Monday Reads: The Politics of Racial Resentment

70be8b3b676fe82c31d068e36e166187Good Morning!

I started writing this post in the morning. I have a feeling it’s going to take me awhile to pull it together so I should probably add a Good Afternoon just for good measure.

I was a small child during the early 1960s.  My father was an avid newspaper reader for the two daily editions of our local newspaper and the newspaper read around the state of Iowa.  That would be the Des Moines Register. I grew up watching Huntley & Brinkley around the dinner table.  It’s probably why I’m still a bit of a news hound even though journalism is not my calling.  Two things really influenced my childhood.  The first was the TV images  of the Vietnam War with the nightly news coverage of body counts and footage of jungle warfare.  The other was the incredible, horrible film of angry white people and police as the Civil Rights Movement spread across the South. I doubt that  I will ever forget watching hoses turned on children my age.

I was fortunate that I spent most of my weekends in Kansas City and a lot of my childhood travelling the country and the world.  It opened me to new experiences and different people and I soon craved more than any white, small city suburb offered. It’s actually why I resent the gentrification of New Orleans.  I do not want my Bywater neighborhood to reflect the cultural ennui of Minnetonka or the new Williamsburg.

Like most Midwestern cities, my town practiced Jim Crow by building interstates and railroad tracks to deter racial mixing. There were white_slavery_2also unspoken laws about where to go and where not to go.  By the time I got to high school and the school integration SCOTUS case took hold, it was obvious that I had grown up in place where there was just a different version of Jim Crow.  The faces of ugly, angry white Nebraskans aren’t all that different from ugly, angry white Mississippi folk. We moved across the river to Nebraska when I was 10. So, we traded small town Iowa for the sterile burbs of Omaha.

In many cities, these dividing lines persist to this day — a reflection of decades of discriminatory policies and racism, but also of the power of infrastructure itself to segregate.

Look at racial maps of many American cities, and stark boundaries between neighboring black and white communities frequently denote an impassable railroad or highway, or a historically uncrossable avenue. Infrastructure has long played this role: reinforcing unspoken divides, walling off communities, containing their expansion, physically isolating them from schools or parks or neighbors nearby.

[How race still influences where we choose to live]

Research, in fact, suggests that American cities that were subdivided by railroads in the 19th century into physically discrete neighborhoods becamemuch more segregated decades later following the Great Migration of blacks out of the rural South.

Racism has been rotting down there at the roots of our nation since the first mercantilists hit the shores of the “new” world. It came talking-about-race-moving-toward-a-transformative-dialogue-7-728with the first white Europeans and has stuck around.  Just when you think we’ve progressed, we experience a backlash that shows exactly how deep those rotten roots have dug. I’ve written frequently about the Southern Strategy and how Republicans have played the racial resentment card to build a base that lets them enact their scorched earth approach to government. We’ve discussed how much of this has come to a head since the election of our current President who, at best, is a slightly right of center, establishment black man. What’s really struck me recently is how the cult of Trump and the cult of Bernie both display the incredible nature of white privilege.

Trump’s followers display naked racial resentment to a level we’ve not seen in some time.  It’s translated itself into the Republican Party as a sidebar to “small government” and  “state’s rights”. Racial Resentment has been a useful tool for the rich because it serves their goal of drowning the Federal Government in the bathtub.  They’ve managed to frame any civil rights movement–recently to include GLBT rights–as an example of special privileges. Their real goals are to deregulate industries and destroy the central parts of the tax base thus enriching their donor base. Here’s a brief literature review of the concept of racial resentment from an academic paper linked in this paragraph.

There are a number of different measures of the new racism—including symbolic racism, modern racism, and racial resentment—but all share a common definition as support for the belief that blacks are demanding and undeserving and do not require any form of special government assistance (Henry and Sears 2002; Kinder and Sanders 1996; Kinder and Sears 1981; McConahay and Hough 1976). We focus on Kinder and Sanders’ (1996) concept of racial resentment because it is assessed by questions that have appeared in a number of American National Election Studies (ANES) and is the form of new racism most accessible to empirical scrutiny by political scientists.

Kinder and Sanders (1996) date the emergence of white racial resentment to the urban race riots of the late 1960s, a time of growing black political demands. In their view, resentment was fueled by the subtle racial rhetoric of a series of presidential candidates including George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. According to Kinder and Sanders, these political figures helped to create a new form of racial prejudice in which black failure was not the fault of government but rather caused by blacks’ inability to capitalize on plentiful, existing opportunities. They conclude that “A new form of prejudice has come to prominence … . At its center are the contentions that blacks do not try hard enough to overcome the difficulties they face and they take what they have not earned. Today, we say, prejudice is expressed in the language of American individualism” (1996, 105–106). They label this new form of prejudice racial resentment.

