alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

black lives matter

Here's when citizens are justified in using violence

If you see police choking someone to death – such as Eric Garner, the 43-year-old black horticulturalist wrestled down on the streets of New York City in 2014 – you might choose to pepper-spray them and flee. You might even save an innocent life. But what ethical considerations justify such dangerous heroics? (After all, the cops might arrest or kill you.) More important: do we have the right to defend ourselves and others from government injustice when government agents are following an unjust law? I think the answer is yes. But that view needs defending. Under what circumstances might active self-defense, including possible violence, be justified, as opposed to the passive resistance of civil disobedience that Americans generally applaud?

Keep reading... Show less

Local News Station Sparks Massive Backlash After Posting About Marijuana Found in Home of Black Man Killed by Police

Local news station FOX4 on Thursday night added fuel to the fire of outrage at the death of Botham Jean in Dallas, Texas, after reporting that marijuana has been found in his apartment — a fact many observers argued was irrelevant to the case.

Keep reading... Show less

Black Student Activists Face a Penalty in College Admissions

Back when I taught at a predominantly white, selective liberal arts college, I came across a book called “Acting White? Rethinking Race in ‘Post-Racial’ America.”

Keep reading... Show less

'A Gaping Wound in the Nation’s Psyche': Civil Rights Advocate Calls for Reopening the Michael Brown Shooting Case

Black Lives Matter grew out of the tumult and outrage in Ferguson, Missouri, after the 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by the police officer Darren Wilson. An investigation into the killing never led to any charges, even as rampant racist abuse was discovered to be endemic in the local police force.

Keep reading... Show less

‘Unite the Right’ Organizer Awarded a Cool $5 After Suing Black Lives Matter Activist Who Called Him a 'Crybaby'

A judge in Charlottesville on Friday awarded avowed white nationalist Jason Kessler $5 after determining an activist violated Virginia’s anti-dueling statute by yelling curse words at him, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports

Keep reading... Show less

NFL Owners Admit They Changed Their Minds About Hiring Kaepernick 'Because of Trump': Lawyer

Colin Kaepernick's lawyer said on the "Straight Aim" podcast this week that President Donald Trump's opposition to the player's national anthem protests is the reason he was not hired by any NFL team, citing the sworn testimony of several coaches.

Keep reading... Show less

'Taser! Taser! Taser!': New Video Shows Violent Police Takedown of Black Milwaukee Bucks Player

Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown was tased and brought to the ground by police in a video released by police Wednesday, which Mayor Tom Barrett said was “disconcerting” and “disturbing.”

Keep reading... Show less

The Federal Government's Secret War on Black Activists

Eight months ago, the images of a white mob in Charlottesville rallying around Confederate statues landed on our front pages and in our news feeds. Even the most cynical readers were shocked by the incident. Despite the terror and racism that fueled that moment—one that ended in a murder—it is Black protesters, not white supremacists, who are the targets of a campaign of surveillance and intimidation that’s gaining strength in the federal government.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Focusing on People of Color Will Help the Movement for Gun Control Succeed

Any discussions of gun violence and the regulations needed to curb it are incomplete unless they include an analysis of how racism plays a role. Government data show that “black Americans are, on average, eight times more likely to be killed by firearms than those who are white.” Gun violence by police against ordinary Americans also disproportionately affects people of color—a fact that the Black Lives Matter movement has been organizing around for six years. Thankfully there is a strong connection growing between the movement and the burgeoning youth-led push for gun control.

Keep reading... Show less

Killed in Cold Blood: Alton Sterling’s Family Decries Decision Not to Charge Officers for Murder

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has announced the state will not bring charges against two white police officers from Baton Rouge for the 2016 killing of Alton Sterling, an African-American father of five. Bystander video shows Sterling was pinned to the ground by the two police officers when they shot him. Alton Sterling’s killing sparked nationwide protests. It’s the latest case in which authorities have refused to bring charges against officers for killing civilians, despite video evidence of the killings and mass protests demanding accountability for the death. We speak to Chris Stewart, an attorney for Alton Sterling’s children.

Keep reading... Show less

Naomi Wadler, 11: I Speak for Black Girls Victimized by Guns Whose Stories Don’t Make the Front Page

Hundreds of thousands rallied for gun control in Washington, D.C., today for the March for Our Lives. The march was organized by survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Speakers included 11-year-old Naomi Wadler of Alexandria, Virginia.

Keep reading... Show less