Category Archives: Racism

If You’re Latino And Still Support Trump…What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?

Trump’s recent pardon of racist asshole Joe Arpaio crossed a line for me, in terms of how I look at the fact that there are Latinos who inexplicably continue to support him.  Up to this point, Trump’s racism, xenophobia and general-assholery has been obvious to anyone without blinders on, but I could always see how self-hating, ignorant Latinos could find a way to look around all of that and think “Trump’s my guy.”

When I think of what goes through the mind of Latinos who are pro-Trump, I think about, of course, the familiar escape mechanisms.  When Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” he was talking about illegals, don’t you know?  If you’re an American citizen, he’s not targeting you.  When he degrades disabled people, women or Muslims – well, if you’re not one of those people, and completely lack empathy and decency, I can see how you wouldn’t care.  I can understand how some conservative Latinos might think that when Trump says “Make America Great Again,” he’s talking about an America that fully includes them.  Which isn’t true, but I get how a person can be deluded into thinking so.

But, unless a person is completely ignorant of what exactly landed former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in violation of the law, I don’t understand how certain Latinos can not only silently accept the brazen racism-acceptance of Trump’s pardon, let alone continue to wear their dumbass MAGA hats and vocally support it.

The list of egregious human rights violations and affronts to decency that Arpaio committed is a long one, but for most of them, if you weren’t an inmate in one of his jails or an illegal immigrant, I can see how you might not particularly care.  After all, Arpaio was only being a monumental dick to incarcerated criminals or people who weren’t American citizens, right?  I guess in some people’s fucked up mindsets, those people deserve to be treated as shittily as possible, so who cares?

But Arpaio was also guilty of targeting and detaining people who were merely “suspected” of being in the country illegally.  If you’re Latino, THAT POTENTIALLY MEANS YOU, ASSHOLE.  I suppose if you have features that allow you to pass for a Caucasian, which many Latinos do, you might not think it’s you.  But ultimately – yes, it still is.  Because as much as you might not want to think so – at the end of the day, after all of the darker people have been harassed – they will come for you next, once they realize that you are of Latin heritage.  You will never, ever fully “fit in” with the racist, conservative white people you want so badly to be.  As much as you might hope, you’re not one of them.  You are only fooling yourself into thinking so.

Of course, you could simply be a glutton for punishment, and actually enjoy being treated like a second-class citizen.  In which case, hey good luck.  But if not, ask yourself, what the hell happened to you in the course of your life, that made you such a self-hating sellout who wants so badly to be accepted, that you would continue to support racist assholes like Trump and Arpaio?  One thing that the age of Trump has really exposed is the degree to which people can delude themselves – into thinking they aren’t racist, for example.  But it also includes people who fool themselves into thinking that Trump really gives half a shit about them, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  This is no better exemplified than by Latinos who think Trump and his supporters view them as equals.

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, Anyone Can Be Racist. But It’s More Damaging When White People Do It.

The terror attack in Charlottesville last Saturday, in which Heather Heyer was killed while protesting against racism, and Trump’s subsequent blaming of “many sides” and apparent sympathizing with white supremacists, has spurred a spirited back-and-forth about the topic of racism in America.  And, you know what that means.  Lotta bullshit making the rounds on social media.

One thing I see being said whenever a topic like this is brought up, often by racism deniers, is that there are racists in minority groups as well as among white people.  The point being that it sort of “cancels out” the racism of Neo-Nazis and other assorted tiki-torch wielding assholes, since minorities can hate too.  As a rebuttal to that flawed argument (which I will get to in a moment,) there are also some people who say things like “black people can’t be racist.”  Which I disagree with.

The sad truth about racism is that yes, anyone can be racist.  Anyone can be a bigot.  Anyone can view and treat others differently (often worse) based on their skin color.  As a Latino, some of the most racist stuff I have heard has been said by Latinos about other races, including about other Latinos.  I remember when I worked as a waiter, talking to one of my co-workers and hearing her refer to “wetties,” and thinking that it was kind of weird to hear a Latino disparaging other Latinos in such a manner.  That kind of self-hate helps to explain the fact that there are some minorities who embrace and defend racists like Trump.  That fact is often pointed to by Trump apologists as a means of demonstrating “see, he’s not racist, minorities like him too.”  But that’s bullshit too.

