Weekly Link Roundup

Source: Chainsawsuit

♥ (Video) George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper (The Daily Social Distancing Show on YouTube)

I Cover Cops as an Investigative Reporter. Here Are Five Ways You Can Start Holding Your Department Accountable. (ProPublica): “… Understand the policies and laws that govern police conduct … You are entitled to public records that can show whether rules are being followed. Get them … Identify the power players and engage them … Presenting findings in a fair and persuasive manner is a powerful way to spur reform … follow up relentlessly until change is made.”

Police Violence, Race and Protest in America (The Economist): “Policing America is hard because America is more violent than any other rich country and its citizens more heavily armed. About 50 police officers are murdered while doing their job each year. But the sustained falls in crime over the past three decades have made room for less warlike law enforcement—by training officers to diffuse confrontation, not seek it, and by making them accountable whenever they use force. Many police departments, including Camden, have already taken this chance to turn themselves round … Others have not, partly because the federal government under President Donald Trump has eased the pressure for change. But the police and prosecutors are under local democratic control. They can be made to embrace reform if enough people vote for it.”

The City That Remade Its Police Department (Bloomberg): “… after the 2012 homicide spike … The department wanted to put more officers on patrol but couldn’t afford to hire more … the mayor and city council dissolved the local PD and signed an agreement for the county to provide shared services. The new county force is double the size of the old one, and officers almost exclusively patrol the city … Increasing the head count was a trust-building tactic … Daily, noncrisis interactions between residents and cops went up. Police also got de-escalation training and body cameras, and more cameras and devices to detect gunfire were installed around the city. While many departments define ‘reasonable’ force in the line of duty vaguely, Camden’s definition is much clearer. The department adopted an 18-page use-of-force policy in 2019 … [that] emphasize that de-escalation has to come first. Deadly force—such as a chokehold or firing a gun—can only be used in certain situations, once every other tactic has been exhausted.”

Fashion’s Racial Divide (The New York Times): “Much has been made in the news media and within fashion itself of the lack of ethnic diversity among models, but in many ways, the situation on the runway simply reflects an even more extreme situation in the power structure of the industry itself … members from all areas of the fashion industry … mentioned several factors, including socioeconomic realities, educational hurdles, the globalization of the industry and fashion’s own core sense of itself as an industry made up of outsiders. These have all combined … to create the current imbalance, which exists not only on the creative side but … ‘on every level: journalists, buyers, merchandise managers, executives.'”

Why Most Americans Support the Protests (The New York Times): “… as videos showing police brutality against black people have appeared relentlessly on social media, they have helped persuade skeptical Americans that an endemic problem existsThe current round of protests is youth-led, and so too, to some degree, is the shift in nationwide sentiment. Millennials and members of Generation Z are far more likely to say they believe the police are prone to racist behavior … members of those generations were more than twice as likely to support reparations for slavery, compared with baby boomers and others in older generations.”

How the Protests Have Changed the Pandemic (The New Yorker): “The close proximity of protesters creates obvious concerns, but, from an infectious-disease standpoint, that’s just the beginning. What starts as a socially distanced endeavor may quickly devolve as events unfold. Demonstrators exert themselves as they march, shout, and push against barricades … because the protests are outside, their impact on coronavirus transmission will be limited. But … cases could surge, particularly if people don’t have the opportunity to engage in safe practices.”

Why People Loot (The Atlantic): “… some of the looting is a lashing-out against capitalism, the police, and other forces that are seen as perpetuating racism … looters tend to be poor, and some see it as a chance to balance the scales, to get the things they normally can’t. These communities face constant deprivation … During the current protests, the opportunist appeal of looting might be exacerbated by the fact that people across the country have been ordered to stay inside for months in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The protests might have seemed, to some, like a release valve. Others, meanwhile, see looting as a form of empowerment—a way to reclaim dignity after decades of abuse at the hands of police and other authorities … Some looters, meanwhile, aren’t affiliated with protesters’ causes at all. Instead, they seize the moment to cause chaos and destruction.”

There Isn’t a Simple Story About Looting (Vox): “What you tend to see in media narratives is a focus on the immediate, the breaking news element of a story. So, of course, when violence breaks out, that becomes the lead. Looting becomes the focus. What tends to happen in the evolution of news coverage of urban unrest is an ever-deeper focus on the particulars of protesters and what they’re doing, which all too often speaks about protesters in monolithic terms and fails to distinguish between those who are possibly peaceful protesters and others who may be participating in other activities for other reasons.”

The Real Reasons the U.S. Became Less Racist Toward Asian Americans (The Washington Post): “To combat racism, minorities in the United States have often attempted to portray themselves as upstanding citizens capable of assimilating into mainstream culture. Asian Americans were no different … African Americans in the 1940s made very similar appeals. But in the postwar moment … it was only convenient for political leaders to hear the Asian voices … By the 1960s, anxieties about the civil right movement caused white Americans to further invest in positive portrayals of Asian Americans. The image of the hard-working Asian became an extremely convenient way to deny the demands of African Americans … If Asians could find success within the system, politicians asked, why couldn’t African Americans?”

How to Know If You Talk Too Much (HBR): “… remember that even 20 seconds of talking can be a turn off if you don’t include the other person in the conversation. To avoid that, ask questions, try to build on what they say, and look for ways to include them in the conversation so it is a genuine dialogue instead of a diatribe.”

Are Natural History Museums Inherently Racist? (Natural History Museum): “Museums have a history of glorifying empire. In the nineteenth century, they were used to showcase the empires built by western powers as they seized control of other countries … Over the last few years there has been an effort by cultural institutions such as art galleries and history museums to address the issues of representation and colonialism. In particular, there has been critical discourse around how people and stories from non-European cultures are depicted, included and represented … There are numerous ways to engage with historical racism in European natural history museums, including talking about these forgotten narratives and creating equal opportunities in scientific study.”

