Tag: racism

You’re not supporting Serena Williams by painting your face black

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post uses Australian English spelling rules.


At the women’s singles semi-final of this year’s Australian Open tennis major, at least two fans were seen on television holding a sign reading “Keep calm and be Serena” and…wait for it…wearing black face paint. “Serena” is Serena Williams of the United States, who won her semi-final match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and went on to lose the grand final to Angelique Kerber of Germany. While I’m not a fan of tennis at all, I do know enough about the sport to tell you that Serena is probably the top athlete in all of sports globally.

If you’re wearing blackface, you might claim to be supporting Serena, but you’re actually being very racist.

Blackface was commonly used in theatre plays for many, many years, with usage in the United States being commonplace well into the 1960’s. In blackface performances, white actors would wear black face paint to portray black people. For fans to employ racism that the theatre industry used is absolutely unacceptable, and something that Serena herself finds to be very offensive. I’m surprised that there are many Australians who are very racist, to tell you the truth.

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Donald Trump uses imagery of Russian soldiers in campaign ad, retweets a neo-Nazi

In the last couple of days, Donald Trump has done two things to prove how awful his candidacy for president truly is.

First, Trump took to Facebook and used imagery of Russian soldiers to claim that undocumented immigrants in the United States are treated better than American veterans:

Donald Trump put a new veteran-focused campaign ad up on Facebook today, but it was pulled down before most anyone could see it after commenters pointed out that the footage clearly depicted Russian veterans wearing the distinctive St. George ribbon and pins with the Communist hammer and sickle.

…“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump intones his most serious voice. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.” The ad then cuts away from Trump sitting at his desk and to footage of faceless decorated veterans who happen to be wearing a distinctive orange-and-black ribbon.

That is absolutely disgusting, and, sadly, it’s something along the lines of what Trump has done in the past. When Trump ran his first television ad of the campaign, he used a video of Moroccans trying to enter Melilla, a Spanish city on the African continent.

Second, Trump retweeted a picture of Jeb Bush that was originally posted by a neo-Nazi who uses a “white genocide” Twitter handle:

Donald Trump’s penchant for retweets once again raised eyebrows, after he recirculated a tweet on Friday from a user with the handle “WhiteGenocideTM.”

The profile — with about 2,300 followers — used the name “Donald Trumpovitz,” linked to a website containing a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary, featured a background photo with red lettering saying “Get the F— Out of My Country” and had a location of “Jewmerica.” The account also includes a photo of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.

The account’s Twitter feed was largely a collection of retweets about violence allegedly committed by African-American suspects and anti-Arab posts.

The truth of the matter is that there is no genocide of white people either ongoing or imminent. Furthermore, the fact that Trump would retweet anything from someone with overtly racist views is just the latest example of how much of a danger Trump is to America.

My use of “New York values” versus Ted Cruz’s use of “New York values”

As a lifelong Midwesterner, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to bash New York City. Another person who likes to bash New York City is Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who has made “New York values” a common phrase in his stump speech.

However, the “New York values” I like to bash and the “New York values” that Ted Cruz likes to bash are two different concepts.

The “New York values” I like to bash are corruption and the political boss culture within New York State (especially within New York City), as well as corporate-owned politicians who represent Wall Street’s political interests and not the people of New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), a pro-Wall Street “Democrat” who is one of the most corrupt elected officials in America, is someone who exemplifies the New York values that I despise. I’ll often use “Chicago values” to mean the same thing in an Illinois context, “Milwaukee values”, “Philadelphia values”, “Los Angeles values”, “Detroit values”, etc. in the context of other states/regions, and, in a national context, “big-city values” or “DNC values” (the latter referring to the corporatist Democratic National Committee).

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, uses “New York values” as a form of coded racism, bashing New York because it has a lot of people who aren’t white, Christian bigots. Additionally, Cruz uses “New York values” to bash fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is from New York City. This is very common in the Republican Party, in fact, Wisconsin Republican politicians are known for bashing Milwaukee at every opportunity.

However, Cruz sure loves New York values when it comes to filling his campaign coffers with cash:

Ted Cruz might say he has a problem with “New York values,” but he seems happy to take New York money.

