Tag Archive | "prejudice"

My Fellow American


From David Anthony Hohol…

The atmosphere of wariness applied by many to American Muslims marginalizes what once made The United States of America one of the greatest countries in which to live, and the very values the country was founded upon. I am not the only one who sees The USA as in decline in terms of its moral base, a base that once guided the world. It’s neighbor to the North, Canada and it’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, has replaced the American Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations. Most of the world looks at the United States as complicating world affairs, more than helping them and overall, the American image has taken a tumble. The ugly nature of politics within the country since Obama’s election to the office of President has also revealed that racism and prejudice is an issue far from being settled.

I recently came across an interesting website, My Fellow American, that touches upon these very ideals. It was created to offer a new method of chronicling the tale of Muslims in America and to provide people a safe platform to discuss their opinions. The video above is their site promo.


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Osocio – We’re A Culture, Not A Costume


From Thomas Megginson…

When I was a kid, ethnic stereotypes often made their way into Halloween costumes. It was a more innocently ignorant time, when dressing as a “Mexican Bandito”, and “Indian” or a “cannibal” was seen as OK.

Here, for example, is a scene from a costume party in the 1983 comedy Trading Places.



It is no longer okay. Especially not in the present era, where multicultural communities and digital media put us in contact with each other every day. It was bad enough when a bunch of white kids reinforced each other’s ideas about cartoon stereotypes of other cultures. It is even worse when those cultures have to see themselves lampooned.

That’s why I think this campaign by Ohio University’s Students Teaching Against Racism (STARS) is a needed one. Particularly considering the current climate of racism in the United States (as elsewhere in the developed world) against immigrants in general, domestic ethnic minorities, indigenous people and most recently against followers of Islam.

While a campaign like this will not stop racism, it can at least encourage people who are shy to speak out against hurtful stereotypes they see at parties to do something about it. And maybe then these caricatures, which continue to reinforce xenophobic myths and distrust about what “those people” are like, can start to be denormalized.

From the Eternal Sunshine blog, “These posters act as a public service announcement for colored communities. It’s about respect, human dignity, and the acceptance of other cultures (these posters simply ask people to think before they choose their Halloween costume). Although some Halloween costumes aren’t as racist as the blackface minstrel shows back in the day, they harken to similar prejudices. What these costumes have in common is that they make caricatures out of cultures, and that is simply not okay.”

After the break: “Ghetto” African-American, Indian Chief, Geisha and Bandito.

Posted on: Osocio
Ohio University called Students Teaching Against Racism (STARS)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (blog)


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From South Africa Corespondent Hassan Isilow…

CAPE TOWN – This weekend was yet another grieving one for the Somali refugee community in the Western Cape. Three of their nationals were murdered in robberies at different Townships around Cape Town. According to activists working with Somali refugees in Bellville, the first Somali national was killed at his shop in Kraaifontein on Tuesday. The second was also gunned down in a robbery at his shop in Khayelitsha on the outskirts of Cape Town on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the third was killed on Saturday, while delivering goods at a shop in Philippi Township. The deceased was identified as 30 year old Abdi Mohamud. According to family sources, Mohamud was shot while offloading goods at a shop in Philippi.

“After he was shot, he ran to his bakkie and attempted to drive off, but the robbers followed him and continued shooting at him until he died inside the van,” Mohammed Ali, a relative related by telephone.

In recent crime statistics Philippi Township was categorized as the most dangerous place to live in, with the highest murder cases in the country. Efforts to contact the Police in Phillippi for a comment where fruitless as no one answered the phone.
On a related note, activists working with Somali refugees in the Western Cape report that there had been relative calm in the region for the past three months, leading to a welcome reduction in the attacks on Somali nationals. The last major attacks on Somali shopkeepers were recorded in May and June when over 25 Somalis were killed in different Cape Townships.

Somali traders claim they are deliberately being targeted around the country, mainly because of business jealousy from local traders. They also believe that xenophobia is still behind the opposition they face from community leaders. “Many local community leaders still believe that foreigners are here to take jobs from them,” said Sheikh Abdi Rashid Afi of the Somali Community Board (SCOB).


