All posts by Elon James White

Elon James White is a writer, satirist radio host and founder and CEO of This Week in Blackness. White has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Slate, RH Reality Check, Al Jazeera, Buzzfeed and more. White hosts the award winning & critically acclaimed TWiB! Prime on TWIB.FM Monday - Thursday at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT.

Jason Harrison

Within 19 Seconds Cops Shoot Mentally Ill Man Holding Screwdriver

Video from an unnamed source was released on Monday showing two Dallas police officers responding to a call from the mother of Jason Harrison seeking help to take him to the hospital since he was off his medication and acting erratically. Harrison was shot within 19 seconds of the officers knocking on the door. Warning: This video is disturbing.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Two Dallas police officers shot Jason Harrison, 38, at his home on June 14. Police said at the time that Harrison’s mother told them he was making “violent threats” and that Harrison, who was armed with a screwdriver, became aggressive when the officers ordered him to drop it.

The mother who warned the police officers that her son was “bipolar schizo” screams “You killed my child!” as the cops open fire on Harrison as he steps forward with a screwdriver smaller than his hand. How many dead Black people will it take before a real conversation about how to engage with people seeking help will happen? Just last week an unarmed naked bipolar man was killed when the officers had the option to Taze him.

How do you gun down a mentally ill man after being told he’s mentally ill? The mother literally walks out of the house with no fear of her son yet the cops deemed him a threat within 19 seconds. I can only imagine the anguish this mother feels knowing she called the cops to help her son and they took his life.

Think Progress reports:

Studies in several cities have found that about half of police shooting victims are mentally ill, and that the mentally ill are disproportionate victims of excessive police force. Too often, these incidents started as calls for help. Another case that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court involves a lawsuit by a woman who actually survived a police shooting, after officers were called to a San Francisco group home for help transporting Teresa Sheehan to a mental health facility.

The family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. The video was obtained as part of that investigation.

The Protestors Were Right

The NY Times reported:

WASHINGTON — Ferguson, Mo., is a third white, but the crime statistics compiled in the city over the past two years seemed to suggest that only black people were breaking the law. They accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests. In cases like jaywalking, which often hinge on police discretion, blacks accounted for 95 percent of all arrests.

The racial disparity in those statistics was so stark that the Justice Department has concluded in a report scheduled for release on Wednesday that there was only one explanation: The Ferguson Police Department was routinely violating the constitutional rights of its black residents.

Those findings reinforce what the city’s black residents have been saying publicly since the shooting in August, that the criminal justice system in Ferguson works differently for blacks and whites. A black motorist who is pulled over is twice as likely to be searched as a white motorist, even though searches of white drivers are more likely to turn up drugs or other contraband, the report found.

(Emphasis mine.)

Let’s sit with this for a moment. After months of protestors being maligned and their supporters being described as everything from pro-criminal, anti-American and racist, in the end it seems that the description of Ferguson’s police department was accurate. They are racist. They have been racist. A community has been living under siege for years–in an environment where you are 4 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than in New York City

And you know how awesome black folks and the NYPD get along.

I’m sure some of you are ecstatic because now obviously we have the proof that’s needed to show how racist the judicial system in Ferguson. But you’re also forgetting about the fact that the Department of Justice has been run by a scary Black dude who wants people to read anti-White propaganda. So, there’s that.

More to come.

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Ikea Announces Wireless Phone-Charging Furniture

charging stationIkea is evil. Yes, I buy products from them multiple times a yea,r but this doesn’t erase their evilness. What else do you call the latin incantation that they obviously place on anyone who enters their store? You lose track of space and time. Whatever your planned purchasing cap was gets destroyed. You end up teetering on the brink of divorce by the time you and your significant other make it to the register. And you find yourself at home putting together lightbulbs or sheets or something. But when I saw this reported by the BBC, I instantly forgot about their evil ways and wanted it IMMEDIATELY.

The Home Smart range will initially include lamps, bedside tables and a coffee table as well as individual charging pads for any surface.

Ikea has used the wireless charging standard QI, which is also supported by Samsung in its latest handset, the S6.

Burn in hell, Ikea. Yes, I’m buying this as soon as they release the covers supposedly being created for iPhones but still. I’m going to be putting together these ridiculous tables all over my house and will somehow end up bleeding because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS.

