Showing posts with label ignorance and racism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ignorance and racism. Show all posts

Sep 3, 2013

Republican Racism: Full Speed Ahead

Labor Day weekend is for many reasons a mirth-filled holiday.

This particular weekend began with the American observance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech.

To anyone with the slightest respect for civil rights and those who have given their lives, marking King's address was inspiring.

Republicans have a different view on civil rights; they're against them and racism remains as Republican as opposing a woman's choice.

While some Republicans cynically pay lip service to critical care for the Voting Rights Act, Republicans are reinvesting in racism, exclusion and disenfranchisement.

Locally in Wisconsin, the GOP's Christian Schneider dove deeper into the sewer, deciding that mocking MLK's address in a deplorable video posted by Schneider in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Purple Wisconsin is acceptable to his GOP audience.

I'm betting Republicans are wrong in calculating racism's politcal efficacy. Racist efforts will ultimately fail.

But it won't be for lack of trying.

Jan 11, 2013

The Voting Rights Act to be Argued in February before U.S. SC

Racism is gone from America?
The Voting Rights Act enacted in 1965 is set to be Argued in February before the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder.

Few are optimistic that the Roberts Court will not take a sledgehammer to this pillar of the modern civil rights movement.

To no one's surprise the case pits those who are pro-voting and pro-democracy against the those who cannot stand the thought that black, brown and yellow Americans are hitting the voting polls at what they view as alarming rates.

Elections are for white Americans; proper, land-owning, white Americans.

Jeffrey Toobin sums up the case in The New Yorker.

No Republican, including those who voted for the Voting Rights Act's reauthorization in 2006, has spoken up and defended the Act against the judicial targeting by the Roberts Court.

Congress reauthorized the act by votes of 390 to 33 in the House and 98 to 0 in the Senate in 2006 for an additional 25 years.

In the 2009, the Roberts Court invited the challenge (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder) now before the Court in another attack on non-Republican Americans.

As Toobin notes in 2009, "Even more than (Justice) Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."

Sep 20, 2012

Racism Is Bad for Business

Update: Paid a lunch-hour visit to the Chinese take-out joint (superb) at Meadowood. Numerous black men about, none of whom attacked me on sight. In the some 11 years I've lived in this area, I've made in the 100s of drop-ins to Meadowood and I'm batting a 1,000 in crime-free visits. Reading the description of the prospective Ace customers fearing for their safety, I'm guess I'm pushing my luck.
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Three young black men joked and laughed outside Meadowood Barber Style Shop on Raymond Road and Whitney Way in Madison, Wisconsin early this morning.

Somebody call the police!

Better yet, don't call the police. More on that later.

These three young black men are doing nothing but being black and being young. Not a crime in this part of the country, and nothing to fear.

News that the Meadowood Ace Hardware on Madison's southwest side is closing (Adams. Wisconsin State Journal) has a lot of people talking in the Madison and Fitchburg neighborhoods around here.

The Ace owners on Raymond Road in a small shopping mall about 20 yards from the Meadowood Barber, point to declining sales, attributed to crime and a "troubled" neighborhood, the WSJ piece reports.

The evidence cited in the piece:
  • A 2007 homicide in the neighborhood
  • Gunfire from a passing car this last August
  • More gunfire in an area northwest of the shopping center also this last August
Ace Hardware's owners are known as candid people.

No doubt their sales are down as they reluctantly close their doors here; but perhaps the worst drought in this area's recorded history and the economy might account for some of the drop in sales at the hardware store.

But another contributing factor is racism, fear of black people in the neighborhood driving away people who are not regular customers.

In fact, chatting with a local business neighbor of Ace's, word is that the regular Ace customers with Ace Hardware reward cards who live in the area are not dropping away as customers. Rather it is drive-by customers and other customers from out of the area who are not coming by as often.

This data is tracked by Ace reportedly, says a neighboring business man.

There's some black dudes; run away.

I pick up things at the Walgreen's in the shopping center, and regularly use the Meadowood Library and the barber as well. And I have never seen any crime, other than young black men being black.

As for these three black men in the lede. One of men is meeting with a U.S. military recruiter today and wanted to look sharp so he had a hair-cut at the barber's; and his two buddies were joking with the guy for wearing such short hair. Real threats to society, these guys.

Racism remains a pernicious pathology and social injustice. Racism is also plain ignorance and stupidity.

And it's bad for business. Ask the folks at the Meadowood Shopping Center.

Mar 22, 2012

The Lynching of Trayvon Martin

When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe

Update: Over 1,327,162 more signatures for justice.

