The account @Anti_Racism_Dog didn’t last long. Twitter suspended it quickly, a fate reserved only for the most aggressive, abusive and hateful users. What could a dog – an anti-racist one, at that – do to deserve it? @Anti_Racism_Dog had one real function: to bark at racist speech on Twitter. The account responded to tweets it deemed racist with the simple response ‘bark bark bark!’ Sometimes it would send wags to supporters but that was pretty much it.
For the short time it lasted, it was amazing to watch how people reacted to @Anti_Racism_Dog. The account would respond mostly to what the sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva would call ‘colour-blind racism’, that is, racisms that are generally right-libertarian in orientation and justified through appeals to supposedly objective discourses like science and statistics. It’s a notoriously insidious white-supremacist ideology, a virulent strain evolved specifically to resist anti-racist language. Colour-blind racism defends itself by appeals to neutrality and meritocracy, accusing its adversaries of being ‘the real racists’. Although its moves are predictable, they’re hard to combat rhetorically since they’re able to ingest the conventional opposition scripts. Colour-blind racists feed on good-faith debate, and engaging with them, especially online, is almost always futile. But when they’re barked at by a dog, one whose only quality is anti-racism, they flip the fuck out. They demand to be engaged in debate (‘Tell me how what I said was racist!’) or appeal to objective definitions (‘The dictionary says racist means X, therefore nothing I said was racist’), but @Anti_Racism_Dog just barks.
@Anti_Racism_Dog inverted the usual balance of energy in online dialogs about race. Precisely because the dominant global discourse is white-supremacist, it is rhetorically easier to make a racist argument than an anti-racist one. Look at almost any comment thread or discussion board about race and you can see anti-racists working laboriously to be convincing and to play on their opponents’ ‘logical’ turf, and racists repeating the same simple lines they were taught (‘I didn’t own slaves’, ‘I’m just stating the facts’, ‘The Irish were persecuted too’, etc.) ‘Trolling’ as a certain kind of internet harassment is tied to time: the successful troll expends much less time and energy on the interaction than their targets do. It’s the most micro of micro-politics, an interpersonal tug of war for the only thing that matters. But have you ever played tug of war with a dog?
A true troll doesn’t have a position to protect because to establish one would leave it vulnerable to attack, and playing defence takes time. @Anti_Racism_Dog, by fully assuming the persona of an animal, was invulnerable to counter-attack. You can’t explain yourself to a dog and you look like an idiot trying. The only way to win is not to play but this is the colour-blind racist’s Achilles Heel: they’re compelled to defend themselves against accusations of racism. It’s the anti-racist argument that gives them content; theirs is an ideology that’s in large part a list of counter-arguments. After all, white-supremacists are already winning – their task now is to keep the same racist structures in place while making plausibly colour-blind arguments against dismantling them. @Anti_Racism_Dog was empty of anything other than accusation and so left its targets sputtering.
The account served a second purpose: as a sort of anti-racist hunting dog. @Anti_Racism_Dog quickly attracted a lot of like-minded followers who understood the dynamics at play. Whenever it would start barking at another user, this was a cue to the dog’s followers to troll the offender as well. There’s only so much one dog can do alone. Colour-blind racism is particularly dangerous because it isn’t immediately visible as such. It provokes good-faith discussion from liberals about what counts as racism, muddying the water. But @Anti_Racism_Dog’s strategy draws new lines about what constitutes acceptable discourse on race, placing colour-blind racists on the other side by speaking to them like an animal. What would be taken as totally insane in flesh space can be infuriatingly clever online.
As hearings are under way to investigate New York City’s stop and frisk policy, one police officer is testifying that he was told by superiors to target young black men between the ages of 14 and 21.
Stop and frisk is a method of searching people in which a cop is able to stop someone he or she suspects of a crime, and is able to frisk that individual if they feel that there is some justification. New York City policy made 685,724 stops as part of the policy in 2011 alone. In total, they have made over 5 million stops, and 85 percent of those stopped were black or Latino. 88% were innocent, meaning they were not arrested or given a summons.
Officer Pedro Serrano, in court to testify yesterday, played a covert recording he’d obtained of an interraction with his superior where he was told the race of people to target, though not that he should stop everyone of that race:
Stop “the right people, the right time, the right location,” Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack is heard saying on the recording.
“He meant blacks and Hispanics,” Officer Pedro Serrano, who made the secret recording, testified Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
“So what am I supposed to do: Stop every black and Hispanic?”Serrano was heard saying on the tape, which was recorded last month at the 40th Precinct in the Bronx.[…]
“I have no problem telling you this,” the inspector said on the tape. “Male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem [to] tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21.”
