Trump Would Rather Have His Racism Than $20 In His Pocket

So, when redesigning the US$20 bill, the treasury department took a poll on the best person to next be depicted. You may remember that Andrew Jackson, the genocidal maniac who was critiqued by other slave holders for how cruelly he treated his slaves, graces your US twenties right now. Since the US has been notoriously bad at featuring women on its currency and since the new bill was due to come out in 1920, the anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the US, and because US citizens have more sense than the government, the person selected to honor the new bill is Harriet Tubman… except the men couldn’t have a white guy replaced by a Black woman, so the new design was to keep Jackson, but move him to the reverse side of the 20 while putting Tubman on the front.

Creating a new bill is a time-consuming task, not least because after the old one has been out for a while, counterfeiters will have learned to mimic most of the features and the new bills, in addition to being durable in water, somewhat more tear resistant than most papers, and meeting US consumers’ subjective expectations that a bill seem “official” and not feel plasticky (which implies “fake”), new anti-counterfeiting techniques need to be designed into each new bill. Even when the person featured in the portrait does not change, the bills themselves do every so often and updating the counterfeiting countermeasures is a significant part of that. For this reason, the Treasury is literally in a constant state of research and development of new features that can be built into any new bills.

This time round, however, Steve Mnuchin, the US Secretary of the Treasury, has just told congress that despite the long lead time and the overwhelming poll support for Tubman, she will not appear on the $20 bill in 2020. Instead, Mnuchin suggests, 2028 is a more likely date. This would extend the current design to 25 years of use. We are already at 16, and the previous record for the longest use of a single design is about 15 years. In 2017 Mnuchin suggested that the Treasury might not release Tubman on the 20 because consumers become attached to particular persons on particular bills. This rationale was given despite the fact that the decision had already been made to keep Jackson’s image on the bill, if on the other side. But now, in 2019, Mnuchin has just announced that due entirely to needing to develop new anti-counterfeiting techniques, Tubman’s image cannot appear when originally intended.

The whole thing stinks, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Take a moment to think and you’ll realize that even if no new anti-counterfeit measures were ready to be placed in the 2020 series bill, changing the design and keeping the current measures is better at challenging counterfeiting than doing nothing at all. So why delay?

The real answer we can only guess, but I have three good ones: 2020 is a Presidential election year, and not only does Trump idolize Jackson, but I think he’s also afraid that his racist supporters will be furious at him if his treasury department releases a $20 with a Black woman on it – no matter how many white men are on it with her. If enough of his supporters are racist (a reasonable proposition), then pissing off the racists will hurt Trump’s chances at reelection.

And so here we are, we can’t have nice things because

  1. Trump idolizes a genocidal maniac who embarked on the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples from the areas of US territories that were recognized states during his term, and generally from any economically valuable land,
  2. Trump’s supporters are too often racist to risk the US government promoting the picture of a Black woman during an election year, and
  3. Trump is his own racist supporter who doesn’t want to see a Black woman’s face on “his” money.

It’s amazing how Trump can combine the most obscenely consequential power grabs with the most trivial and petty exercises of that power.


PS. And will the Democrats call this out for the racism that it is? Of course not. We’ll get a few comments about how it’s disappointing that 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment we still have never had a woman’s portrait on US paper currency during a federal election in which women were entitled to vote. But they certainly won’t say anything about racism, or even about how Mnuchin’s assertions are literally irrational.

 

Passovers Past: The One Drop Rule

Passover is a time to think about slavery, and for many of us to think about race because of the deep connection between the two topics. Two years ago I wrote one of my best-loved pieces The One Drop Rule. Not only do traffic logs show that both of my readers read the post twice, but apparently one of them still comes back a few times per month to read it again right up until today. Since it’s also a post about which I’m proud, and since I’m also struggling with kidney stones right now, I thought I’d take the opportunity of this year’s Passover to bring it back for new readers. It turns out that I’m not up to messing around with 301 redirects to create all the appropriate aliases, so instead I’ll link it here and encourage you to go read the original if you haven’t or if you’ve forgotten it. If you like, you can pretend that post is your reward for finding the afikoman. I’d make a chocolate joke here, but Bootsy Collins told me I can’t fit it between the 1s:


Yes that’s the same video I included in one of my earliest blog posts ever, but as long as we’re headed down memory lane, we may as well take the funk railroad. I hear it even has a stop in Mixed Metaphorville.

