Southward Bound: Remapping Black Political Power
On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure ask why the f*** America accepts mass murder, and whether Black Americans should move to the South en masse to re-center their political power.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise. This week, a white man shot and killed eight people in a series of attacks on massage parlors in Georgia. It was the culmination of a year of violence against our Asian brothers and sisters provoked by Trump’s “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” slurs.
Mass shootings happen so often in America that they barely register in our national consciousness. Has gun culture made us numb to murder?
Charles M. Blow recently appeared as a guest on both Toure and Danielle’s other podcasts to discuss his new book, which suggests Black Americans reverse the Great Migration and return to the South as a means of consolidating political power. Can Toure and Danielle see themselves in the South?
That was probably the case, “but why are we concerned with his emotions, trying to understand him and feel any level of empathy toward him?” he adds.
He’s referring to the mass shooting events in which eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. An official for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s department said the 21-year old white male perpetrator, Robert Aaron Long, was “pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did."
Yeah, we know: What the literal f***?
Toure feels like “we don't get the expectation of being human from white people, but they over-extend humanity to each other.”
That’s why Dylann Roof got a burger after murdering nine Black people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church –– “because he's just a white boy who had a rough day, whereas Jacob Blake, a family man, walking away from cops, gets shot in the back. And on and on and on.”
Danielle is wayyy over it.
“I want to burn the whole country to the fucking ground,” she says. “When I woke up to the news of yet another white man mass shooting, murdering –– eight people, I thought: What the f*** is wrong with America? When are we going to wake up to the fact that white men are incredibly violent and a threat to all of our safety?”
Episode Highlights –– Burn It All Down
Hate crimes: a ‘political football’ for Republicans
This week, the House considered legislation to address the rise in anti-Asian hate, holding hearings before a judiciary subcommittee just a day after the mass murder in Georgia.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act aims to address the violence by increasing Justice Department oversight of COVID-related hate crimes and providing support for state and local law enforcement agencies.
“164 Republicans didn't want it passed,” Danielle notes. “Since Donald Trump and Republicans started referring to the coronavirus as the ‘Kung Flu’ and ‘China Virus,’ there has been a 150% escalation in violence against Asian Americans and AAPI people. But 164 Republicans are just like, nah, I'm good.”
Toure thinks these hate crimes have become a “political football,” like masks and vaccines.
“And when I say that, I don't mean on both sides. The right has politicized these things, which should not be politicized. But these are not political points.”
White murderers get ‘a burger or a hug,’ innocent Black folks get killed
The tragedy in Georgia has yet again exposed “the love affair that law enforcement and the mainstream media has with white supremacy,” says Danielle. “It's why the fuck we are here. It’s why these people continue to do what they do. Because there's no accountability or responsibility.”
And so she “will not call this man [the alleged shooter] a lunatic. I will not say he's crazy. You know why? Because I'm not going to give him some kind of mental-health escape.”
When we do that, we give people permission to “shrug it off” rather than deal with “the intricacies, frustrations and systems of white supremacist oppression,” she adds.
When incidents like these happen, we often hear about “some type of fucking coddling” law enforcement gives the perpetrator, whether it’s a “burger or a hug,” Danielle says, pointing out that the January 6 insurrectionist “QAnon Shaman” threatened a hunger strike because he wasn’t fed organic food in detention.