Tag Archives: racism

Not a ‘small group,’ Mr. President

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” 

So said Donald Trump today in response to a reporter’s question about white nationalism and whether it’s a worldwide problem.

Mr. President, it is not merely a “small group” of people. It is a growing crisis around the world. The New Zealand massacre at the two mosques in Christchurch presents a symptom of what we’re witnessing.

White supremacists are getting bolder in Europe. We see more of it in Latin America. Make no mistake, there has been a serious increase of white nationalist attacks in the United States of America.

I won’t belabor the reason for the increase in this country. We’ve trod down that path before in this forum and elsewhere. I just have to challenge the president’s assertion that it is not a “rising problem,” that the surge in such terror attacks are the work of a “small group of people” with “serious problems.”

Trump is correct to call it a “terrible thing, a terrible thing.”

Yes it is, Mr. President.

The crisis, though, is worse than you would have us believe. As the leader of the United States, the president needs to step up and lead the chorus against the scourge of race- and faith-based hatred.

Rep. Meadows says he’s no racist, however . . .

There goes that dadgum social media again, producing evidence that people in public life say things they ought to regret.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, bristled badly Wednesday when fellow House Oversight and Reform Committee member Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, criticized him for bringing out an African-American staffer to prove he is “not a racist.” She thought that was a “racist” thing to do.

Meadows, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP conference in the House, demanded that Tlaib’s comments be “stricken from the record.” Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, who is African-American, defended Meadows, calling him his “best friend.” Tlaib apologized for any incorrect inference that might have been drawn from her comments.

But then . . .

A video showed up. It is of Meadows campaigning for Congress in 2012. He talks about the “wrong direction” the country is headed under President Obama, the nation’s first African-American president.

Then he said it is time to send Obama “home, to Kenya or wherever it is . . . ”

Birtherism, anyone? Hmm?

Well, take a look at the link I am attaching to this post. The video is in there. Yep, it’s Rep. Meadows making the Kenya reference.

Check it out

I’m not going to call Meadows a racist. Just listen. You can make your own decision.

Reparations for slave descendants? No

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro — a candidate for president of the United States — has opened up a wide-ranging debate topic that needs a full airing.

However, the Democratic candidate, has to go a huge distance to persuade me of the need to pay reparations for the descendants of slaves.

I oppose such reparations understanding how it might look to those who favor them. I want to be crystal clear on a couple of key points.

First, slavery is the greatest sin this government has ever committed against Americans. I totally understand the pain it caused those who lived under human bondage. They were treated as property. They were considered to be three-fifths of a human being. They were bought and sold the way people buy and sell, oh, livestock.

They were “emancipated” in 1863, during the height of the Civil War, which was being fought over the issue of slavery. Slaves were set free more than 150 years ago.

Generations of African-Americans have come along since then. Yes, many of them have endured hatred, indignity, violence, outright discrimination on the basis of their race. However, this country has legislated equality for all Americans. I understand full well that those laws haven’t erased bigotry from all Americans’ hearts.

My concern over the issue of reparations deals with the time that has passed and the many generations that have come and gone since those terrible days when we enslaved fellow human beings.

Are there “direct descendants” of slaves? Sure. Have those descendants suffered directly from the enslavement of their great-great-great grandparents? Well, that is a highly debatable point.

It’s the timing of this proposal that Julian Castro has pitched.

Yes, our government has paid reparations to Japanese-Americans over their internment during World War II. But that atrocity occurred not quite 80 years ago. There are former internees still living to this day. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been given some remuneration over what President Roosevelt decreed after the United States entered World War II; FDR feared Japanese-Americans would be more loyal to their ancestors than to the country of their birth, so he rounded ’em up along the Pacific Coast and sent them packing to concentration camps inland.

This idea of paying reparations for those descended from long-deceased slaves, though, gives me serious pause.

Do we stop working toward a “more perfect Union”? Of course not! Such a task involves eradicating bigotry and race-based hatred whenever and wherever we see it.

Reparations? That’s a bridge too far.

Smollett ‘hate crime’ story is inflicting some casualties

The Jussie Smollett Saga is inflicting some serious damage, regardless of how this story concludes.

Smollett is the openly gay African-American actor who said two men attacked him, declaring that he was in “MAGA Country’; Smollett said they assaulted him and hung a noose around his neck. Smollett stars in the Fox TV series “Empire.” The series producers have written Smollett out of the final two episodes of the current season; Smollett’s longer-term future with “Empire” remains unclear.