Racial resentment is measured with either a short scale comprised of four items or a longer version made up of six items that tap the notion that blacks don’t try hard enough and receive too many government favors (Kinder and Sanders 1996). Respondents are asked to agree or disagree with all six, or the first four, of the following statements: (1) “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.” (2) “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.” (3) “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.” (4) “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.” (5) “Government officials usually pay less attention to a request or complaint from a black person than from a white person.” (6) Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried.” Items 2, 4, and 5 are reverse scored in the final resentment scale. The first four of these items appear in the Henry and Sears (2002) symbolic racism scale, illustrating the empirical overlap between different versions of the new racism.

McConahay and Hough (1976) argue that new racism items such as those in the resentment scale provide a socially acceptable way of expressing general racial prejudice that was detected in earlier times by agreement with overtly prejudicial statements. From this perspective, racism could be assessed with a range of statements, not only those that reflect a sense of resentment, as long as they assess prejudice without doing so in a blatant fashion. In contrast, Sears (see Henry and Sears 2002) argues that symbolic racism is specifically defined by the combination of antiblack affect and traditional values such as individualism reflected in agreement with items in the resentment and symbolic racism scales. Kinder and Sanders concur with Sears and regard agreement with statements that chastise blacks for insufficient effort and a lack of individualism as an expression of racial prejudice.

There are differing opinions on whether the belief that blacks are undeserving of government assistance constitutes prejudice, regardless of whether this prejudice can be detected across a broad range of beliefs and actions in agreement with McConahay, or more narrowly in beliefs about a lack of black individualism as argued by Sears, Kinder, and colleagues. Concerns about the prejudicial nature of racial resentment arise, in part, from evidence of the tight link between measures of new racism and racial policy attitudes but not other forms of overt prejudice (see for example, Bobo 2000; Sidanius et al. 2000; Sniderman and Piazza 1993; Sniderman et al. 1991; Stoker 1998). The powerful connection between new racism and racial policy raises two central concerns: First, are the items that refer to government assistance in the racial resentment scale responsible for the link between resentment and policy attitudes because they both measure opposition to government assistance, as Schuman (2000) and others (e.g., Sniderman and Tetlock 1986) have claimed? Second, do new racism measures influence racial policy because they convey an ideological preference for smaller government and a belief in individual effort that has little or nothing to do with racism (Sniderman et al. 2000)? If the answer is yes to either one of these questions, the racial resentment scale faces a serious challenge as a measure of prejudice. We address the first concern briefly and then turn to address the second in greater detail because, in our view, it poses a far more serious threat to the validity of the racial resentment concept.

Consider Schuman’s (2000) concerns first. He suggests that some items in the racial resentment scale are so close to racial policy that they simply assess opposition to government intervention on racial matters and have little or nothing to do with prejudice (see also Sniderman and Tetlock 1986). For example, one question in the original six-item resentment scale asks whether blacks could get along without welfare assistance if they tried. This is uncomfortably close to a direct assessment of government welfare policy. Likewise, the statement concerning government officials paying more attention to black people could also be read as an assessment of government racial policy. Omitting these two items does not, however, undermine the powerful influence of racial resentment on racial policy (Kinder and Sanders 1996). Moreover, when Henry and Sears (2002) stripped the four remaining resentment questions of any reference to government treatment or assistance—for example, by removing the words “without any special favors” from the question that refers to the success of other minority groups—the combined scale (along with additional similar items) retained its strong link to white racial policy views. These findings suggest that racial resentment is more than a simple assessment of racial policy

general-lee-car-junkerThe paper is worth reading to get an understanding of the concept and if racial resentment is ideological.  I recommend reading it.

Anyway, what got me started thinking about all of this was one comment Sanders made over the weekend and this display of appalling racism by children in Wisconsin who obviously are connected to Trump-supporting families. This latter is the overt type of racism and racial resentment that we’ve seen coming from the Republican side of the political spectrum.

White high school soccer fans chanted, “Donald Trump, build that wall,” at a group of black and Latina players from an opposing team last week in Wisconsin.

Some of the players from the Beloit Memorial girls varsity soccer team walked off the field during the game Thursday at Elkhorn Area High School after they were taunted with racial slurs and the pro-Trump chant, reported WISC-TV.

“They came off the field and weren’t able to finish the game because they were too upset and distraught over what happened to them,” said coach Brian Denu. “One of the girls was cradled in the arms of one of our assistant coaches for a good 15 to 20 minutes.”

Denu said the chant came from a small group of Elkhorn students, but he said it greatly upset his players.

“Those are just words you’ll never be able to take back from those kids and an experience that you wish you could take back,” Denu said. “It was really disturbing for them.”

Elkhorn school officials said they were investigating the “inappropriate/offensive comments,” which they attributed to “a student or two.”

