Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Updates to posts on Sandra Bland, Bernie Sanders, etc.

-- The dashcam video of Bland's arrest, released yesterday by the DPS, appears to have been edited.  There's also this, about good ol' Waller County.

In 2008 the Houston Chronicle detailed how local cemeteries were still segregated. There were black cemeteries and white cemeteries and those were the rules. When one Waller County justice of the peace, DeWayne Charleston, attempted to bury the body of a brutally slain white woman in a black cemetery, his plea was overturned by Waller County Judge Owen Ralston. Ralston said it cost too much, saving taxpayers more than $400. The Jane Doe, whose body was never claimed after a year, was eventually buried in a privately owned and operated white cemetery.

According to the Chronicle, a county resident of Hempstead sued the city for failing to maintain its black cemeteries. That lawsuit was successful. In 2007 the city of Hempstead’s police chief, Glenn Smith, was suspended after being accused of racism.

A little further back, in 2004, black residents rejoiced when District Attorney Oliver Kitzman stepped down after an alleged “reign of terror” centered around discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reported. Black leaders reportedly accused Kitzman and other white officials of targeting and harassing residents based on race, a claim that was denied. Black leaders in Waller in 2004 claimed that they were subject to crude intimidation, such as rocks being thrown through house windows and police cars often passing slowly by the homes of black “troublemakers.” Black residents also complained about alleged plots to suppress the black vote.

According to the 2013 census data, Waller County’s population of 45,484 was 70.5 percent white and a mere 25.8 percent black.

Segregated cemeteries.

I think what has really changed over the last couple of years, and perhaps starting with Michael Brown's murder-by-cop in Ferguson, Missouri, is that black people in America just aren't going to put up with being treated like this by the police any longer.  Certainly America's police haven't changed any over that time.

-- What I said three weeks ago about Bernie Sanders needing to work for African American and Latino votes?  Attendees at his Houston event last Sunday said it was as diverse an audience as they had seen at any Obama event from eight years ago.  That may be accurate (I was unable to attend, and it's just not apparent from the hundreds of photos I have seen), but it's not being reflected in his polling.

"I haven't seen him engaging the black community. Nor am I hearing any chatter about him," said Rick Wade, Obama for America's African-American vote director. "Black voters don't know him."

A June CNN/ORC poll showed just 2% of black Democrats supporting Sanders, a figure that has remained unchanged since February. Among non-white voters overall, Sanders polls at 9% compared to Hillary Clinton's 61%.

That's no path to the White House, no matter how correct he is, has been, or speaks.

"Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity," Sanders said. "But if you don't want me to be here, that's OK. I don't want to out-scream people."


Sanders re-emerged later that evening for a short speech at a private fundraiser for the Latino Victory Project, an advocacy group led by major Democratic donors that focuses on Latino outreach, where he, again, took questions about race.

But instead of adopting the defensive stance from that morning, Sanders' tone changed. He appeared humble, and asked questions of the activists gathered about how he could better pursue and talk about policies to combat racial injustice.

"I want some help on this. I'm being very honest," Sanders said. "I want some ideas, as somebody who was arrested 50 years ago fighting for civil rights trying to desegregate schools in Chicago, who spent his whole life fighting against racism, I want your ideas. What do you think we can do? What can we do?"


"I wish I could tell you I had a magical formula for how to end racism. It's gone on in this country for before it was America," Sanders said. "Let me just say this, because I'm older than you: You're impatient, and you should be impatient. But if we were standing here 30 years ago and somebody said, 'You know, I think in 2008, the United States of America will elect an African-American president,' you know what people in this room would've said? They would've said, 'You are crazy. That will never happen because America has too much racist baggage.' But it happened. So, I guess you're right to be impatient, but we have made progress in this country. Not enough."

'Not enough' progress.  By all of us.  But specific to this blog post, probably not enough progress for Sanders to capture enough black votes to win the Democratic nomination over the course of the next 6-9 months.

I'll ask again: what are (mostly) white progressives going to do when the reality finally settles in?  Fall in line behind Hillary Clinton, fall out (as in 'not vote'), or take a third path?


Unknown said...

I did not see a lot of African Americans or Latinos at the Sanders event.

I was surprised by the number of people in two other demographics, though: Youth and Asians.

I'll be voting for the Green candidate for President. But that's my go-to vote anyway.

Gadfly said...

Same here on vote.

Bernie being from a state with no big cities, no huge minority population, probably doesn't help.

Friendly emperor said...

No argument -- just a reminder that none of us ever thought Bernie would get anywhere near the crowds he has in fact enjoyed lately.