Once again, witnessing the rhetoric pirouettes of European media trying to come to terms with the social unrest in Sweden and in the UK. While the triggers for these unrests are diametrically different, mainstream media, the great xenophobic equalizer, is using them to further the narratives around the “foreign threat”. The Local, Sweden’s main news source in the English language, enlists Nima Sanandaji , whose byline reads: a Swedish writer of Kurdish origin with a PhD in polymer technology who has written numerous books and reports about subjects such as integration, entrepreneurship, and women’s career opportunities to provide us a “liberal” (sic) analysis of the unrest. (As a side note, why a man with a degree in polymer technology would be presented as an expert in women’s career opportunities is beyond me). His analysis, can only be summed up as “those ungrateful youth! we gave them everything (these kids even got free iPads, would you believe it?!) and this is how they repay us!”. An excerpt (though really, the whole thing is worth the read):
Why then are we seeing violence in areas such as Husby? We don’t need to speculate. In 2011 the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB) published a research study which examined this very phenomenon. The study notes that frustrated young people in certain neighbourhoods have very low respect for the police, the fire department, ambulance drivers and other representatives of public authorities. Driven by anti-societal anger, they often seek confrontations with representatives from these branches of the public sector.
(Again, European media doing what they do best to fend accusations of racism: present the opinions of a Person of Color that most mimic the mainstream white culture; a permanent staple of Dutch opinion pieces, especially to quiet any dissent of PoC towards the dominant culture).
Tobias Hübinette and L. Janelle Dance, in an article under the title “Sweden: No Longer the Exception to Western Racist Rule” at Racism Review, wrote today:
However for ordinary white Swedes reading and watching the news it is highly probable that all the inhabitants in the suburbs are associated with violence and rioting. In the end, the Sweden Democrats (a former Nazi party which has transformed itself into a populist anti-immigration party and which, according to opinion polls, is the fourth or the third largest party in Sweden) will maybe become the biggest political winner due to the suburban unrest. Now, the Sweden Democrats will most probably gain even more support among the voters. Of course, representatives from the party have already made use of the events by calling for stronger police interventions and the introduction of temporary state of emergency measures in certain urban districts.
Once “exceptional” Sweden is no longer the exception to the general Western rule of blaming the racialized victim. On the contrary, white Swedes are remarkably unexceptional as they behave like racist and conservative white Americans. Ordinary white Swedes, who claim to embrace antiracism, equality and social democracy, look at the riots in Stockholm and blame marginalized youths for the institutional discrimination, political marginalization, and structural racism that have become common place in the former “conscience of the world”.
While I agree with most of their article, I certainly disagree with the title. Sweden, like the rest of Europe, was never an exception to anything. Pretty much the entire continent is funded on principles of White Supremacy and ethnocentrism. Centuries of colonial intervention, financial impositions onto the Global South, economic and cultural models based on centering the well being of White Europeans at the expense of the rest of the world have never made Sweden “the exception” to anything. One does not need to go far into past history, this is the present: the manufacturing practices of businesses like Ikea or H&M, models of Swedish corporations, with the inherent resource depletion and exploitative labor practices in the Global South are rooted in White Supremacist capitalism. Are we to believe that Swedish businesses can, on the one hand, participate in the systematic exploitation of countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc or use the forced labor of political prisoners in former Communist German prisons while, at home, “behind closed doors” so to speak, they can be a truly egalitarian country treating the people who hail from those nations fairly?
Sweden, like The Netherlands and the rest of the Nordic countries are usually presented as very equal societies. Economic indexes are often touted as proof of nations that are models of welfare and the well being of their citizens measured in tables, graphs, facts and figures that undoubtedly prove the superiority of these models. Topics like life expectancies, GDP, “happiness indexes”, education, etc etc are quantified, measured, tracked, made into statistics. This, the bureaucrats claim, is the measure of success. What they never take into account are the unquantifiable factors: how does a white supremacist culture play into this supposed equality for those that are constantly told they do not belong? How equal can a society be when its media constantly advances a rhetoric of alienation and racism? How equal can those that are marked as “foreign” (for generations, I might add) be when entire political parties run on discourses of Othering and different variations of bigotry and hatred? What does equality mean when those that hail from nations that have their resources taken away are then pointed out as “undesirable”? Those are the figures of inequality that are never quantified, never measured, never taken into account. Equality might look great in the binders of the bureaucrats but it certainly doesn’t feel like such in the bodies of those who bear the markers of Otherness.
