AlterNet.org: Chauncey DeVega http://a.alternet.org/authors/chauncey-devega en Stop-and-Frisk and Donald Trump’s Promise of a Police State for Black People http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/stop-and-frisk-and-donald-trumps-promise-police-state-black-people <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1064248'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064248" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump&#039;s embrace of racist policing tactics is a terrifying master plan.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_484304782.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump continued his flagellation as black political outreach strategy at a town hall addressing “African-American issues” on Wednesday.</p><p>Fox News hate merchant Sean Hannity moderated the event which will be broadcast on the network at a later date. Almost all of the attendees of this event were white. Before that crowd, Donald Trump introduced the next component in his plan to win over black voters — a group whose lives he has repeatedly described as a type of dystopian nightmare and living hell that is worse than slavery, the Black Codes, and Jim and Jane Crow.</p><p>Trump said the following:</p><blockquote><p>“Right, well, one of the things I’d do, Ricardo, is I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically, you understand, you have to, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do.”</p></blockquote><p>Donald Trump’s “African-American town hall” is a moment that calls for the wisdom and genius of the master comedians Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Alas, they are no longer here to find for us the comic value in the event. Even amid all the absurdity of Trump’s black “outreach” campaign, we must not overlook how Donald Trump’s national “stop and frisk” plan is deadly serious business. It has the potential to ruin the lives of many millions of people,  imperiling their safety, security, freedom and dignity.</p><p>A serious question remains: What is the political logic driving Trump’s embrace of stop-and-frisk as a centerpiece of his so-called “black outreach” campaign?</p><p>Stop-and-frisk is a failed public policy. It has been found to be ineffective and counterproductive in reducing <a href="http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/08/the-data-can-no-longer-be-ignored-stop-and-frisk-doesnt-work/494996/" target="_blank">street crime</a>. Stop-and-frisk is also an example of a broader approach to crime known as “broken windows policing,” a strategy whose effectiveness in reducing street crime is increasingly suspect and <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2014/12/broken_windows_policing_doesn_t_work_it_also_may_have_killed_eric_garner.html" target="_blank">questionable</a>. Donald Trump’s political brand is based upon his ability to sell himself as a “winner” and  a man who surrounds himself with “experts” that “know how to get things done.” Yet, he is embracing an approach to policing that has been proven to be a <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/09/22/trumps-stop-and-frisk-fiasco-a-terrible-plan-for-fighting-crime-in-chicago-or-anywhere/" target="_blank">losing proposition</a>.</p><p>Stop-and-frisk is extremely unpopular among black Americans. For example, <a href="http://maristpoll.marist.edu/tag/stop-and-frisk/" target="_blank">as reported</a> by a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll of voters in New York’s 2013 mayoral election, 75 percent of African Americans wanted stop-and-frisk policies to be “overhauled.” The systematic harassment of blacks and Latinos by America’s police under stop-and-frisk <a href="http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/frisk9.pdf" target="_blank">is also racist</a> and classist. For example, while black and brown youth in New York were stopped much more often under stop-and-frisk, it is actually white people who were twice as likely to have weapons, drugs, and other <a href="https://thinkprogress.org/white-people-stopped-by-new-york-police-are-more-likely-to-have-guns-or-drugs-than-minorities-9bf579a2b9b3?gi=a41885b0dfb0" target="_blank">contraband</a> on their persons. Moreover, in a moment when the United States has experienced urban rebellions in cities Charlotte, Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere in response to police thuggery and brutality, onerous and draconian tactics such as stop-and-frisk will actually foment the type of disorder and chaos that Trump supposedly wants to end.</p><p>Ultimately, to support it is to drive away blacks whose support Trump and the Republicans purport to want: It cannot be part of an effective outreach plan to attract African-American voters.</p><p>So what, then, is actually driving Donald Trump’s “black outreach” campaign?</p><p>Trump’s goals are two-fold.</p><p>First, his black outreach campaign is simply one more example of the tired, fake, insincere, and ineffective efforts by Republican presidential candidates to win over <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/26/donald-trump-has-no-love-for-black-people-his-outreach-and-pivot-are-really-aimed-at-winning-over-nervous-white-voters/" target="_blank">non-white voters</a> with the goal of appearing more moderate for the general election. In this cynical ploy, a faux-courting of non-white voters is a way of making independent and center Right-wing white voters feel more comfortable with the extreme and retrograde conservatism and racism of the current Republican Party.</p><p>Second, and most importantly, Trump’s promise to create a nationwide stop-and-frisk program targeting black and brown people is red meat for the “basket of human deplorables” that is his base. As shown by a litany of public opinion polls and other research, Trump supporters are racists, bigots, authoritarians, misogynists, and extremely hostile to African-Americans and other people of color.</p><p>Trump’s promise to expand a mechanism that enables police harassment and the unfair targeting of black people is further proof of his fascist bonafides and strongman persona. To this point, Trump has now vowed to create a Gestapo-like force that will magically remove millions of “illegal aliens” from the United States the day he is inaugurated, violate the Constitution by banning Muslims from the United States (as well creating an enemies list and registry for those already here) and disregard the rights and liberties of black Americans under the guise of “protecting” that community from crime.</p><p>When these facts are added to his threats against the free press and the First Amendment, his unfounded claims that the country’s political institutions such as voting are “rigged” against him, as well as encouragement of political violence against his foes such as Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement, it becomes abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not flirting with fascism, he is a dyed-in-the-wool member of and poster boy for that ignoble political tradition.</p><p>Take all his promises together and it becomes clear: Donald Trump wants to create a police state where non-whites and Muslims live in a state of perpetual terror and fear.</p><p>This is the America that Trump wants to birth. This is not a work of speculative fiction from Philip K. Dick or an installment of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone.” It is real, it is here, it is present — and if Donald Trump and his “basket of deplorables” get their way, less than 60 days from being enacted.</p><p>Welcome to the Terrordome.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1064248'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064248" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:39:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1064248 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 elections donald trump police racism civil rights The Hard Truth About Terence Crutcher and Tulsa: What Kind of White Person Do You Want to Be? http://a.alternet.org/human-rights/what-kind-white-person-do-you-want-be <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1064157'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064157" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The killing of yet another unarmed black man by police shows little will change until White America joins the fight.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_235179037-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>If America were a song, the killing of unarmed black people by the police would be a standard chord progression or rhythm, the sort of indistinguishable background noise that you hear so often you might not even notice it anymore.</p><p>On Friday, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a<a href="http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/09/terence_crutcher_shot_tulsa_po.html" target="_blank"> 40-year-old black man named Terence Crutcher</a> had car troubles. The police approached him. Crutcher responded by putting his hands in the air. The Tulsa police used a Taser on Crutcher. A Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby, then shot him dead. They left him bleeding in the street for almost a minute before rendering any aid. <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/09/20/videos-show-oklahoma-police-shooting-and-killing-unarmed-black-man-terence-crutcher/" target="_blank">The incident was recorded on video</a>.</p><p>Crutcher had committed no crime. He was unarmed. He was a motorist in distress.<a href="http://qz.com/785761/oklahoma-police-fatally-shot-terence-crutcher-an-unarmed-black-man-after-his-suv-stalled-on-the-way-home-from-class/" target="_blank">He was driving home from a music-appreciation class</a> at a local college. This street execution took less than 30 seconds.</p><p>Several months ago, I decided that <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/07/07/a_modern_day_lynching_why_i_will_not_watch_the_video_of_alton_sterling_being_killed_by_baton_rouge_police/" target="_blank">I would no longer watch videos of black people being killed </a>by America’s police. These images have become a type of pornographic violence, a new digital-era version of lynching postcards. I know all too well what dead black bodies look like. To be repeatedly exposed to such images is psychologically unhealthy.</p><p>And yet how could I ignore Terence Crutcher? So I made an exception. I was not surprised by what I saw. Lynching postcards and photographs were a way to circulate images of white-on-black racial terrorism with the goal of intimidating an entire community of people. The contemporary images of Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and many others do much of the same type of political work.</p><p>Over the last several years, I have written many dozens of essays about police thuggery and abuse against black and brown Americans. I have even developed an open-letter format to that end. How’s that for macabre efficiency? Every one could start this way:</p><blockquote><p>Dear America’s police:</p><p>Please stop killing black men. I am a black man. Police have threatened and harassed me while I was doing nothing wrong. I do not know why you hate people like me so much. I have no criminal record. I hope that you will reflect on your behavior and subsequently do a better job of stopping the foul, horrible, and criminal behavior that routinely takes place in white communities all across these United States.</p><p>Those in denial about the war by American’s cops on people of color will say they are “shocked” by what is quite common. White denial — perhaps most so when embraced by people of color — is one of the bedrocks and cornerstones of white supremacy.</p></blockquote><p>As I would tweak, modify and update this with specific, horrific details to fit a given circumstance, I would be reminded that I was ultimately making both a plea and a demand to the white reader. Black people — especially black men — are not monsters — yet somehow the white gaze all too often and immediately defaults to such a conclusion.</p><p>I know this phenomenon, which philosophers such as Judith Butler, George Yancy and others have described as white racist paranoia, is neither my fault or responsibility. It is an existential and psychological problem that white folks must heal for themselves. But I also know that as a matter of practical survival in America and elsewhere people of color must be hyperaware of white folks’ anxieties and fears. To not do so is a grave risk — and often a matter of life and death.</p><p>Police violence against African-Americans is also a reminder that black people are an asterisk on American history that upsets and challenges almost every popular myth and narrative about the United States.</p><p>The freedom symbolized by automobiles and the road are central to American culture. As such, African-Americans used cars to escape the racial terrorism of Jim and Jane Crow and the formal apartheid of the American South. But for decades (and perhaps even now in the present) black Americans still needed to use resources such as <a href="http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/Negro_motorist_green_bk.htm" target="_blank">“The Negro Motorist Green Book”</a> in order to try to travel in safety and with dignity.</p><p>Black America’s collective memory contains many stories of happy journeys by car that are disrupted and derailed by white bigotry and racism. In 2015  <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/07/25/sandra_blands_american_tragedy_how_a_countrys_vicious_history_lives_on_in_an_all_too_modern_outrage/" target="_blank">this was the narrative of Sandra Bland</a>, a young black woman who, while traveling to her dream job from Chicago, was pulled over by an overzealous white police officer on a pretext stop and then somehow ended up dead in a prison cell in a small Texas town many hundreds of miles away from her family. This is a black American nightmare made real. The $1.9 million in blood money paid to Bland’s family by Waller County in Texas will not reanimate Sandra Bland. Her death is permanent.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1064157'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064157" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:10:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1064157 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights police racism police brutality terrence crutcher Tulsa oklahoma human rights Just As Dangerous As Trump: Why We Should Fear Mike Pence for Refusing to Call David Duke 'Deplorable' http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/just-dangerous-trump-why-we-should-fear-mike-pence-refusing-call-david-duke-deplorable <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1063854'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063854" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Pence&#039;s decision not to label an unapologetic white supremacist sends a message.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/hoosier_hostility_image.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>During an interview on Monday with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence refused to describe Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke as “deplorable.”</p>He said, “I’m not in the name-calling business.” Pence continued, “We don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of the people who think like him.”<p>Following a meeting with House Republican leaders the next day, Pence again refused to describe David Duke as “deplorable.” </p><p>This was not an error. Pence’s refusal to call an unapologetic white supremacist such as David Duke “deplorable” is a strategic choice and message.</p><p>It is one that David Duke and his ilk heard loud and clear. Duke explained to Buzzfeed that:</p><blockquote><p>It’s good to see an individual like Pence and others start to reject this absolute controlled media. The truth is that the Republican Party in Louisiana — I received the vast majority of Republican votes for United States Senator before and for governor before that in my state. The truth is the Republican Party is big tent. I served in the Republican caucus. I was in the Republican caucus in the legislature. I had a perfect Republican voting record. It’s ridiculous that they attack me because of my involvement in that non-violent Klan four decades ago.</p></blockquote><p>It is true that 2016 is the political year of Donald Trump. </p><p>He has dominated the American corporate news media with at least $3 billion in free coverage. Trump is a fascist who has normalized a type of nativist, racist, bigoted, misogynistic and juvenile politics that is usually confined to the margins of the country’s public discourse. </p><p>Trump is a political performance artist who is remarkably entertaining: As a reality TV star and student of professional wrestling, Trump is an expert at the staged and spectacular event. His political rallies are “safe spaces” for violence, rage, vitriol and hatred. In all, these events are human zoos and political rodeos for angry white Americans who feel that they have lost “their country” and yearn to “make it great again.” </p><p>It is also true that Trump’s candidacy represents a nadir in modern American politics. It is Mike Pence and what is signaled by his refusal to describe Duke as “deplorable,” however, that has the potential to do the most harm to the country in the long term. </p><p>Politics is a copycat game. In this game, political entrepreneurs try to gain personal power and influence by leveraging and manipulating the grievances, needs and wants of various groups of people. Trump’s ability to win more votes than any Republican presidential primary candidate in recent American political history demonstrates that there is a ready and eager audience for “old-fashioned” white racism and bigotry. </p><p>The assertive influence over Donald Trump and the Republican Party of the alt-right — a moniker that’s really just a rebranding effort for overt white nationalist and white supremacists, which already have an outsized influence over right-wing politics — is an additional reminder that mining white racism has historically resulted in political gold for (white) American politicians.</p><p>The United States’ changing racial and ethnic demographics also present a fertile moment for the politics of white rage, racial resentment and a sense of embattled whiteness and white privilege. Moreover, toxic hegemonic white masculinity became enraged by the election of the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama. It may be pushed over the edge into a full-on apoplectic fit if Hillary Clinton becomes president. </p><p>While he may be vanquished in a landslide by Clinton, there are many tens of millions of Americans in the Republican Party and right-leaning independents who support Trump and his particular brand of fascist Herrenvolk politics. This is a public whose desires will not be ignored. </p><p>The corporate news media prefers a narrative in which political change is described as a “revolution,” the result of a “crisis,” or with outcomes that are somehow “surprising.” In reality, politics is a marathon and not a sprint: Long-term political change is often incremental. </p><p>To that end, Trump’s rise to power over the Republican Party is the product of at least five decades of white identity politics under the Southern strategy and a right-wing news-entertainment-disinformation machine that systematically lies to and manipulates its audience.</p><p>Trump’s ascendance is also a reflection of a Machiavellian dynamic whereby Republican elites and other policymakers foment a state of economic, political and social misery for “red state” America, dishonestly blame “big government” and “minorities” for the troubles and then promise to solve the very problems they actually created.</p><p>If Trump’s political moment is to have enduring power, he is unlikely to be its torchbearer. While entertaining, Donald Trump is ultimately too bombastic, hostile and unpredictable. It will instead be “reasonable” and “measured” professional politicians like Pence who repackage Trump’s fascism and white nationalist politics for more mainstream consumption.</p><p>In the political horror movie that is the 2016 presidential race, Trump is the fiend who wields a chainsaw, hacking, slashing and killing unsuspecting teenagers at a campsite. By comparison, Pence is the gentleman serial killer. He wears a business suit, is charming and appears to be relatively harmless. Trump gives cheap thrills and frights. But ultimately, “respectable” Republicans like Pence are far more dangerous to the American body politic because they can steadily operate in plain sight, preying on a largely unsuspecting and vulnerable public.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1063854'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063854" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:06:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1063854 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 david duke donald trump hillary clinton 2016 elections mike pence How White Racism and a Complicit Media Are Keeping Trump Close in the Polls—and Why It Won't Be Enough http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/how-white-racism-and-complicit-media-are-keeping-trump-close-polls-and-why-it-wont-be <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1063364'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063364" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump&#039;s candidacy is an ugly joke—but insidious racism and media idiocy have kept him within striking distance.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/28915300874_ce0cd6c754_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is a former United States senator and secretary of state with decades of experience as a public servant. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is a real estate developer and reality TV star. He has never held public office. According to new national polling data on the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton and Trump are in a virtual tie. How did this happen?</p><p>There are many reasons. Primarily, both candidates are viewed negatively by large segments of the American public. The U.S. economy has also experienced a relatively anemic recovery (in terms of wages and wealth) from the Great Recession of the George W. Bush years.</p><p>Furthermore, the American electorate is highly partisan and polarized. As Election Day in November approaches—and despite whatever misgivings voters may feel—it is much more likely than not that individuals will solidify their support for their political party’s chosen candidate.</p><p><a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/08/why_trump_clinton_won_t_be_a_landslide.html" target="_blank">These foundational factors</a> have combined to create a close presidential race.</p><p>The American news media, much of it owned and controlled by large corporations, has also played a significant role in keeping Hillary Clinton within reach of Donald Trump.</p><p>Donald Trump is an atypical presidential candidate who has utter disregard for the standing norms of American politics and even less respect for the Fourth Estate. This has allowed <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/05/we-cant-look-away-the-joy-of-donald-trump-and-political-rubbernecking/" target="_blank">him to outmaneuver and manipulate</a> many journalists and pundits. They feel beholden, or perhaps enslaved, to norms of “objectivity,” “fairness” and “balance.” Trump feels no such limitations.</p><p>By some estimates, the American media has given Trump at <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-has-gotten-nearly-3-billion-in-free-advertising-2016-05-06" target="_blank">least $3 billion worth of free coverage.</a> The 24/7 cable news cycle and the media’s corporate culture have fueled an obsession with creating a “horse race” and a willingness to massage, distort and misrepresent events in order to sustain that narrative. For example, the media continues to manufacture “scandals” about Clinton’s emails while ignoring or underplaying Trump’s misdeeds, from the buying of political influence and various documented acts of <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/most-corrupt-candidate-ever-is-donald-trump.html" target="_blank">political corruption</a> to his encouragement of election tampering by a foreign power, his questionable business practices and other instances of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/donald-trump-scandals/474726/" target="_blank">unethical behavior</a>.</p><p>The sum effect of these dynamics (aided by no small amount of cowardice among the pundit classes) is that the American corporate news media has buttressed and legitimated Trump. In all, this amounts to grading on a curve. Hillary Clinton is an A student being held to an impossibly high standard and punished for minor mistakes. Donald Trump is a D student, at best, who is being marked up to an A minus because the teacher is afraid of his parents.</p><p>The impact of white racism and racial resentment on American politics also plays a large role in explaining why Clinton and Trump are so close in the polls. Donald Trump is a racist, a bigot, a nativist and <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/09/02/putting-lives-in-danger-trumps-vile-phoenix-speech-was-terrifying-and-the-result-could-be-tragic/" target="_blank">a fascist</a>. The Republican Party in the post-Civil Rights era has become the United States’ largest de facto white identity organization. It also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-weiler/authoritarianism-at-the-h_b_8750344.html" target="_blank">attracts white authoritarians.</a> Trump’s selection as the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee is <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/07/27/50_years_of_denial_how_the_american_news_media_enabled_the_racism_of_donald_trump_and_the_republican_party/" target="_blank">the nearly inevitable outcome</a> of almost five decades of the “Southern strategy” pioneered by Pat Buchanan in 1968, as well as a broader right-wing electoral politics that is based first and foremost on mobilizing white voters and demobilizing nonwhites.</p><p>Moreover, despite the media’s discussion of the so-called alt-right, which is little more than an ideological smoke screen, Trump and his supporters are not outliers or aberrations in the Republican Party. They are its unapologetic base and its political id. Right-wing elites may be turned off by Trump’s lack of polish, but his core message, attitudes and values resonate among mainstream Republicans. This gives Trump a deep reservoir of preexisting support.</p><p>In some ways, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/8478210/The-Obama-birther-conspiracy-timeline.html" target="_blank">Trump began his 2016 political foray in 2011</a> with the racist conspiracy known as “birtherism.” Five years later, <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/new-poll-shows-that-41-of-republicans-still-dont-think-obama-was-born-in-the-u-s/" target="_blank">72 percent of Republicans still express doubt</a> that Barack Obama was born in the United States.</p><p>During the Republican campaign, Trump proposed banning all Muslim noncitizens from entering the United States. <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/defense/274521-poll-half-of-american-voters-back-trumps-muslim-ban" target="_blank">Seventy-one percent of Republicans</a> supported it.</p><p>Social scientists have demonstrated that “old-fashioned” racism is resurgent in America and can now be used to predict whether a given white voter will support the Republican Party. Anti-black animus is also highly correlated with hostility to Barack Obama. Other work has demonstrated that racial animus has a “hangover” effect that can impact a given white person’s attitudes and beliefs about ostensibly race-neutral policy issues, like public transit and infrastructure projects, which may be perceived as benefiting blacks.</p><p>The ascendancy of Donald Trump has also empowered white supremacists and other hate groups to bolster their recruitment efforts. The Independent reports that <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/white-nationalist-movement-twitter-faster-growth-isis-islamic-state-study-a7223671.html" target="_blank">white nationalist groups are growing at a higher rate than ISIS,</a> at least in terms of social-media presence.</p><p>These are abstract facts <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/6/2/11833548/donald-trump-support-race-religion-economy" target="_blank">and the results of social science research</a>. They are essential and extremely important. The passions and rage that Donald Trump has summoned, however, also help to explain why he is able to be so competitive with Hillary Clinton.</p><p>Trump is the beneficiary of a populist moment of discontent in American and global politics. While Bernie Sanders’ progressive version of populism was inclusive, cosmopolitan and forward-thinking, Trump’s populism appeals to racism, tribalism and reactionary thinking. Trump is also a political necromancer, deftly skilled in manipulating white conservatives’ anxieties and fears of both generational and cultural obsolescence.</p><p>This political moment and broader atmosphere has resulted in some ugly events. Trump supporters have attacked and beaten immigrants. Violence against protesters at Trump rallies has become commonplace. Several weeks ago <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/19/washington-man-stabs-kissing-interracial-couple-cites-donald-trump-when-arrested/" target="_blank">a Trump supporter stabbed</a> an interracial couple at a restaurant in Olympia, Washington. White supremacists have been emboldened by Trump’s rise to power in the Republican Party. They openly attend his rallies and other events and see him as a champion for their cause. In August a white supremacist killed a 19-year-old black teenager by running him over with a vehicle. Trump has embraced the implicit racist sentiment channeled by “All Lives Matter” and has described Black Lives Matter members as thugs and criminals who are a threat to public order. <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/maine-governor-suggests-people-of-color-are-the-enemy.html" target="_blank">Paul LePage, the Trump-like governor of Maine</a>, recently suggested that blacks and Latinos were the “enemy” of police and deserved to be shot.</p><p>While many political observers like to pretend that the racially toxic civic atmosphere that spawned Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party was an unexpected surprise, it was foreshadowed during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. While this factor may seem almost irrelevant at the end of his two successful terms in office, it is estimated that <a href="http://themonkeycage.org/2011/12/did-race-cost-obama-in-2008/" target="_blank">white racism cost Barack Obama 3 to 5 percentage points</a> in the final presidential vote that year.</p><p>Obama’s election spawned a vicious reaction on the right. Racially resentful white conservatives flocked to the Tea Party faction. To undermine Obama’s constitutional powers, congressional Republicans refused to follow through on basic responsibilities of governance (such as raising the debt ceiling so that the government could continue to operate). Right-wing media outlets made increasingly inflammatory, racist and bizarre claims about the country’s first black president. Movement conservatives and the broader Republican Party openly discussed a second American Civil War with overtones of Southern slave owners’ beliefs in their right to “nullification” and “secession.”</p><p>At its core, politics is a struggle over resources and values. These struggles and their outcomes can be described as “push and pull factors,” “continuity and change” or “thesis and antithesis.” Political struggles, even in a democracy, do not usually result in a type of equilibrium where all parties benefit equally. Shorter version: There are winners and losers.</p><p>Donald Trump has been made competitive with Hillary Clinton because of a complicit media, the structural and institutional features of America’s two-party system and political culture and the power of white identity politics and racism. This will get Trump close to the finish line but not over it. Clinton has substantial leads in crucial swing states, and many more paths to victory in the Electoral College. Ultimately, Donald Trump burned all his racist, nativist and pseudo-fascist fuel in order to reach political orbit. He cannot sustain his altitude and will soon come crashing down. The question then becomes who gets caught in the political conflagration and what level of collateral damage will follow.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1063364'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063364" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 18:53:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1063364 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing trump A 10-Year-Old Boy? An 84-Year-Old Grandmother? Police Brutality Will Not End in America Until Cops Stop Perceiving Blacks as Monsters http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-year-old-boy-84-year-old-grandmother-police-brutality-will-not-end-america-until <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1063027'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063027" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Motivated by extreme prejudice, America’s police show little restraint in how they treat black and brown people.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/legend_preston-620x412.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>I am a black man. I am an American. I am not a monster.</p><p>Like so many other black people in America, I have been followed around department stores by security guards, harassed by police, and encountered racial discrimination in the workplace. These are not minor inconveniences: to be made to feel unwelcome in one’s own country is no petty insult.</p><p>It is a reflection of a society where some groups are viewed as full and equal citizens because of their skin color and others are denied the same rights and privileges. In all, this is racism and white supremacy as quotidian life experience. It can kill a person because of the cumulative effects of stress and anxiety; it can also kill a person in a moment of punctuated violence.</p><p>Tamir Rice was 12-years-old. He was a black child. He was not a monster. The Cleveland police street executed him in less than two seconds while he played in a park with a toy gun — in a state where the “open carry” of real firearms is allowed.</p><p>Michael Brown was 18-years-old. He was a black teenager. He was not a monster. Darren Wilson, a member of the Ferguson, Missouri police department shot him at least six times. Wilson would later say about Brown that, “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.” According to Wilson, Brown could also run through bullets unharmed and had the amazing strength of Hulk Hogan. These are racist, fantastical, and bizarre comments more fit for a drug induced hallucination than sane observations that were accepted as reasonable facts in testimony to a grand jury. Nevertheless, Darren Wilson succeeded in transforming Brown <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2014/11/shorter-darren-wilson-testimony-michael.html" target="_blank">into the white racist archetype of the “giant negro” and “black brute”</a> (or its modern day equivalent “thug”).</p><p>Legend Preston is 10-years-old. He is a black child. He is not a monster. Newark police claimed that he “fit the description” of a 20-year-old adult suspect in an armed robbery. The Newark police then proceeded to point their guns in his face. Legend Preston committed no crime. He was left psychologically traumatized. No apology can repair the damage — and the Newark police have offered none. In that moment, Preston learned that black children in America are not allowed the luxury of innocence. Adultification is a feature of black life along the color line — especially when dealing with police or other representatives of the state. As researchers have demonstrated, adultification also means that white people consistently judge black children to be much older than their actual age. Once and again, the White Gaze distorts black humanity.</p><p>Geneva Smith is 84-years-old. She is a black woman. She is also a grandmother. Geneva Smith is not a monster. In the early morning hours of Aug. 7, Muskogee, Oklahoma police pursued her son into their home. Frightened by the commotion, Smith asked the police what was happening. As shown by their body cameras, the Muskogee police then proceeded to pepper-spray her in the face for refusing to comply with their orders. Geneva Smith was arrested and brought to jail. Given her age, she could have suffered serious and permanent injury, or even death, from such a powerful irritant. Fortunately, Geneva Smith survived. She is pursuing legal action against the Muskogee police. To be black, 84-years-old, and a grandmother in America is still to be a threat to the United States’ militarized police.</p><p>These are but a few recent examples of how America’s police show little restraint in how they treat black and brown people. They confront “monstrous blackness” with extreme prejudice. Consequently, black men who are unarmed <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141854" target="_blank">are three times more likely to be shot</a> than white men who are unarmed. Police are also faster to use lethal violence against black men than they are white men. Even when allowing for racial disparities in crime, police are also much more likely to beat, club, throw to the ground, and use other types of physical violence against black people than they are white people.</p><p>This is part of a long and ugly history that begins with the origins of modern American policing in the slave patrols of the antebellum South and continues through to the present in the form of racial profiling, “stop and frisk,” and a general culture of police thuggery and abuse towards people of color. These are not bugs or outliers but rather fixtures of the American legal system.</p><p>If blackness is perceived as something monstrous by America’s police, then whiteness is perceived as a type of innocence, an identity that is inherently benign and harmless. To that end, white people are (almost always) treated with restraint.</p><p>There are <a href="http://www.timwise.org/2016/08/no-real-angels-in-hell-police-violence-black-lives-and-the-white-obsession-with-perfect-victims/" target="_blank">numerous examples of this type of white privilege</a> in action. White men have committed mass shootings and been arrested unharmed; white men have shot at (and killed) police and have been arrested unharmed; white people have pointed guns at police and federal agents and have either escaped or been arrested unharmed; white people often brandish firearms in public without being arrested, harmed, or interfered with by police.</p><p>And in one of the most powerful and bizarre examples of white privilege in action, several weeks ago Austin Harrouff attacked three people in a Florida, and then proceeded to eat the face of one of his victims. The police eventually arrived while Harrouff was engaging in his cannibalistic smorgasbord. Miraculously—unlike a mentally ill black man by the name of Rudy Eugene, who in a much-publicized incident in 2012 was shot and killed by Miami police as he ate a person—Andrew Harrouff was taken into police custody unharmed.</p><p>Why is there such a difference in how America’s police treat white people as compared to people of color?</p><p>There are many reasons for this outcome. Racism is a learned behavior. America’s schools, media, and other social and political institutions reproduce and circulate social values and norms which emphasize that the lives of white people are to be valued and those of non-whites are to be devalued. Police, like other (white) Americans, have internalized these values. Moreover, the mainstream corporate news media is especially powerful in how it reinforces negative racial stereotypes: social scientists have documented how crime committed by blacks is grossly over-reported by the news media while crime by whites is under-reported.</p><p>Anti-black and brown racial animus also operates on a subconscious level as well. Social psychologists and other researchers have repeatedly documented how <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6051971/police-implicit-bias-michael-brown-ferguson-missouri" target="_blank">“implicit bias”</a> impacts cognition, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/science-of-racism-prejudice" target="_blank">creativity</a>, and decision-making. Racial animus and (white) anxieties about black people are so powerful that they even have the ability to distort a given (white) person’s sense of time. A recent article published by the American Psychological Association <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/11/racial-anxiety.aspx" target="_blank">explains</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Time may appear to slow down for white Americans who feel threatened by an approaching black person, raising questions about the pervasive effects of racial bias or anxiety in the United States, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.</p><p>In a series of experiments, white adults viewed faces of white and black people who appeared to be moving toward them on a computer screen. Participants rated the apparent speed or approximate time that each face was on the screen and completed a survey that measured their anxiety when around people of a different race.</p><p>White participants who reported more racial anxiety perceived the approaching black faces as moving more slowly or appearing longer on the computer screen than the white faces. Although participants saw both male and female faces, there was no difference in observed effects based on gender. The same effects weren’t found when the black faces appeared to be moving farther away, possibly because they weren’t perceived as a threat, the study noted.</p></blockquote><p>The consequences are wide-ranging:</p><blockquote><blockquote><p>The study findings may have important practical implications, including inaccurate eyewitness identification and the misinterpretation of innocent actions by black people as threatening, Kenrick said. “If you perceive time as slowing down, then you may feel overconfident about identifying the approaching person later or interpreting their actions,” she said. “However, more research is needed to reach firm conclusions.”</p></blockquote></blockquote><p>That some white Americans are so anxiety fueled and fearful of their fellow citizens is a profound indictment of the country’s civic and social culture. It is white racial paranoiac thinking that on an individual level interferes with forming meaningful relationships across lines of race, and on a mass scale fuels the proto-fascism and bigotry of Donald Trump and the American right wing.</p><p>Psychologists have also shown that many white Americans view black people as somehow being <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2014/11/artie-langes-failure-and-richard-pryors.html" target="_blank">supernatural</a>, superhuman, and <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=201128359" target="_blank">less sensitive to physical pain</a>. This locates black people as somehow different and apart from the human family, thus making it far easier to identify them as some type of monstrous Other.</p><p>As I suggested in an earlier piece here at Salon, police brutality and thuggery against black people will not stop until white Americans look at children such as Tamir Rice and Legend Preston and see the faces of their own children. On the other end of the generational spectrum, police brutality and thuggery against black and brown people will not stop until white Americans can look at the face of an 84-year-old black grandmother who is being assaulted in her own home by the police and see their own honored elders and kin.</p><p>America loves it black athletes, entertainers and first black president. Unfortunately, White America all too often does not love black and brown people as individuals. It most certainly does not love the black or brown stranger. This enables a type of emotional distance that contributes to racial injustice and makes the United States a less than fully democratic and fair society. It is only when White America and its police cease to see black people as some type of monstrous Other that they will be able to finally embrace their own full humanity. Racism does not just harm black and brown people. It hurts white folks too.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1063027'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063027" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 07:14:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1063027 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights african american black lives matter civil rights michael brown police brutality racism 'You're Supporting a Bigot; That Makes You Part of the Bigotry': Charles Blow's Master Class in Cutting Through Trump Hackery http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/charles-blow-cuts-through-trump-hackery <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1062565'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062565" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The New York Times columnist&#039;s direct and unapologetic takedown of a black Trump surrogate is a model to emulate.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/25218962886_734d099f46_z_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump’s ascendance to power over the Republican Party was made possible by how he outmaneuvered the American corporate news media. As I explained in an <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/05/we-cant-look-away-the-joy-of-donald-trump-and-political-rubbernecking/" target="_blank">earlier Salon piece</a>, Donald Trump, with his background in reality TV and professional wrestling, created a spectacle that rewarded him with <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-has-gotten-nearly-3-billion-in-free-advertising-2016-05-06" target="_blank">at least $3 billion</a> in free media coverage. Trump’s sophisticated meta game also allowed him to exploit a risk-averse news-media establishment that operates according to a clear and predictable set of rules and conventions governing “the boundaries of the approved public discourse.”</p><p>These rules and conventions consist of maintaining the appearance of “objectivity” and “fairness,” perpetuating a “both sides do it” framework when discussing Republicans and Democrats, and an obsessive need to present “all sides of an issue.” Clear statements of fact and truth are treated as mere opinions though as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/opinion/krugman-the-centrist-cop-out.html" target="_blank">Paul Krugman once said</a>, “if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.’”</p><p>The American corporate news media also prefers to feature generalists who understand these rules as opposed to real experts who will not obey said script. Ultimately, in covering political campaigns and elections, the American corporate news media is more interested in reporting about the “horse race” — because it is an easy story to communicate — than in critically evaluating the specific policy proposals and qualifications of a given candidate.</p><p>When confronted by the Donald Trump phenomenon, the American corporate news media was flummoxed by his disregard for facts, inconsistency and willingness to rapidly change his positions on a given issue, overt racism and bigotry of his followers and movement, fascism-fueled hostility and contempt for journalists, and utter disregard for the rules of normal politics. Media elites and other opinion leaders were paralyzed in an act of political rubbernecking while Trump pummeled and mocked them all the way to the literal and metaphorical political bank.</p><p>On Monday’s edition of “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” New York Times columnist and author Charles Blow refused to comply with Donald Trump’s political con job and an American corporate news media that has acted irresponsibly in aiding and abetting his presidential campaign. In an exchange with Donald Trump’s minion Bruce Levell, Charles Blow did not allow Trump’s clear pattern, habit and strategy of racism and bigotry to be obfuscated or repackaged.</p><p>As detailed by <a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1608/22/cnnt.01.html" target="_blank">a transcript from CNN</a>:</p><blockquote><p>BLOW: And I know a bigot when I see a bigot. And you are supporting a bigot and that makes you part of the bigotry that’s Donald Trump.</p><p>LEVELL: I know someone who doesn’t tell the truth on national TV when I see it, sir.</p><p>BLOW: Right. And I know this. A bigot is a bigot. You’re supporting a bigot. That makes you part of the bigotry. And you are part of the problem that black America faces. That what black people don’t need is not somebody to solve our problems like we are some sort of algebraic equation. What black people need is dismantling . . .</p></blockquote><p>The exchange continued:</p><blockquote><p>LEVELL: . . . you can’t sit on national TV and call someone a racist, sir.</p><p>BLOW: I called him a bigot and I called you a supporter of that bigotry, and therefore part of that bigotry. And you are part of what the problem with African-Americans.</p><p>LEMON: Let him get in. Let him get in. Go ahead, Bruce.</p><p>BLOW: Yes, I said that to you.</p></blockquote><p>Charles Blow conducted a master class in how best to derail Donald Trump’s news-media con job. Blow was direct, unapologetic, did not concede any territory of agreement or compromise and clearly communicated how Trump’s behavior and policies are racist and that by implication his supporters are as well.</p><p>Charles Blow also used the racial optics of his segment on CNN to great effect. Donald Trump, like other Republicans, deploys black conservatives as human mascots to deliver some of his most toxic, offensive and racist policies. This is a cynical attempt to leverage the symbolic moral authority of African-Americans to deflect and defuse any suggestion that Trump and other conservatives are racists or that their policies will have a negative impact on nonwhites. Because Don Lemon, Bruce Levell and Charles Blow are all black men, Levell was not allowed an easy out or pivot.</p><p>In social psychology, the bystander effect is a phenomenon whereby a group or crowd of people will often ignore an individual person who is in distress. This dynamic changes when a member of the crowd or group decides to render aid to the person in distress. Other people will then follow the new rule — what is now one of care and concern — instead of ignoring and looking away.