Saturday, February 7, 2015

Quite a Show: 141,000 Plus Facebook Shares From Telling a Basic Truth About ISIS and How White People Also Burned Black Americans Alive

The above image is from Spook magazine. Each time I contemplate its meaning, I come to a different conclusion about the semiotics of the image.

For whatever indeterminate reason (wink, wink) it has been speaking to me these last few days.

I had a very interesting Thursday and Friday.

I learned that when you dare to tell an obvious truth about violence, lynchings, ISIS, and white on black racial violence that a good number of people get very upset. Who would have thought such a thing would happen?

I also learned that there is no direct relationship between hateful emails and having a post receive more than 141,000 Facebook shares and thousands of comments. Some of my less popular posts have received more interesting racist emails. There is also an inverse relationship between the number of people who read a given post and share it online and the amount of donations your site will receive in a given time period.

[On that point, much love to the folks who threw some centavos into the support WARN fundraising pile on the sidebar during this time period. The energy and kind comments are appreciated.]

I learned that the good and smart white brothers and sisters of conscience who are on the right side of history will send you good energy when they know that other white folks--racist and made deranged by some modest truth-telling--are playing with themselves in public by masturbating in racist feces.

And I smiled after reading Bill Moyers' essay on ISIS and black lynchings. It would seem that I am in good company. A Vulcan mind meld with Bill Moyers is a good thing.

The world keeps on turning. I set off a CM Punk style "pipe bomb" over at the Daily Kos where I did a bit more truth-telling earlier today about liberal racism: the blast radius caught quite a few liberal racists with its shrapnel.

The racist white folks who are up in arms over my "nerve" and "poor taste" to dare talk about American hypocrisy regarding the "barbarism" of ISIS have psychoanalyzed me as being "angry" and "rageful" against white people.

I am none of those things. In fact, I spend a remarkably small amount of my time thinking about race and the colorline during my day-to-day routine. I have too many other things to ponder.

A question. I wonder if a person of color (or woman or gay brother or sister) who just goes about their business, tries to be happy and positive, and is not some "hate whitey" caricature, is somehow more of a threat than the dreams by both passive and active white racists of black and brown folks who are crippled and stunted by white supremacy?

What are your thoughts on this whole ISIS white racism and burning black folks alive kerfuffle? Surprised? Laughing? Disturbed? Or something else.

I sense a disturbance in the Force. What should I be on the look out for next?


Bill Oetjen said...

Hi. I just read the piece comparing ISIS with American lynching history. Very good work. Straight to the point, timely, and damning of the myth of "American Exceptionalism."
Thank you.
I do have one request, which I suggest with all due respect: please use a good proof reader. Your message is too important to let it be shared so widely bearing so many mistakes.
Keep up the excellent work!

Scopedog said...

At least you did a better job on this than Glenn Greenwald (and your piece was well worth reading anyway).

Black Sci-Fi said...

I love the fact that President Obama was willing to bring the ISIS/Lynching/Christianty analogy to the public. That said, I'm having a lot of trouble with the term "collateral damage" as it applies to those non combatant civilians our military burns alive or blows to bits in the name of securing "our oil under their land".
I would think that for the average American "cognitive dissonance" must be suborned to the, for once, "honest" rational truth-telling of Bush I, that sidestepped a "Viet Nam Syndrom" by telling the truth about our motivation for war and support of non-democratic foreign dictators willing to rob and murder their citizens in the name of American home heating oil, brought to you by FOB...Friends of Bush.
Everything that happend after that (Iraq and Afgan wars, 9/11 and all the other Israeli proxy wars, large and small) should have been subjected to the same level of truth telling by our presidents that followed Bush I. But alas, you can't get folks willing to become "American Sniper" by telling them that, in effect, they are really just security guards for Koch/Bush/Cheney, Inc. And their service and honorable sacrifice is being wasted by plutocrats who poke holes in foreign dams and expect that our "patriots" put their fingers on the IED's that logically follow the "collateral damage" wrought by the plutocrats.
The old propaganda trick of "dehumanize the enemy" so it's easy to look past our own atrocities fully rooted in inhuman greed is as alive today as it has ever been. Same story, different day.

joe manning said...

