Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x], Police Officer Robert Ralston [x], Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous.
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death.
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped.
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges.
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy.
I AM SO ANGRY. THIS KID FROM MY SCHOOL POSTED THIS ON TWITTER LIKE IT’S FUNNY. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING? YOU IGNORANT, DISGUSTING SON OF A BITCH. THIS IS GROSS AND YOU ARE LITERALLY SCUM. AND FUCKING LOOK AT THIS
GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH ACTUAL RESULTS
THIS IS ENDORSED AND PASSED AROUND ON THE INTERNET LIKE ITS OKAY. THIS IS DISGUSTING. LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THIS GUY.
THIS MAN’S NAME IS ZHOUZHOU AND HE IS A GIFTED CONDUCTOR, SOME EVEN CALL HIM A PRODIGY AND YOU ALL HAVE REDUCED HIS AMAZING ACCOMP[LISHMENTS TO NOTHING WITH FOOLERY LIKE THIS. YOU MADE A JOKE OF SOMETHING VERY LITTLE AVERAGE PEOPLE GO ON TO ACCOMPLISH.
I am so disgusted. So utterly disgusted.
Just an important sidenote: Zhouzhou has down’s syndrome and is considered a huge icon for disabled Chinese people. So not only is this racist but extremely ableist.
Zhouzhou is like a fucking god of music and these fools are such fucking trash. smh
Okay. There’s a guy in Bakersfield complaining that a bilboard for McDonald’s that’s in Spanish is offensive to him because he feels alienated because it’s not in English. Okay yt man. He thinks all Spanish adverts should stay in Mexico.
H9 u pls die.
Instead of telling people not to name their children ~funny names~ how about you tell your children not to be sociopathic fucks who feel that because someone has a ~funny name~ that they deserve 2nd class citizen treatment. Stop cultivating and coddling sociopathic tendencies.
Saw this on FB just now.
This is just horrid. I didn’t even know this type of stuff still existed in California toward Filipin@’s but apparently what was seen in the 1900’s still exists today.
What could have been said could have been a hell lot worse, but still, fuck.
Anyone in that area know where this is and to contact authorities?
If the California Department of Consumer Affairs really did send this racist and hateful letter to Ms. Brandes, then let’s send them letters of complaint.
Everyone share and spread the word. Contact local authorities of American Canyon, California to get on this case right away.
OK, so recently, a lot of the really cool Black tumblrs that I follow have been really upset by Django Unchained. Most of the complaints are generally based on the fact that it seems to be a slavery movie…about white people. Not about the actual slaves. And that some of it seems really…well…white washed. And not at all…well, indicative of slave narratives.
I bring this up because I was flipping through Newsweek the other day and I came across this interview with Quentin Tarantino. I have yet to see the movie, so I was thinking, “hrm, let me read this, see what his thought process was.” I mean, obviously, it’s a problematic movie. But also I wanted to see what the basis of those problems were.
And at first I’m like, “Oh cool, Quentin Tarantino is bringing up the fact that there have been no blockbusters about American Slavery.” BUT THEN I hit this quote:
“My idea of a great slave movie was Spartacus. Until African-American slavery was treated in that same manner, I had no interest in hearing what Hollywood had to say about the issue.”
And I was like “What the fuck does this even mean.” Because like…seriously. What the fuck does that even mean? Then again, it’s been a really long time since I’ve watched Spartacus, and like, I don’t even like the comparison (gladiators: they were not treated the same way as American slaves. Just saying: American Slaves were not celebrities). So I kept reading.
And then I was lulled into a false sense of safety with this quote:
“I liked the black characters in Glory,” says Hudlin, whose great-grandfather was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. “Didn’t see the point of the white ones. The true story was the slaves in the film. They should have been the main focal point of the entire plot. But somehow no one figured that out.”
Because I was thinking, “Yes, this makes sense.” Because I am very sick and tired of these films in Hollywood about oppressed POC, about slaves, and like the story is all about how white people save them, or free them, or do shit to change something. Like, yes, this is a HUGE problem.
But then I was thinking, “But what about Roots?”
