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Holden Matthews

Holden Matthews (c. 1998- ), a White American man, the son of a police officer, was arrested by police on April 10th 2019, suspected of burning down three Black churches in Louisiana over the past few weeks:

  • March 26th: St Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre
  • April 2nd: Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas
  • April 4th: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas

No one was hurt – the churches were empty at the time. But the crime was serious enough to bring in the FBI.

St Landry Parish, the county where all three churches stood, is also where Matthews’s father Roy is deputy sheriff, one of its top police officers. His father was shocked to hear his son was to be arrested.

The state fire marshall, Butch Browning, called the church burnings “an attack on our God and our religion.”

The NAACP called it “domestic terrorism” and said it is:

“a reflection of the emboldened racial rhetoric and tension spreading across the country.”

The governor, John Bel Edwards, called it an “evil act” and said:

“It has been especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear. … Hate is not a Louisiana value.”

Deacon Earnest Hines of Greater Union Baptist, the last of the three churches burned down:

“It’s like the ’60s again.”

Dr Rick Swanson, professor of political science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said:

“it would be very consistent with a pattern of terrorism used against black churches”

The FBI is still looking into whether the crime was “bias-motivated”.

Was it racist? Almost certainly. St Landry Parish in 2010 was 41% Black. If 41% of its churches are also Black, then there is only a 7% chance Matthews would have picked three Black churches simply by accident (41% of 41% of 41% = 7%).

A White church was burned down too, Vivian United Pentecostal Church on March 31st. Like the Black churches, it was done on purpose, but it is a few hours away and authorities have no reason, so far, to suspect Matthews was behind it.

Neo-Nazi adjacent: If Matthews is not himself a neo-Nazi, he is at least neo-Nazi adjacent. He listens to black metal music, which has a large neo-Nazi following. Online he has commented about swastikas and about Varg Vikernes, a neo-Nazi musician and pagan who served 15 years in prison for stabbing and killing someone and burning down three churches in Norway.

Black metal is a kind of anti-Christian heavy metal music that often sings of Satan and pagan beliefs. Many black metal musicians are Satanists, some are White nationalists.

Vodka Vultures: Matthews says he is a songwriter and lead singer for the Vodka Vultures, a heavy metal band.

White roots: Matthews is himself a pagan, a follower of the Norse god Odin. Online he said:

“Odins advice> modern law”

and:

“My faith is in Asatru [pre-Christian Nordic religion] but I love learning about other cultures,and faiths.”

Online he talks about religion, philosophy, and music, but apparently not politics.

Matthews has no criminal record or history of violence.

– Abagond, 2019.

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Albert N. Wilson

Albert N. Wilson (c. 1996- ) is a Black American man who was just sentenced to over 12 years in prison for a raping a White woman – that he never had sex with. After he gets out of prison he will have to register as a sex offender and be subject to lifetime supervision.

Judge: He was sentenced by Sally Pokorny, a White woman.

Jury: He was found guilty of rape by six women and three men, all of them White.

In prison he will likely be raped over and over again.

To compare: Brock Turner, a White man who was caught trying to rape a woman at Stanford University, got only six months at the county jail. Judge Aaron Persky noted:

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. … I think he will not be a danger to others.”

On September 10th 2016, when Wilson was 20 and she was 17, they met at Jayhawk Cafe, a bar near Kansas University where he went. Both were not old enough to drink, but while he was asked for an ID card (he used a friend’s), she was not. She was a high school student visiting her cousin.

While they danced in the Boom Boom Room, she said he lifted up her skirt and kissed her. She says he took her back to his place a few blocks away and then raped her. Yet the next day no trace of his DNA was found except kisses on her chest. No semen anywhere.

The police: She did not go to police till a month later. He said it was to get back at him for NOT having sex with her.

He told police he did not remember that night, yet did remember it once in court. Wilson told the prosecutor representing his accuser:

“I don’t know how to explain this, but I come from a different background than you, ma’am … I just felt like the police [were] against me at that point.”

In the US many Black people do not trust the police.

