Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE U.S. "CRIMINAL" INJUSTICE SYSTEM: How to Support The Permanently Incarcerated Scott Sisters on June 21st, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Details here.

[image is from here]


Talk about gross injustice! Two women in their 30's are behind bars for years already, since young, wrongfully, due to being accused of stealing eleven dollars. And the bank robbers called financial institution executives get million dollar bonuses for running their companies into the ground, negatively impacting the lives of millions.

The destruction of women's lives is nothing new. And the incarceration of Black people in the U.S. by white male supremacist courts and laws is nothing new either. What we have here is a case highlighting the particular vulnerability to a racist-misogynist system that often goes unchecked in a society which views anti-racism activism and anti-sexism activism in such a way as to portray the following, borrowing from the Black Women's Studies book title: "All the Blacks are Men, All the Women are White, But Some of Us are Brave".

These two women are brave and need our support to be liberated from prison!

This is an appeal, globally and nationally to raise awareness of and support for two women and the larger issue of wrongful incarceration of women. Below is the correspondence I received asking for attention to be brought to this appalling case of gross injustice and inhumanity. Details follow. Please spread the word and raise awareness of this case specifically and the larger issue of how white male supremacist CRIMINAL injustice systems incarcerate women of color for an accusation of theft of eleven bucks, while it leaves free the rich white male thieves of millions upon millions of dollars.

Hello Julian Real,

We are writing in hopes that you and other activists will disseminate this information.
Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are a small coalition of concerned women working toward a vision of defense of Jamie and Gladys Scott of Mississippi, widely known as “The Scott Sisters.” We advocate for all women who have been wrongly incarcerated or who have suffered egregious over-sentencing, which we all know punishes and destroys relationships, families, and children.

Please receive this letter as an opportunity to learn about the Scott Sisters' case that is of such monumental proportions that it is reminiscent of the lynching tradition of the old south.

Find below more details of their case, and our growing list of endorsements below.

Thank you for considering our appeal.

Terry Howcott


Jamie and Gladys Scott are 38 and 32 year old biological siblings who have languished in prison since they were very young women for the disappearance of a meager $11.00. Not only do we vigorously insist that the Scott Sisters are innocent of this crime, but we advocate that this grossly inhumane judicial response to a crime that resulted in no death or injury would be nightmarish even for guilty parties.

We believe this southern Mississippi trial, the conviction, and the double-life sentencing of these women to be shocking, outrageous and that this ordeal has long since needed to end. Our charge becomes more desperate, given Jamie Scott’s medical condition. She is suffering with kidney disease which surfaced during her imprisonment and which has been exasperated by abysmal medical care she has received while inside the prison.

As you become aware of the facts in these women’s case, you will be bowled over that they have not been released to move on with their lives and raise and mentor their children and loved ones who are fast approaching adulthood.

Gray Haired Witnesses For Justice have secured endorsements on behalf of the Scott Sisters including activist, Dick Gregory, and author, Michelle Alexander, “The New Jim Crow.”
We are organizing our day-long protest and fast in Washington, DC on June 21st, 2010 to shine a light on their case as well as speak to the wholesale debasement and dehumanization of our women in this country across the board.

Day-long Events will include:

10:00 a.m. Appearance/Gathering/Initiation of the fast at the Department of Justice. An appeal will be made to Eric Holder

12:00 p.m. Press Conference and appeal will be made to President Obama at the White House

1:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Event at Lafayette Square Park including speakers, entertainment with live performances, and dispersing of canned goods to the community.

We are asking that you assist us in circulating the news about this all day event, and we are requesting that you JOIN US in our effort to bring the Scott Sisters home.

