Monday, February 06, 2017

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: Donald J. Trump and The Reconstruction of White Supremacy

“I think that a critical word is reconstruction. I mean that's the word that has been used by historians and maybe misused. In other words, I look at starting with the emancipation of black people from formal enslavement - and slavery was a phase of the system of racism/white supremacy, enslavement of African people. So then the slaves were emancipated, and the slaves thought: ‘well, the shackles are off and now we're free. And we're going to be able to do whatever we need to do to maximally develop ourselves.’ And what the… emancipated African people were then faced with was a whole system of laws that were called Jim Crow laws. We can call them white supremacy laws, were set up and put in place to block Black people from really being able to move forward. And… many Black men… could be captured and put… on plantations to work even though [slavery] had come to an end. And so I say that was like the reconstruction of white supremacy.” 
Third generation physician, general and child psychiatrist, and attempted counter-racist scientist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing died on January 2, 2016. She devoted more than a half-century to healing Black people and using her extraordinary skills to educate us about the global system of racism/white supremacy. The loss of this scholar and healer is colossal, cannot be quantified. 

However, Dr. Welsing would not allow us to be discouraged. She would demand that we complete our cosmic assignment: replacing white supremacy with justice. Our appreciation for her contributions are best demonstrated by employing her teachings, demonstrating maximum Black self respect, and mimicking her indefatigable commitment to the production of justice on the planet. 

To that end, days before Dr. Welsing’s transition – and nearly two months before the first Republican primary – she proclaimed that President Barack Obama’s successor would be Donald J. Trump. Approximately six months after her death, Trump was formally recognized as the Republican presidential nominee. Her clairvoyance was not the product of “Black girl magic” or haphazard guesswork, but rather, decades spent studying white people. Dr. Welsing courageously followed logic and confidently broadcast her analysis of what racism/white supremacy is and what motivates individuals who classify themselves as white to brutalize Black people and/or support Trump. 

Dr. Welsing’s brilliance is only enhanced when juxtaposed with the historic failure of White journalists to anticipate Trump’s success. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank declared, “Trump will lose, or I will eat this column.” Milbank swallowed his pride and his words – “newsprint and ink” – when Trump secured the necessary Republican delegates. Nate Cohn’s New York Times’ column offered many questions and few answers for how he and most others flagrantly misjudged the Trump candidacy. 
“Was Mr. Trump’s victory a black swan… an unlikely event with complex causes, some understood at the time but others overlooked, that came together in unexpected ways to produce a result that no one could have reasonably anticipated? Or did we simply underestimate Mr. Trump from the start?” 
Her seminal publication, The Isis Papers: The Keys To The Colors, explains how Dr. Welsing positioned Trump’s rise within the context of collective white behavior. 
“All major and minor behavior-energy crystallizations or behavior-units in the global white collective – no matter how simple or complex, old or new, short- or long-lived – must conform, in the final analysis, to the basic behavior-energy equation of white over non-white (or white power over non-white powerlessness). This is the necessary power or energy equation for white genetic survival.” 
Trump’s ascendancy was a predictable – necessary – creation of the 21st century global white minority. The white population’s declining percentage of the U.S. and world population, eight years of a black family occupying the White House, and a general anxiety about the declining potency of white power mandated a Trump-like figure to reconstruct white domination. Much of Dr. Welsing’s life work as well as fundamental aspects of her definition of white supremacy/racism are affirmed by Trump being a general election away from being the 45th President of the United States. 

Following President Obama’s 2012 re-election, National Public Radio (NPR) hosted a post-election assessment. David Brooks pronounced, “the Republican Party has become the receding roar, for a lot of white people who are longing for a way of life that will never come back. Every other institution, in American life, has done this… They've adapted to a world with many more Latinos, many more Asian-Americans.” Dr. Welsing diagnoses this “roar” as the central motivation for the white collective’s perpetual hostility towards the global non-white majority. She maintained that individuals who classify themselves as white practice racism (white supremacy) “for the ultimate purpose of white genetic survival and to prevent white genetic annihilation on planet Earth – a planet upon which the vast and overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white skinned people, and all of the non-white people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetic recessive white skin people.” 

Permanent dissatisfaction with a melanin-dominant planet inspires and maintains unyielding devotion to global white rule and brutality against non-white people – especially Black people. 

In subsequent years, NPR and other outlets have reminded white people that the planet is becoming blacker. A 2014 report – released days after the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri – declared: “The future of humanity is increasingly African.” UNICEF research “estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world’s people will be African.” They project the continent’s population “will soar to more than 4 billion by 2100.” This prognosis was not met with jubilee. 

U.S. population estimates are no whiter. 

In June of this year, The Wall Street Journal warned that “White Americans no longer account for the majority in hundreds of counties across the U.S.” Donald Trump has directly addressed “the fear of a black planet” better than any other candidate. His vows to erect a wall on the Mexican border and to prohibit Muslim immigration are naked appeals to white trepidation about encroaching, dark bodies. 

Toni Monkovic theorized how Trump’s rhetoric is particularly alluring in regions where whites feel intimately menaced by non-white people. “Mr. Trump’s anti-immigration language lands with force for people who fear the browning of America. Within three or four decades, several reports have indicated, non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up a majority of the United States population.” 

During one of her final interviews, Dr. Welsing deconstructed how whites’ minority status is at the root of their group pathology and tyranny. 
“People who classify themselves as white are beginning to feel and become aware that whites are a tiny minority on the planet. And to the extent that there's any motion at all, even discussion about ‘Black Lives Matter,’ or any discussion about the absence of diversity where the person whose mindset consciously and/or subconsciously is thinking: ‘I'm white. And certain things are my right because I am white. And I can do whatever it is that I want to do to non-white people, and I can get away with it because that is my right as a white person in the system of racism/white supremacy.’ So that's their crystalized conscious and/or subconscious identity. Well, if cracks begin to appear in the system of racism/white supremacy, even cracks such as a discussion about gun control, then subconsciously the white person can start feeling like my system that has protected me, that has given me privileges above those that persons who are non-white have, it's sort of like the foundation is shifting.” 
The 2008 election of Barack Hussein Obama represents a tectonic cataclysm. 