However, while everybody can be racist, it carries much more weight when white people do it.  And that is due to the fact that our society is still dominated by a white patriarchy.  We often have the illusion of diversity, on television and in the corporate world, but at the core, America has a long way to go when it comes to different races being represented equally and having comparable influence.  For example, you can look at professional sports.  The NFL and NBA in particular are dominated by players of color.  But the situation is much different when it comes to the makeup of the mega-wealthy owners.  Same with corporate America.  Yes, the workforce might be made up of seemingly diverse assortment of races, religions, genders and sexual orientations.  But take a look at the profile of the upper levels of management and CEO’s.  Different story there.  Progress is being made, but we’re not there yet.

When white people are racist, it potentially resonates with a far greater number of people, including people in power or of influence, who can set policy that affects millions of lives.  Keep in mind, this is not simply a “white people thing” in the abstract sense.  It’s simply because numerically, America is still dominated by whites.  When black people or other minorities are racist towards white people, it might be repugnant and offensive, but the difference is, they’re “punching up,” not down.  And that’s the key distinction.  The ironic thing is, white supremacists like the ones in Charlottesville often indirectly make this argument.  Because one of their fears and grievances is that they’re becoming outnumbered.  As if that’s somehow a bad thing (it is.)  The truth is, they know that they are privileged and they’re pissed off because they see minorities making gains, and see it as a threat to their dominance.

Racism is an ugly thing, and people often don’t like to talk about it.  But I think it’s critical that we not only talk about it, but do so with honesty and without fear of saying stuff that makes people uncomfortable.  So yes, in the abstract, anyone can be racist.  But in the actual American society we live in, not all racism is of equal weight.  Far from it, in fact.

 

Photo credit:  Pixabay.com/OpenClipart-Vectors

 

Race And Racism Influence Our Reaction To Gun Violence

So I was thinking about the recent shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and the reaction from the media thus far, and I gotta say – it’s time for some race-baiting.

A country can reveal it’s racism and racial bias in many ways.  Not just in the obvious ways, such as the existence or prevalence of neo-Nazis or Klansmen, etc.  But also in the collective reaction of its media and the talking points that are generated after a violent incident, depending on the race of the shooter.

I have noticed a stark contrast in the conversation which happens, depending on whether the shooter is white or black, Latino or Muslim.  In general, if the perpetrator of a violent crime is a minority, the perceived threat that they and their actions pose become something external, to be kept at bay or controlled with more policing or security measures.  If he’s a Muslim, it’s terrorism – and it brings up the issue of immigrant vetting, not to mention discussion (criticism) of Islam.  If he’s a black person, the issue which makes the media rounds, in particular on state media like Fox News, becomes about “broken homes” and “thugs.”  A Mexican guy would bring up a similar conversation about immigrants and gangs.

Which brings me to the Scalise shooter, a white man named James Hodgkinson.  The discussion thus far, and the issue of what to blame for the violence, has been concerning “political rhetoric,” as well as possible mental illness.  Conservative outlets like Fox have even had the nerve to try to blame “the political Left,” but other mainstream media sources have also raised the question – is our lack of civil discourse to blame?  Is the issue one of the mentally ill having access to firearms?  Are prescription medications making us crazy?  The problem becomes one that reflects an internal societal dysfunction, rather than an externalized threat.  The blame shifts from the shooter himself to a more generalized “have we become too hostile” or “is something making us violent” scenario.

It brings to mind the differences in approach between drug epidemics, depending on the communities that are affected.  The recent problems with opiate addiction and overdose deaths from prescription painkillers are viewed and talked about in terms of a health “crisis.”  Which is not to say that it isn’t.  But look at the difference between that and the way the crack epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s and other drug problems that plague inner cities (black people) are talked about and handled.  In the case of opiates, the issue is seen as one of public health, whereas with the latter, it is a dangerous scourge, and for years has been dealt with by harsh criminal penalties.

One of the problems with talking about race and racism is that far too often, the very idea of it becomes a sort of taboo that is linked with overt and obvious perpetrators.  Nobody wants to be considered racist, and what frequently comes to mind when racism is mentioned are extreme examples, such as the aforementioned Neo-Nazis or white supremacists.  What we often forget is that racism and racial bias can be more subtle and nuanced, and reflected in not only the beliefs and words of racist people themselves, but also in our general, more indirect characterizations of people’s words and actions and how they fit into our view of the way society should function.  Any honest discussion or race should include the latter.  We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about this issue, and we need to be aware of how media can and often does shape our thinking and perceptions.

