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Focusing on racism, real and contrived, will ensure that ‘shitholes’ remain so

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“President” Pussygrabber on Thursday told a group of U.S. senators and representatives that he doesn’t want people from “shithole countries” immigrating to the United States. I always thought of a “shithole” as that hole in the “president’s” face that continuously spews out shit, but whatever…

The definition of a “shithole” is “an extremely dirty, shabby or otherwise unpleasant place.”

In comparison to standard (that is, at-least-middle-class) U.S. living conditions, there are many “shitholes” outside of the United States and, of course, within the U.S.

Haiti, for instance, would be a “shithole” as defined above. There’s no calling Haiti a fucking paradise, methinks. And most of the world’s most impoverished nations indeed are in Africa.

However, there is a difference between you or I using the term “shithole” and the “president” using the term, and there is a difference between (fairly objectively, once we have defined the term) calling a place a “shithole” — and then thereby deeming its inhabitants to be inherently inferior (which pretty much is the definition of “racism”).

“President” Pussygrabber’s mere use of the term “shithole” obviously is not presidential (but nothing about him is presidential), but it’s not necessarily racist in and of itself. Again, if an impoverished region or nation accurately can be called a “shithole,” then, indeed, “shitholes” abound.

That said, Pussygrabber’s professed preferences among the world’s nations from which he believes we should accept immigrants absolutely reeks of racism.

The Washington Post yesterday indicated that during a meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Pussygrabber referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes” from which he wants no immigrants and proclaimed that he prefers immigrants from nations like Norway.*

I don’t know how else to translate that except that Pussygrabber, like his supporters and most of the members of the Repugnican Party, prefers white immigrants (especially those with money**) to non-white immigrants, especially brown-skinned immigrants (and especially those without money).

The United States is supposed to be a welcoming nation. At the Statue of Liberty is this plaque of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”:

File:Emma Lazarus plaque.jpg

The poem goes:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The second stanza is the most-quoted, but the first stanza is important, too: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land” is an anti-imperialist and anti-militarist sentiment, a sentiment that has been largely to mostly lost; for many if not even most American citizens, the U.S. is and always should remain the conquering colossus, not the “mother of exiles.”

And “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” sounds pretty fucking anti-aristocratic to me. Yet “President” Pussygrabber blatantly proclaims that he much prefers “your storied pomp” to “your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Don’t send these! he repeatedly proclaims.

But ironically, the standard of living that most Americans enjoy largely to even mostly comes at the expense of those from poorer, exploited nations whose inhabitants Pussygrabber and his supporters want to keep out.

Indeed, the United States is not the “mother of exiles,” but is that conquering colossus that helps to create exiles. Many if not most — probably most — of us U.S. citizens, in order to deny our role in poverty here and abroad, tell ourselves and each other that poverty primarily is caused by individual laziness and stupidity (and perhaps also by racial inferiority).

To further exculpate ourselves, we callously ignore major factors in global poverty, including the brutal effects of European colonialism that still grip billions of people today, including brutal global capitalism and the insane income inequality that it creates, climate change (caused, of course, by capitalism) and other environmental devastation (caused, of course, by capitalism) and otherwise harsh environments that make it difficult to impossible for human beings to thrive.

Indeed, many to most (probably most) U.S. citizens are perfectly fine with insane income inequality from capitalist exploitation and with environmental devastation from capitalist exploitation — as long as they are not among the worst victims of these wrongs.

Our moral duty as U.S. citizens is to try to help those around the globe — by living more sustainably and more responsibly and less selfishly ourselves, if nothing else — not to shut out those who aren’t as materially successful as we are and who aren’t as materially successful as we are in no tiny part because of us.

In our current environment of toxic identity politics, though — which is aided and abetted by many if not most who call themselves “Democrats” — all that we want to see is racism (and/or sexism/misogyny), real and even fabricated, because focusing only on identity politics, which keeps capitalist exploitation perfectly intact, allows us to continue to blithely ignore the socioeconomic devastation that plagues billions of human beings around the globe for our own selfish benefit.

