Protesting Works - Minneapolis

City of Minneapolis:

The Minneapolis City Council approved the terms of a stipulation for a temporary restraining order today outlining immediate changes that must be implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department and a framework for systemic change as part of the long-term investigation underway by Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The long-term investigation:

The investigation into policies, procedures and practices over the past 10 years will determine if the MPD has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of color and ensure any such practices are stopped.

The immediate changes:

The order specifies that MPD and the City must implement the following measures immediately:

  • MPD must ban neck restraints or choke holds for any reason within 10 days of the effective date of this order.
  • Regardless of tenure or rank, any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force, including any choke hold or neck restraint, has an affirmative duty to immediately report the incident while still on scene by phone or radio to their commander or their commander’s superiors.
  • Regardless of tenure or rank, any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force, including any choke hold or neck restraint, must attempt to safely intervene by verbal and physical means, and if they do not do so they are subject to discipline to the same severity as if they themselves engaged in the prohibited use of force.
  • Only the police chief or the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief or above may authorize the use of crowd control weapons during protests and demonstrations.
  • The police chief must make timely discipline decisions as outlined in the order.
  • Civilian body warn camera analysts and investigators with the City’s Office of Police Conduct Review have the authority to proactively audit body worn camera footage and file or amend complaints on behalf of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.

Looking to you, Seattle.

Black Lives Matter Plaza

Perfect placement.

White Privilege

If you are white and aren’t familiar with white privilege, and privilege in general, it’s well worth your time to become familiar. It’s worth noting that if you are reading this and are white, you have benefitted from white privilege throughout your life, whether you know it or not.

While Ijeoma Oluo goes into far greater depth in So You Want to Talk About Race, Lori Lakin Hutcherson has written a post briefly explaining it to a friend that acts as a primer through examples; here’s just one:

When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant, but in her gut she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go. I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant—that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement. If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or your life where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.

How To Check In On Black Friends & Colleagues Right Now

Elizabeth Gulino:

“Effective allyship… is rooted in the needs of those most affected.” These powerful words were spoken by activist and community organizer Leslie Mac, whose work is grounded in helping white people become better allies, during an earlier interview with Refinery29. One thing white and non-POC allies can do right now — among a plethora of others — is to check in on their Black friends and their Black coworkers. “They’re likely still hurting, still confused, still exhausted,” writes Roy S. Johnson on Al.com. “They’ll appreciate hearing from you.” But there are a few things to consider before reaching out.

Police Brutality - A List

In my last post I linked to a number of videos of police brutality and excessive use of force that have occurred during the George Floyd protests. Many of those videos came from a list that attorney T. Greg Doucette is gathering on Twitter. At the time of writing, he’s at 185 and counting. Start at the latest tweet in the thread and scroll up from there.

If you prefer them in a spreadsheet, a Google Spreadsheet is being maintained with links back to the tweets.

Most of the videos are disturbing. All of them are sobering.

Update: 24 hours after posting and the list is up to 240.

Update: 48 hours after posting and the list is up to 301.

Angry

I’m angry.

I’m angry with myself, for going so long without seeing and truly understanding what the black community is saying. For being complicit in racism. That complicity stops today. If you are a member of the black community reading this, know that I’m sorry, I see you, and going forward I will be doing what I can to be an ally.

I’m angry at the police. At the many, many officers who have been performing racist acts for years. At the many, many police officers who have been rioting while people try to mourn and protest. Beating, shooting, gassing, pepper spraying, driving into, and arresting everyone from peaceful protesters to news crews to student reporters to clergy-people to medics to medical workers to the elderly and, with the greatest number and force, black people. Warning that the videos linked in the last sentence are disturbing. None are suitable for children.

I’m angry at the system. A racist system, from politics to justice. Education to healthcare. Workplace to policing. A healthcare system that causes a disease that knows no race to kill minorities at a far higher rate than whites. An education system that reinforces poverty. A political system that suppresses minority votes. A justice system that penalizes minorities at a far higher rate. A police system that fosters racism and aggression.