Over nine hundred thousand people have signed a petition calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin for being black.

But as imbecilic as Zimmerman is, let's call this murder what it is: A lynching.

Zimmerman felt entitled to hunt down, assault and then shoot to death Trayvon Martin while speaking to a 911 operator for one reason: Zimmerman is empowered to do so by the Florida statute and the political culture in which we live, one where a major political party constantly strokes racist sentiments among the population to get elected.

Culture does matter. So does political rhetoric.

We understand why President Obama cannot comment now, as press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday, "I note that the Justice Department has said that it’s looking into the matter, and I would refer you to the Justice Department. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers, as I said yesterday, are with Trayvon Martin’s family. But beyond that, not least because there is an investigation going on, I don't have anything else I can add."

But condemnation from Presidents Clinton and Carter, and the Bush family is called for. And that especially includes former Flordia Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Florida legislators who sponsored the Stand Your Ground law are speaking out. So where are the Republican candidates running for president? Not word one.

The family and folks such as Color for Change and the Congressional Black Caucus are driving this investigation for now.

If we cannot communicate a moral imperative for political leaders to speak up, consider the public safety imperative. A deadly riot broke out in 1991 after racist Los Angeles cops who beat Rodney King were acquitted.

Young Trayvon Martin was hunted down and lynched with the implicit approval of the Sanford, Florida police department, and a racist political culture.

So the next time the Republican Party plays their race card, like it is right now, consider the words of Ralph McGill in the Atlanta Constitution, Oct. 13, 1958, after the dynamiting of a Jewish Temple in Atlanta.

Let us face the facts. This is a harvest. It is the crop of things sown. It is the harvest of those so-called Christian ministers who have chosen to preach hate instead of compassion. Let them now find pious words and raise their hands in deploring the bombing of a synagogue. You do not preach and encourage hatred for the Negro and hope to restrict it to that field. It is an old, old story. It is one repeated over and over again in history. When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.

Apr 24, 2011

Noam on Madison and the World

Wisconsin is still Ground Zero

By Noam Chomsky in TomGram

The democracy uprising in the Arab world has been a spectacular display of courage, dedication, and commitment by popular forces -- coinciding, fortuitously, with a remarkable uprising of tens of thousands in support of working people and democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S. cities. If the trajectories of revolt in Cairo and Madison intersected, however, they were headed in opposite directions: in Cairo toward gaining elementary rights denied by the dictatorship, in Madison towards defending rights that had been won in long and hard struggles and are now under severe attack.

Each is a microcosm of tendencies in global society, following varied courses. There are sure to be far-reaching consequences of what is taking place both in the decaying industrial heartland of the richest and most powerful country in human history, and in what President Dwight Eisenhower called "the most strategically important area in the world" -- "a stupendous source of strategic power" and "probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment," in the words of the State Department in the 1940s, a prize that the U.S. intended to keep for itself and its allies in the unfolding New World Order of that day. ...

Those with a sense of irony may recall that Benjamin Franklin, one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, warned that the newly liberated colonies should be wary of allowing Germans to immigrate, because they were too swarthy; Swedes as well. Into the twentieth century, ludicrous myths of Anglo-Saxon purity were common in the U.S., including among presidents and other leading figures. Racism in the literary culture has been a rank obscenity; far worse in practice, needless to say. It is much easier to eradicate polio than this horrifying plague, which regularly becomes more virulent in times of economic distress.

I do not want to end without mentioning another externality that is dismissed in market systems: the fate of the species. Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don't, someone else will.

This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood.

If such things were happening in some small and remote country, we might laugh. Not when they are happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world. And before we laugh, we might also bear in mind that the current economic crisis is traceable in no small measure to the fanatic faith in such dogmas as the efficient market hypothesis, and in general to what Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, 15 years ago, called the "religion" that markets know best -- which prevented the central bank and the economics profession from taking notice of an $8 trillion housing bubble that had no basis at all in economic fundamentals, and that devastated the economy when it burst.

All of this, and much more, can proceed as long as the Muashar doctrine prevails. As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.

- Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are a new edition of Power and Terror, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, Gaza in Crisis, with Ilan Pappé, and Hopes and Prospects, also available as an audiobook. This piece is adapted from a talk given in Amsterdam in March.

Aug 4, 2009

Innocence Is No Defense

Update: See GOP Returns To "White Voter Strategy" for a look at why profiling and racism plays.

Oh yeah, Henry Louis Gates Jr is an innocent man. An insignificant detail not mentioned by those who cheerlead all the progress we have made in race relations and defend the cop who persecuted an innocent man.

