Violent Protest is an American Tradition, Part 1

On July 8 1965, CORE led a march in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Like many marches, the Bogalusa march had members of the Deacons for Defense on hand to protect the participants. Deacons Milton Johnson and Henry Austin rode alongside the marchers, keeping an eye on the angry white crowd that followed the march.  At first, police escorts were able to separate the marchers from the racist white people who were heckling them; but as the march neared it’s halfway mark, the growing crowd began to throw rocks and bricks at the marchers. When one of the bricks hit 17 year old Hattie Mae Hill in the head, the crowd of white people got closer to her, ripping at her clothes and hitting her. Medics tried to remove her from the crowd, but they were outnumbered. When Johnson was able to pull her into the safety of the car, the crowd targeted him. A white man named Alton Crowe began beating Johnson through the window of the car.

So Henry Austin pulled out his .38 Smith & Wesson and told the crowd to back off.  When they ignored him, he fired warning shots into the air. And when the group of attackers ignored his warning shots, he fired two shots into the chest of Alton Crowe.

The crowd was ready to kill Austin and Johnson, but they were both immediately arrested. Crowe survived, so Austin and Johnson were both able to make bail. Austin found he returned to Bogalusa a hero — at least to the black population of Bogalusa. White politicians did not share the community’s enthusiasm over Austin’s heroism.

Here is how Lance Hill description of the political aftermath of the Crowe shooting in his book, The Deacons for Defense:

 In the wake of the Crowe shooting, [Governor] McKeithen pursued a “plague on both your houses” strategy toward the Deacons and the Klan. He condemned both the violent racists and the civil rights groups as equally responsible for the Bogalusa crisis. But McKeithen reserved his harshest criticism for the Deacons and failed to even mention the Klan by name. The governor castigated [Deacons leaders] Young and Sims as “cowards” and “trash” and declared that “no decent negroes” were participating in the civil rights marches. McKeithen’s appeasement of the Klan was the rule rather than the exception for white Louisiana politicians.

“I think there is blame on both sides….what about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right,’ do they have any semblance of guilt?…You had people that were very fine people on both sides,” said Donald Trump on August 15, 2017, in a press conference discussing the murder of Heather Heyer by white supremacist James Alex Fields.

And the KKK’s response? Hill explains:

“Most whites do not admit it,” wrote the New York Times after the Crowe shooting, “but the Deacons send a chill down their spines.” The truth of this was borne out in subsequent marches. In the days following the shooting the huge mobs of whites disappeared. The Crowe shooting-and an increased police presence-discouraged ordinary whites from attending the Klan’s counter demonstrations. The Klan could no longer organize mass attacks on black demonstrations in Bogalusa. This inability to organize mass direct action protests reduced the Klan to isolated terror tactics and diminished its influence over nonaffiliated segregationists in the mill town.

Sound familiar?

As members of the press like Petula Dvorak write pearl clutching think pieces decrying Antifa’s egg throwing and vehement demands to not be filmed against their wishes, they’re missing a huge historical connection.

Violent protest is an American tradition, and the work of those willing to take on its burden has long been the backbone of the success of the “love and unity” peaceful demonstrators — who often end up being the only ones credited when progress happens.

Though the July 8th march was not the first time the Deacons protected a CORE protest, it was the first time violence had occurred against a white man. The shooting made the white liberals who were funding CORE nervous, and while members of CORE were well aware that some of their activists were alive because of the protection of the Deacons, journalists were instead focused on whether or not CORE had strayed from its ideal of nonviolent action. Ultimately, CORE took the stance that their members would continue to practice nonviolent protest, but they would be potentially protected by private citizens who were armed.

