How the hell does anyone argue racism is a thing of the past when the same criminal prejudice haunting every dark corner of history, even quite often proudly prancing and frolicking forth in the grand light of day throughout our history, is still doing “The Curly Shuffle” all over the unalienable rights of anyone who is not white, male, straight, conservative and corporate-oriented?
Take this federal contractor out in Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee, who rejected with extreme prejudice 251 black applicants for positions with Brookfield’s United Mailing Services (UMS). Instead of hiring any of those black folks, made up presumably of both men and women, UMS decided a bunch of white guys lacking driver’s licenses who didn’t even competently complete their job applications in the first place, sporting criminal records to boot, were the much better hires.
Hell, United Mailing Services doesn’t just show us racism is alive and well – sexism is, too!
Isn’t that something right out of the early 60s? The 50s? 40s and on back? Back when folks think of the civil rights movement that has really, truly never been “won” and has neither gone away.
That UMS received over $3.6 million in federal funding for processing Veteran Affairs mail while it was openly discriminating against black U.S. citizens puts some extra stank on it, too, don’t you think, considering the number of African-American citizens who have given their lives for their country, and more to the point, for the American people?
Luckily, in this case, UMS got busted and is paying the price. According to the Labor Department, United Mailing Service now has promised to pay $120,000 (plus interest!) to each and every one of the 251 African-American applicants rejected by the company. The company also said it would hire 23 of the applicants turned away.
Imagine the joy of being one of the 23 black folks mandated to work in a racist company. Sure, you’re glad to have the job and see justice win out, but you’re also surrounded by racist a$$holes. Even legal wins can lack a bit of luster, sometimes. There’s one more example of white privilege for you.
What is perhaps most irritating, however, is that United Mailing Services never had to admit it was racist or had done anything wrong at all. They just throw some money at it and begrudgingly hire 23 of the rejected applicants and it’s like nothing ever happened. How nice.
At least the Office of Federal Contract Compliance states the company “violated federal employment law,” so… there’s that.
Is that progress, or a plateau? Because it sure as hell isn’t history.
Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Donald Trump admitted to being completely ignorant about the Black Lives Matter movement. “I know nothing about it,” the billionaire real estate developer said.
Of course, his lack of knowledge didn’t prevent him from harshly criticizing the effort. Trump said that he’s “seeing lot of bad stuff about it right now.” He said Martin O’Malley, a contender for the Democratic nomination, was a “disgusting little weak pathetic baby” for apologizing to Black Lives Matter activists earlier this year.
Despite his professed lack of knowledge, this isn’t the first time Trump has been critical of efforts to protest police brutality against African Americans. In response to the demonstrations in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Trump said that “our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
As children of the ’90s, we were often taught to be “colorblind.” What passed for anti-racism in our youth hinged more on ignoring each other’s racial differences — “Skin color doesn’t matter!” we were told — than embracing, celebrating, acknowledging and critiquing how these differences shape our lives.
This memo seems to have gotten lost on its way to Walt Disney Studios. The animated films that defined our “colorblind” childhoods — torn from their cushioned packaging and shoved into our waiting VHS players — had no qualms about resorting to the most blatant forms of racism that could still earn a “G”-rating.
Ignoring race did nothing for us then. Now we know better, and our darlings must be killed. Racism can be so inconvenient that way.
1. Dumbo (1940)
The lead crow character in Dumbo, a gravel-voiced, thickly accented piece of black comedic relief (pun intended), is actually named “Jim Crow.” The name is a glib reference to the systems of state-sanctioned terrorism that defined black life in the American South throughout the early to mid-20th century.
The crows’ role in the film also mirrors the film industry’s rampant racism at the time, during which black performers were relegated to stereotypical comic roles, or supporting musical entertainment. Fun!
2. Peter Pan (1953)
The song, “What Makes the Red Man Red?” sung by a chorus of Native American caricatures that rapidly devolve into outright minstrelsy, contains lyrics such as, “Once the Injun didn’t know all the things that he know now … but the Injun, he sure learn a lot, and it’s all from asking ‘How?'”
It also implies that Native peoples got their complexion because an “Injun prince” kissed a “squaw” a million years back and everyone has been “blushing since.” Such degrading portrayals of Native peoples have undergirded centuries of terrorism, plunder and degradation, and helped justify racist myths of Native inferiority. Cool!
3. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
The stereotype of the sneaky, devious East Asian is on full display with the twin Siamese cat characters — Si and Am — in Lady and the Tramp. Aside from their heavily minstrelized rendering (both have buck teeth, thick accents and narrow eyes), their song, “We Are Siamese, If You Please,” features choreography in which the two wreak sly havoc in a house, and try killing a bird and a fish.
Similar stereotypes were used to reinforce fear of the so-called yellow peril in the late 19th century. Specifically, the notion that sneaky East Asians posed a mortal danger to the rest of the world led to strict fierce anti-immigration policies to keep them out of the United States. Wow!
4. The Jungle Book (1963)
To feature a group of monkeys and apes singing like Louis Armstrong wannabes is one thing. But The Jungle Book‘s larger racial significance stems from its source: author Rudyard Kipling, who penned perhaps the defining manifesto of white imperialism in his 1899 poem, “The White Man’s Burden.”
In it, he lauds the nobility of white colonizers who leave their idyllic white lives behind to bring so-called “civilization” to their “new-caught, sullen,” “half devil and half child” “captives” — the people of the Philippines, in this particular case, and the rest of the non-white world. Amazing!
5. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin‘s first song, “Arabian Nights,” contains the lyrics: “I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam … where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!” It goes on to detail how the people living on said land will “cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.”
The stereotype of Arab savagery and barbarism has existed in Western iconography for years. But over the past two decades, it’s also fueled the cultural wing of the so-called “War on Terror” — an absurd rhetorical battle that pits an inherently violent culture, the Islamic Middle East, against an inherently benign one, the Christian West — fueling renewed expression of racism in the United States and beyond. Win!
6. The Lion King (1994)
“How can The Lion King be racist?” you ask. “There aren’t any people in it!” Indeed. How curious that the first Disney animated film set in Africa does the same work the worst portrayals of Africa do: presenting it as “one big wild animal preserve” without a human in sight. Disney’s second film set in Africa, 1999’s Tarzan, does not feature a single African person.
Not to mention that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed — Scar’s three buffoonish hyena goons — also happen to the most sonically ethnicized, once again mirroring age-old Hollywood conventions wherein black and Hispanic performers are relegated to stereotypical comic relief. Go team!
7. Pocahontas (1995)
Nobody expects Disney films to be pillars of historical accuracy. But if they obscure histories of kidnapping and abusive sexual coercion, they may be better left to storytellers more equipped to relay that.
From the Powhatan Renape Nation (Pocahontas’ real-life tribe) website:
“The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.
“During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a ‘special interest’ in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe … Thus, in April, Matoaka, also know as ‘Pocahontas,’ daughter of Chief Powhatan, became ‘Rebecca Rolfe.'”
Turns out Pocahontas was not a modelesque woman who talked to raccoons, trees and hummingbirds, but a teenaged colonial prisoner whose release was predicated on her entering a non-consensual, lifetime sexual relationship with a thirsty English stranger.
It is fairly well known that since Republican demigod Ronald Reagan was president, the GOP have concentrated on the one and only economic agenda that has proven to fail since its inception. Oh it is true that there are several other failed economic policies Republicans embrace besides just giving outrageously generous and unfunded tax cuts to the richest one percent, but oil subsidies, spending cuts, financial deregulation, poverty wages and allowing corporations to hide their trillions of dollars in profits are secondary in the extent of harm to the economy and Americans to the absurd trickle down scam. However, over the past six years Republicans have employed a novel means of wreaking economic havoc on the nation that typically has had nothing whatsoever to do with spending, debt and deficit, or growing the economy, and this year they are using religion to slow down job creation and thwart economic growth.
The world’s economists, like all Americans, have sat back and marveled at how Republicans in Congress have deliberately and repeatedly taken the country into fiscal deadline after fiscal deadline to force Democrats to bend to their will. Now, as another deadlines looms, a majority of economists responding to a Wall Street Journal survey predicted Republicans would once again damage the economy and world financial markets because evangelicals hate Roe v. Wade, contraception, and the incomprehensible idea of women making their own reproductive health choices that are contrary to evangelical and Catholic clergy.