In June an independent peer review report released found that Government was in denial about xenophobia. “The elevating group felt that the south African Government is not doing enough to address the issue of xenophobia and pointed out that there is even an element of denialism on behalf of some officials,” the report titled, Implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Views from Civil Society’ stated.
The report was released by the AMP Monitoring Project to the Pan African Parliament in June. The AMP is run jointly by the SA Institute of International Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project. South Africa’s last peer review report – the South African Implementation Report II (SAIR II) – in January 2011, stated that Government did not pay enough attention to xenophobia.

“It is noteworthy that SAIR II devotes a whole section to xenophobia, which introduces further responses from Government to xenophobia and acknowledges the role of civil society in taking a lead on the issue. However, it is poorly written with inadvertent repetition and was clearly assembled in a hurry,” the document stated.

A wave of violence against foreigners swept through South Africa in May 2008, leaving at least 67 people dead and tens of thousands displaced. Since then, several reports of pockets of violence against foreigners in different parts of the country have surfaced in the media. The report gives South Africa’s dealing with xenophobia a red rating, which means “no progress has been achieved on addressing the issue; or very little progress has been achieved and the Government does not seem to be on track to complete it in the near future”.


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Britain’s Double Standard


From Ugandan Corespondent Arinaitwe Rugyendo…

Why is the African Union silent on the pro-democracy demonstrators in London who are being referred to as hoodlums? The AU should call on the United Kingdom to respect the rights of the British people to exercise their right to demonstrate and freely express themselves. Those arrested should be subject to a just and due process of the law. The Met Police should stop using teargas and rubber bullets and or violently stopping the peaceful demonstrators. The UK is quick to preach democracy to African nations. It is now their turn to preach to the west some tenets of democracy and respect for human rights.

And On this one, I want to quote  the news agencies-verbatim on the reactions from across the globe.

The riots in London have sparked shock around the world, with some countries issuing travel advisories for Britain and China blaming the UK’s “human rights violations”. Here is a round up of international reaction:

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe: “Britain I understand is on fire, London especially and we hope they can extinguish their fire, pay attention to their internal problems and to that fire which is now blazing all over, and leave us alone


Riot-swept Britain is tasting the “bitter fruit” of its failure to introduce Chinese-style controls on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, Chinese state media crowed on Tuesday, while raising questions over whether London could be trusted to stage a safe 2012 Olympic Games.

“The West have been talking about supporting internet freedom, and oppose other countries’ government to control this kind of websites, now we can say they are tasting the bitter fruit [of their complacency] and they can’t complain about it,” wrote one commentator in official Communist Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily.


The conservative Resalat newspaper, in a commentary headlined “unrest spreads from Tottenham to Brixton”, called the protests the “worst possible news for David Cameron’s coalition government” and blamed “human rights abuses”.

“The violence and continued chaos in the UK are the result of factors like human rights violations in the country, prejudice against immigrants and coloured people, incidents like the Murdoch scandals and the country’s critical economic conditions,” the newspaper concluded.

The hardline Iranian newspaper claimed that the violence was carried out by students who were forced to drop out of university because of the rise in university tuition fees.


Germany issued a travel advisory for Britain, posting on the foreign ministry’s website: “Travelers are advised to be especially careful and to pull out at the first signs of riots, and follow instructions of security forces.”


Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe: “Britain I understand is on fire, London especially and we hope they can extinguish their fire, pay attention to their internal problems and to that fire which is now blazing all over, and leave us alone.

“We do not have any fire here and we do not want them to continue to create unnecessary problems in our country. We want peace, and the people of Zimbabwe want peace.”

United States

The (obviously measured)US reacted with shock to Monday’s late-night scenes in London, which due to the time difference took place just in time for prime time television and early evening news bulletins. On Tuesday, the country’s biggest newspapers carried prominent coverage of the riots for a third consecutive day.

In a front-page story headlined “London unrest escalates, spreads”, the Washington Post wrote: “In the worst bout of urban violence to hit Britain in more than two decades, parts of London morphed into lawless no man’s lands. Most of a block in the Croydon neighbourhood erupted Monday night into an inferno that incinerated the 140-year-old Reeves furniture store, a south London landmark. After midnight Tuesday, an even larger fire tore through a Sony distribution centre on the other side of the city, in Enfield.

On its own front page, under the headline “Rioting widens in London on 3rd night of unrest”, The New York Times told its readers: “For Mr Cameron’s government – indeed for Britain – the rapidly worsening situation presented a profound challenge on several fronts. For a society already under severe economic strain, the rioting raised new questions about the political sustainability of the Cameron government’s spending cuts, particularly the deep cutbacks in social programs. These have hit the country’s poor especially hard, including large numbers of the minority youths who have been at the forefront of the unrest.”


Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister: “I, like many other Australians, have been very, very disturbed to see the images coming out of London,” she said.

“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence we’re seeing on our TV screens.”


The troubles in London make the frontages of many of Spain’s national newspapers again on Tuesday. El Pais shows a photo taken in Hackney of riot police facing rioters as cars burn with the headline “The battle for London”. It states that “no part of London is safe from the violence” sparked by killing of Mark Duggen by police and recalls other cases such as Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson. In an editorial the newspaper said the coalition government had been “slow to react to the social and racial violence” spreading across London and that David Cameron’s credibility has faced a setback because of it.


In Portugal the London riots are also front page news. Jornal de Noticias carries a scene of riot police and burning vehicles in Hackney with the headline: “Violence spreads in London”.


A report on Afghan state TV said: “Massive demonstrations in London, the capital of Britain, and spread to three other cities. The biggest demonstrations were last night and the police have arrested more than 200 people. Thirty five police have been injured. It began when a young man was killed by the police. People have started burning cars and buildings and stealing from supermarkets. David Cameron has returned to London halfway through his summer holiday to solve this problem.”


The riots in London yesterday knocked violence in Karachi, where seven people were killed overnight, from the top slot on television bulletins in Pakistan, where suicide bombings, gang violence and political turfwars are a mainstay of the 24-hour news channels.

An editorial in the Express Tribune newspaper wondered how a killing could erupt into riots, when previous examples of police brutality have not. “The answer may be found in the austerity measures taken by the Cameron government,” it said.



In Russia, which has close business, financial and educational ties to London, the riots are rapidly moving up the news agenda. Most Russian commentators chose to see the trouble through the prism of what they said was Britain’s failed immigration policy. The state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper published a picture on its front page of a policeman walking past two burned out cars with the headline “Gangs have surrounded London”. It said that the worst affected areas were home to immigrants from the poorest countries in Africa and the Caribbean. The trouble was a repeat of rioting in Paris in 2006 and 2007, it added.

Tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda ran a comment piece from Sergei Markov, a prominent Russian MP from Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia Party. Mr Markov suggested that the riots were emblematic of Britain’s failed immigration policy. He wrote: “As well as maximum police strength, Britain needs consolidated political will. The authorities need to say clearly: if you want to live in England – get a job and become English. Otherwise go away.

South Africa

The South African owner of a looted London restaurant yesterday described Britain’s capital as a war zone.

In an interview with the country’s City Press newspaper Odile Ham told how hooded thugs raided her Wimpy franchise during riots in Clapham on Monday night.

“It’s like a war,” she told the newspaper, adding: “When we drove to the restaurant to see what is going on we were faced people on the rampage in the street.”

Headlines in other newspapers and websites were also heavily dominated by Britain’s crisis. A report on Johannesburg’s 702 radio station described the Metropolitan police as ‘powerless’ to halt the civil disobedience. “Shock and disbelief are the order of the day in the capital, with rising anger about what has happened in the city since Saturday,” the station reported.


Zambia’s Post newspaper featured a report about the latest disorder illustrated by an image of a blazing London shop and headlined ‘PM to hold crisis talks on riots, clean up starts’.


Even newspapers on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius reported extensively on the riots. The country’s French-language Le Mauritian newspaper ran a striking image of a Metropolitan riot squad officer standing helpless by a burning car.

Reporting on how the unrest had spread outside the capital, its headline read: ‘Great Britain: After London, violence spreads to Liverpool and Birmingham’.

Abu Dhabi

The National in Abu Dhabi reports that British politicians have condemned the riots in London, but notes that they are not as violent as recent protests in Athens.


Dubai’s Gulf News carries a brief comment piece which condemns the violence in London but concludes that it is the fault of the British authorities for marginalizing immigrant communities and calls for improved economic development and social integration policies in poorer areas.


Most Israeli newspapers do not cover the protests -of course they wouldn’t-(emphasis mine), but the Hebrew-language Maariv carries a story on its front page headlined “London in Flames” and notes that 450 people have been arrested.


Libyan state-run Al-Jamahiriyah TV showed a programme called “Homeland’s Desire”. The presenter, Yusuf Shakir, midway into the programme, began to address the British people in English, urging them to “defeat this British regime” which “killed their brothers”.