The post-Civil War 19th century witnessed unprecedented accomplishments by formerly enslaved Black people. Ex-slaves reconstituted families, established schools and churches, and won political offices formerly restricted to White men. These feats galvanized a pogrom of white terrorism to re-shackle Black Americans. In White Rage, Carol Anderson describes how white citizens perceived “Black empowerment as a nightmare.” Former president Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” failed to shape white conduct in the march to the 20th century. Whites like former South Carolina Governor Benjamin R. Tillman, who boasted about killing black people, were instead guided by “the threat of negro domination.” Anderson documents how the Klu Klux Klan and other White terrorist organizations slaughtered Black citizens with impunity, as “the Reconstruction era descended into nothing less than an age of violence and terror.” 

More than a century later, white Americans resurrected many of the same behavior patterns in response to the Obama presidency. Days after his 2008 victory, the Chicago Tribune recorded an eruption of white supremacist activity: 
“Barely three weeks after Americans elected their first black president amid a wave of interracial good feeling, a spasm of noose hangings, racist graffiti, vandalism and death threats is convulsing dozens of towns across the country as white extremists lash out at the new political order. More than 200 hate-related incidents, including cross-burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama, have been reported so far, according to law-enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Racist web sites are boasting that their servers are crashing under the weight of exponential increases in page views. Even more ominously, America's most potent symbol of [white terrorism]—the Ku Klux Klan—has begun to reassert itself, emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity in a spate of recent violence.” 
Anderson documents that, “In Obama’s first year in office alone, there was a 400 percent increase in death threats.” Dr. Welsing regularly referenced this historic escalation when refuting the fabricated notion of a “post-racial” society no longer dominated by white supremacy (racism). To the contrary, she decoded and highlighted the white fury targeting the Obamas – and black people at large. 

Lagging well behind Dr. Welsing, Monkovic did correctly correlate the racist displeasure with President Obama to Trump’s crusade. “Some social science research suggests that the simple fact that President Obama is black might have contributed to a sense of lost power and resentment among whites, and, of course, Mr. Trump first came to political prominence by questioning whether Mr. Obama was even a citizen.” 

Although accurate, Monkovic and most others lack the comprehensive analysis to explain Trump’s appeal within the historic and global context of white culture. In 2011, Dr. Welsing clarified how the white psyche interprets President Obama as a blemish on the White House, an affront to white power. 
“So then the next phase is a black man runs for president of the United States of America. Well, even though there was white support for his presidency, when he got into the White House and you have a Black man with his [Black] wife and his Black children and his Black mother-in-law in the White House, even the people who classify themselves as white who called themselves liberals began to think: ‘Oh my god. What have we done?’ Because just the image of the Black man being in the White House and being in charge began to set off the anxiety of if we lose power, if the power equation changes and this… in the symbolic parlance of white supremacy speech, you don't want to be ‘caught behind the eight ball.’ But President Obama being in the White House makes the white mindset that is concerned subconsciously about white genetic survival begin to feel: ‘Wait a minute. We're being caught behind the eight ball.’ And that translates into white genetic annihilation. So then we have this massive attack. We can call this the 3rd reconstruction. Meaning the reconstruction of racism/white supremacy.”
Deviating from conventional narratives of U.S. history, Dr. Welsing identifies three periods where the white collective reconstructed the power equation of white over non-white. Governor Tillman and the KKK presided over the 19th century re-assertion of white domination. During the mid 20th century, countless Black citizens dedicated and lost their lives confronting the organized system of white terrorism that governed the United States. Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Williams, Assata Shakur and countless Black warriors defied and destabilized white power. Dr. Welsing describes this period as the second reconstruction of white supremacy. This era of restoration includes state-sanctioned counter-intelligence programs designed to neutralize any efforts towards Black liberation, the political rhetoric of “law and order,” which authorized any means necessary to crush Black opposition to racism, and the 1968 election of President Richard Nixon, who instituted federal policies to achieve these objectives. This historical framework informs Dr. Welsing’s theory of why the third reconstruction – white retaliation to the Obama presidency – was an obligatory, to be expected occurrence. 
“In other words, if the system moves from establishment, maintenance, expansion, refinement – refinement is the emancipation of the slaves. Refinement is changing the laws so it looks like equality. But each time you have that kind of gain it has to be thrown back because the fundamental concern is white genetic survival by any means necessary. So you have a black man becomes president. He's intelligent, articulate, brilliant. Every single qualification that is needed to lead the nation, to lead the world. But then it hits subconsciously that this means white genetic annihilation or symbolically just because a black man is supposed to be in charge. And so we have to have the third reconstruction, and that is the annihilation of his power and showing him all this talk about the budget and the debt, but the articulation that came out once he was elected where you had spokespersons on the television saying our goal objective is to… see that he fails.” 
This is the decrypted White mentality responsible for an unprecedented number of death threats targeting a U.S. president, a nagging suspicion that Barack Obama is a Kenyan native (not “American”), and the climb of Donald J. Trump. A 1980 essay on Dr. Welsing’s interpretation of Nazi Germany and the Third Reich provides a chilling context for the Trump sensation. 
“The specific fear of white genetic annihilation, while always present in the global white collective, becomes more prominent and is more frequently acted upon in times when whites have lost a war and/or when there is serious economic uncertainty. At these times the white collective feels insecure because the major props for the sense of white invincibility and for fear of white genetic survival – their guns and money – seem to have failed. Thus, after the German’s loss of World War I (which was followed by political instability, high level inflation and high level unemployment), there appeared on the scene a dynamic spokesperson, articulating the need to destroy those perceived as capable of ultimate white destruction. In the United States we are in such a period.” 
The economic and demographic upheavals at the dawn of the 21st century have inflicted a tremendous injury to a sizable population of whites. A Princeton University tandem published a stunning report chronicling “financial despair, [drug] addiction and the rise of suicide in White America.” The researchers found that the system of white supremacy is failing to accommodate the great expectations of a growing number of white people; in response, they’re abusing narcotics and/or ending their own lives. 

In addition to the surge of self-destructive behavior, these disruptions to white power are re-focusing white proclivities to violence on black bodies. Unfortunately, an ambassador of white culture, Dylann Storm Roof, targeted members of the Charleston, South Carolina Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church. Before murdering nine unarmed black worshippers in June of 2015, Roof allegedly detailed his homicidal logic in a manifesto. He conveys much of the white frustration articulated by Trump supporters. 
“To take a saying from a film, ‘I see all this stuff going on, and I don’t see anyone doing anything about it. And it pisses me off.’ To take a saying from my favorite film, ‘Even if my life is worth less than a speck of dirt, I want to use it for the good of society.’ I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.” 
Roof didn’t “see anyone doing anything” to fortify white dominion. A substantial portion of Trump voters harbors an identical grievance. In “The Anti-P.C. Vote,” Thomas B. Edsall reveals, “Trump has capitalized on the visceral belief of many white voters that government-enforced diversity and other related regulations are designed ‘to bring Americans to submission’ by silencing their opposition to immigration — legal and illegal — to judicial orders putting low-income housing in the suburbs, and to government-mandated school integration, to name just a few of their least favorite things.” White rule is being impugned from the White House to the schoolhouse, and no one’s doing anything about it. 

No one, except Trump. During her final lecture at The Cress Welsing Institute of Psychiatry and Social Research on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Welsing foreshadowed why Trump would resonate with white voters. 
“Every single thing that we are concerned about, every single thing when you turn on the TV tomorrow morning that they will talk about will all be related to racism/white supremacy as a system. Donald Trump. I say meet your next president. See all kind of people from the time he started talking: ‘Oh, he's crazy... Oh, the American people won't accept...’ Donald Trump has pulled the hood off of, the sheet off of, the cover off of the system of racism/white supremacy. See he pulled it off, and he's talking with more clarity than anybody else. All the other candidates quietly, quietly are thinking about racism, but they're not talking overtly about it. But Donald Trump is talking. So like I said, Donald Trump's trump card is the race card in the system of racism/white supremacy.” 
In this climate, a dynamic spokesperson with an explicit appeal to white racial angst can become a political juggernaut. Dr. Welsing’s unparalleled comprehension of white culture allowed her to accurately forecast a presidential campaign that most found inconceivable. 

Sadly, Dr. Welsing became an ancestor before Trump’s domination of the Republican primaries, the numerous incidents of black onlookers being mauled at his rallies , and his campaign pledge to: “Make [white] America great again.” It’s doubtful she could conjure a more accurate, public illustration of her analysis of what racism and how it works.

(For footnotes, see Academia.edu

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling With Dead Black Bodies

Michelle Obama got plantational during her address to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She reminded the Philadelphia audience that she wakes “up every morning in a house that was built by slaves." 

And throughout the week, Mistress Hillary R. Clinton showcased enough black help to build a new White House. The Lou Rawls Parade Of Stars got nothing on HRC. Her melanin rich lineup included: Oprah Winfrey, Rev. William Barber, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Congressman John Lewis, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Senator Corey Booker, Morgan Freeman, and the Obamas. 

“It’s a hell of a show, “ declared journalist and Pennsylvania inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the few negroes in the state not on stage at the DNC. “It has writers and directors and stage managers. And it’s a hell of a show. But never forget: It’s just a show.” 

For whose entertainment shall we sing our agony?” 

Ogling grieving black mothers is as synonymous with Americana as shackled black bodies or the Liberty Bell. Whites gazed as enslaved black mothers watched their children auctioned from the womb. White voyeurs devoured images of Mamie Till-Mobley recounting how Mississippi terrorists butchered her son, Emmett. Hollywood reflects this Racist fetish; Viola Davis’ The Help and Halle Berry’s Monster’s Ball deliver Oscar-celebrated renditions of bereaved black motherhood. 

Tell us about your pain. Tell us what we took from you. 

Mrs. Clinton continued this tradition at the DNC, brandishing the black mothers of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown Jr., Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Dantré Hamilton, Trayvon Martin, and Hadiya Pendleton. Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, told the convention: 

"One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter, Sandra Bland, was lowered into the ground in a coffin. She was my fourth of five daughters, and she was gone. No, no, not on administrative leave, but on permanent leave from this Earth, found hanging in a jail cell after an unlawful traffic stop and an unlawful arrest.

Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace appraised the value of black life: “You’re nobody ‘til somebody kills you.” The notorious HRC only developed an interest, said the names Sandra Bland and Eric Garner once they were corpses. Well-publicized black deaths provided Clinton a chance to campaign on the caskets of black bodies, plaster their graves with “Ready For Hillary” buttons. 

Clinton insists: I care about the negro. Months before the Philadelphia extravaganza, the former Secretary of State didn’t just break bread with these violated black mothers. Amy Chozik writes that for almost three hours, the presidential hopeful munched “pork chops and gravy, fried okra and rice.” Presumably, Clinton proffered her concealed hot sauce to authenticate her “blackness.” 

This motherhood of black grief became “an unlikely linchpin of Mrs. Clinton’s success.” And with nauseating similarity to Kunta Kinte’s painful rebirth as Toby in Roots, “The Clinton campaign named this sisterhood… ‘Mothers of the Movement.’” A branding calculated to keep black people shackled to the Clinton brand.  

A trail to the White House paved with black tears. 

But as First Lady, Mrs. Clinton championed the White Supremacist ideology that mandates and rationalizes the death of black children like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Tamir Rice. Former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson practically plagiarized Clinton’s 1994 crime bill talking points when he justified killing Brown. Wilson articulated the essence of Clinton’s “super-predator.” He called the unarmed 18-year-old a “demon” and claimed he “felt like a five-year-old holding onto [black] Hulk Hogan.” Clinton’s mid 90’s oratory can be seamlessly incorporated to explain why Michael Brown's black life didn't matter. He and Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown when he was killed, were “not just a gang of kids.” Emmett, Michael and Tamir are probable rapists, strong-arm robbers, (toy) gun-toting black predators. As HRC declared: “We have to bring them to heel.” 

Logically, we don’t call it “murder” or convict indict White killers for putting down black “super-predators.” 

But the repulsive, treacherous irony is that Hillary Rodham Clinton best exemplifies a “super-predator.” Her calculated, shameless exploitation of vulnerable, traumatized black mothers and their deceased children is the epitome and pattern of White parasitic behavior. Clinton gnaws the corpse of Sandra Bland to nourish her reputation as a “White ally,” the “not racist” option to Donald J. Trump. This isn’t pandering to black citizens; it’s a necrophilic scavenger hunt. Clinton’s a grave robber thirsty for black ballots. 

She may be scrambling to add the mothers of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling to her macabre sorority.

This conclusion could be repudiated if Clinton proposed authentic measures to value and protect black life while making history in Philadelphia. She did not. Dr. Cornel West castigated her for “trotting out [black] mothers,” but failing to mumble a syllable about policy changes designed to permanently annihilate Racist police practices. In fact, the remarks of Clinton’s “club of heartbroken mothers” reveal the handiwork of the writers and directors Mumia credited. Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucia McBath, and Sybrina Fulton discussed God, “commonsense gun legislation,” and helping a White Woman get to the White House. No one – including Hillary Clinton – said “Racism,” which is the primary reason these black mothers have a child “on permanent leave from this earth.” 

