Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

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Belle
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Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:14 pm

The excellent Bret Weinstein (one of the members of the IDW) talks about the demonization of "whiteness" leading to the rise of white nationalists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1sJgjG ... e=youtu.be

david johnson
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by david johnson » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:28 am

He is correct.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:25 pm

Here's an excellent discussion, from "Spiked Online", between Dr. Bret Weinstein and Brendan O'Neill. It is 1:14 long but terribly interesting. I enjoyed the discussion but found multiple inconsistencies in their ideas: the long comment underneath the podcast really was insightful!!

https://www.spiked-online.com/podcast-e ... onal-left/

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:24 pm

The notion that a new breed of neofascists arose once whites were branded as devils is just a face-saving attempt by the mainstream Right to shift blame onto the Left for the Right's embarrassment at suddenly finding a bumper crop of racists making common cause with them.

White nationalists arent racists because they're demonized; they're demonized because they're racists.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:09 pm

You've obviously not listened to the excellent podcast with Dr. Weinstein and Brendan O'Neill. These are two first class public intellectuals, both self-proclaimed of the Left as it happens. That doesn't stop me listening to them and finding new ideas and ways of thinking about the world.

It can devolve into a chicken and egg argument about 'nationalists' (though I see precious few of them in this country). What is important is to understand that a society (just like an economy) is every bit as fragile as an eco-system and that disrupting the balance and trying to re-engineer it in a radical way will always bring unintended consequences. That's essentially what Dr. Weinstein is arguing and it's a position I've long held anyway.

The "Right" (do you mean conservatives?) doesn't need to 'face save'; at least, not in Australia. Sure, the Left has won the culture wars (as Dr. Weinstein says) but politically the Left is pretty much on the run the world over.

And a heck a lot of these people would be conservative Christians!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7pF67oOgOY

John F
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by John F » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:50 am

Belle wrote:the Left has won the culture wars (as Dr. Weinstein says) but politically the Left is pretty much on the run the world over.
Not in the U.S. In the last election the left (meaning the Democrats) took control of the House of Representatives and cut the right (Republican) majority in the Senate to 3. And in 2016, the Democratic candidate for president won a majority of the popular vote, though because of our obsolete electoral system, once again the loser became president. It's a matter of ups and downs.

In France the newly founded liberal party, La République En Marche, has won the presidency and a majority in the National Assembly. In Italy it's confusing as usual, but as far as I can make out, the president, prime minister, and ruling coalition are liberals. In the U.K., the Tories and Labour have taken turns ruling the country, and while the Tories have a majority now, they are n disarray especially over Brexit and face a general election next year if not sooner. In Germany the ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union, is centrist and has been since the War. And so it goes.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:04 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:09 pm
at least, not in Australia.
On that, if little else politically, we can agree. Racism is the U.S. of America's peculiar institution, embedded idiosyncratically into our culture. In America, conservatives, unnerved by finding themselves embraced by the KKK, neofascists and proto-racists like the rabid trumpist faction of the Republican party, assert that liberal social policy (affirmative action would be a case in point) has created the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth: the problem is an outgrowth of the history of chattel slavery in our country.

In Amerika at least, this is not a chicken-and-egg question: here nationalists are largely white supremacists and deserve every bit of vilification they get. They are the spiritual descendants of the Southern slaveowner. Any demonization of whites by liberals that exists here is a non-contributing factor.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:11 am

John F wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:50 am
cut the right (Republican) majority in the Senate to 3.
John I sure hope they find a way to win the Senate in 2020. I feel they lost ground in the Senate in 2018 but they were very vulnerable.

"Thirty-five U.S. Senate seats, including two in special elections, were up for election on November 6, 2018. Heading into the election, the Republican Party held a 51-seat majority in the chamber. Democrats held 47 seats, and the remaining two seats were held by independents who caucus with the Democratic Party.

Five incumbents—four Democrats and one Republican—lost their seats in 2018. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Republican Party expanded their majority by two and controlled 53 seats in the chamber, Democrats controlled 45 seats, and independents in Maine and Vermont who caucus with the Democrats held two seats. "
https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_S ... ions,_2018

John F
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by John F » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:47 am

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:04 am
Racism is the U.S. of America's peculiar institution
Only under a very restricted concept of racism that doesn't take account of antisemitism, which is hardly possible after the Holocaust. The U.S. has mostly grown out of its antisemitic past which limited or barred Jews from higher level housing, jobs, and education. And as regards black people, we've come a long way since institutionalized racism in the form of African American slavery was a cause of the bloodiest war Americans have ever fought. That's not to say that racial prejudice no longer exists here, obviously it does, but it's not peculiar to America.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:13 am

John F wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:47 am
it's not peculiar to America.
Of course, but "Negro slavery" was institutionalized as a vehicle of agrarian capitalism in ways that were peculiar to America. For instance, there were few if any pogroms waged against enslaved blacks, as there were against non-commodified persons, such as Native-Americans here or Jews in Eurasia: African-American slaves were considered much too valuable as property simply to exterminate. Historians like Daina Ramey Berry have shown that even after death there was demand for and a lively trade in their cadavers by the med schools of eminent coastal universities like Harvard and Yale.

My point is that that our idiosyncratic history accounts for whatever resentment white racists of today still harbor at being dispossessed of what they see as rightfully belonging to them, viz. the wealth and privilege that accrued to them directly or indirectly from slavery. One need not resort to self-serving pipe-dreams like "white demonization" to explain outbursts of racial hatred like the recent one in Charlottesville, directed at both blacks and Jews.

We have come a long way since Appomattox, to be sure, but are still grappling with issues around race raised in its aftermath. To suggest that the North's victory in the Civil War settled the matter definitively leaves the door open to repeat the conflict.

In my view, we are, to an alarming extent, going down that path.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:01 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:50 am
Belle wrote:the Left has won the culture wars (as Dr. Weinstein says) but politically the Left is pretty much on the run the world over.
Not in the U.S. In the last election the left (meaning the Democrats) took control of the House of Representatives and cut the right (Republican) majority in the Senate to 3. And in 2016, the Democratic candidate for president won a majority of the popular vote, though because of our obsolete electoral system, once again the loser became president. It's a matter of ups and downs.

In France the newly founded liberal party, La République En Marche, has won the presidency and a majority in the National Assembly. In Italy it's confusing as usual, but as far as I can make out, the president, prime minister, and ruling coalition are liberals. In the U.K., the Tories and Labour have taken turns ruling the country, and while the Tories have a majority now, they are n disarray especially over Brexit and face a general election next year if not sooner. In Germany the ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union, is centrist and has been since the War. And so it goes.
Last time I looked France had riots on the streets and dreadful social unrest since the rise of Macron. The people dislike this government and the road it is taking. The English people will not vote for Jeremy Corbyn and have demonstrated this when May called the GE after Cameron pulled out suddenly. Corbyn is an anti-semitic terrorism fraternizer who is an avowed communist; even Britain isn't ready for that!! The people rejected it last time and until they choose a decent, middle path Labor will be on the opposition benches. Would you like to make a bet?

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:09 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:04 am
Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:09 pm
at least, not in Australia.
On that, if little else politically, we can agree. Racism is the U.S. of America's peculiar institution, embedded idiosyncratically into our culture. In America, conservatives, unnerved by finding themselves embraced by the KKK, neofascists and proto-racists like the rabid trumpist faction of the Republican party, assert that liberal social policy (affirmative action would be a case in point) has created the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth: the problem is an outgrowth of the history of chattel slavery in our country.

In Amerika at least, this is not a chicken-and-egg question: here nationalists are largely white supremacists and deserve every bit of vilification they get. They are the spiritual descendants of the Southern slaveowner. Any demonization of whites by liberals that exists here is a non-contributing factor.
When I went into teaching one of the first things I learned was that I could not control the behaviour of all my students, but I could control my own way of behaving and responding. I learned also that if you back certain students into a corner - for whatever reason - they have nothing to lose and will come out fighting, hurting themselves and everybody else as a consequence. Those kinds of students were in the minority, but were capable of inflicting a lot of damage if their buttons were pushed.

What I cannot understand is why an Evolutionary Biologist like Dr. Weinstein didn't say in that podcast or any other what you just wrote. And you might also read or listen to the ideas of Political Economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell - a black man brought up in the less fashionable streets of NYC. This proves, if nothing else, that not all people think one way - no matter what their colour or creed.

From what I've observed, your country has much more to fear from random gunslingers than 'white nationalists' - unless you fear the political force that the latter might wield. In which case I'd recommend the course of action I took as a teacher!!

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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:09 pm
your country has much more to fear from random gunslingers than 'white nationalists'
Our random gunslingers are, as often as not, white nationalists.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:09 pm
your country has much more to fear from random gunslingers than 'white nationalists'
Our random gunslingers are, as often as not, white nationalists.
What??? 17 year old kids.

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:05 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm
17 year old kids.
Some. Some too are in their 20s and 30s. They have licenses and are capable of backing a vehicle into a crowd and crushing a young woman to death.
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:10 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:05 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm
17 year old kids.
Some. Some too are in their 20s and 30s.
In short, a mixed bag which defies categorization except for mental illness.

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:18 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:10 pm
In short, a mixed bag which defies categorization except for mental illness.
Agreed. They defy easy categorization even that of mental illness, "nutjob" being the tired excuse the NRA and their fellow travelers in the GOP trot out to killgun control. But for sure they are not random gunslingers, like something out of Wild West flicks. They fit a profile, as law enforcement tells us.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:40 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:18 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:10 pm
In short, a mixed bag which defies categorization except for mental illness.
Agreed. They defy easy categorization even that of mental illness, "nutjob" being the tired excuse the NRA and their fellow travelers in the GOP trot out to killgun control. But for sure they are not random gunslingers, like something out of Wild West flicks. They fit a profile, as law enforcement tells us.
And it doesn't give any of us moment's pleasure to see your great nation having to endure this. There must be a solution; I refuse to believe there isn't one. Human beings have got to where they are today because problem solving is in their genetic make-up. Or, as Dr. Weinstein says, through goodwill and co-operation.

This doesn't always prevent nations going to war, but it sure can help the domestic situation.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:07 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:18 pm
Agreed. They defy easy categorization even that of mental illness, "nutjob" being the tired excuse the NRA and their fellow travelers in the GOP trot out to killgun control.
And then there's this take:
"Trump's threat came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed the White House as “stricken by a mental disability” following the administration's announcement of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several military commanders." Regards, Len

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/ ... ns-1380320

barney
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by barney » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:03 pm

Very silly by Iran, in my view. Descending to Trump's level of personal abuse isn't going to help anything, and Trump is right about Iran's malign role in sponsoring terrorism.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:10 pm

barney wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:03 pm
Very silly by Iran, in my view. Descending to Trump's level of personal abuse isn't going to help anything, and Trump is right about Iran's malign role in sponsoring terrorism.
Barney not as silly as Trump withdrawing from the nuclear deal-let's remember Iran was complying. Regards, Len

Barry
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Barry » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:06 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:05 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:01 pm
17 year old kids.
Some. Some too are in their 20s and 30s. They have licenses and are capable of backing a vehicle into a crowd and crushing a young woman to death.
Is that incident your basis for stating that as often as not, random gunslingers in this country are white nationalists and not young black males from fatherless households?

You're going to have to provide much stronger evidence than that for such an "out there" statement. In fact, both that and the notion that racism is uniquely American are ludicrous. Slavery went on and continues to go on in large numbers after it ended here.

I'm afraid racism and bigotry in general is an evolutionary fact of life in the human race.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:15 pm

1) I should have made it clear that my tone was ironic: I was trying to respond with an equally disputable statement to the dubious notion that America's youthful mass murderers were "random gunslingers" who posed a greater threat to society than do white nationalists.

2) Slavery evolved in idiosyncratic ways in America that still influence us today. I do not believe, nor did I mean to suggest, that the US has a lock on racism
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Barry
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Barry » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:29 pm

Sorry. It's not always easy to pick up irony on here.

I've been away from this board for many years. I check in on what's happening on here maybe a few times a year but have never been tempted to post until I read those statements.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:30 pm

That's quite true; racism is an evolutionary fact of life. As human beings we can try and do our best to make sure we treat people equally and with dignity, but that isn't always the outcome. I often think of slavery in the building of the pyramids of Egypt (just as one example), where workers died like flies. There were plenty more where they came from!! No occupational health and safety back then either.

We've seen 'difference' in the animal species very clearly articulated through the most hideous, 'discriminatory' behaviour. For 23 years we had a huge chicken farm where we raised day-old chicks for up to circa 9 weeks (for a company similar to your Tyson in the USA). Occasionally in the flock of 110,000 there would be black chickens hatched amidst the white (I never learned the reason why). Within just 3 or so weeks those black chickens would be pecked to death by the remainder of the flock. We threw all sorts of diversions into their environment (even Coke cans at one stage) to help the black chickens survive - as there were sometimes a few of them. All to no avail; the chickens were not having a bar of any other chicken which looked different. And we learned quite a lot of other things about instinctive biological behaviour having cattle as well as chickens on our farm. When a calf accidentally went to the wrong mother's teat it was soon shafted by a swift and violent kick to the head!! Stimulus/response. Farmers could tell you lots of anecdotes about peculiar animal behaviour of the type I've described - and more!!

The same thing would have happened with a farm placed entirely with black chickens if white ones were introduced in short numbers; they just didn't like 'difference' of any kind.

Right now hideous racism is occurring in South Africa where white farmers are routinely murdered, and the women raped, just as it did in Zimbabwe. These are the people growing the nation's food.
Last edited by Belle on Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:36 pm

Barry wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:29 pm
Sorry. It's not always easy to pick up irony on here.
Yes, but I should have made it clearer. I'm afraid in this instance my anger at the resurgence of racism and anti-Semitism in the US led to some sloppy wording.
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Belle
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Belle » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:38 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:36 pm
Yes, but I should have made it clearer. I'm afraid in this instance my anger at the resurgence of racism and anti-Semitism in the US led to some sloppy wording.
Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. Big time.