</p><p>On Monday’s edition of “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” Charles Blow established a new rule for how journalists and other commentators should interact with Donald Trump’s agents and rabble. Blow is one of the few prominent voices who have consistently refused to legitimize or excuse-make for Donald Trump’s political campaign of bigotry, racism, nativism and lies. The question now becomes, Will other members of the Fourth Estate follow Charles Blow’s lead and the new rule that he has tried to establish or will they continue to be supplicants for Donald Trump?</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1062565'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062565" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:29:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1062565 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing Charles Blow racism donald trump election 2016 new york times op-ed 'There Was a Market for White Resentment': Tim Wise on Trump, David Duke and the Bigotry That's Risen From the Shadows http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/tim-wise-white-privilege-and-resentment-2016 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1062422'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062422" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Antiracism activist Tim Wise on the Trump phenomenon&#039;s dangerous effect on the future of U.S. politics.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/tim_wise.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The ascendance of Donald Trump over the Republican Party has been met with many questions about racial progress and social justice in the United States. Is Donald Trump’s rise to power fueled primary by “white economic anxiety?” Alternatively, is it a function of white racism and nativism? What of his championing by overt white supremacists such as David Duke and neo-Nazis?</p><p>In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with <a href="http://www.timwise.org/" target="_blank">Tim Wise</a>, one of the United States’ leading antiracism activists and author of numerous books including “Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority,” as well as “Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America” about the Trump phenomenon and what it portends for the future of American politics and society.</p><p><em>This interview has been edited for clarity and length.</em></p><p><strong>Chauncey DeVega: You have been working on antiracism and social justice issues for some time. You fought against David Duke during his first run at elected office, have written several books on white privilege and travel the country speaking about these issues. What do you make of this political moment?</strong></p><p>Tim Wise: I remember really clearly, even though it’s been a quarter century, the night that David Duke lost the Senate race in 1990. Those of us who were involved in that, we were gathered at the Sheraton, I think it was, on Canal Street in New Orleans. The media was there and they were asking my boss at the time, <a href="http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1991-11-10/news/9111100217_1_david-duke-duke-talks-duke-runs" target="_blank">Lance Hill</a>, [of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism], “What do you make of this?” And his statement was “Well, tonight was a referendum on hate, and hate won.”</p><p>Duke lost. He lost by whatever the percentage was, but he received approximately 60 percent of the white vote. I think the overall vote was something like 56 to 44. But he got 60 percent of the white vote. What Lance was saying at the time — and what he would reiterate the next year when Duke lost the governor’s race but still got 55 percent of the [white] vote — was that the problem was never Duke. It was Duke-ism. It was that mentality of blaming black and brown folks for problems that they did not create, scapegoating people of color for every possible social problem.</p><p>And even though it’s been a quarter century, it strikes me that in many ways, that’s still where we are. Only the difference, and it’s frightening, is that back in those days many of us believed — my boss, myself, the people I worked with — we all believed that Duke-ism was easily transportable across state lines. I remember Lance used to call it “cocaine politics.” It was very concealable and easily transportable across state lines. And people said, “Well, that’s just Louisiana. That’s just those stupid Louisianans.”</p><p>But we always knew that there was a market for white resentment, and a quarter century later I think that market has become much more lucrative in the sense that the kinds of things Duke was saying a quarter century ago are now sort of mainstream.</p><p>It’s a formula that they’ve been playing for a very, very long time and which I think the Democratic Party has not taken seriously enough.</p><p><strong>CD: Given the history you’ve laid out, do you think Donald Trump is converting new people or is he giving them permission to voice and act on impulses they’ve always had? </strong></p><p>TW: My guess is that it’s more of the latter than the former. That might be wishful thinking. But my guess is that the folks who were lining up, and I’m talking the real hard-core base of Trump support, are people who did not need to be convinced by Donald Trump that the “problem” was Mexicans or the “problem” was Black Lives Matter or the “problem” was Muslims. These are people who, according to all the evidence I’ve seen, are probably the kind of folks who believe the president wasn’t born in America.</p><p>My guess is that the typical Trump base supporter — I’m not saying every supporter but the people that are really that hard-core one-third of the Republican Party that were out there from the very beginning — are people who probably were not convinced by him but who looked at his candidacy as this sort of excuse for saying all of the crazy bullshit that they’d been thinking and said in their personal emails for years. That’s why so much of this has been about “challenging political correctness.”</p><p>But there are people out there who — I guess because of their own fragile masculinity, their own fragile sense of whiteness — believe that “I just can’t say what I want to say anymore.” Well, of course, that’s bullshit. People can say whatever they want to say. We don’t line you up against a wall and shoot you in the head for being a bigot.</p><p>But the fact is, if you say bigoted, crazy, misogynistic, racist shit, we have the right to call you a crazy, bigoted misogynistic racist. And if you complain about being labeled the very thing that your own words convince us that you are, you don’t really have a lot of ground to stand on. I think that’s sort of where Trump is. He’s not converting people, but he’s taking people who were already convinced that their voice has somehow been silenced.</p><p><strong>CD: Carole Pateman and Charles Mills have written a great book called “The Contract and Domination,” which examines the overlaps between racism and sexism. Taking the long view, how do you think that the racism we’ve seen against Obama from conservatives is going to be related to the sexism and the misogyny that Hillary Clinton is going to experience if she is elected president?</strong></p><p>TW: They are definitely conjoined. There is no way to understand the Trump phenomenon, for example, and the hostility toward Hillary Clinton, as a merely sexist issue. And there’s no way to understand the hostility towards Barack Obama as a merely racial issue because all of these things are intertwined.</p><p>For example, the argument that people sometimes make about Trump supporters is that “Well, you know, there’s this class element, and they’re just working-class folks who feel battered by the economy, and they just can’t quite find their grasp on the economy, and so we need to understand them.”</p><p>Well, if it were really a working-class issue, if it were a class issue as opposed to race or gender or both, then you would expect black and Latino and Asian folks — who are working class in much greater percentages, I should point [out], than white folks — to be flocking to Donald Trump. You would say, well, if it’s a class issue, the disproportionate percentage of working-class people who are people of color should love Donald Trump. And, of course, they don’t.</p><p>By the same token, if the hostility toward Hillary Clinton were just an issue of misogyny or patriarchy, you would expect that black men, Latino men, Asian men, indigenous Native North American men would be just as hostile to her and just as supportive of Trump as white men. And yet what does the data say? The data is real clear. It’s pretty much the fact that white men are the base for Donald Trump. So when we talk about gender and sex issues, we need to understand there’s a particularly fragile white masculinity that is at the root of Trump’s movement.</p><p><strong>CD: You said the magic phrase there: “fragile white masculinity.” Why is there such a hostile response online and elsewhere to discussions of that concept?  </strong></p><p>TW: Well, I think it’s certainly a little bit about the general sense of any group that has been so dominant having to actually confront the notion of pluralism and having to share space is probably really frightening, I guess. So there’s part of it that’s generic and there’s part of it that’s very specific. I vacillate between these two poles of wanting to be understanding and wanting to not be.</p><p>It seems to me on the one hand, if you wax nostalgic for this era of white, Christian, straight, male hegemony, there’s part of me that wants to say to you, “Fuck you.” There really is part of me that wants to say, “I want your America to die, and I want you to be sad tomorrow, and I want you to deal with the fact painfully that your country is gone. And I don’t care because your country, as you conceived of it, deserved to die.”</p><p>And there’s part of me — because I’m not an asshole and I try to be a decent human being — who says, “Wow, you know what? It must really suck to have been told all of your life that the world was yours, that you were entitled to everything and then [you] come to find out that, eh, maybe you’re just gonna have to settle for your portion rather than everything. That sucks and it’s not your fault that you were lied to. It’s not your fault that somebody sort of told you that you were the shit and then come to find out you’re just one of many.”</p><p>So there’s part of me that wants to, as the saying goes and I’ve mentioned this many times in my work, “be soft on people and hard on systems” because I know systems are the real problem. But there’s that point where you also say, “You know what? At some point when your personal shit threatens democracy, threatens justice, then I have to just roll over you.”</p><p>And I’ll be honest with you because I think we have to be honest in these kind of moments. I don’t know which of those tendencies is the one that’s going to win. I’d love to be able to be really kind and ecumenical and work it all out. And then there’s part of me that’s like, “Shit, you want to kill my people and I’m supposed to be nice to you? You want to roll over the people I care about and I’m supposed to invite you to coffee?” I don’t know. It’s very much up in the air.</p><p><strong>CD: I’m not so much worried about the election. I think it’s going to be a lot closer than the pundits are saying that it’s going to be and Trump will lose. What do you think happens the day after with these voters that have lost? Where do they go?</strong></p><p>TW: That, I think, is <em>the</em> issue because ultimately there are two things going on. One is these Trump folks, and I’m talking about their hard-core base support. They really believe they’re gonna win. You can see it on Twitter. You can see it on Facebook. You know, Sean Hannity said, Trump’s got more Facebook followers; he has bigger rallies.</p><p>So I think the danger is . . . when they lose and I tend to agree with you, I think they’re gonna lose, although it’s not guaranteed. The question is, If the vote total is close — if it’s 10 points, it’s different — but if it’s 4 points or 5 points or less, where do they go? I wrote “Dear White America” in 2012. My argument at the time was, what do these white folks do who have been nurtured in this anxiety and resentment and this idea that they’ve ‘lost their country’?</p><p>At the time I was thinking about the Tea Party; I wasn’t even thinking about Trumpkins. My point at the time was, What do these people do? Are these the kind of people who gladly say, “Oh gosh, we lost, that sucks. But we’ll just work harder next time and gosh darn it, in four years we’ll come back and we’ll be ready to go.” My argument was then, and is now, I don’t think that that’s what Trump’s people are like. I don’t think Trump’s people are the kind of people who go, “Gosh darn it. How can we tweak our message to get moderate voters?” These are people who I think, to be perfectly honest, lose in November and then they look around and look at their wall and they say, “Well goddamn. We’ve got a lot of guns. We don’t have the vote, but we got the guns.”</p><p>So I hate to believe that that’s what this is coming to, but I honestly believe there’s a point where these folks are more committed to their version of America than they are to what the words of America — the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, all of that — say we’re supposed to be about. So I think those of us who care about pluralism, progressivism, justice, equality, all of those things had better be really clear: These people who are voting for Donald Trump are not convertible. They are not our allies. They are not our potential friends. It is about literally either steamrolling and defeating them and imposing a just and decent society or it is about letting them win. And I don’t believe there is any middle ground between that. I’d love to think that there was, but I just do not see it.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/22/there-was-a-market-for-white-resentment-tim-wise-on-trump-david-duke-and-the-bigotry-that-risen-from-the-shadows/">Listen</a> to an excerpt of the interview at Salon.com.</em></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1062422'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062422" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:49:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1062422 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Human Rights Election 2016 The Right Wing tim wise white privilege fragile white masculinity david duke donald trump racism election 2016 We Can’t Look Away: The Joy of Watching Donald Trump's Epic Presidential Trainwreck http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/we-cant-look-away-joy-watching-donald-trumps-epic-presidential-trainwreck <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1061417'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061417" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump’s campaign and his takeover of the Republican Party are the political equivalents of a car accident.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_trump_4.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>When I was a teenager, my friend and I enjoyed taking a daily walk through the large cemetery in our neighborhood. The cemetery was located near the local state university and situated beneath a steep hill where luxury condos somehow coexisted next to subsidized housing for the elderly and poor. As teenage boys of the hip-hop generation tended to do, we argued about if Rakim would win a rap battle against Big Daddy Kane, lied about our sex lives, tried to figure out if we would do a dance routine at the next basement party like Kid and Play in the movie “House Party,” and generally got into mischief after reading the names on the tombstones.</p><p>When cars would speed down the hill and make the sharp turn at its base, their tires would loudly squeal. As we walked about the cemetery, I would yell out “boom” whenever I heard that cue. On one Saturday afternoon, my “boom” was met with the sound of a collision and screams. My friend and I were shocked by my uncanny timing, and what we later joked, must have been an act of telekinesis or clairvoyance. We ran to the sound of the noise and there was a car, overturned several times, and smashed beyond belief. The very young male driver failed to make the turn. He was standing nearby, thrown from the car, covered in blood and in shock at what had just happened. His female companion was sitting on the ground next to him crying.</p><p>Donald Trump’s campaign and his takeover of the Republican Party are the political equivalents of a car accident. The American corporate news media—and many among the public, on both the left and the right—are participating in an act of political rubbernecking. They are transfixed by the skid marks on the road and the broken bodies lying nearby.</p><p>Liberal schadenfreude is also compelling; the apparent implosion of the Republican Party under the boot heel of Donald Trump is transfixing.</p><p>The headlines provide ample evidence of these raw pleasures. They read, “Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party,” “Republicans are Plotting an Intervention,” “Is Donald Trump throwing his campaign?” and that he is causing a “freak-out” by pushing the GOP to its “breaking point.”</p><p>I am transparent in my sentiments. I will not hide or conceal how I am happy that Donald Trump is causing mayhem and chaos for the Republican Party. He is a pitiable and pathetic human being. The Republican Party is the country’s largest white identity organization. I laugh and smile as the racism and bigotry that has been the name brand and driving force of conservative politics and the Republican Party since at least the end of the 1960s has summoned a monster in Donald Trump that they cannot control. The name of the iconic Japanese monster “Godzilla” or “Gojira” roughly translates into “gorilla whale” in English. This is a perfect label for Donald Trump, he who is the “gorilla whale” causing trouble for the Republican Party and movement conservatives.</p><p>Most among the chattering classes and commentariat are not so honest in their feelings about Donald Trump and the tumult he is causing the Republican Party. Some of this is a function of denial. Many of the so-called “smart people” have still not come to terms with how they so misjudged the enduring allure and appeal of Trump’s racism and bigotry in the Age of Obama. Others are still in shock about the ease with which Donald Trump jettisoned the standing norms and rules about how political campaigns and elections in contemporary American politics are supposed to be conducted. Here, one should not forget that while the Fourth Estate is supposed to be a critic and watchdog of the powerful in a democracy, they are also in bed with institutional power, enforcing its rules and norms. And there are others in the corporate news media who are complicit (if not actively in league) with Donald Trump, a man who has received at least two billion dollars in free media exposure during the 2016 presidential cycle.</p><p>Across all of those groups, there is a reluctance to admit that Donald Trump gamed and hustled them on an epic scale.</p><p>The meta game is not complicated. The American corporate news media operates within a very narrow limit of what constitutes the “approved public discourse.” Certain voices and “expert opinions” are allowed. Others are rejected as too far outside of the “mainstream.” There is an ecosystem at work which filters certain guests and viewpoints across the major networks. These guests in turn know what their assigned role is within the highly choreographed—although not often if ever explicitly stated—rules of the performance. The host moderates; “both sides” of an issue are presented; false equivalency is maintained; untruths and outright lies are allowed to go uninterrogated and exposed; the echo chamber reverberates; the commercials are then played.</p><p>The viewers are given lots of “information” but not much critical insight or real knowledge of complex events. Why? Because generalists and political insiders that the producers have access to are featured; real experts who would speak plainly and directly on the issues of the day are for the most part avoided.</p><p>This model of news coverage and presentation <a href="http://pressthink.org/2016/07/to-have-a-prayer-of-meeting-the-interpretive-challenge-posed-by-the-trump-candidacy/">is utterly incapable of effectively confronting the Donald Trump phenomenon</a>.</p><p>Donald Trump is an insider who knows these rules and decided to break them. He maintains neither a veneer of competence nor professional political acumen. Trump is a reality TV show celebrity. The “reality” in “reality TV” is itself a lie. Trump knew that he could play on emotion and his status as a “successful” celebrity to win voters. In all, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/03/its_not_a_video_game_donald_trump_is_an_avatar_for_the_gops_worst_impulses_but_the_consequences_will_be_real/">he is a fantasy projection and avatar</a>, a professional wrestling political performance artist.</p><p>Media scholar Neil Postman’s warnings about the perils of distraction, entertain, politics, and spectacle have also been shown to be prescient in terms of explaining the allure of Donald Trump. Writing at CNN, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/03/opinions/donald-trump-howard-stern-bunch/">Will Bunch explains</a>:</p><blockquote><p>"The amazing part is that way back in 1985—the year Stern conquered the New York airwaves and a brash young Trump was best known for breaking apart the upstart USFL football league—one prophet predicted today’s political crisis. That prophet’s name was Neil Postman, a New York University professor and media critic. His landmark book 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' predicted that schlock entertainment values would eventually strangle American democracy like a cluster of poison ivy."</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>"Postman’s thesis was that the ominous warnings of an Orwellian future, complete with totalitarian censorship, had badly missed the mark. 'Censorship, after all, is the tribute tyrants pay to an assumption that the public knows the difference between serious discourse and entertainment—and cares,' the media theorist wrote. 'How delighted would all the kings, czars and fuhrers of the past and commissars of the present be to know that censorship is not a necessity when all political discourse takes the form of a jest.'"</p><p>"It’s unlikely that Trump has ever read 'Amusing Ourselves to Death,' but his ascent would not have surprised Postman (who died in 2002)."</p></blockquote><p>The pollsters and statisticians are predicting that Trump will lose the election to Hillary Clinton. But of course, this hinges on how one defines “lose.” Donald Trump will likely find a way to financially profit from his political adventure, his supporters are giving him millions of dollars, his narcissism has been further expanded and fueled, and if this was all just an elaborate hustle, Trump has, in many ways, lost nothing and gained much.</p><p>But this is a bizarre political year where the normal rules have apparently been suspended. Rationality must sometimes surrender to emotion. Trump’s supporters do not care about his policy expertise or knowledge. They love Trump because he makes politics “fun” with his attacks on “political correctness,” incitements to violence, and professional wrestling style carnival barker speeches. In the era of the 24/7 cable news cycle, a public with a profoundly limited attention span—and where they receive immediate pleasure and dopamine hits from the distractions provided by their cell phones and “likes” on social media which they, in turn, use to drown out the anxieties of living in a culture of cruelty and under the neoliberal nightmare—I worry that a type of political decision-making predicated on “fun” is not an outlier.</p><p>If the American people in this moment of populist upset and rage want “fun” they will not choose the boring competence of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Donald Trump is the most entertaining thing in American politics today. Both the corporate news media and many millions of the American people know this to be true.</p><p>As the old saying goes, the big story is not when the plane lands safely but when it crashes. As such, political rubbernecking is great sport and entertainment.</p><p>Donald Trump is exploiting this fact to the maximum.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1061417'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061417" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 11:21:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1061417 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 News & Politics donald trump hillary clinton 2016 elections media fox news entertainment news Hillary Took Systemic Racism Head-On in Her DNC Speech—and the Media Paid No Attention http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/hillary-clinton-system-racism <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1061361'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061361" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Despite extensive talk about &quot;race relations,&quot; many Americans still refuse to look the problem in the face.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/24380578223_cf92d9fb1a_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>At about the 52 minute mark during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton told the audience the following:</p><blockquote><p>"We have to heal the divides in our country. Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more. And that starts with listening, listening to each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.</p><p><em>"So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable." [my emphasis added]</em></p></blockquote><p>There were few if any extensive “think pieces” <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/7/29/12320118/hillary-clinton-speech-systemic-racism" target="_blank">written about the above passage</a>. The moribund and oft-discussed “national conversation” on race has not turned its attention to Hillary Clinton’s plea and implied promise. Words that should have resonated were instead met with relative silence.</p><p>Why is this?</p><p>Perhaps <a href="https://www.colorlines.com/articles/every-time-hillary-clinton-mentioned-people-color-during-her-dnc-speech" target="_blank">Hillary Clinton’s comments on the color line</a>, justice, and empathy were lost during a week when the Democratic Party was celebrating America’s diversity. As such, the Democrats’ (re)capturing the language and symbolism of America as a “shining city on the hill,” and her people as blessed by destiny and God for greatness, overshadowed any discussion of the country’s many shortcomings.</p><p>Politicians make many promises in order to get elected. Cynicism has trained the American people to treat their words with more than a full measure of suspicion.</p><p>Despite the progressive and inclusive racial optics and tone of the Democratic National Convention, <a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2016/07/31/the-overlooked-promise-in-hillary-clinton-s-speech#.wyMicI9VT" target="_blank">Hillary Clinton might not be the perfect communicator</a> for a perspective that is critical of systemic and institutional racism. She will likely <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/04/13/we_confronted_bill_clinton_about_race_in_that_moment_he_revealed_himself_and_his_true_thoughts_on_black_people/" target="_blank">never live down her comments about black “super predators”</a> who needed to be brought to “heel” by the country’s law enforcement system—despite <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/04/16/racist_then_racist_now_the_real_story_of_bill_clintons_crime_bill/" target="_blank">how complicated the social and political context</a> may have actually been at the time.</p><p>I was pleased by the images from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and happy to see black and brown folks that included a great American president, a model First Lady, and an up and coming star in the United States Senate with aspirations for even higher office, rain down effortless intelligence, wit, and grace from the stage out on to the crowd and across the airwaves and Internet.</p><p>But like most students of the color line and American politics, I am not so gullible as to believe that such powerful symbolism will at all translate into changes in the quotidian lives of the vast majority of black and brown folks in the United States. People of color who happen to be elites can mine such symbolism for personal gain. Neoliberal multiculturalism is a narrow game from which few people of color will ever substantively (materially and economically) benefit in the long term.</p><p>And I must confess that as I heard Hillary Clinton implore white Americans to “put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable” I experienced, as I had during the previous three days of the Democratic National Convention, a feeling of cognitive dissonance.</p><p>I heard her hopeful words and those of the other featured speakers, yet I could not stop thinking about the recent video recording of a black man named Charles Kinsey, with his hands up in the air, as he lay flat on the ground, a guardian and caregiver for a severely autistic person, him pleading with police to not shoot as he is unarmed. The police in North Miami shot him anyway. Their morally perverse and ethically deranged excuse was that they were trying to “protect” Kinsey from his client who was “armed” with a toy truck. And when Kinsey asked the police thug who shot him why, <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article90905442.html" target="_blank">the answer was “I don’t know.”</a></p><p>I also thought of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, and so many other black Americans who have been unjustly shot dead, beaten, sexually assaulted, maimed, or humiliated by America’s police. Soaring and racially inclusive rhetoric will not bring them back to life; soaring and racially inclusive rhetoric did not stop them from being killed by America’s out of control police. Historically, the White Gaze and White America have little empathy for black people, generally, and black men, in particular. The silence could just be an acknowledgement of the near absurdity of Hillary Clinton’s request that white folks “put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women.”</p><p>Ultimately, the non-response to Hillary Clinton’s comments on race and the color line are a function of a broader exhaustion and confusion in response to the vague and ill-defined notion of “race relations” in America. These divergent perspectives on racial relations and racial progress in the United States are signaled to in public opinion polls and other research. For example, a recent June 2016 poll by Pew revealed the following:</p><blockquote><p>"An overwhelming majority of blacks (88%) say the country needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites, but 43% are skeptical that such changes will ever occur. An additional 42% of blacks believe that the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights with whites, and just 8% say the country has already made the necessary changes.</p><p>"A much lower share of whites (53%) say the country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equal rights with whites, and only 11% express doubt that these changes will come. Four-in-ten whites believe the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights, and about the same share (38%) say enough changes have already been made."</p></blockquote><p>Pew continues:</p><blockquote><p>"More broadly, blacks and whites offer different perspectives of the current state of race relations in the U.S. White Americans are evenly divided, with 46% saying race relations are generally good and 45% saying they are generally bad. In contrast, by a nearly two-to-one margin, blacks are more likely to say race relations are bad (61%) rather than good (34%). Blacks are also about twice as likely as whites to say too little attention is paid to race and racial issues in the U.S. these days (58% vs. 27%). About four-in-ten whites (41%)—compared with 22% of blacks—say there is too much focus on race and racial issues."</p></blockquote><p>What would it take to make Hillary Clinton’s comments about challenging structural and institutional racism, and by implication working to eliminate its power, come true?</p><p>Several years ago, I had the opportunity to hear a lecture by sociologist Joe Feagin. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on race, gender, and social inequality. Feagin is also the author of more than 20 books on the subject. For approximately an hour, Professor Feagin and I spoke with one another after his lecture. During that time, he explained a very basic, but nonetheless, revolutionary idea. If the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution; the Voting and Civil Rights Acts; and anti-discrimination laws that govern banking, employment, lending, school desegregation, and housing were fully and properly enforced, the United States would be much farther along the road to being an equal society on both sides of the color line than it is at present.</p><p>[To Dr. Feagin’s suggestions I would add compensating the living victims, immediate family members, and descendants of those who were victimized by racially discriminatory housing and lending practices by the United States government through the VA and FHA programs; continued research about and pressure on insurance companies and other entities that directly profited from chattel slavery in the United States to create a compensation fund that should be used for targeted grants and development programs for the African-American community; criminal justice reform; and <a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/08/09/a-truth-and-reconciliation-committee-for-the-united-states/" target="_blank">establishing a truth and reconciliation committee in the United States</a> to deal with the country’s living legacy of slavery, Jim and Jane Crow, as well as white racism in the present.]</p><p>The problem is that readily available and present solutions to “the race problem” in the United States are treated as some type of great discovery, an unachievable goal. Inertia—and in many cases falling behind and regressing on matters of “racial justice” and “race relations”—exists because too many Americans choose to look away from the solutions that are right in front of them and instead treat them as a type of impractical dreaming and goal. This is a type of willful paralysis and a political treadmill… and what is in many ways all so much wasted energy.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1061361'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061361" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 13:58:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1061361 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 hillary clinton dnc racism race in america election 2016 Who Wins? Trump and the GOP's Doctrine of Fear vs. Hillary and the Democrats' Hopeful and Progressive Vision http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/who-wins-trump-and-gops-doctrine-fear-vs-hillary-and-democrats-hopeful-and-progressive <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1061104'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061104" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Americans were given a choice during the conventions: Spend the next 4 years living in terror or embracing optimism.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/23173019973_f3e5bac1b1_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Republican National Convention offered an apocalyptic vision of America’s present and future. Crime is rampant. Herds of illegal immigrants from Latin America wait in the shadows for the opportunity to rape and kill. Muslims are hiding under every bed, armed with suicide bombs that are ready to explode. America’s police are beleaguered. They shout “Blue Lives Matter!” as they are shot down in the street by gangs of thugs who march under a standard emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Matter.” The Red Chinese are crippling the country’s economy abroad while a black usurper named Barack Obama aids them from within. Hillary Clinton, his heir apparent, is in league with Lucifer. “America doesn’t win anymore.” Donald Trump is the only person who can save her. The world that the Republican Party has conjured into existence is a type of political pastiche that combines movies such as “Death Wish,” “Threads,” “Straw Dogs,”  “Mad Max” and the comic book series “Judge Dredd.” This world does not exist. It is a fiction and type of <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/07/22/an_alternate_universe_in_cleveland_what_america_just_witnessed_was_a_shared_psychotic_disorder/">shared mass psychotic episode for the Republican Party</a>, movement conservatives and Donald Trump’s foot soldiers. This is an America that is bereft of hope and lost to despair.</p><p>By comparison, the Democratic National Convention beckoned forth with a message of optimism and a belief in the inherent goodness of the United States and her people. Its energy <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/07/how_the_black_church_transformed_the_democrats_into_the_party_of_optimism.html">borrowed from the black church</a> tradition. <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/28/democrats-adopt-reagan-s-city-on-a-hill-mantra.html">Obama remixed and channeled the idea</a> of America as “a shining city on a hill” and a beacon of opportunity and freedom for the world. The Democrats communicated a dream and belief that Americans are a people of destiny and greatness.</p><p>And it is African-American, Latinos, Hispanics, Asians, First Nations and other people of color who <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/24/1542701/-The-black-and-brown-firewall-blocking-Trump">are the main firewalls against the spirit of despair and dystopia</a> that is being thrown at the body politic by the Republican Party in the moment of Donald Trump.</p><p>This is true at the ballot box as people of color (and young people and women) are an indispensible part of the Democratic coalition— without which Hillary Clinton cannot defeat Donald Trump.</p><p>This is also especially true of black Americans, a people who have been guardians of American democracy and hope from slavery to freedom as they forced a second revolution and Founding in the Civil War, and expanded democracy for all citizens through the victories won by the Civil Rights Movement.</p><p>At the Democratic National convention in Philadelphia, speakers shared stories about being the child of “illegal immigrants” and how the American Dream should embrace them as well; talked of the disorienting power of progress and what it is like to be the <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/07/28/bigotry_denial_and_the_distortion_of_american_history_bill_oreillys_racist_dreams_of_well_fed_and_happy_black_slaves/">First Lady of the United States and wake up every day in a building that was built by black slaves</a> while you are wife to the country’s first black president; barriers were shattered as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for the office of the president by a major political party in the United States; an American who happened to be physically disabled shared her story of triumph over challenges.</p><p>Personal narratives and storytelling reveal a great deal about broader society. They are an important part of what C. Wright Mills described as the “sociological imagination.”</p><p>The hope and optimism on display at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia reflected the public mood shared by many people of color as well as immigrants in America. Polling data has consistently shown that immigrants tend to be more positive and hopeful about the future than native-born Americans. Blacks and Latinos — despite having to negotiate life in a racist society — are also remarkably positive about their futures.</p><p>Personal storytelling and the sociological imagination do the same work in helping to decipher the worldview that was machinated by the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.</p><p>There, the featured guest speakers shared ghoulish personal stories that reflect larger, macro-level dynamics.</p><p>Conservative-authoritarians <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/06/dear_white_america_your_working_class_is_literally_dying_and_this_is_your_idea_of_an_answer/">possess very strong death anxieties</a>. “Terror management theory” explains how they manifest these existential fears through militant nationalism and an obsession with “guns, god, and the flag.” The Republican Party has relied on ginning up white racial resentment and overt racism as its primary way of winning elections. White “Christian” America feels besieged by demographic change. Social scientists have documented an increase in death rates among poor and working-class lower-educated white Americans from drug and alcohol abuse as well as chronic illnesses. “The silent majority” who live in rust-belt America and dying red-state suburbia feel increasingly obsolete because of globalization and cosmopolitanism. Both the right-wing media and the Republican Party profit (economically and politically) from stoking the fears and worries of White America.</p><p>The divergent perceptions of the world as understood by Democrats and Republicans signal to a recurring misunderstanding about the true nature of the 2016 presidential race. If — as some in the pundit and chattering classes have repeatedly insisted — “economic insecurity” is actually driving Donald Trump’s rise to power, why are blacks, Latinos, and First Nations people not among his most stalwart supporters, given their much lower wealth and income as compared to whites?</p><p>There are two primary reasons.</p><p>One, Donald Trump’s ascendance is part of a national white privilege tempter tantrum.</p><p>White Americans — men in particular — have historically been the largest beneficiaries of support and subsidies from the state. Access to federal loans, free land, education, and housing programs were the near-exclusive domain of white men. The labor market discriminated against the hiring and promotion of women and people of color — <a href="http://theweek.com/articles/454335/less-racism-sexism-means-more-economic-growth">and continues to do so</a>. This provided job opportunities and incomes for undeserving white men who were simultaneously convinced that they were the “most qualified” and “best for the job.” These are but a few examples of how (white) America was built upon and subsidized by the systematic transfer of wealth, income and other resources and opportunities from people of color to non-whites. Globalization and the cruel hand of neoliberalism have imperiled the status quo of unearned advantages and privileges that many white Americans took for granted. The symbolic power of the United States electing a black man as president (twice) was another step too far for those individuals who are deeply (either consciously or subconsciously) invested in the psychological wages of whiteness. “For the privileged, equality feels like oppression.” <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/05/11/entitled_racist_bigoted_thugs_it_is_time_to_call_donald_trump_supporters_by_their_real_names/">Donald Trump mined that sentiment</a> to win over the Republican Party and its voters.</p><p>Two, the rise of  Trump is but one more fitful incident of what historian Carol Anderson describes as America’s long habit of “white rage.” The racism, bigotry and nativism of his campaign is the culmination of at least five decades of Republican Party politics, which itself is part of a continuity of white rage against people of color that existed before the founding of the United States.</p><p>Ultimately, it is primarily populism and not economic insecurity that is the overall narrative which best describes the 2016 American presidential race.</p><p>The Bernie Sanders movement exemplifies a type of left-wing populism that rallies people of diverse backgrounds around a struggle of common concern. The Donald Trump movement is proto-fascist and authoritarian. It finds power through white racial tribalism and excluding people who are the Other.</p><p>In November, independent and undecided voters will choose between the racist tribalism and fear-mongering of the Republican Party and Donald Trump and the more inclusive and hopeful vision of America’s present and future offered by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.</p><p>Political decision making is driven more by emotion than it is by rationality… and fear is one of the most powerful of all emotions. In several months, the American people will know if Trump’s doctrine of fear and terror is enough to subdue the country’s better angels and if the United States in 2016 actually is a “shining city on the hill.”</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1061104'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061104" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 31 Jul 2016 10:16:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1061104 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 trump Bigotry, Denial and the Distortion of American History: Bill O'Reilly's Racist Dreams of 'Well-Fed' and Happy Black Slaves http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/bill-oreillys-racist-dreams-happy-slaves <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060935'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060935" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">O&#039;Reilly’s corrective to Michelle Obama’s speech is one of the most vile moments in his tenure at Fox News.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/bill-oreilly-on-the-oreilly-factor-092914-youtube-800x430.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On Monday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an eloquent speech about the long arc of progress in American history and the dangers posed by the proto-fascism, cynicism, and bigotry channeled by Donald Trump. As part of that narrative, Michelle Obama decided to offer some teaching about a little-known aspect of American history. She shared how:</p><blockquote><p>That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.</p></blockquote><p>This was a profound moment of vulnerability and strength. Michelle Obama, as a black American woman, and descendant of black human property, is also the wife of the most powerful black man on the planet. But, she lives in a building that was built with the blood, labor, sweat — and deaths — of black people. As a black woman, her reminding the public that it was slaves who looked like her that built the White House is a signal to the centrality of black women to the black freedom struggle and American history. Michelle Obama’s allusion to the complicated intersections of freedom and slavery in America also highlights the unique and especially perilous and tenuous space that the black female body occupied both during slavery, and then later on in Jim and Jane Crow, where black women were subjected to arbitrary sexual violence and assault by white men because they were denied the exclusive protections of “white femininity.”</p><p>If the ghosts of the black slaves who built the White House still wander its halls, tunnels, and grounds, they must look on at First Lady Michelle Obama and her beautiful black family with a mix of wonder, confusion, and pride. History does indeed, on a few occasions, come full circle.</p><p>Unable to remain silent or to admire the poignancy and intelligence of Michelle Obama’s comments about African-American slaves and the building of the White House, Fox News personality, professional liar, and race-baiter Bill O’Reilly felt obliged to intervene.</p><p>On Tuesday’s episode of his Fox News TV show, O’Reilly responded with a segment which pointed out that the slaves who built the White House were “well-fed” and had “decent lodgings.” He also emphasized that free blacks, whites, and other immigrants also built the White House.</p><p>O’Reilly’s comments are par for the course for a man <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2007/09/21/oreilly-surprised-there-was-no-difference-betwe/139893">who was surprised</a> that black people use silverware to eat with while dining at restaurants. But even by that low standard, O’Reilly’s corrective to Michelle Obama’s speech is one of the worst moments — and there have been many — in the history of his Fox News TV show.</p><p>O’Reilly’s statement on Tuesday that slaves were “well-fed” and had “decent lodgings” reflects a belief that white on black chattel slavery was a relatively “benign” institution as opposed to a relationship prefaced on interpersonal tyranny, unlimited violence, exploitation, abuse, rape, and murder.</p><p>After he was criticized for making such comments, O’Reilly responded on Wednesday’s edition of his show with:</p><blockquote><p>“It is a given that slavery is an abomination. But reporting the story behind Mrs. Obama’s very valid points does not diminish the horror of enslavement as these dishonest critics allege. As any honest historian knows in order to keep slaves and free laborers strong, the Washington administration provided meat, bread and other staples, also decent lodging on the grounds of the new presidential building.<em> </em>That is a fact. Not a justification, not a defense of slavery. Just a fact. Anyone who implies a soft on slavery message is beneath contempt.</p></blockquote><p>In reality, black human property in the Americas was often <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/slaves-worked-death-article-1.773557">worked to death</a>, given the bare minimum of food and other support necessary to survive, <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/slavery-and-anti-slavery/resources/facts-about-slave-trade-and-slavery">suffered from chronic illnesses</a>, and would be abandoned to die in old age or sold off once their white owners had no more use for them.</p><p>John Adam’s wife, Abigail, who was present while the White House was being finished, <a href="http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-03-02-0799">made this observation about the “well-fed” black slaves</a> and their “decent lodgings”:</p><blockquote><p>Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, … to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast.</p></blockquote><p>Most importantly, a “well-fed” and “strong” slave is still a slave.</p><p>This distorted understanding of American history is a product of the discredited postbellum era Dunning School and the Lost Cause ideology. Adherents to that “intellectual tradition” were historians, politicians, and other white elites (almost all men) who believed that the enslavement of black Americans by whites was a social good and a natural relationship.</p><p>The Dunning School and advocates of the Lost Cause offered a vision of antebellum Southern life where whites and blacks lived peacefully together and where the institution of slavery was benevolent because it “protected” African-Americans from exploitation by northern industrialists and the bugaboo of wage labor.