The Texas senator’s swipe at Donald Trump in Thursday’s debate didn’t just earn the ire of the New York Daily News (whose front page today showed the Statue of Liberty giving him the finger) and New York Mayor (Bill) de Blasio (who took to CNN demanding an apology) — it also might alienate the city’s donors he has been carefully courting.

Cruz’s campaign raised $223,750 from New Yorkers, according to finance reports available through September. Robert Mercer, the hedge fund investor who has given $11 million to a pro-Cruz super PAC and is one of his most important backers, lives on Long Island.

Ted Cruz may hate New York City just as much as the guys on the old Pace Picante ads, but loves taking New Yorkers’ money.

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.

The First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

For the first time ever, this blog will be awarding end-of-the-year awards to several individuals who I consider to be effective at advancing progressive causes during the year, regardless of whether or not one meets the typical criteria of being politically progressive or not. This is the first annual awarding of the Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015. All ProgMid Award winners for this year and years in the future are automatically inducted into the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner.

The award categories for the first ProgMid Awards are as follows:

  • Person of the Year
  • Man of the Year
  • Woman of the Year
  • American of the Year
  • International Person of the Year
  • Group of the Year
  • Athlete of the Year
  • Blogger of the Year
  • Activist of the Year
  • Elected Official of the Year
  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year

There are two important notes regarding the awards:

  • Many award recipients will receive multiple awards. For example, if the Person of the Year in a given year is a female athlete from Canada, she would win Person of the Year, Woman of the Year, International Person of the Year, and Athlete of the Year.
  • Should multiple people or a group of people win award(s) other than Group of the Year, the plural form of the name(s) of the other award(s) will be used (People, Men, Women, Americans, International People, Athletes, Bloggers, Activists, Elected Officials, Entertainers, and/or Young People).

With that said, I hereby present the First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015!

Person of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Person of the Year is the only open ProgMid Award category.

No person has made a bigger impact on advancing progressive causes in the year 2015 than Bernie Sanders. Bernie, the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont, is currently seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, and he has made improving America’s economy a key part of his campaign. Bernie has publicly championed raising the U.S. minimum wage to $15/hour, guaranteeing paid family leave, making college in America truly affordable, breaking up large financial institutions, and many other progressive ideals. Bernie is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2015.

Man of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Men are eligible for the Man of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is male, Bernie is also the ProgMid Man of the Year for 2015.

Woman of the Year – Rachel Notley

Women are eligible for the Woman of the Year Award.

In Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, Rachel Notley led the Alberta New Democratic Party to a landslide victory in the Alberta legislative general election in May of 2015, and, as a result of the election, Notley became Premier of Alberta. Notley and her party ran on a progressive platform that championed good government, Alberta’s environment, economic justice, and common sense, and they won in a very conservative part of Canada. Notley is the ProgMid Woman of the Year for 2015.

American of the Year – Bernie Sanders

In order for one to be eligible for the American of the Year Award, one must be a United States citizen, United States national, resident of the United States, or some combination thereof.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an American, Bernie is also the ProgMid American of the Year for 2015.

International Person of the Year – Rachel Notley

Those who are not eligible for the American of the Year Award are eligible for the International Person of the Year Award.

Since the Woman of the Year, Rachel Notley, is a Canadian, Notley is also the ProgMid International Person of the Year for 2015.

Group of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

The Group of the Year Award is the only ProgMid Award that is required to be awarded to a group of people.

In response to racism, police brutality, and police shootings of black people in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of progressive activists seeking reform of the criminal justice system and increased accountability of law enforcement in America, has brought the issues of criminal justice reform and law enforcement accountability to the forefront of American politics. Black Lives Matter is the ProgMid Group of the Year for 2015.

Athlete of the Year – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Professional athletes and individuals primarily known for being amateur athletes (including, but not limited to, collegiate athletes and amateur Olympic athletes) are eligible for the Athlete of the Year Award.

