Tag: racism

The Pump don’t work…

…cause the vandals stole the handle.

A group of graffiti artists (BlakCollectiv), led by Kalkidan Assefa, created an impressive, and legal, mural during Ottawa’s Pride Week honoring transgender women of color who had been murdered during the past year.

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On Wednesday night an unknown person or group who were offended by the memorial spray painted over much of the mural and added these sentiments:

RACIST BULLS–T

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ALL COLORS MATTER

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ALL LIVES/NO DOUBLE STANDARD/YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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Rant of the Weeek: Jon Stewart – Wack Flag

Jon Stewart – Wack Flag

As timely as ever.

Ferguson: One Year Later Nothing Changed

It is one year since a young black man was gunned down by a white police officer on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri for jay walking. Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent cover up of his murder by the police and prosecutor’s office sparked months of demonstrations that were marked by more police brutality and violation of the constitutional rights of the protestors and the press.

Seven months later, the Justice Department cleared the white police officer, Darren Wilson, of civil rights charges. However, in a scathing report the police and the courts routinely demonstrated racial bias and violated the constitutional rights of the black citizens of Ferguson with illegal traffic stops, arrests without reasonable suspicion and excessive fines for minor infractions. Then Attorney General Eric Holder misguidedly thought that this report would effect change. The still mostly white Ferguson city council rejected the report and its reforms. And, as seen by this week’s violence, arrests of reporters and use of excessive police tactics during the demonstrations on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, nothing has changed and once again there is a state of emergency in Ferguson and St. Louis County.

The state of emergency was precipitated by the shooting and critical wounding of an 18 year old black man by undercover police who claim that the young man was firing at them. The officers were not wearing body cameras and unmarked vehicle they were in was not equipped with a dash camera. So there is only their word.

In the original New York Times article, this quote, cited by Esquire‘s Charles Pierce, from State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson, was removed:

“After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic,” Kayla Reed, a field organizer with the Organization for Black Struggle, said in a statement. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson, said on Monday that she was seeking information about the shooting. “I’m just trying to figure out the timeline of events and ensure that police officers are following protocol,” said Ms. Chappelle-Nadal, who has been active in protests here. The shooting, which came toward the end of an otherwise peaceful day, was another vexing turn for activists and the authorities alike. It was the second consecutive night of gunfire on West Florissant Avenue.

There is also the issue of arresting reporters on bogus charges supressing freedom of the press:

Huffington Post, Washington Post Reporters Charged For Doing Journalism In Ferguson (UPDATE)

by Michael Calderone, Huffington Post

“You’d have thought law enforcement authorities would have come to their senses about this incident.”

Reporters from The Huffington Post and Washington Post have been charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer’s performance, a chilling setback for press freedom coming nearly a year after their arrests in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were arrested while working out of a McDonald’s on Aug. 13, 2014, just four days after white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Police claimed the journalists, who were covering the unrest that followed the police killing, didn’t leave the restaurant fast enough.  Reilly described a police officer shoving his head against glass during his arrest, while Lowery said an officer pushed him into a soda machine. Both Lowery and Reilly were quickly released and not charged with any crime at the time.

The decision to charge Reilly and Lowery now is especially surprising, given that St. Louis County settled just last week with two other journalists arrested while reporting in Ferguson.

Until recently, Reilly and Lowery believed their incidents with police were long over with. The Huffington Post reported last month that the St. Louis County Police Department filed incident reports in late April describing the two reporters as trespassing in the McDonald’s. Police referred their cases to the St. Louis County counselor’s office, which, given a one-year statute of limitations, had until Thursday to bring charges.

Peaceful, unarmed protesters and reporters doing their jobs are harassed and arrested. Now, the vigilantes have arrived:

Heavily-armed members of a controversial right-wing “patriot” group added an extra dose of unease to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, early Tuesday.

The Oath Keepers organization says its members – all former military, police and first responders – pledge to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

However, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described their presence as “both unnecessary and inflammatory.”