The right has to be terrified of just plain folks with common sense. Rightists are by definition vulnerable to truth. To abandon fundamental cognitive standards is to expose oneself to ridicule. Their shrillness comes from the sense that they are tittering on extinction. They rationalize their compulsive/reflexive adherence to right wing tenets by nothing but the thin air of perpetual outrage. For them to take an honest look at themselves would be self destructive.

Elly said...

"What are your thoughts on this whole ISIS white racism and burning black folks alive kerfuffle? Surprised? Laughing? Disturbed? Or something else."

Not surprised. The reaction reminds me of a couple of (related) posts written by liberal evangelical Fred Clark in 2008:

In the second part, he discusses a phenomenon he calls "The Anti-Kitten Burning Coalition" (the reference is to the self-righteous tone of various letters-to-the-editor to his former newspaper, concerning a story about some sadistic kids who burned a kitten alive). He wrote:

"The kitten-burners seem to fulfill some urgent need. They give us someone we can clearly and correctly say we’re better than. Their extravagant cruelty makes us feel better about ourselves because we know that we would never do what they have done. They thus function as signposts of depravity, reassuring the rest of us that we’re Not As Bad As them, and thus letting us tell ourselves that this is the same thing as us being good.

Kitten-burners are particularly useful in this role because their atrocious behavior seems wholly alien and without any discernible motive that we might recognize in ourselves.

...This comparing-down is ultimately corrosive because it bases our sense of morality in pride rather than in love — in the cardinal vice instead of the cardinal virtue. And to fuel that pride, we end up looking for ever-more extreme and exotically awful people to compare ourselves favorably against, people whose freakish cruelty makes our own mediocrity show more goodly and attract more eyes than that which hath no foil to set it off."

I suspect this dynamic also applies to your situation. ISIS fits Clark's description of the "ever-more extreme and exotically awful people to compare ourselves favorably against" to a "T." You were harshing people's buzz by reminding them of the depravity that white racists were/are capable of.

Joanna Tegnerowicz said...

I read your article on Daily Kos yesterday, and I believe that it is a really important and needed article on the suppression of these horrifying atrocities from white American (and generally white) collective memory. The fact that some people claim that you are "rageful" against whites etc is so sickening and depressing, though not really surprising ... There is an excellent academic article on torture lynchings - "Penal Excess and Surplus Meaning: Public Torture Lynchings in Twentieth-Century America" by David Garland, Law & Society Review, Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 793–834, December 2005.

Courtney H. said...

Here is a good article about why we are so fascinated by the Nazis to this day. It is related to this article, since it touches how a **civilized** society can commit barbarous acts:

kokanee said...

From the Daily KOs:
- 106k Facebook shares
- 1054 tweets

From Alternet:
- Number one on the Most Read List


1) New Joy DeGruy material on Sojourner Truth on Thursday, Feb. 5th (hour 2 from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm):

Which inspired:

2) The Scandal at the Zoo.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

There are perhaps two other dimensions to consider in this discussion--timeframe and horror. Many people who want to focus upon ISIS and the beheadings (the horror) want to do so in the here-and-now (timeframe) because they believe that talking about the horror will lead to something being done.

Along comes Chauncey and he says, no, the proper timeframe is American history from the start and the horror of white supremacist terrorism against Africans surpasses the horror inflicted by ISIS. White supremacist terrorism happens everyday damn day in America. When are Black folks in America going to be able to stop saying, "I'm sick n tired of being sick n tired"? Goddamn, we hate people who tell the truth.

What white liberals apparently have bought into is the idea of American exceptionalism, which though a potent myth, is nevertheless nonsense. How many white liberals can stand to read "The Souls of White Folk"? We (Belgium) can kill ten millions (or so) of Congolese for profit and call that progress.

We re-enact our founding on the world over and over again--the displacement of non-white and white peoples who have no rights to their land or to their existence. How many liberals are on the side of the Greek people as they assert their right to exist as opposed to the right of international capital to exploit them all in the name of efficiency, progress, and profit?

On some blogs, I can't voice support for Palestinian rights to land and an existence without being called an anti-Semite, though I support the state of Israel. Anyone who compares the history of the United States and the history of Israel will see the similarities of white settler societies.