According to a recent survey of 62 real economists by the Wall Street Journal, it is not the instability of China’s stock market, or its move to devalue its currency, or the Greek Eurozone crisis, or the possibility of the Federal Reserve finally raising interest rates. What frightens a great majority of the nation’s leading economic experts most of all is that the Republican-controlled Congress will “precipitate another fiscal crisis this fall” when Republicans plan to either shut down the government unless Planned Parenthood is destroyed, or hold the debt ceiling hostage until Planned Parenthood is destroyed. It is important to note that the push to put an end to Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with the economy, debt and deficit, national security, jobs, or economic growth; it is about legislating and enforcing an extremist religious policy.
At a press conference Tuesday in Iowa, Donald Trump had his bodyguards forcibly remove Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from the room. As Ramos continues to try to ask his question, Trump’s bodyguard pushes him out of the room.
Later, Trump allowed Romos back into the room and allowed him to ask a question. Ramos asked Trump how he was going to build a 1,900 mile wall. “Very easy, I’m a builder,” Trump said.
Trump is currently suing Univision for $500 million after the network dropped coverage of his beauty pageants. Univision severed the relationship in protest of Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants.
In a statement released after the press conference, Univision President Isaac Lee said, “We’d love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals.”
Global stock markets showed signs of stabilizing on Tuesday, despite another steep dive for China’s benchmark Shanghai index, which closed down 7.6 percent. Shares around the world took a volatile rideon Monday as investors panicked over the troubles in China, the world’s second largest economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by a gut-wrenching 1,000 points after Monday’s opening bell, then bounced around all day before closing down nearly 600 points. All three major U.S. indexes fell by nearly 4 percent.
North and South Korea reached a deal to end the threat of war earlyTuesday after three days of marathon talks. Tensions began rising early this month when two South Korean soldiers were maimed by a border-zone land mine planted by North Korea. South Korea then began broadcasting propaganda over the border with a loudspeaker, which led to an exchange of cross-border artillery fire. Under the deal, North Korea apologized for the land mine, and South Korea agreed to turn off the loudspeaker.
Ferguson, Missouri, Municipal Court Judge Donald McCullin on Mondayordered the withdrawal of all local arrest warrants issued before Dec. 31. The judge, appointed in June, is revamping of court policies in response to withering criticism in a Justice Department report five months ago that accused the court and police of working together to squeeze money out of people, primarily minorities. The investigation was part of the federal response to the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white officer a year ago.
Major fundraisers for the 2008 and 2012 Obama-Biden campaigns have been invited to meet with Vice President Joe Biden at his residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory after Labor Day. The news fueled anticipation as Biden reportedly leans toward entering the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination as frontrunner Hillary Clinton faces questions about her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry’s Iowa campaign chairman, Sam Clovis, quit on Monday. Clovis, a leading Iowa conservative, said he quit partly because he was no longer being paid. “I feel bad for Governor Perry because I think he’s a marvelous human being, he’s a great man and it was my honor to be a part of this, but it was just time to move on,” Clovis said. His departure came weeks after reports said Perry staffers were not being paid in South Carolina — like Iowa, a key early prize in the primary season.
Sierra Leone health officials released the last known Ebola patient in the country on Monday. Adama Sankoh, 40, got sick after her son died from the virus last month. “Although my child died of Ebola I am very happy that I have survived today,” she said. Sierra Leone is not yet in the clear. It must get through 42 days — twice the incubation period — with no more infections before the World Health Organization declares the country to be Ebola-free.
British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died Monday from a severe head injury caused by debris sent flying in a crash in the closing laps of a race at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway the day before. He was 37. Wilson had been in a coma since the accident. He was a former Formula One driver and seven-time winner in IndyCar racing. He was the first IndyCar driver to die from a race accident since fellow Briton, Dan Wheldon, was killed in a fiery 2011 crash in Las Vegas.
Canadian police said Monday that they had received two unconfirmed reports of suicides linked to the massive hack of user information from Ashley Madison, a website used by people seeking extramarital affairs. Police also are investigating numerous complaints of attempted extortion related to the posting of millions of users’ personal information online. Site owner Avid Life Media, now facing a massive class-action lawsuit, is offering $378,000 for information leading to the arrest of the hackers.
