Have We Entered the Era of Crowdsourced Hate-Funding?

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Lynching rose to prominence in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably in the Deep South during the dawn of Reconstruction. Lynching was extra-judicial, vigilante action used to intimidate African Americans — and sometimes sympathetic whites — to enforce racist Jim Crow law. Individuals who participated in lynch mobs were seldom convicted in a court of law, even if properly identified, meaning perpetrators were safe, generally anonymous, and rarely held accountable for their actions.

Perhaps more disgustingly, lynching was a public spectacle, often treated as a family-friendly community event. It was not uncommon for children to be brought to the sight of lynchings, as a victim’s body hung lifelessly from a tree. So agreeable were whites to the racial violence of lynching, many took photos gathered around the victim, united as one for the cause of a dead black man.

While lynching has occurred less frequently since the Civil Rights Movement, its legacy remains present in the modern era; the noose remains symbolic, and makes regular appearances at many universities. The mob mentality persists as well, now in the form of the digital campaign, where individual donors unite as one.

In the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and allegations of first-degree rape and sexual battery of eight black women, lucrative crowdsourcing fundraisers were established for George Zimmerman, officer Darren Wilson and officer Daniel Holtzclaw, respectively.

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Michael Nutter’s Beautiful, Empty Words About Ferguson

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OK, we’ve probably beat up on the Philadelphia Police Department enough for one summer. We’ve suffered through a new scandal, retreaded an old scandal, questioned the connection between this department and the tragic events of Ferguson, Mo., and seen the rise of a new movement to increase the department’s accountability to the public.

Most of this was necessary.

But before we we leave the summer — hopefully for a future filled with mutual respect between police and citizens, the highest ethical standards for each, and the end of “no snitch” culture — let’s consider one last thing: The words of Mayor Michael Nutter.

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“Wannabe” Anarchists Taunt Police in West Philly

A pack of what some are calling “trust fund anarchists” crashed a peaceful Ferguson rally in Clark Park Saturday evening, then tried (and failed) to goad the police into an overreaction by lobbing paint-filled balloons at a cop car, according to local news reports.

According to the West Philly Local, two of the protesters were arrested; a 20-year-old female and West Philadelphia resident, and a 25-year-old man from New York. From the Local:

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Where Is the Outrage Over James Foley’s Beheading?

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There have been two weeks of outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of the shooting are still fuzzy, but the anger is crystal clear and exposes a still deep and ugly divide in America.

In sharp contrast, the beheading of James Foley by Islamic State extremists did not prompt the same outrage or protests. The details of the beheading are on video for anyone with the stomach to watch (WARNING: GRAPHIC). The international divide it exposes is equally ugly and far more dangerous. It should unite us as Americans, as the Islamic State on the other side of the divide wants to kill us all, regardless of color or class.

And yet the growing threat of the Islamic State is a secondary story to Ferguson. It speaks more to our national media than the greater population. Ferguson is easier and much less expensive to cover. The growing threat of ISIS — the greatest threat to America and the civilized world in recent history — is more dangerous and more expensive to cover.

And besides, stories that divide us rather than unite us make for better TV. Two sides yelling at each other is the formula for cable news success. The importance of a story and journalistic responsibility lost in the battle for ratings and revenue long ago.

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10 Ferguson Twitter Accounts You Need to Follow

People protest Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. As night fell Sunday in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police attempted to push them back by firing tear gas and shouting over a bullhorn that the protest was no longer peaceful.

People protest Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. As night fell Sunday in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police attempted to push them back by firing tear gas and shouting over a bullhorn that the protest was no longer peaceful.

Since the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have taken to the streets to protest. Long before major media were on the ground, Twitter provided to-the-minute updates of events, and continues to be the most reliable reporting resource. Below is a list of 10 individuals you should follow on Twitter if you want to know what’s really happening on the streets of Ferguson, because the likes of CNN can’t be trusted to even report what’s happening outside of its own doors:

1. Antonio French (@AntonioFrench), St. Louis Alderman of the 21st Ward.

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Cops Push CNN’s Don Lemon at Ferguson Protest

“Imagine what they are doing to people when you don’t see on national television, the people who don’t have a voice like we do.”

This is what Don Lemon said during a CNN live shot yesterday, not long after he was shoved by a police officer while reporting on a protest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Lemon, formerly a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter for NBC 10, said he had been standing in that spot all day. Police were attempting to move the protesters due to traffic concerns. “I think from my perspective here, the police actually created the traffic situation and the situation that’s going on, the chaos here, rather than the people who are just standing here,” Lemon said in his report.

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Ferguson Protest: Tourists Pose With “Dead” Teen at LOVE Park

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On Saturday afternoon, Juilliard theater student Lee Edward Colston and Carver High School of Engineering and Science graduate Keith Wallace, among others, staged a silent Ferguson protest at iconic LOVE Park in Philadelphia, a popular destination with tourists for photo opportunities. And with Wallace — an MFA acting student at the University of California who is home on summer break — lying on the ground portraying Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot dead by Ferguson police, the tourists continued snapping their smiley photos. Read more »

Enough Is Enough: Ferguson, Authority, and America’s Never-Healing Race Wound

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I know this is going to devastate a bunch of whiny privileged white people and politicians who would just love to say that we’re “post-racial” because we have a mixed-race president, but here we go:

America has a serious problem with police. And, it’s not a problem with police and everyone else. It’s a problem specifically between police (or people who fetishize authority) and people of color.

On August 9th, 2014, the 18-year-old Michael Brown was stopped by authorities in Ferguson, Missouri. Whatever happened during that stop is unclear. What is clear, however, is that Brown, a young African American man with seemingly no weapon on his person, was shot to death by police.

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