BLACK LIVES MATTER: JONNY DESTEFANO

BLACK LIVES MATTER
By Jonny DeStefano
Published Issue 078, June 2020

Cyborg thugs once again bringing violence to a peaceful protest.

The overwhelming majority of Black Lives Matter protesters have been peaceful, respectful and brave beyond our comprehension, despite the hundreds of years of deep and inexcusable failure in our country to reform our criminal justice system and branches of law enforcement. These horribly brutal practices and killings by law enforcement and government agencies are rooted in the history of our country dating back to slave patrols and our mere practice of slavery in and of itself. When an entire group of people is under such imminent danger from both explicit and implicit violence and murder, it’s time we stand in solidarity and take action. Now. Forevermore. Black Lives Matter.

Take Action. Show Solidarity. Give Support. Donate. Learn More: Black Lives Matter | Black Lives Matter 5280 | Colorado Freedom Fund | Black Owned Businesses In And Around Denver | Colorado Black Arts Festival | Denver Justice Project | Soul 2 Soul Sisters | Showing Up for Racial Justice – Denver | The Denver Foundation Anti-Racism Approach | Denver Black Pages


A Growing Resource List for the Movement for Black Lives 
by AIGA Eye on Design


The following is from an open-sourced Google doc list which is meant to reflect the rapidly evolving nature of this moment. Though this list is not artist or designer-specific, AIGA Eye on Design included a list of platforms where you can find Black designers, illustrators, and Black-owned design studios for you to hire and support. Please feel free to edit their document with your own resources + suggestions as this list is far from complete.


Bail funds and memorial funds  

Organizations seeking donations

In addition to bail funds, there are groups and organizations that are fighting for Black racial justice and anti-racism that could use your support right now. Please also consider setting up a recurring donation to any of these organizations if you’re able—this helps give organizations a reliable revenue stream for regular operating costs and longer term planning. 

A coalition to demand that Minneapolis divest from policing and invest in long-term alternatives.  

Transformative justice organization for developing Black leadership in Minnesota. Both Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block are Black-run and have been doing important on the groundwork for the protests in Minneapolis. 

An organization that pays criminal bails and immigration bond for those who can’t afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing. It has encouraged people to donate to local Black and BIPOC-led organizations like the two above and to George Floyd’s family. 

The NAACP’s legal organization fighting social justice. 

Actions you can take now 

  • The Movement For Black Lives, alongside organizers and activists across the country, have initiated A Week of Action in Defense of Black Lives from June 1-5. Each day holds a new demand and recommends actionable steps you can take in your own community, sorted into low, medium, and high risk. 

Resources

“Wear a mask and eye protection, carry lots of water for hydration and first aid, and have a health plan for before, during, and after your participation.” A resource by Raina Wellman and Lauren Sarkissian that addresses how to navigate protesting in the time of COVID-19. 

The Washington D.C. chapter of AIGA created a thorough resource list for people who want to deepen their understanding of anti-racism. Includes books, articles, podcasts, films, organizations to follow, and resources for parents looking to raise children with an awareness of anti-racism. 

A guide by Manassaline Coleman for who to target with social media and digital protesting tactics and how to make your messages most effective. Support Coleman’s work on this guide by sending her money through Cashapp: $saliine. 

From 2014, a guide for engaging in the movement for ending police and state violence against black people if you are unable to attend rallies and protests. 

An open source guide to becoming a more effective ally by Amélie Lamont.

Optical allyship is “allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally,’ it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away the systems of power that oppress.”  A super straightforward and clear guide for NOT doing that, by Mireille Cassandra Harper. 

A guide by Annika Izora centering Black queer, trans and nonbinary folks and Black women so you can create your own ongoing reparations plan.  

From Spaceus, a growing list of artists who are working to raise funds for the movement by selling their work. 

Hart, a Black queer activist, writer, and sexuality educator offers webinar courses on anti-racism, resistance, and analysing structures that perpetuate “mass marginalization under global capitalism.” After learning 101, go ahead and take Hart’s Social Justice 102. 

One of the most comprehensive Google docs we’ve seen, containing many of the community bail funds, memorial funds, political education resources, orgs, and general advice/tips for people attending protests or using social media as an organizing tool.

This guide is non exhaustive compilation of ways cultural institutions, public or privately funded, where people in places of curatorial responsibility are overwhelmingly white and/or light skinned, as well as spaces that utilise the white cube(/black box) as the display frame, can and should and will have to redistribute their material and immaterial resources when welcoming Black folks, people of color and our audiences. Pullout Guide by Eunice Belidor.

