The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

Good Monday, all. Today is the first day of the last few months of Donald Trump’s Presidency. After all, he’s brought in a general to be his Chief of Staff, same as Nixon, and the conservo-rats are deserting his sinking ship. As the spectacular failure of the Wealth Transfer Bill made clear, the Senate can defy the Rancid Cheeto without any real consequences…and, the Rancid Cheeto is going to be no help to their agenda whatsoever. What will happen now? I don’t know, but while we wait for the next giant flameout, I thought we could spend some time connecting the dots.

The ongoing fight between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the Party is not about re-living the primaries, despite what the Bernie Bots would say on Twitter. It’s about looking to the future and figuring out the way forward for the Democrats. It IS important to have both the message, and the messaging, correct, so people know they’re not just voting against something, but FOR a positive vision of America.

In order to make this happen, we have to make sure that all Americans understand the connection between a racist, sexist and xenophobic campaign, and a country going in the wrong direction. From the Bernie cultists, and unfortunately from some members of the DNC, we hear that we need to appeal to the white working-class male voter with a strong economic message. The problem with this is, that it’s no different from the Republican approach.

Yes, you heard me right.

Make America Great Again is a white-people-only slogan, based on bringing the Fake 50s back to the US – a decade of great prosperity and segregation. Coal jobs, union jobs, they would be coming back under him – and all those “bad hombres” who have been taking those jobs away would be sent back to Mexico. He added to his racist cred by announcing that Mexicans are rapists, outing himself as a sexual predator, and being endorsed by white supremacists and having Steve Bannon as his senior campaign adviser. White people claimed they didn’t care, because all of these “identity politics” didn’t matter. But “identity politics” were really what energized all those white people to come out and vote for him. Nothing else mattered so much as race to the Trump voter.

And what happened when Drumpf came into office? He started advocating for policies to do exactly what he promised. Mass deportations. Known racist Jeff Sessions at the helm of the Justice department. True to his misogynistic ways, pushes to defund Planned Parenthood. Trying to overturn the freedoms and rights Obama granted to LGBTQ. And all his promises about bringing coal jobs back? Yeah, not so much.

What would happen if Democrats really decided to chase the white male vote, and decried “identity politics” as unimportant?  What message are they sending to everyone who isn’t white and male, who, not so coincidentally, votes Democratic? With all of these white men jockeying to run for the Presidency, two of them in their 70s, I find it very hard to believe that they will prioritize any of the things that matter to me…just as Barack Obama, who ran on misogyny, didn’t prioritize gender equality.

What we project matters. What we say matters. And visuals, they matter. And I am personally so very, very tired and sick of hearing and seeing “f*ck you” from the Democratic Party, a Party still, shamefully, disproportionately white and male. This is why Bernie Sanders held absolutely no appeal to me. He and his followers routinely dismissed the things I cared about, and mansplained that we were all too dumb to understand #TheBernout’s greatness and vast superiority over HRC. And of course, if we protested, we were playing “identity politics.” Well, yes. We want an equal seat at the table, and we’re tired of asking nicely.

So the Resistance you’re counting on to save your sorry butts and stop the evil Republican agenda, and vote for you in 2018? We’re women. And you won’t ignore us any more.

We’re awake now, and we’re paying attention.

This is an open thread.

 

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Over the weekend I edited a short fundraising video for organizations that help victims of human trafficking. These are all religious institutions and the women interviewed were all nuns. One from NYC, one from London, and one from Mombasa, Kenya.