We’ll say that we oppose racism, that you shouldn’t be judged based upon the color of your skin, but we’ll still gladly allow you to die en masse because of the excessive lifestyle that we refuse to relinquish.

“Mother of exiles”? Hell, no! We’re the motherfucking U. S. of A., the conquering colossus!

P.S. Race and class are indeed closely intertwined. There very apparently is a close correlation between race and income level in the United States, for example. Per Wikipedia, in 2015 the median household income for Asians in the U.S. was $74,245; for whites, $59,698; and for blacks, $36,544, the lowest median household income for all races.

As I have noted many times before, it rankles me that while we American commoners are too busy discussing race, often fighting among ourselves over it, our plutocratic overlords continue to increase income inequality, which harms people of all races.

That said, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time; we have to fight both racism and income inequality at the same time. Thing is, you can’t legislate a racist becoming a non-racist.*** You can, however, pass legislation (eliminate tax loopholes for corporations, raise taxes on the super-rich, keep raising the minimum wage, etc.) to reduce income inequality.

Finally, because race and class are so closely intertwined, in the case of “President” Pussygrabber, who was born into wealth (apparently he inherited his family’s real-estate business), to me it’s difficult to tell how classist he is vs. how racist he is.

For example, is his main problem with Haitans that most of them are black — or that most of them are poor?

Despite the fact that he was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, Pussygrabber apparently equates being poor with being a loser, and, perhaps because of his German background, he sees the poor as being weak and thus undesirable, and he always has shown a Nazi Germanic obsession with strength as he defines it.

After all, Pussygrabber advocates that immigrants to the U.S. already be rich, very apparently missing the fact that for many if not most of these already-rich immigrants, coming to the U.S. would be a step down.

*Pussygrabber is OK with some Asian immigrants, WaPo quotes the White House, since Asians tend to have and to make money. Pussygrabber apparently really has it out for the Haitians, probably because they’re the most impoverished nation that’s closest to the United States (as well as because of their race, of course), but, to be fair, U.S. immigration policy long has been rough on Haitians, including the historical preference for Cuban immigrants over Haitian immigrants, even though the island nations are neighbors.

**Why the fuck would white immigrants who live in nations whose governments actually believe in taking care of their inhabitants and their environment want to come to the United States, only to be thrown, like chum, to the corporations for their shark-like, treasonous profiteering? (Western nations whose per-capita wealth is higher than that of the United States include Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.)

***That said, anti-discrimination laws and hate-crime laws are critically important; perhaps you cannot change a racist’s mind, but you have to punish a racist’s crimes against others.

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With Ireland, yet another pink domino topples; next up, the United States

. Dublin (Ireland), 23/05/2015.- People reacting to results coming in from constituencies around Ireland suggesting an overwhelming majority in favour of the referendum on same-sex marriage, in Dublin, Ireland, 23 May 2015. The first results were declared in Ireland's historic vote on same-sex marriage, with every indication that the Yes side has won, as opponents of the measure conceded defeat. Sligo-North Leitrim in the north-west was the first of 43 constituencies to declare with a 53.6-per-cent vote in favour, followed by Waterford in the south-east with 60.3 per cent voting Yes. (Irlanda) EFE/EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

EFE/EPA/Aidan Crawley photo

People in Dublin celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage in the widely-considered conservative nation of Ireland yesterday by more than 60 percent of the vote. Of course, this isn’t all about the Catholick church; it’s about human rights and freedom.

The news story headline from today “Church reels after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage” made me giddily happy, but the news story misses so much. It begins:

Dublin (AFP) — The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms [today] with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a “new language” with which to speak to people.

As jubilant “Yes” supporters nursed their hangovers after partying late into the night following [yesterday’s] referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

“The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church’s most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city’s St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

“We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.”

He added: “There’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the Church and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the Church.”

