Obama
05
Jan

Identity crisis in American politics

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED 1950s, 2016, 2020, 9-1-1, Aaron Schlossberg, ads, African American, AirBNB, American, Americans, Asia, Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Americans, Asians, banking, Ben Carson, bias, bigotry, bilingual, bisexual, black, Black history, Black Lives Matter, black men, Blacks, Brexit, Bush, census, census 2020, Chinese, Chris Rock, civil rights, colectivismo, commencement, community, Confederate, Congress, conservative, culture, David Dao, democrat, demographics, disparity, District of Columbia, diversity, economics, education, election, election 2016, elections, electoral college, Emma Stone, employment, English, ethnicity, Europe, evangelical, family, fear, film, food, Fox News, Fresh Kitchen, gay, George Wallace, German, German-American, hate, hate crime, Hawaii, health, health care, health insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hispanic, history, Hollywood, housing crisis, ICE, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigration and nationality act, immigration attitudes, immigration trends, Indian, JFK, jobs, John Cho, justice, kavanaugh, Kennedy, Korean, language, Latino, Latino millennial, Latinx, lesbian, LGBT, MAGA, marketing, Martin Luther King, McCain, McKinley Texas, media, media coverage, Mexican, Mexicans, Mexico, midterm elections, midterms, Migrant Caravan, millennial, Millennials, minority, mixed race, model minority, money, mortality, multicultural, multiculturalism, Muslim, Muslim-American, nationalism, New American Dimensions, Oakland BBQ, Obama, Orlando, Oscars, Pew, Philadelphia, police, politics, Poll, polling, polls, president, Pride, pride parades, progressive, psychology, Puerto Rico, race, racial, racial bias, racial disparity, racial profiling, racism, racist, representation, Republican, research, RFK, Rust Belt, SCOTUS, Senate, sexual orientation, sexual racism, shooting, slavery, South, South Carolina, South Carolina shooting, Spanish, stand your ground, Starbucks, statehood, stereotype, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, stress, subprime, suicide, Supreme Court, tariffs, teens, trade, transgender, Trudeau, Trump, Tuskegee, TV, U.S., Uncategorized, undocumented, United, Univision, violence, voting, white, white Americans, white history, White House, white majority, white nationalism, white nationals, white resentment, white supremacy, White women, White working class, whites, xenophobia, Yale dorm

Here we are on the cusp of the 2018 midterm election, and the closing arguments of each party have offered a stark contrast. In short, the Republicans, led by, and I would say eclipsed by, the occupant in the White House, are running on fear. Specifically, of the Scary Migrant Caravan, which is weeks away from reaching the southern U.S. border, and will likely be a fraction of its size now. On the other side, Democrats are implicitly and explicitly running to undo some of the damage they say has been done in the past two years of total Republican control. And they’re running on health care, which polls consistently show as the top concern of voters.

I’m not making any predictions about the outcome. I’m just pointing out that the Republican party right now is using tribal identity to win. By tribal identity I mean “white, Christian Americans who hate and fear those brown people.”

Am I being too harsh? Ezra Klein probably wouldn’t think so. In his great essay published today in Vox, Klein makes the case that the Republican party under the Obama years had become more white and more fearful about losing their, let’s call it what it is, white privilege. If the current occupant of the White House hadn’t descended that golden escalator in 2015 and immediately denigrated Mexican immigrants, another of the two dozen Republicans running would have won the nomination, but eventually another nativist – let’s call him white Nationalist – would need to emerge. Because that’s the way the party was going. Here’s Klein, boiling down Identity Crisisan analysis of the 2016 campaign from political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck:

• Trump destroyed the rest of the Republican field among primary voters who were angry about immigration. Trump did 40 points better among Republican voters with the most negative views of immigration than among those with the most positive views. Trump’s success, in other words, was that he ran an issue-based candidacy on an issue where he was closer to the Republican base than the other candidates were.