In Medical Apartheid, Harriet A. Washington details the White tradition of looting black burial sites, trafficking in dead black bodies. She describes how White medical students took commemorative selfies with cadavers that were often black. Washington compares this "important medical rite of passage" to the lynchings of black citizens, which necessitates gruesome portraits of White terrorism and the celebration of black death.

Clinton revised this tradition by mugging for the cameras with the lynching victims' relatives. Then asking for their votes. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Christopher Clark: "Well-Meaning" White Man Rejects Opposition To His "Integrated" Bedroom

Christopher Clark with his black female partner
The Context of White Supremacy welcomed White journalist and writer Christopher Clark live from South Africa to exchange views on Racism. During the exchange he made these critical points:
  1. Clark agreed that there is a System of White Supremacy defined as: a global system of people who classify themselves as White and are dedicated to abusing and/or subjugating everyone in the known universe whom they classify as not White.
  2. Clark concurred that it is logical for non-white people to suspect that any White person - including himself - could be a White Supremacist/Racist.
  3. Clark conceded that the counter-racist thought that supports why any sexual activity between a White person and a non-white person is inherently exploitative and incorrect behavior under the System of White Supremacy is logical.
  4. Clark failed to provide any strategies for Victims of White Supremacy to accurately differentiate between "well-meaning" Whites and Racist Whites.
After the broadcast, Clark submitted this expletive-laced reflection on our discussion. His commentary is unedited.
Hi Gus,
I just re-listened to our talk and the subsequent "commentary", if it can be called that. 
Firstly, I think it's a huge cop out for you to dismiss so much of what I said and in such a callous manner once I was already off air. I would have been more than happy to deal with your snarky comments on air, but I guess that wouldn't have worked so well with your agenda, right? 
Secondly, how dare you speak about my relationship with my partner the way you did both while I was on air and even more so subsequently. Excuse my language, but you know sweet fuck all about her, her background, her family or the details of our relationship. Who the fuck are you to say that we won't stay together, or speculate about why we are not already married, or to assume that that is automatically my decision rather than a mutual one, or her decision for that matter? Who the fuck are you to assume that you can police other people's life or relationship choices, whatever their race? 
Thirdly, I was being completely genuine when I thanked you for the "grilling". I am sincerely interested in understanding more about racism and how to confront it, and I felt I had learnt valuable lessons from you and your callers in this regard, even though I don't agree with everything that was levelled at me. I don't see how seeing this as valuable and giving thanks for that is something that can also be perceived as negative. But then it seems clear now that you are incapable of taking anything from a white person as something that is not completely and inherently negative. Please tell me how the fuck such a one-sided view is productive for anyone, black or white? 
And yes, much of our conversation was uncomfortable for me. Why is that "bad"? I have honestly never had to answer or counter some of the questions or theories you posed, whether from white people or black people, and I certainly wasn't expecting some of them either. But was I dishonest at any stage? Absolutely not. When I was uncertain about something, I said as much. When I hesitated or chuckled, it was because I was feeling nervous or awkward or stunned by the directness of a question and didn't have a definitive answer. I'm also acutely aware of professing certainties about such complex issues that I am still learning about and analyzing on a daily basis. 
Next up, do all white people sit around and conspire about how to "talk to negros" in a manipulative and evasive way? Did I honestly hear you ask that question? Are you fucking serious??? 
Newsflash my man: there are good people trying to "do the right thing" and live their life right across all races, including among whites. There are most definitely non-racist and anti-racist white people, though they are admittedly a minority. There are also prejudiced people across all races, including among blacks. 
I think I know myself pretty well, and I know that I am a good person who tries to treat everyone I encounter with respect, empathy and dignity. I honestly think it's sad that you are obviously so unwilling to see the good in certain types of people or situations. I came onto your show with nothing but good and honest intent, and you refused to see that -- I think you'd already made your mind up before we even started talking. Hence the resounding triumph in your voice whenever you felt I'd lived up to your preconceived ideas. 
And then to even be insulted by you for defending my own mother. . . that was a new level of bullshit for me. Who wouldn't stick up for their own mother if they thought she was being portrayed unfairly (and later greatly misquoted / taken out of context in your "commentary")? It's not because she is "white", it's because she is a good woman who I love and who has done a tremendous amount for me. How the fuck is sticking up for someone like that so hard to understand? And the fact that I am unwilling to disclose the contents of a private email she sent me says nothing apart from the fact that I'm not willing to share everything with someone who I don't know live on air. And with regards to the lack of "addendum" you pointed out on the post about what my Mum said to me, I didn't think it was necessary to what I was trying to get across in that blog post. 
Also, if I were you I'd do some more research on what Bantustans were before you start throwing that word around. Just some friendly advice before you start talking about ignorance :) 
In all honesty, you lost all credibility for me when I listened to your commentary. That was just really shitty talk radio man. 
I'm sure you'll find some way to turn this all around and make it about my inherent racism and white power or policing your blackness, but it's really not about any of that. It's just about you behaving like a presumptuous, judgmental asshole. 
So fuck you, quite frankly.
Cheers, 
Chris

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Whitefolks Watching Roots Like: "Make America Great Again."

I swallowed it whole on Roots. 
Wasn’t it nice? 
Wasn’t it nice? 
Slavery was so cool. 
And all you had to do was wear derbies and vests and train chickens 
And buy your way free if you had a mind to. 
Must be the devil. 
It wasn’t no whitefolks. 
- Amiri Baraka “Dope” 



The Memorial Day debut of the refurbished version of Alex Haley’s Roots didn’t captivate a hundred million viewers like the 1977 rendition. Maybe the audience dwindled because OJ Simpson wasn’t re-cast? Regardless, the updated mini-series entertained millions and enjoyed widespread appreciation for providing a historical context for racial turbulence in the United States in the era of Black Lives Matter. 

The Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts Jr. and a multitude of others insist that when it comes to slavery and the history of Racism, Whites and blacks alike are often ignorant; we’ve “never been given the tools to face the ugly truths America hides from itself, [have] never been taught how to have the conversation” about the American empire being founded on shackled black bodies. 

That bit of racial rhetoric is oft repeated, always false. 

Whites cannot flunk Racism

Smartphones and Hollywood are making it increasingly impossible for Whites to claim obliviousness about the ceaseless pillaging of black people. Eric Garner (a black male choked to death by New York police in 2014) and Sandra Bland (a black female found hanging dead in a Texas jail under suspicious circumstances in 2015) garnered more television time than many of the 2016 presidential candidates. While the box office and Netflix hemorrhage viewing options of chained, bludgeoned black people. 

