Posts Tagged Racism/Bigotry
If you read one book this year, let it be “I Was Told to Come Alone,” by Saoud Mekhennet, This book is the culmination of the author’s journey to analyze and answer a question by Maureen Fanning, the widow of a New York City firefighter who had died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, on 9/11. Mrs. Fanning directed the title question toward Saoud who, although German-born, is of Turkish/Moroccan descent.
There are two key factors in Ms. Mekhennet’s background that, perhaps, make her the ideal person to even attempt to understand this multi-facetted dilemma:
- As the child of immigrant “guest workers,” Saoud felt the harsh reality of discrimination, oftentimes not being considered “German, German,” even though she tutored other German students in “German”. Many young Muslims in Europe, who perceive being rejected by society, are prone to radicalization.
- Saudi’s parents were born into different sides of the Sunni/Shia schism; however, they and their family have lived as secular Muslims. In fact, Saoud didn’t understand the religious divide, until in her later teens, but without the emotional biases. The instability caused by this problem, within the Muslim World, continues to fuel the flow of Muslims toward the West.
Ms. Mekhennet’s journey took her to various countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Western Europe, during which, Saoud interviewed a number of al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban leaders. Even though those interviews placed her at considerable personal risk, as a journalist, Saoud Mekhennet knew that they were vital to her understanding of both sides of the issue.
A considerable amount of this book is devoted toward Ms. Mekhennet’s attempt to understand how and why young European Muslims have become radicalized, and join the Jihad. Is it a legitimate cause, necessary to save the Islamic way of life, or is it a false reality, based on a hijacked version of Islam–merely replacing one version of beliefs for another?
Throughout the book, Ms. Mekhennet often questions the false assumptions of such ideas as Weapons of Mass Destruction, false intelligence reported by various Western agencies, and the lack of concern for civilian deaths. Basically, if we throw off our parochial views and narrow-mindedness, we might begin to understand that there is plenty of blame, for the entire terrorism issue, to go around.
As somewhat of a summation to her journey, Saoud Mekhennet points out that “…some people in Western countries don’t see the hazards of setting standards for others, as if our way is the right way and the only way. This is the same argument that ISIS makes.”
NOTE: And oh, by the way, toward the very end of her journey, Ms Mekhennet solved one of those pesky questions that was on everyone’s mind, when she unmasked “Jihadi John”, who played a key role in those ISIS videoclips!
Throughout history, mankind has been resentful of others. Back in pre-History, various Hominoid species fought each other for supremacy. Slavery came to America some 400 years ago as White men assumed to own Africans, brought forcibly to the Colonies.
Over the years since, various ethnic groups, peoples of other religions or beliefs arrived, and more recently, people of different orientations emerged. Women had demanded equality! Rather than accept, assimilate and take advantage of these changes, many Americans have preferred to maintain the established order—the status quo!
Enter the demagogue to provide that spark, hell-bent on instigating the “Divide and Conquer” strategy. Adolf Hitler took that approach in 1930s Germany when he attacked, in succession: the Communists; the Socialists; the Trade Unionists; the Jews…and then, they came for “Me”. The point of German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller’s eloquent poem “First they came…” was the cowardice of German intellectuals to speak-out, as the Nazi’s purged each successive target group, and thus conquered the entire population by dividing it.
Donald Trump has been using the very same Divide and Conquer strategy, that Hitler did some 80-85 years before, when he announced his candidacy, in June of 2015. After making vague comments about ISIS, China and Japan, he laid into Mexico. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” How nice of Donald too acknowledge that not all Mexicans are bad!
After Mexico and the Mexican People, Donald Trump directed his hate-speech at ISIS, Syrians and the Middle East, seemingly tossing them all together as if to suggest that all Muslims are terrorists! Notice the biased logic? And of course, as he supports law enforcement, regardless of videos of violent action taken predominantly against Blacks, Donald Trump’s divisiveness is ever-vigilant, and always provocative.
Among Donald Trump’s questionable comments and actions, once he moved into the White House, was his appointment of Steve Bannon, as a Councillor to the President, and his Chief Strategist. To the horror of many, Trump had also appointed Bannon as a permanent member of the National Security Council, which he has since rescinded. Before joining the Trump Regime, Bannon had been the Executive Chairman of the Breitbart News website, which he had declared to be “the platform for the Alt-Right“ in 2016.