Five nights of rioting in the suburbs of Sweden’s capital Stockholm have raised the national debate about immigration, unemployment and social inequality, the BBC’s Stephen Evans reports.
“So I shouldn’t be surprised that the Mother’s Day Parade shooting has largely been forgotten. On Sunday, shots were fired into a crowd during a parade in the New Orleans 7th ward. Police said they saw three suspects running from the scene.
This is the largest mass shooting in the United States where the shooters were still at large after the crime was committed. Think about that for a minute. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Fort Hill to Aurora, all the shooters were either killed or apprehended on site. But the person or people responsible for shooting 19 Americans are still free.”
The troubling viral trend of the “hilarious” Black poor person
May 7, 2013
Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue three Cleveland women presumed dead after going missing a decade ago, has become an instant Internet meme. It’s hardly surprising—the interviews he gave yesterday provide plenty of fodder for a viral video, including memorable soundbites (“I was eatin’ my McDonald’s”) and lots of enthusiastic gestures. But as Miles Klee and Connor Simpson have noted, Ramsey’s heroism is quickly being overshadowed by the public’s desire to laugh at and autotune his story, and that’s a shame. Ramsey has become the latest in a fairly recent trend of “hilarious” black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a “colorful” style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.
Before Ramsey, there was Antoine Dodson, who saved his younger sister from an intruder, only to wind up famous for his flamboyant recounting of the story to a reporter. Since Dodson’s rise to fame, there have been others: Sweet Brown, a woman who barely escaped her apartment complex during a fire last year, and Michelle Clarke, who couldn’t fathom the hailstorm that rained down in her hometown of Houston, and in turn became “the next Sweet Brown.”
Granted, the buzzworthy tactic of reporters interviewing the most loquacious witnesses to a crime or other event is nothing new, and YouTube has countless examples of people of all ethnicities saying ridiculous things. One woman, for instance, saw fit to casually mention her breasts while discussing a local accident, while another man described a car crash with theatrical flair. Earlier this year, a “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” named Kai matched Dodson’s fame with his astonishing account of rescuing a woman from a racist attacker. But none of those people have been subjected to quite the same level of derisive memeification as Brown, Clark, and now, perhaps, Ramsey—the inescapable echoes of “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife!” and “Kabooyaw,” the tens of millions of YouTube hits and cameos in other viral videos, even commercials.
It’s difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform. Even before the genuinely heroic Ramsey came along, some viewers had expressed concern that the laughter directed at people like Sweet Brown plays into the most basic stereotyping of blacks as simple-minded ramblers living in the “ghetto,” socially out of step with the rest of educated America. Black or white, seeing Clark and Dodson merely as funny instances of random poor people talking nonsense is disrespectful at best. And shushing away the question of race seems like wishful thinking.
Ramsey is particularly striking in this regard, since, for a moment at least, he put the issue of race front and center himself. Describing the rescue of Amanda Berry and her fellow captives, he says, “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
The candid statement seems to catch the reporter off guard; he ends the interview shortly afterward. And it’s notable that among the many memorable things Ramsey said on camera, this one has gotten less meme-attention than most. Those who are simply having fun with the footage of Ramsey might pause for a second to actually listen to the man. He clearly knows a thing or two about the way racism prevents us from seeing each other as people.
Now that you know this is a thing, please stop sharing these memes. Poor Black people speaking candidly about various serious incidents isn’t a hilarious joke.
Perhaps the first serious consequence of labeling Boston a “terrorist” attack was the Obama administration’s decision to deprive the suspect who was captured of his constitutional right to receive a Miranda warning on arrest, a further thinning of the already threadbare pretense of “rule of law” in post 11 September 2001 America.
