On Racial Inclusion

There is a very real mistrust of the Occupy movement among many people of color. This has led to a widespread push to consider renaming or creating sub committees and working groups for the Decolonize movement.

I do not think either movement is exclusive, and do see the value of both, but this post is just to explain a little bit about why the differences are felt so that each side may understand why their is such intense feelings for names.

First is an example of movies.

Pop culture reservations aside, most of America watches movies. Whether it is on TV or the internet or even in a theater once in a while, people watch these movies to be entertained. It shows the a world they can relate to in some way. Even when it is a cartoon or film about another world, there ares still themes and character types that translate into our own experience.

Well what about the people that don’t see themselves in those movies? Or only see things they recognize and identify with portrayed in negative fashions?

This is what happens to people of color.

In the movie industry, which pervades most American’s lives as well as those around the world, race and socio-economic status are typically favored to white individuals. Being a person of color usually makes you the villain or comic relief, very rarely a serious hero.

Only independent or blacksploitation, or foreign-made films really take a look at these serious inequities which are being reinforced with every single piece of media we watch, read or listen to.

Then you look at the history.

This nation was built by imperialist Anglo slaveholders who wished to be free from persecution. They slaughtered most of an indigenous population of unique cultures to create their own utopia.

The system was set up for the benefit of these first immigrant men and all others were marginalized. It has been less than a century since even women could actually vote in our government. Not to mention the Civil Rights movement and Chicano movements, whose gains can still be counted in small victories, later infringed upon anyway. We locked up thousands of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry during the WWII. We’ve swept aside treaties with Native American peoples pretty much at whim for out entire history as a nation.

Reading something so blunt strikes many people as odd, or wrong in some way, but I am not naive. Call it conspiracy or consciousness, adversarial nature or awareness, it doesn’t matter much.

This is reality.

Which is not to say it is not to say change isn’t coming. We should consider these failings as lessons we can build on. The only real failure would be letting the status quo continue and these gains taken back and forgotten.

This is not meant to blame anyone directly, it is simply the system that has been set up and complied with by everyone. Some are simply unaware of what they are doing,

The system is incredibly insidious because of the subconscious delivery of these messages. Anyone not taking the time to deconstruct them might overlook their significance. They might just be pictures on a wall. But that is only on the surface.

Everyone should take a second to look around, analyze their surroundings. They must actually think about the pictures, literature and other messages they are constantly fed.

These messages are not there  by accident.

People in power write the policies that create these messages. Not being aware of their impacts is no excuse. Being aware of them and continuing to comply with them only continues the cycle of oppression.

When you only see good things happening to White people, and people of color being portrayed negatively, you don’t have to be racist, you’re just judgmentally socialized.

It becomes a structural part of your psyche. You don’t have to know it to be the truth, it just is. The same way the military trains you to do things without question, children are being raised with preconceived notions that will rule their lives.

We are all just people, with the same problems, the same successes, the same capabilities. We must show that in everything we do if we wish to see a change. Simply overlooking things so innate as movies, literature and  can undermine a whole generation.

There are only so many times I can say this.

Be conscious. Deconstruct your world. Build it anew. Build it better.

Which all comes back to the movements, whether it is Occupy or Decolonize, I think there is room for both.

They are separate ideals with overlapping concerns. If you are mindful that there are other groups working towards the same goals, cooperation can be used to build both movements, creating a strengthened base while maintaining diversity of thought.

There is long-standing mistrust and issues between those who have been working for specific causes, especially those of color, and the newcomers to the Occupy movement specifically.

The Occupy movements are a larger forum though, Decolonize concerns are directed and specific, combining them and spreading awareness is key to the success of both.

We must work together to make process real.

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On Actions – MLK Day “Occupy the Dream”

In solidarity with the black community, and Rev. Martin Luther King’s struggle for economic equality, Occupy movements around the country have organized events at 16 Federal Reserve locations on Monday, Jan. 16.

