24 November, 2016

The Digest—Thursday, 24 November, 2016

[The Digest is a collection of articles, videos, and other media I've viewed and found significant throughout the day. It is a way to divest myself from other social media that is more reliant on likes, click-bait, and peer-approval rather than quality, intelligence, and diversity of opinion, which are the qualities I find important. It is also a way to devote myself to daily contributions to this space...at least in theory.] 

-=Summary: Black youth as deadly threat, the rabbit hole of right-wing conspiracy, Clinton's 2 million vote lead, the doom of arctic ice melt, Trump's (un)tax plan, & the fight for Thanksgiving=-


West Virginia Man Accused of Killing Teen Who Bumped Him
from CNN

This is so reminiscent of the Jordan Davis case, wherein an older white man (Michael Dunn) shot to death a black teenager (Jordan Davis) for playing his music too loud and telling the older man to shut the fuck up, or something like that. Witnesses heard the killer say he wouldn't be talked to like that, and he opened fire on the vehicle in which Jordan Davis was sitting with his friends. In that case, Michael Dunn raised the spectre of a black kid with a gun, when there was indeed no gun in the car with the victim.

Now we see it again: old white man says young black teenager has a gun and has to defend himself. He might have indeed felt threatened; a lot of white people identify assertiveness and dominant behavior in African Americans as a threat, so just the image of a black kid walking toward him on the street may have made him fear for his life. That in no way justifies gunning him down, but points to implicit racism that continues whether one is conscious of it or not; whether one intends it or not. 

Expecting black people to acquiesce or pacify in the face of white authority is the structural framework of racism in America and part of the system of oppression most white people are either completely ignorant about or willfully deny. So far, the only gun identified in this case is the suspect's, and it's likely to remain that way. White people have long called on racist stereotypes to deflect responsibility or to conjure a bogeyman to take the blame. 

Ashley Todd. Susan Smith. Charles Stuart. He had a gun; he was wearing a hoodie; he looked "suspicious." In this case, all the victim had to do was refuse to submit, "talk back," and walk across the street. 

Black Women are [sic] to Blame for Black Crime and Poverty
from Bacon, Books and [sic] Bullets

Damn. I found this on accident, but it's an excellent look at the entitlement white people feel to assess and judge problems they know absolutely nothing about. The author claims that black women don't demand parental responsibility from the fathers of their children and that black fathers are more likely to be incarcerated than other fathers, which supposedly promotes future criminal behavior. 
Make no mistake about it, Black men are not disproportionately in jail due to a racist system, they are in jail for breaking the law!
This intentionally ignores mountains of evidence that point out clear racial prejudice when it comes to prosecution and sentencing, stop and frisk policies that target African Americans and other minorities, and barriers to social and economic justice that prevent equal opportunity to education, employment, health care, and the many other factors that lead to crime and poverty that are propped up by arguments such as this. 

This is also one of those arguments that claim lack of personal responsibility on behalf of liberals and the black community. I am guessing the author considers his an enlightened and objective perspective, saying the thing no one else will say because of liberal-imposed "political correctness" that is instead a subterfuge to addict African Americans to state-sponsored welfare as part of its bid to steal his rights and his guns. 

Sadly, it is likely a common view held by white men who deny the racial disparities that persist in this country. Also absent in this article is any accountability for black men—black women are blamed for their faults as well. To say there is no empathy for these women is an understatement. To claim this is not a manifestation of racial bias, stereotype, misunderstanding, and ignorance is laughable. To claim this is true is to deny the history of this country, to blame the oppressed for their oppression, and, ultimately, to deny oppression itself. 

Murdering God: the Need to Kill the Judeo-Christian God is [sic] Crucial
from Bacon, Books and [sic] Bullets

I know, I should have run away, but I also think it's important to try to understand how other people think/feel about the world and its various dilemmas. This article in particular, however...I don't think I know quite what to say.

Apparently, leftist (liberal) ideology has the goal of taking away all personal freedoms and property in order to redistribute wealth to the point that no one has anything, except—apparently?—some few ruling elites who consider everyone else inferior. Nazis are a Leftist ideology, too, who wanted to kill the Jews for interrupting their ability to rule everyone and everything, because Jews can form an independent community based on their faith. He falls for Nazi propaganda here, wherein they utilized the Socialist label to obfuscate operational fascism.

Atheists who vote Democrat are just lazy, intellectual voids who should "naturally" subscribe to Republican or Libertarian views, because not believing in God supposedly implies that you thus believe solely in the individual and should thus champion all methods and policies toward strengthening individual rights and not share the "totalitarian" view of Leftist ideologues. Atheist liberals are blinded to the political and economic sense of the Right because all we can see/hear/understand is conservative social values and Christian morality.

He fails to consider that some people, in their own rights and right minds, might identify capitalism as a parasitic system that exploits vulnerability to the advantage of the very few at the top. He fails to consider that you don't need belief in a god to have compassion for others and a desire to see everyone given the opportunity to thrive, which does not mean just paying poor people for privilege of living, but removing barriers to equal opportunity and combatting systemic oppression, bias, and injustice. 

