The Department of the Interior said the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) voted on the replacement names for the geographic features featuring the offensive word. The final vote completed the last step in the historic efforts to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. “I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “We are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.” The list of new names can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website with a map of locations.
Residents of West Jackson are in the midst of a severe water crisis due to the failure of a water treatment facility and don't know when they will have clean water in their homes again. The state is failing to get water to everyone, so many local groups are organizing mutual aid efforts. The governor refuses to access federal funds to fully repair the city's water infrastructure, which has been failing for decades. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kali Akuno, a co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, about the current crisis, including how the wealthy residents were spared, how it fits into the bigger picture of systemic racism and the drive to privatize, and what you can do to support efforts to build water sovereignty.
The International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD) is coming to an end on December 31, 2024; there are 2.5 years left to bring it out of the invisibility in which those who decided to organize it have kept it. This invisibility can be seen by consulting the website of the decade . Each entry occupies barely a page in the 7.5 years of its existence. The way it has been treated is a symptom of a structural racism that refuses to tell its name; for this reason, it has not been able to go beyond the boundaries imposed by the international community, some of whose members have shown real opposition to it, on the pretext that their state is free of racism, even if they concede some racial discrimination, but that is where it ends.
Despite the harsh reality that Puerto Rico is neither free, nor associated, nor a state, July 25 marks the day of the creation of the constitution of the “Free Associated State,” or commonwealth, of Puerto Rico. I write this article with the purpose of revealing some details about the Anglo-Saxon-supremacist jurisprudence that gave rise to and govern this colonial territorial status. Before we travel back in time, let me point out that Section 2 of Article 3 of the United States constitution contains the Territorial Clause, which gives Congress the authority to fully regulate and dispose of US territories. Under this, the United States has total control over Puerto Rican territory. Let’s start with the slavery controversy elucidated in Dred Scott v. Sandford, dated 1856. Scott was a slave who lived in the Missouri Territory, but in Illinois he obtained his freedom – a legal status that Missouri did not recognize when Scott re-entered the territory.
Vincent Chin was beaten to death in Detroit in June 1982, by two white auto workers who reportedly said it was because of him that they had lost their jobs. At the time, listeners may recall, Japan was being widely blamed for the collapse of the Detroit auto industry. Chin was Chinese-American. Elite media, as reflected by the New York Times, didn’t seem to come around to the story until April 1983, with reporting on the protests emanating from Detroit’s Asian-American community about the dismissive legal response to the murder.
In 2016, a Black Oberlin College student attempted to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol at Gibson’s Bakery, a long-standing local business in Oberlin, Ohio. Allegedly, the store employee spotted additional bottles of wine tucked into the student’s coat. The employee pursued the student into the street, where the student, employee, and several of the student’s friends got into a scuffle. Oberlin police arrived at the scene and arrested the three undergraduates involved. The next day, Oberlin College students began protesting Gibson’s Bakery, alleging that the incident took place within a longer history of racial profiling and discrimination. Gibson’s Bakery sued Oberlin College. The lawsuit alleged that Oberlin College played a role in defaming the bakery because Oberlin employees spoke at protests, gave credit to students who skipped classes to attend the demonstrations, reimbursed students for refreshments and gloves purchased for protestors, and allowed students to use university photocopiers for free. The protests were controversial, both among townspeople and Oberlin employees. But what came next is far more clear cut: the lawsuit was decided in a way that endangered student speech. Courts held Oberlin College responsible for defaming Gibson’s Bakery. Oberlin College was ordered to pay $11 million in compensatory damages, $33 million (later reduced to $25 million) in punitive damages, and $6.5 million in reimbursement for legal fees.
A white racist gunman targeted and killed ten African Americans in a supermarket in an African American community in Buffalo, New York. The 18-year-old shooter, Payton Gendron, has been heavily influenced by the white supremacist ideology of replacement theory which encourages violent attacks against African Americans and other nationalities in the United States. According to reports, Gendron drove more than 200 miles in New York state to this location where on several occasions, he visited the store in order to map out his murderous attacks against innocent people. One witness said that he had talked to Gendron the day before outside the supermarket for over 90 minutes. This massacre follows numerous incidents over the last few years where gunmen motivated by racist beliefs have carried out mass shooting aimed at killing as many of a particular targeted group as possible.
