Friday, May 29. 2009
“It’s a Latino KKK without the Hoods or the Nooses” Tom Tancredo on The National Council of La Raza
Yes, the NCLR is just like the Klan –
Except they don't around at night with hoods over their heads to hide their identity,
Or hang people,
Or shoot them,
Or blow up buildings,
Or restrict membership to people of a specific ethnic background,
But aside from those minor differences…
Sunday, May 3. 2009
By this time, Eileen Burke, a retired Philadelphia police officer, had stepped out of her home after hearing Arielle Garcia's pleas to stop the beating.
It is, unfortunately, the nature of hate crimes that they often go largely unpunished.
That’s one of those horrible things that differentiates a “hate crime” from other crimes. The commission of a hate crime often involves, not just a higher level of violence on the part of the perpetrators, but the eagerness of a society to excuse that violence, rationalize it. Sometimes it’s policemen who refuse to arrest, or prosecutors who refuse to prosecute. Sometimes it’s juries who refuse to convict.
There was a verdict recently, in the Pennsylvania case where two teenagers were charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant:
He was walking down a residential street with a friend when he encountered the group of teens, who had been drinking earlier in the evening…
The injuries were so bad that the man’s brain was oozing out of his skull.
The prosecutor brought charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation. One of the teenagers was charged with third degree murder.
The teenagers have been convicted, by an all-white jury, of simple assault.
Wednesday, April 29. 2009
Headline from The Drudge Report:
FIRST DEAD: MEXICAN WHO CAME TO USA FOR TREATMENT
Headline this Drudge story links to in Houston Chronicle as of this morning:
CDC says Texas swine flu death is first in U.S.: Child died in a Houston hospital after being transported from Brownsville
Note a difference?
One can just imagine the images conjured up in the minds of Drudge readers by that first headline. A Mexican! And one who “came to USA for treatment!”
The Houston Chronicle piece, on the other hand, makes it plain that A: This is a 23-month-old child and B: The toddler went to Houston for treatment once he became sick in Brownsville, Texas:
It’s interesting to note that a website called Lonestartimes actually cites the inaccurate and incomplete Drudge headline approvingly:
This headline provives a much better context than the Chron’s before one ever reads a word of the story. And it’s not just Drudge. Even left-leaning media outlets found it important to note the victim came from the suspected place of origin of the outbreak. The New York Times’ online headline says “Mexican Toddler in U.S. Dies From Swine Flu.” And both NBC and ultra-liberal MSNBC headline the story: “Mexican toddler is first U.S. swine flu death.”
As does a blog called America Fast Forward, which praises Drudge for “the morning's (much clearer) headline.”
Feh! Stupid ol’ Houston Chronicle, making it plain that the Mexican national in question was a child and not including that factual inaccuracy about this…this Mexican coming to the United States for treatment!
How long, I wonder, is it going to take Drudge to correct the “error” in its headline?
Saturday, March 21. 2009
The negative image has long angered some white Southerners, particularly those whose ancestors died in the Civil War. In their view, the war is a source of Southern pride. In recent years, they have sought to redefine the Confederacy in multicultural terms, pointing out that Jews, Hispanics and blacks fought for the South. They argue that the war had little if anything to do with slavery, and they have become vocal in their opposition to white supremacist groups that use the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate.
Back in the 1960s, when I was in grammar school in Louisiana, I learned all about the Civil War. I remember in particular being taught that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a grossly unfair exercise in Yankee propaganda and that the Reconstruction Era was a nightmare of corruption in which the helpless south was ravaged by illiterate, whiskey guzzling ex-slaves suddenly elevated into the role of voters and civil servants. There was an entire section in, I believe, my fourth grade history textbook, devoted to Carpetbaggers and Scalawags. It included helpful illustrations, presumably to aid us in recognizing them. The Carpetbagger was fat, wore a fancy waistcoat and had, of course, a carpetbag on the ground next to him. The Scalawag wore a white suit, a string tie and slouch hat, and looked just like Victor Jory in Gone With the Wind.
And this, mind you, was in a southern Louisiana integrated Catholic School.