And ooooh boy. That’s when I hit this bullshit:
not much compares to the anger both men harbor toward the landmark television miniseries Roots. Written by Alex Haley and hailed in 1977 for telling the “complete” story of slavery, Roots remains the third most-watched miniseries of all time. It is also still considered the definitive mainstream portrait of slavery in the U.S.
“When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” says Tarantino. “I didn’t see it when it first came on, but when I did I couldn’t get over how oversimplified they made everything about that time. It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.”
While many white directors might shy away from criticizing such an iconic symbol of African-American culture, Tarantino doesn’t hold back. He’s confident in his knowledge of a time and subject most people know little about and would rather forget. He was also savvy enough to bring Hudlin on board. “There were times when I’d be filming a scene and really getting into it and Reg would just say, ‘Hey is this the story you wanted to tell?’ He’d bring the focus back if I got too carried away.”
Now here’s what bothered me:
a) It says “both men” meaning Reginald Hudlin, a Black man, but the entire interview just cites Quentin Tarantino’s disdain for Roots.
b) And then it’s like WHAT THE FUCK, this white-assed privileged motherfucker is criticizing ROOTS. You know, that iconic AMAZING thing by Alex Haley, something that took TEN YEARS TO CREATE, because Haley was so focussed on getting EVERY LITTLE BIT OF HIS OWN FAMILY HISTORY CORRECT AND ACCOUNTED FOR. And TARANTINO, who just directed this FICTIONAL MOVIE on this bullshit, he’s saying ROOTS WAS OVERSIMPLIFIED AND INACCURATE? Seriously, what the fuck. What more does he want? I think he wants more white people working with slaves or some shit but like I don’t understand how a story that features generations of slaves and their time in america is “oversimplified.” Just…what. And honestly, as a white man? you can shut the fuck up now.
c) and then the third part. Tarantino is confident enough in his knowledge. What the fuck. Oh yes, we knew that, ok, he’s an asshole. And then the writer was like PLUS IT’S TOTALLY A MOVE OF GENIUS TO BRING A BLACK PRODUCER ON BOARD. Seriously? What is this? This is the Hollywood equivalent of “PRAISE ME FOR MY BLACK FRIENDS.” And then Tarantino being like “NO IT’S COOL HE CHECKED ME WHEN I GOT CARRIED AWAY.” Like…What the fuck, this is literally “MY BLACK FRIEND SAID IT WAS COOL SO LIKE OK I’M AWESOME AND ALL THOSE OTHER BLACK PEOPLE ARE WRONG.”
Moral of the story:
Quentin Tarantino is one racist motherfucker and the white media needs to stop motherfucking praising the fuck out of him for being some type of visionary when the complaints he has about other movies about slavery are exactly the ones that I’m hearing leveled against him. Also: fucking really? Shitting on a Black man’s historical, in-depth research on slavery in favor of your own goddamn action movie? Just…;saldfa;sldfj.
Please don’t support this movie.
Some self-loving because w o w what a night
I like how the first thing these assholes try to pick on is a woman of color’s bodily autonomy because they’re so fucking terrified of us being in command
Comments about Asian girls “needing tits” or black girls’ “booty” or w/e are just a pathetic attempt at control when they know they’ve fucking lost already.
Stay strong, ladies. These morons are all going to die having contributed zero to the world.
Are you fucking serious right now?
“They’re doing too well, they’re scaring us and challenging Whiteness.”
Are they going to talk about the CAPS
the literal limit caps they have on Asian students, domestic and abroad, going into schools?
Like, trying to make room for Whitey so they don’t feel bad?
I hear stories about some students marking White, whether they have ancestry or not, just so their applications can get a glance because they’re aware of the discrimination against high performing students of Asian descent?
They’re always so scared that they literally bar others from any chance of success.
That is how Whites have become dominant. Historical fact.
Yes, you sure did work hard once the competition was enslaved or dead, you had Jim Crow working, and you had folks in camps or barred from immigration
Yeah, sure did well
Ya’ll ain’t right.
