Tag Archives: racism

This Is Not Normal

It has been a week since Donald Trump became the president-elect. In that week, protests have erupted across the country, hate crimes are rising, people are making plans to move to Canada or Mexico, women are looking to get IUDs, couples are getting married, and division has arguably never been more blatant or destructive in this election cycle.

I’ve heard the endless mantra of “We need to be united.”  First of all, it’s really difficult to be united when the president-elect is a person who built his entire campaign on dividing people. It was always us vs. them, “them” being any group that Trump thought a particular audience was afraid of. When I hear, “We need to be united,” I’m really hearing, “Get in line.” I’m hearing, “Conform.” Now, I know that President Obama has said to be unified, and I’m not sure what exactly he means by that, but I know that his role is a unique one. When I hear “unify” from someone random on Facebook, that’s when I’m hearing, “Stop criticizing Trump and Trump supporters.”

That’s not what unity is. Unity is not when one side of a divided pair shuts up, while the other gets to run the show. Frankly, I don’t know how we can be unified right now, because it’s like our values are on total opposite sides of the spectrum. A Trump presidency looks like it’s going to be about restricting women’s rights, gutting healthcare, demonizing Muslims and Mexicans, restricting LGBTQ rights, denying climate change, and so on. What can we unify around? People who voted for Trump are either racist, are willing to tolerate racism, or deny that a Trump presidency is even racist at all. The same goes for sexism. Freedom of religion seems it will only apply to Christianity. Good healthcare is not nationally recognized as a basic human right. WHERE IS THE COMMON GROUND?

People are also saying, “Protests didn’t happen when Obama became president, so accept it and move on.” Okay, so people weren’t necessarily flooding the streets like they are now, but for his entire presidency, they were questioning whether he was born in the United States. That’s definitely a form of protesting the election results. For 8-freaking-years. Also, after every election, there are groups that don’t want to accept the results. It’s just what humans do when something happens they don’t like. However, there is a big difference between the national reaction to Obama and Trump, because TRUMP IS NOT A NORMAL PRESIDENT. I’ve heard the word “normalization” a lot recently with Trump coverage, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The media is normalizing Trump and treating him like he’s just your run-of-the-mill president-elect. Yes, he’s a bit of an outsider, but there’s a silence about just how outside-the-norm he is. What do I mean by that? Here are just a handful of reasons:

The typical “accept and move on” response to the peaceful transition of power following an election does not work in the situation America finds itself in. That’s why we’re having these protests. It is the peoples’ way of shouting, “This is not normal.” Eventually, the protests will stop, but we will need to keep shouting through our actions and activism during Trump’s entire presidency. Even when good things happen, we can’t forget that this is not normal.

Because once we start believing it is normal, America, as we know and love her, is dead.

 

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Lez Be Honest: Why I Actually Don’t Agree with A&E’s Decision to Suspend Phil Robertson

By Erin Schulz

There are already a lot of thoughts about this floating around in my Facebook newsfeed. If your friend demographic is anything like mine, you’ve seen posts violently defending Phil’s right to speak his mind and arguments pointing out that A&E’s decision doesn’t violate first amendment rights. There’s been plenty of arguing. The most moving arguments, to me, are based around faith. It doesn’t represent a caring, loving Christ to make these comments offhand. As this post: http://intheparlor.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/what-you-believe-about-homosexuality-doesnt-matter/  us, peoples’ lives are at stake. The compassionate thing to do is surrender some of your right to always express your own opinion in favor of giving a beloved child of God a hand at, you know, not dying.

But I don’t think A&E should have suspended Phil Robertson. Why?

The premise of Duck Dynasty makes me angry enough. I haven’t watched the show, so let me join a whole host of people expressing an opinion on something I have limited knowledge about. But I have lived in a rural, redneck community all my life, with the exception of the three and a half years I’ve spent at college. And I know that whether you like it or not, Phil’s views are representative of a lot of people’s.

Just because a view is representative doesn’t mean it needs to be spouted off, I know that. But what is A&E attempting to do with Duck Dynasty? I would love to have feedback on this from people who have seen the show. My feeling is that Duck Dynasty is cultural appropriation at best, and more likely an attempt to make a spectacle of redneck culture.

As I read the GQ article that set all this off, I recognized a lot of myself in the author. After spending time at an extremely liberal college in the Twin Cities, I have a sort of outsider view on my home culture. I welcome my returns home because I am finally able to see the stars again, because I’ll be able to walk in the back pastures and track deer, and because I am back to a family and community that gives generously.

I am also back to fighting with my brother about whether women deserve equal pay in the workplace. Racist jokes. Offhand anti-gay comments.