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry in the world, only behind drug trafficking. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in profit – at the expense of human lives. And it is also the fastest growing “industry” in the world today. In 2012 it was estimated that as many as 20.9 million people around the world were victims of human trafficking. Imagine what those numbers are in 2017. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation (including sexual slavery), forced labor, organ harvesting. The International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency) last compiled their statistics in 2012. Some excerpts:

90% are forced to labor for private economies or corporations

22% are in forced sexual exploitation

55% are women and girls & 45% are men and boys

26% are under the age of 18

Sister Jane Kimathi, from Mombasa, speaks of victims as young as 4 years old, forced into prostitution. Many, she says, come to their safe houses unable to speak because of the trauma. Some stay with the Sisters for as long as two years, as they try to rehabilitate them and find new homes. While their order is Catholic, they welcome all victims and their prayer room is nondenominational. She mentioned that Mombasa is a popular tourist destination. But the “tourist destination” designation is people who come there specifically searching for young children to abuse. Because of the many conflicts in Africa, the number of refugees spikes the numbers of slaves. They are people looking for ways to support their families. Nobody is looking for glamour or prestige in the sex trade, Sister Kimathi says. “It’s poverty and desperation.” Some of the children were sold by their parents into slavery. Some are orphans and some are runaways who were promised happiness by relatives, who then exploited them.

It’s a story the Sister from New York, Joan Dawber, picks up on. Sister Joan runs safe houses in Queens. She described one woman’s story: She came to New York to be a student, sponsored byp1562069350-3 an extended family. When she arrived, the family forced her to become their slave. She never attended school. She was forced to take care of the family, including raising their young children. She was forced to eat off the floor. Not just having her plate on the floor, she didn’t have a plate. Whatever food she was allowed to eat was put on the floor. If she was hungry and snuck any food out of the fridge, she was punished. She was her family’s slave in Queens, NY for five years. Her salvation came in the form of a neighbor who suspected something odd based on the young woman’s behavior in public. She tried to speak to her repeatedly, ask her how she is, only to have the young woman run away. Eventually the neighbor gave the woman a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers for the police and safe shelters. The young woman finally found courage to escape, using the cell phone to call for help. She has since finished school and lives in New York.

Sister Dawber points out that human trafficking exists in every state of the USA. It is not an issue that only happens out there somewhere. It exists all around us. It could be the waitress in a restaurant, or a manicurist at the nail salon. They could be of any age and any race. It can be almost impossible to know that this person ringing up our groceries is indentured to someone.

Sister Lynda Dearlove runs a safe house in London. Their organization primarily helps prostitutes. The interesting thing is that their mission isn’t strictly to “rescue” the women from prostitution. It is to offer them a safe home and counseling when in need. Many only come to sister-lynda-dearlovespend the night, take a shower and eat. Some then return to the streets. The Sisters there never force anyone to stay. Many women have been coming to them for years for a night or two of peace. The Sisters hope that by offering women a shelter and offering them counseling they can help them enable themselves. Sister Dearlove passionately says that the can not force anyone to do anything. The best they can do is show the women that there is hope and they need to find it for themselves. Maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. “They are valued and they are loved, and if anything happens to them we want them to know that we will miss them.” She says that people blame women for becoming prostitutes and that it is one of the biggest challenges we as a society face: The need to understand that if any of these women choose prostitution it is only because they are fleeing abuse, or drugs, or so many other possible traumas. Many are trying to support families and stay alive. They must never be judged or condemned, she says. They must be offered hope.

Note: Sister Dearlove was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind fellow Widdershins?

I love words – especially words that convey a feeling.  Recently the German Embassy introduced me to my new favorite word:scared

Muffensausen!  It isn’t a thing. It’s a condition. You can find yourself in a state of muffensausen. The term consists of the word muffe, meaning a sleeve or piping.  The sausen means to “rapidly flow out” or “to swoosh by”.  So if you are having muffensausen it means you are so scared you’ve lost control of your bowels.

Paradoxically, never before had I thought about the true meaning of being “scared sh!tless,” but our German friends have given us the perfect word for the reign of Lord Commander Marmalade. These days I’m in a constant state of muffensausen.

