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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 25,472

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How conservatives hijacked “colorblindness” and set civil rights back decades


How conservatives hijacked “colorblindness” and set civil rights back decades

MLK dreamed of a world where race doesn't divide us — not one where we pretend it doesn't exist


Excerpted from "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class"

Why do so many whites respond to the dog whistle refrain that they, and not minorities, are today’s most likely victims of racial discrimination? Colorblindness helps to legitimate the substance of dog whistle complaints because it promotes understandings of race and racism that obscure discrimination against nonwhites and magnify the ostensible mistreatment of whites.

“Is your baby racist?” The question blared from the cover of Newsweek Magazine in September 2009, eight months after the inauguration of the nation’s first black president. The accompanying story reported on several recent studies showing that young children not only notice race, they repeat painful stereotypes. In one study, a researcher recruited roughly 100 families from Austin, Texas; all of the families were white, with children between the ages of five and seven. When the children were asked how many white people were “mean,” they commonly answered “almost none.” But when asked how many blacks were mean, many answered “some” or “a lot.” The thrust of the article seemed to be that children possess racial biases. However eye-catching the title, though, it pointed in the wrong direction—at infants and little children rather than adults. The core of the article focused on parenting strategies, and especially on the desire to raise children to be colorblind—to be blind to race. The parents were not teaching their children to be bigots. Instead, they were doing their utmost to teach their children to reject racism by studiously ignoring race. Yet, even in a liberal bastion like Austin, it wasn’t working.

Today the dominant etiquette around race is colorblindness. It has a strong moral appeal, for it laudably envisions an ideal world in which race is no longer relevant to how we perceive or treat each other. It also has an intuitive practical appeal: to get beyond race, colorblindness urges, the best strategy is to immediately stop recognizing and talking about race. But it is especially as a strategy that colorblindness fails its liberal adherents. We cannot will ourselves to un-see something that we’ve already seen. In turn, refusing to talk about a powerful social reality doesn’t make that reality go away, but it does leave confused thinking unchallenged, in ourselves and in others. The Austin children exemplify this. Differences in race—including physical variation and its connection to social position—resemble differences in gender: they are plainly visible to new minds eager to make sense of the world around them. When unexplained, however, children (and our unconscious minds) are left susceptible to the power of stereotypes. As the Newsweek authors conclude, “children see racial differences as much as they see the difference between pink and blue— but we tell kids that ‘pink’ means for girls and ‘blue’ is for boys. ‘White’ and ‘black’ are mysteries we leave them to figure out on their own.”

We should also acknowledge that colorblindness has an additional appeal: it seems to provide a safe route through the minefield of race relations. Many whites are understandably nervous to talk about race at all, though especially in racially mixed company. What if they slip and say something that sounds ignorant, or worse, bigoted? Simply avoiding race altogether seems to offer a solution. Yet, those who adopt a colorblind strategy often come across as more racially hostile, not less. Refusing to acknowledge obvious social differences creates an impression of suppressed dislike, and studies have shown that whites who studiously avoid mentioning race even when it is clearly relevant are perceived as more bigoted. Perhaps this contributed to how the Austin children came to interpret their parents’ racial attitudes, after their parents tried so hard to suppress references to race. Asked “do your parents like black people,” more than half either said “no, my parents don’t like black people,” or simply answered, “I don’t know.” The researchers remarked, “in this supposed race-free vacuum being created by parents, kids were left to improvise their own conclusions— many of which would be abhorrent to their parents.”


How we get Dr. King wrong: “We’ve deliberately dismembered him,” Michael Eric Dyson tells Salon

"The full story is: Here was a man who made most Americans, black and white, uncomfortable"


“In the last thirty years we have trapped King in romantic images or frozen his legacy in worship,” Michael Eric Dyson wrote in his 2000 book “I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.” Since King’s 1968 assassination, Dyson argued, America has “sanitized his ideas”; “twisted his identity”; and “ceded control of his image to a range of factions …”

Fourteen years later, Martin Luther King remains sainted and distorted in American culture and politics. In an interview with Salon, Dyson revisited that argument, and offered criticism for Glenn Beck, Bill Cosby and Barack Obama. “We’ve deliberately dismembered him through manipulation of his memory,” said Dyson, a Georgetown professor and MSNBC commentator. A condensed version of our conversation follows.

