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This year mainstream America have been forced to witness something that black America has known and tried to sound the alarm on for decades. RACISM EXISTS AND IT EFFECTS EVERY PART OF AMERICAN LIFE. Amazingly we have social media to thank for exposing this simple truth. Network news and print media’s failure to properly address and report the truth about systemic racism gave enterprising bloggers an opportunity to correct this using the power of social media. Mainstream media’s reporting on race issues were all one dimensional only focusing on overt racism (white people using racial slurs, KKK, refusal of service based on race etc).
After the Civil Rights movement our government put in place laws that ended segregation, ended refusal of service based on race, and protected the voting rights of African Americans. All of these changes were huge steps toward racial equality, but none of them addressed systemic and institutional racism. Those outside of the minority community assumed racism was over and turned their attention elsewhere. Mainstream media did the same. In instances where institutionalized racism appeared (such as incarceration stats, or public school funding) those who didn’t want to see it or acknowledge it would come up with 50 different explanations besides race to explain it. Those who objected were labeled “race baiters” or “race pimps” and African Americans who wanted to discuss this were accused of playing the “race card”.
Fox News and the network’s show hosts became pros at dismissing racism with condescending editorials full of misinformation. They explain every symptom of institutionalized racism as a moral failure of African American culture. We’ve all heard this before; having children out of wedlock and one parent homes explains why kids join gangs and end up in prison. Dependence on welfare explains why the unemployment rate is higher among African Americans. Laziness and a poor work ethic explains the large income gap between whites and African Americans, and hip hop music explains an elevated crime rate in African American inner city neighborhoods. What most people fail to realize is, the moral failure argument is the same argument that slave owners and segregationist used to justify their racist views on African Americans. In other words, if you buy into the “moral failure” argument, you’re also buying into the white supremacist African Americans are inferior argument. That’s exactly what Fox News and conservative media have relentlessly pushed for decades. The election of Barack Obama seemed to accelerate their appetite for this kind of reporting even more.
Bottom line is this: if you look at the high incarceration rates, the wealth gap, the crime rate, the drop-out rate, and the high unemployment rate of African Americans as a moral failure that you have no obligation to help or correct, then you are RACIST. I use that word with great caution when I write because it requires some personal knowledge of how a person thinks and reacts to the world around him. But I feel extremely comfortable with labeling people who adhere to the Fox News and conservative media school of thought as a racist. Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh are leaders in the conservative media entertainment complex who have made millions by supporting white supremacist ideology hidden under the cover of political debate and commentary.
The rise of police brutality against African Americans, police killing unarmed African Americans, white people who fear physical violence at the hands of African Americans, the growing divide between the races, the rise in organized hate groups, and the rise in hate crimes are the result of conservative media’s white supremacist ideology that continues to inch closer and closer towards the mainstream. The depravity of those who make a living by misinforming their audience needs to be exposed, and those who consume this misinformation needs to open their eyes to the consequences of their consumption.
The most recent consequence is named Dylann Storm Roof. On June 11, 2015 a 21 year old named Dylann Storm Roof walked into a friendly, kind, loving Christian church who welcomed him (a stranger) with open arms. He sat with them for the hour long Bible study service they were having. He listened to them pray, he listened to them sing, he watched them engage in Christ-like fellowship. After watching all of this for an hour he stands up pulls out a gun and began shooting. He killed 9 goodhearted Christian people just because they were black. He listened as one of the church members who welcomed him like family a few minutes prior, begged him not to do it and responded saying “you rape our women, you’re destroying our country, you’re taking over our country, so I have to kill you”, then reloaded and continued putting multiple bullets into the church-goers to make sure they were dead.
This terrorist may have grown up in a household where racist thoughts and beliefs were very common. But he could have shed those beliefs while entering adulthood and gaining a more realistic look at race and the world around him. Instead, that early predisposition for racist thought found a place to feed and grow in conservative media. Dylann told his African American victims that he had to kill them because they were criminals and rapist, and he wanted to take his country back. This horrendously racist way of thinking isn’t far from the kind commentary you can find in conservative media on any given day. Political commentator Chris Hayes pointed this out on his MSNBC show “All In” (see video below).
Dylann Storm Roof is responsible for his actions and he should be punished accordingly, but we can’t ignore the atmosphere that created this deranged racist killer. We can’t ignore the steady diet of racist propaganda and misinformation from Fox News and conservative media that gave him the justifiable motivation needed to commit this heinous atrocity without a shred of remorse. So Fox News and the conservative media entertainment complex bares just as much blame for the 9 deaths in Charleston as Dylann Storm Roof. If our justice system really was fair, Fox News would be facing 9 murder charges while sitting in a cell right next to Dylann.
