What is Happening at Standing Rock

What is Happening at Standing Rock?

In the last two days living at standing Rock has been a matter of life and death. Police have deployed all measures possible against Standing Rock protesters. What was the cause of Standing Rocks chaos? The protest is against multi-billion dollar pipeline (Dakota Access oil pipeline) which people believe that will negatively affect water supplier in the area. The demonstration has been off and on for months.

Violence Erupts at Standing Rock

On Sunday 20/11/2016 violence erupted at standing Rock, wherein the protesters set two vehicles and a bridge on fire. The protesters were estimated to be about 400 in number. The police used several means to stop the ongoing demonstration. According to Donna Hushka (a spokeswoman for the sheriffs department) the police had to use the water cannon to control the protesters. Not only did the law enforcement use water cannon but they also used rubber bullets and teargas. The demonstration was reported to be going on Monday morning.  Here is a video of some of the violence that has broken out at Standing Rock.

The demonstration left more than 150 protesters and one police injured. According to one of the Doctors, the protesters affected were soaked by water in low temperatures (about 23 degrees). The protesters were first dispersed with tear gas then soaked down with freezing cold water. It was reported that approximately 200-300 people were admitted to a hospital on late Sunday night for treatment. Seven people were admitted to a hospital for serious injuries. Among the patients with serious injuries were two elders who suffered cardiac arrest.

Causes of the Violence

According to protesters the recent clashes started when they tried to remove a roadblock on a bridge that was blocking the route to the city of Bismark. The people had negotiated with the law enforcement earlier on but it took them several weeks to fulfill their promise. The roadblock posed as a threat to the people accessing the protest camp.

The Water Supply and the Pipeline

Thousands of people are against the 1,170-mile oil pipeline, pointing out that it will threaten the main source of pure water. The contractors behind that project have come out to express their thoughts. The Energy Transfer Partners (the contractors behind the project) have pointed out that it will take all necessary measures to make sure the water source (Missouri River) is not affected.

The Appeal to President Obama

The elders from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe called on President Obama to stop the pipeline construction as early as possible to prevent more violence. The tribe leaders said that they were disappointed with the law enforcement and the methods they used against the protesters. At the beginning of this month President Obama addressed Standing Rock people, whereby he said that they will wait for several more weeks and decide the best solution to the situation.

Explaining White Privilege in America

Explaining White Privilege in America

The existence of white privilege in America has become a burning issue. People of both white and black/ brown communities are questioning the fact that America a country of white privilege and they are endowed with more facilities than people of color.

What is white privilege?

Now the question is, what does the term ‘white privilege’ actually means? White privilege is a social term which gives white people access to extra social, political and financial benefits that are unavailable to people of color. It is more institutional than personal.

Does white privilege exist in America?

Some people would say white privilege is just a term, it has no legitimacy. They will use President Barak Obama as an example, but exceptions can’t be an example. Also Mr. Obama has to fight more opposition than any other president in history. Using Obama as an example does more to prove white privilege than to disprove the idea.

Facts that support the idea that white privilege exists in America

Rate of arrest– There is a strong mindset that black people are born criminal. As a result, they get arrested and punished for minor crimes, whereas, any white people will receive less punishment committing the same crime. As an example, white people use more drugs than black people. The rate of use of drugs among black people is 16% but 37% of the criminals arrested for drug offences are from the black community.

Less facilities in the education sector– In 2013 a report was published by Georgetown University calming that despite of being ineligible white students are more likely to be selected by 468 elite schools and universities.

Underestimated in job sectors– There are many homeless and jobless people in America but the number of black people and people of color is higher among them. Here education and skills are not barrier;here the problem is race and color.

Being angry is a crime– Just because of the skin color black people are often labeled as “angry black man”. As if getting angry is a crime and black people are the only ones it happens to. People who use Michelle Obama as an example, for them a line from Michelle’s experienced is shared here- “That’s have been the image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’ am some kind of angry black woman.”

Housing Discrimination- According to the report of National Fair Housing Alliance, more than 4 million Latinos and Africans face housing discrimination each year.

As it is said before white privilege is not a personal act, rather it is an institutional act. That being said pretending that institutional racism doesn’t exist will not help solve the issue of racism happening all over the country.