Everything Lord Dampnut (anagram of Donald Trump) has touched with his freakishly small paws has turned exquisitely FUBAR.  First, we have the Mango Meerkat drunk-dialing, or better said crazy-dialing, long-term allies and yelling at them.  Europe is actually asking if the U.S. has morphed into an existential threat.  From a NYT article:

A European official, Donald Tusk, created a stir this week when he wrote a letter to 27 leaders of the bloc’s 28 member states suggesting that the Trump administration presented a threat on a par with a newly assertive China, an aggressive Russia and “wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and Africa.”

Coincidentally, the White House is leaking like an incontinent colander at a watermelon eating contest.  There are quite detailed accounts of phone calls and even transcripts being thrown over the transom for an abused press to feast upon and feast they are.scared-rabbit-2

His crazy doctor, who looks like Bannon with greasier hair, but better skin, is even leaking about the Trumpanzee’s prostate medication.  In case you’re wondering, the way to get that fresh kangaroo scrotum look for your hair is right through your prostate or so says his doctor whose business cards have, “very famous doctor” under his name.

The guy who looks like the product of an inflamed hemorrhoid having had make-up sex with a more disgusting inflamed hemorrhoid is at the epicenter of all this mishegas (another great word).  Around here we’ve known Bannon was trouble from the get-go.  People are catching on and the cross-hairs are trained on him.  Foreign Policy magazine even called him out.

He’s got a bootlicking henchman, Stephen Miller, who has a resume resplendent with the paragons of conservative thought – Michele Bachmann, Beauregard Jefferson Sessions, and Tea Party ding-a-ling David Brat. At 31 or 32, no one is quite sure from which rat mischief he creeps (a group of rats is called a “mischief” and is there any more appropriate word for this White House infestation).scared-pug

Effectively, it seems Bannon and Miller masterminded the travel ban, kept it secret, and made sure it was legally and administratively worthless through their bumbling.  Of course, there are those who are wholehearted believers — the people we decent folks call “deplorables”. These deplorables even had a “DeploraBall” around the inauguration. Representative of this mélange of madness is Cassandra Fairbanks, first a BernBrain, who then settled on Trump:

“[M]yself I thought, his message makes sense.” She appreciated Trump’s opposition to political correctness… “I started saying a few pro-Trump things on Twitter, and people absolutely lost their sh!t,” she said. “I got called a literal Nazi so many times, I eventually went, Fu*k it, I’ll just go all in.” She now writes for Sputnik, a news site funded by the Russian government.

Fairbanks joined up the night of the DeploraBall with a group of like-minded “Proud Boys,” a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”  Aside from drinking Budweiser on a rooftop, their other challenge for the evening was figuring out how to put on their Pepe pins.

scared-babyEach time I read about people like Ms. Fairbanks and the Proud Boys, I wonder: Can it get any worse?  And I’m sorry to say, yes it can.  Excising the Jews from the Holocaust Remembrance is too thoughtless even for these brain-dead illiberal xenophobes.

Referencing this new avenue of Holocaust denial from the White House is the epitome of disgusting.  It is so disgusting I have no words to describe the muffensausen engulfing me.  But, if you take the first letters of each of my paragraphs, somehow I have found the chutzpah for a special message to Lord Commander Marmalade.

What’s on your mind today?

 

We’ve heard soooo much about Hillary’s voice over the years. The pitch, the tone, the volume. Throughout the election we’ve watched the pundits spend more time discussing DorothyParkertoneofvoicethe characteristics of her voice than the words she actually said. I can’t think of any other woman, whether politician or someone in power, who has had their voice analyzed this way. Even with all the criticism of her as the First Lady, I don’t remember anyone suggesting she should modulate her voice. It seems to me, this scheme started in 2008.

So, it’s nice to run across a humorous piece that talks about Hillary’s voice from another angle. It must be true because the media says so. “Hillary Clinton Has Been Finding Her Voice Since 1993”

It was January 16, 1993, and the Associated Press was ruminating on the supposedly contradictory nature of the woman who would become, in four days, the First Lady of the United States.