Resources and thought provoking links
Welfare Queen 2015
Bill O’Reilly Calls Protesters Race Agitators
20 Things To Know About Race
How Fox News Views Race
Proof Of Racial Profiling
Racist Rancher Becomes GOP Hero
Revised Jim Crow
No Justice For Trayvon
SNL Skit About Race
10 Issuesless Topics To Distract
Freddie Gray May Get Justice
The Death of Mike Brown
Pointergate Exposes Racial Divide
Twice a week white officers shoot black suspects
Blacks suffering under stop and frisk:
Race and the drug war:
Stats on African American’s disproportionate contact with police:
Mass incarceration of minorities:
Racism in the prison industrial complex:
Prison became the new Jim Crow:
Racial Bias in hiring:
Whiter jobs, higher wages – EPI Report
The Racist Housing Policy that Made Your Neighborhood:
The Case for Reparations:
Take Down The Confederate Flag:
Racial Wealth Gap:
Race Forward important research about racism:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum thinks government funded social programs are the government giving lazy black people hard-working white people’s money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdfZmcuomcE
Special thanks to Laci Green for the reference material and links. Follow her on facebook
http://www.facebook.com/officiallacigreen and twitter http://www.twitter.com/gogreen18
If anyone is curious why I despise Fox News and everything they represent, the video clip below is a perfect example that explains why. You have 4 people pretending to have an intelligent debate on terrorism and policing in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in France, but if you listen to the overall theme of this phony debate you’ll see that it’s really another opportunity for Fox to make their viewers afraid of black and brown people. They try to make racism sound reasonable, to desensitize us all from that sick feeling we get when we realize we’re taking part in or doing something or saying something that we know is wrong. When we lock our car doors when we see a young black man approaching thinking he’s a criminal who might rob me. When we see a black mother and her kids in the grocery store with a cart full of food and think she’s probably paying with food stamps. When we see a Muslim man boarding our flight and hope that he was stopped for extra screening. Fox News and their guests are constantly telling their viewers that it’s not only ok to make racist assumptions, but those racist assumptions are most likely true. This ignorant moronic woman suggest that skin tone is an indicator of criminal behavior, or as she put it an indicator of who’s a “bad guy”. The man beside her takes this even further and connects the terrorist attack in France to the way policing is done in New York. He suggest that targeting black and Latino men, ignoring their rights as Americans, and policing ethnic neighborhoods with military style police armed with military style weapons will somehow prevent terrorism and make us all safer. Then another ignorant panelist adds something very telling. She says people like her will not be targeted so in her mind it makes it all ok. This was the only truthful utterance in this pathetic racist discussion. Everyone on that panel knows that their race would exclude them from the dangers and dehumanization of racial stereotyping and racial profiling. Even the African American female panelist would be excluded due to her gender.
This video encapsulates everything that’s wrong with Fox in 4 short minutes. After watching it a few times, I feel it’s necessary to challenge or break down some of the ridiculousness and speak directly to each problematic statement:
1. Militarizing the police or making them carry larger or more powerful weapons would not have prevented 9/11. Making police in France carry larger weapons would not have prevented the attack there. The police officer who died in France had a gun. Giving him 10 more guns wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.
2. Stop and Frisk in New York had absolutely nothing to do with the decrease in crime there. Every study that has been conducted to answer that question has shown that targeting people based on race is a waste of police time and resources and it has a negative effect on the relationship between minority communities and police. Stop and Frisk was an unconstitutional failure that should never be repeated anywhere.
3. The male panelist said he never felt like police looked at him as “the enemy”. Of course they didn’t because his race wasn’t targeted. That’s why it’s called racial profiling. Stop and Frisk made NYPD look at blacks and Latino’s as “the enemy”. NYPD officers were told that if they assume everyone they stopped potentially had a concealed weapon, that would make the encounter legal. So black and latino men weren’t looked at as law abiding citizens anymore, under Stop and Frisk they were all looked at as potential criminals.
4. NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES IS BEING HUNTED BY ISIS. That ludicrous assertion needs no debunking or rebuttal from me.
5. The best way to be safe is arming everyone with guns. This is probably the most irresponsible piece of the Fox News ideology. First they convince their viewers that young black and brown males are dangerous, deserves to be targeted by police, and are most likely criminals; then after they are convinced of this they tell them all to go out and buy guns to protect themselves from the black and brown men who are out to get them. This is the kind of reporting that leads to unarmed men of color being shot and killed because the shooter perceived them as a threat, only later realizing that they posed no threat at all. Crime continues to drop in this country but when polled most Americans believe crime is at an all time high. That misconception is mostly due to media who use fear to sell products. Unfortunately that misconception is also costing lives.
6. If a terrorist sees a heavily armed police officer they might decide to call off their planned attack. This kind of thinking is almost laughable. The truth is if a terrorist is determined to attack Americans and take lives, there really isn’t a lot we can do to prevent this. Human’s aren’t perfect and neither is our government and law enforcement. For every 10 attacks that they prevent, there’s always going to be 1 or 2 that gets by them. That’s why I believe looking at the reasons that lead someone to become a terrorist and trying to address those issues in a realistic rational way would be much more effective than waging wars and stockpiling weapons and passing concealed carry laws that encourages citizens to be suspicious of those who do not look like them, and adopt the role of a vigil anti justice crusader.
7. The NYPD being exemplary in blending in with the citizenry and becoming part of the population without being the enemy? This statement is only true if you’re a white New Yorker which makes up about 33% of the city’s population. For the rest of the non white citizens this statement is not true, and even more so for the black citizens who make up 25% of the population. Choking an unarmed man to death on a sidewalk, forcing a man to strip naked while people on the street watch, or anally raping a man with a plunger is not what I would call an exemplary police force. But this panel at Fox if fine with all of that just as long as their white privilege protects them from it.
