Chamblee54

May 30

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race, Religion by chamblee54 on May 30, 2018

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This blog tries to publish something everyday. This blog has a huge archive. Today, we are going to try something. We have three posts, all of which were posted on May 30. (2009, 2014, 2015) Text will be edited, out of concern for the reader’s tolerance of gratuitous ranting. Pictures are from The Library of Congress, and are better than the text. The topics for discussion are race and religion. Some things never go out of style.

PG found a thingie on the internet today. It is a list of twenty reasons why the person at BEattitude is no longer a Jesus Worshiper. It has 331 comments. Does anyone the time them all? (The link does not work in 2018) The man is in what you might call phase one post Jesus. He sees things in terms of the Christian Experience. The further you get from Jesus Worship, the more you see that Jesus is not the only game in town. The free for all going on in the comments thread is much more pleasant in digital form. In person, you would have 300 people interrupting and screaming at each other. Some think that the louder you talk, the more truth your words have.

Jesus is a touchy subject for many people. Many people have been verbally assaulted, in the name of spreading salvation. The fact that you don’t agree with these ideas does not stop people from feeling obligated to tell you about one more time. It serves to create ill will for Jesus. It does not help when this Jesus-fix is delivered as a ceremonial part of a government meeting.

Once, a man saw his child get excited when there was a prayer on TV. The kid said that the prayer meant the cartoons would start soon. There was a religious program, before the cartoons. The prayer was at the end of the show, meaning the cartoons were about to start. That is about what prayers before a public event are worth. Prayer is reduced to a meaningless gesture, when used in this manner. This does not speak well for the custom of prayer.

Jesus reportedly said this. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Whenever you hear the word G-d, the word believe is not far behind. The two seem to go together. PG wonders if belief is really the proper way to “know” G-d. Remember, the middle three letters of beLIEve is LIE. The symbolism of the cross is rather distasteful. A cross was a method of capital punishment, and a rather gruesome method at that. If Jesus were to be offed in prison today, would future generations worship a syringe?

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A popular link on facebook these days is to an article in Slate magazine, Why Do Millennials Not Understand Racism? It is written by Jamelle Bouie, and is based on the MTV Survey on Millenials and Race. Mr. Bouie does not like the results. One question might be why he is paying attention. The results are broken down in two groups, white and POC. The study was conducted in English. The respondents were 14-24 years old, with the under 18 crowd needing parental permission. Only people who watch MTV were interviewed. The questionnaire is not included in the report. The study does not go into the family income, or level of education in the family. The only breakdown is white vs. POC.

Some questions were asked about “microaggressions” … “brief and commonplace actions or words that are subtle examples of bias. Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional, and often communicate negative feelings towards people of color.” POC report having more problems with microaggressions than white people. One possible reason for this is the fact many white people have never heard of microaggressions.The use of microaggression is one reason for using English only.

Mr. Bouie makes a few broad comments. Remember, he is talking about a group of MTV watchers. “More jarring is the 48 percent of white millennials who say discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities. … But while this reaction doesn’t seem to have a basis in reality, it makes perfect sense given what millennials writ large believe about racism.” Maybe this is white privilege. Many white people are not sensitive to being discriminated against. What is a microaggression to one person is a rude comment (or misunderstood look) to another.

Maybe this is another case of the younger generation being misunderstood by the old fogeys. The study makes the shaky claim that “The majority of millennials believe that their generation is post-racial.” Perhaps … and this just might be a good thing … there are people coming along who are more interested in solving problems, than in worrying whether the problem affects white people more than POC. Maybe, just maybe, the divide and conquer tactics of the ruling class are being seen as the foolish distractions that they are. Those who enjoy screaming about racism could find themselves obsolete in a few years. This might not be such a bad thing.

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NFL Kneelers

Posted in Killed By Police, Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on May 29, 2018


The football players who won’t stand for the national anthem is the story that won’t go away. Few people have said exactly how this is going to prevent police from killing people. This slack blogger has said little about Kaepernickgate, but has had a thirty part series, Killed By Police. This series, like most factual reporting on police killings, is mostly ignored by the same people who are hysterical about NFL kneelers. It is a strange country we live in.

A theme in the modern meme mania is the notion that the protest is about police brutality, and not about the flag. Or something like that. While the original intent of the kneelers is to protest police killings, the result is to disrespect a display of patriotism. It should not be a surprise that many people feel the NFL protests are an insult to the United States. To say that the protests are about racism, and not the flag, is not right. The result of this well meaning gesture is to insult millions of patriotic Americans. Facebook rubs it in by saying it is your fault.

Blackface used to be a popular form of entertainment. If you were to ask the performers, they probably would have said that this was not intended to insult anybody, but just a way of having fun. That would have been the intent. The minstrels would have to be dumb not to have known that their performances were insulting to black people. Sometimes, your intention is not all that counts. You should consider how other people feel about your entertainment.

It is not known what these protests are going to accomplish. They will probably achieve as much as shutting down a freeway. Others say that the police killings are a symptom, rather than the disease. With millions of weapons in circulation, the police know that anyone they meet might try to kill them. With all that is demanded of police, they are going to make mistakes.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Stacey And Stacey

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on April 20, 2018


Until Thursday, PG had been in blissful denial of the Georgia Governor’s election. Except, that is, for the clown car antics of the republicans. The Democrats had Stacey Abrams, aka black Stacey, opposing Stacey Evans, aka white Stacey. The Republicans are almost certain to win in November, even with a certified idiot like Casey Cagle.

The happy ignorance was interrupted by facebook on thursday. A FBF posted a link to this article, Statement by the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America on the vulgar hit piece against member Anoa Changa. The vhp, posted by the notorious white supremacists at WABE, was titled Atlanta Activist Uses Russian-Backed Media To Spread Message. It seems as though a local activist, Anoa Changa, utilized a Russian owned broadcast outlet to spread her message. This was news to PG, as well as the 99.9% of the population that never listens to Sputnik.

PG did not see what was so horrible about the WABE piece, and was prepared to ignore it. Then he saw something in the article. “Changa helped lead a protest last year at the progressive Netroots Nation convention drowning out the speech of Stacey Evans, a Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia. Changa and the other protesters chanted “trust black women.” Evans is white, while her Democratic primary opponent Stacey Abrams is black. Changa supports Abrams.” A bit of research turned up a video, Protesters Harass Stacey Evans Candidate Gov. Georgia Aug 12, 2017.

This incident was noted on facebook. “Yup, don’t see what the problem is. Was Evans run out of town? Silenced? Is she still in the race?” “I fully support activists of color disrupting any centrist white person running for office. Stop ignoring the fundamental power dynamic in play because of white supremacist patriarchy.” “Good luck winning the election”

Others are grossed out by this type of behavior. Is this what happens to people running for public office? To be shouted down in public forums, and say “this is what democracy looks like.” Maybe smells like is more appropriate. Maybe we are not mature enough to allow the luxury of free speech. Maybe an election campaign is a time to shout down your opponent … and call those who do not applaud your playground-bully tactics a racist.

Stacey Abrams And Stacey Evans had a discussion of the incident. Stacey Evans condemned the protest. Stacey Abrams did not. “I do not believe that you silence those who feel they are voiceless, because the minute we do that we are no better than those who tell people they can’t kneel in protest.”

Anoa Changa is far from voiceless. She is not going to be silenced by waiting until someone else is through speaking. To compare this abusive protest, to pro football players and the national anthem, is ridiculous. Stacy Abrams has no business being Governor of Georgia. Pictures for this paranormal panorama are from The Library of Congress.

Gerrymandering

Posted in GSU photo archive, Politics, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 29, 2018

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99% Invisible recently had an episode about gerrymandering. It was based on a series at FiveThirtyEight, The Gerrymandering Project Gerrymandering is like the weather: many people talk about it, but few know how it works. One former governor of California likes to say that we should terminate gerrymandering. The Austrian accent is a nice touch.

Gerrymandering is “the division of electoral districts for partisan political advantage.” The name dates back to Elbridge Gerry, one of the founding fathers. (…we should remember eight men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and later attended the Constitutional Convention … Elbridge Gerry (the namesake of gerrymandering) refused to sign the Constitution because it did not have a Bill of Rights.) When Mr. Gerry was Governor of Massachusetts, a bizarre district was drawn. It was said to look like a salamander, thus gerrymander.(Some purists say gary-mander.)

OK. How does it work? There are two terms used in the show, Cracking and Packing.Cracking: Spreading like-minded voters apart across multiple districts to dilute their voting power in each. This denies the group representation in multiple districts. Packing: Concentrating like-minded voters together in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts. This gives the group representation in a single district while denying them representation across districts.” When you put these concepts into play, you start to cause brain damage.

The idea behind “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” was to safeguard the right of minorities to vote. The devil is in the details. “Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis. Among its other provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions targeted at those areas of the country where Congress believed the potential for discrimination to be the greatest. Under Section 5, jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect.”

“In 1982, the North Carolina state legislature approved redistricting plans for the North Carolina State Senate and the North Carolina House of Representatives. The maps were challenged in United States District Court. The challengers alleged that the new maps “impaired black citizens’ ability to elect representatives of their choice in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” The district court ruled that six legislative districts violated the Voting Rights Act “by diluting the power of the black vote.” The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

On June 30, 1986, the high court ruled unanimously in Thornburg v. Gingles that five of the aforementioned six districts “discriminated against blacks by diluting the power of their collective vote.” … In Thornburg v. Gingles, the court also established three criteria that must be met in order “to prove claims of vote dilution under section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act]:” “The minority group must be able to demonstrate that it is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district.” “The minority group must be able to show that it is politically cohesive.” “The minority must be able to demonstrate that the white majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to enable it usually to defeat the minority’s preferred candidate.”

In the post 1990 census redistricting, an effort was made to create “majority-minority” districts. This did enable some minorities, mostly African American, to elect people to congress. It also had the effect of creating highly republican districts. When you pack the (mostly democrat) black people in a district, the neighboring districts become more white, and more republican.

One of the states affected by this is Georgia. Congressional districts in the peach state have long resembled abstract expressionism. It got so bad in 1995 that the US courts had to draw the new districts. Court Draws Georgia Map Of Congressional Districts “The State Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, ceded responsibility for drawing new Congressional lines to the courts in September when it failed to agree on a plan in a 20-day special session. That session was called after the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that Georgia’s 1992 Congressional map was unconstitutional because race played a dominant role in the configuration of the 11th District. Represented by Cynthia A. McKinney, who is black, the 11th snakes 260 miles through east Georgia, pulling pockets of black voters into a gerrymandered district that was intended to elect a minority candidate.” The bizarre district lines continue to this day.

There are probably not any easy solutions. We you try to remedy one problem, like racial imbalance, you aggravate another one, like overly republican districts. Arizona tried using an independent commission. The meetings wound up on the Jerry Springer show. Do we want to choose our representatives, or do our representatives want to choose their voters? Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Lady Sings The Blues

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music, Race by chamblee54 on March 27, 2018


Lady Sings The Blues is the autobiography of Billie Holiday. PG read it in 1978, and pulled it off the shelf recently. The copy he has is was a 1972 paperback, issued in conjunction with the movie. A picture of Diana Ross is on the cover, as well as a price sticker from Woolco. The book sold for $1.25. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The spell check suggestion for Woolco is Cool.

William Dufty was the ghost writer. His prose is easy to read, with the story flowing out like a Lester Young solo. The 1956 copyright is assigned to “Eleanora Fagan and William Dufty,” using the birth name of the singer. Mr. Dufty was a newspaper writer. “Dufty had one son, Bevan Dufty, with first wife Maely Bartholomew, who had arrived in New York City during World War II after losing most of her family in the Nazi concentration camps. She settled near Harlem where she met her best friend and Bevan’s godmother, Billie Holiday.”

“Bevan Dufty would agree. He’s one of the childless singer’s two godchildren. … “Holiday said motherf — all the time, in her gravelly elegant way,” recalled Dufty, sitting in his City Hall office. His mother, a Czech Jewish immigrant who loved jazz, was close to many musicians and even managed the unmanageable Charlie Parker for a spell, learned to curse from Holiday. But with a European accent. Much of what Dufty knows of Holiday comes from his late mother, who was married to actor Freddie Bartholomew before her brief marriage to William Dufty, one of her seven husbands. Maely, who took her infant son by train to Philadelphia every day to attend yet another of Holiday’s drug trials, was so distraught by the singer’s death that she dedicated herself to helping recovering addicts. A number of musicians lived at the Duftys’ place while kicking the habit (William and Maely Dufty divorced not long after Holiday’s death, and he later married actress Gloria Swanson, who inspired him to write the book “Sugar Blues” about the dangers of processed sugar).”

Billie Holiday’s bio, ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’ may be full of lies, but it gets at jazz great’s core Autobiographies are, by their nature, self serving. This one has a great opening line… ” “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.” (“Her parents were never married. When she was born, her mother was 19, her father was 17 and they never lived under the same roof.”) Another source adds: “Some of the material in the book, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Holiday was in rough shape when she worked with Dufty on the project, and she claimed to have never read the book after it was finished. Around this time, Holiday became involved with Louis McKay. The two were arrested for narcotics in 1956, and they married in Mexico the following year. (March 28, 1957) Like many other men in her life, McKay used Holiday’s name and money to advance himself.”

Louis McKay is at the center of another misunderstanding of facts. The Hunting of Billie Holiday claimed that Mr. McKay narked out Miss Holiday in 1947, and set up her first drug bust. LSTB tells a different story. Here, Miss Holiday meets Mr. McKay very briefly in 1931. Someone was trying to rob Mr. McKay. Miss Holiday said “He’s my old man,” and chased off the robber.

Fast forward twenty five years, and Miss Holiday connects with Mr. McKay. “I hadn’t seen him since I was sixteen and he wasn’t much older and I was singing at the Hotcha in Harlem.” The two were married in 1957. They got busted as LSTB ends. Either Politico is wrong about the 1947 bust, or Miss Holiday did not tell the whole story. Either way, Harry Anslinger is not mentioned in LSTB.

Tallulah Bankhead is another missing piece of the puzzle. Reportedly, Miss Bankhead and Miss Holiday were close friends, and possibly lovers. That was over by the time LSTB was written. “When “Lady Sings the Blues” was being prepared, Miss Bankhead got an advance copy, and was horrified by what she saw. A fierce note was sent to the book’s publisher, and scenes were edited out. Miss Holiday was outraged. The letter that resulted is a poison pen classic. “My maid who was with me at the Strand isn’t dead either. There are plenty of others around who remember how you carried on so you almost got me fired out of the place. And if you want to get shitty, we can make it a big shitty party. We can all get funky together!”

Miss Bankhead does make an appearance in LSTB. On page 117, Miss Holiday is describing playing a maid, in a movie. She was not pleased at the typecasting. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against maids – or whores – whether they’re black or white. My mother was a maid, a good one, one of the greatest. My stepmother is Tallulah Bankhead’s maid right now, and that’s a part I’d even consider when they do her life story.” (Miss Bankhead had her own domestic help problems. In 1951, Evyleen Cronin, Tallulah’s maid and secretary, was accused of stealing $10,000-30,000 from Tallulah during her employment. … The case went to trial (much to Tallulah’s embarrassment) and Cronin was convicted.” Many embarrassing details about Miss Bankhead’s life came to light during this trial. Fanny Holiday, the stepmother, is probably a different person than Evyleen Cronin.)

Whatever it’s factual challenges, Lady Sings the Blues is a powerful book. Miss Holiday had a tough life, to say the least. As the singer for Artie Shaw’s big band, Miss Holiday was an integration pioneer, and every two bit cracker wanted to make trouble. Later, she was addicted to heroin, got busted, served time in prison, only to get out and suffer some more.

Three years after LSTB came out, things went from bad to horrible. “In early 1959 she found out that she had cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor told her to stop drinking, which she did for a short time, but soon returned to heavy drinking. … On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York suffering from liver and heart disease. She was arrested for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided by authorities. Police officers were stationed at the door to her room. Holiday remained under police guard at the hospital until she died from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.”

Stephon Alonzo Clark

Posted in Killed By Police, Race by chamblee54 on March 22, 2018


The death of Stephon Alonzo Clark is getting a lot of attention. Here is a description of the incident, from the Sacramento police. “On Sunday, March 18, 2018, at 9:13 p.m., SPD officers were dispatched to the 7500 block of 29th Street regarding a subject breaking into vehicles. The caller stated that the male subject had broken car windows and was now hiding in a backyard. The caller described the subject as a male, 6’1”, thin, wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

SPD Officers arrived on scene at approximately 9:18 p.m. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department’s helicopter (STAR) was on scene searching for the suspect as well. At approximately 9:25 p.m., STAR advised they observed a subject in a backyard and began to direct SPD officers to him. STAR advised the subject had just picked up a toolbar and broke a window to a residence. The helicopter then observed the suspect running south, towards the front of the residence, where he stopped and was looking into another car. STAR continued to update the officers and guided them to the suspect in the rear yard of a residence in the 7500 block of 29th Street. Officers entered the front yard and observed the suspect along the side of the residence. The officers gave the suspect commands to stop and show his hands. The suspect immediately fled from the officers and ran towards the back of the home.

Officers pursued the suspect and located him in the backyard of the residence. The suspect turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him. The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times.” The object extended in front of Mr. Clark was an iPhone 6. The case has become controversial.

Police shot and killed an unarmed black man in his own backyard. All he was holding was a cellphone. is one of the headlines being generated. The police almost certainly did not know that Mr. Clark was in his backyard. While the optics of this are bad, it might not make much difference. If someone is threatening police, with a weapon, in their backyard, then the police are in just as much danger as if they were on the sidewalk.

The 911 call raises another issue. The dispatcher asks “is he black, white, hispanic, asian?” “He had a hoodie on, I couldn’t tell.” The helicopter video does not indicate what race he was. The two body cam videos (body cam 1 body cam 2) do not show a clear image of Mr. Clark. It is not certain that the police knew Mr. Clark was black when they shot him.

“During a neighborhood canvass, investigators identified at least three vehicles with damage that is believed to have been caused by the suspect. In addition, an adjacent and occupied residence had a sliding glass door shattered. Orbiting deputies of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department’s law enforcement helicopter had witnessed the suspect shatter the door before engaging the SPD officers.” Mr. Clark apparently had been breaking windows. The only instrument known to be found on him was a cell phone. “… Clark’s girlfriend Salena Manni said the phone Clark held belonged to her. She said it was an iPhone 6 Plus in a rose gold-colored case with a black holder on the back to carry items like credit cards.” It was not intended for use in breaking car windows.

“The airborne deputies said they saw the man use the “tool bar” to break a window, which police later said was the rear sliding glass door in an occupied home on the 7500 block of 29th Street. Police Tuesday said a cinder block and a piece of aluminum similar to what would be used in a rain gutter were recovered from near the broken door and taken into evidence, though neither item was definitely identified as the “tool bar” seen by deputies in the helicopter.”

The case is now a national affair, with lots of loud comments. It will be investigated, and possibly charges will be brought against the officers involved. There is plenty to criticize about the way the police handled the case. For example, after shooting Mr. Clark, (8:11 of this video) police continue to scream “show me your hands.” They then say “no movement, we’re going to need additional units.” At 8:53, they do a “tactical reload.” By this time, Stephon Clark is dead.

Billie Holiday Stories

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music, Race by chamblee54 on February 24, 2018


How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday turned up in a facebook feed yesterday. The article states that Harry Jacob Anslinger “the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics,” ordered Billie Holiday to quit performing “Strange Fruit.” When the chanteuse declined, Mr. Anslinger had her arrested for heroin possession. Later, Mr. Anslinger was allegedly responsible for busting Miss Holiday on her deathbed.

The Hunting of Billie Holiday was the source given for the claim about Mr. Anslinger and “Strange Fruit.” The Politico article does not say that Mr. Anslinger ordered Miss Holiday to quit singing “Strange Fruit.” It does say that Louis McKay, one of the many no-good men in Miss Holiday’s life, narked her out. The bust was in 1947, after she had been performing “Strange Fruit” for several years.

Politico had one comment that set off the bs detector. “One day, Harry Anslinger was told that there were also white women, just as famous as Billie, who had drug problems—but he responded to them rather differently. He called Judy Garland, another heroin addict, in to see him.” Frances Gumm was well known for having substance abuse issues. The heroin business was news to a lot of people.

Johann Hari was the author of the politico article. At the time, he was promoting a book, Chasing the Scream, about the war on drugs. Johann Hari has a spotted reputation. “The author used to be the Independent’s star columnist, a prolific polemicist and darling of the left, until his career imploded in disgrace when it emerged in 2011 that many of his articles contained quotes apparently said to him but in fact lifted from his interviewees’ books, or from previous interviews by other journalists.”

The final bust, as Miss Holiday lay dying in the hospital, is part of the legend. A google search does not show what agency was responsible. Harry Anslinger may have been involved, and it may have been someone else. By this time, Elanora Fagan was in bad, bad shape. Years of drinking, and hard drugs, had worn her out. While the hospital bust may have hastened her demise, it is a bit of a stretch to say the Harry Anslinger killed Billie Holiday, because she sang “Strange Fruit.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

More Talk About Racism

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on February 17, 2018

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It is a cliche among certain pundits that this is not “Post Racial America.” No one seems to know what PRA would look like. PRA might be less noisy, with fewer odors, than the current model. The opinion that we do not live in PRA seems unanimous. After PG heard the denial of PRA one too many times, he began to wonder something. Who said America is Post Racial?

Mr. Google has 119 million answers to the question “who said america is post racial?” The short answer is nobody. The closest thing on the front Google page is an NPR commentary from January 2008. This was the early stages of the BHO run for the White House. The commenter said that the election of a dark skinned POTUS might usher in a post racial era in America.

This piece will not have any fresh opinions about race relations in America. That subject has been worn out elsewhere. If someone finds it to their advantage to denounce “racism”, there will be an audience. The truth is, very few people have ever said that America is Post Racial.

This is a double repost, on the subject that people can’t get enough of. If you can’t say anything good, you can always talk about racism. Pictures for this gloomy Saturday morning are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Some times you see something, and realize that you are being pushed over a line. Today’s straw, landing on the camel’s back, was a meme. It has pictures of a statesman-like BHO, and a goat smiling BS. The text was white comic sans letters, on a black background. “Regarding those who call Obama an illegitimate president because his father was born in Kenya, Bernie Sanders replied: “No one asked me if I was a citizen or not, and my dad came from Poland. Gee, what’s the difference? Maybe the color of my skin.” The comment was from a Las Vegas town hall meeting. Some things that are said in Vegas need to stay in Vegas.

No one denies that white people and black people often do not get along. Few deny that there is systemic inequality. The connection of “birther” speculation to systemic inequality is tough to see. Of course, the definition of racism is elastic, and can fit whatever situation the observer wants to critique.

Are we helping the cause of racial tranquility by making comments like that? Yes, it is foolish for “birthers” to whine about a birth certificate. But entertaining followers in a town hall debate does not mean you are going to be able to govern. Maybe BS should focus on his economic fantasies, and quit scoring cheap shots about racism.

The Color Of My Skin was originally published in February, 2016, when BS was taken seriously. As we all know, HDRC eventually got the Democratic nomination, only to lose to DJT in November.

Mr. Trump was one of the original “birthers,” or people disputing the Hawaiian birth of BHO. In the general election campaign, Democrats liked to say that DJT was a racist, with birtherism frequently given as an example. The many other unappealing parts of DJT, like crookedness and mental instability, were brushed aside, in the mad rush to scream racist. Some even went so far as to say that anyone voting for DJT was a racist. When the electoral votes were counted, DJT won.

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Non-Racist Or Anti-Racist

Posted in Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on February 1, 2018

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There is a tasteful bit of white guilt porn on the innertubes. The video is from the Guardian, a British enterprise. Are you racist? ‘No’ isn’t a good enough answer. The transcript has 365 words, one for each day of the year. The word for today is and. The most recent tally shows 4,714,039 views on facebook, which does not pay royalties.

The talk is an exercise in semantics. Either you are non-racist, or anti-racist. The possibilities that you are a known-racist is not considered, as is the concept that attitudes about race are nobody else’s business. The speaker, Marlon James, instructs the listener that you MUST be anti-racist. Nothing else will do. This means that you must take some type of action against racism. What exactly you are supposed to do is not specified, but you need to do something.

Mr. James lists five points that the mythical non-racist uses to justify their non-ness. “I’m not a bigot. I don’t sing that ’n’ word when my favorite rap jam comes on. I didn’t vote for that guy. I’m not burning any crosses. I’m not a skinhead.” From these five nots, a certain lifestyle emerges. “What you end up with is an entire moral stance, an entire code for living your life and dealing with all the injustice in the world by not doing a damn thing. That’s the great thing about “non-”: you can put it off by simply rolling over in your bed and going to sleep. So why are you sitting at home and watching things unfold on TV instead of doing something about it? Because you’re a non-racist, not an anti-racist.” Or maybe you are an uncle-racist, and auntie-racist won’t let you do anything.

At no point is a course of anti-racist action suggested. Should you go block traffic on the interstate? Should you vilify a member of your community who expresses incorrect opinions on facebook? Should you go to the state capitol, and talk to your representative about laws you are not familiar with? Exactly what are you supposed to do? Will this action do more harm than good? Is this action any of your business? Do you know what you are talking about? Maybe the effect of your action is not important, as long as you are doing something.

The monolog takes a strange turn now. “Now, do this for me: take the “c” out of racist and replace it with a “p”. “I’m not a rapist. I’m not friends with any rapist. I didn’t buy that rapist’s last album.” All these things that you’re not doing. Meanwhile, people are still getting raped, and black boys are being killed. It’s not enough that you don’t do these things.”

Ok, so now we need to take meaningless action against rape, and black boy murder. Again, what are you supposed to do? There is also the matter of privilege. Is it really the white person’s business that black boys are shooting other black boys? And what are we supposed to do about this? Maybe you can say rude things about police. Whatever you do, say #blacklivesmatter instead of #alllivesmatter.

The video comes to a merciful end with the words “We need to stop being “non-” and start being “anti-”. Or take action against glamorous issues that have no effect on most people, but make you feel good to talk about. The Academy Award nominations have been announced, and not enough POC have been nominated. We can take action on twitter, as this tweet illustrates. #oscarssowhite that pointed hoods will be included in the swag bags this year.

The pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These details are from picture #06666, documenting “First Internation[al] Pageant of Pulchritude & Seventh Annual Bathing Girl Review at Galveston, Texas.” It was taken in 1926. This is a repost.

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Examine Your Whiteness Part Two

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on January 31, 2018

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There have been some new developments in the Burkhart’s melodrama since Examine Your Whiteness was published. For those who are new here, a facebook screen shot appeared, showing the owner of a popular Atlanta bar saying the magic word. A community hissy fit followed. The drag queens who performed at the establishment quit. PG questioned the validity of the screen shot. Global warming got worse, Atlanta traffic slowed down, and Donald Trump got a haircut. It was a bad week.

Someone finally talked to Palmer Marsh, the bar owner with a facebook habit. Yes, he did say the magic word on facebook. He took the post down soon after, but not before a cunning employee got a screen shot. The evidence would prove handy.

Mr. Marsh made another noteworthy comment. “Marsh says his son-in-law is black, as are several of his own grandchildren.” This puts a new spin on the old saying… I can’t be racist, some of my best grandchildren are black. The people upset about the facebook post were not impressed. Don’t confuse me with the facts, the man is a racist, because I said so. The issue remains unresolved, as well as the issue of why anyone should care.

Racist is the one of worst things you can say about anyone. It is also tossed around casually, with no proof, or thought, required. Once accused, you are guilty until proven innocent. If you defend someone accused of racism, you are considered racist yourself.

Racism is not an either/or binary. Many people have conflicting feelings on the matter. While the facebook post is apparently valid, what is in Palmer Marsh’s heart remains a mystery to most observers. Maybe he is a racist, and maybe he is not.

Why does a person need to be politically correct to own a queer bar? Historically, bar owners have been shady characters, who settled disputes with contract killing, and convenient fires. The business revolves around selling alcohol, a deadly, addictive, legal drug. People often misbehave under the influence, and the bar will use brute force to resolve the issue. Enemies are made. It is a tough, dirty business. And now we are supposed to shun an bar owner, because he used the magic word one time on facebook. (Full disclosure: PG is a retired drunk. He has been sober since 1988.)

Anti racism can be highly superficial. Lip service is paid to high minded definitions of racism: “Rather, according to the newly uncovered formula, racism = prejudice + power (or “prejudice + privilege” in some trendier renditions). White people are the ones with all the power and privilege here, so, per the formula, they cannot possibly be the objects of racism.”

That is good in theory, but boring in practice. When there is a racism controversy these days, it is frequently because someone said the magic word. (One exception is when the police kill someone.) Honest to G-d oppression is boring, and will not get attention. Catching someone saying the magic word gets attention. The ex-employee, who leaked the screen shot, wanted attention.

The other development is the sale of the bar. Supposedly, a group was planning to buy Burkhart’s. This group included the General Manager, Don Hunnewell, who gave a statement soon after the original screen shot emerged. “Yesterday it took everything I had to soldier on and not terminate my employment agreement.” A few days later, he was part of a group trying to buy the bar.

You might ask, how does a complicated sale like that happen so quickly? The answer is, it doesn’t. The owner of The Jungle, a now closed cha cha palace, is said to have made an offer. The Jungle got in SJW trouble a few years ago for hosting a performance by Sharon Needles. For the foreseeable future, Palmer and Mary Marsh own Burkhart’s.

An ex-employee had a problem with the club. Ex-employee leaked the screen shot to the press, and the fun started. Now, there are three possible motives for the ex-employee. 1 – Someone was offended by racism at the club, and wanted to call attention to it. 2- Release of the screen shot is somehow connected to a sale of the bar. It is not known if the ex-employee was part of the group that was going to buy the club. 3 – The ex employee had a problem with the club, and wanted to get revenge. Number 3 is the most likely, although all are possible. All things are possible in a world without G-d.

Where does this put the performers who quit, and the pearl clutching public? If this is motivated by sincere concern for racism at Burkhart’s, then people are entitled to the self congratulation. OTOH, if this whole mudbath is just part of the proposed sale, or a shot at revenge by an embittered ex-employee, then the pearl clutchers are being played.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress, taken at “Annual “Bathing Girl Parade”, Balboa Beach, CA, June 20, 1920.” Part three of this series is now available.

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Examine Your Whiteness

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Politics, Race, The Internet by chamblee54 on January 27, 2018


Is the Owner of Popular Atlanta Drag Bar a Racist? This article started the current controversy. A “former employee” of Burkhart’s sent some screen shots to a local publication. The shots allegedly came from the facebook page of the bar’s owner, Palmer Marsh. The first post that you saw said “Obviously Vladimir Putin thinks that Barack Obama is a stupid (magic word). He just might be right.” The pearl clutching started immediately.

PG noted that the screen shot did not have a date or time. Three other shots were shown in the initial presentation. None of the other comments had a fraction of the offensive power of the Putin comment. The showpiece comment was suspect.

If you are going to have a public controversy about someone’s racial values, you need something strong to get people’s attention. Stories about poorly treated employees or customers will not do this. Facebook comments like “I used to think that NYC was the most intimidating place on Earth. Thanks to Mayor Rudy Giuliani … ” do not have the explosive power of the magic word. If you do not have the comment about Putin, you do not have a controversy. The ex-employee does not get their revenge.

For all the talk about institutional oppression, the public debate on racism remains very shallow. Style rules over substance any day. If you talk about economic equality, equal housing, or access to education, the audience will ignore you. Talk about police brutality, and mass incarceration, will get you a bit more attention. Palmergate is none of these things. It is about an old man, who owns a popular business, saying things on facebook that people do not like. The most spectacular of these comments is impossible to prove or disprove.

A few days later, there was another facebook thread about the comment. PG noted “Did anyone see the Obama/n-word post when it first appeared? What was the time and date? Is there a cached copy available? Do you realize how easy it would be to fake that screen shot? If an incendiary post like that appeared, why wasn’t it noticed at the time?” There was a vigorous reaction.

“this is racist apologist trash. there could be video of him typing the words in and y’all would still be like “that could be someone in prosthetics and a wig. you don’t know for sure!” ~ “Here’s a screenshot of a screenshot posted closer to the original occurrence. Is it so hard to believe that an older white man is racist?” ~ “This is on Palmer Marsh’s FB page now. You can go take a look yourself if you think I’m faking it. Doesn’t necessarily mention the racism, but is a good indicator:” ~ ‘This is also still on his FB wall. Go take a look yourself if you think someone is faking it:” ~ “And someone calling out his racism in 2013. Also on his wall. Go scroll down and look:” ~ “Do you need more? I’m happy to keep scrolling if you’re too lazy/afraid to confirm the truth yourself” ~ “alleged” I can’t with you. Look at my posts. I advise you do some research before making a public comment that makes you look like a racist apologist. I’m out.”

There are arguably racist comments on Mr. Marsh’s facebook page. (“Here in Brunswick, GA there is a billboard that reads, “Blue lives matter.” Indeed!”) Mr. Marsh went on a bit of a facebook binge sometime in 2015, and said all sorts of things. ( “I have been drinking so much liquor that I do not know what I have been saying. My apologies to those of whom I have offended. Now would probably be a good time to shut the blank up.”) However, none of these comments are evidence that he made the Putin post. They are not nearly as explosive, or overtly racist. They don’t have the same tone as the Putin comment. Also, how many people were talking about Vladimir Putin in 2015? It just does not add up.

It should be noted that there is a possibility that the Putin quote is legitimate. There are rumors that Mary Marsh, the wife of Palmer, “basically confirmed by making a status the other day saying Palmer was drunk and that she gave him hell at the time.” (PG has not seen this comment.) However, showing far less offensive posts, from the same account, is not convincing evidence.

“Do yourself and the POC in your life a favor and Examine. Your. Whiteness. Examine why its so hard to believe an old white man said the n word. Examine why you are so invested in defending a man who by all accounts was an outspoken racist. Examine why you are calling this so deeply into question.” Logic is not always a facebook friend.

After a while, PG took a break from the action. When he got back, he decided to look for cached copies. It seems that the Internet Wayback Machine does not have copies of this facebook account. The Putin post remains impossible to prove, or disprove.

Palmer Marsh on facebook is up. What has not been deleted is easy to look through. Some of the comments are still up. Some posts are arguably racist. (“If the South had won, we would be a hell of a lot better off.”) There are also some comments that contradict the racist narrative.

“Because of love, part of my heritage is West African. Some tings you cannot change. I treasure my heritage.” “I am from McIntosh County Georgia. The first dialect of English that I spoke was Gullah-Gitchee. It was a fantastic beginning as I have a perspective of the Third World that few Anglo-Americans understand. Now I feel more at home in the Bahamas than I feel at Home. I like turning back the clock.”

For those who are new here, Gullah-Gitchee is a dialect used mostly by African Americans. Does this sound like something a racist would say?

Maybe the truth is a bit more complicated. Maybe Palmer Marsh has posted some things that rub liberal fee fees the wrong way. But maybe, just maybe, a man from the Georgia coast, who has been around black people all his life, has some complicated feelings about this whole racism thing. Not everyone falls into the racist/woke binary. If we are going to have a public debate, on the statement Resolved: Palmer Marsh is a racist, the we should do a better job of examining the evidence. Don’t just accept a screen shot from a former employee. Consider that maybe it is none of your business.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Parts two and three of this series are now available.

Conversations I Am Tired Of Having

Posted in Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on January 26, 2018

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There was a post a while back, 10 Conversations On Racism I’m Sick Of Having With White People The original started at The Chronicle, but LiveJournal is kind of weird, so a mirror image will have to do. There are comments, at the sourced post, that illustrate some of the points covered today.

I got to thinking about “10 Conversations”, and a reply began to take shape. I started a list of conversations the I am tired of having, and before you could say affirmative action, there were a dozen items. Many of these incidents have involved people of color, or POC. Many others have not. Often, the ethnicity of the other person has little importance to the discussion. Therefore, the title of this feature will not be racially specific. This monolog will probably not go viral, or even bacterial. Washing your hands might be a good idea when you are finished reading.

Meetings where one person does all the talking The word conversation implies that more than one person says something. Often, this does not happen. One person will talk for a while. Before person two finishes a sentence, person one will interrupt them.

This does not work. When the other person is talking, shut up and listen. Don’t be thinking of your clever comeback, but pay attention to what the other person is saying. What the other person says is just as important as what you say.

Listening is not valued in our culture. It is seen as a loss of control, a sign of weakness. It is really a sign of strength. If you are weak, you don’t want to allow the other person to say anything. Have you ever heard anyone boast about the clever things that they say to someone? Of course you have, just like you never hear anyone talk highly about himself because he is a good listener.

My question is not an excuse to make a speech. Some people have an agenda. Whatever you say is an obstacle to the message they want to broadcast. When you ask a question, some people think you are handing them the talking stick, to do whatever they want. When your eyes glaze over, they plow on, in total disregard to your discomfort, and lack of comprehension. It is almost as if they are talking to hear the sound of their own voice.

I’m not talking to you. If you are screaming something, anyone with earshot can hear you. Do not get offended if there is a reaction to your words, especially if it is subtly directed at the person you are not talking to. This applies to the internet as well, where all of humanity is *privy* to your innermost thoughts. Keep the farmyard meaning of *privy* in mind when sharing your innermost product.

Conversations should be with people. If you are a business, and you want to tell me something, send me a written message. Please refrain from using robocall machines. I feel very foolish talking to a machine, especially one that doesn’t understand southern english.

You don’t have to shout. The amount of truth in a statement is not increased by the volume of expression. If you are standing next to me, the odds are I can hear you in a normal tone of voice. If you are across the room, come stand next to me, rather than shout across the room. If your normal tone of voice is shouting, then you have a problem.

The same principal goes to controlling your temper. When you choose not to control your temper, you show disrespect to yourself, and the person you are talking to. There is no situation that cannot be made worse by angry speech.

Privilege Racial polemic is getting more subtle these days. We are not quite post racial, although there are rumors of a PostRacial apartment complex in Dickhater. The phrase that pays these days is Privilege. This is always something owned by the group you do not belong to. Last summer, I heard this quote in a discussion, and nearly fell out of my chair.

From the N word to POC. Labels for groups of people can cause problems. I have expressed myself on the N word before, and don’t have much to add. As for POC, that is even sillier. Colored people is an insult, but people of color is preferred. I am sure some of you have a terrific speech to ‘splain this, but I am not interested. My neck may be red, but that is a color. PWOC is an insult to my humanity, whether you are talking to me or not.

This is getting longer than the attention span of many readers. It might be continued at a later date. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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