My thoughts about the Zimmerman verdict…entire text below the break. I hope you find it meaningful.
…So here is the essay that will likely provoke more anger than any I've posted, because it a) calls out white privilege on a site predominated by white folks who think such a thing is a minor issue, or a distraction from the "real" problems facing us, b) because it throws cold water on the absurd cult of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, and c) because, well…it just will. But I suspect that the folks of color here -- and some of their strong white allies -- will yet appreciate it. But here's the thing. I don't care. This is truth. You can deal with it or not…I couldn't care less. Follow me beneath the thing-a-ma-bob, if you feel like it...
After careful consideration, it's hard not to conclude that at some level, ultra-conservatives are simply sadists with better P.R. Why else, after all, would anyone endorse the kinds of cold-hearted, impractical -- even socially destructive -- policies idealized by such persons, unless they were simply nursing a cruelty jones, concerned solely with inflicting pain for pain's sake, rather than worrying about whether or not their policies made sense?
To wit, reaction by many such folks to the announcement this past week that the EEOC is suing BMW and Dollar General (the discount store) for racial discrimination, because of their alleged misuse of criminal background checks to screen potential employees. Because these checks have a disparate impact on African Americans, due to higher rates of criminal conviction than the rates for whites, the government is suing, not to completely prevent the use of background checks, but to alter the indiscriminate manner in which these two companies, and many others, have used them.
Before getting into the matter of how reactionaries have responded to the news -- and rest assured, it has been with fits of apoplexy strong enough to register in all likelihood on the Richter Scale -- a brief review of the issues at hand might be helpful.
So, follow me beneath the…well, you know the deal.
Hey there everyone: here is my latest essay, published earlier today on my site, timwise.org, and which I thought might be of interest here. My site has been acting up thanks to the botnet attack on Wordpress sites for the past two days, so even those of you who read my stuff pretty regularly might have been unable to access it.
Anyway, it's a reply to those white folks in your life (don't we all have some??) who act like affirmative action has made them victims of some pernicious, Jim Crow-like reverse racism…sadly, a mentality that never seems to go away. I've written about this many times before, but figured it was time to revisit, especially given how much I've been hearing the same tired arguments lately…
Anyway, beneath the squiggle is the piece...
Here are my reflections on the Boston bombing, race and white privilege…trust me, it's relevant: give it a read and pass it around… Join me below..
Seems like every young conservative with a phone cam thinks they're James O'Keefe.
Sadly for them, since there's no Andrew Breitbart left to selectively edit and post their handiwork, thereby making it seem a lot more damning than it really is, they're reduced to making even the most obvious, historically inarguable comments by those of us on the left seem controversial.
Just such a thing happened to me this past Wednesday, during my talk at Providence College in Rhode Island. I'll get to the supposedly "shocking" video shortly, but first let it be noted that most of the 500 or so in attendance were enthusiastically supportive of the message I delivered regarding the obligation of educational institutions to promote racial equity and representation, by way of deliberate efforts at recruiting and retaining students of color. There had been some controversy at the school recently, thanks to an article in the student paper critiquing the college's diversity plan, and so I weighed in. My argument was really quite un-radical, in truth. I merely explained, drawing on the available evidence, that unless deliberate efforts were made to make Providence a more inclusive place, it would not simply happen on its own, and that highly capable persons of color would continue to be overlooked. And this would happen, not because they were unqualified, but because of the inertia of a K-12 education system that too often provides unequal opportunity to students, such that would allow all students to thrive and even consider Providence, let alone apply and be admitted.
Seriously, in terms of radicalness, it was like a 6.5 on my normal scale.
Follow me beneath the squiggly to find out what happened...
The senselessness alone would have been sufficient.
So too the sheer horror.
The devastated families, the tapestry of their lives ripped apart, would have been more than enough to make the events at Sandy Hook Elementary almost too weighty to bear.
Much as they were more than a decade before at Columbine, or in any number of other mass or spree shootings -- over five dozen by one count, more than 150 by another -- that have played out over the past few decades.*
There is nothing, one would hope (and even suspect) that could make the present moment any worse.
And yet sadly, there is, and it is something that one hears almost every time one of these tragedies transpires. Over and again, no matter how frequently they happen, and no matter how often the specifics of the latest event eerily mirror the last one and the one before that -- the high capacity weaponry, the apparent mental and emotional instability of the shooter, and the relatively bucolic surroundings of the locale where the deed is done -- it is said again and again with no sense of irony or misgiving.
And it is maddening.
"This wasn't supposed to happen here."
Or perhaps, "No one could have imagined something like this happening in our community."
Or even worse, "This is a nice, safe place," which of course was the same thing said about Springfield, Oregon, Pearl, Mississippi, Littleton and Aurora, Colorado, Moses Lake, Washington, Jonesboro, Arkansas, Santee, California, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, Paduchah, Kentucky, and pretty much every one of the dozens of places where the things that never happen appear to happen regularly enough to constitute something well North of never; indeed quite a bit up from rare.
As information continues to come in from Newtown, Connecticut -- the scene of America's latest mass killing, this time at an elementary school -- there will be much said (and hopefully more to be done) in this nation and culture to diminish the likelihood of such tragedies occurring in the future.
But among the least fortunate, most absurd commentary, will no doubt be the cacophony blaring from the throats of conservative gun-fanatics, who will insist -- as they always do in times like this -- that if more people were allowed to carry guns openly on their person, tragedies such as the one in Newtown could have been prevented. Indeed, the rush to blame liberals and gun control advocates for essentially disarming teachers and others who, naturally, could have saved all those lives has already begun. Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners of America has intoned, for instance, that "Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands." Actually, of course, a gun owner -- or rather, the son of a gun owner, represented, in effect, by Larry Pratt -- has blood on his hands. The blood of 28 people; but never should one let the facts get in the way of a good lobbying volley, I suppose.
The idea that more guns, in the hands of more people, and the elimination of "gun free zones" at schools and elsewhere would reduce the likelihood of mass shootings -- since would-be shooters would rationally fear being stopped by a skilled marksman and thus wouldn't risk launching a killing spree (or even if they did they would be stopped before their carnage was completed) -- is illogical on multiple levels. That the ridiculousness of the position really needs to be spelled out only attests to the fantasy-world-like mental simplicity of the gun crowd, but in any event, here it is.
Those who know me, or have read my work, know that I am nothing if not critical of the Democratic Party and what I consider its corporate-friendly inner-workings, its perpetuation of any number of thoroughly inadequate pseudo-liberal policies, its willingness to go along with and prosecute unjust wars, its neglect of the neediest Americans and their issues for the sake of a safer, middle-class-pandering political narrative, etcetera, etcetera. I am a leftist, I make no bones about that, and am more often than not disappointed in Democrats and the Party itself.
That said, I must also admit there has always been something about Joe Biden that I have absolutely loved. Maybe it's the former competitive debater in me, which aspect of my own personality leads me to appreciate the combativeness and even the smart-ass way in which he, metaphorically speaking, has this incredible capacity to utterly defenestrate his political opponents: to throw them out of the proverbial window and laugh as they hit the ground. Yes he's pushy and sometimes rude, but no one said politics was supposed to be warm and cuddly and the equivalent of a nice, relaxing day at a spa.
But I think it's something more than that. It goes back a ways. And if you'll follow me beneath the squiggle I'd like to share it with you. Seriously, and despite the hackles I may have provoked with my critique of the Dems above -- after all, I know this is a Dem site, and how some folks are touchy about these things -- I think you'll end up appreciating what follows. In fact, I know you will.
One more piece, exposing the racial resentment and racism itself at the root of much of the right's welfare-bashing rhetoric this campaign season. This time, I examine the revealing and blatantly prejudicial rhetoric of FOX's Greg Gutfeld -- probably the most obnoxious of the panelists on "The Five" -- and demonstrate not only why the anti-welfare meme is about race, and clearly relies on racist beliefs about African Americans, but also why it is just amazingly, stupendously inaccurate on a purely factual basis…for more on the stupidity of Greg Gutfeld and others who make the same arguments, follow me beneath the squiggle...
So, hot on the heels of my piece from the other day, which was posted here and on my own site, in which I documented dozens and dozens of examples of conservative racism and white resentment memes spewing from the right, now comes a follow up, with some different examples (and some of the same), but presented in a much more satirical, smart-ass kinda way, because that's just the mood I was in today. Enjoy beneath the squiggle..and please pass it around
I thought it might be helpful to gather together, in one place, all the evidence -- both explicit and implicit -- that the narrative of the modern conservative right (and especially the attack on President Obama) is overwhelmingly about race. Herein I try to explain not just the obvious, but also the way in which the less blatant critiques are also rooted in race-based dog whistles, and then seek to offer a reason for the collapse of relatively responsible conservatism (at least by comparison) and its replacement with this unhinged, white nationalist nuttiness.
It's long but comprehensive, and I'd appreciate ya following me beneath the fancy squiggle, and then passing it along to your friends (and enemies!)
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