Bob Herbert reminds us this morning of this minor detail of Prof Gates' innocence and the propensity of cops to target people of color.

No one is immune. Colin Powell told Larry King that he had been profiled many times. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke last week about how humiliated he felt as a college student when a cop made him stop his car and open the trunk so it could be searched for weapons.

Young, old, innocent as the day is long — it doesn’t matter. Your skin color can leave you perpetually vulnerable to a sudden and devastating criminal injustice.
Well, Gates like Colin Powell and Attorney General Eric Holder is black; so I guess he had it coming. We just need to ignore such distasteful facts like the man's innocence and understand the perpetrator because he wears a uniform and a badge.

Aug 2, 2009

'Any man's death diminishes me'

That headline above is from John Donne (1572-1631).

Donne's work intends such concerns to apply to life. Poetry instructs.

"When a man dies, it ought to be everybody's business."
- Disbelieving dude on Night Gallery, aired Sunday night in Milwaukee

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;it tolls for thee."
- John Donne, Meditation XVII

I like black people and brown people. It's almost as though they are ... human. In the name of such humanity, it's seems a fine idea to challenge those who reject such sentiments professionally [like the ass Crawley who calls himself police], emphatically so when our society vests some fools as sworn law enforcement officers, keepers of the peace and protectors of the people. A man loses his liberty and outrage ought to follow.

Jul 26, 2009

Authority and Liberty

Update: "Blacks -- in particular, black men -- swap their experiences of police encounters like war stories." - Henry Louis Gates in the New Yorker (1995); from Liberal Cambridge Reflects on Racial Rift (Krissah Thompson and Cheryl W. Thompson) -

You, the reader—veteran, police, Marine, civilian, whatever—this moment are likely criminally responsible for breaking the law.

Be it federal, state, or municipal, you are criminally indictable for violating criminal statutes.

“With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone,” said Robert H. Jackson.

That was in 1941.

It’s fair to say the sphere of unlawful behavior has expanded immensely since then.

In this reality, we should expect police officers and prosecutors at all levels of government to exercise a measure of discretion, intelligence, and empathy in dealing their fellow citizens, their fellow human beings.

Recent events reconfirm that even approaching this imperative is elusive. The last thing we should do as a society is deprive another of liberty. Only when there is no other way should we resort to this drastic action.

As seen in the actions of Crawley of the Cambridge Police Department or Dalma of the Madison Police Dept [Cambridge and Madison are surely among America' most liberal places with a deep tradition of working for civil rights], too many police, prosecutors, and other politicians seem determined to reject the sage advice of Robert Jackson and are hostile to liberty.

Take Crawley. Does he really not understand why accosting a black man arriving back to his own home would illicit indignation and anger? Welcome home, Prof. Gates.

Apparently not, Crawley just needs to arrest somebody who challenges his imperial vision of himself.

I have a lot of dealings with real police and military veterans through family and friends. And this type of cop or military officer as Crawley is universally reviled; Crawley’s a scumbag seeking out ass-kissers.

Here’s an example of discretion.

A couple summers back, my girlfriend was driving to her sister’s house to dog-sit and house-sit for two weeks. Jackie told me being alone in the house scared her at night, even with the dogs and wonderful neighbors. There had been several break-ins in the vicinity, with one right next door just the week before.

Ten minutes after Jackie left our apartment, she called and said some man was following her in a large black truck as she serpentined through numerous turns to get to her sister’s house. Then as she pulled into the driveway, the guy parked right in front of the house, blocking the driveway.

Jackie was still in her car as she spoke, “Come over right NOW.” It was already dark out, and Jackie was too frightened to walk from her car to the front porch with the man sitting in his vehicle staring at her.

I understood. I drove over fast full of adrenaline and slowly came up behind the car, wrote down the license plate numbers, flipped my brights on and off, got out of my car and walked briskly over to ask the guy what he thought he was doing.

The guy took off, very fast for this neighborhood where 25 mph mean 25 mph because of the number of children usually around.

We called the cops, and this Marine veteran dude came and talked to Jackie and me. We explained the situation and gave the officer the guy’s plates. Jackie thought the guy might have been objecting to her “Out of Iraq Now” and “Peace” bumper stickers since this had happened quite a few times before, but usually not this aggressively. I thought that, 'maybe the guy was just pulling over to make a phone call or to smoke a joint,' and said so to the cop. He nodded and said he couldn't say that, but that I could as the boyfriend.

The cop came back later and asked if we knew the guy in the black truck – he gave us a name and general address. Neither of us recognized the name.

