Archive for the racism Category

On Racism

Posted in media failure, politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by vagabondsaint

I have been thinking, for the past few days, about racism.

“Racism” is being launched into the airwaves fairly often nowadays.  While conventional left and middle wisdom do not blame racism solely for the. . .vociferousness of protests against health care  reform and President Obama, the pundits certainly do seem to believe that racism is a significant factor in the protests.

And they’re right.

You hear President Obama being called a fascist, a socialist, a Marxist, a Kenyan, a communist, and more by people who, when confronted, seem hard-pressed to define any of the labels that they’re throwing at him (except Kenyan, and honestly, I doubt that many of them could even find Kenya’s general location on a map or, as much as they claim to love and want to preserve the Constitution, seem to remember that as long Obama’s mother was an American citizen, he is an American citizen, no matter where he was born).  The man can’t even continue the tradition of giving a Presidential address to schoolchildren without right-wing parents getting up in arms about it, for fuck’s sake!  (For the record, I am proud to say that my daughter’s school didn’t send anything home or call any parents about the speech and showed it at the scheduled time without fanfare or fallout.)  If you take a good, hard look at the people protesting, and the ludicrous claims and scare tactics coming from a very vocal minority of this country, I promise that you too will be left with the strong impression is that what these people are really angry about is the black man in the White House.

Racism.  There’s that word again.

Racism, I believe, has a basis in primal human nature.  It is natural to fear what is different from one’s self, from one’s own experience.  It is also a natural human reaction to be fearful of change.  The loss of what is familiar, what is comfortable, what is known, can be a very frightening thing, and that is a natural reaction, to be afraid of the unknown.  However, fear of difference and fear of the unknown can and often do turn into dislike, disdain, prejudice, hatred. . .racism.  What we’re seeing in these protests is the result of fear not only left unchecked, but, in many cases, fed and nurtured and used by leaders, elected or otherwise, on the political right until it either mutated into racism or merged with already-held prejudices and became an even bigger monster (but not a monster dumb enough to forget to cloak its true nature by tossing out a “social-Marxist-fascist” smokescreen).

And the left shares the blame.

Yeah, I said it.  The political left is partly to blame for these protests.

How so?  By trying to enact reform beneficial to all Americans?  By winning new congressional majorities in the last two elections? By daring to put a black man in the White House?

No.

By demonizing people who were just afraid.

Remember what I said about it being an intrinsic part of primal human nature to fear change, to fear the unknown, to fear what is different from oneself?  It is.  And instead of talking to these people and trying to understand why they were afraid and calm their fears, the left instead labeled them “racists” and “rednecks”  and “ignorant” and ostracized them, shunned them, tried to make them ashamed of merely being human, being afraid. . .and drove them right into the open arms of the people on the right that were willing to use them for ratings, for money, for political power.  A lot of these people were just scared of a strange face, a face unlike their own, and when they turned on their TV to look for answers, they saw, instead of reports emphasizing the commonalities of all people and how the President is just a man like any other, they saw emphasis of difference and division: the first black President, the relevance of the black vote, the Latino vote, the Asian vote, the white vote, and the people who looked like them, who were largely white and older, being labeled as “racists” and “opponents” of change.  I’m not saying that some of those labels weren’t correctly applied; far from it.  I’m saying that the labels got overused and, in their overuse, succeeded more in alienating a section of the population than in actually hurting their intended targets. . .leading to those feeling alienated and disenfranchised right now, holding up signs of Obama with a Hitler mustache and parroting the words of the people who gave them ways to channel their fear into a cause instead of making them feel ashamed for being afraid.

For being human.

Don’t get me wrong;  I’m not defending racism at all.  I’m saying that the left blew a chance to win over many of the hearts and minds that they drove to the side of the extreme right-wing demagogues.

It’s not too late to correct the mistake.  It takes understanding, compassion, and most of all, calm, reasonable, logical debate.  Understand that these are not necessarily bad people on the other side of the debate.  Have the compassion to listen, and in debate, give them the knowledge, of human commonalities, that can defeat a fear of the unknown, of another people.  Remind them, hell, show them that most African-Americans are not gangsta rappers, most Asians are not martial arts experts, most Muslims are not terrorists, and most Latinos don’t even know who Carlos Mencia is.  Knowledge is really the only way to defeat the media-promulgated stereotypes and show everybody (because there are minority racists, too) that we are, as our President said, far more alike than we are different.

Not doing this, not fighting back with knowledge, will only lead to more of the same thing thing you’ve seen this summer: more loud voices covering fear with nationalism or patriotism, more walls of anger with fear hiding behind them, until finally people stop yelling and start acting. When that happens, then, if nothing else, we’ll know for sure one commonality:  everybody’s blood is red.

