Cultural Diffusion and Cultural Appropriation

From Frontier Centre:  https://fcpp.org/2017/08/24/cultural-diffusion-and-cultural-appropriation/

Philip Salzman
August 24, 2017

Anthropologists have long known that one of the major origins of culture is diffusion, the spreading of culture from one place, one population, one society to another.[i] Since the beginning of mankind, every culture developed and evolved through both internal innovation and borrowing from outsiders. This is not debated; it is a fact of human history. It can easily be illustrated by well-known historical examples.

The languages we know as Spanish and French are classed together as Romance languages, because they were adopted and adapted from the Latin of the Romans who conquered the tribes of what is now Spain and France. What we know now as English, is a result of the mixing of Germanic Anglo-Saxon and Norman French. The home of the Semitic language Arabic is the Arabian Peninsula, but its spread throughout Egypt, and North Africa, followed Arab conquests, with Arabic being adopted by the subject populations, while Egyptian and Berber fell into eclipse.  The spread of English around the world, now as the language of science and business, followed the expansion of the British, but the adoption of English continues long after the retreat of the British. Russian was established throughout Central Asia by the expansion of the Russian and later Soviet empires. Today, some Central Asian republics, such as Kyrgyzstan, maintain Russian as an official language. Chinese is the dominant language of the Chinese heartland, but now the language used by Mongols, Turks, and Tibetans under the sway of China. Imperial conquests were not chosen by their recipients, but the imperial languages often were, in some cases entirely superceding local languages.

Religions are not all local inventions, but often are borrowed. Christianity was born in ancient Israel, and originally seen as another form of Judaism, which is not surprising, because Jesus and his followers were all Jews, and the basic ideas of one God and a messiah were integral parts of Judaism. Islam adopted Jewish monotheism and the entire list of Jewish prophets, plus Jesus and Mary, all of whom are claimed to be Muslims, as well as many Jewish customs such as  circumcision and the ban on pork. Christianity and Islam have been adopted in many parts of the world. In the East, there have been adoptions and borrowing among Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, among others.

Although all cultures include practical knowledge and applied technology, modern science and industry were developed in Western Europe during the Enlightenment and agricultural and industrial revolutions. Other European countries followed to a greater or lesser degree, as did the Americas, borrowing the knowledge generated by these revolutions. The demonstrated superiority of science and industry in technology led to them being adopted widely in the world. Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, have borrowed and mastered both science and industry, with China and India rapidly catching up. Science and industry serve as examples of culture evolved in one culture centre defusing around the world, borrowed by other peoples and cultures to improve and enrich their lives.

People around the world have borrowed from each other’s cuisine. Hamburgers, pasta, pad thai, bagels, frankfurters, pizza, Chinese, curry, and barbeque have been integrated into popular consumption in many cultures. All of these “foreign” foods are what we serve regularly in our home. Styles of clothes are also widely borrowed. I usually wear an Australian, kangaroo skin hat. Music too is inspired by others’ music, synthesized, and then borrowed and transformed by others. Western music from European classical to American rock and roll has been adopted around the world. Rock and roll and jazz drew on black music, which included elements carried from Africa. Dance too: Latin dances, Scottish dances, Western dances, Irish dances, all danced by anyone and everyone. Our daily life is rife with examples of cultural borrowing.

Recently, a moral or moralizing approach has been taken to cultural borrowing by various commentators and social critics, an approach which deems some borrowing bad, or even evil, and labels it “cultural appropriation.”[ii]

The examples are myriad, creative, and in some cases, surprising.

According to a piece written by a student at Louisiana State University, white women styling their eyebrows to make them look fuller is an example of cultural appropriation. “Current American eyebrow culture also shows a prime example of the cultural appropriation in the country,” Lynne Bunch writes in an article for the Daily Reveille, the school’s official student newspaper.[iii]

Continue reading at:  htps://fcpp.org/2017/08/24/cultural-diffusion-and-cultural-appropriation/

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How Trump’s Homophobic USDA Chief Scientist Pick Directly Threatens LGBTQ People

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-trumps-homophobic-usda-chief-scientist-pick-directly-threatens-lgbtq-people_us_599d99dbe4b0a296083b803d?1lf

Sam Clovis’ bigotry is dangerous to LGBTQ workers in agriculture.