He said the Libyan people and their leader supported “black power in America and Britain” and always defended blacks who “suffered racial discrimination” in the UK.

He said blacks and the poor took to the streets in London to demonstrate against the British “fascist” government. He added that Libyans would hold demonstrations holding up pictures of Mark Duggan, the man shot by police in Tottenham. Source: BBC Monitoring

Social networking in Middle East

The London riots were followed in great detail by many Arab users of Twitter, the social network that played a very important role in the Arab Spring.

Many note the difference between the dignified and largely peaceful protesters who protected banks and shops from looters during the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere, contrasting them with the behaviour of those on the rampage in London.

“Protesters in these countries actually protected property of others & prevented looting despite huge numbers,” wrote one Twitter user going by the name of LibyaNewMedia.

Hisham Almiraat, a Moroccan doctor, had a different take, writing: “London rioters despicable, if only because they are stealing media attention away from where it really matters

My Postscript:

The silent African Union should denounce the violence in Britain and call on authorities to respect the rights of PEACEFUL demonstrators!


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Coming Home


From Bangladesh Corespondent Rezwan…

Almost 98% people of Bangladesh are Bengalis and they speak the Bangla language. The minorities include Chakmas, Khasi, Santhal and other tribes numbering more than a million (about 1.2% of total population) who mostly live in the various hilly regions. Chakmas are ethnically Tibeto-Burman, and are closely related to the Himalayan tribes. According to history, they are originally from Arakan (present Rakhine State of Burma) who hundreds of years ago wandered and settled in different parts of India and Bangladesh.

In recent months many Bangladeshi indigenous people have taken the streets holding meetings, human chains and rallies, demanding constitutional recognition of their population. The ‘indigenous’ debate arose after some remarks of a special parliamentary committee working to amend the present constitution reverting back to the 1972 constitution. There was no reference of tribal or indigenous people in Bangladesh’s first constitution of 1972 where it was mentioned that Bangladesh would be the land of Bengalis.

The parliamentary committee said that it would recommend recognizing them as “small ethnic groups” and questioned: “Would Bangalees [Bengalis] be termed ‘intruders’ or ‘invaders’ if the ethnic groups are called adivasi (indigenous)?”.
The state minister for cultural affairs Pramod Mankin said:

“There is no question that indigenous people would receive constitutional recognition. The debate is in how will they be recognised.”

“The government is reluctant to recognise indigenous people as “indigenous” as it questions ethnicity of the country’s native Bangalees.

Monjurul Haque at the Indigenous Bangla blog writes [bn] about the complexity of the situation:


The authorities are telling – “The people of the hills are not indigenous people. As constitution of Bangladesh applies everywhere, Bengalis have equal rights to lands in the hills.” The people of the hills are also citizens of Bangladesh (not indigenous) – that is also reminded in the constitution. They are sending destitute Bengali settlers to the hills on the ground that “the Chakmas have settled in the hills from their origin – Arakan region of Barma, so they are also settlers”.

It may be mentioned here that the tribals in Bangladesh have been subjected to human rights abuse for long by the Bengali settlers.

Shimon Baskey mentions [bn] what the people of the hills think on this issue:

Since ages our own language, culture, beliefs and rituals are the same, nothing has changed. We are people of this land. Our forefathers did not settle in someone else’s land or were inhabited there by someone. They were the first settlers by clearing forests and preparing lands for cultivation. They already had been living there for generations long before boundaries were demarcated.

Sarkar Amin recognizes [bn] the plights of these people:

Mong Mong, I first met you in a hill of Bandarban. I am bengali and you are from a tribe. You are a painter and I am a poet. We become friends at once. Was there a pain deep inside your innocent smile?

There is a crisis. The people of the hills want constitutional recognition of their population. They want to be termed as “indigenous”. They want implementation of the peace accord. But the ruling elites of Bangladesh do not want recognition of equal rights of the people of the hills. This is the main reason of the pain and the crisis.

Jewel Bin Jahir reminds [bn] how the indigenous minorities feel as their language, culture and beliefs are neglected in the constitution:

We had not tried to prove our supremacy by our Biju, Baisu, Karam Wanna, Sohrai (festivals and rituals). We had not tried to impose our Sangsarek, Laleng, Sharna centric beliefs to anyone. We had not tried to overwhelm other languages of the world by our Achik, chakma, Kokborok, Thar, Munda, Santali languages.