GoFundMe: Wilson was represented by a court-appointed lawyer. Wilson tried to raise money online for a good lawyer, but GoFundMe removed his page because he was accused of a crime of violence. Guilty till proven innocent.

His lawyer about the night in question:

“It was a chance meeting. Obviously, my client misread what was going on. … If there was ever a case that deserved a departure of any kind, I think this is it.”

Her lawyer said Wilson was “very predatory” – playing right into the Black Brute stereotype, the very thing that got so many Black men lynched in Jim Crow days.

A few White women’s tears later and it was all over – despite the physical evidence.

Psychologist John Spiridigliozzi:

“She said she was raped … and it destroyed her.”

Wilson had no criminal record. He played football at Wichita Southeast High School and, after getting an associate’s degree, was going to Kansas University with dreams of becoming a sports journalist.

– Abagond, 2019.

Source: Vibe, Heavy.

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Remarks:

This went to #5 on the US R&B chart in 2019. It is currently still at #11. It in turn samples another hit: “I Love You For All Seasons” by The Fuzz, which went to #10 in 1971. In the video the sample is shown as a record being played.

21 Savage, who was born in London and has lived in the US since age seven, was suddenly arrested by ICE (the US deportation force) just days after this video came out. His lawyers say it was because of this verse (which appears in the video at 4:54 but not in the lyrics):

The gas was off, so we had to boil up the water 

Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border 
Flint still need water 

Niggas was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.

He can’t imagine his kids stuck at the US border because under President Trump they could be separated from him and put in cages.

Who needs to be arrested is President Trump for kidnapping.

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Lyrics:

[Intro: 21 Savage]
I love you
Turn my headphone down a little bit, yeah
For so many reasons
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (I do), yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah, yeah, ah, ah, whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah

[Pre-Chorus: 21 Savage]
How much money you got? (Straight up)
How much money you got? (Straight up)
How much money you got? (Straight up)
How much money you got? (A lot)

[Chorus: 21 Savage]
How much money you got? (A lot)
How many problems you got? (A lot)
How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
Left you out to rot? (A lot)
How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
How many times you got shot? (A lot)
How many niggas you shot? (A lot)
How many times did you ride? (A lot)
How many niggas done died? (A lot)
How many times did you cheat? (A lot)
How many times did you lie? (A lot)
How many times did she leave? (A lot)
How many times did she cry? (A lot)
How many chances she done gave you fuckin around with these thots? (A lot)

[Verse 1: 21 Savage]
Every day that I’m alive, I’ma ride with the stick
I’d rather be broke in jail than be dead and rich
Told my brothers take my breath if I turn to a snitch
But I’m 21 4L, ain’t no way I’ma switch

[Interlude]
Break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down

[Verse 2: 21 Savage]
Penitentiary chances just to make a couple bucks
My heart so cold I could put it in my cup
Gang vs. the world, me and my dawg, it was us
Then you went and wrote a statement, and that really fucked me up
My brother lost his life and it turned me to a beast
My brother got life and it turned me to the streets
I been through the storm and it turned me to a G
But the other side was sunny, I get paid to rap on beats

[Chorus: 21 Savage]
How much money you got? (A lot)
How many problems you got? (A lot)
How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
Left you out to rot? (A lot)
How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
How many times you got shot? (A lot)
How many niggas you shot? (A lot)
How many times did you ride? (A lot)
How many niggas done died? (A lot)
How many times did you cheat? (A lot)
How many times did you lie? (A lot)
How many times did she leave? (A lot)
How many times did she cry? (A lot)
How many chances she done gave you?
Fuck around with these thots (A lot)

[Interlude: J. Cole]
Break it on down, I break it on down
I break it on down, I break it on down
Yeah, I just came from the A
I drove back home, six-hour drive, six-and-a-half
Before I left I stopped by to see my nigga 21 in the studio
He had two of his kids with him right in the studio, that’s when I knew
You a stand up nigga, I love seein’ shit like that

