Tag Archives: racism

No Justice, No Peace

This is what the majority of people in the streets were about.

This is what the majority of people in the streets were about.

Baltimore, Ferguson, Staten Island, and the list goes on and on. Black men murdered with impunity and then reduced to “thug” status. Rather than looking at the crime of policemen killing people whose only crime was walking in the road or looking at a cop the wrong way, the victims become posthumously guilty of their own deaths. Communities come out to protest and it turns to violence. Is it unjustified? I don’t condone violence, but it seems violence gets attention the way a peaceful protest never can.

In the Baltimore case, the media has been gleefully present for the violence, but conspicuously silent about the crime.

This is the narrative that the media chooses to promote.

This is the narrative that the media chooses to promote.

Only days after the death of Freddie Gray whose spine was nearly split in two, there’s been no word from the police as to the crime for which he was arrested, and there has been no examination in the media of the system that is playing out in city after city.

According to Talking Points Memo:

Baltimore police initially said Gray was taken into custody after he made eye contact with multiple officers … and ran away from them.

These are no longer “isolated incidents.” They are a pattern of abuse that is crying out for a solution. And that solution needs to be system wide. Not town by town, but this country has to come to terms with racism and poverty and the militarism of our police forces that only exacerbates the feeling of us vs them. There is so much work to do that calls for a movement, that calls for a leader, that calls for a revolution.

TheBlackPanthers_OfficialPoster_WebI saw The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution at Full Frame Documentary Festival last month. It is the heartbreaking history of the rise and fall of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. So much of it feels decidedly déjà vu. From its beginnings as a reaction to the police targeting black men for walking while black, and the larger system keeping their communities poor and undereducated, and as a part of the larger youth movement that brought revolutionary ideas to the streets, the Party became an amazingly powerful national organization for black empowerment. The film weaves together the history through archival footage and interviews with surviving Panthers, their supporters and some of their detractors. It shows just how scared the establishment was of this uprising and how far J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI CoIntelPro program went to infiltrate and undermine them, even when in those early days they were using their organizing efforts to feed and educate their communities. There is a quote from J. Edgar in the film that feels very apt for today’s law enforcement, “Justice is incidental to law and order.” The film doesn’t gloss over the Panthers’ radical and at times violent agenda, but it shows that in the context of the times, their talk of fighting for their lives wasn’t just rhetoric. It also points to problems many organizations face, the egos of their leaders. Perhaps the most charismatic and best strategist they had was Fred Hampton, who was assassinated in his bed by the police. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution chronicles the Panther’s story from its founding in Oakland in the 60s through its leadership infighting and eventual disintegration in the early 80s. More than anything I came away from it wishing that another organization with the energy and reach could bring together the black community today to finish the fight. It is a film well worth seeing and I truly hope when it has a wider showing, that a lot of people see it and are inspired to act, again.

At the end of the day, the question is how do we make it better? Does it come down to divergent narratives? We all know something is very wrong, but as long as the narrative from some is that “the poor” are that way because it is their own fault, how does it get better? Is it somehow better for those who think that way to let things continue as it is? Is there a way to change that situation and make it worth their while to create an inclusive community that thrives together? Is the world getting worse or is media just shining a light on the dark places more? So many questions and time is ticking away.


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Smart Women No Vote

Today I chatted with a friend to whom I have been sending various and sundry political articles for the past few months assuming that she was as much for Obama as I, and was entirely shocked to hear, “I think the man is a sexist racist ass.” She is the second Hillary supporter I know who has this antipathy toward him. My first instinct was to feel totally adrift; how could someone who I see as an astute, thoughtful woman see the same person as such a horrible man? Why?

Based on the way he treated Clinton … saw that with my own eyes during the debates … the language he allowed his supporters to leave on his website … “bros before hos” …… allowing all of his followers Clyburn and others to brand Bill and Hillary Clinton racists …. the list can go on and on and on. No one is allowed to say anything negative about Obama ….

I reminded her that people say all kinds of things that are negative about Obama. Bill and Hillary said all kinds of negative things and now they are saying all kinds of positive things. In fact, I was totally for Hillary in the primaries, but when she lost, she and I both moved on to what we thought was the best candidate. “Do you think he won’t be a good president?” I asked her.

I have no idea if he will be a good president. What past job experience do I have to judge him by? Can’t really see anything he has ever done. I don’t think McCain would be a good president either.

