Category Archives: Intolerance

Trump gives a big boost to white supremacists

Surprise, surprise.

From Vanderbilt University:

The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has coincided with a large spike in white supremacist activity on the Internet, with Jewish journalists targeted in particular, according to a Vanderbilt professor.

“The Trump campaign has given the white nationalist movement a long-awaited opportunity to spread its message to a national audience,” said Sophie Bjork-James, who tracks white nationalist Internet groups and is a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer of anthropology at Vanderbilt University.

“Trump’s messages about limiting immigration and banning Muslims from the United States have given the movement one of its largest membership boosts in decades, which will have impact long after this election cycle.”

According to Bjork-James:

  • The founder of the white nationalist website Stormfront, Don Black, claims a 30 to 40 percent spike in web traffic in 2015 after Trump’s anti-immigration and ban Muslim speeches.
  • The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, was created in 2013. The site went from 1.2 million visits per month in 2015 to 1.9 million visitors per month today.
  • went from 32 million visits per month in 2015 to 75 million visits per month in September of 2016.
  • The “alt-right” term or Alternative Right was started by white nationalist Richard Spencer and is an attempt to rebrand the racist right as a legitimate part of the political spectrum.

“The radical right in particular has decided that targeting Jews and ratcheting up anti-Semitic language is a strategy,” Bjork-James said. “Neo-Nazism is a defining belief in white nationalism.”

Bjork-James’ research interests include tracking white nationalist movements and has published her findings in The Apartheid Conscience: What the white nationalist movement can teach us about the reproduction of white supremacy in America, “Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights” and the chapter titled “Cybersupremacy: The new face and form of white supremacist activism” in Tactics in Hard Times: Practices and Spaces of New Media.

The real, very lethal consequences of fat-shaming

Anyone’s who’s been or is fat knows the sad reality of fat-shaming.

Back when we started high school we were the youngest, shortest, and fattest member of the freshman class.

Needless to say, we were bullied [it didn’t help that we’d skipped a grade], and bore the brunt of an endless series of fat jokes.

One consequence was an endless series of tension headaches, and they didn’t end until we shed the weight in the space of a few months at age 23.

And now comes evidence that fat-shaming can lead to things far worse than mere headaches.

From the University of Rhode Island:

We all know that carrying extra pounds can be bad for your health. Now a URI professor has found that how society treats overweight people makes matters worse.

Maya Vadiveloo, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences in the College of Health Sciences, and Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed weight discrimination data from the long-term national study, Midlife Development in the United States.

The researchers focused on respondents who reported regularly experiencing discrimination because of their weight. The study asked whether they were treated discourteously, called names, or made to feel inferior. Those who experienced weight discrimination over a 10-year period had twice the risk of high allostatic load, the cumulative dysfunction of bodily systems from chronic stress, they found. That stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and other disorders, increasing risk of death.

“It is a pretty big effect,” Vadiveloo, of North Kingstown, says of the findings. “Even if we accounted for health effects attributed to being overweight, these people still experience double the risk of allostatic load because of weight discrimination.”

The findings, published in the August issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, expose flaws in society’s approach to weight control, Vadiveloo says. “The main message is to be aware that the way we treat people may have more negative effects than we realize,” she says. “Our paper highlights the importance of including sensitivity and understanding when working with individuals with obesity and when developing public health campaigns.”

People who experience weight discrimination often shun social interaction and skip doctor visits, she notes. “There is so much shaming around food and weight. We need to work together as a nation on improving public health and clinical support for individuals with obesity and targeting environmental risk factors,” she says. For example, Vadiveloo suggests developing strategies to make healthy foods affordable and creating safe places for people to be active.

Vadiveloo hopes to address the topic in the classroom and revisit data from the nearly 1,000 respondents to explore whether having more social support or positive coping strategies reduces negative health effects of weight discrimination.

Donald Trump: A clear and present danger

If Hillary Clinton win the election, there will be violence.

