Tag Archives: racism

“Kick-a-Nigger” Politics ~ Race, the Poor and the Working Poor | By Kevin Alexander Gray

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…. These are people who pay no income tax.”

– Mitt Romney

Welfare is back as the handiest weapon in the racist rhetorical arsenal. It’s back in the speeches of Republican candidates and surrogates, on right wing radio, and even in the language of those young “individualists” who see themselves as politically hip because of their perceived proximity to anarchist types. They believe the poor are poor because they want to be poor. Or are failed individuals. Or have grown so used to poverty that they are satisfied waiting for a check, that they like making the often humiliating trek to the local Department of Social Services office. ‘Welfare’ is back, which is to say ‘kick-a-nigger’ politics is in full swing.

(Click Counterpunch logo for full story)

Leave a comment

Filed under American Politics, Black Politics, Obama Administration, Political Ideology, racism, The Clinton Administration, The Obama Administration, white supremacy

Ignorance is no excuse for slurring Jeremy Lin | By Kevin Alexander Gray

I’m a basketball fan. 

I root for the Chicago Bulls, NY Knicks and Houston Rockets.  In that order.

The only time I don’t pull for the Knicks or Rockets is when they play the Bulls.

Jeremy Lin ~ NY Knick Point Guard

Yet like many, I’m in Jeremy Lin’s corner.

I like Knicks’ guard. I like his game – except the turnovers and his waiting just a tad to late to dish it off in the paint.  Hopefully, he’ll become a better player.

Even so, what I like most about the young athlete is his patience with ignorance.

Facing bigotry isn’t a new thing for the American-born player of Taiwanese descent in the NBA. While playing at Harvard, during a game against Georgetown in Washington, a spectator yelled “Sweet-and-sour pork!” from the stands.  He’s been called “chink” more than once during his college days.

One would hope that attitudes and behavior would change at the professional level.

Then again, one can never underestimate the capacity of  people to be ignorant or stupid. 

In one interview Lin spoke of watching Michael Jordan on TV as a kid and then running outside to his backyard goal to try to duplicate MJ’s shot.  Yet having a black hero isn’t enough to satisfy some.  Boxer Floyd Mayweather tweeted:  “…Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

Some of the bigotry even perplexes Lin:  “People say things like ‘he’s deceptively quick’ or ‘he’s quicker than he looks.’  What does that mean?”  Maybe the answer can be found in  Knicks’ fan and movie director Spike Lee’s tweets describing Lin as:  Jeremy “Kung Fu Hustle” Lin, Jeremy “Crouching Tiger” Lin & Jeremy “Hidden Dragon” Lin.

After a stellar performance from Lin, Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock took to his Twitter to congratulate Lin. “Jeremy Lin is legit!” he tweeted.  Then he followed with a penis joke: “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.” 

There was also the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Network airing a spectator-made poster depicting Lin’s face above a fortune cookie with the slogan “The Knicks Good Fortune.

On the Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show which runs weekday nights on Cumulus Media’s San Francisco station KNBR 1050, one host urged listeners to call in with the most racist joke about Lin they could think of. He offered a “joke” about “Lin having to do teammate Carmelo Anthony’s laundry as an example of what he was looking for.”

ESPN editor Anthony Federico was fired and anchor Max Bretos (whose wife is Asian) suspended for 30 days when they led a story with the headline — “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.”

Some suggest that “Frederico is 28 years old. Could his ignorance be generational? …50-somethings know that chink is a racial epithet for Asians, we heard it growing up. Would a 20-something know this?”  Perhaps the “consequence of this offense should have been sensitivity training and a second chance?”

Federico said he understands why he was fired. “ESPN did what they had to do.” He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.

A gracious Lin, gave Federico and Bretos a pass: “They’ve apologized, and so from my end, I don’t care anymore.  You have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional.”

Yet the ESPN staffers weren’t the only ones to use the term and Lin in the same sentence. Knicks radio voice Spero Dedes did it too.

On his final call of the Knicks’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Dedes said “For the first time in what has been a remarkable two-week run, Jeremy Lin shows a chink in the armor. The Knicks’ seven-game winning streak ends against the Hornets as they fall for the first time since February the 3rd.”

Doubtless, “chink in the armor” is a common phrase.  It means there’s a dent in the armor caused by an imperfection borne in the forging process or a by a sword fight. The chink is the weakest point in the shield.

Chink is also as well-known a slur as “gook.” Some believe it derived from the sound the hammer made when the Chinese workers of the 1800’s, often enslaved and exploited, struck the iron or steel spikes into the railway ties. Others say it is simply a shortened version of Chinese.

California Rep. Judy Chu (D) slammed the ESPN headline, saying she did not believe using the phrase was an innocent mistake: “…if he [Federico] was using it all those times, that is extremely sad. The word was used since the 1880s to demean Chinese Americans and to deprive them of rights, and it is used on playgrounds specifically to humiliate and to offend Asian Americans. So I don’t know where he’s been all this time.”

