Tag: black

Tom Perriello is a fighter for Virginia. Period.

Today, Virginians will go to the polls to vote on major-party nominees for Governor of Virginia and other state offices. The most intriguing race on the Virginia ballot today is the Democratic primary for governor, in which Lieutenant Governor Ralph Shearer Northam is seeking a promotion against Thomas Stuart Price “Tom” Perriello, a former U.S. Representative and U.S. State Department official.

At first glance, the Virginia Democrats’ gubernatorial primary might seem to an internet observer of Virginia politics, such as me, like a rerun of the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries/caucuses, where Hillary Clinton easily won the Virginia primary against Bernie Sanders. However, Ralph Northam is no Hillary Clinton, and Tom Perriello is no Bernie Sanders.

Jamelle Bouie, the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine, wrote this primer piece about the Virginia Democrats’ gubernatorial primary, and here is how he described the candidates:

Likewise, the contest isn’t a race between a liberal or a moderate, or between heterodoxy and orthodoxy. Both (Ralph) Northam and (Tom) Perriello have blemishes on their records that render them imperfect avatars of the progressive movement. Northam backed George W. Bush for president in 2004, and Perriello voted for an anti-abortion amendment to the Affordable Care Act. Both have apologized for their respective apostasy. Both, if elected, would be among the most liberal governors in the state’s history, having campaigned on free community college, a $15 minimum wage, and extensive job training.

Where they differ is in their larger view of where the state’s problems lie. Northam roots Virginia’s ills in gridlock and bills himself as the candidate best able to break that gridlock. “The politics of getting things done in Richmond can be very complicated, and it takes someone who has spent the time to know the issues and develop the relationships with key members of both parties to make progress,” said the lieutenant governor in a Washington Post interview.

Perriello, however, takes a broader view, seeking to change a political culture that is beholden to corporate interests and monopolistic power. “We have a crazy system in Virginia, where we allow unlimited corporate contributions,” said Perriello in a March interview with the American Prospect magazine (full disclosure: (Bouie) worked there from 2010 to 2013). “In an era of deep partisanship in Richmond, the only truly bipartisan consensus is taking money from Dominion Power.” Perriello has positioned himself against entrenched interests and for the small towns, rural enclaves, and inner cities that encompass the state’s landscape. It’s a variation on the populism of Bernie’s campaign, one that captures the spirit of Sanders’ appeal even if it doesn’t match the particulars.

(added context mine)

Again, you do see common themes of the 2016 presidential primaries/caucuses at play, but one thing that Perriello has done that Sanders completely failed at was actually trying to win over a diverse coalition of Democratic voters, which is necessary in Virginia, since a significant majority of Virginia Democratic primary voters are female and people of color are typically around one-third of the Virginia Democratic primary electorate and could be as much as 40% of the Virginia Democratic primary electorate this year. Very early on in his campaign, and unusually for a candidate who has also tried to win over white rural voters, Perriello wrote a Medium post about the strong correlation between income inequality and racial inequality in Virginia. Even if you are, like me, not from Virginia, I strongly recommend reading Perriello’s post, because it’s an important lesson for progressive outreach to people of color.

I encourage Virginia voters who have not already cast an absentee ballot to vote in the Democratic primary for Tom Perriello today!

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San Jose Mercury News can’t say the name Simone Manuel

Make no mistake about it, Simone Manuel became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in the sport of swimming when she won the women’s 100 meter (109.3613 yard) freestyle swimming event at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were actually two gold medalists in the event, as Manuel tied Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal position. In Olympic swimming, a tie occurs when two or more swimmers post the same time, measured to hundredths of a second. When a tie occurs in Olympic swimming for a medal position, all tied competitors receive a medal of the same color (gold for a tie for first, silver for a tie for second, and bronze for a tie for third).

However, The Mercury News, a newspaper covering the San Jose, California area, used this headline to document Manuel’s historic victory:

Not only is that headline factually incorrect, it’s racist and sexist. First off, Manuel and Michael Phelps never shared an Olympic podium, as men and women compete in swimming events. In fact, the only Olympic sport (summer or winter) in which there are not separate competitions for men and women is equestrian (although a few Olympic sports, such as tennis (summer) and curling (winter, starting in 2018) have events featuring mixed-gender teams competing against each other, and modern pentathlon, of which equestrian is one of the five component sports, has separate men’s and women’s competitions). Secondly, The Mercury News was unwilling to use the name of a black woman who won the event in its headline, but had no problem using the name of a white man who wasn’t eligible to compete in the event in its headline.

The corporate media isn’t willing to say any part of her name, but I am more than willing to say the full name of my favorite Olympic champion of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad so far: Simone Ashley Manuel.

The percentage of rapes committed by white people is higher than the percentage of white Americans

Leslie Salzillo, a contributor to the progressive website DailyKos, wrote this piece about an online video showing a white woman, who was harassing a black man, falsely accusing the black man of threatening to rape her. You can view the video here.

I want to make a couple of points here.

