Step Up. Step Forward. Step In.

I have, up to this point, refrained from saying much on this specific person, but now it is time to do so, but I’m not looking to have the same discussion everyone else is having regarding her and what she did.
Earlier this month, a white woman found herself filled with faux-fear of Black people gathering in the public space at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California for a barbecue.

As a result of this fake fear she called the police and reported the group for “suspicious behavior” for no reason other than to get the police to officially harass the family, most likely in the hope that someone would become belligerent about the unwarranted harassment and give the police an excuse to escalate the encounter.

We know for a fact her reported fear was a false fear because she spent the entire time waiting for the police verbally harassing the group, shouting at and berating them.

Thankfully, the police handled this situation correctly, and she was the one they ended up removing.

In the aftermath she has experienced her 15 minutes of Internet infamy, finding her image photoshopped into nearly every significant image of people of color gathering from Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech to “Soul Train,” to the “Sugar Shack,” to the “Last Supper.” In every image she is on her mobile phone reporting the suspicious gathering to the police.

We also now know that she is a Stanford educated Doctor of Philosophy with a focus on Chemical Engineering. Her name is Dr. Jennifer Schulte.

This means that intelligent or not, she is most definitely highly educated. We also know that a racist “Doctor of Philosophy with a focus in Chemical Engineering” is the closest social media will allow you to come to labeling yourself a “Doctor of Eugenics” whether on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile.

What I want to talk about is bigger than her.
What I want to talk about is bigger than the increasing frequency of exposure of white people reporting people of color to the police in order to have them harassed for going about their normal daily activities. Activities such as meeting friends at a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb property, napping in the college dorm, or just trying to do their job.

What I want to talk about is bigger than the racist bigots calling ICE on anyone with a Latinx/Hispanic appearance or who dares to speak Spanish in a public space. Especially if their targets happen to be working in a restaurant or other service industry business. They do this with no regard to the fact that many, if not most of them, may very well be natural citizens and legal immigrants, they just want to see them persecuted for daring to share the same space.
What I want to talk about is bigger than all of that.

I want to talk about us, and by “Us” I mean all the White people, just like me who consider ourselves to be “not a racist,” but live in a world that accepts all of this going on around us on a daily basis.

The racist argument is based entirely on the fact that an entire classification of people can be judged by the behaviors of their worst members, no matter how few of those worst examples there are.

As long as we allow this to continue unchecked, as long as there are not consequences for the worst of those of our own demographic, we cannot honestly blame anyone for grouping us in with our own worst element. And sadly, we have more than a few. We’ve empowered them into the highest levels of our government, economy, and social structure.

People with beliefs just like Dr. Jennifer Schulte are teachers, loan officers, police officers, politicians, firemen, ambulance technicians, doctors, plumbers, contractors, bus drivers, and more. And if this is the way they behave when they expect anonymity and/or preferential deference, you know that they’re unleashing far worse on their targets within their professional capacity to do so at every opportunity they believe they can get away with it.

We’ve allowed them to establish the laws, regulations, rules, policies, procedures, and algorithms that permit them to enforce their bigotry and hatred upon their victims.

We often even benefit from the systemic racism they’ve established, it’s become so entrenched that we may not even notice it. And when it is pointed out to us, we often become defensive. We say we didn’t make the rules. We say we don’t have the ability to change them. But, we don’t go out of our way to avoid the benefit of them either.

It is no longer enough, it really never has been enough, to be not-racist. We must all be aggressively anti-racist.

We must call it out whenever we see it.

Every instance.

Every time.

This is the pro-active strategy that we can implement:

Be alert and vigilant in public spaces. Look for a “suspicious” white person when a black person or a group of black people walk into the space.

Such a person will appear nervous, agitated, or angry. If they call the police:

1. Begin to record the scene.

2. Approach the black individual(s) and explain that you are an ally as a witness.

3. Call a friend or relative to let them know what you are doing and that you may get arrested.

4. Remain on site as a witness until the police arrive.

5. Once the police arrive, engage with the police if they detain or arrest the black individual(s). Get names and badges numbers.

