It isn’t just the South

His name was Henry Towne. He was a second cousin on my father’s side; he was always cheerful and laughing, and was the life of every party. He was also a fanatical John Bircher, and his house always had signs outside: “US OUT OF THE UN!”, and various such slogans. I felt sorry for his kids, because he set up a school for his fellow far right conservatives, yanked them out of the public schools, and I hardly ever saw them again.

I name him now because I didn’t when I was a kid. When I was about ten years old, he took me aside, knowing that I was already a science nerd, and he showed me some flyers he was handing out. It included a cartoon of a gorilla, with a list of characteristics they shared with Negroes: Black. Thick curly hair. Thick lips. Yellow teeth. Emotional. Violent. Criminal. I had black friends at school, but they looked nothing like that. I was a science nerd, and I knew enough about gorillas to know that they were nothing like that. Every thing in that flyer was a damnable lie, and I knew it.

And that asshole looked at me and said, smugly, “Well, what do you think of that?” And I looked at him, my mind racing, tangled up with politeness and the respect I’m supposed to give my elders, and I mumbled something vaguely affirmative, and he let me go.

I’ve been ashamed of myself for about half a century for that. I knew he was a dishonest bigot even as a child, and I said nothing. The last time I saw him was at my father’s funeral, almost 25 years ago, and again I said nothing, not about his racism, not about his ignorant political views, not about his abuse of his children’s educations, nothing. I just avoided him. He told some nice stories about when my father was a boy. I just sat quietly to the side, seething, torn between avoiding a spectacle at the funeral and wanting to grab him by the scruff of the neck and ask him how many poisonous lies he’d told this week, before throwing him out the door.

I didn’t. I’m ashamed of that, too.

This was in Kent, Washington, a fine suburban city in a thoroughly Northern state. My parents, fortunately, never expressed such odious views to me, but I had other relatives and friends who used all kinds of slurs casually; Henry Towne was just the worst of them. And he was so nice and polite about it! He could cheerfully, and in flawless, grammatical English, tell you the most vicious nonsense about any of your neighbors who weren’t sufficiently white, in his estimation.

Now I live in another fine Northern state, one with an excellent progressive reputation, and here is one of my neighbors, living just a few blocks away.

He has both a Confederate and American flag hanging in his garage. His truck has a sticker that says “God Bless America”.

There is a cancer at the heart of our country, and there it is, proudly displayed. My cousin, and this person, knew that they could express their bigotry with confidence, and no one would call them on it.

The scumbag who murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville is from Ohio. Richard Spencer was born in Boston. Milo Yiannopoulos is British. Tim Gionet, better known as “BakedAlaska”, is from Alaska. Mike Cernovich is from Illinois. Alex Jones is from Texas, so at least that one hate-filled loon is a Southerner. This bigotry is not a purely Southern phenomenon, it’s everywhere in America. We’re all of us complicit in white racism.

It is time to root it out.


  1. mnb0 says

    “It is time to root it out.”
    Easier said than done. The Netherlands have been dealing with Geert Wilders for almost 15 years now. In addition since a few months this scumbag is in Dutch parliament:

    He is so well bred and talks so politely about homeopathic dilution of Dutch society ….

    Baudet has become the Dutch pet nazi.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    The scumbag who murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville is from Ohio

    Which was no personal surprise as I have an entire slew of cousins who are staunch “Rethuglican” Racists, who I keep trying to keep distant.
    I give up

  3. anthrosciguy says

    I don’t know how you can get across to people that you cannot have allegiance both to the USA and the traitorous movement that seceded from the USA. Just point out the contradiction again and again, I guess.

  4. coragyps says

    I can’t find it again, naturally, but I saw a picture from Charlottesville yesterday that had a swastika immediately adjacent to a couple of Confederate battle flags. That just pretty much says it all, no?