Credit Due

Pat Parker is a particularly awesome poet, although it’s true that we all tend to value most highly those things we can’t do ourselves, and whatever talent I have with language, it certainly doesn’t include a gift for brevity. So maybe I overvalue Parker because she’s able to make a point much more succinctly than I?

Hmm. Let’s see:

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Loving Day

Well, I missed it by two days, but let’s do this anyway: Fifty-one years ago on Tuesday, a mere 99 years, 11 months and 3 days after we passed a constitutional amendment requiring states to stop with the racial discrimination already, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that yes, Virginia, there are limits to constitutional violations and stop Freuding persecuting the Lovings already, okay?

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Dana Loesch Sends A Love Letter to Richard Dawkins

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of the recent book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions among others, was brought on the Daily Show to be interviewed by host Trevor Noah. It’s a good interview, and you should watch it. Here, let me make it easy for you:

So did you notice the extremist horror about 2/3rds of the way through? That’s right, the part where Noah asks about generous gestures that, through chivalry, have been entwined with sexism and specifies holding open doors as an example? And then Adichie goes completely off the rails, saying

gestures like holding the door shouldn’t be gender-based. I think it’s a lovely thing to hold the door but we should hold the door for everyone. …[T]he idea of someone holding the door for a woman because she’s a woman…I have trouble with it.

I’m quite happy for people to hold the door for me. But I hope they’re not doing it because of this sort of idea of chivalry. Because chivalry is really about the idea that women are somehow weak and need protecting.

Adichie, how could you? Well, at least Fox & Friends had Dana Loesch on hand to nip the budding tip before the petals surrounding the reproductive bits can open:

With all due respect to her [Adichie] — and I’m familiar with her — I think it’s a luxury of third-wave feminism to complain about holding doors open for people where her country, Nigeria, it ranks top in the world for female genital mutilation, which I think if far more of a disservice to women and far more suppressive than someone courteously opening the door for someone else.

Dear Dawkinsima: when Loesch is your fellow traveler, perhaps it’s time to rethink your destination.

 

 

 

 

 

Fuck Yeah, She’s Worth $1 Billion.

NPR has the story of Hope Cheston who was raped by an employee of Crime Prevention Agency Inc.

No shit.

The employee who raped her, Brandon Lamar Zachary, was not qualified to be an armed security guard and did not have proper licensing. Nevertheless, CPA gave him a gun and the job of patrolling Cheston’s apartment building. Then, when Cheston was only 14 years old, Zachary raped her.

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Since Rosa Parks Wasn’t Rosa Parks, Who Was? Irene Bad-Ass Morgan, That’s Who

Over on Pharyngula, a discussion has been started about the propriety of using “accomplice” as a better word to describe the people that we have sometimes described as “allies” when discussing people that are not targeted by a specific form of oppression but nonetheless choose to work against it.

I started to write a comment over there about why I believe accomplice is appropriate, but it ended up becoming a treatise*1 about a woman named Irene Morgan*2. I decided that the thread shouldn’t be cluttered by a comment quite as long as I was writing, but that Morgan deserved better than cutting that treatise short. So I’ve moved it to Pervert Justice as a post for your reading pleasure.

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You know what’s ruining this country? Talking about racism.

Maxine Waters has been getting praise the last couple of days for her actions in standing against a bill designed to erode consumer protections. The protections in question are designed to make it harder for auto-loan companies to discriminate against people of color in lending terms.

The auto-loan business is unlike, say, the mortgage business where it’s relatively rare for the seller of a home to negotiate the terms of a mortgage taken out by the buyer. In the car business, negotiating the terms of a potential loan is part of the wheeling and dealing that goes into the process of selling the car. It turns out that there’s a lot of data that discrimination in loan terms has been happening even very recently. (This, unfortunately, is actually quite like mortgages where we know from the information that came out after the 2008 housing crash that people of color had been systematically pressed into taking unfavorable loan terms.) Because of this, these regulations have a direct impact on car dealerships themselves who are implicated in creating unfair terms – indeed the closely-connected, but frequently legally-separate loan companies don’t always know anything about the race of the buyer, but the car seller interacting with a buyer face-to-face certainly does. And it’s that seller negotiating the terms. So, of course, car sellers were a primary target of the regulations.

