The compromise that wasn’t

Remember that disgusting hate-filled piece of legislation out of North Carolina last year? The one crafted by Republicans at the last hour and rushed into law? The vile, discriminatory bill written in response to a Charlotte, NC Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) which sought to protect the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual folks, and transgender people?

That repugnant bill, commonly referred to at HB2 (here’s a breakdown of the bill),  was signed into law by then Governor  (R) Pat McCrory. Opponents of the law touted it as one of the most extreme anti-queer pieces of legislation they’d seen. Supporters of the bill simultaneously frothed at the mouth or tried to find some place to privately masturbate bc they were excited at the thought of sticking it to us. The bill eliminated anti-discrimination protections in place for queers (and we know how much it turns on Republicans to deny queers the right to make use of public businesses without discrimination). It also mandated that in government buildings workers were required to use the restrooms that corresponded to their birth sex.

The resultant backlash was immediate, fierce, and long lasting:

  • PayPal decided to not move ahead with a location in  NC
  • Global German banking institution Deutsche Bank decided not to expand into NC
  • the American Institute of Architects moved their conference out of NC
  • the Kellogg Foundation cancelled plans to host a conference in NC
  •  the 2017 NBA All moved their game out of NC
  • the NCAA stripped NC of its hosting rights
  • Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and many more artists cancelled concert appearances in the state
  • Cirque du Soleil cancelled performances
  • producer of Wicked will not allow the play to show in NC
  • and much more (which can be read here)

As months passed and the 2016 gubernatorial race hurled toward its conclusion, it became apparent to  both the knuckle-dragging conservative status quo supporters who supported the bill and the opponents of the bill that the election outcome would determine the future of HB2.  After all, despite the tremendous economic fallout HB2 had brought to North Carolina, GOP leadership (including Gov. McCrory),  in the state remained firm in their support for bigotry. Meanwhile, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who hoped to unseat McCrory, ran a campaign that opposed HB2. Ultimately, Cooper received on the necessary votes to win the governor’s office.  In the end, the economic fallout of HB2, as well  as the ridicule and derision the state received for its passage were instrumental in McCrory’s defeat (a defeat he would not accept for weeks bc he was a sole loser). With a Democrat in place as Governor one would think North Carolina’s year of hell might be drawing to a close. To social justice organizations and queer rights groups, it looked as if a reversal of HB2 was imminent.

Sadly, rather than a reversal of HB2, a compromise was reached.

“Compromise”.  That’s not quite the word HB2 opponents where hoping for. But it can’t be that bad, right? After all, we have a Democratic Governor in office now. One who opposes anti-queer discrimination. Yeeeeaaah. About that.

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The compromise that wasn’t
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White fuckery never takes a day off, does it?

A little while back, I made a flippant comment on Facebook about white supremacy taking a break for one day. You know, just get off the backs of People of Color for one fucking day. Man, a break like that would be nice. I could go to work and not hear casual  comments that reinforce white supremacy from co-workers or guests. I could  turn on the television and not see KellyAnne Conway spew her white supremacy apologetics (and I could turn on the tv and not worry about which apologist for racism a mainstream media outlet coughcoughCNNcoughcough gives a platform to).  I could turn on NPR on the drive to and from work without hearing the authoritarian fuckstain POS racist POTUS. This day could actually allow myself and other People of Color to exist for 24 hours without the constant reminder that socially, politically, and economically, we are viewed as inferior at best, and unworthy of existence at worst. The idea of having just a brief respite from the onslaught of white fuckery is sooooo appealing.

To be honest though, I wouldn’t really want racism to take 24 hours off. Aside from the damn near impossibility of such a thing ever occurring (though it might make for an interesting sci-fi series–kinda like The Purge–one day, every month, white supremacy takes a vacation, just don’t ask me how in the world that could happen–probably need some magical plot device), knowing that the next day would see a return to the same old, same old shit would be so frustrating that I’m not sure I could enjoy such a day (I imagine others could though).

As I thought about my flippant comment (which was tinged with frustration and a desire for PoC to just catch a break), I realized that 24 hours was being generous. Half a day is generous. 60 minutes is generous.  In fact, racism pervades the United States to such an extent that I imagine not even a minute passes between one example of racism and another. These incidents cover a broad range, from individual acts of microaggressive racial bigotry that act to reinforce white supremacy in subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways  to more extreme examples that not only reinforce white supremacy, but directly oppress PoC collectively. In the days since the inauguration of POTUS45, there has been a constant stream of infuriating incidents of racial hatred. These incidents have range from smaller, individual cases of racism that affect an isolated Person of Color (or a handful of PoC) to larger cases that affect mass numbers of PoC.

