Headlines The Face of Racism

A New Museum Chronicles Niagara Falls’ Pivotal Role in the Underground Railroad

Millions of visitors a year come to Niagara Falls. And many of them go to see the famous water crashing over the cliffs and not much else, observed Bill Bradberry, a native of the place and former city manager.  Many tourists, and even residents, don’t know the key role that the city of Niagara Falls played in the history of the Underground Railroad.  Now, with a museum dedicated to this history opening May 4, Bradberry, the chair of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Commission, aims to change that.

Source: A New Museum Chronicles Niagara Falls’ Pivotal Role in the Underground Railroad

Headlines The Face of Racism



Amy McQuire tears away the facade on the Commonwealth Games currently under way in Australia, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Australia has a long history of presenting a sunny, sporty picture of itself, complete with Indigenous icons and ‘celebrating’ native people. There is rarely a hint of the greatest theft of land in recorded history and the brutality that accompanied it, especially in Queensland, the bloodiest state, and which goes on today…



APTN Investigates: Cowboys and Pretendians

Many Indigenous people onscreen are subject to stereotypes, typecasting, and even, what is known as “redface.”

Source: APTN Investigates: Cowboys and Pretendians – APTN NewsAPTN News

Headlines The Face of Racism

When Rape Kits Go Untested – Documentary of the Week #HBO

The HBO documentary “I Am Evidence” investigates the crisis of hundreds of thousands of rape kits that went untested across the United States. Actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay teams with directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir to focus on the crusade of Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy and others who campaigned to rescue kits from storage. Their work led to identifying hundreds of perpetrators.

Racism is an issue!

Source: When Rape Kits Go Untested – Documentary of the Week – WNYC

Headlines The Face of Racism

Judge blocks eBay sale of R.I. Colonial court records

The documents — long missing — offer a raw and rich glimpse into Colonial life in Rhode Island. They reveal how women, Native Americans and African Americans were treated, as well as prevailing societal values.

Judge blocks eBay sale of R.I. Colonial court records

Katie Mulvaney, March 16, 2018, Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The pages are delicate, frayed and browned with age, covered in elegant looping script. They document the comings and goings in Providence County court some 270 years ago, telling of a Native American man being sentenced to 15 lashes at a whipping pole for stealing paper money while drunk and other cases. They are peppered with some of Rhode Island’s most prominent family names: Greene, Arnold, Perry, Angell and Lippitt.

Long missing, the Colonial court records recently made their way back to the custody of the state thanks to a Superior Court ruling. Judge Maureen Keough issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the sale of the historic documents on eBay.

It was a legal history researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who alerted Rhode Island state archivist, Ashley Selima, that Rhode Island Colonial court records dated 1746 to 1749 were being auctioned off on eBay.

J. Stephen Grimes, now retired judicial archivist for the state Supreme Court, contacted the attorney general’s office, and the state moved to block the sale by Frederick Schroeder Jr., 61, of Providence.

“I was thrilled to know it still existed,” Grimes said. “You still need the records of the people.”



Source: Judge blocks eBay sale of R.I. Colonial court records – News – – Providence, RI

Headlines misc.

Confronting Slavery at Long Island’s Oldest Estates – The New York Times

still relevant, we don’t know our own history in the USA

Headlines The Face of Racism

Through the Repellent Fence


A review of Sam Wainwright Douglas’s 2017 film Through the Repellent Fence discusses some of the hottest artists right now, the Postcommodity collective: The Repellent Fence simultaneously denaturalizes and socializes the US-Mexico border, working against its common misrepresentation as an evacuated no man’s land.  It draws our attention, instead, to the dense social relations and operations that characterize “the most geospatially contested area in [the] Hemisphere,” especially as they pertain to indigenous people, who are both divided by the border and erased from discourses about it, yet persist nonetheless.  While Postcommodity has created other works that engage this same geography—most notably, A Very Long Line (2016), which was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial—Chacon, Martínez, and Twist don’t consider themselves to be “border artists” per se.11   Rather, such pieces get at the structural and ongoing forms of dispossession tied to “the militarization of ancestral homelands,” wherein the border fence acts as a “filter of bodies and goods—a mediator of imperialism, violence, market systems, and violence capitalism.”