These actions are generations removed from the screaming, angry white people that met Ruby Bridges at the steps of her school.  It’s also several generations removed from the kid in my American Government Class in my very white small school District in Omaha whose parents transferred him because there were black people all over Benson High School.  My government teacher checked the distribution at the time.  They were transferring entire grades of students from one school to the other so some veneer of integration existed but barely. This meant it was possible to go about your classes without attending class with any one that you hadn’t gone to school with before the integration order.  Also, the school only had a bout 16% black students transferred in so they were definitely a minority.  So, we’ve gone from 60s and 70s kids to this which seems worse given the context of all the progress we’re supposed to have made towards a “more perfect union”.

However, pernicious white privilege hiding racist frames exists in leftist white progressives. This is what has really shocked me more than the overt Trump Supporter Racial Resentment politics. No place is this more obvious than in BernieBros.  Once again, Bernie Sanders explained away Southern Democratic Primary voters not providing him with any type of victory because they’re more “conservative”.  This completely discounts the large role that Black voters play in the Democratic Parties and elections around the South.

On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Bernie Sanders about his campaign strategy at this stage of the race. The Vermont senator, making an oblique reference to his message to Democratic superdelegates, presented himself as a “stronger candidate” than Hillary Clinton. It led to an interesting exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: She’s getting more votes.

SANDERS: Well, she’s getting more votes. A lot of that came from the South.

Trayvon-Martin-protests-i-010I had one local BernieBro mansplain to me that Hillary and her supporters were “misleading” blacks. I was then told to grow up after I basically stated that African American Voters are not children   So, at first I’m a misleading whore, then childlike. So, there’s the one two punch of white male privilege right there. Here’s the exact tweet and the link to the original tweet by Paul Krugman.

It’s blacks in the South and elsewhere who are mislead, asshole, thanks to shitheads like you & neolibs.

I also got this retort this morning on FB from another local BernieBro reacting to the Krugman tweet.

“Anyone who doubts that there is a strong conservative element among Southern democratic voters is simply not paying attention.”

My reply follows.

“Not simply paying attention to the demographics of Southern Democratic primary voters and recognizing that overwhelming minority population.”

These are local BernieBros btw.  They’re not isolated from the South or from Black people in the traditional northern/midwestern sense of redlining.  How is it that left of center democrats are not caught up in the resentment factor but still show such appalling ignorance of their own white privilege?  Also, what is the deal with understating the political role of Southern Blacks? I’ve been active in Democratic Races here in Louisiana. You have to be pretty damn blind to not see the racial mix of the party.  All of my local pols are black right up to my Congressman.

Here’s the New York version of the same story line.

I’ve tried, at least in public, to avoid the term Bernie bro. I understand why the many women and people of color who are supporting Bernie Sanders for president feel erased by it. I can see why lefty white men feel maligned by the implicit suggestion that they are rejecting Hillary Clinton out of sexism rather than idealism.

Nevertheless, the term gets at a particular flavor of sneering condescension that some of his acolytes show toward many women—and, I have to assume, many people of color—who are skeptical about Sanders. If you want to see what I am talking about, I invite you to watch this clarifying moment from a proxy debate between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters that I took part in on Saturday.

Here’s the bottom line that illuminates an offending exchange.

It is hard for me to imagine Tasini speaking that way to a white man. Some might disagree, and there’s probably no way to quantify precise varieties of belittlement. All I can say is that I think many women will recognize it.

Some recent, further analysis by Steve Benen writing at MaddowBlog is close to my own in this post. I was happy to find this after I’d started this post which is why I guess I should say Good Afternoon again.

The result is a provocative rhetorical pitch from Team Sanders: Clinton may be ahead, but her advantage is built on her victories in the nation’s most conservative region. By this reasoning, the argument goes, Clinton’s lead comes with an asterisk of sorts – she’s up thanks to wins in states that aren’t going to vote Democratic in November anyway.
Stepping back, though, it’s worth taking a closer look to determine whether the pitch has merit.
First, it’s worth appreciating the fact that “the South,” as a region, includes some states that are far more competitive than others. Is there any chance of Alabama voting Democratic in the general election? No. Is there a good chance states like Florida and Virginia will be key battlegrounds? Yes. In other words, when talking about the region, it’s best to appreciate the nuances and not paint with too broad a brush. Indeed, even states like North Carolina and Georgia could, in theory, be close.
Second, there’s an inherent risk in Team Sanders making the case that victories in “red” states should be seen as less impressive than wins in more liberal states. After all, some of the senator’s most lopsided successes have come in states like Utah, Kansas, and Idaho, each of which are Republican strongholds. (Similarly, Clinton has won in some traditional Democratic strongholds like Massachusetts and Illinois.)
But perhaps most important is understanding why, exactly, Sanders made less of an effort to compete in the South. The New York Times reported last week on the campaign’s strategy headed into the Super Tuesday contests in early March.
Instead of spending money on ads and ground operations to compete across the South, Mr. Sanders would all but give up on those states and would focus on winning states where he was more popular, like Colorado and Minnesota, which would at least give him some victories to claim.
The reason: Mr. Sanders and his advisers and allies knew that black voters would be decisive in those Southern contests, but he had been unable to make significant inroads with them.
It’s a key detail because it suggests this has less to do with ideology and more to do with race. The notion that a liberal candidate struggled in conservative states because of his worldview is inherently flawed – Sanders won in Oklahoma and Nebraska, for example – and according to the Sanders campaign itself, skipping the South was necessary, not because the right has statewide advantages in the region, but because of Clinton’s advantage among African Americans.
Sanders wasn’t wrong to argue on ABC yesterday that “a lot” of Clinton’s lead “came from the South,” but it’s an incomplete description. It downplays Clinton’s success earning support from one of the Democratic Party’s most consistent and loyal constituencies: black voters.

