Chamblee54

Measuring Racism

Posted in Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on September 19, 2018





PG hears the word “racist” tossed casually so much, he suspects it has lost it’s meaning. Dictionary definitions are of little use. The meaning of the word depends on who is saying it.

The modest suggestion here is for a seven point scale to measure racism. Zero would be totally colorblind, and six would be metaphysical hate. For the sake of simplicity, this scale, in the beginning, will only apply to white-black relations in the United States.

The model for this is the Kinsey scale. In his books on human sexuality, Dr. Kinsey described a seven point scale. Zero was totally heterosexual, and six was totally homosexual.

PG does not have a clue how to write a test for this scale, or how to score this test. White people see racism differently than black people. White people are affected by racism in different ways than black people. Different cultures view racism in different ways.

How would PG score on this scale? He has black friends and black enemies. Certain parts of black culture are enjoyable, and certain parts make him want to turn the radio off.

PG does not like people that do not like PG. When it is us against them, you need to remember which one you are. How does this register on this racism scale? It depends on who does the judging.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.





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Julian Carr And Silent Sam

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race, War by chamblee54 on August 21, 2018










A Confederate monument was torn down last night in Chapel Hill NC. The statue, known as “Silent Sam,” was intended as a monument to students who left school to fight in the War Between the States. “In 1913, the Daughters of Confederacy, after four years of fundraising, paid sculptor John Wilson, a Canadian, $7500 for the statue. Wilson used a Boston-man, Harold Langlois, as the model. It’s unclear, however, if those attending Silent Sam’s dedication knew they were celebrating a Yankee’s profile. Silent Sam was among many “Silent Sentinels,” – statues of soldiers without cartridge box, soldiers who could no longer fire a shot – that were manufactured and bronzed in the North and then sent down south for public display. Many of these statues look remarkably similar. Like Silent Sam, they also face north, toward the Union.”

Many of the comments today quote a speech made at the 1913 unveiling. The speech was by Julian Carr, a prominent businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Carr is considered, with some justification, to have been a white supremacist. A Confederate veteran, Mr. Carr appears to have been a complex man, who did both good and harm.

This tweet is typical of today’s discourse. @jjones9 “From white supremacist Julian Carr’s speech at the dedication of Silent Sam in 1913.” The tweet features a screen shot, of a quote from the 1913 speech. “I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.”

What was the rest of the speech? A bit of research turned up a transcript, Julian S. Carr, “Unveiling of Confederate Monument at University. June 2, 1913.” The rest of the speech has little in common with the “one allusion.” The speech sounded like the memorials to fallen soldiers in many other wars. “They served, they suffered, they endured, they fought, [and died – crossed out] for their childhood homes, their firesides, the honor of their ancestors, their loved ones, their own native land.”

Mr. Carr’s theme is defense of a the homeland. When the War broke out, the concept of a United States, ruled by a strong federal government, was less accepted than it is today. Many people in the South saw it as a failed experiment. Slavery was an important issue in the decision to secede, along with economic matters that do not get twenty first century people worked up. Slavery is not mentioned in the 1913 speech.

“Of the students and alumni of the University of North Carolina, about 1800 entered the Confederate army … . The University had in the service 1 lieutenant-general, 4 major-generals, 13 brigadier-[page break 8] generals, 71 colonels, 30 lieutenant-colonels, 65 majors, 46 adjutants, 71 surgeons, 254 captains, 161 lieutenants, 38 non-commissioned officers and about 1000 privates. I regard it as eminently appropriate to refer briefly at his point to the magnificent showing made by our state in the military service of the Confederacy. … The entire Confederate loss on the battlefield was 74,524, of which North Carolina’s share was 19,673, or more than one-fourth; 59, 297 died of disease, and of these, 20,602 were North Carolinians.”

“And I dare to affirm this day, that if every State of the South had done what North Carolina did without a murmer [sic], always faithful to its duty whatever the groans of the victims, there never would have been an Appomatox[sic]; Grant would have followed Meade and Pope; Burnside, Hooker, McDowell and McClellan, and the political geography of America would have been re-written.”