Or, consider the issues raised in the documentary Virunga--our willingness to kill mountain gorillas, displace Congolese, all because of the oil profits of a British company.

Do Americans really believe that groups take up arms or terrorism because they dislike the fact that we go to fucking Disneyland or that we shop like zombies?

In the name of oil profits, in a country like Nigeria (for example), we will tolerate all sorts of human rights abuses and encourage Nigerian elites to inflict those abuses and to profit from them.

But, those most upset with Chauncey's analysis have not stopped to wonder why ISIS burns a man alive or beheads its hostages and releases the videos. ISIS wants us to return, to invade with ground troops. We created ISIS when we invaded Iraq--a country without any reason to be invaded. Those liberals most upset about the "barbaric" videos play right into ISIS's hands.

Getting upset and beating one's chest about our supposed moral righteousness is not a strategy; it is not a policy; it's not even a proper retort. Getting upset and riled up does serve a purpose--it forces all of us to bypass any discussion of what should be done in the Middle East; what strategy we should pursue; how many resources we should devote to the problem; who else should do more; and, what have we done to get ourselves into this mess.

Chauncey reminds us that in that necessary strategic debate we have a lot of blood on our hands and a lot of bloody history to account for. Chauncey reminds us that we should come to problems with humility and humbleness.

I hope that made sense.

chauncey devega said...

Good sharing. So much hostility and hate from folks on those essays. Most didn't even read what I wrote. I am glad that I can come back to home base here on WARN w. the good folks here. Have you looked at the comments at all?

White supremacists, liberal racists, traditional GOP bigots are all peeing in the trough urinal together.

Funny thing? I would have thought that Fox News and some other outlets would have reached out for an interview. Crickets. Too hot to handle...or maybe they are afraid of a harmless negro like me?

skilletblonde said...

"The destruction of a mighty nation may well be approaching because of the activities of one person. He has encouraged leaders to tranquilize the populace with half-truths. He has lured the press into inattention and assisted the people in duping themselves. He as persuaded his fellow citizens to concentrate on mindless entertainments and aviod the bruises of reality. The culprit is the person whose eyes scan these words, and whose hands-at this moment-hold this book. The country is the United States of America."

The above quote is from a book I found at a Flea Market about 10 years ago for a $1.00. It's William Lederer's 1961 book, "Nation Of Sheep." If you should read the book, you will find that America has not changed much. Subscribing to mindless entertainment and being indoctrinated with half-truths is exactly what still ails America. As a matter of fact it's more profound today. The inability to hold the mirror up to the citizenry and force them to see the ugly truth has never been a job an American president has been willing do. Instead Americans are awash in myths propagated by their government, and that mass propaganda machine called Hollywood. Myths that give them a distorted and grandiose view of themselves.

Americans don't want to look at the holocaust that occurred on this continent with the genocide of Native Americans. Neither do they want to look at the millions of Africans lost in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The raw brutality of the chattel slavery that built America and the western world is far from their consciousness. However, if they don't want to face reality, African Americans and Native Americans must. African Americans most of all have a tendency to want to run away from the horrors of their history. I have friends who simply can't face seeing the movie Selma.

But once you know what was really done to your people, (and I'm talking about the whole truth and nothing but the truth) yes, the scales will fall from your eyes. You will understand that this was not civilized behavior or the deeds of surperior people. It was one of the most, if not the most, horrific crime of the human race. The fact that it went on for generations, and human beings were literally reduced to animals-and worked to death- makes it so. But your existence today is a testimony to their great strength. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud.

Chauncey mentioned Bill Moyers Essay. Noam Chomsky did a lecture on the Civil Rights Movement before a college in England about 3 weeks ago. He did not hold back. He gave those students a big, fat mirror. It's about 36 minutes long.

Here is link:

chauncey devega said...

Lots of sense. I do not think that most of the comments are from people who even read what I wrote. Something in their minds has been triggered and they are vomiting out talking points and semi-cogent mess.

kokanee said...

Re: "Have you looked at the comments at all?"
Yes, I have. Racists creeping up from the cracks in the floorboards urinal and toilet plumbing. Read your piece on liberal racism too. Almost makes me wish they would just go back from whence they came...but I prefer honesty.

Re: "Crickets."
You know the line: First they ignore you. It could be that the decision has to filter up to the top brass first. Maybe it's time for you to get an agent?

Re: "or maybe they are afraid of a harmless negro like me?"
Yes—that's it! They are afraid! They should be! ;)

Whites are important too said...

Black lynching went away a long time ago and it doesn't even compare to ISIS destriction. Blank lynching days are over. Blacks weren't hunted I'm every country and killed. Isis is killing others and their own just for not believing in their prophet which is a disgrace to society. They are trying to kill anyone that doesn't believe in their prophet whether they be whites, blacks, Japanese, Jordan's, children. Nonmuslims don't have break any rules of any kind, they'll kidnap you and behead you. They are trying to tAke over all nations. I'm sorry but whites were minute compared to the vivacious animals. They wanna kill you chauncey of ur not Muslim. And you could have a white wife and they behead her too. Blacks sold blacks back in their time and blacks also had slaves from other countries. We have to let past be by Gones andbe more concerned with our nation being taken over by Islams. You won't be different than a white person once they get here so you and Obama keep making excuses. I hope they don't get any of your family member.

kokanee said...

Yes, good stuff. A quote from your linked article that should eerily familiar to WARN readers:
[F]or Hitler, the Jews were not merely subhumans to be eliminated in the
interests of an allegedly superior race, they were the “world enemy” of
the “Aryans”, endowed with almost superhuman qualities, to be hunted
down and ritually humiliated wherever they were found before they were
killed without exception.

It couldn't happen here though...

...except it is!!!


This is part 2 on "Theories of Tyranny." Part 1 is .

Some quotes from the book:
[F]ear and violence were the foundations of every despotism. The use of terror, or "noncalculable violence," as a permanent threat against each individual creates a climate of fear essential to any dictatorship. Propaganda wears out...and needs to be supplemented by terror."
[T]he Jews were not a scapegoat, because a scapegoat implied some final, expiating sacrifice, whereas terror against Jews only brought more terror against both Jews and many other groups.
Nazi antiSemitism was "the spearhead of terror."
[A]nti-Semitism in Germany was useful to the Nazis and largely contrived, not some indigenous characteristic of the German people.
Fascism in Germany, in short, was used to preserve the class domination of monopoly capitalism. "The German economy of today has two broad and striking characteristics. It is a monopolistic economy —and a command economy. It is a private capitalistic economy, regimented by the totalitarian state.
[B]ehind the Nazi state one found a class structure intact, and thus, the very description "totalitarian" in an ideological veil hiding powerful classes. Far from attempting to create a classless society, National Socialism followed a conscious policy of using elites to control the masses."
The bureaucracy marched as always with the victorious forces, and for the first time in the history of Germany the army got everything it wanted. Four distinct groups are thus represented in the German ruling class; big industry, the party, the bureaucracy, and the armed forces.


American oligarchs need the "terrorists." That's why America funds them (through our ME allies), America perpetuates them through occupation, drones, torture, military bases and proxy governments. The entire global war on terror (GWOT) is just one massive false flag operation, imho. It's really just Star Wars where Palpatine created and funded the separatist droid army to start a war against his own republic.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D!)
wants you to be afraid because the terrorists are just so frightening!

Learning Is Eternal said...

Your reply so lame yet reeks of naïveté. There is no statute of limitations on murder and lives are priceless. So miss me w/that let by-gone's bs. It's much easier for the aggressor, bully or winner to speak of quells. Eastern world Muslims have a clear understanding of whom their targets are in the western world and they don't look like CDV.

You spake of Islamic conversion.

My people were forced into Christianity before/upon arrival to this nation.

Please could you differentiate and explain.

I lie. Do not.

After that one line about being "taken over by the Islams..." Need I say more.

I bet your name Cleetus and look like Lester Krinklesac from The Cleveland Brown show. Sorry y'all. I could not help it.

Justin M. White said...

Your article on ISIS and lynchings in the US kept coming to mind over the past couple of days. I can understand why it hit such a nerve in some aspects: comparative history is hard mental work, especially when you have to grapple with its modern ethical implications. Consider the response to Obama at the prayer breakfast saying a whole two sentences on Xtian atrocities from hundreds of years ago. Who knew Crusades apologists still existed? Maybe the knight from Indiana Jones has a blog now.