For further information, please contact B.J. Janice Peak-Graham / Marpessa Kupendua

1- 866-968-1188, Ext. 2

Press release:

Subsequent press releases with endorsements from activist, Dick Gregory and author, Michelle Alexander are at

Gray-Haired Witnesses For Justice/Scott Sisters
Endorsements For June 21, 2010, Press Conference/Rally:

Action Committee for Women in Prison
Agnes Johnson, The 1212 Community in the Bronx
Ahmad Abdulibad, Minister~General, Sons Of Afrika
Bonnie Kerness, AFSC*
Brenda Scott Lowery
Bro. Moorbey, Chairman, Black Unity Movement
Bro. Sauti & Sis. Shiriki, KCBLR.ORG Radio
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Charles E. Campbell, Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC)
Cleo Silvers
David Blanchard
Dick Gregory - Comedian, Human Rights Activist
Dominique Reed, HRC-Fed Up!
Donna Wallach, Justice for Palestinians
Earl Smith, Executive Director, Order of Kush International
Eddie Griffin (BASG)
Fayemi Shakur, Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign
Florence L. Tate
Harambee Radio and Television Network
Int'l Concerned Family/Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jacqui C. Williams
Julie Ann Turner
Kenneth King
Kermit Eady, Eady Associates
Leonna A. Brandao, S.W.III, New Vision Org., Inc.
Malaika H. Kambon, People's Eye Photography
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper
Mesha Monge-Irizarry, Director, Education Not Incarceration, SF Chapter, Idriss Stelley Foundation, + SF MOOC City Commissioner*
Michael Johnson/Black Student Union (Comm. College of Balt. County/Essex)
Michelle Alexander, Author, "The New Jim Crow - Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"
Mississippi Prison Watch
Monica Moorehead, Women's Fightback Network, NYC
Nancy Lockhart, T.O.P.S. (The Ordinary People Society)
Nathan Hare, Black Think Tank
Nkechi Taifa, Esq. - President, Legacy Justice Institute
People's Organization for Progress
Rev. Majadi Baruti, Udja Temple Ministries
Ron Scott, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality
Sam Jordan - Advocate for Justice and Prison Abolition
Senghor Jawara Baye, President General UNIA-ACL
Sistah Q, Author of Maintaining Our Temples
Sundiata Acoli
Tara Graham
Terry Howcott
The African American Freedom & Reconstruction League
The MOVE Organization
Trinita Simpson

Wu Qing on Women's Human Rights, with additional anti-sexism news around Shanghai

All that follows, and the video above, is from here at The Shanghaiist, via Al Jazeera and YouTube, posted on International Women's Day this past March 8th.

*          *          *

Happy International Women's Day! As a gift for you, here's a news report (on Youtube) by Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera that features Wu Qing, an absolutely fantastic firecracker of a human being who teaches rural women how to be confident in a male-dominated society.

An elected representative in a district People's Congress in Beijing, Wu Qing is known for being brazenly opinionated and a strong proponent of women's rights. She teaches at the Rural Women Training School in Beijing, described by Voice of America thusly:

Wu Qing founded the school to teach literacy and job skills to women and girls from the countryside.

She believes she can help rural women improve their lives while helping her country. "If rural women of all ages can go to school and find jobs and be treated with the same respect as people from the city, only then can problems with China's legal system be resolved," she said.

Wu Qing's lesson is partly a motivational speech and partly a civics class. She shows her students they have many rights guaranteed by China's constitution. She says citizens must "supervise" their government. "If someone is watching me, then I have to proceed carefully. That's how an official should behave," she states. "But too many people in China keep their eyes closed, so the government is free to do as it pleases."

Oh boy, can someone say "new girl crush?" Hit the jump for other International Women's Day news.
  • Ok, so the headline, "Chinese President urges women to make more contributions" may make Hu Jintao seem like kind of a dick, but the article clarifies that he's encouraging "Party committees and governments at all levels [to] resolutely carry out the basic state policy of equality between men and women, eliminate discrimination against women, and crack down on violations of women's rights in light with law." That's worth supporting - hope he follows up with some actual policy. [Xinhua]
  • CNNGo asked a couple women around Shanghai what they think about women's places in China and discrimination. Maybe because they're in Shanghai, they all seem to feel like discrimination doesn't exist. [CNNGo]
  • Or maybe they're just in the wrong (er... right) circles. Because according to a recent study, male students who graduate this summer have an 8.5% better chance of finding a job nationwide compared to females. [Shanghai Daily]
  • March 7 has apparently become "Girls' Day" as a preclude to International Women's Day. Also named "Shanzhai Valentine's Day," it's a day when boys deliver gifts to the girls they like... some dorms have even begun holding Girl's Day activities! So, like, keep it in mind for next year, I guess. [People's Daily]