Benen–see my bolded sentence above–makes the same argument as I.  It’s less about ideology and more about race. It’s very hard to argue that it’s not a form of racism if you’re discounting the participation of a huge swath of the population basically by refusing to acknowledge one key demographic trait; race.

This all comes as a part of America seems to be coming to the realization that we actually have a race relations problem.  A recent Gallup poll findings show some  increasing concern but low priority.

  • 35% of Americans are worried a great deal about race relations
  • Number has more than doubled in past two years
  • Race relations still ranks low among issues causing worry

This study indicates that while concern is stronger among liberals and Democrats, it is not enough to put the issue on the top of the priority policy list.  I have noticed that you see very few white Democrats–other than those residing in the South–that spend much time talking about the obvious attacks on the Voting Rights Act and the necessary steps to correct it.  In fact, when you looked at the case of Arizona—where the Act may have influenced the availability of voting machines–you basically had BernieBros accusing the Hillary Campaign of cheating rather than figuring out the obvious reason for the issues.

Jonathan Chait takes a stab at analyzing the strong black preference for Clinton. He chalks it up to the pragmatic nature of most

By Jamie Lynn Chevillet /Journal & Courier-- Joe Daubenmier holds a sign giving his opinion at Tea Party 3 hosted by the group Citizens in Action held on the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge in Lafayette on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

By Jamie Lynn Chevillet /Journal & Courier– Joe Daubenmier holds a sign giving his opinion at Tea Party 3 hosted by the group Citizens in Action held on the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge in Lafayette on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

African American voters.

The Democratic primary is a reprise of the classic purity-versus-pragmatism conflicts that periodically break out in both parties. Purists (on the left and the right) cast voting in morally absolute terms. They believe a hidden majority of the electorate shares their preferences, and a sufficiently committed, eloquent, or uncorrupted leader could activate that majority. Sanders is a classic proponent of this worldview. He has portrayed conservatism as simply a false consciousness constructed by big money and a biased news media, and something that would, in an uncorrupted system, be reduced to 10 percent of the public or less. Pragmatists read the electorate much more pessimistically. They recognize that the other side votes, too, and, having lowered expectations of what is possible in the face of a divided country, recognize that progress will be incremental and weighed down by compromise — sometimes with truly odious forces. That is the history of even the most spectacular episodes of progress in American history. Abraham Lincoln, who was holding together a coalition of voters that included supporters of slavery, refused to support abolition until the very end. Franklin Roosevelt needed the votes of southern white supremacists, and had to design social programs to exclude southern black people in order to pass them through Congress.

No community in the United States is more aware of the power of its enemies than African-Americans. For most of American history, the franchise itself was denied to black voters, who leveraged their precious vote for whatever they could. That did not mean holding out for politicians who would treat them as equal human beings, but merely supporting the less-bad party. In the first half of the 19th century, writes Daniel Walker Howe, “wherever black men had the power to do so, they voted overwhelmingly against the Democrats” — despite lacking anything like a racially egalitarian party to support. The emergence of the Republican Party in the middle of the century provided a vehicle for African-Americans to exercise more leverage. When neither party offered any positive inducement, as they deemed to be the case in 1916, black civic leaders stayed neutral.

I have read a large number of twitters and the facebook comments of black voters.  I can only imagine how it feels to be either described as easily misled or as racist because you want to take away white privilege simply to achieve civil rights. It’s about removing special privileges not gaining them.

Again, I just try to listen and learn. I’m fortunate that I live and seek out situations where I can increase my understanding.  Race relations are high on my priority list because I am a Southern Democrat living in a majority black city who knows that we just all need to work together to get our country to a place where we all have the ability to succeed.

So, this did take a large amount of time and print.  I’ll turn the discussion and post over to you for the day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today.

Thursday Reads: Irrational Hatred and the Exhaustion it Creates


Good Afternoon!!

I’ve been struggling all morning over writing this post. I knew that if Hillary ran for president again we would face unprecedented sexism and misogyny from the media and from many people who claim to be Democrats. But I never imagined it would be this bad. It was bad in 2008, but in 2016 the CDS is magnified beyond belief.