  5. feministhomemaker says

    Thank you for this post, PZ. It is so important for us all to hear white people’s stories of what racism looks like within our families and neighborhoods. We must witness to how it is spread, how it is taken for granted, how it is silently left alone and consequently, how it continues to influence us generation after generation. In the face of white denial, our stories offer the record of what we know to be true: racism is real, white people do indeed think the condescending, sometimes vile things people of color have accused us of harboring based on our words and actions. This sick sense of white superiority has been passed down to children for generations by parents, teachers, preachers, neighbors. I experienced it in Houston, Texas.

    When I was six, a black family moved next-door to my family. It was a lower middle class white neighborhood. The Alexanders had two children my age, Shirley Ann and Charles. I was so excited but I soon learned from my neighbors and teachers that they were regarded as less than us. Within a year our neighborhood had completely turned from white to black. All the white families fled except ours. My parents were liberals, Democrats who raged against the Birchers. My parents made sure we sat on the black side of our segregated Catholic Church in which black men back then could not be priests and families who were black had to sit on one side and white on the other. Because of our liberalness it was hard at first for me to see our own racism but looking back I see it plainly. My parents used terms like pickinniny, darkies, and chocolate drop to refer to my black friends in private but always carefully said Negro in public settings, never the N word, which they taught us was very bad. When my sister played school with all the neighborhood kids she was always the teacher. That was a privilege that simply went unacknowledged, taken for granted. And when she and I started sounding like the black kids when we spoke, our parents were disturbed. They told us not to talk like that. These things seemed minor compared to the white teacher who drove me home and said how awful my father was for letting us live among the N…rs. When I got out from the car and from under her authority I ran in the house, ashamed to answer Shirley Ann’s call to come play. But these were not the things that made me know for sure we were racists. I knew it because of what I experienced going on in my own brain, my most inner private thoughts. My best friend, Larry, lived to our other side and he was my same age but attended an all black school, not mine. I would imagine him showing up to my classroom and announcing that he and I did not believe in segregation or that he was less than me. We were equal and we believed we should attend school together. As I imagined this, I admitted to myself that what he said was true. I did believe as he did. But I would get so mad at him for daring to go to my class and say it, embarrassing me in front of my peers as I was acutely aware that they did not share our views, including the teacher, the authorities in that school. His actions seemed arrogant to me in those imaginings and it made me mad.

    None of that imaginary scenario I invented was ever said outloud. I never expressed this worry outloud. But still I knew I thought it and felt it and I knew it was racism despite what we said outloud about what we believed. As a 10 year old white girl I struggled internally with how I could be just regarding race and yet feel so strongly the social stigma of associating with blacks as equals, the sting of racism all around me making non racist views a cause for social shaming. (When I wore my hair in many braids like my neighbors I was called N…er at school.) I knew I was a coward to feel that sting and get mad at Larry for his brave voice, his true voice describing my real views, what I knew was the just view.

    I can also recall worrying about how I would get a man to marry me. I was 10. I worried about this constantly. As the 6th child among 7, a girl, there was no family money for me. We were poor. Everything was focused on my oldest brother. In my worry over what would happen to me, clueless how to make a boy like me, a man marry me, I found comfort in the realization that I could always get a black boy to like me or a black man to marry me since they surely would choose me over any black girl, so I thought. Children don’t have such twisted thoughts normally. This thought grew out of the obvious unequalness I saw all around me, the racism that was so taken for granted all around me. I had those thoughts despite being friends with black boys and girls living around me, despite having liberal parents who managed to resist certain racist structures like segregation in our church. But I never forgot those thoughts and I never believed they were fair. Those thoughts made me ashamed. I knew they were wrong and when I became an adult I was horrified I thought such things. But because I did not deny I had those thoughts, did not forget them, I could know deeply how accurate black people could be when they accused white folks of having hidden racist agendas based on the subtleties of how they spoke and acted. I knew such thoughts are not entirely hidden. They manifest in condescension, presumption, embarrassment, avoidance. And when challenged, often by quick and fake/dishonest outraged denial by those same white folks. I recognized the interpretation of black folks as arrogant and uppity when black folks suggested such thoughts did indeed exist in white heads when blacks were passed over for promotions, ignored for help or benefits, etc.