First, rape and fear of rape have been used since before the founding of the United States of America in a racist manner against black people. Examples of this include Europeans in the 17th century falsely accusing black slaves of rape, accusations of rape being committed by black people being used to cover up crimes committed by white people, and the infamous Willie Horton ad that was aired on American television by a political organization supporting Republican George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential bid. Rape is a serious crime, and, if you’re using rape or the fear of rape to spew bigotry towards minority groups, you’re part of the problem when it comes to the pervasive rape culture in this country. While some black people are rapists (a famous example being former professional boxer Mike Tyson), and all rapists are criminals, black people are often falsely accused of rape, while actual white rapists often get no punishment or very light punishment for violating women.

Secondly, these are actual statistics on the demographics of American rapists, as well as the demographics of American aggravated assaulters and American automobile thieves:

For the sake of completion, 63.7% of the total American population is Non-Hispanic White, meaning that the percentage of rapes committed by white people in America (67.2%) is higher than the percentage of total white people in America.

Minnesota State House candidate Erin Maye Quaye attacked by GOP opponent for being mixed-race and lesbian

The Party of Trump has proven yet again that it is full of bigots who have zero respect for the American people. This time, it’s Minnesota State House candidate Ali Jimenez-Hopper attacking her Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) opponent, Erin Maye Quade, for being who she is:

Referring to Erin Maye Quade, a staffer for Keith Ellison who has a black dad and is married to a woman, Jimenez-Hopper said “she is really far left [in] her values.”

“She brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength. She brings up that she is in support of LGBT and that lifestyle and puts out pictures on Twitter of her and her wife,” Jimenez-Hopper continued. “I believe in the traditional marriage in the sense that it’s between a husband and wife and God and that family is important. We need to have these values so we can go forth and think about your community.”

Following that speech, Jimenez-Hopper was officially endorsed as the GOP candidate for the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Tara Mack. Neither Jimenez-Hopper or Maye Quade face primary challengers, meaning they’re set to face off in the general election this November.

Maye Quade of the DFL and Jimenez-Hopper of the GOP are running in the general election in Minnesota State House District 57A. Neither candidate faces any opposition in their respective primaries.

Jimenez-Hopper is using racist and homophobic language to attack Maye Quade for being of mixed race, as well as attacking her for being happily married to a woman that she loves. That kind of conduct from Jimenez-Hopper is disgusting, bigoted, and repulsive. Jimenez-Hopper attacked Maye Quade’s family, which is something that is completely out of bounds in American politics.

If you’re interested in why Erin Maye Quade is running for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, here’s what she is running on:

She said she intends for her campaign to be focused on issues like ameliorating childhood hunger, investing in transportation, enacting statewide paid family leave, and providing people with better mental health resources.

Like many Americans, Erin Maye Quade is someone who is genuinely interested in making her community, state, and country a better place to live. That is what a true patriotic American believes in, regardless of personal background. Maye Quade’s campaign website is here, and her Twitter page is here.

Donald Trump steals photo from Cincinnati TV station in desperate attempt to appeal to black voters

With very little support among black voters in hypothetical general election matchups against either Democratic presidential candidate, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has resorted to stealing photos of black people in an attempt to make it look like he has more black support than he actually has:

Donald Trump stole a photo from an online news article on the website of WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, Ohio. That is extremely unethical use of social media, and it proves that fraud and deception are Trump’s modus operandi.

An article about this subject by ThinkProgress is available here.

Black Lives Matter activist Ashley Williams EXPOSES Hillary donors as racist

Just a few days before South Carolina votes on a Democratic presidential nominee, a Black Lives Matter activist by the name of Ashley Williams interrupted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in South Carolina to question Hillary over her past statements referring to black people as “super-predators”:

The predominantly-white group of Hillary donors booed Williams, and here’s how one of them responded on Twitter to Williams’s questioning of Hillary:

Hillary’s people think that Bernie Sanders is the most racist piece of trash on the planet (that award actually goes to Donald Trump), yet they’re the ones who are actually racist and act like they’re entitled. This is a textbook example of white privilege.

If you want a president who will fight for racial equality and not act like some privileged racist, vote for Bernie!

Gannon the Cannon gives the finger to a Democrat on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly

Earlier today, Wisconsin State Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) flipped off Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) during a debate about Gannon’s racist remarks about crime in Milwaukee:

Several Democratic lawmakers from Milwaukee chastised state Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, for his comments, which they believed were racially charged. After a heated back-and-forth, Gannon flashed Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, his middle finger and walked out of the Assembly chamber.

“It is wholly inappropriate to give somebody the finger, for God’s sakes, on the floor of the Assembly,” Barca said, asking for Gannon to be reprimanded.

Gannon later apologized for making the gesture. It was the state Assembly’s first time meeting in 2016.

Gannon has earned a reputation of being a loose cannon and a racist. Prior to this most recent incident, Gannon made remarks encouraging concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders to shoot and kill “scumbags” and blamed black people for Wisconsin’s economic problems, the latter of which prompted the floor debate over crime in Milwaukee.

