Posts Tagged As: Islamophobia
November 21st, 2016
I know I’ve told you about my great-grandmother Easter. She lived a block away from where I grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio. She was born in 1898 in the hollows of Kentucky, and I used to go to her house and ask her to tell me stories about “the olden days.” She was as good as any library to me and I loved spending time with her.
And I know I’ve also told you this story about the time I asked her what the word “hick” meant. I must have heard it somewhere. Maybe I heard it from her. I don’t remember. But I remembered that she answered by describing people who grew up in the hollows of Kentucky, much like she had, but who had never left those hollows and knew nothing about the world around them. They may have thought they knew about the wider world — nobody think’s they’re particularly ignorant, especially now that we had radio, television, movies and newspapers — but, as she said, unless you actually go out into the world, there are things you will never know. Hicks, she said, are people who never left their homes and knew nothing about the world outside of their tiny communities.
And then she stopped and thought about it a bit, and added, “You can find them back in the hollows, but you can also find them in some mighty fancy places. You can even find them in New York City.”
I’ve been thinking an awful lot about that lately. Two weeks after Donald Trump’s surprise election, I’ve been seeing various posts pop up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds and in following some of the discussions taking place in private email listservs of progressive activists. And their simplistic explanations for what went wrong in the election tell me that they are hicks, at least as Easter defined them. But since the word “hick” conjures a very particular pejorative image, I’ll discard it and coin another one that I think is more accurate: Blue Bubble Democrats.
To be clear, you don’t actually have to be in a geographic blue bubble to be a Blue Bubble Democrat. You can easily do this by building your bubble through social media, carefully culled friends, and the particular neighborhoods you chose to call home. And also to be clear, there’s nothing sinister about it. It’s not a moral failing. In fact, it’s perfectly natural. We all do it. I’m in a rather nice blue bubble myself right here in blood red Arizona. But I’ve long recognized that this bubble exists and I’ve worked hard to stepped out of it, and I think I’ve recognized some disturbing trends that I think an awful lot of Blue Bubble Democrats have been ignoring for far too long.
So who are these Blue Bubble Democrats? Well, you can know them by their reaction to this month’s general election. They are the ones who, outraged over the abandonment of the Democratic party by blue collar Americans, are condemning and dismissing them as horribly racist, hopelessly xenophobic and congenitally homophobic. Their solution seems to be, as far as I can tell, to yell at those workers, demand that they stop voting against their interests, check their white privilege, and just generally get over themselves.
And don’t get me wrong: many blue collar/white middle class Americans are racists. Maybe very many them are. I’d be perfectly stupid to argue otherwise. But let’s be honest here: not all of them are. Not even close. And think about it: those who are would never have voted for a Democrat even if Jesus Christ himself were the nominee. They certainly wouldn’t have voted for a Black man in 2008, and they wouldn’t have voted for a man they branded a Black Muslim Kenyan in 2012. These aren’t the voters who swung this election. They were already in the bag for Trump, just like they were there for Romney, McCain, Bush, and so forth all the way back to Nixon’s “southern strategy” which, truth be told, held an awful lot of appeal outside the South.
Racism was the most visible part of Trump’s campaign. It was visible because it was so shocking, and we reacted strongly (and rightly) to that shock. Neo-nazis, White nationalists and Klanners have openly rejoiced over having “one of our own” running for President. And Trump’s playing to the more sinister impulses of hatred has emboldened them, and more than a few others, to unleash a wave of attacks both before and especially immediately after the election, as we’ve documented here at BTB. We’re all rightly alarmed by it, and we will continue to call it out, as we should.
But while focusing all our outrage in that, we should have been also paying attention to the twin ravages of long term economic crisis and ballooning heroin epidemic in Middle America. In fact, that epidemic should have been our canary in the proverbial coal mines. Instead we just said we’d shut them all down.
And so millions of other blue collar, white working class Americans — who voted for a Black man, and who returned to vote for that Black Muslim Kenyan, turned to Trump. If you’re going to say their vote was all about racism, then you’re going to have to explain why they waited so long to act on it.
