Category Archives: Intolerance

Headline of the day: The truth shall make you flee

From the London Daily Mail, another day in TrumpAmerica™:

‘We’ll put a f***ing bullet in your face’: Professor who was caught on camera telling students Donald Trump is a ‘white supremacist’ goes into hiding after receiving death threats

  • Professor goes into hiding after being filmed criticizing Donald Trump in class 
  • Olga Perez Stable Cox was caught on camera at Orange County College
  • She was heard calling Trump a ‘white supremacist’, and Mike Pence ‘anti-gay’  
  • Cox’s teachers union said the veteran teacher has been forced to hide away
  • The 30-year teacher has received more than 1,000 emails and phonecalls

Los Angeles Muslims attacked, one is stabbed

The virulent hatred of Muslims inflamed by Republican candidates during the year’s primaries and whipped to white hot intensity by the President-elect has claimed more victims.

This time it’s in Southern California, in the community that acquitted the police officers charged with feloniously beating hapless motorist Rodney King on 29 April 1992, triggering the nation’s worst race riot of the closing decade of the 20th Century.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities believe the man responsible for stabbing a worshiper near a Simi Valley mosque over the weekend is still at large, leaving faith leaders shaken that a violent person with a hatred for Muslims remains a threat to their community.

Police arrested one man, 29-year-old Simi Valley resident John Henry Matteson, in connection with the attack on a group of people leaving the mosque on Erringer Road on Saturday night. However, investigators believe he was involved in the fight but did not commit the stabbing, according to Simi Valley Police Sgt. Travis Coffey, an agency spokesman.

Matteson and another unidentified man approached a group of worshipers who had just left the Islamic Center of Simi Valley at about 11 p.m. Saturday and began yelling slurs, Coffey said. The confrontation quickly escalated to a physical fight, and the unidentified man stabbed one of the mosque attendees, Coffey said.

Matteson has been booked on suspicion of committing a hate crime, making criminal threats and fighting in public, online jail records show. He was injured during the confrontation, according to a statement issued by Simi Valley Police.

The demonization of all Muslims for the violence of a few is simply criminal, an incitement to riot.

But no rich, arrogant, power-mad white man will be prosecuted, of that we are certain.

Exposed: Lethal racial bias in North Carolina justice

African Americans who kill white people in the Tar Heel State are twice as likely to draw death sentences than had the victim been an African American, according to a new study of sentencing patterns.

The source of the discrimination is two-fold: Prosecutors are less likely to seek the death penalty in black-on-black crime, and jurors are more likely to impose death when the victim is white and the accused is African American.

From Michigan State University:

Defendants charged with murder in North Carolina from 1990 to 2009 were more than twice as likely to receive the death penalty if the victims were white, Michigan State University researchers have found.

Catherine Grosso and Barbara O’Brien, associate professors at MSU College of Law, conducted the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, also finding the race of the defendant doesn’t carry much weight.

“The white victim effect was the clearest and strongest finding in this study analysis,” Grosso said. “Race still matters in the criminal justice system, and it shouldn’t.”

At the same time, the researchers found cases involving both a black defendant and a black victim were more than two times less likely to advance to a capital trial, where a jury decides whether to impose a death penalty or a life sentence.

“The dismissing of black-on-black crime is so salient right now,” Grosso said. “There’s under policing in black communities, and that may be what’s going on here. It’s the justice system that seems to be driving this scenario.”

The study was inspired by North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to challenge their sentencing based on evidence of racial discrimination. Since statistical evidence was needed, the researchers were tapped to conduct the study.

Prosecutors don’t seek a death sentence in the majority of cases that North Carolina law says are eligible for the death penalty, the researchers said. So with a team of about 45, Grosso and O’Brien examined 5,000-6,000 cases to understand how the law is implemented and to identify cases to include.

The end result was a data set of 1,500 cases – a sample of defendants against whom prosecutors could have but didn’t seek a death sentence and all defendants for whom a jury decided to impose either the death penalty or a life sentence. This included everyone on death row in North Carolina.

Researchers identified the race of every defendant and victim and coded information relating to the defendant, the victim and the circumstances of the crime. In addition, research team members visited every courthouse in the state.

The scholars obtained unusually complete information due in part to cooperation from North Carolina officials, Grosso said.

While the MSU Law study was exclusive to cases in North Carolina, the results echo an alarming trend occurring throughout the United States, O’Brien said.

“I have a hard time believing that a preference for white victim cases doesn’t reflect a fundamental bias in our criminal justice system,” she said. “What we worry about is the extent to which these biases play out even before a case gets to sentencing. There’s every reason to think it’s not just appearing at that stage in the process.”

The study was published in the most recent edition of North Carolina Law Review.

Libraries report surge in crimes by Islamophobes

From Evanston, Illinois, librarian Lorena Neal, a book vandalized in November.

From Evanston, Illinois, librarian Lorena Neal, a book vandalized in November.

There’s no doubting that Donald Trump fanned the flames of Islamophobic bigotry, and now they’re erupting in those venerable shrines of democracy, America’s public libraries.

From the Guardian:

A spate of racist incidents has been reported by US librarians in the aftermath of the presidential election. According to data gathered by the American Libraries Association (ALA), copies of the Qur’an and books about Islam have been defaced with swastikas and hate speech at locations across the US.

In the worst incident, four days after the election of Donald Trump, a man attempted to forcibly remove a student’s hijab as she studied in the library of the University of New Mexico. In November, in libraries as far apart as Oregon and Illinois, copies of the Qur’an have been defaced. In the Illinois incident, police were called in to investigate after seven books were vandalised in Evanston public libraries. As well as swastikas and comments about the prophet Muhammad in a copy of The Koran for Dummies, copies of the Qur’an, textbooks and conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s It’s All About Islam were also defaced.

