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Ray Jasper’s Letter

rayjasper

Ray Jasper was executed on March 19th. His letter is a last testimony and what he has to say is remarkable. He is not talking about his own situation but about the position of black people and a system that persistently disadvantages them and in prisons equates or near equates to slavery. Here’s a quick quote:

A French woman who moved to America asked me one day, ‘Why don’t black kids want to learn?’ Her husband was a high school teacher. She said the white and asian kids excel in school, but the black and hispanic kids don’t. I said that all kids want to learn, it’s just a matter of what you’re trying to teach them. Cutting a frog open is not helping a black kid in the ghetto who has to listen to police sirens all night and worry about getting shot. Those kids need life lessons. They need direction. When you have black kids learning more about the Boston Tea Party than the Black Panther Party, I guarantee you won’t keep their attention. But it was the Black Panther Party that got them free lunch.

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Stones and Glass Houses

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The story is about the tweets of a 17 year old ‘Police Youth Commissioner’, one of those token jobs set up so that the System can boast that they are listening. The picture comes from The Daily Mail which asks:

Is this foul-mouthed, self-obsessed Twitter teen really the future of British policing? Youth crime tsar’s sex and drug rants

Paris Brown, 17, boasted about her sex life, drug taking and drinking
In one Tweet she wrote: ‘I really wanna make a batch of hash brownies’
And she also said: ‘Everyone on Made in Chelsea looks like a f****** fag’
Appointed to change perceptions of young people
Keith Vaz MP says she must be removed from her £15,000 post immediately
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2305118/Paris-Brown-Is-foul-mouthed-self-obsessed-Twitter-teen-really-future-British-policing.html#ixzz2Pyg0j7XE
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

I posted this comment on Facebook. Reposting here because of some thoughts on social media that are worth following up.

Paying a 17 year old £15000 to ‘represent young people’s views on policing’ seems pretty stupid but the demonizing of this young woman is unfair and an example of media hypocrisy. Her comments are not ‘deeply racist’ or ‘deeply homophobic’ they are ‘superficially racist and homophobic’ and connote impoliteness rather than hatefulness. I know what hateful racism is and this is not what Brown expresses. Her tweets offend aesthetic rather than moral sensibilities and it’s important to distinguish between the two.

Then there is the nature of social media. I use Facebook and blog and post to forums, I don’t really ‘get’ Twitter but I understand that the new social media, in general, facilitates a kind of ‘brain dumping’; you say what’s on your mind without a lot of self censorship. Some of us self censor because we want to appear intelligent but we can all say things that are going to make us look stupid or are going to be misinterpreted by others and this doesn’t just apply to the younger generations. I’m not sure that this is a bad thing; there is a sense in which brainstorming rules apply and a key rule is don’t be afraid to say stupid stuff because if you’re inhibited, you’re likely to miss some really creative ideas. The thing is that when we get into social media we, to greater or lesser extents, agree to ‘glasshouse’ our minds and for any of us to be safe we need to stop throwing stones.

Rebecca Meredith writes in the Huffingdon Post:

Everyone loves social media – and everyone makes mistakes – but we should probably start reminding teenagers that saying horrific things on the internet will be viewed exactly the same way by employers, and by society, as saying them in person.

‘Horrific’ is ridiculously strong for what Brown wrote and possibly employers and society need reminding that saying something on the Internet is not and should not be viewed as the same as saying it in person to a person.

Message to the Voting Cattle

I have posted this elsewhere, on Facebook and Pinterest.

It is a beautiful and passionate political poem by libertarian anarchist Larken Rose. Well worth listening to through its 20 minutes.

Cryptome

Governments and corporations conspire to maintain control over those who might challenge them. The instruments of control are largely hidden from citizens even in democratic societies. Conspiracy theorists are right generally even though particular conspiracy theories may be wrong.

Cryptome is an interesting site featuring lots of documents that governments, corporations and media would prefer to keep secret. Why is it not as well know as Wikileaks? It is more accessible.

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