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church’s influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation [gotta love the British spelling] and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

During the campaign, bishops spoke against changing the law, while older and rural voters were thought to have accounted for much of the “No” vote.

Final results showed 62 percent in favour and 38 percent against introducing gay marriage in a country where being homosexual was a crime until 1993. …

Many things strike me. Where to begin?

As much as I’d love to celebrate the death of the Catholick church, it’s not dead yet. For decades Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans and others throughout the world have been calling themselves Catholicks but have doing what they want to do anyway. They disagree with the church on many issues, such as birth control, abortion and same-sex relationships, but go about living their lives as they wish to live them anyway, but still giving at least lip service to having some fealty to the Catholick church. They have been living compartmentalized lives, and this doesn’t seem to bother them much, if they even think about it much at all.

This phenomenon of compartmentalization (in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, apparently) is quite old, and while of course Ireland being the first nation in the world to establish same-sex marriage at the ballot box (rather via a legislature or court of law) is a milestone in equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — probably especially because Ireland is considered to be a conservative nation — the Catholick church will continue to sputter on until its eventual demise.

Remember that 10 years ago in the heavily Catholick nation of  Spain, the parliament passed same-sex marriage, which was favored by more than 60 percent of the nation’s people10 years ago. (“The ratification of [same-sex marriage in Spain] was not devoid of conflict, despite support from 66 percent of the population,” notes Wikipedia, adding, “Roman Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed, criticizing what they regarded as the weakening of the meaning of marriage.“)

Spain was the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and was quickly followed by Canada, which became the fourth nation to adopt same-sex marriage.

Since Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and parts of the very heavily Catholic Mexico — Mexico City and the Mexican states of  of Quintana Roo and Coahuila — have followed with same-sex marriage. (And it’s important to note that any same-sex marriage that legally was performed anywhere in Mexico must be recognized throughout the nation’s 31 states.)

And following Mexico with same-sex marriage have been Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland, England, Scotland and Wales, and now, Ireland.

A lot of Catholicks in the Western world live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. Wikipedia, for instance, puts the populations of Ireland, Mexico and Portugal all at more than 80 percent Catholick, Argentina at more than 75 percent, Spain and Luxembourg at around 70 percent, Brazil and France at more than 60 percent, Belgium approaching 60 percent, and Slovenia and Uruguay around 50 percent.

So Ireland’s having joined the same-sex marriage fold yesterday can’t have been a huge shock; it’s not like it was unprecedented.

But I’ll take this latest win for love and for freedom, the freedom to live one’s life the way he or she wishes to, as long as he or she does not harm others — and no, violating some tyrannical, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging theofascist’s backasswards beliefs on how we, the rest of us, may and may not live our lives (whether we even believe in a “God” or not) is not harming anyone else. Quite to the contrary, it’s the theofascists who always have been causing the harm (in the names of “God” and “Jesus” and “love”), to which the masses have been waking up and realizing, and thus the march of same-sex marriage rights continues throughout the globe. (A lot of work remains to be done, especially in the African, Middle Eastern, Asian and Muslim nations, as well as in Russia.)

Speaking of which, I find it interesting that it’s reported that the final tally from the vote in Ireland yesterday is expected to exceed 60 percent, since earlier this month the polling organization Gallup reported that a record number of Americans polled — 60 percent — now support same-sex marriage. That’s fairly fast growth, considering that Americans didn’t reach the 50-percent mark in Gallup’s polling on same-sex marriage until 2011.

True, not even a full quarter of Americans call themselves Catholick (thank God), and of course we can’t blame only the Catholicks for their opposition to same-sex marriage in the United States, since there are plenty of other hateful, ignorant, right-wing “Christian” churches in the United States, such as the Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Methodists, and, of course, the Pentacostalists, who probably are the scariest of the theofascist “Christians” (whom I commonly call “Christofascists,” after “Islamofascists,” as though the fundamentalist Muslims had a monopoly on “God”-based fascism).