Although one would usually not think of a NASCAR driver as advancing a progressive cause, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. played an important role in building public support for taking down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When asked about his thoughts about the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. called the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race” and said that the Confederate flag “belongs in the history books, and that’s about it”. For his condemnation of the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2015.

Blogger of the Year – Kelly Wilz

Those who are an administrator of, editor of, author of, and/or contributor to a blog are eligible for the Blogger of the Year Award.

One of the newest members of the progressive blogosphere is Kelly Wilz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. Wilz is also the author of the progressive political blog Dissent and Cookies, which launched in May of 2015. As a blogger, Wilz has primarily focused on ending rape culture in America and supporting tenure protections for college professors, both of which are very important causes. Wilz is the 2015 ProgMid Blogger of the Year.

Activists of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

Those who are largely or primarily known for being a political activist are eligible for the Activist of the Year Award.

Since the Group of the Year, the Black Lives Matter movement, is a group of political activists, members of the Black Lives Matter movement are also the 2015 ProgMid Activists of the Year.

Elected Official of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Those who were a public official elected either directly by the people or elected by a body elected by the people (such as the U.S. Electoral College) at any point in the year in which the award is given are eligible for the Elected Official of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an incumbent elected official, Bernie is also the 2015 ProgMid Elected Official of the Year.

Entertainer of the Year – Jon Stewart

Those who are entertainers (actors/actresses, comedians/comediennes, musicians, sports announcers, radio show hosts, television show hosts, etc.) are eligible for the Entertainer of the Year Award.

While Jon Stewart left the anchor desk of the Comedy Central news satire program The Daily Show in August of this year, Stewart has not abandoned the first responders who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stewart passionately advocated for, and won, renewal of federally-funded health care for 9/11 first responders. Stewart is the 2015 ProgMid Entertainer of the Year.

Young Person of the Year – Keanan Sargent

In order to be eligible for the Young Person of the Year Award, one must be less than 18 years of age on December 31 of the year in which the award is given.

At an August 2015 LGBT pride parade and rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Keanan Sargent, the then-nine-year-old son of Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent, did something incredibly creative when confronted by homophobia. Keanan used balloons to obscure a sign that anti-LGBT protesters were displaying at the pride parade and rally. For his creativity and progressive values, Keanan Sargent is the 2015 ProgMid Young Person of the Year.

Donald Trump doesn’t believe in America

Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump’s virulent racism and fearmongering about immigrants is downright unpatriotic.

One of America’s most recognizable symbols is the Statue of Liberty, which sits on a small island at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York City. The Statue of Liberty symbolizes America’s history as a nation of immigrants. In fact, just upstream at Ellis Island, millions of immigrants began their lives as residents of this great country by being processed by immigration officials on Ellis Island.

I live in a much lesser-known symbol of America’s history as a nation of immigrants: the village of Westville, Illinois, located in the east-central part of the state. In the early 20th century, immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe, came to work in the coal mines that once surrounded Westville. At one time, Westville could boast of having people of over three dozen nationalities living in its immediate area. Throughout America’s history, immigrants built cities and communities across this country.

Donald Trump is running one of the most anti-American presidential campaigns in American history.

Bernie Sanders strongly criticizes Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric

From Bernie himself, via a recent campaign email:

I want to say a few things about Donald Trump and specifically about his comments tonight that we should ban all Muslims from coming to the United States, even American Muslims returning home from overseas.

It’s fun for the political media to treat Donald Trump like he’s the lead character in a soap opera or the star player on a baseball team. But the truth is his language is dangerous, especially as it empowers his supporters to act out against Muslims, Latinos, and African-Americans.

Poll after poll shows that I am the candidate best suited to take on Donald Trump and every other Republican running for president.

With multiple opinion polls showing Bernie being the most electable Democratic presidential candidate in hypothetical matchups against Trump, it’s clear that we need to do everything possible to help Bernie to win the Democratic nomination. One thing you can do is vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democracy for America (DfA) online poll. Should Bernie get at least two-thirds of the vote in the online poll, DfA will endorse Bernie.

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.