The lesson learned by CORE was that the police couldn’t be trusted to equally enforce the law. In 2018, it isn’t up for debate that people still feel this way, and it’s a hard argument to make that everyone is treated equally. While the FBI is monitoring the home and Twitter account of BLM activist DeRay McKesson, the MPD is guarding white supremacists in front of the White House. Perhaps Dvorak’s cutesy attempt at cluelessness in her suggestion that the police and antifa came to a head on Sunday in front of an Au Bon Pain because they want to “bring back the Triple Cinnamon Scone” would be less disgusting if America’s legacy of trivializing the rights of minorities didn’t exist.

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Guy Secrets: “I Have an Excuse for That Bad Thing I Do!”

I have a friend named Justine who I assume hates me, because she keeps sending me these horrible Reddit posts. I guess she thinks that if she has to suffer, I do too….so like a scared teenager who watched the video in The Ring, I’m passing the horrors on to you! Blame Justine.

Over on r/AskReddit, someone asked, “what are some ‘guy secrets’ girls don’t know about?” They’re basically all along the lines of “here is my excuse for that shitty thing I do!” but here are some of my favorites!

1. I am lazy

Does this man think that women never get anything on the toilet seat? Like, I am sure that I am not the only woman to ever get a little bit of blood on a toilet seat — and then, because I’m not a foul monster, I clean up my mess immediately. No one fucking cares about your aim being on purpose or not — if we know you pissed on the toilet seat, it’s because you purposefully didn’t clean up after yourself.

Continue reading “Guy Secrets: “I Have an Excuse for That Bad Thing I Do!””

Misandry: Online Dating Edition

Someone shared this article in a leftbook group I am in. It’s a quick read, so go ahead and check it out; basically, the author put in the OKCupid “you should message me if” box that men should contact her if they both a) have numerous things listed under the favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc, section and b) at least one of these works was created by a woman. Disclaimer: I take a way more hardline stance on this issue than she does.

The backlash this article received (mostly by women!) was astonishing to me. People kept commenting that so what if all their favs were dudes?! Did it matter?

Yes. Yes, it does.

Look, it’s 2018. Women are still struggling to be treated as equals in the entertainment business, but we aren’t at ground zero. We make up a small portion of the entertainment world, but we have had influence. You can’t find a movie, book, or show written by a woman? You can’t find anything directed by a woman? Really? What about…Harry Potter, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, The Mindy Project, Cardi B, Fiona Apple, The New Jim Crow, 30 Rock, My Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Persepolis, Wonder Woman (a movie so fucking significant that the woman lead and the woman director were able to get a famous producer removed from the sequel), Thirteen, Handmaid’s Tale, Blame, The Hunger Games, The Girl on the Train, Divergent, What Happened, Unbelievable, Garbage, Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, White Trash, the third season of Rick and Morty — none of this interests you? NOT EVEN MEAN GIRLS??? Welp. Okay.

Continue reading “Misandry: Online Dating Edition”

I’M WHITE AND AFRAID OF EVERYTHING: SPANISH IS SPOKEN TOO FAST AND I’M SCARED

WashPo profiled a scared white person, and I am just so grateful that I am able to better understand what it is like to be white and afraid of everything. They tracked a young couple, Heaven and Venson, who work at the Bell & Evans chicken plant in Fredericksburg, PA.

She knew she was about to go at least eight hours without speaking English, or probably anything at all, in a plant where nearly all of the workers were Latino and spoke Spanish, and she was one of the few who wasn’t and didn’t.

If only there was something that could be done about this….

[Heaven and Venson] held the embrace, swaying slightly, their world outside the plant’s walls — white, rural, conservative — feeling distant in this world within, where they were the outsiders, the ones who couldn’t communicate, the minority.

Wow. This is pretty fucking dramatic for a description of going into your job of quality checking chicken, holy shit.

Continue reading “I’M WHITE AND AFRAID OF EVERYTHING: SPANISH IS SPOKEN TOO FAST AND I’M SCARED”

Dear Men: Take Your Drink and Go Away. Sincerely, Service Workers Everywhere

Last week, Emelia Holden’s takedown of a customer who grabbed her ass while she was working in a restaurant went viral. Good. Maybe a couple of dudes will learn something from it — I know that I’m tired of men bothering me at work, and the reactions I’ve seen to Holden have been overwhelmingly positive.

