American Terrorists — Will They Be Sent to Guantanamo? Probably Not, If They’e White

September 15th was the 45 year anniversarry of the 16th Street Church Bombing.  Some background, for those who don’t know.  In 1963, a group of white men who were members of the KKK planted bombs in a black church on a Sunday morning.  When the bomb went off it destroyed a good portion of the church, blew out the windows of nearby buildings, and instantly killed four young girls.  I guess those uppity negros learned their lesson, right?

4 Girls Killed at 16th Street Baptist

4 Girls Killed at 16th Street Baptist

It took decades for all of the men involved in the bombing to be arrested, tried, and convicted.  Even though they bragged about it to friends and family.  Even though the FBI had evidence that they did it.  Why did it take so long?  Not just because it was the South in the 60s, which was bad enough, but because dear old J Edgar Hoover saw fit to withold that evidence from prosecutors.

Just so you understand what I’m saying: in 1963 officers of our government purposefully withheld evidence that these men were guilty of killing four young girls and injuring at least 22 others because the government officials in question were dirty, racist bastards.  It wasn’t until 1978 that the first of the murdering psychopaths was put in jail, and it wasn’t until 2002 when two others finally had their asses handed to them.  The forth one died before he could be convicted.

1978

2002

This is how long families had to wait for justice.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers.

A Kos diarist posted about it, and the local Dayton media reported on it, but a cursory Google News search shows that hardly anyone is reporting on this.

Someone, or a group of someones, attacked children in a house of worship.  Could have, and probably intended to kill children and adults in a house of worship.

What the fuck is wrong with this goddamned country.

And no, I do not care if at some time or in some place a Muslim individual has also killed or harmed children or people in a house of worship.  That does not fucking excuse this behavior.  It is not ever, EVER okay to respond to ideological differences of opinion or faith by ATTEMPTING TO KILL PEOPLE.

Attacking children in a house of worship is on a short list of things that make you so worthless that shit starts to look like a good candidate for president.

And how many years do you think it will take for these families to see justice for this?  How many more years do we have of it being all right to attack Muslims or people we think might be Muslims the way it was completely okay to attack black people in 1963?  Which government officials will claim the glorious honor of being the ones to hush up evidence, or turn a blind eye, or just not give a shit hard enough in the victims’ general direction?

People who might be Muslim, or Arab, or look kinda Muslim or Arab or brown or strange have been sent to Guantanamo for being on the wrong side of the street on a Tuesday.  If we ever deign to catch these worthless bastards, will our government prosecute them as terorists?  Or will they decline to even label it a hate crime?

People (usually white people) often wonder why I’m not patriotic.  This. Is. Why.

16th Street Baptist Church after the bombing

16th Street Baptist Church after the bombing

Louisiana State Senator Worries That There Will Soon Be Too Many Black People, Film At 11

I don’t even know if I have the stomach to do full commentary on this shit.  So here are the highlights.

Worried that welfare costs are rising as the number of taxpayers declines, state Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, said Tuesday he is studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.

“We’re on a train headed to the future and there’s a bridge out, ” LaBruzzo said of what he suspects are dangerous demographic trends. “And nobody wants to talk about it.”

LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.

Right.  He’s totally worried about there being enough tax dollars.  That’s all.  Really.

“What I’m really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare, ” he said.

He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid charges of gender discrimination, vasectomies for men.

Oh I am so glad that we’re being very feminist about this!

LaBruzzo described the tube-tying incentive as a brainstorming exercise that has yet to take form as a bill for the Legislature to consider. He said it already has drawn critics who argue the idea is racist, sexist, unethical and immoral. He said more white people are on welfare than black people, so his proposal is not targeting race.

And anti-racist!  He just hates poor people, that’s all.

LaBruzzo said other, mainstream strategies for attacking poverty, such as education reforms and programs informing people about family planning issues, have repeatedly failed to solve the problem. He said he is simply looking for new ways to address it.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, he’s a racist, ‘ ” LaBruzzo said. “The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions.”

LaBruzzo said he opposes abortion and paying people to have abortions. He described a sterilization program as providing poor people with better opportunities to avoid welfare, because they would have fewer children to feed and clothe.