At 43 and 45 years old, husband and wife farmers Angie and Wenceslaus Provost, Jr., hope they live to see age 70. They don’t fear terminal illness or a farm accident that could consign them to an early grave. Instead, they fear stress could do them in. Years of trying to protect family land from encroaching banks and government agencies have worn on them, despite their love of farming. After years of mounting debt with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a bank, the New Iberia, La. sugar cane farmers filed a September 2018 lawsuit against a USDA-approved lender. The suit alleges that Wenceslaus, known as “June,” was all but run out of the profession in 2015 after the bank reduced his crop loans over successive years, effectively underfunding his farm operation.
The decriminalization which is sweeping across the US carries with it the obvious facts that (a) pot is not and never has been a dangerous drug, and (b) criminalizing drugs has never brought anything positive. This suggests that those who have been victimized were done so wrongfully and therefore should be compensated for the wrongs done to them. However, victims have been predominantly people of color and American racism reappears during the decriminalization phase in the form of trivializing harms done and offering restitution that barely scratch the surface of what is needed. Prior to addressing the shortcomings for wrongful damages for marijuana laws, the US should publicly apologize for the wrongheaded and thoroughly racist “War on Drugs” and pledge to compensate those who have suffered from it in ways that are comparable to cannabis-related issues below.
In the wealthy Washington, DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, just off River Road, there is an asphalt parking lot that covers the graves of hundreds African Americans. That parking lot is the subject of a lawsuit in which descendants of individuals buried in the Moses Cemetery, the Pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church, and the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition have asked a court to prevent the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (“HOC”), the quasi-governmental agency that owns the parking lot, from selling the parking lot and the adjacent land and building to a developer for $51 million. Under the terms of the sales agreement, the developer would have been free to continue to use the burial ground as a parking lot, to build another structure on top of the burial ground, or even to convert the burial ground into a dog park.
Providence, Rhode Island - Terrell Osborne knows well what happens when urban renewal comes to communities of color. As a child growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, in the 1950s and 1960s, huge swaths of his neighborhood of Lippitt Hill, a center of Black life at the foot of the stately homes of the city’s elite East Side, were taken by eminent domain for redevelopment projects. Hundreds of Black families and dozens of minority small businesses across some 30 acres were bulldozed. In their place rose an apartment complex catering to downtown workers and students and faculty at nearby Brown University, as well as a shopping plaza now anchored by a Whole Foods and a Starbucks. Meanwhile, Black families like the Osbornes were scattered across the city and never compensated.
Atlanta, Georgia – Carrying signs decrying “racist traitors,” about a hundred civil rights activists marched and chanted at Georgia’s Stone Mountain on Saturday to protest at the return of an annual celebration of the Confederacy at the foot of a towering monument to the heroes of the South’s pro-slavery past. As dozens of state and local police, including SWAT teams with armored trucks, looked on, the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) with 200 supporters gathered for its celebration, which it says honors the sacrifices of their forebears. The Atlanta NAACP and other civil rights supporters, some using megaphones to try to shout down the event, which it views as a salute to the South’s legacy of racism.
It is no secret that the United States is an organized death cult. The U.S. is the unquestionable leader in total COVID-19 deaths. Life expectancy has been trending downward for the past several years. Mass shootings are a common occurrence. And U.S. foreign policy is marked by an obsession with violent and destructive interventions for hegemony and corporate profit. What often isn’t discussed is how this organized death cult is driven by the U.S.’s racist roots which have yet to be discarded. Premature death is organized by the ruling class into worthy and unworthy victims. The U.S.’s corporate media coverage of Ukraine during Russia’s military operation is a case in point. Ukrainian casualties in the Russia-Ukraine conflict are worthy victims and have been repeatedly referred to in the Western media as “Europeans” with “blonde hair and blue eyes.”
There is a steep price to pay for having a conscience and more importantly the courage to act on it. The hounds of hell pin you to the cross, hammering nails into your hands and feet as they grin like the Cheshire cat and mouth bromides about respect for human rights, freedom of expression and diversity. I have watched this happen for some time to Alice Walker, one of the most gifted and courageous writers in America. Walker, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Color Purple, has felt the bitter sting of racism. She refuses to be silent about the plight of the oppressed, including the Palestinians. “Whenever I come out with a book, or anything that will take me before the public, the world, I am assailed as this person I don’t recognize,” she said when I reached her by phone.