“Leave or Die”

Elliott Jaspin’s reporting on the “leave or die” imperatives issued by whites to blacks throughout the U.S. and continuing for 60 years is part of the systemic racism we talk about so often here. Sherilyn Ifill of Blackprof.com has a good post on Marcos Williams’ new documentary about this, “Banished: American Ethnic Cleansings.” Ifill is one of the featured experts in the film and her post is no case of shameless self-promotion on her part. This is an important documentary that addresses the some of the most reprehensible acts of white racism and the way these acts continue to reverberate in very material ways in people’s everyday lives. Here’s the trailer via YouTube:

Williams’ film charts the history, and contemporary descendants of, whites who violently expelled blacks from dozens of towns and counties throughout the U.S. For the classroom, the film would make an excellent companion to Loewen’s Sundown Towns. “Banished” is currently airing on PBS, you can check local listings here.

New York City Pays for Employment Discrimination

New York City has agreed to pay more than $20 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit charging that the Department of Parks and Recreation systematically discriminated against black and Hispanic employees in awarding jobs and setting salaries, according to the New York Times.   The details should sound familiar to anyone’s who knows about racial discrimination.  Reports are that under Henry J. Stern,  the long-serving commissioner of the Parks Department, routinely rewarded a “coterie of inexperienced white workers with plum assignments at the expense of experienced black and Hispanic employees.” In addition, white employees earned more than black and Hispanic workers performing the same jobs, and those who complained faced punishments like being reassigned to dusty basement desks or to an office far from home.

Mayor Bloomberg is, according to the Times article, “eager to move beyond the accusations of discrimination.”   The mayor also used the sort of distancing rhetoric so frequently used by white liberals when he says:

“It was something that took place a long time ago, and I think we are satisfied that our procedures today in that department and I think in all departments do not discriminate against anybody.”

In this instance, a “long time ago” is 1999.   I doubt seriously that it seems like ancient history to the 3,500 employees involved in the class action suit.

International Racism Roundup

I’ve collected a few snippets about racism beyond the U.S. through the Google news aggregator. Here’s a brief international racism roundup:

  • Johannesburg.  White students at University of Free State made a  video, widely condemned as racist, of black workers made to perform degrading acts by white students. The home-made film, described as “shocking and disgusting”,  shows five laughing black workers taking part in a number of activities, including eating meat that had been urinated on.  The workers appeared to have been duped into participating in the video.  The white students involved in making the video were reportedly ‘protesting’ a new university policy that would integrate black and white students in more campus residences.  Protests against the video have followed.   More here.
  • Manchester. Sangram Singh Bhacker, a Sikh man, won a racial discrimination suit against the Manchester police department.  Bhacker, who lives in Manchester, had been trying to join his local police department but was turned down over a dozen times in the span of 18 years, despite his experience serving on five other police forces in the UK.  In refusing his application, the head of personnel wrote, “I am not prepared to consider you as a potential transferee with the GMP now or in the future.”  In the decision by the governing tribual, they said “Our conclusion is the respondent discriminated against the claimant on the basis of his ethnic origin.”   More here. 
  • Toronto.  Once a great multicultural city, Toronto is now being threatened by a prevailing white supremacist racist establishment, according to Joe T. Darden, Professor of Geography at Michigan State University.  Darden contends that Toronto faces a growing culture of violence, primarily manifested in Toronto black communities, because a racist white establishment seeks to prevent equal access to educational and employment opportunities.  Terrific, and notably different-than-the-U.S., write up here by a progressive news outlet in Canada.