Before I leave the subject of racism (and Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, and so forth), I do think it’s fair to ask how they could have excused Trump’s racism. Shouldn’t that have been a disqualifying factor in and of itself? My answer is yes, obviously. I voted for Clinton even though I strongly felt that she was, without a doubt, the single most flawed candidate the Democratic Party’s establishment could have put forward. (I also didn’t support Sanders either. I was beyond dismayed.) I’ll rant more about Clinton later, maybe, but getting back to that question: yes, I think Trump’s racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia — the list goes on far too long — should have been disqualifying on its face.
But I have the luxury of setting those priorities. Many of those who supported Obama but went with Trump didn’t feel they could do that. For decades, they had been telling Democrats that they have been facing an unrelenting economic crisis, in many places for decades without letup. To compound that misery, many of those once-prosperous communities along America’s rust belt are now being consumed by a disastrous opioid and heroin epidemic that is, each year, setting new records for killing their kids. Kirk Noden describes their reaction:
Deindustrialization was a traumatic experience for white working-class people. Yet we act surprised when this constituency exhibits post-traumatic-stress disorder. And it is we who perpetrate the myth that they are voting “against their interests,” despite all the facts on the ground indicating that for them it makes no difference which party is in power. They have lived through 40 years of decline.
Progressives like to talk about the “erasure” of long-suffering groups from public discourse. There’s trans-erasure, bi-erasure, Latinx-erasure, and so forth. But I haven’t seen anyone talk about another erasure that’s been taking place. Blue collar middle-class Americans had been the bedrock of the Democratic party since the days of FDR. The Democratic party, which had once been the workers’ party, has studiously set about erasing this core constituency from among its ranks as soon as Bill Clinton entered office and his fellow New Democrats and their “third way” took over the party. Former MSNBC host Krystal Ball illustrates the problem: “There was an incredibly revealing moment at the DNC. In an effort to rev up the crowd one of the speakers called out: ‘Who in this room works with their hands?’ Silence.”
Democrats who have been active participants in the erasure of one of their core constituencies cannot be allowed to escape their responsibility for helping to bring about Trump’s victory. Ball, who now lives in Kentucky, has diagnosed the problem quite succinctly:
They said they were facing an economic apocalypse, we offered “retraining” and complained about their white privilege. Is it any wonder we lost? One after another, the dispatches came back from the provinces. The coal mines are gone, the steel mills are closed, the drugs are rampant, the towns are decimated and everywhere you look depression, despair, fear. In the face of Trump’s willingness to boldly proclaim without facts or evidence that he would bring the good times back, we offered a tepid gallows logic. Well, those jobs are actually gone for good, we knowingly told them. And we offered a fantastical non-solution. We will retrain you for good jobs! Never mind that these “good jobs” didn’t exist in East Kentucky or Cleveland. And as a final insult, we lectured a struggling people watching their kids die of drug overdoses about their white privilege. Can you blame them for calling bullshit?
… The arrogance of thinking that somehow we could ignore most of the country and still hold a claim on the nation’s highest office is breathtaking. Demographics are not destiny. Candidates do matter. And it is still the economy, stupid.
So to those who cling to the idea that racism and the other -isms and -phobias were the reason voters turned to Trump, I challenge them to undergo this simple experiment. Grab one of those county-by-county maps showing the red expanse and the blue bubbles. Drive out from those bubbles (if that’s where you happen to live, or get away from whatever bubble you’ve made for yourself). Get in the car and go out into the red. Go to a bright red county seat and get out of the car. Get off of Facebook and take your earbuds out. Look around. And tell me: what do you see?
Closed storefronts. Abandoned houses and empty lots where whole neighborhoods once stood. Crumbling factory buildings, boarded up schools that were once the pride of the community. Look around. You have to ask yourself, what are these people clinging to?
Well it turns out that many of those who live in these communities have been looking around and asking the same question. They saw their broken communities, abandoned by the very party that had once been their champion, and heard Trump say he was going to make America great again. Clinton countered that America was already great. They looked around again and said, no, it doesn’t look so great to me.
And then they voted.
Over the course of the next several posts on this subject, we’ll be taking a tour of some of those places that had turned out for Obama but voted for Trump.
November 14th, 2016
Nation exhales because white nationalist only gets second most influential job in White House
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) November 13, 2016
Donald Trump has named Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief and former editor of the extremist website Breitbart News, to be his “chief strategist and senior counselor.” It’s just one more example of the normalization of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism taking place in this country that leading news outlets are covering this announcement by highlighting Trump’s naming of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff (oh, and Bannon will play some kind of a “major role“), even though, as the Guardian correctly notes, “The statement announcing Trump’s decision named Bannon first, despite the vague title of his role.”