But still our Haba-Zoom(plantations), forests and ditches are being dispossessed. Our mother tongues are being ignored. Our own beliefs are deemed as impure, illogical by influential and imposing beliefs.

The debate further escalated as the foreign minister of Bangladesh commented recently that the term “indigenous” for the people of the hills in Bangladesh is a misnomer:

“In the constitution, all minorities were recognised generically as minorities, and through the 15th amendment, the present government has categorised them as ‘ethnic minorities’ and no longer only as ‘tribal’ people.”

She also said:

“Giving a special and elevated identity to enfranchise only 1.2 percent of the total population of 150 million by disentitling the 98.8 percent cannot be in the national interest of Bangladesh.”

She reminded about the 4000 year old tradition of the Bengalis in this land:

“The ethnic Bengalees are not colonial settlers, neither are they foreigners or non-indigenous to their own native land and never will be.”

Biplob Rahman, a journalist and a blogger protests [bn] the government’s stand that there is no indigenous people in Bangladesh. He quotes from Chakma King and member, UN Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues, Debashish Roy’s recent rebuttal [bn]:

If the government recognizes “indigenous people” then this marginalized and underdeveloped 1.2% population will have a legal ground to fight for their rights. However, this recognition will not give them any special rights.
Biplob reminds that the incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had given statements on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People several times terming the people of the hills as indigenous people.

He quotes an article of a local newspaper [bn], where it was reported [bn] that:

It has been learnt that if the “indigenous term” of any minority population is established then a country is subjected to sign several declarations of United Nations. In that case United Nations can intervene to investigate attacks on human rights of the indigenous population. So the Bangladesh government has taken this stance (of not terming them “indigenous”). In this issue all the major and influential political parties of Bangladesh share same ideology.
Mithusilak Murmu notes [bn] that at present there are certain quotas in the Government services and public education institutions for the indigenous people and wonders whether the present proposal of the Government will lead to change in the practice of the issuance of “indigenous certificates” for the population of the hills.

Around 370 million indigenous people in 70 countries of the world are subject to marginalization and mistreatment. These people in Bangladesh and elsewhere are facing similar problems and are fighting for their identity, land and way of life.

First Published in Global Voices Online


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Move, You Chink!


From Special Guest Patrick Park…

There was that one, preppy white boy who would always have the “balls” to come out of his way to call me a Chink. What is a Chink though? Is it just the general term one human being uses to call upon another human being if that person is Asian? Or did he call me that because he was in front of his friends? I mean, did he even know what he was calling me? Perhaps it was due to his upbringing. Nonetheless, “There goes the Chink!” is all I ever heard from his mouth.

Oops, correction; I missed one. The other crisp quote was, “Fucking move, Chink. White Power!”

Doesn’t that sound great? But yes, besides the quotes, there was something that got on my nerves as well. What pissed me off was that he always sported a light-colored polo from Abercrombie… always. And back in the day, that meant he was either rich, spoiled, or both. Furthermore, he would always pick on my friend because she tried protecting me. But the fact about her was that she was white–just like him. Well, that was my life. And maybe that “stuff” would still bother me, but it took the seven-thirty flight and left. Where did I learn to stop having racist douche bags bother me? At Stone Mountain, of course. Something I noticed through eighteen years of my life is that identity is definitely shaped by culture (Latterell xix). Just learning about the Japanese invasions of the Koreans pissed me off as a child. Watching soccer and baseball matches between the two nations were always extremely nerve-racking and competitive. Hell, it still is today. It’s either I was born with it, culturally influenced to the heart of the country, or a little bit of both (Latterell xix).

Anyways, I will tell why this strikingly pertains to me even more. Well, when I was around the age of sixteen, I went to Stone Mountain with my parents, grandparents, and my brother. Now as we were settling down, an African-American kid around the age of twelve came up to us waving and said “Ko-ni-chi-wa,” which is hello in Japanese. Oh, I flipped shit. I was wreaking havoc; I yelled to him that I was Korean and that he was a racist fool. Yes.. Sadly, I misinterpreted the situation. I thought since Stone Mountain was where the Ku Klux Klan had originally developed, everyone there was racist. But my parents told me that all he wanted to do was greet me since he proudly wanted to incorporate what he had learned in a real encounter. But I took it as a slur. Nonetheless, I realized what I did was, indeed, wrong. And I realized that even though having a cultural background is great, sometimes, circumstances are misunderstood because of how situations are only interpreted in one way by society. I mean, if students from school didn’t come up to me and say Konichiwa as a mocking curse, I might not have unleashed my inner devil on that poor twelve year old kid.