[Verse 3: J. Cole]
Question
How many faking they streams? (A lot)
Getting they plays from machines? (A lot)
I can see behind the smoke and mirrors
Niggas ain’t really big as they seem (Hmm)
I never say anything (Nah), everybody got they thing (True)
Some niggas make millions, other niggas make memes (Hmm)
I’m on a money routine
I don’t want smoke, I want cream
I don’t want no more comparisons
This is a marathon and I’m aware
I been playing it back from a lack of promotions
I never was one for the bragging and boasting
I guess I was hoping the music would speak for itself, but the people want everything else
Okay, no problem, I’ll show up on everyone album
You know what the outcome will be
I’m batting a thousand
It’s got to the point that these rappers don’t even like rappin’ with me
Fuck it ’cause my nigga 21 Savage just hit me
And told me he saved me a spot on a new record he got
He call it “a lot,” I open my book and I jot
Pray for Tekashi, they want him to rot
I picture him inside a cell on a cot
’Flectin’ on how he made it to the top
Wondering if it was worth it or not
I pray for Markelle ’cause they fucked up his shot
Just want you to know that you got it, my nigga
Though I never met you, I know that you special
And that the Lord blessed you, don’t doubt it, my nigga
Dennis Smith, Jr., stay solid, my nigga
I’m on a tangent, not how I planned it
I had some fans that hopped and abandoned ship
When they thought that I wasn’t gone pan out, I got a plan
They say that success is the greatest revenge, tell all your friends
Cole on a mission, cementin’ the spot as the greatest that did it
Before it all ends, nigga

[Chorus: 21 Savage]
How much money you got? (A lot)
How many problems you got? (A lot)
How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
Left you out to rot? (A lot)
How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
How many times you got shot? (A lot)
How many niggas you shot? (A lot)
How many times did you ride? (A lot)
How many niggas done died? (A lot)
How many times did you cheat? (A lot)
How many times did you lie? (A lot)
How many times did she leave? (A lot)
How many times did she cry? (A lot)
How many chances she done gave you?
Fuck around with these thots (A lot)

[Outro]
Break it on down, I break it on down
I break it on down, I break it on down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it on down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down, I br-

Source: Genius Lyrics.

Transgender people are those whose sex assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. Possibly because the brain, which develops much later than the genitals, is not always formed by the same hormones. They used to be called transsexuals.

In general:

  1. Don’t hate: Trans people are people too, just like everyone else – except when viewed through transphobia.
  2. Learn! The more you know, the less likely you will sound ignorant. Listen especially to trans people. The mass media can be misleading, even when well-meaning, even when letting trans people speak.
  3. Understand: Chelsea Manning (pictured above) has always been Chelsea Manning – we just did not know it till she came out. She was not “born a boy” or “became a girl” – she was always a girl. Some trans people are gender-fluid, but most have been the same gender all along.
  4. Do not misgender: Use a person’s preferred name and pronouns – and do not put them in scare quotes either! Even when talking about their closeted past. If you are not sure, ask, “What pronouns do you use?” If you cannot ask, go by their gender expression or use the singular “they” (which is perfectly good English: “Someone left their shoes in the hallway!”).
  5. Never out anyone! You could get someone killed.

In particular:

bathroom bills – far-right fearmongering.

born a boy – use “assigned male at birth” (AMAB).

biologically male – use “assigned male at birth” (AMAB).

cis – short for “cisgender”.

cisgender – not transgender.

drag queen – Not trans. Most are gay men who like to dress up as women for fun.

gender identity disorder – now known as “gender dysphoria” since 2013.

genderqueer – same as non-binary (see below).

genetically female – use “assigned female at birth” (AFAB).

hermaphrodite – use “intersex”. Some trans people are intersex, but most are not.

medical history – as with cis people, it is none of our business. And it is TMI (too much information).

non-binary – refers to those who see themselves as neither male nor female. They generally go by the pronouns “they” and “them”. They count as trans.

passing – use “not visibly transgender”.

pre-op, post-op – see medical history.

sex change – use “transition”.

sex change operation – see medical history.

