Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: racism

No Flag, No Country

Eddie Izzard is hilarious, and he has several bits about being an empire and colonization. It’s funny because it’s apt, and he has the typical British self-deprecatory sense of humor. One of my favorites is one in which he tells how the UK became a great empire with the cunning use of…flags.

“I claim India for Britain.”

“You can’t claim us. We live here. Five hundred million of us!”

“Do you have a flag?” (Funny grimace.)

“We don’t need a bloody flag. It’s our country, you bastard.”

“No flag, no country; you can’t have one. That’s the rules that I’ve just made up! And I’m backing it up with this gun that was lent from the National Rifle (riffle, as he pronounces it) Association.”

(Back to being Eddie)

“And that was it. You know.”

 

I bring it up because of the brouhaha being stirred up over the American flag, which isn’t really the issue, even though it’s become the center of the drama.

Quick background: Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, took a knee last year during the national anthem as a peaceful way of protesting the systemic injustices that black people, men in particular, suffer in this country. The backlash was swift, and he became a pariah to many white Americans. They wanted him to just play football and keep his politics out of their Sunday entertainment.

Fast-forward to this year and this past week. This president opened his gob and more stupid shit fell out. For whatever reason, he thought it would be a good idea to comment on the situation and said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners — when somebody disrespects our flag — to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'”

Now, I’m not surprised that’s what he said because it’s who he is, but he didn’t have to open his mouth at all. He could have said nothing, and it would have been better than what he did say. Then again, that’s true of approximately 99% of what he says. Before I get into the meat of what he said and why it’s idiotic, the best response to this shitty statement is from Colin Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa. She tweeted:

OT: I really hate the habit of using an asterisk for one letter of a ‘controversial’ word (or more asterisks for more letters), especially in a written piece. Who the f*ck do you think you’re fooling? Like, people aren’t just putting in the g*dd*mn letters as they’re reading? It’s even worse than saying ‘n-word’. There’s a great Louis CK bit about this that says, “You’re just making me say the word in my head so you don’t have to be uncomfortable saying it out loud.” Anyhooooo….

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Resistance and Art in the Time of Fascism

I’m still reeling from what happened in Charlottesville, especially since this president is still ‘both sides’ing the situation. He came out with a statement denouncing the KKK, but had to throw in ‘other hate groups’, and it was clear he was only saying it because he felt he had to. It shouldn’t take two days to say, “Fascism and white supremacy have no place in America. We will not tolerate Nazis in this country”, but that’s where we are right now. He got a lot of pushback for his lukewarm statement, tweeted his temper tantrum at being told it wasn’t good enough, and had a meltdown yesterday in which he said there are good guys in on the white supremacy side, honestly, and the ‘alt-left’ is just as bad as the ‘alt-right’.

I mean.

WHAT???

I’m not surprised. I have to say that up front because this is who he is. Many of us minorities knew this from the very beginning, which is why we weren’t willing to ‘just give him a chance’. We didn’t need time to know he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic fuck, but if anyone had any doubt, his words yesterday should put that illusion to rest.

In addition, he’s a narcissistic, vindictive, petty man who can’t see anyone other than himself, and everything is about him. 24/7. Of course he had to make it about him because he’s incapable of doing otherwise. Of course he wasn’t going to denounce the white supremacist because he believes the same things they do. His grandfather was a slum landlord who did not want to rent to black people, and it’s clear the apple does not fall far from the tree. This president has said racist things time and time again about people of many different ethnicities, and he has white nationalists on his staff for fuck’s sake.

In other words, he’s no friend of minorities, and we’ve known that even before he ever ran for president. This is my way of saying while it’s disheartening that this president refused to full-throatedly denounce white supremacists, it’s not surprising in the least.

I was off Twitter for about twenty minutes when he made his announcement, and when I returned, I had a TL full of anger, disbelief, pain, and fear. This president had just signaled to his base–and, let’s be clear. His base are racist fuckers–that he is with them 100%. It was so appallingly bad, even Republicans were moved to denounce his message, albeit not directly to him. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan subtweeted the president saying that white supremacy is unacceptable. I said, “OK. What are you going to do about it?” Because words don’t mean shit if you don’t back it up with actions.

I think it’s really hard to explain to white non-Jewish people, even really supportive liberals, how exhausting it is to be a minority in this president’s America. Waking up every day, wondering how else he’s going to hate on me and my kin, it’s more than my brain–and heart–can take. I saw so many of my Twitter family in pain, and it broke my heart. I tweeted a message to them because I’m a caregiver even if I’m also cantankerous and a misanthrope, and I’ll post the beginning of the thread here.


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Struggling Against the Darkness

no need to memorialize.
This is the hill they’re willing to die on.

If you’re an American (and even if you’re not), you’re probably aware of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. A bunch of whiny titty ass babies gathered with their store-bought tiki (Polynesian) torches on the U.Va. campus in the middle of the night while the students weren’t even there, ostensibly to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but in reality to get their Nazi/Confederacy/white supremacy cosplay on. Before I get into this heated topic, I’m forewarning you that this is going to be even more stream-of-conscious than normal, and I’m going to go to some pretty dark places. I don’t normally write when my feelings are this raw, but I need to sort through my emotions, and I do it best while writing.

