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Tag: "racism"

“Donald Trump Destroyed My Life”

[ 104 ] January 28, 2017 |

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I have never been more ashamed of my nation than I am today. Just one of many examples of the real life consequences of a fascist president.

Egyptian officials said the family had visas and were in transit when they were prevented from boarding the EgyptAir plane to New York’s JFK airport.

Fuad Sharef, 51, and his wife and three children were instead forced to board a flight back to Erbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, he told AFP.

Trump had on Friday signed a sweeping executive order to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“I had sold my house, my car, my furniture. I resigned from work and so did my wife. I took my children out of school,” said Sharef of the family’s preparations to resettle in Nashville, Tennessee under a special immigrant visa.

Back in Erbil, the pharmaceutical industry manager, who had previously worked for an NGO subcontracted by the US aid agency, said he was devastated.

“Donald Trump destroyed my life. My family’s life. I used to think America was a state of institutions but it’s as though it’s a dictatorship,” he said.

“For a decision like this to come out and be implemented immediately, and against whom? Against a valid visa holder.”

“I put my life at risk, working with the Americans at a time that it could have gotten you killed,” he added.

The United States of America is a racist embarrassment to the world.

Also, this is yet another reason why a vote for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General is a reason to evict a senator from the Democratic Party.

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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III: A Line in the Sand

[ 141 ] January 27, 2017 |

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As I have stated before, any senator who votes to confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General should be expelled from the Democratic Party. Charlie Pierce agrees:

There is only one exception at this point. Any Democratic senator who votes to confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General should immediately be rendered dead to the party and to every Democratic voter in the country. The context of the immediate moment makes this imperative.

If it isn’t clear by now, there’s a powerful new campaign of voter suppression coming down the road. It doesn’t matter whether the sudden amplification of the “voter fraud” meme is due to the fact that the president* is delusional on the subject, or due to the fact that he needed a diversion from the stories about Russian ratfcking that were beginning to pile up on the South Lawn, or simply due to the fact that Republicans suppress votes because they’re Republicans.

It could be for one of those reasons. It could be for all three of them. The motive isn’t the point. The point is that we soon likely will be in the middle of the greatest political brawl over the franchise since 1965.

At a moment like this one, it simply will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who was deemed too racist to be a federal judge 30 years ago. It will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who launched a dirty-tricks prosecution of voting-rights activists when he was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama. It will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who greeted the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 by noting that it was “good for the South.”

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions simply will not do.

It doesn’t matter if the next nominee is worse. Beat that person, too. It doesn’t matter how tough this may make your next re-election campaign; you didn’t get elected to get re-elected. The issue of voting rights is too important to the country—and, god knows, to the party—for it to yield to any other consideration. It is an existential issue, for the republic and for the Democrats. There is no room for compromise or horse-trading. The Democratic Party should stand for the expansion of the franchise and for a greater ease in exercising it. Neither of these goals has a chance with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions running the Department of Justice.

All of this. I find Democratic votes for Ben Carson or Rex Tillerson pathetic. And we can argue that there’s a line in the sand to be drawn over Betsy DeVos and Tom Price. But Sessions, that is completely unacceptable. Basically every Democrat except for our Senators is quickly coming to understand that complete resistance is the only response to Trump. We already see what happens when you have a mentally ill president with a Nazi as his top advisor in the White House. This is literally the position we find ourselves in. Nothing positive can come of a single vote for Jeff Sessions at this time. We are already looking at the legal rollback of much of the civil rights movement in the next 4 years. And I say that without hyperbole. There can be no reason for any Democrat to be complicit in this.

And that includes Joe Manchin. I actually think Manchin gets a bad rap from liberals. His voting record is actually pretty good on most issues, all things considered. And he is a Democratic senator in what may well be the most racist state in the nation, one that has gone hard right in the last decade largely because Barack Obama was president. He has to vote for coal to survive, and I am largely OK with that barring his vote meaning something for legitimate climate change legislation. But he simply cannot vote for someone who is going to repeal the civil rights movement. If Democrats stand for ANY ONE THING, it is this. We are pro-civil rights. We refuse to allow this to happen. And if you contribute to that by voting for a modern Nathan Bedford Forrest as Attorney General, you are finished as a Democrat.

