Once upon a time, Bill Maher was cool in my book. I vaguely remember watching a couple of episodes of his old show Politically Incorrect and while my memories are fuzzy, I remember being quite entertained. Once he made the move to cable television, I started watching him more often. Hell, I used to dvr his show and watched it near religiously. I used to appreciate the frankness with which he’d talk about religion, his support for legal marijuana, and his vocal opposition to all things conservative and Republican. At that time, I knew of no one who was an unabashed critic of religion, so listening to Maher mock and criticize religious beliefs was refreshing, as was his no-holds-barred criticisms of Republicans.
But there was a side–several of them in fact–that I didn’t know about and/or weren’t woke enough to recognize. In 2017, however, I can see them plain as day. In fact, they’re so apparent that I’m not sure why he hasn’t written a ‘How to be a Human Trashfire’ guide. Such a guide would include examples from Maher’s various displays of bigotry over the years and include advice like:
Learn to be a Pro. An ableism pro. One of the beginner steps to mastering ableism is to treat disabled kids with contempt like the time Maher equated developmentally disabled kids with dogs. More advanced human trashfires know how to engage in multiple forms of bigotry simultaneously, as Maher did last year when he blew up at BLM activist Ashley Williams for crashing a HIllary Clinton fundraiser. And don’t forget–no self-respecting ableist bigot can claim that title if they don’t point to cognitive ability and say “POTUS45 is an asshole bc there is something wrong with his brain”.
With boundless pride, you’ve got to share your sexism and misogyny with the world. Fly your “I hold women in contempt and think anything feminine is inferior to me” flag high. This can be done through an ancient male ritual called “I’m not sexist, but…” or through the not-so-subtle derision of femininity, or the use of gendered slurs (for someone who isn’t sexist, Maher has a long history of the word b*tch falling–I guess uncontrollably, since he says he’s not sexist–from his mouth when talking about women) or by “joking” about killing women for it doesn’t matter what the reason is or if you combine your misogyny with ableism or…(yeah, the list goes on)
Another trait often found in the modern Trashfire Bigot is transphobia. An excellent way to show the transgender community that you are the opposite of an ally–an enemy, for those uncertain–is to grant a platform to a White Supremacist Piece of Shit and not only let him speak his mind unchallenged, but indulge in a bit of transantagonism yourself (yes, I’m talking about that time Bill and Milo the douchebag bonded over their disgust of trans people).
Of all the forms of bigotry he has displayed, one of Bill Maher’s favorites, one he can’t seem to go for too long without gushing over (as if his newborn child) is his anti-Muslim bigotry. From his completely unproven claim that millions of Muslims supported the attacks against Charlie Hebdo to his smells-like-he-pulled-this-from-his-ass commentary about Muslim men, Maher loves him some Islamophobia. Of course, he doesn’t call it that, bc to him, he’s merely criticizing the religion when he condemns millions of Muslims for the actions of a relative few extremists**.
As with so many other bigots with racist beliefs, Bill Maher’s racism is not focused solely on Muslims. He also has room in his evaporated husk of a heart for some anti-black racism. Unlike his anti-Muslim bigotry, however, Maher’s anti-black racism has traditionally been more restrained. For example, on the face of it, his 2012 comment to Wayne Brady about the latter being a “non-threatening black man”, doesn’t appear racist. It is though, bc it betrayed a view of black men as violent and dangerous. Such a view, which is ridiculously absurd*, is commonly held today and is one of the main biases at play when police officers shoot and injure/kill black people. His supportive comments to Bill O’Reilly after the latter engaged in some casual racism regarding Representative Maxine Waters’ hair went a step further. There’s also his comments about wanting President Obama to act like a “real Black man” by pulling up his shirt to reveal a gun tucked in his pants (the image of a black man with a gun hidden under his shirt and tucked into his pants is shorthand for criminal or thug). It’s one thing to have subconscious racial biases and prejudices. We all do (especially white people). It’s quite another to defend the racism of a virulently racist dirtbag like O’Reilly.And it’s something else to playfully allude to black people as criminals Now, as if he were tired of hiding, Bill Maher has fully embraced his anti-black racismby doing the thing virtually every white person in this country knows is racist:
