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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
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If Kate Steinle had been a woman of color...

...we would never have even heard of her.

Except, of course, if it had been a white man who had shot a woman of color. Then we'd be hearing all kinds of justifications and excuses from the Right.

None dare call it racism.

EDIT: This post should not be taken as a minimization of the horrific killing of Kate Steinle, by any means.

If you want to tackle economic inequality then you must address racism FIRST

Evidence in support of my statement:

As political scientist Jason McDaniel and I have shown, racial resentment strongly predicts opposition to government aid to the poor and support for the Tea Party. Extensive political science research shows that racial animus strengthens anti-welfare views and motivates right-wing movements like the Tea Party.

Politicians and journalists fuel these racist narratives. President Ronald Reagan’s famous denunciations of “welfare queens” and a “strapping young buck” buying steak with food stamps offer quintessential examples of the former. As for the latter, political scientist Martin Gilens finds that “network TV news and weekly newsmagazines portray the poor as substantially more black than is really the case.” In fact, “the elderly constitute less than 1 percent of the black poor shown in these magazines (compared with 5 percent of the nonblack poor) and the working poor make up only 12 percent of poor blacks (compared with 27 percent of poor non-blacks).”

The study makes it clear that American politics is still deeply driven by race. As Demos President Heather McGhee and scholar Ian Haney Lopez write, “In the post-war era, racism helped create the white middle class. Since the Reagan era, racism has helped destroy it.” They warn that progressives who worry about the weakness of the safety net often fail to appreciate that “racism has been the plutocrats’ scythe, cutting down social solidarity to harvest obscene wealth and power.” It’s clear that distorted views about who’s really benefiting from government spending remain widespread. For progressives to be successful, they need to fight these racist myths.


Why Doesn’t The US Have A European-Style Welfare State?

The history of American welfare suggests that enemies of welfare often used race to defeat attempts at redistribution in the post-bellum period. For example, during the populist era in the late 19th century, the US first contemplated significant government action to redistribute income towards poorer Americans (specifically farmers), other than Civil War veterans. In the south, the political action against populists would frequently take the form of racial politics. For example, Woodward (1955) describes how the conservative Democrats in the South defeated the left-wing Readjuster movement by using racial politics. The Poll Tax and Literacy Tests, which reduced voting by the poor of both races in the South, were enacted because they disproportionately disenfranchised African-Americans. A later example of how racial hatred was used to defeat left-wing politics is George Wallace—the famous proponent of race-based policies in Alabama who originally ran for Governor in 1958 on a primarily anti-rich ticket. He was defeated, in that first run, by a more racist candidate who was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan. In more recent times, national campaigns of relatively anti-welfare candidates have often attempted to use the race card (some observers have alleged this about both the Reagan and Bush campaigns).

A natural generalization of the race-based theory is that Americans think of the poor as members of some different group while Europeans think of the poor as members of their own group. Racial differences between the poor and non-poor in the US will tend to create the perception of the poor as “other” in the US, but geographic or social isolation might do this as well. If the poor in the US are more geographically or socially isolated, this might create a situation where non-poor Americans have little sympathy for the poor. Furthermore, as Lipset (1996) noted, (page 133) several polls suggest that a large majority of white American, believe that African Americans would be as wealthy as whites if they tried hard enough.


The dominant reason - by far - for why the American welfare state/social safety net (which, in a capitalist economy, is the main line of defense against economic inequality) is so stingy (and increasingly so) is because a majority of white voters of ALL classes don't want to pay taxes for programs that would benefit "those people." You can't simply make existing economic programs universal and "colorblind", for inequality has not just skyrocketed in recent decades between the haves and the have-nots, but between white and Black Americans (and other PoC) as well.

Racism is embedded into the very foundations of our economy and our society. You can't change that just by raising the economic position of Black folk - something that, BTW, can't and won't happen anyway as long as white supremacy and all of the racist entitlement that goes along with it aren't rooted out.

It is remarkable to me that Jews are blamed for both capitalism and communism

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Historically speaking, how and why did these economic resentments of Jews develop?

Why Black Voters Are the Most Rational Voters of 2016

Contrary to some nimble-minded pop-culture notions that either we’re not politically sharp or we don’t care about elections or we just vote for people who look like us, black voters (for the most part) are a rather strategically sound bunch. But that’s because the stakes are always ever so high for us. There’s little margin for error, little wiggle room when the wrong people are put in power. When election outcomes go south—or, in our case, symbolically Deep South—we can’t accept it because we’re so busy mentally preparing to pull our political rip cords on a proverbial parachute.

We’re not simply jumping out of a crashing national plane, so to speak (because where else can we go, considering our statistical lack of social mobility, anyway?). Yet we do suddenly find ourselves escalating communitywide survival mode.

