It’s a problem for the international community, and you asked me a moment ago why aren’t other countries more deeply involved? I will tell you why. Because they believe that the American taxpayers are going to do it, and American soldiers are ultimately going to do it. And as long as that signal is out there, that’s what’s going to happen. I want the Saudi Arabian government to be actively involved. I want their troops to be on the ground. I don’t want them to believe that we’re going to do it for them. So yes, I think we have to play a very strong and supportive role with the UK, with France, with Canada, with other countries. It can not and should not be the United States alone.


Ebola isn’t ravaging West Africa because people are dirty or uneducated: it’s precisely because people care and love on a level we, as Americans, have lost touch with.

Through a twist of coincidence the news of Mistress Yekeh’s death reached me around the same time an Ebola case was reported in Texas. The vitriol I saw in the news and read in Facebook feeds. The fear. The running I could feel in people’s hearts. What I want people in America to understand is that Ebola is not a threat to them because America has hospitals. It has doctors. Americans aren’t asked to take their sick loved ones back to the rented room they share with five other people. They have more than plastic shopping bags to protect their hands from contamination.



The shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, policeman Darren Wilson has revealed deep anger and frustration among residents of the St. Louis suburb. But Brown’s death, and the protests that have followed it, didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Vox spoke with historian Heather Ann Thompson, a professor at Temple University who writes extensively on 20th-century urban politics and criminal justice and worked on the recent National Research Council report on mass incarceration, to talk about the tense and often hostile history between African Americans and the police in America.

Dara Lind (DL): What does history teach us about what’s going on in Ferguson?

Heather Ann Thompson (HT): There are some locally important things about this, and there are some nationally important things. There’s been a lot of attention to the fact that St. Louis did not riot during the 1960s,for example. But St. Louis has always had this very tortured racial history. In July of 1917, there was one of the most brutal riots against African Americans there — scores and scores of white folks attacking blacks simply for being employed in wartime industries. There were indiscriminate attacks and, in effect, lynchings: beatings, hangings of black residents.

So the fact that St. Louis didn’t erupt in the ’60s is almost an anomaly or an outlying story. Because St. Louis does have very tense race relations between whites and blacks, and also between the police and the black community.

Nationally, it suggests that we haven’t learned nearly enough from our history. Not just 1917, and all the riots that happened in 1919, and 1921 — but, much more specifically, from the ‘60s. Because of course, this is exactly the same issue that generated most of the rebellions of the 1960s. In 1964, exactly 50 years ago, [unrest in] Philadelphia, Rochester, and Harlem were all touched off by the killing of young African Americans. That’s what touches off Harlem. It’s the beating of a young black man that touches off Rochester in ‘64. It’s the rumor that a pregnant woman has been killed by the police in Philadelphia in ‘64. So in some sense, my reaction to this is: of course. Because until you fundamentally deal with this issue of police accountability in the black community and fair policing in the black community, this is always a possibility.

DL: This continuity from the white attacks on black citizens after World War I, to the rioting of disenfranchised African Americans in the 1960s, is interesting. Is there a relationship between those two and between the violence of private white citizens and violence of police?

HT: On the surface they seem unrelated: you’ve got racist white citizens who are attacking blacks in the streets, and then years or decades later, you have the police acting violently in the black community.

In response to all those riots in the 1910s and 1920s, civil rights commissions were set up in cities, and there was pressure on both local and federal governments to address white vigilantism and white rioting against blacks. And while it was not particularly effective, it certainly had this censuring quality to it. And then what historians would agree happened is that, in so many cities, the police became the proxy for what the white community wants.

So one of the answers is that police became the front line of the white community — or, at least, the most racially conservative white community. It’s the police that are called out, for example, when blacks try to integrate white neighborhoods. It’s the police that become that body that defends whites in their homes.

DL: How did this play out after the unrest that you mentioned?