• The same was true with attitudes toward Muslims: “Trump performed significantly better with Republican voters who rated Muslims relatively unfavorably in 2011 than he did with Republican voters who rated Muslims relatively favorably.” By contrast, views of Muslims did not affect support for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

• And so it went for race, too. Republican voters who attributed racial inequality to a lack of effort among African Americans rather than past and present discrimination were 50 points likelier to support Trump. Similarly, Republicans who told pollsters they felt coldly toward African Americans in 2011 were 20 points likelier to support Trump than Republicans who said they felt warmly toward African Americans.

Klein goes on to quote the authors about how the election of the first Black President was a realigning moment. That is, and I’m injecting my own spin here, Republicans, especially those on the lower end of the education and economic spectrum, more strongly aligned their political persuasion with race; that is their own White race.:

“The Obama administration was not only eight years of a Democratic president—which meant that partisan polarization would only continue to grow—but also eight years of a black president,” write Sides, Tesler, and Vavreck. “Once Obama was elected, Americans’ racial identities and racial attitudes became even more potent political forces. The gap between the political opinions of whites and blacks grew larger.”

It was exactly ten years ago that Barack Obama was elected. Do you remember the elation around the country and around the world at this event? I do. But in other parts of the U.S. there were people on the other side who saw his election as not just a defeat of their candidate – John McCain, who, to his credit, explicitly did not make race an issue – but rather a sign of the coming doom of White Americans. Remember how people tossed around the term “post-racial” ten years ago? Yes, quaint. Instead of instantly becoming a post-racial nation, the election of Barack Obama deepened and hardened the racial divides that were always there (usually) just under the surface. And now we have an occupant in the White House who is using a klaxon horn instead of a dog whistle to the most racist of his base. The rest of his party is a bit divided: some in suburban districts are not saying his name, as I am not. They’re generally touting the low unemployment numbers. One wonders why the occupant in the White House is not doing the same; the economy is generally good. Other Republicans in mostly rural and deep-red districts are running on the same fear and racial resentment and terror that the Migrant Caravan – filled with, as was said in the Saturday Night Live spoof last weekend, “Guatemalans, the 1990 Detroit pistons and a few babadooks.” Will fear and hate work? For the sake of race relations alone, I hope not.

One other thing. If the rise of Donald Trump – there, I said his name – is the major legacy of Barack Obama’s tenure, well, that’s sad. I don’t think it will be seen as Obama’s most important legacy. After all he accomplished many things apart from just being who he was. But if the rise of Donald Trump and naked nativism is a key fallout from 2008, I hope for the best: that it will be able to lance the boil of racism that has plagued this nation for hundreds of years. I remain optimistic.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty images)

17
Jan

The case for mocking bigotry

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED 1950s, 2016, 2020, 9-1-1, Aaron Schlossberg, ads, African American, AirBNB, American, Americans, Asia, Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Americans, Asians, banking, Ben Carson, bias, bigotry, bilingual, bisexual, black, Black history, Black Lives Matter, black men, Blacks, Brexit, Bush, census, census 2020, Chinese, Chris Rock, civil rights, colectivismo, commencement, community, Confederate, Congress, conservative, culture, David Dao, democrat, demographics, disparity, District of Columbia, diversity, economics, education, election, election 2016, elections, electoral college, Emma Stone, employment, English, ethnicity, Europe, evangelical, family, fear, film, food, Fox News, Fresh Kitchen, gay, George Wallace, German, German-American, hate, hate crime, Hawaii, health, health care, health insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hispanic, history, Hollywood, housing crisis, ICE, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigration and nationality act, immigration attitudes, immigration trends, Indian, JFK, jobs, John Cho, justice, kavanaugh, Kennedy, Korean, language, Latino, Latino millennial, Latinx, lesbian, LGBT, MAGA, marketing, Martin Luther King, McCain, McKinley Texas, media, media coverage, Mexican, Mexicans, Mexico, midterm elections, midterms, Migrant Caravan, millennial, Millennials, minority, mixed race, model minority, money, mortality, multicultural, multiculturalism, Muslim, Muslim-American, nationalism, New American Dimensions, Oakland BBQ, Obama, Orlando, Oscars, Pew, Philadelphia, police, politics, Poll, polling, polls, president, Pride, pride parades, progressive, psychology, Puerto Rico, race, racial, racial bias, racial disparity, racial profiling, racism, racist, representation, Republican, research, RFK, Rust Belt, SCOTUS, Senate, sexual orientation, sexual racism, shooting, slavery, South, South Carolina, South Carolina shooting, Spanish, stand your ground, Starbucks, statehood, stereotype, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, stress, subprime, suicide, Supreme Court, tariffs, teens, trade, transgender, Trudeau, Trump, Tuskegee, TV, U.S., Uncategorized, undocumented, United, Univision, violence, voting, white, white Americans, white history, White House, white majority, white nationalism, white nationals, white resentment, white supremacy, White women, White working class, whites, xenophobia, Yale dorm

