- Rand Paul Goes To Howard (The New York Times)
The same week that a dozen defiant senators threatened to filibuster any new gun control legislation, Paul ventured across Washington to historically black Howard University and gave a speech aimed at outreach and bridge building.
The man is mulling a presidential run after all.
The speech was a dud. It was a clipped-tail history lesson praising the civil rights record of the pre-Southern Strategy Republican Party, while slamming the concurrent record of the Democrats.
It completely ignored the past generation of egregious and willful acts of insensitivity by the G.O.P. toward the African-American community.
“We are not expecting LGBT families to be included in the Gang of 8 [sic] bill,” Immigration Equality director Rachel Tiven told the Washington Blade yesterday. “That in our minds means that of course the bill is incomplete.”
In January, the White House urged Congress to include same-sex couples in legislation. Its proposal on immigration reform recommended “[treating] same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”
But Republicans who champion immigration reform have been clear from the start of this round of deliberations that they wouldn’t support rights for same-sex couples. Gang of Eight member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the provision “a red flag” in a January interview on CBS.
- Why ‘Accidental Racist’ Is Actually Just Racist (The Atlantic)
I can understand why an artist like Paisley would be attracted to an artist like LL Cool J. I can’t for the life of me understand why he’d choose LL Cool J to begin “a conversation” to reconcile. Rap is overrun with artists who’ve spent some portion of their career attempting to have “a conversation.” There’s Chuck D. There’s Big Daddy Kane. There’s KRS-ONE. There’s Talib. There’s Mos Def. There’s Kendrick Lamar. There’s Black Thought. There’s Dead Prez. And so on.
In an artform distinguished by a critical mass concerned with racism, LL’s work is distinguished by its lack of concern. Which is fine. “Pink Cookies” is dope. “Booming System” is dope. “I Shot Ya” is dope. I even rock that “Who Do You Love” joint. But I wouldn’t call up Talib Kweli to record a song about gang violence in L.A., and I wouldn’t call up KRS-ONE to drop a verse on a love ballad. The only real reason to call up LL is that he is black and thus must have something insightful to say about the Confederate Flag.
The assumption that there is no real difference among black people is exactly what racism is. Our differences, our right to our individuality, is what makes us human. The point of racism is to rob black people of that right. It would be no different than me assuming that Rachel Weisz must necessarily have something to say about black-Jewish relations, or me assuming that Paisley must know something about barbecue because he’s Southern.
The magazine is throwing a “New Guantanamo” party in conjunction with Le Baron, the New York City nightlife brand run by Andre Saraiva. The party has been roundly criticized on Twitter and on fashion blog Refinery 29, which wrote on Monday, “Flaunt Magazine tends to be pretty great when it comes to thinking creatively, but its recent invite to a Guantanamo-themed party (yes, seriously) quickly shifted from fun to completely absurd.”
The party invite promises “pleasurable torture” by makeup brand Smashbox Studios, and the poster features models carrying large machine guns.
I received a note this morning from a friend of a friend. She lives in the UK, although her family didn’t arrive there by choice. They had to flee Chile, like thousands of others, when it was under the thumb of General Augusto Pinochet. If you don’t know the details about Pinochet’s blood-soaked two-decade reign, you should read about them but take care not to eat beforehand. He was a merciless overseer of torture, rapes and thousands of political executions. He had the hands and wrists of the country’s greatest folk singer Victor Jara broken in front of a crowd of prisoners before killing him. He had democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende shot dead at his desk. His specialty was torturing people in front of their families.
As Naomi Klein has written so expertly, he then used this period of shock and slaughter to install a nationwide laboratory for neoliberal economics. If Pincohet’s friend Milton Friedman had a theory about cutting food subsidies, privatizing social security, slashing wages or outlawing unions, Pinochet would apply it. The results of these experiments became political ammunition for neoliberal economists throughout the world. Seeing Chile-applied economic theory in textbooks always boggles my mind. It would be like if the American Medical Association published a textbook on the results of Dr. Josef Mengele’s work in the concentration camps, without any moral judgment about how he accrued his patients.
Pinochet was the General in charge of this human rights catastrophe. He also was someone who Margaret Thatcher called a friend. She stood by the General even when he was in exile, attempting to escape justice for his crimes. As she said to Pinochet, “[Thank you] for bringing democracy to Chile.”
These misogynistic jokes discredit Griner’s ability to play ball with men by tapping into old sexist ideas that women are always less than men and that their specific space in this world is wherever men are not. The very act of getting on Twitter and saying misogynistic things about such a popular female sports star is an act of desperation. It means to set right the balance that was upset when Cuban floated the idea of allowing Griner to try out for the NBA.
With an irony not apparent to these commentators, the belief that Griner is “not manly enough” to play in the NBA is flatly opposed by the other offensive method people used to insult her: that she is a man. This is a classic transphobic trope, or a fear that her gender presentation does not “match” the sex she was assigned at birth. For example: “she possesses man parts, so why not?”; “Griner has a penis and would fit right in”; “She looks and sounds like a man.” For much more, if you need it, in this vein, just check out the hashtag.
These transphobic jokes, like the misogynistic ones, devalue Griner because we live in a society that denigrates trans people in general and chafes whenever confronted by someone who does not fit into a neat box of “feminine woman” or “masculine man”. Because athletes are seen as “masculine”, female athletes, by being athletic, are no longer feminine.