The campaign to rewrite the history of the south has been going on since the Confederacy lost the war, starting with portraying the defeated Confederacy as a romantic “lost cause,” united in its stand against the north and slaves as loyal if slow-witted servitors. This historical revisionism has morphed into current efforts at portraying slavery as a minor issue and the few black Americans who “fought” on the southern side (usually as conscripted body servants or laborers) as loyal Confederates willing to fight and die for their own enslavement.
As a white southerner, with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, allow me to be blunt.
The Confederate states were about slavery, an institution consistently and passionately defended in the south on the basis of white supremacy.
Yes, race relations can be complicated, especially in the south. Yes, there were no doubt slaves and masters who were friendly, even affectionate towards each other. After all, they were frequently related.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Masses of emancipated slaves did not turn out in Richmond to welcome Abraham Lincoln after the fall of the Confederacy because they were angry or even profoundly ambivalent about being freed.
James Loewens’ indictment of the way history is taught in our textbooks, Lies My Teacher Told Me is an excellent antidote to the romanticism frequently peddled about the Confederate south. Along with discussing Jefferson Davis’ punitive reaction to southern regions that attempted to secede from the Confederacy (Like eastern Tennessee) and the south’s abominable treatment of captured black Union soldiers, Loewens provides some choice quotes, including the following from Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy:
“Our new government’s foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition.”
Monday, March 9. 2009
…Police told the woman she must take down the handwritten sign on a fence on her property saying, “I rent three bedrooms [at her address to] white people Niagara Falls.”
This comes on the heels of a case where a truck driver for Buffalo Public Works got probation for putting up a “Whites Only” sign at a water fountain as a “joke.” To be fair, the driver seems to now be genuinely repentant, and, yes, I can believe that someone would be that clueless. I’ve met many white guys (usually pretty young) who seem to believe that bona-fide racists are mythical beasts akin to little green men, and that there’s nothing funnier than upsetting the yokels by “pretending” to be one.
But this lady is serious and according to the article, has vowed to put up more signs. Whether those signs are also racist or not remains to be seen.
I’d like to think that, if she does, they’ll send an African American police officer to politely talk with her about it. Watching folks like this try to explain themselves to the people they insult is always a pleasure.
Though maybe I shouldn’t wish such a thing on some hardworking cop.
Monday, March 2. 2009
This whole conversation between Cenk Uygar of The Young Turks and Marcus Epstein, Executive Director of Tom Tancredo’s Team America is pretty interesting, but the money shot comes at the 16:35 mark when Epstein “responds” to Cenk asking what explanation Epstein offers for the presumed (by Epstein) higher crime rate among blacks in general.
Marcus Epstein then offers a classic example of the mainstream white supremacist tossing out handfuls of broken sentences, stammers, “ums” and “you knows” in an effort to obscure exactly what it is he’s driving at.
See if you can make out where Epstein is going here:
Epstein: I don’t know, I’m just simply saying, I’m not a…you know, uh, but…I’ll say this, you know, you’ll, you’ll, um, if someone suggested and I don’t think this, I’m not saying this, but let’s say if there was some sort of ..um…you know…genetic or natural reason and which I’m not saying is the case, I would be, you know, I would be called a racist, I would (garbled)…and you know, this is a…and all people who have come to this conclusion, such as, say, James Watson…um, who said, or Charles Murray and I don’t know if they’re right but certainly this is the guy who invented DNA…uh…not invented discovered (crosstalk) and he said “I think there might be genetic reasons for the problems that face blacks…”
Imagine that! Just because Charles Murray wrote that people of African descent are inherently dumber than whites and more prone to crime, and followed this with a few policy suggestions (like eliminating anti-discrimination laws) he got called a racist!
Even though he said it nicely!
Thursday, February 26. 2009
"The guy never indicates that he is aware that we've tried a whole bunch of the same stuff he wants to try and evaluated it repeatedly and—read my lips—it doesn't work." Charles “The Bell Curve” Murray on that uppity member of the underclass who somehow finagled his way into the presidency
Right. This guy has to chime in. Charles Murray, the guy who, back in the nineties, tried to resurrect racial theories our parents rejected is now complaining about Obama bringing up “stuff” that has been tried and “doesn’t work.”
Got any more of Francis Galton’s fresh new ideas to exhume for us, Charles?