You all can stop thinking the Tsarnaev Brothers will enjoy white privilege in mainstream media now. They’re ethnic Chechens and Muslim - they fit one of the most stereotypical descriptions of “bad, evil Muslims.” Read the whole article.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Iran, leaving dozens dead, within 24 hours of the Boston marathon bombing. What is the connection? Well, there isn’t one…
…that is, unless you’re a big asshole:
(The person above deleted their account. But that won’t stop me from finding her shitty tweets and posting them here.)
Yeah, that was some “deep thinking.”
a Saudi national, who was reportedly tackled and held by a bystander after he was seen running from near the scene of the explosion
So I guess if you’re a brown person you can’t even run away from an explosion without being suspicious. See you later, I’m going to go throw up everything I’ve ever eaten.
Hungary is now a totalitarian state largely run by neo-Nazis.
Rromani & Jews have been screaming their lungs out over the last two years.
Canada & W. European countries have been repatriating Rromani refugees back to Hungary over the last several years.
They said it’s “not that bad”. They said our lives weren’t in any “real danger”.
We saw this coming.. now, it’s too late.
No one ever listens until it’s too late..
16 year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray was fatally shot by a pair of plain-clothes cops in Brooklyn late Saturday after he supposedly pointed a gun at them, police said.
Gray was hanging out in front of a home on E. 52nd St. near Tilden Ave. in East Flatbush with five other young men, friends and siblings, shortly before midnight. After leaving his friends, Kiki “adjusted his waistband”. The undercover officers approached him and Gray unveiled a revolver. Both cops shot Kimani multiple times.
He was rushed to nearby Kings County Hospital, where he died.
Gray’s mother, Carol Gray, rushed to the hospital after learning her son was shot, and was fainted and hospitalized herself after learning he died, relatives said.
A pair of brothers who said they were hanging out with Gray moments before the shooting told The Daily News they didn’t realize Gray was armed.
“The cops, they just jumped out of the car so fast,” said Devonte Brown, 16. “They started shooting him and he went down. He was bleeding, holding his side, screaming, ‘Stop, stop!’”
“We were just hanging out,” added Brown’s brother, Akeem Brown, 15. “We didn’t know he had a gun.”
Gray’s confrontation with cops was the second police-involved shooting of the day.
Update: Several eye witnesses have come forward to media casting doubts on the officer’s version of the incident:
“He was running for his life, telling the cops, “Stop,”. These cops are ridiculous, they really are, seriously, walking around shooting little kids. They were just beating a little boy on 51st and now they come down here and shot somebodies child.” Camille Johnson, a resident of the neighborhood, told Pix 11 News.
Another witness told the New York Times: “Mr. Gray’s sister, Mahnefah Gray, 19, said that a witness to the shooting told her that her brother had been fixing his belt when he was shot.”
A woman who lives across the street from where the shooting occurred said that after the shots were fired, she saw two men, whom she believed to be plainclothes officers, standing over Mr. Gray, who was prone on the sidewalk, clutching his stomach.
“He said, ‘Please don’t let me die,’ ” said the woman, 46, who gave her name only as Vanessa. One of the officers, she said, replied: “Stay down, or we’ll shoot you again.”
As of 9pm, an angry crowd of over 200 people, including family and friends of Gray, are protesting in front of the 67 police precinct. It looks like there might be some arrests tonight. I’ll reblog with updates as soon as I have more news.
Update: The crowd is now throwing objects at police who are blocking the crowd at Church ave and Nostrand, it looks like this might escalate into a riot.
@PrisonCulture on Twitter is writing some interesting tweets regarding the word choice of “riot” instead of “demo,” and how that’s not just determined racially/geographically but can also be endangering. Food for thought.
NYPD are still murderers, though.
Just want to emphasise that eye witnesses have stated Gray had no gun and was posing absolutely no threat when he was shot. Taking into account the NYPD’s long history of lying about the innocent people they’ve murdered, I’m more inclined to believe the reports of witnesses.