White commentators, prognosticators and comedians may yuk it up daily and hurl jokes at orange-faced billionaire Trump, but none of that is changing the 52 percent of white voters supporting him in this Public Policy Poll (pdf)—or how Forbes’ Jeffrey Pfeffer pegged it way back last summer: “Narcissism, not modesty, and self-confident, even overconfident, self-presentation lead to leadership roles.”

All because most white Americans—through dominant social, political and economic norms—still maintain the privilege of shredding up institutions and starting from scratch when the mood strikes. Sure, many may get nervous when visualizing “President Trump.” But that doesn’t stop 30 percent of white Democratic Sanders supporters in this McClatchy-Marist poll from saying that they won’t support Hillary Clinton in the general election. For them, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. You shouldn’t be surprised, then, when Megyn Kelly softball-interviews Trump or when Operation Humanize Trump proceeds at full media speed.

Nonwhite voters, on the other hand—particularly black voters—have a better, more practical sense than that ... given expertise with dark tunnels, broken promises and lots of busted streetlights. We’ve actually been in this episode before. There’s nothing really funny about Trump’s political rise, nothing really reassuring about it. And so, even when 35 percent of African-American voters (in that same McClatchy survey) might say they’d like to see a Sanders nomination, only 18 percent of “nonwhite” voters opt out of voting for Clinton. In the latest YouGov poll (pdf), you also catch that disparity in common sense between insane white voters and largely rational black voters: A near 40 percent of whites believe that Sanders shouldn’t help Clinton win the general at all, compared with a combined 63 percent of African Americans who are like, “Really, son?”


On the Bush tax cuts: even assuming that they didn't increase the federal budget deficit...

....which I don't buy for a second, they certainly had incredibly adverse economic effects for everyone but the top 1%; namely, the massive acceleration of income and wealth inequality, as well as the reduction of labor's share of national income in favor of non-labor income that went almost exclusively to the super-rich.

We will be collectively paying the price of that massive Robin-Hood-in-reverse redistribution scheme for decades to come.

Matt Bruenig's reputation on Twitter was as "a relentless bully with a nasty online entourage"

Important article for many here on DU to read and consider. There are real lessons to be learned here; hopefully, progressives learn the right lessons.

(Bruening) is widely admired for his work on poverty, particularly his refutations of the so-called success sequence, which holds that a person can avoid economic immiseration by finishing high school, getting a full-time job, and delaying child-bearing until after age 21, and then only within marriage. On Twitter, however, he has a reputation, particularly among liberal women, as a relentless bully with a nasty online entourage. As the feminist writer Sady Doyle wrote in an email to Demos, “Bruenig is not only directly aggressive, he is a ringleader who inspires people to be aggressive and commit harassment in his name. Reports of being stormed after Bruenig points his followers at people are ubiquitous, and they most often come from women and people of color.” In the wake of fights with Bruenig, both Walsh and the feminist writer Jill Filipovic have seen photographs of the insides of their apartments, taken from real estate websites and Airbnb, circulated online. The message Walsh took from this was “we know where you live.”

Obviously, Bruenig is not responsible for the online behavior of his peers. (It is the nature of mobs, online or otherwise, to make responsibility diffuse.) He himself, however, insults people in starkly personal terms. He’s been taunting Walsh for being “old” for months now. Recently, when she objected, he threw information about her condo, presumbably unearthed by one of her trolls, in her face: “But hey keep on gentrifying Harlem with your million dollar apartment you woke self-proclaimed centrist.” (Bruenig declined to comment for this piece.) During a recent argument with Filipovic, he tweeted, “it’s just funny that you are such a hack that you deny actual facts when they disrupt your preferred framing.” He wrote that the writer Megan McArdle was a “complete human failure at business,” mocking her “inadequacy and incompetence at the thing she spent many years trying to accomplish.” He later wrote that this sort of insult-laden prose “stirs and inflames people, which I find funny. People call this ‘trolling.’ ”

They do indeed. Bruenig makes no apologies for being cruel to those he considers class enemies. As he and some of his allies see it, perfidious neoliberals regularly take sadistic policy positions while using demands for civility to escape the consequences. “To read the daily internet happenings on poverty in the US is to basically just watch a parlor game of elites opine in extremely ‘uncivil’ ways about the plight of people that they don’t afford any dignity, humanity, or decency,” he once wrote on his personal blog. On social media, he turns that contempt back on the people who he believes deserve it.

For women and people of color who have tangled with Bruenig, his righteously wielded personal invective comes on top of the online abuse they already suffer. He does not appear to be bothered by this. “Identitarianism is … heavily intertwined with certain discourse norms demanding deference to (even bourgeois) members of various demographic groups,” he wrote in April. “And the last thing someone interested in class politics should ever do is hesitate to harshly criticize any bourgeois discourse participant with bad arguments and opinions, especially when those arguments and opinions concern class issues.”