She is taking her answers from the Hillary and McCain playbooks. In terms of experience, many would say that Obama is pretty much equivalent to Hillary. Time wise, no one can beat McCain, but I don’t think that years served beats soundness of judgment or ability to lead. I asked if she would be voting.

There is no one to vote for in my opinion.

At this point I was so totally depressed. Because she is someone whose opinion I value and because I know that there is nothing I can say that will make her feel otherwise.

I’m used to being the only non-Obamaphile around. I know he will be elected. Once in office I hope some of the crap will stop and things will normalize.

I just don’t understand the hatred. I’ve seen this from Republicans, but what explains it from Democrats? I know we don’t need to be in lock step together just because he is the candidate. It is sad that things turned so personal in the primaries, but Obama’s policy positions and Hillary’s are so similar, and so they had to differentiate themselves from one another and turned to the negative. But after a slug fest, can’t the competitors agree that it was a good match and move on? I think Obama and Hillary did, but many of the Hillary followers could not accept it. For many, it is not about policy, or anything Obama is saying now; this is personal. Hillary represented them, and anything that was said against her was taken as an affront to them.

I know there is a lot of sexism in the world. It exists and there is nothing that can be done about it. I always thought the members of the Democratic Party or the leaders of it at least were above it. To see how strong it is in the Party was really heartbreaking. I have struggled with this. I felt like I was getting a divorce. You know Obama gave a very eloquent speech on racism in America. What would it cost him to give one on sexism? Forget his brushing Hillary off his shoulders on a televised debate, but why not since he is just waiting on a coronation, not address his young “followers” about all of the horrible Sarah Palin blow up fuck dolls and cunt t shirts and video porn movies they are making and ask them to stop? If he is a leader, why doesn’t he lead on this topic? ….. Why is a Democrat letting this happen? I just feel as if decades of feminist advances disappeared and it was open season on women.

I guess I just don’t see all this blatant sexism from Obama followers. The places I have seen it most are McCain supporters talking online about how hot Palin is. She is definitely unqualified to be president and she’s a joke every time she opens her mouth. There is nothing sexist in stating that. The Republicans have been sexist from day one in dressing her up in designer clothes and giving her the “hockey mom” speeches. She is just a trophy VP for McCain that has totally backfired. She is herself as anti-feminist as I can imagine and joined a ticket that has voted against women at every turn. I cannot blame Obama for that.

You know every one of the candidates are in designer clothes. Obama is wearing Hugo Boss suits, etc etc. If you don’t see the difference in how Clinton and Palin have been treated then I can’t point them out to you. I only blame Obama for the tone of his campaign and for how his operators manipulated that tone. It started against Clinton and it has free reign against Palin. (This would be the same if Palin registered A+ on the East Coast Feminist Behavior Scale)

The Democratic Party did not take Obama out and spend $150,000 of donors’ money to dress him or give him a $11,000 per week stylist. And as for it being sexist to bring it up, it was huge news when John Edwards had a couple of $400 haircuts. If Palin had any substance the GOP would not feel the need to be doing this. I am not sure how you connect this to Hillary at all. Only Palin who is an idiot and an insult to anyone who calls herself a feminist.

Linking Palin and Hillary is in itself sexist to me. Frankly, I don’t think that it would be the same if Palin were a qualified candidate. So much of what is being said about her is about her lack of information or intellectual curiosity about subjects she would have to be knowledgeable about if she were to be elected. I really don’t see a lot of sexism coming from the left, just intense fear of this aggressively ignorant candidate. Much like Dan Quayle who it now seems was eminently more qualified.

Bottom line, my point is Obama is unqualified to be president. McCain would be a horrible president. Biden is a drunk. Palin, well no. So, there are no good choices. I think we are well and truly fucked.

I know it is childish, but I told my dear friend not to ever talk to me about politics again. We see things too differently. My heart was beating too fast and my stomach was churning. I was ready to cry. I just realized what my gentile friends felt like when they found out there was no Santa Claus.

Do we see politics too differently or do we see this election too differently?

I don’t know at this point how to separate the two.

That’s why I’m looking forward to this whole election being over.

November 4th is not the end. Will all her anger just magically disappear on November 5th?