The thing is, a lot of men cross a line with me when I’m at work. And if you’re a woman in the service industry, I’m sure it happens to you, too. When the Brock Turner case first hit the news, plenty of men were pissed (and rightly so!). Raping a passed out woman behind a dumpster is objectively wrong. It’s something that most men would never do. But pointing out that the Brock Turner case isn’t the standard of what’s right and wrong sure does upset some men.

Continue reading “Dear Men: Take Your Drink and Go Away. Sincerely, Service Workers Everywhere”

Why Can’t Major League Baseball Make Decent Fan Apparel for Women?

Over the years I have amassed a collection of about 30 Orioles t-shirts. Roughly three of them were designed for women. This begs the question: why the fuck is it so hard for apparel companies to create decent MLB clothing for women who like baseball?

Look, I understand that Majestic sucks for everyone, but the other brands who are licensed could at least try. For years I have been buying $5 and $10 t-shirts outside of Camden Yards on game days, because if I’m going to be in a low quality, ill fitting shirt, I’d rather spend $5 on it and not $30. But I would cheerfully shell out whatever on a decent women’s tank top.

Continue reading “Why Can’t Major League Baseball Make Decent Fan Apparel for Women?”

Thursday Book Recommendation: Hand to Mouth

I’ve decided that on Thursdays, I recommend books. I’m starting this week with Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado.

Standing desks really piss me off in a way I find hard to articulate. Other than working as a receptionist in high school, I have always had to stand for work. That includes standing at times that are actually completely  unnecessary, and oftentimes while wearing heels. Take this past week, for example. I worked 11.5 hour days, and was expected to stand for every hour, on concrete, with minimal breaks. It sucked. I had shin splints. My left knee was on fire by the last day. So why do people with good white collar jobs want to force themselves to suffer by standing for 8 hours? Did they look at minimum wage earning cashiers, forced to stand for gross amounts of time for literally no reason, and think, “gee, wish I could keep my salary but also role play as a poor person?” Like I’m actively trying to change things because it’s shitty to make someone stand when they could be sitting if they wanted, and here comes this standing desk craze.

Continue reading “Thursday Book Recommendation: Hand to Mouth”

Dear Conservative Male Snowflakes: I’m Sorry My Dating Profile Hurts Your Fragile Male Ego

Men, I am begging you: please stop using dating apps as debating apps.

I am a single, liberal, feminist woman, and I’m not interested in dating a man who isn’t likeminded. Instead of accidentally going on a bunch of first dates with Trump voters, I’m pretty clear about my opinions on my dating profiles. I have a website where I sell anti-Trump t-shirts, with proceeds benefiting organizations directly impacted by his policies. Not only do I wear the shirts in two of my photos, I clearly state “I own AbortMikePence.com,” the site I sell the shirts on. I don’t bring this up because I want to debate politics, I bring it up because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life defending things I believe to be important to my partner. Not being liberal is a deal breaker for me.

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Oftentimes on OkCupid, I’ll get a message from an angry man who wants to explain to me why he hates “O’Bummer” and why I’m an idiot, but Bumble is pretty safe — after all, we can’t message each other unless we’ve matched. Or so I thought.

Last month I went to a wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. While I was there, I guess Bumble showed my profile results to people around me — because three weeks after I got home, I noticed an email from one of my potential matches.

Apparently, some poor little conservative male snowflake found my Bumble profile to be the most offensive thing he had ever seen. Since this angry man could not message me on Bumble, he went to my website and got my email. He then made a fake email account so he could send me the following novel:

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There are so many things wrong with this message, but I’d like to draw attention to the line “I am just waiting for the day I get the go ahead to grab a rifle. Because a peaceful resolution will not occur. You parasites are a plague.” Look, I’m not an expert — but I think the man who is so enraged by a stranger’s 300 character Bumble profile that he has to go through hoops to email her probably shouldn’t have a rifle.