The Antiracist Classroom is a student-led organization at the Art Centre College of Design focused on counteracting racism and white supremacy in design education and practice.

Mayors pledge, other resources at
https://www.obama.org/mayor-pledge/

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WX_GXhkhY-GH8fagak58CdiEY8Z7Kdtn9_MGoneP-xM/edit?usp=sharing Bilingual (Spanish & English) resource on anti-Blackness in Latin America and BLM 

Where to find Black designers, illustrators, and Black-owned design studios to hire 

Designers offering free services 

  • Wkshps is offering free consulting time to Black and Black-led non-profits, cultural organizations, businesses, artists, and designers.  
  • Design to Divest (via Vanessa Newman/ @fiveboi) A task force of designers who have been holding weekly virtual meet ups during quarantine is offering its services to Black organizers free of charge. 
  • Lucky Risograph in New York is offering free printing services for activists and organizers fighting for racial equality.
  • Companion—Platform in Berkeley is offering to print materials for protests for free along with contactless pickup. 
  • Body Language Shop is offering to make graphics for social justice organizations, educators, and community organizers. 
  • Direct Angle Press is offering free Risograph printing for Black Lives Matter activists and organizations in New Hampshire. 
  • Collective Power, a collective of designers, writers, artists, and strategists, is offering free design services for BIPOC owned businesses.
  • Rachel Zeroth is a Twin Cities designer offering free design services with priority given to the BIPOC community, organizers, and businesses. (Contact Rachel
  • Daly is offering pro-bono consulting to any pro-BLM & justice organizations and cause groups that need help fundraising. 

Talks from/about Black designers

This list is just a start— we invite you to add to it.

Aaron Douglas

Antionette Carroll

Arem Duplessis

Ashleigh Axios

Ashley Ford 

Bobby Martin

Ced Funches

Crystal Martin

Dian Holton

Dontrese Brown

Emmett McBain

Forest Young

Ian Spalter

Jason Murphy

Kevin Bethune

Sylvia Harris

Anne H. Berry & Penina Acayo Laker

Rick Griffith 

Events to Have on Your Radar

Activists to follow on social

This list is just a start— we invite you to add to it.

Anti-racism reading 

Ed note: We ask that whenever you can, please don’t buy these books from Amazon. In most cases, we’ve linked directly to the author’s website. You can buy from local bookstores at Indiebound.org and Bookshop.org, and buy ebooks and audio books on Kobo. We’ve also tried to include any links to directly compensate these authors in addition to buying their books, which we encourage that you do if you are using and accessing their work. 

Oluo has been writing about race since the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, when she turned her food blog into a space for talking about issues of racism and injustice. She’s since become an influential speaker and writer on these topics, and her book So You Want to Talk About Race? is New York Times bestseller. We find that it’s a good primer on racism and guide for continuing the conversation. 

“Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.” Saad also runs the Good Ancestor Podcast, is an incredible force on Instagram, and first published her book as a free PDF in 2018 (which she now asks that you don’t use as it’s since been updated). To make sure she gets paid for the work she does that we all benefit from, support Saad’s work on Patreon

For an in-depth history of how race was invented and constructed, and how the idea of whiteness has carried forth throughout history, from the ancient Greeks (who had no concept of race) up to today. It’s slightly academic, deeply informed, and a truly engaging read. 

Sociologist and educator Robin DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” in 2011 to describe the defensiveness that white people exhibit when their ideas about race and racism are challenged. In her 2018 book, she illustrates how this behavior reinforces white supremacy and prevents meaningful dialogue, ultimately aiding an understanding that racism is not a practice that is only restricted to “bad” people. See also DiAngelo’s anti-racism resources for white people and her interview on Layla Saad’s excellent Podcast Good Ancestors

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.”

Eddo-Lodge, a London-based journalist, decided to write this book out of her frustration that the conversations in Britain around race weren’t being led by the people who are affected by it. The result is a book that explores issues such as the whitewashing of history and feminism and the political purpose of white dominance. The book turns three years old this week, and Eddo-Lodge is asking that anyone who buys her book donate the same amount to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.

The lines of oppression are already drawn. The only question is, Which side are you on in the struggle against the violence that is white supremacy and policing? Taking Sides supplies an ethical compass and militant map of the terrain, arguing not for reform of structurally brutal institutions but rather for their abolition.

“a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States, but Alexander noted that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. “

Angle Davis is an activist, philosopher, and educator. This PDF is a collection of her interviews from February 2013 to June 2015. She discusses the Ferguson trials, Palestinian conflict, and the foundations of Movement. She unpacks oppression and the state of violence in America. This is an inspirational read for those interested in activism, Black feminism, and intersectionality. 


