How Elite Schools and Museums Amassed Black and Native Human Remains Without Consent

Revelations the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton hold the remains of a child killed by Philadelphia police in the 1985 MOVE bombing are the latest development in a conversation about demanding respectful treatment of African American remains in museum collections, especially those of the enslaved. The Penn Museum also apologized last week for holding more than 1,000 stolen skulls of enslaved people in its Morton Collection, and the president of Harvard University issued a letter in January acknowledging the 22,000 human remains in its collections included 15 from people of African descent who may have been enslaved in the United States, vowing review of the school’s ethics policies. “This is a really vast problem,” says historian Samuel Redman, author of “Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums,” who also describes the repatriation of Native American remains after Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in 1990. “There are individual instances like this that are horrific and we need to pay attention to, but it is a symptom of this much larger problem.”

Let’s begin by crediting the students and the protesters at Penn and at Princeton in raising their voices in response to this really troubling and gut-wrenching situation.

The other thing that I think we need to say and we need to start calling for is a much larger response and a more sweeping response to this as a problem. Part of what people are only really starting to grapple with is the idea that this is a really vast problem, that there are individual instances like this that are horrific and we need to pay attention to, but it is a symptom of this much larger problem.

— source | Apr 30, 2021

Nullius in verba

Policing in U.S. Was Built on Racism

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Three weeks after the start of the trial, that was watched around the world, and after 10 hours of deliberation, a jury of 12 Hennepin County residents delivered their guilty verdicts Tuesday on all three counts against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd last May by kneeling on his back for nine-and-a-half minutes.

I think that this verdict — I’ve been thinking a lot about how to respect the family’s sense of closure and what they deserve in the delivery of accountability in this case. But I’ve also been thinking about this in term — battle, in a broader context of a war, and that war being justice for Black people and for BIPOC people and for poor people in this country. And in this sense, the outcome of this trial represents a battle that was won, a long-fought and, as Kandace Montgomery so eloquently described in the work that she’s been doing, the consequence of years of organizing work in Minneapolis. And just to remind you, each one of these battles will take place in the courts of our country, whether it will be in Toledo, Ohio — I’m sorry, whether it will be in Chicago, whether it will be in this case, most recently, with Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. And so, that’s how I think about the trial and the work that remains.

But, of course, we know that while the prosecution was performing in such a way to make the case that Derek Chauvin was a rogue actor, the truth is that

— source | 2021/4/21

Nullius in verba

The Danger of the Return of Racial Medicine

In the past few days, liberal Democrats Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, academics Ibram X. Kendi and Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor, and New York Times columnist Charles Blow separately have issued calls for special focus on black Americans’ particular vulnerability to Covid-19, apparently based on a generic presumption that blacks are likely to have it (whatever it is) worse.

Meanwhile, the non-profit news outlet ProPublica published a report seeking to ratify the claim of special black suffering even in the absence of solid evidence. Yet why do they presume that? And what do they and others, especially those who don’t intend to argue that blacks or other nonwhites are inferior, mean when they refer to “race” as a factor contributing to vulnerability to Covid-19, or to anything else for that matter? Sometimes it’s just an empty piety, as in the presidential debate-stage pledges made by Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Tom Steyer to fight “systemic racism,” without any of them ever once suggesting what that notion might mean concretely. Sometimes the reference is a condensation of clichés that evoke a history of racial injustice, or a condensation of shibboleths like “when America has a cold, black people have the flu” and canary-in-the-coalmine analogies. Sometimes, often I suspect, speculation or assertion that race is a causal factor in producing some, usually undesirable, outcome is a proxy for reference to a variety of material conditions, like poverty, economic inequality, and stressors related to them that can undermine health—such as overcrowding, inadequate shelter, malnutrition, unemployment, to name only a few—that have, or seem to have, disproportionate impact on blacks or other racially defined populations. Even the possibility that living in a race-conscious

— source | Adolph Reed Jr. | Apr 04, 2020

Nullius in verba

Black People Face Higher COVID Infections & Deaths

As the U.S. vaccine rollout continues to expand, health justice advocates worry about a racial gap in vaccinations. Black communities have been hard hit by the pandemic, but rates of vaccination in communities of color lag behind largely white communities across the country. Dr. Oni Blackstock, a primary care and HIV physician, argues that age cutoffs should be lowered or removed for Black people in order to speed up inoculations, noting that Black Americans are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white Americans and also dying at rates similar to those of white Americans who are 10 years older. “These fixed-age cutoffs that most states implemented did not take into account structural racism’s toll on Black life expectancy in addition to the impact of the pandemic on the life expectancy of Black people in this country,” says Dr. Blackstock.

The U.S. vaccination campaign is getting a new boost today as the first Johnson & Johnson vaccines are administered. According to the White House, nearly 4 million doses of the single-shot vaccine will be initially given out. Johnson & Johnson is the third COVID vaccine to receive FDA emergency approval.

Nearly 20% of adults in the United States have received at least one vaccine shot so far. But there is a wide racial gap in who’s being vaccinated. While Black and Latinx communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic, rates of vaccination in communities of color are lower than largely white communities across the country. Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows just 5% of vaccines have gone to Black Americans, only 11% to Latinx recipients.