Then the police started sniffing around and they determined that Smollett orchestrated his own hate crime victimhood. Smollett is now charged with a fourth-degree felony of disorderly conduct.

The damage? It’s going to be inflicted on actual victims of hate crimes. Will actual victims of actual crimes be reluctant now to report them to the police? Will they fear the cops won’t believe them when they allege that someone has attacked them merely because of their race or religious faith or their sexual orientation?

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson seemed genuinely angry the other morning while he announced Smollett’s arrest. He is angry because of the time, money and assorted ancillary resources wasted on an allegedly phony hate crime.

The MAGA reference, of course, deals with Donald Trump, his signature slogan to “Make America Great Again.” To my mind, though, the Trump effect is a minor part of this story.

The bigger part of this saga deals with how the allegations against Smollett — who allegedly paid two brothers to assault him — will impact legitimate hate crime concerns.

Smollett, naturally, denies doing anything wrong. He stands by his initial complaint. The police, though, seem equally certain that he faked the attack.

I just fear what effect this story is going to have on future reports of actual hate crimes. My hope that it won’t inhibit such reporting is waging combat with that fear for the worst.

As for who to believe, I am leaning toward siding with the cops.

Virginia: It’s for political discomfort

They say that “Virginia is for lovers,” which is a slogan the state uses to market itself to the rest of the world.

These days, though, the state is taking on a whole new definition. It’s now a place where the highest echelon of the state’s government is squirming in extreme discomfort.

Gov. Ralph Northam is facing an enormous amount of pressure to resign after a picture surfaced on his medical school yearbook page showing two men, one of them in black face, the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam’s name is on the page. He at first apologized for the photo, then said he wasn’t either of the men depicted in it and has resisted demands that he quit the governor’s office.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the next in line for the top job in Richmond, has accused of sexual assault by a woman who said he raped her in a hotel room in 2004. Fairfax said the encounter was “consensual,” and has denied doing anything wrong. He’s also issued a type of apology for an act he said he didn’t commit. Go figure.

Attorney General Mark Herring, the next in line for the governor’s office after Fairfax, now reportedly appeared in black face in the 1980s, igniting yet another firestorm in the Virginia statehouse. Herring admitted to wearing black makeup to look like a rapper.

All three of these fellows are facing pressure to quit. They’re all Democrats. The next individual in line to take the top job, if all of them quit — as they likely should do — is the speaker of the Virginia House of Representatives. He’s a Republican.

It goes without saying that the balance of power in a significant “swing state” that has become vital to presidential candidates is teetering on the brink of a major shift.

Does all of this matter to a national audience? You bet it does! We’re talking about race relations and in the age of the #MeToo movement, any reference to sexual assault or harassment lifts it onto the national stage.

Oh . . . brother!

To think that Texas politics has been called a “contact sport.” In Virginia, it has become a “collision sport.” 

Weren’t the editors on the job at Northam’s school?

I want to discuss briefly a back story related to the Ralph Northam scandal that is still boiling in Virginia.

You’ve heard about it, yes? Gov. Northam, a Democrat, has tried to explain away why his medical school page — with his name on it — contains a picture of two men, one of whom is in black face, the other is dressed in a Ku Klux Klan get up.

Northam’s first response was to apologize for the picture and to take responsibility for posing as one of the two men pictured. Then he backed away, saying he wasn’t in the picture. He then said he won’t resign, which his entire Democratic Party apparatus in Virginia is demanding that he do.

The back story? Why did the publishers of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook allow the picture onto its pages? Wasn’t anyone at the school paying attention to this hideous image?

It occurred in 1984, for crying out loud! It wasn’t 1924, or 1934. It was in an era when we supposedly had traveled many miles from the hatred and bigotry exemplified by black face portrayals and the terrorism inflicted on American citizens by the KKK.

Northam said he didn’t buy the yearbook. He didn’t see the picture until just the other day. He didn’t know the photo of the black face guy and the KKK dude were on his page until just now, 35 years later?

I believe Northam should resign.

I also believe the publisher and the editors associated with the med school yearbook need to be held accountable for allowing that hideous image to appear in the publication in the first place.

As for the governor’s assertion that he didn’t know of the photo’s existence until just now, I don’t believe that for an instant either.

This is a hideous story that needs to be explored in meticulous detail.

First things first, though. Get out of office, Gov. Northam.

Gov. Northam on his way out? More than likely

Don’t hold me to this, but here is what I think is likely to happen with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: He says he won’t quit, but it will be impossible for him to govern the commonwealth . . . which means he’ll resign.

