In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Four non-Confederate-general ways to not forget history

Confederate statue enthusiasts have argued that removal of such statues amounts to an erasure of history, and that they have to remain to remind us of how bad slavery is. But believe it or not, there are ways to memorialize difficult, painful, and contentious parts of history without glorifying, for instance, generals who led the wrong side of a war to perpetuate slavery. Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park provides several examples of different ways to do this with statues and sculptures memorializing the Civil Rights movement. Individually and collectively, they send the message that bigotry is bad, and equality is good, and fighting for freedom is noble, all without putting a single Confederate general on a literal pedestal.

Yes, this is America.

This isn’t how we want America to be. This doesn’t fit into the ideals we have for America. This isn’t how we see America when we squint at it like we’re looking at a Magic Eye painting whenever reality gets scary or disappointing. But it’s America.

Let’s talk about Confederate monuments.

They’re going down. Some of them are, anyway. But they’re not going down without a fight from the heritage-not-hate devotees of the tributes to the fight to preserve slavery and white supremacy. New Orleans has taken down statues honoring Confederate generals and leaders, and Charlottesville has voted to do the same. But just as quickly as the statues are falling, city and state governments are proposing protections for such monuments as a matter of “heritage.” Alabama passed theirs on Friday, and Louisiana’s is in the works.

So what’s really behind this desperate protectiveness of Civil War participation trophies, and why do they have no place on taxpayer-owned land? Let’s talk.

Honoring the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While much of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day will take the form of readings and re-publishings of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, The Root chooses to celebrate his acknowledgement of the reality as well as the dream, and of the ongoing fight necessary to turn the one into the other. While many supposedly concerned commentators are quick to invoke the name of MLK as a way of scolding black people to behave themselves, he was actually a radical who wasn’t nearly as lauded by the establishment as he is today.

Trial of the officer who killed Walter Scott ends in mistrial

After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”

Godwin’s Law is hereby suspended until further notice

Lately, I’ve found myself dissociating just a little bit from time to time. Not in a scary way — just a noticeable one. The first time, I was driving, and someone on the radio said the words “President Elect Donald Trump,” and my brain stepped back a little bit and said, “No, that doesn’t sound like a real thing. It actually sounds like something out of some weird movie, so we’ll go with that,” and suddenly I was a character driving in a car, listening to the radio, in a movie wherein Donald Trump was the president elect. Pretty disconcerting, really. More recently, it happened when Mother Jones referred to Richard B. Spencer as a “dapper white nationalist.”

No Reconciliation. No Empathy. No Understanding.

I know it’s been over a year since I’ve been around. But, what the hell, I wrote this, I figured, I’d post it here. Just in case anybody wants to read it.

I’ve been seeing a lot of calls for people on the left (defined very broadly as “everyone who opposed Trump”) to have empathy for Trump voters. To listen and respond to their concerns. To reach out to the Trump voters they know and try to change their minds with gentle persuasion and calm talks. That, I’m being told everywhere, is the work in front of us, what we need to do.

And it’s been enraging me.

It’s taken me a while to figure out why it’s been enraging me. I’ve run through various reasons, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Here are a few of the reasons, including the one that I think is the real issue for me. I know it’s real because thinking and writing about it is making me shake and feel sick.

1) It renders me unable to help. I don’t have family that voted Trump. I’ve had debates with many of my family members over various issues, including race and racism, but that “racist uncle” so many white people seem to have whose jokes they let slide for the sake of family peace? I don’t have one. I’m thrilled about that, by the way. Even the most conservative member of my family voted against Trump. I can think of one who may have voted third-party or write-in, but he did so in NYC, so it’s not like he threw the election. From what I’ve read, Jews in general went 70%-30% for Hillary, similar to Latino communities.

2) I didn’t think it worked, from the evidence of my own experience. Turns out I’m wrong about this. OK. That happens. I’ve been wrong before, sometimes quite publicly, and in the fullness of time, no doubt I’ll be wrong again.

3) It continues to put Trump voters in the spotlight, in the front and center of everybody’s mind. Remember before the election, how tired we all were of thinkpieces and essays detailing the fears, the worries, the values of Trump voters? How we all kept asking why nobody was writing articles about Hillary supporters like that? This is just more of the same. More centering of white people and their concerns. More taking black voters for granted.

