Bias does not exist, bring on the sportsball!

So you’re presumably familiar with Sha’Carri Richardson who will miss the Olympics. What I did not know is that the test she “failed” is notoriously inaccurate. We can say what we want about banning marijuana and not gewurztraminer (and I’ve said plenty this week), but this thing looks a whole lot worse when we find out the test isn’t even accurate:

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Critical Race Theory: Videos by people much more fun than me

For our next fun & games with CRT, I’m just going to share two good videos. One is very non technical while still getting most everything right. I like it a lot. Whatever quibbles I have with it I’m not going to bother with because right now I just want you to hear something from a lay person about CRT because hopefully whatever language they use will be more accessible and less wordy than whatever I would say. (Yes, I’ve heard myself speak. Can’t really help it. Sorry/not sorry.) This first, non technical video was actually suggested in the comments so if you’ve been following along in the comments, you might have already watched it. If you haven’t though, your narrator and host goes by the handle T1J and is excellent. Get to it:

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Critical Race Theory Link Round-up & Summer Reading List

This ain’t Pendleton or Calgary, but a round-up you shall have anyway. This here is for all those folks who are wondering what important writing on FtB they might have missed related to CRT… plus a few links to other places like The Root & Wonkette, because I love me some The Root & Wonkette. Hell, when we’re done, you’ll have a whole summer reading list just of CRT related things. Fun!

Let’s start with TheRoot, since there are two pieces there that I consider essential reading.

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Critical Race Theory: Questions, Answers, Feelings, and more Questions

A few weeks ago Marcus Ranum asked me via a secret backchannel communication conduit (read: email) if I wanted to tag team some CRT education here on FtB. I said sure, but then quickly hit writers’ block. (And also didn’t keep up with the email. Sorry, Marcus! It’s all me, you did nothing wrong!). The biggest reason I’ll get to at the end, but it hugely contributed to the block. My second biggest problem, though, would have been enough on its own even without the biggest: There’s so much to write about! And although I might possibly be the only blogger on this network who has actually studied this stuff in the law school classrooms where it was meant to be taught, that doesn’t mean I’m an expert. Far from it.

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From Minneapolis to Salem, from 2021 to 1992: An unsettled, unsettling journey

Now THIS is an unpleasant shock. From the Minneapolis StarTribune:

The FBI arrested three more men Friday in connection with the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, two in Minnesota and one in Iowa.

Brian Christopher Mock of Minneapolis was charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds without authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted place; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, and acts of physical violence on Capitol grounds.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m more or less from Oregon. Certainly I’m more from Oregon than I could be said to be from anyplace else, even Los Angeles, where I was born. I moved away from LA when I was 10 months old (ask me about my experience driving the U Haul, it was hellish without power steering) and landed in Oregon when I was 4. From then on, I grew up in a relentlessly white section of that relentlessly white state about 20 miles from Portland. Not much farther from Portland is the state capital, Salem. I’ve been there many times, both because I’ve had friends live in the area and because of activism I’ve done. This article brings up something that happened in Salem 38 years and 8 months ago that everyone should learn or remember.

In 1992, the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance, a theocratic group originally known for misogynistic attacks on women’s reproductive rights (most obviously in an anti abortion ballot measure which was their first success in placing new state laws before voters) had become better known for hating queers.

For that year’s election they had drafted a ballot measure and collected sufficient signatures to put it on the ballot so that if passed it would be illegal for the state to spend money in any way and on any person’s salary if doing so would contribute to portraying queerness as anything other than “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse”. Conflict was ramping up like crazy around the state. Many people who hadn’t been out, came out that year. Others who had been out retreated to the closet.

This was a defining year for me as I, too, came out of the closet in 1992, and immediately began engaging in activism to fight the OCA. Anxiety was high for queers, but it was also high for the bigots. While in Colorado Amendment 1 was written to have a similar legal effect, it was written in dry prose, without the phrase “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse”. In Colorado the fight was mostly about whether or not the state should “support” queers. (which I guess just means should allow queers to use state services without discrimination?) Amendment 1 passed. In Oregon the hostile language became a reason for moderates to oppose the OCA and their Measure 9. With so much attention focussed on not the legislative effect but the apparent ill will communicated by the OCA’s language, a huge number of people were feeling reflected hostility. While in the past their bigotry would go unchallenged as simply “normal”, now anti queer hatred was (modestly) condemned.

The turn of events shocked the bigots, what with how other people were questioning the morals of the bigots as much as (sometimes more than!) people were questioning the morals of people who liked boobies or occasionally gave a blowjob to someone they loved. Anxiety and anger among the bigots rose as well.

Over the course of that summer, 39 years ago, some young skinheads (ages 19 to 22) living in Salem were engaging in a long running campaign of harassment against two queer roommates a couple doors away. The roommates were one black lesbian in her twenties with a Jewish surname and one white gay man in his early 40s. Perhaps because it was a single theme that allowed them to condemn both roommates at once, their friends made it clear that insults targeting sexual orientation were at the heart of this campaign of harassment. But racism and antisemitism were present too, as you could expect from a group of racist skinhead asshats.

