The Problematics of Selective Progressivism, and Selective Media.

[What do you call a white Republican who is against same-sex marriage? If you call them a bigot, then you’re calling 90% of Muslims bigots. While you accuse others of racism, you are actually being racist here because you’re applying different standards to different people based on their race because Islam is viewed as a “brown man’s religion”. You are not being liberal by supporting illiberal ideas coming from people from different countries, religions, and cultures.

I would ask somebody who reads Salon, if you claim to be against homophobia, like I am and many people are, you should stand against it whether it comes from the Evangelicals, the black church, or the Muslim in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Iran. Otherwise you are the racist. If you think it’s acceptable for “other” people do it just because they’re a different race other than a “white male” then you’re not really a liberal — you don’t subscribe to the concept of equal rights and anti-racism. You’re propagating racism and you’re part of the problem….]

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Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is a secular and human rights activist who was awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award, Gold, from the Obama Administration in 2016. He’s experienced life under Saddam Hussein and lived in Iraq during the American invasion and civil war which followed after. He escaped Iraq in 2009 after the loss of his brother, cousin, and friends to Al Qaeda. Faisal focuses on helping liberal, secular ideas and dissidents flourish in the Middle East and is currently writing his first book. He started the Global Secular Humanist Movement, and recently launched a podcast called the Grey Zone and joined the Secular Jihadists podcast.

I think many people who study liberal arts and subjects like sociology are exposed to only one type of history — which is white history and white colonialism. They’re inculcated with the idea that the Holocaust, genocide against Native Americans, and Japanese internment camps represent white people. When people are only exposed to these ideas, of one oppressor — meaning white people — what they’ll do when they hear a person criticize a foreign culture is to get immediately defensive on behalf of that culture. And they’ll do it to protect a former victim of imperialism, racism, etc. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

[But the people who are most hurt by this — by preventing this discussion — are the minorities within the minorities….

I think another problem is that people see Muslims as a minority, but they’re not a minority globally. They’re the second biggest religion in the world. The true minorities are those living within them who do not subscribe to conservative Muslim values….

I’m all for acknowledging the problem of Islamic extremism and how we should fight it. But that means you have to look for the people with good values within these communities, the individuals who subscribe to ideas of universal human rights, liberal values, and you have to stand with them. Because when you generalize, you are literally equating the fighters of the terrorists with the terrorists themselves. You’re equating the Maajid Nawazs’ of the world with Al Qaeda. That is so far from the truth. If you say that Maajid, Ali Rizvi, Sarah Haider and all of these people are as bad as ISIS, you’re literally advocating for killing us as well. If you’re saying the solution to ISIS is bombings and drone attacks and all of us are ISIS, you’re asking for us to be killed as well just because we share the same skin color and same language….

One of the things many people don’t know about Al Jazeera is that is mostly owned by the royal family of Qatar which is financed by oil and gas. It’s a company that doesn’t rely much on advertising because they have other sources of revenue.

The version I grew up with of Al Jazeera is a channel that is literally the spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood and a light version of Al Qaeda. You can see them entertaining the idea of supporting groups like Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria — which is literally Al Qaeda’s affiliate. Let’s not talk about what they think about homosexuality and Jews and their anti-semitism, because it’s bad….

But then you have Al Jazeera English speaking about Black Lives Matter, pandas, climate change, because what they’re trying to do is make Islam look as good as possible. They want to make Muslims appear victimized. And they want to make the West look as bad as possible. They show the worst that exists in the West. Flint, Michigan — they were reporting on that constantly. Standing Rock as well, you get the idea.

But you never see them criticizing Islam, Islamists, or the Muslim Brotherhood. They only show you the side of Aleppo that is controlled by Islamist and Jihadist groups. They never criticize Qatar but they criticize Saudi Arabia because they’re rivals….

This is one of the reasons why many ex-Muslims and Muslims who support ideas about liberalism and separation of Mosque and State are afraid to speak out. They know they’ll receive a huge backlash from many out there.

The biggest backlash people like me face is actually from Islamists. They think my ideas are antithetical to Islam and an enemy according to their ideology.