6. If the black individuals are handcuffed and taken to the police station, DO NOT post your video on social media.

7. Instead, call local media.

8. Call the local bar association to get a pro bono attorney to follow up.

If you sense that the police may arrest you, immediately send your video footage to your cloud account or a friend.
If arrested, do not say a word while detained in lock-up.

You have privilege.

Don’t just talk about how bad things are, or worse, ignore overt and systemic racism as “Not my problem, not my responsibility.”

Use it to create equality for those that do not.

Until we take it upon ourselves to bring about the necessary change, nothing is going to change.

You have privilege.

Don’t just talk about how bad things are, or worse, ignore overt and systemic racism as “Not my problem, not my responsibility.”

Use it to create equality for those that do not.

Until we take it upon ourselves to bring about the necessary change, nothing is going to change.

“…On Many Sides…”

Back in 2015, Donald Trump spoke about the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson and Baltimore:

“I saw them with hate coming down the street last week talking about cops and police, and what should be done to them. And that was not good. And I think it’s a disgrace that they’re getting away with it.”

This statement was brought about by his fear and hatred of people of Color — and the White people that ally with them — attempting to stand up and speak out for reform of systemic injustice, police brutality, imbalanced judicial punishments, and denial of both human and Constitutional rights of entire segments of the population by civil servants.

Militias from all over the country came to make sure that “those people” didn’t get out of hand. Police attacked them aggressively, immediately.

Mr. Trump said nothing to condemn the violent response by both citizens and police to the gathering of protesters in those situations.

In January, one week after taking office as the Republican President, his new administration put up their official White House web site. On their page titled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community,” they included this statement:

“Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.”

In the short time since, we’ve watched his Department of Justice and Department of Education whitewash over half a century of civil rights protections from our governmental structure, and heard him tell police to be more violent with their arrests of “those people.”

Now yesterday, in the midst of a gathering of people armed with both torches and weapons, angrily descending on a city not to defend their human or Constitutional rights, but their privilege to memorialize in public spaces idols to treasonous leaders in a movement to overthrow the government of our nation to retain the right to oppress and literally own other humans as chattel slaves.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

Trump said this during a short statement from his private golf club in New Jersey regarding the domestic terrorism events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Worse, he then visibly retreated when asked to specifically condemn the violence perpetrated by the White Nationalists as well as the injuries and death created by a domestic terrorist on their behalf.

With his limited statement, his retreat, and the context of his previous statements and actions, he has set the stage for a second civil war.

He has given the political legitimacy of the Presidential Office’s consent to the false equivalency of violent KKK gatherings — David Duke was in attendance in Charlottesville and praising Trump’s support of their cause — with protest against oppression due to racial and religious bigotry.

This is how his message was received by those White Supremacists on one of their leading national websites:

“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate…on both sides!

So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.

Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

No condemnation at all.

When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

Really, really good.”

All of this makes him a greater threat to the safety and security of every person on United States soil than any radical extremist from the Middle Eastern nations or fascist North Korean dictator. The fact that he continues to intentionally escalate those threats as well, just makes him even more dangerous to us all.

The only important question that remains is do you stand with the President and his support of reviving the “Lost Cause” or do you stand with your fellow citizens against an assault on human and Constitutional rights from the Oval Office?

The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to a literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional Southern white society to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.  White Southerners sought consolation in attributing their loss to factors beyond their control and to betrayals of their heroes and cause.  Those who contributed to the movement tended to portray the Confederacy’s cause as noble and most of the Confederacy’s leaders as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry defeated by the Union armies not through superior military skill, but by overwhelming force.  They also tended to condemn Reconstruction.

As long as those of you on the conservative right continue to ignore — or worse, support and defend — their religiously intolerant White Nationalist, Neo-Nazi, racist extremists committing hate crimes and acts of domestic terrorism, there is no legitimacy to the designator of “alternate” for the “Alt-Right.”

A wholesale embrace of this behavior is the path the Republican President decided was necessary to “Make America Great Again [For White People].”

We should strip away the deflection of the rebranding efforts and expose these violent extremists for exactly what they are; which is nothing more or less than modern Republicans.

I have no idea if you identify as Republican or not, conservative or not.

I’m just stating the fact that if you support them at all, you’re allowing them to speak for you. If you don’t approve of their messaging and methods, denounce it and stop supporting them.

Anyone who supports a party whose entire platform and path to success is a wholesale embrace of this ideology, will find they’re going to be lumped into it.

This is the modern Republican party.

Any conservatives that don’t agree with it, need to either form a new party to distinguish themselves or openly and vehemently denounce these extremists and work to purge them, their rhetoric, and their White Nationalist, Christian theocracy policies and legislation from their party.

This is not a fringe element.

This is the Republican party leadership.

This is Congress.

This is the Republican White House administration and the close inner circle of trusted advisors.

This is the President of the United States.

He Called Society’s Bluff.

This essay has nothing to do with Tim Tebow.   The only reason his image is there is because when he took a knee in celebration after each touchdown football fans everywhere began doing the same in a trend that was even named “Tebowing” after him.

This essay is about one of the recurring questions people seem to bring up to me, which is why do people hate Colin Kaepernick so much?   But I knew if I put his image there, the people that needed to see it the most might avoid it.

They hate Colin because he called society’s bluff.

The Bluff of White Fragility.

You have to protest peacefully, they said. You can’t disrupt business or traffic. No rioting or destruction of property. Stop shouting people down and wait your turn to speak. Be respectful. Don’t be disruptive. And when you can do all that we’ll listen to what you have to say and do our best to help you, they said.

So Colin called them on it.

He peacefully, non-violently, silently took a knee for the duration of one song before the game. He didn’t break anything, didn’t burn anything. He didn’t shout at, or interrupt anyone. He didn’t interfere with their ability to get to the game or watch the game. He didn’t prevent or disrupt anyone that was attempting to sign the song at the time.

 

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When asked later why he did it, he calmly and articulately explained his reasoning, at length.

When called out for not putting his money where his mouth was, it was revealed that he had quietly been donating a vast amount of his personal income and time to charities that supported his stances on the issues he was protesting. And he continued to do so knowing he was putting his own future income from his career and endorsements at risk.

But despite doing everything exactly the way White folks have been directing People of Color to protest for years, decades, even centuries, they still lost their God-damned minds over it.

 

 

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Proving that it was never about decorum or civility or methods of protest, it was only about getting them to shut up and not bother us with their suffering.

And if they were lucky enough to obtain some privilege of their own, they weren’t supposed to try and help others, they were supposed to go out there and gratefully but quietly destroy their bodies for our entertainment.

Fascism for Dummies

There is a famous quote frequently attributed to either Sinclair Lewis or Huey Long that states “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.”

Watching the campaign of Donald Trump it certainly appears as if he is following a step-by-step guide he copied out of his own personal “Fascism for Dummies.”

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each.

So, let us examine each point and look at specific examples of the Trump campaign enacting them as we go.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

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From his simplistic “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, to his oft repeated calls to build a border wall, The Donald has made this Nationalism, specifically White Nationalism, the cornerstone of his campaign.   His continued acceptance of his own supporters use of Confederate Battle and Nazi flags and paraphernalia at his own events also speak volumes to his manipulation of this Nationalist anger.   Episodes of racial violence are a recurring theme at his rallies to the extent that he’s even offered to pay the legal fees for those that commit it.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

The most glaring example here is his stated desire to kill the families of enemy combatants, “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,” Trump said.

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He has also called to reinstate torture techniques that are now considered both human rights violations and war crimes.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

From the moment his campaign began he has been scapegoating Mexicans as violent criminals, all Muslims domestic and foreign as terrorists, and all Black people are ignorant, uneducated, poverty stricken, violent criminals.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Trump has held frequent fund raisers supposedly for the benefit of our veterans, using them to boost his image, only to fall through on delivering the funds raised to the organizations.