The Politics of Atrocity. White Male Cop Punches Black Girl in the Face. Challenging the Political Practice of a White Het Guy

I saw this once on the news and refuse to watch it again. Once is quite enough, and hopefully the girl who was punched, the African American young woman, will not have to ever endure this police abuse or abuse by any man, ever again.

What we have here, is yet another flagrant abuse of power for which WHITE DUDE COP has an explanation. What we have here is a big ol' white man with a gun, thinking a Black teenage girl without one MUST require a punch in the face because she's THAT dangerous. Because Black GIRLS, and Black women are perceived by whites as being exactly the same as Black men, with regard to "danger potential". Because all Black people--girls, boys, women, men, trans and intersex folks, are SEEN AS LETHALLY DANGEROUS by (and against) most whites. Oh yes, we whiteys do. Yes we do. Find ten white people who deny this and nine (probably plus one) will be lying through our pearly whites.

What we have here is video footage of a white male cop taking his white male supremacist power, fueled and emboldened by a police badge, and misusing it to abuse a young women with his fist in her face, because, apparently, that's what he considers "an appropriate use of force". Police force. Male force. White force.

Fire his racist/misogynist white ass. NOW!!

Coming up in a bit is an example, much subtler, of how white het men think they get to speak to everyone critically. What appears below is from a ridiculously very long and dreary discussion from anti-racist Jewish white het male activist Tim Wise's Facebook page. (Tim isn't in the discussion much at all.)

I'd argued there that "atrocity" when defined by white het men, typically and conveniently leaves out things like battery of women by men, white men's genocide and rape of American Indians going on NOW, and slavery going on NOW--not primarily of white het men but by plenty of them--because you know how those white het men love to shop (for people).

Any other atrocities white men commit against people they structurally oppress? Plenty. What do whites call those realities? Poverty is an atrocity. But it is "unfortunate"--literally, without fortune, to rich white het men, but surely not "an atrocity". I say, YES, it IS. Rich white men don't think so because it's poor people's fault, not capitalism's, which benefits those white guys no end. Government welfare is poor Black and Brown women stealing from the rich. But corporate welfare is NEVER seen as rich white men stealing from poor women of color, and men and children of color, and poor whites too.

White supremacist policies in this country: an atrocity. Male supremacist practices in this country: an atrocity. What do whites and men call these realities? White men would prefer to change the subject and discuss those damned immigrants (presumed not white) and gay men (presumed white) and feminists (presumed white) threatening the very foundation of this (allegedly) civil society. It's about as civil to the oppressed as it is "unfortunate" to rich white men.

White male cops punching, beating, hosing down, shooting, invading, raping, and destroying the property and human rights of people of color in the U.S. will not be called an atrocity by white male cops or the U.S. government. Why? If a police officer kills someone, he didn't commit murder and isn't a terrorist, necessarily--let's wait for the trial before prosecuting someone in the court of public opinion! If a civilian kills a police officer or a soldier, they committed murder and can be called a terrorist, necessarily--fuck the courts and their own conclusions.

Not only that.

If a person of color kills a white people, s/he and ALL the people of her ethnic group will be called terrorists, or fascists. That men call feminists any variation of "fascist" only means that men are about as stoopid as stoopid gets. That white men call people of color "terrorists", when whites are as terroristic a race as has ever existed on Earth... to date, is downright fucked up self-denial and self-protectionism.