The actions are an effort to bring visibility and awareness to the vast inequalities inherent to the financial system in America.

– Here is a quick primer on just what that that means.-

Those people without companies to hide behind bear the biggest burden of taxes.

Average Americans paid for the bail-out of the banking industry, even when that very industry was at the root of the problem. The Fed, who is supposed to be looking out for these people, instead works to preserve the current system of targeted lending and systematic impoverishment of the population.

As the regulatory agency for the banking industry, they failed to see the housing bubble, or do anything about it. They continue to allow repackaging of debt and risky lending practices that result in high foreclosure rates and diverted responsibility.

The following is an excerpt from their informational booklet on how The Fed works and what they do:

Today, the Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas:

  • conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employ- ment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates

  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers

  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets

  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. gov- ernment, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system

In reading those points alone, and seeing the shape the economy is in, how well the other banks are regulated, how well protected U.S. consumers are and how sound our financial system is, should give you an idea about how well they are doing their job.

Bankers are making money from trading nothing. The Fed distributes the money the U.S. mints and charges interest for it. They sell bad debt back to the government for cash, leaving consumers with defaulted loans and bankrupted companies that they will never get reimbursed for.

They regulate the system that created the financial crisis. Their policies are the reason banks and real estate companies got away with targeting poor populations for balloon rate mortgages on houses they couldn’t afford, that weren’t really worth what they were priced at, and then foreclosed on them as soon as possible.

Yet, we still pay them every year. We could go back to paying for government services through tax money instead of loans from The Fed, but that would mean we would actually have to pay taxes.

Not the average American though, because we already pay taxes, some pay almost half of their salary to the government, if they still have a job.

This means companies would actually have to pay taxes again.

The majority of tax cuts are for corporations and those already wealthy. If we actually demanded taxation at the same rates for the upper tier of Americans as we do on ordinary citizens, we might just be able to stop borrowing money and pay for our own programs.

Or we could stop spending so much on the military.

Or tax 94% of income over $2.5 million (at least the equivalent amount at the time) as we did in the 1940’s.

Or raise taxes (tariffs) on imported goods, incentivizing U.S. made products, which would stimulate job growth and internal spending.

But all those seem to be too complicated and counter productive to the private company that is supposed to be regulating the public economic sector.

For a simplified explanation of how the fed works, try this link http://youtu.be/Oe0fGXzKb1o. Click this one if you want to read how The Fed sees it http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pdf/pf_1.pdf#page=4 and here for some perspective http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/01/15/and-deliver-us-from-systemic-risk-the-fed-transcripts/.

I am not saying any of this is right, but these are just a few reasons people will be Occupying The Fed today.

You can visit the Occupy the Dream Website for more information. Actions will be held in places like LA, SF, NY and elsewhere. See the list below.

All actions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Washington, D.C.

20th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20551
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

  • Pastor Jamal H. Bryant – Dr. Jamal H. Bryant is the Pastor and Founder of Empowerment Temple Church

Contact person: Nicole Kirby
(410) 225-3494
nicolekirby@occupydream.org

Atlanta

1000 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 498-8500
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Boston

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 973-3000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Chicago

When: 3:00 PM

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 322-5322
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Cleveland

1455 East Sixth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 579-2000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Dallas

2200 North Pearl Street

Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 922-6000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Kansas City

1 Memorial Drive
Kansas City, MO 64198
(816) 881-2000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Los Angeles

When: 3:00 PM

950 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 683-2900
Map

More Details

Minneapolis

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 204-5000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

New Orleans

Clergy Point of Contact

New York

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
(212) 720-5000

Map

Clergy Points of Contact

Philadelphia

When: 3:00 PM

Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-6000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

Richmond

701 East Byrd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 697-8000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

San Francisco

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 974-2000
Map

Clergy Point of Contact

St. Louis

One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza
Broadway and Locust Streets
411 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, MO 63102
(314) 444-8444
Map

Wilmington, Delaware

Clergy Point of Contact