Ya’ll just ain’t fucking right
and it eats me alive inside Ya’ll ain’t right.
I occasionally consider writing something about all this talk of test-taking and race which I’ve been hearing frankly since the 1980s, then I back away because I don’t feel like tackling all of the historical, cultural, socio-economic, political, psychological, and who-knows-what-other factors which combine to produce the results we see. But one of the big factors is exactly what hamburgerjack has mentioned: China’s long history of imperial examination as the principal vehicle for social mobility.
All Confucian societies — including China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore — place heavy emphasis on a system of standardized testing, administered by the state, which largely determine a young student’s societal destiny for life. Historically, this was known as the Imperial Examination System and was put into practice in China in the Han dynasty, around 200 BCE. Back in the day, a peasant family’s best shot at striking it rich was to select the brainiest child in the family, relieve them from working the fields and instead make them study like the family’s fortune depend on it (because it did).
This system had a profound impact on 2,000 years of Chinese history and culture. Today’s college examinations are directly descended from that system. An entire thriving economy has developed around test-taking. It’s maximum pressure, high intensity, and brutal. While young students take their examinations, in any given town in China, you’ll see throngs of parents, friends, and relatives waiting outside the testing facility, for days if necessary, burning incense, making offerings, praying.
Believe me, there’s heavy discussion and debate in China about this system. Plenty of scholars criticize its mono-dimensionality, as well as its pressure which drives young people to depression, mental health problems, and suicide at alarming rates. That’s a debate that’s going to play out for years to come. At the same time, all students of East Asian history recognize the important and sometimes successful role the system has played in the development of society, governance, and culture.
Now what do you think happens when you transpose that cultural tradition into North American society? Especially when US immigration policy since 1965 selects the most highly-educated, resource-connected families for admission into the country? Yeah. Standardized tests here are not all that brutal by comparison and Asian students ace tests with regularity, creating an aura of intellectual intimidation which is shown to throw off non-Asians in the same room. This isn’t because of any innate racial characteristics, it’s the result of concrete societal factors, too many to name, including two millenia of Confucian history.
A “bleach bomb” is a bleach-filled water ballon that have prompted suspicion of racism on the campus of University of Texas at Austin. It was reported that over the past few weeks, these bleach bombs were thrown from apartments onto students walking on campus, and some claim that the targets are specifically minority students.
In addition to these potentially racist attacks, news sources also state that another factor that adds to the suspicion of racism is racially-themed parties put on the fraternities and sororities on UTA’s campus. In such parties, the predominantly white members dress up in stereotypical clothing associated with the a minority group. The Greek community is not linked with these bleach bombs, but one can see the way in which many minority students may feel under attack on their own campus.
There are many stories to the bleach bombing incidents. Some students claim that they are not targeted towards any group, some say they are and that they’ve witnessed racist remarks being shouted from these apartments as balloons are being thrown down.
What caught my eye the most was a white student’s response to the student-led protest groups regarding bleach bombing. One of the protestors used the megaphone to shout that he and his friends were laughing at the protests and that they were the ones that the protestors needed to be fighting. The student responded: ”When groups act this way, it only damages their cause. They assumed we were racist because we were white and looking at them. They were trying to fight against racism with prejudice.”
This student raises an interesting point, which may give us a lot to think about in terms of racism and prejudice and the differences between the two. But what is very apparent is the frustration that minority groups from the idea that these bleach bombs could even potentially be attacks against them. Now that these thoughts have entered the discourse among groups on UTA’s campus, it’s not surprising there is tension and frustration among students, as exemplified by blaming others via megaphone. What if this was the case on our campus? In some ways, this is a great chance for dialogue and discussion, but that is if balloons or wrongful blaming don’t do all the talking first.
I KNOW IT’S SUPER HARD FOR ME TO BE JUST ASIAN ENOUGH FOR THE SILVER SCREEN BECAUSE I AM ACTUALLY ASIAN SO THIS IS A HUGE HANDICAP TO OVERCOME
BUT I THINK THROUGH HARD WORK AND BEING A MODEL MINORITY I HAVE GOTTEN THERE.