By Michelangelo Signorile
08/23/2017

Donald Trump’s grotesquely homophobic choice for chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in business and a PhD in public administration. In other words, he has no qualifications to serve in a scientific capacity at the USDA. He also is a climate change denier, and he helped stoke the racist birther lie about President Obama. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called on Trump to immediately withdraw the nomination, calling Clovis “wildly unqualified.”

As reported this week by CNN’s KFile, Clovis peddles junk science about LGBTQ people: Specifically that homosexuality is a “choice” and that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to pedophilia. His views are not just an insult to queer Americans: They are a direct threat to those who benefit from USDA efforts aimed at aiding LGBTQ farmers and others in the industry who’ve struggled with discrimination for many years, and who will likely be harmed if Clovis is put in such a prominent position.

As a radio host and blogger, Clovis, who was a co-chair of the Trump-Pence 2016 election campaign and is currently a temporary advisor to the USDA, has argued that LGBTQ people should not be protected under civil rights laws. At one campaign stop during his failed 2014 run for the U.S Senate in Iowa he stated:

“There’s no equivalency there between the civil rights issue associated between those protected classes and the civil rights of someone who engages in a particular behavior Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected? If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia? Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this? It can’t be that we’re going to protect LGBT and then we’ll pull up the ladder. That’s not going to happen, it defies logic. We’re not thinking the consequences of these decisions through.

Some people might believe that even though no one with such beliefs has any place in government, Clovis couldn’t do much harm to LGBTQ people at the USDA, a department of the government that one doesn’t associate with civil rights. But in fact, under President Obama, discrimination in all aspects of society and governmental agencies was addressed over time, including at the USDA. The USDA’s non-discrimination statement includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Those protections extend to some (though not all) USDA-funded private programs.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-trumps-homophobic-usda-chief-scientist-pick-directly-threatens-lgbtq-people_us_599d99dbe4b0a296083b803d?1lf

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The Nazis This Time

From The Tablet:  http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/243457/the-nazis-this-time?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=post&utm_content=Aug2017

“I grew up in America in late forties, and if we said the word Jew, we whispered it. This will not save us in the 21st century.”

By Anne Roiphe
August 17, 2017

This is not social anti-Semitism. I don’t want you in my club. I don’t want you dating my daughter. I don’t want you in my hotel. This is the more murderous kind. I don’t want you to breathe. I don’t want your children to eat. I want you gone. “Jews will not replace us.” Is the call of the rabid wolf in the forest. We have heard it before. The angry faces, the Nazi symbols, intended to frighten, intended to warn away the faint of heart, these we saw a few days ago in Charlottesville. How many of those young men had actually ever met a Jewish person I don’t know, but it seems unlikely that their schools, neighborhoods, and jobs were being overrun by hungry Jews. The Jew is then a symbol of a different America, a tolerant and educated America, an America that still dreams of better lives for all. These white polo shirted torch bearers are the people whose right to bear arms is protected by our government and they want us dead which is the most efficient way to have us gone. I am certainly not the only Jew who has nightmares that cannot be put to rest.

There has been a backlash against Donald Trump’s support of Nazi groups. But in all the talk I have hardly heard the word Jew. And it is important that we say it aloud. It is African Americans they despise. It is Jews they fear. We all know where this talk can lead. We saw it in Germany 1940-1945. We saw it the lynchings and the grim faces of those who tried to prevent small black children from attending decent schools.

As I watched on television the stream of torches and shouts of hatred pass by I thought of the Thanksgiving Day parade with balloons of beloved animals. I thought of the churches and synagogues across America where the services end in a prayer for America, not an America that belonged to one group or another but all of our Americas, bagels and borscht, pork chops and brisket, turkey and yogurt, petit fours and birthday cake. I thought of all the Jewish soldiers fighting in France, in Okinawa, in Kabul. Can it be that we are replacing anyone?