Hell. Burn in it.

Race, Social Media and Engagement

The conversation around the toxicity of Twitter and the hordes of angry social justice warriors who will attack any one who doesn’t understand their secret lingo has become cartoonish. I see emails and posts through out social media warning of the impending doom when trying to be reasonable at the hands of #blacktwitter or another subgroup on the platform. In an attempt to shift the conversation I took to Twitter to attempt to give a different perspective. The following was my attempt at a deeper look into the supposed Twitter “mob” mentality.

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Apparently There’s No “BLACK” In Team

So this was published about the Patricia Arquette situation:

Part of the push-back at Arquette was an off-shoot of anger at the Oscar nominations being “too white,” giving complainants a more specific target to shoot at, and that drew in women of color feminists who have been engaged with white feminists in a cold war for years that will never end.

No really.  That was actually published. But let’s keep going…:

Of particular note was the recent ugliness between Nicole Sandler and Elon James White, after Sandler defended Arquette, only to be accused of being complicit in the “erasure of WoC within the larger feminist movement.”

This is false. But who needs facts?

Complaining that other defenders of Arquette were saying that the big picture was being lost due to what I think of as nitpicking cultural pointillism, White wrote:

“The happiness they had over Arquette’s very high-profile callout against wage discrimination made it much harder for them to hear those who found the backstage commentary concerning LGBTQ and PoC problematic. “We’re on the same team,” I was told. “We shouldn’t be eating our own,” they exclaimed. The idea that intersectional erasure of Women of Color and LGBTQ women was a byproduct of Arquette’s comments wasn’t just a problem, but another example of a continuous problem within feminism was lost.”

The problem, of course, is that circular firing squads are counter-productive and to assert such an obvious point is to somehow retreat into “white privilege” and therefore not worthy of consideration.

And that is bullshit (He wrote, knowing full well he will be accused of “male white privilege” and told to “check it”).

Change comes when we all pull together and, yes, change comes way too slowly in this big stupid lumbering dumbass country of ours. But it comes even more slowly when it becomes mired in petty squabbles over terminology or “that person said it wrong; here is what I would have said.”

And that is why we can’t have nice things.

Oh, so this is why we can’t have nice things? Asking for intersectionality? Critiquing problematic commentary and attempting to create teachable moments is why we can’t have nice things? Also, my critique is labeled as complaining, but what does this article qualify as? This is just speaking truth, huh? And re-read this particular nugget:

The problem, of course, is that circular firing squads are counter-productive and to assert such an obvious point is to somehow retreat into “white privilege” and therefore not worthy of consideration.

And that is bullshit (He wrote, knowing full well he will be accused of “male white privilege” and told to “check it”).

See, if he speaks from his position of white male privilege and if called on his white male privilege this particular line shall inoculate him from these accusations because “See, I told you they’d say that.” Did Mr. Boggs just copy the Jonathan Chait handbook?

Besides, his completely inaccurate depiction of the issues between me and Ms. Sandler, this post is laughable in its logic. You can’t just call something bullshit and it becomes magically so. Boggs completely misses the point that most people wouldn’t have commented at all if Arquette had not called out people of color and gay folks separately from “women” and asked them to step up and help like “women” had helped them.  Arquette, apparently shouldn’t be critiqued about what she said even when she responds to the conversation of her white privilege with:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 1.11.07 PM

Oh yeah. Let’s say nothing and let her ride. She’s not problematic at all. She doesn’t have white privilege because she grew up poor! Because that’s how white privilege works? Oh wait. It’s not. Why wouldn’t we want to critique someone with as large a platform that she has so that when she speaks publicly she doesn’t perpetuate bullshit? How is it a circular firing squad when folks are angry at yet another example of the erasure of WoC which isn’t simply a single misstep within feminism but a very well-established problem going back decades?

Shutting up isn’t how the progressive space should work. A lot of the critiques levied against Arquette were ratcheted up due to the blind progressive defense of her statements. Why is it that marginalized groups are supposed to be quiet when the progressive space are problematic toward them? If republicans did/said similar things then it would be completely okay for us to be mad. But this is problematic infighting?

Perhaps we really aren’t on the same side.