PLEASE, JUST LET ME TRY OUT I TAKE EXCELLENT PICS AND I CAN IMITATE WHITE PEOPLE BEING ASIAN, NO PROBLEM.
LIKE I AM SORRY BECAUSE THE CLOSEST THING I HAD TO AN ORIENTAL-LOOKING RICE BASKET WAS MY CHEAP PLASTIC STRAINER BUT LOOK I TRIED.
LIKE I KNOW I AM JUST NOT AS FIERCE AS AUDREY BUT I CAN LEARN. I’M GOOD AT LEARNING!
I TOO CAN BE A SHY AND DELICATE LOTUS BLOSSOM
I TOO CAN SING ABOUT MY LOVE FOR A WHITE MAN WHO LEFT ME PREGGERS
I TOO CAN LOOK WISE YET BEFUDDLED, AS FITTING RE: MY MYSTICAL HERITAGE
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PICK ME HOLLYWOOD
I KNOW I AM NOT WHITE
BUT I PROMISE BEING ASIAN IS NOT A HANDICAP
WHEN PLAYING AN ASIAN PERSON IN A MOVIE!
oh my god
this is an official plea to divert notes from my post to this post instead
this post is infinitely more superior, so much so that I even used “more” with “superior”
I’m fucking dying over your singing face oh my god
Filipino nurses settle language-bias case: The $975,000 secured in a dispute with Delano Regional Medical Center is believed to be the largest such settlement in the U.S. healthcare industry.
During a 2006 mandatory meeting for Filipino staffers, nurses were told they were forbidden from using their native language at “any time in the hospital,” said Wilma Lamug, a former 10-year employee.
She said the hospital’s former chief executive vowed that “he would install surveillance cameras in nursing stations. Whoever is caught, they were threatened with suspension or termination,” Lamug said. “Sometimes, we were speaking English, but due to our accent and diction, they thought we were speaking something else.”
Although the hospital, near Bakersfield, employed a mix of bilingual employees speaking Spanish, Hindi, Bengali and other languages, managers targeted only the Filipinos and encouraged supervisors and other staffers to “act as vigilantes.”
Photo: Nurse Wilma Lamug is overcome with emotion as she recounts the discrimination she and other Filipino nurses experienced while working at the Delano Regional Medical Center in Delano, Calif. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
I mean, what a fucking reprehensible workplace policy this hospital tried to put in place.
My mother was a nurse at a New York City hospital for more than 30 years. She’s a Filipino-American, and so were most of her colleagues. But they were also Haitians and Haitian-Americans, Indians and Indian-Americans, and more. And they would banter in their native tongues and dialects, unabashed and unitimidated. No harm, no foul.
What language a medical staff speaks doesn’t affect the quality of care. Patient records are — at least! — going to be in English. Signage too. And medical forms and prescriptions and instructions for how to use medical equipment and even announcements over PA systems. And never mind that most Filipinos and Fil-Ams SPEAK English — how exactly did the hospital try and justify their racist, ethnocentric moves? In CALIFORNIA, no less — home to the largest Fil-Am population in all of the United States???!!!
Have you read what some Fil-Ams have said about this case? “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This isn’t Rome. Roman democracy meant white men who had served in the military. This is America where you have 1st Ammendment rights. They might not care about the rights of other Filipinos, but that doesn’t excuse their internalized racism from insulting the Constitution.
In one of the cases for these nurses in Delano, she was just eating her lunch and someone sprayed air freshener IN HER FOOD. People always want to talk about how much America’s made such great leaps and bounds in race relations, but it’s all bullshit. I live not even 30 minutes from Delano and know that it’s a big resource of community for Filipinos in this area, so it’s really disheartening to hear about stories like this happening because we’ve got such far reaching history in the central valley. We Filipinos helped shape this area of California, we’ve had our part in improving workers conditions in the fields, and to be devalued in much needed work such as healthcare based on our race is not okay, and to be honest the settlement is NOT ENOUGH. I mean, for fucks sake, our home country’s running short on nurses and doctors because they’re importing them to countries like the US.