This comes as life expectancy in the United States fell by a full year during the first six months of 2020, largely due to the pandemic. It’s the largest drop since World War II. Life expectancy for Black Americans dropped by almost three years, and 1.9 years for Latinx people.

Some doctors are now calling on the CDC and states to give greater priority to communities of color in the vaccine rollout. Doctors Oni and Uché Blackstock are pushing to lower age cutoffs for African Americans. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, they write, “Black Americans are [not only] twice as likely to die of covid-19 as White Americans but also dying at rates similar to those of White Americans who are 10 years older.” They go on: “Moreover, racial [inequities] are most striking at younger ages; for example, Black people ages 45 to 54 are seven times more likely to die of covid-19 than similarly aged White Americans.”

— source | Mar 02, 2021


Nullius in verba

A Black doctor died of Covid-19 weeks after accusing hospital staff of racist treatment

A Black physician died of Covid-19 weeks after she described a White doctor dismissing her pain and concerns about her treatment as she lay in an Indiana hospital. Dr. Susan Moore passed away on Sunday due to complications from Covid-19. The internist died about two weeks after she shared a video in which she accused a doctor at Indiana University Health North Hospital (IU North) of ignoring her complaints of pain and requests for medication because she was Black, even though she was both a patient and a doctor herself.

And despite her pain, the doctor told Moore he might send her home, she said, and he didn’t feel comfortable giving her more narcotics. “He made me feel like I was a drug addict,” she said in the video. “And he knew I was a physician.”

“You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you in order for you to get the medicine,” she said in the video. “This is how Black people get killed,” Moore said in the video, “when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”

Dr. Moore died last Sunday, just over two weeks after she posted the video.

— source | Dec 25, 2020

Nullius in verba

Police Use of Dogs as Instruments of Violence Targets People of Color

An investigation conducted by several independent news outlets and coordinated by The Marshall Project lays bare mounting evidence of extensive and disproportionate police dog use against people of color across America. approximately 3,600 Americans per year sent to the emergency room for severe bite injuries sustained during altercations with police K-9s. Though recent corporate media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement has raised public awareness of police using disproportionate force against people of color, K-9 violence has received strikingly little public attention from the corporate media.

— source,
| Mar 26, 2021

Nullius in verba

Too Radical for Harvard?

The prominent scholar and activist Cornel West has announced he is leaving Harvard Divinity School after he was denied consideration for tenure, and will rejoin the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he started his teaching career more than 40 years ago. West had left Harvard once before in 2002 and returned to a nontenured position at Harvard in 2017. The news about the denial of West’s request for tenure has led to an outpouring of support and incited conversation about diversity in academia. “There’s too much Harvard dishonesty, too much Harvard hypocrisy, in terms of mistreating too many Black folk at high levels,” says West, who suggests his political activism and vocal support of Palestinian rights likely played a part in Harvard’s decision. “The most taboo issue on U.S. campuses these days, in many instances, has to do with the vicious Israeli occupation of precious Palestinians.” West also discusses Joe Biden’s first 50 days as president and says that while there is some good news on domestic policy, he’s “not too encouraged” on Biden’s foreign policy.

— source | Mar 10, 2021

Nullius in verba

Cleveland Asked Tamir Rice’s Family to Pay $500 for Their Child’s Last Ambulance Ride

Less than two months after a grand jury decided not to indict the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the city has filed a claim saying the boy owed $500 “for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense.” In response to the claim, a Rice family attorney told the Cleveland Scene that the move “displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity.”
Update, Thursday, February 11, 2016: Cleveland officials said they are withdrawing the claim saying the Rice family owed $500 for their son’s last ambulance ride. the claim had been been closed in February 2015 after the city absorbed the cost

— source
[what a shame USA]

Nullius in verba

Music and Black America’s Continuous Struggle for Freedom

It has been stated that “Freedom is a Constant Struggle,” and that in fact is a freedom song that was repeatedly sung in the southern United States during the 20th century freedom movement, as teacher, activist and symbol of the Black power movement, Angela Y. Davis, writes in her book of the same name.

If it is true that indeed “Freedom is a Constant Struggle,” then standing right beside this struggle, and moving, growing and evolving with this struggle is the music that has been, and still is, accompanying it, music that was invented and created seemingly for the purpose of helping this historic struggle find a language of its own.

Black people who came from Africa and spoke many different languages somehow found a way to communicate with each other, and it started with basic sign language and went to music by way of the drum. Communication by these many different tribes of Africans was very important to their collective survival in the new land of America and new life-changing oppression called American chattel slavery. There was an understanding that working together and finding new ways to communicate with each other would help them in fighting against the inhumane treatment they were experiencing with the yoke of oppression, racism, hatred and inhumanity surrounding them. Their fight for the dream of real freedom mainly depended on them working together, learning together, teaching each other, caring for each other and never giving up in their constant and never-ending struggle for freedom.

So, from the drums on different plantations that communicated with slaves on distant plantations, to the songs sung by the people who were enslaved, to the banjos and other

— source | Kevin Cooper | Feb 17, 2021

Nullius in verba