As is our habit and new weekend tradition, please do treat this as a semi-open thread.
I discovered several interesting things this week both in conversation, as well as in my travels across these Internets. In talking with my mother, I learned that Ebola has been weaponized by terrorists and that they are using "illegal" immigrants to poison people on the bus. Mom also believes that the Obama family is being poisoned by white supremacists who have infiltrated the Secret Service.
I do not know if my mother actually thinks these things are true; it is more likely that she is somehow lobbying to get me to pay for her car to get a tune-up so that she will not have to brave public transportation.
On a related Ebola matter, white right wing misogynist bigot Phyllis Schlafly believes that the disease is a plot by Barack Obama to "Africanize" America.
[For her racist stupidity, Phyllis Schlafly is the inaugural recipient of WARN's first Derby's Dose award for public bloviating deserving of having someone push out a rank turd from their lower intestines into the recipient's mouth to be followed by several hours of gagging with an old dish towel or dirty t-shirt.]
In the 1980s it was killer bees; now the race mongrelization and white victimologist nativist paranoia fixation is on Ebola. What disease or "disaster"--man-made or nature--will be the new fixation of the conspiranoid Fox News set?
Friend of the site Werner Herzog's Bear has written an excellent essay on the culture of fear in America that is worth reading.
The website Mashable has been doing some good work around the on-going events in Ferguson.
Their recent piece Ferguson: Raw City highlights the class and racial tensions surrounding the murder of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in response to his cowardly murder by the thug cop Darren Wilson. These tensions exist not only across the color line, but within the black community as well.
Two passages in Raw City are especially illuminating.
Black young people are sick and tired of being sick and tired of racism and custodial citizenship in Ferguson (and the United States, more broadly):
This new group of self-organized protesters is made up of kids who have seen the worst of what it means to be black in America, and they have watched the justice system fail them many times throughout their lives.
As one protester described, “They are the face of anger for this movement, and they are articulate as shit.”
These protesters are organized, less trusting and even more outraged. The trouble now is that without the domestic war porn of rubber bullet wounds and tear-gas clouds, the has world stopped caring. The protesters feel that.
And they’ll do anything to be heard again.Race is how class is lived in America. Nonetheless, class and material differences can trump a sense of black linked fate across generations and geography:
It’s not just white-owned businesses. Jeniece Andrews and her husband Eddie, both of whom are black, have an antiques shop just a few blocks from the police station.
Andrews said a “well-dressed black man in his 30s” came into her shop a few weeks ago and said her business was on a list. The man identified himself as “the messenger.”
She sent texts to nearly 400 customers, telling them she was still open for business. But a week later, only a few people trickled in and out of the store as Andrews and I talked on a Tuesday afternoon.
“When you see hard times, you see the ugliness come out,” she told me as I sat across from her at a wooden table in the back of her store. I looked down at a framed charcoal drawing sitting by our feet. It was of a black man with tears streaming down his face.
“Do you think they are boycotting you because you’re black and not protesting?” I asked.
Andrews, who has no staff other than her husband, said she’d never thought of it that way, but it doesn’t matter because she has to survive.
“I feel for the family and I hope that justice does prevail, but as far as protesting it’s more important that business carry on,” Andrews said. “I can’t afford to close my doors to go protest.”One more example:
The residents of Ferguson are really proud of their Saturday farmer’s market. In August, they urged me to attend so I could “see what Ferguson is really like.”
But that changed a few weeks ago.
Ken Wheat, who is black and lives in a middle-class neighborhood of Ferguson, said a group of around 20 protesters showed up one Saturday, marching to drumbeats and chanting as confused market-goers hesitantly parted. Wearing his “I Love Ferguson” T-shirt — a campaign that started as one of support for the city, but has since morphed into a political statement against the protests — Wheat told the protesters to move on.
“I said ‘this is not the place to do this.' They need to go to Clayton where [prosecutor] Bob McCullough’s office is. These are just people shopping for vegetables.”
“You’re black. Why aren’t you marching with us?” one protester asked him.
“I am not going to do that. I live here,” Wheat said. “We are just going to let justice run its course.”
The protesters responded by calling Wheat a “motherfucker” and a “house nigger.”
It was only a clash of words that Saturday, but the protesters returned one week later.
That day with at least one injury and two pending assault charges. The farmer’s market was cancelled the next week.What is to be done when the young lions want to change the world while the elders are invested in stability and the relative status quo? Who wins in the duel?
As always, please do share any interesting new items or information of public or private concern.
What discoveries have you made this week?