Because I'm trying to work on comparing social control and exploitation through criminalization from the 17th century to the modern American prison industry, your comparison of ISIS and US domestic terrorism keeps the gears in my mind churning. What are some of the comparisons between the "Bubba" culture Huckabee likes to talk about and our approach to Mid-East politics? To what extent are our leaders "True Believers" as Frank Schaeffer suggested on your podcast? Do they really get their gusto for war from shitty pop-country songs? We can compare the Salafist movement with the Christian Dominionists fairly easily, but what about the great majority of conservative Christians that make up the real power base?

Lots to think about.

mike said...

What about black racists. Your very one sided and clearly a bigot against whites. If this country is so bad your more then welcome to leave

Gable1111 said...

"I wonder if a person of color (or woman or gay brother or sister) who just goes about their business, tries to be happy and positive, and is not some "hate whitey" caricature, is somehow more of a threat than the dreams by both passive and active white racists of black and brown folks who are crippled and stunted by white supremacy?"

Gable1111 said...

I shouldn't have been surprised at the reaction, but I was. Naivete on my part for thinking that the historical facts of similar incidents in this country would at the very least be "duly noted" if not bring pause considering the hypocrisy. Of course, mindless wingnut adherents of white supremacy give no quarter when it comes to their cherished myths of innocence and exceptionalism, but it was interesting the extent that so many of the "white left," as represented on Kos and other "progressive" sites, also got their backs up. Seems they are "white" first, "progressive" second.

ISIS burning a man alive in a cage is no different than what was done to Jesse Washington and countless others. Ugly as that is, it is a fact. What was telling about all of the ugly and hateful responses was none could respond with any truth to refute it, just anger at telling it.

Adam H said...

They hate us cause they ain't us! They hate you cause they ain't u.

Justin M. White said...

I also saw a Tumblr share of your post that had 1,500 notes on it. I share your articles on there from time to time to try and bring in some thoughtful people to take part in the discussions on here, but they never gain traction, so I was happy to see at least the Alternet version of your article being passed around.

Courtney H. said...

I just watched the video. Thank you for providing the link. Noam Chomsky is definitely another truth-teller!

chauncey devega said...

Wow. What is the url? Always appreciate your help and support.

Justin M. White said...

Here's the blog I saw it on:

It's over 1,600 now.

DanF said...

Fox News is all about American (blonde, Christian) Exceptionalism. So their goal is to define Obama's mild rebukes at the national prayer breakfast as beyond the pale of acceptable criticism. Having you on would show would make Obama seem tame.

joe manning said...

Yes, its a matter of fascist inertia trumping social evolution. We must appreciate accurate historiography.

Buddy H said...

I recently read some interesting comments by Aaron Haspel:

"Abroad we make our soldiers pretend to be policemen, and at home we let our policemen pretend to be soldiers."

"An American has no betters, as far as he knows."

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

From a Coen brothers movie, A Serious Guy: "When the truth is found to be lies, and all the hope within you dies..." then they attack Chauncey.

johnlear said...

I think you took it a bit too far over on KOS, and i didn't share it because i didn't want to have nearly white and black FB friend misinterpret where you're coming from.........why antagonize people who try to be supportive. of course some, if not many are relatively shallow in their "acceptance" of people of color even though they would deny that....... i call what you did there "shock therapy" but if you take it too far the bad outweighs the good intent........those who you were hardest on were born white. they had no choice in the matter .. after your piece today above here, you will see my comment............friend me if you like based on my share above ... i grew up as a reverse minority in the u.s. virgin islands , so my perspective of the U.S. is from more of a pulled back viewpoint. it seemed to me that you were trying to push all white people away from you to simplify and make easier the distinctions, if only for a moment.......FAUX wouldn't have you on because there's no one there that is intelligent enough to limit, or contain your side of any discussion......bill o'reilly would like to think he could but he couldn't handle the new black panther guy a few years ago.... hannity wouldn't let you speak as he is the most wicked of them all.........why did it have to be bob simon who died in the car accident and not hannity or rush dumbaugh.........?! take care, r.m.

johnlear said...

sorry about the typo's above. seems i can't correct them... near the top, i meant to say "nearly 800 black and white FB friends....."