The Tennessee Expulsion: A Racist Political Lyncnching
I couldn’t do a better job of discussing this atrocious and egregious manifestation of abject racial hatred and bigotry…
Besides, I believe that it is incumbent upon white people to demand better from one another.
At 76, I’m tired of being shunted aside and ignored and told that militant agitation in an effort to reach people through a portal of cognitive dissonance is ineffective and wrong…
But, I won’t quit!
Maybe you’ll lend a more receptive ear to Lawrence O’Donnell:
Why isn’t there an immediate, definite, and discernable outpouring of outrage here on Bindlesnitch?
If you don’t know how, or why, I would ask such a question, you don’t know me at all…
When, oh when, will you white people put an end to this shit?
04/07/2023 @ 8:26 pm
Ron, you like to frame ending racism as white responsibility, but the reality is those racist assholes would never listen to me, same as they would never listen to you. To them, I’m the Marxist radical left, an insignificant woman who doesn’t know her place, a coastal academic elite. To them, you’re all that stuff, plus you’re Black. To them, we’re destroying America the formerly great.
But you know who they will have to listen to, if not now, soon? Young people. The next crop of voters and political colleagues. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson are 27 and 29. Powerful young men. No nonsense. Fearless. Bold. Reasoned. Energized. Politically aware–did you listen to them speak? Raising their fists, all the way up, not wimpy low like Trump does. Fired up. Ready. Meanwhile, the TN State House was so packed with young people that they had to shut the doors. They packed the balcony, packed the stairs, the lobby, the streets. Gen Z is making history right now.
Young people are unconcerned with race, gender, LGBTQ, and deeply concerned with climate change, gun violence, women’s rights. They are voting in huge numbers, stepping up to run for political office, and they are NOT registering as GOP. Look at the Wisconsin youngs this week. They’re why Janet Protasiewicz was elected by 11 points, to protect women’s reproductive rights. Recently, David Hogg was asked when he thought gun legislation would pass. His blunt reply to his sixty-something interviewer: we have to wait until you die. He’s right.
What do you and I do? We can support them. Respect them. Assist them, in education, in political effort, in spirit. I’m too old to whitesplain shit to white people my age. If they don’t get it by now, they won’t ever. But I can stop voting for old white men, can use work connections to put young grads in touch, write letters of rec, select BIPOC and LGBTQ teaching assistants. I can educate myself, read Black journalists, read dozens of Black authored books, learn facts and history nobody taught me, hold signs at protests, write letters, give money to BIPOC candidates running for out of state offices, support BIPOC owned businesses, enjoy BIPOC tv series, films, music.
P.S. That question re: how many Black people a white person knows is like asking if they still beat their wife. If I say one, you’ll slam me, and if I say hundreds, you’ll slam me too….so stahp!!
04/07/2023 @ 9:51 pm
“…the reality is those racist assholes would never listen to me…”
I believe that it is incumbent upon white people to demand better from one another.
No “whitesplannin”, just the well articulated and forceful demand to do better.
The kids are doing better but that doesn’t mean that you, or I, or anyone else should quit the fight and work quietly behind the scenes…
What took place in the Tennessee legislature, out in the open and in plain sight, should be clear and convincing evidence of the fact that there is no “behind the scenes”…
You may choose to retire from the fight which is raging in public view, that is your option and your prerogative….
I don’t have that luxury.
I can’t and won’t quit the ‘fight’ for human decency and personal dignity…
04/08/2023 @ 7:39 am
Ron, where did I say that I’d retired from fighting? I just listed the ways I’m in.
At present, there is so much outrage. Mine is divided into multiple pie diagram wedges. Abortion, because I lived through illegal abortion times already. Guns, because we have unannounced classroom shooter drills now, like fire drills, only stuffing students into closets, and that makes it real. Climate, because wtf. LGBTQ because half my friends and students and sister. Racism, because it’s an issue I’ve cared about my whole life.
