I keep seeing white liberals on social media posting that they can’t believe what is happening in Ferguson, or that they can’t believe this is happening in America. Now I normally wouldn’t care enough about any of that to make any commentary, but they are sending me messages,

outraged at what America has become. This America is strange to them. “Are you seeing this?” Yes, I see it. “How is this happening?” Have you all not noticed that I’m Black? Do you genuinely believe that you are sharing confidential information here? Is white supremacy and the abuse of power by the police supposed to be breaking news for me? It’s like they’re saying “us good white people wanted to let you know that there are bad white people out there doing bad things. It’s shocking! Just want to let you know in case you weren’t aware.” They can’t believe it they say.

There are only 3 reasons why they can’t believe that Black people are under siege in the United States and those reasons are as follows;

1. They know nothing about the country they live in. Absolutely nothing.

2. They haven’t actually listened or payed attention to anything Black people have said before.

3. They are deep denial about their country.

This is a country that dropped two bombs via air on Black people in Philadelphia in 1985. When it comes to raids and sieges, all white people know is Waco and maybe Ruby Ridge. They don’t know about MOVE in Philadelphia. Go ask your white liberal friends if they know about MOVE and you will probably be met with blank stares.

Since the inception of the US as a settler nation, Black people have been under siege. Black people being under siege is something many white liberals cannot fathom because they have never been under siege and they don’t know Black history beyond Martin Luther King having a dream and Rosa Parks sitting on a bus. They are comparing Ferguson to war zones outside the US because this doesn’t seem like home. Certainly not the home they know. They can’t fathom it happening in their country. No my friends, this is America. This is your country. This is what it has always been. Violence committed against Black people is as American as apple pie.

This level of savagery is foreign to white liberals because they don’t encounter openly hostile and aggressive law enforcement as a default. They don’t have to deal with the indignity and dehumanization of barbaric policing and then get told that them being targeted for abuse is the law (i.e. stop and frisk, broken windows, Rockefeller drug laws etc). They’re not accosted by officers with K9 units. They’re not dealing with aerial outposts of police surveillance in their communities. It’s not their blood flowing on the streets. Pictures of dead white bodies murdered by the police and white vigilantes isn’t a reality that gets shared on social media. Their dead bodies aren’t used by opportunistic media outlets looking to garner traffic and clicks for profit. Their dead bodies aren’t consumed by an eager audience looking to take a bite out of the latest ‘strange fruit’ that fell off the poplar tree. Cops are not barging into their homes and destroying everything in sight. It’s not their naked grandmothers being dragged out of their homes. It’s certainly not their 7 year old daughters getting shot and murdered as they sleep like Aiyana Jones, nor is it their teenage sons being taken to remote marshes, forced to strip, beaten to a bloody pulp and then abandoned nude, like Rayshawn Moreno.

Do they think these cops became this aggressive, violent and militarized overnight? They evolved into the beasts you see by enacting brutality on Black people. Evolved is the wrong word here. They’ve always been like this. They just have better equipment at their disposal. Gone are the water cannons and fire hoses. They now have rubber and wooden bullets, tear gas and sound cannons that cause permanent hearing loss

The looting narrative is dead. Anti-Black racists can’t spin this with the classic Black criminality boogieman. The police are assaulting residential neighborhoods. The tide turned for white liberals after journalists started getting assaulted. Then it got real. It wasn’t real before when it was only Black bodies. Black suffering is meant for consumption and profit, not for enacting justice. Anti-Black racists wanted to conflate the issue with a handful of looters, as if the entire Black community in Ferguson were looters.

The question that should now be posed is that if journalists are getting arrested, physically assaulted, pelted with rubber and wooden bullets and even getting shot at with tear gas; if this is how the police is acting when everyone is watching, how do you think the police acts towards Black people when no one is watching? How do you think their policing in Black communities is conducted? Please note, after shooting journalists directly with tear gas, the police took their cameras. See here.

All this is happening in Ferguson because Black people dared to demand that the cop who murdered 18 year old Michael Brown be held accountable. They have to fight for mere accountability. Justice is not a given, they have to literally take to the streets and brave a police force that looks like an occupying military presence, complete with weaponry for warfare.

Ask yourselves white liberals, how often do white people have to galvanize entire communities and protest to get someone charged with murdering a white person? This is what Black people have to do time and time again.

Anyone who “can’t believe” what is happening in Ferguson is someone who is ahistorical and ignorant about the relationship the US has with Black people. We live in a country where the first air strikes delivered on US soil was on Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their communities were destroyed. Incendiary bombs and explosives were dropped on them by white law enforcement via World War I planes. I repeat, they dropped bombs on Black people in residential neighborhoods. I made no mention of the ground attacks, just the aerial assaults. So by all means, after you feign shock at what is happening in Ferguson, crack open a book (written by a Black historian) and see what your country has been doing and getting away with for time immemorial.