This might be a stretch on my part, but perhaps one reason for the bond between Hillary and PoC...

...has to do with the fact that she too has been on the receiving end of bigotry (albeit sex/gender-based bigotry) and discrimination, vile hatred and outrageously offensive remarks, and is widely perceived by much of white America (especially white men, but also, admittedly and unfortunately, a significant number of white women) as a "threat" to the "traditional values" of "our country" (i.e. white America's country)?

Let's face it...just as the American media and the white public has held President Obama to an impossible-to-meet standard (a standard which they would never even consider holding a white man to), so too has Hillary been held to a similar double standard. Just as President Obama must constantly walk a very fine line between being perceived as "too Black" to be not seen as a threat or "not Black enough" to authentically represent the interests of the Black community (and other PoC, for that matter), so too must Hillary constantly walk a fine line between being perceived as "too feminine" to be taken seriously and being considered "a rude, shrill bitch." I strongly suspect that the Black community - that is to say, Black people, and most Black voters in particular - have picked up on this, ever since the early days of Bill Clinton's Presidency, when Hillary clearly and confidently stated that she was not interested in being a "submissive" or "deferential" First Lady...not by a long shot.

Which leads me to the commonalities between how Hillary is stereo-typically perceived, and how Black women are stereo-typically perceived by white America. Simply put, both Hillary and Black women are accused of being "overly assertive" or even "aggressive" because they don't conform to traditional white, middle-class gender norms. In other words, they are not being ladylike. And thus, the double bind that both Hillary (and other ambitious, Type A personality women, in business, politics, and the like) and Black women find themselves in: the more they assert themselves, with confidence and without shame, as strong, driven, and capable women, the more their womanhood (and by extension, their very humanity) is denied and degraded, and the more outright hostility, abuse, and - potentially - violence they face from men (usually, white men) as well as those women who enable and enforce sexism in general. And people still seriously wonder why so many women are reluctant to seek out leadership roles, or shy away from them altogether!

IMHO, all of the above could very well be a significant explanation for why so many Black voters embrace Hillary. But that's just my view; I'm curious to read those of all you fine folks here in the African-American Group!

What do Dylann Roof, Elliot Rodger, and several other mass shooters have in common?

Besides being murderous assholes, of course.

It's not just that they're white men (who BTW, are easily the most likely demographic to own guns - particularly white conservative men); think about who their targets were...

IMHO, this aspect of gun violence deserves far more consideration than it gets, particularly as it pertains to mass shootings in public spaces (which is quite possibly the most horrifically cruel and barbaric way for someone to demonstrate his anger and resentment toward society - a society that, in the warped and entitled minds of all too many white men, somehow owes them everything simply because they are white men). Not only are these shootings inherently anti-social in the extreme, they are a direct assault on the very values that most Americans - and most people, all over the world - hold dear: freedom (from fear especially - the freedom from the fear of violence, in this case), equality, peace, co-existence, community, solidarity, and love for one's neighbor, one's brothers and sisters. These shootings are truly an attack on the very notion and ideal of a public space where people from every background imaginable can come together and live in peace and harmony with one another.

This is very important for us to understand if we are serious about combating and defeating this horrific threat to our lives, our communities, and our values. This ideology of entitlement and violence must be stopped, and must be stopped yesterday. Too many good, innocent, and loving souls have lost their lives due to the senseless actions of these anti-social pricks. I, for one, have had enough.


It's economic anxiety about black and brown people being "lazy moochers" or "taking our jobs"

And at the heart of it is the fear that many white Americans have of losing the privileges that come with being a demographic majority - remember, whites will no longer be a majority in this country within a couple of decades. They are deathly afraid of losing their privileged status in comparison to "those people." That, IMO, is at the core of Trump's support.

For those who think that "economic anxiety" is behind Trump's rise...

...just remember that the median household income of Trump voters is over $70k.

If anything, the economic fears of Trump voters are intimately tied up with racist fears of "illegals" and brown and black people in general "taking our jobs" or "sucking up welfare benefits." Which, in case you hadn't noticed, are exactly the types of racist tropes that have been staples of the Republican voter base for quite a while now.

Furthermore, a lot of Trump's support is rooted in the fear of many whites that they will be the victims of "genocide" via "permanent demographic replacement" (actual quote from a Trump supporter who I had the misfortune of meeting). These people are not voting in good faith, and they certainly aren't being driven by anything more than irrational fears and racial hatred.

We must understand the nature of the Trump phenomenon if we are to effectively counter it.
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