Since I was a child I have had a difficult time understanding why people hate those who are different from themselves. It was around 1956 when I noticed the prejudice that black people have to deal with. I just couldn’t make sense of it. I was 8 years old.

Later I followed the Civil Rights Movement closely and again I was mystified by the hatred of Americans for their fellow Americans. I could empathize and feel rage at the injustice perpetrated against African Americans, but of course I couldn’t really comprehend what it felt like to be the targets of so much ugly, vicious hatred.


As someone who has dreamed her whole life that women might finally achieve equality, and who believes that electing a woman president would go a long way toward making that dream a reality, I am beginning to truly understand how it feels to be hated and reviled by the culture I live in. It is exhausting.

It requires superhuman strength and courage just to get up every day and keep trusting my inner voice no matter what other people say and do, and internally trying to counter the ugly attacks on the first woman to have a real chance to win the Democratic nomination and perhaps to become the first woman President of the United States.

The only thing that gives me the strength to keep believing is the the example set by Hillary Clinton. I don’t know how she does it, but I think she has the courage and the competence to keep fighting for us all the way to the White House.


Last night in the CNN Democratic Town Hall, I saw a woman who is comfortable with herself, who believes in her ability to pull this off, and who has truly found her voice as a candidate. I have never seen a better performance by Hillary Clinton in any debate or forum. She was magnificent.

But don’t expect the media to report that. They’re busy praising Bernie Sanders, the man who answered every question by returning to his boring stump speech far outshone the woman who following him (why does Bernie always get to go first, by the way?) according to the largely white male Washington press corps.

You know what? I don’t care. Hillary is speaking to the voters and I think enough of them will hear what she is saying.

Last night Bernie got mostly softball questions from Anderson Cooper and the audience. Hillary got mostly tough questions, and she rose to the occasion. She never whined or complained. She was humble and she listened carefully to what she was asked.

Bernie on the other hand did his usual nodding and waving–he doesn’t seem to listen to the questions at all. He makes up his mind what the question is while the person asking it is still talking. Hillary doesn’t do that. She actually cares about the person who is talking to her. It’s amazing that so many people can keep right on hating her even after they watch her be so open, so willing to listen, to learn, to get better as a person and a candidate. But that’s what hate is about–hence the cliche “blind hatred.”


Just for today I’m going to leave aside the many media arguments for why Hillary Clinton just isn’t good enough and why she can never be good enough in their minds. There’s another debate tonight, and I need to psych myself up; because I am determined to watch it no matter how exhausting it is to see the irrational hatred my candidate has to face.


First, a couple of positive moments from last night:

From a mostly negative article by Eric Bradner at CNN, a wonderful quote from Hillary Clinton after she was asked for the umpteenth time why younger voters like Bernie Sanders so much and why they are rejecting her (although I see so many young women and men on line and on TV who do like her):

“I’m impressed with them, and I’m going to do everything I can to reach out and explain why good ideas on paper are important, but you’ve got to be able to translate that into action,” Clinton said.

“Here’s what I want young people to know: They don’t have to be for me. I’m going to be for them,” she added.

Could Bernie Sanders have been that humble and non-defensive? Not from what I’ve seen so far.


From Maxwell Tani at Business Insider, here’s another sincere and humble moment from Hillary last night.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton delivered a deeply personal answer to a question about how she stays self-confident while being conscious of her ego and staying humble.

Responding to a question from a rabbi at a CNN town-hall event, Clinton seemed to allude to damaging past public scandals, saying she kept a parable from the Bible in mind during tough situations.

“It’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly. Everybody knows that I’ve lived a very public life for the last 25 years. So I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues,” Clinton said.

She continued: “I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. It basically is, ‘Practice the discipline of gratitude.’ Be grateful for your limitations, know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you to support you advise you. Listen to your critics, answer the questions, but at the end, be grateful.”

I thought that was straight from the heart. But it will be minimized and then brushed aside by the haters.


In Michael Moore’s Casual Chauvinism, Michael Tomasky writes about the endorsement of Bernie Sanders by the liberal icon. In a letter, Moore lists a series of historical “firsts” in the history of presidential campaigns. The first Catholic, JFK. The first president from the deep South, Carter. The first divorced man, Ronald Reagan, and so on up till the first black president, Obama.

But Moore never mentions women at all. He doesn’t think the first woman president would be important. No. He’s thrilled by the idea of the first socialist president–ignoring the fact that Sanders would also be the first Jewish president if elected. Sanders clearly agrees with him.


Here’s what’s weird and gobsmacking about this endorsement. In a letter that is almost entirely about historical firsts—it goes on to discuss how “they” used to say we’d never have gay marriage and other changes—Moore doesn’t even take one sentence to acknowledge that Clinton’s elevation to the presidency would represent an important first.