Our difference is how we choose to use our precious life energies. I will not try to talk to racists. They are not worth my life energy, especially now when there is less of it. I don’t like them. I don’t want to listen to the horrible things that come out of their mouths. I’d rather put my time and attention and dollars into educating young people who’ll take their place. Racists think that’s ‘replacement theory’. Hell yes.
BIPOC children are growing up and taking what is rightly theirs, and do not feel like they have to wait for white permission. I get to see it so much more now than when I started teaching. A former student is getting his PhD at Harvard in African Studies, just came back from six months in Nigeria studying traditional weaving. His work is killing it. A colleague was recently scooped away by a major university to start a graduate program in Black comics, and the program was instantly full. He just illustrated a new Ibram X Kendi kid’s picture book as a side gig. Kendi’s picture books were among the first to be banned in Florida, which means even more kids will want to read them.
We’ve not heard the last of Rep. Jones and Pearson. Despite their colleagues intentions, they are not going away. Today’s news says they may be reinstated on Monday. If not, they’ll be making noise elsewhere, and inspiring more young people.
Every day, it seems the GOP is just trying to burn it all down. This federal Texan judge’s decision to make abortion meds unavailable, saying they’re unsafe. We’re in for a long haul.
In the meantime, have you ever considered a return to teaching, maybe in an after school kid’s program? I think you’d be good at it 🙂
04/08/2023 @ 8:52 am
Me again. Making coffee, and thought I don’t want to argue with Ron. This is an us thing. You can kick them in the shins same as me. It hurts more if we both do it.
Perhaps you live close enough to remember Mel King. He ran for mayor of Boston back in the 80’s and nearly won (yes I voted for him). He died last week, 91 years old, an amazing man, who had a remarkable life.
My former student is now a public mural artist in high demand. One morning I opened the paper to a photo of him shaking Marty Walsh’s hand (our mayor at the time, before Biden grabbed him for his cabinet) next to his commissioned mural of David Ortiz. A few years ago, he was commissioned to do a portrait of Mel King. Now that he passed (funeral is this weekend) the portrait is being reproduced everywhere.
G is one of my favorite students of all time. He spent six years finishing his degree because of lots of life stuff I can’t discuss, except to say he’s the only student I ever told that I was a high school drop out with a 1.09 GPA, and that crawling back to college was the game changer. He’s a high school art teacher now. We laugh about the things his students pull. Karma, he says. Last semester, he returned as a guest artist in residence, gave a SRO lecture and a week workshop in mural painting, then painted an amazing two story high mural inside the new design center.
Here is his mural of Mel King. I drove by WGBH the other day, and it’s featured on the side of their building. Maybe the fight includes love, hand-holding, and how to paint good hands (or a good cardinal?).
04/08/2023 @ 8:54 am
and on the WGBH building last week
04/08/2023 @ 10:36 am
“I will not try to talk to racists.”
I no longer talk to racists and bigots. I confront, lecture, and preach eyeball to eyeball…
When I know I’m being treated in an insulting and disrespectful manner because of the color of my skin, I speak up and speak out in a forceful but nonthreatening tone…
No more “turning the other cheek”…
For me the fight is confrontational, person to person, moment to moment…
I no longer have the patience or the time to engage in ‘gentle persuasion’….No more “Mr. Nice Guy” or trying to be one of the ‘good ones’…
These days, I do immediate and direct, one on one “pushback”, drop the mic, and walk off…(before they can call security or the police)…
Destroying the stereotype of the docile and subordinate black man poses a ‘threat’ to the world view and psyche of any racist who believes that they can act out, and act on, their racism with impunity.
04/08/2023 @ 11:02 am
You’ve got to love this:
Amy Cooper Faces Charges After Calling Police on Black Bird-Watcher https://nyti.ms/38xp4ap
Remember Barbecue Becky?
Too may white people are more than willing to turn a completely benign and innocent incident into a dangerous, and potentially lethal, racially motivated police matter.