Thus far I have donated to the Black Lives Matter movement, NAACP and National Police Accountability Project. I encourage everyone who is able to donate to one of these organizations, or any other that is working to achieve equal rights for the black and minority communities.

I have read So You Want to Talk About Race, but I’m starting it again because I haven’t internalized enough. I’ve ordered How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi and will read that next. Then I will seek out more reading material as I start proactively taking action against racism.

I list the things I’m doing not because I want kudos or appreciation, but for others who may read this and want a starting point to understanding racism and, hopefully, joining in action.

I’m angry. But I’m using that anger to become an ally and take action.

So You Want to Talk About Race

I’m still gathering my thoughts about the George Floyd protests and how best to present them. I intend to write a more fully-formed blog post in the near future, but in the meantime, for my friends and family trying to understand what is happening right now across the United States I want to highly recommend the book “So you want to talk about race?” by Ijeoma Oluo. I’ve read it once and am starting to read it again.

Physical copies are currently out of stock on Amazon and resellers are price gouging, so I recommend either buying the e-book or finding a copy through a local book store.

It’s a solid starting point to understanding the pain people of color are, and have been, suffering for centuries, as well as the fight they’ve been waging to gain the same fundamental human rights as white people - not just in law, but daily life. A fight that continues today, in this moment in the form of protests due to the murder of yet another black person by police.

Identity Theft, Credit Reports, and You

Patrick McKenzie, someone passionate about credit reports and the industry, has some good advice in light of the recent Equifax leak:

You should never call a CRA, ever. They have phone centers staffed with people whose only job is getting you off the phone. They have very limited availability to help, for the same reason that the phone center for Walmart does not have anyone who can help a shoe. You will deal with CRAs only in writing.

And:

Banks deal with lots of angry people, and are optimized to treat this like a customer service problem. Some do better and some do worse at this, but you never want identity theft treated like a customer service problem. Their CS department is scored on number of tickets resolved per hour, and each rep’s incentives are simply to classify you as something requiring no followup and get you off the phone.

Instead, you want to communicate with the bank in a manner which suggests that you’re an organized professional who is capable of escalating the matter if the bank does not handle it themselves. You do not yell – not that you’re ever verbally speaking with anyone, but you wouldn’t yell in a letter, either. You do not bluster. (“I will tell on you to my attorney” is, generally, bluster, and that’s bluster that is common to people who do not actually have attorneys.) You instead present as if you’re collecting a paper trail.

Actually, that last bit is great advice if you need to handle any problem with any company. Acting professional will get you much further than not.

What Football Will Look Like in the Future

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I highly recommend reading this story put out by SB Nation about what football will look like in the future.

It looks at the future of football...in the year 17776. Very creatively written and presents a number of philosophical ideas about the future of humanity. It also presents a future for humanity I hadn’t considered before.

Forewarning: it’s long (25 chapters), so I recommend reading it over a number of days. It was originally released one chapter per day.

Found via Daring Fireball.

Federal government to test 'name-blind' recruiting process

The CBC:

The pilot program will involve six of the government’s biggest departments: National Defence; Global Affairs Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Public Services and Procurement Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

The project, which will hide applicants’ names from hiring managers during the initial screening process, will compare the results with outcomes from traditional applicant shortlisting. Brison said research has shown that English-speaking employers are 40 per cent more likely to pick candidates with an English or anglicized name than an ethnic one.

Credit to the Canadian government for this initiative. Usually changes like this start in the private, not public, sector. I hope the CBC follows-up with the results of this trial, as I think they will be illuminating.

It’s worth remembering that even if this is successful, name-blind recruiting isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to fighting discrimination in hiring. Once selected for an interview, a candidate still has to make it through an in-person interview where their minority status will inevitably be revealed.