Protesters and police confirmed that a handful of Oath Keepers with what appeared to be assault rifles, bulletproof vest and camouflage gear were seen early Tuesday on the streets of Ferguson, which was under a state of emergency following demonstrations pegged to the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

Several protesters confronted members of the group, asking why they were allowed to openly carry weapons.

“I’m happy that we’re able to defend ourselves,” one Oath Keeper replied in footage from NBC station KSDK. “It’s been our right for a long time.”

The St. Louis County Police Department said it would consult with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorneys Office about the legalities of the issue.

Missouri allows individuals with concealed weapons permits to openly display firearms, unless it is done in an “angry or threatening manner.”

Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for St. Louis County Police, said he did not believe officers had confronted the Oath Keepers or told to leave.

Holy crap on a pogo stick, protesters are arrested for lawful assembly, two reporters are being railroaded, black men are still being indiscriminately shot by white cops, yet, civilian white men, armed to the teeth are allowed to roam free on the streets of Ferguson, unchallenged by the police or courts. Seriously, nothing has been learned from last year. Not one damned thing.

The Ugly Truth About the US Criminal Justice System

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

With the latest incident in Waller County, Texas that ended in the suspicious death of Chicago civil rights activist Sandra Bland three days after she was arrested for a minor traffic infraction, the discussion of racism and brutality by officers in police departments across the United States has again been raised. The account of Ms. Bland’s arrest and death are being questioned by the family, civil rights groups and the media.

Footage has emerged of police allegedly slamming the head of a woman to the ground as she was arrested just days before she committed suicide in jail.

Sandra Bland, a Chicago civil rights activist, was found dead in her cell at Waller County Jail in Texas.

She had been booked three days earlier on grounds of assaulting a public servant after the fraught arrest by the side of a highway, during which she angrily accused officers of harming her.

An autopsy performed a day later classified her death as suicide by hanging – though friends and family have said there is no way Bland would have killed herself.

Bland was part of the ‪#‎BlackLiveMatter movement and posted videos about civil rights and racism on social media.

In an effort to quell the public outcries for more thorough investigation, Texas authorities released the police car dash-cam video. However, this raised even more questions since the video not only contradicts arresting officer Brian Encina’s written account of the traffic stop and the events that led up to Ms. Bland’s arrest, the video also appears to have been edited which the Texas Department of Public Safety is denying.

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.

There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps.

In another spot at 32 minutes and 37 seconds, a white car appears on the right side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, Encinia is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech.

What look like the same cars keep appearing in the same locations, following their same paths, beginning at 33 minutes and 4 seconds.

Again, the audio continues uninterrupted.

The glitches in the video sparked a wave of skepticism and questions in social media, with many critics arguing that the evidence had been edited.

Ed. Note: The original video in the article was disabled by the user, presumably the Texas Department of Public Safety, who said that a new video would be posted later. This a full, unedited copy of the one that was originally posted.

One of those critics is “Selma” director Ava DuVernay who said in a tweet

Racism and brutality are ingrained and systemic in many police departments. Worst of all it is condoned and covered-up by those who are charged with oversight of these departments. The host of MSNBC’s “All In” Chris Hayes discussed the problems encountered by former Chicago Independent Police Review Authority Investigator Lorenzo Davis, who was fired from his job for refusing orders to reverse his findings of unjustified shootings by Chicago police officers.

After being confronted on stage at NetRoots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona by “BlackLivesMatters protestors, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for major police reforms after he watched the dash-cam video. While much racism is rooted in economic issues, it is also systemic in our society and the heritage of white supremacy. The battle for equality for blacks and other oppressed minorities is far from over in this country. “BlackLivesMatter. Let’s start making it matter to the criminal justice system and hold these officers of the law accountable for the laws they break.

Take Down That Flag

It took the deaths of nine people in a church by a white supremacist to wake people, organizations, businesses, state and local governments that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of treason and racism. In South Carolina, where the shooting occurred, the state legislature is slow to move on taking the flag down from the state capital grounds where it flies padlocked to the top of the pole. They are debating to debate. One person decided that not to wait for the defenders of treason and hate. So with a little help from her friends, Bree Newsome, a 30 year old black film maker song writer, did what no one else had the courage, or decency, to do, she climbed the pole and took the flag down.