At the end of this video clip the panel talks about the bravery of those who worked for the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I’m in total agreement with them on that, but “brave” is a word that becomes meaningless when it comes out of a Fox News anchor’s mouth. There is no bravery in ignoring the suffering of those who aren’t a part of your perceived “good guy” skin tone or race, and there’s certainly nothing brave about profiting from manufactured fear. Fox News and those who subscribe to their ideology are cowards. Racist predictable cowards. Charlie Hebdo’s cutting edge commentary that spared no one’s sacred cow is the antithesis of Fox News and their crusade against African American culture and the minority community.
Here’s a link to an older post that also points out Fox for their racist ideology. ttp://sociallyurban.com/video/how-fox-news-views-race/.
Are you asking what the hell is #pointergate? Well here’s the answer. A local news channel in Minneapolis (KSTP) aired one of the most egregiously racist news stories I’ve seen from a mainstream news network in a long time. Two young African American community organizing volunteers were out registering people to vote. Both volunteers were working for a very well respected organization named “Neighborhoods Organizing For Change”. While out doing this work they run into the city’s mayor Betsy Hodges who was up for reelection. They spoke with the mayor and then asked to take a picture with her. The video below is a KSTP news report of what occurred during the community volunteers encounter with the mayor. It’s hard to believe that this is a real news story and not a parody of a news story. Warning: This should make your blood boil and stomach turn no matter what race or political affiliation you have.
*There’s a second video at the end of this blog with the volunteers talking about their work in the community and why it’s important to them.
Completely INSANE! It’s stories like this that makes me, as an African-American male, extremely cynical about where this country is heading. It seems like everything no matter how small or insignificant gets interpreted as criminal behavior when you’re an African-American man. This story reveals one of the main reasons African Americans are distrustful of law enforcement and local news. If a black man isn’t smiling in a photo, they’ll describe his expression as menacing. If a black man is pointing or giving the peace sign in a photo, they’ll say he’s throwing gang signs. If a black man wears jogging pants and a hooded sweatshirt while going for a run in his neighborhood, he’s a thug casing houses to rob. If a black man complies with an officers orders too fast or eagerly, he’s obviously reaching for a gun. If a black man questions an officer about why he’s being harassed or targeted, he’s arrested or shot for non compliance or labeled combative. A cell phone in the hands of a black man are constantly mistaken as a weapon by law enforcement. Young black males exhibiting normal teenage rebellion of authority will get himself arrested and labeled a felon for the rest of his life, while the same exact behavior by white teenage males are considered youthful indiscretions that rarely lead to an arrest or a lifelong label stripping him of his rights as a citizen and limiting his chances of becoming a successful productive member of society.
Events such as this exposes the inequality that has fractured this country into two very different Americas. There’s one America where you’re assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Where you’re given the benefit of the doubt when contradictions arise. Where you’re treated with respect by law enforcement. Where a mistake or a temporary lack of judgement does not define who you are. Where poverty isn’t seen as a character flaw. And then there’s another America where a lifetime of honesty still leads people to question your word. Where 2nd chances are rarely given. Where anyone who needs help or assistance from their government is looked at as undeserving or lazy, while others who benifit from government assistance are looked at as honest citizens who are being hurt due to a bad economy. Where unarmed men and young adults can be murdered without cause while their killer is never held accountable, and in some cases, treated as heroes in conservative media. Where pointing out or discussing racism of any kind gets you labeled racist. Where an ethnic sounding name is enough to negatively effect your job search possibilities and get your resume tossed in the trash before even considering your qualifications. Where police openly target you and overly scrutinize your behavior strictly based on your race and you’re powerless to stop it. An America where your life and self-worth isn’t valued or respected by the people who are in power. An America where a petty theft or any criminal act no matter how small can retroactively justify the taking of your life with the approval of many conservatives and conservative media alike.
After the civil rights movement America seemed to be bridging the divide between those two very different Americas. Then Ronald Reagan became president and ever since then there’s been a concerted effort to destroy the progress that our county worked so hard to achieve. President Clinton entering office slowed the decline but did little to address or acknowledge the growing divide. Then came Fox News and the rest is history. The election of Barack Obama seemed to bring out the absolute worst in conservative media. They convinced a large portion of the country that it’s ok to hold racist views and it’s ok to believe racial stereotypes. The popularity of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh
are huge indicators that this divide will continue to grow and lead the country into some very rough times ahead. I hate to end any blog without showing a glimmer of hope, or giving my readers something positive to hold on to, but sadly I don’t see any hope with this issue. If it were just a problem of awareness, writing blogs like this would make me feel like I’m doing my part to help solve things… but it’s not about awareness. Media highlighting stories like this are everywhere. Especially on social media sites. So the information and verifiable truth is out there. The real problem is people who aren’t willing to change because they benifit from the inequality. That’s a character issue that can only be solved in the hearts of each and every American citizen. Until then “pointergate”, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford, Levar Jones, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant, etc will continue to occur.