VS – 09.17.09

A Vindication of Part of “Eh”

Posted in media failure, politics, racism, tv with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Once I’d woken up and gotten a bit settled today, I read that an elderly man had started shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., killing one guard.  Tragic enough in its own right, but then it comes out that the shooter was a military veteran (albeit an 89-year-old veteran) and a racist, anti-Semitic white supremacist.

In other words, a right-wing extremist.

And again, I was reminded of the Homeland Security report, warning of right-wing extremists, and how scandalized that poor, innocent, and entirely correct report was.

And finally, finally, someone on the right – specifically, Shepard Smith of FOX News (along with Catherine Herridge, who appears to be the black sheep of the Fox Family) – admits that the report was right.

It isn’t often I find myself in agreement with so much as FOX News cameraman (their angles suck), so finding myself in agreement with Smith was a shock.  At least he was able to admit a mistake in scandalizing that report.

And that’s about all the shocks I can handle today.

VS – 6.10.09

Idiocy On Parade

Posted in economics, politics, racism, the complete opposite of brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by vagabondsaint

How funny is it that, in the wake of the smartest decision Americans have made collectively since spurning New Coke, there’s been an endless parade of idiots through the media?

Cases in point:

  • Mike Huckabee

Former Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee gets to lead off the parade of idiots, with his comments against the struggle for gay rights.  Last month on The View, Mike made the argument that gays and lesbians aren’t really having a civil rights struggle, because there hasn’t been enough violence against them to merit the “civil rights” appellation.  (Hear that, gay bashers?  Huckabee says you guys aren’t working hard enough!  Get your bats and two-by-fours and suppression of your own homoerotic tendencies ready and get to work!)  I guess the murders of Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepherd, and Lawrence King don’t count to Huckabee; after all, that’s only three guys over four different decades. . .and people live through beatings, so those don’t really count either.

Yesterday, Huckabee expounded upon this idiotic point of view at a book signing by explaining that he sees hate crime legislation as “punishing people for their thoughts.”  As the idiot man himself puts it:

You know, if you penalize people for their thoughts, the question is — I mean, I’m not for violence against anybody; it doesn’t matter what the purpose is. If you had an 80-year-old woman who’s trying to get in her house with a bag full of groceries, that’s just as wrong as it is to hit somebody for a thought.

And the point is that you should punish and consequence the violence against another person. Why they did it is of less consequence than the fact they did it. So I don’t care if a person is homosexual, or they’re elderly, or they’re a child — if someone is violent toward them, they should be fully consequenced to the fullest extent of the law. But for their violence, not for their thought. When we start having the government determine what we can think, I think we’re moving in kind of a frightening area.

First of all, what does Mike Huckabee have against 80-year-old women trying to get into their houses?  Is Mike Huckabee showing support for making all 80-year-old women homeless?  Or just the ones carrying groceries?  “Sorry, Grandma, Mike Huckabee says you have to live on the streets now.  Try prostitution to support yourself – with the economy the way it is, it’s a booming season for low-priced sex services.  And Grandpa said to leave the groceries at the door.”  Second, “consequence” is not a fucking verb.  Third, and perhaps most important, the government can’t and doesn’t punish people for their thoughts, even thoughts of killing other people (thank God).  But when those thoughts turn into action, those thoughts stop being mere thought and become something else, something called, oh, what’s the legal term. . .oh yeah; it’s MOTIVE!  And motive is very important when proescuting a crime; it’s what determines whether a not a person is truly a threat to society at large or if that threat has passed now.  It’s the difference between killing out of self-defense and killing because one is a psychopath with no disregard for the lives of others.  Killing because you hate gays or blacks or midgets should matter because, if you do it, you obviously cannot be trusted around large elements of our society and you need to be locked away for a long, long time, and that’s the point of hate-crime legislation.

Mike Huckabee:  why isn’t he in the Dickipedia yet?

Oh wait. . .he is.

  • Obama Birth Certificate Lawsuits

You know, for most people, the fact that Barack Obama won the election would be proof enough that he is Constitutionally eligible to be President.  Not so for the idiots tripping all over themselves to force the state of Hawaii to make Barack Obama’s birth certificate public, in attempts to challenge his American citizenship and, I would assume, get him out of office.  They’ve even gone so far as to appeal one case all the way to the Supreme Court (who I sincerely hope has better things to do) and take out ads in the Chicago Tribune.  Even more incredibly idiotic, it’s not just one idiot doing this, according to the Tribune:

“Cases challenging Obama’s citizenship have been tossed out of courts in several states, and Hawaiian officials have vouched for the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, which is locked in a state vault. The Obama campaign likewise has always dismissed the accusations.”

Election’s over.  You lost.  Let it go, idiotas.