The March of Fascism

[ 88 ] January 26, 2017 |

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Make America White Again:

Further the president said that the Secretary of Homeland Security will be publishing a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants, and of the cities that refused to turn them in for deportation. The order doesn’t say whether the list would single out only undocumented immigrants, or all immigrants.

To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.

This proposed list is a move reminiscent of Breitbart News, the conservative site founded by Trump senior advisor Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior strategy: infamously, Breitbart had a “black crime” section, opened as a response to Black Lives Matter.

Heil Tangerine!

Your Jim Crow Republicans

[ 30 ] January 25, 2017 |

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The new governor of South Carolina seems nice.

S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster will take his membership in the all-white Forest Lake Club with him to the Governor’s Mansion.

A pair of Democrats say the state’s next Republican governor must quit that membership to truly represent all of South Carolina.

However, a Republican in the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature says the membership is a non-issue.

McMaster, a member of the exclusive club for more than three decades, has no plans to quit the country club, his spokesman told The State.

McMaster also declined to renounce his membership in 2014, when then-Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers, now a CNN commentator, brought the issue up in their race for lieutenant governor. S.C. voters seemingly didn’t care. McMaster crushed Sellers by 19 points in that election.

Sellers said Friday that McMaster’s association with the club makes him a symbol of the past, like the Confederate flag.

“Henry McMaster is a good ol’ boy who is emblematic of where we’ve come from in South Carolina,” Sellers said. “For the next two years in South Carolina, maybe six, we will be stuck in the status quo.”

Status quo? If you are lucky. Given where the national Republican Party is going, a return to some sort of Jim Crow is far from impossible. And South Carolina is always going to lead the way on racism in government, or so it always has.

I’d like to say this is the greatest outrage you will hear about today. But it will probably about #23 on the list.

Who Knew Racists Were So Sensitive to Ridicule

[ 48 ] January 19, 2017 |

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Above: A Dignified Arizona Republican legislator

I guess I wouldn’t think Arizona Republicans would table their bill to ban the teaching of any course they think smacks of racial justice in their state’s public universities because the faint shadow of what used to be The Daily Show ridicules them, but then I wouldn’t have thought they would have elected a fascist reality TV show star to the presidency either.

How the Conservative King Was Created

[ 52 ] January 16, 2017 |

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Today is our annual reminder that the conservative cooptation of Martin Luther King continues in its grotesque march forward away from the truth into a fascist candyland of “colorblindness” to serve the purposes of white supremacy. How did this begin? I am always skeptical of monocausal explanations, but its pretty clear that Grandpa Caligula played a pretty big role. Reagan of course hated King, rode white supremacy into the White House, and then resisted creating the MLK holiday with support from his good friend Jesse Helms. Why did he change his mind and sign the bill? Pure politics and realizing that he could message King into meaninglessness.

However, in a dramatically about-face, Reagan capitulated in the final months of 1983. The month following his news conference—and fifteen years after Michigan congressman John Conyers first introduced legislation for the King observance—Reagan sat on the White House lawn and signed a bill establishing a federal holiday for a man he had spent the previous two decades opposing, whilst several hundred attendees sang “We Shall Overcome.”

Yet even after he publicly changed his position, Reagan wrote a letter of apology to Meldrim Thomson, Jr., the Republican governor of New Hampshire, who had begged the president not to support the holiday. His new position, Reagan explained in the letter, was based “on an image [of King], not reality.” Reagan’s support for the federal King holiday, in other words, had nothing to do with his personal views of the civil rights leader. Instead the holiday provided Reagan with political pretext to silence the mounting criticism of his positions on civil rights. By 1983 Reagan faced an onslaught of criticism from groups such as the NAACP and the Urban League for his aggressive assaults on affirmative action and court-ordered busing. With a reelection bid on the horizon, he began to make more concerted efforts to pacify his critics and soften public opinion over his open hostility to civil rights. The King holiday was the primary component of this effort.