He acknowledged his idea might be a difficult sell politically.

NO SHIT.

Also: children are the cause of welfare, not poor economic situations, lack of opportunities, lack of funding for education (that never works, anyway!), or a culture that is constantly at war against those who don’t live like the assholes on Friends.  No, none of that is to blame!

What Rachel Moss Did

This past weekend I was in Wisconsin for the WisCon convention. I have a lot of posts to write about that, including some ruminations on panels and some stuff about POC at WisCon. But this post is about something that happened during the convention that is contributing to my angry blackness and making me so angry I want to hurl gendered slurs in this woman’s direction for a week.

A woman named Rachel Moss put a post on Something Awful mocking attendees not because of their politics or their feminism or their willingness to come to Wisconsin, but because they were too fat, too white, too male, or too black for her taste.

However, the problem reaches beyond just what Rachel Moss did. It’s now what other people are doing because of Rachel. And though she can say “I don’t have control over what those people do,” the responsibility for starting this whole mess rests squarely on her shoulders. Being a veteran of online snark circle jerks, I know that had Rachel not pointed WisCon out to these people, had not mocked fat people and 9 year old kids, had not put up pictures to go along with that mocking, and had not set the tone for whatever came after, others would not have attacked us in exactly this way.

Let’s start at the beginning. A few days ago the post went up on the Something Awful forums, a site dedicated to making fun of shit. Rachel Moss, the post’s author, has some serious issues surrounding fatness, her own self-image, and understanding the difference between snark and being a total asscrab. I’m going to quote extensively here for reasons I will explain afterward, but I’m putting it under a cut for your pleasure:
Continue reading

Not Going Anywhere (But I Damn Well Feel Like It)

So I get back from my little vacation and find that Black Amazon took down her blog.

I don’t have a lot to say about that, because it should be obvious that it fucking angers me that white feminist bloggers (need I say ‘certain white feminists’? Or name some names? Nah, I’m sure y’all are smart enough to figure out who I mean) are silencing, disparaging, stealing from, and otherwise oppressing women of color bloggers all while whining about how they are victims and oh, it’s so sad. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE WHITE WOMEN PLEASE!

It’s all just so much bullshit. I have a long post about it coming, but I wanted to say one thing:

I’m not going anywhere.

And let me also say that this is not some sort of underhand condemnation of those who choose to close down their blogs because of this shit. I understand the inclination. I support that choice. There have been times when I had to step away from this blog and other parts of the internet just to salvage my sanity. One day I may need to do so again. But right now? Right now I am staying here.

(and oh, you don’t know how hard it is for me not to use gendered slurs against you whiny little princesses right now. oooo!)

Nothing Says Internet Popularity Like

Being linked to from a White Supremacist website. Happy Monday!

ETA: Wow, if you all could see my moderation queue right now.

This is the kind of thing that makes people leave the Internet. It really is. I went through a good chunk of my early life never encountering any blatant racism. I’m sure there was some, but my young, naiveté, and probably my parents shielded me from most of it. No one ever called me a Nigger, or said I couldn’t do something because I was black, or anything like that.

I got to wait until I was all grown up for things like that to happen.

But even still, I don’t think I ever encountered the kind of raw, ignorant, stupid, dangerous, and hurtful hate due specifically to my heritage and skin color until I started this blog. I have been called a Nigger 47 times today. TODAY. And it’s not fucking over yet.

This is the kind of thing that turns people militant.

This is the kind of thing that makes people scared for their well being.

This is the kind of thing that silences voices, and I cannot lay any blame on anyone who chooses silence in the face of this.

This is the kind of thing that makes me a FUCKING ANGRY BLACK WOMAN.

I am not only angry because you have the gall to come here calling me names and telling racist lies yet saying I am the hateful, racist one. I am angry because you don’t want anything but to see me hurt and silenced and shamed, and I will not be. I am angry because it is people like your dumb asses that give white people a bad name. I am angry because it’s due to people like you that we can’t move forward as a culture and a country on race relations. Because for every rational, well-educated and well-informed person who wishes not only to understand, but to make things right, there are 20 of you throwbacks trying to drag the conversation down and everyone into the 1930’s.

Fuck you. And fuck that.