Besides spewing his own racist hate speech throughout his short political career, by positioning Bannon as one of his chief advisors, Donald Trump has brought a key symbol of White Supremacism into the White House with him! In fact, Steve Bannon seems to be one of just a very small number of Donald’s trusted Advisors, along with First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. No wonder the Hate Groups feel empowered!
Yesterday, when referring to the removal of statues of Confederate generals, Donald Trump suggested that: “(You) can’t change history, only learn from it.” Unfortunately, Donald’s historical studies haven’t seemed to have progressed beyond “Hitler, Adolf!”
Question for Donald Trump: You have vowed to eliminate the various Islamic terrorists groups, which are intent on harming us, just because we differ from them. Well tell me: How do you differentiate ISIS, al-Qaeda and those other groups from the very White Supremacist elements in America, who also wish to cause harm to Americans who differ from them? Can you explain that, Mr. Trump?
NOTE: One of my more popular posts, “Who’s the Puppet Master behind Donald Trump’s Shadow_Government?”, written back in March, had suggested that Steve Bannon was, indeed, the Puppet Master, pulling the day-to-day strings behind Donald Trump’s Regime. I still believe that!
DONALD TRUMP’S VINDICTIVENESS SEEMS TO BE BEHIND TWO SENSELESS IDEAS: ELIMINATING AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE AND SLASHING THE STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET BY 31%!
Donald Trump has said a lot of idiotic things, taken Tweetery to a new lunacy level, and he has accomplished absolutely nothing…in five months. Remember all of those asinine Legislative “Acts” that he was going to pass “…on Day One!” Did Mr. Know-it-all forget that Congress takes more time off than he does—including HIS Inauguration Day?
There are two major actions that Mr. Trump should have most definitely avoided: Repeal and Replace “Obamacare,” and to slash the State Department Budget by 31%.
Just like any comprehensive bill, such as the (real name) Affordable (Health) Care Act, modifications should be made from time to time, just like what was done after Medicare, was first rolled-out! Deep down inside, the real reason for eliminating ACA—and why Donald has disrupted it’s functioning—is to replace the huge tax cuts, assessed to the Top Two Percent of Taxpayers, which were lost when the Bush Tax Cuts expired.
And slashing the State Department Budget is reprehensible; because, those 170 State Department Embassies, Consulates and other installations, around-the-world, are the face of of the United States to many foreigners. Those offices are used for many other purposes, besides diplomacy: Trade and Agricultural Officers work out of them, foreigners apply for Visas there, and its where Americans go when they encounter problems in other countries. Besides, USAID and other social agencies provide excellent assistance, from those offices, directly to rural villages and groups that need it.
In the case of both eliminating ACA and slashing the State Budget, there is no responsible reason, whatsoever, for Donald Trump to do so. But, after analyzing these ideas, I definitely see a relationship. Let me highlight each:
1. Mr. Trump resents the fact that Affordable Health Care isn’t focused around him. Even though Republicans have called for some form of Health Care for All, going all the way back to Richard M. Nixon, and perhaps even earlier, the GOP just never seemed to have followed through in legislating it! Also, Trump is displaying his racism through his intention to eradicate the signature accomplishment of Barack Obama, our First Black President.
2. Additionally, Donald doesn’t seem capable of letting go of his hatred for former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton. When it came to “dirty tricks”, Trumpie was far and away, the all-time champion, and definitely not the victim, during the campaign! When Secretary of Defense James Mattis heard that State’s budget would be slashed, he said he was “…going to need more bullets!” Mattis realizes that every dollar spent by State—especially in its various social programs—results in less dollars needed for Defense!
So, when Trump & Friends misrepresent why they needs to Repeal “Obamacare,” and he proposes slashing the State Department budget, the reasons are: his narcissism; racism; sexism; providing huge tax breaks to Mega-Billionaires; and slashing State’s budget to will help pay for the idiotic Wall!
The horror of the terrorist bombing, at last week’s Adriana Grande concert in Manchester, was indeed horrific. And, as always happens with a young crowd, there were children among those killed. Before responding to those evil acts, I believe that the British Authorities are currently trying to determine the “Who” and “Why”, before they establish a Plan of Action. Everything must be analyzed in detail. (Sorry, Donald!)
But, is the life of a child any more valuable than that of: a young mother, on a night-out, who works to support her young children; the middle-aged husband and father, who teaches in one of the poorest high schools in town; or the retired couple, accompanying their grandchildren? Is one life worth more than another, especially when our very essence can be snuffed-out at any time…in a flash?
To me, all life is equally important; however, when it is one a yours—a spouse, a son or daughter, a grandchild; obviously you look at death differently. I truly understand that! And it doesn’t have to be terrorists to strike at our hearts, and at our very souls. What did it take the mentally unstable mass murderer, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, to execute 20 first graders; or the drive-by gang shooting, taking the life of a little seven year-old girl, playing on her front porch in Miami?
When terrorists use bombs or automatic weapons to kill those who are enjoying life, having fun and not particularly hating anyone, there is no selectivity as to who dies in such attacks. Consider that there were also a number of Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center, and were killed when Saudi terrorists crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers. Once again, by such desperate acts, the terrorists merely reflect their own ignorance, hatred and insecurities.
The murder of anyone—regardless of sex, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual preference— is equally horrendous. I prefer not to point to those of any one group as being particularly saddening, however, because that implies a higher value, to some lives, and perhaps, a lesser importance to others.
And lets’s not kid ourselves: as a nation, we Americans do not have clean hands. Just consider how many civilians have been needlessly killed—“collateral damage”, it’s called—in the unnecessary wars in which America has engaged. Therefore, in a way, we are no better than the terrorists!
#1. I am including a prior post, written just after the Paris Attacks, in November 2015. In it, there is a marvelous letter, from “Le Monde”, written by the father of an infant, advising his little son—when he grows-up—not to hate the people who killed his mother. It’s good advice for Britons, and its good advice for us!
#2. I am also including a post, from the “In Saner Thought” blog, which I have recently come across, and follow. The linked post gave me the idea of placing the terrorist attacks, which caused the deaths of children, into some sort of context.
Donald Trump spoke today, in Washington, D. C., at a memorial service for police officers, who were killed in the line-of-duty. As usual, I personally didn’t care much for Trump’s style; because, however well-intentioned his words might have been, they did not correlate with any plan to understand it.
In amongst his rhetoric, Donald Trump always seems to have an “Us-versus-Them” scenario in mind, especially when it comes to the Black-White relations on our nation’s streets, which is generally were police officers are killed. Additionally, he always seems to side with the police officers, in any confrontation ,without considering the possibility that, perhaps in some cases, the officer might have acted without provocation.
I have several relatives, as well as friends, who are either active or retired from law enforcement. And, I sincerely believe that most in their profession are dedicated men and women, and they are deeply committed to serving and safeguarding the public. But, I believe that Donald Trump should work toward understanding the situation, including all possible causes, and only then can he work toward solving the long standing problem.
Donald Trump, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions; however, seem to be escalating the street crime problem, rather than diffusing it. The whole “Black Lives Matter” movement reflects the evils of Racism, which had never been settled—400 years since Black Africans were first forcibly brought to America, and sold into Slavery.
For instance, many of the incidents of police officers shooting Black Men have stemmed from the police harassing the Black Men, rather than just giving them a ticket or a warning, as they generally would to a White Man. AG Sessions further raised the level of distrust last week, when he announced that he was asking the Courts to hand-down the harshest sentences possible, even for non-violent crimes. WHY?
Part of the racial distrust, which is at the heart of the heightened street crime, is due to the fact that many more Blacks and Latinos are in prison, than Whites. Also, minorities often get harsher sentences for the same crimes. A rational person might conclude that the Trump Regime intends to make the problem worse, rather than better. Is that how Donald Trump might chose to remember those officers who were killed in the line-of-duty?
NOTE: Please consider me a rational person.
As the Irish are one of the oldest, and most easily assimilated groups of immigrants, St. Patty’s Day has come to be a day of celebration, not only for the Irish, but for many Immigrant groups.Ω even those who might seem to be flying under the radar—because they are of European stock. But they realize that Trump’s racially-motivated immigration ideas today could turn against all other groups tomorrow. So, they stand together!