</p><p>[As a child, Bill O’Reilly, who <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/10/17/bill-oreillys-levittown-denialism/">himself grew up in the racially segregated Levittown housing community in New York</a>, likely watched the documentary 1950 documentary “The Plantation System in Southern Life” in school and internalized its themes about how Southern slave society was harmonious and everyone was happy in their natural place.]</p><p>In their view, the Civil War and the (self) manumission and emancipation of black Americans destroyed a harmonious Southern society and gave a dangerous amount of freedom to black people, freedom that would have to be reigned in by white terrorist organizations and paramilitary groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.</p><p>The antebellum American South was not a “Gone with the Wind” fantasy of “magnolias mint juleps.” It was a military state organized around oppressing and controlling black bodies for the purposes of profit and wealth creation for white people. The slave plantation was a charnel house and place of mass rape, where white men and women could sexually abuse black boys, girls, men, and women at their whim. As historian Edward Baptist explains in his excellent book “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism,” the “plantation” is more accurately described as a slave labor camp.</p><p>Building on archives, personal journals, and the work of African-American historians and other scholars, <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/12/a-conversation-with-historians-ned-and.html">Constance Sublette and Ned Sublette have compelling demonstrated</a> in their book “American Slave Coast” that the internal slave economy of the United States was fueled by forced slave breeding and other violations of the reproductive rights of black women and men. While there are exciting research tools such as the <a href="http://www.slavevoyages.org/">Voyages slave trade database</a>, there is no full accounting of the tens of millions of black human property who likely died in the forced marches that began in Africa through to the Middle Passage and then from labor, death, and disease across the Americas. The centuries-long institution of white on black chattel slavery across the Black Atlantic was a crime against humanity, the consequences of which still resonate in the present, and for which there has still not been a proper resolution or reckoning.</p><p>O’Reilly’s efforts to include “white immigrants” in the story of how black slave labor built the White House is also part of a right-wing political imagination that seeks to remove the unique sin of chattel slavery from American history by doing such things as debating the amount of “calories” and food that white immigrants in the North or Ireland (or Europe more broadly) had access to as compared to black human property. Their logic, however twisted, is that if black slaves had comparable or better diets than white laborers or serfs, then somehow they were more “free” and “happier” than whites of the same “class.” This same sick political imagination rewrites school textbooks to depict black human property as happy “immigrants” to America as opposed to people stolen from their homes and brought thousands of miles to be exploited by white society.</p><p>O’Reilly’s comments about the slaves who built the White House are neither innocent nor harmless. They are part of a continuum of white racism that contains the murderous actions of Dylann Roof on one extreme and expands to include the stupidity of right-wing welfare queens such as <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/cliven-bundy-wants-to-tell-you-all-about-the-negro/361152/">Cliven Bundy (who thinks that black people were “better off” during slavery and Jim Crow</a>), and the ignorance and denial of those who actually believe that the American Civil War was fought over “states rights” as opposed to <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/how-radical-change-occurs-interview-historian-eric-foner/">protecting forever the ability of whites to own black people as human property</a>.</p><p>Bill O’Reilly made a choice to critique Michelle Obama’s relatively benign, neutral, and matter of fact observations about <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/26/the-ugly-truth-about-the-white-house-and-its-history-of-slavery/">how black American slaves built the White House</a>. For example, during her speech she did not talk about the slaves who were owned by presidents and <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/The-Slaves-of-the-White-House-Finally-Get-to-Have-Their-Stories-Told-180957917/?no-ist">kept as human property in the White House</a>. Michelle Obama also did not talk about those <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/26/the-ugly-truth-about-the-white-house-and-its-history-of-slavery/">Presidents of the United States who were slave traders and personally owned hundreds of black human property</a> on their plantations. Michelle Obama made the decision to not speak about Thomas Jefferson, a rapist, who fathered several babies by his slave Sally Hemmings. Yet, Michelle Obama’s comments were still found to be problematic by Bill O’Reilly (as well as other right-wing propagandists such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson).</p><p>Ultimately, Bill O’Reilly could have remained silent or spoken about another topic in his “Tip of the Day” segment on Tuesday’s edition of the O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly could have “spun” Michelle Obama’s comments to place them within a right-wing narrative about how the Republican Party is “the Party of Lincoln,” the so-called “natural home” of African-Americans because it freed her ancestors. O’Reilly could have easily defaulted to a story about American Exceptionalism and how Michelle Obama’s history lesson is a reminder of the country’s greatness.</p><p>Instead, Bill O’Reilly, like the white men in the Dunning School who chose to willfully distort American history in the service of white supremacy, decided to publicly lecture a black American woman about slavery.</p><p>He could not resist the impulse. For at least eight years, Fox News, the broader right-wing news entertainment media, and conservatives more generally have subjected Michelle Obama to an unrelenting assault on her beauty, femininity, competence, intelligence, and comportment. As with Barack Obama, the symbolic power and racial optics of a black woman and her family in the White House as American royalty is too much for many white conservatives (and some others) to accept. The Age of Obama ushered in an era of derangement and mouth frothing rage by white conservatives. O’Reilly’s comments about slavery and the White House are just one more reminder of how Obama derangement syndrome has consumed the Republican Party and the right-wing media.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060935'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060935" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 08:00:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1060935 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Media The Right Wing media michelle obama slavery bill o'reilly media criticism election 2016 The Twisted Genius of Trump: His Appeals to Emotion Are Dangerous http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/twisted-genius-trump-his-appeals-emotion-are-dangerous <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060833'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060833" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">His dark fantasies show an innate understanding of the conservative mind.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_385504714.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump delivered a devastatingly powerful coronation speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week. The event itself was a mass psychotic episode, a four day exercise in the grotesque and the macabre. Trump’s speech was the perfect capstone and climax.</p><p>Apparently, Trump’s coronation speech also resonated with Republican and independent voters: a <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-poll/index.html" target="_blank">new poll from CNN reveals that Trump has further expanded his lead over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton</a> by six points with a post-convention “bounce” which is one of the largest since the 2000 election when Al Gore faced George W. Bush.</p><p>Critics on both the left and the right have savaged it.</p><p><em>Trump’s speech was “dystopic” and “negative</em>.” Of course, it was. This is by design. Donald Trump understands the political personalities and brain structures of his conservative-authoritarian supporters. The latter are fear centered in their thinking, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/negativity-anxiety-and-resistance-to-change-a-neuroscientist-explains-conservatives-fear-driven-political-attitudes/" target="_blank">fixate on disturbing and ugly images</a>, and are <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/02/06/secrets_of_donald_trumps_cult_this_is_why_the_angriest_white_voters_will_not_leave_his_side/" target="_blank">easily manipulated by death anxieties</a>.</p><p><em>During his speech, Donald Trump lied about the economy, immigration, terrorism, crime, and many other subjects</em>. Yes, he did. Trump is a professional liar and political Svengali. Over the course of several decades, the Right-wing media and the Republican Party created an alternate reality for conservatives. The supposedly “liberal news media” enabled Donald Trump’s assault on the truth–and that of conservatives more generally–with the irresponsible narrative that “both sides do it.” Thus, the lies of conservatives and the Right-wing disinformation machine are presented as merely “different points of view” that must be included for the sake of “balance. Donald Trump knows that the corporate news media will not punish him for his serial dissembling. Moreover, Trump is adept at using the corporate news media to circulate his message.</p><p><em>The speech was “narcissistic” and offered no true “vision” beyond Donald Trump.</em>Yes, it was. Trump is a strongman and proto fascist. He describes a “problem” in society and offers himself as the only solution. Trump’s conservative-authoritarian supporters seek out strong father figures and other saviors. They are also prone to social dominance behavior and hostility to people who are different from them. Donald Trump is their avatar, a bully who will protect them from (imagined) threats and a “scary” world.</p><p><em>Trump presents himself as a self-styled billionaire, who like Bruce Wayne in the Batman comic books and movies,</em> will save the besieged (white) people of Gotham from rampaging gangs, hoards of illegal immigrants who “roam” the streets, Mexican rapists, black street thugs, and other criminals. If politics is popular culture and popular culture is politics, Donald Trump is more akin to Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars trilogies, a villain who promised to bring “stability” and “security” to the galaxy, than he is Batman.</p><p>Ultimately, what Trump’s critics and detractors have overlooked (or chosen to ignore) is how his coronation speech in Cleveland presented simplistic and superficial observations about American life and politics that are difficult for many in the public to dispute, ignore, or disagree with.</p><p>Concerns about crime, terrorism, prosperity, economic insecurity, and their children’s futures are easily manipulated. This is especially true of low information voters.</p><p>Style and aesthetics are central to Trump’s appeal as well.</p><p>For example, in Cleveland, Trump’s voice and delivery were a perfect fit for his message of fear and salvation. <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/04/24/its_all_just_wrestling_to_donald_trump_everything_the_gop_front_runner_knows_about_politics_he_learned_from_the_wwf/" target="_blank">Trump deftly applied the lessons he learned from his long time association with the World Wrestling Entertainment</a>. His cadence and volume were also that of a villain (or “heel”) professional wrestler cutting an epic “promo” on his opposition in the ring.</p><p>The pundits insist on talking about Donald Trump as though he is a traditional, establishment, presidential candidate. Because they continue with this obsessive habit, too many pundits, especially so-called “liberals” and “progressives,” are unable to properly account for the role of emotion, personality, and style in Trump’s ascendance to power over the Republican Party.</p><p>This is part of a broader pattern where liberals and progressives are often outmaneuvered by conservatives because off an inability to channel the power of emotion and storytelling in politics. The Republican Party and movement conservatives represent and advance policy prescriptions, as well as a broader philosophy, that is both intellectually bankrupt and based on assumptions that are empirically untrue. However, the American Right-wing has an outsized influenced on the public discourse and public policy because they understand how to use emotion (fear; anxiety; racism; bigotry; rage; anger) in ways that today’s liberals and progressives do not.</p><p><a href="https://georgelakoff.com/2014/11/29/george-lakoff-in-politics-progressives-need-to-frame-their-values/" target="_blank">In an interview with Truthout</a>, cognitive scientist George Lakoff explains this dynamic as:</p><blockquote><p>"Cognitive scientists study how people really think – how brains work, how we get ideas out of neurons, how framing and metaphorical thought work, the link between language and thought, and so on.</p><p>But other academic fields have not been using these results, especially, political science, public policy, law, economics, in short, the main areas studied by progressives who go into politics. As a result, they teach an inadequate view of reason and “rationality.” They miss the fact that our brains are structured by hundreds of conceptual metaphors and frames early in life, that we can only understand what our brains allow, and that conservatives and progressives have acquired different brain circuitry with the consequence that their normal modes of reason are different.</p><p>What progressives call “rational arguments” are not normal modes of real reason. What counts as a “rational argument” is not the same for progressives and conservatives. And even the meaning of concepts and words may be different. Cognitive linguists have learned a lot about how all this works, but few progressives have studied cognitive linguistics…</p><p>Progressives constantly ask how to “respond” to illegitimate claims by conservatives, whether about fear or anything else. That is because conservatives have an effective communication system and progressives do not, and conservative marketers better understand real reason. To deal with illegitimate fears, you don’t wait till you have to respond. You need (1) to build an effective communication system, (2) to communicate the general progressive value system, (3) repeat the truths that reveal what is right about those values, (4) act with courage to promote the sense of courage, confidence and hope that allows the truth to be meaningful and powerful. Within such a context, one can honestly and openly discuss the facts that undermine such fears, so that the illegitimate fears don’t get established in the first place. But no such system is in place."</p></blockquote><p>Lakoff highlights President Obama’s communication style and intelligence as an example of this dilemma:</p><blockquote><p>Obama is also a rationalist; that is, he has the false theory of human reason that many progressive policymakers have and that he mastered in law school and teaching law. According to classic rationalism, if you just tell people the facts, then by universal logic, people will reason to the right conclusion. For example, the president thought that if the public liked each of the major provisions of his health care bill, they would support the whole bill. They still like each provision. Conservatives never attacked the major provisions. Instead they attacked it on two moral grounds: Freedom (government takeover) and Life (death panels). These are not the same issues so far as our brains are concerned, and morality is more of a determinant of personal identity than the details of insurance. The conservative manipulation of real reason won out over the repetition of insurance provisions. Yes, the provisions work. And so does the conservative moral framing.</p><p>On the one side, Obama and other Dems are hemmed in by a false theory of human reason. On the other side, they are trapped by an overwhelming force: the consultant army, the infrastructure of PR firms, pollsters, consultants, etc.</p></blockquote><p>Post-convention public opinion polls are notoriously unreliable. Other voting models show that Clinton still has a solid lead over Trump. In all, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/poll-trump-clinton-gop-convention-226109" target="_blank">this is Clinton’s contest to lose</a>. The challenge and dilemma she faces is what to do if her strategy of competence, maturity, experience, intelligence, and grace is insufficient to overcome the negative emotions, dark passions, and fears that are being summoned by Trump? Will Clinton be able to pivot from her script and successfully harness emotions, moral clarity, and storytelling to win undecided and independent voters? I worry that she will not.</p><p>Trump’s coronation speech was just one more moment in what promises to be one of the ugliest and dirtiest presidential elections in recent American history. America is not Plato’s republic. Trump is not a philosopher king. Unfortunately, large swaths of the American people prefer a reality TV show professional wrestling political performance artist and bigot to a competent and wise leader. This is Trump’s public. It would be wise for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to not underestimate their broader power and influence.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060833'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060833" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:00:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1060833 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing rnc right wing donald trump conservatives election 2016 What Obama's Dallas Speech Missed: Police Brutality Is Rooted in Race-Based Housing Segregation and Economic Inequality http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/obamas-dallas-speech-missed-root-causes-police-brutality <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060477'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060477" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Physical separation makes white Americans unable to empathize with the fear people of color experience every day.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/27549029404_00a586030f_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The president of the United States should provide moral clarity and leadership for the country. This responsibility is most important in a time of crisis, insecurity, fear, uncertainty, or worry. The series of recent video recorded police killings of black men and a subsequent attack on a “Black Lives Matter” march in Dallas, which itself left five police dead, sent shock waves across the American public. In response to these tragic events, President Barack Obama gave a series of talks and interviews that were models of maturity, intelligence, heartfelt wisdom, and calm. They would culminate with the president delivering a eulogy for the officers who were slain in Dallas.</p><p>Because it was so widely praised, Obama’s eulogy has not been subjected to a large amount of critical scrutiny.</p><p>There, Obama summoned facts about how the United States’ legal system discriminates against blacks and Latinos while also being reverential of the good work done by many police officers. He spoke directly about the reality of the color line and persistent racism in the United States. Obama embraced his identity as the United States’ first black president as opposed to a president who just happens to be black. Obama also signaled to how the repeated killings of African-Americans by the country’s police, and the loss of five officers in Dallas, are part of a cycle of violence that must end.</p><p>During the Dallas eulogy, President Obama also made the following observation:</p><blockquote><p>"We also know what Chief Brown has said is true:  That so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves. As a society, we choose to underinvest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs. We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book — and then we tell the police “you’re a social worker, you’re the parent, you’re the teacher, you’re the drug counselor.”  We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs, and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience.  Don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind.  And then we feign surprise when, periodically, the tensions boil over."</p></blockquote><p>This claim is challenging while also being problematic.</p><p>It is problematic because Obama’s logic surrenders to an ethical framework and politics which rests up a basic assumption that people who live in poor and working class black and brown neighborhoods should not receive the same level of respect and fair treatment from the police as those who reside in wealthier white communities. Obama’s observation also plays dangerously close to the belief that poor black and brown people who are abused by the country’s police are somehow responsible for their own victimization.</p><p>President Obama’s observation is challenging because it is calls attention to how structural class inequality and systemic racism help to create and legitimate the very circumstances in which African-Americans (and Latinos) are subjected to excessive force, violence, and killing by police as compared to whites.</p><p>Police are enforcers of the color line in America. This role has deep historical origins in slavery and Jim and Jane Crow. America’s police continue as enforcers of the color line in the post civil rights era and the Age of Obama.</p><p>Consider the following facts.</p><p>Cities and <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/02/18/133848837/segregation-in-america-dragging-on-and-on" target="_blank">suburbs</a> in the United States are racially segregated.</p><p>Chicago and Milwaukee have such high levels of racial segregation that they are best described as being “hyper-segregated”.</p><p><a href="https://www.facingsouth.org/2015/05/the-most-racially-segregated-cities-in-the-south.html" target="_blank">Baton Rouge is the second most racially segregated city</a> in the American South.</p><p>Minneapolis-St. Paul also has <a href="https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/03/why-are-twin-cities-so-segregated-new-report-blames-housing-policies-and-edu" target="_blank">very high levels of racial segregation</a>.</p><p>Race and class overlap in the United States. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be of a lower socioeconomic standing than whites and consequently to have diminished life chances. This is a function of racism and classism.</p><p>Social scientists have determined that “middle class” and “upper class” black neighborhoods have public services and other metrics that most closely resemble those of poor and working class white neighborhoods.</p><p>This is the macro level context for the individual level tragedies seen in such recent cases as the killings of Alton Sterling and Philip Castile in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.</p><p>Racially motivated “pretext stops” (or what is commonly known as “driving while black”) are <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/07/20/what_obamas_dallas_speech_missed_police_brutality_is_rooted_in_race_based_housing_segregation_and_economic_inequality/The%20numbers%20show%20a%20startling%20disparity%20in%20the%20way%20police%20enforce%20low-level%20offenses,%20particularly%20in%20the%20neighborhoods%20within%20North%20Minneapolis,%20South%20Minneapolis,%20and%20the%20city%20center%20where%20more%20low-income%20and%20minority%20communities%20live.%20Black%20people%20in%20the" target="_blank">one of the primary ways that police intimidate and harass African-American</a> (as well as Latino and First Nations) motorists.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/15/485835272/the-driving-life-and-death-of-philando-castile" target="_blank">Philando Castile was stopped</a> 52 times in 14 years by Minneapolis-area police. Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who killed Castile, evoked ugly racial stereotypes and caricatures about black people as he somehow was able to see Castile’s “wide set nose,” which in turn meant he “resembled” a robbery suspect.</p><p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/stopped-52-times-by-police-was-it-racial-profiling/2016/07/09/81fe882a-4595-11e6-a76d-3550dba926ac_story.html" target="_blank">The Washington Post examined racial profiling</a> and the Castile case and found that:</p><blockquote><p>"The Castile video “is pretty horrific,” said Gavin Kearney, who in 2003 co-authored a report to the Minnesota Legislature on racial profiling in the state. “There are things we don’t know about it. But we know there are certain assumptions and biases — whether explicit or implicit — about black men that affect how police officers interpret their actions. And we know white drivers are less likely to be pulled over…No recent information is available on the racial breakdown of drivers stopped or ticketed by police in Falcon Heights, the mostly white suburb where the shooting occurred, or in other Minnesota towns. Minnesota is not among the handful of states that require police to keep such data.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>But in 2001, the Legislature asked for a racial profiling study and it fell to Kearney, then at the Institute on Race &amp; Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School, to conduct it. His study, using information supplied voluntarily by 65 law enforcement jurisdictions in the state, found a strong likelihood that racial and ethnic bias played a role in traffic stop policies and practices. Overall, officers stopped minority drivers at greater rates than whites and searched them at greater rates, but found contraband in those searches at lower rates than whites."</p></blockquote><p>Myron Orfield, the director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota provided some additional context in an interview with The Atlantic:</p><blockquote><p>Indeed, St. Anthony, the city where the police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot Philando Castile last week, was on the police force, is a “tightly guarded white enclave” surrounded by more racially diverse communities, Orfield says. St. Anthony has a poverty rate of 5 percent, compared to 11 percent for Falcon Heights, where Castile was pulled over. The nonwhite population of St. Anthony grew from 3 to 16 percent between 1980 and 2010; Falcon Heights’ nonwhite population grew from 11 to 28 percent during that time. Another Minneapolis suburb, Brooklyn Center, saw its nonwhite population grow from 4 to 54 percent over that time period.</p></blockquote><p>Alton Sterling was supplementing his income by selling music CDs outside of a business owned by a friend. Like Eric Garner in New York, Sterling’s need to earn extra income in the “gray economy” is an indicator of how a broken labor market has left many black and brown communities with extremely high rates of both underemployment and unemployment. It is also a signal to how the Great Recession in 2008 devastated the black middle and upper class—a group that has still not recovered under President Barack Obama.</p><p>As in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge’s police patrol <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-baton-rouge-race-20160718-snap-story.html" target="_blank">a racially and class-segregated city</a>. While they are supposed to “serve and protect” equally, Baton Rouge’s police have been the focus of repeated complaints about brutality and racism against black residents.</p><p><a href="http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/07/baton_rouge_police_brutality.html" target="_blank">The abuse is so rampant</a>, that during Hurricane Katrina police officers from other states actively complained about the racism they witnessed against black refugees seeking aid and comfort in Baton Rouge.</p><p>A particularly heavy shadow of slavery and white supremacy hangs over Baton Rouge as well. <a href="http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/79840:slavery-haunts-americas-plantation-prisons" target="_blank">It is the site of “Angola” prison</a>, a prison <a href="https://mic.com/articles/88461/a-modern-day-slave-plantation-exists-and-it-s-thriving-in-the-heart-of-america#.GTLafXgVk" target="_blank">that is notorious</a> for its brutality and violence against inmates, and which was built on one of the largest slavery plantations-slave labor camps in the United States.</p><p>Housing and residential segregation, and the police’s role in maintaining it, is one of the key mechanisms for sustaining the extreme amounts of wealth and income inequality that exist across the color line in the United States. These factors also have a severe impact on individuals’ interpersonal networks: <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/" target="_blank">75 percent of white Americans do not have a friend of another racial background</a>.</p><p>The sum effect of these dynamics is that too many white Americans are unable to empathize with the human suffering and fear experienced by people of color at the hands (and batons, guns, tasers, and fists) of the country’s police. Unfortunately, many white Americans know that the United States’ legal system is racist and unfair to black people but they continue to support it anyway.</p><p>Substantive police reform will involve stopping the many ways that cops in the United States do the work of maintaining a racist and classist social structure. This is not likely to happen because too many people are psychologically, economically, and politically invested in protecting the status quo.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060477'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060477" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:57:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1060477 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights barack obama police brutality police shootings dallas civil liberties Sorry Conservatives, New Research from Harvard Shows a Profound Amount of Racism by Police…Not Less of It http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/sorry-conservatives-new-research-harvard-shows-profound-amount-racism-policenot-less <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060262'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060262" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Don&#039;t believe the right-wing spin about Harvard&#039;s damning study that illustrates how cops target blacks.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-07-16_at_12.56.33_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Philando Castile was killed by a Minneapolis-area police officer while giving him his identification. Like so many other black men, Levar Jones was also shot by a white police officer while fully complying with his commands. Eric Garner was choked to death while screaming “I can’t breathe.” John Crawford III was killed in a Walmart by police because he was carrying a toy gun that he wanted to purchase. Jonathan Ferrel was killed by a white police officer while seeking help after a car accident. 12-year-old Tamir Rice was street executed by the Cleveland police in less than 3 seconds.</p><p>Stories and personal experiences of police thuggery and violence are so common in the black community that they constitute a type of collective memory and group trauma.</p><p>Thus, it is a type of common sense fact that America’s police are more likely to use lethal force against black people than they are whites. But what if this is not true?</p><p>New research by Harvard University economist <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/upshot/roland-fryer-answers-reader-questions-about-his-police-force-study.html">Roland Freyer severely upsets</a> this narrative.</p><p>The New York Times <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html">explains how</a>:</p><blockquote><p>In shootings in these 10 cities involving officers, officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both results undercut the idea of racial bias in police use of lethal force.</p><p>But police shootings are only part of the picture. What about situations in which an officer might be expected to fire, but doesn’t?</p><p>To answer this, Mr. Fryer focused on one city, Houston. The Police Department there let the researchers look at reports not only for shootings but also for arrests when lethal force might have been justified. Mr. Fryer defined this group to include encounters with suspects the police subsequently charged with serious offenses like attempting to murder an officer, or evading or resisting arrest. He also considered suspects shocked with Tasers.</p><p>Mr. Fryer found that in such situations, officers in Houston were about 20 percent less likely to shoot if the suspects were black. This estimate was not precise, and firmer conclusions would require more data. But in various models controlling for different factors and using different definitions of tense situations, Mr. Fryer found that blacks were either less likely to be shot or there was no difference between blacks and whites.</p></blockquote><p>In a celebratory response to Freyer’s new research, the right-wing news entertainment media is smearing the graves of black people who have been killed by America’s police while simultaneously mocking and deriding the Black Lives Matter movement and its struggle for human dignity. For conservatives, Freyer’s work is also a vindication of their fantastical and delusional belief that systematic and institutional racism against people of color in the United States is largely a myth.</p><p>Of course, matters are much more complicated.</p><p>Freyer’s research on police use of lethal force is not a definitive rebuttal or wholesale rejection of the racial disparities that exist in how America’s cops treat black people as compared to whites. For example, it does not disprove that the recent video recorded killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were driven by anti-black racism. Freyer’s conclusions, like other research of this type, speak to macro-level societal phenomenon and not every individual case.</p><p>While many conservatives are crowing about Freyer’s finding that police may not, in fact, be more likely to use lethal force against black people, they are conveniently refusing to acknowledge how his work provides<strong><em>further evidence of anti-black bias (and casual, day-to-day brutality) by the country’s cops</em></strong>:</p><p>The New York Times continues with:</p><blockquote><p>Moreover, the results do not mean that the general public’s <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/on-views-of-race-and-inequality-blacks-and-whites-are-worlds-apart/">perception of racism</a> in policing is misguided. Lethal uses of force are exceedingly rare. There were 1.6 million arrests in Houston in the years Mr. Fryer studied. Officers fired their weapons 507 times. What is far more common are nonlethal uses of force.</p><p>And in these uses of force, Mr. Fryer found racial differences, which is in accord with <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/27/key-takeaways-race-and-inequality/">public perception</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/study-supports-suspicion-that-police-use-of-force-is-more-likely-for-blacks.html">other studies</a>.</p><p>In New York City, blacks stopped by the police were about 17 percent more likely to experience use of force, according to <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/s/stop_and_frisk/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier">stop-and-frisk</a> <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/analysis_and_planning/stop_question_and_frisk_report.shtml">records</a> kept between 2003 and 2013. (In the later year, a judge ruled that the tactic as employed then was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-practice-violated-rights-judge-rules.html">unconstitutional</a>.)</p><p>That gap, adjusted for suspect behavior and other factors, was surprisingly consistent across various levels of force. Black suspects were 18 percent more likely to be pushed up against a wall, 16 percent more likely to be handcuffed without being arrested and 18 percent more likely to be pushed to the ground.</p><p>Even when the police said that civilians were compliant, blacks experienced more force.</p></blockquote><p>These are the types of daily and cumulative humiliations that logically lead many black Americans to distrust the police, view them as an occupying force that neither protects nor serves people of color, and at the extreme fuels the rage that led Micah Xavier Johnson to shoot 5 police in Dallas, Texas last week.</p><p>Social science is cumulative and iterative. For example, Freyer’s conclusions about police use of lethal force will have to be reconciled relative <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141854">to work by Cody Ross which shows</a> that America’s cops are at least 3 times more likely to shoot unarmed black people than they are unarmed whites. Likewise, social psychologists and others have demonstrated that <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6051971/police-implicit-bias-michael-brown-ferguson-missouri">subconscious racism-implicit bias influences police</a> to shoot black people faster than whites.</p><p>If Freyer’s conclusions are correct, then while police may be less willing to use lethal force against a black person in a given encounter, there are so many encounters because of racial profiling or other causes that the country’s police are still killing black people at much higher rates than whites.</p><p>These disparities in use of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/study-supports-suspicion-that-police-use-of-force-is-more-likely-for-blacks.html">force cannot be explained away</a> by the argument that blacks disproportionately live in high crime areas or supposedly commit crimes at a higher rate than whites, thus the likelihood of negative police encounters are substantially increased.</p><p>There will be other interventions made as well. How representative of the United States as a whole was Freyer’s sample of cases? Was there a type of social desirability or selection bias at work, where those police departments whose officers are most likely to use lethal force against black people declined to share their data? These questions are not the fault of Professor Freyer, but rather a function of how America’s police departments are not required to accurately and consistently report the number of people they kill to the federal government and general public.</p><p>And ultimately, police thuggery and violence cannot be decoupled from the documented racism and discrimination of the broader criminal justice system, and how America’s police have historically been enforcers of white supremacy. This is the social and political context that any serious discussion of anti-black and anti-brown violence by police in the United States must grapple.</p><p>Denzel Washington, in his Oscar-winning performance as corrupt Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Harris in the movie “Training Day” tells Jake Hoyt that, “It’s not what you know; it’s what you can prove”. Professor Roland Fryer’s new work is so very important because America’s police departments cannot be properly reformed unless the facts are known—and yes, “common sense” assumptions about race, policing, and the law are challenged.</p><p>Once we understand the nature of the problem it can fixed. Anything less will bring sub-optimal results.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060262'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060262" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 16 Jul 2016 09:51:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1060262 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights racism The Young People Will Save Us: My Experience Marching With Black Lives Matter in Chicago http://a.alternet.org/activism/marching-black-lives-matter-chicago <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059967'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059967" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">If what I saw and experienced firsthand is any indication, America&#039;s youth holds the answer to racial tension.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_269949626.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Democracy is messy.</p><p>Several months ago, I <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/03/13/trumpmania_was_derailed_in_chicago_friday_but_will_trump_be_able_to_flip_the_moment_to_his_advantage/">personally</a> <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2016/03/a-special-episode-of-chauncey-devega.html">experienced the worst of democracy at Donald Trump’s “no-show” rally in Chicago</a>, when the raw passion, racism, bigotry, and violence he encourages among his supporters almost caused a riot at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.</p><p>On Saturday, I experienced some of the best aspects of democracy as I marched in the streets of downtown Chicago with members of Black Lives Matter and their allies who were protesting police brutality against people of color.</p><p>Unlike the faux populism channeled by the proto-fascist Donald Trump, the march was inclusive: it included black, white, brown, straight, gay, old, young, poor, and working class people. There were lifelong and trained activists in the group, but the march also swept up casual observers who joined when asked, “Do black lives matter to you?”</p><p>The marchers chanted the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile while demanding that America’s police stop violating the human rights of black and brown people. They blocked major intersections, tried to outmaneuver the police, and conducted sit-ins and teach-ins to maintain their morale and to educate those bystanders who were willing to listen.</p><p>When citizens exercise their rights of free speech and assembly in such a manner they are confronting State power. This is a crucible that reveals fundamental questions about the nature of American society and politics.</p><p>There were black children and families marching together at an event which could have easily descended into violence and chaos if the Chicago police decided to unleash their clubs, tear gas, or use other more extreme measures.</p><p>Should children be involved in political protests? This is an old question that harkens back to the debates almost six decades ago between the noted political philosopher Hannah Arendt and Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.</p><p>Unlike Arendt, Dr. King understood that black children in America do not have the pleasure of racial innocence in America; they live in a society that views them as adults because of the color of their skin. The parents of black children know this. As such, they prepare their children for the world as it is while simultaneously offering hope about how the world can perhaps be improved in the future.</p><p>In the United States, black people, especially black youth and women, are stereotyped as undisciplined and lacking impulse control. This is especially true of the black “ghetto underclass.” The Black Lives Matter protesters in Chicago gutted those stereotypes, laid them bare, exposing them as lies. They were disciplined, coordinated, and knowledgeable about their rights as citizens.</p><p>And when there were moments of potential violence or unruly behavior by those black and brown young folks and others who are righteous in their anger about oppression and police thuggery, other marchers calmed them down. This is the self-regulating behavior and discipline that a legion of sociologists, social workers, and policy elites have argued for decades that “ghetto youth” are supposedly incapable of.</p><p>Political marches are a type of street theater that provides opportunities for social interactions (and confrontations) which may otherwise not occur.</p><p>On Saturday, I watched a college-aged white woman repeatedly ask other white folks to confront their white privilege and if they want to be complicit with the police killings of black men like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.</p><p>Black young people asked black police officers, “How can you be part of an organization that is racist against people who look like you?” Latino youth asked the same questions of police whose uniforms displayed last names like “Martinez,” “Gutierrez,” or “Cantero.” The police stood mute. Several of them looked embarrassed.</p><p>A young black woman asked an African-American police supervisor, “Do you believe that black lives matter?” The officer resolutely replied that he protects all people, of every racial background, equally.</p><p>A high-school aged black girl asked a white police sergeant in his late fifties if he had “ever killed anyone” and “why do the police kill black people?” The two of them walked together for several blocks as the officer explained that he has never killed anyone, but he had actually saved four people’s lives during his twenty-five year career.</p><p>When repeatedly asked by the marchers, “If it is only a few cops that are ‘rotten apples’ then why not turn them in to protect your reputations?” the police looked extremely uncomfortable and disturbed. The fundamental truth of that statement seemed to have caused them to experience a moment of cognitive dissonance.</p><p>The racist slogan “All Lives Matter” made an appearance on several occasions during the long Saturday march as well. In the era of Black Lives Matter such language is omnipresent. But some white folks use this slogan unreflectively. To wit: I watched a white woman in her late thirties, a psychologist by training, dialogue with a group of young black men about “All Lives Matter” before realizing, that yes, if all lives do in fact matter, then she should join the protest march. “Black Lives Matter” had won a convert.</p><p>There were also moments of playfulness and humor between the police and protesters. A black man and a white cop engaged in a staring contest before they started laughing and talking to each other. A police officer and his friends flirted with a devastatingly beautiful young woman who was standing next to me. She maintained her poise and stood defiantly against them. They, futilely, continued to try to earn her good graces. Several women, who likely raided their mother’s (or grandmother’s) closet had flowers in their hair and wore clothes that would have not been out of place at Woodstock in 1969. The women petted and kissed the police horses that loomed over the crowd. The horses seemed to like the kind attention.</p><p>But as I watched those mostly positive and benign encounters between strangers, I never forgot that Chicago’s police are notoriously violent, unprofessional, and corrupt. They <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/24/chicago-police-shooting-laquan-mcdonald-16-times-murder-charge">shot Laquan McDonald 16 times</a> without just cause. An internal investigation described Chicago’s police department as <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/15/us/chicago-police-task-force-disturbing-findings/">having “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”</a> This is the type of tyrannical power that the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups are confronting.</p><p>I looked into the eyes of police officers who are not used to being defied. A few were too quick to grab their clubs in anticipation of bludgeoning an unfortunate protester. Some officers smiled derisively at marchers who asked them questions. A few cops told black and brown protesters to “go back to the ghetto.” These were bullies, who, for a moment, were neutered. They are very dangerous people whose behavior was restrained only by the ubiquity of the video cameras among the crowd.</p><p>The protest would eventually end, the police made some arrests, and the Black Lives Matter marchers and their allies dispersed. The police radios cried out with reports of shootings and guns from neighborhoods around the city. The cops would speed off into the night from the riches of downtown Chicago to the South and West sides of one of the most class and race segregated cities in the United States.</p><p>The recent days and months have been difficult for Americans. Last week a series of video-recorded killings of black men by white police sparked protests across the country. The week would climax with an attack by a lone gunman on a peaceful march in Dallas, Texas which left 5 police officers dead.</p><p>As embodied by Donald Trump, the 2016 Republican presidential race is an ugly reminder of how authoritarianism, fascism, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry are enduring forces in America. Moreover, the country’s political institutions are dysfunctional. They have been broken by extreme political polarization (caused by the Republican Party) and the corrupting power of money and private interests.</p><p>Despite what recent hyperbole-tinged news headlines would like to suggest, America in 2016 is not the America of the 1960s. There is no Vietnam War. Bobby, Malcolm, John, and Martin have not been assassinated in quick succession. Detroit, Chicago, and Watts are not under internal siege by urban rebellions. Yes, the United States and its people have recently suffered some wounds. But the country is not convulsing, the body politic tearing itself apart as it writhes in agony.</p><p>If what I saw and experienced firsthand on Saturday is any indication, it is America’s young people who may save us all…if we just give them a little help and also know when to get out of the way.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059967'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059967" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 07:06:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1059967 at http://a.alternet.org Activism Activism black lives matter Philandro Castile police excessive force Alton Sterling race in america chicago racism The Right-Wing Is Already Hellbent on Smearing the Black Lives Matter Movement After Dallas http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/right-wings-projection-and-obsession-their-hunger-pervert-black-lives-matter-rises <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059851'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059851" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&quot;All Lives Matter&quot; must be transformed from a BLM smear to honoring the lives of heroes and police brutality victims.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_288750377.