    It takes conscious effort to be honest about ourselves and retrain ourselves not to be racist. I often wondered if men would be willing to do the same thing, retrain themselves not to be sexist, for it occurred to me such inner thoughts must have sometimes existed among men when they treated me with condescension, presumption, ignoring my words or boundaries. I knew what such behavior looked like from both sides of inequality. I had to retrain myself not to immediately think a female author was less authoritative. I had to notice the color of authors I was reading and make myself seek out black authors, female authors, and the same in ever expanding arcs of fairness. Becoming non racist takes work. And hearing the stories told by white people, witnessing to what racism actually looks like in our white inner and public lives is a vital part of becoming non racist and it helps others do the same work.

    Thank you for your story, PZ. Thank you.

  6. says

    Thank you for this post PZ. It is an encouragement. In the past I have blurred out license plates when I publish pictures of cars with racist stuff. Now I’m going to leave the license plates clear.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re @8:
    Coincidentally, John Oliver just invented “the reverse Godwin Law”, where in some arguments NOT mentioning NAZI means automatic loss of argument.
    Referring to ~45’s mentioning Nazism when faux- condemning the “incident”.

  8. says

    *raises bong in salute*
    *exhales cloud of smoke*

    I grew up in — and still live in — an overwhelmingly White county. Growing up, going to school, I remember ONE person of color in elementary school, and she (IIRC) was a Hawaiian Native. I knew there was a local tribe (the Lummi), but as far as I was aware, there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction between us and them outside of open-to-everyone cultural education things. Anyway, I was about six or seven when my parents adopted my baby sister. A black baby. Honestly, I was upset at the loss of parental time and attention, the skin color of their new focus was not even on the list. Then came my kid brother. Also black.

    I don’t think I even noticed — well, of course I noticed my sibs were different, I’m not stupid — but I didn’t really understand that it even was a BFD to some people until it was explicitly pointed out. I know I’ve said stupid and racist shit in the past. I have no recall of specific instances, but knowing me and my mouth and my not-thinking-before-speaking, I’m dead sure I’ve said something, somewhen, that qualifies as racist.

    I guess I never really saw the appeal (or even the point) of separating and categorizing people by race, and, further, discriminating based on those categories. Maybe I’m stupid. Maybe I’m naive. What I do know is that I want people to be treated decently, regardless of race (or almost any other category you’d care to swap in).

    The other thing I know is that I have a long way to go on my own journey, so I’ve not much room to criticize people who, however imperfectly, are at least trying to help.

  9. whheydt says

    Re: SC @ #4…
    About 2 to 3 months ago. So, you are correct, he is from Kentucky, not really from Ohio.

  10. bassmanpete says

    I’m a white male and was born and raised in the UK. Don’t recall even seeing any people of different skin colour (other than on film or in photos) until I was at least 10 years old. My mum taught me to read before I started school at age 5. No kindergartens in our area back then (1950s). I remember being given my dad’s old encyclopedia soon after learning how to read. It opened up a whole new universe for me. I learnt about ancient Egypt, Rome, India, China, etc.; all these civilisations that existed while Britain still had just a bunch of tribes.

    My dad had been in the British army in the ’20s. He’d been stationed in Egypt, the Sudan and India during his time in the army and he was a racist. It didn’t really hit me until I was about 8 or 9 but after that, oh we had some arguments. Of course the age discrepancy was used against me: “You’re only a kid. What would you know”. Well, I knew that these supposed sub humans had managed to create a, for the times, civilised society and that they certainly weren’t backward. Anyway, my dad went to his grave still a racist. I couldn’t hate him but we never saw eye to eye.

  11. blf says

    My own incident of not calling out a relation was also many yonks ago when I was about the same age, coincidently, as poopyhead in the OP. Some sort of an extended family gathering (I don’t recall just what, now) and for reasons I also don’t clearly recall now, an aunt who worked as a sales assistance somewhere started complaining about customers. At first, harmless stuff, silly stories, bizarre requests, and so on, but then, speaking of Latinos, she blurted out …and they even smell different. They steal. And stink. You always have to keep your eyes on them! (That is pretty much word-for-word.)