Now, before I go any further, I want to re-re-re-re-re-re-re-state the definition of racism I am operating under, which fits with the sociological definition (but not the definition many, many, many white folks–including some ostensibly progressive white folks–love to pull out of dictionaries):

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White fuckery never takes a day off, does it?

This can all be traced back to the Civil War

We are going through some horrifying times right now. The presidential win by the incompetent, thin skinned rapist demagogue (I refuse to refer to him by his actual name, nor will I *EVER* call him “Mr. President” or “President [redacted]”) has led to a government that is very much not democratic, and is in fact, in danger of becoming an authoritarian police state (one run by white supremacists and Nazis at that). Chitler and those he brought on as part of his Cabinet have no respect for the people of this nation or the Constitution that all government employees are supposed to uphold. They have a complete disrespect for the rule of law  as well as disrespect for the basic standards of decency, transparency, and accountability expected from the leaders of this country. This disrespect and the trampling of the Constitutional and human rights of USAmerican citizens can be seen almost daily:

  • issuing an executive order that effectively bars Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States (no, the writing of the order does not literally say “ban on Muslims”, but that’s the end result) is an attack on people based on their religion and ethnicity
  • the imposition of a media blackout on multiple federal agenices such as the FDA and the EPA
  • criticizing the exercise of free speech rights of USAmerican civilians (the ‘Hamilton’ cast) and attacking celebrities who express disapproval of his actions
  • referring to his critics as enemies
  • openly displaying aggression to private companies
  • being extremely hostile to reporters and the media (signalling an opposition to the freedom of the press)
  • nominating a host of appointees for government positions who are not only supremely unqualified, but also (in most cases) want to gut the departments they are to be in charge of
  • continuing to associate with Russia, despite the successful cyberattacks carried out by that country

That’s just off the top of my head.  There’s been so much that the Tangerine Tyrant does on a daily basis that flies in the face of human decency or respect for the founding principles of this country. What many people may not realize though, is that our current slide towards an authoritarian or fascist state are directly connected to the demonization and enslavement of African-Americans for 245 years, which culminated with the Civil War.

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This can all be traced back to the Civil War

I’m so tired of liberal calls for reaching across the aisle

In the wake of the supremely awful badness that was the 2016 US elections (which saw the rise to power of a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ableist rapist), think piece after think piece has been written about liberals needing to reach across the aisle and work with conservatives. We’ve heard that we need to break bread with Chitler supporters. That we need to sit down at the table with them and hear what they have to say. That it’s some sort of high moral calling to reach out to conservatives and empathize with them. The latest bout of the “shake hands and play nice with the bigots” nonsense comes from Anthony Bourdain, who recently said that Chitler’s  rise to the presidency is the fault of Eastern liberals (content note for casual ableism):

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I’m so tired of liberal calls for reaching across the aisle

Chitler, the orange haired douchebag

Happy Holidays all.
I’ve been largely silent on the blog front for a while now, dealing with personal issues, a loss in creativity, and a general feeling of despondency over the election of Chitler (Dana Hunter’s nickname for Trump, which merges ‘cheeto’ and ‘Hitler’). My personal issues are subsiding and I feel my creativity returning. Can’t do anything about the horrifying election we just had, unfortunately. While trying to cope with the knowledge that the next four years are going to be difficult for many people, I came up with a little diddy which has me smiling ear to ear, even as I’m simultaneously repulsed. So of course, I had to share it with everyone. Sing it to the tune of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer:

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Chitler, the orange haired douchebag

Police Behaving Badly 10.25.16

More than 800,000 people serve as local and state law enforcement officials in the United States. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. Here are five examples of

Police behaving badly

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Police Behaving Badly 10.25.16

Pushing back against ableism

Content Note:
Ableism thread
Contains ableist slurs, racial slurs, and homophobic slurs

Text image reading "Ableism- A form of discrimination against people with disabilities. A social prejudice."
Text image reading “Ableism- A form of discrimination against people with disabilities. A social prejudice.”

There are words in the English language that many, Many, MANY people use without giving thought to. These are words that were once medical terms used to describe people with mental illnesses. While these words are no longer used by medical professionals to describe people with mental illnesses, society at large still uses these words. These words are connected to the perceived intellect of others. Invariably, they are used to disparage others based on intellectual ability.

These words need to be abandoned by everyone bc they have the effect of maligning those with mental disabilities. And people with disabilities are deeply marginalized in society.

