passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one’s heroic ancestors."

And we have made heroes out of our cruelest ancestors, not the least of which was Christopher Columbus. After first encountering the Arawaks, Columbus realized "with 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." Thus was born America's true founding legacy.

To take advantage of Columbus's 'discovery', Spain declared that "with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us."


The crimes that followed Columbus's landing set the stage for centuries abuse and atrocity, the legacy of which continues today. Much of these works were carried out in the name of Christ. Consider that the first English ship to carry enslaved West Africans to the New World was named JesusFor hundreds of people this was the first encounter with God's Son, He that had come to 'set the captives free,'

Many of us already know that the stories we heard in grade school are myths. But white America perpetuates and clings to them anyway. Why? Perhaps we are too afraid look straight into the face of our generational sin. White Americans continue to benefit from our ancestors' actions, and it's time we owned up to the implications.

That Columbus is lauded as a hero is shameful and embarrassing. We need to rethink what stories we tell. Begin by watching this video, and consider who and what we celebrate on Columbus Day:



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friday Fruit (10/10/14)

On Fridays, BTSF offers links to other discussions about race & Christianity. It's an opportunity for you to read other perspectives, and for me to give props to the shoulders on which I stand...


Weekly Round Up:



These are some of BTSF's links of interest this week. What are yours?

Feel free to contribute your own links in the comments section, or submit items you feel should be included during the week. Self-promotion is encouraged.
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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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