This blog isn’t for you or about you. And if you’re pissed that I won’t let you air your opinions, I couldn’t give less of a care than I do right now. This is not your space, it’s mine. And no, I won’t be coming over there to “discuss” anything with you, because you don’t want a discussion.

You think MY blog is racist and hateful, people? Go visit Stormfront and learn what real hate and racism is like. And if you don’t find it completely objectionable over there, then don’t bother coming back. We do not want you.

You wanted to see me angry? THIS IS ME ANGRY.

Daughter of ETA: Two things. First, the blog is currently set so that folks who don’t have an approved comment go straight to moderation. (This is to keep me from having to delete the Stormfront assholes from the posts. As it is, I’m the only one seeing their messages.) However, this also means any messages of support aren’t showing up right away. Never fear, I will approve non-evil comments when I can. (Nora and Karynthia might, as well, if they happen to be online.)

Second, thank you to everyone coming by posting messages of support and solidarity. I will have to revise my ratio of allies to assholes, because so far there are at least as many messages from you as from them, and that’s only because they had a head start. You are all awesome and I cannot state strongly enough how much I appreciate your words.

Why I Don’t Like To Admit That I Support Obama

Posted by: Naamen Gobert Tilahun

It’s because I’m black.

See when I admit that I support Obama, people (mostly white) get this look on their face and that’s the end the conversation. They don’t ask why, they don’t start a dialogue, there’s just this look. The look is very much like a slap in the face. What the look says is “Ah, I knew you would”, “Of Course.”, “Well, I’m not surprised.”. The look rests on the assumption that as a black man of course I would be voting for the black man. It’s a racist assumption that insults not only myself but Obama as well. When we deconstruct the look there are two main attacks that are happening here.

Number one they are assuming that Obama has nothing to offer except being a black man, they are assuming that none of his politics matter that his only viability as a candidate stems from his race.

Which makes me question why they themselves voted for Clinton or Bush or Gore or Perot or any number of white men that have run for/been elected president for as long as this country has been in existence? Were they only viable candidates because they were white men? The obvious answer to me is an undeniable yes, race has always played a part in the viability of presidential candidacies even if that role was simply the absence of any People of Color. I wouldn’t mind the look as much if it allowed for the look giver to have that bit of introspection into their own history, all too often though the path to realization is protected by a sticky coat of privilege. The look they are so ready to give me, the belief that they know me and my politics by simple virtue of my skin well most aren’t so good at turning that gaze on themselves.

Number two, and much more personal to me, they are assuming I’m ignorant. They think that I don’t have the capacity to research issues, listen to the speeches and evaluate a candidate without race being a factor. They assume that I don’t have enough character or social consciousness to look at all the candidates and decide who is the best candidate for me personally as well as politically.

The flipside of this is that if I was supporting any candidate but Obama, which I did until about a month ago (Kucinich, and if he hadn’t dropped out and I hadn’t seen the dropout coming I would still be supporting him), I would get the other end of the look. Traitor. That I was betraying black people by voicing my support of (for our purposes let’s say) Hilary. The assumptions were the same except that in this instance I was cast into the role of “self-hating black man” the idea that I would only be supporting Hilary because I didn’t want to support Obama. It makes the same assumptions about Hilary and about myself, that I’m incapable of making an informed political decision and that Hilary is only useful as a tool of my self-hatred.

Because of this Women of Color and Black Women especially hold a particularly unenviable position in this primary. Not only are they the center of debate without being allowed a voice on the situation, but white feminists (white pundits and male POC pundits as well) such as Gloria Steinem have taken to speaking for/at them. Being the source of such scrutiny they are hard pressed to publicly voice a candidate without “betraying” someone and drawing fire from some corner. I’d say more but I don’t want this to be me talking for Women of Color, there are plenty of posts on this subject all over the Internet from Women of Color. Do some research.

The war of “race vs. gender” has hovered around the democratic party since the announcements of candidacy, sometimes even brought up by the candidates themselves. It’s a war I don’t want any part in because I don’t believe in rating or ranking oppressions, all oppression is horrible and also it ignores the intersecting identities of millions of people. Going back to the look, it assumes my part in this bullshit war of oppression where we turn on each other instead of uniting. Because it assumes that my decision making process was: black over woman. The essentially mocks my choice, my decision making ability, my intelligence in one fell swoop of your privilege.

