You ever watch something so vicariously embarrassing, so painfully awkward that it almost gives you a full-body toothache?
Apologies for getting to this a bit late:
Also blogging on this:
(Special thanks to Sylvia/M for link assistance)
Related: Rep. John Conyers responds:
“I am deeply disturbed by the reported incidents in Algiers Point, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina,” said Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
Algiers Point residents, Conyers continued, “allegedly shot randomly at African Americans who had fled to the area escaping the effects of the storm. Several injuries and deaths were reported. I am particularly concerned about accounts that local police fueled, rather than extinguished, the violence.”
Also see Color of Change, which has started a campaign asking “Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate” the attacks.
Sometimes its best to let teh wingnuts speak freely, because the vicious projection, though blindingly offensive, can be quite illuminating:
On his radio show, Mark Belling said: ‘Whether it’s blacks, Mexican-Americans, whatever, people who live in a neighborhood should not have to put up with newcomers deciding that that neighborhood is going to be ‘Crimeville.’ ‘ Belling continued: ‘You wonder why racism occurs. Why people fear ‘look what’s happening to the neighborhood’ when some — when a minority person moves in. The answer is because sometimes it does mean an increase in crime.’
Got that, folks? Racism is still prevalent because uppity upwardly mobile minorities insist on turning decent (white) neighbourhoods into ‘Crimeville’. O-Dub is right about why movement conservatism in the US alienates and repels most people of colour, even those whose political philosophies lean to the right:
“[Wingnuts] say things like this and honestly can’t see what the problem is.”
Related: Former Milwaukee radio program director Dan Shelly on how the right-wing talk radio industry manufactures and markets polarization for profit, framing “virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms” in order to “appeal to a segment of the population that feels disenfranchised and even victimized by the media.”
This week, The Unapologetic Mexican has a series of guest posts featuring various African-American responses to the election of Barack Obama, The African American Perspective, which runs through November 16th. Yours truly truly was given the privilege of participating. My post, Barack Obama: [Re]defining Possibilities, can be viewed here. Thanks to Nezua @ UMX for providing me the opportunity to opine at length on this subject–despite my Canadian citizenship (hey–the one drop rule knows no borders.)
Other posts in the AAP+ series:
The House on Tuesday issued an unprecedented apology to black Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws.
“Today represents a milestone in our nation’s efforts to remedy the ills of our past,” said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Cohen resolution does not mention reparations. It does commit the House to rectifying “the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow.”
It says that Africans forced into slavery “were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage” and that black Americans today continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws that fostered discrimination and segregation.
Whereas millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and the 13 American colonies from 1619 through 1865; (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)
HRES 194 EH
H. Res. 194
In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
July 29, 2008.
Whereas millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and the 13 American colonies from 1619 through 1865;
Whereas slavery in America resembled no other form of involuntary servitude known in history, as Africans were captured and sold at auction like inanimate objects or animals;
Whereas Africans forced into slavery were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage;
Whereas enslaved families were torn apart after having been sold separately from one another;
Whereas the system of slavery and the visceral racism against persons of African descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the Nation’s social fabric;
Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865 after the end of the Civil War;
Whereas after emancipation from 246 years of slavery, African-Americans soon saw the fleeting political, social, and economic gains they made during Reconstruction eviscerated by virulent racism, lynchings, disenfranchisement, Black Codes, and racial segregation laws that imposed a rigid system of officially sanctioned racial segregation in virtually all areas of life;
Whereas the system of de jure racial segregation known as `Jim Crow,’ which arose in certain parts of the Nation following the Civil War to create separate and unequal societies for whites and African-Americans, was a direct result of the racism against persons of African descent engendered by slavery;
Whereas a century after the official end of slavery in America, Federal action was required during the 1960s to eliminate the dejure and defacto system of Jim Crow throughout parts of the Nation, though its vestiges still linger to this day;
Whereas African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow–long after both systems were formally abolished–through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity;
Whereas the story of the enslavement and de jure segregation of African-Americans and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of American history;
Whereas on July 8, 2003, during a trip to Goree Island, Senegal, a former slave port, President George W. Bush acknowledged slavery’s continuing legacy in American life and the need to confront that legacy when he stated that slavery `was . . . one of the greatest crimes of history . . . The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destiny is set: liberty and justice for all.’;
Whereas President Bill Clinton also acknowledged the deep-seated problems caused by the continuing legacy of racism against African-Americans that began with slavery when he initiated a national dialogue about race;
Whereas a genuine apology is an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation;
Whereas an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help Americans confront the ghosts of their past;
Whereas the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia has recently taken the lead in adopting a resolution officially expressing appropriate remorse for slavery and other State legislatures have adopted or are considering similar resolutions; and
Whereas it is important for this country, which legally recognized slavery through its Constitution and its laws, to make a formal apology for slavery and for its successor, Jim Crow, so that it can move forward and seek reconciliation, justice, and harmony for all of its citizens: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) acknowledges that slavery is incompatible with the basic founding principles recognized in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal;
(2) acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow;
(3) apologizes to African Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow; and
(4) expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African Americans under slavery and Jim Crow and to stop the occurrence of human rights violations in the future.
Sure, simply saying sorry isn’t enough. But it’s a start (key word: start — I’m curious to see what specific measures Congress will take in tackling “the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow.”)
Is it empty symbolism, you may ask? I don’t discount symbols which are powerful, especially when it comes to race in America. It’s good to see positive symbolism rather than negative symbolism come our way for once. And it instills confidence in our leaders when they can admit poor judgment and commit to better choices. Still, when the gov’t acknowledges oppressive, incorrect action — isn’t corrective, remedying action a reasonable expectation?
Related: More from Jack and Jill Politics on Rep. Steve Cohen (D – TN), the author of the resolution.
African-American mothers, as descendants of Africans, realize that there’s great importance to the name you choose for your child. It says a lot about the individual, their family and their connection to the community at large.
They spend a lot of time carefully putting together combinations of names, poring through various baby name books, and considering various factors in consultation with the father and sometimes the soon to be grandparents before coming up with that combination of three names that gets entered onto your birth certificate soon after you exit the birth canal and enter the world.
Names carry a lot of weight in our binary gendered society, and transpeople know this reality all too well. It’s why one of the first things we do when we finally start making those moves to transition is choosing a name that accurately represents who we are. It’s one reason why our fundamentalist enemies spend so much time making it hard for us to legally change our names and the gender markers to go with those names.
I believe that some of the negative friction that happens between transpeople and their mothers is fueled in one small way by the fact that many of us unilaterally choose our new names as part of the process.
Granted, some of that friction is caused by the parents rejecting their child in the early wake of the child’s announcement of their wish to transition. But sometimes when we logically paint the worst-case scenario for transition and presume that we’re going to get cut off from our immediate family’s love and it doesn’t happen, then I submit that one way to facilitate bonding of our families into the transition process is to allow them that input in the name change decision.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
While I agree that most race and gender based personal attacks do not address real political issues, we should not forget that racial and gender issues are real issues. We should not forget that racism and sexism are still fundamental problems in the US.
I know many Americans are uncomfortable openly discussing how race and gender influence our political system, but this doesn’t mean that these issues are not “real.” Denial won’t erase social inequality. It’s a shame that many people would rather purge discussion of racism and sexism from the public discourse than actually work to give people an equal shot.
– Rachel @ Rachel’s Tavern, “Let’s Get Back to the Real Issues”
(more real issues after the fold)