*UPDATE: A Socially Urban reader sent me this suggestion. If you’re outraged about this pointergate racial news story call the station and let them know. Tell them you want reporter Jay Kolls and the producers who put this on air to issue an apology and some kind of reprimand for Jay Kolls’ blatent lack of journalistic integrity. Here’s the phone number to KSTP – 612-588-6397.
US Congressman Lou Barletta is the latest republican calling for the impeachment of twice elected President Barack Obama. During a conservative talk radio interview Barletta said “President Obama wouldn’t survive an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives”. Barletta went on to say “the President is ignoring the Constitution, ignoring the law, and ignoring the checks and balances outlined in the Constitution.” He also said he believes there are enough votes in the house to impeach the president.
Since the beginning of President Obama’s first term in office we’ve heard the word “impeachment” from a lot of republican lawmakers and conservative pundits (see video clip at the bottom of page). I’ve heard this so many times that I’ve become desensitized to the weight and gravitas the word once held. Talks of impeachment use to be reserved for matters of extreme seriousness. Now it’s just another word republicans use to stir-up their base and capitalize on the far right’s hate and disdain for our TWICE ELECTED president. The problem is, the people they are pandering to aren’t realizing how disingenuous Barletta and others like him are. The hate they have for our TWICE ELECTED President Barack Obama blinds their ability to see logic. I almost can’t blame them because the right wing media money machine bombards them daily with a ton of misinformation and outright lies. Congressman Barletta’s comments aren’t unique by any means. Almost every single republican in the House and Senate have threatened or entertained the idea of impeaching President Obama at one point, but none of them are serious… and I can prove it. Here’s a small sample of quotes from republicans about President Obama:
Ted Cruz – “The president’s lawlessness and disdain for our constitution puts all American’s in grave danger.”
Michelle Bachman – “President Obama abuses power, assaults the constitution, declared war on business and energy, spends recklessly, creates divisiveness, and rules by executive order.”
Senator John Cornyn – “Under President Obama, inconvenient or unpopular legal requirements have repeatedly been swept aside by executive fiat”
Senator Orrin Hatch – “The president has put our entire economy in jeopardy in order to serve his own political interests.”
Grover Norquist – “Obama does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress”.
Represenative Kerry Bentivolio – “Who is going to stop Obama from everything that he’s doing against our constitution? Impeachment would be a dream come true if I could find the evidence.”
Senator Tom Coburn – “The administration is lawless and incompetent, and getting perilously close to impeachability.”
Congressman Farenthold – “What message do we send America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and he is found innocent?”
Rep Bob Goodlatte & Jonathan Turley – Obama ignores the constitution. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.
Notice how no one ever gives details on any specific laws that they think the president has broken. All they have are vague accusations and meaningless rhetoric. Conservatives and conservative media should ask themselves, are there legitimate reasons beyond partisan politics to have a discussion about impeaching the president. But something as rational as that seems like too much to ask for with them. Instead they engage in debate asking HOW can they impeach the president.
Law makers in both houses have a responsibility to uphold the law and balance the power of the executive branch. If they think the president is breaking laws and not following the constitution they are duty bound to start the process of impeachment. If they honestly believe everything they are saying about president Obama then they can’t say I would vote to impeach but I know it won’t pass the senate. The oath of office they all took does not allow them to ignore acts of treason and high crimes committed by the president just because it may hurt them politically. That would be an abdication of duty and it would make them just as guilty as they claim the president to be. Republicans hold the majority in the house. If they felt their reasons were just, they’d bring the issue to the floor for a vote. But they’re not going to do that because they know they have NOTHING. They know the president isn’t guilty of anything. When you see them on FOX or hear them on talk radio calling for impeachment, it’s all a performance. They get an opportunity to bash the president which makes the base happy. The more outrageous their rhetoric is, the more attention they get. They get invited for Hannity and Glen Beck interviews. They get their name in the paper. It’s a chance to raise their political profile. Even if they lose their office, they can make a lot of money within the conservative media money machine (books, radio show host, speaking engagements, lobbyist, think tank advisers, tv punditry, etc.). The incentives to engage in this type of behavior and practice this type of politics are huge. They are putting personal gain ahead of what is right for the country. The democrats aren’t perfect by any means but they have never been careless with words as powerful as impeachment. While George W Bush was president the democrats always showed respect for his title even when they may not have respected the man. Yes, there were a few democrats who talked about impeaching President Bush, but it was a very small minority and they actually had good detailed reasons for that discussion. Some dems wanted to press criminal charges against Bush and his administration, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (the most powerful democrat at that time) got her fellow democrats to move on and focus on fixing the economy. That’s what real leadership and integrity looks like. More times than not democrats are the party who puts the countries interest above their own. The republicans in office right now have forgotten how to do that.
So, to all of the conservatives reading this blog post right now, I just gave you a sure-fire way to test your party’s elected officials truthfulness (especially in congress). If they are constantly screaming impeachment and saying President Obama is lawless, ignoring the constitution, and taking freedoms away, then they need to back it up with action. Tell them to take it to the floor of the house for a vote or shut the hell up.