I mean, picture yourself sitting down to write that. You’re a person of the left. You are writing specifically about the first Catholic president, the first black president, the first this, the first that. You want people to believe that if those things could happen, then a “democratic socialist” could win too. Fine, if that’s your view, that’s your view.

But it’s also the case the other candidate winning would make history in a way that is at least as historically important from a politically left point of view—I would say more so, but okay, that’s a subjective judgment—and it’s not even worth a sentence? I wouldn’t expect Moore to back Clinton or even say anything particularly nice about her. But he can’t even acknowledge to female readers that this great progressive sees that having a woman president would be on its own terms a salutary thing?

I obviously have no idea whether Moore contemplated such a sentence and rejected it or it just never occurred to him. Either way, it tells us something. To a lot of men, even men of the left, the woman-president thing just isn’t important.


Please read this magnificent essay by Melissa McEwan at Blue Nation Review: I Am a Hillary Clinton Supporter Who Has Not Always Been One.

I am a Hillary Clinton supporter who has not always been one. She was not my first choice in 2008.

But it was during that campaign I started documenting, as part of my coverage of US politics in a feminist space, the instances of misogyny being used against her by both the right and the left, amassing a “Hillary Sexism Watch” that contained more than 100 entries by the time she withdrew from the primary. And it was hardly a comprehensive record.

I have spent an enormous amount of time with Hillary Clinton, although I have never spoken to her. I have read transcripts of her speeches, her policy proposals, her State Department emails. I have watched countless hours of interviews, debates, addresses, testimony before Congress. I have scrolled though thousands of wire photos, spoken to people who have worked with and for her, read her autobiography, listened to her fans and her critics.

And what I have discovered is a person whom I like very much.

Not a perfect person. Not even a perfect candidate. I am not distressed by people who have legitimate criticisms of Hillary Clinton and some of the policies she has advocated; I share those criticisms.


Is any person or candidate perfect?

What is distressing to me is that I see little evidence of that person in the public narratives about Hillary Clinton. Not everyone has the time nor the desire to deep-dive into documents the way that I have. If I hadn’t had a professional reason to do so, I may not have done it myself.

I may have—and did, before I was obliged otherwise—relied on what I learned about Hillary Clinton from the media.

Which, as it turns out, is deeply corrupted by pervasive misogyny.

The subtle misogyny of double-standards that mean she can’t win (even when she does), and the overt misogyny of turning her into a monster, a gross caricature of a ruthlessly ambitious villain who will stop at nothing in her voracious quest for ever more power.

Please go read the rest. I only wish I could quote the whole thing.


Emily Crockett at Vox: This awful Morning Joe clip shows how not to talk about Hillary Clinton.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday featured a tone-deaf discussion of Hillary Clinton’s tone, which you can watch in full here.

“She shouts,” journalist Bob Woodward said of Clinton. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating, and I think that just jumps off the television screen.”

That kicked off an eight-minute, slow-motion train wreck of a conversation that used Clinton’s alleged problems with volume to support arguments about how voters find her untrustworthy — and even to suggest that Clinton doesn’t know or trust herself as a person.

“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Woodward said later, “but there is something here where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself, and, you know, self-acceptance is something that you communicate on television.”

Host Joe Scarborough compared Clinton unfavorably to 1980s conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom were apparently self-confident enough to keep the noise down.

“Has nobody told her that the microphone works?” Scarborough said. “Because she always keeps it up here.” The “genius” of Reagan, Scarborough said while dropping into a deep baritone for emphasis, is that Reagan “kept it down low.”

The panel also included Cokie Roberts talking about how people think Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and dishonest. Gee I wonder where they got that idea, Cokie?

I’m running out of space already. I’ll put some more links in the comment thread. We’ll have a live blog tonight for the MSNBC Democratic Debate.


Lazy Saturday Reads

 animals reading1

Good Morning!!

Maybe it’s just me, but I think today must be the slowest news day yet in 2014. I’ve gathered a hodge-podge of reads for you, some that look back over the past year and some current news stories that I found interesting or humorous. So here goes . . .

Looking back, I think the biggest story of this year has been the many events that have revealed how racist the United States still is nearly a century-and-a-half after the end of the Civil War and more than a half century after the Civil Rights Movement.

In the news yesterday: Driver Destroys Mike Brown Memorial, Community Rebuilds By Morning. From Think Progress:

A memorial set up in the middle of Canfield Drive where teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in August was partially destroyed Christmas evening when a car drove through it. Neighbors and friends of Brown quickly came together to clean up the damage, rebuild the site, and call for support on social media….

Activists on the ground also reacted angrily to the Ferguson Police Department’s public relations officer, who told the Washington Post, “I don’t know that a crime has occurred,” and called Brown’s memorial “a pile of trash in the middle of the street.”

Since Brown’s death, the memorial has been a key gathering place for protests and prayers, and a receiving station for those that poured in from across the country to pay their respects and demonstrate against police brutality. Supporters also had to rebuild the memorial in September after it burned to the ground.

