Category Archives: US

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $2.1 billion to African-American women it targeted with ads for Asbestos-tainted baby powder

Johnson & Johnson knew for fifty years that their talc powder contained asbestos. As the dangers became more widely known, they deliberately shifted marketing effort to target black women.

From Democracy Now:

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $2.1 billion to a group of women who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder contaminated with asbestos.

Johnson & Johnson heavily marketed the powder to African-American women despite warnings that the products could cause cancer.

Six of the plaintiffs in the Johnson & Johnson case died before the trial started. Five more of the women have died since 2018.

We get response from M. Isabelle Chaudry, senior policy manager at the National Women’s Health Network, who says the company must ban the products globally and do more to address the harm it has caused, particularly to communities of color.

“They have a history of engaging in racist practices,” she says. more

The killing of Elijah McClain

In August 2019 gentle, kind Elijah McClain was killed by US police.

Source: Family photo

From The Cut:

Last August, police officers in Aurora, Colorado, approached 23-year-old Elijah McClain as he walked home from a convenience store. The Aurora Police Department later said that a 911 caller had reported a “suspicious person” in a ski mask, and that when officers confronted McClain — who was not armed and had not committed any kind of crime — he “resisted arrest.” In the 15 minutes that followed, the officers tackled McClain to the ground, put him in a carotid hold, and called first responders, who injected him with ketamine. He had a heart attack on the way to the hospital, and died days later, after he was declared brain dead.

more

When violinists played in a park at a vigil to remember Elijah (he taught himself to play the violin), this is what Aurora police did (what is wrong with these warped people?):

Updated Sunday 5th July 2020

After Charlottesville Nazi terror, Trump shows his inner racism

Trump is in an alliance with Nazi terrorists. That is the only reasonable conclusion that can be made following the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville on Saturday. The Nazi ‘Unite the Right’ rally which was met by a counter-protest by anti-fascists, saw a motley collection of Nazi organisations come together to defend ‘Southern heritage’ in the shape of a memorial to Confederate traitor to the US, Robert E Lee.

Infamously, Trump refused to call out the Nazis, choosing instead to issue a mealy mouthed statement condemning violence ‘on all sides’. Make no mistake, this moral equivalence is an endorsement not just of racism and fascism but of terrorism.

As the world knows all too well, Trump is a prolific tweeter, but decent people still wait for him to tweet his abhorrence of the racist terror brought to Charlottesville by his supporters. And if anyone is in any doubt that they are his supporters, the fascist marchers themselves made it abundantly clear by chanting ‘Hail Trump’ as they rallied.

Trump is someone who respects loyalty, so we’re told. It’s why he remains loyal to the memory and the politics of his father Fred. Readers will recall that Trump’s father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Fred Trump marched with the Klan in New York in 1927 and was arrested for fighting with police. Like father like son is an expression that springs to mind.

Be fair to Agent Orange they say, he’s ‘friends’ with Kanye West so he can’t be a racist.

But discriminatory practices by one of his real estate companies, the revolting campaign to execute the Central Park Five even after they were proved innocent and of course the blatantly racist ‘birther’ campaign against Barack Obama, all are evidence of Trump’s deep-seated racism.

The longer the white supremacist stays in power the more likely it is that he will sow the seeds of America’s next civil war. The lovers of the Confederacy should be able to remember how the first civil war turned out.

By their friends shall ye know them. So let’s take a look at some of his friends – the ones in his cabinet. Steve Bannon – white nationalist millionaire; Jeff Sessions – white supremacist Alabaman and add to that the assorted generals and billionaires, none of whom are known for their promotion of equality and diversity. OK, so he has one black man in his cabinet, but we can safely put that down to tokenism.

After what’s just gone down in Virginia, Americans should demand that those in Trump’s cabinet who claim to abhor white supremacy and anti-Semitism resign immediately. None have so far of their own volition, which tells us all we need to know about the priorities and politics of his appointees.

Sadly, the Nazis are not going to go away. They certainly will not go away if people follow the advice of respectable liberal opinion that thinks if you ignore this filth it will disappear. Intimidation and violence has to be faced own.

The Nazis say they will be back to terrorise Charlottesville. If that is so, then anti-fascist forces will need to mobilise much more widely and deeply. Violence isn’t the key to stopping fascism. It’s a numbers game. We are the many, they are the few. They need to be massively outnumbered and marginalised. In that battle we expect no help from Trump. In fact Trump is part of the problem. In addition, the Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have made it plain by their silence and inaction that they are prepared to go down with the racist White House bully.

Heather Heyer is an American Hero. Let’s honour her by redoubling our efforts to rid the world of fascism. Trump is an American racist and warmonger.

No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA

Middle Tennessee State University Talented Tenth Say “Enough” To Racism

Last week (first week November 2016), a group of Middle Tennessee State University students, who call themselves the Talented Tenth, organized a week of silent protesting on campus to bring awareness to racism against minorities. From the campus naming a building after a KKK Grand Wizard, to students making careless and discriminating remarks about minorities, these students are done tolerating being treated as if their feelings and lives are of smaller importance. The Talented Tenth was formed last year because minority students felt the heat of a very real problem not just within our nation, but in the small and “non-discriminating” campus of their college.

Senior Arin Cooper explained the movement as basically, “a series of protest to bring awareness to people about what’s going on. Some people don’t care and some don’t even know.”

“Very few people even acknowledge it. I think it’s one of those subject people know about that they are afraid to talk about,” added fellow coalition member Danielle Bowden.

