Monday, November 30, 2015

Anti-racism in the ‘Burbs, December Discussion Group

Second meeting: Sunday 12/6, 2-4 p.m., location: Medfield, MA

We discussed White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh: Knapsack.pdf
What privileges on the list do you have?  Don't have?  Other thoughts? 

My learning from this meeting was that the People of Color who came could not relate to anything on the list. They said they never experience they have any of the privileges on that list.

I asked what they would want, most importantly and they said:

Give me the benefit of the doubt!...a presumption of innocence
That they live in a field of judgement and doubt. They would like not to have to worry...they want that freedom that white people have.
And they would like to not have to wonder, "Is it my race?" why people say and do the things they do with them.

After the meeting, I went back over the list of 50 items and found that all of them can fall under those freedoms. So that is simple enough right? Can't we give People of Color, and everyone including Muslims, those freedoms (listed above)?


See the first meeting for more info about this discussion series.


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Solidarity and 'Ally Theater'

I read this yesterday:

How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and ‘Ally Theater’
by Mia McKenzie, read her post here:

As a white person, I think it would be good for everyone trying to be 'allies' of P.O.C. to read the post linked above. It taught me a lesson or two (more really) on what I can do to be more supportive of P.O.C. 

I posted some of the lessons I learned from her below. I posted them as reminders to myself. Please read Mia's post; there is much more to her post, and it is her experience.

1. Just shut up.

When a P.O.C shares about their frustrations/resentments about white people actions/behaviors, don't think I can be supportive with my opinions, experiences, or sharing my own challenges. Listen and learn, but don't say anything.

2. Do no more harm.

Don't tell a P.O.C. what negative thing might have been said about them or other P.O.C. Remember who I am trying to help and don't repeat a hurtful thing.

3. Be self-less. 

Everything I do in support/solidarity with P.O.C, do quietly, secretly, and privately. I am not doing this work to get credit or 'cookies.' 

4. The description "ally" is earned...something a P.O.C. might use for me, someday.

It isn't something I can call organic gardener, artist, English teacher, ally.


I will not be trusted by some P.O.C. until I do these things. Not doing any of them (doing the opposite) is just theatrics= 'ally theater', not real, not solidarity, not helpful.

I hope my blog, and things I put on it, is not 'ally theater' (AT)...I am trying to help myself and other white people with this resource and posting of my learnings. But if you think anything I write is AT, please tell me. I am here to learn. -DG

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark, who was unarmed, was shot by in the head by a police officer on Sunday, November 15, 2015, sparking protests. (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

What we know about the death of Jamar Clark from

Jamar Clark: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know from, quote from this article below:
"Witnesses say Clark was handcuffed and knocked to the ground before he was shot, the NAACP says. Police have denied claims that Clark was handcuffed before the shooting, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune."

Also on this site is some info about how white supremacists shot five Black activists and about the protesters:

Protesters have said they are willing to stay at the precinct as long as it takes to get justice and have their demands met. According to a Facebook post, they are demanding five things. They want to see footage from the incident, they want an independent investigation (not by another police agency), they want the media to cover eye-witness testimony (not just the police’s point of view), they want full community oversight with full disciplinary power and they want officers to live in the communities they serve.

Shooting at Protests in Minneapolis: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know from

How Did Jamar Clark Die? from, quote from this article below:
"Even if Clark was not handcuffed, there is a separate question of whether the use of deadly force was appropriate in the situation. Just as the death of Freddie Gray brought new scrutiny on a Baltimore Police Department with a long, troubled history with its citizens—and particularly citizens of color—the police in Minneapolis are about to come under new scrutiny.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night,” Jason Sole, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune.


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Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old, was shot 16 times last October by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, fatally killing the youth. A video led to protests in Chicago due to the cover-up.

Here are some links I got from a email:

Chicago Activist: City’s Call for Peace over Laquan McDonald Video Does Not Extend to Police Dept., Democracy Now! 11-24-2015

How Chicago tried to cover up a police execution, Chicago Reporter 11-24-2015, quote from this article below:
"It was just about a year ago that a city whistleblower came to journalist Jamie Kalven and attorney Craig Futterman out of concern that Laquan McDonald’s shooting a few weeks earlier “wasn’t being vigorously investigated,” as Kalven recalls. The source told them “that there was a video and that it was horrific,” he said. Without that whistleblower—and without that video—it’s highly unlikely that Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke would be facing first-degree murder charges today."

Chicago tops in fatal police shootings among big US cities, Chicago Sun-Times 07-26-2015

Journalist on Shooting of Laquan McDonald By Chicago Police Officer: “It Was An Horrific Execution, Democracy Now! 11-24-2015, quote from this article below:
"An autopsy report shows McDonald was shot 16 times on October 20, 2014, including multiple times in the back. Police have said that the teenager lunged at the officer with a small knife. But people who have seen the video from police dashcam footage say it contradicts the police account, instead showing Van Dyke opening fire on the teenager while he was walking away, and continuing to shoot him even after the teenager was lying on the pavement."

The horrifying behavior of Anita Alvarez, Chicago's head prosecutor, Daily Kos 11-24-2015

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Inspiring Chant about our Duty

I recently went to an event in Boston where Carl Williams from ACLU spoke.  Carl, my activist sister, and two others received a Drylongso award  from CCI for being "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."  

Carl led us in a passionate call-and-response chant that the Black Lives Matter movement uses.  

I found it powerful and moving so I researched and found it to post here.  -DG

This is by Assata Shakur:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Carl also said this:
We have two choices: confront racism or ignore racism.