Brietbart News is famous for its deplorably racist, anti-Semitic, trans- and homophobic and xenophobic headlines. The liberal Media Matters has a pretty good collection of headlines published during Bannon’s tenure: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”, “Trannies 49XS Higher HIV Rate”, “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”, “Huma Abedin ‘Most Likely A Saudi Spy’ With ‘Deep, Inarguable Connections’ to ‘Global Terrorist Entity'”, “Lesbian Bridezillas Bully Bridal Shop Owner Over Religious Beliefs”, “Young Muslins In the West Are A Ticking Time bomb”, “6 Reasons Pamela Geller’s Muhammad Cartoon Contest Is Not different From Selma.” Also: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.” That was two weeks after the Mother Emanuel massacre in Charleston, SC. The New York Daily News obtained court documents from Bannon’s 2007 divorce that gives some insight into how Bannon thinks:
Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration that Bannon didn’t want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution.
“The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend,” Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.
“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.
“I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn’t know because it wasn’t an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone,” she wrote.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Bannon’s appointment: It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.'” John Weaver, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s top strategist, tweeted, “The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America.” Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said, “The appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top Trump administration strategist sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and White nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House.”
Priebus, for his part, has been dutifully making the rounds of cable news shows this morning defending Trump’s choice for consigliere.
He was a force for good on the campaign. He’s very wise and smart. He’s gone to the London School of Economics, Harvard Business School. People don’t know that he was a ten-year naval officer at very high levels, advising admirals in the navy,” said Priebus on Fox News. “I have not seen any of these things that people are crying out about.”
Because, you know being a Harvard grad magically inoculates you against all that, doesn’t it?
June 22nd, 2016
Angered over Donald Trump’s charge that the Muslim community had been hiding Omar Mateen’s radicalization from the FBI, Mohammed A. Malik came forward in a Washington Post op-ed to reveal that he was the one who tipped the FBI about Mateen’s fascination with propaganda videos produced by Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen. Malik and Mateen attended the same mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida, and had been friends for over a decade. He described Mateen as introverted and upset over anti-Muslim prejudice. Malik says he tried to steer Mateen toward constructive efforts to counter islamophobia — volunteer, work with charities, et., — and Mateen seemed to agree:
Then, during the summer of 2014, something traumatic happened for our community. A boy from our local mosque, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, was 22 when he became the first American-born suicide bomber, driving a truck full of explosives into a government office in Syria. He’d traveled there and joined a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the previous year. We had all known Moner; he was jovial and easygoing, the opposite of Omar. According to a posthumous video released that summer, he had clearly self-radicalized – and had also done so by listening to the lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, the charismatic Yemen-based imam who helped radicalize several Muslims, including the Fort Hood shooter. …
Immediately after Moner’s attack, news reports said that American officials didn’t know anything about him; I read that they were looking for people to give them some background. So I called the FBI and offered to tell investigators a bit about the young man. It wasn’t much – we hadn’t been close – but I’m an American Muslim, and I wanted to do my part. …After my talk with the FBI, I spoke to people in the Islamic community, including Omar, about Moner’s attack. I wondered how he could have radicalized. Both Omar and I attended the same mosque as Moner, and the imam never taught hate or radicalism. That’s when Omar told me he had been watching videos of Awlaki, too, which immediately raised red flags for me. He told me the videos were very powerful.
After speaking with Omar, I contacted the FBI again to let them know that Omar had been watching Awlaki’s tapes. He hadn’t committed any acts of violence and wasn’t planning any, as far as I knew. And I thought he probably wouldn’t, because he didn’t fit the profile: He already had a second wife and a son. But it was something agents should keep their eyes on. I never heard from them about Omar again, but apparently they did their job: They looked into him and, finding nothing to go on, they closed the file.
On June 13, just one day after the Orlando gay night club massacre, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump alleged that the American Muslim community was complicit in the shooting:
But the Muslims have to work with us. They have to work with us. They know what’s going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death, and destruction.
