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

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

We are still not being heard

Civil unrest has once more broken out in a USAmerican city; this time in Milwaukee, following the execution by police of a 23-year-old armed suspect (who apparently committed the heinous, only-recourse-is-lethal-force crime of fleeing from cops after a traffic stop).

A gas station and an auto-parts store were set on fire.

Bricks were hurled at law enforcement officers (resulting in the injury of one officer).

Police have apparently said that shots were fired (it should be point out that currently, the only firearm-related casualty has been the execution of the suspect at the hands of the police).

As I’ve seen several times when civil unrest engulfs a city in the wake of state sanctioned brutality or extrajudicial execution by cop, it is inevitable that some people will criticize the actions of those involved in the unrest (curiously, these people never aim their criticism at the actions of police that precipitate such events; it’s almost like they don’t take issue with the behavior of law enforcement officials).

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We are still not being heard

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






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.


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National Burn It All Down Day

Black Panther fans have reason to rejoice

It is fairly common knowledge that Marvel Studios has a diversity problem. 11 movies in and not a single one has featured a woman or a Person of Color as the title character. While fans have been demanding a Black Widow movie for years now, Marvel Studios has yet to even announce one will be made (they keep saying they are open to the idea). Similarly, there has yet to be a MCU movie starring a Person of Color. On the smaller screen, things are slightly better, as two of the four Marvel Cinematic tv series are headlined by women (Jessica Jones and Agent Carter). All told though, between the big and small screen, Marvel isn’t deviating much from its white male leads. The sea of white faces are not the only problems facing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Issues of whitewashing, racial stereotyping, and the erasure of Asian identity (I’m looking at you Dr. Strange, and you, Iron Fist) also plague the MCU. The company has a long way to go before it can claim to be truly diverse.

Now, I tend to harp on the problems in Hollywood and/or the comic book industry bc I care. I care about movies. I care about comic book characters. And I care about racial and gender diversity in both. I want things to be better. I want greater representation (not just of women and PoC, but also queer and disabled people, and more still; but that’s a subject for a different post). Not just for my benefit. Not just for the benefit of others whose opinions align with mine on this subject. I also want greater representation bc it is important for future generations, as cultural anthropologist Michael D. Baran explains:

It is critical that children see all sorts of people playing both the good and the bad roles in media. Otherwise, they may take those absences as meaningful and it may affect how they understand social categories. And it is certainly important for kids to be able to identify with heroes that they feel represent who they are as people.

For very young kids, this might or might not fall out along racial lines and we must be careful not to impose our reification of race onto their knowledge. But we might as well err on the good side, by having a diversity of heroes for people to relate to – not just racially, but also in terms of gender, religion, body type, etc.

While Marvel Studios has much work to do in diversifying its interconnected universe, there are some bright spots on the horizon, and I think there is cause to have some degree of optimism that things are getting better (even if getting to better is like swimming uphill in a tar pit).

I’m optimistic because the Netflix series Jessica Jones was an intense, well acted, rollercoaster of a series that I loved from start to finish. Jessica Jones was presented as a strong, flawed, and three-dimensional character. The widespread acclaim of the show led to the quick announcement of a second season (speaking of which, I need them to announce *when*). On the big screen, I’m optimistic because 2019 sees the release of Captain Marvel, which will mark the first feature length MCU film with a woman in the starring role. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero (formerly known as Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird), this movie has the potential to position Captain Marvel as the premier female superhero of Marvel (in a way comparable to Wonder Woman’s position at DC). Though no actress has been cast in the title role, I am hopeful that this movie and this character will receive the respect they both deserve. Back on television, all 13 episodes of the Mike Colter starring Netflix series Luke Cage (which has been likened to the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire) drop on September 30. In the last decade, I’ve gone from ambivalence toward Cage to a fan of the character (writer Brian Michael Bendis may do a lot of things I don’t like, but his treatment of Cage has been exemplary). And then there’s the Black Panther, Marvel’s first black superhero. Seeing what Marvel has planned for the King of Wakanda between the comics and the big screen ought to please a great many Panther fans. I know I’m excited.

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Black Panther fans have reason to rejoice

The $20 bill is not the only US note receiving an overhaul


She was a passionate suffragist.

She created a nursing home for African-Americans.

At one point, the reward for her capture reached $40,000.

She earned $20/month in pension following the end of the Civil War.

She was often behind enemy lines, operating as a scout for the Union.

She is credited with aiding in the liberation of over 3,000 enslaved Africans.

She was an ardent anti-slavery advocate who dedicated her life to the abolition of the “peculiar institution”.

And she’ll be the first woman to be featured on a United States banknote in more than a century.

If you guessed Harriet Tubman, then you win $20!

Come with me if you want to live (should have been her motto)

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The $20 bill is not the only US note receiving an overhaul

Argumentum ad dictionary, may you die a quick death

A friend on Facebook reposted this Tumblr meme today. As I read it, I nodded along, thinking “yup, pretty much”. Racism and sexism in the United States are systems of oppression that discriminate against and marginalize People of Color and women.  There’s nothing controversial there. A group of individuals holding prejudiced or bigoted beliefs who have the ability and resources to see their beliefs preserved in the cultural fabric, leading to the oppression of specific social groups at all levels of society-that’s what makes something a system of oppression. It is that system that makes racism and sexism so awful. A no-brainer, eh? To *some* of us it is. To others, all of that is highly controversial.

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Argumentum ad dictionary, may you die a quick death

The week in racism 2.12.16

Racial inequality has existed in the United States since the founding of this country. The institution of slavery had a profound and lasting effect on anti-black racism-an effect that produced ripples that continue to affect our country in the twenty-first century (and affect other racial/ethnic groups, not just African-Americans). From individual examples of race-based bigotry that occur between people to policies within corporations that deny equitable treatment to People of Color to initiatives within law enforcement that have a disproportionately negative impact upon People of Color to so much more, racism in the United States, contrary to the beliefs of some people, continues to exist. As with other posts of a similar nature (Police Behaving Badly, Irresponsible Gun Owners of America), I’ll be using this space to post stories and articles relating to the issue of race in the United States.

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The week in racism 2.12.16