Generally speaking, it is socially unacceptable to use racial slurs against black, Asian, Indigenous, or Latinx people. As a society, most people agree that using such slurs is denigrating to blacks, Asians, Indigenous folks, and Latinx people. Likewise, it is frowned upon to use slurs that denigrate gay or lesbian people. That is bc those words are demeaning and disparaging to Lesbians or Gays. Because PoC and LG people are deeply marginalized in society, most decent people agree that using such slurs is unacceptable.

But we have a long way to go before we purge ourselves of another group of words. Words that draw upon the actual or perceived intellectual ability or lack thereof of others. Words that are ableist.

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Pushing back against ableism

“You just can’t take a joke”

Are you a comedian who complains about people being too “PC” these days? Do you complain about people being “too uptight” or unable to take a joke?
Are you a non-comedian who dislikes seeing others criticize comedians for their use of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or ableist humor? Do you feel that it’s all in “good humor”?
If you belong to either of those groups, please listen up, because I have something to say.
That “good humor” you’re talking about? The “rape jokes are funny” humor? That “it’s just a dumb blonde joke”? That joke that relies upon stereotypes about black people? Or the one that makes a punchline about the death of a trans woman?
 
That’s not “good humor”. In fact, so-called “humor” like that is pretty awful, because it involves Punching Down (capitalized for emphasis, not for grammatical reasons).

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“You just can’t take a joke”

The Week in Racism 7/5-7/12

White supremacy is a complex social phenomenon comprising actions, beliefs, and habits that enforce an artificial hierarchy of racial order that places white people at the apex, and all other races beneath them. One of the primary manifestations of white supremacy is racism-a system of oppression that concentrates the overwhelming majority of social, political, and economic power in the hands of white people and simultaneously enforces cultural norms and economic policies that disenfranchise, marginalize, and oppress People of Color while also downplaying, dismissing, or outright erasing their achievements and accomplishments. The roots of white supremacy and racism in the United States can be traced back to the brutal invasion of this country, the genocide of the Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and the establishment of a nation designed to benefit Europeans at the expense of everyone else.  Today, white supremacy and racism continue to be firmly enmeshed in USAmerican society, with no corner of our culture immune to their pernicious effects. Here are some of the links and articles I’ve read in the past week, with subject matter ranging from stories about the effects of the twin ills of white supremacy and racism on politics and culture to tales of their victims or the beneficiaries:

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The Week in Racism 7/5-7/12

National Burn It All Down Day

Meow.

Krakoom!

Meow.

Krakoom!

Meow!

I woke to two sounds. To my cat, sitting on my chest meowing as if to say “wake up and feed me ya lazy bum”. This was a new experience for me. Although I’ve had Cassie for more than 8 years, she never sleeps in my room with me. Mostly bc I didn’t want cat hair all over my clothes, but also, I like my sleep. The idea of having a four-legged feline alarm clock wake me every morning isn’t appealing. Still, I just got her back from the veterinarian after having a serious health scare and I wanted to monitor her closely. So I bit the bullet and let her into my sanctum (which she promptly took over, taking half the bed at times, and leaving me with only two pillows, rather than my customary three). Her comfort is important and she seems to appreciate having me at her beck and call.

The other sound came from my laptop. You might be thinking that the sound ‘Krakoom’ on a laptop was a bad thing, but it is not. Those ‘Krakooms’ are nothing more than the sound of thunder from a Youtube video playing ‘Soothing Thunderstorm’. I find the sound of thunder and rainfall relaxing; the sounds enable me to relax and drift to sleep with ease. Without such sounds, I find it difficult to sleep. I hear the crickets outside. I hear the snoring of the dogs one room over. The traffic on the street near the house can be heard. Such sounds…such erratic sounds annoy the fuck out of me, making it difficult to relax. Such is the curse of having good hearing. Good hearing is a good thing in the right context. After all, I’ve been complimented on my hearing multiple times in the past by guests at my bar (back when I was gainfully employed). Patrons appreciate having someone who overhears-however unintentionally-their drink order and begins preparation before they’ve even said ‘hello’. But that’s a radically different context than trying to sleep. When it’s time to sleep, I need no extraneous sound. I need the equivalent of white noise-a consistent, soothing sound.

Cat fed, I proceeded to feed myself. And check the dogs. And hydrate myself. Once those tasks were done, I began to ponder what to accomplish today. Before making a ‘to do’ list, though, I decided to open Facebook and see what was going on with my friends and in the world.

That would prove to be a mistake.

Because three stories in and I was reminded how little African-Americans are valued in this country.

Three stories in an I’m reminded how little justice there is for African-Americans in the United States.

Three stories in and I’m ready to declare today ‘National Burn It All Down’ Day.

BLACK-LIVES-MATTER

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National Burn It All Down Day