We need Jewish leadership to speak out now. We shouldn’t assume this will pass. It won’t pass because it is buried in the bone of the country. It is not a majority view and no Jew should be packing up just yet, but it is a very unsettling echo of other places and times. We need politicians to say the word Jew, my Jewish friend, my Jewish colleague, my son’s Jewish college roommate. We need to assert our own American presence and not be silent, hoping for the cloud to pass.

Complete article at:  http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/243457/the-nazis-this-time?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=post&utm_content=Aug2017

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British PM says ‘no equivalence’ between fascists and their opponents

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/british-pm-says-no-equivalence-between-fascists-and-their-opponents/

In implicit criticism of US president, Theresa May insists it’s ‘important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them’

By AFP
August 16, 2017

LONDON — Far-right views should always be condemned and there could be no equivalence with opponents of fascism, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday in comments that implicitly criticized US President Donald Trump.

In the Virginia college town of Charlottesville on Saturday, a rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists over the removal of a Confederate statue erupted in clashes with counter-demonstrators.

Trump has sparked a political firestorm by reiterating his views Tuesday that there was “blame on both sides” for Saturday’s violence.

The melee ended in bloodshed when a 20-year-old suspected Nazi sympathizer plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, leaving one woman dead and 19 people injured.

Asked about Trump’s comments in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, May said: “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

“I absolutely abhor the racism, the hatred and the violence that we have seen portrayed by these groups,” she told reporters in Portsmouth on the southern English coast.

“The United Kingdom has taken action to ban far-right groups here, we have proscribed certain far-right groups,” she added.

Continue reading at:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/british-pm-says-no-equivalence-between-fascists-and-their-opponents/

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‘Antifa’ Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/antifa-left-wing-faction-far-right.html

OAKLAND, Calif. — Last weekend, when a 27-year-old bike messenger showed up at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., he came ready for battle. He joined a human chain that stretched in front of Emancipation Park and linked his arms with others, blocking waves of white supremacists — some of them in full Nazi regalia — from entering.

“As soon as they got close,” said the young man, who declined to give his real name and goes by Frank Sabaté after the famous Spanish anarchist, “they started swinging clubs, fists, shields. I’m not embarrassed to say that we were not shy in defending ourselves.”

Sabaté is an adherent of a controversial force on the left known as antifa. The term, a contraction of the word “anti-fascist,” describes the loose affiliation of radical activists who have surfaced in recent months at events around the country and have openly scuffled with white supremacists, right-wing extremists and, in some cases, ordinary supporters of President Trump. Energized in part by Mr. Trump’s election, they have sparred with their conservative opponents at political rallies and college campus speaking engagements, arguing that one crucial way to combat the far right is to confront its supporters on the streets.

Unlike most of the counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville and elsewhere, members of antifa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks or canisters of pepper spray to meet an array of right-wing antagonists whom they call a fascist threat to American democracy. As explained this week by a dozen adherents of the movement, the ascendant new right in the country requires a physical response.

“People are starting to understand that neo-Nazis don’t care if you’re quiet, you’re peaceful,” said Emily Rose Nauert, a 20-year-old antifa member who became a symbol of the movement in April when a white nationalist leader punched her in the face during a melee near the University of California, Berkeley.

“You need violence in order to protect nonviolence,” Ms. Nauert added. “That’s what’s very obviously necessary right now. It’s full-on war, basically.”

Others on the left disagree, saying antifa’s methods harm the fight against right-wing extremism and have allowed Mr. Trump to argue that the two sides are equivalent. These critics point to the power of peaceful disobedience during the civil rights era, when mass marches and lunch-counter protests in the South slowly eroded the legal enshrinement of discrimination.

“We’re against violence, just straight up,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups. “If you want to protest racists and anti-Semites, it needs to be peacefully and hopefully somewhere away from where those guys are rallying.”