Sure, Donald Trump might have toasted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly with green beer, on Thursday, and both men had-on green ties, and the fountain on the White House’s south lawn glowed green, for a day or two. The undocumented Irish find little solace in those hollow events, however, due to the fact that they entered the U. S. on perfectly legal Visas, and remained here after they had expired. Besides the Irish, many others, like the Polish, the Mexicans, Nigerians, Filipinos, etc., are hard-working taxpayers, who are raising families here.
Perhaps the Irish won’t be the first group to be deported; but, how can they ever be sure that, as Trump or some other demagogue like him, works their way down the list of nationalities that, at some point, they might be next! As much as Trump talks about creating jobs, he doesn’t realize that immigrants often are the reason for economic expansion as they add (usually) younger workers, entrepreneurial and technological skills, and they also increase the consumer base, as more spenders can grow the economy exponentially.
Undocumented immigrants normally enter the U. S. incrementally, and they are eventually assimilated into our society. Unfortunately, racist actions do make it difficult for some, such as today’s Muslims, and of course blacks after centuries of living in America!
In 1981, 120,000 Cubans came ashore in Miami, in just two months time, and they were quickly assimilated into the local, very large Cuban-American community. That many refugees, arriving in one area, and being quickly assimilated was, of course, an aberration. Even though some of those “Marielitos” were, as Donald Trump would say, “Bad Hombres”, their proportion generally pales when compared to the overall percentage of criminals in American society.
So, while Mr. Trump was toasting Prime Minister Kelly at the White House, Joe McHugh, Ireland’s Minister for the Diaspora and International Development visited the Aisling Irish Community Center, in Yonkers, N. Y. Aisling is one of a number of community centers that provides social services, health screenings and other assistance to, what it calls, the “forgotten Irish”. Staff members at Aisling, and other such centers, say that anxiety is peaking because of Trump. Minister Joe McHugh, said, after his visit: “They live in fear.” But why?
Is this what America has come to: like those billionaires, who have more money than they could ever hope to spend, and they just seem to want more? Everyone of us are descendants of people who had come from somewhere else–even the Native Americans. And for all of those “god-fearing Christians”, I surely wonder how you can mouth the words: “Do unto others…”
I’m sure that some people would find the “Books that I recommend” list much easier to use if everything were organized into quite distinct categories, such as: Politics; History; Science—or, at least, Fiction and Non-Fiction. But, that’s not how my mind works. It’s just too cluttered!
Consider the most recent addition (and yesterday’s post): “Three Days in January”. President Eisenhower left the Presidency 57 years ago; but the real story, I believe, is a combination of: World War II and Early Cold War History; reflections back to our Founding Fathers, and what their intentions were, with regard to the Constitution; contrasts of the Leadership styles between Ike and JFK, and the lack thereof with Trump. and, lastly, the peril which the Military Industrial Complex might present today, especially in the hands of a Fool. Now tell me, how would you categorize that NY Times Best-Seller?
“Freeman” is a well-researched historical novel about Racism in post-Civil War rural Mississippi. That book, not only depicts the reality of how both blacks and whites regarded one another, at the time; but, it also provides some insight as to Racism, as it is today in America today, and particularly, in the rural South.
“Moneybag” is nominally a book about baseball; but, it is really more about the use of statistics in player personnel management. The Oakland A’s had one of the very smallest budgets in Major League Baseball; however, for a time, they compiled better Win-Loss records than all but a few of the league’s 30 teams. The A’s realized that some of the more pedestrian statistics, such as: on-base average; total bases and “small ball”, won more games than often considerations: physical looks: home runs and fielding. For the owners, that approach was more “cost-effective”.
Statistics has also played an increasingly important role in general decision-making theory. Much of what is pointed-out, by Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball”, is based on the insight of the two Israeli Psychologists, who are his main subjects in “The Undoing Project”. Those psychologists won the Nobel Prize for, get this, Economics, in 2003. Their research has led to: the creation of the new field of Behavioral Economics; revolutionized Big-Data studies; advanced evidence-based medicine, and helped rationalize government regulation.
NOTE: If anyone can devise an algorithm, which will organize my “Books That I Recommend” tab, please send me the “For Idiots” version, so that it can install itself.