Does it seem like every day this month you’ve heard about people, white people, calling the cops or security on people of color sitting in Starbucks (more than once), coming out of their Air BNBs, sleeping in the common area of their dormitories, trying to return a circuit cutter at Hobby Lobby? Well, that’s because there’s been a new incident almost every day. There may be a new one today.

This open bigotry and xenophobia has been going on for decades. And it happens because white people, generally, feel they have the police on their side.

But thanks to the ubiquity of cell phone cameras and social media, we’re getting an idea of just how widespread the fear of The Other is in the U.S. Mostly this fear and animosity is directed at Black Americans. Sometimes it’s at Latinos or other people of color, like the NYC lawyer who threatened to call ICE because people at a restaurant were… gasp, speaking Spanish. Can you imagine? In a video shared by Edward Suazo and first reported on by Latino Rebels, that fuming lawyer, Aaron Schlossberg, excoriated a Fresh Kitchen employee for not interfering in people’s conversations en Español.

“Your staff are speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he said. “Every person I listened to, he spoke it. He spoke it. She’s speaking it. It’s America… So I will be following up, and my guess is, they’re not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country. If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money. I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do, the least they can do is speak English.”

For those who don’t see the U.S. as a white homeland, these incidents can provide anger and outrage. And that’s natural. These are outrageous instances. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be furious with these people. And, surely the killing and beating of People of Color for no reason is absolutely a reason to get mad.

But there is also something that the internet does well: ridicule and mock those that so deserve it.

Take the incident last weekend in Oakland, California, where a white woman called the police on a black family who had the temerity to barbeque in a public park.

Yes, she used the N word. Then she started crying when the police arrived, acting like she’s the victim of the encounter. Merry pranksters online are responding with humorous memes.

Like this one:

 

And this:

Also:

And a big party was planned in that park, supporting people who have the nerve to picnic while Black.

In light of rampant – but at least not violent, in these cases – injustice, sometimes you just have to laugh instead of crying. That is precisely what meme creators have done. As for that angry racist lawyer, Schlossberg, it looks like he will be enjoying the music of several Mariachis, right at his office, gratis. No, thank you, internet-based pranksters.

Schlossberg, by the way, appears to have a history of bizarre and offensive racial outbursts. This is beyond mere racism, in my opinion. I’m not a doctor, but this guy has some serious mental issues. He needs help. In the meantime, he deserves all the scorn and ridicule he’s getting (though I hope it doesn’t make him worse).

Outrage has its place. But there’s also something to be said for responding to racism and bigotry with style, art, humor and love. The best response to others inhumanity is to embrace your own humanity.