During cross examination, City lawyer Brenda Cooke got Serrano to admit that McCormack never said he wanted Serrano to stop all blacks and Hispanics.
Serrano’s tape and testimony were introduced as evidence in a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic brought by four black New Yorkers who claim they were targeted because of their race.
Also, the first of several tapes surreptitiously made by Brooklyn cop Adrian Schoolcraft made its debut at the trial. The audio he recorded proved that the police department ‘manipulated’ crime reports to make to it seem like crime decreased in NYC.
This link has a transcript of the entire speech and Q&A, as well as video of the first 25 minutes, where Díaz answers questions before launching into the main body of the keynote. To jump to where the transcript extends past the video, Control/Command+F ‘freestyle’ and you’ll the taken to the first sentence beyond the video.
This keynote is the kind of shit where while I’m engaging with it I feel like I should reengage with it again and again, just to check in, remind myself of its content, reassess the implications in a new context, reassess myself and my relationships in a new context. It’s that good.
Just so we’re all clear on what we just read. Black people make up 22% of the poor but only 14% of the government benefits. Meaning, 8% of poor Black people are not taking government benefits when they need them.
While, white people make up 42% of the poor but receive 69% of the government benefits. Meaning, there are white people who are classified as middle class who are receiving government benefits.
when I was put in ESL as a first and second grader, though I could speak English perfectly fine. The way my teachers/the school assumed I couldn’t just because, what, my parents spoke English with an accent? Because I was Chinese?
the time I was on the 7 train on the way home and these two white men (one middle-aged, one teenager) started talking about Flushing (where I’m from) and how it’s overrun with Asians and how ‘dirty’ it’s become, and why don’t Asians learn fucking English, we’re letting them live here after all. How the neighborhood’s gone to shit and they want to move asap. This was during a train ride back to Flushing late at night, and the majority of the people on the car with them were Asian. I was sitting right by them and I SO DESPERATELY wanted to say something and stand up for myself and my community but I was also so fucking scared because if they wanted to say something back or if things got physical? If they started harassing me or following me? Who would protect me? Their careless violence, their ignorance, their goddamn privilege - I wanted to cry. I had to listen to this bullshit for over twenty minutes. I was literally seething on my bus ride back, but I felt hopeless too.
when my fellow APIA friend and I were having a private conversation about cultural appropriation, and especially white appropriation of black culture, and the white guy who lives next door to me felt the need to insert himself in our conversation. “Don’t people listen to the Beatles? Don’t you think that’s appropriation of white culture?” And then proceeded to tell us we were the ones being ignorant and oppressive. My friend did his best to be polite but I couldn’t even get a word in otherwise, so self-assured this guy was.
when people would ask me if I was half-white because I “wasn’t like other Asians.” Because I was “cool” and “pretty” and “had a sense of humor.” Excuse me? I need to be half-WHITE to be ~cool~ and ~pretty~? And the only reason I “had a sense of humor” was because I was too self-hating and uncomfortable to ever say anything when people mimicked so-called Chinese accents or asked me what the difference between Asians were or made fun of me for fulfilling some Asian stereotype. And now, alternatively, being told that I care too much, that there isn’t so much racism in media or the world, that I should “calm down” and stop looking for things to be mad about. I don’t even feel safe on my own blog - I feel like I have to apologize every single time I post something too ~radical~ about hating white people or whatever. I feel like so few of my friends (who are not PoC) take me/what I put here seriously.
And, even so, I know that I have been privileged in ways. I have never experienced outright physical racialized violence against me or legal issues over my citizenship. I am East Asian, and my parents are educated and middle class-ish. I have had access to opportunities many do not. And yet.
I feel unsafe every single day because of white men. I am stripped of my personhood many times when it comes to men, and reduced to a stereotype or a sex fantasy. I am told that my problems are trivial, that race isn’t what’s the matter, that my opinions are unfounded and uneducated because they’re so personal or, even worse, that problems aren’t as big as I make them out to be, that America is “post-race,” that people shouldn’t even “see color.” I am made to feel like I am not American because my parents were immigrants. My community is mocked and has serious acts of violence committed against them because they’re not seen as citizens and, even worse, to have no one care about that.
God, I can’t believe I answered this. Is this a serious fucking question? You needed specific examples? Fuck outta here, anon. How do white people oppress all PoC? All WoC? Did you think we were just making it up? Are these examples good enough for you? Do they count? Did I change your mind? Aren’t there enough examples of oppression out there - I’d suggest reading a newspaper on almost any given day - without my measly contributions?