Here’s How Professional Sports Have Come to Sell a Militarized form of Patriotism The melding of sports and the military should be seen as inappropriate, if not insidious.

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I can remember lying on my bed with a crumpled up piece of paper in my hand and throwing it at the wall while, in my mind, the announcer’s voice carried on: “It’s a long drive to right field… Furillo is going back, back, back… He leaps! He’s got it!” And I would, of course, catch the paper as it bounced off that wall. It was perhaps the World Series year of 1955. The outfielder was Carl “the Reading Rifle” Furillo. His team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, was also my team until, in one of the tragedies of my young life, they absconded for Los Angeles. In those years, I dreamed endlessly about scooping up balls at second base with the dexterity of Jackie Robinson or at shortstop with the speed of Pee Wee Reese, even as, on any actual ball field, I didn’t dare bend down far enough lest the ball bounce up and hit my chin, and so regularly watched it roll past me into the outfield. Furillo’s camping grounds, right field, was where I so often ended up, even though I could never judge whether a fly ball was short or long and reflexively broke toward the infield as it came off the bat, often with sad consequences.

What kid of that era and those that followed, like TomDispatch regular William Astore, can’t tell such tales of imagined prowess in the world of fandom versus real life on the field. But as Astore points out today, the very nature of the sports experience is now changing. Though professional sports in my childhood (the Korean War years) and my youth (the Vietnam War years) had next to nothing to do with the U.S. military, today, in a country that I’ve regularly described as being “unmade by war,” the worlds of professional sports and youthful dreams about it are both being eerily militarized. Stranger yet, as with our forever (yet curiously forgotten) wars of this century, that process of militarization is getting next to no attention here, even as sports hits the political headlines almost daily and is a constant focus of attention from the White House on down. Football, in particular, is regularly in those headlines as (mostly black) players are endlessly accused of taking a knee to diss the flag, the National Anthem, and the troops (none of which is actually true), while that flag, that anthem, and those troops are, in fact, being grotesquely misused to create a miasma of kneejerk patriotism. But let Astore tell you more. Tom

These days, you can hardly miss moments when, for instance, playing fields are covered with gigantic American flags, often unfurled and held either by scores of military personnel or civilian defense contractors. Such ceremonies are invariably touted as natural expressions of patriotism, part of a continual public expression of gratitude for America’s “warfighters” and “heroes.” These are, in other words, uncontroversial displays of pride, even though a study ordered by Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake revealed that the U.S. taxpayer, via the Pentagon, has regularly forked over tens of millions of dollars ($53 million between 2012 and 2015 alone) to corporate-owned teams to put on just such displays.

Full story By William Astore / Tom Dispatch/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Charlottesville belies racism’s deep roots in the North

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A southern city has now become synonymous with the ongoing scourge of racism in the United States.

A year ago, white supremacists rallied to “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, protesting the removal of a Confederate statute.

In the days that followed, two of them, Christopher C. Cantwell and James A. Fields Jr., became quite prominent.

The HBO show “Vice News Tonight” profiled Cantwell in an episode and showed him spouting racist and anti-Semitic slurs and violent fantasies. Fields gained notoriety after he plowed a car into a group of unarmed counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Today this tragedy defines the nature of modern racism primarily as Southern, embodied in tiki torches, Confederate flags and violent outbursts.

As historians of race in America, we believe that such a one-sided view misses how entrenched, widespread and multi-various racism is and has been across the country.

Jim Crow born in the North

Racism has deep historic roots in the North, making the chaos and violence of Charlottesville part of a national historic phenomenon.

Cantwell was born and raised in Stony Brook, Long Island, and was living in New Hampshire at the time of the march. Fields was born in Boone County, Kentucky, a stone’s throw from Cincinnati, Ohio, and was living in Ohio when he plowed through a crowd.

Jim Crow, the system of laws that advanced segregation and black disenfranchisement, began in the North, not the South, as most Americans believe. Long before the Civil War, northern states like New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had legal codes that promoted black people’s racial segregation and political disenfranchisement.

If racism is only pictured in spitting and screaming, in torches and vigilante justice and an allegiance to the Confederacy, many Americans can rest easy, believing they share little responsibility in its perpetuation. But the truth is, Americans all over the country do bear responsibility for racial segregation and inequality.

Studying the long history of the Jim Crow North makes clear to us that there was nothing regional about white supremacy and its upholders. There is a larger landscape of segregation and struggle in the “liberal” North that brings into sharp relief the national character of American apartheid.