The civil rights activist, the radio/tv personality, the revered reverend, the best selling author, the voice of black America, the founder and president of The National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton has been a lightening rod of controversy for decades now. But ever since Barack Obama became president Reverend Al’s close relationship with him has raised his national profile in ways that even he did not expect. The positives are quite obvious such as increased visibility which gives him a platform to bring attention to specific areas or incidents of injustice, an hour-long cable news program on MSNBC (Politics Nation), a lucrative book deal for The Rejected Stone which chronicles his personal evolution from a controversial street activist to a national civil rights icon, increased visibility for his nonprofit civil rights organization the National Action Network, and a seat at the table when new civil rights legislation gets crafted. His proximity to power is envied by many, but there is a downside to being as outspoken and unapologetically supportive of President Obama. That downside is Fox News and the cabal of conservative media who are dedicated to destroy the president, his legacy, and anyone who supports him.
Every liberal commentator and political activist in this country should expect harsh and sometimes unfair critiques from their conservative counterparts. It comes with the territory. I’ve heard people say a vigorous debate is a sign of a healthy democracy, which is true. But there’s a caveat that says if you’re going to enter the world of politics you better have a tough skin, a strong sense of who you are, and a clear set of guiding principles that underpins everything you say and do. If you’re lacking in any of those, it will show sooner or later and the power and influence you thought you had will all disappear. The Reverend Al Sharpton has been in the public eye fighting for civil rights for almost 5 decades and continues to prove himself effective when injustice victimize’s the voiceless. There aren’t many leaders who have a 5 decade long history that sees their power and influence grow exponentially without being the real deal. Character, integrity, and passion aren’t things you can fake sustainably. That’s why all the hate and vitriol being thrown at him constantly over the years have never stuck and that’s why many African-Americans respect and revere him as a leader. Conservatives tried to block Barack Obama’s first bid for President and failed. They tried to stop President Obama’s reelection and failed. Now they are trying to attack Sharpton and marginalize the power of his organization, and they are failing at that as well. Their most recent attack came from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly after the murder of an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri. The African-American community of that town expressed their anger and outrage through nonviolent protest. There was a very small number of people who used the protest as a cover to loot and vandalize local businesses. Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News hosts accused Reverend Sharpton of inciting violence and inflaming tension between the African-American community and the police.
Bill said Sharpton inserted himself into the protest to get media attention and no one asked Sharpton to get involved or for any help. Of course none of that was true and anyone who knows how to use google could debunk everything O’Reilly said with an internet connection and two minutes. For example, here are two video clips. The first video is Al Sharpton’s first speech given as soon as he arrived in Ferguson at the behest of Micheal Brown’s family. The second video is Bill O’Reilly lying on air saying Sharpton incited violence.
There’s not one word in Sharpton’s entire statement that anyone could misunderstand as inflammatory or a call for violence. Sharpton clearly called for peace and pleaded with the community to keep the protest nonviolent. Fox News and Bill O’Reilly never aired this clip and made a conscience decision to lie on air to their viewers. Fox does this all the time but O’Reilly lies over and over about issues that involve race. Here’s another video where O’Reilly lied saying that African-American democrat organizers of an MLK day event excluded white republicans from speaking. The day after he lied and ranted about this he had to apologize on air because the press called him out on it.
Bill O’Reilly has a very skewed racist view of black America and constantly confuses Hip Hop culture and entertainment with African-American culture. Al Sharpton invited O’Reilly to have dinner in Harlem at one of Harlem’s most popular eating establishments Sylvia’s. After the dinner O’Reilly told his radio audience about it the next day. He told them that he was surprised how clean and nice it was even though it was owned and run by African-Americans. He said no one was yelling profanity, everyone was nice and respectful, and the African-American’s eating there were well dressed and well-behaved. He was amazed by this. When talking about Bill O’Reilly I always go back to this story about Sylvia’s because it explains how he views African Americans. So when he calls our first African-American president and our first African-American attorney general thugs, and calls well-respected African-American civil rights leaders “race agitators” or “race hustlers”, we all know what kind of mind that comes from.
One of Al Sharpton’s most popular critiques from conservatives asks why doesn’t Sharpton talk about black on black crime. Why isn’t he organizing and marching in Detroit and Chicago where inner city crime is rampant? You’ll hear that one on Fox a lot too. I have to laugh every time I hear a conservative say that because it shows they have no idea what they are talking about. Al Sharpton and his nonprofit have organized rallies and marches in both of those cities. He held a widely televised town hall in Detroit and even temporarily moved into an inner city apartment in Chicago to see first hand what the impoverished residents were dealing with. Despite how easily accessible this information is, somehow it remains hidden from Fox and other conservatives.
Another popular critique from conservatives is Reverend Sharpton only wants to help black people, so that makes him racist. To debunk this first we need to understand what a civil rights activist is. A civil rights activist or a civil rights organization uses political levers to secure equal opportunity for members of a less powerful minority group. The key word there is “equal”. So if you’re working towards making things equal for every race, you are trying to give minorities the same rights and treatment as those in the majority or those who have more power. African-Americans are a minority group who have been and continue to be discriminated against because of race. So a civil rights organization or activist takes on issues where African-Americans aren’t being treated as equals (to whites). That does not mean you only want to help black people because you don’t like white people. That is just ridiculous. When we finally have racial equality then we will not have a need for civil rights activist anymore.
