Monday Reads: WTF Kenner?Posted: September 10, 2018
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
If all politics is local, then there is something really rotten in the parishes that surround mine. The same congressional district that gave rise to David Duke and “David Duke without the Baggage” Steve Scalise has a berg called Kenner which,of course, was part of an old plantation back in the day. You can’t go far around here without standing on ground that was likely taken from indigenous people and built up by slaves. Then, there’s the always haunting knowledge that the poor white man was placated by these rich, slave owning bastards with the comfort of “well, at least you’re not black”.
We’re not far–at any moment–from this history and we’ve not learned our history lessons.
The deliberate use of Colin Kaepernick’s symbolic and quiet protest of the incredible levels of police violence against persons of color to fan the flames of aggrieved white people has me sick to my stomach. I am sick of this illegitimate president*. I am even more sick of all the politicians that fan the flames of hatred between all of us that call this country home. I am sick of reading wypipo who simply want to cling to their ignorance and privilege. I want to scream it isn’t always about you at them!
It is difficult to not see the racism in all these actions and words. We’ve gone way pass the dog whistle phase.
This should not stand and any person in Kenner, Louisiana should let their mayor know that the majority of people living around here will not tolerate it. It’s an abomination. It’s illegal. It’s a first amendment violation. To quote my friend and editor of the Bayou Brief Lamar White Junior:
The white mayor of an American city is attempting to prevent parents and coaches from buying or dressing their children in clothes and shoes from a company that aired an inspirational television commercial reaffirming the humanity and the hopes of black children in America.
Read this and weep. Better yet, read this and decide that #BlackLivesMatter should be the battle cry of all good American citizens today and every day. This administration is race baiting one citizen to turn on another and to be blind to the violence, murder, and terror that results. It’s not just inequitable. It borderlines on calling for genocide.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn has apparently issued a memorandum demanding that the city recreation department and any booster clubs operating at its facilities no longer purchase or accept delivery of Nike athletic products or any apparel that features the company’s famous logo.
The Sept. 5 memo to Recreation Director Chad Pitfield, which is being circulated on social media, was not made public by City Hall. A spokesman for the city said Sunday (Sept. 9) that he had no comment. Zahn could not be reached.
Kenner booster club president Owen Rey told WWL the policy “shouldn’t be that way.”
“If we have something that we feel that we want that’s going to benefit our kids,” Rey said, “it shouldn’t matter what logo, what brand — as long as it helps the kids and what we’re trying to accomplish at the park.”
Nike recently unveiled its “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who triggered a wave of protests against racial inequality last year by kneeling during the National Anthem prior to games. The ads generated passionate reactions from people around the world.
The Kenner memo says that, effective immediately, all purchases of clothing, shoes, athletic equipment or any other athletic equipment by booster clubs operating at city recreation facilities must be approved by Pitfield or his designee.
“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any city of Kenner recreation facility,” according to the memo, which is on official mayor’s office letterhead and signed by Zahn. It makes no reference to the Nike campaign.
Kenner Councilman Gregory Carroll responded to the memo in a public Facebook post Sunday (Sept. 9), “I was not made aware of this decision beforehand and it is in direct contradiction of what I stand for and what the City of Kenner should stand for. I am 100% AGAINST this decision. I will meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive.”
Those of us in Orleans Parish recognize these remnants of scared white people fleeing to Jefferson Parish to avoid white children and black children in the same classroom as “Kenner Brahs”. They’re not a very distinct breed down here in the old south. They’re just one with a slightly different accent that drinks beer and spews racism.
The statistics supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement are overwhelming. This is lost in hooplah of white males complaining they want to watch their football and be blatantly ignorant of the issue and their role in it.
Black people are much more likely to be shot by police than their white peers.
An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox’s Dara Lind found that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population. Although the data is incomplete because it’s based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force.
The disparities appear to be even starker for unarmed suspects, according to an analysis of 2015 police killings by the Guardian. Racial minorities made up about 37.4 percent of the general population in the US and 46.6 percent of armed and unarmed victims, but they made up 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police.