As such, his documentary not only relays a highly layered and timely contemporary artwork to the wide art and non-art audiences that it deserves, but also provides a rich tool for the classroom.

While the US-Mexico border has long been a locus of cultural and geopolitical struggle, it has come under renewed limelight with President Trump’s calls for banning immigrants and completing a wall to run along its almost two-thousand-mile length (currently, only 650 miles are built). Aside from the obvious relevance of this subject matter, The Repellent Fence arrives at a moment when indigenous cultural practices—from activism (e.g., at Standing Rock) to art making by a “generational vanguard of Native artists that has refused to be ghettoized or confined to identity politics or traditional mediums”34—are becoming more visible within Western art and academic contexts.

Source: Required Reading

Headlines The Face of Racism

Trump’s Language Is Similar to the 1920s Ku Klux Klan #MAGA

Maybe Trump just needs a quick historical primer on the 1920s Klan—and their vision for making America great again (or #MAGA.)

In 1915, William J. Simmons, an ex-minister and self-described joiner of fraternities, created a new Ku Klux Klan dedicated to “100 percent Americanism” and white Protestantism.  He wanted to evoke the previous Reconstruction Klan (1866-1871) but refashion it as a new order—stripped of vigilantism and dressed in Christian virtue and patriotic pride.

Simmons’s Klan was to be the savior of a nation in peril, a means to reestablish the cultural dominance of white people.  Immigration and the enfranchisement of African Americans, according to the Klan, eroded this dominance and meant that America was no longer great.

Simmons, the first imperial wizard of the Klan, and his successor, H.W. Evans, wanted Klansmen to return the nation to its former glory. Their messages of white supremacy, Protestant Christianity, and hypernationalism found an eager audience.

By 1924, the Klan claimed 4 million members; they wore robes, lit crosses on fire, read Klan newspapers, and participated in political campaigns on the local and national levels. (and killed people…)

To save the nation, the Klan focused on accomplishing a series of goals.

A 1924 Klan cartoon, “Under the Fiery Cross,” illustrated those goals: restricted immigration, militant Protestantism, better government, clean politics, “back to the Constitution,” law enforcement, and “greater allegiance to the flag.”

… For the KKK, Americans were supposed to be only white and Protestant. They championed white supremacy to keep the nation white, ignoring that citizenry was not constrained to their whims.

Source: Donald Trump’s Language Is Similar to the 1920s Ku Klux Klan: Nationalism and Anti-immigration – The Atlantic


Weekend listens: On The Dial

On the Dial
Housing Discrimination
50 Years After Fair Housing Act, Discrimination Persists The average white family has 15 times more wealth than the average black family, largely because the home-ownership gap between blacks and whites is now larger than it was during the Jim Crow era.  Here’s why, five decades after President Lyndon Johnson banned discrimination in home sales, black Americans are still finding it harder to get loans. (The Takeaway)
Could an Anti-Sex Trafficking Law Make the Cops’ Job Harder? By going after websites where sex work is advertised, a new federal law intends to stop traffickers. But some sex work experts say the police will effectively lose a tip source if these sites are shut down. To combat trafficking, they say, root causes—like poverty and homelessness—should be the focus. (The Brian Lehrer Show)
Teens Say: Get Out the Youth Vote for Participatory Budgeting That’s the jazzy name for the process by which New Yorkers get to choose which projects in their city council district get funding. Need a sidewalk fixed, a playground updated or a tree planted? You can vote online to make it happen, even if you’re as young as 11. Which is why politically engaged teens should get involved. (WNYC News)
A Drag Queen’s Guide to Protecting Your Data on Facebook Don’t use your real name. “Like” a bunch of random stuff. Inaccurately tag photos. Little Miss Hot Mess, a drag queen who’s been protesting the site’s data-mining overreach for years, shares some tips for doing your thing on Facebook without its algorithms exploiting your identity. (Midday on WNYC)

