But these facts about the word “Caucasian” aren’t surprising at all!

Yeah, that word is an ugly remnant of 18th century racist classification schemes, and Franchesca Ramsey is describing it accurately.

But doesn’t everyone already know all this? Why…oh. I just read the youtube comments. OMG. “Cultural marxist” and Milo and Sargon and hate everywhere. I’ve been ignoring the youtube commentariat for so long it is shocking how flamingly racist they are. Apparently there are large numbers of horrible people who have targeted Ramsey specifically for focused bigotry.

I thought she was very good, and I’ll have to watch more of her work.

I have not seen or heard #lemonade

I am a sociocultural failure, I know. But I don’t have a subscription to either HBO or Tidal, so all I’ve got are tiny snippets. One thing I’ve heard more of is the strident yodeling about “Becky”, which is nicely explained on VSB. It’s telling, as well, that there is more irritation about a brief remark that is perceived as a slight against white people than several centuries of ongoing oppression of black people.

It also reminds me of something I experienced a few times when I worked at Temple University. There were a couple of occasions when the subway and trains were out of service, and I had to walk home to the northern suburbs…which meant strolling through North Philadelphia, which is a rough neighborhood, poor and neglected. I am a white professorial looking dude. I didn’t fit in. I startled a few people, I know, who were curious about me, and they’d ask. And that’s where the worst thing that happened to me in a black neighborhood occurred.

They all called me “Bob”.

Maybe it’s just a North Philly thing, but apparently the stereotypical white person is named “Bob”. I can sort of see it, I guess.

But otherwise, you know, I was unconcerned. I was walking through black communities, which are no more supportive of muggings or robberies than the white communities I was walking towards. And I could not get outraged at the trivial thing about a stereotypical name, because, as VSB explains…

There are two schools of thought on what qualifies something as racist. The first is that something is racist if the act stems from either a belief of racial superiority or a position of constructed/structural racial superiority. (Or both.) The second encompasses all unfavorable acts which might be race-based. Basically, one school of thought is right (the former) and one is wrong (the latter).

I agree, the first definition is the right one. “Becky” or “Bob” are not a danger to anyone. So why is that what so many people are concerned about?

And I know, I’ve got to find a way to watch Lemonade.

Looks A-rab, has an A-rab name, speaks A-rab…must be a TERRRRIST!

This is what this profiling nonsense comes down to. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi boarded a Southwest Airlines flight, and had a conversation on his cell phone with a relative.

On his way back to Berkeley, Makhzoomi, a loyal Southwest premier rewards member, boarded his flight to Oakland and called his uncle in Baghdad to tell him about Ki-moon’s event. At the end of the phone call, conducted in Arabic, Makhzoomi said goodbye to his uncle with the phrase “inshallah,” which translates to “if God is willing.”

When Makhzoomi hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him. Once he made eye contact with her, she got up and left her seat.

“She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” he said. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

Minutes later, an airport employee arrived to remove Makhzoomi from the airplane. Makhzoomi was escorted onto the passenger boarding bridge where he was met by three security officers.

Yep. He was kicked off the flight and interrogated by the FBI. This is rank madness. If anyone should have been kicked off, it’s that paranoid woman who reported him for speaking a foreign language.

Southwest Airlines released a statement about the event.

A statement from Southwest Airlines says that prior to departure, the flight crew decided to investigate potentially threatening comments made by Makhzoomi aboard the aircraft.

We wouldn’t remove passengers from flights without a collaborative decision rooted in established procedures, the statement reads. We regret any less than positive experience onboard our aircraft. … Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind.

Yeah, right. Then perhaps they could tell us all what the potentially threatening comments that informed their decision to refuse service to a customer might have been?

It’s too early in the morning to peek at the ugly underbelly of the internet

Thanks, Dave Futrelle! Now I’m sleepy and nauseated!

It seems that Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulous (and an army of unmentioned, unpaid interns), those darlings of the discredited ‘news’ site, breitbart.com, have churned out a defense of the alternative right. It’s tedious and stupid and tries very hard to gloss over reality, but here’s Shorter Breitbart:

We aren’t racists, we’re just frustrated intellectuals who enjoy shit-posting!

Hilariously, the Daily Stormer has responded. Shorter Stormer:

We are too racists, and we hate you degenerate gay jew-boys and mud people! Heil Hitler!

A pox on you both.

I’d go back to bed, but now I’m wide awake and disgusted.

If I’m really good, in my next life I get to be a librarian

Librarians noticed something about their clientele.