While constantly berating our current military as not being good enough, from ignorant generals who don’t know as much as he does, to claiming women are only being sexually assaulted in the military because they’ve been allowed in, and saying that those that suffer PTSD just weren’t emotionally or mentally strong enough to handle their service, he is also calling for major increases in military funding so that we can increase our efforts in the Middle East and make our military great again.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

An entire book could easily be written about the rampant sexism of “The Donald.”

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The obvious place to start is with his video confession while at work, to a peer from another company, of a history of criminal sexual assault, abuse of power, coercion, and workplace violence upon women that he and his supporters have attempted to dismiss, normalize, and trivialize as “locker room banter.”

However, it is much more pervasive than just that.   There are his repeated attacks on Megyn Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, and a long string of misogynistic tirades.

We even have the video of him finding a 10 year old girl so attractive that he plans to date her in just a few years.   As of today, we are seeing an increase in the number of women coming forward with allegations of their own encounters resulting in being assaulted by him.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

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As of May, MarketWatch estimates that Trump had manipulated roughly $3M worth of free advertising for his name brand and presidential campaign from our corporate funded mass media outlets.   That total has been increasing steadily since then, with the most dramatic example being when he used a campaign stunt tricked the media into airing a 30 minute  infomercial announcing the opening of his newest hotel venture.

At the same time, he is threatening to change the laws to make it easier to sue journalists who say things about him that he doesn’t like; a move that some claim would put an end to Freedom of the Press.   And on the campaign trail he is refusing access to reporters by banning certain outlets from his public events.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

Vice Senior Editor, Harry Cheadle explains quite well that Trump’s entire national security view is a combination of “Fear, Ignorance, BS, and More Fear.”

Not only does Trump fear immigrants, he encourages others to be afraid, too.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

First up, here, we have Trump’s desire to turn the mega-Churches into the new Super-PAC powerhouses of our political system by promising to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which would end a ban on non-profit churches politicking for candidates and the implementation of religious laws.

Then we have his desire to punish women and their doctors for abortion procedures, a desire his Vice Presidential running mate would take even further.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

At least we know where he stands on the intersection of cronyism and politics; and it’s not pretty.  He is a man who admitted during the Presidential debates that he explicitly rejects the free market and has enabled corruption.

Then we have Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican Presidential Nomination offered promises of tax reductions and regulatory relief – while simultaneously promoting trade protectionism that would inflict a severely regressive tax on poor and middle-class consumers.

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While he claims to feel “in a certain way to be a blue collar worker,” himself, the New York Attorney General states “This is a guy who leaves a trail of broken contracts, unpaid bills…and ruined lives everywhere he goes,” on his way to being a self-proclaimed “successful businessman” with a perpetual string of failed business endeavors.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

Mr. Trump, as he courts working-class votes, has said that he has “tremendous support” from unions, however as his own employees attempt to unionize for their own benefit he has instructed his businesses to refuse to negotiate and has tried to block their efforts at every turn, including disciplining or firing employees who wear pro-union buttons.

National union leaders representing the AFL-CIO, laborers, teachers and public sector employees have already laid the groundwork for a campaign to hammer the real estate tycoon as anti-worker.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

“It’s actually been part of the Republican Party brand for a long time,” Max Boot says. “Republicans going all the way back to [Dwight D.] Eisenhower have masqueraded by pretending to be dumber than they actually were by attacking elite intellectuals and snobs and so forth [as a way] to identify with the common man. This was a strategy pursued by Richard Nixon, by Ronald Reagan, and by George W. Bush.”

But according to Boot, Trump is different.

“Those leaders were not themselves actually stupid or ignorant,” he says. “If you think about Eisenhower or Nixon, they were actually incredibly worldly, sophisticated, and knowledgeable. The problem is that Donald Trump is every bit as ignorant in reality as his predecessors only pretended to be. In a way, the joke’s kind of on the Republican Party because after masquerading for decades, the Republican Party has actually become the ‘Stupid Party.’”

