Everyone is going after Ron Paul for his racist newsletters and remarks, but we can’t forget that stigmatizing POC is standard operating procedure for Republicans.
At a New Year’s campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, Rick Santorum outlined his vision for the country—one that focuses on cutting government aid to the needy at a time when poverty rates are rising.
Even more troubling, Santorum seems to hold Reagan-era ideas about poverty that explicitly racialize it and, more subtly, link Blackness to shiftlessness, indecency, and immorality:
"Having that strong foundation of the faith and family allows America to be in a position where we can be more free," Santorum says. "We can be free because we are good decent moral people."
For Santorum that means cutting government regulation. Making Americans less dependent on government aid. Fewer people getting food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of federal assistance — especially one group.
"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money," Santorum begins. "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families."
Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care.
This is the Reagan lie about the welfare queen all over again, disguised as compassionate conservatism. Santorum doesn’t care about making poor people’s lives or Black people’s lives better. Like all Republicans, Rick Santorum just wants to cut federal spending so he can lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
Rick Santorum: fully living up to his name
Alex Pareene points out that Ron Paul’s particular brand of libertarianism has a history of endorsing racist views and associating with white supremacists for the sake of appealing to far right voters, thus expanding the influence of libertarianism:
There are, broadly, two different versions of American libertarianism: There’s Reason Magazine and Cato Institute libertarianism — “cool” libertarianism — and there’s Mises Institute/Lew Rockwell libertarianism — old crank libertarianism. Ron Paul is a Mises Institute libertarian…
The origins of the philosophical split are explained nicely by Brian Doherty in this piece on the late Murray Rothbard. To drastically oversimplify, guys like Hayek made pragmatic economic arguments (and left room for a “limited” state to provide some measure of assistance to the needy) and Rothbard made Randian philosophical arguments (and was radically anti-state). And Rothbard went full-on neo-Confederate in order to win over the “rednecks.”
This 2008 Reason article further explains the link between this strategy (one that Nixon and the GOP successfully used to win the American South) and the appalling homophobia and racism espoused in the Ron Paul newsletters:
The newsletters’ obsession with blacks and gays was of a piece with a conscious political strategy adopted at that same time by Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. After breaking with the Libertarian Party following the 1988 presidential election, Rockwell and Rothbard formed a schismatic “paleolibertarian” movement, which rejected what they saw as the social libertinism and leftist tendencies of mainstream libertarians. In 1990, they launched the Rothbard-Rockwell Report, where they crafted a plan they hoped would midwife a broad new “paleo” coalition.
Rockwell explained the thrust of the idea in a 1990 Liberty essay entitled “The Case for Paleo-Libertarianism.” To Rockwell, the LP was a “party of the stoned,” a halfway house for libertines that had to be “de-loused.” To grow, the movement had to embrace older conservative values. “State-enforced segregation,” Rockwell wrote, “was wrong, but so is State-enforced integration. State-enforced segregation was not wrong because separateness is wrong, however. Wishing to associate with members of one’s own race, nationality, religion, class, sex, or even political party is a natural and normal human impulse.”
As Pareene points out, Ron Paul’s involvement with the infamous newsletters (and his endorsement of the hateful views they expressed) does not contradict his libertarian beliefs. because Ron Paul’s libertarian is essentially focused on restoring and retaining white male privilege:
Ron Paul’s libertarianism has plenty of room for nativism and racism because so much of it does sound like a Pat Buchanan-style call for America to return to a golden age of white privilege. Paul isn’t a futurist…He’s a deeply religious anti-abortion small-town country doctor who basically wants the government to operate as it did in 1837.
Endorsing the legalization of marijuana and being against war does not erase Ron Paul’s self-serving complicity in spreading bigotry. He may not believe he’s racist or homophobic, but he’s perpetuated racism and homophobia for political gain. How can any right-thinking person, including libertarians, want such a man to be president?
In a recent study published in JAMA, researchers posing as 17-year-olds called pharmacies to see if they could get Plan B that day. Remember, Plan B does not require a prescription and can be obtained by any woman 17 and older. The study found that, about 20% of the time, the researchers could not obtain Plan B:
If they did have the drug available, which occurred 759 times, once callers revealed they were 17 years old, almost 20% were told that they couldn’t have emergency contraception. Legally, of course, they could have. But they were “misinformed.” Further analysis looking at the relative income of people living near the pharmacy found that people who lived in poorer neighborhoods were more than 60% more likely to be incorrectly told they couldn’t have the drug because they were too young than people who lived in more affluent neighborhoods.
(Source: Mother Jones)
Holy shit. He’s serious.
This is, indeed, deeply disturbing. But I don’t think the peril is equally great for all American citizens. Muslims, those of Middle Eastern descent, people of color, and naturalized citizens have the most to fear from this new law.
