Archive for July 24, 2016


Welp, in the recent string of “Police + Black people = ends poorly”, this time a therapist was shot. Not killed, thankfully, just shot. He was trying to calm an escaped adult with autism, who only had a toy truck. A neighbor confused a tonka truck for a gun (it’s amazing how being not White can magically turn even the most innocent of things into guns, like bright green soda bottles and toy trucks) and in came the cops to go after an autistic person because, y’know, police are very well trained for neurodivergent people, especially non-White ones.* The mental health worker, doing their job, was just trying to keep the 23-year-old safe and not dead as he’s dealing with the sensory overload of very dumb people with really powerful weapons acting immensely aggressive because…there’s not enough bad PR for police already? And he gets shot. On ground, hands out, responding carefully, still gets a spontaneous injection of lead vitamins.

Now, if that’s not baffling, the head of the police union has more to wow you with: they didn’t mean to shoot the therapist…they were aiming for the autistic person.

Oh, that’s fantastic to know. Just wonderful. No need for Mental Health First Aid classes when Smith & Wesson can already give you a crash course in how to deal with the mentally ill and disabled. No need for the Hellen Keller method of dealing with neurodivergents when there’s the George Zimmerman solution. I would bemoan how Florida is really turning out to be a crappy state buuuuuuuut the whole nation is getting sour.

This is very frustrating for a ream of reasons:

The person is autistic, not dangerous:
Ok, I understand there’s a bunch of stigma around having autism. Then you have folks like Autism Speaks** who make things worse. The interesting thing about the internet is that you can learn about autism (not that vaccines cause it because that’s been disproven over and over and over again). There’s even an episode of the children’s show Arthur about it:

There, now you know more about autism than a police officer. And if you’re a police officer, now you just got a little bit better at your job, you deserve a popsicle as you get ready to strut into work to impress your major and be one less person for Internal Affairs to worry about.

Apparently what caused the cop to get antsy is that the autistic person was not obeying orders to lay down on the ground. Because he’s autistic. Like the mental health worker was saying. And completely harmless. This is such bad training, oh my gods.

The cop being not White doesn’t make it better:
The cop that delivered the shot was a 30 year old Latin dude that was kind of new, only four years on the force. But still, he should have gotten much better training than breaking out the automatic rifle and taking three shots. I understand police feel under attack because they don’t tend to train their brethern well and that can attract controversy. However, I really doubt attempting to murder an autistic person is going to make anything better. Neither is trying to kill that person’s doctor. If there were beanbags pellets instead of bullets or, I don’t know, listening to the doctor, this could have probably not even have turned into a story. Just a case of a patient got out, doctor went to get them, police came, understood the situation and tried to help the doctor rally the person in. Hey, that even would have been an okay story, to show that not all police are pigs with bloodthirst. Instead, you just get a new story of why police get so much heat about how they handle things.

This is a wee bit personal:
Ah, for someone who isn’t very anti-police, these stories (and my own personal experience, such as a police raid) do not help me keep the faith much. I have written on here a number of times about how I have trauma disorders and I have a therapist as well. And I have to get treatment for my disability, that, if left untreated, can easily go ham. This really irks me that if I have a major episode, this is what I get to look forward to: some dunce person that can’t tell a tonka truck from a glock calling 911 and police just getting murder-y in response. My main therapist is White buuuuuut the mental health worker that helped defined my disorder back when I was hospitalized? Black. And given how this story unraveled, it doesn’t even matter what race my main therapist is, they’re just as much of a target simply because I’m in the vicinity.

I have friends in the force going up to Federal. I explain to them how my disorder works and they ask questions, because that’s the smart thing to do. However, they should already know how to deal with mentally ill and disabled people because they’re who gets called when someone is having an episode. This is not good. This is alarming. The answer to dealing with neurodivergent people is not “Just add bullets”.

The police, frankly, handled this poorly. This is getting beyond annoying, this is getting concerning. Police generally are trained with protocols of how to handle everything, from irate sports fans to riots. They need to really upgrade how they handle dealing with people in general, it seems. Especially the historically marginalized.

 

*They’re not. “Attempt to murder” is not a satisfactory method to deal with neurodivergent people. Ever.