Some people just can’t seem to get their minds around an Asian-American basketball player who’s got game.

Back in 1997 when a young Tiger Woods was burning up the PGA, FrankFuzzy” Zoeller referred to Woods as “that little boy” and urged him “not to order fried chicken or collard greens for the Champions Dinner next year.”  People could not get their minds around an black golfer who could play the game.

Even so, imagine the outrage if a black athlete was referred to as a “nigger in the woodpile” which – in racist parlance and “the mind’s eye” is analogous to the ESPN headline. What if someone ran a headline: “Special Olympics athlete retarded in efforts to win gold medal”? 

Lin has faced a barrage of mindless ignorance.   In a court of law, pleading ignorance is no excuse.  A good parent will tell their child the same.  They would also add – ignorance in curable. No matter how embedded.  That’s the victory.

(Thanks to Karen, Judith, both Deborah(s), Jane, Karen and other facebook friends who contributed to the discussion on Lin | Note ~ Lin is not the first Asian-American to play professional basketball in the United States or the first Asian-American to play for the Knicks. In 1947, the Knickerbockers drafted Wataru (Wat) Misaka, a 5-foot-7, 150-pound — yes, 5-7, 150 pounds — point guard.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cultural Essays, Essays, racism, Sports, Uncategorized, white supremacy

Take Action to demand racist, anti-immigrant Maricopa County AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio be REMOVED IMMEDIATELY!

Fill in the Online Petitionhttp://www.may1.info/arpaiopetition.shtml to send a message to the Homeland Security Department, President Obama, Arizona Governor Brewer, Congressional leaders, the Arizona Congressional Delegation, the Arizona Legislature and members of the media telling them you want ARPAIO REMOVED IMMEDIATELY and the Homeland Security 287(g) contract with his office cancelled at once!

And on May 1 join thousands and thousands to demonstrate for worker and immigrant rights in cities throughout the country! For more information, go to www.may1.info

Text of the online petition message follows:

To: Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security; Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy; ICE Director Torres; Arizona Governor Brewer
cc: President Obama, Attorney General Holder, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, Arizona Congressional Delegation, Congressional leaders, Arizona legislature and members of the media
Dear Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security and Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Homeland Security, ICE Director Torres, Arizona Governor Brewer, Arizona legislators and Congressional leaders:

Remove Anti-Immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office NOW!

Cancel the Homeland Security Department’s 287(g) contract with Seriff Arpaio’s office IMMEDIATELY!

The entire country is appalled and outraged at the racist, anti-immigrant actions of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arpaio’s racist history and abuse are well documented.

  • At his “Tent City” jail, temperatures can reach a deadly 150 degrees in the summer.
  • His practice of feeding prisoners just twice a day with spoiled food, his reinstatement of the chain gang and his cruel treatment of inmates–including those awaiting trial who have not been convicted of any crime–have already cost Maricopa County more than $46 million in lawsuit settlements.
  • His latest stunt of parading the victims of his racial profiling shackled and dressed in striped prison clothes, through the streets of Phoenix from the County Courthouse to his Tent City jail — a public humiliation — is reminiscent of slaves being paraded to the auction block, and is the latest and last outrage that the people of Arizona should have to endure.

The actions of Sheriff Arpaio in Phoenix, Arizona extend the militarization of the border to the entirety of Maricopa County. The actions of Sheriff Arpaio and his posse have declared open season on all people of color, including documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as people born in the U.S. The 287(g) Agreement now in place between the Sheriff of Maricopa County and the federal government has been implemented in violation of the constitutional right of Equal Protection and with blatant discriminatory enforcement tactics by Sheriff Arpaio.

I call upon the people of Maricopa County, the local and federal government, and all politicians to stop these perpetrators of hate and fear.

I call for the removal of Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio and for the end to the systematic practice of racial profiling and other discriminatory policies that have fostered a racist and hostile environment against immigrant and indigenous people.

Sincerely,
(your signature appended here).

Fill in the Online Petition @ http://www.may1.info/arpaiopetition.shtml


May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
55 West 17 Street, #5C, New York, NY 10011
or
c/o Teamsters Local 808, 22-43 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101
Tel: (212) 561.1744
may1@leftshift.org
www.may1.info

*******************
Action Center For Justice
www.charlotteaction.blogspot.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Actions | Events, American Culture, American Politics, Criminal Justice

Angela Davis | “We are Not Now Living the Dream: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Human Rights in the 21st Century”

Dr. Angela Davis

Dr. Angela Davis

Angela Davis speaks on the 40th anniversary of MLK’s death. Davis is professor of history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California Santa Cruz.  The lecture – “We are Not Now Living the Dream: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Human Rights in the 21st Century” was given at the Vanderbilt University Law School, April 14, 2008.


Leave a comment

Filed under American Politics, Black Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Drug Policy