Why Minorities Are Overpaying for Auto Insurance (and How to Make a Change)

By Saphia Lanier
Originally published on reviews.com | July 30, 2020
 

The injustices minorities face in America today extend far beyond police brutality and mass incarceration. Every day, Black people are also facing challenges that impede their ability to lead successful lives. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Getting unfair wages, missing out on advancement opportunities, and being denied business loans is a part of the issue. However, we also find minorities are faced with other problems, like getting access to affordable auto insurance. 

For example, did you know that auto insurers discriminate against residents who live in specific ZIP codes? One report shows auto insurers charge those living in predominantly Black neighborhoods 30% more than in white communities. And an analysis done in four states (Chicago, California, Texas, and Missouri) found significant gaps between the premiums charged to minority and non-minority neighborhoods. For instance, in Illinois, six auto insurers were found charging an average of 30% more for premiums for Black drivers. 

Systemic racism is an underlying issue in America for minorities. The design is to oppress minorities financially and educationally, as well as within the justice system. Hiking up auto insurance rates is yet another form of this. Not only does it add to financial hardship, but it can also lead to other problems for minorities who can’t afford the high premiums and end up driving without auto insurance. Some may receive tickets, a suspended license, or even jail time. Then, in the future, obtaining auto insurance will be even more expensive for these drivers due to a poor driving record. 

In this article, we explore how these racial disparities in auto insurance rates come about and what minorities can do. 

How Your ZIP Code Impacts Your Rate

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to use your ZIP code to determine your premium. They do this by looking at factors like:

  • The number of claims in the area (the more, the higher your rate)
  • Population density (the more, the higher your odds of an accident)
  • Environmental/geographical factors (extreme weather like snowstorms can pose driving threats)
  • Unemployment rate (odds of customers losing work and not paying their premium)
  • Road conditions (potholes and dangerous intersections can be treacherous)

Based on these factors, you can see how minority communities can be targeted for higher rates. You’ll find many are impoverished and struggle with poor road conditions, high population densities, and high unemployment. 

But why are insurance companies charging minorities significantly more than non-minorities? Is it truly because of high population density and other similar factors present in prominently Black neighborhoods, or that minorities have worse driving records and pose a higher risk to the auto insurance provider? This would make sense if data didn’t reveal otherwise.

In the report mentioned earlier, we find that in Illinois, 33 out of 34 auto insurers charge at least 10% more for safe drivers in minority ZIP codes than in risky white ZIP codes. In a study by the Consumer Federation of America, it shows that in the densest urban centers, predominantly Black areas are charged 60% more than those in mostly white areas with equal density. It also reveals that good drivers living in minority neighborhoods are being charged a stunning 70% more than those in white ZIP codes. 

Let’s put this in perspective: A white driver with a good driving record is charged $622 compared to $1,060 for a minority driver. 

Here are more facts from the report:

  • Drivers in predominantly Black ZIP codes pay 60% more in premiums than in equally dense, mostly white urban neighborhoods.
  • Drivers in minority communities in rural areas pay 24% more than in white rural ZIP codes. 
  • Major companies like Progressive and Farmer’s Insurance charge those living in predominantly Black ZIP codes 92% more for premiums. Other insurers with similar practices include Allstate (56%), State Farm (62%), and Geico (52%). 
  • In metro areas like New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Washington D.C., Orlando, and Boston, the premiums are 50% higher for predominantly Black ZIP codes. 

And this doesn’t afflict only the poorer minorities either. It gets worse the more income minorities earn. For example, the average premium for upper-middle-income Black neighborhoods is 194% higher. That’s $2,113 for an upper-middle-class Black driver compared to $717 for an upper-middle-class white driver.

“These findings suggest a troubling pattern of high rates in African American communities regardless of driver history,” Tom Feltner, Director of Financial Services at the Consumer Federation of America, said on their website. “We are not rushing to judgment about why this happens, but it is urgent that regulators, lawmakers, and the industry take a hard look at these findings and address the impact of high auto insurance prices on drivers living in predominantly African American communities.”

How Traffic Tickets Factor Into Racial Disparities

What role do traffic tickets play in racial disparity? When it has to do with unfair auto insurance hikes — a lot. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the most common reason for driver-police contact is traffic stops. And when it comes to “driving while Black,” we find a significant disparity in the distribution of traffic tickets. 

Black drivers are almost two times more likely to be pulled over than white drivers (even though white people tend to drive more frequently), and young Black men have even higher odds of being pulled over — more than Black women and older Black men. With this high rate of traffic stops, minority drivers are more likely to receive a ticket for minor traffic infractions than white drivers. 