slurstranny, shemale, ladyboy, trap, thing, it, he-she, shim, mangina, transvestite, hermaphrodite, faggot, etc. Avoid, even when someone uses the term for themselves. These words are hurtful and many have transmisogyny built right in, questioning a trans woman’s womanhood (shemale, ladyboy, he-she, shim, mangina, faggot, transvestite), desirability (trap), or even humanity (it, thing).

trans – short for “transgender”.

transgendered – use “transgender” or “trans” instead. “Transgender” is an adjective, not a noun or verb.

transgenders – use “trans people”.

transsexual – use “trangender” or “trans” instead. This use to be the general, polite term for trans people, but it mixes up sex with gender, so now it just means someone who has medically transitioned, which is TMI and does not cover most trans people.

transvestite – use “cross-dresser”. Not trans. Most are straight men who like to sometimes wear women’s clothes and make-up.

– Abagond, 2019.

Sources: mainly GLAAD (retrieved 2019), Riley J. Dennis (2017, video, 9 minutes), National Geographic (January 2017).

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The Root

The Root (2008- ) is a Black-oriented news website in the US spun off from the Washington Post. Danielle Belton has been its editor-in-chief since 2017. She used to run one of my favourite blogs, The Black Snob.

Slate’s Black sister: Co-founder Henry Louis Gates Jr called The Root “Slate for black readers.” In fact, it was set up by Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, using the same technology and advertising sales team. The Washington Post owned Slate.

The name: Under Gates one of its main features was helping Black readers map their family trees and take DNA tests.

Inspiration: The Baltimore Afro-American, a national Black newspaper Gates remembers from childhood.

Traffic: In 2016 it was third among Black-oriented websites that got over a million unique visitors:

  1. 13.5m bet.com
  2. 6.3m huffpost.com/voices/black-voices
  3. 4.9m theroot.com
  4. 4.4m essence.com
  5. 4.2m bossip.com
  6. 4.1m worldstarhiphop.com
  7. 3.9m madamenoire.com
  8. 3.0m hellobeautiful.com
  9. 2.8m atlantablackstar.com
  10. 2.2m thegrio.com
  11. 1.4m newsone.com
  12. 1.3m mediatakeout.com
  13. 1.3m theundefeated.com (launched in May)

Bias: centre right – corporate Democrats of a Black Liberal hue. Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC) says they are left-wing because of “story selection”. That just means The Root thinks Black people matter – now a left-wing position in the land of Trump.

Coverage: The Root functions as an appendage of the White Liberal press in the US, meaning that they generally just cover “Black” issues and personalities, with some anti-Trump snark thrown in.

Priorities: The number of mentions of various topics on The Root as of 2019 (according to Google search results):

  • 5,670 Kanye West
  • 3,360 Black Lives Matter
  • 2,500 immigration
  • 2,390 Cardi B
  • 2,260 Martin Luther King
  • 2,160 Jay Z
  • 1,440 segregation
  • 1,400 terrorism
  • 1,260 Beyonce
  • 1,190 voting rights
  • 1,160 reparations
  • 994 affirmative action
  • 936 Malcolm X
  • 900 Wakanda
  • 791 racial profiling
  • 782 homophobia
  • 478 mass incarceration
  • 404 Angela Davis
  • 398 Lil Wayne
  • 331 White nationalism
  • 259 college education
  • 186 Louis Farrakhan
  • 166 structural racism
  • 122 redlining
  • 58 home ownership
  • 45 “buy black”
  • 1 ERPA (End Racial Profiling Act)

By 2015 even my blog had mentioned “structural racism” more times than The Root.

Fact checking: Excellent, though not perfect. But they are opinionated! Their blog Very Smart Brothas (VSB) said straight Black men are the White people of Black people – because, among other things:

“We’re the ones whose beatings and deaths at the hands of the police galvanize the community in a way that the beatings and sexual assaults and deaths that those same police inflict upon black women do not.”

What!!?

Business model: advertising.

Writers: Mostly Black.

Readers: Mostly non-Black: about 35% are White and 20% Hispanic. Every year readers choose The Root 100, a list of “the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45.” Cardi B, who does not consider herself Black, was at #14 in 2018.