    I was flabbergasted, young and not too sure how to respond. None of the other adults (or children) took her on directly, although I do recall comments along the lines of (these are all paraphrases) “different customs”, “they probably also avoid you”, and something alluding to stones & glass houses. (As I now recall, I myself left the room after awhile for some fresh air, too upset and confused to stay.)

    Since then I have had very little to do with that aunt, partly due to living in different parts of the world (then & especially now), and partly due to this incident.

    Earlier this year during the French presidential elections, the le penazis were out in force. This area has, unfortunately, a large number of le penazi supporters, with the candidates typically getting almost 25% of the vote. Fortunately, none have been elected, at least not in the immediate area. Anyways, whilst I usually managed to avoid them, once they trapped me during the morning market and tried to push a pamphlet into my hands. My reply was to yell, at the top of my voice at point-blank range, “FUCK OFF NAZI!” That took them by surprise, and got a lot of stares from others in the vicinity; and, from a stall-holder I admittedly frequently do business with, a sly approving grin. (I later wanted to get a heavy black marker or something to cross-out or deface the le penazi posters, but didn’t get my act together and actually obtain the matériel.)

  12. blf says

    A powerful column by Carol Anderson (Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University), America is hooked on the drug of white supremacy. We’re paying for that today. The entire thing is worth reading. Some excerpts:

    With white supremacy now having its grip on the Republican party, everything the addict once valued has become expendable. Gone from power are moderate Republicans who believed in limited government, fiscal restraint and civil rights. Gone, as well, is the clout of the national security hawks, who put American sovereignty, might, and global leadership first.

    Alliances with Nato and Europe now hang by a thread as global white nationalist movements, backed by Trump’s benefactor Vladimir Putin, have worked to undermine democracy in Britain, France and Germany.


    As long as Trump gives the white supremacists one more Ice raid, one more deportation, one more Muslim travel ban, one more hunt for “illegal voters” in a sanctuary city, the craving is temporarily satisfied. And like with any addict, anything that gets in between the user and the drug has to go.

    Republican Congressional leaders fully understand. Trump, the pusher with a bad Russian habit, has become a way for the base to mainline. And because their very survival is tied up with feeding their constituency’s constant need for a fix, Republicans, acting like rogue cops straight out of Serpico, have made the decision to protect the pusher, bury his misdeeds, and attack his accusers.


    Republicans have convinced themselves, as addicts do, that they’re still in charge, that they’re getting out of this what they’ve always wanted — tax cuts for the rich, eventual destruction of Obamacare, a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v Wade, and decisively fewer regulations on private industry — but none of these, if they were truly sober and in their right minds, are worth destroying the United States for.

  13. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re myself@13
    Typo alert:
    A word got dropped by Lord Tpyo. The word is now allcapped

    Referring to ~45’s NOT mentioning “Nazism” when faux- condemning the “incident”.


  14. says

    The other side of this is that there are progressives, anti-racists, feminists, and LGBT activists across the US, including in the South. In fact, the South is where the Left is rapidly advancing. It was amazing to see all of the local women’s marches in the South and in other “red” states, and many of the Charlottesville solidarity events are in these areas. (Which is courageous – I went to a resistance event in a Southern state several months ago, and the Trump followers counter-protesting, who were almost all if not all men, were deliberately trying to intimidate us and apparently had the police largely on their side.) Rightwing assholes would like nothing more than to see us divided into coastal vs. middle, urban vs. rural, North vs. South, and they get a lot of help from the media, but I don’t think they’ll succeed.

  15. nathanieltagg says

    I agree we need to root it out.

    But what do we DO?

    Your actions with your cousin are completely excusable – indeed, there was little you could do that was socially acceptable. What do you do about your neighbor?

