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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nearly a dozen pickup trucks flying the Confederate flag drove up and down Virginia Beach, Virginia, over the weekend. Cell phone video taken by Japharri Jones of Hampton shows the trucks passing on Atlantic Avenue with a police car allowing them to bypass a stop light at an intersection. Witnesses say the drivers were also screaming racial slurs at folks passing by. Jones said the trucks drove for two hours before two of the cars crashed into one another. In his often profane video commentary, Jones exclaims at the crash and observes, "God don't like ugly." read more


Friday, June 26, 2015

Steve Benen, Maddowblog, It's fair to say President Obama (and America) has had a rather extraordinary week. This was the week Obama's health care reform law withstood a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court, and this was the week Obama was able to stand in the Rose Garden of the White House and celebrate the day marriage equality came to the United States. Watching this president discuss this ruling from this location served as a striking reminder about the extraordinary historical circumstances we find ourselves in. America overhauled a failing health care system, which in turn has lowered the nation's uninsured rate. The Confederate battle flag is coming down in South Carolina and Alabama – among other places. In some states, by popular referenda, Americans can even smoke marijuana without fear of imprisonment. It is an overused quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." It is also true. read more


Monday, June 22, 2015

Nancy LeTourneau, WA Monthly Political Animal Blog, What was Roof talking about when he said "you're taking over our country?" What the Obama era represents and involves is a whole different kind of challenge than the one's we've dealt with in the past over slavery, segregation and Jim Crow. With the election of our first African American president, white people are having to deal with a black man as not only our equal, but our leader. Too many of us are prepared for neither. While most white people would not support slavery or legal discrimination, we're not really ready to look black people in the eye as equals, much less see them in positions of authority over us. That is what decades of programming has done to our collective consciousness…we assume deference. read more


Friday, June 19, 2015

Representatives of the families of the nine victims of a fatal shooting at a black church in Charleston addressed shooting suspect Dylann Roof in court ahead of a bond hearing Friday. Roof appeared via video link and seemed to show no emotion as family members spoke, showing their anger, sadness and even forgiveness. Anthony Thompson, representing family of Myra Thompson: "I forgive you, my family forgives you. We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so he can change your ways no matter what happens to you and you'll be OK. Do that and you'll be better off than you are right now." Daughter of Ethel Lance: "I forgive you. You took something really precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. It hurts me, it hurts a lot of people but God forgive you and I forgive you." read more


Gregory P. Downs, TPM Cafe, One hundred fifty years ago today, the U.S. Army took possession of Galveston Island, a barrier island just off the Texas coast that guards the entrance to Galveston Bay, and began a late-arriving, long-lasting war against slavery in Texas. This little-known battle would endure for months after the end of what we normally think of as the Civil War. This struggle, pitting Texas freedpeople and loyalists and the U.S. Army against stubborn defenders of slavery, would become the basis for the increasingly popular celebrations of Juneteenth, a predominantly African-American holiday celebrating emancipation on or about June 19th every year. Here we face a key forgotten reality about the end of the Civil War and slavery that has been shrouded in the mythology of Appomattox. The internecine conflict and the institution of slavery could not and did not end neatly at Appomattox or on Galveston Island. read more


Comments

As per usual, the Retort's biggest instigator doesn't have a clue about why Takei said what he did and then issued an apology. I wonder if Boaz will do the same. It never made sense to me because Takei has always carried himself with dignity and showing the upmost of respect for others. His apology and explanation sheds needed light upon his state of mind when he wrongly impugned Thomas.

George Takei Apologizes For Calling Clarence Thomas A 'Clown In Blackface'

On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, overruling state attempts to ban such unions. Penning his own scathing dissent, Justice Thomas wrote that the government could not take away "human dignity."

"Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved," Thomas wrote. "Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them."

This hit a chord with Takei, whose family was interned by Americans during World War II. Takei clarified that his remarks about Thomas, who is black, were not meant to be racial.

"I recently was asked by a reporter about Justice Clarence Thomas's dissent in the marriage equality cases, in which he wrote words that really got under my skin, by suggesting that the government cannot take away human dignity through slavery, or though internment. In my mind that suggested that this meant he felt the government therefore shouldn't be held accountable, or should do nothing in the face of gross violations of dignity. When asked by a reporter about the opinion, I was still seething, and I referred to him as a "clown in blackface" to suggest that he had abdicated and abandoned his heritage. This was not intended to be racist, but rather to evoke a history of racism in the theatrical arts. While I continue to vehemently disagree with Justice Thomas, the words I chose, said in the heat of anger, were not carefully considered."