(Bill Moyers) Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump here

Headlines MYTH OF RACE The Face of Racism

The Trump Movement: How it All Began | The Most Revolutionary Act

Trump is the ultimate troll, drawing attention to himself by insulting people and generating outrage – a trait supporters fed up with “political correctness” particularly adore about him.

Source: The Trump Movement: How it All Began | The Most Revolutionary Act

Headlines The Face of Racism

The Overpass | Robert Moses | Failed Architecture


Dozens of students hurt when bus roof sheared off in overpass crash

The impact of the bus hitting the overpass was so forceful, state police and others who saw the damage say they doubt the driver knew what was coming.

“I don’t think he had any awareness because if you look at the damage, it’s a high impact strike,” Candelaria said. “He made it all the way through.”

Multiple ambulances and firetrucks responded to the scene.

The 38 students from various Long Island high schools, along with five chaperones, had just returned from John F. Kennedy International Airport and were heading to a shopping mall to meet up with parents, police said.

Police said the driver was being evaluated and did not seem to be familiar with commercial vehicle restrictions on the parkway.

The minimum clearance on the parkway is 7 feet, 10 inches and accidents involving vehicles striking overpasses is not uncommon on the parkway.  In 2017, there were reports that an electronic alarm system would be installed on the parkway to warn drivers of vehicles too high for the overpass.

Hostile Architecture? Yes, the Overpass! And it was for a reason – to restrict buses and poor people from moving to Long Island, New York.

…hostile architecture is purposely designed to appear unremarkable, often concealed behind mundane or apparently aesthetic aspects of the urban landscape.

Skateboarding, for example, is discouraged with ‘pig-ears’ placed on objects which could be used for grinding, throwing any potential mounts off balance, while flat, sloped surfaces, used by skaters as ramps, are segmented and depressed in areas, making cruising impossible. Although hostile architecture has been criticized for unfairly discriminating against skateboarders, and by extension teenagers, its most controversial target is undoubtedly the homeless.

… hostile architecture is claimed to displace behaviour rather than prohibit it, forcing targeted communities to other areas of the city.  Moreover, homelessness and skateboarding are not inherently illegal, and local governments have been accused of expelling already underrepresented individuals.

Unlike (racist) Robert Moses’ civil works these structures have not been allowed disappear into the landscape, with the growing scholarship on hostile architecture resolutely documenting their effects on public space.

Perhaps as recourse authorities have begun openly admitting their use of hostile architecture.

Source: Robert Moses, Pig-Ears and the Camden Bench: How Architectural Hostility Became Transparent — Failed Architecture

Headlines The Face of Racism

On Stanford’s All White Male History Conference – AAIHS

Women, black people, and Native Americans saw their conditions worsen, their liberties restricted, and rights of citizenship denied after the Revolution. The broadening of the study of the American Revolution beyond the merchant class and wealthy elites, for example, yields a more inclusive history. Resulting debates about how radical the revolution was has also led to the reconceptualization of American history and democracy.

Source: On Stanford’s All White Male History Conference – AAIHS

Headlines The Face of Racism

Coalition Pressures Brooklyn Museum to “Decolonize”


The letter outlines seven points for the scope of the “Decolonization Commission” the groups envision:

1. Territorial Acknowledgement of Indigenous land occupied by its buildings and giving material effect to such an acknowledgment in curatorial practices, programming, exhibitions, and day-to-day operations.

2. The deep diversification of curatorial staff and executive leadership whereby the lived experience of oppressions — including patriarchy, white supremacy, and poverty — are valued and factored in.