The Myth of the Kindly General Lee (The Atlantic): “Lee’s elevation is a key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. That ideology is known as the Lost Cause, and … provided a ‘foundation on which Southerners built the Jim Crow system’ … White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions … Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free; he fought for the preservation of slavery; his army kidnapped free black people at gunpoint and made them unfree—but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for black Americans.”

New York Times Says Senator’s Op-Ed Did Not Meet Standards (The New York Times): “James Bennet, the editor in charge of the opinion section, said in a meeting with staff members late in the day that he had not read the essay before it was published. Shortly afterward, The Times issued a statement saying the essay fell short of the newspaper’s standards.”

You Can Download These Books About Police Violence for Free Right Now. (Literary Hub)

Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic (ProPublica): “… tear gas is not safe … It has been found to cause long-term health consequences and can hurt those who aren’t the intended targets, including people inside their homes … the widespread, sometimes indiscriminate use of tear gas on American civilians in the midst of a respiratory pandemic threatens to worsen the coronavirus, along with racial disparities in its spread and who dies from it.”

When Did Instagram Go Dark? (The New York Times): “… it’s great that people want a visual uniting symbol of solidarity, but I can also see how people who haven’t said a word in the past … feel like they’ll look bad to their followers if they don’t post. So they post, but with no real intention of listening, learning, donating, protesting or helping beyond the post. The post makes them feel like they’ve done their part.”

A Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Explains Why This Time Is Different (The New Yorker): “… millions of people who have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment and are living paycheck to paycheck and hand to mouth, and … they are just thoroughly fed up and thoroughly beside themselves with grief and concern and despair because the government does not seem to have a plan of action that is dignified and comprehensive and seeks to address the core concerns that the average American has … these protests … are different because they are marked by a period that has been deeply personal to millions of Americans and residents of the United States, and that has them more tender or sensitive to what is going on. People who would normally have been at work now have time to go to a protest or a rally, and have time to think about why they have been struggling so much.”

Cops Are Always the Main Characters (Vox): “TV has long had a police’s-eye perspective that helps shape the way viewers see the world, prioritizing the victories and struggles of police over communities being policed. Order, a police imposed status quo, is good; disruption is bad. There are many, many reasons why a cop’s point of view has become the default way to frame national unrest, including institutional and systemic racism, the capitalist urge to prioritize property over human life, and a political system that benefits those already in power. But TV plays a role, too … The ramifications of putting cops at the center of the story is starkest on procedurals. Every week, these series churn through crimes to solve; new victims and suspects arrive, and every week they leave again when their problem has been solved and order restored. The characters who stay are cops. In the almost unimaginable deluge of American crime TV, the characters whose names we know and whose lives we value are cops. The communities they police are disposable, and at the end of each episode, they’re promptly disposed of.”

History Will Judge the Complicit (The Atlantic): “Sometimes the point isn’t to make people believe a lie—it’s to make people fear the liar. These kinds of lies also have a way of building on one another. It takes time to persuade people to abandon their existing value systems. The process usually begins slowly, with small changes. Social scientists who have studied the erosion of values and the growth of corruption inside companies have found, for example, that ‘people are more likely to accept the unethical behavior of others if the behavior develops gradually (along a slippery slope) rather than occurring abruptly’ … This happens, in part, because most people have a built-in vision of themselves as moral and honest, and that self-image is resistant to change. Once certain behaviors become ‘normal,’ then people stop seeing them as wrong.”

Corporate Activism Gets Its Day. Ben & Jerry’s Has Been At It For Decades. (The Wall Street Journal): “… any corporate leader looking to emulate the ice-cream maker needs to realize that an authentic attempt to make a difference on issues that matter can’t be a one-day exercise. As the team in charge of Ben & Jerry’s knows, the fight over any issue worth fighting for lasts longer than a news cycle … Ben & Jerry’s has for years committed big bucks to promoting causes like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street. It has also taken on immigration issues in recent years. As much as one-fifth of the discretionary marketing budget—earmarked for advertising production, sponsorships and branding activities—goes to these endeavors … Ben & Jerry’s … has faced boycotts from grocers and customers for certain policies. The company has been criticized for its support of the 2017 Women’s March, for instance, because it was partially organized by activists who have been accused of anti-Semitic views.”

From Slavery to Mass Incarceration (Ben & Jerry’s): “America was built by enslaved people. They built the US Capitol. They built Wall Street. They built the White House. Slavery wasn’t just some kind of unfortunate regional quirk—it was an economic engine for the entire country.”

What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For? (Vulture): “Who is this for? The syllabus … seldom instructs or guides. It is no pedagogue. It is unclear whether each book supplies a portion of the holistic racial puzzle or are intended as revelatory islands in and of themselves. Aside from the contemporary teaching texts, genre appears indiscriminately … This, maybe ironically but maybe not, reinforces an already pernicious literary divide that books written by or about minorities are for educational purposes, racism and homophobia and stuff, wholly segregated from matters of form and grammar, lyric and scene. Perhaps better to say that in the world of the anti-racist reading list genre disappears, replaced by the vacuity of self-reference, the anti-racist book, a gooey mass … For such a list to do good, something keener than ‘anti-racism’ must be sought. The word and its nominal equivalent, ‘anti-racist,’ suggests something of a vanity project, where the goal is no longer to learn more about race, power, and capital, but to spring closer to the enlightened order of the antiracist. And yet, were one to actually read many of these books, one might reach the conclusion that there is no anti-racist stasis within reach of a lifetime. Thus there cannot be an anti-racist canon that does not crystallize the very sense of things it proposes to undermine. The very assurance of absolution is tainted.”

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Stay safe and well, everyone!

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