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On Thursday, there were peaceful marches and vigils across the United States to protest the video-recorded killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as well as the broader pattern of unwarranted violence and abuse by the country’s police officers against African-Americans and other people of color.</p><p>Unfortunately, one such march in Dallas descended into chaos and death when a sniper launched a coordinated attack on the police officers working the event. Five police officers were subsequently killed and seven wounded. Two members of the public, including Shetamia Taylor, who was hit while shielding her four children from the fusillade of bullets, were also wounded.</p><p><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3680988/Pictured-Micah-Xavier-Johnson-25-year-old-shot-12-cops-Dallas-Black-Lives-Matter-protest-killing-five-saying-wanted-kill-white-people-especially-white-officers.html">Micah Xavier Johnson, apparently told police</a> that his motivations for committing this act of domestic terrorism were “to kill white people…especially cops.” Johnson would later be killed by a Dallas police department SWAT team.</p><p>The right-wing media, as well as other conservative opinion leaders, immediately pounced on the tragic events in Dallas. The images of police being fired upon by snipers, black and brown protesters, and a deep hostility to the Black Lives Matter movement are an intoxicating political cocktail that racially resentful, bigoted and authoritarian conservatives seem unable to resist.</p><p>For example, former United States congressman and right-wing radio show host <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/07/08/former_congressman_joe_walsh_this_is_now_war_watch_out_obama.html" target="_blank">Joe Walsh said via Twitter</a> that:</p><blockquote><p>“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,”</p></blockquote><p>After deleting this message, Walsh continued with:</p><blockquote><p>“I wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone. Obama’s words &amp; BLM’s deeds have gotten cops killed. Time for us to defend our cops.”</p></blockquote><p>The semiotics of Walsh’s missives is not complicated. The “us” and the “our” are thinly veiled references to white, right-wing Christians. The suggestion that America’s heavily armed and militarized police, a group rarely held accountable for their misdeeds, need “defending” begs the question, “from whom?”</p><p>Walsh’s efforts to link President Barack Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement to the violent actions of Micah Xavier Johnson and his confederates is delusional, unfounded, and a product of the right-wing conspiracy-paranoid imagination.</p><p>Right-wing propaganda site The Drudge Report announced that “<a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/drudge-report-covers-dallas-with-black-lives-kill-headline/">Black Lives Kill.”</a>  The The New York Post echoed these sentiments with a front-page headline that read “Civil War.”</p><p>In all, these are none too subtle efforts to inspire fear and terror about a fictional “race war” by black people against White America and the excreta of white supremacist novels such as the infamous Turner Diaries repackaged as faux “journalism” and “analysis” by the right-wing chattering classes.</p><p>These responses by the right-wing media to the tragic events in Dallas are also acts of <em>projection</em> and <em>obsession</em>.</p><p>The obsession can be seen in how from (at least) the 1960s onward to the present moment of Donald Trump, movement conservatives have used the language of “black crime” and images of “urban riots” to scare the white “silent majority” in order to win elections.</p><p>Bill O’Reilly and other commentators at Fox News and elsewhere are obsessed with depicting the Black Lives Matter movement as “violent terrorists” who “hate the police,” are “anti-white,” and are also “un-American.”</p><p>They are also obsessed with the so-called “Ferguson Effect.”</p><p>These obsessions are based on lies and falsehoods.</p><p>Black Lives Matter is a multiracial and peaceful civil rights movement and network of activists and social change workers. It does not use or endorse violence.</p><p><a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/01/18/the-persistent-myth-of-the-ferguson-effect/">There is no reliable, systematic evidence to support</a> the existence of the “Ferguson Effect”; There is no “war” on America’s police.</p><p>White anxieties about an anti-white “race war” in America are an act of extreme psychological projection. Historically, it is not white people who should be afraid of African-Americans, but rather, African-Americans and other people of color who should be in terror of white folks.</p><p>Racial violence and terrorism in the United States has almost exclusively been waged by white people as a group against people of color. This pattern is part of the foundational character and history of a country that was born into existence by the genocide of First Nations peoples and the enslavement of blacks.</p><p>The Ku Klux Klan was and likely remains the largest terrorist group in American history. From the end of the Civil War through to Reconstruction and the 25 years that followed, it is estimated that the Ku Klux Klan and other white terrorists <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/the-dangerous-myth-of-appomattox.html">killed 50,000 black Americans across the South</a>.</p><p>After World War I, white Americans participated in racial pogroms and other acts of mass violence against black Americans in cities such as Chicago, Tulsa, East Saint Louis, Washington, D.C., and Rosewood, Florida. This violence does not include the hundreds of black communities and neighborhoods <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502306.html">that were subjected</a> to <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8893124">white ethnic cleansing across the United States</a> during the 19th and 20th centuries.</p><p>Almost 100 years later, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/18/5-charts-show-the-stubborn-persistence-of-american-hate-crime/">blacks and other people of color remain much more likely to be the victims of racially motivated hate crimes</a> than are whites.</p><p>To move forward after the Dallas shootings and the video-recorded killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile requires that the American people reject the lies and obsessions that are being spun out of whole cloth by a right-wing media that is more interested in ginning up racial animosity and violence for profits and attention than it is in acting responsibly.</p><p>White conservatives are quite fond of the slogan “All Lives Matter.” This slogan is fundamentally dishonest because it dismisses the unique perils and existential threats that black and brown people experience in the United States. But perhaps, “All Lives Matter” could be salvaged in service to the common good.</p><p>In the aftermath of the Dallas sniper attacks, and the police killings this week of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, “All Lives Matter” could be used to remind the general public that the lives of America’s police officers and its citizens should have equal weight and value. Anything less is unjust, anti-democratic, and will only further an immoral state of affairs where too many of America’s police treat people of color and members of other marginalized groups as second-class citizens in their own country.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059851'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059851" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 10 Jul 2016 12:19:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1059851 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights News & Politics The Right Wing dallas black lives matter right wing The Disturbing Data on Republicans and Racism: Trump Backers Are the Most Bigoted Within the GOP http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-backers-most-bigoted-gop <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059676'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059676" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Racists are more likely to be Republicans—and the most extreme among them are Donald Trump supporters.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/gop_kkkcostume2_for_web2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Presumptive 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a bigot. He wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States, believes that Hispanic and Latino immigrants come to America in order to rape and kill white women, uses anti-Semitic imagery to slur Hillary Clinton, and has been endorsed by white supremacists.</p><p>At present, the Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization. There is a mountain of evidence in support of this claim. The Republican Party nurtures and cultivates hostility towards non-whites among its voters for the purpose of electoral gain. What is known as “The Southern Strategy” of racist “coded appeals” against African-Americans and other people of color has dominated Republican politics since (at least) the end of the civil rights movement. And during the Age of Obama, American politics has been poisoned by racist conspiracy theories such as “Birtherism,” lies that Barack Obama is a type of Manchurian candidate who actually hates America and wants to destroy it from within, efforts to rollback the won in blood gains of the Black Freedom Struggle, as well as unprecedented efforts by the Republican Party to abandon its basic responsibilities of governance in order to delegitimize the country’s first black president.</p><p>Donald Trump is not an outlier or aberration. In many ways, he perfectly embodies the racist attitudes and beliefs of the Republican Party in the post civil rights era. Likewise, Donald Trump’s supporters have enthusiastically embraced the Republican Party’s racism towards people of color, in general, and against black Americans, in particular.</p><p>As reported <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-race-idUSKCN0ZE2SW">by a recent Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll</a>, Donald Trump supporters possess extreme levels — even as compared to other Republicans — of antipathy towards African-Americans:</p><blockquote><p>"Supporters of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump are more likely to describe African Americans as “criminal,” “unintelligent,” “lazy” and “violent” than voters who backed some Republican rivals in the primaries or who support Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.</p><p>Ahead of the Nov. 8 election to replace Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, the poll also showed significant numbers of Americans in both the Republican and Democratic parties view blacks more negatively than whites, harbor anxiety about living in diverse neighborhoods and are concerned that affirmative action policies discriminate against whites.</p><p>Republicans in the survey expressed these concerns to a greater degree than Democrats, with Trump supporters presenting the most critical views of blacks.</p><p>The poll, conducted between March and June, interviewed 16,000 Americans and included 21 questions on attitudes about race. It sought responses from voters who support Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and her rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. It also surveyed supporters of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, the last two Republican candidates to drop out of the race…</p><p>To be sure, not all Trump supporters expressed negative attitudes about blacks. No more than 50 percent of his supporters rated blacks negatively, relative to whites, on any of the six character traits in the poll.</p><p>Yet when their answers to the poll questions were compared with responses from supporters of other candidates, Trump supporters were always more critical of blacks on personality traits, analysis of the results showed.</p><p>The trend was consistent in the data, even when the results were filtered to include only white respondents to remove any impact that a different racial mix between Clinton and Trump supporters might play in the poll."</p></blockquote><p>These findings are not surprising. They are but one more example of how the Republican Party and its voters have shifted farther to the right in the post civil rights era, as well as the deep connections between political polarization and white racism.</p><p>[African-Americans clearly understand the racist nature of Donald Trump’s campaign and his voters’ hostility towards people of color. To wit: As reported in a recent<a href="http://time.com/4389251/donald-trump-1-percent-support-poll/">Quinnipiac University public opinion poll</a>, only <em>1 percent</em> of African-Americans support Donald Trump.]</p><p>For example, <a href="https://psmag.com/obama-s-unwanted-legacy-the-renewed-influence-of-old-fashioned-racism-6b036b5dd7c7">recent research</a> by Michael Tesler has shown how “old fashioned racism”, what was once thought to be all but vanquished from American society, is resurgent among white voters in the Age of Obama. David Sears has also demonstrated how “modern racism” now predicts party identification for Republican voters in former Confederacy. Other <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/04/29/does-small-government-conservative-ideology-have-racist-roots-academics-offer-a-history-lesson/">researchers</a> have shown that the Republican Party’s ostensibly “race neutral” talking points about “small government” and “personal responsibility” are in fact <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/08/21/theyre_racists_not_principled_conservatives_the_south_civil_rights_gop_myths_and_the_roots_of_ferguson/">signals</a> to white racial resentment.</p><p>In many ways, Donald Trump’s voters are the 2008 and 2012 Tea Party faction rebooted for the 2016 presidential election. Like the John Birch Society of the 1950s and 1960s, the Tea Party maintained its influence over the Republican Party while remaining under the radar of the so-called “liberal” corporate news media. As social scientists Christopher Parker, <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0067110">Eric Knowles</a>, and others have extensively documented, Tea Party supporters possess high levels of racial hostility and antipathy towards people of color.</p><p>The finding by Reuters and Ipsos that “Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more “violent” and “criminal” than whites, and one-quarter described them as more “lazy” than whites” should also not be a surprise.</p><p>Political attitudes, values, and beliefs are often contradictory. While racial attitudes are often cited as an exception to this pattern (they are remarkably stable and consistent), the non-ideological nature of many voters in the American electorate can still help to explain why some Democrats may believe pernicious and ugly stereotypes about black people as a group, but still vote for Barack Obama, the individual.</p><p>In all, white supremacy is a feature of American society from before the Founding and through to the Age of Obama. Racism and white supremacy are a type of “changing same” in American life, culture, and politics. The election of a black man (twice) as President of the United States is a type of symbolic progress. However, what was in 2008 a heretofore unprecedented event, by itself, does little to correct the impact of centuries of interpersonal and institutional racism against people of color.</p><p>Ultimately, the new Reuters/Ipsos poll is a reminder that not all Republicans are racist. However, <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/are-white-republicans-more-racist-than-white-democrats/">racists are more likely to be Republicans</a>…and the most extreme among them are Donald Trump supporters.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059676'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059676" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 08 Jul 2016 13:18:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1059676 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing racism donald trump donald trump supporters gop election 2016 A Modern-Day Lynching: Why I Will Not Watch the Video of Alton Sterling Being Killed by Baton Rouge Police http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/i-will-not-watch-video-alton-sterling-being-killed <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059813'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059813" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It&#039;s psychologically and spiritually unhealthy for black Americans to watch endless imagery of attacks against them.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/alton.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/us/alton-sterling-baton-rouge-shooting.html">Another person has been added to the Necropolis of Black Death</a> in the Age of Obama. On Tuesday, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/06/us/baton-rouge-shooting-alton-sterling/index.html">Alton Sterling was killed by two Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers</a>. They used a taser, held him down, and then proceeded to shoot him multiple times with their pistols. Alton Sterling had committed no crime. He had no weapon in his hands. What was his capital offense? Being black, a man, and selling CDs and DVDs outside of a convenience store — a store which was owned by his friend Abdullah Muflahi.</p><p>Muflahi managed to record the killing of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge police. He would later describe the two officers who killed Sterling as acting unnecessarily “aggressive” towards him. If not for Muflahi’s footage, Sterling would be just another black man killed by America’s police under “suspicious circumstances.” The  Justice Department is now investigating.</p><p>I have made a decision to not watch the video of  Sterling being killed by two Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers. I know what black men who have been killed by state violence, racial pogroms, and street vigilantes look like.</p><p>I have seen those broken black bodies portrayed on lynching postcards as white men, women, boys, and girls stand proudly nearby, confident and without any shame after they vanquished the black body from their midst.</p><p>I watched a New York police officer choke to death Eric Garner as he pleaded for his life, gasping that, “I can’t breathe”.</p><p>I saw Michael Brown’s body left in the street like common refuse after a white cop named Darren Wilson shot him repeatedly.  Wilson would later summon the racial logic of the white lynchers who ran amok during Jim and Jane Crow America as he told a Ferguson, Missouri jury a fantastical story about Michael Brown: “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.” Wilson would continue his racist fables about Michael Brown with, “”When I look up after that, I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him.”</p><p>In that moment of testimony, Michael Brown was transformed into the “black imp of the inferno”; human kindling for a pyre of hate. Americans should never forget that it is not just Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIS/ISIL who burn people alive. Immolation was a central feature of the ritualistic violence that white Americans committed against thousands of black people in the United States during the 19thand 20th centuries.</p><p>I will never forget the body of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, his white and red sneakers pointing upward as he lay on the grass after being shot to death by the street vigilante and wannabe cop George Zimmerman. The latter is a man whose reckless and criminal behavior since that encounter (and, yes even before) has repeatedly demonstrated to any fair observer that it was Trayvon and not Zimmerman who should have been in fear of his life.</p><p>And then there is young Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old year boy killed by an incompetent Cleveland police officer who took less than 2 seconds to decide if he should steal away the life a child.</p><p>The video-recorded killings of black and brown people by police in the United States are a type of political violence. They do the work of intimidating, frightening, and bullying entire neighborhoods and communities in the service of white supremacy and institutional racism. As <a href="http://thechaunceydevegashow.libsyn.com/a-conversation-with-courtney-baker">I recently discussed with Professor Courtney Baker</a>, the attacks by police, street vigilantes, and other agents of the state on black Americans is a contemporary version of lynching culture in the digital age.</p><p>I believe that it is psychologically and spiritually unhealthy for black Americans to watch such imagery. Police brutality is not a surprise to us; it is an all too common personal experience; it is not the stuff of anecdotes, abstraction, or apocryphal storytelling. Police thuggery against people of color is a continuity and fixture along the color line in the United States and around the world.</p><p>Perhaps such images are of use for raising awareness among white folks about the realities of police thuggery and violence against non-whites? White Americans need this education much more so than people of color, as it is an antidote against white denial, white lies, and the many other aspects of white privilege that allow too many of them to say they are “shocked” or “surprised”, when (again), another story about police brutality against non-whites is forced, if even for a moment, onto the national stage.</p><p>But there should be caution here too: in a moment when “old fashioned” white racism is resurgent with Donald Trump and his minions, and the Republican Party functions as the United States’ largest white identity organization, there are likely a good number of white Americans who are titillated by video recordings of  police violence against people of color. Here, the killing of black folks is made to justify white on black murder and other types of violence.</p><p>I will not and cannot feign surprise or shock at the killing of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police. I have written many essays on such happenings during the last ten years. It is a type of painful tedium, a rerun of sorts—as opposed to being a bug or outlier or aberration—in American life and culture.</p><p>Because this story is so familiar, I can already predict the dominant narrative.</p><p>Alton Sterling will be called a “thug” by conservatives and the right-wing media. This ugly word is a polite way of calling Alton Sterling a “nigger,” and thus justifying his killing by the Baton Rouge police.</p><p>The comment sections on Fox News, Breitbart, and the other Right-wing “news” outlets will drop the veneer of “polite” racism and will most closely resemble those of overt white supremacist websites run by the by Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis.</p><p><a href="http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/people-who-become-cops-tend-have-authoritarian-personality-characteristics">Police apologists and fetishists</a> will trot out tired talking points about how America’s cops have a “difficult job” that is “extremely dangerous.” <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/01/police-are-heroes-cultural-mythologies.html">In reality</a>, being a police officer in the United States does not even rank among the 10 professions with the highest fatality rates. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.htm">Truck drivers, loggers, and commercial fisherman have more dangerous jobs.</a> Most police officers are killed in traffic accidents as opposed to being gunned down in the streets.</p><p>These same police excuse-makers will say if “black people” just “submitted” to the police or “cooperated” they would not be shot dead. This ignores how black and brown folks have been killed by America’s police while sleeping in cars, seeking help, answering the door, pulling out their wallets to get identification, surrendering, and innocently standing outside on street corners or sitting on the porches of their homes.</p><p>The lie that is the “Ferguson Effect,” will of course, make an appearance. This is an obligatory deflection in the moment of Black Lives Matter.</p><p>The same voices will speak of how most cops are “good” and the “problems” are caused by a few “bad apples. It is outside the narrow limits of approved public discourse to highlight how the so-called “good cops” are complicit with the “bad cops” because the former, more often than not, give cover to and protect the latter.</p><p>Right-wing pundits will find a way to blame Alton Sterling for his own death. If Trayvon Martin was “armed” with a bottle of ice tea, and Michael Brown had a deadly weapon with his “big, black, scary self,” perhaps Alton Sterling was trained to use CDs and DVD’s like ninja throwing stars?</p><p>Black conservatives will be trotted out like Pavlov’s dogs to talk about the “dysfunction” and “bad culture” within the African-American community.</p><p>The fact that Alton Sterling had a gun in his pocket, in a state with one of the country’s most lenient gun laws, will be referenced repeatedly. White folks can brandish weapons with impunity; black folks who choose to have guns on their person do so at their mortal peril in the extreme.</p><p><em><a href="http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/whats-wrong-with-all-lives-matter/?_r=0">White racial paranoiac thinking</a></em> and the White Gaze will combine to generate a narrative where two heavily armed police had a reason to be “in fear of their lives” as they used a stun gun on, beat, subdued, and then shot to death Alton Sterling as he lay on the ground. “Negrophobia” is a powerful force that is often used to escape punishment when America’s police violate African-Americans’ human rights.</p><p>Alton Sterling’s criminal record will be discussed as a way of legitimating his killing. The Baton Rouge police would not have had this information when they attacked him. Moreover, an individual’s criminal record does not empower police officers to act as judge, jury, and executioner.</p><p>Ethically corrupt, morally deranged, and dishonest voices will want to somehow connect the police killing of Alton Sterling to so-called “black on black” street violence in cities such as Chicago. A complication: police are sworn to protect and serve the public. Gang members and drug dealers are not.</p><p>The most confused and intellectually challenged members of the American Right-wing will even go so far as to suggest that protesters should focus on the numbers of “black babies” who are “murdered” each year by “abortions” instead of the black folks unjustly killed by the police. A parallel argument will be summoned that the killing of black people by America’s police is “infrequent” and “uncommon”. Thus, protests and anger are better directed towards other issues. This too is empty, dishonest, and problematic reasoning.</p><p>For example, the kidnapping and murder of white women and children is a highly uncommon event. Yet, the moral panic that has been described by media scholars as <a href="http://journalismcenter.org/when-a-child-dies/missing-white-girl.html">“missing white girl syndrome”</a> routinely dominates news programming in America. Apparently, “White Lives Matter” much more so than those of people of color.</p><p>There are many questions that should be asked about the killing of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police department. They include, why do America’s police routinely kill black people at a rate <a href="http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/police-are-three-times-more-likely-kill-black-person-white-one-when-will-madness">three times higher</a> than whites?</p><p>[The rate is <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/black-americans-are-killed-at-12-times-the-rate-of-people-in-other-developed-countries/">twelve times higher</a> as compared to other “developed” countries.]</p><p>As a matter of policy, America’s police do not report the number of people they kill to either the public or the Department of Justice. Why is this tolerated? America’s police are much more likely to quickly escalate to the use of lethal force than are police officers in other countries—even when faced with similar threats. What is wrong with police culture in the United States?</p><p>And rarely asked or considered, what has gone so wrong with America’s economy that adult men such as Eric Garner in cities such as New York and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge are forced to sell cigarettes, CDs, and DVDs in order to provide for their families?</p><p>When America’s police unjustly kill black and brown people, members of the poor and working classes, the handicapped, mentally ill, homeless, disabled, and other people stigmatized as “the Other” with impunity, such a public policy outcome is a choice. Consequently, Alton Sterling and so many others are dead because a large portion of the White American public, as well as private interests, opinion leaders, and other elites deem it so. There will be no substantive or transformative criminal justice reform in the United States because police brutality is a type of social control that maintains a racist and classist status quo. Alton Sterling is dead because of that fact. He will not be the last person who is killed by America’s police in order to enforce such a wrong, bigoted, and anti-democratic political order.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059813'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059813" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 08 Jul 2016 12:21:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1059813 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights Alton Sterling black lives matter gun violence police killing Bill O’Reilly’s Making This Up: His Latest Racial Bloviating Is Just Plain Fiction http://a.alternet.org/media/bill-oreillys-making-his-latest-racial-bloviating-just-plain-fiction <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1057364'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1057364" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Scaring Fox News viewers with tales of black thuggery and anti-white violence is central to his gimmick.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/billoreillysept2010_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>From the end of the Civil War to the first few decades of the 20th century, white mobs killed many thousands of black Americans across the United States.</p><p>White newspapers played a key role in encouraging white mob violence, racial pogroms, and other acts of white racial terrorism.</p><p>For example, in 1906, <a href="http://sweetauburn.us/rings/raceriot.htm">Atlanta’s newspapers incited anti-black violence</a> with stories and headlines such as:</p><blockquote><p>“Extra! Third Assault on White Woman by a Negro Brute!”</p><p>“Extra! Bold Negro Kisses White Girl’s Hand!”</p><p>‘Extra! Bright Mulatto Insults White Girls!”</p><p>“Vigorous Appeal for White Supremacy”</p></blockquote><p>Priming the white residents of Atlanta to kill black people en masse, these newspapers also including demands for vigilante justice:</p><blockquote><p>“Men of Fulton, what will you do to stop these outrages against the women? … Shall these black devils be permitted to assault and almost kill our women, and go unpunished?”</p></blockquote><p>If transported to an earlier era, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly would have been a perfect fit for such publications.</p><p>On Wednesday’s edition of his show, O’Reilly drew inspiration from his racist journalism ancestors when he sounded the cries of alarm about “a violent subculture in the African-American community that should be exposed and confronted”:</p><blockquote><p>First, the stats, and they are stunning. Since the Ferguson chaos, murders in the USA’s 15 largest cities are up close to 17 percent. And much higher in cities with large black populations. In Chicago, for example, this year alone, shootings up around 80 percent.. Why? Because Chicago police have stopped stopping suspicious people.</p><p>So-called pedestrians stops are down 90 percent in the windy city. When you fail to police people proactively, people commit more crimes. The media will not spotlight that much of the violent crime in America is being committed right now by young black men. In fact, Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at a rate 10 times higher than White and Hispanic male teenagers combined. And Blacks of all ages commit homicide at a rate of eight times higher than Whites and Hispanics combined.</p><p>Conclusion? There is a violent subculture in the African-American community that should be exposed and confronted. Enter the Black Lives Matter crew which roams around the country promoting a false narrative that American police officers are actively hunting down and killing blacks. Here’s the truth. Police shot Whites at a rate of 50 percent in 2015. Police shot blacks at a rate of 26 percent. In addition, Black Lives Matter is now infringing on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression…</p><p>So, summing up, thousands more Americans are being murdered because police are being more passive. Since the Ferguson situation and the Black Lives Matter protests. Talking Points believes every American should know that, should know the truth. Sympathetic media and many race hustlers are backing Black Lives Matter and the final indignity, members of the group have even been invited to the White House. And that’s “The Memo.”</p></blockquote><p>Instead of fears and rumors of “negro uprisings” and “black beast rapists”, O’Reilly has chosen to focus on the imagined bogeyman “Black Lives Matter.”</p><p>This is not the first time that Bill O’Reilly has trafficked in anti-black animus. Scaring the viewers of Fox News with tales of black thuggery and anti-white violence is central to his gimmick and shtick.</p><p>Of course, Bill O’Reilly’s claim that “Black Lives Matter” is “killing” “Americans” is fantastical and untrue. His “logic” is desperate and bizarre: he conflates black college students protesting a conservative propagandist with street violence by drug dealers and gang members. And based on his use of “statistics” about “black crime,” it is also apparent that Bill O’Reilly does not understand the difference between correlation and causation.</p><p>In all, O’Reilly most recent act of racist bloviating is a hodgepodge of white supremacist talking points and fictions pulled from the Right-wing “news” echo chamber. It is also proof of the harm that white racial paranoiac thinking can do to both a person’s understanding of empirical reality and personal ethics.</p><p>Bill O’Reilly’s fixation on Black Lives Matter is based on a belief that it is a violent organization. In reality, Black Lives Matter is a loose umbrella coalition of individuals of all colors who believe that police thuggery and other state sponsored abuse and killings of African-Americans must end. Based on their own statements and other material, the Black Lives Matter movement rejects violence.</p><p>O’Reilly’s argument on Wednesday’s edition of his TV show pivots on a belief in the “Ferguson effect”. This is the erroneous idea that the uprising against a racist and out of control police force in Ferguson, Missouri, one that was operating a de facto debt peonage collection racket against the black community in that area, has spread across America and has made the country’s police afraid to do their jobs. Of course,<a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/01/18/the-persistent-myth-of-the-ferguson-effect/">there is no such data to support such an assertion</a>; the claim of a so-called Ferguson effect <a href="http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/03/study-there-has-been-no-ferguson-effect-in-baltimore/473781/">has been repeatedly exposed by criminologists and other experts as a lie</a>. If anything, America’s police are refusing to do their jobs in an act of protest against being held to be basic standards of professional accountability.</p><p>There is a deeper ugliness in O’Reilly’s and other members of the Right-wing news disinformation entertainment media’s fixation on the “Ferguson effect.” It is based on a belief that America’s police are unable to do their jobs properly unless they can beat, abuse, harass, and kill African-Americans and other people of color with impunity. In this worldview, black and brown Americans are not allowed the same civil liberties and constitutionally protected rights as white people. This is the logic of the infamous Dred Scott decision and Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney’s decision that “black people “have no rights that the white man is bound to respect” into the Age of Obama.</p><p>Bill O’Reilly’s claims about a dramatic increase in “black crime” as spurned on by “Black Lives Matter” represent a failure in inference. There is no evidence of the “Ferguson effect”. Consequently, his basic causal claim is incorrect.</p><p>His worries and panic about “black crime” and “black violence” lacks context and are simply a recycling of white supremacist talking points that embody the Right-wing shift from outright bigotry rooted in old fashioned claims of black biological inferiority to the more modern argument that African-Americans possess “bad culture.”</p><p>Most importantly, violent crime in the United States is at record lows. If there has been an increase in violent crime in America’s central cities it is likely caused by a seasonal cycle where warmer months bring more people on the streets and into contract with one another.</p><p>In his effort to gin up a panic about “black crime”, O’Reilly conveniently ignores how most crime in the United States is intraracial. This is a function of segregation and racially homogeneous social and other inter-personal networks. Moreover, most violent crime is committed by a relative, friend, or acquaintance.</p><p>Bill O’Reilly enthusiastically recites statistics about “violent” “black men”.</p><p>It is a given that O’Reilly also does not include how the vast majority of blacks are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. He also does not comment on how black and brown Americans (as well as people who live in working class and poor communities, more broadly) are subjected to “over-policing” which inflates arrest rates as compared to whites, and racist sentencing practices where blacks and Latinos are punished more severely than whites for the same crimes.</p><p>O’Reilly’s racist screed about a war on “good” and “law-abiding” (white) Americans by “black criminals” also conveniently ignores that a very small percentage of black people will ever commit a violent crime. As professor Jody Armour argues in his book Negrophobia, O’Reilly and other Right-wing “black crime” provocateurs and hate merchants willfully choose to not understand that one cannot generalize from aggregate data to make reliable predictions about the probability that a given person—in this case an African-American—will commit a criminal act.</p><p>Ultimately, social scientists and other researches have repeatedly demonstrated that in these discussions of “black crime,” race is just a proxy variable for poverty, housing segregation, income and wealth disparities, broken schools, and other social dynamics. When those problems are alleviated, the life chances and outcomes of black Americans vastly improve and thus become much more similar to those of white families in the same economic cohort.</p><p>There is a base hypocrisy in Bill O’Reilly and other conservatives feigned concerns about bad “black culture” in the United States’ “inner cities”: the Republican Party and the White Right have no interest in fixing America’s broken social safety net, fighting racial discrimination in housing and jobs, correcting income and wealth inequality, restricting easy access to guns, confronting the problem of mass incarceration, or stopping the War on Drugs through legalization.</p><p>Unpacking Bill O’Reilly’s efforts to incite a Jim and Jane Crow style white racial panic (and yes, preemptive violence) against black Americans points to an uncomfortable truth that Bill O’Reilly and other white conservatives are loathe to publicly discuss.</p><p>As I have written about repeatedly here at Salon, there are whole categories of crime such as right-wing domestic terrorism, treason, cannibalistic serial killing, and spree shootings in high schools and other places that are dominated by white men and boys.</p><p>If Bill O’Reilly is really concerned about crimes that are killing the American people, many more people have been harmed and had their lives stolen both directly and indirectly by the actions of huge corporations and the banking and financier class–a group that is almost exclusively comprised of white men–than by “Black Lives Matter” or “black crime.” While the American corporate news media is momentarily fixated on what it has identified as a “trend” of white suffering and the deaths of despair (suicide; drug and alcohol abuse; opiate addiction) among the “white working class” it has, of course, failed to discuss how it is white men who have created this perilous situation and not black Americans or other people of color.</p><p>If there is a “culture” that is “killing” Americans, it is one that on a macro and elite level is led, created, and directed by a group of people who look like Bill O’Reilly.</p><p>Fox News and Bill O’Reilly most certainly will not do a feature on that problem.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1057364'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1057364" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 28 May 2016 15:59:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1057364 at http://a.alternet.org Media Human Rights Culture Media bill o'reilly black lives matter Editor's Picks fox news race news Donald Trump, President of the Confederacy: The Southern Strategy Created the GOP Civil War http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-president-confederacy-southern-strategy-created-gop-civil-war <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1056681'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056681" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A decades-long pattern of racists appeals has left the Republican Party with no one but the racists.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_trump_4.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>There are two consistent themes about the American right-wing in the Age of Obama. First, racism and conservatism is now one and the same thing. Second, the Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization. I am not the only person to have made such observations.</p><p>Of course, Republicans and conservatives find these twin facts offensive and unbelievable. They hold onto their founding myth of Lincoln and “Great Emancipator” while simultaneously being dependent on voters from the former Confederacy for power—states that still fly and honor the American swastika, a rebel flag of treason and anti-black hatred.</p><p>Despite their protests, the evidence is overwhelming.</p><p>The ascendance of Donald Trump and his coronation as the presumed 2016 Republican presidential candidate is the logical outcome of a several decades-long pattern of racism, nativism, and bigotry by the American right-wing and its news entertainment disinformation machine.</p><p>For example, in response to the triumphs of the black freedom struggle and the civil rights movement, the Republican Party has relied on the much discussed “Southern Strategy.” Lee Atwater, master Republican strategist and mentor to Karl Rove explained this approach as:</p><blockquote><p>You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can’t say “n****r”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.”</p></blockquote><p>Ronald Reagan and other Republican elites would leverage Atwater’s approach to winning white voters and elections. To point, Reagan began his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the locale where American civil rights freedom fighters Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were killed by white racial terrorists. In that speech, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/opinion/13herbert.html">Reagan signaled to the ghosts of Jim and Jane Crow and the neo-Confederacy</a> by stating his support for “states’ rights.”</p><p>Reagan would continue to use overt and coded racial appeals to gin up white support through his references to a “lazy,” “violent” and “parasitic” class of black Americans who he described as “welfare queens” and “strapping bucks.” George Bush would continue with the Southern Strategy when he summoned up white racist stereotypes and fears of “the black beast rapist” in the form of Willie Horton during the 1988 presidential election.</p><p>The Age of Obama witnessed an explosion of anti-black racism by the Republican Party and conservatives en masse. Birtherism, <a href="https://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/racepolitics.html">the rise of the Tea Party</a>, the use of antebellum language (which was used to defend the Southern slaveocracy) such as “secession” and “nullification”, both overt and coded racist invective by Republican officials and news media, and <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/01/25/fine_just_call_him_the_n_word_all_the_republicans_want_to_do_is_say_it_would_be_more_honest_if_they_did/">a pattern of disrespect towards both the idea and literal personhood of Barack Obama</a> as the United States’ first black president has been the norm. This deluge of anti-black animus towards Barack Obama does not exist in a separate universe outside of American society: it has real impact on the values and behavior of citizens.</p><p>To wit: in discussing his recent work on racial attitudes and political polarization, Professor Michael Tesler has noted how:</p><blockquote><p>After at least two full decades of being unrelated to party identification, both old fashioned racism and anti-black affect have once again become significantly linked to white partisanship in the age of Obama…After at least two full decades of being unrelated to party identification, both old fashioned racism and anti-black affect have once again become significantly linked to white partisanship in the age of Obama.</p></blockquote><p>In all, Barack Obama’s presidency has been so disruptive to the white right-wing political imagination that it has resurrected a type of overt racism which was thought to be largely vanquished from American public life.</p><p>The intersection of white racism (“modern” and “old-fashioned”), nativism, a sense of white victimhood, and grievance mongering in the form of conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs is evident in other ways as well.</p><p><a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/09/01/3697515/barack-obama-ted-cruz-birther-gop-poll/">Fifty-four percent of Republicans</a> believe that Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim.” Forty-four percent also believe that Obama was not born in the United States. <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/how-many-republicans-actually-want-to-ban-muslims-be-careful/419958/">Forty-two percent of Republicans believe that Muslims should be banned</a> from the United States. <a href="http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/PRRI-AVS-2015-Web.pdf">Sixty-four percent of Republicans believe</a> that “racism” against white people is as big a problem as discrimination against black Americans.</p><p><a href="http://www.people-press.org/2016/03/31/campaign-exposes-fissures-over-issues-values-and-how-life-has-changed-in-the-u-s/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&amp;utm_campaign=999966e7d6-Weekly_March_31_20163_31_2016&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-999966e7d6-">In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center</a>, 66 percent of Republican and Republican-inclined respondents want to return to the “good old days.. This number is higher for Trump backers. It is important to note that this era was one of Jim and Jane Crow anti-black racism, legal sexism, and unapologetic discrimination against gays and lesbians. This yearning for a return to a fictive golden age of white male Christian domination over American social and political life is reflected in other work that shows how white people are much more pessimistic about their futures than Hispanics and African-Americans.</p><p>Donald Trump is not a political genius. He understands what the Republican base yearns for and has been trained to believe–like a sociopolitical version of Pavlov’s dog–by its leaders.</p><p>Trump says that Muslims should be banned from the United States because Republican voters respond to such hatred and intolerance.</p><p>Trump lies that undocumented Hispanic and Latino immigrants are rapists and killers who want to attack white women because Republican voters find such rhetoric compelling.</p><p>Trump uses social media to circulate white supremacist talking points about “black crime” because modern conservatives nurtured on “law and order” politics believe that African-Americans are out of control “thugs” possessed of “bad culture” who live to prey on innocent and vulnerable white people.</p><p>Trump talks about China “raping” the United States because this arouses anger and fear of a new “yellow peril” where the manhood and honor of (white) America is sacrificed to a “sneaky” and “scheming” “Oriental” horde who twist their Fu Manchu mustaches and seduce white women in opium dens while simultaneously negotiating multibillion dollar trade deals.</p><p>And perhaps most damning, Donald Trump has been endorsed by neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and the Ku Klux Klan: he has been reluctant to publicly reject and denounce their support.</p><p>The corporate news media has aided and abetted “Trumpmania” by normalizing his racist, nativist and bigoted behavior. In response to Trump’s crucial win in last week’s Indiana primary, Slate’s Isaac Chotiner skewered this failure of journalistic integrity and responsibility among the TV news chattering class as:</p><blockquote><p>On TV Tuesday night, there was hardly a whimper. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox contented themselves with bright chatter about Ted Cruz’s hurt feelings, about Donald Trump’s political skill, about the feckless, pathetic Republican establishment. None of the commentators I saw mentioned the import of what was happening. Large chunks of the media have spent so long domesticating Trump that his victory no longer appeared momentous. He is the new normal….There was little talk of ideology, or racism, or bigotry, or fascist appeals. Instead, the conversation was about process; Trump had been fit into the usual rhythms of an election season. The closest thing I heard to open-mouthed shock came from Rachel Maddow, who wondered, correctly, why out of 330 million people the Republican Party had chosen this particular reality-television star.