This has not gone down well with car sellers who take great exception to the idea that people of color being routinely charged more interest than white folks should in any way reflect badly on them … or justify intrusive government regulations. Trump, of course, is here to help out those beleaguered racists who desperately want the freedom to change people different interest rates based on race. Thus entered Maxine Waters and her praiseworthy defense of reasonable regulations on the floor of the House.

Not everyone found Waters’ defense praiseworthy, however. Mike Kelly, coincidentally the owner of several car dealerships, did not like Waters’ floor speech one bit. Not that he wanted to disagree with her, of course. He hated being put in a position where he was forced to disagree with her. The truly terrible thing about repealing anti-discrimination protections is that when repealing law whose entire purpose is to prevent discrimination based on race, the repeal’s opponents mention race at all!

“We have seen the economy take off,” Kelly, who also owns three auto dealerships, exclaimed. “I just think that if you come to the floor and there are 60 minutes to debate. 30 minutes on each side. But as I was sitting there, I had 30 minutes of Democrats coming down and talking about how bad automobile people are because they discriminate against nonwhite buyers. I said that’s not America. We don’t talk about those things.”

There’s so much to address. I’d love to leave the Jordan Peterson post up longer. I need to follow up on what happened in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank yesterday. And yet, here I am quoting some asshat white man who thinks the biggest tragedy in repealing a requirement that we not discriminate based on race is that we violate the sacred dictum that in REAL AMERIKKKA we shouldn’t ever talk about race.

Fuck Trump’s America.

 

If you read one thing today, make it this

The Baton Rouge advocate reported yesterday that the mother of a baby killed in a car crash has been charged with negligent homicide.

I’m not one to say that the loss of a child is by definition punishment enough when a parent or parents are responsible for fatal injuries to a child. I’m perfectly fine with charging parents who refuse to get medical care in the face of an obvious health crisis. I’m fine doing that whether they did so because of some issue that ultimately has a reasonable basis (:cough: Tuskeegee :cough:) or whether they did so because of some issue that has nothing rational even at some distant core (:cough: faith healing :cough:). The charges, however, need to be proportionate. In this case, they clearly are not. But you’ll have to stay with me to get more on that later.  [Read more…]

99 & 44/100ths % Pure Racism

D’oh! I’m an idiot. IVORY soap advertised itself as 99 & 44/100ths% pure, not Dove. My idiocy now set aside, I leave the OP alone so you can at least get the substance about the current advertising campaign, which is correctly attributed to Dove.


Dove, having famously marketed their soap as “99 & 44/100ths % pure,” now has a new ad campaign – or had. That’s right, it’s already over and in all likelihood you hadn’t even yet seen it.

The Kansas City Star appears to have been the first to call it out, and three hours after this article detailing the contemptible ad, the Star had another article up, this one, that highlighted a tepid apology from the company that received less attention in the initial article.

The best news out of all this is that the company took down the ad quite quickly, and also that

None of Dove’s statements on the Facebook advertisement this week described what the company’s intent had been in making the ad.

That’s actually a step up from what we normally see, regardless of how bad the initial ad might have been.

The substance of the racism critique is that a Black woman with a dark shirt is seen pulling that shirt up and off over her head. Through the wonders of green screen tech, this reveals a white woman with a lighter shirt underneath. The apparent implication being that Dove can make you lighter/whiter (and that this is desirable).

That message was undercut by the fact that the white woman then removes her shirt to reveal another woman not depicted in the screen-captures that I saw, but identified in writing as “a woman of color” wearing a shirt of a shade in between that of the Black woman’s dark shirt and the white woman’s ecru shirt. However, not many people were willing to give Dove the benefit of the doubt as the product that they were advertising listed it as useful for

normal to dark skin

Yeah, I think just dropping the ad was a good idea. Get that bottle changed as soon as possible, though, eh?


As a post-script, I feel compelled to note that while it’s hard to praise the marketing of a product as marketing itself is so deeply entwined with consumerism and problematic attitudes towards capitalism and consumption, as far as marketing campaigns go, I actually liked the many-different-shapes ad campaign they ran where their products were not just depicted but actually sold in what they called “Real Beauty Bottles” that contained the same amount of soap or lotion, but differed radically in profile. Some bottles were tall and entirely flat. Some tall but slightly curved in at the middle, others were short and shaped like an upside-down apple, with several other shapes included as well. It didn’t work out well, with one criticism saying the bottles made some people feel judged, but I thought that one came from a good place.