Of the 5,000 people who visit the San Francisco Public Library every day, about 15 percent of them are homeless, PBS reported. After years of watching this underserved demographic float through to get Internet access, a restroom and often, just refuge from the cold, the library realized…

Wait. Before we go on, allow me to channel my inner Libertarian/Republican.


Actually, that wasn’t their response. They realized…

it was in an auspicious position to stage effective interventions.

So, in 2009, the library hired Leah Esguerra, who is believed to be the nation’s first psychiatric social worker to be employed full time at a library, SFGate reported. Since the program started, about 150 homeless people have received permanent housing, and another 800 have enrolled in social and mental health services, according to PBS.

The success is due in part to the fact that the library has become a hub for homeless people, and that those involved in the program approach homeless patrons with empathy.

Holy christ, Jesus has returned to Earth as a swarm of librarians.

That is so awesome. That is exactly how a community should respond to the underprivileged and needy, by helping them.

Do you have to take a test for basic humanity in order to become a librarian? I’m not sure I’m angelic enough to ever meet the requirements.

And if that tingled your feels, you are now required to read this Superman comic.

The anti-PC police are in the wrong

I’m really fed up with all the op-eds emerging now, decrying those wimpy college students and political correctness and trigger warnings and safe spaces. They’re all from obnoxious ignoramuses who are really trying to defend their sheltered privilege from criticism, so they’re all playing a game of IKYABWAI. So here are a couple of strong rebuttals.

  • “PC Culture” isn’t Killing Higher Ed (But Your Crappy Op-Eds Might Be).

    The last thing higher education needs is one more old white guy bleating about “political correctness run amok,” when it’s just a slightly more genteel phrase for “people not like me getting all uppity.” If you’re upset about other people winning in the marketplace of ideas, maybe it’s because your ideas suck. If you think today’s students are coddled, and don’t have “grit,” you either don’t teach or aren’t paying attention. To see students calling out power inequalities and inequitable behaviors is not some sort of failure, but a triumph of critical thinking and intellectual agency. If you think students calling institutions, their administrations, or other authorities out on bad thinking, institutional inequities, or general bullshit is “silly,” or “killing higher education,” maybe you’re the delicate little flower who can’t abide an intellectual challenge.

  • Straw Freshmen: Why the War on Campus PC Culture is Bullshit.

    Take the “trigger warning” as an example. There are still no colleges or universities that mandate trigger warnings as a practice in any field of study. Most cases of them being used have been in teaching sensitive issues of rape, abuse, or assault to classes with young women. The overarching point in “Coddling,” that trigger warnings actually can’t improve mental health, misses the point of the reality of these women. A new study from the Association of American Universities finds that over a fifth of all college women are sexually assaulted at some time in their enrollment. Another 47% have experienced sexual harassment and another 12% have experienced intimate partner violence. This means that any given classroom with any significant amount of women could be composed of up to a third or more of women who are processing rapes, assaults, harassment, or violence. Given the absolutely horrendous state of affairs within colleges (and largely, the country) in handling rape cases and pursuing justice and health for these women, it is likely that most of these survivors have not received or are not receiving the proper therapy and healing in order to be able to process triggering images and words without suffering further damage.

  • ‘Coddled’ students and their ‘safe spaces’ aren’t the problem, college official says. Bigots are.

    Therefore, whether one is suspicious of the merits of college as a whole or cynical about the existence of “safe spaces,” the truth of the matter is that “coddled” college students aren’t the problem.

    The real culprits — on campuses and in the real world — are the persistent effects of homophobia, income inequality, misogyny, poverty, racism, sexism, white supremacy and xenophobia.

    When students refuse to accept discrimination on college campuses, they’re learning important lessons about how to fight it everywhere.

That last one makes an excellent point: the anti-PC language does the opposite of what its obnoxious proponents claim. It’s not about advocating for free speech. It’s about using accusations of “PC” and mocking efforts to give minorities a voice to silence critics of the status quo.

I am also guilty

I promptly put up a post about the Brussels attacks, but I didn’t say anything about the Ankara attacks. I have excuses: when Turks are attacked by terrorists, my various social network feeds don’t start screaming in panic when Muslims die. But it’s all part of the same phenomenon, our intrinsic tribalism, in which we all reinforce each other in our belief that our people, defined narrowly in a way that excludes much of humanity, are important, and those other people are nobody important. And, unfortunately, as a very privileged American, we have a tendency to not look very far past our own noses.