Antifa adherents — some armed with sticks and masked in bandannas — played a visible role in the running street battles in Charlottesville, but it is impossible to know how many people count themselves as members of the movement. Its followers acknowledge it is secretive, without official leaders and organized into autonomous local cells. It is also only one in a constellation of activist movements that have come together in the past several months to the fight the far right.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/antifa-left-wing-faction-far-right.html

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Who’s Backing Away From Trump? Everyone. | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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No, Mr Trump, we’re not the same as the neo-Nazis

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/mr-trump-were-not-same-neo-nazis-charlottesville?CMP=fb_gu

In Charlottesville I faced off with men bearing torches and swastikas shouting ‘Jews will not replace us’. Yet the president thinks both sides are to blame


Tuesday 15 August 2017

The president of the United States called a mob of people marching with torches and chanting Nazi slogans “very fine people”. Fine people don’t chant Nazi slogans. Fine people don’t surround and attack college students. And fine people don’t stand with those who do.

I was there that night in Charlottesville. I can say with certainty that the only fine people I saw were the young students who stood outnumbered and ready to defend their campus and their beliefs against an onslaught of demagoguery.

I know some of those students. They were ready to die for what they believed in. I was prepared to die, too. A man wearing a swastika pin shouted transphobic and racist vitriol at me, inches from my face.

The only fine people that night were those sprayed with mace and doused with lighter fluid from the torches that they were beaten with, afraid of being burned alive. Fine people don’t wear swastikas. Yet President Trump blamed both sides, despite the fact that only one side was run down by a terrorist.

I was there when the attack happened. Despite the president deeming me – a transgender woman – unfit for military service, I ran toward the attacker with a weapon. I was ready to engage him if he tried to hurt more people.

I reached out to groups attending this event from the left, right and center to urge nonviolence. Meanwhile, the “unite the right” marchers said things like “we’ll fucking kill them if we have to” on camera.

The president can think “both sides” are to blame as long as he wants – but only one side beat a black man nearly to death with poles in a parking garage while hurling racist insults. It wasn’t our side. So why is the president blaming us along with the neo-Nazis?

It wasn’t the Ku Klux Klan and those who wave flags from the Third Reich who were urging nonviolence and trying to save lives in Charlottesville. It was leftist activists like me.

There is no room at the table for both you and decency, Mr President. As someone who stood face to face with men bearing torches and swastikas shouting “Jews will not replace us,” as someone who saw the blood spilled in Charlottesville first-hand, I can tell you this: you aren’t on my side. You aren’t on America’s side. You are on the wrong side.

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Making America Hate Again

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/164181239710

Robert Reich
Monday, August 14, 2017

Trump’s unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been part of his political strategy from the start.

Weeks after he began his campaign by alleging that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, subsequently telling police “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Instead of condemning the brutality, Trump excused it by saying “people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”

During campaign rallies Trump repeatedly excused brutality toward protesters. “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”

After white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester, Trump said “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

Trump was even reluctant to distance himself from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

Since becoming president, Trump’s instigations have continued. As Representative Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina, told the Washington Post, “the president has unearthed some demons.”

In May, Trump congratulated body-slamming businessman Greg Gianforte on his special election win in Montana, making no mention of the victor’s attack on a reporter the night before.

Weeks ago Trump even tweeted a video clip of himself in a WWE professional wrestling match slamming a CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with punches and elbows to the head.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/164181239710

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America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/opinion/donald-trump-unfair.html?_r=0

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Antifa Edition

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Still Making Excuses for Trump? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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Texas ‘bathroom bill’ dies in special legislative session

From Reuters:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-lgbt-idUSKCN1AW038

Jon Herskovitz
August 15, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas measures criticized as being discriminatory for limiting transgender people’s access to bathrooms in schools and public buildings died on Tuesday, as the House adjourned and ended its special legislative session.

Business leaders and civil rights groups had battled to defeat the bills, saying they advanced bigotry, would tarnish the state’s image and damage its economy. The measures were blocked by moderate House Republicans.

Adoption by Texas, the most populous Republican-dominated state, could have fed momentum in other socially conservative states on the issue, a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars.