Gannon makes me look mild-mannered by comparison, and anyone who has met me, either in person or online, knows that I have a temper. What Gannon did on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly earlier today was extremely inappropriate, and people with Gannon’s attitude are why Wisconsin’s political climate is absolutely toxic these days. Wisconsin gave America kindergarten, and, quite frankly, kindergartners are more civil than Republican politicians these days.

The Washington County, Wisconsin Democratic Party issued this response to Gannon’s use of a certain inappropriate hand signal on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly:

Granted, it would be an absolute miracle if Gannon were to lose re-election to a Democrat, but Democrats should run a candidate against Gannon. I would be willing to do an email interview with a Democratic candidate in the 58th Assembly Candidate of Wisconsin, if one were to run for that seat.

Paul LePage is a white supremacist

I’m not going to hold back in regards to my thoughts about Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage and his racist remarks about the heroin epidemic in Maine…LePage is a white supremacist.

Recently, LePage made racist remarks about the ongoing heroin epidemic in Maine and in America:

During an event Wednesday night in Maine, Gov. Paul R. LePage, a Republican, described the heroin trade in his state, suggesting it was being fueled by outsiders.

These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys,” he said. “They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” Mr. LePage told the crowd, according to The Portland Press Herald.

“Incidentally,” he added, “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing, because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

(emphasis mine)

If one is more concerned about a white woman being impregnated by a black man than actually doing something about the heroin epidemic in this country, than one is a white supremacist. In fact, the kind of racist meme that LePage used is a nearly identical meme to the one that Dylann Roof, the white supremacist perpetrator of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to, in his mind, justify mass murder. The only significant difference between the two memes is that LePage didn’t make an overt reference to rape, whereas Roof did.

We need a serious response to the heroin crisis in America, not racist remarks from right-wing politicians. I’m a lifelong resident of a downstate Illinois county that has faced a serious heroin problem in recent years, so heroin is a major political issue in my area. These are just my own ideas, but I believe that there should be a two-prong approach to addressing the heroin problem in America (I do recognize that heroin is something that can’t reasonably be legalized in the way that alcohol and tobacco currently are, and marijuana can be). First off, we should treat heroin addiction as a medical problem and not prosecute people for merely possessing and/or using heroin. Secondly, the criminal justice system should focus heavily on arresting and prosecuting people who are selling heroin, not prosecuting people who merely use heroin. I would more than welcome comments on other ideas about combating the heroin epidemic in America.

Michigan State Senator Marty Knollenberg (R) thinks that public schools fail because black kids attend them

A few days ago, Michigan State Senator Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy) made overtly racist remarks about public education in Michigan. To paraphrase Knollenberg, he basically said that he thinks that public schools are failing in Michigan because black children attend them.

You can view a video of Knollenburg’s actual remarks here:

Marty Knollenberg, by opening his racist mouth, single-handedly exposed the fact that the right-wing movement to gut public education in this country by way of charter schools, school vouchers, and other neoliberal/right-wing education policies is entirely motivated by racism against people of color.

Alabama Republicans deliberately trying to keep black people from voting

In 2011, Alabama Republicans used their complete control of the state government to enact a voter ID law, which required Alabama voters to present a driver’s license or some other form of photo identification to election officials in order to be able to vote.

Yesterday, Alabama closed 31 driver’s license offices in 30 different Alabama counties, and many of the offices that were closed were in predominantly-black counties. Here are the facts about how the closures disproportionately affect black Alabamans:

  • The ten Alabama counties with the highest percentage of registered non-white voters are Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes, Bullock, Perry, Wilcox, Dallas, Hale, and Montgomery. Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in eight, or 80%, of those ten counties, with only Dallas and Montgomery counties not affected by the closures. In the other 57 Alabama counties, Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in 24, or 42%, of those counties.
  • All Alabama counties where more than 75% of registered voters are black have seen driver’s license offices in those counties closed.
  • In the 2012 presidential election, 15 of Alabama’s 67 counties voted for the Democratic ticket of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in eight of those counties, or 53% of the counties that voted for Obama. Conversely, 52 of Alabama’s 67 counties voted for the Republican ticket of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. In those 52 counties, Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in 22, or 42%, of those counties.
  • In the five Alabama counties that gave Obama/Biden the highest percentages of the vote (Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes, and Bullock), Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in all five of those counties. In the five counties that gave Romney/Ryan the highest percentages of the vote (Blount, Winston, Cullman, Cleburne, and St. Clair), Alabama has closed driver’s license offices in only three of those counties (Winston, Cleburne, and St. Clair).

(sources here and here)

In case you’re wondering which Alabama county had two driver’s license offices closed, that would be Tallapoosa County, which gave Romney/Ryan nearly 66% of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.

It’s 100% clear to me that the driver’s license office closures in Alabama disproportionately affect black Alabamans, and that the Republicans who run Alabama’s state government are deliberately trying to prevent black people from voting. Jim Crow is, sadly, alive and well in Alabama.