I don’t know what to do about it, either. If I weep every time someone somewhere within the great mass of humanity commits an evil against another someone in the great mass of humanity, I’d drown in my own tears. So we struggle.

One small thing we’ve done here on FtB is to try and enlist diverse writers, so that maybe as a whole we can fill in the gaps in our individual humanity. And I’m also trying to be more aware and conscious of the entirety of the human experience. But I’ll fail and continue to fail.

That’s no excuse to not try, though.

Matt Walters: racist misogynist, and proud of it


Matt Walters of Houston, Texas looks so normal and ordinary.

And then you read the abusive message he sent to a black woman he didn’t know on Facebook, in which he goes on and on with a violent fantasy in which he kidnaps her and tortures her gruesomely for months before killing her, and you realize that he’s simply a bad person. A horrible human being. A disgrace walking about in nicely groomed skin.

This is where free speech as a principle starts conflicting with the reality of the human condition. He is allowed to ramble to strangers about hanging them upside down in the dark and cut them and burn them, but at some point someone ought to take them aside and get them some help, and maybe explain to them that that behavior is inappropriate and vile, and that they should stop doing it. And while it may be nice for him to get off on telling people about the graphic abuse and mutilation and murder stories playing out in his head, it’s distressing to others and raises legitimate concerns about whether he is a threat to their safety.

He was quite reasonably reported to the police. They “brushed it off”. His target reported him to Facebook. They informed her that it violated no “community standards” (what community is that? The community of psychopathic assholes?). And then, when she shared his nightmare stories with others, Facebook blocked her for a week.

I guess all I can do is use my power of free speech to spread the word that Matt Walters is a nasty piece of work. Oh, and that his brother Buddy Walters is a barely literate dumbass.

A Slovenian disgrace

Yesterday, I got some email from a Slovenian reader to tell me about a developing refugee situation there. I can’t say it better than they can, so I’m just posting it here without identifying information (if the author wants to speak up in the comments, I can verify).

I come from a little place called Slovenia. You can find it on google maps – but you need to zoom in really close. It’s there between Italy and Austria, smack in the middle of the refugee’s path into European heartland.

Recently six refugee children (under 15 years of age) asked for asylum in Slovenia. These kids have no one with them. They are completely alone. Our government is processing their applications but in the meantime they wanted to make sure they are house appropriately. So the ministry asked a local dormitory (Dijaški in študentski dom Kranj), housing high-schoolers, to offer rooms for these 6 misfortunate kids. The dormitory principal, Ms. Judita Nahtigal, agreed and apparently wanted to set up a meeting with someone from the government to discuss the particulars.

In the meantime she also sent a notification letter to the resident’s parents and the teachers employed at the local high school (France Prešeren Gymnasium) informing them of this development. What resulted is as outrageous as it is embarrassing for our country as a whole. The parents and the teachers united against the principal and absolutely refused to accept the fact that refugee children would be allowed to stay there. They put together a petition – signed by ALL 24 teachers to press their case. They then went to the local city council that offered its full support for their bigoted cause. They went to the National Skiing Association (SZS), since a number of the students at the dorm are prospective athletes, and they got warm support for their xenophobia there as well.

It seems like no one wants these poor refugee kids there – not the parents, not the teachers, not the local city council members, not the National Skiing Association – that is no one except the principal, Judita Nahtigal. She commented that, while she did expect some push-back, she never imagined the tenacity and ferocity of what happened.

This is what we’ve apparently come to. Professors at a high school named after our greatest poet, France Prešeren, the author of our national anthem that calls for the unity of all nations, unanimously signing a petition to ban six abandoned refugee children seeking asylum from staying at a dorm.

The reason? They do not want their dorm to get the “stigma” of a refugee center.

Well, I sincerely hope they all do get stigmatized for being bigots and xenophobes.

This is the developing story on our main national media outlet RTV Slovenia (came out yesterday)

and another website (posted today)

It’s all in Slovene of course, as no one abroad is reporting on this yet. But they should be. I’ve tried to recount the facts with no distortions. Use google translate to get some glimpse of it as well. Or maybe you can find another native speaker to corroborate what I’ve said.

This is a national disgrace. Please let it be known. What we need is some well deserved public embarrassment. I can tell you that Slovenes are terribly touchy about their image abroad. We like to pride ourselves as being very accepting and progressive. And I hope most of us are. But the rest need a wake-up call or at least a warning. This is not want we want to be. And sometimes one needs a slap in the face to prevent going too far astray.

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