“Finally, Texans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” said JoDee Winterhof, an official of the Human Rights Campaign that lobbied against the bills.

“Texans don’t want harmful, anti-transgender legislation,” Winterhof, the campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, said in a statement.

Momentum for so-called bathroom bills stalled this year when North Carolina partially repealed a similar law in March. The original law prompted boycotts by athletic bodies and businesses that are estimated to have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Texas could have lost about $5.6 billion through 2026 if it had enacted such a measure, said the Texas Association of Business, the state’s leading employer grouping.

Continue reading at:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-lgbt-idUSKCN1AW038

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What A Jewish Journalist Saw In Charlottesville

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/379780/what-a-jewish-journalist-saw-in-charlottesville/

Nathan Guttman
August 12, 2017

I had come to Charlottesville, Virginia for the “Unite the Right” rally to gauge the level of Jew hatred, amid all the racism and bigotry. So when, after a night of hate-filled demonstrations and a morning of clashes, the mayor cancelled all permits and kicked the white supremacists out of Emancipation Park, I wasn’t sure what to do until I got wind of a rumor that one hard-core gang had decamped to another park in this idyllic college town.

I headed to McIntyre Park with a few other reporters and was glad — if that’s the right word — to find a crowd of about 100 flowing into the space. A few miles away in downtown, a driver had rammed his car into counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. But in McIntyre Park, a riotous group of men — one bare-shirted, the better to show off his swastika tattoo, another being treated for a deep gash in his head — was shouting angrily, at reporters, communists, socialists, bitches… and Jews.

“[L]ittle Mayor Signer — SEE-NER — how do you pronounce this little creep’s name?” asked Richard Spencer, a right-wing leader who dreams of a “white ethnostate,” as he stood on a bench under a tree to rally his troops, deprived of their protest.

The crowd knew exactly how to pronounce his name: “Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew” some shouted out. The rest burst out in laughter. And that was one of the only moments of levity the alt-right audience gathered under the tree enjoyed.

“The idea that I’d ever back down to such a little creep like Mayor Signer,” Spencer went on, “They don’t understand what’s in my heart, they don’t understand the ‘alt-right,’ they don’t understand this whole movement.” The term “alt-right” has many meanings, but Spencer’s mission is the salvation of what he sees as an oppressed white race.

After stepping down from the bench, I asked Spencer about the reference to the mayor and his faith. Signer, a Democrat who assumed office last year, is Jewish.

“I didn’t say that,” Spencer said. “I don’t know if he’s a Jew or not. Is he?”

A member of the group of supporters surrounding Spencer and the reporters volunteered an answer: “He is a Jew.”

“I actually don’t care. He could be Ethiopian,” Spencer added. “The way that he acted is absolutely outrageous. He looks like a fool and we’re going to make him look like an even bigger fool. That’s a lot of fun.”

Continue reading at: http://forward.com/news/379780/what-a-jewish-journalist-saw-in-charlottesville/

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Texan Is 17th Transgender American Murdered in 2017

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/crime/2017/8/16/texan-17th-transgender-american-murdered-2017

A transgender person in Waxahachie, Texas, was shot to death Saturday, becoming the 17th known transgender homicide victim of 2017.

Gwynevere River Song. 26, who used “they” pronouns, died at home after an argument escalated into violence Saturday afternoon, reports the Daily Light, a local paper. Song was pronounced dead at the scene. Another adult, whose name has not been released, was taken to a hospital. The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate.

Song was a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. They identified as “femandrogyne” and bisexual, according to the blog PGH Lesbian Correspondents.

A memorial vigil for Song is being planned for Monday, the blog reports

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Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/nazis-racism-charlottesville/536928/

Anti-Semitic logic fueled the violence over the weekend, no matter what the president says.

Emma Green
Aug 15, 2017

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was ostensibly about protecting a statue of Robert E. Lee. It was about asserting the legitimacy of “white culture” and white supremacy, and defending the legacy of the Confederacy.

So why did the demonstrators chant anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us”?

The demonstration was suffused with anti-black racism, but also with anti-Semitism. Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like “blood and soil,” a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. “This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,” one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying.