The Democratic governor has been caught in a hideous racial scandal. A picture on his page inside the 1984 yearbook from the Eastern Virginia Medical School shows two men: one is in black face, the other is wearing a Ku Klux Klan getup. Northam at first apologized for the harm he caused by appearing in that picture. Then he said he didn’t appear in the photograph and said he wouldn’t quit the governor’s office.

Northam’s denial didn’t go over well. Democrats in Virginia are hollering for him to resign. So are Republicans.

The way I see it way over here in Texas is that this matter is playing out the way scandals such as this usually do. The individual caught up in it stands his or her ground. The subject is defiant, vowing to fight the fight.

Then it becomes obvious that the individual cannot shake off the ill will, cannot do his or her job, cannot function under the oath taken.

Virginia lawmakers, of course, have another option: impeachment. You can bet your last greenback that the subject is being discussed openly in Richmond, the state capital.

Were it not for the racial element of this scandal, a controversy such as this should be no one’s business except for those who reside in Virginia. That’s not the case here. This matter resonates around the country, even in far away places such as Texas.

Gov. Northam is limited to a single term under state law. I doubt seriously he’ll walk out of office with his head held high.

Now, what about a POTUS who said some nasty things?

Virginia Republicans need to tread carefully.

The state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, has apologized for appearing in a racist photograph showing two men — one in blackface and the other in a KKK-style costume. The Virginia GOP has called for his immediate resignation.

I agree that Northam should resign.

However . . .

Just a word of advice to the state Republican Party is in order. The nation’s Top Republican, Donald Trump, said in 2017 that there were “good people” who belonged to white supremacist groups, Nazis and Klansmen who protested the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va.

Will they hold the president to account for that hideous assertion?

Ever?

Gov. Northam, you have blown it!

OK, so a Democratic governor way over yonder in Virginia has been revealed to have appeared in a picture with someone who had smeared black paint on his face while he posed with a guy dressed in a Ku Klux Klan-style robe.

Ralph Northam has apologized; he hasn’t said which of the young men was him. He issued this statement:

“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment. …

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

I’ll give the governor credit, though, for avoiding one of those “if I offended anyone” non-apologies. He has owned his egregious error.

However, is that good enough? Does that settle it? Not even close.

You see, the picture showed up in a 1984 medical school yearbook. Northam had graduated already from college, received his bachelor’s degree and was enrolled in medical school. He was an adult. It’s not as though he was some dipsh** junior high schooler who got carried away because he wasn’t thinking straight.

This picture is now going to haunt Northam for the entire time he serves as governor of a former Confederate state.

Virginia Republicans say he should resign. I believe they have a point. Gov. Northam cannot possibly be taken seriously from this day forward as he seeks to govern all the residents of his state.

Northam needs to go.

Rep. King has some serious issues to ponder

I cannot pretend to know what ticks inside the (so-called) heart of a rural Iowa congressman known for his big mouth far more than for any legislative accomplishments.

All any of us can do is to weigh the man’s words and wonder: Does he really believe this stuff? If he does, then the nation’s legislative body has a monster in its midst.

Republican Rep. Steve King told The New York Times that he doesn’t know how the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” have been cast as “offensive” language. I already have addressed that issue in this blog, noting that those terms are associated with hate groups that have exacted violence for far too long against non-white, non-Christian American citizens.

Why is ‘white nationalist’ a negative term?

Now we have the House of Representatives and whether it must take action against one of its 435 members. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the body will “consider” some form of punishment against King.

GOP members fire back at King

What troubles me about this individual is his history of what borders on hate speech. He was among the cabal of cretins in public life who continually questioned the birth credentials of the 44th president of the United States, who happens to be African-American; he has spoken of migrants “with calves the size of cantaloupes” smuggling drugs across the southern border from Latin America; his record of public commentary is full of similarly offensive remarks that barely hide his seeming contempt for racial and ethnic minorities.

Yet he remains in office, taking an active role in enacting legislation that affects all Americans. Sure, he gets sent back to Congress every two years, meaning that he has the endorsement of his constituents back home. That is their call to make.

Once he’s in office, though, his conduct becomes everyone’s business. Yours and mine.

Thus, it’s fair for me to say I do not want this man occupying one of those legislative offices responsible for the enactment of laws that govern all 330 million Americans.

Steve King is a disgrace to the U.S. Congress and given the reputation the legislative body has these days among Americans, that’s really saying something.