Ms. Newsome and her friend, James Tyson, was arrested and released on bail. They could face up to three yers in jail and a $5000 fine, She and Mr, Tyson, spoke with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman about the reasons they took this action.

Their action came 10 days after Dylann Roof, who embraced the Confederate flag, allegedly massacred nine African-American churchgoers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

From atop the flagpole, Bree Newsome said, “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!” Newsome explained her choice of words. “In one of those nights where I was pondering, ‘Have I completely lost my mind in doing this?’ I read the story of David and Goliath, and David says to Goliath, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, and I come against you in the name of the Lord,’ and that, for me as a black woman in America, that’s what that moment felt like, because I come from a historically completely disempowered place,” Newsome said. “And so I think that’s why it was so powerful to a lot of people, especially to black women, to see me up there holding that flag in that way.”



Transcript can be read here

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – Charleston Church Shooting

There are no jokes, just Jon doing what he does like no one else in the midst of a tragedy.

“I didn’t do my job today. I apologize,” Stewart said, after explaining how his primary daily duty is to mock the daily news. “I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina. Maybe if I wasn’t nearing the end of the run or this wasn’t such a common occurrence, maybe I could have pulled out of the spiral. But I didn’t. And so I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist.

“I’m confident though that by acknowledging it – by staring into that and seeing it for what it is – we still won’t do jacksh-t,” Stewart continued. “Yeah. That’s us. That’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument […] what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves.” […]

“We invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe. ‘We gotta do whatever we can – we’ll torture people. We gotta do whatever we can to keep Americans safe,'” Stewart said. “Nine people. Shot in a church. What are you going to do about that? ‘Hey, what are you going to do. Crazy is crazy is, right?’ That’s the part I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around. And you know it. You know it’s going to go down the same path.”

Stewart pointed out how the media has already shied away from calling the murders a “terrorist attack.”

“I heard someone on the news say, ‘Tragedy has visited the church.’ This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist,” Stewart said. “I hate to use the pun, but this one was black and white. There’s no nuance here. But we’re going to keep pretending. We are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it.” […]

“Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them who wanted to start some kind of civil war,” Stewart said, before laying into South Carolina for still having the Confederate flag flying over its state capitol.

“The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We’re bringing it on ourselves,” Stewart said. “Al Qaeda, all those guys – ISIS. They’re not sh-t compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”

Your Moment of Zen

Tell FBI Director to Read the Law!

The murder of nine people in the AME Emanuel Church in Charleston, NC Wednesday night was a racially motivated hate crime. It was also an act of domestic terrorism, just not according to FBI Director and war criminal James Comey

“Terrorism is act of violence done or threatens to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act and again based on what I know so more I don’t see it as a political act,” Comey said at a press conference Friday in Baltimore.

Authorities arrested Dylann Roof, 21, earlier this week in connection with the killing of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Some have called the incident an act of terror. The FBI’s official definition of terrorism is: “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.

The Department of Justice thinks otherwise

Federal officials are investigating the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina as a potential “act of domestic terrorism” as well as a hate crime.

“The department’s investigation of the shooting incident in Charleston, South Carolina, is ongoing,” Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said in a statement Friday.

“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism,” she added.

Someone needs to tell the Director to rad the law. Here is the legal definition of “domestic terrorism” from 18 U.S. Code § 2331:

   (5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that –

     (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

   (B) appear to be intended –

     (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

     (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion ; or

     (iii) to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

   (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

What part of that law did Comey miss? The assassin, Dylann Roof made it abundant;y clear in his manifesto what his intentions were. On, wait, it’s a white guy that’s not a Muslim.