Takei apologized for personally attacking Thomas instead of the content of his argument:

"I am reminded, especially on this July 4th holiday, that though we have the freedom to speak our minds, we must use that freedom judiciously. Each of us, as humans, have hot-button topics that can set-us off, and Justice Thomas had hit mine, that is clear. But my choice of words was regrettable, not because I do not believe Justice Thomas is deeply wrong, but because they were ad hominem and uncivil, and for that I am sorry."

While I completely agree with Takei's sentiments, the language he used was wrong and disrespectful of the person and institution he represents. The apology is directly on point, imo.

And there it is Ladies and Gentlemen! An admission that black suffrage will go on forever. There will never be an end to blacks needing help..
And this is the problem I see with the democrat party..

#20 | POSTED BY BOAZ

None are so blind as he who will not see:

The Atlanta Braves have been deluged with hate mail after baseball great Hank Aaron's recent comments about racism in America and President Obama's critics.

According to USA Today, the Braves organization has received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls since Aaron made his comments a week ago.

"Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)'' read an email from a man named Edward, according to USA Today. Edward evidently used the racist epithet five times.

"My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur)," he wrote in closing.

One man called Aaron a "racist scumbag," while another vowed to never attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired from the team's front office. A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron's autobiography.

The outrage stems from an interview Aaron gave to USA Today last week, 40 years after he broke Babe Ruth's career home run record.
Aaron said he still has the racist, threatening letters he received as he closed in on Ruth's milestone to serve as a "reminder" that things aren't too different from when he pursued the record.

"If you think that, you are fooling yourself," Aaron said last week. "A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There's not a whole lot that has changed."

When he shifted his attention to Obama, Aaron seemed to compare Republicans to the KKK.

"We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated," Aaron said.

He added, "We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts." talkingpointsmemo.com

The idea that Obama would play out his Presidency, after the political defeat of the midterm elections, as a professorial lame duck turns out to be without basis. And that gives a certain weight to his remarks in early 2014.

"I have strengths and I have weaknesses, like every President, like every person," Obama told me. "I do think one of my strengths is temperament. I am comfortable with complexity, and I think I'm pretty good at keeping my moral compass while recognizing that I am a product of original sin. And every morning and every night I'm taking measure of my actions against the options and possibilities available to me, understanding that there are going to be mistakes that I make and my team makes and that America makes; understanding that there are going to be limits to the good we can do and the bad that we can prevent, and that there's going to be tragedy out there and, by occupying this office, I am part of that tragedy occasionally, but that, if I am doing my very best and basing my decisions on the core values and ideals that I was brought up with and that I think are pretty consistent with those of most Americans, that, at the end of the day, things will be better rather than worse."

"I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past," he continued. "But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we're on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have. … But I think our decisions matter. And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn't been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn't diminish Lincoln's achievements, but it acknowledges that, at the end of the day, we're part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right."

It turns out that this was not, for Barack Obama, a rhetoric of resignation at all, but a kind of resolve. www.newyorker.com

Of my 55 years living in this blessed nation, I don't believe I've witnessed the culmination of so many collective efforts of change come together in such stark and dramatic ways so seemingly quickly. So many millions of our citizens have worked so hard to change what's now past into what should be. I celebrate for all of America today, for the essence of liberty is the freedom to live peaceably as one desires, equal to all others. I love this nation but I also see our shortcomings as much as I recognize our strengths and blessings.

One other thing is so stark, and it troubles me the most. Personally, I am not gay, so I've gained nothing today but still my heart is full of joy for those who've finally achieved equality under our law. I have great health insurance, but I'm grateful that millions no longer have to fear an illness will bankrupt their families. An ignorant zealot hoped to start a race war through his unconscionable violent actions, but he actually started a different war against the very symbols and ethos which he embraced and have stood as oppressive reminders of white supremacy and hegemony. All of us should celebrate the expansion of freedom and human respect, but many elevate their "feelings" over the reality of other's actual life experiences and that is wrong.

History is always easier to understand after it's happened than while it is happening. We are living in extraordinary times and every now and then justice becomes more than just a platitude. It becomes very real and transformative.