Photo credit:  Pixabay.com/IIIBlackhartIII

Mike Huckabee’s Flippantly Racist Cinco De Mayo Tweet

Um, okay…

So, our favorite moron and two-time failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee tweeted this out today, May 5, which also happens to be Cinco De Mayo if you speak Mexican.  As of 10:37 a.m. pacific standard time, the tweet is still up, and is from his verified account.

I guess it’s another one of Huckabee’s lame attempts at humor, or a way to boldly proclaim “hey I’m a racist fucking asshole!” without using expletives.

Either way, it just goes to show how emboldened the racist fucks in the GOP have become under Trump’s reign.  They are apparently giddy at not having to disguise their bigotry in the slightest, because, well look at what a racist asshole the president is.

By the way, if you want to see Megyn Kelly almost call this fucknozzle “Mike Fuckabee” on live television, go here.

Oh, and go fuck yourself, Huckabee.

Donald Trump Seems To Think All Black People Might Be Friends With Each Other

Donald Trump’s casual racism was revealed recently at a press conference in which he asked reporter April Ryan if members of the Congressional Black Caucus are her friends.

Remember, this is coming from a man who says he is the “least racist person you have ever encountered.”  Yes, he actually said that.

The exchange also revealed further Trump’s status as one of planet’s biggest douchebags.  Apparently, he thinks it’s suitable to ask a professional journalist to set up meetings for him.  What else do you need Trump?  Should Ryan sweep and mop the floors, too?

Hey Laura Ingraham, I Did Nazi That Coming

Ingraham - Nazi

Back in July, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham made a gesture at the end of her Republican National Convention speech, which looked a lot like a Nazi salute.  She understandably got a lot of backlash on social media, and although it definitely looked bad to me, I thought that it could have been an awkward wave or unintentional. Besides, would someone really have the nerve to do that on national television in America, representing one of the two major political parties? I thought there might be a chance that it was sort of accidental.  Accusing someone of being a white-supremacist is a pretty heavy allegation, and it’s not something to be thrown around lightly.

However, after watching a recent video from The Atlantic which has surfaced, which shows white supremacists (I am refusing to use the passive euphemism “alt right”) offering up actual Nazi salutes and shouting “hail Trump!” at a conference in DC, any doubt that I had regarding Ingraham’s gesture has begun to fade. It simply looks like the exact same thing that Ingraham did, and there is no question as to the intention behind it, among the racists at that conference.  There are plenty of people who deny that Ingraham was actually performing a Nazi salute, and they often provide still frames of other famous leaders mid-wave which appear to look the same as what Ingraham did.  However, when you watch the video of her full gesture in context, it doesn’t look like just a coincidence.

How has the GOP come to this? I mean, full-blown white supremacists now? We have known there to be racists in the Republican party for years, but these days they aren’t even trying to hide it. Scary times, indeed.

#Resist

Jon Stewart Is Letting Trump Voters Off The Hook Too Easily

Jon Stewart recently did an interview on “CBS This Morning”  and was asked about his thoughts concerning the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency.  I am seeing a lot of this conversation being shared online, with a highlight on Stewart’s claims of “liberal hypocrisy” regarding viewing all Trump voters as a monolith of racists.  He makes the point that a lot of people he knows that aren’t afraid of blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, etc. voted for Trump because of reasons other than his racist rhetoric, and the message is being taken that we shouldn’t call all Trump voters racist.  The interview can be found here.

Well, nope! Jon Stewart is wrong on this point. I know some people want everyone to get along, and unify and settle our differences, but in my opinion he is letting Trump voters off the hook too easily. Racism is not something that exists in absolute forms – that is, it’s not a simple black and white, yes or no question. There are varying degrees of racism that people can have and display. And racism is not just defined by one’s behavior, but by the behavior they tolerate. And at the end of the day, Trump voters saw a man who disparaged Muslims, Mexicans, the disabled and women, and ran a campaign promising to register people based on their religion, or outright banning their immigration to the country. And those Trump voters said, by voting for that man – “hey, that’s okay with me.” And that is despicable, and we shouldn’t forget it.

