Happy Birthday, Rosa Parks…

She would have been 108, today.

On Dec. 1, 1955, after working as an assistant tailor at a Montgomery, Ala., department store, a 42-year-old woman named Rosa Parks got on the Cleveland Avenue bus, sat down and was told to give up her seat for a white man who was standing. Parks calmly refused. When the driver threatened to have her arrested she replied, “you may do that.” The police were called and Parks was arrested for violating Montgomery’s racial segregation laws.

The “quality of life” in the America when I grew up. Racism and bigotry was perfectly acceptable in much of our politics…as they still are in much of our society.

Contemptible.

Racism is as American as apple pie

A number of competent economists have written of the origins of racism as a “successful” defense of slavery. In the days of slavery being one of the supports of the economy of this new nation fighting to survive disengagement from status as a British colony – a believable rationale was needed to defend the white, rural, wealthy supporters of our revolution who relied on an economic system centuries out of date that worked “well enough” to keep and maintain their political power.

It worked well enough to survive the Civil War. It worked well enough to keep Democrats in power in the Deep South for decades after that war. It worked well enough to supplant the Democrats with Republicans when the strength of the new civil rights movement challenged the core of American racism.

So, now, Trump and his followers wheedle their support for “very fine people on both sides” – a tagline that worked well enough to satisfy a majority of electors in the 2016 election, the leaders of the Republican Party ever since.


Photograph by Mark Peterson

” New York’s December 23, 2019–January 5, 2020 issue confronts America’s growing white supremacy movement through a photo-documentary portfolio by Mark Peterson and an essay by poet and National Book Award–nominated author Claudia Rankine. “It is our inheritance,” Rankine writes. “Institutionalized since the Civil War by a government that only recently, and tentatively, began to address domestic terrorism for what it is…”

” James Walsh, a writer at New York, contributed additional research and reporting in order to bring readers more context to the phenomenon. He spoke with Nate Snyder, a former counterterrorism official in the Department of Homeland Security, who notes that Trump’s rhetoric has had an impact on the movement’s rebirth. After Trump’s comments about Charlottesville, his infamous words about “very fine people on both sides,” Snyder says: “You saw activity on [neo-nazi site Stormfront] exponentially spike. “It was a validation point. You started seeing posts like ‘We now have an ally in the White House…'”

RTFA. The time to speak up on a national scale, from pages and pulpits that thrive on moderation, is overdue. Nice folks can no longer turn their back on the most vicious, reactionary stream polluting American culture.

The 1619 Project

In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.

Here’s the link. Forgive me, but, I don’t presume that very many Americans have ever read – or studied – this tale and its effects down to this day.

Folks who knit, crochet, learn from gamers – ban support for Trump and his white supremacy ideology

❝ We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.

❝ This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content. Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. If you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data.

❝ We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy

❝ Much of this policy was first written by a roleplaying game site, not unlike Ravelry but for RPGs, named RPG.net. We thank them for their thoughtful work.

I second that emotion.

Who Joins the Alt-Right? No Surprises Here?

❝ A new University of Virginia study found that white nationalists are likely to be low-income, divorced, uneducated and unemployed.

❝ One year after the Unite the Right marches in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and dozens of serious injuries, scholars at the nearby university analyzed the demographics of potential alt-right members in hopes of discovering what makes certain Americans susceptible to joining white nationalist movements.

❝ Researchers at UVA’s Institute for Family Studies studied responses to 2016 American National Election Survey, and singled out respondents who had a strong sense of white identity, a belief in the importance of white solidarity and a sense of white victimization. The group found that unemployed white Americans without a college degree and with an annual income between $0 and $29,000 were more likely to agree with the principles of the white nationalist movement. These respondents were also much more likely to be divorced than married or never married.

Anyplace I ever worked – where I was just looking for a short-term, less skilled [or no skilled] job, a quick buck for mediocre pay – a significant minority of my fellow-workers fit this description. Not that they migrated towards each other like untrained rodents. These were the leftover jobs after occupations requiring education and somewhat demanding skill-sets were already taken.

I’m not certain of the cause-and-effect relationships; but, I have to wonder if better education was required and available could better pay have been justified? Might their understanding of a better life for all of us have been possible?

Trump Wanted to Change Alaska’s Denali Back to Mount McKinley to make Bigots Happy in Ohio

❝ President Donald Trump brought up a campaign promise during a March meeting with the U.S. senators from Alaska, asking whether he could roll back President Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to rename the tallest mountain on the continent…

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were meeting with Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Oval Office to talk about issues affecting Alaska…The president then raised another of Obama’s Alaska decisions. “Wasn’t the name of a big mountain in Alaska changed by executive order?” Trump asked, according to The Alaska Dispatch News – Obama announced in 2015 the federal government was changing the name of Mount McKinley to Denali, the Native Alaska name for the peak…

❝ The president brought up the idea of changing the name back to Mount McKinley, named for a U.S. president who never visited the 49th state, and the senators quickly argued against it. “Lisa—Senator Murkowski—and I jumped over the desk. We said, ‘No, no!'” said Sullivan, who was speaking at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage, the newspaper reported.

When the president asked, “Why?” Sullivan answered, “The Alaska Native people named that mountain over 10,000 years ago.… Denali, that was the name,” according to the newspaper…

❝ Trump, then just two months into his presidential campaign, reacted strongly. “President Obama wants to change the name of Mount McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!” he said in a tweet, referring to President William McKinley’s home state.

❝ Alaskans slammed Trump’s tweets. “We wanted that change for a long time, and now we finally have it, and we need to leave it alone,” Victor Joseph, president of Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 Athabascan tribes in Interior Alaska, told the Associated Press last year. “It was an insult to the first people of this land when they took away the name and gave it to somebody else.”

Trump’s racist politics betrays him once again. Aside from being criminally incompetent to manage the affairs of this nation, his affection for bigots and racist politics smears this whole nation with the stupidity that lead a minority of voters to go for Trump in the 2016 election.