Strom Thurmond's Son Calls For Removal Of Confederate Flag In South Carolina

South Carolina state Sen. Paul Thurmond (R) addressed the Senate after Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called on lawmakers to vote for the flag to be removed. The lawmaker son of notorious segregationist and former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond said on Tuesday that he was proud to support the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol.

Thurmond, whose segregationist father died in 2003, noted the role his own ancestors played in the history of the South and their involvement in the Civil War. Thurmond proudly recalled some of the positive aspects of their legacy but lamented that his ancestors didn't always make the right decisions.

"For the life of me, I will never understand how anyone could fight a Civil War based in part on the desire to continue the practice of slavery," Thurmond said. "Think about it for just a second. Our ancestors were literally fighting to continue to keep human beings as slaves, and continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will. I am not proud of that heritage."

"Now we have these hate groups and the symbols that they use to remind African-Americans that things haven't changed and that they are still viewed as less than equal human beings," Thurmond continued. "Well, let me tell you, things have changed. Overwhelmingly, people are not being raised to hate or to believe that they are superior to others based on the color of their skin."

"I am proud to be on the right side of history regarding the removal of this symbol of racism and bigotry from the Statehouse," Paul Thurmond said on Tuesday. "But let us not be satisfied to stop there. Justice by halves is not justice. We must take down the Confederate flag and we must take it down now. But if we stop there, we have cheated ourselves out of an opportunity to start a different conversation about healing in our state."

Anyone who actually thinks that these actions will have no bearing on racism doesn't really understand how racism works. Ask Paul's half-sister if these actions matter. This is one of the few times in American history that the usual supporters of the old South are admitting what their heritage really means to those who continue to suffer and die underneath it.

Leave it to you liberals to twist these guys who for the most part said racism was the major component but mentioned religion because it happened in a church and now since they didn't say racism was the sole cause they are racists themselves.

#27 | POSTED BY FISHPAW

The Charleston Shooting Was At Least The 91st Violent Attack On A Black Church Since 1956

The ugly truth is that black churches have always been targets. White supremacists have sought to terrorize and destroy these institutions for as long as they've existed.

Although many church burnings, bombings and other hate crimes went unreported before and during the civil rights era, we know of at least 91 cases since the 1950s when black churches in America were the targets of what can only be described as domestic terrorism. (Our list contains relatively few incidents from the 1970s and 1980s, in part because exhaustive records from those years are hard to find. However, one report has found that there were 1,420 church fires in 1980 alone. There was a spike in violence against churches in the 1990s, which led Congress to pass the Church Arson Prevention Act in 1996.)

Terrorism against the black church is still an issue today. Five years before the mass shooting in Charleston, a man in Crane, Texas, burned down a Faith in Christ Church to gain status with a white supremacist gang.

The Key Thing Conservatives Don't Get About Obama's Use Of ‘N*****'

I think I speak for many black people when I say that I'm wonderfully bored with white people's obsession with policing whether or not it's ever appropriate for a black person to use "n****r" and all its variances. The majority never really has a right to question the marginalized -- but particularly when context is key. And yet, they do it anyway, again and again. This time President Obama is the target, but the intent is the same: to be caught up in a word rather than the crux of an argument about systemic racism.

I wish I could be amused by mass media's disingenuousness. President Obama is not the first president to use "n****r," -- he's merely the first one not to use it as a slur. For all his work on passing civil rights legislation, former Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson let the word fly freely and routinely from his mouth. The same goes for former Republican president Richard Nixon, and for Harry Truman, when he called Adam Clayton Powell "that damned n****r preacher." And, you know, all those other presidents who owned slaves and expressed deep contempt for black people.

So, with that in mind, what purpose does it serve asking whether or not the first black president's use of "n****r" in the context of a larger reflection on covert versus overt racism relevant? Because a few white people will object? Who cares? How much longer are we going to entertain thoughts of whether or not there is a double standard at play? This is a ruse of the highest order.

Context is everything. It's not like Obama greeted Loretta Lynch as his "n***a" on stage recently. What Obama did was remind people -- many of whom needed to hear it -- that racism is not just calling someone a racial slur. It's not just about a confederate flag, either. Debating the use of "n****r" over the more palatable "n-word" is just another example of people purposely opting to focus on the superficial rather than the substantive. If Fox News anchors continue to argue over semantics, they can get away with ignoring Obama's point entirely. Which is exactly the way they want it.

That is what decades of programming has done to our collective consciousness…we assume deference.

