View From Here: Nothing Post-Racial About the Times
It was disappointing but not surprising to read reports of the Facebook page where NYPD officers were found venting their hatred of the West Indian Day Parade and the participants in the 2-million-person event every September. With several members of the department in our own family and among our friends, we know those sentiments are not held by all NYPD personnel but it speaks to a racist culture in the department that needs to be addressed.
I think the problem these officers had, aside from their basic racist nature which itself should be enough for their dismissal from the force, was that they were terrified at the physical position they were in. After all, they did not choose this line of work to be surrounded and feel threatened by the people they hated. It isn’t as much fun as when it’s the other way around.
The psychological screening process for police officers should include a determination of level of racism present in order to prevent the most racist from joining the department and training the others in how to celebrate the diversity of New York, before they get their carry permit.
Occupy Wall Street: From Wall Street to East New York
When the Occupy Wall Streeters brought their message and direct action to East New York, they were marching on the ground zero of the human wreckage from the fees, bonuses and profit-taking of the financial industry whose recklessness we paid for. We see in the Times that the largest U.S. banks received over $7 trillion (yes, trillion) in taxpayer-backed bailout assistance to cover their bad bets and financially thuggish dealings. Now Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is going to Europe to give away more tax dollars to help keep European banks whole. And just like before, the hue and cry is about the Armageddon that comes for all the world if the banks don’t get their money. Once again they say they are only thinking of us.
The Occupy Movement knows that’s a lie and if the banks and the ruling elite anyplace in the world thinks this is a movement that is going away, they are very much mistaken. When I wanted to know about what was happening in the East New York demonstration, I went to www.occupywallst.org to see a live multicamera video stream with commentary, of the event. And this was from one of several live streaming teams at the demonstration.
The OWS Movement had set up a street kitchen, had a brass band and a symbolic tent saying, “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.” The commentating-journalist- camerawoman told us that, “This is happening in 20 cities today and is only the beginning of these actions.”
I don’t think Mayor Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch or GE are ready for these kids. The Occupy Movement is going to radically change media habits and make Internet TV mainstream and the broadcast networks, seen as mouthpieces for the 1%, secondary players in political influence and the last to acknowledge it.
Every change in the world affects us here and the world is now having convulsions in financial, military and climate change sectors. If there is turmoil or disaster in a region, you can be sure we will have an influx of those entrepreneurs coming to a safe haven in Brooklyn. Where, perhaps helped by loans from the over 140 foreign branches in New York, they are able to open shops, stores and construction companies. Change is happening around the world and African-Americans have to recognize and change with it. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said recently that given what is happening throughout the world, “If Europe doesn’t change fast enough, the future of Europe will be written without it.” The same can be said for African-Americans. It will require bootstrapping self-reliance, mentors, families, political leadership, community-based nonprofits and community activists all working together and the common goal is as it always has been, freedom. As the rants on the Facebook page remind us, there is nothing “post-racial” about the time we’re in.