One more popular critique I’d like to discuss is why doesn’t Al Sharpton and his organization help out when a black person kills a white person. First we need to correct a common misperception. Al Sharpton and his organization do not get involved with every case where there’s a black victim and a white perpetrator. To get involved they look for instances where the crime that was committed has racial elements that lead to the crime or racial elements that have the potential to hinder a fair and equal outcome. I’ll use the Trayvon Martin case as an example. Al Sharpton did not get involved just because Trayvon was a black kid. He got involved because the district attorney in Sanford had no plans to charge George Zimmerman with anything. Check the facts and you’ll see that the D.A. hadn’t filed charges a full month after Trayvon’s death. Then the family called Reverend Sharpton for help. He organized protest and used his high-profile to get the media to pay attention to the incident. The pressure from media and other civil rights organizations finally forced the DA to file charges against George Zimmerman. So Sharpton and NAN weren’t asking for a conviction, all they were asking for was a fair trial. If the district attorney in Sanford would have presented the case to a grand jury (just like they are supposed to) there wouldn’t have been a need for Sharpton to get involved.
I wrote this blog because I thought Reverend Sharpton didn’t deserve all the hateful comments and coverage from conservative media. He is flawed just like any other human and has made mistakes in the past, but the people who are throwing slurs and criticizing him for being passionate about civil rights hasn’t done anything close to the kind of work he’s dedicated his life to. This man is cut from the same cloth as MLK or Kennedy. Don’t believe the racist caricature the conservative media has tried to make him out to be. Do some research about the real man and see what he’s about before passing judgement. We have so few national civil rights leaders left. We should be thankful that he is still able to fight on our behalf, even when his character gets called into question and the hate gets thrown. I’m not sure I’d be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny. So please do some research on him and his nonprofit group National Action Network and see for yourself. Don’t let people who have an agenda tell you who he is (me included).
When I started writing a blog post sharing my thoughts on the racist Donald Sterling recordings I came to the same realization as ESPN columnist Bomani Jones but he said it much better than I, so I’ve posted his video at the end of this blog.
But before you watch the video I’d like to share an observation of mine that Mr Jones didn’t cover in his commentary. It’s about the way the liberal media and right wing media uses these public episodes of racism to reaffirm what they already believe and assure their audience that they are the good guys, while collectively missing the point altogether. This happens every time an incident of outright racism shows up in the news. Last week we had the racist rancher Cliven Bundy, and this week we have the racist billionaire Donald Sterling. I noticed a pattern in the way liberal media covers issues of racism and then noticed some similarities in conservative media coverage on race. MSNBC and other liberal leaning media covered it more as a teaching moment to show how racism still exist (which is the way it should be covered). But liberal media also uses racial situations like both of these stories as “feel good” moments for their white liberal audience. They get to give themselves a big pat on the back for being outraged by racism. It’s a way for them to tap into the satisfaction of political activism without having to do anything. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm beliefs and let everyone know how great a person they are for caring about minorities. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, so I’m not bashing them for this… but I am saying there’s a need for more depth after the self congratulatory pats on the back are done, and the sensationalism of the story fades away.
Then there’s the conservative media’s take on stories of racism. Just like liberal media coverage conservative media used the collective condemnation of said racial remarks as a “feel good” reaffirmation of their beliefs, and gave their audience a pat on the back for being outraged by racism. But that’s where the similarities end. After the pats on the back, conservative media takes a big right turn. To understand what I’m about to share with you may require a suspension of disbelief. Here’s what I mean. Bundy and Sterling’s acknowledged racism for conservative media proved that racism does not exist in modern America. This denial of logic takes leaps of mental gymnastics that only makes sense to the conditioned brain of the far far right. Fox News and the rest of conservative media comes to the same conclusion every time blatant racism is in the news. First they strongly condemn the racist, which is commendable I guess, but in the very next breath they use the same incident of racism they just acknowledged and condemned, to prove that racism does not exist. It’s amazing, remarkable, astonishing and a spectacle that every liberal should see at least once before dying (#LiberalBucketList). This logic defying feat of using the existence of something to prove that the very thing you just acknowledged does not exist is mind boggling to me… but they do it every single time. Both Sean Hannity and Bill O’Riley agreed that since a majority of American’s spoke out against Bundy and Sterling’s racist remarks, then that proves that America has moved beyond the acceptance of racism. And that proves that all racism and racist will meet the same rebuke received by Bundy and Sterling. I know this does not make any sense to anyone on the outside of the right-wing bubble, but this way of thinking is logical to them. Liberals go for the easy pat on the back while ignoring the burden of institutionalized racism that occurs everyday and hinders the advancement of minorities into the middle class. While conservatives go for the all out “racism is dead” celebration fiesta. When it comes to issues of race in this country, neither side of the ideological divide deserves praise.
Bomani Jones calls into the Dan LeBatard radio show and gives the REALEST take on the Donald Sterling drama, and how we all are ignoring the real issue when it comes to racism and how we handle situations of real racism in America and American media. It starts out with a funny observation but keep listening because he shares some pretty serious incite on institutionalized racism and how imbalanced everyone’s outrage is over Donald Sterling’s privately expressed racial faux pas to Donald Sterling’s proven blaten housing discrimination. Everything Bomani says is on point and noticeably missing from mainstream media coverage.