HT: We start the war on crime in 1965, which, of course, is very much in response to these urban rebellions. Because politicians decide that protests against things like police brutality are exactly the same thing as crime — that this is disorderly. This is criminal.

And so, police are specifically charged with keeping order and with stopping crime, which has now become synonymous with black behavior in the streets. The police, again, become that entity that polices black boundaries. And I will tell you that one of the most striking things about the media coverage of Ferguson is that they are absolutely doing what they did in the 1960s in terms of the reporting: “This is all about the looters, this is all about black violence.”

DL: It certainly seems that even before any looting actually happened in Ferguson, police were anticipating that kind of thing.

HT: Any time that there is urban rebellion, the way that it is spun has everything to do with whether it’s granted legitimacy. Notably, when there was rioting in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and you saw the police with fire hoses and police dogs, it was very easy for white Northerners, particularly the press, to report that for exactly what it was — which was police violence on black citizens who were protesting. Everyone’s very clear about that. Sheriff Bull Connor is a racist, the police are racist, and that is why it is violent.

But the minute that these protests moved northward, the racial narrative was much more uncomfortable. “Why in the world would blacks be protesting against us good-hearted white folks in the North? And how dare they?” And what it means is that they were demanding too much, and that they were in fact just looking for trouble. So that narrative of who gets to be a legitimate protester shifts dramatically once protests move northward. It’s all about violence, troublemaking, looting, and so forth.

DL: What’s the response to a narrative like that?

HT: Even in the 1960s, you’ve got the white and black liberals who are saying, “Calm down, calm down, go home, stop this. Be peaceful.” And the white community, white politicians are desperate for these black politicians to have that kind of legitimacy: “Please go out and entice people to calm down!”

Until black life is valued to the same extent white life is by members of law enforcement and by the criminal-justice community, there will be this question of legitimacy of the police and their actions, particularly among black folks who are routinely stopped. And then, people get angry. And then, people do start throwing rocks and bottles. But make no mistake about it: they don’t have rubber bullets. It’s never a fair fight.

DL: What we’ve heard from police officers is that the best way to prevent something like what’s happening in Ferguson is for residents to already trust the police, to have a good relationship during so-called “normal” times — when there isn’t an obvious incident. How has that worked in the past?

HT: It doesn’t work. It isn’t working. It’s the reason why immigrant communities, for example, are terrified to call the police in times when police might be needed — for domestic violence, for times when people have been robbed or been victimized —because the police might then round them up and deport them. There’s no legitimacy. The data is clear that the community knows, firsthand and every day, that the level of policing of black communities is so disproportionate to both the lethalness and the severity of crime that’s taking place.

Most black people are not being arrested for raping and robbing, murdering and stealing. It’s this low level, oppressive policing of communities on the basis of marijuana possession. Low-level drug busts. Riding up on people. Throwing them against cars. Not because blacks do drugs more than whites, not because they possess it more, but because that’s where the policing is.

HT: For Ferguson, it’s much more about the fact that there is an absolute unwillingness to deal with the core issues in American society about equality in the streets: [the principle that] a black citizen and a white citizen really do have equal rights under the laws. Black citizens don’t believe it. They shouldn’t believe it. It’s not true that they have equal rights under the laws. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of innocence. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of peaceful countenance.

And so, Ferguson happens. A kid gets killed. On some level, it doesn’t even matter what the circumstances are around the death. Because all that anyone needs to know is that here is yet another young African-American kid who is going about his business and he’s now dead. Let’s imagine that somehow he was hassling the police. Let’s imagine that. Does that require a death sentence? If the same thing had happened to a suburban teen kid in an elite suburb of St. Louis, would they now be dead? Everybody knows that the answer is no. And thus, the rage

DL: Some protesters in Ferguson are demanding that the police force should reflect the community’s demographics. How essential is it to make police forces more diverse?

HT: In Detroit, in Philadelphia, in Rochester, in Harlem, and all those places [in the 1960s], when you have an all-white police force policing an all-black community, not only is there evidence that policing does not happen justly, but you have the perception and the feeling that you have kind of an occupying army in your community. I think it’s kind of obvious why it’s problematic.