And, of course, the Catholicks aren’t monolithic; many if not even most of them personally are OK with same-sex marriage, despite the church’s official stance on the matter. Still, though, I can’t understand how anyone can support such an evil, harmful institution, even peripherally, such as by even still calling oneself a “Catholic,” knowing the damage that the Catholick Church has been wreaking upon humanity for centuries. (Ditto for the Protestant churches, too; even the more liberal Protestant churches still push a belief in “God,” which to me is only a Santa Claus on crack. [He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!] The opiate of the masses, indeed.)

Of course, of what the Catholick Church and other “Christian” churches are most terrified is continuing to lose their grip on the masses’ minds, genitalia and wallets and pocketbooks. Virtually all organized religions, small or huge, are all about those in the upper echelons of the hierarchy, be they the petty pastors of puny Pentecostal churches or Il Papa himself.

These theofascist tyrants never have cared about anyone’s true freedom — only about their own power and wealth, the sustenance of which requires that others be enthralled to them through ignorance and fear, via “God,” “Jesus,” “heaven,” “hell,” “sin,” “eternal damnation,” etc.

The gaining of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals is only one front in the continuing throwing off of the theofascists’ centuries-long tyranny. Science, technology (including, of course, the communications revolution that the Internet has been), logic, reason, true democracy (which necessitates secularism) — in a word, modernity — is what poses the largest threat to the continued existence of the infantilezed organized religions that refuse to let go of their desire to infantilize and enthrall all of us.

Next up, I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule next month that no state in the U.S. may prohibit same-sex marriage, as such a prohibition violates the equal human and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The about-40 percent of Americans who still oppose same-sex marriage will, of course, quite predictably whine that a pro-same-sex marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is an anti-democratic fiat by “activists” judges (of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court actually were to rule against same-sex marriage [which I find unlikely], to the wingnuts this would be wholly democratic and the judges would not be “activist” at all, but simply would have done their job to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, you see).

Of course, in the United States we never have had any national referenda, such as Ireland just did on the topic of same-sex marriage. In the U.S. there is no mechanism in place for the entire nation to vote on any matter other than who will be U.S. president and U.S. vice president, and given that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, we Americans, who elect the president and our U.S. senators, of course have some voice in the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, so to call the court’s rulings (the ones that we disagree with, mostly) entirely anti-democratic is, of course, largely if not mostly bullshit.

And I’m quite confident that were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the U.S., it would pass.

Gallup polling this month found 60 percent support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., but a CBS News/New York Times poll taken just before the Gallup poll found 57 percent support, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken right before that one found 58 percent support. A Quinnipiac University poll taken right before that one also found 58 percent support, and an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken at the same time as the Quinnipiac University poll found 61 percent support.

So Gallup’s finding of 60 percent seems to be no more than within a percentage point of two of the actual level of support for same-sex marriage within the United States. (The average of the five nationwide polls cited above, which were taken this month and last month, is 58.8 percent.)

Again, were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the United States of America, it would pass. It’s safe for the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging haters to argue otherwise, since we never have national referenda here in the U.S., but the timid, behind-the-curve, right-of-center U.S. Supreme Court (which did, after all, decide the 2000 presidential election even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than did George W. Bush and decide that bazillionaires may have unlimited spending in elections) would not rule in favor of same-sex marriage if it weren’t confident that a solid majority of Americans are on board with it.

Because a solid majority of Americans are on board with same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps further emboldened by the latest example of Ireland, most likely will rule in favor of same-sex marriage throughout the land.

And the land will not erupt in chaos and violent upheaval, as the theofascist terrorists warn us will happen (it’s just yet another terrorist threat meant to get them their way over the majority, even though they are in the solid minority), because where same-sex marriage is concerned, the U.S. democracy, such as it is, and as slow as it always has been to bring about equal human and civil rights for all, at least in the area of the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, is working.