** “Autism$peaks” because the money is all they’re after

I’m so tired of hearing about Dr. King – wait, scratch that. I’m tired of people quoting Dr. King. Usually in tragedies. Usually by bigots. Usually for super shallow reasons. And it’s the same three or four quotations everywhere. Basically, this is how I feel:

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Actually, I got so sick of hearing people quote Dr. King (a civil rights leader the average person know jack-all about, especially if they’re White) that I actually looked up his last words when he was shot on April 4th, 1968 roughly through the throat by a bullet from Remington 760 Gamemaster rifle. Why? I’m morbid and annoyed. (And for cross-burners that trip over this blog, that gun has been out of commission since 1981. Maybe you shouldn’t try to murder people because they want rights). This is what King said:

“Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

“Ben” was Ben Branch, a jazz bandleader that was supposed to play that night at an event. Seems like King was a pretty passionate guy, which is pretty obvious. Maybe he thought he was going to pull through, this was only the second or third near-successful attempt on his life. The first, I believe was being stabbed with a letter opener pretty close to the heart.

The reason why I am talking all these gruesome details? Because it’s a pretty strong reminder that the dude is dead. He didn’t die a pretty death where he just passes away in his sleep. He isn’t tucked away in the hills somewhere, swaying away on a creaky rocking chair humming old hymns and Negro spirituals his mom taught him. Nope, shot through the throat on a second story balcony because, just like now, not everyone jives well with the concept of Black lives mattering, regardless whether it is called “Abolitionism” or “Civil Rights Movement” or “Black Lives Matter”. And just like now, bigoted folks back then (they had no one Black to quote so they probably went with the Bible), said nonsense that made it sound like racism is this magical, abominable creature that pops out of a vortex, harms people and dips fast before anyone can take a picture. You know, that hate isn’t done by people like them.

Part of why I’m irate is:

Can you please cite someone else?
Look, I get it, the average non-Black person knows next to nothing about Black history because hey, Black lives don’t matter. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it, quite obviously. Even when they pretend that they don’t. Even Black folks are not always up on the facts about Black history, which also sucks.

Despite everyone consistently interacting with a device that has revolutionized information dispensing since the creation of moveable type (*cough*the internet*cough*), it really seems like there’s only one person to cite. I mean, at least cite some Malcom X or Ella Baker! Either way, now would be an awesome time to look up who actually participated in the Civil Rights Movements (White folks, don’t look for the White people in the Civil Rights movement, they were mainly the folks that were being the cause why folks had to march and get shot in the throat standing on a balcony motel. Or murder nine people in a historically Black church – wait, that was recent. Bombing churches, shooting churches, it’s hard to tell repetitive hate crimes apart). Just look for other people besides King to quote. The upside is, you’ll finally fully understand why Black folks have a tendency to march in the street over rights and how this is very much not a new problem. From letters from anonymous people telling King and crew that they’re fakers, that Black people have it great here, that they need to go back to Africa, that all their marches show how Black people don’t deserve to have rights (reminder: these letters are usually from Americans. Who like celebrating the 4th of July. Which is from the Revolutionary Wa- nevermind, Americans have to earn the “moron” stereotype somehow). Basically, it was just the pen-and-paper version of all these wonderful things that you and anyone else can find on literally any social media platform today. None of it is new, just digital.

If you’re gonna cite King, please research who he is or what he did
You know the totes radical thing about technology and the internet today? You can totally find recorded speeches and videos and stuff on sites as mainstream as YouTube. Talk about amazing. Like, you can hear how King felt about White liberals (Basically along the lines of “Don’t trust them, they’re nice folks, until you figure out that they’ll say the horrible stuff behind your back instead of to your face, unlike conservatives,” riots (Basically: “This is what happens when folks get oppressed for a long time and never heard. Lolz. Saw that coming.”) and other things. I’m sure he had something to say about shooting Black folks, I mean, he had something to say about napalm and why that was bad. I’m sure he’d have more to say about guns but y’know, he got shot down by one. *

King is used commonly to lowkey tell Black people “Stop showing us that racism still exists and is bad”
How come no one cites King when things are not popping off? Seriously, he’s very quotable even about things that have not much or anything to do with murdering Black people practically for sport. Instead of saying “I don’t like how you march about and make me feel like I’m racist,” White folks like to reference King like he’s a) the Moses of Black people and we automatically will listen to him instead of have individual thoughts and ideas b) as if he was pro-peace because he wanted to appeal to White people strictly and he didn’t condone violence because he didn’t want White people hurt in effort to get rights for Black people c) because they think  racism died back in 1968 and that Black folks just like stirring the pot, just like how when White folks saw King back then, they thought racism died back in 1865 and that Black folks just like stirring the pot.