Conservative media and the GOP crowned their newest hero over this past week, and his name is Cliven Bundy. Mr Bundy is a Nevada rancher who had a very tense armed standoff with government officials trying to collect money he rightfully owed to the US government for 20 years worth of grazing fees that he refused to pay. Fox News and every single conservative media outlet rushed to Mr Bundy’s side very quickly because they saw an opportunity to exploit the situation and feed it to their base as big bad Obama government persecuting a hard working man who’s done nothing wrong. Casting Mr Bundy as a “maker” instead of a “taker”… which is ironic because Mr Bundy is so obviously a “taker” but I’ll explain that a little later in my post. First let’s go over the facts about the situation and the man at the center of it.
1. Mr. Bundy has been grazing his cattle on government owned land for 20 years without paying the proper fees that ALL ranchers have to pay. Accumulating for the past 20 years these fees add up to approximately $1 million. When normal American’s duck taxes and refuse to pay their bills, they get liens, repossessions, court judgments, and property seized. If a bank repossess someone’s home and the occupant refuses to leave, the bank will show up with an armed Sheriff and they will drag you out and arrest you for not complying.
2. Instead of handling this tax/fee dispute in court, Mr Bundy goes on Fox News and makes a call for armed anti-government militia men to come to his ranch with their guns to help him in an armed confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management so he can continue to steal from the government with no consequences.
3. When the government officials from the Bureau of Land Management came to seise Mr Bundy’s cattle for the 20 years of nonpayment and trespassing on government owned land they were met with heavily armed militiamen who watched Fox News and listened to Sean Hannity’s and Mr Bundy’s call for assistance. They had snipers pointing sniper rifles directly at law enforcement. Everyone who came to Bundy’s ranch had guns pointing at law enforcement… and here’s the unbelievable part, NO ONE GOT ARRESTED. Not one person was put in handcuffs.
4. Mr Bundy makes easily confirmable lies in numerous interviews but all of conservative media decided to ignore these warning signs that this man is dishonest and is misrepresenting himself and his situation. One of the biggest lies was about how long his family owned the ranch. He told Fox and all the others that his family has been on that land since the 1800’s, when county records clearly state that his family only purchased the land sometime in the 1980’s.
5. Mr Bundy says in an interview that he doesn’t recognize the authority of the United States government. Then he holds a victory rally and brings a state sheriff on stage to berate him for 20 minutes while the crowd cheers him on. He tells the sheriff and every other county sheriff in the country that they need to “disarm government bureaucrats” and if they couldn’t do the job then the citizens need to take-up arms against them just like he did. This was his third public on air call to violence… armed violence against law enforcement. The sheriff on stage listened to all of this and did nothing.
After going over the 5 factual points I’ve made, please tell me how anyone could see this man as a hero. Everything he’s done is supposed to be the stuff that conservatives are against. He doesn’t pay his debts. He does not follow the law. He shows contempt for law enforcement. He lies very easily. He wants the government to provide free grazing land for his cattle. He makes anti-American statements and says he does not consider himself as part of America. All of this and somehow conservative media loved this man. Can you imagine if a black man went on television calling for armed assistance to settle a dispute with the government? If a group of black men pointed guns and sniper rifles at law enforcement? Everyone knows exactly what would happen if Bundy was black.
Then Mr Bundy does an interview with The New York Times and decides to share his views on “the Negro”. I won’t paraphrase because you need to read his entire statement:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. I recall driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” – Cliven Bundy **video of him saying all of this is at the bottom of this page**
Yes, that was a direct quote. Mr Bundy’s comments are not only uninformed and blatantly racist… they are horrible, they are vile, they are disgusting, they are ignorant, moronic, vulgar, crass, imbecilic, dumb, idiotic and completely indefensible. What sane person with a working brain wonders if “the negro” was happier being a slave? Who thinks like that? And he has the nerve to talk about black people being on government assistance when he’s been receiving government subsidized grazing fees for 20 years and even with the huge government subsidies that only charges him 25% of the fair market price for grazing cattle, he can’t even pay that. I almost can’t blame him for thinking that black people are all on welfare, all living in government housing, all from single parent homes, all unemployed or in jail. He believes this because Fox News, conservative pundits, conservative media, Tea Party & GOP legislators are constantly pushing those false racist views. That’s why they have embraced people like Bundy over and over again. Remember Ted Nugent? He’s the no talent has-been “rockstar” that the Tea Party and conservative media embrased even after making racist and violent comments about the president. He called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in an interview. After Nugent learned that Obama won the election he said “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America.” Nugent told a CNN reporter that either Americans can vote Obama out of office or he can suck on my machine gun. Even after making these idiotic comments and violent threats republican congressman Steve Stockman invited Ted to attend the President’s State of the Union address as his guest. Ted even campaigned for Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. You are the company you keep.
Remember the Duck Dynasty guy? Phil Robertson made some really stupid racist remarks in an interview saying that black people were happy and singing picking cotton during segregation until the government came along with civil rights and gave all blacks welfare. After making those blatantly racist comments conservative media, the Tea Party, and the GOP all rallied around him and he became their hero. Again, you are the company you keep.