3. A decolonial inventory of colonial-era objects of both African and Indigenous people with a view to settling the long-pursued claims of reparations and repatriation.

4. An upgrade of working conditions and pay of ground staff — who are disproportionately employees of color — in security, food service, and janitorial divisions.

5. The replacement of Board president David Berliner and other trustees who are real estate tycoons with a broad cross-section of artists and community organizers.

6. The undertaking of a de-gentrification initiative to examine and mitigate the museum’s role in boosting land value and rents in the borough.

7. An institutional commitment to address the issues raised by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in recognition of the debate among Brooklynites about the central role played by segments of the borough’s population in the settler movement in Palestine.

Source: Coalition of Anti-Gentrification Groups Pressures Brooklyn Museum to “Decolonize”

Headlines The Face of Racism

Intercepted Podcast: the Politics of Empire

JS: This week, I’m in Wisconsin. It’s my home state. I’m giving some talks here. And I decided since I was in town, to check in with one of the most interesting historians of our time: Alford McCoy. He is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book: “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.”

Al McCoy’s latest book is “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power.”

Last summer, Al McCoy joined us on Intercepted for a wide-ranging discussion on Trump and Russia, the history of CIA interference in elections around the world, the Iran-Contra Scandal, CIA crack-cocaine epidemic, U.S. proxy wars, narco-trafficking in Afghanistan, and much more. In that interview, Al McCoy predicted that China is set to surpass the influence of the U.S. globally, both militarily and economically and he says it’s going to happen by the year 2030. At that point, Al McCoy asserts, the United States empire as we know it will be no more. He also told us that the Trump presidency is a byproduct of the erosion of U.S. global dominance but not its root cause.

Al McCoy joins me now. Al, welcome back to Intercepted.

Al McCoy: Jeremy, wonderful to be back.


AM: Trump is also dealing with a Republican form of politics that was invented by Ronald Reagan. Reagan picked up Nixon’s drug war, and he gave it two distinct dimensions: One, attacking coca in the Andes, and two, increasing domestic penalties so that the U.S. prison population doubled under Ronald Reagan.

Look, from 1930 to 1980, for 50 years, one figure didn’t change in American public life, from Depression through the boom years of Eisenhower, we had 100 prisoners per 100,000. Today we have 700 prisoners per 100,000. And there is a political logic that Reagan, in his genius, never articulated but practiced.

So, you sweep the inner cities, round up the African Americans, fill the prisons, 53 percent of the federal prisoners of the United States are in for nonviolent drug offenses.

When they’re incarcerated, they’re off the voter rolls. When they come out, in 17 states, I believe it is — it changes — they are disenfranchised for life. Where do you put your prisons? Upstate New York. Northern Wisconsin. Areas with dying populations, you pack thousands of inner-city people who are enumerated in the census. You count those prisoners in that electoral district, but they don’t get to vote.

So who gets the voting power? The prison guards who are very conservative. So, it’s a genius strategy of disenfranchisement of African-Americans. That’s the Republican electoral strategy. It’s a couple of percentage points but you play out of that margin district after district, and before you know it you’ve got majority control of most of the state legislatures in the United States, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate. It works.

Source: Intercepted Podcast: Covert History, Revolutionary Hip-Hop, and the Politics of Empire

Headlines MYTH OF RACE The Face of Racism

What institutionalized racism looks like inside our system of education

Check out The Hidden Cost of Suspension and find your state and district.

Within a two week time span we dealt with the discipline of two 8th grade boys: one white, and one Black. The disparity in how the school’s administrative team responded to their consequences was astounding in his scope and sheer, blatant racism. I’ve seen this play out numerous times both as a classroom teacher and an administrator. It’s the kind of thing that is kept quiet and we don’t talk about it. If you bring up race, you’re silenced, ignored, or punished. Whiteness protects itself within the system. How we responded to each boy is a stunning example of that.

READ UP: What institutionalized racism looks like inside our system of education