There are three other noteworthy quotes in the speech. “Even the great Northern universities – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – furnished quotas of soldiers for the Confederate ranks. From Harvard came 257, of whom 58 were killed in battle and 12 died in the service, and in this large list appear 8 brigadier-generals and 5 major-generals. Of the graduates and students of Yale, 48 entered the Confederate service, and of these 8 were killed in battle or succumbed to disease. At Princeton 55 men left the University, early in 1861, to enter the Confederate service, and from the somewhat incomplete records of that University it appears that a considerable percentage of these young men were killed in battle, or died from disease.”

“Permit me to refer at this point to a pleasing incident in which that distinguished son of the South, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, had the leading part. A year or two ago diplomas were given by our University to all the students who had interrupted their studies to enter the military service of the Confederacy. Mr. Wilson, then President of Princeton University delivered these diplomas. One man only of the Class [handwritten – that Matriculated in 1862] wearing the Confederate uniform, came forward to receive that highly prized token. It was the humble individual who now addresses you. At the dinner, later in the day, Professor Wilson greeted me with the remark that in many years nothing had so much touched and warmed his heart as the sight of that Confederate uniform.”

The speech went on and on, and sounded much like any other memorial. Once again, it should be noted that defense of the homeland received much more notice than a defense of slavery. The speech ended with these words: “In the knowledge of subsequent developments, the progress, peace and prosperity of our united, common country, victor and vanquished now alike believe that in the Providence of God it was right and well that the issue was determined as it was. And the people of all sections of our great Republic, moved by the impulse of sincere and zealous loyalty, of fervent and exalted patriotism may say: “All is well that ends well.”

“Again, dear Daughters of the Confederacy, I thank you in the name of the eighteen hundred brave, loyal, patriotic, home-loving young student soldiers who went out from this grand old University to battle for our Southern rights and Southern liberties, five hundred of whom never came back. God bless every one of you, and every Daughter of the Confederacy in our dear Southland.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.









Racism Double Feature

Posted in GSU photo archive, Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on August 12, 2018


There was a comment thread on facebook. Here is the comment that started it. “I have a Facebook friend, who is a black Trump supporter, who says he doesn’t care “if he’s racist or not.” I don’t know what to think about that. Maybe there are a few of my black friends who can help me with that?” There were a lot of comments, which is not surprising. Race, and not liking Donald Trump, are two popular topics of conversation.

The conversation started with a link to When Someone Says They Still Support Trump, I Instantly Know 6 Things About Them. The six items, with a parenthetical summary, are: 1. You want to be ruled, not governed (authoritarianism,) 2. You are not someone I would trust to do business with (business ethics,) 3. You’re either a racist or an enabler of racists (racism,) 4. You have issues with women (misogyny,) 5. You aren’t quite as “Christian” as you claim to be (religious exploitation,) 6. You are anti-constitution (respect for rule of law,)

While those six items are more or less true about Mr. Trump, it is a stretch to say they apply to anyone who supports the man. (Many of these character traits are present in people who don’t like Mr. Trump, especially authoritarianism.) What is disturbing to PG is the way that racial attitudes dominates the conversation. This is a problem in a lot of ways. The obsession with screaming racist helped Mr. Trump get elected. Insulting potential voters is not a good campaign strategy.

There seems to be a national verdict that Donald J. Trump is a racist. A non compliant racial attitude is worse than authoritarianism, crookedness, and mental instability. If you are white, and you question this orthodoxy, then you are a racist. If you are black, and don’t believe without question, then you are asking to be insulted.

The Trump-is-racist meme follows a cynical decision to make Mr. Trump’s racial attitudes a campaign issue. The best evidence cited is a 1973 complaint, involving discrimination in renting apartments. Other evidence… attacks on nationalities, attacks on religious groups, support of unseemly white people … utilize an elastic definition of racism. Others disagree.

There was a comment: Martin C Ezeonu “Lol… I don’t like Trump cuz he is an asshole. On the other hand we know exactly where there country stands now because of him. This country is still racist as hell. these past years nobody addressed is just politicians smartly covering it up. But now to move forward something has to give. And I like that. Let people stop being deceived. Don’t care if he is racist or not I like the fact that he is not a politician and couldn’t play the game. That’s why both parties want him out.”

Mr. Ezeonu is from Nigeria. He might have little in common with most African Americans, other that his skin tone. That is all many people see. People fail to appreciate the amazing diversity in today’s African America. In the comments, Mr. Exeonu was called an idiot, mentally ill, and many other things. Not agreeing with a national consensus is dangerous.