You’ ve Got to Be Carefully Taught


If racism, as many right wingers are claiming, is a mental illness, there a lot of mentally ill people in the world and too many of them are given access to guns. But the Republicans who can’t seen to admit that the murder of nine black women and men in a church in Charleston, South Carolina by a 21 year old male, white supremacist is an act of racial terrorism of the black community, not mental illness. Racism is taught. You have to be taught to hate and fear, you have to be carefully taught. The United States has a problem racism that a good many prominent whites are refusing to admit.

Why the GOP Hates Talking About Hate: Conservatives Can’t Confront Racism in Charleston Shooting

By Ana Marie Cox, The Daily Beast

In the 24 hours after the massacre inside Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, GOP politicians and members of the conservative commentariat have tried to explain Dylann Storm Roof‘s motivations on a spectrum that runs from merely murky to the explicitly anti-religious.

They have taken pains to avoid the abundant evidence that Roof was a sadly familiar figure: a young man motivated by racism to violence.

Louisiana Governor and passive presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal inserted the shruggie icon into the debate, averring that we should defer to the expertise of police detectives in sussing out the connection between Roof’s documented history of racist sympathies and his perhaps coincidental murdering of black people: “Law enforcement will figure out what his so-called motivations were.”

South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham pointed out that it’s Christians who are the serial killer flavor of the month: “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” His fellow campaign traveler Rick Santorum opined that the slaughter was part of a larger “assault on religious liberty.” And Rand Paul blamed the massacre on “people not understanding where salvation comes from.”

Fox & Friends couldn’t help dumbing down the debate by framing it simply as an “Attack on Faith,” while anchor Steve Doocy wondered aloud how people could “unbelievably” “call it a hate crime.”

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?

By Althea Butler, The Washington Post

Police are investigating the shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in an effort to terrorize the black communities that those churches anchored. One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

But listen to major media outlets and you won’t hear the word “terrorism” used in coverage of Tuesday’s shooting. You won’t hear the white male shooter, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, described as “a possible terrorist.” And if coverage of recent shootings by white suspects is any indication, he never will be. Instead, the go-to explanation for his actions will be mental illness. He will be humanized and called sick, a victim of mistreatment or inadequate mental health resources. Activist Deray McKesson noted this morning that, while discussing Roof’s motivations, an MSNBC anchor said “we don’t know his mental condition.” That is the power of whiteness in America.

U.S. media practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans and Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs, motivated by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolfs – Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston already emphasized this shooting was an act of just “one hateful person” – violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion. Even black victims are vilified. Their lives are combed for any infraction or hint of justification for the murders or attacks that befall them: Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie. Michael Brown stole cigars. Eric Garner sold loosie cigarettes. When a black teenager who committed no crime was tackled and held down by a police officer at a pool party in McKinney, Tex., Fox News host Megyn Kelly described her as “No saint either.”

That has been evident today on both Fox News, who trotted out conservative racist Rich Lowery, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was pushing the mental illness meme. Heavens forbid, they should call Dylann Roof what he is, a racist terrorist.

Along with Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Butler discussed the double standard with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman.



Transcript can be read here

No, people, racism in NOT a metal illness but it does have an effect on the mental state of its targets.

Racism Is Not A Mental Illness

By Julia Craven, The Huffington Post

Racism is not a mental illness. Unlike actual mental illnesses, it is taught and instilled. Mental illness was not the state policy of South Carolina, or any state for that matter, for hundreds of years — racism was. Assuming actions grounded in racial biases are irrational not only neutralizes their impact, it also paints the perpetrator as a victim.

Black people, on the other hand, do suffer actual mental health issues due to racism. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the media digs into Roof:

   Black people are often expected to “shift” away from our cultural identities, which can heighten our vulnerability to depression and other psychological issues, as well as cause us to internalize negative stereotypes.

   Racial discrimination, according to The Atlantic, increases the risk of stress, depression, the common cold, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, hypertension and mortality — all of which exist at high rates in my community.

   Race-related stress is a stronger risk factor for mental duress than stressful life events are.

   Black people’s physical health takes a hit as well due to the perception that whites want to keep us down.

   Racism created socioeconomic barriers that also can be detrimental to black mental health.

