Tag Archives: racism

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

 

 

America’s Lack Of Outrage Towards Institutional Racism

Over the past year in supposedly post-racial America, we have seen some glaring examples of racist viewpoints running the gamut from an elderly billionaire like former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling secretly recorded telling his then-mistress not to bring black people to his games, to college-age youngsters in the University of Oklahoma chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity engaged in a racist sing-along on a bus.  These repulsive displays of bigotry caused outrage among many Americans, and rightfully so.

However, while reading Facebook comments pertaining to the recorded chants of the SAE members proclaiming that “there will never be a n____” among their brothers, I came across a critical observation made from a former colleague regarding how American society and the media treat examples of racist attitudes from individuals versus institutional racism, as well as the consequences (or lack thereof) that come along with them.

The “bus o’ bigotry” incident of SAE led to the University of Oklahoma launching an immediate investigation into whether the people in the video are actually students from the university, and threatening to kick the fraternity off the campus if that were the case.  That didn’t matter, though.  The chapter was promptly shut down by SAE leadership anyway.  Donald Sterling was forced by the NBA to sell the Clippers, and received a lifetime ban from the league.  All in all, fairly clear indicators that such blatant displays of racism are not going to be tolerated and are unwelcome is today’s America.

Yet, there were also recent examples of both individual and institutional racism that didn’t seem to ignite as much of a response from the American public as the ones mentioned above, nor did they have immediate consequences that were as severe.  At least not for the institutional part.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a report weeks ago, highly critical of the Ferguson police department and court system for its use of racial bias in policing.  Data was compiled for months, which indicated higher incidences of the use of force with blacks, as well as other practices deemed unconstitutional.  Racist emails that had been circulated among officers in the department and others in the city’s court system were also found in the probe.  Those emails led to two police officers resigning and a city clerk being fired.

But it wasn’t until weeks after the announcement of the investigation’s findings that the Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, finally voluntarily resigned.  There hadn’t been widespread condemnation and outrage directed at Jackson or the Ferguson police force for the findings of the DOJ.  At least nothing that could compare to the beatings that Sterling and the SAE bus bigots received in the media and online.  It is frustrating how, in America, what a person says seems to carry more weight than what a person actually does.  There are even racism deniers, such as the conservative, corporate-mouthpiece hosts of Red Eye Radio, Gary McNamara and Eric Harley, who assert that institutional racism just doesn’t exist anymore.

Just as there are surely more than a couple of individuals across the country that share the same repugnant attitudes of Donald Sterling or the former SAE frat boys, we can’t sit back and pretend that the Ferguson police department is the only American institution that is plagued by racism and discrimination.  And when it is demonstrated that institutional racism exists, there should be just as much, if not more, outrage directed at said institutions from the public.  Because it is this type of racism that has severe real-world implications and effects.  We can’t help what some individuals or groups of people may think of other races, but we can and should do our best to ensure that the institutions meant to serve all Americans do so in a fair and just manner.

Photo source – Pixabay.com – WikiImages