Notable Links: 2-7/14

13-year-old philanthropist, author & entrepreneur Maya Penn wows audience with TED Talk

13-year-old Maya Penn is the CEO of Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet. She sells her own knit scarves and hats online, and recently gave a TEDtalk on entrepreneurship.

The Deadly Logic Behind Piers Morgan’s Awful Interview With Janet Mock

It was upsetting to watch for many reasons, but especially because Morgan’s questioning implied there’s an inherent deception involved in being transgender. It’s a logic that says that being transgender is a choice, a costume, a scheme put on to dupe cis men. It’s also the same logic at the core of so-called “trans panic” legal defenses, in which cis men accused of killing trans women have, often successfully, argued in court that they were “provoked” to attack their victims after discovering their biological sex. It’s a warped sense of power cloaked in patriarchy that has dug early graves for women like Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata, teenagers who were violently killed for being themselves.

Mock kept her composure during the CNN interview, but later told Buzzfeed that Morgan was “trying to do info-tainment.” She added, “he doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”

Cops Chemical Spray and Tackle Young Man Asking for a Spare Nickel to Board Train

Damian Barnes had just begun a new job in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood when on his way home via the Metro, he put his smarTrip card into the machine to discover he only had 15 cents left on the card.

After adding the dollar bill in his pocket to the card value he learned he was still a nickel short, caught by video footage, so he began asking customers for a coin.

“Knowing that it’s only five cents, I’m quite embarrassed to even ask. So I’m keeping my distance away from people, ‘Do you think maybe you can spare a quarter or five cents, so I can get home?” Barnes  told Fox 5 he asked.

The video surveillance than shows a Metro Transit Police officer arriving on the scene and having a brief conversation with Barnes. The officer then is seen applying chemical spray to Barnes’ face and tackling him to the ground.

How the Muth of the ‘Negro Cocaine Fiend’ Helped Shape American Drug Policy

Negro Cocaine “Fiends” Are a New Southern Menace. That was the headline of an article I came across while doing research for my PhD in 1996. It involved trying to understand the neurobiological and behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs like cocaine and nicotine. So I read everything that seemed relevant.

The provocatively headlined article had appeared in The New York Times on February 8, 1914. I was surprised by the title, although I knew it was once acceptable to print such blatantly racist words in respectable papers. But what really shocked me was how similar it was to modern media coverage of illegal drugs and how, from early on, the racialized discourse on drugs served a larger political purpose.

The author, a distinguished physician, wrote: “[The Negro fiend] imagines that he hears people taunting and abusing him, and this often incites homicidal attacks upon innocent and unsuspecting victims.” And he continued, “the deadly accuracy of the cocaine user has become axiomatic in Southern police circles…. the record of the ‘cocaine nigger’ near Asheville who dropped five men dead in their tracks using only one cartridge for each, offers evidence that is sufficiently convincing.”

Cocaine, in other words, made black men uniquely murderous and better marksmen. But that wasn’t all. It also produced “a resistance to the ‘knock down’ effects of fatal wounds. Bullets fired into vital parts that would drop a sane man in his tracks, fail to check the ‘fiend.’”

Florida Man Who Shot Black Teen After Loud Music Dispute Sent Racially Charged Letters From Jail

Letters by Dunn from jail released this week by the State’s Attorney’s Office reveal disturbing racial animus. In a letter to an unknown recipient highlighted by Jacksonville’s WTEV, he writes:

It’s spooky how racist everyone is up here and how biased toward blacks the courts are. This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs.This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these **** idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.

In another letter to his girlfriend highlighted by HLNtv, he writes:

I just got off the phone with you and we were talking about how racist the blacks are up here. The more time I am exposed to these people, the more prejudiced against them I become.

And in another to his grandmother, he says:

I’m not really prejudiced against race, but I have no use for certain cultures. This gangster-rap, ghetto talking thug ‘culture’ that certain segments of society flock to is intolerable.


19 thoughts on “Notable Links: 2-7/14

  1. Great stuff, Brothawolf! I sincerely hope that Damian Barnes sticks a Gigantic boot of justice up the azz of both that jag-off who dared to spray that lovely young man, and to the public transit organization that hired this caca-for-brains!

    Speaking of righting a serious wrong, I really am praying for Jordan Davis’ (R.I.P.) family to receive the justice and peace they so deserve from being put through the (continuous, nauseating) cycle of violence that Black (and POC) folks have had thrust upon them by spineless, ball-less, gutless cowards who obviously feel they can’t fight worth a damn without a gun/self-esteem booster! SMH

  2. Oh, and Miss Maya Penn, I just wanted to say that this gifted, classy genius reminds me of my lil’ niece-and though we are not related (to my knowledge), I could not be more prouder of her than if she was my very own relative-she is my new She-ro!!!