   For black women, the common “strong black woman” trope leaves no room for mistakes, which can force black women to internalize perfectionist tendencies in terms of our professional and academic work, our bodies (which are held to European standards) and our social lives. This leads to a tendency to not seek help and, in turn, heightened suicide rates. {..]

Racism isn’t a mental illness, but the psychological, emotional and physical effects on those who experience it are very real. And I’m exhausted.

It is long past time that American and the news media stopped skating around the issue that racism has gotten worse in this country. Racial hatred needs to be confronted not buried under the guise of mental illness.

The All American Sport

Since the protests in Baltimore over the death of a 25 year old black man while in police custody have closed the streets around the Baltimore Orioles’ home playground, Camden Yards, the team has had to cancel two games. At ESPN, a sports news media conglomerate, radio host Brett Hollander got onto a Twitter exchange with Orioles COO John Angelos, who schooled Mr. Hollander on the importance of the Constitutional right to protest the racial and economic inequalities in America. This is the transcribed Tweets by Mr. Angelos that were posted This is the transcribed Tweets by Mr. Angelos that were transcribed here for clarity by USA Today Sports:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

   That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

   The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

ESPN’s TV host, Keith Olbermann also weighed in on the side of Mr. Angelos praising him for his “elegant response”.

“Without protesters inconveniencing non-protesters, indeed with protest, you wouldn’t have a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution or a First Amendment to misquote that way,” Olbermann told Hollander on his show Tuesday night, before turning to the “far more elegant and serious” response from Angelos.

“In a time of trouble, when owners tend to dissolve behind spokesman and generalities,” Olbermann commended Angelos for his comprehensive reply. The host noted that the tweets were written on Saturday before the violence escalated, but said, “That a sports team owner should make that point, that he should act as if his city and the citizens that city represents, all its citizens, were more than just a name to stick on the team’s road uniforms, that is a rare thing indeed.” [..]

“This is not to applaud, condone or minimize violence against authority or by it. But if you are somehow ticked off that the Orioles aren’t playing, while they aren’t, maybe go reread with John Angelos wrote, “Olbermann concluded. “And at least rid yourself of the idea that the protesters are just doing this because they feel like it.”

Today the Orioles will play the Chicago White Sox in a home game in front of an empty stadium.  

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – The Brotherhood of the Traveling Chants & To Catch a Prejudice

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Chants & To Catch a Prejudice

A video surfaces of fraternity members from the University of Oklahoma chanting racial slurs on a bus, sparking a discussion about the effects of racism in the U.S.

Damaging the Liberal Brand by a Pseudo-Liberal

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Poor Jonathan Chait he wants so hard to take Liberalism back in time to some imaginary vision that he has of what is and in not politically correct in his world view. Poor Jon, he like all of us who are offended by racism and sexism and call it out, to STFU. We won’t. Get ready to be corrected, Jonathan, for being Politically Incorrect. First, the ladies:

When “political correctness” hurts: Understanding the micro-aggressions that trigger Jonathan Chait

By Joan Walsh, Salon

A new opus on progressive racial extremism features the liberal writer’s trademark mix of insight and overreaction

When New York magazine teased Jonathan Chait’s coming opus on race, politics and free speech last Friday – “Can a white liberal man critique a culture of political correctness?” – the hook alone was enough to send his Twitter haters into multiple ragegasms. I thought folks should save themselves some grief and at least wait until the story itself appeared before defaulting to fury. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

But to anyone who hated that teaser, I’m sure, the story itself is just that bad. Chait continues to pick the scab of his suffering over the fact that the every musing of white liberal men (and women, to be fair) about race and politics is no longer welcomed for its contribution to the struggle. He no doubt finished his piece before the Twitter backlash against Nick Kristof for suggesting the police reform movement find a more “compelling face” than Mike Brown, because he doesn’t mention it, though it’s the kind of thing that sets him off.

This is not to say that there are no good points in Chait’s piece, only that his tone of grievance and self-importance, as though he’s warning us of a threat to our democracy that others either can’t see or are too intimidated to fight, makes it very hard to parse.