A gang rape happened in Ohio and no one heard about it. A gang rape happened in India and everyone heard about it (as we should). The American media has represented India as a misogynistic country where women need to be constantly wary of the men that surround them. And after that gang rape, large-scale protests blocked the streets and clogged the media. Now, I am in no way saying that rape and domestic violence are not problems in India. As an Indian-American woman who has been to India many times and is incredibly familiar with the culture, I am in no way denying that. Rape, in India, is a serious problem. Rape, especially in lower class areas in India, is an extremely prevalent problem that needs to stop being ignored and taken seriously. Violence against women in India is a serious issue.
But violence against women in America is also a serious problem. Violence against women in South Africa, and Sweden, and Chile, and Thailand, is a serious problem. Violence against women is a serious problem. Period. Full stop. While our media went out representing India as a typical place for these deplorable events to happen, another woman’s similar story went ignored and without subsequent societal action. This country outright refuses to admit that it is a rape culture.
Our media and our country are so obsessed with presenting foreign countries as worse than us or uncivilized or, most importantly, undemocratic, they will blast our radios and timelines and homepages with news of rapes in India, but refuse to acknowledge that the same thing happens here and is happening here.
Anisha Ahuja, Why Does America Pretend it Doesn’t Hate Women? (Feminspire.com)
Yesterday I read an infuriating piece by a Swedish man about International Women’s Day. He seemed to think it was only about women earning equally to men and being represented politically (all of which he referred to as “details”). The only time he brought up rape and violence was when he suggested we save “poor little villages of girls” instead of getting riled up over these “details”. Not one word how - on average - one woman dies every week in Sweden due to domestic violence; five women are raped every day, or that children living in poverty continues to increase. Because that only happens in ‘other’, ‘non-western’ countries, apparently.
We’re in post-racial America, so we shouldn’t be so touchy about MacFarlane and Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis sharing a guffaw about Don Cheadle being mistaken for a slave while he’s in character. We shouldn’t care about Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. defiantly clapping as MacFarlane joked about the brutalization of a then 21-year-old Rihanna, because she went back to her abuser, so to hell with objectifying her for shits and giggles.
And we most certainly shouldn’t care about a 9-year-old Black girl-child being called a “cunt” on the biggest night of her life because there are more important white feminist things to be concerned about.
Some people have declared that they have been offended by the publication in Numéro magazine n°141 of March 2013, of an editorial realized by the photographer Sebastian Kim called “African Queen”, featuring the American model Ondria Hardin posing as an “African queen”, her skin painted in black.
The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.
For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.
Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.
Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial.
The apology from Numéro Magazine concerning their highly offensive and down-right racist ‘African Queen’ photoshoot that featured a young white model with highly bronzed skin, saying that the photographer’s intention was simply to highlight racial and cultural diversity.
They go on to defend the photographer’s ‘creative work’ and state that because they’ve featured two black models on separate issues, this is a clear demonstration of their non-racist ethics. Except this isn’t about whether or not they’ve featured black models in their magazines, this is about the publishing of an insulting editorial that lacks even an ounce of racial , historical and cultural sensitivity.
I really don’t care if the photographer’s intention was of a creative disposition - intent doesn’t matter in cases like this, it’s the final product which in this case is clearly racist and a display of blackface.
There’s absolutely no justification for Kim and Numéro’s actions, not when there are plenty of black models in the industry to chose from (not to mention this could’ve been a great way for the magazine to boost a newcomer’s career), and especially because far too many incidents have happened in the past and outrage has been expressed at the offensive nature of these so-called ‘artistic expressions’ that bear similarities to this editorial.
They really ought to have known better.
Is this an apology or a justification? I can’t even tell. ‘whatever their origin’, ‘the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations’ jfc please guide whoever wrote this piece of shit to the nearest cliff.
Every year from November to early December the Netherlands, my home country, gets plagued by the racist Sinterklaas tradition: White folks in blackface, better known as Zwarte Pieten, troll the streets. Shantrelle Lewis is in the process of making a documentary about this phenomenon. Please reblog and donate whatever you can. This documentary needs to made.