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Patricia Arquette, Criticism and Progressives

Patricia Arquette’s comments at the Oscars have set the internet on fire. Her call to arms for equal pay for women and her commentary that, knowingly or not, added to the much critiqued erasure of WoC within the larger feminist movement as a whole has everyone weighing in. There are a bunch of articles that explain this particular intersectional fail so I don’t want to retread that. What I will speak on is the conversation being had within the progressive/liberal space about how one can critique comments like Arquette’s.

 

The criticism of critique methodology is nothing new. From cries of Toxic Twitter to dismissals of callouts based on perceived tone or demonstrable anger, there is a constant desire within the liberal space for it to be inclusive but not accountable. To speak for all but for some to be silent. The progressive coalition as is is one that should fight against injustice but simmer down if issues are actively in our own camp.

 

This morning, for instance, I was told that I attacked Arquette and her defenders. (You can take a look at my Twitter timeline to see what an apparent “attack” look like.) These claims weren’t from the faceless hordes with egg avatars that ride across the Twitter landscape, but from folks I know directly within the progressive community. The happiness they had over Arquette’s very high-profile callout against wage discrimination made it much harder for them to hear those who found the backstage commentary concerning LGBTQ and PoC problematic. “We’re on the same team,” I was told. “We shouldn’t be eating our own,” they exclaimed. The idea that intersectional erasure of Women of Color and LGBTQ women was a byproduct of Arquette’s comments wasn’t just a problem, but another example of a continuous problem within feminism was lost. You can actually drill up and view it from the very common perspective in the US: that the default in America is being white.

 

The much-vaunted yet clumsily attempted “national conversation on race” hits this snag constantly because in the end, the progressive coalition can always be divided by race. Allies are only allies if their allyship is not at odds with their own wants/desires/causes. This is why the term “ally” has started to be spoken about with negative connotations. This is why the “team” metaphor that is used often in these situations is seen as laughable by some because can we really be a team if at any point in time a significant portion of the team can be told to shut up and stop ruining it for the rest of us?

 

In an attempt to have a conversation with me, a progressive who disagreed my fairly soft critique of Arquette wrote this in a longer email about why she disagreed:

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 12.45.53 PM

At this point I’m finding the commentary from Arquette’s defenders more problematic than Arquette herself. Her comments were like a black light for privilege. Yesterday a lot of progressives seemed fine but today they’re glowing like a mutha. I’ve had folks demand I explain to them what the problem is even as I wrote on my feelings on my timeline. This is not how a team should work. And if this is the team that we’re all on then consider this my resignation.’

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TWiB! PRIME Ep. #467 | “INTERSECTIONAL, SON.” 

SUBSCRIBE: ITUNES | STITCHER

TWIBprime #646 | Not Art

#TeamBlackness discusses Selma as art, Black women in NYC being more affected by domestic violence, the bacon-wrapped crust pizza, and a report explaining exactly WHO is in prison.

Featuring: Aaron Rand Freeman @ansfreeman Elon James White @elonjames Imani Gandy @angryblacklady

Want to support TWiB? Shop at Amazon using this link: http://twib.me/amazon – Buy what you would normally buy and TWIB gets MONEY!

ITUNES | STITCHER | PREMIUM

 

TWIBprime #645 | “Boobs Everywhere”

#TeamBlackness discuss the failure of Twitter to deal with constant harassment, the link between unemployment and suicide, and 3d printed fetuses. Plus we find out what’s happening behind the scenes at TWiB Studios. Hint: Boobs. All of this and more with #TeamBlackness on today’s TWiB! Prime.

Featuring: Aaron Rand Freeman @ansfreeman Elon James White @elonjames Imani Gandy @angryblacklady

Want to support TWiB? Shop at Amazon using this link: http://twib.me/amazon – Buy what you would normally buy and TWIB gets MONEY!

ITUNES | STITCHER | PREMIUM

 

New Ish!

In an attempt to lock myself into a writing schedule I’ve decided to create this new column here in #TWIBnation. There won’t be a clear theme here besides that I thought something was interesting. Dassit. And yes, I will on occasion use phrases like “dassit.” If this bother’s your sensibilities then walk away now and no one will get hurt. Oh and one more thing.

Vaccinate your damn kids.