 

 

13
Jan

Michelle Obama: I feel alienated, and that’s proof of America’s racism

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED 1950s, 2016, 2020, 9-1-1, Aaron Schlossberg, ads, African American, AirBNB, American, Americans, Asia, Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Americans, Asians, banking, Ben Carson, bias, bigotry, bilingual, bisexual, black, Black history, Black Lives Matter, black men, Blacks, Brexit, Bush, census, census 2020, Chinese, Chris Rock, civil rights, colectivismo, commencement, community, Confederate, Congress, conservative, culture, David Dao, democrat, demographics, disparity, District of Columbia, diversity, economics, education, election, election 2016, elections, electoral college, Emma Stone, employment, English, ethnicity, Europe, evangelical, family, fear, film, food, Fox News, Fresh Kitchen, gay, George Wallace, German, German-American, hate, hate crime, Hawaii, health, health care, health insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hispanic, history, Hollywood, housing crisis, ICE, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigration and nationality act, immigration attitudes, immigration trends, Indian, JFK, jobs, John Cho, justice, kavanaugh, Kennedy, Korean, language, Latino, Latino millennial, Latinx, lesbian, LGBT, MAGA, marketing, Martin Luther King, McCain, McKinley Texas, media, media coverage, Mexican, Mexicans, Mexico, midterm elections, midterms, Migrant Caravan, millennial, Millennials, minority, mixed race, model minority, money, mortality, multicultural, multiculturalism, Muslim, Muslim-American, nationalism, New American Dimensions, Oakland BBQ, Obama, Orlando, Oscars, Pew, Philadelphia, police, politics, Poll, polling, polls, president, Pride, pride parades, progressive, psychology, Puerto Rico, race, racial, racial bias, racial disparity, racial profiling, racism, racist, representation, Republican, research, RFK, Rust Belt, SCOTUS, Senate, sexual orientation, sexual racism, shooting, slavery, South, South Carolina, South Carolina shooting, Spanish, stand your ground, Starbucks, statehood, stereotype, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, stress, subprime, suicide, Supreme Court, tariffs, teens, trade, transgender, Trudeau, Trump, Tuskegee, TV, U.S., Uncategorized, undocumented, United, Univision, violence, voting, white, white Americans, white history, White House, white majority, white nationalism, white nationals, white resentment, white supremacy, White women, White working class, whites, xenophobia, Yale dorm

The First Lady went there.

Reactions are coming in from Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University over the weekend. She said the graduating classes of 2015 – and the next generation of African Americans – will still face racism.

“Because here’s the thing — the road ahead is not going to be easy.  It never is, especially for folks like you and me.  Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away … And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry.  It can feel isolating.  It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter … And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible.  And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.”

A commentator on CNN said she was right to bring up race:

“Thank you, Michelle, for speaking the truth. And for being honest enough to admit that even you have been ‘knocked back’ by some of the racial perceptions of yourself and President Obama. It is past time for Americans to publicly confront our nation’s nagging race problem. Our old wounds left by racism will not heal themselves. Our silence will not make them go away. No, those wounds will just continue to fester and flare up over and over again in cities like Ferguson, New York and Baltimore and too many other places to mention.”

 

A USA Today op-ed said many people will take the wrong message:

“Obama’s message was about overcoming obstacles — it was about the ‘double duty’ blacks have to our country and our race. She talked of the obstacles overcome by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, black combat pilots who served with great distinction during World War II. They trained at Tuskegee and suffered the indignities of Jim Crow racism while fighting for America.”

The conservative National Review, took issue with Obama conflating her personal feelings with black society in general:

“Private experience is an important governing force in a healthy body politic; the anger occasioned by injustice, for example, can be an important spur toward change. But because we are individuals embedded in communities, private feelings must be balanced by public reason. An individual’s claims — that his anger indicates true injustice — must be thoughtfully and dispassionately evaluated by the community, acting together. ”

And Fox News, well, their anchors turned their “uppity meters” up to 11: Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan on Tuesday suggested the speech was yet another example of the White House dividing the country on issues of race, asking, “Why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of Affirmative Action?”

The Daily Show had a great take down of the haters. Watch it here.