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Chitown Kev

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Member since: Thu Aug 20, 2015, 08:59 PM
Number of posts: 2,197

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Clinton is leading among white voters 50%-36%

and Sanders supporters around here want to talk about POC voters and their "devotion" to Clinton.

Here's a clue: Saying things like that ain't doing a damn thing to win my undecided vote...and I might not have to decide a damn thing anyway, because by Super Tuesday, Clinton is going to have this thing wrapped up, at the rate y'all going.

Most of you have no idea what Dr. King actually did

The idea that Dr. King's activism and work could have a different meaning for blacks than white simply never occurs to people.

Most of you have no idea what Dr. King actually did by HamdenRice (for DK)

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, "he marched." I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn't that he "marched" or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, "Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south."

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don't know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

I'm guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing The Help, may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the midwest and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.

It wasn't that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn't sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.

You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth's.

It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.

This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.

White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty. With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of "assault," which could be anything from rape to not taking off one's hat, to "reckless eyeballing."

Never forget that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was hated by White America by Chauncey DeVega

We cannot forget that Dr. King was hated by most of White America while he was alive.

Once more and again, racism is not an opinion.

To wit.

Public opinion polling data from the 1960s highlights the high levels of white animus towards Dr. King, and the basic claims on human rights and citizenship made by African-Americans in the long Black Freedom Struggle and the civil rights movement.


While there have been great shifts in white Americans' public attitudes on race and racial equality, white animus in the form of a belief that African-Americans are "too demanding" about racism, and that black people are treated "fairly" in America, echo in the present.
The latter is bizarre: in 1968 Jim and Jane Crow was still very much alive in America, the Civil Rights Movement continued, lynchings, anti-black state violence, the KKK, and American Apartheid were not dusty memories--its victims and perpetrators were still alive...the past was not even past.

Appleton continues, highlighting the power of the white racial frame, and how whiteness and white privilege distort reality for too many White American in this summary of Gallup's data:

Please stop lecturing black Americans about Dr. King.

Update: To conflate the state-enforced segregation of the Jim Crow era (North and South) that was enforced by terror in the South (and by various other means in the North) with the need and desire for black people to have "safe spaces" nowadays is intellectually dishonest.

To use Dr. King in support of that kind of conflation is intellectually despicable.

The dynamics of "safe space" are visible here at DU all of the time

Even within the "safe space" of DU, this post occurred, was recced, and stood the jury test...in fact it still stands.


Whereas in the even "safer space" of the AA group, this post was hidden by a 7-0 jury decision.


In my experience, this is how the dialectic of public spaces and designated "safe spaces" works in the real world. The majority very often don't give a damn about "safe spaces" and, in fact, don't have a problem disturbing the safety of those spaces whenever they feel like it.

Chew on that for a minute.

My rant today about "safe spaces"

As a rule, I try to keep my commentary here at DU separate from my DK commentaries. However, I am increasingly frustrated at the way the issues of "safe spaces" is being bandied about.

Here is the link to my commentary (rant, really) at Black Kos today on "safe spaces." The piece is well-linked and you can go to DK which look so strange now!) and study the link; I will add the links here before the end of the night and before I give another swift kick to a certain post.


A Rant about Safe Spaces and Public Squares
Commentary by Chitown Kev

Talk of safe spaces and public squares (especially on college campuses) are back in the news following the events and protests at the University of Missouri last week that resulted in the resignation of University of Missouri system president Tom Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

First, a working definition of “safe space” is necessary. The blog for the youth advocacy group Advocates for Youth offers a useful definition of "safe space."

Safe space: A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.

According to Wikipedia, the specific nomenclature “safe space” evolved out of the women’s movement. I disagree, somewhat, with Wikipedia’s notion that the first “safe spaces” were gay bars and consciousness raising groups. While, certainly, the name “safe space” was not given to black churches, according to the website of the first majority black church denomination in America, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the seeds of what have come to be known as “safe space" are certainly there:

The AMEC grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. When officials at St. George’s MEC pulled blacks off their knees while praying, FAS members discovered just how far American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination against African Americans. Hence, these members of St. George’s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists.