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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:43 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:38 pm
Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. Big time.
Here too. But listening to Leonard Cohen's songs nonstop this week has tempted me to give Judaism a fresh look.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:14 pm

Barry wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:29 pm
I've been away from this board for many years.
Barry are you someone I remember from the past on CMG from Philadelphia or am I completely confused? Regards, Len
Last edited by lennygoran on Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:57 am

Here you can watch a disturbing 2018 PBS Frontline/Res Publica report on the rise of white nationalist terrorist groups in America in the past four years:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film ... can-nazis/

Investigative journalism at its best, digging into the causes and effects of the white supremacy movement.

In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, FRONTLINE and ProPublica present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America – in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military. Continuing FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s reporting on violent white supremacists in the U.S. (which has helped lead to multiple arrests), this joint investigation shows the group’s terrorist objectives and how it gained strength after the 2017 Charlottesville rally. [Watch the first documentary in this series, August 2018’s Documenting Hate: Charlottesville, online at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film ... ttesville/]
Last edited by jserraglio on Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:00 am

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:57 am
Here you can watch a disturbing 2018 PBS Frontline report on the rise of white nationalist terrorist groups in America in the past four years:
Yes it's on my DVR ready for me to watch-Frontline is such a wonderful show-one of my favorites from PBS! Regards, Len

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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:09 am

lennygoran wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:00 am
jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:57 am
Here you can watch a disturbing 2018 PBS Frontline report on the rise of white nationalist terrorist groups in America in the past four years:
Yes it's on my DVR ready for me to watch-Frontline is such a wonderful show-one of my favorites from PBS! Regards, Len
Yes, Frontline's one of the few things I ever watch on TV these days. I have sworn off 24/7 cable news channels entirely. I had watched this documentary before and again yesterday. Its findings were what informed my objection to the facile notion that demonizing whites contributed to the rise of white nationalism in this country. Frontline lays bare a long history that makes it much more complicated than that.

lennygoran
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:28 am

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:09 am
I have sworn off 24/7 cable news channels entirely.
I on the other hand have never watched cable news more-for example the last 2 debates-the whole John Dean testimony, Rachel, Lawrence, Brian, Wolf, Nicole, etc, etc, etc. Regards, Len

jserraglio
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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:32 am

lennygoran wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:28 am
jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:09 am
I have sworn off 24/7 cable news channels entirely.
I on the other hand have never watched cable news more-for example the last 2 debates-the whole John Dean testimony, Rachel, Lawrence, Brian, Wolf, Nicole, etc, etc, etc. Regards, Len
I hear you, Len, but I feel so much cleaner after watching a movie-- like "The Bookshop" last nite.

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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:35 am

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:32 am
I hear you, Len, but I feel so much cleaner after watching a movie-- like "The Bookshop" last nite.
Joseph yeah-I can understand that-I'm spending so much time with this but I'm trying to figure out the best candidate to get rid of Trump-that's my top priority-he's the worst thing I've ever seen in the White house in my lifetime-maybe even worse than Nixon. Regards, Len

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Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:35 pm

Charlottesville neo-Nazi white supremacist faces life imprisonment today

WAPO

Nearly two years after James A. Fields Jr. rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the avowed neo-Nazi and convicted murderer is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for 29 federal hate crimes, each of which is punishable by up to life in prison.
Fields, 22, whose vehicular attack killed one woman and injured 35 other people, pleaded guilty to the 29 counts in April in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop an additional charge that carries a possible death sentence. In a separate case, Fields was convicted of first-degree murder in December by a Virginia jury that voted for a life term in state prison plus 419 years.
His sentence in the state case is due to be imposed July 15, meaning Friday’s sentencing in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville will be the first for Fields, an Ohio native with a years-long history of espousing racist and anti-Semitic views.
At the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, crowds of white supremacists chanting angry slogans clashed violently with counterprotesters for hours. Photos and video of the mayhem, including images of broken bodies propelled in the air by Fields’s speeding Dodge Challenger, were viewed worldwide, galvanizing public attention on emboldened ethno-fascists in the early months of the Trump administration.
Fields, whose psychiatric disorders dating from early childhood were detailed in court during his state trial, did not deny he intentionally rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing Heather D. Heyer, 32, a local law firm employee.
In a sentencing memo filed in court by the U.S. attorney’s office in Charlottesville, prosecutor Christopher R. Kavanaugh called the attack “domestic terrorism.”
“The defendant’s crimes were so horrendous, and the maiming of innocents so severe, that they outweigh any factors” that Fields might cite in seeking leniency, Kavanaugh wrote. “This is particularly true in light of the fact that he has demonstrated that he feels no remorse for his actions and continues to espouse his hateful ideology.”
The 50-page document quotes a recorded phone call by Fields from the Albemarle Regional Jail in Charlottesville on Dec. 7, 2017, almost four months after the rally, in which he refers to Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother. Bro has been outspoken since her daughter’s death, calling for healing and reconciliation in the community.
“She is a communist,” the memo quotes Fields as saying on the phone with his mother. “An anti-white, liberal. . . . It’s not up for questioning. She’s the enemy.”
“Nobody is the enemy,” his mother replied.
“She is the enemy,” Fields insisted before cursing at his mother to stop questioning him.
In the filing, Kavanaugh detailed Fields’s professed admiration for the militarism and racial purity doctrine of Nazi Germany — a fascination that has been well documented over the past two years in court testimony and media reports. The memo offers new details, though, including about Fields’s trip to Germany with high school classmates.
“When the group visited the Dachau concentration camp, the defendant said, ‘This is where the magic happened,’ and then skipped happily down the train tracks that transported Jewish prisoners to the camp,” Kavanaugh wrote about a classmate’s recollection.
“When they visited the gas chambers . . . the defendant stated, ‘It’s almost like you can still hear them screaming,’ ” the memo says. Quoting a classmate who went on the trip, Kavanaugh said Fields was “elated and happy” when he made the statement.
At Fields’s state trial, a psychologist who reviewed thousands of pages of his school and mental-health records testified that Fields was found to be suffering from bipolar disorder and schizoid personality disorder as a child. He was housed in psychiatric facilities for three stretches before his 15th birthday, according to testimony.
He was prone to angry, sometimes violent outbursts since before he could walk, and he was expelled from preschool because of his volatile behavior, the psychologist said.
In a sentencing memo asking for a prison term of less than life, Fields’s lawyers cited an array of traumas and other trouble in his childhood. “Fundamentally, James’s mental illness causes him to lose emotional and behavioral control in stressful situations,” they wrote.
Before the Unite the Right rally, “he had never attended a political event of any kind, or really any event involving a large crowd,” the defense memo says, adding that in the hours leading up to the car attack, Fields was anxious, sleep-deprived and dehydrated.
“James did not come to Charlottesville with any plan to commit an act of violence,” they wrote. “In the space of only a few minutes, caught in circumstances he did not intend to create, he acted in an aggressive and impulsive manner consistent with his mental health history and his age.”
They added: “In a matter of seconds he caused irreparable harm for which there is no excuse. But this Court can understand his actions, without excusing them, as symptomatic of transient immaturity, and not consider them to be predictive of who he might be in the future with time and medication.”
Paul Duggan has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1987. He specializes in crime and justice issues but also has written extensively about housing problems in Washington, particularly the impact of gentrification. He is a former general assignment reporter, assignment editor and national correspondent for The Post.
Joe Heim joined The Washington Post in 1999. He is a staff writer for the Metro section. He also writes Just Asking, a weekly Q&A column in the Sunday magazine.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2019 The Washington Post

barney
Posts: 3253
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by barney » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:55 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:35 am
jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:32 am
I hear you, Len, but I feel so much cleaner after watching a movie-- like "The Bookshop" last nite.
Joseph yeah-I can understand that-I'm spending so much time with this but I'm trying to figure out the best candidate to get rid of Trump-that's my top priority-he's the worst thing I've ever seen in the White house in my lifetime-maybe even worse than Nixon. Regards, Len
Much worse. Tricky Dicky was sneaky, a liar, a fraud, but he wasn't an infantile narcissist prepared to destroy anything for the sake of his ego. I wasn't a huge fan of George Dubya in his time but, crikey, he looks good now.

