Tag Archives: bigotry

What I Don’t Like

I don’t like:
Seeing people getting hurt
Seeing innocent business owners watched their life’s work destroyed
Seeing a movement being marred by the actions of those who loot and riot only to enrich themselves or push the narrative in a negative direction for their own depraved political gain

I also don’t like
Open season on African-Americans
Killers who mar the good name of most police officers by masquerading as them
Racism
Bigotry

But what I don’t like most of all is a President who does not speak to America but instead hides behind twitter using the tragedy of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest it has sparked to post tweets designed to spread division hate & racism. Tweets designed to motivate his base to harken back to a time when they felt America was Great. A time when “vicious” dogs were unleashed on protesters of racial inequality. Tweets designed to try and keep him in power so he can continue to “loot” this country of its morality and enrich himself.

We are African American and we are Extraordinary

Yet another unarmed young man of color hunted and shot down, yet another attempt to cover it up, yet another attempt to silence our voice Ahmaud Arbury was only 24 years old when his life was ended for what appears to be the unspeakable crime of jogging while black.

For four hundred and one years you have been trying to silence our voice. You stripped us of our culture and religion, shackled us in the chains of bondage, rode masked in the night, as the cowards you truly are, burning crosses to intimidate us, chased us down like animals and lynched us before proudly displaying our lifeless bodies as a sort of trophy, denied us access to the right to vote, created laws that allowed you to legally discriminate against us and when we demanded we be treated as equals you turned the dogs loose and the hoses on us, you disproportionately incarcerate us and through a system of inherent racism put in place a series of social and economic barriers designed specifically to hold us down. Today when we dare to call you out on your obvious disregard for the concept this country was supposedly founded on that all men are created equal you call us unpatriotic. Unpatriotic? How could we be unpatriotic when this country’s wealth and very freedom was achieved on the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors just as much if not more than any other group, for we have fought and gave our lives in every war this country has been a part of only to return home to a country that told us to get in the back of the bus nigger. You have fostered the myth that the color of your skin makes you superior and the color of our skin makes us someone to be feared.

Yet four hundred and one years later you have failed and failed spectacularly because our voice has not been silenced, it has endured and it is getting stronger each day, gaining allies of all races, nationalities and gender. Growing a coalition of the righteous who reject your bigotry and racism Even you cannot deny our enduring contributions to the arts and sciences, our advancements in the business world and the political arena, maybe that is what you really fear. So listen and hear each day our voice as we say louder and louder you did not, you could not, and you never will silence us for we are African American and we are extraordinary.

It’s 2020 and it just a matter of time before we defeat you

I have always identified myself as African-America. I embrace who I am and where I come from.  I proudly tell anyone who listens to me that despite being stripped of our culture, our language, our very identity and sold into slavery, despite Jim Crow, despite the KKK and other groups that hate us, despite the economic and social inequality thrust upon us and a host of other roadblocks African Americans are as responsible as any other people in the shaping of America into the country it is today.

Unfortunately like many African Americans I have been called a nigger, I have had the barrel of a police officer’s gun pointed directly at my face simply for throwing a football in the backyard of a friend who happened to live in an all-white neighborhood. Despite never being in trouble with the law and not really dressing like the mythical stereotypical “threating African American male” I’ve been stopped for driving while black, stopped and frisked for no apparent reason and seen white women cross the street at night when they have noticed me. Yet my story is a little more complicated than just the color of my skin.

Adopted it wasn’t until my late 30s did I discover I was basically half white. A DNA test courtesy of 23 and me confirmed that my DNA profile is mostly Nigerian, twenty seven percent, followed closely at twenty four percent Ashkenazi Jew.  So, for the KKK I’m basically the jackpot, you know lynch one get one free. In totality I’m Fifty four percent Sub-Saharan African and Forty-three percent European. Bottom line is that no matter who my DNA traces back to I’m always going to be who I am and anyone who knows me or meets me should judge me based on my character, not the color of my skin, what religion I practice, my sexual orientation, country of origin or a host of other factors we have invented to separate ourselves from one another.

In the very beginning of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes Charleston Heston’s character Colonel Taylor wonder if that throughout the thousands of galaxies, millions of stars, if there is only one, a speck of solar dust we call Earth that has been graced or cursed by human life. He wonders if man, the marvel of the universe still makes war against his brother and lets his neighbor’s children starve. At the end of the movie the Dr. Zaius informs Taylor that he has always know about man and that he must be a warlike animal who gives battles to everything around him, even himself.  Science fiction from over fifty years ago or reality from today? Because as we are get ready to usher in the third decade of he twenty first century we are still waging war against each other, still letting our neighbor’s children starve, and still looking to give battle to ourselves. The ending of Planet of the Apes doesn’t paint a bright future for humanity, YOU BLEW IT UP, and it does not take much to suspend belief very much to see our future playing out the same way.