Reagan’s pivot on the King holiday provided a two-pronged benefit. On the one hand it would pacify critics of his positions on civil rights, but on the other it enabled Reagan to position himself as the inheritor of King’s colorblind “dream”—a society in which “all men are created equal” and should be judged “not . . . by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”—in order to advance the anti-black crusade he had waged since the 1960s, now under the alluring mantle of colorblindness.

The notion of a “colorblind” approach to U.S. law originated in 1896, when Justice John Marshall Harlan argued in his dissent to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision—which established the legal precedent for racial segregation—that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional because “our Constitution in color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Nearly sixty years later, Justice Harlan was vindicated when the Warren Court invalidated Plessy in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Yet Harlan and Reagan understood colorblindness in profoundly different ways. For Harlan, colorblind law safeguarded non-whites from the institutionalization of white supremacy in state and local governments under Jim Crow. For Reagan, who opposed both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, colorblindness offered an effective ideology through which to roll back the victories of the civil rights movement.

Reagan’s efforts to align himself as the inheritor of King’s colorblind “Dream” picked up considerably during his second term in the White House. Reagan’s assistant attorney general for civil rights, William Bradford Reynolds, began defending the president’s opposition to civil rights programs by insisting that Reagan’s actions were informed by King’s colorblind philosophy. Throughout his second term, Reagan would frequently turn to the colorblind rhetoric, and only the colorblind rhetoric, of the civil rights movement to justify his continued assault on civil rights as a realization of King’s dream.

The most revealing example of Reagan’s second-term King strategy occurred on January 17, 1986. Three days before the inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Coretta Scott King unveiled a three-foot solid bronze bust of her slain husband in the Capitol rotunda (later moved to Statuary Hall). After the ceremony Reagan met with King and other civil rights leaders and urged them to “never, never abandon the dream” of a colorblind United States. Reagan’s rendering of King begins and ends on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It is a King who said little more than a single sentence: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Absent entirely from Reagan’s representations of King are his critiques of capitalism, the war in Vietnam, nuclear weapons, or white supremacy.

D’Souza

[ 206 ] January 15, 2017 |

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I find Dinesh D’Souza so confusing. The man clearly wants to return to the Jim Crow years. Or even slavery. But why does he think that if that was to happen, he wouldn’t be affected by it? Here is D’Souza on slavery:

Recently convicted felon and conservative columnist Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “The End of Racism,” provides some great examples of rewriting race. D’Souza says of slavery, “No free workers enjoyed a comparable social security system from birth until death.” Later, he writes, “Masters … encouraged the family unit which basically remained intact.” In a particularly appalling passage, he writes, “slavery appears such a relatively mild business that one begins to wonder why Frederick Douglass and so many other ever tried to escape.” And concludes, “In summary, the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.”

And then his tour de force tweet of yesterday:

I actually expect this from Attorney General Forrest. But, again, why does D’Souza think he would be excepted from the racist regime he fights for?

The Harvard Cross-Burning

[ 27 ] January 15, 2017 |

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I was reading an academic article yesterday and came across a reference to a 1952 cross burning at Harvard, as white students protested 8 black students living in a dorm. One of those students was J. Max Bond, who would late become a leading architect, not to mention being the cousin of Julian Bond. I was curious to see if Harvard had done anything to remember this really horrible incident, as it was the first I had heard of it. Turns out, no.

Max’s widow, Jean Carey Bond, a writer, teacher, and activist, had prepared an 11-page recollection of his life. In it, she noted that Max entered Harvard at age 15, finished in three years, graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Yet shortly after his fifteenth birthday, he was welcomed by the burning cross. Even more outrageously, wrote Ms. Bond in the handout, he was subsequently threatened by the Harvard administration (presumably to protect the University’s image) that any black student who reported the incident to the Boston media would be suspended.