lennygoran
Posts: 14893
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:22 am

barney wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:55 pm
Much worse. Tricky Dicky was sneaky, a liar, a fraud, but he wasn't an infantile narcissist prepared to destroy anything for the sake of his ego. I wasn't a huge fan of George Dubya in his time but, crikey, he looks good now.
Barney couldn't agree with you more-how sad we didn't get Hillary in 2016. How alarming and disgusting how he handled or failed to handle Putin yesterday-so to Trump and Putin it's all a big joke. Yesterday former President Jimmy Carter called Trump an illegitimate President! Ironically tomorrow we go to McCarter Theater for the first time-it's down in Princeton. The opera is Nixon in China. Regards, Len

Rach3
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by Rach3 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:25 pm

Trump wants to deport families of active duty US servicemembers:

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/27/73636298 ... ive-troops

Trump wants to deport already naturalized citizens, now matter how long here :

https://www.thenation.com/article/denat ... a-goldman/

Stephen Miller:

https://americasvoice.org/blog/who-is-stephen-miller/

America’s fatal assumption/flaw , from the third to last paragraph of Hamilton's Federalist Paper No.10, in describing one advantage of the new Constitution's federal republic over the Articles of Confederation:

“Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and to schemes of injustice ? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments.”

barney
Posts: 3253
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by barney » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:05 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:22 am
barney wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:55 pm
Much worse. Tricky Dicky was sneaky, a liar, a fraud, but he wasn't an infantile narcissist prepared to destroy anything for the sake of his ego. I wasn't a huge fan of George Dubya in his time but, crikey, he looks good now.
Barney couldn't agree with you more-how sad we didn't get Hillary in 2016. How alarming and disgusting how he handled or failed to handle Putin yesterday-so to Trump and Putin it's all a big joke. Yesterday former President Jimmy Carter called Trump an illegitimate President! Ironically tomorrow we go to McCarter Theater for the first time-it's down in Princeton. The opera is Nixon in China. Regards, Len
A really fine opera. How did you enjoy it? Victorian Opera did it years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Excellent production.

lennygoran
Posts: 14893
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:49 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:05 pm
A really fine opera. How did you enjoy it?
Barney it was quite wonderful! Regards, Len

jserraglio
Posts: 5706
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:21 pm

THE WASHINGTON POST

A black principal, four white teens and the ‘senior prank’ that became a hate crime

By Jessica Contrera

The students swore they weren’t racists. Now a Maryland judge would decide their fate.