Before the Roots reboot and FOX’s Empire there was: The Book Of Negroes (2015), Belle (2013), 12 Years A Slave (2013), DJango Unchained (2012), Case départ (2011), Feasts of All Saints (2001), Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000), Beloved (1998), Amistad (1997). 

This is a stingy sample of the plantation genre and excludes oddities like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), documentaries like Katrina Browne’s insufferable Traces Of The Trade (2008), and exemplary projects like Halle Gerima’s Sankofa (1993). 

Whites haven’t ignored these flicks; they’ve directed, financed and doled out Emmy and Academy Award nominations to a sizable number of these projects. Authentic or dramatized, Whites maintain an insatiable appetite for depictions of black misery. 

Black suffering made America great. Seeing Kunta Kinte lashed, mutilated and broken affirms White Power. White historian Amy Louise Wood authored Lynching And Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940, which deconstructs the White thirst to visually consume blacks being castrated and brutalized. Her theory applies to the hundreds – often thousands – of Whites who attended lynchings, the dispersal of photographs and postcards of ceremonial White terrorism, and films like Birth of a Nation – and probably either version of Roots. She writes: 
The rituals, the tortures, and their subsequent representations [impart] powerful messages to whites about their own supposed racial dominance and superiority. These spectacles [produce] and [disseminate] images of white power… white unity and… [serve] to instill and perpetuate a sense of racial supremacy in their white spectators. Lynching thus [succeeds] in enacting and maintaining white domination not only because African Americans [are] its targets but also because white southerners [are] its spectators.
The “re-imaging” of the routine rape of Kizzy - which was an everyday trauma for enslaved black females, males and children -and the YouTube postings of Oscar Grant’s life being snuffed out to christen 2009, are the necessary “terror porn” that solidifies the worthlessness of black life, verifies undisputed White might. Woods corroborates that Whites recognize “the ways in which entertainment [is] bound up with violence, as well as the ways in which violence itself [is] a source of visual amusement.” 

We commit a colossal error thinking White viewers digest Roots or any other portrayal of black agony with guilt for the barbarism their racial ancestors meted out to our black relatives. Watching Kunta lose a foot won’t compel presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to recalibrate his stance on reparations. LeVar Burton, Anika Noni Rose and Forest Whitaker’s best dramatizations fail to convince Arizona rancher and federal lawbreaker Cliven Bundy to reconsider; the southwest outlaw believes negroes were “better off as slaves, picking cotton.” 

White jurists and former prosecuting attorneys like Staten Island, New York’s Dan Donovan (now a Congressman and a Trump supporter) and Ohio’s Timothy McGinty watched authentic footage of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice being killed and concluded it didn’t even warrant a trial – much less a conviction. A celluloid recounting of antebellum black lives undeserving of White respect does little to alter 21st century dedication to White Supremacy. 

If anything, a growing chorus of Whites openly wishes for a return, a reconstruction of earlier eras of White Supremacy when the only Obamas at the White House were butlers or mammies. White teenyboppers at Grosse Pointe South High School, a Detroit, Michigan suburb, summarized their presidential platform for a potential 2040 campaign: "Bringing back slavery, burning black people with brands and sending them back to Africa." After four decades, Roots returns to the airwaves when presidential front-runner Donald J. Trump’s political rallies have often rhetorically and literally echoed the flagrant White sadism of plantations where black people are mauled with impunity. 

The commercialized rape of black bodies made America great. 

Must we see it again?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: Original Racism

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has simultaneously recalibrated talking points for the upcoming presidential election and intensified the importance of President Obama’s remaining months in the White House. Scalia reportedly died over the weekend while on a hunting trip in Texas. He occupied the highest bench for three decades since being nominated by President Ronald Reagan and unanimously confirmed in 1986. 

Like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, Justice Scalia is a Racist Suspect. 

Before his SCOTUS residency, Scalia commanded the United States Court Of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where, according to the New York Times, he issued opinions “skeptical of claims of employment discrimination.” In 2013, he helped erode the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which he branded a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” And during the courts re-reconsideration of Affirmative Action, Scalia echoed predictable “Bell Curve” dogma about the intellectual ineptitude of negroes. The late justice explained that, “Most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools.”

Scalia wasn't practicing White Supremacy. He was looking out for our best interest, so that aspiring black scholars don't strain our puny colored brains.    

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, a third generation physician and author of The Isis Papers, discussed Scalia’s assessment of black aptitude during one of her final lectures before her 2016 death. 

150 years since emancipation, and [Justice Scalia] is justifying why black people should not be admitted to the law school because they don’t have what it takes. Maybe there’s a little nursery school law school that they can attend. That’s kind of more suited to what we’re going to allow them to do anyway.” 

The American Slave Coast, co-authored by Ned and Constance Sublette in 2015, explains how the United States was founded and thrived on a slave system that required the perpetual rape of black people. The organized sexual exploitation of black bodies informs the genesis of the United States Constitution that Scalia was charged with decoding. The Sublettes write: 

The story of the Constitution’s making in 1787 has been told any number of ways, typically suffused with a cue-the-kettledrums aura of religiosity and an assumption of American triumphalism. Constitutional historians have tended to portray their subject as the most important political document in world history, in the greatest nation in history. In extreme cases this has involved elevating the framers to a sort of secular sainthood, as in the post-Reagan years, when a school of constitutional interpretation called 'originalism' emerged in American jurisprudence. Most prominently associated with archconservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, originalism is a fundamentalist movement that seeks in effect to construe the Constitution as static and unchanging by mind-reading the intentions of the presumably divinely inspired Framers - a word Scalia writes with a capital F, the way they did it in the eighteenth century. His opinions are shot through with variations on phrases like: 'The Framers recognized …,' 'The Framers contemplated …,' 'The Framers viewed…,' and 'The Framers’ experience …' This is a peculiarly subjective lens through which to view a document created by so many people, at such sharp cross-purposes with each other.

'Aware that the South would not join a Union that prohibited slavery,' writes Scalia’s generally dissenting colleague, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who does not capitalize 'framers,' 'the framers in effect postponed the question of slavery’s continued existence by writing into the Constitution a series of compromises.' But if we were to follow the notion of original intent from the point of view of the South Carolina Framers, we would see the Constitution as protecting the right to own and trade [and rape black people.]