4) Hillary didn’t lose because she didn’t appeal to Trump voters. Hillary lost because the VRA was gutted. And the VRA was gutted because we didn’t have the Supreme Court. There were over 800 fewer polling places this election. There were voter ID laws. There was voter intimidation and misinformation. There were people—usually black people—turned away at the polls for bullshit reasons. We on the left—particularly we white people on the left—have a duty not to abandon those whose votes were suppressed, part of a long US tradition of refusing suffrage to black people. Those are our people, our comrades-in-arms. Restoring their rights should be our priority, not yet more coddling of voters ready to line up behind a fascist.

All those are true (except #2, I’m wrong about that). But that’s not why I simply cannot bring myself to “reach out” to those motherfuckers who voted for Trump. Here’s why:

I’m a Jew.

I’m a Jew, and Trump ran an anti-Semitic campaign. He used anti-Semitic ads. He wouldn’t disavow David Duke. He’s been endorsed by the KKK and neo-Nazis across the country. Anti-Semites are his advisers and on his transition team. Since he’s been elected, swastika and “Sieg Heil” graffiti have appeared on storefronts in Philly, in middle and high schools. The KKK is holding a victory march in North Carolina. Neo-nazi threads on Reddit have been celebrating.

It’s no secret what the swastika stands for. It’s no secret how white supremacists feel about Jews.

If you voted for Trump, you gave aid, comfort, and support to those people. You threw in your lot with people who want me dead. Who want my 17-month-old son dead. Who want my best friend dead. Who want her small children dead. Who want my parents dead. Who want my grandfather, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my cousin’s two daughters dead dead dead dead DEAD.

Are you getting the picture yet? Are you getting the message that you sent to me if you voted for Trump?

So I don’t give a flying fuck whether you held your nose or felt reluctant when you voted for Trump or wept as you walked from the polling place after endorsing the candidate of people who want me and many of the people I love dead. I don’t give a fuck about your worries. I don’t give a fuck about your fears. I don’t give a fuck about your financial situation (bullshit argument anyway; people making under 50K a year broke for Hillary in the end). I don’t give a fuck about your soul or your psyche or your future.

You support people who want me and the people I love dead.

There is no compromise possible here. What is the compromise with people who are OK with killing me and my family? That you’ll only let half of us die?

No unifying. No empathy. No understanding. No calm and patient talks. No kindness. No compromise. No reconciliation. No common ground. No reaching out. No more chances. Not from me.

Trump voters supported and continue to lend cover to people who want the children I love dead. This is not an exaggeration. This is exactly what white supremacists did to Jews when they were in power in Germany. Every time I think about swastikas appearing on walls in this country and I think about the children I love my heart starts pounding. Fuck them for doing this to me.

If you can reach out and practice the art of gentle persuasion on Trump voters, good luck and Godspeed. I support you and what you are doing 100%. You are doing needed work.

I’ll focus my efforts elsewhere. On looking into doing volunteer work for the immigrants’ center down the block from me. On contributing to the Southern Poverty Law Center. On lobbying to restore VRA.

I have nothing for Trump voters but bile and vitriol. They scorched the earth with their vote. They can go to hell.

The guilt that comes with having no sympathy

A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.

That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “realTrump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.

Halloween fun: A compendium of people who still, in 2016, insist on wearing racist costumes

[Content note for… racism. Pretty much any kind.]

You could be Deadpool. You could go with a classic witch or cat or Spider-Man or the dude from Scream. You could be Glenn from The Walking Dead. (Skip the yellowface; the dripping blood and gore is the most part anyway.) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are topical this year. You could go as Wednesday Addams going as a serial killer — they look just like everyone else.

But dammit, you wanted to be Kanye West, and it’s a free country, and nobody’s going to stop you from covering yourself with brown makeup and exercising your right to show the Internet that you’re a racist idiot.

Are we done with Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham yet?

[Content note for racism and child sex abuse]

I get that we’re supposed to love Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham on account of they aren’t thin, and that they’re proudly imperfect and not trying to be perfect, and that they’re bold enough to do raunch humor even though women aren’t supposed to do that, and whatever, I get it. They do catch a lot of criticism for being self-absorbed and self-unaware, for occasionally poking their head out of their hole long enough to do something shitty, double down ‘cause haters, and then apologize (sometimes) and go back to their self-absorption. But I have to posit that maybe Dunham’s super-white TV-Brooklyn is actually the best place for her. Because dress her up in a tux and march her out into real-life Manhattan, and she’s going to end up sitting next to Odell Beckham at a gala and assigning him misogynistic motives for not hitting on her like apparently he was supposed to. And then complaining about the “outrage machine” on Twitter (doubling down, haters)… and ultimately apologizing.

So I’m totally cool with being done with them.