Friday, December 19. 2008
(From Welcome to New Orleans Exhuberant Yankee transplant Wayne Janak on shootin’ hisself some…)
Anyone who truly imagines that racism in this country is dead needs to see Welcome To New Orleans, an hour-long 2006 documentary that includes a chilling segment on the armed, white vigilantes in the predominantly white neighborhood of Algiers Point, who shot at any "outsiders" they spotted in the neighborhood.
It’s especially striking to observe the nasty theatricality of these puffed-up wannabe Clint Eastwoods, who plainly imagine themselves as movie heroes. “We’re blockin’ both ends of the street,” a narrator of a home video declares in hushed tones, while filming a makeshift barricade. “This is during Hurricane…whatever…Katrina. They’re looting the businesses right now, and we figure they’ll eventually get around to looting the houses…” “You had to do with you had to do!” boasts one in between bites of barbecue. “If you had to shoot somebody you had to shoot somebody.”
Who were “they?” Who was “somebody?”
Anybody who wasn’t white.
The saddest comment comes from Marcel Alexander, one of the victims of the Algiers Point vigilantes. It sums up neatly what makes most “hate crimes” different from crime in general.
“They got me looking at white people with a different perspective now. Now, not everybody, but the majority of them, I don’t look at them the same because I know that if they had the chance to do something to me, they’ll do it. And 99% of the time they’ll get away.”
Friday, November 14. 2008
Friends of Mr. Conroy and the other suspects insisted that the defendants were not racist and said they were shocked that a frivolous escapade by bored, drunken teenagers had quickly turned tragic….The attack has horrified and puzzled many in this comfortable Suffolk County village of 11,700. New York Times, Kirk Semple, 11/13/08
Last weekend a group of teenagers in Patchogue NY decided, after a few drinks, to go find “a Mexican” to beat up. They settled on a 37-year-old Ecuadorian named Marcello Lucero. Lucero naturally tried to defend himself and the fight escalated. According to authorities, Jeffrey Conroy, 17, plunged a knife into Lucero’s chest before he and his friends fled the scene.
Many people in Patchogue profess themselves to be “shocked” by this murder. They are, according to this NY Times piece, “horrified and puzzled.” The immigrant community there may be horrified, but they don’t seem especially baffled by this crime. Anti-immigrant hostility has been virulent in Suffolk County, occasionally breaking out into violence. In 2001, a couple of Mexican day laborers were beaten almost to death by two young men who lured them into an abandoned warehouse and attacked them with a shovel, a crowbar, and a knife. In 2003 a group of Farmingville teenagers lobbed a bottle rocket at house owned by a Mexican immigrant family and burned it down. Local politicians have been making political hay out of local resentment about the recent influx of immigrants, one county exectutive repeating spurious claims about “anchor babies” and appearing on television with the likes of Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly.
Many people either don’t understand or are unwilling to confront the role that a sense of moral if not legal impunity plays in hate crimes. Black Americans were beaten, tortured, and lynched for decades by criminals who proudly had their pictures taken beneath the dangling bodies because in the areas where this happened, occasionally murdering a black man or woman was considered permissible, just and necessary. For years beaters and killers of homosexuals were let off using what was then known as “the guardsman’s defense,” the notion that being propositioned by a gay man was in itself just cause for physically attacking him. Typically the perpetrator of a hate crime believes that the “crime” being committed is not really a “crime,” but justice, a response to dangerous criminal elements, or just a normal expression of contempt. Sometimes the perp even believes – unfortunately with good reason – that local law enforcement will be sympathetic and will not go to any great lengths to make arrests and dole out punishment.
Young people are especially vulnerable to this illusion of impunity, and the age of the kids arrested in the Lucero case should come as no surprise. I’m reminded of an essay Mark Twain wrote in 1870 entitled, “Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy, an almost forgotten piece that still captures brutally and perfectly all the elements that go into the making of a hate crime.