Not quickly enough, but it is working, and next month we truly freedom-loving and love-loving Americans most likely will be celebrating in the streets like they have been celebrating in the streets of Ireland this weekend.

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‘Black’ is the ‘new’ black?

The Associated Press has an odd “news” item — timed for Black History Month, apparently — that many if not most black Americans don’t like to be called “African-American.” The AP story begins:

The labels used to describe Americans of African descent mark the movement of a people from the slave house to the White House. Today, many are resisting this progression by holding on to a name from the past: “black.”

For this group — some descended from U.S. slaves, some immigrants with a separate history — “African-American” is not the sign of progress hailed when the term was popularized in the late 1980s. Instead, it’s a misleading connection to a distant culture.

The debate has waxed and waned since “African-American” went mainstream, and gained new significance after the son of a black Kenyan and a white American moved into the White House. President Barack Obama’s identity has been contested from all sides, renewing questions that have followed millions of darker Americans:

What are you? Where are you from? And how do you fit into this country?

“I prefer to be called black,” said Shawn Smith, an accountant from Houston. “How I really feel is, I’m American.”

“I don’t like ‘African-American.’ It denotes something else to me than who I am,” said Smith, whose parents are from Mississippi and North Carolina. “I can’t recall any of them telling me anything about Africa. They told me a whole lot about where they grew up in Macomb County and Shelby, N.C.”

Gibré George, an entrepreneur from Miami, started a Facebook page called “Don’t Call Me African-American” on a whim. It now has about 300 “likes.”

“We respect our African heritage, but that term is not really us,” George said. “We’re several generations down the line. If anyone were to ship us back to Africa, we’d be like fish out of water.” …

This is news? Since when did the majority of today’s black Americans prefer to be called “African-Americans”?

If “white” isn’t offensive (and it isn’t), then why would “black” be offensive? And “black” is economical — one syllable, as opposed to the seven-syllable “African-American.”

“African-American” seems too politically correct and stilted to me — its use seems overly conscious of race. “African-American,” it seems to me, is used primarily by whites who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with blacks, just as those who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with us gay men and lesbians call us “homosexual(s)” — a term that the vast majority of us gay men and lesbians don’t use to refer to ourselves.

But even aside from that, “African-American” a poor term to denote one’s race.

If you want to be technical, all human beings had their origin in Africa, so every American, strictly technically speaking, could be called an “African-American.”

And not all black Americans, it seems to me, consider Africa to be the place of their heritage — they could consider Brazil, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica or one of several other nations to be the place of their heritage, not entirely unlike how it’s woefully inaccurate to term all Latinos as “Mexicans,” as though Mexico were the only nation that produced Latinos.

And, as the two black individuals are quoted as having said in the AP story above, “African-American” connotes a connection to Africa that many if not most black Americans don’t really feel — any more than I feel a connection to whichever foreign land my ancestors came from (the United Kingdom, I believe, but I’m not certain of that). I don’t call myself an “Anglo-American” because I’ve never set foot in the UK and I am generations removed from it — and because “white” is one syllable versus six, and I believe in keeping it simple. (Ditto for the clinical-sounding term “Caucasian” — why use three syllables when “white” is perfectly acceptable?)

I routinely use the term “black” to refer to blacks and never have been corrected by a black person, and I generally believe in using the term that the majority of the members of a group use to refer to themselves. Thus, I say “black” and not “African-American” (and certainly not “Negro” or “colored” or another woefully outdated term), “Latino” and not the outdated “Hispanic,” “Asian” and certainly not the horribly outdated “Oriental,” and “Native American” and not “Indian” (since Native Americans are not from India and since here in the United States we have plenty of people who are from India or who are only a generation or two removed from India, and so to call Native Americans “Indians” is to confuse them with actual Indians).

Like the use of “homosexual,” though, the use of such terms as “African-American” and “Oriental” is useful in identifying bigots — or if not outright bigots, individuals who obviously aren’t very familiar with the group of people they’re referring to, or they’d be using the term that the group uses to refer to itself.

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