So I’m sorry, Mr. NOT a beta male. I’m sorry if I hurt your little fee-fees with my preference to date men who are not like you. After all, I am just a nasty shitlib woman, living a lie. My only regret is that, yes, indeed — TrumpsRussiaTies.com is taken.

This is a repost from summer 2017. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Buy an Abort Mike Pence, Cage Jeff Sessions, or Repeal and Replace the GOP shirt here! If you like my writing, please consider contributing to my Patreon

In Defense of “Trump’s ‘Purple’ Family Values”

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed piece by Matthew Schmitz titled “Trump’s ‘Purple’ Family Values.” Let me save you the click: basically, Schmitz argues that working class people see Trump as a good family values guy, because traditionally those people come from fucked up families.

Yup. That’s the whole point. And it sounds legit to me! So I have decided to admit defeat. Surely, the man who has recently tweeted “we can and we must overturn Roe” is a man whose opinions I trust greatly when it comes to not letting his fiery desire to control women blind him to how shitty Trump is. So yes, I believe the right is correct: Trump loves families. And stuff. I’ve compiled some evidence for this

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I’m convinced. Trump loves families! Especially ones with sick mom and daughters who can’t access healthcare, and super especially the not white families.

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ICE: An Infestation of Feckless Abusers

“The vast majority, vast, vast majority of children who are in the care of H.H.S. right now — 10,000 of the 12,000 — were sent here alone by their parents. That is when they were separated….10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone. We now care for them. We have high standards. We give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care. There is videos, there is TVs, I visited the detention centers myself.”
– Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
6/18/18 White House Press Conference

 

To hear the Trump administration explain things, it sounds like there are 10,000 reckless parents who selfishly pawned their children off on others in an attempt to get them to America. The other option, of course, is that there is an “infestation” of young MS-13 members who have mobilized themselves and planned to infiltrate our borders by pretending to be crying 2 year olds. We are heroes for tolerating this invasion of baby gangbangers — we even give them TVs! Who cares about their shitty parents, the ones who needlessly decided to endanger the lives of their own children? These children should be grateful to live in our mesh prisons.

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From UNHCR’s Children on the Run

In reality, the bulk of the 12,000 children who are now living in America’s camps likely went to hell and back before they ever started their journeys to the US.

Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador form one of the most violent regions in the world, known as the Northern Triangle. In 2015 alone, this region accounted for 110,000 asylum seekers — and a good deal of them were unaccompanied minors. Even before 2015, the number of children fleeing their home countries in the triangle for the US increased so much each year that the UN Refugee Agency asked 404 unaccompanied children detained by US authorities to explain why they left. Their answers can largely be summed up as fear: fear of the gangs taking over their cities, fear of forced recruitment into human smuggling, fear of being killed after witnessing a crime, or fear of sexual assault. In some cases the children were victims of violent or sexual crime at the time they left; other times, they knew it was a very likely possibility and considered it safer to risk coming to America.

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From UNHCR’s Children on the Run

With over 5,000 murders in 2016, El Salvador has a murder rate of 82.84 — the highest in the world (as high as that number it is, it’s an improvement from 2015, when El Salvador’s murder rate was 105.44.). In 2014, the rate of sexual offenses against children in El Salvador was a horrifying 85.5.

The UNHCR study found that for children from El Salvador, “he children described their everyday challenges of evading extortion; witnessing murders; and navigating threats to themselves and their families, friends and neighbors. Children who had not yet been victims of violence spoke of their own fears and their families’ fear with the same inevitability. The girls shared their fears of sexual violence.”

Honduras has the second highest international murder rate, with 56.52 murders per 100,000 citizens. The rate of sexual assault against children was 66.9 in 2013. The children from Honduras reported abuse at home, deprivation, and “forty-four percent…were threatened with or were victims of violence by organized armed criminal actors.” In 2014 a Washington Post photographer documented the work of Honduran police. The pictures he took are a good indicator of the gang violence that permeate the country. 