47 House Dems side with ISIS and Nazi-like bigotry from the GOP

47 House Dems side with ISIS and Nazi-like bigotry from the GOP

A total of 47 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for anti-Syrian refugee legislation straight out of a Nazi Germany mindset. Here are the House Democrats who voted for the legislation:

Pete Aguilar California 31st
Brad Ashford Nebraska 2nd
Ami Bera California 7th
Sanford Bishop, Jr. Georgia 2nd
Julia Brownley California 26th
Cheri Bustos Illinois 17th
John Carney Delaware At-large
Gerry Connolly Virginia 11th
Jim Cooper Tennessee 5th
Jim Costa California 16th
Joe Courtney Connecticut 2nd
Henry Cuellar Texas 28th
John Delaney Maryland 6th
Lloyd Doggett Texas 35th
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii 2nd
John Garamendi California 3rd
Gwen Graham Florida 2nd
Gene Green Texas 29th
Janice Hahn California 44th
Jim Himes Connecticut 4th
Steve Israel New York 3rd
Marcy Kaptur Ohio 9th
Bill Keating Massachusetts 9th
Ron Kind Wisconsin 3rd
Ann McLane Kuster New Hampshire 2nd
Jim Langevin Rhode Island 2nd
Dan Lipinski Illinois 3rd
Dave Loebsack Iowa 2nd
Stephen Lynch Massachusetts 8th
Sean Patrick Maloney New York 18th
Patrick Murphy Florida 18th
Rick Nolan Minnesota 8th
Donald Norcross New Jersey 1st
Scott Peters California 52nd
Collin Peterson Minnesota 7th
Jared Polis Colorado 2nd
Kathleen Rice New York 4th
Raul Ruiz California 36th
Tim Ryan Ohio 13th
Kurt Schrader Oregon 5th
David Scott Georgia 13th
Terri Sewell Alabama 7th
Kyrsten Sinema Arizona 9th
Louise Slaughter New York 25th
Marc Veasey Texas 33rd
Filemon Vela Texas 34th
Tim Walz Minnesota 1st

When I say that these 47 Democratic traitors sided with ISIS, I mean that they are effectively fueling ISIS propaganda by refusing to take in the very people who have been oppressed by ISIS and the Syrian dictatorship of Bashir al-Assad. When I say that this legislation is straight out of a Nazi Germany mindset, I’m referring to public opposition here in the U.S. to accepting Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust and the Nazi Germany regime of Adolf Hitler in the late 1930’s.

It’s not just moderate and conservative “Democrats” who are effectively siding with ISIS and repeating the history of the Nazis by opposing Syrian refugees. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson have used racist, Nazi-like language to stir up fear of Syrian refugees among white racist Americans.

Here’s what Trump recently said, courtesy of Yahoo! News:

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

Here’s what Carson recently said, courtesy of NBC News:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday suggested that concerns about Syrian refugees in the United States are akin to a parent’s concerns about “mad dogs.”

“If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way,” he said during remarks in Mobile, Alabama. “[It] doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re putting your intellect into motion and you’re thinking ‘How do I protect my children? At the same time, I love dogs and I’m gonna call the humane society and hopefully they can come take this dog away and create a safe environment once again.'”

Any Democrat who voted for the anti-Syrian refugee legislation has effectively sided with right-wing racists like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who are using Nazi Germany-like language in opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the United States. Supporting requiring that Muslims have special identification is eerily reminiscent of the Nazis forcibly tattooing identification numbers onto Jewish people in concentration camps, and comparing Syrian refugees fleeing war and terrorism to mad dogs is eerily reminiscent of Nazi propaganda comparing Jewish people to rats (in fact, at least one British newspaper, the Daily Mail, actually compared Syrian refugees to rats). Normally, I’m not a fan of Nazi comparisons, but, if there’s actual historical context behind a Nazi comparison, then I’m all for it.

One last thing, I find it ironic that the number of House Democrats who voted for the anti-Syrian refugee bill (47) equals the number of Senate Republicans who signed a letter to Iranian leaders in an attempt to undermine diplomacy in efforts to stop a nuclear deal designed to keep Iran from producing nuclear weapons (47), as well as the percentage of Americans that 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney claimed were dependent on the government (47).