In San Francisco, the other day, "a well-dressed boy, on his way to Sunday school, was arrested and thrown into the city prison for stoning Chinamen."…
And from there on, in his typically acid-etched, angry prose, Twain enumerates the manner in which the society around this boy had taught him about Asian immigrants – the unfair taxes imposed on Asian miners, the lynchings of Asians, the targeting of Asians by San Francisco police, the constant depiction in newspapers of Asians as criminals, the legal gouging of Asian immigrants as soon as they arrived in the country, the political rhetoric about the perils of Asian immigration... In short, Twain describes the ways in which San Francisco had taught this boy that:
a Chinaman had no rights that any man was bound to respect; that he had no sorrows that any man was bound to pity; that neither his life nor his liberty was worth the purchase of a penny when a white man needed a scapegoat; that nobody loved Chinamen, nobody befriended them, nobody spared them suffering when it was convenient to inflict it; everybody, individuals, communities, the majesty of the State itself, joined in hating, abusing, and persecuting these humble strangers. And, therefore, what could have been more natural than for this sunny-hearted boy, tripping along to Sunday school, with his mind teeming with freshly-learned incentives to high and virtuous action, to say to himself:
Times have changed. The hateful rhetoric of the 19th century now comes in more sophisticated forms, and is spread not through newspapers but through the Internet and television, where viewers can learn that immigrants carry leprosy and are responsible for bringing down our healthcare system. The boys in the Patchogue case are older than the boy Twain is writing about, but they are still kids who looked at the adults around them and took their cues from what they saw.
I have no reason to believe that the politicians in Suffolk County wanted or still want their anti-immigrant rhetoric to result in violence against Latino immigrants. Nor do I have any reason to believe that Jeffrey Conroy and his friends intended to actually murder a “Mexican” when we went out with his schoolmates. No, the adults in question were just engaging in “hyperbole,” were “sending a message,” “making a point.” And the kids in question were just going out for a little rascally fun. And now a decent, hardworking man is dead and the lives of several teenagers irrevocably damaged.
Our legal system will have to deal with Jeffrey Conroy and his friends. But there are adults who should face up to, and assess the role they have played in creating an environment that made this crime almost inevitable.
Tuesday, November 4. 2008
Fla. board keeps Klan leader's name at high school
A Florida school board voted late Monday night to keep the name of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader at a majority black high school, despite opposition from a black board member who said the school's namesake was a "terrorist and racist."Really? You would think that a school board member would have access to an encyclopedia, which I am told is a book which contains biographical information on famous people.
A major blemish on his record, however, was the Massacre of Ft. Pillow (April 12, 1864)—the slaughter by his soldiers of more than 300 blacks after the surrender of Ft. Pillow, Tenn.The fort surrendered and Forrest slaughtered 300 men.
Now revisionists like to claim that the fort didn't surrender and that Forrest didn't commit a war crime, however his own men say otherwise.
"The slaughter was awful. Words cannot describe the scene. The poor, deluded, negroes would run up to our men, fall upon their knees, and with uplifted hands scream for mercy but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. I, with several others, tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeeded, but General Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased."Then there was that whole Klan issue. From the Encyclopedia Britannica (which I am told can be found even in Florida public schools) we learn:
After the war he was active in the railroad business, and was a leading organizer and the first Grand Wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan, a secret society advocating white supremacy.Yeah, that's an understatement.
But apparently, Tommy Hazouri can't know who "the real Forrest is". It is interesting that Tommy boy uses the present tense when talking about Forrest. Does Tommy think Forrest is still alive?
One thing we cannot doubt is that there are five Klan sympathizers on the Duval County school board who need to be removed from office.
Saturday, October 11. 2008
When I first learned about McCain’s belated efforts to tone down the rhetoric being shouted at his rallies, my reaction was “good,” and “at last.” I read accounts of a woman at a rally referring to Obama as an “Arab terrorist” and McCain taking her mic away and saying that no, Obama is a “decent family man.”
So, as soon as I had the chance, I went online and watched the actual footage.
And what I saw was this; the woman didn’t call Obama an “Arab terrorist.” She called him an Arab.
“No ma’am,” McCain said, “He’s a decent family man…”
It’s certainly true that Obama is not, in fact, of Arab descent, and it’s also true that the woman plainly was using the word as a slur. But did McCain have to respond as if it were impossible to be both an Arab and a “decent family man?”
Yes, I give McCain credit for making the attempt to control the tiger he and Palin have let loose. But dear God, how imperfectly, it’s being done, and how revealingly. I’m reminded of a film I saw some years ago, set in Europe in the early 1930s. The extent to which anti-Semitism had been internalized is illustrated in the movie by a gentile character who, after verbally defending a Jewish friend, threatens to beat up someone for calling him a Jew -- a term he obviously takes as a gross insult.
Is this really what we've come to? Does the fact that the Semites in question are Arabs rather than Jews make this form of bigotry any less immoral and dangerous?