If there is one cliché that needs to be used in this situation, it’s that ignorance is bliss. It is perfectly valid in the sense that there is an innocent type of racism. Just as a young child mimics his older brother to fit in with his brother’s friends, that’s precisely all that young, African-American child was doing. He was trying to fit in with my family so everyone could just get along, just like in a society without hate–a perfect society. That’s why this Stone Mountain encounter was the point of my life where I realized I just had to let certain things go. I had to accept certain occurrences that already happened, and I could not reject the inevitable incidents that were on its way.

Latterell, Catherine G. Remix: Reading + Composing Culture. Second ed. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.


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They Eat Da Poo-Poo


When we here at RELATIVITY Online first watched what has come to be known as the “eat da poo poo” video on Youtube, we broke down in tears from laughter. Even before anything is said, the anti-gay posters can be seen as the video clip begins. And then comes Pastor Ssempa. “My name is pastor Martin Ssempa and I am the chairman of the National task force against homosexuality in Uganda. I am here to see that homosexuality does not see life of legality in this part of Africa,” he says to get things rolling. What follows is so off the wall ridiculous, it’s hard to believe.

Pastor Sseempa, you see, is a supporter of the 2009 Uganda  anti-homosexuality bill. Submitted to parliament by MP David Bahati, the bill seeks the death penalty for those who engage in homosexual sex or for those who were HIV positive while in a relationship. At one point he calls out Obama, seemingly upset at the American president for condemning the bill.

Tragic, sad and humorous – watch and see for yourself. As a side note, be sure to check out the “Eat Da Poo-Poo” remix now on Youtube as well.  You may just about die from laughing so hard.


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Islam In America – An Experiment in Social Psychology


How would you react if you saw a Muslim woman being mistreated in a store, not being served purely because of what she was wearing and the religion she follows?

ABC’s news magazine Primetime posed this very question and with the help of hidden cameras conducted a little experiment. The results are interesting to watch and at times, highly emotional. They show that while some Americans are prejudiced, most aren’t. The minority of those involved in the experiment who supported prejudiced behavior don’t realize North American culture as a whole is very much the New World, a civilization built upon the pillars of immigration and secular thought.


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This is Post-Racial America?


From Larry Wohlgemuth…

Republicans have been declaring for more than a decade that we now live in post-racial (and by implication prejudicial) America. Actually it should be stated as post-racial/prejudicial, because that insinuates that we have moved past all petty prejudices to a point of frank, open and honest discussion on issues that affect us all. That means we’ve moved past bigotry based on nationality, gender, religion or any of the myriad of preferences which identify us as individuals. It implies that no one any longer looks down his or her nose at anyone else.

I would like to believe it to be true, but the racial/prejudicial period ended too easily for me to accept it on its face. When something has been as institutionalize as have our prejudices, it generally ends with thrashing about and gnashing of teeth rather than a whimper. Yet the Republicans have declared it, so it must be so, right? It begs the question, who did the Republicans think they could convince that we had entered this utopist and idyllic post-racial/prejudicial world?

I wondered if they are talking about 30-year-old Anthony Hill of Winnsboro, SC, or possibly James Byrd, Jr. of Jasper, Texas when they refer to this as a post-racial society. Hill was dragged to death behind a pickup truck driven by 19-year-old Gregory Collins of Newberry, and Byrd was dragged to death in 1998 behind a pickup truck by three men, Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer and John William King. I’m sure that the fact these two murders took place in what were considered as highly racist states in pre-post-racial/prejudicial times is merely a coincidence, just as was the fact that the victims were black and the perpetrators were white. This is just how things play out in a post-racial/prejudicial society.

Then there’s Dr. George Tiller, gunned down in his church for having the audacity to perform abortions, a procedure that is legal in the United States. However we can be sure in this post-racial/prejudicial society that a mentally deficient man like Scott Roeder would never have considered Dr. Tiller’s vocational activities when he walked into that church with a loaded gun and shot the doctor dead in front of the congregation. Once again, we can be sure that this didn’t happen because of prejudice, because the Republicans have assured us that we are now a post-racial/prejudicial society.