The cop told us the guy in the truck didn’t have any record, didn’t seem to be dangerous, and would not bother us any more. The officer also asked if there was anything Jackie could have done to provoke the man’s actions – like cutting him off in traffic or doing anything that could have been perceived as threatening. She didn’t think so and reiterated that she had had trouble with what some people perceived to be “unpatriotic” bumper stickers. [Shit doesn’t happen when I drive her car I feel the need to add.]

The police officer assured us that after he spoke to the guy, the last place the guy would go to is the address my girlfriend was staying. The officer also would his keep an eye out on the house during the next two weeks while on patrol.

With the police officer’s assurances that he didn’t think the fellow was dangerous, I left. No charges were filed, and more importantly, Jackie felt that the officer had listened to her complains, and she felt safer for his having been there. It was a good example of how police officers should protect and serve. Everyone’s happy, no arrests. End of story.

Jul 25, 2009

On Racism

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last July asked: 'Have you ever felt you were stopped by the police just because of your race or ethnic background?' Sixty-six percent of black men said yes. Only 9 percent of white men said the same.
- Charles M. Blow

This reality is incomprehensible for the GOP in Wisconsin as represented by Mike Nichols and virtually the entire GOP delegation in the state legislature who strenuously objected to even collecting data on police pull-overs by race.

Jun 2, 2009

Rightwing Activists: Filibuster Sotomayor

Bring it on.

The White Party says filibuster the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee. [In Wisconsin, the White Party says: Do not gather racial profiling data.]

The GOP did well in the deep south and Appalachia in the last election. But I think even the religious right might be getting tired of these guys.

From the Politico, Manu Raju reports:

Conservatives are demanding that Senate Republicans take a harder line on Sonia Sotomayor, with new signs of tension between the Hill GOP and elements of the Republican base over the direction the opposition should move in the Supreme Court fight.

In a letter to be delivered to Senate Republicans Tuesday, more than 145 conservatives – including Grover Norquist, Richard Viguerie and Gary Bauer — call for a filibuster of Sotomayor’s nomination if that’s what it takes to force a 'great debate' over judicial philosophy.

But as is clear, the the White Party hates a debate.

Nearly nine in ten (89 percent) Republicans are white with the vast majority of those people describing themselves as 'conservative' (63 percent). Just seven percent of Republicans are either Hispanic (five percent) or black (two percent).

The more the GOP listens to its base, the more it isolates itself.

Apr 9, 2009

I Love Black People! Even in Fitchburg

Don't know what your living situation is, but a black man moves in a couple doors up and watch the property taxes in the hood move right on down.

Black people [depicted above-right from Google Images] are like magic this way; no way white guys can do that.

Reprinted below is a short column from last month, and mal invites members of my neighborhood association's newsletter—the Jamestown Neighborhood Association of Fitchburg, Wisconsin (bordering Madison)—to explain why they ran a house and street number in the Spring issue and accused the people there of being "uninvited ... drug dealers" and printing a less-than-convincing evidential basis for their conclusion. Do please post a comment below.

I called the cops last month and they said they don't know anything about drug dealers at any specific house near where the Jamestown Neighborhood Association [is that whites-only] asserts "(t)here is suspicion of drug dealing".

But after I made several passive observations [that's sociology talk for a non-invasive looking at stuff] near the address the past several weeks, I did notice a few black people walking about. Yes. I see black people.

I do hope that if the people holding ongoing suspicions of drug dealing were to see my brother-in-law [he's a black man] and sister visiting from Milwaukee that they cut them some slack even though he is black as midnight, has a quasi-Afro and often gets downright cocky, taking on a disturbing air of arrogance after winning repeated games of Scrabble, for instance.

Shiiiiiiit, I'm going to go get myself some KFC and a big can of Mickey's.
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Mar 20, 2009

Fitchburg, Wisconsin - The Jamestown Neighborhood Association of Fitchburg (bordering Madison) believes that it has seen the enemy in its midst: Drug dealers.

And in its Spring 2009 newsletter, the neighborhood association identifies a specific house number on a street named King James Way, writing that "There is suspicion of drug dealing at xxxx King James Way. ... If we don't let drug dealers know they're unwelcome, they'll come—uninvited," urging neighbors to call the police should they view suspicious activity and "this kind of behavior."

No doubt then, the newsletter is rigorous in supporting its accusation and compiles a compelling fact base before making this specific accusation in its widely distributed newsletter.

Wrong.

The sole piece of evidence in support of its singling out the address in question reads: "Cars have been pulling up and stopping for a very short time period leading to this suspicion."

That's it, a "suspicion". It's reckless to engage in this kind of public accusation without a compelling fact base.