Long and short end of it, it’s a silencing tactic. The point of quoting King is to make some random Black person say “Dang, you’re right. King didn’t get shot in the throat by a government-backed White supremacist for being pro-Black for me to sit here and still complain that I still have no rights. I’ll go back to my dead-end job and continue making  lattes and kale chips for White people, I should have known better. If King weren’t brutally murdered by racism, he would be so disappointed in me marching and not the fact that you are oppressive.” Which isn’t happening. Because it’s not true. King wouldn’t be a big fan of riots but just like when he was alive, he wouldn’t shame the rioters, just the people and systems that caused it (which, by the by, wasn’t the rioters). Even King sat down with Malcom X, who was the opposite side of the same coin, and the both agreed that while they were coming at the solution in two different ways, they basically had the same goal: defeat anti-Blackness, obtain Civil Rights, stuff like that. And the meeting of the minds was so iconic, it’s still reverberates through media today: Charles Xavier and Magneto in the X-Men series.**

Because it’s used as a silencing tactic, it paints an “I’m Racist” neon sign above the person’s head. Or just plain “I’m anti-Black” since everyone of all shades use Dr. King to keep Black folks quiet about oppression. Seriously, not cool. If you’re really against racism and don’t like Black folks marching in the street as a result of it, go cite, I don’t know, Jesus or something to White people to let them know that hate, even hidden kinds, are not cool. Black people already know what King said. And the fact he was murdered for it.

“Segregation Now, Intergration Never”/”All Lives Matter”
I remember when my mom told me about when my high school, Baltimore City College High School, was officially de-segregated back in the 50s. What started that conversation was when I asked mom why she didn’t go to City, one of the best high school Baltimore could offer (we’re talking “golden ticket out of the hood” here) and went to Forest Park instead, a pretty ok school but not the best. She told me that it was strictly because of segregation (segregation still was happening in the 60s and 70s, including gender segregation***), and thus started the convo. When City integrated racially, you can believe there were signs saying “Segregation Now, Integration Never”, which was the motto back then against the Civil Rights movement. There was also the National Guard, waiting for things to pop off from the pro-segregation protesters. Actually, before I continue, I just want to say that while City’s integration was relatively more “peaceful” than other Baltimore schools, don’t think it went smoothly. It was “peaceful” because the military showed up. With guns. That’s not exactly peaceful, that’s tense. I should know, I was around when the Baltimore riots happened. You’re miles from peaceful when the military shows up.

Moving on, the grandchildren and children of the “Segregation Now, Integration Never” crowd are just saying “All Lives Matter” now. Same meaning, just new upgrade. Back then, White people against anti-racism thought that America was fine the way it was and that integration would introduce problems where there weren’t any. Kinda like now, when “All Lives Matter” activists say that focusing only on Black lives mattering would introduce problems where, according to them, there weren’t any.

It’s amazing the speed and gusto “All Lives Matter” types will cite King, a person who they are fundamentally against, because they think Black people are so stupid, that referencing King will be a calming dog whistle to us. It isn’t.

 

To sum everything up, the King is dead and he was shot plain dead by the very system he tried to unravel. Not so some Bernie Sander-leaning yuppie can cite him. Not so some Trump-voting plebeian can cite him. So that Black folks wouldn’t have to usher in a new civil rights movement. But here we are, and even King would agree: Black Lives Matter.

How do we know? Because that’s literally all he ever fought for. And was gunned down cold for.

All Lives Matter, amirite?

All Lives Matter, amirite? Or nah?

 

*Don’t like that I’m not direct quoting? Too bad. Looks like you’re going to have to Google it, bro. It’s almost like I’m pro-education or anti-stupid or something. Make America Smart Again?

** If you think this fact is false, please turn in your “nerd” card to be shredded and torched. We don’t need fake geeks running about, you guys already buy up the Comic Con tickets just to harass people and overload the rooms. Go watch football or something

*** This also excludes the fact that even the mayor and former commissioner of Baltimore have admitted that Baltimore still runs on 1950’s-era racism, just on “Jim Crow Lite”. Gender problems? Never left.

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