Privileged Americans—those with money, power, and the ‘right’ heritage and socioeconomic status—have little to fear from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. That, I suspect, is why this piece of legislation has garnered so much support in Congress and has, thus far, faced little outcry or opposition.
Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.
What happened next?
Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.
What happened next?
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.
Make no mistake about it, Republicans are misogynists as well as fantasists. Cain defenders have almost uniformly suggested that women are hysterics and liars who bring on false sexual harassment suits for fame and money:
Welcome to the era of gender harassment denialism. The harassment skeptics claim that harassment, like racism, used to exist but is now over. Twenty years ago, when charges were leveled at Clarence Thomas, supporters of the accused refused to take the accuser seriously. Now supporters of the accused refuse to take the accusation itself seriously. We have gone from not knowing what sexual harassment is to not believing it still happens. All in less than 20 years.
Remember, we don’t know what happened, beyond the fact that several employees came forward with complaints and received cash settlements. That’s not a lot of information. Cain defenders could have stopped there. Instead, great swaths of them have opted to assert that there could never be a valid sex discrimination claim because the whole thing is just a racket.
The real lies here are the claims of millions of frivolous suits in which jurors award liars with pots of money and television contracts. The legal standard for proving a hostile work environment is high and usually requires showing a pattern of bad behavior. If anything, experts say that the current system under-punishes as opposed to over-punishes, and that most victims of sexual harassment on the job will never come forward at all. As E.J. Graff puts it: “If she leaves and sues, she ruins her standing in her field. She rarely wins—studies show that judges overwhelmingly throw out sexual-harassment allegations on summary judgment, before the case ever goes to trial—unless the behavior is so egregious that even the company’s lawyers know that juries will be appalled.” Sex discrimination still runs rampant. Ian Millhiser cites a new University of Michigan study finding that “one in 10 women in the workplace will at some point be “promised promotion or better treatment if they [are] ‘sexually cooperative’ with a co-worker or supervisor.”
…Even more than the outright antagonism of so many conservative pundits, what’s worrying to me is the indifference of so many Republican voters: New poll results show that 70 percent of Republicans say the sexual harassment scandal makes no difference in their vote. It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.
Here’s what I think about that, right now. I’m a science fiction writer, and one of the great stories of science fiction is “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” which was written by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story posits a fantastic utopian city, where everything is beautiful, with one catch: In order for all this comfort and beauty to exist, one child must be kept in filth and misery. Every citizen of Omelas, when they come of age, is told about that one blameless child being put through hell. And they have a choice: Accept that is the price for their perfect lives in Omelas, or walk away from that paradise, into uncertainty and possibly chaos.
At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.
“National Public Radio on Wednesday discovered that a woman named Lisa Simeone who produced/hosted a show about opera called “World of Opera” had been participating in a nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., organized by October2011.org. That same day, NPR persuaded a company for which Simeone worked to fire her, cutting her income in half and purging from the so-called public airwaves a voice that had never mentioned politics on NPR.
This frantic email was sent to all NPR staff:
From: NPR Communications
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 6:12 PM
Subject: From Dana Rehm: Communications Alert
To: All Staff
Fr: Dana Davis Rehm
Re: Communications Alert
We recently learned of World of Opera host Lisa Simeone’s participation in an Occupy DC group. World of Opera is produced by WDAV, a music and arts station based in Davidson, North Carolina. The program is distributed by NPR. Lisa is not an employee of WDAV or NPR; she is a freelancer with the station.
We’re in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this. We of course take this issue very seriously.
As a reminder, all public comment (including social media) on this matter is being managed by NPR Communications.
All media requests should be routed through NPR Communications at 202.513.2300 firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you updated as needed. Thanks.”
Your “liberal” media, ladies and gentlemen.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) on why abortion is the REAL misogyny:
For my colleagues across the aisle who say this is a misogynist bill, nobody has ever fought more for the rights of women than I have. But fifty percent of the unborn babies that are being aborted are females. So the misogyny comes from those that promote the killing of unborn babies. That’s where the misogyny comes in.
Lesson learned: Republicans are only concerned with women’s well-being when we’re still gestating.
Hello to any organizers or leadership of SWNYC who may read this. Please feel free to pass it along.
My name is Peech, I live in Kansas, and I am a Black American Woman of Color. I feel it’s necessary to get that out of the way. I’d like to preface my letter by saying that this writing, in no way, is an attack on any individual. This is not an attack on white people or white women. I ask that you keep that in your minds while reading it.
Yesterday, I logged onto tumblr to see the sign greet me. As a Black woman, “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World” has always been a thorn in my side. It is erasure, plain and simple. Because if woman is the nigger, then “what are black women? Double niggers?” (a paraphrased quote from Pearl Cleage) sums it up best. Many black women feel this way, from the moment they know Lennon and Ono wrote the song and proudly performed it.