“This is an agenda about celebrating the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, and celebrating those that then fought to preserve that terrible machine of white supremacy and human enslavement,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL. “And yet, somehow, they’re all wearing shirts that talk about Adolf Hitler.”

For these demonstrators, though, the connection between African Americans and Jews is clear. In the minds of white supremacists like David Duke, there is a straight line from anti-blackness to anti-Judaism. That logic is powerful and important. The durability of anti-Semitic tropes, and the ease with which they slide into all displays of bigotry, is a chilling reminder that the hatreds of our time rhyme with history and are easily channeled through timeless anti-Semitic canards.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/nazis-racism-charlottesville/536928/

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Weeping Nazi started off as a “men’s rights activist,” which is no huge surprise

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/18/weeping-nazi-started-off-as-a-mens-rights-activist-which-is-no-huge-surprise/

Christopher Cantwell’s trajectory from “men’s rights” to white supremacy is sadly typical of the alt-right


Friday, Aug 18, 2017

The white supremacist rally that turned violent — and then deadly — on Saturday was immediately documented by Vice News Tonight and its correspondent Elle Reeve, in a video documentary released on Monday. It wasn’t just the turnaround speed that was impressive, but the level of access the Vice team got, largely due to the choice to embed with Christopher Cantwell, a self-appointed white supremacist leader whose big mouth and massive gun collection left an impression on the documentary’s viewers.

Watching the documentary, it’s clear enough how Vice got Cantwell to agree to be so closely followed and repeatedly interviewed: The guy craves the camera, repeatedly playing up his ugly views to Reeve, clearly knowing that he’s giving good sound-bites that will make it into the documentary. It’s no surprise, then, that Cantwell followed up the rally by posting a dramatic video to social media where he manages to cry for four minutes about his fear of arrest, all without shedding a tear. The video went viral, mostly because people want to see Nazis cry, and Cantwell scored even more attention for himself.

It also didn’t take long for internet sleuths to figure out that the 36-year-old, who now hosts a white supremacist talk show, has quite a history of making a spectacle of himself and has rebranded as different flavors of jackass several times over the course of his illustrious career. Cantwell ran for Congress in 2010 as a Libertarian. He and two friends started the “Free Keane Squad,” which made it to “The Colbert Report” in 2014 because their main form of activism appeared to be chasing meter maids around and harassing them for giving people parking tickets.

Cantwell also identified as a “men’s rights activist” and wrote for the site A Voice for Men, one of the hubs of organized misogyny on the internet. He expressed his views that the state supposedly gives “women the power to have men arrested for anything without any evidence at all” and how women, in their roles of “traditionally carrying the role of raising children and supporting the men,” did not evolve to have high IQs. Like men do. Allegedly.

It’s yet another example of how the world of online anti-feminism has become a gateway to white supremacy. While there hasn’t been any rigid academic analysis of this phenomenon, sites like We Hunted the Mammoth, which started as a way to monitor the various and overlapping worlds of online misogyny, have tracked that when men get together to gripe about their resentment of women’s growing independence, they often start drifting toward talking about “white genocide” and other white supremacist ideas.

The world of online misogynists is a complex maze. Some of the communities are geared towards older, divorced men. Some are “pick-up artist” sites, geared towards younger men who think they aren’t getting the female attention they believe they’re due. Some identify as “men going their own way,” which is to say giving up on women altogether. But what brings them together is anger over the fact that feminism has liberated women to date whomever they wish and leave marriages that aren’t working. This makes it much harder, in the “men’s rights” misogynist view, for men to acquire or keep the submissive female partners they feel entitled to.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/18/weeping-nazi-started-off-as-a-mens-rights-activist-which-is-no-huge-surprise/

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The Sound of Silence: what it means to be LGBTQ and a Zionist in today’s America

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/06/the-sound-of-silence-what-it-means-to-be-lgbtq-and-a-zionist-in-todays-america/

Parsing the notion of political homelessness with Gretchen Hammond following the events of the Chicago Dyke March


Sunday, Aug 6, 2017

Gretchen Rachel Hammond, former reporter for the Windy City Times, marches resolutely to the podium and stands there observing the crowd of young, affluent, mostly single Jews who have gathered for the Algemeiner summer benefit and then begins her speech — a deeply personal narrative about discovering her voice as a transgender reporter and Zionist and the pain of being silenced by her own community. Hammond has recently risen to national prominence for breaking the story about the Jewish women ejected from the Dyke March in Chicago for carrying flags with the Star of David. Her reporting about this event sparked a controversy which resulted in her transfer to the sales desk.