He also fails to acknowledge the existence of law and religious belief prior to the Judaic system, which is unsurprising if he is a devout Christian and thinks the world a mere 5000 years old. Still, Hamurabi's Code fits in just under the wire there at about 4000 years old. Maybe the author just dislikes Babylonians.

Embrace Your White Privilege: Why are [sic] White People Afraid to be [sic] White?
from Bacon, Books and [sic] Bullets

I KNOW. But the title says more than I ever could.

Just kidding. The one thing this article does is acknowledge the existence of white privilege, which most conservatives deny. Unfortunately, the author's understanding of what that privilege is, what it means, what it does, and what is so corrosive about its nature are incredibly wrong.

For some reason, many people like this author equate trying to support racial equality with a rejection and/or hatred of one's own race. I am white, but to me it means nothing. I did not earn being white; I was born white. Being white does nothing to contribute to my intellectual, physical, or ethical capabilities and growth. Being white does, however, affect how I am treated, how others interact with me, and the access I have to the system and its benefits. 

The author claims that white privilege is a culmination of European intellectual, technological, economic, industrial, religious, judicial, and moral heritage that functions as our social system in the United States. He claims threats to this system in the form of anti-white attacks in the English language (in the forms of "urbanization" and the normalization of Spanish); by a lack of positive portrayals of white people in media (this can only be attributable to delusion or solely watching the handful of channels run by/targeted toward non-whites); by the demonization of white people via education run by liberals who claim the South fought to uphold slavery during the Civil War (they did), that the Confederate flag is racist (it is used as a racist symbol); that Christopher Columbus was a mass-murderer (huh?); and by trying to destroy Christianity, since it is the stalwart soldier against the Left's desire to run an authoritarian, Socialist empire wherein we'll establish Islam or Hinduism as the official religion because they let us control the masses...or something.

All this conspiracy stuff jumbles up in my head like runners on a field trampling one another on a race to crazytown. 

I'm working on an article about privilege, so I won't get into it too much, but still. I'd lend this author more respect if his entire argument wasn't couched in so much desperate chest-pounding about the glory of Whiteness, as if the color of one's skin imparts socioeconomic superiority. The status awarded by white privilege is not because being white is a state in itself that grants greatness, but because of the privilege that elevates whites to dominant positions throughout our world.

Finally, the author claims all of this is not racist. He has nothing against black people—they just refuse to follow rule of law. He has nothing against Asians—they're just prone to belief in and vulnerability toward subjugation. White people came up with all the good stuff, so you should be proud to be white. 

I've heard numerous people ask, "Well they have Black Pride, so why can't I have White Pride?" These are similar questions swirling around the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They completely miss the point of such labels and statements. Black Pride was/is an important movement because it was in reaction to a history of state mandated and imposed racial inferiority in the U.S. Along with the imposition of official inferiority, oppression, segregation, violence, exclusion, and humiliation can come a strong sense of shame. The opposite of shame is pride. Black Pride was a way for African Americans to claim their heritage and skin color—things for which they were/are denigrated—and turn it on his head. "Instead of feeling shame for that which you think is so inferior, I will feel PRIDE." It is a step toward empowerment. 

#BlackLivesMatter, by saying that black lives matter, is not saying that other lives don't matter, too. It is saying that black lives matter in reaction to treatment by law enforcement (and the media, court, and prison systems) that behave as though black life has no value. It is not saying these lives matter more than anyone else's, but that they should matter as just much. It is in response to the shooting and killing of numerous black men, often unarmed, using tactics and in situations people feel would be handled differently (i.e., not fatally) if the person were white. 

Sadly, the response of so many to this movement, including the author of the above, demonstrates how much people in this country are completely ignorant of life outside their own experience. The fact that they are offended when black people try to point out that their lives have value; that they say or imply, "How DARE you say that black lives matter without explicitly stating that white life matters, too!"; that they cannot grasp the basic contextual awareness of pride in reaction to racism and oppression—all of this exacerbates the ridiculousness "white pride" and reveals it as the fear of petulant children threatened by new kids in their sandbox.

Republicans Cannot Claim a Mandate When Clinton Has a 2 Million Vote Lead
from The Nation

Yeah, no shit. 

Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level
from The Guardian

At least the Asshole-in-Chief takes climate change seriously. Oh, wait....

Trump's tax plan: massive cuts for the 1% will usher 'era of dynastic wealth'
from The Guardian
“The Trump tax plan is heavily, heavily, skewed to the most wealthy, who will receive huge savings,” said Lily Batchelder, a law professor and tax expert at New York University. “At the same time, millions of low-income families – particularly single-parent households – will face an increase.”
This is particularly nefarious. Asshole-in-Chief say, "MY TRICKLE-DOWN STAINS NEED WASHING, WOMAN!"

Thanksgiving: A Celebration of Inequality
from The Atlantic

Just in time for the holidays.

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