She went on to explain what lead to the protests and why they are needed. “We originally started fighting to get the Forrest hall name change,” said Bowden. “As we met we basically talked about recent killings. We talked about the struggles we deal with being black in a predominately white institution.”

Thus, it was time to make an effort towards change.

During a day of their protesting, I approached the students with questions. What does #BlackLivesMatter mean to them? Why were they protesting? How had they felt discriminated against on campus?

To my surprise, the students were faced with more negative backlash than questions about their movement.

Zaria Walker, Co-Chair of the Talented Tenth, touched on how people misinterpret the movement and how they react.

“We’ve had people say all lives matter and snicker and glare or they shake their heads and try not to look at us. That stuff gets to you.”

In one instance a student came up to them and told them, “F*ck you. I’m tired of this bullsh*it.”

In another instance, someone told them that all lives matter, and by holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” they were saying Black lives were the only ones they cared about.

“No one in this movement believes that. We are saying our lives matter too, not ONLY our lives. People put ONLY at the end of it and that’s where the anger and confusion come from.”

But that is hardly excusable. These students are trying to bring awareness to their peers by speaking out and they are treated with disregard, misunderstanding, and ignorance. Why? Why aren’t more people asking questions, asking why they feel the need to protest?

“When I hear people say “All Lives Matter” I hear ignorance. People who demean the BLM movement and justify it by attempting to say that we are excluding everyone else’s life, obviously doesn’t know what the movement is for,” said Byron Bankhead, who also participates in the movement. “I see it as a way to avoid accepting credibility over this tragedy. People love to look over the main point of the movement and focus on specific wordplay, once again to avoid the realissues at hand.”

“The racial discrimination, oppression, and systematic racism that we encounter is a REAL problem and other people do not see it as such,” Bankhead goes on to describe the issues. “It is the job of the movement to bring that awareness and shed light on the problems we face or society will continue to sweep us under the rug.”

Walker followed up with how society hinders the movement by remaining uninvolved.

“The problem is people say “I’m not racist. I don’t say the N-word.” But your silence is contributing. It’s saying it isn’t affecting you so don’t bother. Once you speak up that’s when change happens. That’s why I’m glad people of other cultures are joining us.”

Racism isn’t just the use of the “N-word” or not wanting your daughter to date a Black man. Racism exists in the wage gap, the assumption that Black men and women are enrolled in college or hired at a business due to the need of diversity. Racism is the assumption that someone Black is less trustworthy than someone white. It’s falsely accusing people of color of committing “more crimes than whites” when they only commit more crimes within a specific category. It’s taking advantage of their disadvantages. It’s not listening when they cry out peacefully for equality.

“I am an advocate for fair treatment of everyone [but] I feel as if the black community is drained for its resources, culture, and [we] struggle but no one supports us.” said Bankhead.

This is a movement not with the intent to rebel, not with the intent to bring hate or disregard to the majority race, but rather, an intent to speak out and say, “We matter. We deserve to be treated equally. And we NEED your help. Please, stick up for us.”

Charlotte cop walks free after shooting to death Keith Lamont Scott

From the Charlotte Observer – No charges will be brought against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Brentley Vinson in the September shooting death of a man in University City, District Attorney Andrew Murray announced Wednesday.

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 in a confrontation with officers outside his apartment.

Murray said that evidence in the case shows that Scott stepped out of his SUV with a gun in his hand and ignored at least 10 commands from the five officers on the scene to drop it.

Murray said that Scott obtained the gun – which had been stolen in Gaston County – 18 days before the confrontation. One bullet was found in the chamber of the gun, the safety was off and Murray said Scott’s DNA was found on the grip and ammunition slide.

Murray said that speculation in the community that Scott was unarmed – initial reports from a family member on Facebook said he was holding a book – were untrue.

“A reading book was not found in the front or back seats of Mr. Scott’s SUV,” Murray said.

Officer Vinson’s gun was examined after the shooting and four bullets were missing, Murray said. Guns taken from the other officers at the scene had not been fired, he said.

Charlotte: Protesters Demand Police Release Video of Keith Scott’s Killing

 

From Democracy Now

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, North Carolina, protests continue for a third day to demand police release video of the shooting of African-American father Keith Lamont Scott. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard. The Charlotte mayor has also imposed a midnight curfew, amid the ongoing protests. While the police initially claimed they tased and then shot Scott because he was armed, Scott’s family says he was not armed—except with a book in hand. They say he had been sitting in his car, waiting to pick up his son after school. On Thursday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney walked back the claims that Scott had a gun. more

Slavery reparations sought in first Black Lives Matter agenda

 

Policemen walk on the sidelines as protesters hold a sign which states “Black Lives Matter,” during a march against police brutality in Manhattan, New York, U.S., July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Bria Webb

Reuters – A coalition affiliated with the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement called for criminal justice reforms and reparations for slavery in the United States among other demands in its first policy platform released on Monday.

The six demands and roughly 40 policy recommendations touch on topics ranging from reducing U.S. military spending to safe drinking water. The groups aim to halt the “increasingly visible violence against Black communities,” the Movement for Black Lives said in a statement.

The agenda was released days before the second anniversary of the slaying of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s death, along with other fatal police shootings of unarmed black men over the past two years, fueled a national debate about racial discrimination in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Issues related to race and violence took center stage at the Democratic National Convention last week, though the coalition did not endorse the party’s platform or White House candidate, Hillary Clinton.

“We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform,” Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, one of the organizations that worked on the platform, said in a statement. more