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

STAR WARS: The Force Awakens (Through the eyes of a C.O.W.S Listener)


(GUEST POST)

Tonight I took my son to see the new installment in the STAR WARS franchise. We arrived early and got prime seats, center screen near the back of the theater so that we could have a good view of things. I’ll leave out what I see as minutiae in the first 5-7 minutes of the film and focus on the non-white/black male star; John Boyega. In the film he portrays a “Stormtrooper” who is on his first raiding mission to retrieve a map that has in it’s contents, the location of Luke Skywalker (The last good Jedi). Boyega portrays Stormtrooper “FN-2187” who while on this mission, is ordered to kill the remaining villagers by the new “Darth Vader-like” character but can’t find the nerve or lacks the courage to do so in comparison to all the other Stormtrooper who blast away at the poor victims. He is immediately singled out by the “Darth Vader-like” character that feels something via the “FORCE” (weakness, betrayal…it’s not made clear but there’s something amiss) with FN-2187. FN-2187 returns to base and is exhausted, clearly troubled by the mass murder of the villagers he’d witnessed a few moments earlier. He takes off his helmet and is dripping with sweat, breathing heavily alone in a spacecraft when his superior walks in and asks, “Who told you to take your helmet off?” He puts the helmet on and reports as ordered to have his weapon inspected. Fast forward to FN-2187 rescuing a rebel fighter pilot who was kidnapped from the raid because he may know where the map is. FN-2187 clearly wants to leave his “captors” but needs a pilot…. a “SAVIOR” (in my eyes) so he and the pilot commandeer a spacecraft and escape. FN-2187 who has by all indications, been a Stormtrooper since childhood, behaves and acts nothing like a military trained fighter but more like a confused and afraid child, takes orders from the pilot who by his own words, knows nothing about flying the oppositions spacecraft. The pilot asks FN-2187 “What’s your name?” he replies “FN-2187” (Prisoner #, slave name? both are apt in this context), the pilot says “No, what’s your real name?” (I immediately thought about the scene in roots with Levar Burton; Kunta Kinte vs. Toby) – he says, “This is all I’ve ever been called” – The white pilot says, “I’ll call you Finn” (As in FN – Fucking Nigger came to mind for me) Boyega agrees and accepts his new name.

My antennae went up when on the raid, Boyega’s character couldn’t pull the trigger which took me back to the Walking Dead analysis on The C.O.W.S. and how none of the non-white black male characters had the courage under fire, to pull the trigger – even in the face of life threatening danger. This theme is carried out multiple times with Boyega in this movie – even though at times he fights back but never over takes his opponent convincingly. To get back on track; Finn and the white pilot escape after a gunfight and crash on a nearby planet. Finn wakes up in a desert, totally disoriented but sees smoke over a sand dune and runs to it; the spacecraft has crashed and is on fire; the white pilot is no where to be found, only his jacket remains of which Finn takes as his own and uses as cover from the hot sun. He walks and walks until he comes upon a village. He runs there looking for water, but no one will give him any. He sees a large watering hole where a space creature akin to a large rhinoceros is drinking, and falls on his knees to get a drink – the water is clearly not sanitary but he is so thirsty, he drinks anyway (drinking from the same watering hole as an animal.)


The story goes away from Finn and goes to the evil mother ship where they realize “FN-2187” has ESCAPED! And he’s the one who helped the rebel pilot escape as well. They make it clear that FN-2187 has been “programmed” since childhood and never illustrated any signs of psychological issues and was loyal to the “1ST ORDER”. They even had a picture of a young black boy – maybe 5 or 6 on the screen instead of FN-2187’s current picture as a young man. So in effect, Stormtroopers are “slaves” raised from childhood to fight for their oppressor and FN-2187 is a run-away slave (Note that he was asked “who told you to take your helmet off?” by his superior moments earlier…. in my estimation, all Stormtroopers are non-white black males who have been enslaved to work on the plantation). This paints a much clearer picture of his behavior once viewed through the lens of Racism/White Supremacy. His heavy breathing, sweating, anxiety, lack of confidence, lack of self-control – traits that none of the white characters illustrate, but are stereotypically associated with non-white black people – these are all wrapped up in the character portrayed by John Boyega.


After he drinks from the “Doggy Dish”, he sees the female heroine being harassed because she now has in her possession, the little android that is carrying the map. Word has spread around the galaxy that the android has it/and FN-2187 has escaped so everybody is on the case…The VOLTRON EFFECT. Finn attempts to rescue her from her attackers but stops short after he sees her beat up two men handily. The android recognizes the jacket that Finn is wearing because it belonged to his master who happened to be the white pilot who flew Finn off the plantation. The android tells the heroine who chases Finn down…. a Stormtrooper who’s visibly afraid of a skinny white girl…a Stormtrooper…trained since childhood? She “outsmarts” Finn by basically doing a magic trick and appearing out of nowhere and kicks his butt! He once again appears weak and unable to defend himself even from a woman who is much smaller. They begin to run from more attackers…Finn grabs her hand of which she immediately asks, “Why are you touching me?” …. They end up on the Millennium Falcon (Han Solo’s ship), which was stolen and hidden on this desert planet. Once again, Finn is being ordered around in what could be termed a military environment by a civilian (The heroine) who was just earlier picking up scrap metal and selling it at the junkyard so that she could buy food. He is reduced to being her whipping boy for much of this scene as she orders him to shoot at the opposition’s ships on their tail. While she is proving to be adept at flying a spaceship – he is floundering and bumbling trying to shoot the guns. They end up being captured by Han Solo who wants his ship back and once again – Finn is in a subordinate role to the female who saves his butt from monsters and is being painted more and more as the movie goes on as being savvy, intelligent, brave and versed in the engineering of spaceships.


They go to a planet for refuge and are plotting a plan to find Luke Skywalker of which Finn wants no part…he makes clear that “I can’t go back to that place…I can never go back!” Which sounds more like ex-con, prison-speak the more he says it. He walks out on the crew (Han Solo, Chewbacca, the android and the white female) who are all very composed while he is emotional and running away from the fight. (The Walking Dead)


I’m going to stop here because this theme continues throughout the movie all the way up to the point where Finn fights the villain with Luke Skywalker’s light saber and loses. But in turn, the female heroine (who learns she is a Jedi as the movie goes along) picks up the light saber and defeats the evil antagonist and saves herself and Finn. Finn, who was knocked unconscious by the evil one, ends the movie laying on a hospital bed in a coma. In effect he’s dead, having served no real purpose at all.