And we have the good Dr. Laura, who although she’s white felt entitled to use the N-word 11 times in a five-minute span on her radio program because black comedians on HBO and Showtime do it. You see, in a post-racial/prejudicial society we’re all free to use any words we choose, because we couldn’t possibly be making a racist innuendo. No, we’re simply exercising our First Amendment rights, and besides, we know this wasn’t a racist remark because Dr. Laura told us so several times right after she said it. If you can’t trust Dr. Laura in these post-racial/prejudicial times, then who can you trust?

Finally there are the cases of Lawrence King, Matthew Shepard, Danny Overstreet, Philip Walsted, Sakia Gunn, Glenn Kopitske, Scotty Joe Weaver, Daniel Fetty, Jason Gage, Ryan Keith Skipper, Roberto Duncanson, Sean William Kennedy, Steven Parrish, Lateisha Green and Seaman August Provost, among many others, who were killed, but not for being gay. It seems that their attackers admitted that the victims’ homosexuality was the impetus for the attack, but in a post-racial/prejudicial society we have to take their admissions with a grain of salt. After all, they can’t possibly be aware of the post-racial/prejudicial dynamics that are taking place around them, making their attacks of the non-racial/prejudicial type. I mean, even the case of Ronnie Antonio Paris Jr., a three-year-old boy killed by his father because he was afraid his son might be gay, that’s just the way straights and gays interact in the post-racial/prejudicial era.

Okay, it’s pretty clear that we are not in a post-racial/prejudicial time based on what’s happening around us. So what’s going on? I mean, why are the Republicans working so hard to convince us that something exists when it obviously does not?

In this country there are only 5%, maybe 10%, of the people that are actually Republicans, and the rest are posers although they don’t realize it. To be a Republican means being a capitalist, and only a tiny fraction of people fit the description. The problem is, part of being a Republican is being able to look down your nose at other people, and the vast majority of the Republican Party are just working assholes like you and me, so there was some work that had to be done. It was necessary to create a significant enough underclass so that the idiot who makes $10 per hour working on an assembly line and watches Glen Beck can actually feel superior to somebody, and therefore a member of the Republican club. Minorities fill that bill nicely, thank you very much, but as the line of separation blurs so does the ability of the moronic masses in the Republican Party to look down on someone. Feeling superior is a crucial tenet to making the pseudo-Republicans believe they really are part of the club.

So how do they make this work? They behave even more racist and prejudiced than in the past, and then repeat over and over again that this is how things are in a post-racial/prejudicial world. They know if they say it long and loudly enough, and nobody objects, there’s a chance people will start to believe it. The problem is that genie is out of the bottle and they can’t regain control, try as they might. If the illusion of superiority ever leaves the working class schlemiels of the Republican Party they might quit participating, or even worse become Democrats. It’s a lot of work making a guy who earns $10 an hour believe he’s in some way superior to a brown person with a PhD.

So the Republicans will continue lest 70% of their party come to the realization that they are superior to no one. It would be a devastating blow for them. As a result we can expect to see more blatant racism followed by still more disingenuous, wide-eyed denials that racism was the intent. Without it their party shatters into 1 million pieces.

The one good thing is that the Republican demographic is dying, literally, and I have to be honest about the fact that it bothers me little. There are some people that just don’t deserve to waste our oxygen.


Posted in Home Page, Larry SaysComments (16)

Racist Bitch? Who Gets To Decide?


While listening to Dr. Laura’s racist meltdown the other day I was reminded of a recurring episode from my childhood involving my brother. Like all siblings we competed with each other, which inevitably led to physical confrontation. Being two years older and considerably larger, they usually ended with me imposing my physical will on him, and he would run crying to mom.

He’d be screaming all the way that I hurt him, and my response would be, “That didn’t hurt, that didn’t hurt,” all the while telling him to be quiet. Then there was the moment of truth where mom would listen to the facts and make her decision. My brother’s claims and my protestations had precious little to do with her judgment. Unable to appreciate that our tiny house allowed her to hear everything that transpired, we’d both state our cases passionately. Generally her rulings were just, although there was a time or two that she missed. Regardless, neither his claims nor my protests ultimately had much impact on her ruling, but what I learned was I didn’t get to decide whether my actions were hurtful. It begs the question, what the hell makes Dr. Laura believe she gets to decide whether her behavior was racist?