As she speaks, the crowd is mesmerized, even giddy, applauding at key moments, laughing at others, feeling with it and hip. Algemeiner is a newspaper that covers Israel-based and Jewish news, rather than social justice issues, and now this fearless Brit in office casual has come to drop mad knowledge bombs about all the infighting among the people who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and use words like “intersectional.” You know, those people? Bret Stephens, house conservative at The New York Times and NBC News, sits in the front row, his head tilted towards Hammond, his features awash with the blank sort of pseudo-empathy that cis white men who want to appear open-minded assume when looking at trans or queer women. It’s the expression I make when people tell me long stories about their cat.

Not to pinkwash, but in 2016, Hammond, who also recently converted to Judaism, has been excoriated by the LGBTQIA community for essentially consorting with the likes of fascists, AKA Zionists, donated one of her kidneys to longtime lesbian activist and total stranger Elvie “LV” Jordan. As a journalist, she secured a release for a transgender woman incarcerated in the male division of Cook County Jail.

After Hammond’s messianic oration, which ends with her booming refusal to be silenced, there is thunderous applause. People rise to their feet. If ever there was a crowd to receive a half-Indian-half-English recent convert preaching unity, this is it: a group of pro-Israel, New York Jew-y Jews, including me: a Jewish, Zionist, cis-gendered lesbian. A lump forms in my throat. I turn to the guy to my left in solidarity, but he is the senior editor of Commentary, so I look at my purse.

Later, when Hammond goes back to Chicago and we speak on the phone, she is frank and grim about her feeling of political homelessness, and I’m struck by her vulnerability and fear. I’ve been ranting for days about the silencing of pro-Israel participants at the Dyke March to anyone who will listen. But this idea of political homelessness, it exemplifies my feeling of having to hide in plain sight for having certain views in certain company — being pro-Israel and anti-BDS with the left and being pro everything else (like choice and marriage equality) with the right. I often write about youth justice. It’s very Rabbi Hillel. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me, and if I am only for myself, what am I?” The thing is, I align with a movement, get pumped about its mission, and then they attack Israel or align with a known anti-Semite. It’s exhausting.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/08/06/the-sound-of-silence-what-it-means-to-be-lgbtq-and-a-zionist-in-todays-america/

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Transgender African-Americans’ Open Wound: ‘We’re Considered a Joke’

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/us/black-transgender-lil-duval.html

When Elle Hearns watched the video clip someone had sent to her on social media, it really stung.

It featured a black comedian, Lil Duval, on “The Breakfast Club,” a popular New York City-based morning radio show that caters to an African-American audience, joking that if a sexual partner turned out to be a transgender woman, he would want to kill her if she hadn’t told him beforehand.

Ms. Hearns is a black transgender woman who has devoted much of her life over the past few years to defending black people — mostly men — from the harassment, brutality and killings they face at the hands of the police. Yet here was a black man, interviewed by three black hosts, lobbing what Ms. Hearns felt was “an attack on the entire community.”

“I was ashamed, I was embarrassed, I was angry,” she said.

At the heart of Ms. Hearns’s pain is a betrayal that black transgender people say has long afflicted them.

With few exceptions, black transgender women and men say that they get more hatred from black people than anyone else, even though they have been on the front lines protesting issues that affect all African-Americans.

“I feel like we have been at the forefront with so many people fighting, and now that it’s time for people to be joining in our fight, no one’s there,” said Atlantis Narcisse, 45, the founder of Save Our Sisters, a support organization for black transgender women in Houston. “They will stand up for a drug dealer being killed or a black man being beaten, but won’t stand up for black trans women being murdered.”