I woke up yesterday to distressing, though not completely unsurprising news: author, intellectual heavyweight, and [supposed] skeptic Sam Harris had interviewed Charles Murray. Yes, that Charles Murray who, along with Richard J Herrnstein, co-authored The Bell Curve, a controversial-because-it-is-a-racist-pile-of-trash 1994 book. The Bell Curve reintroduced the concept of scientific (or intellectual) racism into modern USAmerican discourse and stayed on the New York Times’ bestseller’ list for 15 weeks, selling roughly 300,000 copies. It clearly struck a familiar and racist chord with people–especially its likely target audience: white people (many of whom felt they finally had a scientific basis for their racist beliefs). Of course, for all that it has a history reaching back to at least the 1800s, scientific racism is little more than repurposed white supremacist ideology with a touch of “science” (air quotes because it’s really that cheap knock-off of the real thing, pseudoscience). Murray’s book, which was an attempt to fuse alternative scientific facts with racist ideology, has been thoroughly debunked multiple times (such as here, here, and here), and criticized for its questionable science and its faulty logic, as well as its sources. Additionally, there’s one other liiiiiiiiiiiitle thing the book has been criticized for: its financial backers, the Pioneer Group. A far-right organization of so-called “race realists”, the Pioneer Group is a white supremacist organization with Neo-Nazi ties that backs studies on race, intelligence, and eugenics with the ultimate aim of racial betterment of white folks (which, unfortunately doesn’t mean ‘seeking to redeem white folks in the eyes of PoC after centuries of genocide, slavery, rape, forced assimilation, and imperialism’ and likely means something more like ‘making the country great for white people again by getting rid of all them colored folks forcibly or through…well, there is no “or” ‘).
So we’ve got a white supremacist organization with Nazi ties (wonder if they know Nazi punching bag Richard Spencer) that provided the financial backing for Murray and Herrnstein to write a piece of racist trashfire material that sought to provide a scientific foundation for the belief that white people are the best, smartest, coolest kids on the block and all the rest of us suck bc we have too much melanin. Although widely discredited by the scientific community (including the notion that the full spectrum of human cognitive abilities can be measured by one’s intelligence quotient), the idea of scientific racism still managed to seep into the public consciousness. Furor over the book died down in time, but the central theme of the book never disappeared and unfortunately, intellectual racism is once again seeing a resurgence. Nicole Hemmer of U.S. News & World Report writes:
Intellectual racism, in its cultural and pseudoscientific guises, is having a bit of a renaissance of late. At least, it’s receiving more attention than at any time since the debut of “The Bell Curve,” the 1994 book by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray about race and IQ. Murray himself is back in the news, triggering protests as he tours college campuses. Andrew Sullivan, who published excerpts of Murray’s work as editor of The New Republic, recently went out of his way to make a case against the persistence of racism and for black pathology at the end of a much-read piece about Hillary Clinton. Within the last year, white nationalist sites like VDARE, American Renaissance and Radix have become part of the political landscape.
I’ve written elsewhere about the trap of intellectualized racism, which cuts against the common assumption that racism is rooted in ignorance and provincialism, that it can only be crude and passe. Thus when Richard Spencer, the face of the alt-right, shows up in a natty suit, he is treated as an unusual curiosity. When Charles Murray shows up brandishing a Ph.D. and some regression tables, he is treated as a sober-minded scholar.
Yes to all of this. Bigots like Spencer and Murray–in an effort to be seen (and thus treated) as respectable–have rejected the pointy white sheets and the jackboots worn by their racist predecessors. Similarly, instead of spending their free time lynching PoC or using them as gator bait (all with the ultimate purpose of instilling terror in communities of color), many of today’s white supremacists put forth an air of respectability by repackaging their beliefs (and themselves) in an attempt to make them more palatable for the masses (doesn’t “peaceful ethnic cleansing”, oxymoron though it may sound, seem so much kinder, than mass murder?). I suspect this is one reason why the odious ideas presented by these ethically challenged, morally bankrupt, evil human beings are gaining traction in the mainstream. As before, with the release of The Bell Curve, the dead and beaten horse that is intellectual racism allows people to justify their racist beliefs as scientific (nevermind the lack of science behind them). And in the current political climate–one which saw the rise to the presidency of a morally repellent, authoritarian leaning, hater of the US Constitution, Mein Kamf loving misogynistic bully–there seems to be a great deal of interest in listening to and coddling the views of people who would like to see those like me six feet under or cast out from the place of my birth simply bc they think this country belongs only to white people. I’m talking about people like Richard Spencer, Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopolous, Raymond Wolters, and yes, Charles Murray.
So when I hear that a prominent, well-respected (why?) member of the atheist community has conducted an interview with a man who is, and has long been known to be, a white supremacist*, my spider-sense goes off. From what I know of Sam Harris, he is something of an intellectual. I know he has a few degrees (one in philosophy and another in neuroscience, I believe). I know he’s written a few books that had a positive effect on some and a lackluster “meh” effect on others. Basically, I know he has some degree of higher education and knows how do research on a subject or person. And it’s that knowledge that rules out the first theory I have about why he conducted this interview: that he did not know who he [Murray] was or was not familiar with his views. I have a hard time accepting the idea that Sam Harris knew very little about Charles Murray and The Bell Curve, and thought “I need to clear some things up, so I can better understand his position. I should interview him.” No. When you can easily search for Murray and find his Wikipedia page, his entry at AEI, his well deserved page on the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s site, and more, there is no need to talk to the man to find out his beliefs.
Perhaps then, he decided to interview the racist woo peddler in order to give said beliefs a proper thrashing and demonstrate to a new audience what Dr. Stephen Gould demonstrated back in the 90s? This is certainly a valid approach, but unfortunately, it’s not one that he took, as evidenced by the apology Harris offers to Murray at the start of the podcast. Apparently, in the world according to the great Sam Harris (he who peels back the layers and reveals the truths *they* don’t want you to hear), this poor, poor fellow was viciously maligned by politically correct critics (I gotta say–great job completely ignoring the work of all the people who have rebutted Murray’s work over they years, including Dr. Gould). It’s pretty much downhill from there as you can see from the blog AngryWhiteMen where the author criticizes pretty much everything about Harris’ podcast, from Harris’ refusal to critically examine Murray’s beliefs to his failure to acknowledge the effect of scientific racism on social policy:
And then there’s the effect The Bell Curve has had, and will continue to have, on social policy. As Claudia S. Fischer et al pointed out in their 1996 rebuttal Inequality By Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth, the upshot of Murray and Herrnstein’s book was that “intelligence largely determined how well people did in life.” “The rich were rich mostly because they were smart, the poor were poor mostly because they were dumb, and middle Americans were middling mostly because they were of middling intelligence.” And, as we have already seen, their view on race and IQ is that blacks and Latinos “were by nature not as intelligent as whites; that is why they did less well economically, and that is why little can or should be done about racial inequality.”
In other words, no amount of affirmative action can raise the standard of living for black and Latino Americans, since they are mainly being held back by genetics. In addition, with lower than average IQs come other social consequences: violent crime, petty theft, out-of-wedlock births, and so on.
Is Harris aware of the impact applied scientific racism could have on the lives of those who are not white males? Does he care? If he is aware and does care, it is not apparent because he fails to offer a substantial rebuttal to Murray’s views. Thus, listeners are left with the impression that there is nothing unreasonable about them. The piece concludes by listing Harris’ failings as a host, a skeptic, and in my eyes, a decent human being:
And all of these points — unwillingness to engage with critics, connections to white supremacists, consequences for poor and non-white Americans — would have been worth bringing up in Harris’ conversation with Murray. As an interviewer, he should have done more than toss softballs and whitewash Murray’s record. As a skeptic, he should have been more willing to examine Murray’s beliefs. His unwillingness to do so will only bolster racist pseudoscience and toss more red meat to Murray’s white nationalist fans.
I think it’s safe to say at this point that Sam Harris did not conduct this interview with noted White Supremacist Piece of Shit Charles Murray to debunk his pseudoscientific beliefs. No, as it turns out, the interview was conducted because…well, I don’t want to try my hand at mindreading. I’ll leave the attempts at alt-science to people like Murray. I can’t speak to what Harris’ intent was with this piece. But I can talk about the impact of the piece, and its implications. That impact? Those implications? They say nothing good, and everything bad about Sam Harris. Consider the following:
Harris chose to conduct this interview–an interview which sees the resurrection of the beaten horse that is scientific racism–at a time when our country is simmering in a toxic social and political stew. A stew in which racism is bubbling right on the surface, ready to explode. In several cases, that racism has bubbled above the surface and boiled over, as in the various clashes between alt-righters white supremacists like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopolous or the numerous incidents of law enforcement officers executing African-Americans leading to protest marches by Black Lives Matter activists. What message is sent when a leading figure in the secular/atheist movement plays host to a white supremacist without criticizing said views? Among other things, it legitimizes Murray’s views.