  • White Surpemacists Resurgence

Not just idiots, but idiots that are so afraid of change (it’s coming and you ain’t stoppin’ it) and losing relevance in today’s society (they have) that they’d rather sit around meeting halls and whine about how “white people have lost power in this country” and plan to kill people than go out and, oh, I don’t know, do something positive in their communities and try to understand and accept how race is coming to mean less and less in America than it did before. . .or, I don’t know, take responsibility for their lives instead of blaming other races for their own abysmal failures.  You didn’t lose your job because of Affirmative Action; you lost it because you’re a racist idiot.  You don’t have trouble finding a new job because of Mexicans; you can’t find a new job because you’re a racist idiot who mangles the English language worse than most immigrants and you dropped out of school in fifth grade because long division was kicking your ass.  Oh, and because (mostly) white people fucked up the economy.  Not hating; that’s just what happened.

  • RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

Chief Idiot Mike Duncan had this to say about Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss (who should really be making smooth jazz albums with a name like that) winning a US Senate runoff election in Georgia and ostensibly denying the Democrats a Congressional supermajority: “any rhetoric about a liberal mandate is nothing but hot air.”

Really.

So let me get this straight:  a long-term entrenched Senator nearly loses an election in a state that fought the change of segregation so hard it accidentally kick-started the Civil Rights Movement and continues to fight against change, and the national mandate for change that even some of the Southern states embraced is a bunch of hot air?

Look, not that I’m personally against Georgia, but let’s face it:  it, like many other Southern states (talking to you, Mississippi and Arkansas, and I came from you, so I speak from personal knowledge here) is a little slow on the uptake, to put it kindly.  I’m not at all surprised that change is coming slowly in those places, places in which the white supremacist movement has more than a toehold, which tells us what kind of people occupy such areas (see above).  These are the states that will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the new millenium, and it looks like it’s time to start.  Somebody get me a chain and a pickup truck. . .should be plenty of those running around the South.

Ugh.  All this idiocy has given me a headache. . .

VS – 12.4.08

The Ugly Genie Ain’t Goin’ Back In The Bottle

Posted in politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by vagabondsaint

I’ll just say it:  the McCain Campaign is a f***ing disgrace.  (Bill Kristol agrees, though he put it in better terms.)  Losing on the issues, the campaign made a decision to put out negative attacks ads and have Palin and other supporters give speeches that are divisive when we need unity, and were obviously intended to direct anger at the state of America towards Obama, even though the Republicans are the ones that supported the deregulation and irresponsible tax programs that led to the current state of the economy.  While I must give McCain credit for repudiating the nastiness stirred up by his campaign, I have to subtract that credit from him because he let his campaign get this way in the first place.  (How nasty and divisive has this campaign been?  Check out this video from, of all sources, Middle Eastern network Al-Jazeera, doing what American media can’t or won’t do:  talking to people at rallies and exposing their ignorance and racism.)

So just how successful has McCain been in tamping down the nastiness that his own damn campaign has stirred up?  Well, let’s see. . .

This morning, a reporter was physically attacked at a Sarah Palin speech.  These people love America so much, you’d think they’d know to respect the rights of free speech, a free media, and the right to not get kicked for doing your bloody job, eh?

Speaking of free speech, it’s a given in election years that some political signage will be stolen or vandalized.  It’s reached epic proportions this year, though, and the (Democratic) victims of these crimes are fighting back. . .with YouTube!  All it takes is a surveillance camera and a computer, and any free-speech-hating, win-by-cheating, property-stealing McCainnonite can find themselves the latest YouTube star! (And a bizarre community has grown, with people worldwide watching surveillance cameras, trained on an Obama sign, to make sure that nothing happens to it.)

In California, the Sacramento County Republicans had material on their website that tried to link Obama to Osama and suggested that the Democratic presidential nominee should be waterboarded!  This is ridiculous!  What has Barack Obama done to deserve this sort of hate?  Nothing, other than be a black guy running for the Presidency.  Unfortunately, he’s running against a campaign willing to appeal to the lowest elements of American society in order to win, and that acts surprised and claims innocence when the hatred they stirred up starts boiling over and out of their control.

And. . .oh, I saved the best of the worst for last. . .

From the southern California newspaper The Press-Enterprise:

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

I debated long and hard about putting the image in question in this blog, and have for now decided to do so. . .if only so that my reader(s) can be as sickened and angry as I am.

California GOP group offers this as eveidence that they can out-racist any Southern state.

California GOP group offers this as eveidence that they can out-racist any Southern state.

John McCain, listen up:  this is the result of your negative, divisive, insubstantive, ego-driven, issue-ignoring, win-by-any-means-necessary campaign tactics.  This is what you’ve done to America; you’ve provided a voice and a platform for the ugliest, most ignorant elements of America’s population.  Given your repudiation of these tactics, you show that you disagree and are even angered by such tactics, which speaks well of you.  However, that things even got to this point shows that you, if you are indeed as honourable as you purport, are not in control of your campaign or your party.  If you can’t control those two things, you sure as f*** can’t control the country, and you should not by any means become President.

VS – 10.17.08