In 1794 Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor. To establish Bethel’s independence from interfering white Methodists, Allen, a former Delaware slave, successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an independent institution. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.

Certainly the spirit in which the AME Church was founded was that of creating a “safe space” for African Americans to practice
religious worship without racist harassment.

It might be useful to compare the treatment of those 18th century black parishioners to the treatment of black Mizzou students on campus and in Columbia, Missouri in the 21st century as described in the Mizzou student newspaper, The Maneater, written by Jennifer Prohov:

Another student shared a story about an interaction she had with a white man in front of Roxy’s. She said she was with a group of protesters when he came up to her, said, ‘You are a joke,’ then lunged his head backward and spat in her face.

She said it is frustrating for the students demonstrating to resist reacting to such incidents.

“If anything happens, it’s us going to jail, not them,” she said

During the demonstration, a resident from Todd Apartments yelled at the demonstrators, saying, “You niggers just need to go home,” the panelist said.

Another student shared how his mother had tried very strongly to sway him from choosing MU, even on the car ride before dropping him off his first day. She kept telling him, "This institution is not for you. This institution is not for you. They are not going to protect you." He didn’t believe her, he said.

Then he got to MU.

Three weeks into school, he was walking through Greektown to Taco Bell with several white friends when a man yelled at them, “Oh look, there goes a nigger.” He had to tell his friends to keep moving, he said

Of course, this type of behavior isn’t limited to black students even at Mizzou. I wonder how secure Muslim students at Mizzou felt (then and especially now, given the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday) when the flag of the Islamic State was burned on campus.

I wonder how Hispanic students at the University of Arizona feel about a white-owned Mexican restaurant called “Illegal Pete’s” being opened near the entrance of the University.

Public spaces have been a daily and quasi-ritual site for white people to assert white supremacy since the beginning (and before) of the American Republic.

And the history of Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina alone demonstrates that many white people really don’t give all that much of a damn about black people in “safe spaces” as well.

(I do find it to be quite ironic that, in a sense, one could say that American law and public policies such as Jim Crow, restrictive housing covenants and redlining arose out of an apparent need for whites to create “safe spaces’...albeit for different reasons.)

Black students (and other minorities) attend college for the same reasons that white students attend college: To find a vocation, to get out from under their parent’s wing, to party, etc. But it seems as if with the exception of attending HBCU’s, black students, by and large, also have to deal with the utter stress of racism in the classroom, in socializing, in off-campus activities, and other areas.

For many white students (especially white men) attending American colleges and universities, public spaces are already safe spaces. That is not necessarily the case for students of color, LGBTs, and many women.

I’m as big an advocate of free speech rights as anyone. However, it also seems as if far too many white people (liberal and conservative) interpret “free speech rights” as license to spew anything that they want at anyone, without regard to whom may be harmed as a consequence.

The idea that people of color, LGBT’s, women, and others should simply “suck it up” infuriates me. Because for minorities, it is often a case of being quite literally a matter of life and death.

For the record, I, myself, can be a bit uncomfortable about “safe spaces” in practice. As a black gay man who is also an agnostic, my skepticism has as much to do with the areas inside designated “safe spaces” as it does with areas outside safe spaces (to an extent I talked about that skepticism of “safe spaces in my essay on the Black Church).

But I understand the need for “safe spaces” (or, for me, safer spaces) .

And I suspect that anyone who doesn't understand that need for others to have a “safe space" has never found it necessary to seek out a room of their own because the one that they are in works just fine.

A quick thought on the why of safe(r) spaces

Interestingly, while Charles Blow's column in the New York Times today directly addressed the necessity for "safe spaces" for minority students, it was Katherine Stewart's column titled "Ted Cruz and the Anti-Gay Pastor" that really caught my eye this morning on why some are insistent on the need for "safe spaces."