July 9, 2019

The principal saw a swastika first. It was inky black, spray painted on a trash can just beside the entrance to the high school. David Burton switched off the engine of his SUV, unaware, even then, of the magnitude of what he was about to see.
This was the last day of the year for the class of 2018 at Glenelg High School. There was going to be an awards ceremony, a picnic, that end-of-a-journey feeling that always made Burton so proud of his job. But as he was on his way to work at 6:25 a.m., the assistant principal had called, agitated and yelling about graffiti. “It’s everywhere,” he kept saying, so Burton had leaned on the gas and rushed the last few miles.
Soon, everyone would be telling him how shocked they were. This was Howard County, after all: a Maryland suburb between Washington and Baltimore that is extremely diverse, extremely well-educated and home to Columbia, a planned community founded on the principles of integration and inclusion. People moved their families here for that reputation just as much as for the good schools.
“Pleasantville,” Burton liked to call it, but as a black man, and as the principal of the county’s only majority-white school, he knew this place was more complicated. When he stepped out into the bright spring day, he confronted the reality of just how much more.
Beneath his dress shoes, there were more swastikas. Spray painted around them were crude drawings of penises.
Then Burton saw the letters “KKK.” He saw the word “frig” again and again next to the words “Jews,” “Fags,” “Nigs” and “Burton.”
He kept walking, following the graffiti around the building’s perimeter. It was on the sidewalks, the trash cans, the loading dock, the stadium around back. There were more than 100 markings in total, though he didn’t bother to count.
He turned a corner and saw something written in large capital letters on the sidewalk: “BURTON IS A NIGGER.”
He paused only for a moment, looking at the words, trying to comprehend that all of this was real.
Later, school district officials, county administrators and prosecutors would have a name for what happened here. They would repeat it, condemn it and vow to prevent it from occurring again. Hate crime.
The phrase has become inescapable as hate-fueled incidents have spiked across the country. A quarter of all hate crimes reported to the FBI, more than any other category, are similar to the attack discovered at Glenelg on May 24, 2018. Vandalism and destruction of property, a physical marking of an age-old threat: You don’t belong here.
The majority are repaired, washed away or painted over without anyone arrested. When the perpetrators are caught, they are rarely charged with a hate crime. Here, there would be consequences, and with them, a division between those who wanted to confront the racism in their midst and those determined to explain it away.
But first, Burton, 50 years old and dressed in one of his best black suits, would walk back over the graffiti, retreat into his office, close the door and pray.
His staff scrambled to cover the spray paint with tarps, carpet pads, anything they could find. The maintenance team searched for a sandblaster. But there was too much to cover and too little time before the students and parents began arriving. The seniors were wearing red caps and gowns, ready for their awards ceremony. Everyone was directed to alternative entrances, away from the worst of the damage. But photos of the graffiti were already being texted, emailed and Snapchatted.
In the auditorium, Imani Nokuri looked for her family, who had come to see her perform the national anthem. She was one of fewer than 20 black students in the class of more than 260 seniors. She and her younger sister, a freshman at Glenelg, had been rapid-fire texting all morning, comforting each other. But when Imani saw the look of deep concern her grandmother gave her, she forced a smile onto her face. “It’s okay,” she promised. “I’m fine.”
In the central office, teachers who had led diversity and empathy training for students were crying. Police were arriving, asking to see security footage. Phones were ringing with calls from reporters. Photos of the damage were about to be broadcast on TV, making their way into homes across the region.
In one of those homes, 72-year-old Susan Sands-Joseph was watching. She knew Glenelg well. She was one of the first black students to attend the school after desegregation. Suddenly, all the memories that she tried not to dwell on were dredged up again: the words she was called, the tomatoes thrown at her head, the looks her parents gave her when she came home saying scalding hot soup had been pushed into her lap again. “It’s okay,” she had promised them. “I’m fine.”
By the time the awards ceremony was about to begin, Principal Burton had rewritten the speech he had been planning to give. “We are not going to let this ruin your celebration,” he would now tell students.
He emerged from his office with notes clutched in his hand and stopped to check in with the police. The security footage, they told Burton, confirmed what he had suspected.
The principal entered the auditorium to a burst of applause. He stepped up to the podium. He stood before his students, looked out into their faces and felt certain: The people who did this were looking back at him.
Seth Taylor tipped his head down so his graduation cap would block his view of the podium. It felt, he said later, like the principal was staring right at him. But he and the others had hidden their faces behind masks the night before, Seth reminded himself. How could anyone know they were the ones who had done it?
All morning, he had been replaying the vandalism in his mind. He’d been at his buddy Matt Lipp’s house, where the parents of all their friends had gathered the evening of May 23 to sort out the details of Senior Week. The teens’ parents had rented them a house in Ocean City, the annual destination for thousands of local students celebrating graduation, and were divvying up tasks: who would drive the group to the beach, who would stock their fridge, who would cook them dinners before leaving them for a week of beer pong, sunburns and meetups with houses full of girls.
Afterward, Seth stayed to watch a Washington Capitals playoff game. He loved these kinds of nights and, really, everything about high school. Cheering crowds at his football and baseball games, late-night Xbox sessions, fishing trips, parties in their parents’ basements. He could do without the academic part — he was a B student, at best — but he was planning to join the Army Reserve and maybe go to community college.
With him at Matt’s was Josh Shaffer, a hockey player he’d been friends with since seventh grade, and Tyler Curtiss, the baseball team captain who had been homecoming king and prom king.
Matt and Josh declined interview requests, but Seth and Tyler agreed to talk to The Washington Post about the vandalism. When they tell the story of that evening, they start with the end of the Caps game, when everyone but Seth was deep into a supply of Bud Light, and the conversation turned, once again, to their senior prank.
Tyler wanted to superglue locks. Seth suggested they grease up three pigs and release them into the school.
Or, somebody said, they could go spray paint the words “Class of 2018.”
Within minutes, they were driving to the school with spray paint from Matt’s parents’ garage. They parked at the church next door, tied T-shirts into masks over their faces and sprinted through the woods.
A shake of the can, the smell of fumes. The words went down easily, just as they had planned: “Class of 2018,” they wrote across the sidewalk.
And then Seth watched as Josh wrote something else: “BURTON IS A” it began.
Later, this was the moment he agonized over — the point at which he could have turned back. “I wish I said something, like, ‘This is stupid, guys. It’s not worth it. We could actually get in trouble for this.’”
Why he didn’t, he would always struggle to explain: “I don’t know. Everyone was doing it. We didn’t realize the consequences.”
“It was just spray paint. It just happened. It is all a blur.”
The blur went on for about seven minutes, during which all of them sprayed something hateful. Josh targeted the principal. Matt attacked Jewish, gay and black people. Tyler drew two swastikas. Seth drew swastikas, “fags” and “KKK.”
When a car drove by, they leaped behind the brick columns near the front entrance, hiding. A moment later, they started spraying again.
Finally, they ran back to their cars. They chucked their paint cans in the woods. They swore to each other that they would never admit what they did.
Seth came home to a quiet house. His sister was away at college, his father was on a business trip, and his mother was asleep. He went to the fridge and found the breakfast she had made for him to eat the next morning. Seth popped the eggs into the microwave. When he went to grab them, the plate slipped. The hot eggs tumbled onto his arms and legs. The shock somehow made it hit him. What had he just done?
Panicked, he started Googling:
“How long do you go to jail for vandalism?”
And then: “Can you get a hate crime for painting swastikas?”
Now he was sitting in the Glenelg auditorium, thinking about what he’d told his mom. Early that morning, she’d received an email from the school informing parents about the graffiti. Horrified, she texted Seth, warning him what he would find when he arrived at the awards ceremony.
“Who would do that?” he had texted back.
And in a sense, he meant it. He had already begun to separate what he’d done from who he believed himself to be. He hadn’t intended to hurt anyone, he said. He would always maintain he wasn’t an anti-Semite, a homophobe or a racist.
From the podium a voice said: “Tyler Curtiss.”
Seth looked up. His friend was walking toward the stage. But Tyler wasn’t getting in trouble. He was accepting an athletic leadership award. He was walking across the stage and shaking the principal’s hand.
Seth felt a tap on his shoulder. The athletic director was standing over him. “Seth,” he said quietly. “You need to come with me.”
Seth followed him out, trying not to look at his classmates. On the other side of the auditorium doors, two police officers were waiting to take him to the office of the school resource officer, Steve Willingham.
On the TV screen inside was security footage from the night before. Seth could see his own stout frame, paint can in hand, frozen in high definition.
“I bet you don’t want to see that, do you?” he remembers Willingham saying.
“No,” Seth answered.
“Do you know why you’re in here?”
“Yes,” Seth said. He didn’t know then that the officers had been strategic in pulling him out first. Willingham had coached Seth’s sister in soccer. He was friends with Seth’s dad. He suspected that of all the boys, Seth was the most likely to confess.
It took only one question: “What happened?”