More from Brian J Purnell/Jeanne Theoharis/TheConversation

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The 19 black radicals who are still in prison after four decades

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Some African American rebels, including Mumia Abu-Jamal and members of Move, are still incarcerated for their actions during the 1970s black liberation struggle.

Image: Lisa Terry/Getty Images

 

More from the Guardian including this accompanying story .

 

Posted by Libergirl

 

Racial and Ethnic Roundups are Legal, As Long As “Race” Is Not the Only Reason

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Racial and Ethnic Roundups are Legal, As Long As “Race” Is Not the Only Reason

“When the feds invoke ‘national security’ all bets are off on how far they will go in suppressing the ‘threat,’ including mass roundups.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking for the U.S. Supreme Court’s far-right majority, this week repudiated a previous high court decision upholding President Roosevelt’s mass detention of ethnic Japanese residents and U.S. citizens during World War Two. Roberts said the 1942 Korematsu ruling “was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — has no place in law under the Constitution.'” Korematsu was near-universally condemned over the decades, yet remained legally intact for 76 years because no case involving related legal issues had come before the high court. Chief Justice Roberts seemed to use Korematsu as a prop to justify his court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s ban on travel  into the United States by citizens of several predominantly Muslim countries. Korematsu does not pass Constitutional muster because it detained 120,000 people “solely and explicitly on the basis of race,” while the Trump ban is “facially neutral ,” in Roberts’ view, since it “says nothing about religion,” but is instead based on “the Government’s claim of a legitimate national security interest.”

The Trump ban is ‘facially neutral,’ in Roberts’ view, since it ‘says nothing about religion.’”

In a dissent  to the majority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that Trump’s ban is, indeed, ethnically based, although thinly cloaked by “an ill-defined national security threat to justify an exclusionary policy of sweeping proportion.” Trump had repeatedly called for a blanket exclusion of Muslims from the country, and during his presidential campaign cited Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese. “Take a look at what F.D.R. did many years ago,” said Trump . “He did the same thing.”

“National security” is the magic term that legally sanctions concentration camps — as long as the authorities are careful not to spell out the race or religion of the intended inmates.

Such camps already exist in the U.S. — and always have. American chattel slavery and its attendant legal structures treated all African descended people as inmates or probationers. For the slave, the whole nation was a prison and every white person a guard who was obligated to enforce the terms of confinement. Such is the logic of the Fugitive Slave laws and Chief Justice Taney’s Dred Scott decision  that Blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

For the slave, the whole nation was a prison and every white person a guard who was obligated to enforce the terms of confinement.”

The Jim Crow regime that followed the Civil War was replaced by a Mass Black Incarceration State almost immediately upon the enactment of national anti-Jim Crow legislation, in the 1960s. The U.S. constructed a vast prison gulag that confines a quarter of the world’s prisoners — 2.3 million people , two-fifths of them Black and 60 percent non-white, with nearly five million more on probation or parole. The “white man’s country” that the Founders created — as Judge Taney affirmed and the evolving criminal justice system enforced — remains in effect. The GOP, the White Man’s Party, garners white majorities in every national election. There was nothing essentially different about 2016 except that Donald Trump’s appeals were more overtly racial than some of his predecessors, but the white response was essentially the same: they affirmed that the United States should continue to be a white man’s country.

As a matter of “national security,” such a country requires racially restrictive and repressive immigration and travel policies, a massive internal gulag, and a pervasive police and intelligence presence in non-white — especially Black — communities.

Such countries must also be prepared to respond to civil disturbances among non-white populations (and their perceived allies) with mass detention centers to accommodate ethnic-based roundups — as a matter of national security.

“The ‘white man’s country’ that the Founders created — as Judge Taney affirmed and the evolving criminal justice system enforced — remains in effect.”

U.S. governments have routinely invoked “national security” to justify racially repressive policies that would otherwise be deemed unconstitutional. “National security” justified the FBI’s COINTEL program’s lethal assault on Black militants and other activists in the late Sixties and early Seventies. COINTELPRO never ended; the “national security” rationale is a permanent counter to Black militancy.