[snip]

They quoted her mentor Marian Wright Edelman as saying, “We are complicated people… I’m sure she will find her voice. She’ll do it in her own way.

What Edelman may not have anticipated is that Hillary would find her voice and lose it and find it again over and over and over for 23 years.

And so began Hillary’s glorious adventure looking for her voice like Dora the Explorer searching for the map. She found it in Beijing in 1996, but must have lost it because everyone was looking for it again when she ran for U.S. Senate in 1999. Apparently, sheThis-way-to-your-voice1 didn’t need her voice while she was a Senator because in 2008, the search was on again. She must not have needed it as Secretary of State either because Bloomberg said so.

And then her voice was gone, because in August of 2015, Bloomberg broke the news that she had found it.

“Hillary Clinton Finds Her Voice Making Gun Violence Plea Following Roanoke Murders,” Bloomberg reported. “It really wasn’t what she said, but how she said it, with what came across as honest heartbreak.” 

2016 turned out to be a bonanza year. She found her voice several months in a row. The last, snarky line: (spoiler alert)

Asked if she would be willing to submit for an interview on this subject, the Clinton campaign didn’t respond. Perhaps she couldn’t find her voice. 

What about Hillary’s voice in the 23 years prior to 1993? The one where she gave the first student commencement speech at Wellesley, at the age of 21 years, that earned a hillary-clinton-wellesley1_custom-a8c5ca1d2549da0d91af7a8c17f059b1a7ded8c0-s800-c15prominent write-up in LIFE magazine’s ‘Class of ’69’? The voice she used to graduate Yale Law School, the one she used when she was staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, when she was first female chair for Legal Services Corporation, first female partner at the Rose Law Firm, asked to sit on the impeachment inquiry staff during the Watergate scandal? (Now THAT’S a real scandal)

If I started listed everything else she and her voice accomplished, including when she was the First Lady of Arkansas, we’d be here all day. My question is – how did she manage to do it all if she had yet to find her voice? Hypnosis?

Another thing that always seems to be missing. Just think of all the things Hillary has not only given her voice to, but how many have been given their own voice because of hers. Women and causes all over the world who were not being heard…

In 1997, Hillary and former SOS Madeline Albright started the nonprofit Vital Voice Democracy Initiative to give voice to women and put them in leadership positions. The positive response led to the Vital Voices Global Partnership, which advances women’s economic, political and social status around the world. And that is just one initiative. Hillary speaks for so many and gives many more their own voices. The positive effects of Hillary’s voice are so numerous, they are incalculable.

You never know who will be next. This is a young woman named Ella Dawson who has a STD (STI). Rather than hide in shame, she decided to become an activist to raise awareness. She was promptly and viciously attacked by – you guessed it – the “alt-right”. She tells of some of her experience here and her feelings about Hillary’s Reno speech.

I’ve been a Hillary Clinton supporter for years now, but the importance of her campaign for President didn’t hit home with me until I watched her speech last week in Reno. I know so many writers who are terrified to even mention Breitbart by name online because we so often pay for it. There Hillary was, literally reading Breitbart headlines from the podium as the audience gasped. She was unafraid of the Alt-Right’s vulgar, distorted conspiracy theories, their character assassinations, their sexist photoshopped memes. And despite her fearlessness, she was able to recognize their danger without validating their ideology.

I have never seen a politician understand the danger of the Alt-Right. It made me sad that a fringe hate community has become so central to American politics that a presidential candidate has to make a speech about them. But it also filled me with genuine, raw hope for the first time since I became an activist. Finally, someone took the threat of the Alt-Right seriously. And it could only be Hillary, who has experienced their loathing for decades, long before Twitter even existed. She reminds me of myself, or of the woman I hope to become: resilient in the face of opposition, unbroken by decades of sexist attacks and restrictive stereotypes. Her candidacy is proof that the Alt-Right will ultimately fail. There is no amount of screaming and threatening that can halt progress.