“Things got out of hand,” Seth recalls telling him. “I was under the impression we were going to do a prank, and it got bad.”
He started to cry. He would be the only one who immediately admitted what they did. The others, court records show, would deny it. Tyler wished Willingham good luck in finding out who did it.
Eventually they were told: The school’s WiFi system requires students to use individual IDs to get online. After they log in once, their phones automatically connect whenever they are on campus.
At 11:35 p.m. on May 23, the students’ IDs began auto-connecting to the WiFi. It took only a few clicks to find out exactly who was beneath those T-shirt masks.
“You have the right to remain silent,” an officer said to Seth before long. “Anything you say or do . . . ”
They told him to remove his graduation cap and gown. They cuffed his arms behind his back.
Seth realized they were about to march him outside, past the windows of the cafeteria. By now it would be filled with students eating lunch.
“Can you cover my face so that the kids don’t videotape me?” he asked.
“No,” an officer replied. “You deserve this.”
By the end of the day, charges had been filed. Not just vandalism and destruction of property, but a hate crime. Prosecutors believed the young men had committed their acts with animosity toward protected groups — and that they could prove it. In Maryland, that meant that the punishment could be intensified. It meant they were looking at up to six years of incarceration.
Before they were released from jail that night, the four students watched on a small TV screen outside their holding cell while their crime was broadcast on the local news — as it would be over and over in the coming days. Viewers saw four white teens, scowling at the camera, and the school system’s superintendent vowing at a news conference to hold them accountable.
“Howard County stands out as a place where diversity and acceptance are cherished,” Michael Martirano said. It sounded like something any superintendent would say. But here, many knew, it came with a story: one taught to children in school, bragged about to visitors and proclaimed on signs.
In the early 1960s, before the Fair Housing Act and the legalization of interracial marriage in Maryland, a white developer named James Rouse began purchasing huge swaths of Howard County farmland to build a planned community named Columbia.
He envisioned it as a mixed-race, mixed-income utopia. “The next America,” he called it, and although racial tensions could never be completely erased, to many people, that is what it became. Today, the suburb — home to a third of the county’s 300,000 residents — is renowned for its ethnic diversity, interracial marriages, interfaith centers and high-achieving schools. It appears frequently on national “Best Places to Live” lists.
Most are unaware of the history that came before Columbia. The farmland Rouse purchased included former slave-holding plantations. An estimated 2,800 people were enslaved in the county at the beginning of the Civil War. A century later, when the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that schools must be desegregated, Howard County was so resistant that it took more than a decade for the black-only school, Harriet Tubman, to close its doors. The opposition to black students learning alongside white ones was so fierce, a cross was burned. It happened outside a school dance at Glenelg High School.
Glenelg is in western Howard, the most rural part of the county, then and now. While the rest of Howard’s high schools have no racial majority, 76 percent of Glenelg students are white.
On the news that night, though, only students of color were interviewed.
“It’s just a small number of students who decide to make these decisions that negatively impact the image of our school,” one said.
“This is not representative of what Glenelg stands for,” said another.
That week, after Seth, Tyler, Matt and Josh were released from jail without having to pay bail, their classmates began to argue over whether those statements were true.
Tyler Hebron, a senior who was president of the school’s black student union, typed her feelings into an Instagram post. “It shouldn’t have taken this event to occur for us to observe the hateful actions of our peers,” she remembers writing. “We shouldn’t say we are surprised. We are not.”
During her freshman year, a student flew a Confederate flag at a football game. Swastikas were scratched into the bathroom stalls. In 2017, someone had written the n-word and Principal Burton’s name on a baseball dugout. She had heard boys play a game to see who could yell the n-word the loudest. To her, this crime was just high-profile proof of the hostility she had always felt.
Soon, comments started appearing beneath her Instagram post.
“You’re racist,” one said. “All you do is blame straight white males.”
The night before graduation, she found herself thinking about whether she should pack pepper spray in her purse. She wasn’t sure, she told her parents, that she felt safe.
Among black families like hers, there were doubts that the white teens would face the kind of punishment black teens receive for similar crimes. Two years earlier, a group of students had painted swastikas on a historic black schoolhouse in Northern Virginia. A Loudoun County judge sentenced them not to jail time or community service, but to reading: along with visiting the Holocaust museum, each had to choose a single book about Nazi Germany or the Jim Crow era and write a report on it.
Two black families came to Burton and told him they were pulling their kids out of Glenelg before the next school year. The principal tried to persuade them not to go.
But in his own house, his wife, Katrina, was wondering if he should leave, too.
They had two daughters to think about, an eighth-grader and a senior at another Howard County high school, who on the day of the hate crime had come home and collapsed in her mother’s arms, sobbing. Katrina knew about the parents who warned Burton not to talk about the incident in his speech at the graduation ceremony, and watched as some of them refused to stand and clap for him that day.
“Are you safe?” she kept asking her husband.
There had been so many incidents in his life that had made Burton question just that. When he was 16, and the parents of a white friend in his Michigan hometown called him the n-word. In college, when he and his fraternity brothers were pulled over and questioned by a group of white cops seemingly for no reason. At a convenience store in South Carolina just a few years ago, when a hostile clerk refused to serve him and his family.
But inside a school, he was an authority figure, the man in charge. For most of his career, he’d led schools in Prince George’s and Howard counties filled with students of color.
And then to his surprise, he was asked in 2016 to leave Howard County’s Long Reach High School, where a third of the students are black, and take over at Glenelg, where less than 5 percent are black. Here, he suspected, it would take time to win over the community.
He started standing in the halls every morning and every class break, looking students in the eye as he said hello. He attended as many games and plays and art shows as he could. He made sure the swastikas scratched in the bathroom were documented and investigated, but quietly, to avoid giving those who drew them the attention they were seeking.
After two years, he felt that he had earned the respect of this place, and these people. They welcomed him when he arrived at the annual end-of-the-year celebration for the senior class at an Ellicott City resort. Parents gave him hugs and thanked him for what he had done for their kids.
That night, he learned that one senior had been caught trying to order alcohol at the bar. The student was kicked out of the event, but the next day, Burton decided he didn’t want to be overly harsh in his punishment.
“Even though you did this, I am going to allow you to go to the school picnic,” he told the teen.
Less than a week later, it was the same student, Josh Shaffer, who would scrawl Burton’s name and the n-word onto the sidewalk.
“The person you married is not about to cower,” the principal told his wife. He wouldn’t be leaving Glenelg.
He could use the summer, he thought, to plan what he was going to do the following school year, the message he needed to send.
And if the prosecutors sought his help in holding his students accountable, he knew what his answer would be.
Every time Seth walked from the parking lot of the Howard County Circuit Court to its entrance, he passed a small, decaying building with barred windows and a slanted roof. He rushed by with his head down, passing a plaque that explained the structure’s history. Here, slaves who’d tried to run to freedom were held before being returned to the people who owned them.
In late March, Seth entered the courthouse dressed in one of his father’s suits, accompanied by his parents. It was his final appearance in front of the judge overseeing all four Glenelg cases: William V. Tucker, a black man with a reputation for his interest in the way the criminal justice system handles young people.
One by one, they had come before him and pleaded guilty, or been found guilty after agreeing to a statement of facts.
Two of them had tried to have the hate-crime charges dismissed. Their attorneys claimed that their First Amendment rights were being violated. They could be punished for the vandalism, the argument went, but not for what they wrote.
It didn’t work.
Now, it was Tucker’s job to answer a question the community had been debating for nearly a year: What consequences did these young men, now 19, deserve?
They hadn’t been allowed to walk at graduation. Their post-high-school plans had been derailed, and they were working in landscaping, asbestos removal and, in Seth’s case, office furniture construction. Their names and mug shots were seared into Howard County’s memory and the Internet’s search results. It was up to Tucker to decide whether, on top of that, they should spend time in jail.
His view became clear when Joshua Shaffer was the first to be sentenced on March 8, 2019. Seth stayed home and kept refreshing his Internet browser, waiting for news. Finally, the local TV station published a video: Josh was being walked out of the courthouse in cuffs. He had been sentenced to three years of probation, 250 hours of community service and 18 consecutive weekends in Howard County Jail.
Seth’s parents called his attorney, Debra Saltz, in a panic. His case was different, she reminded them. He was different. They just had to persuade the judge to see that.
Saltz stood in court that March morning and pointed to her client.
“Your honor, I truly believe justice and mercy call on us to consider who he is,” she said. “And I believe it requires the court to consider what has happened in his life, what he has done since May 24.”