In the last few years America has seen a rise in hate crimes as a percentage of Americans increasingly feel threatened by anyone who does not look, sound, live or worship the way they do. It has always been a simmering but now with an administration that tacitly endorses it, remember a group that walked the streets of Charlottesville chanting the Jew will never replace us was said to have good people, it seems ready to boil over.

Now is a crucial time we as a people must guard against our own prejudices and make no mistake no matter who we are we all have some prejudices dwelling with-in us. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided.  I have heard a few of my Jewish brother and sisters. dismissing Black Lives Matter with comments as if they don’t want to be targeted they shouldn’t commit crimes.  I have heard a few of my African brothers and sisters dismiss anti-Semitic violence as overblown angrily wondering why bigotry is seemingly only deemed a problem when it happens to the Jews and not when it happens to the African American community.  I have heard both groups go after one another over the nonsensical debate about what was worse holocaust or slavery.  I have witnessed African Americans and Latinos who loath each other as they fight over the limited resources afforded to them because of inherent social and economic inequality.  It is precisely these divides that play into the hand of those who preach racism and bigotry. Keep them divided and fighting among themselves they say it makes it easier for us to keep them down.

Yet despite all of this I truly believe as I have said many times in this blog as time goes by those who preach racism, bigotry, sexism, judge people based on their religion or are homophobic are a dying breed and we must not give them any life by falling into their trap of fighting among ourselves.

We are the voice of the many.

We see no difference in each other.

We judge each other for who we are and what we do.

We unite as one people.

We are America!

And we are gaining in strength everyday and it’s just a matter of time before we defeat you.

We as a people ain’t going nowhere!

”Go back where you came from.”

“If you don’t love it leave it.”

Words of those who are the most unpatriotic among us.

Words of those who would rather see a country divided against itself than united for the common good of all. 

Words of those who don’t care if America ever truly lives up to the ideas on which it was founded on.

Words of those who hate.

Words of those who look to profit from humanity’s natural fear of the unknown. 

Words of those who look to tap into, for personal gain, the innate prejudices that we all harbor with-in just waiting for someone to unleash it. 

But they are only words.  

We as a people must rebuke these words.

We as a people must come together through our actions to shout down those words.

We as a people must form a coalition of the righteous to defeat the hatred of those words. 

We as a people must shout for all to hear:

Your words mean nothing!

Because I am here!

Because this is my country as much as yours!

Because I love my country and as such I will continue to fight for the values it was founded on!

Because we as a people ain’t going nowhere!

GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM? REALLY

GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM

African-Americans have long heard those words of hatred spewed in their direction by racist and bigoted individuals but they are not alone

Italian American immigrants heard it

Irish American immigrants heard it

Polish American immigrants heard it

German American immigrants heard it

Japanese American immigrants heard it

Mexican American immigrants heard it

Immigrants from various Caribbean Islands heard it

Catholics heard it

Jews heard it

Muslims heard it

And many others have heard it

Ellis Island officially opened this week in 1892, and would subsequently process more than 20 million immigrants from around the world, all seeking a better life in America.  Just as our Founding Fathers intended.  Millions of immigrants would travel to America, leaving the only home they ever knew behind. Many times leaving family and loved ones and in some cases risking their lives to experience this new nation and idea. To be a part of a society birthed in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all citizens are created equal, theoretically if not literally. For the Founders, immigration was a mutually beneficial process.  The goal of which was to create a “melting pot,” in which immigrants successfully assimilate and become representative of our national identity, while also proudly retaining key aspects of their ethnic past.  We are all Americans, but in this country we are free to honor the many traditions and customs unique to our ancestral homelands.  It is without question what has made America great. 

This Sunday a President who ran on the slogan of make America great again, but seems to believe that means dividing Americans more than any President ever has and turning his back on diversity, tweeted that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government. Predictably his base ate it up.  Commenting that President Trump is the greatest ever because he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. This group of Trump supporters, the lowest common denominator, haven’t a clue as to what makes this country unique and special among the countries of the rest of the world. America’s greatness has always been rooted in its embrace, sometimes kicking and screaming, of diversity.  As Speaker Pelosi bluntly said recently Ms. Pelosi may have offered the bluntest take on Mr. Trump’s comments when she said his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” “has always been about making America white again.”