Donald Trump made that very clear tonight, effectively threatening putsch if Clinton wins, telling Americans that the election is rigged, and that he may not accept the results should Clinton win:

“I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”

Those words are a clear signal to his most rabid followers, the Klansmen, the Nazis, the militias, and the sundry, sordid collection of wingnuts who respond so vehemently to Trump’s over racism and religious bigotry.

The Secret Service must be in a state of agitation and horror, confronting the very real possibility that some of Trump’s most vicious acolytes might reach for their guns and pipe bombs and mobilize to take out a Democratic President they see as a usurper.

From the Associated Press, the key moment of tonight’s debate:

Trump Won’t Say If He’ll Accept Election Result

Program note:

Donald Trump is again refusing to promise that he’d accept defeat on Nov. 8 if Americans choose Hillary Clinton as the 45th president.

Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to whatever shambles are left of the American democratic system.

Quote of the day: Trump, would-be racist dictator

From Seattle native and deputy editor of Der Spiegel Charles Hawley:

All it took to reveal the lengths to which Trump is prepared to go was the half-hearted retreat of a few leading Republicans when it became no longer possible to ignore that their nominee was a sexual predator. But now that he has been “unshackled,” as he himself has said, it is becoming apparent that Nov. 8 will very likely not be the end of what he has taken to calling his “Patriotic Movement.”

The rhetoric that Trump has begun using with ever increasing frequency — that he would lock up Hillary Clinton if he won, that the election is rigged, that his followers should monitor the polls and “watch other communities,” that he would rein in the “corrupt” media — is the rhetoric of dictatorship. But it also appeals directly to a significant chunk of the population, one that feels abandoned by the country’s leadership, left behind by globalization and threatened by demographics.

Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” might suggest that he is adhering to the American exceptionalism narrative and, thus, to the American founding myth. But much of what he says — banning Muslims from entering the US, stepped up domestic surveillance, expanded use of torture — is in direct opposition to the Constitution. Indeed, the “greatness” that Trump wants to return to, it has become clear, is one free of immigrants and blacks. One where white American men need not encounter adversity, allowing their supposed natural superiority to shine through.

Trump is suggesting an altogether different narrative of American identity, one based on race and religion.

Headline of the day II: Now that’s not neighborly

From Salon:

New Mexico Republicans threaten Albuquerque residents: “Your neighbors will know” if Democrats win

The flier warns voters leaning Democrat that they will be outed because “voting is a matter of public record”

Another Trump legacy: Overt fascism empowered

Consider the following, via the Guardian:

A Nazi-themed Facebook group that called for the “execution” of Jews and African Americans has led to the expulsion of five Boulder, Colorado, high school students in an unusual case of “alt-right” hate speech spreading to teens in a liberal city.

About 15 students participated in a “4th Reich’s Official Group Chat” on Facebook, according to a Boulder police report, which said members discussed “killing all Jews and [N-words]” and encouraged each other to “recruit more members so they can complete their ‘mission’.”

Members wrote messages championing “WHITE POWER!”, posted pictures of guns, called a firearm a “[N-word] BLASTER”, used derogatory terms for gay people, joked about “rape memes”, declared that they “must lynch the [N-words]”, and mocked Mexicans, copies of the group’s chats showed.

The controversy culminated in expulsions at Boulder Preparatory high school but comes at a time when the alt-right movement – known for white supremacist views and its overtly racist ideology – has gained traction during the divisive US presidential race.

Headlines of the day II: The political freak show

First, a handicap, via the New York Times:

Clinton’s Past Leaves Her Muted in Furor Over Trump

  • Amid a swirl of sexual assault accusations against Donald J. Trump, the virtual silence from Hillary Clinton speaks volumes.
  • Her old missteps and her husband’s history have effectively paralyzed her during a moment of widespread outrage.

And a seriously scary offering from the Boston Globe:

Trump’s supporters talk rebellion, assassination at his rallies

  • At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.
  • His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.
  • And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.