</p></blockquote><p>Elizabeth Bathory was a 16th century Hungarian countess who killed hundreds of young virgin girls and then bathed in their blood with the hope that it would maintain her beauty. Since at least the end of the civil rights movement, the Republican Party and movement conservatives have followed a similar “beauty” regimen. Instead of the blood of female virgins, they have washed themselves in racism and bigotry in order to buoy their political vitality.</p><p>Donald Trump decided to move this political ritual out of the shadows and into the light of prime time television and the 24/7 news cycle. Trump, with his background in professional wrestling and reality TV simply took what has always been implied by the American Right-wing and made it obvious.</p><p>This move vanquished Trump’s Republican rivals.</p><p>The question now becomes, will Trump’s version of Elizabeth Bathory be enough to defeat Hillary Clinton and win the White House in November 2016?</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1056681'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056681" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 17 May 2016 11:53:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1056681 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing donald trump southern strategy racism and republicans election 2016 gop civil war Entitled, Racist, Bigoted, Thugs: It Is Time to Call Donald Trump Supporters by Their Real Names http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/entitled-racist-bigoted-thugs-it-time-call-donald-trump-supporters-their-real-names <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1056298'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056298" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The right-wing&#039;s playbook—culture war, Southern Strategy, Fox News lies—has come home to roost with one man.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/24224402311_b5fdc2769e_z_2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>What is the best way to describe Donald Trump’s supporters?</p><p>Are they the Tea Party on steroids? Right-wing populists? Fascists? Something else?</p><p>Last week on the Big Picture news program with Thom Hartmann, guest Mike Papantonio suggested that Trump’s supporters–with their penchant for extreme nationalism, racism, and bigotry–are best described as “Trumpublicans.”</p><p>During a presidential primary season when so many members of the commentariat and political chattering classes have avoided speaking truth to power, Mike Papantonio’s observation is a refreshing and very important step in the right direction. However, he is still too kind in his description of Donald Trump’s public.</p><p>Donald Trump’s supporters are not merely “Trumpublicans,” they are something far worse: his voters are actually “Trump-thug-licans.”</p><p>Donald Trump is <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/02/06/secrets_of_donald_trumps_cult_this_is_why_the_angriest_white_voters_will_not_leave_his_side/">the leader</a> of a <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/12/23/donald_trump_leads_an_insane_white_cult_and_pat_buchanan_just_explained_how_it_works/">cult</a> of personality. Traditional political wisdom suggests that voters respond positively to consistency and predictability in their elected officials and candidates. Trump has upended such standing norms and logic: <a href="http://time.com/4249568/donald-trump-flip-flops-issues/">he changes his opinions</a> in response to the political winds, offers no apology or shame for doing so, and is rarely held accountable by the news media for such decisions.</p><p>And while considered a sin in American (especially right-wing) politics, to change one’s opinion in the face of new information is, in reality, a mark of wisdom and intelligence. But Donald Trump is not acting in the pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, or to advance the Common Good. He is a nihilistic pragmatist who craves power at any cost—and will say and do anything to achieve said goal.</p><p>To that end, Donald Trump is a name brand; he is also a reality TV show hustler who is simply applying his carnival tricks and con artist routine to another venue of American life.</p><p>Donald Trump’s supporters have demonstrated a pattern of politically thuggery that is almost unprecedented in modern American politics. His rallies—which are more like human political rodeos—feature violence against those who dare to protest Trump’s bigotry, racism, and nativism as the central attraction. Trump, the master showman, orchestrates the violence by promising to pay the legal fees of “his people” who attack protesters, gesticulating from the podium and ranting about how violence is fun, and reminiscing about “the good old days” when “protesters” would be taken out on stretchers.</p><p>Donald Trump’s supporters have physically assaulted people they identified as “illegal immigrants” or as enemies of the American Il Duce’s movement and message.</p><p><em>Republicans</em> form the core of Donald Trump’s base of support. White, angry, entitled, nativist, bigoted, and racist voters constitute the base of the Republican Party in the Age of Obama and the post-civil rights era. While a lazy corporate news media has tried to spin the rise of Donald Trump as some type of aberration for the Republican Party and <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/02/04/there_is_no_gop_establishment_lane_there_is_a_proto_fascist_a_christian_theocrat_and_an_ayn_rand_neoliberal/">movement conservatism</a>, he is instead the logical outcome and spawn of at least five decades of right-wing social and economic policies.</p><p>Trump’s brand of gross antipathy towards <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/americans-reject-trumps-muslim-ban-but-republicans-embrace-it/2015/12/14/24f1c1a0-a285-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html">Muslims</a>, hostility to Hispanics and Latinos, anti-black racism, and declaration of war on “political correctness”—what is just a right-wing talking point dog whistle for disrespecting the human rights and dignity of anyone who is not white, male, Christian, and heterosexual—is the American right-wing’s playbook of the Culture War, Southern Strategy and Fox News-talk radio bubble of epistemic closure and disinformation <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-republican-voters-decided-on-trump/">brought to fruition</a> with a faux populist bent.</p><p>The Republican Party’s elites and news media have tried to use this formula to create a controlled political explosion. Instead, Donald Trump took the same ingredients and made a dirty bomb of radiation and indiscriminate shrapnel.</p><p>The corporate news media is complicit in allowing a proto-fascist to become the presumed presidential nominee of one of the United States’ two institutional political parties. In exchange for viewers and money, the corporate news media normalized and mainstreamed Donald Trump’s political poison into the American body politic. The Fourth Estate is supposed to be the guardian and watchdog of democracy; in the case of “Trumpmania” many of its members instead chose to be enablers and fans.</p><p>One should also not ignore how this abandonment of responsibility (and accountability) is part of a several decades-long pattern where the so-called liberal news media has coddled and enabled the lies, distortions, and civic irresponsibility by the Republican Party specifically, and conservatives, more generally.</p><p>The corporate news media and its army of so-called “experts” and “opinion leaders” cannot undo the harm they have done to American politics during the 2016 presidential primaries. They can however start to use accurate language to describe Donald Trump and his supporters. These racists, bigots, nativists, bullies, and right-wing authoritarians are <em>Trumpthuglicans.</em> It is long overdue that that this rabble is described by the mainstream news media and political chattering classes with the scorn and disgust they have earned and deserve.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1056298'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056298" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 11 May 2016 08:05:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1056298 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing donald trump fox news election 2016 trump supporters racism #Notalltrumpvoters: The Media’s New Big Lie Lets Racist Donald Trump Backers Off the Hook http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/notalltrumpvoters-medias-new-big-lie-lets-racist-donald-trump-backers-hook <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1054304'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054304" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump is fueled by white resentment, racism and nativism. Why does the media mistake that for working-class anxiety? </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/21259877460_687226f2ed_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank took on white racism and support for Donald Trump in a recent column. In “<a href="http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/34224270-78/trumps-many-bigoted-supporters.html.csp">Trump’s Bigoted Supporters</a>” he writes:</p><blockquote><p>A Pew Research Center national poll released Thursday found that 59 percent of registered voters nationwide think that an increasing number of people from different races, ethnic groups and nationalities makes the United States a better place; only 8 percent say this makes America worse. But among Trump backers, 39 percent say diversity improves America, while 42 percent say it makes no difference and 17 percent say it actually makes America worse. Supporters of GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich were significantly more upbeat on diversity.</p><p>This was no anomaly. The week before, my Washington Post colleagues Max Ehrenfreund and Scott Clement reported on a Post/ABC News poll that asked whether people thought it more of a problem that African-Americans and Latinos are “losing out because of preferences for whites” or whether whites are “losing out because of preferences for blacks and Hispanics.”</p><p>Trump had the support of 34 percent of Republican-leaning voters overall, but among those who said that whites are losing out, 43 percent supported Trump.</p></blockquote><p>In the weeks and months to come, there most certainly will be additional polling data and other research that confirms the great role racism has played in Trumpmania.</p><p>Of course, this information is important. However, it should not be surprising. The influence of racial animus on public opinion and other political behavior is one of the most-repeated findings in all of the social sciences.</p><p>Unfortunately, just as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf did in his recent piece “How Emory’s Student Activists Are Fueling Trumpism,” Dana Milbank makes the choice to offer the following qualifier:</p><blockquote><p>That ugly moment comes to mind in describing how many of Trump’s supporters have bigoted motivations: Not all — but a lot of ‘em.</p><p>Just as it’s unfair to paint all Trump backers as prejudiced, it’s impossible to ignore a growing volume of public-opinion data showing that a large number of his supporters are indeed driven by racial or xenophobic animus.</p></blockquote><p>As I explored in an <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/03/29/hideous_disgusting_racists_lets_call_donald_trump_and_his_supporters_exactly_what_they_are/">earlier essay</a>, Milbank’s caveat is part of a larger pattern among the American commentariat where too many of its members are afraid to publicly label Donald Trump and his supporters as racists.</p><p>Why this anxiety? Why are so many members of the chattering class dancing around the clear and obvious truth that Donald Trump’s political movement is largely driven by white racial resentment, overt racism, bigotry and nativism?</p><p>Part of this answer lies in how telling the truth about white racism in the post-civil rights era is considered worse than the harm it does to people of color. Moreover, to suggest that a given white person is a racist — or alternatively, that white people as a group either benefit from institutional racism or are active racists — is an indictment of both their personal character and the various myths (meritocracy; American Exceptionalism; individualism; equality, etc.) that the country’s political culture rests upon. Together, these answers form a type of electrified third rail in American political discourse that few members of the chattering classes are willing to stand on. This is a profound failure of moral leadership.</p><p>The unwillingness by Milbank, Friedersdorf and others to plainly and directly state that Donald Trump and his supporters are part of a racist political movement is an example of what sociologist Robin DiAngelo has described as "<a href="http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/">white racial fragility</a>" on a massive scale:</p><blockquote><p>This systemic and institutional control allows those of us who are white in North America to live in a social environment that protects and insulates us from race-based stress. We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives. Further, we are centered in all matters deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good. Thus, we move through a wholly racialized world with an unracialized identity (e.g. white people can represent all of humanity, people of color can only represent their racial selves). Challenges to this identity become highly stressful and even intolerable…Not often encountering these challenges, we withdraw, defend, cry, argue, minimize, ignore, and in other ways push back to regain our racial position and equilibrium. I term that push back white fragility.</p></blockquote><p>White fragility manifests itself in conversations about race and racism when white folks often use a rhetorical strategy of making themselves the center of the dialogue as opposed to listening to and accepting the experiences of people of color as valid.</p><p>White fragility also makes itself known in moments of extreme anger, sadness, tears or complaints about “hurt feelings,” as opposed to practicing critical self-reflection about one’s own behavior, and plays a broader role in maintaining systems of white privilege as well as personally benefitting from them.</p><p>White fragility is the shorthand “not all white people.” (The phrase, “not all white people” has many cousins. “Not all men” and “Not all straight people” draws from the same defensiveness about acknowledging one’s own power and privilege.)</p><p>On a societal level, white racial fragility takes what should be a basic fact given American’s history and present (white racism is real; the United States is founded on and continues to be orientated around protecting inter-group white advantage and privilege) and makes it into something subjective, a mere opinion, that subsequently can be accepted or rejected based on one’s own personal whims and convenience.</p><p>The practical effect of this dynamic is that the bar of evidence is raised so high for what constitutes racism that often anything short of the public lynching of a black or brown person by white supremacists is subjected to the qualifier that “We ought not to jump to the conclusion that racism was involved.” This mobilization of white racial fragility silences truth-tellers, punishes people of color who are victims of racism, and ensures that the “problem of the color line” will continue well past the 20th century and into the 21st.</p><p>Imagine the following scenarios.</p><p>If a Nazi was running for public office, the chattering classes would not allow his or her voters to defend their choice by saying “I am not a Nazi or a ‘bad person,’ I like this candidate because they will give us full employment and better roads.”</p><p>Likewise, if an avowed member of the Ku Klux Klan was seeking public office, his supporters would not be allowed the out of saying that “we aren’t racists but like the fact that the KKK offered charity to the white poor.”</p><p>In both examples, the supporters of those candidates would be publicly shamed by the American news media.</p><p>Many members of the American commentariat remain in denial about the power of Donald Trump and his racist allure for the most backward and bigoted parts of the American electorate. Now, Trump is months away from becoming the likely Republican presidential nominee.</p><p>The Fourth Estate helped to create this mess. The Fourth Estate should take responsibility for solving it.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1054304'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054304" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 10 Apr 2016 09:57:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1054304 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 trump election This Is Your Republican Party: The Establishment Is as Racist as Donald Trump — and Created Him http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/your-republican-party-establishment-racist-donald-trump-and-created-him <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1051786'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1051786" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Enough with the nonsense about a horrified GOP establishment. Trump, and horror like this, is entirely their doing.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_382158925.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On Super Tuesday, Donald Trump continued to lock in his chokehold on the Republican Party. He won seven of the 11 Republican 2016 presidential primaries and caucuses. Trump now has 302 delegates as compared to Ted Cruz’s 174 and Marco Rubio’s 104. The Republican “establishment” is in panic mode; it appears to most observers that Il Duce Donald Trump, the American right-wing’s version of Immortan Joe from the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road,” is a fait accompli as the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.</p><p>This is the macro level story that the commentariat will be focusing on until Trump’s formal coronation at the Republican National Convention in July.</p><p>Campaigns and elections are also a collection of micro-level, personal experiences. The notion that “the personal is the political” is a cliché. It is nonetheless very true: this will be the first presidential election for millions of young and other new voters. Moreover, there are Americans who have never before volunteered to assist in a campaign or election. Some of them are “feeling the Bern.” Others are working for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or the other prospective presidential candidates.</p><p>Movements like Black Lives Matter, as well as other citizen activist groups are standing up for the rights of immigrants, Muslims, women, and people of color more generally, in an era of police thuggery, surveillance, the neoliberal nightmare, a broken economy, and resurgent nativism and sexism. In all, these organizations and nascent social movements are introducing many Americans to the power of protest and the realization that they too — not just big money and inside the Beltway interest groups — have a voice.</p><p>Ultimately, these activities — voting, organizing, protesting, and other activities — will be one of the primary moments of political socialization for many millions of Americans. Their experiences in the 2016 presidential election will influence the rest of their lives and how they think about (and experience) what it means to be a member of the polity.</p><p>Politics can be messy. It involves what are called “push and pull” factors. At its worst, those moments can involve violence. In a functioning democracy such behavior is considered outside of “normal politics.” But as Donald Trump’s proto-fascist Herrenvolk nativism movement grows in power, and Republican Party elites are paralyzed by a knot of racism and demagoguery they both nurtured and created, many of the standing norms of recent American politics seem as though they are teetering on a precipice.</p><p>The following is a single data point, a news item that will likely be lost in the background noise of Super Tuesday, or just one person’s experience which they will remember for a long while and others will quickly forget.</p><p>As reported <a href="http://www.wlky.com/news/donald-trump-to-spend-part-of-super-tuesday-in-louisville/38256492">by the TV station WLKY</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/704886202554568704/video/1">shared on social media</a>, a black woman was repeatedly assaulted at a Donald Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky. White men in the crowd repeatedly shoved this young black woman while white women yelled at and harangued her. Whiteness united them in their vitriol and meanness across lines of gender and sex.</p><p>It was an ugly and disturbing scene. Violence at Donald Trump rallies is now a common and expected occurrence. Trump encourages violence with his Right-wing strongman professional wrestling routine. Trump’s backers have followed through on his edicts. They have attacked a homeless person who they believed was an “illegal” immigrant, beaten upon a Black Lives Matter protester, and engaged in violent and hostile acts against others who they identify as not part of the tribe.</p><p>[At an earlier Donald Trump rally, approximately <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/29/donald-trump-georgia-rally-valdosta/81129964/">30 black students at Valdosta State University in Georgia were also removed</a> before the event began. While their tuition may have paid for the building where Trump’s event was to be held, they were identified as potentially “disruptive”. Black and brown bodies are now marked as being a “threat” to the “safe space” that Donald Trump’s political events create for white supremacy and anti-black and brown racism.]</p><p>In all, the violence at Donald Trump’s Kentucky campaign rally is but one more reminder of the racially prejudiced, bigoted, and nativist attitudes held by those people who support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign — and of <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/03/01/donald_trump_has_dropped_the_gops_mask_conservatism_and_racism_now_officially_the_same_thing/">Republican voters en masse</a>.</p><p>The violence at Donald Trump rallies is also an additional indicator of the fascist and authoritarian tendencies that are driving his campaign and subsequently winning broad support among broad swaths of the Republican Party base.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-neiwert/trump-may-not-be-a-fascist-but_b_8973768.html">David Neiwert outlined</a> in his essential essay “Donald Trump May Not Be a Fascist, But He Is Leading Us Merrily Down That Path,” the GOP frontrunner is systematically filling out the checklist (most recently with threats against the news media) that will push him from being a “mere” proto-fascist to a full on member of that noxious political tradition.</p><p>Perhaps it is a perverse and ironic sign of racial “progress” that the black woman who was assaulted at Trump’s rally in Louisville, Kentucky, was not lynched by the enraged white crowd.</p><p>However, one cannot overlook the obvious hypocrisy: if a white Republican female was pushed and shoved by black men as she protested at a Democratic, “liberal”, or “progressive” political event such a happening would have been the source of immediate and hysterical coverage on Fox News and throughout the right-wing news media entertainment echo chamber.</p><p>Tuesday’s assault at Trump’s Kentucky rally is but one more reminder of America’s old history and living present where black women are marginalized because of their gender and racially stigmatized as a result of their skin color. For most of United States history black women have been denied their full citizenship and civic equality on both accounts.</p><p>Trump’s ascendance and the violence at his political events also reminds us of a second truth about the color line in post civil rights Age of Obama America. Writing at the Boston Review, <a href="http://bostonreview.net/us/simon-waxman-donald-trump-racism-super-tuesday">Simon Waxman has insightfully suggested</a> that:</p><blockquote><p>Racists were chastened by the word police but never disabused of an ideology in which white supremacy reflects the universe’s order, natural or line… But it is not one crazy guy, and there is no use pretending otherwise. That is 20 percent of the people voting for the man whom the pundits, on the eve of Super Tuesday, call inevitable, overwhelming, a runaway train.</p><p>So thank you, Donald Trump, for showing us more clearly the world we live in.</p></blockquote><p>I enthusiastically agree with Waxman’s observations. I too would like to thank Donald Trump for reminding the (white) American public what has been obvious for many decades but that too many members of the political chattering classes have been afraid to publicly state in a direct and unapologetic manner: the Republican Party is the country’s largest white identity organization; in the post-civil rights era conservatism and racism are now one and the same thing.</p><p>If she did not know it before, the young black woman who was assaulted by Donald Trump’s neo-brown shirts in Kentucky most certainly knows those facts to be true now.</p><blockquote><p> </p></blockquote> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1051786'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1051786" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 09:00:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1051786 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing racism far right conservatives donald trump gop Secrets of Donald Trump's Cult: Why the Angriest White Voters Will Not Leave His Side http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/secrets-donald-trumps-cult-why-angriest-white-voters-will-not-leave-his-side <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050256'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050256" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump may have finished second in Iowa, but he&#039;s far from finished. His base is as fearful as ever.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/donald-trump-vine-800x430.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump is a <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/12/23/donald_trump_leads_an_insane_white_cult_and_pat_buchanan_just_explained_how_it_works/">political cult leader</a>. In that role, he is also a political necromancer, beating a drum of nativism and fear to control the right-wing political zombies who follow him.</p><p>The Republican Party’s base of voters is rapidly shrinking. Contemporary conservatism is a throwback ideology that is unpopular with a large and growing segment of the American public. The result of these two factors is a Republican Party and American conservative establishment that is under threat, obsolescent and in a deep existential crisis.</p><p>These are the conditions that have catapulted Donald Trump to the forefront of the 2016 Republican presidential primary.</p><p>Trump’s most strident supporters are found among the alienated, disaffected, fearful, white working class. This is a cohort whose members are facing greatly diminished life chances in an age of globalization, extreme wealth inequality, neoliberalism and a reduction in the unearned material advantages that come as a result of white privilege. As recent research by public health experts, sociologists, economists and others has <a href="http://voxpopulisphere.com/2016/01/21/barbara-ehrenreich-dead-white-and-blue/">detailed</a>, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/business/income-gap-meet-the-longevity-gap.html">white American</a> working-class and poor are literally dying off. They are <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/boomers-deaths-pnas/413971/">killing themselves</a> with pills and alcohol, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/white-working-class-poverty/424341/">committing suicide</a> with guns and <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/06/dear_white_america_your_working_class_is_literally_dying_and_this_is_your_idea_of_an_answer/">dying of despair</a>.</p><p>For many decades, if not centuries, racism (and sexism for white men) artificially buoyed the life prospects of the white working class in American society. With those palliatives and aids removed, the white working class and poor are left exposed and vulnerable to the realities of the American neoliberal nightmare and the culture of cruelty. They are ill-equipped for life in this new world.</p><p>Donald Trump knows that a crisis is an opportunity: he is transforming the fear and anxiety of the white American working class into political capital and energy.</p><p>To that end, Trump is leveraging what social psychologists have termed “terror management theory.” If “Trumpmania” is a puzzle, then terror management theory is a decoder ring or cipher. In many ways, the logic of terror management explains almost all of Trump’s popularity.</p><p>Human beings are not immortal. To compensate for the knowledge that one’s life will at some point come to an end, the human psyche has developed a range of coping mechanisms. <a href="http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=74">Terror management theory</a> seeks to explain those dynamics:</p><blockquote><p>Terror management theory assumes that humans have developed a suite of defense mechanisms to protect themselves from the existential anxiety they experience when they are cognizant of their mortality. Existential anxiety arises because individuals experience a profound motive, derived from evolutionary forces, to preserve their life. Therefore, an awareness of mortality could evoke existential anxiety, corresponding to a sense of futility, unless humans invoke a set of mechanisms that are intended to curb this awareness. Some of these mechanisms include a tendency to believe in an after life, to feel connected to a broader, enduring entity, or to distract attention from their mortality, reflecting a form of denial</p></blockquote><p>Biology, socialization and cultural norms influence how a given person manages their fear of death. The death anxiety also interacts with one’s political values. In some ways, conservative authoritarians manage their death anxieties differently than people who possess a “liberal” or “progressive” political personality type. Conservative authoritarians display high levels of nationalism, social dominance behavior, intolerance, out-group anxiety and bigotry, racism, a need for binary “yes” or “no” answers, a yearning for epistemic closure, and higher levels of religiosity. Terror management theory suggests that conservative authoritarians are especially prone to loving “the flag, guns, god, and religion” because these symbols and institutions are fixed points that will, in theory, outlive a given person.</p><p>Neuroscientists and social psychologists have determined that the brains of conservative authoritarians are especially sensitive to feelings of fear and disgust. Research on terror management theory complements those findings by showing that when scared or under threat, conservative authoritarians <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/63/2/212/">are more likely</a> to become <a href="http://www.peterkerkhof.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/How-terrorism-news-reports-increase-prejudice-against-outgroups-A-terror-management-account.pdf">tribal</a>, bigoted, racist and generally more hostile to those they identify as some type of Other.</p><p>The intersection of terror management theory and contemporary American conservatism is a profile of the Republican voter en masse, and Donald Trump supporters in particular.</p><p>Public opinion research has repeatedly shown that today’s Republican voters are angry, afraid and motivated by racial animus, white racial resentment and nativism. Because he is the id of contemporary conservatism, Donald Trump’s supporters display those worrisome and ugly traits in the extreme.</p><p>For example, CNN recently conducted a <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/27/politics/donald-trump-voters-2016-election/index.html">series of interviews</a> at Donald Trump rallies where his supporters explained their attraction to him:</p><blockquote><p>For many Trump fans, the candidate’s once prominent role in the so-called Obama “birther” movement has left a lasting impression.</p><p>The skeptics, dispersed throughout Trump rallies, have serious misgivings about the President’s U.S. citizenship and Christian faith more than four years after Obama publicly released his birth certificate.</p><p>“Islam is traced patrilineally. I am a Muslim if my father is Muslim. In that sense, it is undeniable that Barack Obama was born a Muslim,” Michael Rooney said at a Trump event in Worcester, Massachusetts, in November. (Obama is a Christian. He has said his father was born a Muslim and later became an atheist.) …</p><p>At another rally in Manassas, Virginia, on December 2, Robin Reif, 54, yelled into the crowd that the President was from Kenya. He told CNN afterward that Obama was “too much of a Muslim” and an “Islamist sympathizer.”</p><p>“In our Constitution, it says that the president has to be an American citizen,” Reif said. “I’m still wondering where is he really from. What is this man’s background?”</p></blockquote><p>The CNN interviews reveal how unrepentant white victimology and white racial resentment drive his popularity:</p><blockquote id="yui_3_18_1_15_1454797849119_49"><p>Energizing the Trump movement are voters who call themselves the “silent majority.” These individuals feel strongly that white people, too, face discrimination in this country, and that they are often wrongly accused of being racist. This is stirring anger at the Black Lives Movement.</p><p>Fueled by a series of deadly police shootings perpetrated by white officers against blacks, the Black Lives Matter movement has become a powerful symbol of the racial tensions that run deep in the United States. …</p><p>At Trump’s campaign rallies, a similar frustration is palpable — among white voters.</p><p>Taking their cue from Trump, these individuals are calling themselves the “silent majority.” Some say they suffer from “reverse discrimination.”</p><p>Rhett Benhoff, a middle-aged white man at a December Trump campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina, said discrimination against whites is “absolutely” real.</p><p>“I mean, it seems like we really go overboard to make sure all these other nationalities nowadays and colors have their fair shake of it, but no one’s looking out for the white guy anymore,” he said.</p></blockquote> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050256'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050256" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:31:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1050256 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 trump The Radical Out of Touch Republicans Offer a Proto-Fascist, a Christian Theocrat, and an Ayn Rand Neoliberal as Leading Candidates http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/radical-out-touch-republicans-offer-proto-fascist-christian-theocrat-and-ayn-rand <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050159'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050159" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Most everything the media says about the &quot;GOP establishment lane&quot; is wrong. It does not really exist. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_283689434.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Iowa caucuses were a bump in the road for Donald Trump’s presidential primary campaign. Trump, a man who is always a “winner,” finished second. Marco Rubio, the so-called establishment Republican candidate, landed in third. Ted Cruz, a theocrat firebrand for the Christian right, emerged as the winner.</p><p>Iowa’s Republican voters essentially split their support equally among the three leading candidates.</p><p>The political chattering class is largely obsessed with the “horse race” aspect of the Iowa caucuses (which historically have not done a very good of predicting the eventual Republican presidential nominee) and what the results there portend for New Hampshire and beyond. The dominant narrative is that the winnowing process has begun and that Trump, Cruz and Rubio represent three distinct parts of the Republican Party’s electoral coalition. From this perspective, there are various “lanes” to the presidential nomination for the leading Republican candidates.</p><p>This is an important type of granular analysis. However, such a focus risks obscuring as much as it reveals about the Republican Party’s policies, specifically, and movement conservatism, more generally.</p><p>The Iowa caucuses ended in what is in essence a three-way tie with 4 percentage points separating Cruz (first), Rubio (last) and Trump. While the differences at the margins are important, this outcome indicates a Republican Party that is cannibalizing itself internally, where no clear front-runner had truly emerged, and whose candidates are largely much more alike than they are different.</p><p>“What have you done for me lately?” is one of the most basic questions that voters use to evaluate a politician. How voters answer, “What do you plan to do for me in the future?” is at least as important a decision rule.</p><p>A focus on the horse-race narrative and an obsessive parsing of the differences between the 2016 Republican presidential primary candidates—and the reasons for their varying levels of success in Iowa—is potentially very dangerous because it risks overlooking the extreme, radical and dangerous right-wing policy proposals that unite the field.</p><p>Almost all of the 2016 Republican presidential primary candidates share the following beliefs:</p><p>1. That the United States should bomb and kill many thousands of innocent people in the Middle East and elsewhere in order to supposedly stop the spread of ISIS and other terrorist organizations.</p><p>2. Torturing suspected terrorists—even though such acts are both immoral and ineffective in retrieving actionable intelligence information—is acceptable.</p><p>3. “God’s law” should supersede the United States Constitution.</p><p>4. They are anti-science and do not believe that global warming is a real, scientifically proven, empirical fact.</p><p>5. Tax cuts for the 1 percent and the American oligarchs should be expanded and protected while the social safety net and workers’ rights are further limited.</p><p>6. The Affordable Care Act should be reversed, and action that will result in millions of Americans being left without insurance and forced to seek aid and assistance from private charities.</p><p>7. Muslim Americans should be tracked by a national database as suspected “terrorists.”</p><p>8. Basic government functions should be privatized and protecting “the commons” should be made the responsibility of profit motivated corporations.</p><p>9. Women should be denied the basic human right of making their own reproductive health choices.</p><p>10. They are “law and order” racial authoritarians who support police thuggery and brutality against black and brown Americans, the poor and other marginalized groups.</p><p>The contemporary Republican Party is a radical political organization that has betrayed the core tenet of “conservatism,” what is a belief in stability in the face of radical change. To that end, movement conservatism seeks to undo the consensus politics of the World War II and post-World War II era because it views the great successes of the New Deal, the Great Society and the civil rights movement(s) as a threat to the excesses of unrestrained capitalism and white male power.</p><p>The Republican Party in the Age of Obama pursues radical, reckless, revanchist and dangerous policies because it is not punished for doing so. Why is this?</p><p>The GOP’s activist base is extremely out of sync with the mainstream of American public opinion; the party has dragged the Democratic Party to the right; the right-wing news entertainment complex has created a state of epistemic closure for its public that is immune from fact or reason, thus the latter advocates for politically untenable goals; and the Republican Party’s candidates are left beholden to the most extreme elements in their own party…even as those policy positions are unpopular among the majority of American voters.</p><p>In all, American politics is broken because the Republican Party has cultivated a name brand based on destroying the federal government. This creates a perverse set of political incentives and a type of feedback loop where the Republican Party’s obstructive and irresponsible behavior is rewarded by its voters—even while the same group of people is increasingly angry and enraged that the policies they want enacted are not put in place.</p><p>The political pundits are obsessed with the various “lanes” to nomination (and perhaps eventual victory) in the 2016 Republican presidential primary race. They should instead be focusing on the bigger “highway”—one where the Republican Party is advocating for radical and dangerous policies that are outside of the mainstream of American political thought and decades of effective consensus politics.</p><p>The horse race that is American politics is fascinating. The spectacular car wreck that is the Republican Party in the Age of Obama is entertaining. However, the news media and the American public are still left with the fundamental question of how one of the country’s two institutional political parties could be left after the Iowa caucuses with three front-runners who are, respectively, a proto-fascist, a Christian theocrat and an Ayn Rand neoliberal who wants to privatize all aspects of public life while simultaneously waging war on the poor and working classes.</p><p>Something is very wrong with America’s political culture. Worrying about “lanes” and paths to victory for Republican presidential candidates does nothing to address such basic and fundamental problems.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050159'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050159" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:43:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1050159 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics iowa caucus gop election 2016 republicans All the Republicans Want to Do Is Call Obama the N-Word—It Would Be More Honest If They Did http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/all-republicans-want-do-call-obama-n-word-it-would-be-more-honest-if-they-did <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1049587'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049587" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">GOP candidates use every trick to slur Obama without using the word. Just tell us what you really feel, PC warriors.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/e3edf75a3a6ec989b1814d651e981a0cd0e96c54_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>In his final State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made a plea for a return to civility, intelligence and courage in American politics.</p><p>Two days later, the Republican Party’s presidential primary candidates responded to him with vitriol, fear mongering, lies and racism.</p><p>In many ways, this is a standard script for the political human zoo that has been the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign.</p><p>In their last debate, the GOP candidates worshiped their personal saint-cum-mascot Ronald Reagan, and paid homage to discredited “trickle down” economic theories and <a href="http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/667449/anatomy_of_a_big_lie_about_taxes">the “Laffer curve.”</a> The Republican Party’s near pathological obsession with guns was also on full display. To that end, Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson inspired fantasies about “good guys with guns” always being able to stop “a bad guy with a gun” commingled with delusional ideas about American foreign policy that were culled from bad techno thriller novels and Chuck Norris action movies.</p><p>And, of course, for Republicans, the United States is like Rome before the collapse, with Obama as Nero, while the country’s enemies, the barbarians at the gates, are sharpening their straight razors to slit the throats of the American people. The Republican 2016 candidates know their public quite well as they conjured up images of wicked Muslim refugees who are all human bombs in waiting. The only people who can stop these millions of Islamic evildoers are the hyper-masculine American heroes in the Republican Party, their version of Churchill’s “rough men” who “stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us” (and as Donald Trump so proudly proclaimed, torturing and killing the innocent family members of those people who would even think of doing America harm).</p><p>As Salon’s own <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/01/15/a_total_embarrassment_3_takeaways_from_a_gop_debate_that_brushed_rock_bottom_in_american_politics/">Elias Isquith suggested</a>, the Fox Business Channel debate may not have been the nadir of American politics, but it was a steaming mess of political scatology. Once again, the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidates have shown the American public (and world) how contemporary conservatism is now sociopathy in the form of political ideology.</p><p>But even by those low standards, the Republican candidates’ racism and authoritarian-fueled attacks on Barack Obama were especially vile and repugnant.</p><p>Their racist fusillades against Barack Obama, and by extension, Black America, took three forms.</p><p>1. Modern American presidents are almost always the subject of conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories are a reflection of the anxieties and worries felt by a given community. The form and content of those conspiracies vary according to the political values and identities of the individuals and groups involved.</p><p>The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was met with “birtherism”—the conspiranoid fantasy that Obama was not eligible to be president of the United States of America because he was not a “natural born citizen.” Of course, this is absurd. Barack Obama’s mother is an American citizen and he was born in Hawaii. “Birtherism” (which is still believed by a significant percentage of Republicans) is a racist, white supremacist conspiracy theory that is predicated on a belief that black folks are not “real Americans,” i.e., “white.”</p><p>During last Thursday night’s Fox Business Channel debate, the Republican presidential primary candidates implied that Barack Obama, the president of the United States, is actually in league with Islamic terrorists. Ted Cruz said: “…we have a president who refuses to acknowledge the threat we face and even worse, who acts as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.”</p><p>Cruz continued with:</p><blockquote><p>…one of the things it did is it expanded Barack Obama’s power to let in Syrian refugees. It enabled him — the president to certify them en masse without mandating meaningful background checks.</p><p>I think that’s a mistake. That’s why I’ve been leading the fight to stop it… So you don’t get to say we need to secure the borders, and at the same time try to give Barack Obama more authority to allow Middle Eastern refugees coming in, when the head of the FBI tells us they cannot vet them to determine if they are ISIS terrorists.</p></blockquote><p>Rubio echoed the narrative that Barack Obama actually hates America and wants to see it weak and vulnerable with his claim that, “Barack Obama believes that America is an arrogant global power that needs to be cut down to size.”</p><p>This is beyond the foolishness of suggesting that a willful misreading of American law regarding “birthright” citizenship deems the country’s first black president ineligible for office. For Republicans, Obama is a black traitor, a Manchurian candidate, who may be the commander in chief of the United States military and the country’s chief executive, but somehow wants to see the United States weak, vulnerable and under threat from enemies abroad and at home.</p><p>2. In the days before theUnited States commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, the Republican candidates chose to defame the ongoing struggles of black and brown Americans for full human rights in the face of police thuggery and violence. The Republican Party’s use of “law and order” rhetoric is a cornerstone of its racist Southern Strategy, one where negrophobia and anti-black animus are now cloaked behind ostensibly “color blind” and “race neutral” language. Law and order rhetoric is a powerful tool for Republican candidates because it fuses together white racial resentment and old fashion racism with the high levels of authoritarian and social dominance behavior that is common among conservatives. The result is “racial authoritarianism.”</p><p>Racial authoritarians embrace, defend and encourage the thuggery of America’s police against black and brown people. They view the struggle for human dignity and rights by today’s Black Lives Matter activists, as well as the civil rights protesters of the 1960s and earlier, as that of “troublemakers,” “militants” or “outside agitators.”</p><p>Racial authoritarians lie, like Chris Christie has repeatedly done, about <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/ferguson-effect/416931/">the nonexistent “Ferguson Effect”</a>:</p><blockquote><p>“there’s a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country.” Here’s why, the president of the United States and both his attorney’s general, they give the benefit of the doubt to the criminal, not to the police officers.</p><p>That’s the truth of the matter and you see it every time with this president. Every time he’s got a chance, going all the way back to — remember that Great Beer Summit he had after he messed up that time. This is a guy who just believes that law enforcement are the bad guys.</p></blockquote><p>Racial authoritarianism spews out of <a href="http://www.alternet.org/americas-authoritarian-police-violently-enforce-1s-rule">Donald Trump’s mouth with absurdities such as</a>, “And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that. The most mistreated people.”</p><p>Ironically, racial authoritarianism also lets slip out basic truths, such as when police abuse apologists and others complain that America’s cops cannot do their jobs if they are held accountable for thuggery and brutality—especially when such criminal brutishness is directed at people of color. America’s modern police forces can trace their origins to the slave catchers of the antebellum South. When they abuse and kill unarmed black people during the Age of Obama, America’s police are simply following through on their historic role as enforcers of white supremacy.</p><p>For the racial authoritarians in the Republican Party, black people are to be silent and passive in their suffering. White conservatives are allowed to point loaded guns at police and federal authorities with impunity in America; but black citizens are never to use their constitutionally guaranteed rights of speech and assembly to resist unprovoked and undeserved State violence.