But Max and Lou Sharpe, co-chair of the Harvard Society for Minority Rights, defied the threat, and a story or short account of the cross-burning appeared in The Crimson, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the New York Times, and elsewhere, in the U.S. and abroad. As someone (white) whose work and personal life are replete with anti-racism activities, I decided I’d try to get Harvard at least to apologize for their alleged threat (and the censorship that threat would have constituted). While this is a very different era in U.S. race relations and one hopes that such an event would not happen today, past incidents of racist behavior certainly deserve an apology, if only for its educational or symbolic value.

I first wrote a letter to the editor of Harvard Magazine. Next I went to the top: On Sept. 2, 2009, I wrote University President Drew Gilpin Faust, recently appointed as Harvard’s first female president, referring to my just-published letter, summarizing the history, and urging an institutional apology. Indeed, Brown University had just recently apologized for its own racial history. In return, Faust wrote me, essentially asking for documentation of the threat and clearly reluctant to accede to my request.

While I made some real effort to locate such documentation, attempting to contact the relevant deans at the time, such historical documents are essentially closed to researchers; contacting those of Max’s fellow black students whom I could find (some of whom—more than five decades later—had only dim memories of the incident), but who were unable to pass on to me any firm proof of who made the threat, to whom, and in what form.

President Faust’s response struck me as truly off-putting and defensive—no offer to search the archives (by me or someone else) for relevant documentation, no willingness to contact Jean Carey Bond or their children to find out what Max had told them of that incident, no trust that Jean was accurately reporting something Max had conveyed to her. President Faust’s words: “Unfortunately, in a university as old as ours there will be many regrettable incidents involving administrators whose values are different from ours, and not all of them are easily verifiable after much time has passed… [The] episodes described in your letter to the magazine are particularly egregious and make painful reading. I do appreciate your bringing them to my attention.”

Of course Drew Gilpin Faust, one of the nation’s leading Civil War historians, has been a general embarrassment as Harvard president to anyone who thinks historians should apply the lessons about injustice that they write about to the present. Really shameful. Harvard needs to do something to apologize for this and commemorate it on campus.

Right to Work a Man to Death

[ 27 ] January 14, 2017 |

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A key reminder that the intellectual founder of the right to work a man to death movement was Vance Muse, anti-Semite, racist, and anti-worker. Of course these things are not unconnected. Neither are they today as Kentucky destroys its unions and Missouri may well do the same, building on the many states to do so in recent years.

Muse had long made a lucrative living lobbying throughout the South on behalf of conservative and corporate interests or, in the words of one of his critics, “playing rich industrialists as suckers.” Over the course of his career, he fought women’s suffrage, worked to defeat the constitutional amendment prohibiting child labor, lobbied for high tariffs, and sought to repeal the eight-hour day law for railroaders. He was also active in the Committee for the Americanization of the Supreme Court, which targeted Justice Felix Frankfurter, a Vienna-born Jewish man, for his votes in labor cases.

But Muse first attracted national attention through his work with Texas lumberman John Henry Kirby in the Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution, which sought to deny Roosevelt’s re-nomination in 1936 on grounds that the New Deal threatened the South’s racial order. Despite its name, the Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution received funding from prominent northern anti-New Deal industrialists and financiers including John Jacob Raskob, Alfred P. Sloan, and brothers Lammot, Irénée, and Pierre du Pont.

Among Muse’s activities on behalf of the Southern Committee was the distribution of what Time called “cheap pamphlets containing blurred photographs of the Roosevelts consorting with Negroes” accompanied by “blatant text proclaiming them ardent Negrophiles.” Muse later defended the action and the use of its most provocative photograph: “I am a Southerner and for white supremacy… It was a picture of Mrs. Roosevelt going to some n—-r meeting with two escorts, n—–s, on each arm.”

In 1936, on the heels of the Southern Committee’s failure to deny Roosevelt’s nomination, Muse incorporated the Christian American Association to continue the fight against the New Deal, offering up a toxic mix of anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Communism, and anti-unionism. The Christian Americans considered the New Deal to be part of the broader assault of “Jewish Marxism” upon Christian free enterprise.