You wrote, “We have surrendered to romantic images of King at the Lincoln Memorial inspiring America to reach for a better future,” while “we forget his poignant warning against gradual racial progress and his remarkable threat of revolution should our nation fail to keep its promises.” How did that forgetting happen?

Well, I think there’s a kind of a deliberate dis-memory on the parts of those who are most challenged by King’s vision, and the demands of his dreams — not the rhetoric that flows so easily from that mountaintop of holy sacrifice and that sunlit summit of expectations that he expressed in 1963. The rigorous demand for social justice that he articulated once he descended from that mountaintop experience, and revisited the valley where horrible crimes against black humanity were being committed. Where little girls were being blown to smithereens in church bombings. Where black people continued to be lynched in the Delta and murdered along the highways and byways of American culture.


The radical MLK we need today

As the nation rediscovers poverty, it’s time to replace the safe, airbrushed icon with the revolutionary he was


When Nelson Mandela died last month, I envied South Africans who had worked alongside him for freedom: Americans haven’t gotten to see many of our icons of justice get that old. My immediate thought was of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated at 39, though Bobby and John Kennedy, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers, quickly followed.

But the inescapable image was King. Even if the freedom struggle of the 1960s didn’t end up letting King grow old like Mandela, let alone lead his country as president, it was hard not to compare the two, especially since Mandela so often declared his debt to his younger American ally.

King and Mandela had much in common, but one thing stands out this week: As they were lionized globally, both were deradicalized, pasteurized and homogenized, made safe for mass consumption. Each was in favor of a radical redistribution of global wealth. Each crusaded against poverty and inequality and war. Both did it with an equanimity and ebullience and capacity to forgive and love their enemies that made it easy to canonize them in a secular way. White people love being given the benefit of the doubt and/or being forgiven. I speak from experience.

But now, as the country turns again to issues of income inequality and poverty, and economic populism is said to be having a “moment,” maybe it’s time to remember Dr. King, the radical. The one who died trying to ignite a Poor People’s Movement that he saw as the natural outcome of the civil rights movement. The one who tried to branch out to fight poverty and war, but at least in his lifetime – and so far in ours – didn’t succeed.


Russian Mother Takes Magical Pictures of Her Two Kids With Animals On Her Farm

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends. Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that will leave you amazed.

The boys in the photographs are the photographer’s sons and the animals belong to the farm she runs. “I largely trust my intuition and inspiration when I compose photos. I get inspired mainly by my desire to express something I feel, though I usually cannot tell exactly what that is” Shumilova explained to BoredPanda.

Rural settings, natural phenomena and the changing seasons seem to be the greatest stimuli in her works. “When shooting I prefer to use natural light – both inside and outside. I love all sorts of light conditions – street lights, candle light, fog, smoke, rain and snow – everything that gives visual and emotional depth to the image,” the photographer said.

Shumilova told us her passion for photography manifested in early 2012 when she got her first camera. Her most recent equipment includes the Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 135mm lens. As a mother who doesn’t want to miss out on her growing children, she says she shoots every day and processes the images at night.

We suggest you take a cup of tea, lean back comfortably in your armchair and browse this beautiful collection of Elena Shumilova’s photographs.


Here are three of her pics. It's worth a click on the link to see the rest. - DV

“Misled into believing” MLK was a great man: How some Republicans fought against the King holiday

These days, some conservatives embrace King. Let's revisit the fascinating battle within the GOP during the 1980s


Excerpted from "Waking From the Dream"

As support for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday grew, one new sponsor marked the tectonic shifts of symbolic alignments in the era. John Danforth was a new Republican senator from Missouri, a millionaire who had unseated the old liberal Democrat Stuart Symington in 1976. Danforth urged his fellow Republicans to join him in honoring King. Armed with a divinity degree, Danforth was helping to refashion the GOP as a crucible for the mixing of church and state—just as Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson were using public displays of religion to challenge the Democratic establishment. Danforth believed he was following Martin Luther King’s example.