The sign, however, is not my (only) issue. My issue is SWNYC’S culpability regarding the sign appearing at the SlutWalk. It has been said nearly 4,000 people attended SWNYC and, out of all of them, one lone Woman of Color was forced to be the voice of reason and ask that the sign be taken down. In a sea of four thousand people, not one non-Person of Color thought, “hey, i don’t think that’s right” and took action to make it right (by asking the protester to put away her offensive sign).
My issue is that, if, in a sea of 4,000 people, no one is willing to speak up about such a glaringly obvious slur such as “nigger” (when SlutWalk was designed around a slur, “slut”) would they speak up about anything else that could happen to a Black woman in such a large crowd? That sign, the protesters who safely carried it around, the silent and happy white faces around her in the photos, and the words I’ve seen come from SWNYC organizers as a result of the sign tell me one thing, very clearly: SWNYC (and, in connection, SlutWalk itself) is not a safe space for Black Women of Color.
This brings me to Suzy and Kimberlynn. Suzy, who has denied the veracity of quotes of her words on tumblr, said: “I don’t need to make any more fickle internet friends. I have a whole bunch of rad people in my life, from all walks of life, who have my back, and I have theirs. But you wouldn’t know shit about it, internet folks. Now allow me while I go and enjoy my life with the people I trust. For real. You enjoy making enemies on the web. Have a nice life.” (link) This, erasing those Women of Color who do not have the luxury of going outside, leaving jobs to protest, or even feeling safe enough to “enjoy” their lives, came after she stood up and made herself the face of SWNYC by saying: “I repeat Y’all don’t know shit” (link) Suzy then decided to tell us that there was no way 50 people could supervise 3,000 and I wrote this in response to her.
Then there is Kimberlynn, who penned an apology laden with so many excuses and justifications that I could not find the “We apologize” if it would have saved my life. In this apology, she says: “This person made a grave mistake and I, along with all the other individuals in our organizing, am deeply hurt and enraged by her mistake. We are sorry that it happened. Yes, it stung. Yes, it’s triggering and disappointing and upsetting. But it is also an opportunity to show her, as well as other people who may be in a position to commit the same mistake one day, that this is simply unacceptable.” (link)
After having Suzy tell everyone who would listen to stop talking, stop complaining, and stop “making enemies”, we are treated to Kimberlynn telling us, “We know it’s disappointing, BUT…” I bolded everything before the word but to illustrate exactly what was negated by the word “But.” Simply put, and there is a consensus on this, the “apology” wasn’t an apology, it was another way to shut Black Women of Color down in voicing their ire.
If you really wanted to apologize, it would have been something in the vein of, “We’re truly sorry this happened at our walk and we promise that from now on, we will do everything in our power to make sure SWNYC activities are safe for Black Women.” There was no need for a page and a half of rhetoric and excuses. There was no need for Suzy to try and shut us down because we “don’t know shit.” There was no need for the arguments. There was no need for your facebook moderator to try and shut down all commenting on your page. It seems everywhere Black Women turn with SWNYC, we are blocked. We cannot blog, because Suzy will come after us. We cannot comment because your moderator will delete comments or close the page from any and all comments. We cannot even feel safe, because Kimberlynn wants us to know “no space is truly safe.”
In all of that, I ask you, how do you then tell us SWNYC even wants us there? It is obvious from the examples I’ve given that you do not care about our safety or about checking your privilege. It is obvious that your notion of freedom only includes non-black women and non-black WoC. I myself have wondered many times, in New York, New York, with the many Black Female activists who are there, how you organized a 4,000 attendee rally and not a single speaker was a black woman. Many WoC (both Black and non-) have said SWNYC is not a place for WoC (because: the word “slut” isn’t one we often hear in reference to us, the significance of the oversexualization of WoC in American/Western culture, and because of the reaction from SWNYC leadership to the sign and the reaction to the sign from WoC). But for me personally, my largest issue with SWNYC is your reaction to the backlash from this sign.
No, 50 people could not supervise 4,000 attendees, but it was your responsibility to provide adequate supervision/personnel to keep everyone safe. No, there is no “truly safe space” in this life, but this isn’t about life, it’s about SWNYC and it was your responsibility to make THAT a truly safe space.You made it truly safe for every other person who attended - has there been backlash about any other activity, sign, interaction, or sub-event at SWNYC? not a substantial one, if one at all. So why, when thinking about how to make it safe for everyone, could you not have provided a safe space for Black Women as well? Lastly, instead of blaming us, shutting us down, erasing us, yelling at us, belittling us, and having non-black PoC speak for us, why couldn’t you have just said, “This was REALLY fucked up and WE APOLOGIZE that it happened at our rally”?
I do not support SWNYC. I will not support SWNYC. I will not ever feel safe enough to do so - and I can imagine many black women feel exactly the same way.
Please feel free to share this at your meeting.
Peech E. Keen