You are welcome to be a part of my community. You get the benefit of breathtaking beauty and satisfying hard work. But you cannot have this without facing the ugliness that’s also here. You do not get to turn on your televisions once a week and watch the mindless antics of men with bushy beards, but ignore the oppression that is still alive and well in these communities.

People need to know what Phil Robertson thinks about race, sex, and gender, because city people need to face the facts that there’s a whole different country in the pockets of earth where you didn’t build skyscrapers. It’s complex. It’s filled with kindness and love and deep, deep ignorance. Explicit racism and hate crimes are still real.

I don’t agree with what Phil said, but I’m not mad at him. Okay, maybe I am a little mad at him, in the frustrated way I am angry at my grandfather, or my neighbor. And I’m not upset that A&E considers this speech hateful and doesn’t want it representing their station. What I’m upset about is that A&E is trying to edit life and paint the picture that nothing is wrong in redneck America, when that is not true.

Why A&E Made The Right Call About Phil Robertson

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.00.03 PM
Is anyone surprised that this is the face of a man who makes anti-gay comments?

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame has been suspended indefinitely from the A&E show that follows he and his family as they go about their lives as owners of a millionaire-dollar duck call business. Why? Well, it seems the man made some comments in an interview with GQ that a lot of people are upset about.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” 

In addition to displaying an atrocious level of ignorance, Phil goes on to say that homosexuality will “morph” into bestiality. He also offers his opinion on civil rights and life during the Jim Crow era:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Wow. Ok. Thanks, Phil. Black people were happier under the Jim Crow laws. Thanks for that. As a result of his remarks, he will no longer be included during the shooting of future episodes. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are angry about A&E’s decision, shouting “Free speech!” and complaining that political correctness has gone too far. I’m sorry, but it is “too far” to ask that a person does not compare a relationship between two consenting adults with having sex with animals? Well, see, he can make these remarks if he wants, and not be arrested, and that is what free speech is for. However, you can be fired from a job for saying things that your employer does not like. Especially when it’s targeted at a specific group. You go into any office as an employee and start talking about how gay people are going to hell, you will probably get that pink slip. When someone says stuff like this and you keep them on, you are saying that you approve or at least passively fostering an environment that allow this kind of attitude. Not cool.

It’s not “anti-Christian” for A&E to suspend him, because what Phil said was not a Christian message. He should have known that what he was saying would not be widely accepted; if he is surprised that there are consequences for what you say, he is, frankly, an idiot.

Racist, Say What?

ImageImageI saw this posting on Tumblr yesterday and after my initial feelings of horror, I checked my pulse and began to think. I don’t necessarily know people who share this view, but I do know people who might dismiss this person as one of a rambling few, or say the much dreaded, “I don’t really agree with this, but I can see their point/where they’re coming from.” Yeah, I can see where they’re coming from to. Racism Mountain, due south from Ignorance Junction.

Ok, let’s break it down. What exactly is this person upset about? They are upset about the fact that they perceive there are more black people than white people in commercials. They even use the word “disgusted.” Why is this so disgusting? If they themselves are not disgusted just by seeing “so many” black people and not racist, are they upset about the fact that commercials are not statistically accurate?

Since I follow this blog, I’m inclined to believe this isn’t the case, given the kind of content I’ve seen. If it was, where’s the outrage over the fact that TV does not show predominately overweight people (60% of Americans are considered overweight)? And while we’re talking about misrepresentations, where’s the rage over the fact that on countless occasions, white people have been playing people of color since the dawn of Hollywood to now? Laurence Olivier played a black man (complete with black face), Mickey Rooney was a Japanese man, Angelina Joli was Cuban, Katharine Hepburn was also Japanese, Natalie Wood was Puerto Rican, Ben Affleck was Hispanic, and Johnny Depp was Native American.

(A common defense of older movies with obviously whitewashed characters is that there simply weren’t people of the correct race in Hollywood. Because…RACISM. Actual racism. So that’s not a great argument.)

So, it seems that this angry person cares about representation, but only when it seems like white people are “losing.”  I would bet a lot of money that this person is also upset about the TV channel BET and historically black colleges. This anger is misplaced. And since when has TV been just about realistically portraying statistics? Representation is more than that. It has to be. Otherwise, yeah, we’d just have white people in everything, and then they would play the remaining 1.4% of Americans that are Chinese, or whatever. It’s happened before. It’s still happening.

In a Stanford address in 2005, Hazel Rose Markus wrote that “reality depends on representation. We learn to see and we learn to see the world as our society sees it, as our family sees it, as our political party sees it…” If young black Americans aren’t shown someone on TV who looks like them (in a positive way), it’s like they’re erased from society. Life imitates art. Sure, the “statistics” might be off, but for SO LONG, black people were either not on TV at all, or were shown in horribly negative and racist ways, as idiots, as passive slaves, as criminals.

I’d say society owes minorities some commercial time.