The Least, First

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Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

What we mean when we talk about confronting privilege

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Calling someone a racist is more disturbing to the mainstream than actual institutional racism. Short of witnessing a lynching, there is always some way to explain away race bias. So it goes, too, with privilege.

clipped from whattamisaid.blogspot.com
Talking about white privilege is no more racist than talking about the privileges of the able-bodied is ablist or talking about male privilege is sexist. It is a recognition of the social hierarchy that is our culture.
Confronting one’s privilege, whatever sort of privilege it is, means simply this:
– Acknowleging that a quality you possess offers an advantage over others. (That quality is often unearned like race, gender, sexuality, etc., rendering the advantage unfair)
– Recognizing the unique opportunities and successes that your privilege has afforded you
– Exploring how the less privileged are marginalized
– Working to mitigate the marginalization of the less privileged where you can
Confronting privilege is an ongoing exercise, requiring learning, self-reflection and empathy. It is a struggle to be vigilant against something that we are often completely blind to. But isn’t the struggle worth it?
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h/t to Lexica at Clipmarks for finding this gem.

Do take time to read the whole wise post at What Tami Said.  White folks, we need to know this inside and out, because we can’t tell the rain from the false echoes on our culture-acclimated radar.

As Tami said: “There is always some way to explain away race bias.”

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Written by Monte

August 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

IA Rep Steve King is sole objector to slave labor memorial at US Capitol

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Steve, Steve, Steve.

Iowa has a cherished history of getting it right early on civil rights issues. Why must you so disgrace us?

clipped from www.bleedingheartland.com

Congressman Steve King showed us again on Tuesday why Esquire magazine named him one of the 10 Worst members of Congress last year.
On Tuesday King distinguished himself as the only member of the U.S. House to vote against placing “a marker acknowledging the role that slave labor played in constructing the Capitol” in a “prominent location in the visitor center’s Emancipation Hall.” This was not a partisan resolution; 399 members of Congress voted yes, including certifiable wingnuts such as Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.
King objects:

Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors.

Reading King’s statement reminded me of Esquire’s observation:

King believes himself to be clever, and his list of idiot declarations is probably the longest in Washington.

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Written by Monte

July 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

G8 balks at fulfilling aid pledges; 10 million to die?

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May result in 11 million preventable deaths; only 2% of G20 stimulus package needed to keep promises. From an article by World Vision:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
Today’s communiqué from the G8 leaders contains neither an acknowledgement they are off track on fulfilling their aid pledges, nor any concrete plans to get them back on track. In fact, there is now no way they can meet their 2005 promise to double aid for Africa by 2010.
This year’s failure is particularly significant as the current economic crisis means up to 2.8 million more children could die by 2015. That’s beyond the 9.2 million who die each year of preventable causes
Any excuse from G8 leaders that aid is unaffordable in an economic downturn is unacceptable. The 2005 G8 pledge of an extra $50 billion by 2010 is just 2% of the G20 stimulus package
Over the 48 hours of this summit 50,000 children will die from preventable causes. At least 50% of these will be in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the absence of urgent action by the international community this means over 9 million child deaths between now and the next G8 in Canada.
when the G8 chooses […]
it can make a real impact on child deaths.
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Harkin: An Apology For Slavery

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Iowa’s Sen. Tom Harkin spoke on June 18th in support of a bill that made an official government apology to black Americans for slavery in the United States, and for the government’s long failure to act against it. I am proud that one of my state’s Senators was a key mover in the apology. Every time America honestly faces the dark sides of its past, we become a better people.

Does it end racial division? Of course not. But, as with all trauma, healing only happens in small steps. Words are always part of those steps.   Some may say “Talk is cheap, nothing is solved, this Senate didn’t cause slavery anyway.”  But we are responsible for our history, and I’ll take an apology over official silence any day.


Today, Senator Tom Harkin delivered remarks on the Senate Floor just prior to the passage of S. Con. Res. 26, which he introduced and co-sponsored. The transcript follows.

“Madam President, the clerk just read for the first time ever in this body what we should have done a long time ago. An apology for slavery and the Jim Crow laws which, for a century after emancipation, deprived millions of Americans their basic human rights, equal justice under law and equal opportunities. Today the Senate will unanimously make that apology. Read the rest of this entry »

Need some English study?

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Check this out: Pat Buchanan and white supremacist Peter Brimelow advocate English-only initiatives at a “Conferenece.”
clipped from thinkprogress.org

Under Misspelled Banner, Buchanan And White Nationalist Brimelow Argue For English-Only Initiatives

Pat Buchanan and Peter Brimelow
On Saturday, Pat Buchanan hosted a conference to discuss how Republicans can regain a majority in America. During one discussion, panelists suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting “working class white Democrats.” The discussion ridiculed Judge Sotomayor for the fact that she studied children’s classics to improve her grammar while attending college. The panelists also suggested that, without English as the official language, President Obama would force Americans to speak Spanish.
One salient feature of the event was the banner hanging over the English-only advocates. The word conference was spelled “Conferenece.”
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Anti-racism clowns steal the show at Nazi/KKK rally

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Truly brilliant!

Clowns from the “100th ARA (Anti-racist-action) Clown Block” cheerfully pop in on a VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK white supremacist rally in Knoxville, TN, ready to join in the cheers. But they don’t seem to be able to get the words quite right:

clipped from www.neatorama.com

“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions. […]
The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”
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How wonderful!

Look, these poor dupes are not going to be reasoned with. Perhaps they’d enjoy nothing better than a mutual shout-down, maybe even a brawl (indeed, the VNN founder gets arrested after rushing the newcomers).

But clowns! They completely alter the public memory of the event, replacing rage with humor.

And how appropriate.  There needs to be a consensus that these demonstrators are not the heroic defenders of the nation they imagine themselves to be.  As victims and perpetrators of irrational, paranoid conspiracies (along the lines of the counterfeit-birth-certificate-not-really-our-president hokum), they alienate and destroy.

All America benefits when they’re not taken seriously. [h/t Wendy Babiak]

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London Times pokes “unreconstructed underbelly” of GOP

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photo by wonkette.com

photo by wonkette.com

Racism in “sections” of the GOP grabs international attention. Examples accumulate, highlighted here by the London Times:
clipped from www.timesonline.co.uk
An e-mail sent by a Republican aide, entitled Historical Keepsake Photo, features portraits of the first 43 American presidents in a variety of dignified and statesmanlike poses … the final and 44th panel … displays just a pair of cartoon eyeballs set against an entirely dark background [..]

Diann Jones, a vice-chairman of the Collin County Republican Party in Texas … denounced [bogus] plans for a tax on guns as “another terrific idea from the black house and its minions” […]

Dean Grose, the mayor of Los Alamitos … sent an e-mail to a black businesswoman depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons […]

[A] member of Florida’s state Republican committee … said. “How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in one day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?”

Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee Republican chairman [and candidate for the RNC chair]  sent friends a Christmas gift of songs by the satirist Paul Shanklin, including the track: “Barack the Magic Negro”.

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The Times goes on to quote Michael Steele, the recently-elected RNC chairman, who sees the problem as GOP officials who “don’t give a damn”.

To them, he said, “outreach means let’s throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them — ‘See, look at us’. And then we go back to the same old, same old.”

And “same old, same old” means “these things don’t really matter:” Read the rest of this entry »