A safari guide was killed by a lion on Monday in the Zimbabwe national park that was home to Cecil the lion, the animal lured outside protected land and killed by a bow hunter in July. The guide, Quinn Swales, was leading six tourists on a walking safari in Hwange National Park when he spotted six lions — two adult males, two females, and two cubs. The lion with cubs grew hostile, and Swales tried to scare the animals away, but one of the males turned and attacked.
AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead set a record for the biggest cable-series debut ever, attracting 10.1 million viewers for its 90-minute opening episode Sunday. The new drama, a spin-off of the ratings-leading showThe Walking Dead, will have just six episodes in its first season, but already has been renewed for a 15-episode second season. The show opens just as the zombie apocalypse chronicled in the first series is starting, and is set in Los Angeles rather than rural Georgia.
In the past five months, at least 14 police officers have been charged for on-duty killings—more than five times the normal rate.
At least 14 cops have been charged in recent months with committing murder, homicide, or manslaughter while on duty. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that two Albuquerque policemen must stand trial for killing a homeless man as he appeared to surrender. The same day, “two former East Point police officers were indicted on charges that they murdered a 24-year-old father by repeatedly using their Tasers on him while he was handcuffed and sitting in a creek,” The Atlanta Journal Constitutionreported.On Monday, TheWashington Postreported that “a former Fairfax County police officer was charged with second-degree murder, nearly two years after he shot an unarmed Springfield man who stood with his hands raised in the doorway of his home.”
At the end of July, prosecutor Joe Deters announced that University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing will face murder charges for shooting an unarmed motorist during a traffic stop. In June, a South Carolina grand jury indicted former officer Michael T. Slager for shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the backas he ran away from a traffic stop.
In May, a Baltimore grand jury indicted six cops on homicide and assault charges in the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. And a Tulsa deputy who grabbed his gun instead of his taser was charged with manslaughter in April.There are a couple of ways to contextualize these numbers.
Observers have noted the fact that American police officers kill orders of magnitude more people than their counterparts in other western democracies. Now, the number of U.S. cops arrested for killings in the last five months exceeds the total number of people shot and killed by cops in England going back five years. This is particularly extraordinary given how reluctant many U.S. prosecutors are to file charges against police, and how much deference police reports are given in the absence of video or forensic evidence, like a bullet in the back, that blatantly contradicts their story.
Are U.S. police now being charged at a higher rate than before? Maybe. Over a seven-year period ending in 2011, “41 officers in the U.S. were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with on-duty shootings,” TheWall Street Journalreported in 2014, citing research by Philip Stinson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. That figure works out to an average of 5.8 officers charged per year, but excludes officers charged in non-shooting deaths.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Professor Stinson told me that in a period stretching from May 2005 to April 2015, 54 officers were charged for on-duty killings where they shot someone, working out to 5.4 officers charged per year. But that figure excludes non-shooting incidents, like when cops kill someone with a Taser or car.
Stinson also has data in which cases are the unit of measure.Over that same seven-year period stretching from 2005 to 2011, there were 46 cases of cops being charged for on-duty killings of any kind––6.5 cases per year on average. The 14 officers charged over the past five months works out to an annualized rate of 33.6 cases per year, or more than five times the usual rate.
(The number of cases for on-duty and off-duty killings was much higher: 127 cases in that same time period, which works out to 18.1 cases per year.)
If prosecutors and grand juries are to be trusted, cops murder or unlawfully slaughter an extraordinary number of people. And while it may be that the five-month period we’re in now will look like just an unusual cluster, if the rate at which cops are indicted for killings continues at this pace, then we’re witnessing a sharp disjuncture with the recent past.
In yet another case, “a judge in Cleveland said that he believes there is probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy fatally shot while playing with a toy gun last year,” TheWashington Post reported in June, but the ruling, “does not amount to formal charges being filed against the officers involved.” Regardless of how many officers are charged in coming months, the year-end number of cops charged will be scandalous, even though it almost certainly undercounts the number of unjust killings. Defenders of the status quo in policing should wake up to the need for reforms.
There is something curious going on with the American people as voters, and it is difficult to determine exactly what the problem is. Oh it is true that voters, particularly Republican voters, are inherently ignorant, even stupid, but it does not entirely explain why they consistently vote against their own best self-interests. It is also true that even when conservatives are dissatisfied with their Republican representatives and candidates performance, or lack thereof, they still show up at the ballot box and re-elect them reliably. And so it is that despite a new Pew Research poll showing that Republicans have lost significant support among the population, particularly with Republican voters, it is not necessarily a good sign for Democrats and certainly not a reason to celebrate.