Also from Think Progress, photos of the some of the people who were killed by police in 2014.


As you can see, most of them have black or brown skin.

Sadly, we know Brown and Garner were just one [sic] of many people who died at the hands of police this year. But a dearth of national data on fatalities caused by police makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact number of deaths. One site put the total at 1,039.

What we do know is that police-related deaths follow certain patterns. A 2012 study found that about half of those killed by the police each year are mentally ill, a problem that the Supreme Court will consider 2015. Young black men are also 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than young white men, according to one ProPublica analysis of the data we have. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also compiled data which shows that people of color are most likely to be killed by cops overall. In short, people who belong to marginalized communities are at a higher risk of being shot than those who are not.

Go to the link to see a table showing which groups are most likely to be shot by police.

Mother Jones has released its yearly list of top long reads of 2014. First on the list is The Science of Why Cops Shoot Young Black Men, by Chris Mooney. It’s about the unconscious prejudices that plague all of us. A brief excerpt:

On the one hand, overt expressions of prejudice have grown markedly less common than they were in the Archie Bunker era. We elected, and reelected, a black president. In many parts of the country, hardly anyone bats an eye at interracial relationships. Most people do not consider racial hostility acceptable. That’s why it was so shocking when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games—and why those comments led the NBA to ban Sterling for life. And yet, the killings of Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, and so many others remind us that we are far from a prejudice-free society.

Science offers an explanation for this paradox—albeit a very uncomfortable one. An impressive body of psychological research suggests that the men who killed Brown and Martin need not have been conscious, overt racists to do what they did (though they may have been). The same goes for the crowds that flock to support the shooter each time these tragedies become public, or the birthers whose racially tinged conspiracy theories paint President Obama as a usurper. These people who voice mind-boggling opinions while swearing they’re not racist at all—they make sense to science, because the paradigm for understanding prejudice has evolved. There “doesn’t need to be intent, doesn’t need to be desire; there could even be desire in the opposite direction,” explains University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek ….

We’re not born with racial prejudices. We may never even have been “taught” them. Rather, explains Nosek, prejudice draws on “many of the same tools that help our minds figure out what’s good and what’s bad.” In evolutionary terms, it’s efficient to quickly classify a grizzly bear as “dangerous.” The trouble comes when the brain uses similar processes to form negative views about groups of people.

But here’s the good news: Research suggests that once we understand the psychological pathways that lead to prejudice, we just might be able to train our brains to go in the opposite direction.

Read much more at the second link above. Go to the previous link to see the 13 other stories on MoJo’s list of the magazine’s best 2014 long reads.

science deniers1

Also from Mother Jones, a list of “the stupidest anti-science bullshit of 2014.” Check it out at the link.

Another “worst of” list from The Daily Beast: 2014: Revenge of the Creationists, by Carl W. Giberson.

Science denialism is alive in the United States and 2014 was yet another blockbuster year for preposterous claims from America’s flakerrati.  To celebrate the year, here are the top 10 anti-science salvos of 2014.

1) America’s leading science denialist is Ken Ham, head of the Answers in Genesis organization that built the infamous $30 million Creation Museum in Kentucky. He also put up a billboard in Times Square to raise funds for an even more ambitious Noah’s Ark Theme Park. Ham’s wacky ideas went primetime in February when he debated Bill Nye. An estimated three million viewers watched Ham claim that the earth is 10,000 years old, the Big Bang never happened, and Darwinian evolution is a hoax. His greatest howler, however—and my top anti-science salvo of 2014—would have to be his wholesale dismissal of the entire scientific enterprise as an atheistic missionary effort: “Science has been hijacked by secularists,” he claimed, who seek to indoctrinate us with “the religion of naturalism.”

2) Second only to Answers in Genesis, the Seattle based Discovery Institute continued its well-funded assault on science, most visibly through Stephen Meyer’s barnstorming tour promoting his book Darwin’s Doubt. I was a part of this tour, debating Meyer in Richmond, Virginia in April. Meyer’s bestselling book is yet another articulate repackaging of the venerable but discredited “god of the gaps” argument that goes like this: Here is something so cleverly designed that nature could not do on her own; but God could. So God must have designed this. Meyer insists, however, that his argument is not “god of the gaps” since he says only that the anonymous designer was “a designing intelligence—a conscious rational agency or a mind—of some kind” and not the familiar God of the monotheistic religious traditions. For his tireless assault on evolutionary biology and downsizing the deity to fit within science, I give Meyer second place.

Go over to TDB to read the rest of the list.

Donald Sterling and Ray Rice

Donald Sterling and Ray Rice

Also in this vein, Talking Points Memo offers a list of worst sports stories: From Donald Sterling To Ray Rice: 2014 Brought Out The Worst In Pro Sports.