Remember George Zimmerman? He shoots and kills an unarmed teen after racially profiling him. Fox and conservative media rallied around Zimmerman… especially Hannity. A man that killed an unarmed teen became a hero to them. Then after the trial was over and he got acquitted Fox and conservative media was shocked and surprised when Zimmerman’s ex wife had to call 911 because he threatened her and her dad with a loaded gun. Since the Trayvon trial Mr Zimmerman has had 4 different incidents with law enforcement. Again, you are the company you keep.
I’m pointing out Ted Nugent, George Zimmerman, and Phil Robertson because it’s becoming a pattern for conservatives to hero worship these racist assholes. When it happens over and over again you can’t ignore it or say those are coincidental isolated incidents. The racism has become a very visible part of the conservative movement. Cliven Bundy is just the latest in a series that will keep repeating itself. Next month I’ll be blogging about the new conservative hero that turns out to be racist and all of conservative media will be shocked and surprised again… and again… and again. It’s sad that this keeps happening in 2014. I have friends who are republican and I know this kind of racialized politics makes them sick. I’m sure there are other republicans who are just like them but their party has been hijacked by the extremist and co opted by a huge billion dollar money making conservative media machine. Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck are destroying the credibility and electability of real conservative legislators who do not agree with the nuts, but feel they have to go along with it to stay in office. That’s good news for democrats, but bad news for anyone trying to legislate and govern. Conservative media keeps talking about a “post-racial” America, while proving over and over again we are far far from it.
When will conservatives stop listening to conservative media (Fox News & Limbaugh) and conservative politicians? How many times do they have to be wrong before their base starts to question their credibility? I know most liberals are well aware of the many conservative media lies that show up frequently in their reporting, but for those who watch conservative media exclusively I’m not so sure they know when they are being lied to. In recent history Fox News and their pundits have been proven wrong on a number of issues, and proven wrong in a big public way. First let’s start with the 2012 presidential election. All of conservative media which includes Fox, bloggers, columnist, radio personalities, religious leaders etc told their audience over and over again that Mitt Romney was going to win in a huge landslide. Even though every single poll projected President Obama as the winner. They duped their audience into ignoring the polls by telling them that all the polls were rigged by the liberal media to favor President Obama. Then on election night Obama wins with a very comfortable lead and Fox’s viewers were in shock because they all had their trust in a news network that was supposed to be “fair and balanced” as their slogan proclaims. You’d think a gaff that big would at least warrant some kind of apology… but surprisingly none were offered. For several months leading up to the election all of conservative media trotted out a number of big company ceo’s from across the nation to warn voters of the grave consequences that awaited them if President Obama won reelection. All of the ceo’s said the stock market would take a huge dive, they would have to lay off thousands of employees, they would have to close plants, interest rates would skyrocket, etc etc etc. These guys weren’t saying these things may happen, they were saying emphatically these things will happen. Now that we’re almost one year into President Obama’s second term we saw none of those doom and gloom predictions materialize. In fact quite the opposite. The stock market is surging at an all time high. Company’s are reporting record breaking profits. Unemployment has seen a slow but steady decline, but still no apology from any of those who made the misleading comments… not even an explanation as to why they got things wrong. I’m not even going to get into the many many many lies they’ve reported about Obamacare. For that I’d need at least 3 or 4 blog entries to properly address it. Fox has a habit of reporting misinformation to manipulate their viewers and sadly they continue to do this.
Watching the way conservative media has covered the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has been an eye opening experience for me. I have never seen the murderer of a teenager get embraced by a political party, a television network, and major radio personalities before. George Zimmerman was hailed as a hero to these sick minds. The Trayvon Martin shooting brought out the absolute worst in conservative media. Normally they would dance around race and use euphemisms and code words to keep plausible deniability just in case someone tried to call them out on it. But during the Zimmerman trial they threw caution to the wind and flew their confederate flag high. Bill O’Riley, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh all warned their viewers that if Zimmerman got acquitted African American’s would riot. They all reported this over and over again for a whole week. But hearing them say that made me realize they actually believe the racist crap they report. They believe every black man is a suspect and should be treated as such. They saw the whole black community in the same way that George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin… as a criminal. I knew there weren’t going to be any riots, and so did every other black person, but those who buy into ugly racist stereotypes talked about it like it was a forgone conclusion. Then the verdict came and surprise surprise NO RIOTS. There were plenty of civil protest but no riots. You’d think after being wrong about that they would stop warning their audience about scary black riots… right? No, of course that didn’t stop them. Truth and facts never gets in the way of reporting at Fox News. Over the weekend Reverend Al Sharpton and the parents of Trayvon organized rally’s in major cities all over the country. Sean Hannity again predicted violence and anti-white demonstrations. He even went as far as to warn his audience to expect a race riot if these Trayvon rallies continue. And again he was proven wrong. Thousands of black and white people gathered together all over the country for rallies and speeches and not one incident of violence of any kind. This is the second time Fox has promised racial violence and were 100% wrong. When are their viewers going to hold them accountable? When are conservatives going to demand the truth from the people they support. How many times do they have to be proven wrong before people start to see them as tired outdated racist clichés who are always part of the problem instead of being part of the solution?
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein
TO FIND MORE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA LIES DEBUNKED VISIT THIS SITE: http://mythopedia.mediamatters.org/