    Back when Trump was just one of the many idiots running, I saw a few signs for him nearby. I wanted to knock on their doors and tell them “Somebody put a Trump sign in your yard. I thought you should know because it makes it look like racists live hear.” I now realize that would have had even less effect than I had thought.

  16. says

    Ken Frazier, Merck CEO, resigned from Trump’s Manufacturing Council in protest of Trump’s refusal to condemn white-supremacist terrorists. Trump rushed to attack Frazier, who is black, on Twitter. (He doesn’t care if the other drug companies get rid of rip-off drug prices, evidently – only the one headed by a black CEO who’s now an “enemy.”)

    Clara Jeffery: “Now would be a good time for some white CEOs to quit the President’s various councils. It’s a gimme off-ramp of a racist regime.”

  17. says

    PZ, I grew up in a racist family—my extended family, my father, my siblings, and my sibling’s kids—most of them were racist assholes. I spent decades arguing with my siblings over their hateful views and I never got through to them. As our arguments intensified, we spent less and less time around each other… until I hardly saw them at all. After I moved to Minnesota from my home state of Maryland, we stopped talking to each other all together. My “family” and I mutually disowned each other seven years ago. We haven’t spoken since, and I have no intention of speaking to them again.

    Sadly, if a person is deeply racist, there’s not much that another person can say to an asshole like that which will dissuade them from their pet forms of hatred. You might dissuade them from being outwardly public about their prejudice but they’ll still drive a knife into the collective backs of people of color, given half a chance. They’ll just be sneaky and quiet about it.

    I’m glad I called my bigoted family out on their hatefulness, but I have little faith that I had much impact upon their horrible views. I’m also glad they are no longer a part of my life. The one good thing that came out of my constant challenging of their bullshit is that we no longer talk to each other. My life is better for it. Now I don’t have to waste my emotional energy on people who aren’t worth the dirty slush that collects in Minnesota’s gutters in the spring.

  18. says

    But I will say this: there is currently a virulently Islamophobic blogger on FTB’s blogging network (Anjuli Pandavar). It would be nice to see the bloggers here at FTB calling that person out on their bigotry. You have the power to do this. Rather than remaining silent, call out the prejudice in your midst. You dropped the ball in the past when it came to calling out another blogger on their transphobia. You could choose a different path in the here and now.

  19. says

    One suggestion PZ — you might want to block out the license plate numbers on that truck. You wouldn’t want people trying to run the plate numbers to get other identifying information, risk some incident, and then have it be traced back to you and be accused of incitement…

  20. Saad says

    timberwraith, #27

    But I will say this: there is currently a virulently Islamophobic blogger on FTB’s blogging network (Anjuli Pandavar). It would be nice to see the bloggers here at FTB calling that person out on their bigotry. You have the power to do this. Rather than remaining silent, call out the prejudice in your midst.

    Not only that, she is also quite racist and writes things in service of white supremacy. Her posts also attract the worst of the FtB commenters on the topics of race and Muslims. I know other bloggers are aware of this and hopefully something can be done about it soon.

  21. asclepias says

    Here in good ol’ Cheyenne, Wyoming, there’s a guy who, during the presidential campaign and after the election, drove around with Confederate flags affixed to the back of his pickup. Haven’t seen his truck in a while. I have no idea what that means. There was a house up the block from me that had a Confederate flag in its window, but I haven’t seen it recently–it seems to have been removed. I figure they should just keep that stuff up so I know who I’m not interested in associating with. My parents pointed out that this attitude is bigoted in itself, which is a fair point, but I don’t see how tolerating intolerance makes anything better.

  22. says

    I hope so too, Saad. I quite enjoy reading many of the bloggers here at FTB, but lately, I’ve found myself avoiding this blogging network because her bigotry has left me with mixed feelings about patronizing this space.

    I hope people will act on this soon and that something constructive will come of it.

  23. says

    I’m mulling over what I wrote a few moments ago:

    Sadly, if a person is deeply racist, there’s not much that another person can say to an asshole like that which will dissuade them from their pet forms of hatred. You might dissuade them from being outwardly public about their prejudice but they’ll still drive a knife into the collective backs of people of color, given half a chance.