On the campaign trail he promises to go so far as to eliminate or drastically cut the U.S. Department of Education.

And he has an ongoing track record of denying science and experts on many subjects.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

Donald Trump has amplified his focus in recent weeks on a strident nationalist and law-and-order message, emphasizing rhetoric that has fueled his popularity among white working-class voters but which also threatens to antagonize the centrists likely to decide the November election.

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He has called for a return to racial profiling stop-and-frisk to selectively violate the 4th amendment rights of people of whom he disapproves and to have police arbitrarily confiscate their weapons in violation of the 2nd amendment rights, despite the fact that he was wrong about Stop and Frisk — and the ruling that called it racial profiling and being wrong about the success of the process in New York before it was declared unconstitutional.

Then, when asked about growing concerns over police brutality toward black Americans, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that more power should be given to the police.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

We can begin here with his own debate admissions of gaming a corrupted system by buying off politicians on a regular basis and continue through his own direct efforts to lobby for the law that allowed him to let tax payers pay the taxes on a business loss of nearly $1B.

But Trump is not just shamelessly self-promoting; he’s shamelessly crony capitalist, often trying to expand his business by using the power of government. And in an election where the Republican candidate will claim that entrepreneurs — not the government — can create jobs and prosperity for all, Trump’s record makes him a liability.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

We’ve already addressed the manipulation of the media above.

For decades the Republicans have been building legislative means of obstructing the supporters of their opposition from being able to vote, even though those laws are consistently overturned, they are often left in place until after the election ballots have been cast.

After a spree of favorable court rulings that softened or blocked Republican-passed voting restrictions, voting rights advocates are engaged in a new phase of trench warfare with a mere month left before November’s election and early voting in some places already underway. There was no time for civil rights groups to rest on their laurels after winning the high-profile legal challenges. In many states, such rulings were met with attempts to undermine or circumvent court orders meant to make it easier to vote.

And yet, after all that, Mr. Trump is already creating a narrative of the election being rigged against him, instead of in favor of both himself and the party supporting him.

He has even gone so far to call for the establishment of a brute squad of Poll Watchers for intimidation at the election polls, and claiming that he and his followers may not abide by the election results as his supporters threaten a civil war uprising if he looses.

Nobody Gets a Free Pass

Every generation we seem to have the exact same civil rights battles over again for a new group of marginalized people.

Whether it is the Native Americans, People of Color, Jewish people, Interracial couples, Women, Muslims, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Queer/Transsexual/Asexual people, Atheists, or some other group of people; we are constantly fighting repeatedly to allow them to vote, marry, and be able to enjoy the same civil rights as those in power.

As soon as one group successfully obtains any sense of equality, the attention turns to another.

Even the language used to fight the battles against them is the same.  Substitute the words “Jewish People” for “Muslims” and today’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is exactly the same as that used to oppress the Jewish people half a century ago.   Substitute the words “Interracial Marriage” for “Same Sex Marriage,” and the today’s rhetoric is the same as that used half a century ago.

The terminology used by Trump and his supporters against Mexican immigrants is exactly the same used to fight the end of Black segregation.

So what do we have to do to reach the point where we can say once and for all:

All people deserve human decency, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, skin color, sexuality, gender, or any other arbitrary criteria that can be created to attempt to marginalize and oppress any of them.

All citizens are entitled to all Constitutional rights of citizenship regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, skin color, sexuality, gender, or any other arbitrary criteria that can be created to attempt to marginalize and oppress any of them.

A person demanding equality with the laws of the society is not asking anyone to give up anything thing they already have, except unfair advantage and privilege.

No one wants White people, Christians, or men to be treated worse, we just want everyone else to be treated equally as well.

When anyone is being mistreated based on these arbitrary criteria it is up to us, each and every one of us to step up and put an end to it.   Any abuse of racist or misogynistic abuse or religious oppression that we allow to go unchallenged is one we have not only permitted but condoned and enabled to continue.