What looked to be a tender moment in the making with the female heroine kissing Finn’s lips (Cowbell) – ends up with her kissing his FOREHEAD (Like a mother kissing a child) but – he’s totally unaware and unresponsive to this affection. The movie was entertaining and not much different from other STAR WARS films. I was expecting more from the non-white black male’s character simply because of all the hype associated with his performance. His role was reduced to running…. always running and sweating and looking for guidance, never in control. Han Solo asked him what was his job while he was a Stormtrooper he replied, “I was a Janitor!”…. Even in this depiction of the future, we are running away from slavery. Slavery that has us in servile positions as janitors on the mother ship (plantation).

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Daniel Holtzclaw: The Rape Of Black Bodies Is White Culture

Today is the third day of deliberations at the Oklahoma County District Court. Eight White Men and four White Women have yet to reach a conclusion on the guilt of Racist Suspect and former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw; this suspected predator is charged with 36 counts, including oral sodomy, sexual battery, and six counts of first-degree rape. All thirteen victims are black females. 

OKC Artists For Justice co-founder Candice Liger appraised the closing arguments articulated by White defense attorney Scott Adams. Holtzclaw’s lawyer assessed Oklahoma City’s east side, Holtzclaw’s alleged “hunting ground” and home to a high percentage of the city’s black citizens. Liger reports that Adams told the all white jury that they didn’t know this place. “It’s nothing to see somebody walking at 2:30 in the morning high on pcp, drunk… This is the beacon of criminal behavior.” According to Liger, Adams insisted “people don’t call police on the east side. Not because they fear the police, but because they hate the police.” 

Liger’s evaluation was corroborated by a Jezebel report, which affirms that Adams’ closing argument suggested these black victims are a treacherous syndicate with an “agenda” to railroad and shakedown one of the “finest” officers and the Oklahoma City police department. 

This represents the most recent confirmation of Syreeta McFadden’s premise: only under the System of White Supremacy are dead black boys and violated black females put on trial for their own exploitation. Holtzclaw never testified. Meanwhile, more than a dozen black females where subjected to a month of skepticism and defamation. 

The Interracial Con Game states, “A White male has never been executed for raping a black female in the history of the U. S. – because White males raping black females was not (and still isn’t) considered a crime.” The sexual plunder of black bodies is an essential component of White culture. It’s difficult to conceive of an all White jury convicting Holtzclaw (any White person) for partaking in the ritual rape of black females. A tradition that views black bodies, “the whole world as the White man’s brothel.” 

For the last thirty days, Holtzclaw’s attorney assailed the credibility and humanity of these black females by belaboring the criminal history and substance dependency of several of the victims. Holtzclaw may have used this same reasoning while searching for vulnerable prey. Senior ACLU attorney Sandra Park told RH Reality Check reporter Kanya D’Almeda that officers like Holtzclaw “can use stringent drug laws to help perpetuate or commit sexual assault.” A 2005 ACLU report charges “racially targeted law enforcement practices, prosecutorial decisions, and sentencing policies” have reduced black female bodies to what the African American Policy Forum describes as “vessels for drugs.” 

Easy pickings for police predators. 

Oklahoma’s KOCO describes why one of Holtzclaw’s alleged victims, a 44-year-old black female, declined to report her abduction to police: “‘[I] didn't think anyone would believe me. I'm a drug addict.’ She said she dealt with the trauma by using more drugs. ‘The only way I knew how to deal with it was to get high to block it out.’” 

The Oklahoman’s Kyle Schwab documented a similar response from a different victim during the trial. 

“The defense attorney pointed out during the woman's testimony that she has past felony drug convictions. The attorney also noted the woman's ‘tired’ demeanor, asking if she currently was under the influence of drugs. The woman said she used crack cocaine a few days before Tuesday's testimony. She said she relapsed because the trial has taken a toll on her.” 

It should be noted that while these black females have been stigmatized and discredited for their drug afflictions, there’s a swelling movement for a “gentler war on drugs.” Skyrocketing numbers of White heroin addicts and prescription pill abusers warrant compassion, unlike the decades of “pathologizing of black people” in the name of combating the scourge of narcotics. 

But run-ins with the law and drug usage obfuscate the primary reason why Holtzclaw purportedly terrorized these females and why many are justifiably reluctant to believe that a dozen Whites will deliver a conviction. The rape of black females – black people in general – is a sacred Racist tradition. 

Ned and Constance Sublette’s 2015 publication, The American Slave Coast: A History Of The Slave Breeding Industry, documents that one of the most lucrative institutions of colonial America was the exploitation and desecration of black procreation. Chapter two of the text is titled: “The Capitalized Womb.” Constance explains how “the weight of all this fell upon [black] wombs.” 

There is an explicit, unbroken pattern of commodification and defiling of black females from the antebellum plantation to the fictitious White House of ABC’s hit series, Scandal

“The sexual exploitation of black women by White Men had its roots in slavery and continued throughout the better part of the twentieth century,” writes Danielle McGuire in At The Dark End Of The Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance. “When African Americans tested their freedom during Reconstruction, former slaverholders and their sympathizers used rape as a ‘weapon of terror’ to dominate the bodies and minds of African–American men and women.” 

It’s en vogue for many scholars to name-drop Claudette Colvin as a courageous and ignored precursor to Rosa Parks and the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. Her commentary in Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice was decades before the Holtzclaw trial, but remains depressingly applicable. “Black girls were extremely vulnerable. My mother and my grandmother told me never to go anywhere with a White Man no matter what. I grew up hearing horror story after horror story about black girls who were raped by White Men, and how they never got justice either. When A White Man raped a black girl – something that happened all the time – it was just his word against hers, and no one would ever believe her. The White Man always got off.” 

Holtzclaw has one White parent and one non-white parent. But a black victim testified under oath that he asked her: “Is this the first time you sucked a White cock?” 

Last week marked the 60-year anniversary of Parks’ refusal to forfeit her seat to a White passenger. Presidential hopeful and Racist Suspect Hillary Clinton along with legions of Whites professed their admiration and connection to the tired negro seamstress. But historian Jeanne Theoharis documents that Whites regularly served Parks the same sexualized contempt as Holtzclaw’s alleged victims. In the middle of the Montgomery boycott, a White reporter “peppered her with a series of aggressive questions accusing her of seeking publicity, impugning her morality, and referring to her as a prostitute,” writes Theoharis. 

