I am a long-time lurker on this list; I logged into this discussion because
I was confused by the thread title & then was rapidly shocked by the overt
& explicit racism in Sammy's posts here. Sammy, whoeever you are:
seriously?! Yikes. I couldn't imagine feeling comfortable, as a ARSC member
of color (I'm neither), with this organization when statements like this
are allowed to fly around on a public list-serv! Sammy, have fun wondering
if police murders of POC constitute crimes. Have fun waiting for courts to
rule that those crimes are crimes. Have you heard what we're out here
marching for? That's not how this system works. No justice, no peace.
This has *everything* to do with recorded sound, insofar as structural
racism is literally the *infrastructure* of everything we know -- of every
discipline, of every hobby, of the entire protocols and ordering logics of
who can move, collect records, whatever it is, safely in this world; and
for whom carrying a bag of skittles is a death sentence. And, yes, the
history of recorded sound -- its present, and, unless we do something, its
futures -- are shaped by institutional racism. Any number of people on this
list have written books & developed projects exposing and amplifying those
Black Lives Matters & calls to defund & abolish the police & attendant
systems of incarceration aren't a "political" issue -- what does that even
mean? Unless it's "political" to say Black people shouldn't be subject to
death, incarceration, overpolicing, simply by living in a deeply racist
society that hasn't even begun to do reparations work for centuries of
slavery. Is that political? If so, guess you're not gonna like hearing that
structural racism is political. Denying it is political. You're being
*hella* political right now, Sammy. If fighting for racial justice is
political, everything is political. These are meaningless words deployed to
shut down a meaningful effort at solidarity on ARSC's part, which, already,
like those of almost all white-led, historically white-serving cultural
organizations, is already way too little, too late. It's the *least* ARSC
If you're a white person writing these devil's advocacy hypotheticals, I
want to just come right out and say you're advocating for the murder &
continued making-fungible of Black bodies. Neutrality is not only not an
option; it's an open vote for white supremacy. We *see* you saying that.
It's gross, man.
Kudos to those ARSC members calling this sort of thing. I know almost none
of you and am not a member besides enjoying biscuits with you all at the
Chapel Hill conference several years ago, and have no affiliations to
maintain; so I have the luxury of calling it like I see it, and, damn: this
ain't it, Sammy.
Come the fuck on.
In closing, in response to your question, "I have to ask again, why are we
even in this position?" -- I offer that you educate yourself on the
loooooong history of anti-blackness & ongoing structural-systemic violence
against & dispossession of Black, Indigenous, & POC in this country -- what
Saidiya Hartman calls the "non-event of emancipation" -- & pray the answer
you arrive at lands you with a different set of commitments & priorities
than the ones you're -- shockingly -- comfortable expressing here, now.
and in solidarity with BIPOC & Black lives,
Jess from Ohio
On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 3:18 PM Sammy Jones <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Paul Stamler writes:
> "Precisely what criminal cases has the ARSC board expressed an opinion
> I respond:
> Have you read the Statement from the ARSC Board Opposing Racism and Police
> Here's the text where the ARSC board takes a stand on several cases of
> deaths of African Americans following interactions with police:
> "The recent killings and acts of police brutality against Black Americans
> serve as horrifying
> reminders that racism is not only still here, but it is systemic,
> affecting all aspects of our lives.
> The Association for Recorded Sound Collections stands in support of, and
> in service to, our
> Black members, as well as those in the community at large who face
> violence and oppression
> every single day. Today we remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony
> McDade, Ahmaud
> Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and countless others who have lost their lives."
> Full text, here:
> Specifically, do you see the names of several people written there in
> connection with a statement about police brutality? None of these cases
> have been litigated in court. Charges are still pending, charges have not
> been filed in some cases, and we, as of yet, have no idea how any court
> will decide on any of these matters. The ARSC Board is connecting the
> deaths of the named individuals with police brutality (a question for the
> criminal justice system) and racism (also, potentially, a question for the
> criminal justice system).
> What if the outcome of these cases (or some of these cases) is that no
> crime was committed? Or that a crime was committed, but that no racism was
> involved? I'm merely asking these questions, as I, like you and the ARSC
> Board, have no idea what the answer will be. If any of those scenarios
> play out, could ARSC could find itself the subject of a defamation lawsuit?
> Why is the ARSC Board weighing in on any of these complex issues? We
> elected them to be leaders in recorded sound. I have expressed my
> professional concerns about having the board of an organization for record
> collectors and archivists speak for me on issues that I have to provide
> unbiased coverage of. Others may have objections on different grounds.
> That is for them to voice, if they feel moved to do so.
> I have to ask again, why are we even in this position? What does any of
> this have to do with recorded sound? If the answer is that ARSC advocates
> for certain cases currently making their ways through the criminal justice
> system, I must vehemently protest, and also must consider whether I can
> continue my membership. I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that, as I
> have found my ARSC membership meaningful and valuable in my hobby as a
> record collector and playback and transfer enthusiast.
> Sammy Jones
*Jess Lamar Reece Holler*
Public & Community-Based Folklorist & Oral Historian
Historic Preservation & Heritage Consultant
Caledonia Northern Folk Studios <http://caledonianorthern.org> -- Caledonia
& Columbus, Ohio
oldelectricity [at] gmail [dot] com
"Later there might be goldenrod, but let it come."