Nearly five decades after declaring the Black Panther Party the “greatest threat to U.S. national security,” the FBI in 2017 “assessed” that a rejuvenated Black grassroots movement constitutes a threat to U.S. law enforcement. “Black Identity Extremists” were deemed responsible for an increase in “ideologically motivated” attacks on police. According to a declassified FBI Intelligence Assessment :

“The FBI assesses it is very likely this increase began following the August 9 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent Grand Jury November 2014 declination to indict the police officers involved. The FBI assesses it is very likely incidents of alleged police abuse against African Americans since then have continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement. The FBI assesses it is very likely some BIEs are influenced by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology. The FBI has high confidence in these assessments, based on a history of violent incidents attributed to individuals who acted on behalf of their ideological beliefs, documented in FBI investigations and other law enforcement and open sources reporting. The FBI makes this judgment with the key assumption the recent incidents are ideologically motivated.”

“The FBI assesses it is very likely some BIEs are influence by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology.”

The Brennan Center for Justice, in testimony before the Congressional Black Caucus, noted that “Department of Justice Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Regarding Their Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity states that the Constitution only requires that these characteristics cannot be the sole basis for a law enforcement action (BAR italics).”

As long as the feds cite “criminal activity” and hostile “ideologies” among the targeted groups, they are empowered to carry out what are, in reality, race- and religion-based counter-measures. Should these alleged activities become sufficiently threatening, the next step is to invoke “national security” — and then all bets are off on how far they will go in suppressing the “threat,” including mass roundups.

This year, Freedom of Information requests revealed that a “Race Paper ” is circulating within the giant Homeland Security apparatus. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Media Justice and 40 other organizations are seeking a non-redacted version of the document. Homeland Security includes ICE, the TSA, the Secret Service and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and operates under a national security mandate. It’s where the Mass Black Incarceration State and the National Security State will combine, should the U.S. government embark on a mass roundup and internment of Blacks — the group that is a permanent threat to the White Man’s Country.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not interfere, as long as race is not the only rationale invoked.

By Glen Ford/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

NC’s ‘alarming’ disparity of black student arrests among worst in country

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In North Carolina, black students are nearly six times more likely to be arrested at school and school activities than white students, according to recently released federal data analyzed by WRAL News. That disparity is among the worst in the country.

Law enforcement arrested more than 600 North Carolina students on public school grounds, during off-campus school activities or on school transportation during the 2015-16 school year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education.

In North Carolina, 9.2 out of every 10,000 black students were arrested, compared to 1.6 white students. Only three other states – West Virginia, Iowa and Rhode Island – had a higher disparity between the arrest rates of black and white students.

About 147 out of every 1,000 black students were suspended from North Carolina schools in 2015-16. That’s compared to about 44 white students out of every 1,000.

More from WRAL.com
Posted by Libergirl

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race For years, racism has been defined by the violence of far-right extremists, but a more insidious kind of prejudice can be found where many least expect it – at the heart of respectable society

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Illustration: Ben the Illustrator
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Illustration: Ben the Illustrator

On 22 February 2014, I published a post on my blog. I titled it “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race”. It read: “I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the existence of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates their experience. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals. It’s like they can no longer hear us.
“This emotional disconnect is the conclusion of living a life oblivious to the fact that their skin colour is the norm and all others deviate from it.
“At best, white people have been taught not to mention that people of colour are “different” in case it offends us. They truly believe that the experiences of their life as a result of their skin colour can and should be universal. I just can’t engage with the bewilderment and the defensiveness as they try to grapple with the fact that not everyone experiences the world in the way that they do.

‘Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race’ – podcast

“They’ve never had to think about what it means, in power terms, to be white, so any time they’re vaguely reminded of this fact, they interpret it as an affront. Their eyes glaze over in boredom or widen in indignation. Their mouths start twitching as they get defensive. Their throats open up as they try to interrupt, itching to talk over you but not to really listen, because they need to let you know that you’ve got it wrong.
“The journey towards understanding structural racism still requires people of colour to prioritise white feelings. Even if they can hear you, they’re not really listening. It’s like something happens to the words as they leave our mouths and reach their ears. The words hit a barrier of denial and they don’t get any further.