Chait is over the terms “mansplaining,” “whitesplaining” and “straightsplaining,” as he thinks they’ve become efforts to silence or subdue men, whites and straights. He hates the whole concept of “micro-aggressions,” and I will admit here, I have my own ambivalence about the term: There ought to be a better word for the myriad slights from white people that undermine people who aren’t white. The label mocks itself; if they’re really  “micro,” shouldn’t we be spending our time on our bigger problems? Like so much rhetoric from the left, it’s best used preaching to the choir: I’m not sure anyone who isn’t already comfortable with the notion is going to have his or her mind opened by it.

‘PC culture’ isn’t about your freedom of speech. It’s about our freedom to be offended

By Jessica Valenti, The Guardian

If the worst thing ‘PCness’ does is make people occasionally feel uncomfortable when they do and say terrible things, we can all live with that

When a writer like New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait feels it necessary to whine in print about his and other (mostly well-remunerated) writers’ inability to write offensive tripe without consequence, I think: Boo-fucking-hoo. Get a real problem. [..]

If the worst thing that Chait’s version of “PCness” has wrought is that folks occasionally feel uncomfortable when they do and say terrible things, I can live with that and he should, too.

We are finally approaching a critical mass of interest in ending racism, misogyny and transphobia and the ways they are ingrained into our institutions. Instead of rolling our eyes at the intensity of the feelings people have over these issues, we should be grateful that they care so much, because racism, misogyny and transphobia can and do kill people. If the price we all pay for progress for the less privileged is that someone who is more privileged gets their feelings hurt sometimes – or that they might have to think twice before opening their mouths or putting their fingers to keyboards – that’s a small damn price to pay. That’s not stopping free speech; it’s making our speech better.

P.C. Policeman Jonathan Chait Can Dish It Out, But He Can’t Take It

By Amanda Marcotte, Talking Points Memo

While the article purports to be a lambasting of “the culture of taking offense” and censorious attitudes, it quickly becomes clear that the only speech Chait is interested in protecting is conservative or contrarian. When it comes to people saying uncomfortable or provocative things from the left, Chait comes across as just as censorious and silencing as any of the leftist prigs he attempts to criticize.

To be clear, Chait has plenty of examples of what has become a genuinely serious problem of liberals who react to uncomfortable ideas by turning to censorship: Harassment campaigns against conservatives, canceling plays or art shows because of political incorrectness, tearing down anti-choice posters.

But outside of those few examples, most of Chait’s article is not a defense of rowdy public discourse at all, but the opposite: Most of the piece is little more than demands that liberals silence certain forms of discourse that make Chait uncomfortable. For a piece that mocks the use of “trigger warnings” to alert people about disturbing content, it sure seems Chait has no problem trying to silence anyone who says something that might hurt his feelings.

Next, the guys:

Punch-Drunk Jonathan Chait Takes On the Entire Internet

By Alex Pareene, The Gawker

So, here is sad white man Jonathan Chait’s essay about the difficulty of being a white man in the second age of “political correctness.” In a neat bit of editorial trolling, New York teased the column with following question: “Can a white, liberal man critique a culture of political correctness?”

The answer, as anyone with internet access or a television or the ability to see a newsrack could tell you, is a resounding yes, they can and pretty much constantly do. But the second half of the question, and the real point of the column, was left unwritten: Can a straight, white man do this without having to deal with people criticizing him for doing so? The answer, in 2015, is no, and that is what has Chait’s dander up. [..]

A year ago, Jonathan Chait had an extended debate with The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates, an incredibly talented writer whose ongoing research and thinking on race and American politics and history have led him to become one of our foremost critics of American liberalism as a credo and philosophy. Chait, a strong believer in the righteousness of American liberalism, could not let it go, and he went on to embarrass himself. A broken Chait is now taking on the entire goddamn Internet, to prove that he’s still the important political thinker – and good liberal – he knows he is. [..]