We are living through and watching Ferguson in real time, and this will be history. Like with previous sieges and assaults on Black communities, the grandchildren of today’s white liberals who know nothing about MOVE in Philly or Black Wall Street in Tulsa or Rosewood or the Colfax riot or the Wilmington insurrection or any of the numerous state sponsored and funded assaults on Black communities will feign shock and disbelief when Black people are again assaulted and they will say “I can’t believe this is happening in America”. These are the same white people who are outraged at wiretaps and declare that “the government is invading their privacy”. They will say “this country is turning into a police state”. They will say that when this country had the FBI’s Cointelpro. Surveillance is something that is shocking to them. It’s shocking because they don’t know about Cointelpro and what it did to Black people and Black progress. Black people have lived under siege and under surveillance. This might be new for you, but it’s not new for Black people.

In the future when the young Black protesters of today’s Ferguson will be old, the young white liberals, much like their forbears who have never heard of MOVE, will know nothing of Ferguson. White people have the privilege of not needing to know. Ferguson will be another ugly chapter in the annals of US history that will not be part of a school curriculum outside of a Black studies class.

Black people will soldier on. They are survivors. The very existence of Black people in the US and the Americas is a tale of survival. Bless them. Bless us.

- See more at: http://owning-my-truth.com/post/94865632807/i-cant-believe-this-is-happening-in-america#sthash.qoqS5G83.dpuf

What you didn’t know about the Fleur-de-Lis

Slaves who misbehaved in French New Orleans could expect harsh punishment. Crimes that could earn someone a few months in prison today were punishable by whipping or branding, even death. After a runaway slave was caught, he could be whipped with impunity by his captors, and then the court could sentence him to have an ear cut off and be branded with a fleur-de-lis. Slave policies in French Louisiana were officially set by the Black Code, first issued by the French crown in 1685 and revised in 1724. Much of the code is about slave punishment: how it should be carried out and the punishments appropriate for certain crimes.

The Code Noir and criminal procedure in French Louisiana

There has been much debate over the meaning of the Black Code and how it should be interpreted. According to Mathé Allain, the framers of the code thought of it as “a series of practical bureaucratic measures, intended to fit into an overall reorganization of French administration and to protect valuable property.” [1] Allain paints a picture of the Black Code not as motivated by humanitarian concerns, but practical ones. The punishments prescribed by the Code are often severe. A slave convicted of major theft was to receive the death penalty; petty theft, a flogging and branding. However, the Code also contains provisions preventing owners from mistreating or mutilating their slaves. Alain says that these “protections … simply aimed at preserving an expensive investment. … Brutal and cruel masters damaged valuable property, which … endangered an institution which, by 1685, was considered indispensable.” [2]

The Black Code established that slaves convicted of crimes were to be tried under the same procedure as whites.
“Standard criminal procedure consisted of the following steps: the master filed a complaint with the attorney general, who in turn, reported the alleged crime to the Superior Council and requested permission to interrogate the accused. Once permission was granted, the alleged criminal was conducted to the New Orleans prison, where he was interrogated by the king’s prosecutor, a councilor, a notary and at least two witnesses. Potential witnesses and/or principals whose testimony conflicted with that of the defendant, were “confronted” with the accused before the attorney general and each was given the opportunity to defend statements as well as to attack unfounded allegations. (As in white criminal cases, attorneys were banned from the courtroom.) These proceedings were usually quite lengthy, for cases involving as many as nine witnesses were not uncommon. Once the trial was concluded, however, the attorney general submitted the transcripts to the Superior Council with his recommendations for sentencing, and these recommendations were invariably implemented.” [3]

Punishments for Slaves

Brasseaux says that the decisions reached by the Council were “neither unusually harsh, nor inequitable,” and cites the case of Biron, a runaway slave who was accused of attempted murder as evidence. Witnesses revealed that Biron had only seized his master’s gun in order to keep himself from being shot, so instead of receiving the death penalty, the customary punishment for a slave assaulting a white person, he was merely publicly flogged, the penalty for marronage. [4] Thomas Ingersoll, writing for the Law and History Review, has a different view: the way the Code was actually enforced in Louisiana made its protection of slaves relatively weak. “While evidence is lacking that the protective measures of the Code Noir had much effect, proof is abundant that the repressive measures were applied: slaves could expect to suffer exemplary punishment in and out of court.” [5]

Numerous crimes could earn a slave a whipping, several could get one branded with a fleur de lis, and a surprising number of crimes warranted the death penalty. Article 12 of the 1724 Code prescribes whipping for slaves caught carrying weapons or heavy sticks. Article 13 says that slaves from different masters who were caught gathering in crowds should be whipped, and possibly branded with a fleur de lis, and even killed in extreme cases. Violence against their master or members of their master’s family earned a slave death, as could violence against any free person. Major theft could earn the death penalty, petty theft a whipping and branding with the fleur de lis. The Code’s most brutal penalties are reserved for runaway slaves: first offenders had their ears cut off and were branded with the fleur de lis on the shoulder, second offenders were hamstrung and branded on their other shoulder, and third offenders were killed.