“That’s the emotional disconnect. It’s not really surprising, because they’ve never known what it means to embrace a person of colour as a true equal, with thoughts and feelings that are as valid as their own. Watching [the documentary] The Color of Fear by Lee Mun Wah, I saw people of colour break down in tears as they struggled to convince a defiant white man that his words were enforcing and perpetuating a white racist standard on them. All the while he stared obliviously, completely confused by this pain, at best trivialising it, at worst ridiculing it.
“I’ve written before about this white denial being the ubiquitous politics of race that operates on its inherent invisibility. So I can’t talk to white people about race any more because of the consequent denials, awkward cartwheels and mental acrobatics that they display when this is brought to their attention. Who really wants to be alerted to a structural system that benefits them at the expense of others?
“I can no longer have this conversation, because we’re often coming at it from completely different places. I can’t have a conversation with them about the details of a problem if they don’t even recognise that the problem exists. Worse still is the white person who might be willing to entertain the possibility of said racism, but who thinks we enter this conversation as equals. We don’t.

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“Not to mention that entering into conversation with defiant white people is a frankly dangerous task for me. As the hackles rise and the defiance grows, I have to tread incredibly carefully, because if I express frustration, anger or exasperation at their refusal to understand, they will tap into their presubscribed racist tropes about angry black people who are a threat to them and their safety. It’s very likely that they’ll then paint me as a bully or an abuser. It’s also likely that their white friends will rally round them, rewrite history and make lies the truth. Trying to engage with them and navigate their racism is not worth that.
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“Amid every conversation about Nice White People feeling silenced by conversations about race, there is a sort of ironic and glaring lack of understanding or empathy for those of us who have been visibly marked out as different for our entire lives, and live the consequences. It’s truly a lifetime of self-censorship that people of colour have to live. The options are: speak your truth and face the reprisals, or bite your tongue and get ahead in life. It must be a strange life, always having permission to speak and feeling indignant when you’re finally asked to listen. It stems from white people’s never-questioned entitlement, I suppose.
“I cannot continue to emotionally exhaust myself trying to get this message across, while also toeing a very precarious line that tries not to implicate any one white person in their role of perpetuating structural racism, lest they character-assassinate me.
“So I’m no longer talking to white people about race. I don’t have a huge amount of power to change the way the world works, but I can set boundaries. I can halt the entitlement they feel towards me and I’ll start that by stopping the conversation. The balance is too far swung in their favour. Their intent is often not to listen or learn, but to exert their power, to prove me wrong, to emotionally drain me, and to rebalance the status quo. I’m not talking to white people about race unless I absolutely have to. If there’s something like a media or conference appearance that means that someone might hear what I’m saying and feel less alone, then I’ll participate. But I’m no longer dealing with people who don’t want to hear it, wish to ridicule it and, frankly, don’t deserve it.”
After I pressed publish, the blogpost took on a life of its own. Years later, I still meet new people, in different countries and different situations, who tell me that they have read it. In 2014, as the post was being linked to all over the internet, I braced myself for the usual slew of racist comments. But the response was so markedly different that it surprised me.

Rest of the story by Reni Eddo-Lodge/theguardian

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Every Culture Appropriates The question is less whether a dress or an idea is borrowed, than the uses to which it’s then put.

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A woman walks with her two daughters at a busy street in downtown Shanghai July 11, 2013.

Meet the Death Metal Cowboys of Botswana. In black leather decorated with metal studs, they play a pounding style of music that people who know more than me trace to the British band “Venom” and its 1981 album Welcome to Hell. Question: Is this cultural appropriation? Why or why not?

The question is inspired by a spasm of social-media cruelty that caught wide attention last week. A young woman in Utah bought a Chinese-style dress to wear to her high school formal. She posted some photographs of herself on her personal Instagram page—and suddenly found herself the target of virulent online abuse.

For once, the story has a happy ending. Good sense and kindness prevailed, and instead of her prom being ruined, the young woman exited the dance buoyed by worldwide support and affirmation, most of all from within China.

Yet the idea persists that there is something wrong and oppressive about people of one background adopting and adapting the artifacts of another. Sadly often, these stories end as successful power plays enforced by local bullies.

At Oberlin in 2015, a Vietnamese American student shamed the dining hall into ceasing to serve its version of Banh Mi sandwiches.

Instead of a crispy baguette with grilled pork, pate, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs, the sandwich used ciabatta bread, pulled pork and coleslaw. “It was ridiculous …. How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?”

The references to “baguette” and “pâté” in a food product of a former French colony might have tipped off the angry Oberlin student that the banh mi is not quite as traditional a Vietnamese food as she imagined. When this exotic remake of a classic pate en baguette was first sold in the streets of Hanoi, the vendors called it “banh tay”: literally “Western-style bread.”

By David Frum/TheAtlantic full article

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

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