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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

Police body cameras will not change the culture of racism in America


  • Ultimately, we must push our thinking beyond the individual. If our goal is justice, then we need to imagine a legal system that encompasses more than individual accountability and individual punishment. Unfortunately, body cameras don’t result from the kind of critical and imaginative thinking we need to challenge racism at a systemic scale.
  • Angry Grandpa Cannot Contain His Fury After Watching a Cop in His Town Kill An Innocent Man

Agatha Beins, Quartz <>

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The issues run deep. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)/man-and-cops1.jpg?w=1600

April 17, 2015 | “It’s not the camera; it’s the culture,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said April 11 during his weekly Rainbow PUSH forum aired nationwide from Chicago. Emphasizing this distinction, Jackson uttered the phrase twice when discussing the murder of Walter Scott by North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager.

Politicians and police departments have turned toward the body camera to improve relations between police officers and the communities they serve and to lessen violence perpetrated by—and we hope against—police officers. But it will take more than body cameras, police dashboard cameras, and cameras installed in public places to make people feel safer. Increasing surveillance is not enough.

Agatha Beins is an Assistant Professor and public voices fellow at Texas Woman's University where she teaches women’s studies.

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Angry Grandpa Cannot Contain His Fury After Watching a Cop in His Town Kill An Innocent Man, Cassandra Fairbanks, Free Thought Project

“He was shot five times in the back, and he’d have gotten away with it. He would have completely gotten away with it if that gentleman hadn’t had his camera on his phone and he actually filmed what happened, that man would have gone free! He would have been called a hero! 'I feared for my life.' No,  you bastard you shot and killed an innocent man, over a tail light? Over a brake light being out?! First of all you tased him, and when the man got scared and ran, you shot him! You murdered him!” Green screams.

Series | Race and Civil Rights in ‘The Nation’: Part IV: A multimedia timeline presenting the history of the struggle for racial justice, from the LA Riots to the Release of ‘Selma’, 1991 - 2015.


  • In this installment: A multimedia timeline presenting the history of the struggle for racial justice, from 1991 - 2015.
  • Previously in this series
  • The Problem of Race in America, March 10, 2015

Research by Richard Kreitner, Design by Stacie Williams, The Nation

Trayvon_Martin_shooting_protest_2012_Shankbone_26.JPG Million Hoodie March in New York City in 2012 protesting the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Protestors wore hoodies and carried Skittles and iced tea, the former which Martin was wearing and the latter items Martin picked up at the convenience store the night he was killed.

February 27, 2015 |  The pursuit of racial justice and civil rights by Americans of color has been central to The Nation since the magazine’s founding just after the Civil War. Started by abolitionists as a successor to William Lloyd Garrison’s militant anti-slavery paper, The Liberator—it inherited his subscription list—the publication later turned against Reconstruction before being rescued by a founder of the NAACP and pointed in the right direction. Ever since, it has covered and promoted the civil-rights movement and published dazzling essays by some of the most important figures of the 20th century—from James Baldwin’s first-ever article to Martin Luther King’s annual reports in the 1960s. Today, it continues to discover new writers and expand the terms of the debate. To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, this interactive timeline will include 150 important events in the history of the movement for racial justice as seen in the pages of The Nation. The fourth installment, 1991 - 2015, is here. 

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  • The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.
  • Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends.
  • Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today

Blame the Black Political Class For Re-Electing Obama's Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago


Rahm Emanuel's victory wasn't a battle for the soul of the Democratic party, and it wasn't just about big money and big media.  It was the victory of the black mis-leadership class, just about all Democrats in Chicago, who followed President Obama, Bobby Rush, the banksters, the privatizers, and the rest to endorse Rahm over Chuy Garcia.  Garcia could not explain why practically no black Democrat from the president down endorsed him, and Emanuel narrowly carried every majority black ward in Chicago.

Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report

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Wed, 04/08/2015 | The results are in, and the truth hurts. Rahm Emanuel will sit in the mayor's office on the fifth floor of Chicago's City Hall four more years. Despite fudging police stats to make murders disappear, despite stonewalling on police torture and atrocities, despite deliberately shortening red light camera intervals to raise revenue for his buddies, despite closing and privatizing more than 50 public schools, almost exclusively in black and brown neighborhoods, than anywhere in the country, and despite his facing a solid progressive Democrat challenger, Rahm Emanuel carried every single ward in black Chicago, not by big margins, but by enough.

It's true that Chuy Garcia was outspent at least six to one in the April runoff and twelve to one in the February election. It's true that Emanuel used that cash to buy an unanswerable deluge of radio and TV commercials. Big money and media are important, but these are advantages the candidates of capital will always possess. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel had something else in his pocket.

Bruce A. Dixon is the managing editor of Black Agenda Report.

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Juan González on Walter Scott Shooting: When Will the Police Killings of Black Males Stop?


Democracy Now! co-host Juan González discusses how video of the Walter Scott killing echoes other videos of police shootings, such as Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Eric Garner in New York City. "People wonder why the Black Lives Matter movement has grown and spread so rapidly across the country," González notes, "when people are seeing these videos where people who are shot and not even given immediate aid." González writes about the issue in his new column for the New York Daily News headlined "When Will the Killings of Black Males by Cops Cease?"

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!

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Walter-Scott-Police-Slager-Shooting-South-Carolina-1.jpgFri, April 10, 2015 | Amy Goodman: The news about South Carolina just continues with the release of the dash cam video, Juan, and you wrote your commentary today in the New York Daily News, your column on South Carolina.

Juan Gonzalez: Yes, I think one of the things that I tried to stress in my column is that—how many more of these heartbreaking videos are we going to be exposed to across the country before a change occurs in policing in the country? And I think the critical thing to understand is not only the videos, the videos of the actual encounters, where African-American males are killed by police, but also what happens in the moments afterward. And we now have seen several of these—the Tamir Rice video in Cleveland in November, where the 12-year-old boy is shot by a policeman who arrives within two seconds of his getting out of the car, but then for four minutes after, as the boy is lying on the ground, three police officers just stand around, walk around. No one provides him any kind of aid until an FBI agent, who happens to be in the neighborhood, comes along, and he begins to administer CPR to Tamir Rice.

Amy Goodman: And when Tamir’s sister came running over, who was just 14 years old—

Juan Gonzalez: Right, right, she gets tackled.

Amy Goodman, hostess of Democracy Now!, is an American award-winning broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter and author.

Juan Gonzalez is the co-host of Democracy Now! and a columnist for the New York Daily News.

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