If I could say anything to Hillary Clinton, it would be thank you. Thank you for making me feel less alone in this daily battle against hatred online. Thank you for never wavering in your pursuit of the full equality of women. Thank you for speaking, no matter how much talking heads criticize your tone of voice. Thank you for pushing this country forward, and thank you for taking us with you. I’m with you.

When I watched Hillary’s Reno speech I was a little surprised and more than a little afraid for her when she started, not just taking names, but naming names and kicking ass. Not just Trump, but Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Breitbart… She even called out some guy on Twitter “white-genocide-TM ” and said – flat out – he’s a bigot. She called out the “nationalism” of Nigel Farage and Putin. I thought at the time how brave she was.

But, somewhere in my foggy brain, I knew I was missing something. I watched the media and knew they were missing something. Finally, I got it. It wasn’t what she did, it was why she did. She went where others fear to tread. She gave the media time to dig into the dungeons of the “alt-right” and inform the general public. That didn’t happen because they are afraid of them. Yeah, I said it. The media are scared of them. Why wouldn’t they be? They know what these people are capable of including threats to their kids and family.

While we were watching the media’s non-reaction to their own announcement that the head of Breitbart was Trump’s new CEO (say what?), Hillary and folks decided they would have to take it into their own hands. While the media was wasting time questioning Hill’s surrogates about the Foundation and emails, her team was gearing up for this speech.

So, here’s the why. Hillary didn’t want her surrogates and supporters to bare the brunt ofdear-haters-i-have-so-much-more-for-you-to-be-mad-at-just-be-patient-858536 bringing these rock-dwellers into daylight. So, she did what needed to be done. Herself. She’s not about to let these white supremacist, racist, misogynistic, bigots hide behind some benign “alt-right” label. She used those very words. She took that pressure, that burden, off her supporters and onto her own shoulders as she has done many times before. It was like she was waving both arms in the air and yelling “Hey Haters! I’m over here! Come bully ME!” It was the most courageous thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I could be that fearless. I am not. But, I think I’ll leave a few Post-It notes around the house with the last words of Hillary’s commencement speech.

Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.

Especially, not now.

Open thread everyone.

The rule in debating public policy is, “If you are explaining, you are losing.”  Be advised, this is a “losing post.”Understanding

Everyone is busy.  We only have so much time.  IMHO, we all use shorthand to communicate.  If the time available doesn’t afford a thorough explanation, it is understanding that is shortchanged.  There are plenty of examples.

These days when someone says “voting rights,” top of the mind automatically associates voter identification laws.  In reality, voting rights also refers to extended voting hours, absentee balloting issues, registration, weekend voting, and a host of other topics that have been subsumed into “voting rights”.

The same is true for Planned Parenthood.  Top of the mind associates the organization with abortion when that is barely three percent of the services it provides to women, most notably poor women without a secondary source of reproductive health care.

Acorn, community organizing, election finance, Obamacare, entitlements are all topics that are shorthand capstones for massively intricate webs of complexity.

Shut your face, know your placeWe “libruls” often unwittingly fall into this ruse.  It is not a sin of commission, but one of convenience.  Unwittingly, we are assisting those who are enemies of progressive issues.  This shorthand vocabulary is about to go into overdrive as we wend our way into 2016.

An issue that is sure to be saddled by this abbreviated understanding is the Black Lives Matter movement.  Originally, the BLM movement was and still is a concerted effort to draw attention to the killing of young men of color, but BLM is much more.  Its purpose is to draw attention to institutionalized prejudice, to de facto bigotry, to unprecedented incarceration rates, to overly aggressive policing and tactics in disadvantaged neighborhoods, to looking beyond the mere economic effects of discrimination, to rebuilding neighborhoods and voting empowerment.  While I don’t understand the BLM strategy of attacking those sympathetic with its policy positions, those decisions seem to be local ones and the overall motivations seem to be pure.