Dr. Laura is a hate filled, homophobic, xenophobic, religious wingnut, titty-baring bitch, and I’m working very hard to be as kind as possible. She’s the spawn of Satan sent to cause immeasurable pain and suffering on the world. That said, let’s look at her actions.

On the radio she goes into a complete meltdown, using a pejorative racial epithet repeatedly, deluded that she was helping a human being of the race she was denigrating. Eleven times in five minutes she used the N-word, rationalizing that since black comedians on HBO and Showtime use it that she should be able to use it, too. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, we’d suggest that she was just trying to open a heretofore off-limits dialogue. The thing is, when it comes to hatred it’s never reasonable to give a person the benefit of the doubt. However there was one thing that I did find amusing in this reprehensible display of ignorance and bigotry.

When the caller, an African-American woman who was obviously timid and self-conscious, finally mustered the courage to confront Dr. Laura, she responded much as I did all those years ago. She exclaimed, “That’s not racist, that’s not racist,” as if it was her decision to make. Just as I’d done all those years ago, she was living with the misconception that ultimately it was her right to determine whether her actions were inappropriate. The difference is that I was only seven years old, and based on the crevices in her face she has to be at least 80, and should know better. The sad truth is, despite being a psychologist, she actually believed that it was her right to decide whether her behavior was hateful and racist. The problem is, we’re seeing that same conduct from the borderline personalities on the right every day.

Look at the teabaggers and you see this dynamic in action all the time. They walk the streets with signs depicting Barack Obama dressed as a tribal African with a bone in his nose, or one that reads “Monkey See, Monkey Spend,” yet they act like none of us are capable of reaching our own conclusions. They protest vociferously any suggestion that they might be racist, xenophobic or homophobic, all the while acting racist, xenophobic and homophobic.

It’s like walking in on your three-year-old who has cookie all over his face and hands, and when you ask him he denies having been in the cookie jar. You know he’s lying, and he knows he’s lying, yet somehow in his tiny, marginally functioning intellect he’s convinced that he’s really telling the truth. The problem is that we have a large number of adults, capable of doing adult damage, who are functioning intellectually and emotionally at the level of a three-year-old. The question becomes, what are we to do about it?

Since I already started this by being less than politically correct a judgmental asshole, I don’t see any sense in ending it any other way. If someone was destroying his life with addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, we’d feel compelled to intervene on his behalf. We wouldn’t allow him to careen out of control without throwing him a life preserver. We need to do the same with Dr. Laura and the teabaggers.

I propose a stupidity intervention. It’s time we approach them with our concerns that they are so totally ignorant that we’re worried they might forget to breathe, and that they need to get help. The first thing we’d do is use parental controls on their televisions and lock them out of FOX News, forcing them to get their information from a variety of other sources. The second would be to require them to attend a class about the Constitution of the United States. Finally, and most importantly, we’d demand they spend 10 hours a week as a minority at a gathering of people from another race or ethnic background. I know these are extreme measures, but we live in desperate times.

If you have someone that you’re worried about, please don’t stand by and allow them to slide into the abyss. Confront them and tell them that you really wish they would go for help. It’s the only merciful thing to do.

From Larry Wohlgemuth…


Posted in Home Page, Larry SaysComments (11)


Picturing RELATIVITY- see all photos


  • CANADA: AN EXPAT HEAVEN With our ever shrinking global village, migratory work patterns are becoming more and more a part of people’s lives. Work in one country, summer in another, then try yet another. Thinking about it? Canada, Australia and Thailand are the best places to do
  • NO KIDDING, CONDOLEEZA! In a video at the recently opened George W. Bush Library, Condoleeza Rice confirms Bush was both aware and condoned torture. Guess there’s no need to lie your asses off anymore, is there Dipshit?
  • NO MATTER WHAT, IT'S WORTH IT With its Tex-Mex menu, Taco Bell is one of the most popular fat-food chains in America. No matter what happens after you eat it..
  • TURKISH AUTISTIC ATHIESTS “Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” claims a renowned Turkish Sociologist. Gotta love nut-jobs, like this asshole! They’re so entertaining!



Does the fact that Barack Obama is black and the son of an African Muslim contribute to the radical nature of those who oppose his policies?

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