The silence of so many Republicans on Trump’s blatant racism, sexism and bigotry dating back to the 1970’s when his real estate company was sued by the Department of Justice for racial discrimination to his administration’s systematic attempt to dismantle much of the gains made as a result of the civil rights and women’s movement is unacceptable at best and morally corrupt at worst. Their silence reminds me of a scene from the movie Star Trek Nemesis, it’s true if you look for it Star Trek always has the answers, when a Romulan commander says: Are you truly prepared to have your hands drenched in blood? He’s not planning to defeat Earth. He’s planning its annihilation. …And his sins will mark us and our children for generations. Trump is not planning to defeat the dreams of our founding fathers as it relates to immigration he’s planning its annihilation. And his sins will mark the Republican Party for generations. 

Another Slip By Bill Maher

I enjoy The Bill Maher show great guest stimulating conversation but there was a time I stopped watching because It seemed  clear to me that there can be no denying that his comments regarding Islam are at best the stereotypical misrepresentations of a group of people who number over 1.5 billion worldwide by an ill informed individual and at worst the crazy ranting of a bigot. 

I eventually eased back into the show, because let’s be honest I liked it.  But there was Maher on Friday letting slip yet another racial comparison when he asked Rep. Will Hurd from Texas, a black republican congressman, why he’s a member of the Republican Party … especially since he came from the CIA.  Hurd replied, “I was in the CIA for almost a decade. I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 o’clock in the morning collecting intelligence on threats to the homeland,” … to which Maher commented, “That’s where they’d collect them, huh?” then added … “Wow, by the Popeyes chicken.”

It’s not the first time a comment has come from Maher that has made me think hmmmm that came out so naturally what other racist comments does he make when the cameras aren’t rolling?

As liberals we constantly call out those on the right for their use of inflammatory rhetoric we cannot simultaneously expect to give a pass to those we believe are on our side when they engage in similar tactics. 

As as I have said in the past words are very powerful and when spoken by someone with the celebrity of a Bill Maher that power is multiplied tenfold.

While I don’t believe Maher is a bigot I again am at a crossroad do I continue to watch his show? After all it is my belief that bigotry large and small and those that preach it must be ignored and Maher continued slips of the tongue causes me much pause.   

An Open Message to GOP Leadership

An open message  to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders. We may not agree on much but deep down I bet you are as horrified as I am by President Trump’s response to Charlottesville. I bet you are embarrassed at the stain this man is leaving on your party. I know you gave lip service by INDIRECTLY denouncing some of his remarks via twitter but I bet you know you didn’t even come close to saying what needed to be said and saying it in front of a camera not via twitter. I will never totally agree with your legislative agenda but in a democracy to the winner goes the spoils and if you hold the power you have every right to push your agenda. But I assume you are smart enough to know that agenda can not include pushing hate and bigotry. Nor can it include giving aide and comfort to White Supremacist and Neo Nazis. It is time you stood up and took your party back from Donald Trump. Do not be afraid to lose the support of whatever percentage of his base believes his response to and the actions of hate groups was alright. These groups and this President do not represent the best of America they represent the worst. You can not keep America great, not make it great again because let’s face it that slogan was created to send a message seeped in racism, if you choose to stand idly by knowing what you see is wrong but doing nothing to stop it.

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Why do they continue to support him

If you want to understand what Trump and his rich cronies are really about. It’s their bank accounts by the way.

If you want to understand how they can get so many people to vote against their own economic well being just remember a quote from former President Lyndon Johnson

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

Trump has tapped into that feeling among whites who feel this country is their country and it’s being taken away from them. Do not be mistaken that the rise of Trump came after eight years in which a man of color sat in the Oval Office.

Even yesterday when he briefly ceded to public pressure and called out the Neo Nazis and KKK what got lost in the mix was his statement that he was seriously considering pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found in contempt of court late July for continuing racial profiling practices. It was his wink wink to his base that he still has their back. Come on you knew what Make America Great Again really meant didn’t you.

As the Denver Post reported to many Trump supporters who look around at their communities and see poverty, addiction and lack of economic opportunity, the claims about things such as affirmative action and the smorgasbord of government benefits supposedly available only to minorities are enormously compelling….What’s holding you back, is those people and the special favors they get.