Ownership: Not Black. In 2015 Univision bought The Root from the Washington Post’s holding company. Univision runs the largest Spanish-language television network in the US. They own Fusion Media, The Onion, The A.V. Club, Deadspin, Jezebel, Splinter, etc, which helps to drive traffic to The Root. Thus many of the White and Hispanic readers.

Haim Saban is part-owner and CEO of Univision. He is an Israeli American billionaire, “a major donor to the US Democratic Party and active in pro-Israel political efforts in the US,” says the Wikipedia.

– Abagond, 2019.

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Programming note #38

The Black Quadricentennial: This coming August, as some of you might know, is the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of Black people at Jamestown, Virginia, into the society that would become the US. The beginning of Black America, in other words.

I will, of course, do a post on 1619, but while I am at it I am going to do posts on Black America in 1719, 1819, 1919, and 2019. And I will go backwards too: West Africa in 1219, 1319, 1419, 1519.

So, God willing:

  • Apr 2019: West Africa in 1219
  • May 2019: West Africa in 1319
  • Jun 2019: West Africa in 1419
  • Jul 2019: West Africa in 1519
  • Aug 2019: West Africa, Angola, and Black America in 1619
  • Sep 2019: West Africa and Black America in 1719
  • Oct 2019: Black America in 1819
  • Nov 2019: Black America in 1919
  • Dec 2019: Black America in 2019

There will continue to be posts on all sorts of things, but those will be the times and places I will concentrate my reading and writing on, in place of any non-Black history months.

– Abagond, 2019.

Willie McCoy

Willie McCoy (1997?-2019), also known as rapper Willie Bo, was a Black American man shot dead by six police officers in Vallejo, California. There are seven videos of the shooting. They found him outside a Taco Bell restaurant asleep in his locked car, a silver Mercedes, with a gun in his lap. When he woke up and would not show his hands right away, they shot him at least 25 times in 4 seconds – and then were still shouting at him to show his hands! They said they feared for their lives.

His face by that point was so riddled with bullet holes that the family’s lawyer could later only guess at the number. His face was unrecognizable.

Over and over and over and over and over again the police are able to take armed White men alive, even after they carry out, say, the worst anti-Semitic hate crime in US history. But a Black man sleeping in his car? “We feared for our lives!”

The gun: It is not clear from the videos that there was a gun. The Vallejo police, be it noted, cannot tell the difference between a gun and a wallet – just ask Anton Barrett’s family.

Vallejo is on the north-eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. In 2012 six of its 20 homicides, 30%, were carried out by the police themselves. One of the six was, yes, killed in a parked car. And three were killed by the same officer, Sean Kenney, who was promoted later that year. The police blame gang violence. Others say the Vallejo police act like a “military occupying force”.

Yelp gives the Vallejo police two out of five stars.

The night in question: On February 9th 2019 at about 10:36 pm, Taco Bell called the police: a man in the drive-through line was slumped over the wheel of his car. He would not wake up.

Two police officers came out to do a “welfare check”. But they never even tried to wake him up. Once they saw the gun (or whatever it was) they tried to get it without waking him – but the door was locked. They called for backup. As the last two officers were arriving, McCoy was waking up, moving his arms, They shouted at him to show his hands. Then came the hail of bullets.

Four officers with their guns drawn just before they shoot McCoy, who they discovered sleeping in his car. (Note that the time stamp is in GMT, 8 hours ahead of local time.)

The six officers: Ryan McMahon, Collin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson. McMahon killed an unarmed Black man just last year: Ronnell Foster.

Soon after the shooting, David Harrison, a 48-year-old cousin, rushed to the scene:

“They left him out there like an animal carcass … like a dog that got run over by a car … The way they was nonchalant, the way they spoke to my family after what we knew they had just done, it tore me up.”

McCoy himself wrote verses about the police, how he was seen as “dangerous”, “guilty until I proved I’m innocent”, that “one false move” could “end” his life.

– Abagond, 2019.

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