There have been nearly 20,000 tweets with the #StandwithJamilah hashtag following the events of last week. I do not have words to express the gratitude I have for the individuals who have raised their voices publicly and privately to ‘stand’ with me after I was attacked, or in Internet parlance, trolled following my exchange with RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams—an exchange that was largely reported with gross factual inaccuracies by news outlets both large and small. After thousands of negative Tweets, emails and phone calls to and about both my employer and I—in which I was repeatedly called names ranging from the strange (“socialist,” “Marxist,” “plantation mistress,”) to the downright sexist and racist (“c-nt,” “b-tch,” “n-gger”) and even calls for me to be raped, robbed and beaten—I am sustained by the kind, supportive words I have received from so many people, women and men of all races.
I want to affirm, for any who may doubt, that I have very strong feelings about how my words were twisted to fit the agenda of others. (This is not new territory—ask Shirley Sherrod, Melissa Harris Perry, Anthea Butler…I suppose I should take some pride in now being counted among this principled group.) But, right now, this isn’t about my feelings. Even though so much of this seems like it is about me, Jamilah Lemieux, it most certainly isn’t. This debacle is largely a commentary on the evolving concept of being an employed individual on social media—and the ever-shifting line between public and private. It highlights the importance of employees being mindful of such at all times, whether that feels “fair” or not. This is not about the First Amendment, this is about corporate ethics and the challenges that face those of us who represent major media brands.
In theory, I should be able to say whatever I want on my personal social media accounts and everyone should understand and respect that my words are not the words of Johnson Publishing Company, nor EBONY. That is not the world we live in. That is not reality. And while a quip about a TV show or anecdote about a date may go by without much controversy, “snarking” those who don’t share my political views left me open to attack. And in an era during which there are people who live for nothing more than the opportunity to tear down a brand or an individual who is, perhaps, more confident or more accomplished than themselves, we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our careers from a useless war.
- From “Jamilah Stands,” at Ebony.com
By Arturo R. García
Who does Rep. Peter King (R-NY) actually represent?
According to his website, the 3rd Congressional District is:
- Overwhelmingly white
- Overwhelmingly involved in cis-hetero marriages
- Making more income per household (median income $56,060) than the national average (median 2010 income $49,777)
Has King always had issues with Muslims?
Not according to a profile piece on him by CNN: King reportedly supported then-President Bill Clinton’s military push to defend Muslims in the Balkan regions, and had close ties with the small Muslim community in his own district, but renounced them after he found local Muslims “covering up” for Al-Qaeda in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and refusing to cooperate with “police at all levels.”
That’s a pretty serious charge. How many law-enforcement officials does King plan to call on to provide evidence?
Isn’t this hearing reminiscent of Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communism crusade?
King might know the answer better than we think; as Politico noted, he worked for McCarthy’s counsel, Roy Cohn, early on in his career. Of course, King also dismisses the comparison as “fanaticism.” Uh huh.
Who is Zuhdi Jasser, and what qualifies him as an expert on Islam?
According to The Washington Post, Jasser is the only witness King plans to call who isn’t a legislator. King also plans to call Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim. Democratic members of King’s committee plan to call Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to respond to King’s allegations that Muslims are “not cooperating” with law enforcement.
Jasser has already made himself a favorite in conservative media circles, though, by being their Muslim Friend (even though he admits to not being “a formal expert” in Koranic Arabic) and through his work with the Middle East Quarterly with Daniel Pipes, a man described by Media Monitors Network thusly:
Daniel Pipes is as much a scholar on Islam and Muslims as David Duke is a scholar on Judaism and Jews. He does not seem to know where scholarship ends and where political advocacy begins. He does not initiate his research by asking questions for which he seeks answers, but by providing answers for which he cherry-picks evidence.
Pipes is wedded to his personal political agenda to such a point that it dominates his worldview invalidating his ability to act as a neutral scholar on Muslim-related topics. Concerned with the interests of Israel above all else, he consistently defines Muslim-Americans exclusively as a function of their position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For Pipes, a “bad” Muslim is a Muslim who challenges his views on Israel and a “good” Muslim is one who agrees with them; in his “scholarly” lingo, the code terms are “Islamist” and “moderate” respectively.
Who else is King going to for advice on this subject?
At least one person we can confirm, thanks to Lee Fang at Think Progress, is Brigitte Gabriel, an anti-Islam activist who, though she will not be testifying, shed some light into what King will be talking about during the hearings:
GABRIEL: Glenn Beck is right in what he’s talking about and what I’m holding in front of me right now is the Muslim Brotherhood project for North America. [...] The Muslim Brotherhood wrote a plan in 1982. It’s a one hundred year plan for radical Islam to infiltrate and dominate the West and establish an Islamic government on Earth.
FANG: So what’s going on in Western Europe and North Africa, what’s going on in Egypt, this is all part of the plan?
GABRIEL: [nods] In the counter-terrorism circles this plan became known as The Project. [...]
FANG: Is Peter King, in his hearings, is he going to talk about this issue? And is he going to ask about this wider, global threat; its happening in Egypt, its happening in Western Europe and frankly it could be happening here?
GABRIEL: Exactly. He’s going to be talking about these issues.
Who’s standing up against this?
We’ve already seen protests being held against the hearings. And at least 28 members of the House of Representatives have added their signatures to a letter of protest being circulated by Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI). For his part, Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle calling King out:
Rep. King’s intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia. By framing his hearings as an investigation of the American Muslim community, the implication is that we should be suspicious of our Muslim neighbors, co-workers or classmates solely on the basis of their religion.
This should be deeply troubling to Americans of all races and religions. An investigation specifically targeting a single religion implies, erroneously, a dangerous disloyalty, with one broad sweep of the discriminatory brush.
Honda’s column speaking out against King, according to the Post, is part of a larger bond between some Japanese-Americans and Muslim-Americans on the West Coast, fueled by the similarities between the ethnic targeting both groups have faced.
What’s being ignored by the media because of King’s shameless plea for attention?
Lots of things, but here’s one particularly vile omission: the fact that, even after they went viral, the following public remarks by elected officials were not written about or dissected nearly as heavily by CNN, or MSNBC, or most major network outlets – at least online:
“A big part of the problem that we face today is that our children have been taught at schools that every idea is right, that no one should criticize others’ positions, no matter how odious. And what do we call that? They call it multiculturalism and it has paralyzed too many of our fellow citizens to make the critical judgments we need to make to prosper as a society.” – Congressman Ed Royce
“I know quite a few Marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.” – Villa Park City Council member Deborah Pauly
Where’s that investigation?
By Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said
You know back in the 90s when Pat Buchanan was launching failed bids for the presidency, the conservative politico was, in the minds of most folks I knew, synonymous with rabid, ugly, bigotry. But in the late oughts, the man who as late as 2006 still called Nixon’s race-baiting Southern Strategy a good idea, has rehabbed his image through regular appearances on MSNBC, where he is treated by the resident progressives like some batty-but-harmless uncle–a good guy who may be a little retro, but who for the most part simply holds a differing but valid political opinion. Hey, good analysis of a political issue requires evaluation from both sides, right? At least MSNBC, whose commentary has a decided leftward slant, bothered to add a real voice of opposition, unlike Alan Colmes, the cipher of Fox News. The problem is, Pat Buchanan’s isn’t a fact-based or harmless point of view, as his recent racist and sexist foaming demonstrates: