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Tue, Sep. 11th, 2012, 06:38 pm
pastwatcher: On being brown post 9/11

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the community. Thanks for admitting me! If you're American, today is an especially important day to reflect on and attack white privilege. Especially if you know and can influence anyone in law enforcement or the justice system. Today is a good day to share these links, or related ones you find on your own, to all your friends especially the white ones.

Today, a South Asian friend of mine published a poem about being brown in a post 9/11 world. It is a very powerful poem, and I encourage you to read it. He's mentioned, in another piece of his, the experience of being a ten-year-old in his school right after 9/11/2001, singing the US national anthem, feeling very American, and having a white classmate come up to him to say "Why did your people do this to us?" It's horrible. I don't know if that happened in my school.

If you have time, it would also be good to read this: a satirical piece, using whiteness to show the ridiculousness of blaming a whole people for the actions of some who look like them; but it also has good information about how people of color have felt pressure to apologize for each other's actions. On Behalf of All White People, I'm Sorry.

I was talking to my friend's roommate, recently. Apparently a friend of his got arrested, and jailed for an 8-year sentence, for a crime (kidnapping) that happened in the middle of the night on 9/11 last year. There is a picture of the perpetrator, clean-shaven, driving in his car; the accused had a full beard and looked nothing like the perpetrator. But they were both brown-skinned, and apparently the 9/11 tenth anniversary date was used against the accused. Yes, unfair stuff like that happens in trials all the time; as a white queer activist I see this especially when it comes to injustice against queer people of color.

No, I am not sure exactly what to do. How do we fight this kind of suspicion? But I believe social change happens on a cultural level, and attitudes can be shifted if enough of us do the right pushing: to that end please learn, educate, and speak out against the narratives that criminalize people of color, and the prisons that do violence against their inmates. If you don't know anything about the "prison-industrial complex", start learning now. I would love for there to be a conversation and feedback here. But I don't want to overload one post with my avalanche of links, so that's all for now.

Wed, Sep. 12th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)

Wait, I'm confused. Jailed for 8 years for something that happened last year? There's clearly a typo somewhere, but I can't figure out what it ought to say. Jailed for 8 days maybe?

Wed, Sep. 12th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)

Well, the sentence is 8 years. Perhaps he could get out on parole before then, but I thought the idea of length of jail times should be clear enough. And also, "8 days"? Really? Pretty sure most people who go through actual trials get jailed for a lot more than "8 days" beforehand.

Edited at 2012-09-12 05:51 pm (UTC)

Wed, Sep. 12th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)

Ah, ok, sentenced to 8 years. I thought you were saying he had already been in jail for 8 years. I wasn't clear there'd been a trial, the phrasing made me think it was a held without trial kind of situation. I apparently managed to miss the reference to trials at the end of the sentence, or didn't associate it back, I dunno. Sorry about that. Maybe change "jailed for 8 years" to "sentenced to jail for 8 years" in the post, to prevent others misreading as I did?

Thu, Sep. 20th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)

In related news, The Innocence of White people by a white Muslim about Sept. 11. Much better writing than mine; I'm not saying that to be self-deprecating, this is good.

Sun, Sep. 23rd, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)

AAAAAAAAAAARGH Thank you for all the links, they said so much I've been thinking and trying to say in this time of the embassy attacks. That scream was me relieving my frustration, a good scream.