This is at the heart of Kaepernick/NFL players protest. There is no intent to disrespect the flag or troops or whatever stupid things emanate from the fevered brain of our very mentally ill president. Athletic events have been used for protests against all sorts of thing. Every black athlete from Jesse Owens attending those Olympics in Munich was essentially a country wide troll of Hitler’s NAZI Germany. If you have a national or international platform, you’re in a special place to call attention to a problem. Most people who feel strongly about social justice issues use that platform. It’s nothing new. Many other athletes will join the call.
What is distinct about this protest? Is it just that we’ve got such naked white nationalism in the White House egging on the demons of our history? I suggest you read this brilliant essay “Dictating the conditions of freedom”.
White people don’t like it when black folks take a stand against their oppression. White culture expects black bodies and minds to be servile; existing for the sole purpose of entertaining, educating, or otherwise being in service to white people. White folks think that by ‘allowing’ black people to participate in ‘their’ stuff they aren’t racist. In reality, participation is often predicated on the unspoken expectation that ‘exceptional’ black people are only granted access to these spaces in exchange for their silence on the race issue.
We must always be thankful and express our gratitude at every turn. We must always pay obeisance to the benevolent white people who ‘gave’ us a chance.
Never talk about history; always focus on the present.
Be black, but not too black.
Never speak about current issues, unless you’re talking about what’s wrong with the black community.
Never call white people to account for their present racism.
Never make white people feel like they’re racist. Never speak out about your own or others’ oppression.
Do whatever it is that you’re being allowed to do without saying a mumbling word about how you’re being treated. Woe be unto you if you break this silent contract.
When Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem, he broke the contract. What’s worse is that as a biracial man who was adopted by a white family, he broke solidarity with any claim that whiteness could make on him. In White America’s eyes, he had chosen a side. He could not play the role of the ‘ambiguous other with white parents.’ He was no longer a white man by proxy. Whiteness had been willing to grant him a pass until he took a knee on the sideline, his Afro advertising his bold blackness that could not be buried.
When Colin kneeled, White America stopped seeing his whiteness. They could only see a black man who had broken the contract, who had made them feel racist. They could only see an “ungrateful n——r” who deigned not to participate in America’s civil religion. Whether or not he intended to, Kaepernick chose his blackness on that day. Not that he should have had to (because he shouldn’t have), but a side was chosen for him.
When white people decide to stand up for the dignity of black people, they still retain their whiteness. Other white folks might call them unsavory names and attempt to cow them back into white solidarity, but they still carry white privilege everywhere they go.
But when black people, even those of us who carry multiple racial identities, stand up for black lives, we lose. We lose friends. We lose employment. Some of us even lose our places of worship or connections to family members. We become pariahs.
When white people can no longer buy our silence and acquiescence about white supremacy, they turn on us. They try to destroy our reputation. They make us out to be mentally ill. They sanction us for failing to pass their litmus tests for orthodoxy. They attempt to gaslight us and make us feel guilty for ‘changing.’
The reaction that we see to Colin Kaepernick’s Nike endorsement has nothing to do with patriotism, ‘the troops,’ or any other red herring that is being bandied about. People aren’t burning their shoes because they feel that our country is being disrespected. They aren’t cutting Nike swooshes off of clothes because they feel a deep sense of patriotism. White people are ‘protesting Nike’ because they are upset that a black man has called attention to how racist America is (and them by extension).
Any black person who is participating in this so-called protest is doing so because they have bought into the idea of their own exceptionalism above the rest of the black community. They are a contract player for white supremacy, and their actions should not be seen as a cachet of black approval for white folks’ racism.
White people’s anger shows that they do not believe that the First Amendment (or any other rights for that matter) applies to black people. Their rage shows that they feel that their whiteness is not being adequately respected and revered by someone who they believe is beneath them.
I have read some very disturbing comments on posts I’ve read from friends that make me wonder if so many white people are being willfully obtuse about not getting all of this. I suppose the actual motivation matters less than the words I read that make me realize that we’re a long way from seeing every one’s civil rights respected equally.
It’s really not difficult to dig into any Republican State or Candidate and not find a racist. I have to admit that I’m watching the Florida and Georgia gubernatorial races with quite the jaundiced eye. The white candidates are about as subtle as Lester Maddox and unrepetant George Wallace.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a gubernatorial nominee who recently was accused of using racially tinged language, spoke four times at conferences organized by a conservative activist who has said that African Americans owe their freedom to white people and that the country’s “only serious race war” is against whites.