One day in late September, well into the campaign season, there was a physical confrontation between houseguests of the two queers and the racists, heterosexist jackholes. We’re not sure of the details of the confrontation, but the houseguests felt that they were sticking up for their hosts when they heard the skinheads being racist, as racists will do, and the racists felt that the houseguests had invaded their apartment and attacked them (and, hell, maybe they did).

In any case, after a confrontation over racism in the context of this ongoing campaign of heterosexist harassment, the racist, heterosexist bigots decided that the right way to reclaim their power was to fill bottles with gasoline, stuff the ends with rags, light them on fire, and throw these Molotov cocktails into the apartment of the hosts & houseguests.

Because of the layout of the apartment, the houseguests made it out. The hosts burned to death.

The hosts’ names were Hattie Mae Cohen & Brian Mock. They were clear victims of a campaign of racist, heterosexist terror for months and became martyrs to hatred’s white, Oregonian avatars.

While Measure 9 consistently polled badly, the margins were never huge, and there was a great deal of concern that some people would not want to admit to supporting a measure that had become associated with bigotry, but would happily vote yes in a private voting booth. Every queer I knew was tense right up to the day after the election.

I am acutely aware that the coverage of the murders of Cohen & Mock may very well have tipped the vote decisively against Measure 9. My freedom and my employment may have been affected by their deaths. For that reason, I consider it a duty to remember them, and I have ever since. I’ve never forgotten their names, nor am I ever likely too.

That’s why it was so shocking to see the name Brian Christopher Mock in a news story as a man arrested for acting out bigotry and hatred and paranoia. To be honest, it was a relief that they included the middle name, and made me wonder if someone at the Star Tribune was familiar with the events of September 26, 1992 in Salem, Oregon.

If you were not familiar with these murders and the effect they had on queer freedom in Washington, California, and especially Oregon, you can read more, or listen to a podcast about them, here.

In the meantime, I will take this coincidence as another reminder of the capacity of fascists to befoul everything that they touch, and as more motivation to prevent the spread of fascism’s stain.

May we always remember those who came before. May we always consider those who will come after.

 

 

52.5 Years Late

Apparently athletes who believe in justice will be no more or less welcome on this year’s US Olympic team than racist athletes. From the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

Athletes at the United States Olympic trials will be allowed to take part in racial and social justice demonstrations, including taking a knee during the national anthem.

Athletes can kneel during the anthem or hold up their fist on the podium. The latter was famously done as a Black Power salute by track-and-field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City.

Wearing a hat with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Trans Lives Matter,” or words such as “equality” or “respect” will also be allowed. Furthermore, the committee is letting athletes speak about equity and equal rights for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color individuals, or other historically underrepresented, marginalized or minoritized populations.”

They’re letting athletes have opinions, and even to say them out loud. Isn’t that sweet? I wonder what Tommie Smith & John Carlos would say?

Tommie Smith & John Carlos just medaled in the 200 meter sprint and yet they wanted more.

Yeah, probably that. Always wanting more, always wanting better. When will they learn that the US has already fulfilled its promise and its time to shut it down lest including too many people spoil our hallowed equality? Next thing you know, athletes at the winter Olympics in 2022 will be wearing hats saying, “Feed the hungry,” or “Health care for all”.

Lynching: An Alternate Interpretation of 1/6/2021

Professional historian of lynching and mob violence Guy Lancaster has an article up at HistoryNewsNetwork.org that interprets the mob violence of 1/6/2021 not through the lens of rebellion, insurrection, sedition, and treason, but through the lens of lynching. I think it’s a great read, although I would caution that I don’t think it’s appropriate to ignore the currently-dominant interpretive framework of 1/6/2021 as an insurrection. Lancaster’s work (at least according to me) should be additive rather than substitutive.

Why does Lancaster see lynching in the events of 1/6? Well, some aspects are easy: they were looking for people to publicly execute, AOC, Nancy Pelosi, and (not least!) Mike Pence to name just three. They had set up a makeshift gallows (which may not have been sturdy enough for actual executions, though the mob clearly had effective means for murdering others at their disposal). They were white as fuck. But there’s much more than that.

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Let’s examine race and policing in Portland & DC

I and others have mentioned, of course, the vastly different treatment given to BLM protesters when it was thought they might inflict property damage and yesterday’s insurrectionists. There are numerous reports, including from Newsweek, about how law enforcement had plenty of information leading them to predict that the publicly-planned January 6th event would become violent. They even had good reason to fear there would be violence against people, not just property. For a variety of reasons, they did not take seriously the need for event security or even security on Capitol Hill. One reason is particularly interesting: they feared it would be even worse if they acted to prepare defenses against violence. Why? Here’s Newsweek’s take:

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I’m a Nazi, Says Nazi. World Topples in Not-Shock.

The Proud Boys and other so-called alt-right have often maintained that they aren’t Nazis. For instance, in 2017 before, during, and after the Charlottesville travesty where the Proud Boys and their allies and fellow travelers shouted “Jews will not replace us!” they also insisted to the media that they were neither anti-semitic nor Nazis.

Well, apparently not so much. I know. You’re shocked.

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