I’m just tired of all the hyped up crap. It will be refreshing to not have All Obama All the Time. He is a slick politician who managed to run an end game around a substantive public servant. Let’s hope I am going to be completely surprised. His presidency will not be one of a “cult of personality” but will instead be brilliant and will restore respect to an office sorely abused by a petty nasty horrible tyrant who inflicted horror and pain on this world. It will be a relief to have the media stop the Obama blitz.

I know I was right to suggest we never speak about this again. The slick politician vs the substantive public servant? I have so much to say, but no way to say it that won’t come out sounding like “you’re an idiot.” How can we see the same two people and see it so differently? As I said, I supported Hillary. I still hope she has a place either as the long-time Senior Senator from NY and maybe as a presidential candidate later or, should Obama find a place for her in the cabinet, she’d be great there, too. I see them both as exceptional people. But to see this as so black and white, good and evil, sexist and feminist, baffles and saddens me.

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The GOP’s NeoRacist Agenda

This is the ad that just happened to be in the body of the Pat Buchanan article titled “Tribal Politics” about Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama.

In his article contending that race was the major factor in Powell’s endorsement Buchanan contends that in hailing Barack as a “transformational figure” whose election would “electrify our country … (and) the world,” Powell seems to testify to the centrality of Barack’s ethnicity to his decision. For what else is there about this freshman senator, who has no significant legislative accomplishment, to transform our politics and to electrify the world, other than the fact that he would be the nation’s first African-American president? This is echoed and is the central point in many of the GOP’s rationalizations for this extraordinary endorsement. In their view, why would the man that McCain described as his favorite living hero endorse the opposition? Couldn’t be that he actually meant what he said, that he gave the matter intense consideration and decided that Obama would make a better commander in chief. Could he possibly have real reasons beyond race for his reasoned decision?

In September, following McCain’s wacky statement about the Russian-Georgian conflict that “we are all Georgians,” Powell was quoted as saying, “The fact of the matter is that you have to be very careful in a situation like this not just to leap to one side or the other until you take a good analysis of the whole situation…”

Buchanan goes even further though: Understandably, Powell is being hailed by the Obama media as a profile in courage. Equally understandably, his endorsement of Obama is said by Republicans to smack of ingratitude, opportunism, and even vindictiveness toward a party to which he owes his fame and career. Ingratitude? Opportunism? A party he owes? This smacks of that good ole pre-Civil Rights “stay in your place” racism from 40+ years ago. He should have been “grateful” enough to ignore the facts that McCain/Palin may be dangerous to the country he served throughout his career? He owes the GOP for his fame and career? I think this might come as a surprise to the thousands of men and women who served under him during his distinguished 30-year military career. At this point in his life he is willing to sacrifice the safety of the people of the United States just to push any African-American candidate ahead? This assertion is so incredibly disgusting, I cannot believe they have the nerve to put it forth. GOP God Ronald Reagan trusted Powell to be his National Security Advisor.

George H. W. Bush named him chairman of the Joint Chiefs, over hundreds of more senior officers. George W. Bush made him the first African-American secretary of state. Are we to believe that there was something about these appointments that was not based on merit, that the Bushes were just being nice to the poor black general? A quid pro quo appointment or two?

And the scatter-gun attack Powell launched on the GOP ticket … suggests a man with scores to settle with the party of George W. Bush. Finally we get to the meat of the argument, that this is payback to W for setting Powell up to lie at to the UN. But since McCain is running against the Bush legacy, this makes no sense.

Yet, what kind of Republican can Powell be when he professes deep concern that McCain might choose Supreme Court justices like John Roberts and Sam Alito? Can there be no Republican with a conscience? Can there be no Republican who wants a balanced Supreme Court? Is it antithetical to the GOP for someone in the party to think differently? Is Buchanan suggesting that Powell is a closet Democrat or that he is willing to put aside his true ideology to back Obama just because he is a “brother?” This is unbelievably insulting on so many levels.

But in the last analysis, one comes back to the forbidden issue of ethnicity. For example, would Powell have endorsed Hillary, had she won the nomination? If Hillary had electrified the country, the youth, the world, and had been able to stay above the dirty politics of the right the way Obama has, perhaps he would.

I think that the most troubling thing about this to the Republicans is what Mark Halperin notes in Time Magazine, “Even after being tied to the Bush Administration and its widely disliked foreign policy decisions, Powell has maintained extraordinary popularity, with nearly three-quarters of Americans continuing to view him favorably, in part because he is perceived as a nonpartisan figure, almost above politics.” That is exactly what this is all about.

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