Seth, she explained, had been working to make amends. He’d completed 181 hours of community service. He’d written an apology letter to Principal Burton. He’d visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and volunteered at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. He’d spent time with an African American pastor and attended regular diversity training with an African American counselor.
He did it all with the support of his parents, who had spent the year agonizing over how their son could have done something so heinous. Seth’s father, Scott Taylor, stood to tell the judge he blamed himself.
“The letters ‘KKK’ were painted on the school. Seth didn’t understand the pain, suffering and terror associated with those letters, because I never told him,” the father said. “I never told him how the Klan used to collect money after church in my neighborhood when I was growing up in the South, and how they would stand in the road like the fire department.”
“I’ve come to realize I did fail,” he continued. “It’s not what I said in my home; it’s what I didn’t say.”
When it was Seth’s turn to speak, he assured his parents that it was not their fault.
“You taught me better,” he said. “This isn’t who you raised.”
He apologized to the principal and to the communities he hurt.
“It was the worst decision I have ever made in my entire life. What I did there keeps me up at night. I deserve whatever punishment I get,” he said. “I have worked hard since that day to show my family, my school, my community and Principal Burton how sorry I am.”
Seth said he just wanted all of them to understand: He is not a racist.
Later, he would explain himself this way: “I never really understood the symbol of the swastika. I knew it was wrong to plaster it somewhere. I didn’t learn exactly what [the Nazis] were doing to the Jews until I went to the Holocaust Museum. I never learned that they were mutilated. I knew that they were, like, burned. But I never learned that they had experiments done on them, were injected with diseases. The school didn’t include that. They just included the burning and the train cars.”
His understanding of the KKK was limited, too, he said. “Some people think it’s just a word, or a symbol or three letters put together. . . . But they were lynching people, hurting people for no good reason.”
Now, he said, he knows. But he still doesn’t believe his actions that night make him a bigot.
“I spray paint one racist thing and, suddenly, I become a racist? Just because I did it doesn’t mean I hate Jews, gay people or black people.”
He was standing before the judge, pleading guilty to a hate crime, but he would not admit that he harbored any hate.
All around him, the adults agreed.
“He will forever be known as the racist kid at Glenelg, but that’s not who Seth is,” his father said in court that day.
“I told him that his act was racist, but don’t let it define him as a racist. He can and I pray that he will go on and do better,” Maxwell Ware, the African American pastor he met with, wrote in a letter supporting him.
“He is not a racist . . . he has a good heart,” his attorney told the judge.
Behind her, Principal Burton was listening. He’d heard Joshua Shaffer’s attorney give a similar speech. When Matthew Lipp was sentenced, he would hear it then too. Tyler Curtiss had written it in a Facebook apology the day after the crime. Tyler, Burton knew, had turned to Jesus, joining a church where he talked openly about the swastikas he painted that night. He had spent months telling his story to Jewish congregations, interfaith groups and the county’s board of rabbis. Come the day of his sentencing, Tyler would say: “I hold no hatred toward any human being, especially those in the communities that were affected.”
They all believed it was possible to do what they did without really meaning it.
Burton wanted to look them in the eye and say: “You did something very racist. How you don’t think you’re a racist, I don’t know.”
What he did know was what they’d been taught in school: Glenelg covered the Holocaust and the Klan in detail, in U.S. history and American government and world history and in the books they read for language arts.
He believed what possessed them to draw those words and symbols that night wasn’t a lack of knowledge, but something deeper, something ugly, something taught to them, consciously or unconsciously, along the way. If they couldn’t admit that now, maybe they never would. But it wasn’t his responsibility to educate them any more.
When it was Burton’s turn to speak at Seth’s sentencing, he didn’t say the word “racism.” He talked about all the people the crime had affected — the teachers crying in his office, the parents who pulled their kids out of his school, his daughter in tears, and for just a few moments, himself: “I know I give up my time, my effort, I give up my life for my students,” he said. “I think the only thing I am asking in return is just a little bit of respect.”
The courtroom waited in silence for Judge Tucker to reach his decision. Seth kept his gaze on the table. His father rubbed his mother’s back.
“I appreciate the fact that you are now trying to show that you are not a racist, that you committed a racist act,” Tucker finally told Seth. “But part of what I need to do is punish you. So the sentence is going to be as follows.”
Three years probation. Two hundred fifty hours in community service. And nine consecutive weekends in jail.
“A normal weekend incarceration is Friday 6 p.m. to Sunday 6 p.m.,” Tucker said. It was a Thursday. “For this weekend, it begins today.”
A black sheriff’s deputy stepped behind Seth and pulled out her handcuffs. His mother began to cry.
“Alright, Mr. Taylor, good luck to you,” the judge said, and the metal closed around Seth’s wrists.
Six weeks later, Seth backed his car out of his parents’ driveway, headed to his final weekend in jail.
Good behavior during his weekends locked up meant he had to serve only two-thirds of them.
The following weekend, Tyler Curtiss, who had painted two swastikas, would finish his weekends, five in all.
Matt Lipp, whose graffiti attacked Jewish, black and gay people, would serve 11 of the 16 he was sentenced to. He has filed an appeal, still arguing that his First Amendment rights had been violated.
Josh Shaffer, who targeted the principal, was sentenced to the most jail time: 18 weekends. He would serve 12.
All four will be eligible to get the hate crimes expunged from their record when their probation is finished.
Together they had figured out how to navigate their 48-hour stints locked up: how to make the time pass, how to hide their toilet paper so it wouldn’t be stolen, what to do when the other inmates threw dominoes at their heads.
Seth didn’t know the names of the people who gave them trouble, but he had nicknames he made up for them. “String Bean,” for the tall, lanky one. “Pistachio” for the one with the mustache.
“Two black kids who just do not like us,” he called them.
Now he drove past the high school, yawning as he turned toward the highway. He’d been up late the night before, playing Mortal Kombat with strangers on his Xbox. He felt comfortable there, behind the anonymity of his username. He didn’t feel that way anywhere in Howard County. He grew nervous anytime he saw a person of color, wondering if they recognized him and knew what he had done.
He didn’t think anyone would recognize him come Monday, when he was going to start a new job in a heating and cooling apprenticeship program an hour away. It was going to pay $14 an hour. If he liked it, he might get his HVAC license. And then in three years when his probation was over, he thought he might move to Florida. Do some fishing. Start over.
He pulled into the jail parking lot 20 minutes early, switched off his engine and pulled out his phone. He turned on Kodak Black, who started rapping about “nigga s---.”
A truck pulled up beside him and Seth rolled down his passenger window.
“Hey,” he called to Josh. The two were the only ones in the group who had stayed close friends. During the week, they went to the gym together late at night, when they wouldn’t see other people.
“You ready to play three hours of checkers?” Josh asked.
“I’m finding a book, man,” Seth said. “I can’t play Uno again. I’m never playing Uno again in my life as soon as I leave this jail.”
Josh pulled out a can of tobacco dip. Seth took a hit from his strawberry-flavored Juul. They sat there until Josh said, “You ready?” and then Seth followed him inside.
The principal steered into the high school lot a month later and parked in the same spot he had a year before. He stepped out of his SUV in one of his best black suits. It was the last day of school for the class of 2019.
Once again, there was going to be an awards ceremony and a picnic, but this year, there was no graffiti waiting for him.
In the weeks since his former students were sent to jail, he and his wife had been asked again and again what they thought of the punishment. People were outraged — either that the young men had received a “slap on the wrist” or that they had been so persecuted. Burton wouldn’t take a side. “To me, it felt like a crime,” he said. “But what happens because of that crime is not up to me to figure out.”
He had to focus on his 1,200 current students: the LGBTQ kids who still felt isolated. The Jewish girl who told the local paper she still wishes she could transfer. Whoever was still scrawling swastikas on the bathroom stalls.
In the past year, he’d created a task force of diverse students to work on the school’s climate. Soon every freshman would go through an empathy workshop. And nearly 40 of his employees had spent the year meeting to discuss the book “Waking Up White,” a memoir of a white woman who comes to understand that racism is a system that she had been shaped by and contributed to her entire life without even realizing it. Maybe, he thought, that lesson would get passed on to Glenelg’s students.
But on this morning, his job was to celebrate his seniors. He stood outside as they arrived in their red caps and gowns. Their parents and grandparents followed behind, cameras in hand.
Then he saw it: this year’s version of a senior prank. A tractor was pulling into the parking lot. On the front was an old couch bolted to the forklift, a sign that read “2019,” and a few students sprawled on the cushions. On the back was a blue flag. “TRUMP,” it read, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
The assistant principal set off after them, and Burton decided to let him handle it. Instead he made his way to the auditorium. He stepped up to the podium, looking out at his students’ faces. Then their names were called, and they came on stage to shake his hand.
Jessica Contrera is a reporter on The Washington Post's local enterprise team. She writes about people whose lives are being transformed by the major events and issues in the news.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2019 The Washington Post