</p><p>3. There were moments when the sixth Republican presidential primary debate almost sounded like a version of Thomas Dixon’s racist 1905 novel “The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan.” Ted Cruz said that “China is running over president Obama like he is a child.” Likewise, Chris Christie described a 54-year-old man as a <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/01/25/fine_just_call_him_the_n_word_all_the_republicans_want_to_do_is_say_it_would_be_more_honest_if_they_did/This%20guy%20is%20a%20petulant%20child.%20That%27s%20what%20he%20is">“petulant child.”</a> Language has history. It takes on meaning from it. One does not require an advanced degree or training in either sociolinguistics or semiotics to know that <a href="http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/question/sept06.htm">calling an adult black man a “boy” or “child” is profoundly racist</a>.</p><p>When Republican presidential candidates–the front-runners for a political organization that is the United States’ largest white identity organization–use such language it is not a mere turn of phrase or innocent error.</p><p>Calling Barack Obama a “boy” is their effort to humiliate the United States’ first black president by “putting him back in his place.” Moreover, when Republicans refer to Obama as a “boy” (as they have done on numerous occasions since Obama’s campaign and election in 2008) they are channeling the ghosts and demons of Jim and Jane Crow.</p><p>During Jim and Jane Crow (as well as the American slaveocracy) black men were not allowed the honorific of “Mister” by whites—especially in the South. They were instead called “boy,” “uncle” or “George.”</p><p>A black man could be amazingly accomplished and successful. But to the White Gaze he was just a “boy,” a man-child of sorts. This is the reason that black men wore placards during the American civil rights movement <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-power-of-imagery-in-advancing-civil-rights-72983041/?no-ist">that read “I am a man.”</a> Just as “black lives matter” is an assertion of the value of black life in a society that does not value black people, “I am a man” was a demand and a claim for equal justice in a country that viewed black men as something other and less than whites.</p><p>The racial logic of white supremacy mandates the emasculation of black men. When Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and other white conservatives call Obama a “boy,” they are trying to assert their power over not just Obama, but all black men in the United States. This is white male privilege as a fantasy of domination and subordination across the color line.</p><p>During almost every recent election cycle, the Republican Party engages in disingenuous hand-wringing and soul searching about why more black voters do not support it.</p><p>The answer is simple. A person of color would have to be either a fool or a self-interested political hustler like Ben Carson to get in bed with the Republican Party of the post-civil rights era.</p><p>The Fox Business Channel presidential primary debate was a reminder of how the Republican Party and the right-wing news entertainment media complex have spent more than eight years trying to find new ways to call Barack Obama—and by extension black Americans en masse—a “nigger” without actually using the slur. During Obama’s last months in office it would be more efficient, as well as refreshing, if the Republican Party and its elites dropped any pretense of respectable behavior and simply told the world <em>what they really feel</em> about the United States’ first black president.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1049587'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049587" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 08:11:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1049587 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics n-word republicans chris christie marco rubio race barack obama White People Just Don’t Get It: Bernie Sanders, Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Reality of Reparations http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/white-people-just-dont-get-it-bernie-sanders-ta-nehisi-coates-and-reality <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1049309'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049309" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Sanders’ recent comment is another chapter in a long debate among liberals and progressives about the relationship between race and class.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_259200632_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The well-being and political interests of African-Americans are routinely sacrificed on the mantle of political expediency in the United States.</p><p>To wit. During an interview last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a declarative statement about reparations for the descendants of those many millions of black Americans whose lives, labor, blood, inventions and other property were stolen by centuries of bondage in the United States, and across the Black Atlantic:</p><blockquote><p>No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African American community, we have a lot of work to do.</p><p>So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.</p></blockquote><p>Sanders’ comment is another chapter in a long-running and still ongoing debate among liberals and progressives about the relationship between race and class. As the late Stuart Hall, the essential scholar of the global color line, so incisively observed, race is:</p><blockquote><p>“the modality in which class is ‘lived,’ the medium through which class relations are experienced, the form in which it is appropriated and ‘fought through’.”</p></blockquote><p>In all, Bernie Sanders’ comment signals to an old fight, one that apparently is no closer to being resolved.</p><p>Americans, because of their country’s specific historical relationship between capitalism, slavery, a relatively weak bureaucracy, limited to no history of feudalism, Westward expansion, empire, and political culture more generally, are still struggling with how race and class inform one another. This leads to persistent questions such as, should we focus on class with the hope that “all boats will float across the color line”? Alternatively, should a true, full, equal and expansive democracy first focus on the specific and particular harms done to people of color precisely because of how racism and white supremacy impact citizenship and life opportunities in the United States?</p><p>Sanders’ claim that reparations for African-American enslavement would be “very divisive” is also one that can be empirically evaluated. It is not a mystery. Ultimately, Sanders’ beliefs about slavery reparations and white public opinion need not be exiled to the fuzzy logic of mere opinion.</p><p>Professor Michael Dawson is one of the foremost experts on American public opinion, the color line and reparations for African-American slavery.</p><p>In his 2004 article “Reparations: Justice and Greed in Black and White,” Michael Dawson (along with co-author Rovana Popoff) clearly demonstrates that Bernie Sanders’ observation that slavery reparations, as paid to black Americans for the stolen wealth, income and labor of their ancestors in the past and near present by the United States government (and other actors) is extremely controversial.</p><p>As Dawson <a href="http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/05/the-price-of-slavery.html">described in an interview with Harvard Magazine</a>:</p><blockquote><p>An even larger majority of blacks (79 percent) supported an apology to African Americans, although even fewer whites (30 percent) did so, opening up a huge “race gap” of 49 percentage points. Regarding monetary reparations to descendents of slaves, two out of three blacks voiced support, against a mere sliver (4 percent) of the white respondents, creating a racial gulf of 63 points.</p><p>“These numbers are relatively shocking by any standard,” says Dawson. “When we talk about gender gaps in American politics, we’re talking about gaps of 5 to 15 percent. Here we’re talking about gaps of the order of 50 to more than 60 percent.” Deeply polarized perceptions of racial equality (or its lack) are a major factor underlying the overwhelming disparities. While a majority of white respondents (64 percent) thought that blacks had achieved or would soon achieve equality, an even larger majority (78 percent) of blacks believed the opposite: that African Americans would not achieve racial equality in their lifetimes, or that they would never achieve equality…</p><p>Racial politics, in fact, trump all other factors — age, gender, education, and political party — affecting support or opposition to federal reparations. Among whites, affluence and education do not mean a more liberal stance. Although slightly more white women than white men support an apology for World War II internment, white men and women of all backgrounds almost unanimously (96 percent) oppose monetary reparations for slavery… What most surprises Dawson is the hostility he and other academics encounter when they discuss these issues in public. “I’m surprised by how visceral a reaction this issue provokes, even when people present the arguments neutrally,” he says. “It’s very easy for opponents to dismiss the other side out of hand.”</p></blockquote><p>Reparations for harms done to a people because of their race, ethnicity, religion or other markers of difference are not bizarre or unusual justice claims. They have firm standing under international law as has been seen with survivors of the Holocaust, in some limited cases with First Nations peoples in the United States and other countries, Japanese Americans during World War II, and victims of political violence in Latin America, Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere,</p><p>While public opinion research is clear that white Americans are extremely hostile to reparations for slavery in the case of African-Americans, many white Americans actually support the idea of reparations in the abstract.</p><p>Ohio State University psychologist Philip Mazzocco <a href="http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/blckcost.htm">conducted the following experiment</a>:</p><blockquote><p>One issue with the previous scenario is that participants may minimize the disparities they would face as a black person, because they had always passed as white. So in one study, whites were told to imagine that they were about to be born as a random white person in America, but they were being offered a cash gift to be born as a random black person. Once again, white participants requested relatively small sums to make a life-long race-change. In addition, some were given a list of some of the costs of being black in America, such as the racial wealth disparity. The result was that whites in this latter scenario requested significantly higher amounts than those in the previous studies – about $500,000.</p><p>Finally, some participants were given a similar scenario except all references to blacks, whites and America were taken out. They were asked to imagine they were born into the fictional country of Atria, and were born either into the “majority” or “minority” population. They were given a list of the disadvantages that the minority population faced in Atria (which were identical to the real disadvantages faced by blacks in America). In this case, white participants in the study said they should be paid an average of $1 million to be born as a minority member in Atria.</p><p>“When you take it out of the black-white context, white Americans seem to fully appreciate the costs associated with the kinds of disparities that African Americans actually face in the United States,” Mazzocco said. “In this case, they asked for a million dollars, similar to what they want for giving up television.”</p><p>Mazzocco said blatant prejudice was not the reason for the findings. Results showed that whites who scored higher on a measure of racial prejudice did not answer significantly differently than others in the study.</p></blockquote><p>This is a very important wrinkle. It is not that white Americans necessarily reject the idea of reparations as an abstract norm or principle; Mazzocco’s work would seem to suggest that <em>they reject the reality of the harms and cost associated with being black in America in particular.</em></p><p>Why is this?</p><p>General levels of white racial resentment and anti-black affect are highly predictive of white hostility to reparations for black Americans. The many myths that cohere to create “American Exceptionalism” also contribute to the extreme resistance by many white Americans to acknowledging the real harms done to black Americans that can be traced back to slavery, through to Jim and Jane Crow, and into the present. The stolen land, labor and lives that built white America’s empire and fortunes to the disadvantage of black Americans (black slaves were the most valued capital good in the United States) were not erased by Emancipation, the civil rights movement, or the election of Barack Obama. Housing segregation, discrimination in the labor market, racism in the criminal justice system, and wealth and income inequality where white Americans have many times more assets and resources than African-Americans can be traced back to the country’s original sin of white on black chattel slavery.</p><p>And while white ethnic immigrants retreat to the color-blind white supremacist redoubt and lie of “we never owned slaves,” they too benefited from a system of racial hierarchy that brought white “ethnics” into Whiteness via their complicity with anti-black racism, and subsequently buying into the racial spoils system that is white privilege. This system of white racial spoils extends even to the white poor, as even that cohort, while struggling, as detailed in the book “Black Wealth/White Wealth,” still holds more wealth and other resources than black Americans who are much higher in the income and employment scale.</p><p>The stories that (white) Americans tell themselves about individualism, the myth of meritocracy and democracy itself, are all complicated and severely undermined by chattel slavery and the United States’ founding as a white racist settler society where citizenship (and inclusion) was defined by white dominance over non-whites. For this and many other reasons, White America’s collective imagination rejects such complications in favor of a far simpler—and more comforting—narrative.</p><p>These explanations are all correct. But, I would suggest that the most basic reason for white Americans’ hostility to slavery reparations for black Americans is far more instrumental and personal. Social scientists have shown <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26168512">that many white Americans view racism as a “zero sum game.”</a> If there has to be a “winner” and a “loser” then acts of restorative and/or redistributive justice along the color line that involve material resources are viewed as acts of “stealing” or “theft” from the “deserved” earnings or wealth of white people.</p><p>Americans pay taxes that subsidize the rich, the oligarchs, huge corporations that export jobs, white welfare rancher land thieves like the Bundy Brigands in Oregon and Nevada, weapons manufacturers, and others who are parasites on the Common Good. In response, there is relatively little protest by broad swaths of the white public. Moreover, with little complaint or protest, the “submerged state” is a system that overwhelmingly subsidizes the white middle and upper classes.</p><p>However, the very idea that a specific black person (and a cousin to this logic extends to the poor, single mothers on welfare, the homeless, the unemployed, or others who make use of the minimal social safety net that exists in the United States) could possibly receive money for a crime done to their ancestors (or to them personally in the present on an institutional level) is unthinkable, a notion that is anathema to so-called American values.</p><p>In his critique of Bernie Sanders’ rejection of slavery reparations for black Americans, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/bernie-sanders-reparations/424602/">Ta-Nehisi Coates is absolutely correct</a>: Sanders is able to show political vision and embrace policy solutions that many Americans believe are “impractical” or “unthinkable,” yet he somehow becomes a shrewd and calculating pragmatist who considers “reparations” as “divisive” and politically impractical.</p><p>Bernie Sanders is also correct. Reparations for the enslavement of black Americans is politically untenable and yes, extremely “divisive.”</p><p>Both Coates and Sanders remind us, in their own ways, that if American politics is a version of chess, then African-Americans are the pawns … and the pawn is the most powerful piece on the board. Unfortunately, because African-Americans are a pawn in a game of political chess they are often the first to be sacrificed. This is not a necessity in the history of American political development. It is a choice.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1049309'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049309" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 07:28:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, The Guardian 1049309 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics bernie sanders Ta-Nehisi Coates reparations race racism election 2016 Imagine If They Were Black: How Oregon Reveals the Real Story About Race and Whiteness in America http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/imagine-if-they-were-black-how-oregon-reveals-real-story-about-race-and-whiteness <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1048433'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1048433" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Oregon is about guns, right-wing media and state violence as well as race. But it shows our racial inequity clearly.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/ammon_bundy_14719511641.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>I recently wrote two pieces on white privilege and the occupation of federal property in Oregon by a gun-toting terrorist insurrectionist “militia” that is led by the sons of Cliven Bundy—the Nevada rancher who, with the aid of an armed group of anti-government protesters, stood down federal authorities in 2014 because <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/politicsnation/cliven-bundy-hefty-bill">he did not want to pay</a> his back taxes and grazing fees.</p><p>Those two works—one that was quite short and posted on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chauncey.devega/">my Facebook page</a>; the other a longer piece <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/01/04/theyd_be_killed_if_they_were_black_the_racial_double_standard_at_the_heart_of_the_new_bundy_family_standoff/">featured</a> on Salon—have been shared and commented upon hundreds of thousands of times on social media and elsewhere. When an essay on race (especially when it explores questions surrounding white privilege) goes “viral” there is a predictable range of reactions.</p><p>Some readers have responded with rage and anger because to discuss the connection between white privilege, state violence, guns and right-wing politics is verboten to them.</p><p>Other readers have been very positive and supportive. As was seen online at “Black Twitter,” many people were quick, and quite correct, to point out the hypocrisy regarding how the United States government and its agents are apparently much more likely to use violence against people of color (and especially Muslims in the post 9/11 era) than they are white Americans. With that observation, a powerful example was summoned: Tamir Rice, a black child playing with a toy gun was summarily executed by the Cleveland police; white people can brandish real guns and point them at the police and federal authorities, yet somehow they manage to (for the most part) survive unharmed.</p><p>There were other readers who are plugged into the right-wing conspiracy theory/Fox News/Alex Jones echo chamber. Epistemic closure visits ignorance and disinformation upon those who are self-exiled within the right-wing media. These readers defended the Oregon “militia” brigands with claims that the latter are “freedom fighters” who are standing up against “tyranny”–as opposed to the plain fact that they are insurrectionists protecting poachers.</p><p>Among the many thousands of comments (and several emails that I have also received), there were a few that offered a reasonable and insightful intervention. Several folks are concerned that the white Oregon “Bundy Brigands” insurrection is 1.) about “more than race,” and 2.) that somehow a discussion of the color line and white privilege is a distraction from “the bigger picture.”</p><p>To the second point, my response is that to critically interrogate matters of race and the color line is to better understand almost every aspect of American life and culture. The color line cannot be decoupled from American society. To run away from this fact is ironically to cede the centrality of race to America’s history and present. In practice, ignorant and willful “colorblindness” is a malignant and perverse type of “color consciousness” that too often enables white supremacy in the post-civil rights era.</p><p>To the first point, are the events in Oregon about “more than race?” Absolutely! Bundy’s Brigands are a nexus for many other important matters of public concern in American society.</p><p>The Oregon insurrection is an example of how the right-wing media has cultivated a culture of anger, aggrievement, anti-government conspiracy theories, and victimology among its consumers. The idea that publicly held land is a form of tyranny is absurd. However, the right-wing media and the Republican Party are part of a political religion which holds that the government is always the enemy, a baby to be drowned in the bathtub, as opposed to a force for potential good. Sarah Palin’s death panels, claims that the Affordable Care Act is akin to “slavery,” the foolishness of a “War on Christmas,” and the dunderheaded political opportunism of the Benghazi witch hunts, are part of the same distorted and conspiranoid right-wing political imagination that excreted the Oregon militia standoff.</p><p>In all, there is something profoundly wrong with America’s sense of civic virtue and righteousness when some would hesitate to call Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Black Lives Matter activists freedom fighters, but those same people enthusiastically embrace using such language to describe right-wing militias and anti-government activists who want to suck off the public teat while avoiding paying any taxes or fees to do so.</p><p>The right-wing media protects and nurtures the likes of Cliven Bundy, his sons, and the broader militia movement by giving them attention and using honorifics, i.e. the word “patriots,” to describe their treasonous behavior.</p><p>Bundy’s Brigands are also white men with guns. White ammosexual identity is nurtured and protected by the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party, and the right-wing media. These gun-obsessed civic deviants are described by the right-wing, and unfortunately also the so-called liberal media, as being members of a “militia” when in reality they are rabble who are engaging in armed insurrection against a democratically elected government. The gun industry encourages the armed cowboy cosplay of groups such as Bundy’s Brigands in Oregon by marketing assault rifles and other weaponry with allusions to “freedom,” “democracy,” the myth of the American frontier and the Revolutionary War.</p><p>Bundy’s Brigands are also an example of how certain economic interests are protected in America. If this group of terrorist insurrectionists had staged their “standoff” at Wall Street for example, they would have been beaten up, arrested, and disappeared by the police, private security forces, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.</p><p>The rhetoric of capitalism and the iconic and empty Americana images of the yeoman farmer and cowboy are also operative in the “Oregon Standoff” as well. If Bundy’s Brigands were liberals and progressives demanding a fairer and more equal democracy, forming grange associations, or people’s economic collectives and banks, the reaction by the United States government and the corporate news media would be very, very, different. As was seen with Occupy Wall Street, the surveillance and punishing state would infiltrate and try to destroy the movement. The corporate news media would legitimate this anti-democratic behavior by slurring and defaming the activists and other social change workers who are involved with it.</p><p>Moreover, the efforts by militias, as well as those of individuals such as Cliven Bundy and his sons to privatize public land, cannot be separated from how corporations and other interests would like access to those areas. Neoliberalism considers the very notion of “the commons” and “the public” to be anathema to an organizing logic where all things are to be privatized, sold off to corporations, in exclusive service to the plutocrats, and where the working classes and poor are deemed useless eaters. Bundy’s Brigands and other right-wing militia groups speak of “freedom” from “tyranny,” but in reality they are unwittingly (or perhaps, in some cases, intentionally) working to replace an ostensibly elected and free American government with an unelected corporate dictatorship.</p><p>The Oregon insurrection is a great opportunity to participate in the too oft used “teachable moment.” History, as it always does, should inform our analysis of current events. This leads us to a necessary empirical question, one that can be answered, and likely has already been, by social scientists and historians. How does the American State respond to protest behavior by different racial groups? How are the events in Oregon similar or different from how the Philadelphia police decided to <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/13/25_years_ago_philadelphia_police_bombs">firebomb</a> the headquarters of the African-American radical organization known as MOVE during the mid-1980s? Are the events at Ruby Ridge and Waco outliers for how the state uses violence against non-whites, exceptions that prove the rule? What of the freedom struggle by First Nations peoples in the <a href="http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&amp;psid=3348">American Indian Movement</a> in the 1960s and 1970s?</p><p>Is the United States government (and its agents) more likely to use violent force against black and brown people as compared to whites? While both my intuition and the evidence would seem to suggest “yes,” this is not an “unknown unknown”–to borrow from Donald Rumsfeld–the answer is something that can actually be determined.</p><p>Bundy’s Brigands benefit from several types of privilege, with white privilege being central among them. But, white privilege is only one dimension of a bigger system of power relationships in the United States and West. We ought to look broadly for answers while also being mindful of the specific details and aspects of what is being studied. Bundy’s Brigands are not a Rosetta Stone for American politics. They can however, help us to better understand its dynamics.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1048433'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1048433" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 08:12:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1048433 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Tamir Rice Ammon Bundy oregon race Donald Trump Leads an Insane White Cult — and Pat Buchanan Just Explained How It Works http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/donald-trump-leads-insane-white-cult-and-pat-buchanan-just-explained-how-it-works <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1047850'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047850" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">GOP front-runner leads cult of personality centered around white alienation, racial resentment and authoritarianism.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_307005056.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump is <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-trump-polls-20151221-story.html">the front-runner</a> in the 2016 Republican presidential primary race. <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html">He leads his closest rival</a>, Ted Cruz, by a substantial margin. Trump’s <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/12/02/proto_fascist_thug_demagoguery_ted_cruz_donald_trump_and_the_rights_new_race_lie/">proto-fascism</a>, xenophobia and bigotry are not anomalies or outliers. <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/12/donald_trump_is_expressing_the_bigotry_of_the_republican_party_s_base.html">These values are held by a large percentage of Republicans</a>.</p><p>Donald Trump validates these feelings. As such, it is now fundamentally clear that Donald Trump is a hero and leader for many conservatives in the Age of Obama.</p><p>Most members of the pundit class have been befuddled by the ascendance of Donald Trump. But, there is one person who has solved this riddle.</p><p>In a little-discussed editorial written several weeks ago, Pat Buchanan offered the following analysis:</p><blockquote><p>Enter The Donald.</p><p>His popularity is traceable to the fact that he rejects the moral authority of the media, breaks their commandments, and mocks their condemnations. His contempt for the norms of Political Correctness is daily on display.</p><p>And that large slice of America that detests a media whose public approval now rivals that of Congress, relishes this defiance. The last thing these folks want Trump to do is to apologize to the press.</p><p>And the media have played right into Trump’s hand.</p><p>They constantly denounce him as grossly insensitive for what he has said about women, Mexicans, Muslims, McCain and a reporter with a disability. Such crimes against decency, says the press, disqualify Trump as a candidate for president.</p><p>Yet, when they demand he apologize, Trump doubles down. And when they demand that Republicans repudiate him, the GOP base replies:</p><p>“Who are you to tell us whom we may nominate? You are not friends. You are not going to vote for us. And the names you call Trump — bigot, racist, xenophobe, sexist — are the names you call us, nothing but cuss words that a corrupt establishment uses on those it most detests.”</p></blockquote><p>Pat Buchanan possesses gifted insight into powerful appeal of Donald Trump for the Republican base. Both men are nativist, xenophobic, r<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/04/437443401/populist-movement-reflected-in-campaigns-of-sanders-and-trump">ight-wing populists</a> who understand the allure of white alienation and racial resentment in the post civil rights era. Pat Buchanan is more of a “culture warrior” than Donald Trump. But like George Wallace in the 1960s, the Know-Nothings in the 19th century and the Black Legion in the 1930s, Buchanan and Trump are recent iterations in a long history of right-wing demagoguery and false populism in American politics.</p><p>Nevertheless, the essence of Buchanan’s claim remains correct: the “political establishment” and “media” are viewed as discredited by Republicans.</p><p>One does not need to read rigorous research by social scientists or mountains of polling data to prove this thesis. All one has to do is listen to Donald Trump’s supporters (who are really none too different from the Republican base writ large) and how they make sense of the political and social world.</p><p>For example, in recent focus groups conducted by CBS and CNN, Trump’s backers told interviewers such things as “I don’t believe any one of (the politicians). Not one. I believe Donald”; “My president comes on TV and he lies to me … I believe Donald. I tell you, he says what I’m thinking!”; and “I think we’re all scared. I’m actually a little jumpy, I find Trump is the only one who would come out and say something like this, no one else would do it … You know what he says, he says something completely crazy and in inflammatory then he dials back (and) starts explaining it.”</p><p>These people are divorced from reality. To listen to Donald Trump’s supporters is to peek into the mouth of political madness.</p><p>One of the main challenges that responsible members of the pundit classes are having in making sense of the Republican Party in the Age of Obama—and movement conservatism in the post civil rights era, more generally—is that they still possess some faith in the merits of political discourse as based on mutually agreed upon facts, proceeding in good faith, the Common Good, and a belief in some version of normal politics in the service of responsible governance.</p><p>Moreover, the commentariat has still not effectively grappled with how today’s brand of conservatism exhibits pre-Enlightenment era thinking, and uses what I (and others) have described as “the politics of disorientation” to confuse the American people through a coordinated campaign of outright lying and seductive disinformation.</p><p>In short, they are using analytical tools and frameworks that are incapable of understanding the true nature of what Donald Trump and contemporary movement conservatism actually embodies.</p><p>It is clear that Trump is the leader of a cult of personality.</p><p>Donald Trump is a proto-fascist. He buddies up with Russian President Vladimir Putin for credibility in his role as a new il-Duce, a petit Mussolini for 21st century American politics. Donald Trump is a classic “strong man” political figure. To that end, he encourages violence by his followers against political opponents and those identified as the Other or somehow weak. <a href="http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=30437">Nor does Donald Trump deny</a> that he is a “racist” or “neo-fascist.”</p><p>Trump also brags about his “perfect health,” “high energy” and vitality. Here, the fit body and Trump’s egomaniacal narcissism are essential for his crafting the charismatic leader persona.</p><p>But is Donald Trump actually something far worse? Is he a type of political cult leader?</p><p>To understand Donald Trump’s appeal, one must seriously consider the possibility that his followers specifically, and movement conservatives and the Republican Party more generally, are exhibiting signs of political psychopathology.</p><p>A cult can take many forms. They can be oriented around religion, politics or other needs and goals. On this point, noted American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton outlined some of the basic aspects of a cult as being:</p><blockquote><p>A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.</p><p>A process [of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as] coercive persuasion or thought reform [commonly called “brainwashing”].</p></blockquote><p>Donald Trump is using his campaign to garner more money and power. He is also promising his supporters that he will “make American great again,” and by doing so give them opportunities for economic uplift and other resources.</p><p>I offer an important distinction and qualifier—one that is perhaps even more troubling than the notion of a person being conditioned into a “new” identity that replaces the “old” one. Donald Trump’s — and the Republican Party’s — base of low information voters are not being grabbed off of the street by his agents. <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/23/donald_trumps_white_fascist_brigade_his_rallies_are_now_a_safe_space_for_racism/">Trump is providing a safe space and outlet for conservatives to validate their preexisting racist, xenophobic and bigoted attitudes.</a> Their true selves are being actualized and “liberated.”</p><p>The Republican 2016 presidential primary candidates are using a campaign of fear and anxiety about terrorism, “illegal immigrants,” changing racial demographics, “black crime” and “Islam” to gin up support among a frightened public. This is the Southern Strategy mixed with old-fashioned fear-mongering to win over the votes of scared, mostly older, white voters in a moment when a black man happens to be president of the United States. This tactic also leverages how the brain structures and political personal types of conservatives/authoritarians are much more responsive to anxiety, fear and feelings of disgust than those of liberals and progressives.</p><p>Donald Trump is a master of manipulating the fears and anxieties of his public. This is a feature of the cult leader: he or she creates a sense of crisis and then offers a solution to it. Such a process was detailed <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/15/style/the-psychology-of-the-cult-experience.html?pagewanted=all">in a New York Times story written at the height of the moral panic</a> about cults in the United States during the 1980s:</p><blockquote><p>Dr. Cath defined a cult as a group of people joined together by a common ideological system fostered by a charismatic leader, where, he said, ”the expectation is that they can transcend the imperfections and finitude of life.”</p><p>He said: ”Often they set up a we-they philosophy: We have the truth and you do not…”</p><p>At some point during the experience, he said, ”the mark is placed in a panicky, disoriented state, and an emotional crisis is manufactured by the recruiters.” One response to this, Dr. Clark said, is that people can become psychotic…</p></blockquote><p>Contemporary conservatives exist within an echo chamber that has been created by Republican elites, Fox News, right-wing talk radio and other media. It has expanded to include online spaces. The worldview that is created there is one where basic facts about empirical reality are rejected, and the right-wing paranoid style of <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/11/the-washington-post-highlights-how-trump-inject/207462">conspiracy theories and unfounded rumors</a> have replaced substantive political discourse. Extreme political polarization and a broken American politics are the result of the epistemic closure that typifies the right wing in the United States.</p><p>Cults also isolate their members and give them new ways to understand the world around them on terms agreeable to the cult leader:</p><blockquote><p>Third, cutting off the outside information sources. Once entering cults, consciously or unconsciously, people will gradually block sources of outside information to form a separate space, which might make them lost the ability to think independently. Although the United States is abundant in information, the cult members are isolated from the outside world completely… One important way for converting is to contact and exchange information with the outside world, so people can think independently.</p></blockquote><p>Bursting the information cocoon of those people in a traditional religious cult or who are immersed in the right-wing media echo chamber is not an easy task. They will resist. In political psychology, this phenomenon is called the “backfire effect.” It offers a chilling insight into the impact of extreme political ideology, polarization and the right-wing media on its followers.</p><p>If Trump’s supporters—and movement conservatives en masse—are in fact exhibiting signs of political psychopathology, then the backfire effect is a powerful lens for understanding their behavior.</p><p>The Boston Globe <a href="http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/?page=4">explores the concept</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger… “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”</p></blockquote><p>If Donald Trump is the leader of a political cult, then his power exists relative to how the modern Republican Party and movement conservatism possess the traits of <a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/153514">“a fundamentalist-style political religion.”</a> In this worldview, compromise, negotiation and working together across party lines to serve the Common Good and create a vibrant democracy are unacceptable because to do so is to engage in an act of heresy.</p><p>Preeminent historian Richard Hofstadter described how conservatives in the 1950s and 1960s were even then manifesting a belief in politics as a type of religious orthodoxy. His observations resonate even more strongly in the age of the Tea Party, an extreme and reactionary Republican Party and Donald Trump. Five decades ago Hofstadter wrote:</p><blockquote><p>He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician.  Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.  Nothing but complete victory will do.  Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated – if not from the world, at least from the theater of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention.</p></blockquote><p>Politics as religious orthodoxy is a necessary precondition for the rise of Donald Trump as a type of political cult leader.</p><p>If contemporary conservatism is a type of religion where faith—what is a belief in that which cannot be proven by empirical means—rules all things, then Trump is the head of an extremist cult, a group considered too “radical” even by the fundamentalist standards of the Republican Party.</p><p>Donald Trump is not Jim Jones. He is also not Immortan Joe from the recent film “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Trump is something more mundane. He is a demagogue with money who can mine fear, white identity politics and right-wing populism where spoils and rewards are given to good “real Americans” and the Other is, by definition, punished and excluded.</p><p>Donald Trump is a hero for the angry and resentful white “silent majority” and “Everyman” who feel that they are somehow marginalized in “their” country and that “the blacks,” immigrants, Muslims and terrorists are out to get them. Cults provide easy answers, direction and a feeling of belonging for their members. The cult leader offers a way for his or her devotees to feel better about themselves than they did before joining the community. This is not a form of healthy personal growth or behavior. In most cases, it is deleterious to the self. When such techniques are used in politics, on many millions of people, it is a form of mass psychosis.</p><p>Donald Trump is a carnival barker, proto-fascist reality TV show host turned Republican 2016 presidential primary leader. And he may also be a Svengali or Rasputin-like figure for the low information Republican base.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1047850'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047850" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 11:23:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1047850 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics donald trump cult of personality pat buchanan election 2016 cult White America’s Toxic Ignorance: Abigail Fisher, Antonin Scalia and the Real Privilege That Goes Unspoken http://a.alternet.org/white-americas-toxic-ignorance-abigail-fisher-antonin-scalia-and-real-privilege-goes-unspoken <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1047415'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047415" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">If affirmative action gives unearned opportunities to one racial group, it is whites who have benefited the most.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-12-15_at_9.06.26_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Is Justice Antonin Scalia auditioning for a job as Donald Trump’s ghostwriter?</p>His recent comments on Fisher v. the University of Texas, a landmark SCOTUS case about the future of affirmative action programs at America’s colleges and universities, would seem to suggest that he is.<p>During the oral arguments for Fisher v. the University of Texas, Scalia said that:</p><blockquote><p>There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them…I’m just not impressed by the fact the University of Texas may have fewer [blacks]. Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.</p></blockquote><p>Scalia’s suggestion that black college students need special remedial schools because they are not able to compete on an “advanced” level is deeply problematic in a number of ways.</p><p>It is cringe-worthy because Scalia is channeling the ugly pseudo-scientific racism of influential right-wing texts such as Charles Murray’s “Bell Curve,” which claims that there is some causal connection between a person’s “race” and intelligence.</p><p>Scalia’s suggestion that blacks need “special schools” because they are in essence too dumb and lazy to compete with white students is ahistorical. From their arrival in the United States in chains and bondage in the 17th century through to the post-civil rights era and the 21st century, African-Americans have always placed a very high value on educational success and literacy.</p><p>Moreover, there were in fact “special” schools for black people in the United States. These schools were the product of Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy and American apartheid that the Supreme Court struck a blow against with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Likewise, historically black colleges and universities were first established in 1837 to ensure that African-Americans would have access to high-quality education because the vast majority of white schools would not admit them. Scalia, as an Italian-American, should know that until the middle of the 20th century, white “ethnics” (Eastern and Southern Europeans like himself; Jews; and other groups) were generally not allowed entry into elite American colleges and universities because they did not come from the right “racial stock” or “class” of white people.</p><p>Scalia’s belief that black students belong in special “slower schools” is based on a claim that there is a “mismatch” between the academic preparation of African-American students and their likelihood of success in rigorous post secondary and graduate/professional programs. Scalia speaks with certainty about this hypothesis. In reality, he is relying on a widely discredited and spurious theory. </p><p>Law professor Kimberly West-Falcon, who filed an amicus brief in the Fisher case, makes the point that:</p><blockquote><p>The now decades-old “mismatch” theory that nonwhites from racial groups with lower, on average, SAT scores are harmed by their admission to selective universities is based on the unproven and unprovable assertion that blacks who graduate from selective colleges and universities but do so with relatively lower grades or class rank are harmed by attending such institutions. The research contending to support the mismatch theory rarely acknowledges the fact that such contentions focus almost exclusively on college grades (to the exclusion of college graduation rates).</p><p>The inference that Black and Latino high school students are harmed by attending elite educational institutions or would enjoy better life outcomes if they chose less selective institutions is unsupported by empirical research (emphasis added). Instead, social science research has consistently shown that the nonwhite, particularly African American, students supposedly harmed by being “mismatched” at more elite universities are more likely to successfully graduate from the selective universities to which they are admitted and benefit substantially from living life as graduates of more prominent and elite educational institutions (even if their GPAs are lower than either the average white GPA, the GPA predicted by their SAT scores, or their GPA had they attended a less elite institution).</p></blockquote><p>Scalia’s concerns about black students who need “slower schools” because they are in essence stealing opportunities from more “deserving” and “qualified” white students is highly selective and extremely myopic. Scalia is apparently not offended by how colleges and universities across the United States frequently admit <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/men-far-more-likely-to-benefit-from-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions/">less qualified</a> <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/27/admit">men in order to maintain gender parity</a> in a given freshman cohort. And given his connections to the Republican Party and movement conservatism, Scalia is likely none too worried about <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshfreedman/2013/11/14/the-farce-of-meritocracy-in-elite-higher-education-why-legacy-admissions-might-be-a-good-thing/">how the children of legacies and donors</a> (i.e., rich white people who have money) are able to secure preferential admission (and in many cases also graduation) at America’s colleges and universities—when many of whom, like George Bush, would not have been admitted based on test scores, intellectual acuity or merit.</p><p>Scalia’s claims that black students may need slower and less advanced schools parallel those of the plaintiff Abigail Fisher in her lawsuit against the University of Texas.</p><p>Fisher believes that the University of Texas denied her, a white person, admission by giving “her” spot to an “unqualified” black or brown person. Although Abigail Fisher was a subpar student who did not gain admission under the traditional program (students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class are automatically granted admission to the University of Texas) or the expanded, holistic criterion (the remaining 25 percent of the University of Texas’s class is composed of students whose whole life profile and range of experiences are considered in the review process), she feels that she is a “victim” of “anti-white” bias.</p><p>Justice Scalia believes that lazy and dumb black students are not qualified for admission to the University of Texas. As such, they are “taking” slots at the University of Texas and other schools that should be filled with more “qualified” and “deserving” students, i.e., whites (and perhaps Asians). Scalia, like many other conservatives, believes that affirmative action programs are a type of “racial spoils system” that give unfair opportunities and advantages to black and brown people at the expense of whites. Instead of a basic effort to combat past and present discrimination against non-whites (and women), American conservatives have twisted and distorted “affirmative action” into a caricature of “reverse racism” and “anti-white” prejudice.</p><p>But if one proceeds from Scalia’s and others’ understanding of affirmative action as a type of system that gives unearned and undeserved opportunities to one racial group at the exclusion of others, it is actually white Americans who have been the biggest—and almost exclusive–beneficiaries of such policies.</p><p>From the 17th century to the present, the United States is a society that is structured around the maintenance and protection of white privilege and white advantages across all areas of political, social and economic life. While racism has certainly evolved over time—from a system that was much more direct and personal to one that is institutional—the protection of unearned advantages for white people as a group relative to people of color has remained a constant.</p><p>As Philip Rubio documents in his expansive work “A History of Affirmative Action 1619-2000,” being “white” in America is the greatest “affirmative action” plan that a person can benefit from.