The simplistic rejoinder of, “All lives matter,” while true, is a backhanded effort to undermine the effort by subtly implying racist overtones.  BLM has not once implied that one set of lives is superior to another.  It is those who seek to impugn BLM who conflate the two slogans – and everyone readily overlooks those six words, with four of the words being the same, are merely slogans.Life is worth

These facts are dismissed and overlooked.  Why?  BLM is a tangible reminder of a truth that scares the bejesus out of a dwindling white majority power structure.  That truth is declaring war upon demographics is like declaring war on gravity.  In the end, gravity will win and any success in beating it back is only temporary.

This delegitimizing of BLM has risen to a fever pitch with the senseless killing of two police officers in the last few days.  The usual suspects who fan the fires of fear and resentment are behind these efforts – Fox, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Hannity.

There is something that bedevils me and it is this:  How neither side of this argument seems to understand there is no monopoly on grief?  There is plenty of grief for the getting.  The killing of young black men inspires grief just as does the killing of police officers visits horrible suffering on their families.  Victims are equally dead and there is no “who hurts worse” or “who grieves better” scorecards.

To fan the fires of resentment and fear, these murders have already taken on a shorthand vocabulary.  For instance, Breitbart only refers to “black on white” crimes as race murders, while “white on black” crime is given short shrift as random acts of derangement.

This thinly veiled bigotry is at the heart of the “Summer of Trump.”  The “stuttering triple P” poll found:

Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim… 61% think Obama was not born in the United States… and 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship.

Trump’s beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States.

MLKInstitutionalized bigotry will always be buttressed by the very institutions hosting the prejudice.  What we know from decades of research is that unless change is affected at the granular level, through outreach like BLM in cooperation with police departments and cities, there will be no significant improvement.  Everyone should be encouraged to put their shoulder to the plow.  As we have seen this summer, broken people break things and hurt people will hurt people.

Aspiring to such an elementary understanding isn’t on par with Johnson’s Great Society, but it sure would go a long way in making the society we have a much better one.

Your thoughts on any subject are welcomed and encouraged.

GLEN, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at an organizing event at a private home July 4, 2015 in Glen, New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) | Darren McCollester via Getty Images

Good Monday, all! I am back from vacay and, unfortunately, am sporting a fractured foot along with my tan. (I twisted my foot on Friday night while in Aruba, went to the emergency room on July 4th, and came home in a cast.) At this point, I’m in a boot, and require no surgery, so I feel very fortunate.

But enough about me: this is about Hillary and her new economic agenda. Details are light right now, but given Our Girl’s recent coming-out party staged on hallowed Rooseveltian ground, I am quite encouraged by what I’m reading.

After months of running on broad themes backed by little in the way of actual policy proposals, Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce Monday what aides call a far-reaching plan to restructure the economy to move more of the nation’s wealth to middle- and low-wage earners.

(snip)

Amid concerns by progressives that Clinton, who represented New York in the U.S. Senate and has deep political ties to the financial industry, would be reluctant to interfere with the business of investment firms, the candidate will promise to do exactly that.

(ahem…dear “progressives…”)

(but I digress…continuing on…)

In the more narrowly crafted proposals that follow the speech, Clinton will target what the campaign calls a mind-set of “quarterly capitalism” on Wall Street and elsewhere — emphasizing making a quick return with little regard for how it is being generated — that she says has pushed the economy too far away from creating things of real value.

Specific taxes and shareholder engagement rules Clinton will later propose would redeploy capital toward more durable sources of economic growth, such as research and development and infrastructure, her advisors say.

Clinton will argue as the campaign heats up that Wall Street in particular is failing the middle class by not keeping its focus on those investments that help generate jobs and upward mobility within companies. Economists who worked on the plan say she will target “excessive risk taking” and churning of investments, as well as what Democrats argue are loopholes in the tax code that reward such behavior.