DeSantis, elected to represent north-central Florida in 2012, appeared at the David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences in Palm Beach, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Michael Finch, president of the organization. At the group’s annual Restoration Weekend conferences, hundreds of people gather to hear right-wing provocateurs such as Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka sound off on multiculturalism, radical Islam, free speech on college campuses and other issues.
On Monday, the Ford Motor Company, which owns the Detroit Lions, took a stand and pushed back on President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric against NFL players who protest.
“We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share,” the company said on Monday. “That’s part of what makes America great.”
Ford has a heavy stake in the NFL with team ownership and last year entered into a three-year agreement making the Ford F-Series the league’s official truck.
The NFL has said it would not penalize players who refuse to take the field during the national anthem.
Martha Firestone Ford, owner and chairwoman of the Detroit Lions and a member of the Ford family, fired back at Trump for his divisive comments.
“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation,” she said. “Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”
Ford also owns the naming rights to the Ford Field in Detroit.
Sunday’s first NFL game saw Twitler tweets and kneeling NFL players prior to the Dolphins Game. This isn’t going away no matter how much these racist white fans want to watch their game without thinking of any one but themselves. I was disappointed to see none of the Saints players carried the torch forward.
Just hours ahead of the first kickoffs on the first Sunday of the NFL’s regular season, President Trump again called for NFL players to stand for the national anthem and for TV networks to broadcast it, pointing to a decline in television ratings for the league’s season opener Thursday night.
“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” he tweeted. “Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”
Even though Colin Kaepernick would later join Trump in tweeting about the issue, it was a relatively quiet day as it pertained to the issue, with most of the discussion on the league’s first Sunday focused on the action on the field.
The season-opening games featured few demonstrations during the playing of the anthem, with Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson of the Dolphins taking a knee and their teammate, Robert Quinn, raising a fist before the game against the Titans. Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who started the idea of demonstrating during the anthem, tweeted that Stills and Wilson, who have frequently protested by kneeling before games, “continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward! ‘Love is at the root of our resistance!’ ”
The same Kremlin-linked group that posed as Americans on social media during the 2016 US presidential election has repeatedly exploited the controversy surrounding the NFL and players who have protested police brutality and racial injustice during the National Anthem, playing both sides in an effort to exacerbate divides in American society.
The debate is almost certainly an irresistible one for the Russians, given that it includes issues of race, patriotism, and national identity — topics the Russian trolls sought to exploit during the run-up to the election, and have continued to focus on in the two years since.
CNN worked with researchers at Clemson University that have archived millions of tweets sent by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll group that was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February. The accounts’ links to Russia were discovered by Twitter, which provided details about them to Congress. The data shows the trolls repeatedly weighing in on the debate, using different accounts to take both sides. While they used some accounts to push petitions to fire the protesting players, they used others to hail them as heroes.
Over the past year, social media networks have identified and removed thousands of accounts tied to the IRA. But despite the tech companies’ efforts, there’s no indication that the group is shying away from the NFL controversy.
There is no question that the debate over the protests is real. But Americans watching the controversy unfold on social media ought to know that not all the outrage on either side is authentic, and not all of it is coming from US shores.
Clemson University researchers and CNN have found instances of accounts linked to Russian trolls by Twitter weighing in on the issue as recently as May of this year.
Meanwhile, the Kenna Brah suburb by the New Orleans Airport has a peaceful protest planned for tonight.
In the wake of a widely-circulated memo banning Kenner’s recreation booster clubs from purchasing Nike gear, a “peaceful protest” is planned for the city’s Susan Park at 5 p.m. on Monday.
The protests follow a firestorm that ignited over the weekend when a memo from Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn began to be shared on social media. That memo ordered that all recreation district purchases be routed through the city’s purchasing department and said “Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any city of Kenner recreation facility.”
Nike has recently found itself the subject of national controversy after running new commercials featuring former NFL quarterback Kaepernick, who had been widely criticized — and supported — for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick chose to kneel as a protest against police killings of African-Americans.
Zahn did not respond to repeated requests for comment Sunday. But he made his feelings on the matter clear at the city’s Freedom Fest during the Labor Day weekend, when he said before a national anthem performance “In the city of Kenner, we all stand.”
Hey Zahn, when it comes to government stamping its damned shoes down on the rights of our fellow citizens, then I say this. A good number of us will not stand for it or any other tricks.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?