The problems of racism are inextricably linked to our past and fully on display every single day throughout our society. It is so much a part of our lives that most don't see it at all and many refuse to recognize their own part in its continuation.

White America (writ large) does assume that black people should defer to their innate superiority and this ethos underscores every single molecule of what the Confederacy stands for and they spelled it out in detail in their founding documents. Crimes have been committed in this nation as long as there have been laws to prosecute those who commit them. Some people choose crime and many do so out of desperation and lack of positive alternatives as much as a desire to operate outside of the mainstream. This is not an ailment unique to black America, it's an ailment borne out of poverty, neglect and despair.

We need to deal with the direct role fear-mongering plays as a mechanism for continuing racist policies and rhetoric. We can always find the worst of people to hold up as examples but it still doesn't represent the majority no matter how blatantly those fears are stoked. Fear of the black man has existed as long as whites rightly feared the ungodly things they did and justified through their religion and laws against those stolen from their homeland and enslaved to enrich the white plantation owners. It's still an unspoken fabric of our society that somehow blacks are inferior and unworthy of being treated as equals since this false ethos is driven by constantly pointing to all the negative examples easily found and calling them the norm.

It's no surprise how Obama has been treated since his election in 2008 and he understands all to well why. Too bad we're unable to actually talk about it and try to understand why so that we can move beyond the past toward a future begging us to come into.

#1

Fox Guest Calls Obama 'The Rapper-In-Chief' For Using N-Word

Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli, who is black, expressed outrage during a discussion on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom."

"He has really dragged in the gutter-speak of rap music," Borelli said. "So now he's the first President of rap, of street? I mean, come on, he has lowered the stature of the high office of the President of the United States."

"The President-in-chief, the rapper-in-chief now, is further dividing our country," Borelli continued.

Borelli, a Conservative Review correspondent, said Obama's use of the word spoke "volumes" about who he is as a President.

"The man is divisive and he has taken the level of the office of the presidency down to another level by saying these words and he's continuing -- listen, class warfare -- you name it," Borelli said, trying to list what Obama has done wrong. "He's dividing the country. … He makes it seem like our country is the racist (sic) country in the world, and it's not."

"I think about something Jonathan Chait wrote after watching the movie 12 Years a Slave."

Notably, the most horrific torture depicted in 12 Years a Slave is set in motion when the protagonist, Solomon Northup, offers up to his master engineering knowledge he acquired as a free man, thereby showing up his enraged white overseer. It was precisely Northup's calm, dignified competence in the scene that so enraged his oppressor. The social system embedded within slavery as depicted in the film is one that survived long past the Emancipation Proclamation - the one that resulted in the murder of Emmett Till a century after Northup published his autobiography. It's a system in which the most unforgivable crime was for an African-American to presume himself an equal to -- or, heaven forbid, better than -- a white person.

David Remnick - - who, as Barack Obama's biographer, perhaps knows him better than any other journalist - suggests that the President is well aware of all that.
Obama is a flawed President, but his sense of historical perspective is well developed. He gives every sign of believing that his most important role in the American history of race was his election in November, 2008, and, nearly as important, his reelection, four years later. For millions of Americans, that election was an inspiration. But, for some untold number of others, it remains a source of tremendous resentment, a kind of threat that is capable, in some, of arousing the basest prejudices.

Obama hates to talk about this. He allows himself so little latitude. Maybe that will change when he is an ex-President focussed on his memoirs. As a very young man he wrote a book about becoming, about identity, about finding community in a black church, about finding a sense of home -- in his case, on the South Side of Chicago, with a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson. It will be beyond interesting to see what he's willing to tell us -- tell us with real freedom -- about being the focus of so much hope, but also the subject of so much ambient and organized racial anger: the birther movement, the death threats, the voter-suppression attempts, the articles, books, and films that portray him as everything from an unreconstructed, drug-addled campus radical to a Kenyan post-colonial socialist. This has been the Age of Obama, but we have learned over and over that this has hardly meant the end of racism in America. Not remotely. Dylann Roof, tragically, seems to be yet another terrible reminder of that.

Until we can look at facts and history for what the unflinchingly tell us about ourselves and the world we live in, it will do no good to continue talking over, around and through these problems and issues still tearing apart our faith in each other as fair-minded citizens. We have to see what is there and recognize all of our roles in the status quo. Then we have to change ourselves before our society can at last move on from the sins of our past.

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