The far-Left, or the regressive-Left as Maajid Nawaz refers to them, believe in the narrative that to criticize Islam and even Islamism is a form of imposing your own values on them. Regressives consider values like liberalism to be Western values so they think that you are imposing the white Western values on the brown Muslim — and to them that’s terrible. They think that Islam is a brown man’s religion. Even though there are many adherents to Islam who are white, black, Bosnian, Sudanese, Chinese. So any criticism of it from a white person is a form of racism. Any criticism coming from a brown person who was adhering to that religion is the equivalent of a black person supporting white slave-owners. That’s where terms like “Uncle-Tom” and “House Muslim” come from. They think  you are trying to assist the white imperialist “agenda” against the brown victims.

On the far-Right there are strong elements of xenophobia. There are many people who adhere to the concept of white superiority — which is a bad idea — and they subscribe to this idea that there is a clash of civilizations. That there is a war between the East and the West. That’s wrong. There are many people from the East who are liberals and who adhere to universal liberal values. Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, Ali Rizvi from Pakistan, I’m from Iraq. So there’s many people in the East who support universal human rights — sometimes more than the people in the West!]

Faisal Al Mutar on Media Bubbles, the Two Faces of Al Jazeera, and Nuance

North Dakota Latest Introduced Bills, and the Scalp Bounty

Sometimes a crucial distinction lies merely on the tactic, and not the sentiment.

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[A bill that state GOP Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced would exempt drivers from liability if they accidentally hit a pedestrian, according to the Bismarck Tribune. House Bill 1203 was written up in direct response to groups of protesters blocking roadways, Kempenich told the paper. He claims protesters were seen jumping out in front of vehicles.

“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” Kempenich said. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.

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Another measure would make it a crime for adults to wear masks nearly across the board, while another would allow the state to sue the federal government over millions in extra police costs, according to ABC News.”]  Read the full report | The Huffington Post

Now, let’s draw an analogy (with a practice poorly documented and sensationalized):

[Beginning in the 1830s, two Mexican states (Sonora and Chihuahua) authorized scalp bounties against Apache Indians, but these were as controversial in Mexico as they had been in the British colonies.

In New Mexico and Arizona, the state governments never approved scalp bounties, but some county officials revived and increased the old Apache scalp bounties that had been used by the former Mexican states. A report from the New York Times in 1885 (the most recent source I know of that documents scalp bounties) offers the following passage that shows the mentality of those who justified the practice:

From time immemorial all border countries have offered bounties for bear and wolf scalps and other animals that destroyed the pioneer’s stock or molested his family. Why, therefore, asks the Arizona settler, should not the authorities place a reward upon the head of the terrible Apache, who murders the white man’s family and steals his stock like the wolves?

Some colonial governments in the British North American colonies enacted  scalp bounties early in the 1700s, in the context of war between  Britain and France. They wanted to create an incentive for frontier  settlers to kill Indians who were allied with the French enemy. In  practice, though, colonial Indian killers were careless about the distinction  between “friendly” and “hostile” Indians. As the white population  expanded, so did demand for land, and this was the material motive  behind most killing of Indians, whether sanctioned by authority or not…. ]  Read the full article | Quora

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America’s Forgotten Mass Lynching: When 237 Blacks Were Murdered In Arkansas

[The death toll of 237 reported by the Equal Justice Initiative is a new figure, based on extensive research. In 1919, sources as varied as the NAACP and the Bureau of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI) estimated the number of killed African Americans at 25 to 80. Writer Robert Whitaker, who has identified 22 separate killing sites of African Americans during the massacre, put the death toll at more than 100. NAACP official Walter White, who risked his life in October 1919 to investigate the killings, stated that the “number of Negroes killed during the riot is unknown and probably never will be known.”

Say the number of African Americans killed in Phillips County in 1919 was 25. Or 80. Or 237. The very fact that, almost one hundred years after the massacre, we are still trying to pinpoint the death toll should lead us to a larger reckoning: coming to terms with one of the most violent years in the nation’s history, bloodshed that resulted from efforts to make America safe for democracy.]