Yes, Hillary will be focusing on both the middle class AND the poor in her economic agenda. I doubt that we Widdershins will find much to criticize in her approach, when we see more of the details; but will mainstream America agree? According to recent polling data, signs point to yes.

Asked, for example, whether the government should do more to address the growing income gap between the very rich and everyone else, Americans supported more government action by 57% to 39% in a recent CBS/New York Times poll. Even larger majorities favored a hike in the minimum wage — which all the current GOP candidates oppose — plus higher taxes on millionaires and government-mandated paid family leave.

I believe I may have said this once or twice before: in my opinion, Americans vote with their pocketbooks, unless they are terrified or misled into doing otherwise. I think this is just one of many reasons why Hillary is clearly going to win in 2016. Well, that and the fact that GOP has swung hopelessly to the right on far too many issues. They have been hoisted on their own petard at this point, and have empowered the most extreme elements of their Party to have a very strong influence on all the positions their national politicos take.

And speaking of this, I would like to re-state that TW is not an echo chamber and we may have opinions that differ from each other on many topics. On the topic of the Confederate flag, I am with this proud South Carolina Republican who is a defendant of Jefferson Davis. I think she says everything I would want to say, and much more credibly. I dub her also a Fighter.

This is an open thread.

Good Monday, all! As you have most likely heard, the Internets have been abuzz with the strange story of Rachel Dolezal, formerly leader of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP, who has been outed as a white woman passing for black. In the past several days, she has first denied being white; then when her parents showed pictures of her as a blonde, freckled teenager, claimed to be “transracial” as Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is transgender. Now, Ms. Dolezal has floated the idea that she may not be her parents’ biological child…a claim that appears to be based more on wishful thinking than reality, if her brother is to be believed.

Rachel Dolezal, the embattled ex-NAACP chapter president accused of lying about being black, insisted this past week on national television she is not white, saying she had no proof she is her parents biological child.

“I haven’t had a DNA test,” she said NBC Nightly News. “There’s been no biological proof that Larry and Ruthanne [Dolezal] are my biological parents.”

Ezra Dolezal, Rachel’s adopted biracial brother, challenges her to take the test.

“She’s obviously related to my parents and she says she’s not, she should get a DNA test, that would definitely prove it,” he tells PEOPLE. “I don’t why she keeps saying it.”

I don’t know either, but it clearly means a lot to Dolezal to identify as black. I recently read a thoughtful piece by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, in which the topic of racial identity being potentially selective is interestingly framed in the context of Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump’s declaration of his candidacy for President, and the horrible attack in South Carolina. As Jones wrote,

…[W]e all live in a historical context, and our actions and desires are always read in terms of what others are doing. That’s not to say that the legitimacy of role-playing isn’t complicated — even many of those who fully supported and admired Jenner’s right to make a bold splash as a woman were aware that she had not chosen to depict herself as something close to what most transgender people experience. She was not photographed as herself — she was photographed as a retro icon, not as a woman, but as the image of a Hollywood star. That was a constructed piece of role-playing regardless of the gender of the subject.

Was that just Jenner seizing her own brand, which is wise for us all? Who does not want to be photographed with glamour? And why not serve as a role model? But some saw malevolence in the big-media machine, the creation of a marketable figure from which the authentic was airbrushed in favor of a new character, a siren with appeal for the voyeuristic.

That is the problem, of course, with the media saturation of these so-called controversies: However authentic or inauthentic the original impulse, the argument becomes moot. There is money to be made either way. No doubt Dolezal is already fielding many offers of representation — book contracts, reality shows, personal appearances, all surely are in the offing. Will that make the life of her African-American children better? Who is to say?

I wish I knew what motivated Dolezal’s actions. Who knows, maybe ten years from now a lot of people will come out as “transracial,” but for now, she’s caused quite a furor.

What do you think about this? This is an open thread.


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Blog Archive

August 2017
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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph