Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Semi-Open Thread: Class Trumps Race in Ferguson While Phyllis Schlafly Earns a 'Derby's Dose' for Her Mouth Utterance that Barack Obama is Using Ebola to 'Africanize' the United States

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?


Learning Is Eternal said...

Mom is right. I mean w/the way current events have been unfolding lately I would not be surprised. That's all.

Ebola is not new. This was declared the most dangerous disease on the planet in the late 80's/90's (whenever I heard it).

Like Thomas Jefferson and his polio vaccine trial & error on his 2 "Hunna" or so slaves.
The guinea pig people of the Congo and surrounding areas would do concerning aids.
Ebola in west Africa seems typical. If there's a pandemic, the European Black Plague excluded, what better place to test your hypothesis or weapon of biological warfare?
Another genocidal ploy to liquidate the melanin rich perhaps?
Conspiracy theories are fun and intriguing till they come true.

balitwilight said...

In one sense the Ebola panic is just a cross-current of today's America: the night-terrors of a senescent empire in its Alzheimer's childhood (Terrorists! ISIS! Ebola!) and the old tide of good-old-American-racism.

In another sense Ebola is a manifestation of injustice: squatting gruesomely at America's stolen banquet. Ebola was named after the Ebola River in Congo - where the first outbreak occurred. It spread within and out of that cursed country - in no little part out of the chaos of war and exploitation. For rubber and ivory the Belgians (supported by America at the time) piled mountains of severed "black" hands in the Congo. The Americans greedily seized the purest natural Uranium-Oxide on this planet (at Shinkolobwe, Congo) which they promptly dropped as an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. For this Uranium (and other "interests") the CIA helped murder Congo's first elected president Patrice Lumumba in 1961, and install (like Saddam Hussein) CIA-errand-boy and world-class-kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko. As his name promised, Mobutu died in 1997 leaving a broken country, civil wars and "nothing but fire in his wake". Diseases like Ebola spread among the devastation of wars.

For the rare mineral Coltan (mined in this same Congo and found in all your iPhones and electronics) the American government exploited the civil war, supported Congolese warlords, and (in classic neo-liberal fashion) used all the weight of the US military/government to keep the Coltan profits flowing to private corporations, indifferent to the chaos and bloodshed in the Congo where 7 million people died since 1997 (no "humanitarian US bombing" there).

Now Ebola - the disease that originated and flourished in that broken country - has found its way to the shores of one of the countries that broke it for rubber, ivory, Uranium and Coltan. Heart of Darkness indeed.

Buddy H said...

I saw this comment on another site:

Scores of Africans get Ebola. = "Sorry, there's no cure."

White American doctor gets Ebola. = "Eureka! We quickly found a cure!"

White American nurse gets Ebola. = "Here's the medicine. You're cured."

White American news journalist gets Ebola. = "We'll fly you to Nebraska to get cured!"

Black gentleman in America gets Ebola. = "Sorry, we ran out of medicine. Our condolences to your family."

KissedByTheSun said...

More people in America die from the flu per year

Than people all the people who have died from Ebola in 40 years
Nobody cared about Ebola until white people became threatened by it.

chauncey devega said...

Damn. Is it all that simple--the comparative value of human life.

chauncey devega said...

King Leopold's Ghost is one of those books I had to stop reading. The way the Belgiums would cut off hands was gruesome. Just like w. cotton and rum production in the West Indies too.

chauncey devega said...

Speaking conspiracies--I just saw Kill the Messenger. I thought it funny how the troglodytes in the audience were so "shocked" and "amazed" by something which I thought was common knowledge. Funny, make a movie, get it in mass release, to numb the people to the truth.

Learning Is Eternal said...

You ain't know? That's part of the desensitization process of what's to come. A lot of (hidden) messages in film, etc. Does anything surprise you anymore?

Learning Is Eternal said...

Are they still calling Gary Webb's murder a 2 shot suicide delivered by one individual?

chauncey devega said...

Of course. Doesn't everybody shoot themselves in the head twice?

Nina Flowers said...

Please do not think that this is not part of the effort by the United States and its Western allies to stop development throughout the world. These same nations insist on being in charge of the World Bank and IMF so that they can continue their disgusting policies. They wave money in the faces of desperate people and demand that in order to receive the funds, they must shut down schools, hospitals, etc. They did this to Niger: forced them to sell their emergency food stores in order to secure funding. What happened? As expected, famine!

Nina Flowers said...

Isn't is sickening that the warlords in Sierra Leone recently used the same gruesome tactics of cutting off hands to terrorize people. Of course diamonds were the prize there.

Nina Flowers said...

As for scary conspiracies, l just realized how one seems to be related to this outbreak. Look up the deaths of the world's top microbiologists. From Russia to Japan to Australia, Israel, etc., many of the world's top microbiologists have been murdered! Not a word about this anywhere except on the Internet. This is no conspiracy borne of tin foil hat wearers, it's real and very scary!

Myshkin the Idiot said...

At my son's birthday party, at least one person was sharing his anxieties about terrorist attacks in America (by Muslims of course, never other Americans) and Ebola. They can't even let their family enjoy a 3 year old's birthday party without conjuring up these bogeymen.

They also act like these things are unimaginable things to happen to Americans. The rest of the world is supposed to be riddled with disease and corruption, but America? no, God no.

I don't understand how more Americans don't support the Westboro Baptist Church.

Miles_Ellison said...

That's the age old story. Nothing is a problem until white people are affected.

Miles_Ellison said...

Obama's imaginary effort to Africanize America with Ebola have been considerably less effective than the actual centuries-long effort to Europeanize North America with guns, smallpox, liquor, rape, and syphilis.

Gable1111 said...

Picked up at the library "The Savage City" by T.J. King

It talks about the "relationship" between the black community and the NYPD, the impact of the Black Nationalist movement, Malcolm, and The Black Panther Party during the time, the George Whitmore case, Dhoruba Bin Wahad and others.

What I find fascinating is the community response to police violence at the time. The average person seemed far more politically aware, if not militant. Panthers fought pitched gun battles with the police, and many lived to tell about it.

I'm about half way through the book, but one aspect of the period is striking, vis a vis the situation we have today. In riots at the time, the protesters and police fought pitched battles, and cops seemed less prone to shoot and kill as they do now, almost at the drop of a hat. Battles were hand to hand, between cops and protesters. But this is not to say cops weren't killing back then. Police killings of today by comparison seem more vicious by virtue of the gratuitous nature, i.e. Brown is shot just walking down the street; a cop shoots into car after asking the driver for his ID; cops in Utah kill a kid for carrying a sword, and then in Wal-Mart for carrying a toy.

It seems we reached a plateau at some point, then fell off, in terms of respect and what people would tolerate from the "establishment" in terms of direct interactions with the community. If this were the 60s, responses to the Michael Brown shooting would probably have been more violent and sustained.

In many ways I believe the kind of activism and involvement we had back then is called for now, however it appears that, at least on a mass level, there has been a degree of appeasement that blunts the responses of the average person that it did not back then. In Ferguson, it appears that there is a similar response, however its not spreading on a national level as it did back then.

Why is that? The difference is people have been co opted by materialism and entertainment which there always seems to be plenty of time for, but never enough time to read, educate and understand the past in order to understand the present and what is really going on today. You can't read this book, and read about what happened in the 60s and 70s, and not realize the extent that a general apathy has not only affected us, but appears to doom us as well. You'd think that today, people would be far more aware than they were back then, with the internet and the instant access to information, where information of this kind was spread through flyers, trips to the library and word of mouth. More is turning out to be less. As a people we seem to know a lot about trivial things that don't matter, but less about what does.

Most of what I am reading is not new, but it is an interesting perspective to revisit, in light of what is going on today.

Gable1111 said...

Simply put, everything from Ferguson to Ebola is a backlash against what paranoid white supremacy perceives the presidency of Obama to be, a measure of black defiance and domination that is most threatening, in their fevered minds.

The irony of it is, the Obama presidency is anything but. If anything it shows that a president who happens to be black is no hedge against the demands of the power structure on "the most powerful office in the world." It also exposes the fraud of "we've come a long way and how, not only did racism ever dissipate, but has returned with a vengeance.

drspittle said...

What did you think of the movie? I saw it today and loved it. When I read about Gary Webb and then read articles which refer to Glenn Griftwald as a "journalist" I want to throw things.

Courtney H. said...

I read that book years. If you ever finish it, it is an eye-opening read -- and a wake-up call.

Courtney H. said...

I have read about these, too.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Thanks for sharing the link to my post on fear, Chauncey. I found myself nodding my head a lot at what other people had to say about the topic here. As far as things I learned this week, the knowledge that corporate profits are now at the highest percentage of GDP ever was pretty telling. Some people obviously aren't feeling the bite of the current hard times, yet they still bitch and moan about corporate taxes being too high as a pretext to relocating to other countries. So much of the public is freaking out about Ebola or ISIS that they don't bother to notice they are being robbed blind.

Courtney H. said...

I read the Raw Story article. It was excellent.

Courtney H. said...

Tariq Nasheed believes that the Duncan case is a trial run for the rest of Black America:

What do you think?

Courtney H. said...

Oops! It should read **years ago.** I was half-asleep when I typed that. Sorry for the typo.

chauncey devega said...

It petered out at the end w. the focus on his family drama. The supposed suicide angle should have been explored more. Liotta was awesome as always. I wonder if the story petered out because they were running out of money?

MaMu1977 said...

EDuncan had Ebola when he arrived in America, then sat at home for over a week before seeking medical aid, *then* sat at home even longer before using the "E-word". Conversely, all of the white sufferers made it clear from the get-go that they were exposed to Ebola. After a decade of experience in the healthcare field, I can say without fear that Duncan would have been a feather in the hospital's cap/the best test subject ever if he had told the HCPs that he was exposed to Ebola from jump.

Now, *that being said*, I really do not trust this Ebola vaccine. And when I say that I don't trust it, I mean that I wouldn't take the shot if I *had* to return to hands-on healthcare and I *won't be* accepting a vacci.e if Ebola heads to the Northeast. I think that the entire continent of Africa will be turned into a "hot zone" if its erstwhile leaders decide to jump on the Mighty Whitey bandwagon.

drspittle said...

I think a decision was made to portray the price Gary paid, both professionally and personally, and I think it was a good choice. Though I'd followed Gary's story for many years, seeing the toll it took on him personally made the perfidy of his management and peers more egregious. As for the suicide, the epilogue used the term "ruled as a suicide". I read many years ago that Gary's wife did not welcome or appreciate efforts to portray his death the result of a CIA conspiracy, so the film makers may have handled his death the way they did in deference to her, in the hope that movie goers would be prompted to further investigate his story and draw their own conclusions.

Courtney H. said...

Good point.

T. Jones said...

That's a great book. Unfortunately, we and by that I mean Black and brown people, have fractured attention spans