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Read the full story here | THE DAILY BEAST

Little White Womin… | Another Strange Fruit

Ain’t no sisters here: A long history of white feminism consistently excluding women of color and embracing white supremacism

White women voted for Trump in 2016 because they still believe white men are their saviors

[White women have a history of betraying their sisters. The 2016 election was no exception. The pattern of white women choosing white men over women of color underscores some of the more insidious machinations of patriarchy and the racism ingrained in the feminist movement. White women’s modus operandi for gaining power—economic, political, and otherwise—is simple: acquire power from those who have it. And those who have historically have had it are white men. This has resulted in white women’s historic abandonment of their black and brown sisters, as well as their more heinous adoption of white supremacist rhetoric to advance their own status.

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These ethically unjustifiable strategies are evident in some of the feminist movement’s darkest days, beginning with the fight for suffrage. After the decision was made to exclude women from the 15th Amendment, which gave free black men the right to vote, leading suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton adopted blatantly racist rhetoric. Frustrated with the stonewalling of women’s suffrage, they actively courted and collaborated with white supremacists in exchange for financial assistance to advance their cause. By aligning themselves with white men, these early feminists turned their back on black women and even black suffragists. White male supremacists welcomed the coalition, as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in a piece at the Atlantic, because it would shore up white nationalism at the voting booths.
During the next wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, a similar strategy played out, this time on a structural level. The organizations fighting for women’s rights deliberately excluded their black and brown sisters so as to appear more acceptable to the white male legislators who held the power.
The ethical failures of white women resulted in black women creating their own feminism—womanism—as well as their own groups such as the Combahee River Collective, which argued that ending the systemic oppression of all women was a political imperative. “[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking,” they wrote in their mission statement.
White feminism, by contrast, is the calculated rejection of intersectional sisterhood in favor of the acceptance and appreciation of white men. In its most destructive form, it is racism masquerading as self-empowerment. This is apparent in Elle magazine interviews with a handful of female Trump supporters after the election, who claim that they are “absolutely not racist” and they really just care about the “economy” and “get[ting] a good job.”
White women account for 37% of the American voting population, which means the votes of black and brown women, no matter how impressively they turned out for Hillary Clinton (94% of black women; 68% of Hispanic and Latino women), were countered by the large swath of white women who supported Trump.

Instead of turning to men for political coalition and social acceptance, white women need to turn toward women of color. This is the message of the late Harvard lesbian-feminist Barbara Johnson, who wrote in her conclusion to The Feminist Difference that “conflicts among feminists require women to pay attention to each other, to take each other’s reality seriously, to face each other.” Only by doing this will we be able to eradicate women’s internalized misogyny. Johnson continued, “feminists have to take the risk of confronting and negotiating differences among women if we are ever to transform such differences into positive rather than negative forces in women’s lives.”

While racism is undoubtedly a significant factor in white feminists’ failure to engage in intersectional activism, history also suggests that white women have been largely risk-averse when it comes to building coalitions with their black and brown sisters. This is near-sighted and unambitious logic. As Audre Lorde famously wrote in 1984: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” because “[t]hey may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”]

Snow White Rebels and Slaves

[The backlash from some black feminists was immediate, and the expected pushback to that backlash from some white feminists soon followed. They claim that those of us who found the quote—and optics—racially charged needed to look at it in the context of Pankhurst’s larger message, which speaks to the necessity of rebellion within a patriarchal system.

That could be viewed as a valid argument if the implication that black feminists had not grasped the quote’s intentions, thus rendering our criticism flawed, wasn’t the height of condescension.

Pankhurst’s full quote may be important, but within it lies both the freedom of choice and the choice to be free. The message that Streep and company are co-signing with their grinning faces and suffragette tees is that one cannot be both enslaved and a rebel; and tucked between those lines lies the erasure of a dual existence that black women have been forced to navigate in one form or another throughout history….]

Sister Suffragette: ‘Slave’ T-Shirts Highlight White Feminism’s Race Problem

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Undercover With a Border Militia

[I bought a rifle and went off to fight tyranny. protect the Constitution, and “catch fucking beaners.” A first-hand look at America’s resurgent para military movement.

The founder of the militia group I joined says its membership “exploded” after the Ferguson protests.

Most meals are prepared with bacon grease or pork, to keep would-be Muslim infiltrators at bay.