So children are fleeing their homes, everything and everyone they know, because the risk of being murdered or raped is so high that they think the potentially deadly journey to America is a better option. And instead of embracing children who have survived horrors most of us adults will never know, we lock them up and do all the things they were afraid would happen to them in their home countries.

Ripping children from their parents isn’t the only problem with our immigration system. Abuse and mistreatment are rampant in the system. On the heels of the family separation policy, some detention centers have received national attention over the abuse migrant children have suffered by border patrol agents. But the abuse is nothing new.

In 2014, seven year old Nayely Beltran made headlines throughout Texas when it was reported she was suffering from a malignant brain tumor while living in the Karnes County Residential Center. Even though Nayely and her mother had passed the first part of the test for asylum, she was denied treatment by ICE. It wasn’t until public outcry became too great that ICE finally allowed the pair to leave the facility so Nayely could get treatment.

Nayely was lucky — it took months, but she was able to get treatment. In 2014, the Office of Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties documented the abuses unaccompanied minors faced: “One quarter of the children reported physical abuse, including sexual assault, the use of stress positions, and beatings by Border Patrol agents. More than half reported verbal abuse, including death threats. More than half also reported denial of necessary medical care—resulting, at times, in hospitalization. Eighty percent reported inadequate food and water.”

In 2015 CASA sent Texas Governor Greg Abbott a letter requesting that the state deny license applications for detention centers for ICE. “Since the opening of these two detention facilities, ICE has failed to ensure adequate access to and quality of care, failed to obtain informed consent to medical treatment, failed to exercise adequate oversight and accountability, and sanctioned questionable medical ethics.” The letter documented the repeated failure to provide medical care to the migrants, and highlighted individual stories.

CASA said young children were told to drink more water as cure for fevers, and not provided with any care from specialists. In one case, a three year old girl’s eardrum exploded, and and she was diagnosed with an ear infection. The doctor gave her a prescription for Vicks Vaporub, and told her mother “she had either a virus or an infection that would go away in two to three weeks.”

In another case, a three year old boy and his mother were detained at Artesia Family Residential Center. The child had watched his father rape and beat his mother daily at home in Honduras, and one day when the three year old boy tried to intervene, his father beat him and put a  gun to his head. Both mother and child suffered from severe PTSD, with the child repeatedly expressing fear over the ICE officers shooting him. A psychologist that interviewed him concluded “it is my opinion that both mother and son will continue deteriorating emotionally until they are in a safe family environment.” Instead, the pair would remain at Artesia for over 3 months, with the child continuing to fear the new men with guns in his life.

The ACLU’s report of neglect and abuse by the CBP shares similar stores. One pregnant teenager wrote that agents yelled at her and other pregnant minors that the agents “didn’t ask you to come to our country” and that the girls were there “to contaminate the US with [their] babies.”

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The reports goes on to say “when an infant detained in that same room soiled his pants through his diaper, the agents made his mother remove his pants and throw them in the trash. The agents did not, however, provide the infant with another diaper or pair of pants, even though the room was extremely cold.The child eventually became sick.”

Olivia López, a former employee at the Karnes County Residential Center, spoke to the LA Times in 2015 about her experiences working there, and her reasons for quitting. One of the prisoners was a five year old girl who was raped on her journey to the US. The child lost weight and  started wearing diapers again. When López told her boss what was going on, her boss told her she was wrong.

Families aren’t just going on a dangerous trek to America because they want to steal jobs and kill white women and get free TVs, or whatever other misinformation has spread. They’re coming here because it’s the least horrible option.  Mistreatment of immigrants by ICE is nothing new; it’s not a Trump thing, it’s an ICE thing. Do not be fooled by measures to reunite families while holding them captive — children don’t belong in cages, with our without their parents.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter or read more of my writing on immigrationviolence against immigrant women, and police brutality.  

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