Danforth later revealed that he had gotten to know King and King’s father when he served as a board member of King’s alma mater, Morehouse College. He did not want champions of the welfare state to have a monopoly on public claims of morality and decency. To Danforth, King’s determination in the fight for equality symbolized ―the spirit of American freedom and self-determination.” Was Danforth’s view of King’s legacy in step with the growing body of social conservatives, who were campaigning vigorously to take over the GOP and the country? That question still appeared to be open, what with much of the pro-life movement claiming King as an inspiration and model, and with at least two Republican presidential candidates (John Connally and John Anderson) making a great show of repudiating their former opposition to King and civil rights. Danforth signaled a new possibility for conservative Republicans: They could claim some affinity, even allegiance, to King’s mantle. They may not have wanted to convince many black voters, and they did not need to. White conservatives in particular recognized in King a model to emulate—notably his use of religious enthusiasm and will-to-sacrifice. Nobody better illustrated Coretta Scott King’s point that King had spoken “to us all.”

* * *

Other conservatives got in Danforth’s way, however, with tough ideological attacks on King’s legacy. When Senator Strom Thurmond reconvened the joint hearing, opponents of the King holiday were given the most room they ever had in the record. First was Alan Stang, author of an anticommunist tract, “It’s Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights” (1965). Stang enumerated King’s alleged communist associations more clearly than any holiday opponent had done on the record before. He also did a better job than anyone had in spelling out the claim that King provoked violence. To people who wondered why “violence was so often a hallmark of King’s so-called nonviolent movement,” Stang answered that “violence was exactly what he wanted,” citing King’s own article in the April 3, 1964, Saturday Review. There King laid out his strategy: Nonviolent demonstrators went into the streets to exercise their rights, and racists resisted by unleashing violence against them, which led “Americans of conscience” to demand federal intervention and legislation. “So,” Stang concluded, “the violence he got was not a surprise” and King “did not dislike it. He wanted it in order to pressure the Congress to enact still more totalitarian legislation.”

Thurmond called a real live communist next: Julia Brown, a self-identified “loyal American Negro,” who worked as a communist organizer beginning in 1947. At first, Brown had thought she was “joining a legitimate civil rights organization Finding that I was a true member of the Communist Party which advocated the overthrow of the United States Government, I decided to leave the organization, but I had to bide my time to avoid suspicion.” Soon she went to the FBI to report what she had witnessed. “In 1951, I was asked by the FBI to go back into the Communist Party as an undercover agent to report on their subversive activities.” She claimed that only party members attended the meetings she attended. She “frequently heard Martin Luther King discussed.” The communist cells she was in were “continually being asked to raise money for Martin Luther King’s activities and to support his civil rights movement by writing letters to the press and influencing local clergymen, and especially Negro clergymen that he was a good person, unselfishly working for the American Negro, and in no way connected with the Communist Party.”


An Interview With Mitt Romney


SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney’s long journey in search of the presidency began on Christmas Eve in 2006, in Park City, Utah, as he and his family considered the burdens of a presidential bid. On Friday, Mr. Romney returned to where it all started, attending the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of “Mitt,” a 94-minute documentary chronicling both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.


After the screening, he sat down to chat about the experience of watching himself on the big screen, and the news of the day. Below is a condensed transcript of his comments.

On whether he would consider a third presidential run:

“Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. People are always gracious and say, ‘Oh, you should run again.’ I’m not running again. I will say this: It was a great experience. I loved it. It was just a fabulous thing to experience, and that’s the one thing in the film that I felt you can’t communicate — was just how honored you feel, what an extraordinary experience it is. But that being said, I loved it. But look, I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee.”


On Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls:

“Oh, I don’t have a top choice. I’m inclined to Jeb and Chris and Paul Ryan, of course, who I think the world of. Scott Walker is extraordinarily impressive. Marco Rubio. We’ve got a number of very, very good people. And part of it is, let them get on the stage and see how they work with one another and how they debate and how they go through the crucible of a campaign, and then we’ll be able to make that selection.”