I am not the first American Muslim to report on someone; people who do that simply don’t like to announce themselves in to the media. For my part, I’m not looking for personal accolades. I’m just tired of negative rhetoric and ignorant comments about my faith. Trump’s assertions about our community – that we have the ability to help our country but have simply declined to do so – are tragic, ugly and wrong.
The Washington Post got conformation from “a federal law enforcement official” that Malik had cooperated with authorities.
Malik told CNN that he never saw any signs that Mateen was either gay or homophobic.
June 14th, 2016
Via Right Wing Watch:
Earlier in the broadcast, Robertson said that the Orlando shootings highlighted what he called “the dilemma of the liberals… because they have two favored groups. One, the Muslims; number two, the homosexuals.” Highlighting that homosexuality is legally outlawd through much of the Muslim world (Robertson thinks that it should be illegal here, though he doesn’t mention that today), and is even punishable by death in some countries. “The left is having a dilemma of major proportions. I think for those of us who dis”But the fact that this Islamic gentleman opens fire in a gay nightclub and kills almost 50 homosexuals, that says something and it tells the fact that Islam is against homosexuality. So the liberals are going to be scrambling to find some rationale, I think they’re going to have a hard time doing it.”
Which leads up to what he says in this clip:
One more time I want to mention the fact that this is a religious believe, it is deeply ingrained in the people. And for when our President refused to acknowledge it when the Secretary of State, now the Democratic nominee for President refuses to acknowledge it, says this is a quote “slur against a great religion.” This is nonsense. This is what this great religion teaches. And it’s right in the warp and woof of Islam. So whether you lie it or not, that’s the way it is.
The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves.
June 14th, 2016
On that small statement, at least, President Barack Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan agree. And so should we. And here’s why:
Photographer Eman Ali took this photo of three of her male friends in drag before they headed out to a party in London Saturday night, just a few hours before the Orlando attack.
“We thought that it was important to share this photo in solidarity with the victims of the attacks,” (Saleem Haddad) says of their decision to post it on Facebook. “We also wanted to complicate the narrative. As Arabs and Muslims, we are also part of the LGBT community and we feel the pain and the tragedy have an effect on our lives.”
Haddad is the one on the right. He recently published a novel about a gay man living in the Arab world.
June 13th, 2016
In a surprising speech, Trump casts himself in solidarity with the LGBT community (as reported by Talking Points Memo):
“Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT Community. A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation… It is an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity…Radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay and anti-American.”
Trump also got in a dig at Hillary Clinton by maintaining that he was in fact a greater supporter of gay and women’s rights than she was: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow Radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays. I don’t want them in our country.”
(Update: This was a teleprompter’ed speech, so that explains the relative linearity of Trump’s statement. When you see the video, you’ll notice he really had to slow down with the L. G. B. T.)
Given Trump’s entire campaign history, this strikes me as being about as cynical as anything else Trump has said — which is pretty much everything Trump has said. (It also has to be considered alongside his promises before Faith and Freedom Conference last week.) His Supreme Court picks also speak volumes.
But I really have to give him props for this one. If someone really wanted to talk about “radical Islamic terrorists” in the context of the Pulse massacre, this is exactly how to do it. It also marks a radical turnaround from earlier today when he called it an attack on “our nation.” And it raises the obvious question: why is that so hard for Florida Gov. Rick Scott or other Republican political leaders to say clearly who was attacked?
But — and there’s always a “but” when talking about Trump — he wants to use our deaths, our pain and suffering, for a sinister bait and switch. He wants to offer a conditional acceptance for one group of people to advance a rejection of another group of people.
Mr. Trump vowed to give the authorities more tools to clamp down on terrorists and that, if elected, he would use his executive powers to keep foreign Muslims from entering the country for an indefinite period of time.
Indeed, Mr. Trump appeared to broaden his call for a ban on Muslim immigration, extending it to whole regions rather than applying it strictly according to religion. He said he would “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.”
He also insinuated that the majority of Muslim Americans were disloyal and subject to being singled out for increased surveillance:
“Muslim communities must cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad – and they do know where they are,” Mr. Trump said.
But of course, there is a better way to talk about radical Islamic terrorists in the context of the Pulse massacre. Some (though clearly not all) chapters of the Council of American-Islamic Affairs gave taken a pretty good stab at it over the past twenty-four hours.
But we accept Trump’s bargain, if we accept an exchange of homophobia for islamophobia, then shame on all of us.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.