Mr. Trump has numerous problems. In the list of six things, we see authoritarian tendencies, and ethical shortcomings. Many feel the Democrats made a mistake by screaming racist, instead of focusing on his shady business practices. Many white people were alienated by this campaign tactic. After the Trump victory, many black people feel alienated by his election. The race situation gets worse and worse. Saying that Donald Trump is a racist does not help.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

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One of the touted TED talks in the weekly email is Color blind or color brave? It is by Mellody Hobson, a POC in the investment business. It is the standard call to talk more about race. Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. The word listen is not used.

At the 3:13 mark, Mrs. Hobson makes a remarkable statement. “Now I know there are people out there who will say that the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity, right?” (Yes, this is a TED talk.) It is possible that someone has said that. There are also people who say the earth is flat.

PG asked Mr. Google about this. The top two results are about the TED talk. The third result is an article in Forbes magazine, Racism In America Is Over. It is written by John McWhorter, one of the “black guys at Bloggingheads.tv.” Dr. McWhorter does say racism is over, sort of. The problems that remain are a lot worse. Too much food for thought, for a population with intellectual bulimia.

There is a quote in the Forbes article that is pure gold.
“When decrying racism opens no door and teaches no skill, it becomes a schoolroom tattletale affair. It is unworthy of all of us: “He’s just a racist” intoned like “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!””
There are a lot more results. PG is getting tired of looking. If you want to see for yourself, google “the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity.” Except for a rogue title editor at Forbes, almost nobody has said that. This is a repost. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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How To Talk To R*****S

Posted in GSU photo archive, Politics, Race, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 30, 2018

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The New York Times is continuing the slow news day tradition of publishing clickbait content about race. The piece in question is How to Talk to a Racist. If you want to read this feature without interference from the NYT paywall, go here.

The article is useless. Twitter has people sharing the link. Clever people answer the question, how to talk to a racist, with one word: don’t. PG had too much free time, and read some of the comments. A thought came through. With all of this talk about talk, does anyone say anything about listening? As it turns out, the article does. Towards the end of the piece, we see this: “They’ll listen to what you have to say if they trust you’ll listen to what they have to say back.” This is an optimistic approach.

The next paragraph is where this feature begins to wrap things up, in anticipation of the ending. There is an 83 word sentence. “When you encounter a person who believes he’s merely honoring his ancestors by driving a car with an image of the Confederate battle flag on the tag, when a Facebook friend announces that it’s disrespectful to take a knee during the national anthem, when you sit down next to someone at the church picnic who genuinely loves and respects the black people they know but who consistently votes for politicians with overtly racist policies, stop for just a moment and take a breath.” Racist or woke, that sentence is a grammar nightmare.

The first example is “a person who believes he’s merely honoring his ancestors by driving a car with an image of the Confederate battle flag on the tag.” This person paid extra money to have a status license plate with the Stars and Bars. He may be honoring his ancestors, which is not a crime, yet. He may be giving the finger to uppity liberals, like @MargaretRenkl, author of the NYT piece. He might be a genuine white supremacist, and is advertising this attitude in hope of starting trouble. It is unlikely that most people will have much contact with him, except for seeing the license plate in traffic. Maybe the state agency raising money this way should be challenged.

The second example is “when a Facebook friend announces that it’s disrespectful to take a knee during the national anthem.” Holy red herring. A washed up quarterback does not stand for the national anthem. A orange haired politician makes political hay. Millions of football fans are offended when their ritual patriotism is not performed properly. Since Colin Kaepernick, presumably, had a black bio-dad, this is now racism. This issue is a waste of our national energy. It will have no impact, whatsoever, on the police brutality it purports to protest.

The third example is “when you sit down next to someone at the church picnic who genuinely loves and respects the black people they know but who consistently votes for politicians with overtly racist policies.” (The article has a subtle Christian slant, with a reminder to “Think of the plank in your own eye.”) Why are you talking about politicians at a church picnic anyway? What are the “overtly racist policies?” Who was the opponent? Maybe both candidates had “overtly racist policies,” as well as covertly crooked campaign financing. You are going to do a lot of breathing.

This post has gone on long enough. If you want to hear snarky comments about how yukky racists are, go online 24/7. If you want to learn how to talk to racists, or better yet, how to shut up and listen, google might be of some assistance. Or maybe not. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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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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