So this a political entry but it’s also a rant against all of the people out there who have given other POC that look, who intend to give POC that look or those who have schooled their faces but still think it.

To Them: That look is not only racist the motivation behind the look is stupid because the truth is you don’t know me, you don’t know why I’ve chosen to support Obama (or Hilary, or Edwards or…). Unless I’ve chosen to talk to you in depth, you don’t know anything about me. The look demeans us both and at the end of it, you don’t know my reasons and I just think you’re an asshole.

Postscript: This could just as easily be about a woman supporting Hilary and the similar looks they receive. Even though this post isn’t about that I want to acknowledge the truth there.

Naamen Gobert Tilahun is a creative writer and blogger. You can visit him at Words From The Center, Words From The Edge, where he discusses writing, science-fiction, movies, and more.

Again, Why I’m Angry

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed at least 14 of her supporters, doctors, a spokesman for her party and other officials said.

Bhutto suffered bullet wounds in the aftermath of the bomb attack, TV networks were reporting.
[...]
Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital — less than two miles from the bombing scene — where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb.

The bomber detonated as he tried to enter the rally where thousands of people gathered to hear Bhutto speak, police said.

You fucking, fucking bastards. I am really too angry to do anything but curse at this point.

Irrational Men

Recently a friend of mine, writer Jay Lake, pointed to this article:

Saudi Rape Victim Gets 200 Lashes

A Saudi court sentenced a woman who had been gang raped to six months in jail and 200 lashes – more than doubling her initial penalty for being in the car of a man who was not a relative…

In its decision Wednesday, the court also roughly doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the 19-year-old woman, the Arab News reported on its English-language Web site.

According to Arab News, the court said the woman’s punishment was increased because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”
[...]
The victim had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicting her of violating Saudi’s rigid laws on segregation of the sexes.

Under Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, women are not allowed in public in the company of men other than their male relatives.
[...]
The initial sentences for the men convicted of the gang rape ranged from 10 months to five years in prison. Their new sentences range from two to nine years, the paper said.

The attack took place in 2006. The woman has said that it occurred as she tried to retrieve her picture from a male high school student she used to know. While in the car with the student, two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area. She said she was raped there by seven men, three of whom also attacked her friend.

Reading stuff like this is Why I’m Angry, as I’ve pointed out before. But something in the commentary Jay gave along with this link also made me angry:

How about this: Under Shariate law, a woman who simply reports a rape is considered to have admitted her guilt as an adultress, and is subject to penalties up to execution. If this horrifies you, consider the secular viewpoint on this. There is no difference between that sort of religious insanity and moves to teach Intelligent Design in school, except in the matter of degree. In both cases, people of faith are deliberately discarding rationalism in the name of their religious principles.

Here’s the problem I have — if what he says about Sharia law is true (I say if only because I haven’t verified this independently), the problem here is less religion-based irrationality but patriarchy/misogyny-based irrationality. So he’s comparing apples to oranges in an attempt to prove that irrationality = religion/faith = bad as compared to supposedly completely rational secular/atheist folks.

Obviously the patriarchal attitude permeates the religion as well, but it isn’t the sole cause of what can go wrong in religion just as religion isn’t the sole cause of patriarchy and misogyny. Plenty of secular folks have wrongheaded attitudes about women. Plenty of secular folks harass, marginalize, or otherwise act/think in ways that harm women. Religion does not have a corner on this market.

Just as anyone can use the Bible or the Qur’an or the Torah to justify any bad thing they want to do, so can they use those books to justify any good thing they want to do — like feeding the poor, taking care of widows and orphans, and being a good host, to name a few.

But the bad justifications are just that: justifications. I don’t think misogyny and patriarchy is inherent in religion. Nor do I think we can solely attribute religious irrationality to the horrendous rule that women who admit to being raped are admitting they did something wrong themselves. That’s all about Men and their Dominance Issues, and one can find analogs of varying degrees across all patriarchal cultures, including ours, and including the secularists among us.