  3. @ Brothawolf:

    Thank you for these links! I read the Dunn story, the “negro cocaine fiend,” and the transit cop abuse stories.

    I hate to say this, but I think Dunn is going to get off, even though there were witnesses. As truthbetold said on her blog, White people believe we are all bad and that any violence against us is justified. The transit cop story is just disgusting! Most of the commenters talk about the fact that the police forces are becoming more militarized, and that they terrorize rather than protect people. Some suggested that violence against cops is the only way that police abuse will stop . . .

    As for the “negro cocaine fiend” story . . . There is a really good PBS documentary called “The House I Live In” that deals with this issue. It also discusses how the prison industrial complex has grown to lock up Black and Brown people who are sentenced more harshly by these racist drug laws. Maybe if you go to, you can watch the documentary.

    1. I hate to admit it, but I think you’re right. Dunn will probably get off or at least get a light punishment.

      I think I’ve heard of the documentary. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Maya penn is so awesome.

    I’m not surprised by that murderer saying those things, idk if he will get off, as it didn’t take all day for them to arrest him, and he keeps writing letters like this it may be used in court to show how he is. If he does get off I won’t be surprised as it is the same prosecutor that was involved in George Zimmerman’s case as well as the case of marissa alexander.

    The young man that was tackled and sprayed for asking for some change is sad not only because of what happened to him ,but him blaming himself.
    “As for Barnes, he says the only lesson he has taken away from this experience is to “have more money” at all times. ”
    smh black people must never think if only I would’ve had more money I wouldn’t have been harassed or beat up, no even if u do have money that can happen ,just look at henry Louis gates and many black celebs that have been followed around stores.

  5. @Ms. Too Good, I totally agree with your sentiment about how (unfortunately) wrong and misguided young Damian was to naively believe that this was in any way his own fault. Someone needs to reach out to this upstanding guy man and have him recognize that no matter what his monetary, social status whatever, he is deserving of being subjected to being mistreatment and/or over-reaction from dumb, (obviously) bored so-called wannabe coppers as the one he dealt with! @Brothawolf, I must say that while I am also (extremelyyy) pessimistic about the Davis (R.I.P.) case too, I will do my best to remain hopeful about the outcome of the trial, because it will do none of us POC any good to let these bigots get away with shocking/numbing us into hopelessness and/or despair about getting justice-for it would be a tragedy for us all, and no doubt a dream come true (goodness forbid!) for them..

  6. I can’t predict what will be the outcome in the Dunn/Davis case. It is the state of Florida, and the victim happens to be African American too, therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me if justice fails to prevail. It appears to me that Dunn’s actions prior to the shooting and immediately after speak volume about his character, and the letters written to media and home also reveal much about how he negatively perceives people of color. Dunn has displayed no remorse for taking Davis’s life, and he hopes to flip the script by trying to paint himself as the victim of teens whose only offense was playing their music too loudly and causing disruption in Dunn’s self ENTITLED and privileged world.

    Dunn is so intoxicated by the noble perception he’s created in regard to whiteness, his extreme prejudices, and he is so poisoned in the negative beliefs he has chosen to hold onto in regard to blackness that he cannot fathom the reality, that he is one of those so called “thugs” that he so fervently discusses his distaste for being amongst in prison, and Dunn is that person who the greater society has to watch out for and protect themselves from. What is most unsettling is the fact that Dunn appears to believe himself the victim, and the fact that he’s so aware of how biased the courts are toward minorities means that he’s aware that he stands of potential of walking by playing the victim who stood his ground..

    In the case of Florida’s stand your ground law, a white Florida man killed his white neighbors during a labor day dispute and claims he was simply standing his ground. Now a white elderly man killed a white father who threw popcorn at him in a theatre with the claims that he too was standing his ground. It appears that Floridians didn’t mind such laws on the books as long as it was favorable in destroying black lives, regardless of whether or not they were simply buying skittles and sweet tea, shooting in the air at abusive spouses, or etc. Now… look.

  7. Well stated folks, I lived in that crap hole of a state for 29 mind-numbing, horrific days and wish to never return to that either-this is certainly where the “Springer” (as in Jerry’s tv show) can be found, from the sleazy, creepy landlords to slutty, scheming waitresses, philandering spouses, you name it-what a racist, humid, psychotic cesspool I had the misfortune of finding out about this place in the 90’s..ughhh.. *shivers* So glad I didn’t stay too long..

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