Radical feminist Patricia Hill Collins' clarity on the matter is needed now:

Matrix of DominationThis is a featured page

SociologisPatricia Hill Collinst Patricia Hill Collins coined the term "Matrix of Domination" to describe the way the specific forms of privileges fit into a larger system. The example that is given in "Privilege, Power, and Difference" by Allan G. Johnson is that white men in the past have made black males out to be scary sexual predators towards women and that women are helpless and need the white males to protect them. This not only reinforces many negative stereotypes but it also makes individual stereotypes entangled in a web, or "Matrix of Domination". The matrix also lays out "how different dimensions of privilege and domination are connected to one another". The matrix explains how the multiple aspects of privilege and power can reinforce one another and are intertwined. It also explains how when people are privileged in one aspect it gives them a higher chance to be privileged in other dimensions. The example given in the book is when males are born white they have a greater chance to earn more than women and live in a higher class.

Works Cited
Johnson, Alan G. Privilege, Power, and Difference. Second Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.

*           *          *
I challenged this college white boy on this--the politics of what gets named "atrocity", and why.

I said of course "9/11" will get called an atrocity, because it happened on whiteland in the West, and because WHM lost their lives and the U.S. got a tiny taste of what it is doing all over the world: committing terroristic acts that are horrific, murderous, cowardly, and cruel, destructive of property, toppling buildings which fall on live human beings, but curiously aren't called "atrocities" by U.S. WHM collectively.

Paul Muriello
@Julian - "I'd argue as one among the most privileged "class" or "demographic" it's not for you to decide what people with less structural privilege ought to do."

What? So I could not, for instance, say to a non-white male "you ought not beat your wife"? Or are you saying I don't have the necessary lack of privilege to label things as atrocity? Help me out here, your non-sequiturs are getting out of hand.

Julian Real
@Paul - What I'm saying is that we ought not publicly critique people who we structurally oppress in the areas where you oppress them, because, quite frankly, they've/we've heard enough out of you. That's what I'm saying. Whites can shut the fuck up when it comes to critiquing people of color on matters of race and racism, and men can shut the fuck up when it comes to critiquing women publicly on matters of sexism and male supremacy. That's what I'm saying. Same for straight boys critiquing gay men and lesbian women. Same with white Christians criticising Jews of any color and Muslims of any color.

Can you, a white boy, critique a man of color for beating his wife? Sure, as long as it's not a race-based critique. Call out any man's sexism, but if you find yourself steering clear of critiquing WHITE men's sexism--and society will make it very easy for you to never do this, if you never want to--then ask yourself why white men aren't hearing from you on this matter. Because surely it's not because white dudes don't beat women of all colors. Especially when cops:

I'm saying that if you make your political practice calling out men who share your positions of politics/structural/institutional power, you'll have a lot of work to do. I'm making the point that you, Paul, have enough white het men to criticise, including cops, CEOs, politicians, media owners, corporate pimps, and other rulers of our society, for their racism, misogyny, and homophobia that I seriously believe you can fill at least one lifetime calling out just folks from that demographic.

If, for example, you think any oppressed group hasn't heard six days past ENOUGH from the likes of our/their oppressors... well, think again.

I'm not speaking for anyone but me. I'm laying out what I believe here, and plenty of people across the spectra will disagree. I'm not talking about letting a friend of any gender, race, sexuality, or religion know "that was the worst pizza I've ever tasted" if they made a pizza for dinner and it sucked, in your opinion.

I'm asking you to state your beliefs as yours, to own them as coming from a perspective, and to not claim knowledge of any Truths beyond your own experiences.

And, I beg you, PLEASE tell other white het men with class privilege to stop critiquing "other" people. And start calling one another out. Because y'all have a lot to call each other out on.

I'm talking about the matters at hand, respectively: race politics, gender politics, sexuality politics, religion and ethnicity politics. Not "identity" politics, mind you. Structurally oppressive reality politics. The political reality whereby you occupy political space, not just social space. And wherever you go, Paul, you occupy white het male space. And everyone around you, who you structurally oppress, knows it. You can decide if you'll reinforce their oppression with your behavior, or not.

Please read Pearl Cleage's Deals With the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, in the section "Basic Training":

As well as the blog Stuff White People Do:

As well as the FAQs on the Fiinally, a Feminism 101 Blog:

As well as the Feminism 101 section of this blog, Shakesville:

And dump your ego-defences.