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Ghost says America’s sense of history has gone down an “Orwellian memory hole.” Who remembers Randy Weaver anymore? Ghost was 25 years old in 1991, when Weaver, a member of the white supremacist Christian Identity movement who’d been charged with selling sawed-off shotguns, holed up with his family in their cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, for 18 months. A shootout ensued, and a federal deputy and Weaver’s 13-year-old son were killed. During the 10-day siegethat followed, an FBI sniper killed Weaver’s wife as she held their baby. Ghost is convinced that Weaver’s real crime was distrusting the government.

The movement is bound together by a shared disdain for the federal government, but individual members’ motivations for joining can vary widely. “We all have different reasons to be here,” Captain Clyde Massengale of the Californ­ia State Militia’s Delta Company told the new recruits at my first training. “Some might believe what is happening is something biblical right now. Some might believe it’s the New World Order. Some might believe the New World Order is making what is happening follow the Bible. Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck cares?” Come what may, the militia would be ready. When shit hit the fan, it would have a secret, fortified bugout location where we could bring our families. A new community might someday need to be built there. Massengale said that under his command, life in the bugout would be modeled after ancient Rome. Active, patched members of the California State Militia would be considered citizens, while lapsed members and outsiders would not….]

Read the full story here | Shane Bauer for MOTHER JONES

The Question of Who Gets to be Called a “Patriot” | Kaepernick, Jones, and Other Dark Subject Matters

“For some, being American is conditional on behaving like a grateful guest: You belong here because we tolerate your presence.”

“Love of country turned performative. As a result, modern patriotism has become Kabuki citizenship. It’s Joseph McCarthy; it’s the House Un-American Activities Committee. It’s “Freedom fries” and “These colors don’t run.” It’s American-flag pins and the people who go nuts when a politician is caught without one.

But is it also Leslie Jones.”

[…. Fisher is the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, who, in an episode of the reality football show “Hard Knocks,” told his team that standing for the anthem was sacrosanct: “It’s an opportunity to realize how lucky you are.” Yet here was Kaepernick, sitting down.

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That’s one rejoinder to the unconditional gratitude — the compulsory expression of thankfulness for a nation that prides itself on freedom of expression — that the Jeff Fishers of the world demand. If you’re a black man, as Kaepernick is, your ambivalence about patriotic rituals may be a way of asking the same question Fisher raised: How lucky arewe, exactly?

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When a black American protests the demoralizing practices of American government, there is always a white person eager to unfurl the welcome mat to Africa. This is where racism and patriotism tend to point: toward the exits. For some, we learn, being American is conditional on behaving like a grateful guest: You belong here because we tolerate your presence. We don’t yet appear to have settled the matter of citizenship — not even for our president, another black man backhandedly accused of harboring terrorist sympathies. We operate on the old logic that only members of the family are allowed to tell hard truths about the family’s flaws. And when black people speak about America, they’re informed that they do not actually have a seat at the grown-ups’ table and that they should be grateful to be around at all.

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“I support our players when they want to see change in society,” Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, told The Associated Press. “On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the N.F.L.”

Of course we do. Football has long sought to conflate itself with the military, making it easy to confuse players with troops and political protest with treason. Last year, a report by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake investigated the $6.8 million the Department of Defense had paid sports, mostly to pro football, for recruitment and promotional activities over a four-year period — including full-field displays of the American flag and surprise reunion events between service members and their families. The league announced that it would return $723,734, money spent not on recruitment but on what McCain and Flake called “paid patriotism.”

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“Patriot” has a concise definition: “one who loves and loyally or zealously supports one’s own country.” Support can take the form of dissent just as readily as cheer-leading — each is a way of suggesting what kind of nation America is to become, and patriots have lived and died on all sides of the argument. But during the 20th century, patriotism began to treat the question as one we’ve settled.

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Jones had been redefining the face of patriotism — a face that has been evoked by both Marvel’s Captain America and Peter Fonda’s counterculture version. But to some of her fellow citizens, she’ll only ever be an interloper. Soon after her return, hackers invaded her personal website and aired private information. Whiteness and America have always been kept synonymous, conjoined, fiercely paired. Attempts to problematize that marriage — to open it up and show whom it excludes — are reliably met with fear and resistance. New expressions of patriotism always make certain white people fear that a wedge is being driven between them and their America — whether by Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the Army, or by Black Lives Matter, or by a backup quarterback for the 49ers. The fear is almost as old as the nation. Sometimes it feels as if the fear is the nation…..]