</p><p>There are many examples of a “racial spoils system” for white people in America.</p><p>Chattel slavery stole black labor and wealth. Those resources subsidized the growth of white America’s wealth, income and power. Land that was taken from First Nations peoples in genocidal wars was systematically given to white people for free under the various homestead programs.</p><p>Historian and political scientist Ira Katznelson’s book “When Affirmative Action Was White” offers a devastating analysis of how white Americans were given the opportunity to accumulate tremendous wealth and other assets by federal programs such as the racially discriminatory post-World War II era FHA and VA home loan programs. President Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs, while extremely popular among black Americans, were also structured to satisfy the political demands of Southern segregationists—which meant that African-Americans were often excluded from programs such as Social Security. In practice, the New Deal and post-World War II federal policies that helped to create the white middle class denied the same opportunities to black and brown Americans.</p><p>There is <a href="https://www.chicagobooth.edu/capideas/spring03/racialbias.html">persistent racial discrimination in the American labor market</a>. Résumés with “black”-sounding names are 50 percent less likely to receive a positive response than those with “white”-sounding names. Moreover, blacks with “high quality” résumés are also called back less often than whites with similar credentials.</p><p>Social scientists <a href="http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/08/09/study-black-man-and-white-felon-same-chances-for-hire/">have shown</a> that a white job applicant with a felony has the same chance for an interview as a black applicant with no felony. In essence, being a black male with a college degree is the equivalent of being a white criminal. Black Americans and other people of color still encounter racist treatment in promotions and advancement. This is a de facto advantage to whites (especially men) in terms of their ability to reach management and other senior positions because they do not have to worry about competition from other groups.</p><p>America’s social networks have high levels of racial segregation. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/29/black-unemployment-nancy-ditomaso_n_2974805.html">White Americans are much more likely</a> to be employed, have access to resources and contacts for obtaining work, or to be in a position to offer employment to another person. Blacks and other people of color do not have the same resources. This system of racialized social capital and opportunity structures constitutes a type of “soft” affirmative action that whites can access without having to actively think about it.</p><p>Neighborhoods are a key part of the unearned advantages and other types of benefits that white people can access under “soft” affirmative action. African-Americans are discriminated against in the housing market. Even when they have the same credit, income and other resources as whites, blacks and Latinos are either steered away from “white” neighborhoods by real estate agents or shown houses and apartments in less desirable communities. Racially discriminatory lending practices by banks and other financial agencies are part of this process as well. The sum total of these practices is that blacks and Latinos tend to live in neighborhoods that have worse schools, are less safe and have fewer resources generally (such as easy access to mass transit) than whites even controlling for income. In many ways, neighborhoods are destiny because they have a profound impact on a person’s present and future life chances. Ultimately, housing segregation is a central component in America’s affirmative action program for white people.</p><p>The phrase “qualified white male” is uncommon in American discourse. Scalia and others on the white right who aim to destroy programs such as affirmative action—and the broader legacy of the civil rights movement in the United States—are unwilling to acknowledge how America’s so-called meritocracy is in fact racialized (as well as gendered) to the advantage of those who are considered “white” and to the disadvantage of those stigmatized as “non-white.”</p><p>Consequently, white men are almost always assumed–regardless of their backgrounds–to be “qualified” for any job.</p><p>This is the gross and ugly contradiction at the heart of the myth of meritocracy: Centuries of white male privilege in the United States from before the Founding through to the present is the exact opposite of reward based on merit, hard work or ability.</p><p>In America, black and brown people’s abilities are a priori judged to be in doubt unless they go to great extremes to prove otherwise. This is true of blue- and white-collar workers. It is also true of Barack Obama, the United States’ first black president. The folk wisdom and life advice that for centuries has been given to many young black people by their elders that “you have to be twice as good to get half as far” as compared to a given white person has largely been proven correct.</p><p>Women are also subjected to extra suspicion about their qualifications—especially in male-dominated career fields. Sexism marks women as “unqualified” when compared to men when the two groups are in competition (across most parts of the labor market, although there are exceptions) for the same jobs. There, the male gaze blinds men to asking basic questions about their own professional qualifications. As with whiteness and race, few men ever ask themselves “did I get this job, promotion, or opportunity because I am a man?”</p><p>Racism and sexism combine to set an amazingly high barrier and set of challenges for women of color in the American workplace. They are judged to be especially “unqualified” for leadership, management and other roles both because of their gender and “race.” If white men have to take a metaphorical stroll around the block in order to prove that they are “qualified” for a given job, then women of color have to complete a marathon—and finish first while doing so.</p><p>Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first black justice, spoke to the enduring need for affirmative action programs in his dissent in the landmark Bakke (1978) case:</p><blockquote><p>“For it must be remembered that, during most of the past 200 years, the Constitution as interpreted by this Court did not prohibit the most ingenious and pervasive forms of discrimination against the Negro. Now, when a state acts to remedy the effects of that legacy of discrimination, I cannot believe that this same Constitution stands as a barrier.”</p></blockquote><p>Affirmative action was originally designed to be a modest set of policies that would expand opportunities for people of color who have suffered discrimination and racism in a society built around protecting unearned white advantages.</p><p>It is pathetic and tragic that affirmative action, a program that has been under assault by the white right for decades, could finally be brought down by a white-privilege-fueled temper tantrum thrown by a mediocre and entitled white woman who did not get admission to the university of her choice.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1047415'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047415" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 18:03:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1047415 at http://a.alternet.org abigail fisher Warped White Privilege and the Planned Parenthood Killer http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/warped-white-privilege-and-planned-parenthood-killer <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1046622'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046622" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">White shooters live and maybe get a Whopper on the way to jail. Black suspects don&#039;t get the same royal treatment. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/dear.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Privilege consists of unearned advantages. Privilege is a system of power relationships. And privilege consists of all of the inconveniences, challenges and opportunities denied that a person does not have to ever think or worry about.</p><p>On Friday afternoon, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/11/27/3726056/colorado-planned-parenthood-shooting/">a white man named Robert Lewis Dear attacked</a> a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He killed three people and injured 11 others. One of the dead is a police officer. Dear then engaged in a several hours-long gun battle and standoff with local authorities. He was captured alive.</p><p>Robert Lewis Dear reportedly told police “no more baby parts” after being arrested. Apparently, Friday’s attack on Planned Parenthood is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/11/violence-abortion-clinics-planned-parenthood-colorado-springs-shooting">part of a longer pattern of violence by right-wing terrorists against the providers of women’s reproductive health services</a> in the United States.</p><p>White privilege takes many forms. As was seen in Colorado Springs on Friday, white privilege also consists of being able to kill three people (including one cop), injure 11 more, and then survive unscathed.</p><p>Robert Lewis Dear is not the only white man to have used this unique and near exclusive type of privilege in American society. James Eagan Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 in a mass shooting at a Colorado-area movie theater. He was not killed by the police. Jared Lee Loughner shot 18 people, killing six of them. He was taken alive by the police.</p><p>White people also have the unique privilege of brandishing guns in public without consequence—and to even aim them at America’s police and other authorities without being killed. White gun fetishists Islamophobes in Texas <a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2015/11/armed-protesters-set-up-outside-islamic-center-of-irving.html/">harass Muslims attending religious services</a>.</p><p>“Open carry” advocates, almost all of them white men, routinely march in public with weapons.</p><p>Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay his grazing fees, used an armed militia to stop federal agents from arresting him.</p><p>In all of these instances—and many <a href="http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/8-white-people-who-pointed-guns-police-officers-and-managed-not-get-killed">more</a>—white people <a href="http://madamenoire.com/458516/10-armed-white-men-die-police/2/">are not killed</a> (and usually not even arrested or detained) by the police.</p><p>And in the case of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the police both arrested him without incident and then took him to Burger King for a meal.</p><p>By contrast, black and brown people are not treated so kindly by America’s police. Black Americans are shot, abused and beaten up by America’s police and other white-identified vigilantes while surrendering, sleeping, seeking help after being in a car accident, walking down the street, with their hands up, showing identification, standing in a crowd, listening to music, riding bicycles, playing in the park, and being totally submissive and compliant.</p><p>Muslim and Arab-Americans most certainly cannot access Robert Lewis Dear’s, Jared Lee Loughner’s, or James Eagan Holmes’ unique type of white privilege.</p><p>When a white person commits an act of mass violence he or she is “a lone gunman,” “mentally ill” or “disturbed.”</p><p>White men commit a disproportionate percentage of the mass shootings and domestic terrorism in the United States. Yet, their actions are never taken to be reflective of white men as a group. The mere suggestion of this basic fact is met with outrage by Republicans and the right-wing news entertainment complex. However, when an “Arab” or a “Muslim” commits a crime, said event is processed by the White Gaze as an indictment of an entire population and to summon the boogeyman of “Muslim Terrorism.”</p><p>In all, whiteness is freedom from collective responsibility and indictment; to be the Other is an a priori assumption where the actions of one non-white person means that all members of the group should be punished and made suspect.</p><p>White people, even those who have committed horrific crimes, survive their encounters with America’s police for a variety of reasons. Primarily, the lives of black and brown people are systematically devalued in American society. This is demonstrated by how black Americans have shorter life spans, earn less money, possess less wealth, receive substandard medical care, go to worse schools, and live in under-resourced neighborhoods as compared to white Americans. The police, like Americans as a whole, are taught to devalue the lives of black people by a news media and broader popular culture that routinely circulates stereotypical, racist, debased, and derogatory images of non-whites.</p><p>American society also suffers from very high levels of racial segregation—research from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/">75 percent of white people do not have one non-white friend</a>. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/science-of-racism-prejudice">Other</a> research shows that white Americans lack <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/06/racial_empathy_gap_people_don_t_perceive_pain_in_other_races.html">empathy</a> for the suffering, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=201128359">pain</a> and humanity of non-whites.</p><p>The sum effect of all these cultural forces is that America’s police are <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191452/One-year-Ferguson-unarmed-black-men-SEVEN-TIMES-likely-shot-dead-police-white-men.html">much more likely</a> to kill and abuse black and brown people than they are whites. <a href="http://www.fairimpartialpolicing.com/bias/">Police are enabled</a> in this routine violation of the human rights of black and brown people because the former are rarely if ever prosecuted (or even charged) for their crimes. America’s police are also protected by a white American public that supports a racist criminal justice system.</p><p>People chant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “Black Lives Matter” because they know that every encounter–however mundane–between a black citizen and America’s police could end in unprovoked death and violence.</p><p>The Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, and how the gunman was subsequently captured alive even after killing a police officer, is more proof of comedian Louis C.K.’s wisdom that there is no better deal than being white, straight and male in America. As he suggests, it is one hell of a deal if you can get it.</p><p>The ways in which white people can commit monstrously violent acts and survive, while people of color are killed by the state for far less serious offenses ( if they have committed any “crime” at all), is a ledger of death across the color line.</p><p>This balance sheet of death has existed for centuries in the United States. In the post-civil rights era and the Age of Obama, it still shows no signs of equaling out.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1046622'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046622" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:52:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1046622 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics white privilege planned parenthood attack race racism Robert Lewis Dear Fox News' War on Black Lives Matter Draws Real Blood http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/fox-news-war-black-lives-matter-draws-real-blood <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1046276'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046276" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Minneapolis shooting is no surprise. Trump, O&#039;Reilly and others have ratcheted rhetoric toward violence for months.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-11-24_at_4.59.39_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p><a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/28a99e3c58684ad29c55cccaa5a11ba3/latest-feds-investigating-minneapolis-police-shooting">The Associated Press is reporting</a> that five people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/24/five_people_shot_at_black_lives_matter_protest_in_minneapolis_police/">were shot by a group of white supremacists</a> on Monday evening.</p><p>This is not a surprise.</p><p>The appeal and power of old-fashioned, overt and transparent white racism is growing in the United States. The prime example of this phenomenon is the rise of Donald Trump, but the GOP front-runner is but one data point in a longer trend. Since the election of Barack Obama, white supremacists <a href="http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/white-supremacist.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/">have increased their enrollment of new members</a>. To that end, they have <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/20/report-links-tea-party-to-white-supremacist-groups">infiltrated Tea Party organizations</a> to <a href="http://archive.adl.org/main_extremism/white_supremacists_july_4_tea_parties.html#.VlQqTHarSUk">recruit</a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/10/04/people-dont-fully-appreciate-how-committed-the-tea-party-is-to-not-compromising/">racially resentful</a> and angry white people who are beginning to think about politics in terms of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/tea-party-racist_n_4158262.html">“white group interests.”</a></p><p>While anxiety about ISIS dominates the American news, the FBI has in fact identified domestic terrorism from white, right-wing Christians <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/06/18/3671603/focus-islamic-extremism-leaves-radical-right-overlooked/">as the greatest domestic terrorism threat to the United States</a> since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.</p><p>The right-wing news-entertainment media complex routinely <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/14/and_so_the_hate_speech_begins_let_paris_be_the_end_of_the_rights_violent_language_toward_activists/">uses eliminationist and violent rhetoric</a> to describe liberals and progressives. There, the implicit (and often explicit) narrative is that those people who are not members of the American right-wing are “traitors,” “un-American” and deserving of whatever violence comes to them. This is not empty talk, hyperbole or “playful” rhetoric designed to cheer on Republicans and build up morale before a presidential election. The right-wing media has actually weaponized its followers. The results are those black folks killed by Dylann Roof in Charleston, the women’s reproductive health doctor <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiox4ai26jJAhXJwiYKHQxDBuwQFggtMAI&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fgawker.com%2F5273612%2Fbill-oreillys-holy-war-against-george-tiller&amp;usg=AFQjCNGoB4nUqzZ1CSorbg3cx6ExPF3AaQ&amp;sig2=po-">George Tiller</a>, and the other victims of right-wing domestic terrorists shot dead at Sikh Temples, Jewish Community Centers, and elsewhere in the United States.</p><p>And as I wrote in an earlier essay here at Salon, Republican 2016 presidential primary candidates, as well as <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/10/bill_oreillys_dangerous_war_on_cops_propaganda_how_foxs_brutal_worldview_makes_black_americans_less_safe/">Fox News personalities such as Bill O’Reilly</a>, have referred to members of the human rights advocacy group Black Lives Matter as “terrorists” or the new<a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/10/16/bill_oreillys_absurd_black_kkk_lie_explaining_the_history_that_dismantles_his_slanderous_black_lives_matter_crusade/">“Ku Klux Klan.”</a></p><p>On Monday, I wrote <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/23/donald_trumps_white_fascist_brigade_his_rallies_are_now_a_safe_space_for_racism/">a piece about how a Black Lives Matter protester was beaten upon</a> by Donald Trump supporters at a Birmingham, Alabama, rally over the weekend. Trump endorsed that thuggery and was proud that his supporters were so spirited. Adding to the grotesqueness of Donald Trump’s embrace of political violence, Robert Kiger, a fundraiser aligned with a group backing Trump, made the bizarre suggestion that he, as a white man, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/23/head_of_trump_superpac_accidentally_admits_the_donalds_rallies_are_only_for_white_people/">would be beaten up if he went into a black church</a>. Therefore, the violent attack on a Black Lives Matter protester at Trump’s rally was expected, understood and reasonable in Kiger’s twisted, demented and profoundly racist imagination.</p><p>Ultimately, when Black Lives Matter’s basic claim for equal human rights and dignity is met by racist slogans such as “All Lives Matter” — what is just a new and more polite version of “White Power!” — the question is no longer “if” white on black and brown racially motivated violence will take place, but rather when, and to what extent?</p><p>The 2016 presidential primary season has seen Republican candidates endorse internment camps for Syrian refugees, an enemies list for Muslims, making Christianity the official state religion of the United States, establishing a Gestapo-like force to eject “illegal immigrants” from the United States, and other actions that are unworthy of what is supposed to be the world’s greatest democracy.</p><p>Those men and women who seek the office of the president of the United States should be responsible, reflective, and intelligent individuals. While they are members of a political party, these individuals should also be ambassadors of the Common Good who first and foremost want to advance and protect the General Welfare of the United States and its citizens. To this point in the campaign, the Republican 2016 primary presidential candidates, as a group, have not shown that they are capable of honoring that obligation.</p><p>The presidential primary season is not over. There is still time for the Republican Party to rise to the occasion.</p><p>To that end, will the 2016 Republican primary presidential candidates denounce Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the violence of his supporters or condemn last evening’s shootings of the Black Lives Matter protesters by white supremacists?</p><p>Will this crop of potential GOP presidential nominees demand that their peers, as well as the right-wing Fox News propaganda machine, tone down their collective racist, nativist, xenophobic and violence-inducing rhetoric?</p><p>The answer is likely to be “no.” Instead, the Republican 2016 presidential candidates will ignore the violence and bigotry they have encouraged or instead play the “victim” of the “liberal media.” The right-wing Fox News echo chamber will also likely spin fictions of “liberal infiltrators” or “agent provocateurs” that are actually committing violence at Donald Trump rallies or shooting Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis.</p><p>As they have repeatedly done in recent American history, movement conservatives and their media will continue to strike a match in a room full of gasoline vapor and act surprised when it explodes.</p><p>This is their version of the American Way. It is an agenda that retreats from normal politics, consensus-building, and an embrace of conservatism not as a reasonable respect for traditions and standing norms, but, rather as an embrace of a radical, destructive, and reactionary behavior that leaves the United States less safe, less secure, less prosperous and weaker than it was before.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1046276'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046276" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:24:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1046276 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 Media News & Politics donald trump election 2016 fox news #BlackLives Matter And So the Hate Speech Begins: Let Paris Be the End of the Right's Violent Language Toward Activists http://a.alternet.org/media/and-so-hate-speech-begins-let-paris-be-end-rights-violent-language-toward-activists <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1045791'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045791" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Some can never let a tragedy go to waste. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/oreilly_8.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>In a still-developing situation, the city of Paris, France, is under attack by terrorists armed with guns and explosives. Many dozens of people have been killed. A still undetermined number of people have been wounded. The terrorists took dozens of hostages in a concert hall. French police and military forces have been deployed. There is mayhem and blood in the streets of Paris.</p><p>President Obama has correctly described this day’s horrific events as “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”</p><p>Terrorism is politically motivated violence against a vulnerable population that is designed to intimidate, sow fear, create panic and alter public policy.</p><p>Terrorism is serious business that kills people, breaks bodies and alters lives.</p><p>It is not a game.</p><p>In the United States, the right-wing media and movement conservatives have for decades consistently used eliminationist and other violent rhetoric to describe liberals, progressives and other people with whom they disagree. As was seen in the recent attacks on a Charleston-area black church, and other violence by right-wing anti-government militias, such rhetoric does not float in the ether of the public discourse, harmless and unacknowledged. No, it does in fact lead to action.</p><p>In recent months, the right-wing media has used language such as <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/23/fox-guest-black-lives-matter-is-a-terrorist-gro/206385">“terrorism”</a> and “violent,” or that the latter is “targeting police for murder” to describe the Black Lives Matter movement. Such bombastic and ugly screeds–which are wholly unfounded, with no basis in empirical reality–have also been used by right-wing opinion leaders to describe the African-American students who are fighting against racism at Yale and the University of Missouri.</p><p>There are many examples of this type of incendiary rhetoric from conservatives and their sympathizers.</p><p>A few examples.</p><p><a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/11/10/bill_oreillys_dangerous_war_on_cops_propaganda_how_foxs_brutal_worldview_makes_black_americans_less_safe/">Bill O’Reilly has declared “war” on Black Lives Matter</a> and in doing so described them as a type of contemporary Ku Klux Klan (KKK). At its height of popularity in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the KKK was America’s largest terrorist organization. It was responsible for the murders of thousands of African-Americans. In contrast to the KKK, Black Lives Matter is a group dedicated to protecting the human rights of all people against state-sponsored violence and police thuggery and murder.</p><p>Ben Carson, in his designated role as a black conservative whose primary purpose is to disparage black Americans and to excuse-make for white racism, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ben-carson-campus-protests-racism_5645d31ee4b045bf3dee9e05">recently told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly</a> that the black and brown students who are advocating for their full rights and respect at Yale University are ushering in “anarchy” and “this is just raw emotion and people just being manipulated, I think in many of these cases, by outside forces who wish to create disturbances.”</p><p>Likewise, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/11/12/fox-news-where-protests-against-racial-discrimi/206819">Fox News has repeatedly described</a> the student protesters at Yale and Missouri using the same language. O’Reilly has even gone so far as to suggest that Black Lives Matter and the students who are protesting racist treatment <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/10/bill-oreilly-blames-black-lives-matter-for-the/206770">are part of a cabal that is engaging in “fascist” behavior</a> and “running wild” against white people. Trumping his allusions to “fascism,” on his October 22, 2015 episode of his TV show, Bill O’Reilly even made the absurd claim that<a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/22/fox-guest-calls-out-bill-oreilly-for-equating-b/206373">Black Lives Matter is akin to the “Nazis.”</a></p><p>These are implicit threats and overtures to violence as racial authoritarian fascists are a clear and present danger to democracy and freedom. Thus, they must be eliminated by any means necessary.</p><p>Other critics of the student activists at Yale University and Missouri such as <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/how-campus-activists-are-weaponizing-the-safe-space/415080/">The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf have even made the absurd claim</a> that so-called “safe spaces” are being “weaponized” by student activists in order to deny free speech.</p><p>Terrorism has been practiced in the United States. It was used by a Herrenvolk white settler society built upon the genocide of First Nations peoples and the enslavement of African-Americans to control, intimidate, and murder non-whites. The decades of Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy were also a form of State-sponsored terrorism as well. Political violence continues in the present where in too many of America’s communities, police and other security forces kill with impunity, force the black and brown poor into a state of “custodial citizenship”, and act in a thuggish and illegal way towards the country’s most vulnerable citizens.</p><p>Black Lives Matter stands against such violence. The student protesters at Yale and Missouri who are fighting for fairness and justice stand against violence. Liberals and progressives as a matter of principle, a belief in the Common Good, and a humane society stand against violence.</p><p>Despite what the right-wing media, Bill O’Reilly, and the opinion leaders in the White Right routinely bloviate, those groups and individuals are not terrorists.</p><p>Real terrorists have killed people in the streets of Paris. The right-wing media needs to take note of that fact and moderate their rhetoric and abusive language accordingly.</p><p>Given the American right-wing’s casual habit of using violent language to describe their foes, and to gin up fear and anxiety among the movement conservative base, the Fox News’ right-wing echo chamber and its elites should be ashamed given the death and destruction that terrorism actually reaps in practice.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1045791'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045791" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 14 Nov 2015 11:56:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1045791 at http://a.alternet.org Media Human Rights Media News & Politics World paris attacks hate speech bill o'reilly The Curious Case of Ben Carson: How Did a Black Neurosurgeon Soar to the Top of the GOP Polls? http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/curious-case-ben-carson-how-did-black-neurosurgeon-soar-top-gop-polls <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1045056'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045056" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">While most campaign coverage has centered on Donald Trump, Carson&#039;s rise arguably says much more about the GOP.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/ben-carson-oreilly-factor-614x412.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>In a primary season that has seen the most unlikely of candidates, Donald Trump, surge to the head of the GOP pack, perhaps the least surprising development is the <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/poll-carson-trump-lead-gop-field-n454831">ascendance</a> of another political outsider: Dr. Ben Carson. But to understand why Carson’s recent success in Republican polls makes so much sense, one must first take a closer look at the nature of the modern Republican Party.</p><p>In the Age of Obama, GOP elites routinely bloviate about their need to expand outreach to people of color, especially Hispanics and Latinos, given the United States’ changing ethnic and racial demographics. Yet, the Party has consistently failed to leverage opportunities to that end. This could be a function of incompetence. Alternatively, such a lack of substantive efforts could simply be a reflection of a political party that is dedicated to white racial resentment and white identity politics—and thus suppressing the votes of non-whites—as its primary electoral strategy.</p><p>Given these dynamics, how does one make sense of the curious case of Ben Carson? How then does his surging popularity compute?</p><p>Carson’s popularity points out the tension between what is known as “substantive” and “descriptive” politics. Substantive politics centers on a belief in a person’s values and policy positions as overriding other identity-based concerns about governance and political behavior. Yes, the body that an individual is born into matters. But, substantive politics presumes that almost any person can effectively represent a given constituency and its values. Descriptive politics, on the other hand, is the belief that a person’s life experiences and identity, especially if they are an outsider or Other in a given socio-political system — in the United States and West this would be women, people of color, gays and lesbians, and members of other marginalized groups — will lead them to challenge the system or be transformative and somehow resistant.</p><p>Ultimately, the tension here is between individuals and systems. Do our racialized, ethnic, gendered, and other identities provide gifted insight and leverage for those we represent in government? Or is it best to vote for and support candidates based on their ideas alone, with an understanding that the system exercises constraints on all actors?</p><p>(Stated differently: A white man may do a better job of representing his black and brown constituents’ interests than a brother or sister who “sells out” to Power. The latter is a “token”; the former can be a true and effective representative.)</p><p>White conservatives love Ben Carson, the black face in a high place, in a sea of white candidates, because his symbolic presence provides cover for the white supremacist politics endorsed by the post-civil rights era Republican Party.</p><p>Despite his popularity, Ben Carson is actually an example of the worst case of weak, symbolic, petty, token descriptive politics, where the fact of his presence as a black person is somehow supposed to win over non-white voters to the Republican Party, and demonstrate that the latter is “inclusive” and “not racist.”</p><p>Yet Ben Carson’s policy proposals are not significantly different from those of his 2016 Republican primary peers. He wants to end the Affordable Care Act, do the bidding of the National Rifle Association against the will of the American people, take away women’s reproductive choices, usher in an American theocracy, and prevent the plutocrats of the 1 percent from paying their fair share in taxes.</p><p>In many ways, Carson is actually worse than the white conservatives he shared the stage with at the debate the other night. He has repeatedly channeled ugly and grotesque anti-black sentiments and beliefs about the agency, freedom, and intelligence of the African-American community. This is his assigned role as a black conservative; his politics are no less noxious for his expertly performing the assigned script.</p><p>By contrast, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have done a far better job of responding to the concerns of black and brown Americans — even though the 2016 Democratic presidential primary field does not include a person of color.</p>The Republican Party props up its black conservative human mascots and flavors of the month during the presidential campaign season because, on a basic level, white conservatives misunderstand non-white voters. People of color have rejected the Republican Party not only because of questions of representation, but also because its policies are anathema to the well-being, safety, security, and prosperity of Black and Brown America.<p>The Republican Party is facing demographic suicide in an America that is increasingly black and brown — where the GOP’s policies have savaged the poor, working, and middle classes.</p><p>When a person is lost in the desert, they tend to walk in circles because they instinctively follow their dominant hand. He or she will eventually die from dehydration. The 2016 Republican presidential primary candidates are an example of a political organization in a death spiral. Black conservatives like Ben Carson will not save them. Together with his co-frontrunner Donald Trump, they are mirages that will lead the Republican Party to its doom.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1045056'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045056" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 01 Nov 2015 12:51:00 -0800 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1045056 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 gop Ben Carson trump This Is How the Paranoid Right Keeps America Armed to the Teeth: The Lies and Distortions They Use After Every Massacre http://a.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/how-paranoid-right-keeps-america-armed-teeth-lies-and-distortions-they-use-after <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1043529'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043529" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">he latest gun massacre is a case study in how America is exceptional in all the wrong ways.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/1024px-thumbnail.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>There has been another mass shooting in the United States — and though American Exceptionalism is in many ways a myth, in terms of the number of times that guns are used to kill multiple people, the country is exceptional in its appalling rates of gun violence.</p><p>Christopher Harper-Mercer’s massacre at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College is just one more installment in an ongoing American tragedy. This most recent event will likely have the same (non) resolution as the events that preceded it. Despite the fact that the majority of the American people want reasonable and sensible gun control policies enacted, nothing will be done, because the National Rifle Association and its lobbyists have American democracy in a chokehold.</p><p>While talking about the mass shooting in Oregon, President Obama was visibly frustrated and upset by having to (again) discuss mass murder committed by someone armed with multiple guns. Obama knows that (like most presidents before him) he is impotent before the gun lobby.</p><p>(Obama may be one of the most powerful men on planet Earth, possessing the ability to wage war and launch nuclear weapons to immolate a target of his choice, yet there seems to be little if anything he can do to stop wanton gun violence. Obama can issue the order to kill Osama bin Laden, but somehow he is unable to deter America’s gun lobby.)</p><p>Ultimately, despite what the United States Constitution may read, “We the People” has in fact been subverted by “We the Gun Fetishists and Gun Lobby.”</p><p>In the Age of Obama, the United States is highly politically polarized. A culture of illusion, spectacle and fantasy reigns supreme. To that end, rabid right-wing ideology has possessed and corrupted the rational thinking of many millions of Americans. Therefore, the Republican Party is no longer acting as a responsible party in government that is invested in “normal politics.”</p><p>Authoritarianism is increasing its pull on American political life—especially among conservatives.</p><p>As a function of this dynamic, the Republican 2016 presidential candidates have offered up a human zoo of delusional thinking on a wide range of issues including nativism and racism, Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights, the economy, the faux “Benghazi” scandal, global warming, the separation of church and state, and international relations.</p><p>Mirroring that dream world, the right-wing media, led by Fox News, will distort, obfuscate and misrepresent the facts about Thursday’s mass shooting in Oregon.</p><p>Pursuant to historian Richard Hofstadter’s worries about the “paranoid style” in American politics, and Goebbels’ principles of propaganda, America’s right-wing media will seduce its public with the following distortions and lies about the real and true nature of things surrounding Christopher Harper-Mercer’s accused mass murder of nine people in Oregon.</p><ol><li>Christopher Harper-Mercer’s murder spree will be presented as part of a “War on Christians.” While the vast majority of social, political, and economic power in the United States is held by those who identity as “Christian,” somehow there is a “war” on them. Moreover, the Republican Party’s candidates, almost to the one, are Christian theocrats who believe that the United States ought to be ruled by “Christian principles.” Muslims and atheists are two of the most disliked groups according to recent public opinion polls in the United States. Yet, “Christians” can somehow imagine themselves as “victims” in America.</li><li>Christopher Harper-<a href="http://heavy.com/news/2015/10/chris-harper-mercer-umpqua-community-college-ucc-roseburg-oregon-shooting-shooter-gunman-dead-eggman-4chan-name-id-identity-photos-twitter-social-media-facebook-youtube/" target="_blank">Mercer is a self-identified “conservative.”</a> The right-wing media will of course deny his statement of political agency and identification. In that move, Christopher Harper-Mercer will be transformed into a “liberal” or “progressive.”</li><li>Christopher Harper-Mercer is a right-wing mass shooter and domestic terrorist. His behavior is part of a broader pattern where <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2015/6/25/does_us_ignore_right_wing_terror" target="_blank">right-wing domestic terrorists</a>have been identified as the biggest threats to the American “homeland” in the post-9/11 era. This fact is inconvenient for the American right. It must be twisted into something else for their worldview to remain internally consistent.</li><li>Unlike “Muslim terrorists,” Christopher Harper-Mercer will likely be identified as some type of “lone wolf” with “mental health issues” or who is on “drugs.” There will likely be no soul searching about the right-wing reactionary online and other media that helped to motivate Christopher Harper-Mercer to kill nine people.</li><li><a href="http://www.drsforamerica.org/learn/gun-violence-prevention" target="_blank">Gun violence is a public health crisis</a>. The United States leads the “developed world” in mass shootings and gun violence. Yet, this event will be twisted by ammosexuals and the National Rifle Association as an example of how it is actually more, and not fewer guns in schools, colleges, and universities, that will deter mass shootings. This is Orwellian Newspeak logic mixed with 1980s hyper-masculine action movie dreams. In an example of twisted and backwards thinking, somehow more firearms are imagined to be a cure for gun violence and mass shooting events, as opposed to removing firearms from circulation.</li><li>The Umpqua Community College shooting is a “false flag” operation. right-wing conspiracy websites almost automatically default to fantastical explanations for gun violence and murder when Occam’s razor will suffice. No elaborate explanations are needed: a heavily armed person with a grievance of some sort, and who was armed with multiple guns, decided to commit an act of mass murder. The facts are not that complicated.</li></ol><p>In the days to come, Thursday’s mass shooting in Oregon will reveal the intersection of conspiracy theories, Hofstadter’s “paranoid style,” a right-wing propaganda machine that is devilishly effective in duping its public, as well as Henry Giroux’s analysis of the influence of the culture of cruelty, austerity, and neoliberalism on contemporary American life and society.</p><p>Ten people are dead in Roseburg, Oregon. There is something horribly amiss when this can be described as a good thing for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidates.</p><p>But alas, this tragedy primes the fears and anxieties of paranoid and fearful authoritarian voters, feeds the “War on Christians” narrative, and is red meat for movement conservatives who instead of responding to mass shootings with human empathy and reason about smarter gun policy, instead decide to hold their guns even closer to their hearts and groins.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1043529'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043529" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:54:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1043529 at http://a.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing right gop nra Ben Carson’s Destructive Lies: 4 Racist Assumptions Endorsed & Magnified By Black Conservatives http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/ben-carsons-destructive-lies-4-racist-assumptions-endorsed-magnified-black <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1043470'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043470" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The neurosurgeon-turned-candidate has eagerly joined the GOP in its campaign against racial justice.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/ben-carson-oreilly-factor-614x412.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Through the first few months of campaign season, one thing has become indisputably clear: The Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization, and openly uses white racial resentment — along with old fashioned racism — to win the support of white voters.</p>To wit: The Republican Party’s leading 2016 presidential candidates include open racists and nativists such as Donald Trump, as well as “dog whistle” racists such as Jeb Bush, <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/09/a-nightmare-for-black-america-ronald.html">who channel Ronald Reagan</a> by way of “Southern Strategy”-inspired narratives about “welfare queens” and lazy blacks who want “free stuff” from white people.<p>And then, of course, there is the curious case of Ben Carson, who recently said that black people who support the Democrats are essentially stupid, unsophisticated, hyper-emotional, irrational, and incapable of thinking for themselves. In Carson’s delusional alternate reality, Republicans do not “see race,” and, unlike the Democrats, are the real advocates for racial justice and positive change along the color line in the United States.</p><p>Ben Carson is not alone in his twisted fantasy land. He is joined by other black conservatives — a select group of racial mercenaries who are routinely trotted out on Fox News and elsewhere — who, to great approval from white conservatives, also repeat the same anti-black propaganda.</p><p>The white racist fantasies given credence by black conservatives consist of several repeated themes.</p><p><strong>1) Black people are on a Democratic or Liberal “Plantation”</strong></p><p>This twisted interpretation of the political agency and intelligence of black Americans is immensely popular on the White Right. The “Democratic Plantation” lie is rooted in a white supremacist fantasy and “Gone with the Wind”-style fairy tale of happy black slaves singing, dancing, having sex, and being protected by benevolent white masters. This racist fiction ignores how black Americans self-manumitted, fought in the Civil War to free themselves, remade democracy with Reconstruction, and then made the reasoned choice to switch over to the Democratic Party en masse because of the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and then later those of the Johnson and Kennedy administrations.</p><p>In reality, the slave “plantation” was a charnel and rape house. It quite literally used the bodies of millions of black people as fuel for (white) American and European empire.</p><p>There is a special hostility in the United States towards black Americans and their history of struggle, survival, and freedom. No one on mainstream cable news, among the commentariat, or in the class of political elites would dare to suggest that Jews who support the Democratic Party are in a type of “gas chamber” or “death camp.” Such an egregious insult can only be leveled with impunity at African-Americans.</p><p><strong>2) Black people are extremely emotional and are unable to make intelligent political decisions </strong></p><p>This white supremacist fantasy reflects centuries-old racist beliefs that white people are supremely rational and that people of color—blacks in particular—are impulsive, unintelligent, libidinous, and impulsive.</p><p>On a range of public policy issues, black Americans have shown a remarkable amount of foresight and wisdom, being years or decades ahead of white public opinion on issues such as ending the Iraq War, the failures of George W. Bush’s leadership and administration and access to healthcare, among other issues. Social scientists have also detailed how African-Americans use complex decision making and other heuristics to factor in the realities of life in a racist society, the importance of the Black Freedom Struggle, and individual self-advancement. <a href="https://ase.tufts.edu/polsci/faculty/glaser/">Some scholars of American politics</a> even go so far as to suggest that black people may be more sophisticated in their political behavior than whites because of the former’s need to more carefully discern power dynamics and be sensitive to political partisanship and ideology.</p><p><strong>3) Black Americans vote Democrat because they want “free things”</strong></p><p>As I wrote in an <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/09/30/jeb_bush_is_erasing_history_why_his_comments_about_black_americans_are_even_worse_than_you_thought/">earlier essay at Salon</a>, this claim is both ahistorical, and also overlooks the most basic nature of politics. Politics is fundamentally about receiving benefits from the State. This is the core of interest group behavior, voting, and advocacy. To the degree that black people want “free things” they are no different from any other group. Moreover, in reality, it is White America that has been built on stealing “free stuff” from people of color (most obviously land from First Nations peoples and labor from black folks) and whose members receive a disproportionate amount of subsidies from what is known as “the submerged state”.