“For me the fight is confrontational, person to person, moment to moment…”
04/08/2023 @ 12:46 pm
Ron, am delighted to hear that’s how you respond, and in that example, I’d speak to them too. But do I seek out bigots in order to fight with them, no way. A guy who lives on my block has a Three Percenter bumper sticker on his monster truck. When he’s out in his yard, I walk the long way around. I don’t want to make neighborly nice, and I also don’t want him to know where I live.
So, Christian Cooper. You might want to catch up on what he’s been doing, like hosting a National Geographic show about birding. I also follow him on Instagram, as do many hundreds. Wonder what Miss Amy Cooper is doing these days? Nothing, and that’s the part I gotta love!
04/08/2023 @ 1:20 pm
Also, how could I forget he writes for the Washington Post!
Here’s his recent editorial abt The National Audubon Society’s decision not to change their name: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/04/04/audubon-enslaver-name-change/
Surprise surprise, we agree 😉
04/11/2023 @ 7:41 am
Democrat and Republican gen z and millennials have more in common with each other than they do with preceding generations.
They will be 40% of the electorate by 2024….
04/11/2023 @ 9:21 am
Yep. God bless em.
And look at who’s back in the house! Rep. Justin Jones! Did you see the youtube vid of him marching back to the TN state house with hundreds of young people? So good.
Next on deck: Rep. Justin Pearson. I love imagining the steam coming from those 75 GOP reps. Horse is out of the barn, boys, and it’s not going back in.
04/11/2023 @ 2:36 pm
I’m disturbed by Tennessee’s actions against the Tennessee Three as well. I assume the vast majority of people are. I don’t begrudge anyone their outrage, I am kind of glad that someone is outraged by it. I’m closer to depressed about it. I don’t have the energy to be outraged about it, nor do I think it will ever bring change. I’m convinced that racism isn’t going anywhere.
I think there is no auto-pilot, if you will. There is no society or civilization that we can create that will put that genie back in the bottle. We are a specie with brains that seek out patterns. Dissimilar things represent a pattern with a negative coefficient…so to speak. The only cure is in the moment. A person has to lean on their ethical conduct to eschew racism. Racism will apply as a default in socio-political systems when direct/immediate connections are exceeded.
I think so many things we do as humans translate into a power dynamic unless we actively choose to not allow it to be so. Sex functions that way. The choice and consumption of food works that way. The way we use language works that way. There are certain members of our human community who endeavor to live on a purely ethical level. Those people are monks, nuns, and various cultural separatists like Quakers. And even in their cases, their utopian societies become infected with the human viruses from power. Racism is just one of them.
I have thought recently that the Garden of Eden story can be interpreted as humans achieving self-awareness, and being damned in the process. The painting on the ceiling of St. Peter’s Basilica demonstrates the moment where Adam receives the gift of awareness, and all that it gives, which is coupled with its burden. To do anything in our own interest, and being aware of it, is to use some level of power. Every action must be managed ethically. These are my latest musings.
04/11/2023 @ 4:43 pm
Racism in politics has always existed, just not on display. This is what has changed. Now we have cameras in our phones and social media. We can document the truth and show it to hundreds of thousands of ears and eyes.
The Tennessee house made rock star heroes of the Justins, amplified their voices about guns and about racism, without realizing what they’d done. When you exist in a racist bubble, when you only talk with people your age, your party, your race, when you assume that the power to dominate is your birthright, surely there is no perceived threat to allowing two young Black men from the Big Cities, Memphis and Nashville, talk for a little bit, before dispatching them, and getting back to good old boy business.
Except….the whole country listened to them orate with the skill of Obama and Martin Luther King, watched them march with hundreds of young people, watched them get invited to the White House to hang with President Biden. I can’t wait to see what happens when they’re back in their seats, the stage lights are on high, the amps are turned to eleven, and 75 old white guys have no idea what to do.