Excessive speech-policing by overzealous campus activists certainly happens. But Chait is wildly exaggerating the threat it poses-calling it a “philosophical threat” to liberalism, instead of a minor annoyance people like Chait have to deal with in the brief period just before they officially assume their positions in America’s power elite. (This wouldn’t be the first time Chait has inflated a perceived threat to America to existential proportions.)

In reality, the single most notable example in the last 15 years of an academic being punished for his speech is probably former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who was fired not for offending feminists but for claiming that some victims of the September 11 attacks were complicit in the crimes of the American state that provoked the attacks. Just a few years ago, liberal Democratic members of Congress and other officials publicly demanded that Brooklyn College cancel a forum featuring academics who support a financial boycott of Israel. Lawmakers threatened to withhold funding from the school if the event took place. Just this month, Duke University announced that it would not allow a weekly Muslim call to prayer to happen at the campus chapel, following criticism and threats from Christians and evangelical leaders. This is what speech policing in America actually looks like: Like regular policing, it’s wielded primarily by people in power against marginalized groups and anti-mainstream opinions.

The Petulant Entitlement Syndrome of Journalists

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

When political blogs first emerged as a force in the early post-9/11 era, one of their primary targets was celebrity journalists. A whole slew of famous, multi-millionaire, prize-decorated TV hosts and newspaper reporters and columnists – Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, John Burns, Chris Matthews – were frequently the subject of vocal and vituperative criticisms, read by tens of thousands of people.

It is hard to overstate what a major (and desperately needed) change this was for how journalists like them functioned. Prior to the advent of blogs, establishment journalists were largely immunized even from hearing criticisms. If a life-tenured New York Times columnist wrote something stupid or vapid, or a Sunday TV news host conducted a sycophantic interview with a government official, there was no real mechanism for the average non-journalist citizen to voice critiques. At best, aggrieved readers could write a Letter to the Editor, which few journalists cared about. Establishment journalists spoke only to one another, and careerist concerns combined with an incestuous chumminess ensured that the most influential among them heard little beyond flowery praise. [..]

There are definitely people – most of them unknown and powerless – whose ability to speak and participate in civic affairs are unfairly limited by these sorts of abusive tactics. But whatever else is true, Jon Chait of New York Magazine, long of The New Republic, is not one of them. Neither is his friend Hanna Rosin of Slate. Neither is Andrew Sullivan – published by Time, The Atlantic, The New York Times, major book publishing companies, and pretty much everyone else and featured on countless TV shows – despite his predictably giddy standing and cheering for Chait’s victimization manifesto. Nor is torture advocate Condoleezza Rice of Stanford or HBO host Bill Maher. Nor, despite attacks at least as serious and personal, am I. Nor are most of the prominent journalists and other influential luminaries who churn out self-pitying screeds about the terrible online masses and all the ways they are unfairly criticized and attacked.

Being aggressively, even unfairly, criticized isn’t remotely tantamount to being silenced. People with large and influential platforms have a particular need for aggressive scrutiny and vibrant critique. The world would be vastly improved if we were never again subjected to the self-victimizing whining of highly compensated and empowered journalists about how upset they are that people say mean things online about them and their lovely and talented friends.

Jonathan Chait Upset About Diversity In Media

By DSWright, FDL News Desk

New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait, best known for being one of the “good liberals” who promoted the Iraq War, is still mad that The New Republic will no longer be a bastion for his kind of liberalism (along with pseudo-scientific racism and fraud). So mad he decided to take out his frustrations on the the fact that people of color, especially women of color, are on the ascendency in American media. Chait knows he is going into the twilight of his relevance in political commentary but won’t go quietly and, like a deranged gunman with nothing to lose, wants to take as many people down with him as he possibly can.

As is typical, Chait’s piece is preening posing as discourse and seems a pretty obvious (if ham handed) attempt at rehabilitating his troubled reputation after he was exposed by Ta-Nehisi Coates as lacking basic understandings related to race in American history. Now he wants to let people who ignore him know that by ignoring and marginalizing him they are attacking democracy itself. [..]