NJ Senators Say Sandy Aid Accusations Part Of 'Disturbing' Pattern Of Christie 'Abuse


Democratic members of New Jersey's state Senate issued statements Saturday afternoon responding to allegations made by the mayor of Hoboken, N.J. that the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R) withheld Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city until she approved a real estate project. State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) and Senator Loretta Weinberg (D) said, coupled with the questions about last September's lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, the new accusations indicate a "pattern" of abusive behavior by the Christie administration,

Weinberg is the chair of the state Senate's committee dedicated to investigating the lane closures, which she and other Democrats have alleged were ordered by Christie's allies to retaliate against a mayor who declined to endorse his re-election bid. She vowed the Senate committee would "pursue the latest assertion to determine if it is true and if it is related to what happened in Fort Lee."

"This is a serious allegation that, if true, reveals another abuse of power by the administration. Withholding emergency funds intended to help storm victims to advance a development project would be especially deplorable," Weinberg said. "These disclosures are revealing a disturbing pattern of abuse of government responsibility, a possible misuse of public resources and the betrayal of trust."

Sweeney called the allegations, which were first revealed on MSNBC's "Up With Steve Kornacki" Saturday morning, "extremely disturbing" and potentially "illegal. The lane closings were an abuse of power. These new revelations suggest a pattern of behavior by the highest-ranking members of this administration that is deeply offensive to the people of New Jersey," Sweeney said. "If true, they could be illegal. There is no place in public service for actions like this or for the people who are responsible."



Senate intelligence report takes GOP tirades about Benghazi head-on

By David Ignatius

The Senate intelligence committee made headlines this week by reporting that the 2012 attack in Benghazi was preventable. But frankly, we knew that. The deeper message of the bipartisan report was that Republicans in Congress wasted a year arguing about what turned out to be mostly phony issues.

The Republican Party’s Benghazi obsession was the weird backdrop for foreign-policy debate through much of last year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) used it as a pretext for blocking administration nominations. Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.) used the issue to impugn the integrity and independence of a review conducted by retired Adm. Mike Mullen and former ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Driving the Republican jihad was a claim, first reported in October 2012 by Fox News, that CIA personnel had wanted to respond more quickly to the Benghazi attack but were ordered to “stand down,” perhaps by political higher-ups. Although this claim was promptly rebutted by CIA officials, it was repeated by Fox News at least 85 times, according to a review by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters. This barrage fueled Republican charges that the Democrats were engaging in a coverup.

The Senate intelligence report addressed this inflammatory charge head-on. “The committee explored claims that there was a ‘stand down’ order given to the security team at the annex. Although some members of the security team expressed frustration that they were unable to respond more quickly to the mission compound, the committee found no evidence of intentional delay or obstruction by the chief of base or any other party.”


Christie's Office Served With Bridge Investigation Subpoena

Source: TPM


The NJ General Assembly committee investigating last September's lane closures on the George Washington Bridge revealed on Friday the individuals and organizations who were served with 13 of the 20 subpoenas it issued as part of the investigation.

Subpoenas were served to the office of Gov. Chris Christie (R) and his aides Christina Genovese and Evan Ridley, among others.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), the committee's chairman, held a media availability after its first meeting Thursday in which he said subpoenas were issued to 17 people and three "organizations." He said he would not give further details until the subpoenas were served. Christie's office is the only organization among the thirteen subpoenas now confirmed by the Assembly.

The 12 individuals who received subpoenas are listed below:

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/governors-office-bridge-subpoena

GOP Fundraiser Says Christie 'As A Person, Is Horrific'


Mitt Romney's former finance chairman definitely isn't attending an upcoming fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). "The guy, as a person, is horrific," Brian Ballard, a lobbyist and former finance chairman for Mitt Romney said, according to the Miami Herald.

Ballard, a major Republican fundraiser in Florida, "resents" the New Jersey governor for effusively thanking President Barack Obama for coming to his state's aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to the Herald. Ballard said former Gov. Charlie Crist has received a fair amount of criticism for being close to Obama but that doesn't compare to Christie's praise for the president after the hurricane.

"Charlie Crist got a lot of grief for what was called a hug of Obama. But what Christie did to Obama isn't suitable to say in a family newspaper," Ballard said. "I firmly believe he helped swing that election in Obama's favor just to help himself. I busted my ass for two years raising money and supporting Romney and this guy Christie just wiped his hands of us when we were no longer useful to him."

Ballard's comments come ahead of a fundraising swing Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is set to make in Florida. He's set to appear alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).