barney
Posts: 3253
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by barney » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:51 pm

That is such an interesting article. Thanks for posting it.
I know that because of its history the US' special demon is racism. But of course it is found everywhere, in every community. Japan, China, India, Australia, everywhere. It's certainly not merely a white, Western disease. In Australia I have reported on ugly attitudes among Christians, Muslims, even Buddhists (in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, not in Australia), and among atheists. Agnostics are not immune. Of course it is easy to distrust people not of your tribe, especially if you don't mix much with other tribes. I don't know what the answer is.
We are all linked by the same DNA, and every creation account, from Genesis to evolution, takes us back to common ancestors.

jserraglio
Posts: 5706
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Demonizing 'whiteness' and the inherent dangers

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:54 pm

ImageWASHINGTON POST

White supremacy and the first US census

Image

The debate dominated the discussion for two days in the middle of 1787′s Constitutional Convention, raising awkward questions about race and personhood that foreshadowed a bloody conflict decades later.

How would the new nation count slaves in its first census? States with larger populations faced a mixed bag of benefits: More people would mean more political representation but also a higher tax burden. The debate was fraught on multiple levels, not the least because of the complicated issues that arose from defining other humans as property.
Massachusetts delegate Nathaniel Gorham noted the convoluted logic of his counterparts from slave-owning states.
These delegates liked to argue that blacks were inferior to freemen when the issue of taxes came up, he said, according to James Madison’s notes of the day. But when the question of political representation came up, “We are assured they [slaves] are equal to freemen.”
A compromise was struck to address the issue: slaves would be counted in the census, but they would be given weight as three-fifths of a person for financial and political purposes. And that compromise continued until the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States.
Now, more than 200 years after its creation, another racially fraught debate about the census draws focus to its meaning and historical legacy. The Trump administration’s push to add a question about citizenship has unfolded in dramatic fashion, though President Trump announced Thursday that he would back down from his attempts.
The debate about citizenship is distinct, driven by the demographic and political concerns of the moment. But there is a thoughline.
“It’s always about more than counting,” said Susan Schulten, chair of the history department at the University of Denver and an expert on 19th-century America. “There’s always an agenda behind the count . . . What you’re seeing is the census as an instrument of political power.”
The compromise reached at the 1787 convention was enshrined in the Constitution.
“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States . . . determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons,” it read.
The first census asked for the name of the head of each household, as well as the number of male whites under 16 and over 16 — information to prepare in case of another war — the number of free female whites, free other persons and slaves. The vast majority of Native Americans lived separately from the settlements established by white Americans at the time and therefore were not a very large part of the count.
Madison’s notes from the convention demonstrate the fallacies in the classification of people as property. Many delegates tried to parse the ways in which slaves were both property — Virginia delegate George Mason called them a “peculiar species of property” — and not.
Others wondered why if slaves were property they would be included at all, when other property was not a part of the census. Some delegates admitted that the logic was thin.
“Are they admitted as citizens — then why are they not admitted on an equality with white citizens? Are they admitted as property — then why is not other property admitted into the computation?” Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson asked, according to Madison’s notes.
But those contradictions wouldn’t be smoothed out at the convention. That would have to come later. And that was where the compromise originated.
“These were difficulties, however, which [Wilson] thought must be overruled by the necessity of compromise,” Madison noted.
The decision to include slaves was hugely consequential.
It substantially increased Southern political representation, as historians such as Garry Wills have argued, potentially enough to tip the balance in close political battles for decades.
“Without the federal ratio as the deciding factor in House votes, slavery would have been exuded from Missouri, Jackson’s Indian removal policy would have failed,” Wills argued in his 2003 book “ ‘Negro President’: Jefferson and the Slave Power.”
The presidency was held by slave owners for 50 years, and the speakership of the House for 41, while 18 Supreme Court seats out of the 31 before 1850 were held by slave owners, Wills noted, citing a survey that showed that half of the highest federal officeholders were southerners, while the North had almost twice the free population as the South.
“The federal ratio, and its ripple of side effects, had a great deal to do with the fact that for over half a century, right up to the Civil War, the management of the government was disproportionately controlled by the South.”
Those statistics had other effects as well, increasing the social understanding of slavery that eventually lead to the Civil War.
In 1807, the United States banned the importation of slaves, leading some to think that the slave population would eventually die out — what was referred to as following “the fate of the Indians,” said Margo Anderson, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and an expert on race issues in the census.
But the census showed the opposite was the case — the slave population continued to grow, from 650,000 in 1790, to 2 million in 1830, to 4 million in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, about a third of the South’s population the whole time.
“Once Americans realized that, particularly in the North, they built an abolitionist movement,” Anderson said. “They were thinking, ‘We have to get rid of this’ — not by natural demographic pattern but by legal abolition. And that’s what got us the Civil War.”
A 1861 map based on census data that showed the concentration of slaves became a powerful visual illustration of reasons that animated the Civil War — the South’s reliance on slavery, Schulten said.
“It is treated as an incredible document and it is a favorite of Lincoln because it visualizes for the whole Union front and leadership just how tied to slavery secession really is,” she said. “Once it was visualized, that became a very powerful tool to demonstrate that slavery had driven the way.”
C. Matthew Snipp, a sociology professor at Stanford University and a former member of the Census Bureau’s Racial and Ethnic Advisory Committee, said in an interview that the census has always been a reflection of contemporary understandings of race.
One thing that is different now is how hastily the citizenship question appeared to have been proposed, Snipp said. He said he had spoken to some contacts in the Census Bureau.
“To a person they’re fairly appalled because it bypasses the processes, it’s going to gum up the system, they were completely blindsided by this, and it’s a bad idea from beginning to end,” he said. “I think everybody is acutely aware that this is a potentially damaging measure that this is going to result in a census that is not going to be the quality that they had planned for and is probably going to cost more money.”
Eli Rosenberg is a reporter on The Washington Post's General Assignment team. He has worked at the New York Times and the New York Daily News.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2019 The Washington Post

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