Friday, October 10. 2008
N.Y. county sends out absentee ballots listing Barack 'Osama'
'This was a typo,'' Rensselaer County (N.Y.) Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee tells the Albany Times Union in one of the biggest understatements of the campaign.Yeah, a typo. The "b" and "s" key are four keys apart on the keyboard. "Ogama" is a typo, "Osama" is GOP racism.
Tuesday, October 7. 2008
Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame
"For me, the heels are on, the gloves are off," she announced at high noon Monday to a group of Republican donors at the Naples Beach Club.There you have it. The viscerality that Palin is playing to.
How long before reporters are attacked? How long before an assassination attempt?
Tuesday, June 17. 2008
Stick a Pin in It
Dallas Morning News
While a number of speakers -- such as Railroad Commission chairman Michael Williams and Mike Huckabee -- have praised the advance of Barack Obama and what it means towards a colorblind society, at least one vendor hasn't gotten the message.Can we all stop pretending that the GOP is not infested with people one change of clothes from a Klan robe?
Via Pam Spaulding.
Wednesday, March 26. 2008
The war on language continues. Today the word of the week is “racism.” I popped off an essay on racism over the weekend. It wasn’t anything I considered especially insightful or ground-breaking, just a reminder that racism is primarily defined as:
“A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”
I pointed out that it doesn’t matter how sincerely you believe it, or how convinced you are that your belief is backed up by personal experience or science. It doesn’t matter how good your diction is, how much you liked the movie Mississippi Burning, or how assiduously you avoid using the “N” word or wearing white hoods or brown shirts. If you believe the above, even if you defend it by offering cites from The Bell Curve with a Boston accent, you are a racist.
Not rocket science. Not even basic bottle-rocket construction. And since I posted it to liberal websites, I expected maybe a few chuckles and a tepid compliment or two, but not much more.
The outrage! The horror! Oh, oh, oh, that icky “R” word! I should be ashamed! I was the one who was the bigot. What about all those white people who are afraid of walking through black neighborhoods? What about the Hispanics? What about the disabled? What about obnoxious black people who play their music too loud and wear baggy pants? What about black anti-Semitism? Black people can be racist too! Did I ever think of that? Huh? Well, did I?
A couple of helpful souls told me that the whole issue could be solved by avoiding those awful “R” words and thinking up something else. That way, people wouldn’t get all upset and the lines of communication would stay open. In fact, let’s get rid of the whole concept or “race” altogether! Don’t use it in any form at all.
Okay everybody, listen up, let’s all agree to not use words like “race” or “racist” or “racism,” or for that matter, “white” or “black!” Why, within a year or two (a decade, tops) the entire concept of race will fade from our collective consciousness and peace and brotherhood would reign forevermore on this earth!
The word I suggest is “Igglepop.” It’s neutral, it’s cheerful, it’s unthreatening. For instance, if someone announces that, as much as it pains them to say so, and while there are certainly exceptions among their black friends, the simple fact is that science shows people of African descent to have an unchangeable and significant intellectual deficit when compared to Europeans, they won’t be upset by being called a “racist.”
Instead, they’ll be called “Igglepopians,” a brand spanking new word that doesn’t conjure up images from the Nazi or the Jim Crow era, which really would be awfully unfair because people just don’t wear their hair like that anymore. The lines of communication would stay open, and they could proudly affirm that they are not “racists” advocating “racism” but “Igglepopians” advocating “Igglepop.” They could even put it in the title of books without their main sales being conducted at gun shows or the Stormfront website. I picture a thousand blossoms blooming: How I Became an Igglepopian, In Defense of Igglepop, Igglepop and Reason, The Myth of the 21st Century…
And if some bigoted person said “Hey, that’s racism,” everyone could laughingly set them straight. “Racism” is a long dead twentieth-century, pre-911 phenomenon that often proved to have a deceptive veneer of benevolent paternalism overlaying a foundation of violence and sometimes, even genocide. “Igglepop” would not have that kind of history.
Pretty soon, “racism” will be no more. In its place will be the truly new form of thinking known as “Igglepop.”
The only problem I foresee is that as new paradigms like “Igglepop” become widespread and put into practice, other new words have to be invented.
We’ll have to come up with some new word for “discrimination.”