The organization’s titular head, Lewis Valentine Ulrey, explained that after their success in Russia the “Talmudists” had determined to conquer the rest of the world and that “by 1935 they had such open success with the New Deal in the United States, that they decided to openly restore the Sanhedrin,” that is, both the council of Jewish leaders who oversaw a community and the Jewish elders who, according to the Bible, plotted to kill Christ.

This “modern Jewish Sanhedrin” – which included people like Justice Frankfurter and NAACP board member Rabbi Stephen Wise – served as the guiding force of the Roosevelt Administration and the New Deal state. Vance Muse voiced the same anti-Semitic ideas in much simpler terms: “That crazy man in the White House will Sovietize America with the federal hand-outs of the Bum Deal – sorry, New Deal. Or is it the Jew Deal?”

By the early 1940s, Muse and the Christian American Association, like many southern conservatives, focused much of their wrath on the labor movement, especially the unions associated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The Christian Americans solicited wealthy southern planters and industrialists for funds to help break the “strangle hold radical labor has on our government” through the enactment of anti-union laws.

Muse and his allies continued to claim that Marxist Jews were pulling the national government’s strings, but the membership of this cabal shifted from the likes of Wise and Frankfurter to CIO leaders like Lee Pressman and Sidney Hillman. The Christian Americans, like other southern conservatives, insisted that the CIO – which had become shorthand for Jewish Marxist unions – was sending organizers to the rural South to inflame the contented but gullible African-American population as the first step in a plot to Sovietize the nation.

Nice guy. Perfect for the Republican Party of 2017.

Also, in case any needs a primer on the origin of my term for those laws.

Subtext: A Quaint Idea of the Past

[ 49 ] January 12, 2017 |

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Remember when we used to talk about how sometimes Republicans would “say the quiet parts loud” or that “subtext became text” when they would say the racist stuff out loud without trying to hide it? That’s such a cute thing of the past. Because in Trump’s America, you can just be an open racist and wave that freak flag. That very much includes people in power, such as Alabama’s lizard congressman Mo Brooks.

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks said in a radio interview on Tuesday that criticism of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump’s pick to be attorney general, is part of an ongoing “war on whites” by Democrats.

“It’s really about political power and racial division and what I’ve referred to on occasion as the ‘war on whites.’ They are trying to motivate the African-American vote to vote-bloc for Democrats by using every ‘Republican is a racist’ tool that they can envision,” the Republican congressman said on “The Morning Show With Toni & Gary” on WBHP 800 Alabama radio. “Even if they have to lie about it.”

Wanting black people to be able to vote and trying to keep Nathan Bedford Forrest out of the Attorney General’s office is indeed a war on whites.

See also:

There’s Always a Market to Blame Black People

[ 114 ] January 11, 2017 |

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Damon Linker, Very Serious Thinker, follows up on his pre-election writing that Donald Trump and his fans just can’t be a bunch of racists and his earlier concern trolling about immigration by blaming intersectionality for the decline of the Democratic Party.

This is a Very Serious Thinker.

I wonder what the connection is between all of these pieces? I just can’t put my finger on it…..

What on Earth Was the Los Angeles Times Thinking?

[ 112 ] December 12, 2016 |

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The Los Angeles Times is subject to a lot of outrage right now for printing letters to the editor that defended placing Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during World War II. What would cause them to do such a thing? The newspaper has apologized but there are deeper issues at play here. What are the boundaries of acceptable political ideas today? Well, as we are discovering day by day, every single historical issue about which we thought we expressed shame–genocide against Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese internment–are all now being actively defended by Trump supporters. And because the mantra of the media is that Both Sides Must Be Represented, these absolutely revolting viewpoints are being mainstreamed. This is deeply disturbing and as I have been saying, we are simply going to have to fight this at every juncture. Thanks to all the people who expressed their disgust at the LA Times for this.

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