    I’ve long felt a sense of failure in not having an impact upon my ex-family’s racist attitudes. Now that we’re seeing how an outwardly bigoted leader enables bigots in feeling safe enough to act upon their beliefs in openly hateful and violent ways, I’m wondering about the past impact of shaming my ex-family for their hateful views. We might not be able to change prejudiced people’s views toward those whom they hate, but if this election has demonstrated anything, it shows that keeping the prejudiced shamed into silence at least restrains them from being brave enough to act in open, organized ways in focusing their hatred upon others. At the very least, their silence and their fear of being open about their vitriolic attitudes have had a limited positive impact in the past. This country has erupted into frightening actions since bigoted people have lost their shame and feel safe enough to act once again.

    Here’s to the unrestrained shaming of bigots of every stripe, everywhere.

  24. says

    Timberwraith @27 & Saad @29,
    Here’s a perspective of one FTB blogger.

    I wasn’t around when Ophelia Benson left but I believe it might be a little different because Ophelia Benson was one of the most popular bloggers on FTB, and I surmise very active on the backchannel. It would have been difficult to ignore her. Anjuli is by comparison easy to ignore. I am barely aware of Anjuli. I don’t read her blog, and have barely interacted with her. From having glanced at her blog several times, I am aware of a bunch of red flags, such as her use of “regressive left”. I have never dug into this because ugh. I don’t specialize in Muslim-related topics so I wouldn’t make a very good critic.

    FTB is run like an anarchy, and doesn’t have good mechanisms in place to handle conflict or possible ejections. This was true at the time of Ophelia Benson, and it is still true now (Richard Carrier not withstanding). I’m not excusing FTB for this. I’m unhappy about it myself.

  25. says

    I saw the same flyer as a kid that Professor Myers did. I think race hatred HAS lost ground since he and I were youngsters, but I’m starting to wonder how much of that progress is being reversed as we speak. Senate Democrats and Republicans in the FREAKIN’ EIGHTIES thought Jeff Sessions too bigoted to merit a Federal judgeship—and now his vicious attitudes are evidently a plus. Most depressing.

  26. says

    KG @33: Thank you.

    Siggy @35: Thank you for that insight. That makes a lot of sense.

    I don’t think I was clear in my post @27, however. That comment was a continuation of my comment @26 where I addressed PZ specifically. Without rehashing all of the events around Ophelia Benson’s exodus from FTB, I was referencing some rather lengthy discussions of OB’s trans antagonism which occurred in the comment threads of Pharyngula. People did call her out on her prejudice, and they did so quite openly. However, PZ didn’t respond to that criticism of OB very gracefully. I know that PZ is otherwise extremely supportive of trans people. I’m not certain what was driving his reticence in addressing OB’s increasingly open transphobia, but nevertheless, I was left with the impression that some unspoken conflictedness resulted in a good deal of silence on his part. So much prejudice was left undressed by him and ultimately, he shut down the conversation at Pharyngula. He literally closed the thread and asked people to cease discussing the matter in his space. That’s his right, of course. Admittedly, the discussion had reach an intensity resembling the surface temperature of the sun but still, he personally left a lot unsaid and unaddressed. What he did address was handled… not terribly well.

    There’s an opportunity to respond to an analogous situation at FTB in a very different way. I was pointing that out to PZ because in this post, he laments not standing up to prejudice in his past. I don’t know if he’ll take an opportunity to address Anjuli’s bigotry. It’s nice to see other people on this thread doing so, though. I still feel kind of burned over the whole affair with OB. Seeing something akin to that situation arise again worries me and brings up past wounds.

    Where the analogy falters is that there aren’t terribly many actively practicing Muslims visiting FTB, if any. In contrast, there’s a bountiful number of trans people who visit FTB daily. People often feel far more motivation to address prejudice which impacts fellow members of their own community. It’s far easier to let prejudice against people outside of that community pass by unaddressed. In my opinion, this makes it even more important that people take this opportunity to address the prejudice in their midst—especially given the political situation in the US. People can certainly do this within the confines of Anjuli’s comment threads, and some have, but fellow bloggers at FTB have far more reach than individual commenters.