It’s like when we had slavery. Not everyone was personally a slave owner, but the people who supported those in power who did own slaves were in their own way supporting that practice. So, by voting for Trump, people validated and supported all of his divisive rhetoric and the campaign promises he made (whether he actually fulfills all of them or not.)

I understand that people have an instinctual desire to get along with other people, and it’s easier to brush differences under the rug than to expose them and talk about them honestly. But the election of Trump is and should be viewed as an outrage. Those who voted for him displayed absolutely no respect or empathy for any of the groups he routinely disparaged. So, we’re divided. And I don’t know if it’s even possible that we can “heal” that division. But that’s reality, and we shouldn’t hide from it. Hiding from and denying reality are part of the reasons that led to a president-elect Trump in the first place.

Trump Voters Racism

 

Photo credit:  Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

What Does It Mean To Be A Patriot?

The whole situation with Colin Kaepernick and the way some of his detractors are slamming him for being “unpatriotic” because of his refusal to stand during the national anthem has had me thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a “patriot.”

To me, being a patriot means more than obediently falling in line and saluting a flag or standing for the national anthem.  Yes, those are ways that we show our love for our country as common and shared expressions, but they shouldn’t be used as a litmus test for deciding who is a patriot and who is not.

The real test of patriotism, in my opinion, is how much a person ascribes to the ideals that their country represents, how much they practice them in daily life and how much they are willing to defend those ideals, not just from outside forces but also from the very government institutions that we create which are supposed to uphold and enforce those ideals. As soon as those institutions begin to act in ways that are not in sync with the values that a country represents, I believe it is the duty of citizens to respond.

Which is exactly what Kaepernick has been trying to do, although many people have chosen to stick with the (in their eyes, disrespectful) imagery of him sitting or kneeling during the national anthem, rather than actually listen to his grievances.  With any protest or refusal to salute or pay respect to a national symbol or song, there needs to be consideration of the context of the intended statement.  If Kaepernick were simply trying to be ornery and troll others, and if he didn’t offer any legitimate reason for refusing to stand, then there could be an argument made that he’s just trying to piss everyone off by refusing to respect a song that has become treasured by millions of Americans who love their country.  It would still be his right, but he would probably look like a douchebag to pretty much everyone (except maybe other trolls) and it wouldn’t be as easy to defend him.

But Kaepernick has offered very clear and coherent public statements about exactly why he refuses to stand.  He is protesting what he sees as clear indications that people of color are being systematically and disproportionately harassed, injured or killed at the hands of corrupt police departments.  And we have seen some pretty obvious instances and reports that support that stance.  In addition to the several graphic videos that have emerged within the past few years which depict excessive force (or outright murder) being perpetrated on black men and women at the hands of police, there have been damning reports from the Department Of Justice which have revealed bias against minorities among police departments in major cities.  These are American citizens that are being hurt or killed unjustly at the hands of government institutions that are funded by taxpayers and are there supposedly to protect us.  The concept of what America stands for might vary from person to person, but I would pretty confidently say that injustice, and citizens’ deaths at the hands of police, are not fundamental values that most proud Americans would say are representative of their country.

I think the controversy surrounding Kaepernick does reveal deep-seated racial divisions within our country.  Because we have seen and heard countless instances of white citizens complaining about the “tyranny” of government, and the public response from most Americans towards them is very different than their views of Kaepernick.  They actually present themselves as “true patriots” while the government is this big bad entity that exists to quash our rights.  A big reason that the second amendment is so adamantly treasured and defended by gun rights groups is that it represents the ability of American citizens to protect themselves from the threat of the government stepping all over their rights and lives.  The fact that Kaepernick is a wealthy and famous athlete in the NFL compounds some of the resentment towards him, (which is wrong too,) but I think at the end of the day, his skin color and culture (have you seen his ‘fro lately?) is a major reason that he is not seen as a patriot while other (white) citizens who complain about the government are.

Patriot_Defend_EdwardAbbey

It is easy to be a “patriot” when all that means is flying an American flag outside your door or having it as your profile picture on social media.  But how “patriotic” is a person really being, when they choose to ignore the legitimate grievances of their fellow American citizens?  That’s not true patriotism, in my eyes.  American author Edward Abbey once said “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”  This is exactly what Kaepernick, in his own way, is doing.