But people misunderstand what it takes to actually integrate a police department and what the impact of that is. It’s very difficult to integrate these departments. It took the rebellions of the ‘60s to put pressure on city officials to do that in most cities. In Detroit, however, even though there was a rebellion in ‘67, the police force does not really start to get integrated until 1973, when there’s a black mayor. Indeed, he gets elected in large part because he is promising, finally, to rein in the vigilante forces in the police department and to finally integrate. It takes enormous effort to actually integrate a police department. And what seems to have happened is that that has really fallen by the wayside. Many affirmative-action clauses and statutes and pieces of city governance and university governance and certainly private business governance have made it very easy to not abide by integration rule now.

Even if police departments are integrated — certainly this has been proven in Detroit, and in other cities where you have many, many more black police officers — the problem is that police are charged with policing the community and particularly policing the poor black community. The act of policing places the police in opposition to this community. Even if the officers are black, that does not guarantee that there’s going to be smooth police-community relations. Fundamentally, the problem is that there is so much targeted policing in these neighborhoods.

(by   )

The history of Islam in Australia pre-dates European settlement. From 1650, Muslim fisherman from South East Asia communicated and traded with Aborigines from Australia’s north. Some inter-marriage occurred. In the 1860s, some 3000 camel drivers - with camels - came from Afghanistan and the Indian sub-continent. This group contributed to the exploration of the Australian outback, working on both the railway line between Port Augusta and Alice Springs, and the Overland Telegraph Line from Adelaide to Darwin, which connected Australia to London via India.


If you think Muslims should ‘go home’ or that they don’t belong in Australia, just remember that, unless you’re an Indigenous Australian, their culture has been here longer than yours.

Deal with it.

(via skibreaux)

shit, I’m so embarrassed I didn’t know this. 

(via linkedwords)


I am a feminist because when I tell people I am an actress, they ask if I’ve slept with directors, because it is so inconceivable to them that as a woman I should receive a part based on my talent and not how good I am in bed.

I am a feminist because the boys that I live with think it is okay to tell me to wear a thong because my panty line makes them uncomfortable.
The day I dress for a man is the day I’m dressed for Heaven.

I am a feminist because when I wore a backless dress on New Year’s Eve, a man told me that it meant that I was “asking for it”, and the way he said it I knew he accepted it as a fact. I gave him the middle finger and glared at any man who leered at me that night.

I am a feminist because since the age of 12 I have been told that a boy’s education is more important than my own, through the classes missed because my shoulders are showing and my shorts length is distracting the boys.

I am a feminist because when I walk across campus, passing a group of boys 12 feet from my residence fills me with such terror that my feet speed up and tears burn at the corners of my eyes.

I am a feminist because the first thing I do when I see a man on the street is think of all possible escape routes and take an inventory of what I can use as a weapon.

I am a feminist because seeing a man stare at me through the bus window fills me with dread, not only from a fear of being attacked but because I know I will be told it was my fault for taking the bus alone.

I am a feminist because statistics say 1 in 5 woman are victims of sexual assault, and that means that at least one of my baby cousins, at least one of my best friends, will be or has been assaulted and that thought makes me physically ill.

I am a feminist because people still think it’s okay to ignore the problem, because the first response when I bring up the issue is “not all men”. No, not all men, but enough men that I can’t walk home alone. Every man I see is innocent or a potential rapist, and there is no in between.

I am a feminist because girls are still taught that if they don’t take protective measures, the rape is their fault, and boys are never taught that just because she is a woman, does not mean she is theirs to touch.

I am a feminist because feminism is about fighting for gender equality, for making the streets a safer place to be alone, for making the issue one that is discussed openly without anger.

I am a feminist, and if you have a problem with that, you can go home alone tonight.

For The Boys Who Won’t Date Feminists, M.M.A. (via osnesqueen)