EARLIER this month, in Des Moines, the prominent home-schooling advocate and pastor Kevin Swanson again called for the punishment of homosexuality by death. To be clear, he added that the time for eliminating America’s gay population was “not yet” at hand. We must wait for the nation to embrace the one true religion, he suggested, and gay people must be allowed to repent and convert.

Think about this for a minute.

The genocide of LGBTs is still an issue being discussed in the public square.

A social policy of the 1950's called "Operation Wetback" is now an issue in the public square.

And there remains far too many Americans that want to DO these things as a social policy.

FTR, I don't quite believe in the notion of a "safe space"...quite possibly BECAUSE I am a gay man; I do believe that safer spaces are needed, though, and that those boundaries need to be respected.

But as a black LGBT person, I understand the need for "safe spaces" all too well...

More to come...

Do you really think I gave a shit about the Dem debate, last night?

And I'm as big of a political junkie as anyone...

But on one of the best CFB Saturdays of this year to this point?

Y'all have got to be crazy.

I agree with the anti-DWS crew on this; this was an awful day to schedule a Dem debate in the first place.

Mind you, from what I have seen to this point, neither Bernie or Hilliary or Martin impress me all that much and, given that my state's primary is March 15th, I don't have to be impressed at this time; the nominee of the party will have my vote in November 2016.

EDIT: Y'all DO know that I'm a Michigan fan, right?

Jake Rudock is THE MAN today!


That is all.

Definitions of Racism


I have a BA in classics and was one class short of a double major in classics in English.

On my bookshelf, I can easily put my hands on a number of dictionaries, including a Latin-English dictionary, a Koine-Greek lexicon, an old Webster's Unabridged, Merriam Webster's Collegiate (10th), a dusty copy of H.L. Mencken's "The American Language" (Supplement One) and I believe that I may even have German-English and French-English dictionaries floating around somewhere in the house.

In the course of writing this post, I JUST looked up and noticed that I have a mini-law dictionary (Barron's and not Black's.

Never mind other reference materials about the English language and its evolution that I can't put my hands on at this moment.

And folks are going to come on here and think that I'm impressed that they can give the meaning of "racism" as it stands in the dictionary at this moment...as if I don't know that word meanings and language grammars don't evolve over a period of time.

And as if I don't know that if a term is used in a certain context enough, that definition will be recognized in any reliable and up to date dictionary in due course...you may want to reference recent controversies of the word "marriage."

But...no, I'm too lazy right now to do a small amount of research. So I'll link to a couple of items that I found online about the definition of the word "racism" and let y'all have at it...

Let's use Oxford:

[mass noun]

1Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior:

Let's use Wikipedia, which keeps rather up to date and is protean rather than fixed, with the many controversies surrounding the mere issue of the definition.


here's the link to an npr story


any other materials you might have would be welcomed.

Point being: Language is very rarely fixed and highly variable. Neither "racism" or many other words have a "fixed" definition. Preferences abound.

Dear (some) white folks: Thank you for proving my point and showing your a*s...I mean privilege

(Some of) y'all can post insensitive bullshit like this and this and it's OK.

But allow me to be the slightest bit insensitive and I get hidden...never mind all the other alert-stalking.

Thank you for proving the double standard.

White people (especially men...especially straight) seem to have lived in a bubble all their lives

and it seems as if the bubble is bursting.

You know, it's not as if POC and LGBT's never took offense at anything that was said and done...be they insults, epithets thrown, etc.

The problem always was that with white (men) in power, if any sort of complaint was made or action taken to protest anything that was said in utter disrespect, it could very well cost a POC or an LGBT their livelihood, their home, or even their life

So, yes, if a white man called his black housekeeper "gal," it wasn't as if that black housekeeper was going to say anything about it...in the old days.

Nowadays...yes, white people do have to be more respectful and considerate to "others" and frm the looks of several thread, y'all don't like it.

Granted, I do think that sometimes, the discussion of "microaggressions and "safe spaces" goes overboard on occasion, but it exists for a reason.

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