ALA president Julie Todaro expressed alarm at the increase in the hate crimes perpetrated in libraries. She laid blame upon divisive rhetoric during the recent presidential election campaign. “These crimes – from defacing library materials in public libraries to offensive graffiti on the walls of academic libraries – have begun to mirror the divisive rhetoric of this campaign season,” she said.

Until now, the ALA had not collected data on hate crimes based on the legal definition, but Todaro was certain that incidents had risen sharply over the past month. “While libraries have always reported on a wide variety of crimes, and we have always had serious incidents of defacing library materials and graffiti, we are just now beginning to hear of many more specific instances of incidents of bigotry and harassment within libraries,” she said.

Trump’s open appeals to the basest instincts of people frightened by the collapse of the American dream and eager to seek the causes represent the classic politics of fascism.

He yelled fire in a crowded theater and won the presidency as a result.

How the American press has normalized fascists

Given the media’s coverage of Donald Trump, it might be well to look at how the mainstream media have covered extremist elected leaders of the past.

One historian has done just that, and the result is sobering.

From Case West Reserve University’s John Broich, who has a longstanding interest in the relationship between race and imperialism, writing in the open source academic journal The Conversation:

How to report on a fascist?

How to cover the rise of a political leader who’s left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition “normal,” because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

A leader for life

Benito Mussolini secured Italy’s premiership by marching on Rome with 30,000 blackshirts in 1922. By 1925 he had declared himself leader for life. While this hardly reflected American values, Mussolini was a darling of the American press, appearing in at least 150 articles from 1925-1932, most neutral, bemused or positive in tone.

The Saturday Evening Post even serialized Il Duce’s autobiography in 1928. Acknowledging that the new “Fascisti movement” was a bit “rough in its methods,” papers ranging from the New York Tribune to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to the Chicago Tribune credited it with saving Italy from the far left and revitalizing its economy. From their perspective, the post-WWI surge of anti-capitalism in Europe was a vastly worse threat than Fascism.

Ironically, while the media acknowledged that Fascism was a new “experiment,” papers like The New York Times commonly credited it with returning turbulent Italy to what it called “normalcy.”

Yet some journalists like Hemingway and journals like the New Yorker rejected the normalization of anti-democratic Mussolini. John Gunther of Harper’s, meanwhile, wrote a razor-sharp account of Mussolini’s masterful manipulation of a U.S. press that couldn’t resist him.

The ‘German Mussolini’

Mussolini’s success in Italy normalized Hitler’s success in the eyes of the American press who, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, routinely called him “the German Mussolini.” Given Mussolini’s positive press reception in that period, it was a good place from which to start. Hitler also had the advantage that his Nazi party enjoyed stunning leaps at the polls from the mid ‘20’s to early ‘30’s, going from a fringe party to winning a dominant share of parliamentary seats in free elections in 1932.

But the main way that the press defanged Hitler was by portraying him as something of a joke. He was a “nonsensical” screecher of “wild words” whose appearance, according to Newsweek, “suggests Charlie Chaplin.” His “countenance is a caricature.” He was as “voluble” as he was “insecure,” stated Cosmopolitan.

When Hitler’s party won influence in Parliament, and even after he was made chancellor of Germany in 1933 – about a year and a half before seizing dictatorial power – many American press outlets judged that he would either be outplayed by more traditional politicians or that he would have to become more moderate. Sure, he had a following, but his followers were “impressionable voters” duped by “radical doctrines and quack remedies,” claimed the Washington Post. Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the “sober” politicians would “submerge” this movement, according to The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. A “keen sense of dramatic instinct” was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of “gravity” and “profundity of thought” would be exposed.

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Dutch TV profiles a Black Lives Matter founder

Black Lives Matter, perhaps the most significant new American social movement since the Occupy phenomenon, coalesced following the 26 February shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the acquittal six months later of his killer, George Zimmerman.

Three community organizers — Opal Tometi of Brooklyn, New, York, Alicia Garza of Oakland, California, and Patrisse Cullors of Los Angeles — gave the movement its name and form.

But it was the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August 2014 that gave the movement national attention, when organizers headed to Missouri and helped organizer protests that brought the focus of the world’s media to bear.

It was Patrisse Cullors along with another activist who seized the stage from Bernie Sanders during a Town Hall forum in Phoenix in July 2015, drawing yet more attention on the movement.

In this documentary from Dutch public television we get a closer look at Cullors, and the complexity of a figure at the center of the movement. It’s a fascinating story.

From VPRO Backlight:

Black Lives Matter

Program notes:

In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States. VPRO Backlight talked to co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the various forms of violence against black citizens, and why resistance is essential.

Director: Nirit Peled
Research: Henneke Hagen

Star Wars: It’s just another day in Trumplandia™

From teleSUR English:

Neo-Nazi groups on the Internet are calling to boycott the premiere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as they feel offended about the themes of the upcoming film, calling it “nothing but a Jew masturbation fantasy of anti-White hate,” reports IB Times.

According to what these white-supremacists have poured into their comments on a forum on the discussion website Reddit, they are upset mostly because “nearly all of the major characters are non-whites and the main character is an empowered white female.”

A similar thing happened before the release of the franchise’s Episode VII “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, when men’s “activists” called on boycott the film because it was starred by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley: a black actor and a woman.

The election of Donald Trump has underscored deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial hatred across the United States. There has also been a spike in the number of hate crimes after the vote, according to the FBI.