Ms. Narcisse, a black transgender woman, said that she has received more support from whites, and that she is on edge around African-Americans because she does not think they will stand with her if she is attacked.

“We’re considered a joke,” she said. “They still look at us as men dressing up, playing in women’s clothes, which is not the case.”

Many black people’s views on transgender people come in part from the central role that religion and the church play in black life, several transgender people said. It also stems from an emphasis on hypermasculinity in black culture, which has deep roots in black men having to use physical strength to survive generations of oppression, they said.

“To be seen as feminine if you’re seen as a black male is a sign of weakness,” said Kiara St. James, the director of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group.

That attitude could mean grim consequences for black transgender people.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/us/black-transgender-lil-duval.html

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Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO

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Page: Faith not an excuse for anti-transgender bills

From The Houston Chronicle:   http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Page-Faith-not-an-excuse-for-anti-transgender-11525133.php

By Jonathan Page
July 27, 2017

Faith is used often as an excuse for bigotry. Religion can be wielded like a weapon, to put down the humanity of others, and to justify an agenda that coincides with one’s personal feelings on a group of people. One needs only to look at the current debate over transgender Texans’ right to use the restroom that matches their identity. Or rather, the debate over whether transgender Texans deserve to be a part of public life.

 I am a pastor of a church and the leader of an interfaith organization, and for me, my faith calls me to affirm and embrace my transgender neighbors, not single them out for discrimination, often under the guise of religion.

In my work, I have had some of my most personally and professionally fulfilling conversations with people who are vastly different than me, because they have challenged me to think about the diversity of all of our lived experiences. When I think about the shameful amounts of discrimination that face transgender Texans, it creates a powerful response from the core of my being: a response that is rooted in the fact that we are all God’s children, and that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. You see, my faith tells me that it is an unequivocal teaching of Jesus that we must stand with those who are marginalized. In Matthew 25, Jesus clearly says to his followers: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” This is not to say that LGBTQ people are any less than anyone, but that they are part of a marginalized community; one that we, as Christians, must care for as we care for ourselves. The model of Jesus could not be clearer: he cared most deeply for (and spent the most time with) the supposed “outcasts” of society, because he understood that it is difficult to live a life under a dark cloud of others’ judgment and scorn. Those who use Bible verses and the pulpit to preach otherwise are working to further an untruth, a fictional narrative that only serves to harm those most in need of our care and understanding.

Bills such as SB3 are un-Christian and unconscionable. This bill, introduced by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, with the backing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, would require discrimination against transgender people and rip away non-discrimination protections from millions of Texans. And, they’re a solution in search of a problem. Let’s be clear: There is only one possible angle for this, and that is to justify a policy that endorses hatred for trans people.

My first experience with a transgender person was in graduate school. Talking to Scott, you would have had no idea that he was trans. He was a faithful Lutheran with an insightful theological mind and a great sense of humor. He was also perfectly willing to answer any question I had about his transition and his life experience. Knowing Scott changed my perspective, and I promise you that if you take the time to get to know a transgender person and listen to their story, your perspective will be changed as well. This is personal. It involves the lives of real people – my friends.

The least you can do is to listen before you judge.

These anti-transgender bills are the lowest form of political pandering: creating an issue that doesn’t exist, scapegoating an entire population and seeking a remedy that would force transgender people out of public life. If a person can’t use the bathroom, they can’t go to work, they can’t go to school, they can’t see a movie. It’s a dark, insidious way of saying to trans people: This society is not for you. As a Texan, and as a person of faith, I reject that.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Listening to transgender people and their allies speaking at a Senate hearing against SB3 and SB91, I heard similar refrains: the hate from society toward trans people leads to an increase in anxiety, fear, depression and suicide, simply because it is exhausting and scary to even exist while trans. Why would we pursue a law that would exacerbate this issue?

Continue reading at:  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Page-Faith-not-an-excuse-for-anti-transgender-11525133.php

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