 

 

Colin Kaepernick photo: by Au Kirk; cropped by Moe Epsilon [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Ann Coulter Is The Definition Of Ugly

Some people come to define words and concepts better than anything else possibly could.  When I think of Ann Coulter, all I think of is “ugly.”  I’m not commenting on her physical appearance.  I’m talking about the disgusting and repugnant hate and ugliness that she exhibits at seemingly every opportunity she gets.  Truly an ugly person.

Ann Coulter - Ugly resize

 

 

The Trump Legion Of Ignorance: Fighting For A “Hibeejabi”-Free World

 

An exchange happened about a week ago at one of Donald Trump’s rallies between the champion of making America great again himself and a female audience member.  For myself, it has come to symbolize everything wrong with Trump, his followers, and the state of stupid in this country.

As seen in the Youtube clip below, during a Q&A session a woman asks Trump why we’re not putting military retirees on the border or perhaps to work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA,) and in the process, getting rid of all of those “hibeejabis” they wear there.

In case you are wondering what the fuck “hibeejabis” are or what this person is talking about, she is referring to hijabs, the traditional headscarves that those Mooslim women wear, and I guess the fact that she has seen people wear them at the TSA.

It has become difficult for me to decide what part of this exchange is more problematic – the bigoted, xenophobic anti-Muslim sentiment or the flat-out ignorance on the part of the woman…Or Trump’s failure to correct the embarrassingly incorrect name that was used or the anti-Muslim sentiment behind the question, and simply answer by saying “we are looking at that….we’re looking at a lot of things,” which not only fails to really say anything (which is nothing new for Trump,) but also reinforces the ignorance and bigotry.

It has become abundantly clear to me that Donald Trump and his campaign have offered up and fed upon the xenophobic and racist anger of many working class and poor Americans that feel resentment of “the others” (as in minorities,) in particular brown people such as Mexicans and Muslims, who are seen as people to fear and the source of America’s problems.  Oh sure, supporters of Trump will offer up all sorts of excuses for his bigotry, but I think any reasonable person would have to be wearing massive blinders to not see the glaring, ugly truth at this point.

And all of that is obviously disconcerting, but none of it surprises me.  I have been awake to the fact that America is still a very racist nation for a long time.  Racism from whites directed at minorities, to racism from minorities to other minorities, to that of some minorities toward whites – take your pick, it’s there.  What’s particularly insidious about the Trump campaign, though, is that he has the support of a pretty formidable voting block (white people.)  While racism and xenophobia can emanate from a variety of demographics, it has more institutional and social influence when it comes from the dominant population.

But perhaps what may be more unsettling is the extreme stupidity of it all, which is allowed to pass, by Trump and the crowd as if it is completely normal and okay.  The rise of news media outlets like Fox News around twenty years ago was reflective of a growing trend in America away from things like facts and towards blatant bias and ignorance, which has only seemed to have metastasized among disgruntled right-wingers since then.  Maybe Trump didn’t see fit to correct the woman, or maybe he didn’t want to alienate his xenophobic base or appear to be too “politically correct” or “elitist.”  Or maybe he is simply not that smart or doesn’t want to appear to be so.  And this is what we’ve got, people.  Isn’t it sad that having an education and not being ignorant is now seen as elitist by a lot of people?  People that vote?  Can you picture someone like JFK or any of the other notable past presidents fielding and responding to such a question in the same manner?

The late George Carlin mused about the sad status of intelligence in America often.  I can’t imagine what he would say about Trump’s candidacy if he were alive today.

Look, not everyone is going to be a rocket scientist.  People need to do the best with what they’ve got.  But this is willful ignorance.  Meaning, this person probably has the mental capacity to see the error of their ways if they would only bother to actually read something or do any kind of analytical fact-seeking, but it’s a culture of laziness and mediocrity that has infected this country for years.  And regarding Trump’s response, shouldn’t someone who is trying to be the president of the United States him/herself be, or at least aspire to be, intelligent or at least smarter than the average person?  Don’t you want your president to be smarter than you are?  I do.  If America elects Trump, we truly deserve him.  As Carlin has also pointed out, if you have ignorant, selfish citizens, you’re going to end up with ignorant, selfish leaders.  That has probably never resonated more truthfully than with Trump’s candidacy.

 

Donald Trump photo By Marc Nozell – https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/24622320840/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46901376