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Selma and voting rights

I watched the movie Selma last night. I found it very sad, powerful, and informative. As a white person, I think everyone would benefit by seeing this.  I learned about the power and the need for non-violent actions and the sacrifices protesters (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) made, and still make today.

Here is info from wikipedia about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was passed due the march from Selma to Montgomery, what this movie is about.

Here is my previous post about voting rights being taken away currently in the U.S.: Alabama restricting non-white registered voters. This shows we still have work to do regarding voting rights.

Here is more information online:
The Almost Forgotten Selma March from

More coming soon:
I am going to do some more research to learn more about what might have expired in 2013...mentioned at the end of the movie. This might be it: Shelby County v. Holder


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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Native Appropriation, Mascots, boycotting

Due to working with a Lakota representative from during the past year, when I watched Jennifer Lopez's opening numbers at the American Music Awards recently, I sensed there was a problem with the outfits she and her dance crew were wearing.

Here are some links I found online to help explain the problem with this for Native Peoples and their supporters:

Jennifer Lopez Wears "Tribal" Outfit for AMA Opening Number

On the site below, Adrienne K. explains why wearing Native "costumes" for Halloween, etc. is a cultural insult and misappropriation:

Nunavut family outraged after fashion label copies sacred Inuit design also has some links about the harmful use of mascots:
See the video on this website to see the face of many Native people.

Money has power: we can do and model what we believe in:
We can "vote" against the use of Native imagery and names in advertisements and mascots by how we spend our money; by boycotting Land of Lakes dairy products (Native People didn't raise cows), by not writing the name of football teams who use derogatory and harmful stereotypes of Native people (the R-word especially)...and more. I will continue to research this and add more as I learn more.

Note added 12/1/15: 
I just learned about this news: Change the Mascot Praises Adidas for Momentous Offer to Help End Offensive Native American Mascots


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Tamir Rice, 1-yr anniv. since killing

This is from

On a Saturday afternoon last year, Tamir Rice was playing with an air gun at a park on the west side of Cleveland. Someone called the police, mentioning in the process that the gun could be fake. The dispatcher didn't relay the caller's doubts.

Soon afterward, police drove onto the grass within feet of 12-year-old Tamir. Investigators say surveillance shows Tamir reaching toward his waistband and lifting up an outer garment. Within seconds Officer Timothy Loehmann stepped out of the passenger side and fired two shots, striking Tamir once in the abdomen. Tamir Rice died early the next day. (read more:

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say "White Supremacy" every day

Written by Elizabeth Martínez (info below is from this site:

What is White Supremacy?

White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.

What does it mean to say it is a system?

The most common mistake people make when they talk about racism is to think it is a collection of prejudices and individual acts of discrimination. They do not see that it is a system, a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a country.

By not seeing that racism is systemic (part of a system), people often personalize or individualize racist acts. For example, they will reduce racist police behavior to "a few bad apples" who need to be removed, rather than seeing it exists in police departments all over the country and is basic to the society. This mistake has real consequences: refusing to see police brutality as part of a system, and that the system needs to be changed, means that the brutality will continue.
(continue to get more informed about this:

Suggested Daily Practice:

I recently went to an event in Boston where Carl Williams from ACLU spoke.  Carl, my activist sister, and two others received a Drylongso award  from CCI for being "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."  Carl suggested we practice recognizing 'the water that we swim in' by saying "White Supremacy" every day.


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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Rethinking Thanksgiving

I recently read about the myth and the true history of Thanksgiving: Matthew Hughey’s "On Thanksgiving: Why Myths Matter." Now I wonder, how can we, in good conscience, continue to teach this myth and celebrate an event named after massacres of indigenous people?

The National Day of Mourning is the rightful name for this day in November made as a national holiday. This is the United American Indians of New England's website:  It is full of even more of the history that we often are not taught in schools.

For years, my family has treated Thanksgiving day as a day of gratitude in general, rarely thinking about the history of Thanksgiving...even while believing the convenient and biased myth we were taught while growing up.  Now, we can still do thanksgiving (note lowercase "t") this day and every day, but also discuss the true history of our nation and learn about the current issues for indigenous people.

Rather than dwell on the sins of the past, UAINE hopes the National Day of Mourning brings more awareness to the problems facing Native Americans today. Below examples are from this article:  National Day of Mourning Reflects on Thanksgiving’s Horrific, Bloody History
  • 28 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in poverty. 
  • The mortality rate for American Indian children between the ages of 1 and 14 has increased by 15 percent since 2000, despite the average rate in the U.S. having dropped by 9 percent during the same time period. 
  • The suicide rate among native youth ages 15 to 24 is 2.5 times higher than the overall national rate. 
  • Many native people lack access to decent health care; native people have higher rates of diabetes than anybody else in the country. 
  • Inherent racism still plagues American Indians with mascots and advertisements

For ideas about what we can do, we can read the attachment on on the home page about The National Day of Mourning, under: CAN'T ATTEND BUT STILL WANT TO HELP? I found this document very helpful.

I struggle with this now since the history is so unpleasant:  
What do I say to people wishing me a "Happy Thanksgiving!"?

I would like to say:
Do you know that some indigenous people and their supporters call this day a National Day of Mourning?

If there is interest, I can say more about what I have learned:
Many indigenous people and their supporters choose not to celebrate this day that represents invasion of lands and the genocide of Indigenous Peoples...
then point them to for more info.

But at least I will either say:
I don't celebrate Thanksgiving...or Happy Holidays.
Maybe it will lead to a conversation where I can tell them above.


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