Because the rape of black bodies is at the core of White culture, the projection and branding of black females as whores and sexual deviants is constant. This is why Kerry Washington’s hit series, Scandal, must depict a black female as the White president’s “sidepiece.” And this show is followed by Viola Davis’ How To Get Away With Murder. Whites honored Davis as the first black actress to receive an Emmy for a lead role in a drama; a role where her White husband describes her as a “disgusting slut” who’s only use is “dirty, rough sex I’m too ashamed to tell anyone about.” 

These depictions of black females are predictable and necessary for a Racist culture founded on the molestation of black bodies. White Supremacy is engineered to produce Holtzclaws and all white juries to exonerate them. A conviction would contradict centuries of White rapist entitlement enjoyed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Strom Thurmond, Domonique Strauss-Kahn, and now Holtzclaw.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shots On The Bridge: The Context Is Racism

I harbor and advise skepticism when the suffering of Black people becomes grist for White authors. The ten-year “anniversary” of the levee failure and the 2005 deluge of New Orleans was accompanied by the latest hemorrhage of Katrina literature, primed to commemorate and cash in. 

On the final Tuesday in August, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronnie Greene was in Washington, D.C. to discuss the freshly published Shots On The Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina. The book deconstructs the Danziger Bridge Shooting – where New Orleans police officers gunned down a pair of unarmed Black families, leaving two dead, four savagely maimed – and a decade of court wrangling. 

Greene shared one sentence with his D.C. audience that confirmed my suspicions and nearly decimated my willingness to read his book: “I really tried to put this shooting in context of what [the officers] were going through, what the department was going through.” 

In his discussion and the text, Greene describes the officers as Katrina’s “hostages,” laboring in the wake of unimaginable ruin and bedlam. Police leadership was flagrantly inept. Local officials and global news outlets insisted looting hooligans might overrun Louisiana. The officers, like many, had failures in the city’s bleakest hour. 

This position is tenable if the carnage on Danziger Bridge is a singular example of NOPD misbehavior. 

It is not. 

Greene documents decades of pre-Katrina, during Katrina, and post-Katrina police delinquency and abuse of New Orleans’ Black citizens. He cites the 2011 Department of Justice findings, which concluded, “NOPD’s mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects.” Even hinting that a natural or manmade disaster should mitigate our assessment of this slaughter and the years of fraud concealing it, minimizes the barbarism of the involved officers and devalues the Black lives terminated and mangled. As Greene meticulously documents, much of the Danziger conspiracy took place well after New Orleans was dry. 

In spite of my concerns, I had to read Greene’s offering. While sharing his motives for writing this grisly account, he remarked that Katrina created “so many horrors you couldn’t keep track.” Shots On The Bridge provides an abundance of detail about the NOPD ambush and cover-up that could have easily been debris in the wreckage. But most importantly, it emphasizes that an atrocity was perpetrated against innocent, loving families. These grieving relatives’ unwavering pursuit of justice may be the greatest - and least cited - example of NOLA “resilience.” 

The police fraudulently cast the Madison brothers as a band of armed ruffians who “had been looting and terrorizing people since the storm.” In truth, Ronald Madison was a mentally challenged 40-year-old with the mind of a six-year-old; he cried at the thought of abandoning Bobbi and Sushi, the family dachshunds, and rejected the chance to evacuate before the storm. His protective brother Lance comforted and shepherded him as they struggled to survive an inundated city. 

While crossing the bridge, officers shot Ronald in the back twice. He asked his brother Lance to, “Tell Mom I love her.” Ronald was shot in the back five additional times, stomped, and handcuffed after his death. 

Lance Madison survived, only to be shackled at gunpoint, arrested, charged with eight counts of attempted murder, and crammed into a temporary jail at “Camp Greyhound.” “He was held in a cage with a portable toilet. German shepherds circled the cage.” Lance’s love for his brother demanded that he recite witnesses’ names and remember critical facts of the Danziger carnage for the twenty-five days of his confinement.

The Madison family received reports of Ronald’s death and Lance’s arrest early. “For more than nine months, Sherrel Johnson did not know where her son JJ was.” Her son, James Brissette Jr., accompanied the Bartholomew family across the Danziger. Greene informs us that floodwaters claimed all but one of Johnson’s photographs of her 17-year-old son. If JJ were alive, she could take more pictures. 

“Bullet after bullet shredded JJ’s body from the heel of his foot to the top of his head; the teen now lay dead on the pavement. Seven gunshot wounds and even more pellet wounds, fired from multiple weapons, tore into JJ’s right leg, right buttock, and right elbow; pierced his left arm and shredded his neck; and lodged in his brain. His wiry body was left unrecognizable.” 

JJ and Ronald Madison were the only casualties that day, but NOPD brutes littered the bridge with bullet-riddled black bodies. The horror is presented in excruciating clarity: “Screams mixed with gunfire. The mother, father, and daughter, Lesha, cried out, bloodied and in pain. A bullet grazed Big Leonard Bartholomew’s head. Another tore into Lesha’s stomach. More gunfire ripped into Susan Bartholomew’s right arm, nearly severing it from her shoulder, her limb held together by skin. Lesha, at seventeen years old, one inch shorter than Susan, lay atop her mother, trying to shield her as bullets tore through the concrete barrier.” 

Shots On The Bridge skillfully blends court transcripts and police reports with crushing anecdotes from bereaved and wounded victims. Jose Holmes, who was blasted repeatedly, was thought “too far gone” and nearly left for dead. His recovery is all the more astounding because some of the hospital staff accepted the NOPD lies and “told Jose he needed to get healthy because, once he was released, he would be arrested on attempted murder charges.” 

Little Leonard Bartholomew was fourteen-years-old and a hulking eighty-five pounds at the time of the shooting. His family was reduced to bleeding carcasses clinging to life. He was shot at – not hit, slapped by a white patrolman, and handcuffed. Given the day’s events, he was fortunate. 

Greene rightly encourages readers to reflect on Little Leonard’s tearful apology upon reuniting with his dismembered family members. 

“I should have been shot, too. It isn’t right that I got off like that but everybody else has to go through all of this pain. And I’m just walking around, I’m fine. I don’t have to worry about injuries. It just isn’t right.” 

There’s an immense depravity about a Black teen suffering PTSD and survivor’s guilt not from Hurricane Katrina, but from crossing paths with the New Orleans Police Department. 

Readers can juxtapose the families’ suffering against the online comments that erased the 2011 federal convictions

Shots On The Bridge is an important reminder that Katrina and the cataclysmic levee fiasco are not the only horrors from 10 years ago.