In what should be an obvious poll result, the Republican Party’s image has grown more negative overall during the first half of this year. Currently, only 32 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60 percent have an unfavorable view; that is what happens after six months of raving lunacy and anti-everything extremism borne of truly obscene presidential candidate’s positions. The favorable views of the GOP have tumbled eighteen percentage points since January.
Democrats continue holding steady, although not stellar, ratings with mixed results of 48 percent favorability as opposed to 47 percent unfavorable, but that is nothing new. Although, that slight Democratic favorability advantage narrowed slightly after Republican extremists prevailed in the 2014 midterms and took control of the entire Congress, the recent poll results reveal the gap in favor of Democrats is wider now than it has been in over two years.
It should surprise no-one, not even Republicans, that Democrats still hold wide advantages over the GOP on empathy and honesty, and are viewed as “more concerned with the needs of people like me” by 53 percent to 31 percent; they also lead Republicans “on governing in an honest and ethical way (45 percent to 29 percent). However, none of this is new and despite the extremism, complete lack of ethics, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for the American people, Republicans remain a force that liberals, progressives, and rank-and-file Democrats continue to underestimate like they have since 2010. Perhaps it is because they are so desperate for good news that just learning that Democratic candidates are drawing large crowds, or favored by voters, convinces them that Republicans are finished as a political force. Nothing is farther from the truth despite the fact that most Americans believe that Democrats do serve the interests of the people; all the people.
Even in the best of situations, dropping off a child at college can be a stressful experience.
But some students at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, apparently decided to make “welcome week” a little worse for parents and arriving freshmen. Banners hanging from a private off-campus residence welcomed the delivery of a new class of young women with spray-painted slogans like “Rowdy and fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,” “Freshman daughter drop off” and “Go ahead and drop off Mom too.”
Jezebelreports the three signs appeared at a house where several members of the ODU chapter of Sigma Nu live, providing a photo from the chapter’s official Twitter account as evidence.
The banners quickly earned the condemnation of university staff, including president John R. Broderick, who posted the a statement to Facebook promising the incident will be “reviewed immediately” and “any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.”
The statement read:
I am outraged about the offensive message directed toward women that was visible for a time on 43rd Street. Our students, campus community and alumni have been offended.
While we constantly educate students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and sexual harassment, this incident confirms our collective efforts are still failing to register with some.
A young lady I talked to earlier today courageously described the true meaning of the hurt this caused. She thought seriously about going back home.
But she was heartened, she explained, when she saw how fellow students were reacting to this incident on social media. She realized this callous and senseless act did not reflect the Old Dominion she has come to love.
The Student Government Association has recently developed the “Monarchs Raising Up” campaign educating our students on prevention of sexual and relationship violence, bystander intervention, and off-campus responsible behavior. Through video, online and in-person content, we layer education on these topics for all of our students throughout the year. All new freshman just received education this weekend on preventing discrimination and sexual assault in sessions we call “First Class.”
Here is a link to a video from our student leaders responding to this event–just one example of how Old Dominion University students take a stand every day in regards to respecting each other and promoting responsible behavior: https://youtu.be/NC72ruvRtdY
I said at my State of the University address that there is zero tolerance on this campus for sexual assault and sexual harassment. This incident will be reviewed immediately by those on campus empowered to do so. Any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
John R. Broderick
Another Sigma Nu chapter at the University of Central Florida recently found itself in hot water after a student videotaped members of the frat, including a man accused of sexual assault, chanting “let’s rape some bitches” at an off-campus party.
The signs that appeared at ODU aren’t the only ones popping up on the nation’s campuses. Total Frat Move posted a few other photographs apparently showing similar incidents at other colleges, describing them as “hilarious.”
The signs are a tone-deaf message to send at a time when fraternities are coming under fire for numerous documented incidents of racist and misogynist behaviors.
The Guardian wrote last year that fraternities’ contribution to rape culture is significant, noting “numerous studies have found that men who join fraternities are three times more likely to rape, that women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women and that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in four years away at school.”