</p><p><strong>4) Black Americans are low-information voters who are ill-informed</strong></p><p>As documented by the <a href="https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/news-consumption-patterns-african-americans-hispanics/">American Press Institute</a> (API), Black Americans and whites may have slightly different news consumption patterns and habits, but the claim that African-Americans are somehow massively “less informed” than white people is specious.</p><p>The API reports that,</p><blockquote><p>“Even with concerns about coverage of their communities in the news, large majorities of African Americans and Hispanics are avid news consumers and their general news habits are similar to national averages. Substantial numbers of Americans say they watch, read, or hear the news at least once a day (76 percent) and also say they enjoy keeping up with the news a lot or some (88 percent).</p><p>“But there are some differences by race and ethnicity in the frequency of news consumption. Non-Hispanic whites (80 percent) are more likely to say they get news daily than are African Americans (70 percent) or Hispanics (70 percent).”</p></blockquote><p>The suggestion that black Americans are somehow ignorant and “tricked” into supporting the Democratic Party because they do not have access to correct information is especially absurd given that <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118066/brookings-survey-fox-news-home-most-conservative-republicans">Fox News viewers, the vast majority of whom are white, constitute one of the least informed publics</a> in the United States.</p><p>* * *</p><p>These defamations and slurs on the civic virtue, character, and intelligence of Black Americans are easily refuted. However, these lies are still especially dangerous because black conservatives like Ben Carson give them a veneer of truth and authenticity—thus validating the racist anti-black beliefs held by many white Americans.</p><p>A question still remains. Why do today’s black conservatives allow themselves to be used this way by the Republican Party?</p><p>Black conservatives are highly prized by Republicans. As such,they are well compensated on the lecture circuit, by the right-wing media machine, and are coddled and protected by a network of well-funded conservative think tanks and public relations firms. Their designated role as the “best black friend” for Republicans, the “special” and “good one,” is ego gratifying. And because the Black Freedom Struggle is in many ways a burden that some black folks are either too weak or unwilling to carry, black conservatives from the Reagan era onward have chosen to betray that honorable past for reasons of convenience, cowardice, lucre, and self-aggrandizement.</p><p>Black conservatives who channel racist talking points about African-Americans in the service of institutional white power are not a new phenomenon. During chattel slavery, for example, the role of “the driver” on the plantation—the middle manager who was responsible for much of the day-to-day discipline and operation of the slave labor camp—was often a black man. Likewise, for reasons humane (protecting one’s family and kin from white enslavers) and craven (owning black human property to extract wealth and income from their bodies, minds, and labor), a very small number of African-Americans in the antebellum South chose to own slaves.</p><p>Some people choose to challenge power by lying down and surrendering to it; others decide to benefit from its injustices and inequalities. The black conservatives in today’s Republican Party have made a strategic choice to do both.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1043470'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043470" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 07:55:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1043470 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Ben Carson gop right ringwing election2016 8 Reasons White People Get Suckered by Racial Demagogues Like Donald Trump http://a.alternet.org/civil-liberties/8-reasons-white-people-get-suckered-racial-demagogues-donald-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1042742'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1042742" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Donald Trump has written a virtual textbook about the worst aspects of right-wing American politics. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/photo_1377532734992-1-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump is not a riddle, a monster or a mystery. Trump has many antecedents in <a href="http://notesironbound.blogspot.com/2015/08/america-has-its-own-antecedents-for.html" target="_blank">American history</a>, and his ascendance was the wholly predictable result of a broken political culture.</p><p>For progressives and those others worried about America’s deep political rot, “Trumpmania” represents a supreme and rare teachable moment, one that exposes the racism, authoritarianism, and socio-political anxieties of white movement conservatives in the post civil rights era and the age of Obama.</p><p>In many ways, Donald Trump has written a virtual textbook about the worst aspects of present-day, right-wing American politics. This book, if ever published, would include the following important concepts. </p><p><strong>1. White identity politics.</strong> Donald Trump has been endorsed by prominent white supremacists and white nationalists as their chosen candidate.</p><p>(Political socialization begins in the home. <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3229542/Donald-Trump-hits-faces-claims-father-arrested-anti-Catholic-Ku-Klux-Klansmen-attacked-police-New-York-1927-says-never-happened.html" target="_blank">According</a> to recently discovered news reports from 1927, Trump’s father was likely at least a sympathizer with, if not a member, of the Ku Klux Klan.) From the end of the Civil Rights Movement onward, the Republican Party has used a strategy of white grievance mongering known as the Southern Strategy to mobilize its voters. </p><p>As a complement to the Southern Strategy, since the election of Barack Obama, the right-wing Fox News hate media has obsessively channeled racist narratives such as “birtherism,” “black crime,” and most recently the lie that the Black Lives Matter movement is an anti-white hate group.</p><p>The Republican base is almost entirely white, increasingly alienated and upset about the perceived decline in white people’s political and social power, and feeling under siege in a country that is becoming more racially diverse. Donald Trump has combined the old fashioned racism of overt white supremacists with the modern white racist “dog whistle” politics of the Republican Party. He is the new face of American white identity politics in the 21st century.</p><p><strong>2. Right-wing producerism</strong>. Donald Trump has presented himself as an “everyman” who can speak for the “regular” people who feel alienated and frustrated by the Washington D.C. “insiders” who do not look out for the “little guy.” This is the crudest form of populist politics. Trump then aims his supporters’ anger towards an enemy: immigrants from Mexico who are coming to American to supposedly steal jobs while they rape and murder white women; or the Chinese he presents as a stereotypical devious and sneaky “yellow peril” Asian foe that only Trump can outmaneuver and conquer.</p><p><a href="http://www.publiceye.org/tooclose/producerism.html" target="_blank">In this script</a>, Donald Trump then promises to protect benefits like Social Security and health care, while creating a more fair tax code for “hardworking” (white) Americans who are under siege by “parasites”, i.e. the poor on one extreme, and the corporate monied classes on the other. Trump’s “makers and takers” language is then mated with hostility to some type of Other in order to excite and mobilize conservatives via right-wing populist zeal.</p><p><strong>3. Herrenvolk politics (a system in which minorities are disenfranchised while the ethnic majority holds sway)</strong>. Donald Trump is using white identity politics to win supporters. Combining overt and subtle racism, part of Trump’s appeal is that he promises to protect the resources and democratic rights of white Americans against their supposed exploitation and theft by non-whites. This is one of the foundations of right-wing producerism. </p><p>In the right-wing conservative imagination, real Americans are “hard working,” “Christian” and “white.” Their rights and privileges are to be protected at all costs against lazy black and brown people who are welfare queens, thugs or "illegal" immigrants. The social safety net—while torn at by the 1 percent and right-wing plutocrats—exists to serve white people and “real Americans” before any other group.  As was seen in Nazi Germany, South Africa, Israel, and other racist apartheid societies, the State exists to provide support and service to the “ingroup” or “master race” while the “outgroup” is denied the same benefits and rights. This is the core of Donald Trump’s herrenvolk appeal. </p><p><strong>4. Social dominance behavior</strong>. Donald Trump’s supporters are drawn from the same core of aggrieved and angry white voters who comprise the Tea Party wing of the GOP. <a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9954.html" target="_blank">Research on this group</a> shows that they are racially resentful, fearful of social change, hostile to people who are not like them, <a href="http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3207711/Sidanius_SocialDominanceOrientation.pdf?sequence=1" target="_blank">believe in natural hierarchies and order</a>, seek out strong leaders, are deferent to authority, and exhibit a type of “bullying politics.” In many ways, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-weiler/demystifying-the-trump-co_b_8089380.html" target="_blank">Trumpmania</a> is a frightening reflection of the authoritarian values that have infected American conservatives. </p><p><strong>5. Know-Nothings.</strong> Donald Trump’s nativist, xenophobic and racist politics are the latest version of the 19th century American political movement known as the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings 1856 party platform included demands that “Americans must rule America; and to this end native-born citizens should be selected for all state, federal and municipal offices of government employment, in preference to all others…”</p><p>This is not unlike Trump’s ginning up of white anxiety and violence towards non-white immigrants. </p><p><strong>6. The strong father and “manliness."</strong> Donald Trump repeatedly talks about “strength” while slurring Barack Obama and other political enemies as “weak” or as “pansies.” </p><p>Trump is also not limited by what the right-wing sees as “weak” “liberal” notions of “political correctness” as he insults women and throws verbal bombs at any person who disagrees with him.</p><p>Right-wing ideologues and authoritarians idolize the strong father figure, one who often uses punitive means of discipline to maintain high levels of control over his wife and children. (The right-wing’s latest slur, "<a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/08/09/the_secret_history_of_cuckservative_the_fetish_that_became_a_right_wing_rallying_cry/" target="_blank">cuckservative</a>," also reflects their anxieties about white masculinity, race, and sexual potency.)</p><p>Donald Trump uses gendered language because America’s political class often defaults to a framework where the Democrats are framed as being weak, feminine or too intellectual. By comparison, the Republicans are depicted as strong, manly and decisive.</p><p>Donald Trump is playing the role of strongman for the right-wing ideologues and movement conservatives who are aroused by such a figure because the latter fulfills a psychological need for security and protection in a world they view as dangerous and changing too rapidly. His name-calling, bullying swagger, and indifference to norms of comportment and reasonable behavior are central to Trump’s popularity.</p><p><strong>7. Performance art and spectacular politics</strong>. Donald Trump’s political success is a product of reality television show culture. </p><p>Reality television shows are scripted. The genre is wildly popular among American viewers because it is part of an “empire of illusion” that distracts and confuses the public while allowing them to live out their fantasies and wish fulfillment. </p><p>In keeping with that dynamic, Trump’s obsessions with “ratings” and public opinion polls that supposedly show his “popularity” are the result of a broken civic and moral culture that equates “likes” on Facebook or “votes” on <em>American Idol</em> with substantive measures of virtue or human value. </p><p>Ultimately, Donald Trump is using his background as a reality TV show host, business celebrity, and <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/08/17/donald_trump_professional_wrestler_how_the_billionaire_body_slammed_gop_politics_and_why_it_matters/" target="_blank">fan of professional wrestling</a> to engage in a type of ridiculous and exaggerated performance art that mocks the notion of normal politics. Because Trump is not interested in normal politics—Trump is reality TV mixed with professional wrestling—he is relatively immune from derailment or substantive engagement by the news media or his political rivals in the Republican Party.</p><p><strong>8. Conspiracy theories and the paranoid style</strong>. Donald Trump was one of the most prominent advocates of “Birtherism”—a belief that Barack Obama, the United States’ first black president, was somehow not eligible for the office because he is not a “real” citizen. </p><p>This is an absurdly racist claim; <a href="http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2015/08/trump-supporters-think-obama-is-a-muslim-born-in-another-country.html" target="_blank">nevertheless it is one that is still believed</a> by 66 percent of Trump supporters and 45 percent of Republicans. Birtherism was <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/09/a-conversation-with-political-scientist.html" target="_blank">the first of many conspiracy theories</a> that would be invented by the right-wing media in the age of Obama. Obsessions about Planned Parenthood, ACORN and Benghazi would follow. These delusions are part of a long pattern of right-wing paranoia that Richard Hofstadter detailed in his landmark 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” </p><p>The right-wing media and the Republican Party’s embrace of conspiracy theories and paranoid delusions contribute to a broken political system because too much time is spent on the absurd instead of doing the work of real governance. The conspiracy fantasies of Donald Trump and the American right-wing constitute an alternative reality that is immune from facts. Consequently, these beliefs function as a type of religious cult where faith—what is a belief that cannot be proven by ordinary means—is substituted for empirical reality. </p><p>Donald Trump’s “birtherism” alternate reality is compelling and exciting for those who believe in it. Such conspiranoid delusions are dangerous because they create extreme political polarization, a political system that cannot fulfill its basic functions, encourage violence, and tear at the common beliefs and values that create a sense of political legitimacy and community in the United States.</p><p>Informed citizens can create positive political change. An ignorant public can be easily swayed, manipulated, and duped to act against their self-interest and the Common Good. </p><p>Donald Trump is a charismatic figure who embodies the fears, hopes, and anxieties of an aggrieved and frustrated white America. He is the hero they are desperate for. He is a product of a particular coincidence of broken politics, an irresponsible Fox News echo chamber media, and a scared and racially resentful public. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1042742'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1042742" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 08:20:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet 1042742 at http://a.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights paranoid The GOP Debate’s Terrifying Alternate Reality: Inside the Political Delusions of a Party on the Edge http://a.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/gop-debates-terrifying-alternate-reality-inside-political-delusions-party-edge <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1042619'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1042619" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">One of the 15 people on stage Wednesday will represent one of the two major parties next year. That&#039;s frightening.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-09-18_at_12.12.11_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>When I was in elementary and middle school, I was an unapologetic right-leaning Independent. I admired Colin Powell. I stayed up all night transfixed, watching the real life video game spectacle of the first Gulf War on CNN.</p><p>After listening to Rush Limbaugh during the week, and then watching C-SPAN on Sundays, I would put on my best suit and pretend to be the first black president of the United States; naturally I was a Lincoln/Reagan Republican. I then delivered speeches about American freedom, democracy, justice, and opportunity while I looked in the mirror on my bedroom wall. The preferred scenario was my leading the United States into a war or offering up a version of a Roosevelt fireside chat as economic calamity threatened the country (usually caused by the devious and disciplined Japanese). Only I, the country’s first black President, could unite the people in victory both foreign and domestic.</p><p>As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching movies such as “Rambo,” “Red Dawn,” and “Missing in Action.” I voraciously read “G.I. Joe” comics and military-themed magazines like Soldier of Fortune and Take Off. I played military simulations on my Amiga and Commodore 64 computers. I won World War 3 many times over. I vanquished the Russians, Libyans, and Iranians with ease in my Microsoft flight simulations and SSI turn based strategy games. I stopped the Russians and their allies at the Fulda Gap; I sunk the Warsaw Pact battle fleets in the Kola Peninsula and near Iceland. I wondered, how hard could doing the same thing be in real life?</p><p>I knew the secret to beating the Russians and creating a Pax Americana that would spread freedom, democracy, and “American values” around the world: Peace through superior firepower. America is the greatest country on Earth. The real problem is that the rest of the world has not yet been made aware of this self-evident fact.</p><p>Wednesday evening’s CNN Republican debate featured childish thoughts such as these, thoughts that normally are discarded long ago by reasonable and mature adults, instead now being offered as serious policy analysis from people who want to be President of the United States.</p><p>CNN’s Republican debate was a spectacle. In the primaries, candidates struggle to distinguish themselves from one another by running to the extremes in order to win the approval of the most rabid elements of their party’s base. Traditionally, the chosen candidate then veers back to the middle in order to win over the “median voter” and independents. These individuals are usually persuadable “swing voters” to one of the United States’ two major parties.</p><p>But, what if the “base” consists of people who live in an alternate world where facts, empirical reality, and scientific reason and truth operate according to a different set of rules? What happens to a supposedly mainstream political party’s internal dynamics when the most extreme elements are given control over it? And what if these voters have been socialized into an bizarro reality by a media machine that has created a literal and virtual bubble of information for its viewers and listeners, one where the “news” actually misinforms, thus leaving its public less knowledgeable about current affairs than before?</p><p>This alternate reality is the world in which the Republican Party and its candidates for president in 2016 exist. It is utterly impenetrable to outsiders. “Normal” politics do not exist there. This cult-like world is vexing, confusing, headache inducing, disorientating, and enraging for those in the “reality based community” who try to process the 2016 Republican debates. Ultimately, if one is not initiated into the right-wing movement’s rites and rituals, you will not be able to translate its political acts of magic and speaking in tongues that masquerade as serious political discourse.</p><p>As a political cult, today’s Republican Party uses faith, a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means, to create a coherent worldview for its public. In this world there are no verifiable truth-claims that can be confirmed or rejected based on empirical evidence. Here, something is “true” because a trusted source, elder, elite, or media personality tells you so. Opinion is transformed into a substitute for facts.</p><p>Shorter version: Lies are made into truths for those in the cult and disbelievers are cast out as enemies and heretics.</p><p>Last night’s Republican debate was a theater and master class in lies. Joseph Goebbels would be proud as the 2016 Republican candidates channeled his Principles of Propaganda and their directives that:</p><ol start="16"><li>Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.</li></ol><ol start="18"><li>Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.</li></ol><p>The reality is this: <a href="http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2013/index.html">Social security will not be bankrupt in 7 to 8 years</a>. George Bush did not keep America “safe” as he presided over the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history. The Iraqi government demanded that the United States leave after years of a disastrous war—Obama did not choose to “abandon” the country of Iraq. Global warming is a fact. And “Benghazi” has been investigated repeatedly. There is only malfeasance and “treason” in the minds of the right-wing faithful and their media. Christians are not “under assault” in America.</p><p>Deceptively editing videos of Planned Parenthood are the real crime; the crime is not that Planned Parenthood offers reproductive health services to women and provides body tissue to help in research to cure cancer and other diseases.</p><p>Gun control laws actually decrease gun violence and gun-related murder rates. The facile thinking that laws are only obeyed by the “lawful”, and therefore apparently have no use, is the fantasy those who want to live in a Hobbesian state of nature.</p><p>Childish thinking, lies, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-weiler/demystifying-the-trump-co_b_8089380.html">and increasing rates of authoritarian belief</a> and <a href="http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/09/social-dominance-theory-and-popularity.html">social dominance behavior</a> among conservatives, are both reflected in and encouraged by the modern right-wing imagination.</p><p>The Republican 2016 candidates — with perhaps the exception of Rand Paul, at least on this one issue — seem either unable or unwilling to grasp how the chaos and confusion in the Middle East, which they bemoan and panic over as a sign of a “weak” America (and of course caused only by President Obama), are directly (and indirectly) the result of the policies of the Bush administration.</p><p>A country and people without a past, unable to comprehend cause and effect, are living in an empire of illusion where the neoliberal nightmare, and the culture of cruelty, force them into an immediate present in which there is no historical context for understanding the forces that shape society and create a state of immiseration among the masses. The masses cannot effectively respond because they are so utterly and completely disoriented.</p><p>Wednesday night’s Republican debate did however feature one bright, shining, moment, when <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/08/17/donald_trump_professional_wrestler_how_the_billionaire_body_slammed_gop_politics_and_why_it_matters/">Donald Trump, professional wrestling heel</a> and reality TV star, let slip a basic truth: In response to a question about foreign policy, Trump admitted what an insightful and observant global public has always known about today’s Republican Party, when he explained that he is “a very militaristic person.” Of course, he was not condemned, booed, or heckled by his fellow candidates, nor those in the audience at the Reagan library.</p><p>In their own way, ugly truths can be very refreshing.</p><p>Mike Huckabee ended Wednesday night’s debate by channeling Ronald Reagan, and the Republican Party’s racist Southern Strategy “law and order” ethos, by threatening the Black Lives Matter movement. This was the expected and boilerplate Republican politics of white racial resentment in the Age of Obama.</p><p>Meanwhile, it was Carly Fiorina who embodied the evening’s greatest praxis of childish politics, authoritarianism, lies, myth making, and cultish delusions. As though she were on a high school debate team, Fiorina delivered a hackneyed and tired speech to the Republican faithful about the Statue of Liberty and blind Lady Justice. In Fiorina’s ahistorical world, American justice does not consistently discriminate against the poor and black people. In her utopian conception of American exceptionalism<a href="http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=382:white15a2&amp;catid=66&amp;Itemid=237">,</a> <a href="http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=382:white15a2&amp;catid=66&amp;Itemid=237">the United States did not have immigration quotas and racist laws</a> which for most of its history guaranteed that it would remain a majority white country, where people of color were not welcome.</p><p>Wednesday night’s CNN debate showed the American people an alternate reality where Chuck Norris movies are the Bible for statecraft and childish speeches about the Statue of Liberty are considered respectable and serious political thought.</p><p>The 2016 Republican primary season is a human zoo. The frightening fact is that one of the survivors of this battle royal will be one of the two candidates for President of the United States next year.</p><p>Adult children who dress up and give speeches as they role-play being President of the United States are competing in a real life Republican cosplay competition to be one of the most powerful people on Earth. This is an epic Greek tragedy for the 21st century age of 24/7 cable news and reality television.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1042619'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1042619" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 08:51:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1042619 at http://a.alternet.org The Right Wing Election 2016 The Right Wing gop right republican Why Ignorant White Americans Are Terrified of Angry Black People http://a.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-ignorant-white-americans-are-terrified-angry-black-people <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1041156'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1041156" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Black people are expected to forgive horrors. Why aren&#039;t whites asked to do the same?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_289665800.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On the one-year anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, was asked if she forgave Wilson for his wanton act of <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/5/michael-browns-mother-vows-to-never-forgive.html">legal murder.</a> She told <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/5/michael-browns-mother-vows-to-never-forgive.html">Al Jazeera</a> that she will “never forgive” Darren Wilson and that “he’s evil, his acts were devilish.”</p><p>Her response is unusual. Its candor is refreshing. Lezley McSpadden’s truth-telling reveals the full humanity and emotions of black folks, and by doing so defies the norms which demand that when black Americans suffer they do so stoically, and in such a way that forgiveness for racist violence is a given, an unearned expectation of white America.</p><p>The expectation that black people will always forgive the violence done to them by the State, or by individual white people, is a bizarre and sick American ritual.</p><p>The necropolis of black bodies in the age of Obama provides many examples of the ritual.</p><p>Less than a month after her son Samuel Dubose was executed by a thug cop, his mother, Audrey Dubose, was asked during a <a href="https://screen.yahoo.com/samuel-duboses-mother-death-forgive-184657340.html" target="_blank">press conference</a> if she forgave Ray Tensing. She answered, “I can forgive him. I can forgive anybody. God forgave us."</p><p>After Dylann Roof massacred nine black Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina church, their families were asked to forgive the white racist terrorist.</p><p>Rituals reinforce social norms, values, and beliefs. Rituals can empower some groups and individuals; rituals can also serve to weaken and oppress others.</p><p>The ritual of immediate and expected black forgiveness for the historic and contemporary suffering visited upon the black community by white America reflects the complexities of the color line. Black Americans may publicly—and this says nothing of just and righteous private anger, upset and desire for justice and revenge—be so quick to forgive white violence and injustice because it's a tactic and strategy for coping with life in a historically white supremacist society. If black folks publicly expressed their anger and lack of forgiveness at centuries of white transgressions, they could be and were beaten, raped, murdered, shot, stabbed, burned alive, run out of town, hung, put in prisons, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Protest-Psychosis-Schizophrenia-Disease/dp/0807085928/ref=pd_sxp_redirect" target="_blank">locked up</a> in insane asylums, fired from their jobs, had their land stolen from them, and were kicked out of schools. Even in the post-civil rights era and the age of Obama, being branded with the veritable scarlet letter of being an angry black man or woman can result in life opportunities being significantly reduced.</p><p>The African-American church is also central to the black American ritual of forgiveness. A belief in fantastical and mythological beings was used to fuel struggle and resistance in a long march of liberation and dignity against white supremacy, injustice and degradation.</p><p>The notion of Christian forgiveness as taught by the black church could also be a practical means of self-medication, one designed to stave off existential malaise and to heal oneself in the face of the quotidian struggles of life under American apartheid. Likewise, some used Christianity and the black church to teach passivity and weakness in the face of white terrorism because some great reward supposedly awaits those who suffer on Earth. The public mask of public black forgiveness and peace was also a tool that was used during the long black freedom struggle as a means of demonstrating the honor, humanity, dignity, and civic virtue of black Americans—a group that only wanted its paid-for-in-blood (and free labor) civil rights.</p><p>The ritual of immediate and expected black forgiveness fulfills the expectations of the <a href="http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/walking-while-black-in-the-white-gaze/?_r=0" target="_blank">white gaze</a> and the <a href="http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2008/05/25/the-white-racial-frame-what-is-it/" target="_blank">white racial frame</a>. A lack of empathy from white America toward black America is central to the ritual: if white folks could truly feel the pain of black people (and First Nations, Hispanics and Latinos, and other people of color) in these times of cruelty and violence, then immediate forgiveness would not be an expectation. Some white Americans actually believe that black people are <a href="http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/11/white-people-think-black-people-are-magical.html" target="_blank">superhuman</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=201128359" target="_blank">do not feel pain</a>. This cannot help but factor into the public ritual of black people saying, “I forgive” the violence visited upon them by white cops, paramilitaries, hatemongers, bureaucrats, and the State.</p><p>Whiteness is central here, too. Whiteness imagines itself as benign, just and innocent. Therefore, too many white people (especially those who have not acknowledged, renounced, and rejected white privilege) view white-on-black racial violence as some type of ahistorical outlier, something that is not part of a pattern, a punctuation or disruption in American life, something not inherent to it, and thus not a norm of the country’s social and political life.</p><p>Here, the ritual of African-American forgiveness allows white America absolution and innocence without having to put in the deeds and necessary hard work for true justice, fairness and equal democracy on both sides of the color line.</p><p>The black forgiveness ritual’s heaviest anchor is white anxiety and fear. As I wrote in an <a href="http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/how-i-learned-unapologetic-black-anger-can-change-world-better" target="_blank">earlier piece</a>, white America is deeply terrified, and has been since before the founding, of black righteous anger. They are afraid that white people in this country would be held accountable for the actions done both in their name, and for their collective benefit against black people. This ahistorical and delusional dread was summoned in the antebellum period by worries of slave revolts. It still resonates in the 20th and 21st centuries with white racial paranoia about ghetto or black riots, as well as the persistent bugaboo that is black crime.</p><p>When black people say “we forgive,” it is a salve for those white worries and fears. The absurdity and uniqueness of black Americans being naturally expected to immediately forgive the crimes and harm done to them by white people is highlighted precisely by how (white) America, both as an aggregate and as individuals, are not burdened with such a task.</p><p>One of the greatest privileges that comes with being white in America is the permission and encouragement to hold onto a sense of injustice, grievance, anger, and pain. Consider the following.</p><p>The family of Kathryn Steinle—whose death is the macabre subject of Donald Trump’s race-baiting obsessions with “illegal” immigrants from Mexico—has not been publicly asked to forgive Francisco Sanchez, the man who shot and killed her.</p><p>The families of the children murdered by the gun-toting mass shooter Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut were not publicly asked during a press conference if they forgave the killer.</p><p>The families of the 70 people wounded and 12 killed by James Holmes in a Colorado movie theater were not asked during a press conference if they publicly forgave him.</p><p>And of course, the families of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, when agents of Al Qaeda attacked the United States, were not asked several weeks after the event if they forgave Osama bin Laden and his agents.</p><p>More than 10 years after that fateful morning when the United States was attacked by Al Qaeda and an era of national derangement and perpetual war was ushered into being, there are survivors who will still not forgive those who wrought devastation onto their lives.</p><p>Some of them shared with the <a href="http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/911-families-struggle-forgive" target="_blank">National Catholic Review</a> how they continue to nurture their anger:</p><blockquote><p>Mr. Haberman admitted, “That’s a tough one for me. When I sit in court with these guys, can I forgive them? I have a hard time. I mean, they don’t want my forgiveness. I think justice is the word.”</p><p>Dorine and Martin Toyen of Avon, Conn., lost their daughter Amy, 24, in the World Trade Center. She was engaged to be married. “Her whole life was taken away from her,” said Ms. Toyen. “There is no way I could ever forgive them.”</p><p>Mr. Toyen concurred. “I want justice, not forgiveness,” he said. “I’m still very bitter. Rage.” If the accused “are found guilty, then I would have no qualms with the death penalty.”</p><p>Ms. Noeth said the death penalty would be too easy. “The people that we lost suffered a lot more than that. I think they deserve as much pain as can possibly be inflicted on them.”</p></blockquote><p>If a reporter or other interviewer publicly asked those people who had their loved ones stolen from them either on 9/11, at Newtown, or in Littleton, if they forgave the monsters who hurt them so deeply, said person would (rightfully) be derided, mocked and likely fired. White Americans are not expected to forgive those who transgress them.</p><p>Black Americans who have lost their loved ones to police thuggery, violence, or other types of white-on-black racial terrorism and murder should be allowed the same latitude and freedom of expression and feelings. Of course, they are not. Such a right exists outside the ritual that is black America’s expected forgiveness for all the racist grievances and wrongs suffered by it.</p><p>This public ritual is a performance. It gives the white American public what they expect while concealing the true and private feelings of many black Americans, the latter being a people who are not foolish or naïve enough to perpetually forgive, forget and turn the other cheek when faced with perpetual abuse.</p><p>Perhaps, one day there will be a moment when a black American who has suffered unjust loss and pain will be asked by a reporter, “Do you forgive the thug cop or racial terrorist who killed your unarmed child/friend/brother/sister/husband/wife?” and he or she will reply, “Hell no! Not now, not ever, and you can go fuck yourself for asking such a question.”</p><p>We are allowed to dream. Such a moment of honesty and sharing will be a true step forward for racial justice and respect across the color line, as opposed to the charade that now passes for the obligatory and weak national conversation on race that the American people have been repeatedly afflicted with in the post-civil rights era. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1041156'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1041156" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 09:28:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet 1041156 at http://a.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics race racisim black forgiveness african americans The Secret History of 'Cuckservative': The Fetish That Became a Right-Wing Rallying Cry http://a.alternet.org/election-2016/secret-history-cuckservative-fetish-became-right-wing-rallying-cry <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1040642'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1040642" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What began as a white supremacist slur, inspired by a genre of porn, has infiltrated the conservative mainstream.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_272183825_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Humans are social beings. Humans invented politics in order to manage conflict and decide how resources should be distributed in society. It is almost inevitable then that politics would become a stage on to which we project some of the most basic — and base — parts of the self.</p>In a <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/08/03/the_gop_crack_up_continues_the_raging_civil_war_over_the_disgusting_%E2%80%9Ccuckservative%E2%80%9D_slur/">recent article at Salon</a>, Joan Walsh did an excellent job in navigating the political effluence that is the American right’s newborn obsession with “cuckservatives.”There, she noted how:<blockquote><p>“Cuckservative” started showing up in my Twitter mentions last week, after I suggested Donald Trump supporters might not be the brightest bulbs. As I clicked around, I came to a shocking conclusion: I’ve been uncharacteristically downplaying the amount of racism and misogyny powering the right today. The spread of the epithet “cuckservative” is a sign that the crudest psycho-sexual insecurity animates the far right.</p><p>“Cuckservative,” you see, is short for a cuckolded conservative. It’s not about a Republican whose wife is cheating on him, but one whose country is being taken away from him, and who’s too cowardly to do anything about it.</p><p>OK, that’s gross and sexist enough already, but there’s more. It apparently comes from a kind of pornography known as “cuck,” in which a white husband, either in shame or lust, watches his wife be taken by a black man. Lewis explains it this way: “A cuckservative is, therefore, a race traitor.”</p></blockquote><p>White supremacists have reinforced the racial intent of the “cuckservative” narrative. To that end, Walsh quotes one of their more prominent voices, Richard Spencer:</p><blockquote><p>“The #cuckservative meme doesn’t make any sense without race. It’s all about race…What’s powerful about #cuckservative is that it is call for a racially conscious politics—and not the kind of shot-gun spray muckraking that Johnson specializes in.”</p></blockquote><p>But, as Walsh explains, usage the word hasn’t been limited to white nationalist circles:</p><blockquote><p>Rush Limbaugh helped spread the term to the mainstream when he praised Trump like this: “If Trump were your average, ordinary, cuckolded Republican, he would have apologized by now, and he would have begged for forgiveness, and he would have gone away.”</p></blockquote><p>At present, “cuckservative” is just one more signal of how the contemporary Republican Party and movement conservatism have become a carnival-like human zoo fueled by the talk-radio echo chamber, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/07/18/the_right_wing_medias_vicious_profiteering_how_fox_news_donald_trump_are_weaponizing_hate/">one where extremism is now mainstream</a>, and the politically adolescent and immature obsessions of “men’s rights” victimologists — with their “alpha males” and “cuckolding” anxieties — are considered reasonable and respectable points of view.</p><p>The convergence of white supremacy and conservatism in the modern Republican Party — spurred in part by a renaissance of <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/08/02/dear_white_america_your_toxic_masculinity_is_killing_you/">toxic white masculinity</a> — has produced what, in the moment, appears to be a series of never-ending climaxes and crescendos wherein new levels of absurdity and paranoia replace previous peaks once thought unattainable. The extreme has become the new normal for mainstream American conservatism. As the Republican Party continues its death-spiral embrace of fascism, misogyny, patriarchy, and racism, the political insanity embodied by concepts such as “cuckservative” will become the new normal.</p><p>The Daily Kos’ Chris Reeves, <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/04/1408563/-The-Rise-of-Cuckservative-How-Conservatives-Adopt-Racism-Sexism-Let-Their-Freak-Flag-Fly">offers up a particularly sharp insight</a> on “cuckolding,” “cuckservatives” and the right-wing political imagination:</p><blockquote><p>But for the Republicans using the term #cuckservative, they are doing so out of a place that mirrors what represents the… darker shades of any fetish. Republicans who have used this new term are the same Republicans who used phrases like ‘Sodomite supporter,” “whores.” In that vein, they are now using #cuckservative not just based on the defined sexual act, but for the much darker racial tones that prevail in the rise of pornography that is sold online.</p></blockquote><p>“Cuckservative” is fascinating language. However, even as used by Republicans and others on the White Right, it is also inadequate and somewhat misplaced in capturing the pornographic imagination as a type of political logic for conservatives in the Age of Obama.</p><p>Cuckolding — which, again, is a type of pornography in which men allow their wives and female partners to be sexually “used” by other men while in front of them — is ostensibly about humiliation. As the <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/07/29/cuckolding-the-sex-fetish-for-intellectuals.html">Daily Beast noted</a> in 2010:</p><blockquote><p>Cuckolded men (aka “cucks”) only observe their wives’ infidelities, they don’t participate. And that’s why they find it a turn-on: They’re left out, looking on as the woman they love climaxes with a better man than them. It’s a form of psychological sadomasochism. Some people get turned on by whips, chains, and physical pain. Cucks get aroused by mental anguish.</p></blockquote><p>Sexual fantasies wherein white men are cuckolded by black men — with their stereotypically large penises (called “BBC” for “big black cocks” in the parlance of porn) and ravenous at the thought of white female flesh — are then consistent with a centuries-old white male preoccupation, one that borders in fact on obsession, with the supposed threat of Black male virility. We see in the fascination with cuckolding the most feverish anxieties about the disappearance of white male hegemony.</p><p>(Paradoxically, this genre also positively reaffirms white supremacy; in the interracial “BBC” scenario,the white racial frame’s assumption that white women are desired above all other women is made explicit.)</p><p>So it is clear why the genre is popular: The combination of fetish and racial entitlement are, for a certain segment of white American men, an almost alchemical admixture.</p><p>But the internal logic of the “cuckservative” meme falls flat, because movement conservatives and the right-wing media — even the ones who are now brandishing the term left and right — are not titillated, as these porn enthusiasts are, by the perceived loss of power for white men. They are not in a state of political ecstasy from the thought that people who look like them may have to share more political and social power with people who don’t. No, this camp of aggrieved and imperiled white men, drunk on toxic white masculinity, are terrified of their supposed status as “victims” in a more inclusive and cosmopolitan 21st century America. Whereas cuckolding has its foundations in eroticism, the term “cuckservative” has evolved from a related, but ultimately very different, psychosexual fixation: racialized castration anxieties.</p><p>White men saw themselves as the naturally dominant group in the United States from its founding to the present. The idea of white male privilege as “normal” and a given remains inexorably compelling — especially to the “angry” and aggrieved white men who are the base of the Republican Party in the post-civil rights era.</p><p>The legacy of the South’s planter class — the 1 percent of its time, that profited from the blood of the slave plantations, work camps, tenant labor, sharecropping fields, and chain gangs — is also seen in the contemporary Republican Party. When the Republican Party’s leaders and media elites talk about “makers and takers” and “lazy” American workers, when they wage war on the poor and the social safety net, what we’re seeing is the new political economy of neoliberalism mated with the philosophical legacy of the planter class.</p><p>The Republican Party’s fetish for guns, its knee-jerk defense of white-on-black-and-brown police violence and abuse, and its theocratic Christian politics also have many wellsprings in the American South. The right’s desperate efforts to control women’s bodies and reproductive freedoms are likewise a legacy and reminder of how white men’s power has historically extended to their (supposed) ownership over women’s sexuality and health.</p><p>Thus, white male anxieties spoken to by those who authored and circulated the “cuckservative” meme are really just evoking a misdirected feeling by some white men that they have lost political power and potency — that they have been, so to speak, castrated.</p><p>If the Republican Party is a southern party, with all of the social, political, cultural, and racial baggage such a lineage entails, then the power and threat embodied by Barack Obama, the United States’ first black president, cannot be ignored. If the men on the white right are fearful of a loss of power — be it through metaphors and analogies such as “cuckservatives” or more basic castration anxieties — we cannot forget the (almost exclusively) Southern tradition of the lynching tree and the “strange fruit” it yielded.</p><p>The phallocentric, racist, and misogynistic obsessions of those on the White Right are reminders of how black men’s bodies were routinely burned, dismembered, how their genitals cut off — all of these things while the victims of such white racial bloodlust were often still alive. The spectacular lynching and torture of black people was a ritual designed to remove Black Americans from political life and to reaffirm white power. The black body was and remains a threat; because of that fact, it has been subjected to gross and cruel disciplines and technologies of punishment and control in the United States and the West more broadly.</p><p>Obama’s election was unsettling for conservatives. It drove many on the White Right to conspiratorial and delusional thinking, such as “Birtherism,” and also stirred up other more “old school” types of white racism, because the idea of a black man in the White House, as the United States’ President and symbolic embodiment of American power, was irreconcilable with a Herrenvolk logic that views “real Americans” as white by definition and tradition. The right wing’s fears of changing racial demographics, <a href="http://rorotoko.com/interview/20101206_smith_robert_on_conservatism_racism_why_america_they_are_same/">the mating of conservatism and racism</a>, and the Republican Party’s creeping fascism in the present meant that Obama, as well as his cabinet and other appointees who were female and non-white especially, represented a particularly potent threat to embattled and insecure toxic white masculinity.</p><p>If the anxieties and fears of those on the White Right who construct dream worlds of a pornographic imagination, in which white men are being cuckolded and are “victims” of interracial sexual domination, who need to elect an “alpha male” Republican for protection, then Barack Obama is the biggest “BBC” threat of them all.</p><p>There is no way to defeat psychological chimeras. In their cuckolding fantasy nightmares, the American White Right is fighting its own psychological demons and projections. Republicans cannot beat their own political-racial-sexual id into submission. The White Right can however chase those shadows into the public sphere, and by doing so further wreck the Common Good. The Republican Party’s priapism may be their pleasure and our undoing.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1040642'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1040642" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 09 Aug 2015 08:53:00 -0700 Chauncey DeVega, Salon 1040642 at http://a.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 gop right trump