He titled the episode ‘Forbidden Knowledge’. With a title like that, shouldn’t the listeners have knowledge imparted to them by the end of the episode? And not just knowledge, but useful, evidence based knowledge? I would think so. But the interview was with a man for whom evidence appears to be his personal Kryptonite.* His work has already been discredited several times over and the faux science behind it laid bare. The impact here is ironic, given the title of the podcast. Rather than knowledge being imparted and peoples’ awareness raised, thanks to Harris’ softballing of Murray, misinformation, distortion, and outright lies are treated as legitimate and scientific in nature.
the financial backers of The Bell Curve, as well as some of the sources have strong Neo-Nazi ties. It should go without saying that if your backers or the source of your information are Nazi, you really ought to reexamine your work. From top down. Failure to do so allows Nazism one more foothold out of the sewer it belongs in. And we all know what happens when Nazism gains too much of a foothold.
Remember the connection between Murray and eugenics? Murray’s idea, that white people are genetically superior to People of Color paired with “race betterment” sounds uncomfortably close to a “Master Race”.
The impact of scientific racism on political issues such as immigration and government assistance programs would be huge. If our lot in life is determined (largely or in whole) by genetics, then nothing can be done to improve our quality of life. So why should government assistance programs exist? And why worry about racial inequality if our genes determine our place in the US caste system?
Sam Harris is advocate of racial profiling at airports to root out terrorists (though he’s yet to give a non-appearance based reliable method for rooting out terrorists)
Sam Harris’ denigration of identity politics. Given that he considers himself an intellectual (he may even consider himself a Bright person), I can’t imagine he’d reject or denigrate an idea without first learning what the idea is (it’s not controversial to assume a leading figure is intellectually honest, is it?). So surely he is aware that identity politics is a form of political activism focused on uplifiting and liberating the various identity groups that are oppressed in society (groups like women, queer people, PoC, disabled people, etc). Further to that, surely he knows that identity politics is key to marginalized groups achieving liberation and equality. That can only be done by focusing on each group and finding out what they need to improve their quality of life.
When you take into account those considerations, as well as Harris’ whitewashing of The Bell Curve, his refusal to critically examine Murray’s beliefs, and his lack of acknowledgment of the social costs of intellectually racist beliefs used in support of legislation, a very unflattering image of Sam Harris begins to emerge.
I wish that image had been of a man who–recognizing the social power he has, the platform he possesses, and how far his influence reaches–had acted in a responsible manner to eviscerate racism. Publicly. Loudly. Without hesitation. I wish Harris understood that racism benefits all white people, bc in oppressing People of Color, it grants unfair advantages (privileges) to white people. Those unfair advantages enable white people to make their way through life with fewer obstacles than if they had higher levels of melanin. Racism continues to exist because–collectively–white people have done next to nothing to tear down that system of oppression.
No, the image of Sam Harris is not a good one. What he did here was irresponsible. More to the point, it was also immoral, bc not only did he not work to tear down racism, he actively worked to shore up its foundations by lending credence to Murrays woo-filled beliefs, failing (or refusing) to critically examine Murray’s views, and raising the profile of a white supremacist and presenting his ideas to people who–already primed to trust and respect their host–might well be sympathetic to the views of a racist extremist whom the host treats cordially. By giving Murray a platform and challenging him in no substantial way, Harris may as well have told his listeners “treat what this man says as the truth”.
That’s a reinforcement of white supremacy.
And that is racism.
Which makes Sam Harris a racist.
*I’m not quibbling over the difference between white supremacist and white nationalist, bc both believe in the innate superiority of white people. White nationalists claim they just want a nation-state all to themselves and don’t have a problem with PoC, they just don’t want them in “their country”. I don’t believe that claim. But more to the point, they believe they are genetically and intellectually superior to PoC, which is the same belief held by white supremacists. At the end of the day, maybe white nationalists don’t want to re-enslave African-Americans or continue the genocide of Indigenous people, but they are only a few steps removed from those who do. And they all play on team evil.
Oh, would you look at that, another prominent figure in the atheist movement wants to throw his lot in with Murray.
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
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.
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):
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.
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):
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:
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
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.