While the days of elaborate torture chambers were more or less over by the 1700s, there was still quite a bit of specialized equipment used to punish slaves. Most common was the whip, administered in doses from just a few lashes to over 100, which would leave the victim’s back a bloody mess. Runaway slaves were made to wear heavy iron collars, often with long iron spikes, as shown in the picture at left. These made even basic movements difficult and inconvenient, and some slaves were forced to wear them for months at a time. Slaves were often shackled and chained. The brands used to mark runaway slaves with a fleur-de-lis or thieves with a “V” (voleur, French for “thief”) were not unlike the brands used to mark livestock for identification. Branding was a brutal punishment not just because of the great pain caused by the burn, but because it was a permanent and highly visible mark of one’s criminal past.

The whippings and hangings prescribed by the Code Noir didn’t end in the early 1700s. In an article published in the Daily Picayune on January 18, 1895, about Orleans Parish prison moving locations, the author claims that severe punishments were still carried out well into the 1800s.


Louisiana’s Code Noir

* Allain, M. (1980). Slave Policies in French Louisiana. Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, 21(2), 127-137.

  • Allain, 1980.
  • Brasseaux, C. A. (1980). The Administration of Slave Regulations in French Louisiana, 1724-1766. Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, 21(2), 139-158.
  • Brasseaux, 1980.
  • Ingersoll, T. N. (1995). Slave Codes and Judicial Practice in New Orleans, 1718-1807. Law and History Review, 13(1), 23-62.

Consider the history of borders. Starting with the Berlin Conference of 1884 when seven European countries carved out their stakes on the continent, Africa was gradually broken down into an illogical clutter of nation-states. The borders of these states had no regard for historical groupings and identities, and shifted depending on what was most politically and economically expedient for the colonising country. At different points during the first half of the century, for example, Burkina Faso was part of Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Mali and Senegal, before eventually coagulating as the Republic of Upper Volta.

In the early 1960s, as more African states gained “independence” and moved towards establishment of the Organisation of African Unity, border blues drove one of the earliest rifts in continental politics. The “Casablanca group” of states led by Kwame Nkrumah advocated a radical approach to African unification, while the “Monrovia group” led by Leopold Senghor called for a more conservative approach, one that held the borders of nation-states in higher esteem.

The Monrovia group won, and one of the first resolutions of the OAU was to endorse colonial borders. Today, there are only a few African countries – Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda and Seychelles – that allow all Africans either to enter without visas or to obtain visas upon arrival. For the rest, fellow Africans have to jump through hoops whose variations in complexity often reflect larger political dynamics. It seems that what has infiltrated our psyche even deeper than colonial geography is the spirit that inspired the origin of borders: perceptions of superiority and inferiority, the violence of competition for resources, selective openness determined by levels of perceived threat and historical animosity. And questions of historical clarity are chronically present.

Where did the vision of division come from? How does it stay alive? Who teaches you to hate your neighbour? Official classifications along invisible lines were both symptoms and tools of oppression throughout the 20th century. In apartheid South Africa, pass books determined where and when Africans had the right to exist in their own land. In Rwanda, Belgium introduced identity documents with “ethnic” classifications, to nurture divisions in the incubator of rigid bureaucracy. Across the continent, people put arbitrary colonial divisions on paper and called them passports.

Whether immigrating, emigrating or just passing through, Africans suffer among the greatest indignities of cross-border travel, abroad and on the continent. Paula Akugizibwe recounts how the hand-me-down tools of divide and rule perpetuate the abuse. (via dynamicafrica)



So the NAACP tried it. Coming into the #MikeBrown tag with some text book deflection and black folk blaming. But twitter was NOT having it

Bless social media because the NAACP’s okey doke is just the kind of soothing pablum the main stream media laps up. But…

Guess one of the “new” blacks tweeted this.




Born on this day…July 16, 1862

Ida B. Wells: Journalist, Newspaper Editor, Anti-Lynching Activist


Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was one of the foremost crusaders against black oppression. This engaging memoir tells of her private life as mother of a growing family as well as her public activities as teacher, lecturer, and journalist in her fight against attitudes and laws oppressing blacks.

Quotes from Ida B. Wells:

“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”

“I had an instinctive feeling that the people who have little or no intelligence or no school training should have something coming into their homes weekly which dealt with their problems in a simple, helpful way…so I wrote in a plain, common-sense way on the things that concerned our people.”

“The mob spirit has grown with the increasing intelligence of the Afro-American.”

“The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival.”

“The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.”

“The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder.”

“If it were possible, I would gather the race in my arms and fly away with them.”