  27. Vivec says

    I would have to agree with Timberwraithe in that it seems odd to (rightfully) attack people like Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins when they say something racist and islamiphobic, but not to point that finger at Anjuli when she spouts the exact same bullshit.

  28. says

    Timberwraithe @37,
    Yeah I see. Thank you for your thoughts. I’ll poke a few people about this, and maybe some other people will decide to say something.

  29. says

    Thanks, Siggy. @39

    Btw, Siggy and Vivec, I seem to have acquired an “e” at the end of my alias. I did recently finish a driving trip trough Canada. My name seems to have picked up a French influence in its spelling. ;)

    That’s OK. I’ve had a habit of ending English words in “e” ever since taking French in high school.

  30. Saad says

    And it’s not just anti-Muslim stuff. She also called Black Lives Matter “thugs” and then recently there’s this, which in my opinion is the worst of the red flags:

    Whites are expected to call out racist remarks by other whites. When will whites call out racist remarks by blacks? Granted, whites will seldom be exposed to more than the tip of the black racist iceberg, Johnny E. Williams being a rare glimpse of the depth of it.

    [. . .]

    After so many years of Political Correctness, multiculturalism and identity politics, can we be complacent about the safety of the Enlightenment, the achievement that underpinned all subsequent social evolution, from the abolition of slavery to the human rights of women, black people, disabled people, gay people and children? Where is the applause for the young white man who called out the misogynist tweet of a “POC” woman? It is thanks to people like him that slavery was abolished. I’d bet they didn’t know that either.

    I completely understand that the network is a collection of unaffiliated blogs, but those are pretty much “alt right” talking points.

  31. says

    Good grief, Saad, I didn’t know she had written stuff like that. After reading a few of her Islamophobic screeds, I stopped reading her blog altogether. Yes, that reads very much like “alt right” talking points.

    What vile, disgusting drivel.

  32. says

    And beyond “alt right” talking points, I see heavy overtones of “white man’s burden” embedded in her words:

    white man’s burden
    The supposed or presumed responsibility of white people to govern and impart their culture to nonwhite people, often advanced as a justification for European colonialism.

    Not that this is a new pattern in parts of internet atheism, either. Plenty of rhetoric lauding the wonders of the Enlightenment and Western civilization serve as veiled rhetorical cues in signalling a support of contemporary white colonialism, white cultural imperialism, or some other facet of white cultural/political hegemony.

  33. DLC says

    Rachel Maddow used a virus as an analogy to these scumbags. While it’s a dirty slander to ordinary microorganisms, I think it’s fairly apt. They crop up, cause trouble, kill a few people and then get wiped out for a time. It’s almost generational.

  34. Kreator says

    Speak of the devil, and she shall make an even more racist post.

    The African American Civil Rights Movement occurred in the 1950s and 60s, for crying out loud. African Americans had decades to become the moral beacons of the society and lead it away from racism towards a non-racial order, and they blew it.

    There you go, black people. You and your incompetence are solely to blame for all your problems. /sarcasm

    I’ve tried confronting her in her blog before, but it’s useless. I’m not that good at arguing and she’s protected by a wall of sheer self-righteousness and her like-minded commentariat.

  35. Saad says

    I know what this is. I know people like this in my life (immigrant people of color). They are not able to think outside the white centric framework in which they find themselves and are awed by the exceptional, civilized and enlightened front that whiteness presents to others. They think they mean well, and they definitely have the right to be critical of many aspects of their native culture and people, but they really drop the ball on shining the same light on white people’s deep flaws and problems. What white people have built for themselves appears to be the right state of affairs to them (the correct equilibrium to attain in the world). Hence the complaining about political correctness, multiculturalism, identity politics, etc.

    The rest, I imagine, is provided by being impressed with the Sam Harrises of atheism.