There are also stories of African Americans being pulled over for no reason and then threatened to be ticketed by the officer if they make an issue of it. This has become a significant concern because cops use traffic stops to find criminals (using search and seizures and warrant checks) instead of focusing on bad drivers. 

Because of the injustices minority drivers face on the roadway, they’re more easily targeted by auto insurers looking to charge higher premium rates. One of the factors insurers look at when you apply for coverage is how many traffic violations you’ve had in the last three years. If you’re given a speeding ticket, it can lead to an average 13% increase in an auto insurancepremium. That’s because the insurer believes you’re at a higher risk of getting into an accident. 

Unfortunately, if you’re an African American, then the odds of having been issued one or more speeding tickets are highly likely, which means higher insurance premiums. 

Can Red-Light and Speed Cameras Help?

If being prejudice is a human issue, wouldn’t it make sense to remove humans from the equation to eliminate racism? Well, that’s one reason some are pushing for more traffic cameras. It’s believed that by using red-light and speed cameras, it’s possible to reduce racial-inspired traffic stops, allowing police officers to focus more on serious crimes.

With the use of cameras, rather than minority drivers being targeted by police officers, all drivers would receive tickets in the mail when they run a red light or speed. Of course, if a driver happens to do this in front of an officer, it wouldn’t prevent them from being pulled over.

These cameras are already being used across the nation, although not widely. Roughly 153 jurisdictions in 17 states are currently using speed cameras (up from 111 in 2012). However, a third of them are in Maryland. And, unfortunately, the same adoption rate isn’t seen with red-light cameras. In 2012, there were 556 red-light cameras, and now there are only 340. Another 13 states have either partially or entirely outlawed speed cameras, and another eight states banned red-light cameras. 

There are studies showing speed cameras help to reduce crashes near the cameras, and that red-light cameras decrease the amount of red-light running. And while it’s great that these cameras can improve the way people drive, there’s a more pressing reason to get them — reducing racism in American policing. You know this is an issue when you have a Black U.S. Senator (Tim Scott) admitting to being pulled over seven times annually at the beginning of his political career. In many cases, it was because he was driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood. 

The only time racially-charged traffic stops are lower is at night, and that’s because it’s harder to see who’s driving. This is another reason why installing more traffic cameras can minimize the frequency of racist traffic stops. 

How You Can Help Bridge the Gap

Traffic cameras can significantly help the injustice minorities face with police officers. But there are other ways citizens can seek help with reducing racial disparities in auto insurance pricing. 

One way is to support bills like the one written by U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif. This bill requests the federal authorities to investigate racial disparities in auto insurance premiums. This would include the collection of ZIP-code-level claims from around the country to determine whether insurers are overcharging minority communities. And if they are, then determine whether the higher rates are justified (like having a higher risk of bigger payouts in those neighborhoods). 

The proposal received praise from civil rights groups and should receive the support of the public. Although citizens aren’t included in the voting process for bills, you can still support it by writing a letter to your legislators. Be sure to reference the bill name and number in your letter, along with why you support it. Getting family, friends, and others in your community to do the same can help push legislators to vote in your favor. 

Another way to bridge the gap is to only do business with minority-owned insurance providers, or those that aim to eliminate racial biases. Also, reporting clear cases of discrimination against minorities can help build records of incidents that repeatedly occur for particular officers and departments. This way, when they are investigated, there’s mounting evidence of racist policing. 

Even police reform, which is gaining momentum amid the Black Lives Matter movement, can potentially reduce racial profiling during traffic stops. In this case, police departments would be stripped of extra resources, which would, in turn, reduce their contact with the public. As a result, it can minimize the racial profiling of drivers that can lead to auto insurance hikes for minorities. As an added benefit, these police funds would be reallocated to support people and services that help marginalized communities (education, homelessness, mental health, etc.). 

The Bottom Line

Police discrimination against minorities is a real and growing problem. As more research is performed and published for the public to view, it’ll only create more pressure for change. But it’s up to consumers and advocacy groups to demand it. 

This is possible by following up with legislators about bills aimed at eliminating racial profiling conducted by the police and privately-owned companies. By staying on top of the injustices minorities face and standing up for what’s right, the hope is that we will soon bridge the gap and make these problems disappear.


About the Author

Saphia Lanier is a freelance writer with 13 years of experience in SaaS, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. She specializes in writing informative, yet engaging content on technologies that enhance your business and marketing techniques to grow your online brand. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard (or researching MarTech trends), she’s in the kitchen crafting delicious vegan recipes with her husband and children.