Chait’s piece focuses heavily on his view of how modern feminism and anti-racism has gone too far and centers around the rehashing of an often ill-informed controversy over the concept of “political correctness” something that has not been an actual left wing doctrine of relevance since the 1950s and comes out of the post-World War 1 cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School.  [..]

Of course, that’s Chait’s specialty – making useless points against strawman arguments in hopes of stoking a controversy and receiving the subsequent clicks. Aka trolling. And he’s done it again to great effect. Let this be the last time we fall for it and leave him to the darkness he so richly deserves.

Jonathan Chaits’s problem is that he and his pseudo-liberalism is no longer relevant and that is what needs to be exposed. Get a thicker skin, Jon, of find another hobby. This is the Internet.

ACM: The Black & White of the Civil Rights Movement Then and Now: Is It About Justice or “Just Us?”

by Geminijen

Finally saw the movie Selma last week, right after the MLK Day march. Found it to be an exhilarating fictionalized rendition of one of the more important moments in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It is, above all else, a reminder that this struggle is primarily of, by and for black folks. And yet, most of the press, even prior to the movie opening, was about how it was historically inaccurate and, more importantly to these critics,  misrepresented and denigrated (I chose my words carefully here) the role of Lyndon Baines Johnson who was president at the time of the struggle.

In Politico’s “What Selma Gets Wrong,” (12/22/14), LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove charged that the fictional film’s depiction of the epic voting-rights battle in the Alabama town portrayed the relationship between [Martin Luther] King and President Lyndon Baines Johnson as “contentious.” This served, Updegrove scolded, to “bastardize one of the most hallowed chapters in the civil rights movement by suggesting that the president himself stood in the way of progress.” Johnson adviser Joseph Califano struck next in the Washington Post (12/26/14)suggesting that in fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea.” Califano asks of the filmmakers: Did “they” [quotes are mine] feel no obligation to check the facts? You even had Post columnist Richard Cohen (1/5/15) lamenting that Selma is a lie that tarnishes Johnson’s legacy to exalt King’s.

Without getting too much into the details of the controversy and who gets to determine “facts”, the accusation here is that the black female director Ava Devernay (and by implication the black community)was willing to distort the history of the white role in the civil rights movement to promote black biases of black importance in the struggle. In other words, the black community doesn’t care about accuracy, about truth and “justice,” but only about “just us” (i.e.the black community promoting its own importance in history).

There is, in fact, evidence to support DeVernay’s representation of LBJ and I would submit that it is the white supremist myth of white people bringing justice to the poor downtrodden blacks that is the bias that DuVernay is challenging and has caused all the criticism of the film. That the “us” in “just us” is really white folks angered that it is the myth of white moral superiority that is being challenged and that DeVarnay’s film provides a healthy corrective.

It is important to note why the fight about Selma The Movie is so important now.  The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner highlight the increase in police violence in low income nonwhite communities or perhaps it has just increased the exposure of police brutality due to the new technologies of cell phones and social media. Either way, it has increased racial tensions. At the same time, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 combined with efforts to roll back voting rights with new voter suppression laws in many states, has also contributed to increased awareness of racial inequality. In volatile times, society and the dominant culture are especially interested in how they can control the “story” to maintain the status quo.

While there are many documentaries which present an excellent and accurate record of the civil rights struggle (notably in my mind, “Eyes on the Prize”) this is more about how popular cultural representations shape a society’s perspective. I would venture to say that most Americans’ deepest emotional beliefs about their identity and place in history and the world are formed at least in part, if not wholly, through the cultural representations around them rather than through academic research and factual reasoning. In this context it appears that most white Americans still believe that white people are innately superior to black people by virtue of our role in helping black people escape their oppression and poverty (the cause of which is conveniently vague –oh yeah, there was slavery, but I wasn’t alive then so its not my fault, besides we were the good guys in WW!! saving the Jews from the Nazis–which gets two weeks in most American high school curricula while slavery gets one day).

Of course these days popular and social media far outweigh what you learn in school as the social arbiters so I would like to take a moment here to put Selma in the context of the factual history vs. the other fictionalized media accounts of racial struggle and racial advancement in the last few years.

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