So no matter what he say or does, if it’s in their best interest or not, the harden Trump supporter will always have his back because they believe he has theirs in the battle to keep this country away from those who they believe are not their equal or who even belong here in the first place and that my friends is what has this great melting pot of a country on the verge of boiling over.

Why I no longer watch Bill Maher

Bigotry – Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

Last night I was in a debate with my friends regarding my decision to no longer watch the Bill Maher show because of his bigotry toward religion in general and Islam specifically.  It seems clear to me that when it comes to Maher there can be no denying that his comments regarding Islam are at best the stereotypical misrepresentations of a group of people who number over 1.5 billion worldwide by an ill informed individual and at worst the crazy ranting of a bigot.  But is Bill Maher really a bigot? Hmmm let’s save that one for a little later. Getting back to my friends, a rather liberal group as am I, they could not fathom my decision.  After all Maher is:

A liberal like us – Yes he “appears” to be on most issues

He has used his platform on HBO to point out many of the wrongs and outright hypocrisy of those on the right – Yes he does, no doubt about that

He an atheist he detest all religion not just Islam – True, not relevant but true

Many of his guests don’t agree with him on this issue – Also true

But does any of that matter when it comes to my decision to no longer watch his show – No not really

Why? Glad you asked

Let’s take a look at the case of Kim Davis, the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky who defied a federal court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses, on the grounds that it was against her religious beliefs.  Liberals as a whole were outraged by her actions.  But other than her bigotry toward the gay and lesbian community, and let’s be clear it is outright bigotry, what do most people know about Kim Davis.  What are her views on civil rights, abortion, stem cell research, unions, income inequality, gun control? Heck what is her favorite NFL team? We really don’t know, yes we can infer from her stand on same sex marriage what her stance may be on other issues but at the end of the day we really don’t know for sure.  Now what if we found out that she was on the same side of each of those issues as we were? What if the only issue that Kim Davis and us disagreed on was same sex marriage? Would we watch a television show hosted by her or would we be so morally repulsed by her stance on that one issue that we would tune her out.  What if Kim Davis went on the air each week and passionately defended the issues that we hold dear to our heart and had on great guest who do the same would we be willing to look past her bigotry as it relates to the gay and lesbian community?  What if 95% of her show was dedicated to defending those issues but during the other 5% she threw in her belief that same sex marriage was a sin against god would we tune in? I would venture to guess the answer is probably not.

Now there are those who would say the difference is that Bill Maher is simply expressing his freedom of speech while Kim Davis is actively discriminating against a group of individuals and if I am to be fair that is true.  But I would argue that while Maher is not actively discriminating against anyone with his rants against Islam his celebrity and his weekly HBO platform causes just as much or more damage than Kim Davis could ever have hoped to cause. Let’s take one of Maher’s more recent comments about Islam

“What we’ve said all along, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

Leaving aside the obvious, that those words could have easily been uttered by Bull Conner as he blocked the entry of young African American children into a school house, those words in and of themselves are damaging because they are words that undoubtedly will be used by others to discriminate against and commit violence toward worshippers of Islam. As liberals we constantly call out those on the right for their use of inflammatory rhetoric we cannot simultaneously expect a pass when we engage in similar tactics. Words are very powerful and when spoken by someone with the celebrity of a Bill Maher that power is multiplied tenfold. Simply articulated all forms of bigotry, are ultimately self-defeating on a number of levels. Talented people who have much to contribute to our society are not given a chance because of irrational considerations.  In America studies have shown over and over that when African Americans and Latinos are defined as lazy, incompetent, unintelligent, culturally deficient and lacking leadership skills, they will be relegated to a secondary status in society and not given the opportunity to advance, resulting in consequences which are real thereby justifying the original definition of their situation. The loss resulting from this unused potential is not just what could have been created or invented but also sows the seeds of discontent, social instability and unrest.  The use of bigoted rhetoric to paint an entire group of individuals as terrorist because of their religious beliefs has made it far easier for politicians in America to justify waging a war in the Middle East with little to no regard for the collateral damage it has caused. According to an academic study published in 2013 nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.  Ask yourself would we still be fighting this war if that was a half a million Christians? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/iraq-death-toll_n_4102855.html

So back to my original question is Bill Maher a bigot? Undoubtedly yes when it comes to this topic.

Does he stand for much of what I believe in? Without question he does.

Will I continue to watch his show? No because it is my belief that bigotry large and small and those that preach it must be ignored.  After all there plenty of places to go for this kind of entertainment/news/satire- Trevor Noah keep the Daily Show great.