The past year brought out the worst in professional sports players, owners, and fans alike, from domestic violence scandals in the NFL to the removal of racist team executives in the NBA.

Of course, shockingly bad behavior wasn’t limited to major league football and basketball alone. The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, was just sentenced to probation for drunken driving. FIFA was enough of a mess to inspire a 13-minute Jon Oliver segment ahead of the World Cup this summer.

But even the most casual sports observer understands what’s at the center of the Washington Redskins naming controversy, or can form an opinion on whether Ray Rice should be allowed to play football again. The NFL frequently surfaced in the headlines this year for all the wrong reasons, and its domination on this list suggests the league needs to get its act together on a couple fronts.

Check out the list at the TPM link above.


Recently, I posted some links about the 75th anniversary of the movie Gone With The Wind and the racist attitudes it portrayed. Today Newsweek published a piece about the efforts to curtail the racism in the movie before it was filmed and released: Fixing Gone With The Wind’s ‘Negro Problem’

In the spring of 1938, Rabbi Robert Jacobs of Hoboken wrote to Rabbi Barnett Brickner, chairman of the Social Justice Commission of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, “Soon the David O. Selznick Studios of Hollywood will begin production of the play ‘Gone With The Wind.’ The book, a thrilling romance of the South, was shot through with an anti-Negro prejudice, and while it undoubtedly furnished almost half a million people in this country with many glowing hours of entertainment, it also in a measure aroused whatever anti-Negro antipathy was latent in them.”

Rabbi Brickner in turn wrote to Selznick. “In view of the situation,” he wrote, “I am taking the liberty of suggesting that you exercise the greatest care in the treatment of this theme in the production of the picture. Surely, at this time you would want to do nothing that might tend even in the slightest way to arouse anti-racial feeling. I feel confident that you will use extreme caution in the matter.”

Brickner wrote a similar letter to Walter White, Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. White also wrote to Selznick, suggesting Selznick “employ in an advisory capacity a person, preferably a Negro, who is qualified to check on possible errors of fact or interpretation.”

In his reply to White, Selznick wrote, “I hasten to assure you that as a member of a race that is suffering very keenly from persecution these days, I am most sensitive to the feelings of minority peoples.” He added, “It is definitely our intention to engage a Negro of high standing to watch the entire treatment of the Negroes, the casting of the actors for these roles, the dialect that they use, etcetera, throughout the picture.

Read the rest at the link.

At Daily Kos, David Akadjian offered a list of 21 Ayn Rand Christmas Cards–a satire, of course, but Akadjian learned that Rand actually did send out Christmas cards, despite her atheism. Here are some of her odes to a selfish Christmas.




I’ll wrap this post up with some current news stories:

USA Today: Thousands gather to honor slain officer in New York.

The Guardian: North Korea calls Obama a ‘monkey’ as it blames US for internet shutdown.

USA Today: North Korea suffers another Internet shutdown.

Seattle PI: Woman who bared breasts in Vatican square is freed.

Washington Post: Baby gorilla shunned by other gorillas to switch zoos.

Washington Post: Pakistani forces kill alleged organizer of school massacre.

The Telegraph: More than 160,000 evacuated in Malaysia’s worst ever floods.

Special for New Englanders from the Boston Globe: Will The Rest Of Winter Have Lower Than Average Snowfall?

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a stupendous Saturday!

Free your mind…open thread

Good Evening

Hey, I do miss writing the evening reads. Hopefully when all this personal crap is over I can get back to it.

Anyway, I saw this little nugget of news: Teen Cuffed, Put in Cell After $350 Barneys Purchase: It’s Because I’m a Young Black Man | NBC New York

Teen: I Was Arrested After Barneys Purchase Because I'm Black

A 19-year-old college student from Queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt at Barneys on Madison Avenue because he is “a young black man.”

Trayon Christian told NBC 4 New York on Wednesday that he saved up from a part-time job for weeks to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys.

When he went to the store to buy it in April, he says the checkout clerk asked to see his identification. After the sale went through and he left the store, he was approached by police about a block away, and asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Officers hauled Christian to the local precinct, where he showed police his identification, as well as his debit card and the receipt for the belt, the lawsuit says.

Police still believed Christian’s identification was fake, and eventually called his bank, which verified it was his, according to the complaint. Christian, who has no prior arrests, was released.
He told NBC 4 New York that questions were racing through his mind while he went through the painful experience of being handcuffed and taken to a cell.
“Why me? I guess because I’m a young black man, and you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that I was one of them,” Christian said. “They probably think that black people don’t have money like that.”

Which made me immediately think of this song by En Vogue:

Free Your Mind (song) – Wikipedia


Trayon Christian is suing of course…And what about that belt he saved up to buy?

He later returned the belt to Barneys because he says he “didn’t want to have nothing to do with it.”

Hell yeah, after all that shit,  I wouldn’t have anything to do with it either.

This is an open thread.