It’s not the same thing as believing in Intelligent Design because that is purely (or majorly) about religion. Apples and Oranges. (Not that I agree with /approve of either ID or Sharia law as regards rape.) I think it would help us all if secular folks would stop using examples of misogyny to denigrate all aspects of religion. It’s reminiscent of the way some people say “Race isn’t the problem, Class is,” when really it’s Race and Class and a whole bunch of other things individually and in tandem. But the relationship is extremely complex. Don’t toss it all together as if it’s a simple 1 to 1 equation.

What I Might Do If I Got Really Angry

So every now and then we get some semi-hard core trolls around here who decide to make annoying and stupid posts on every post they come across starting on the front page and going backwards. Or sometimes they start out in one particular conversation and radiate out as we get wind that they’re really nothing more that bored assholes with nothing better to do. Usually I can shut these people down by banning them, but every now and then one gets it in their heads that the conversation isn’t over, that they have more to say and, damnit, we WILL listen!

The last time this happened I banned a guy, watched him hit the moderation wall 4 times, then say something like “Huh, I guess you really can ban me. Oh well, I’ll try again on Monday.” to which I thought “Oh no you fucking won’t.” That particular douchebag was not only posting from work, but used his work address in the email field. So I called up his company, explained to them what was going on, and asked if they could ban him from further trolling while he was at work, at least.

That’s right, I called up someone’s job and emailed their HR office comments from ABW.

Some might say that I went a bit too far. After all, I could have endangered that man’s job and he might have gotten really pissed at me. Well, you know what, I am fucking tired of you entitled assholes that think it’s your goddamned right to abuse me and my guests without any thought that we might be real people with real feelings in a real world. So I brought the Internet to YOUR house and you’d better believe I’ll do it again. Because I am tired of this shit.

If you want to argue and disagree with me, fine. But if you take it to the next level and I decide to ban you, go the fuck away. I mean it. I’m not joking and that really isn’t the time to test me by making up a new name or using a different email or finding a way to mask or change your IP. And yes, Michael, I’m talking about you now. I banned you. I emailed to say that I banned you. You told me that this was fine with you and you were going away. Now I still see your ass all over my blog.

And just like that other asshole, you don’t have the sense that God gave jellyfish. I know your full name, Michael. I apparently also know your wife’s name. A simple Google search also tells me that you might have a daughter. I may even know where you work down there in Texas. Comcast now knows about your actions on this blog. We’ll see if they have anything to say about that. And if you continue to post your hateful screeds here, I will take the information I found on Google and find who I can possibly talk to that will make you leave us alone.

I will not let trollish asshole douchebags run my blog into the ground. I will not let you 1940 throwbacks chase me off the Internet. If it means getting personal with you, I will get personal. That goes for anyone.

I’ll say this again: I have no problem with disagreement and debate. Civil discourse, even between people who don’t see eye to eye, is always welcome. But if I choose to ban you, you need to just get over it and go away. I don’t want to spend my day on the phone with various HR departments determining whether you are, in fact, the person who has been on my blog. But I will if your abuse rises to the level of harassment.

Michael, you are harassing us. Take your toys. Go home.

ETA: Pursuant to an email from Michael, I’d just like to clarify something.  At no point did I ever threaten to release Michael’s name or the names of his family members on this blog or anywhere publicly.  Michael seems to think I was making a veiled threat of doing so.  I thought I was pretty clear concerning the nature of who I might reveal any information to, i.e. his ISP or his HR department.  Not only would I not put his last name, workplace, or kid’s name up in a public place, I would certainly never do so here.  I’m just not an asshole like that.

Why I’m Angry – Guns in the Hands of Madmen

Wanna know what makes me angry? I’ll tell you. Hours after a guy walks on to a college campus and kills upwards of 30 people and wounds around 30 more using a gun and several rounds of ammo there is an NRA person on the TV spouting bullshit about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people, or some other such nonsense.

33 people are dead. DEAD. There is no way in hell he could have gone on that kind of rampage with a knife or even a crossbow. Massacres like this are brought to us by guns, pure and simple.

People are dead and possibly dying, NRA folks. Now is not the time for your special brand of blithe disregard for anyone other than yourselves.

So: Shut. The Fuck. Up.

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