When I saw the pictures of the rally on Friday night, my instinct was to sneer at how pathetic they looked. All these young white men (and they were overwhelmingly men, gee, I wonder why) shouting vile slogans, their face contorted in hatred. They were holding their tiki torches, and it’s not a coincidence that they looked like a lynch mob, and I know I was supposed to be terrified, but all I felt was disgust and contempt.

If it weren’t for the fact that they could (and did) cause irreparable harm, I would just laugh in their goddamn faces. They think they’re so powerful and patriotic, but they’re just a pathetic, whiny mess. They can’t even make their own fucking torches for fuck’s sake! That’s part of the problem, though. They feel powerless and that their lives are a waste, but instead of taking stock of their inner flaws as to why that might be, they blindly seek out others to blame for their shortcomings.

Quick side note: This is one of the downsides to toxic masculinity. If you’re not at the top of the heap, then you’re a failure as a man. If you’re a failure, that’s the worst thing in the world and unbearable, so it’s easier to say it’s someone else’s fault.

I took Saturday off from social media as is my wont, and when I returned Sunday morning, I heard about the murder by car of Heather Heyer by one of the fascist assholes. I heard that the stupid rally raged for days with increasing violence directed at the protesters. I saw some media and politicians ‘both sides’ the situation, and it made my blood boil. Hell, I saw our fucking president say that ‘many sides’ were to blame, but not once did he say Nazi or white supremacists.

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Hey, Police! Don’t Stand So Close to Me

I heard about another shooting in Minneapolis recently, and I was immediately filled with sorrow. Then, I heard about the circumstances, and a white-hot rage filled me. Not because another life was needlessly lost, though that is what saddened me, but because the shooter was a Somalian man, and the victim was a pretty white blond (Australian) lady. I knew what was going to happen, though I hoped against hope that I would be wrong.

I wasn’t.

I need to back up here for the three people who aren’t aware of Black Lives Matter. The movement started in response to the umpteenth killing of a black person by a white cop, and predictably, a wide swath of white America pushed back at the notion that our police system is racist and needs revamping. Not only is it racist (which is inevitable because racism is soaked in the foundation on which our country is built), it’s become increasingly antagonistic and militaristic in mentality. I’m not sure the picture of the cop walking the local beat was ever truly a reality, but it’s certainly not true now. Many cops don’t live in the neighborhoods in which they are policing, and even if they do, they don’t consider the people they’re arresting as part of their community.

Standard disclaimer: Being a cop is a really hard and stressful job. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that we are a gun-happy country, so cops don’t know what they’re facing when they go out on a call. That said, there are ways to de-escalate a situation, but cops are not being taught these techniques. Instead, they are relying more and more on authoritarian tactics, and they’re not allowing for human responses to being shouted at by the cops, even if you’re not guilty. In addition, because the police have so much responsibility and power, it’s incumbent upon them to be scrupulous about how they wield such power. Sadly, the way the laws are written, they can shoot at pretty much anyone they want and not suffer any consequences.

The facts of this case are sketchy. Justine Damond or Ruszczyk*, the victim, reportedly called 911 to report a possible sexual assault occurring. When the cops came, she approached the car and was shot by Mohamed Noor, the first Somalian to be a Minneapolis police officer. The minute I saw the photo of Damond and heard the nationality of the police officer who killed her, I knew how this was going to go, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Noor’s partner, Michael Harrity claims he heard a loud noise, and then Noor shot and killed Damond. That’s the story Harrity is telling, and Noor is not talking at all. Smart on his part, but not helping the public perception of the case.


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No Way in (Ghost in the S)Hell!

Ghost in the Shell opened this weekend–and bombed gloriously. The universal panning has been delicious, and I tweeted this:

Before you say it, no it’s not very mature of me, but I’m not feeling very mature about this issue right now. I have lots to say, so you better grab a can of your favorite beverage and buckle up because you’re in for a long ride.

Even though I’m feeling gleeful about the miserable failure of GitS, it’s tempered with the knowledge that Hollywood probably won’t learn the right lesson from it. Chances are, they’ll blame the fact that it’s a female-led action movie* and not because they didn’t grasp the core of the source material in the first place. It reminds me of the Marvel VP of Sales who blamed diversity for the slump in sales of their products rather than over-saturation or the watering down of their talent. The response of Hollywood to the bombing of these high-profile whitewashed movies is to double down on their idiocy, which I will talk about later.

One thing that has come up time and time again in the roundtables/thinkpieces discussing the failure of GitS is the phrase, “Whitewashing aside”. I want to address this from two different angles, starting with the straightforward one of putting the whitewashing aside. Now, full disclosure, I haven’t seen the movie and will not see the movie. I have seen the trailer, which, whitewashing aside, left me cold. While stylistic and slick, there was no heart to it. It’s all action with no core, and whitewashing aside, I still wouldn’t have wanted to seen this version of GitS. The anime movie was notable for its grappling with tough issues such as what it means to be human and how much personal agency should be sacrificed for expediency. Yes, there’s action in it, but that wasn’t the main point of the anime.  I knew from the minute it was announced that the live action movie was not going to be able to capture the essence of the anime if it wasn’t directed by and starring Japanese people.
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