Jacob Wohl may have Smolletted himself

Jacob Wohl, the right-wing dumbass who strolled through a pleasant neighborhood in Minneapolis and declared it a “no-go zone” infested with terrorists, has come out with a “documentary” about his terrifying experience. He even claimed to have received an online death threat from a gay Hispanic diversity coordinator! Except that, because he’s one of the dumbest people on the internet, he used one of his own fake accounts to send it to himself.

He reported that threat to the police! So now the Minneapolis police are looking into it as a false report of a crime. It’s kind of amazingly idiotic: he included video shots of the “threat” in his own “documentary”, and also included shots of him filing a police report. He committed a crime and recorded every step of it. He is so helpful to the police.

Even his own good pal, Ali Alexander, who accompanied him on this field trip, is now desperately distancing himself from Wohl, slamming his friend publicly.

“It confirms that he’s not operating at a level where there’s useful misinformation, but kind of stupid, vanity-filled, ego-fueled disinformation,” Alexander said. “And that won’t look good for Jacob.”

I saw the videos Alexander and Wohl made during their visit, and while he may not have been responsible for a fake police report, he certainly was an enthusiastic participant in spreading “stupid, vanity-filled, ego-fueled disinformation”.

I’m not worried about Ilhan Omar. I worry about the other guys.

There’s something rotten at the heart of US foreign policy, and this is just one small example.

questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable…christ. That’s what is unacceptable. Israel is a corrupt genocidal theocracy, and US policy ought to be directed at supporting Israel while reducing their criminal behavior, rather than treating them as an aspirational model.

And what horrible thing did Omar say? All the critics seem to weasel around it. Here it is, though:

Last week, Ilhan Omar said something insensitive about the Israel lobby. While explaining her frustration with the way allegations of anti-Semitism can be used to suppress “the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine,” the Democratic congresswoman said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

When I just said, “Israel is a corrupt genocidal theocracy”, I said something far stronger than Omar simply questioning the idea of slavish devotion to Israel, as exhibited by American politicians. The article I’m quoting from, while mostly favoring her views, also buys into this weird notion that she said something “insensitive”. If you wanted to call me “insensitive”, I wouldn’t argue with you; what Omar said was the cautious advance of a view contrary to dogma, and was pretty darned politically careful. If anything, the author of that article is saying that Omar was too cautious in her criticisms.

The problem isn’t Congress’s “allegiance to a foreign country,” but its complicity in Jewish supremacy in the West Bank, an inhuman blockade in Gaza, and discrimination against Arab-Israelis in Israel proper.

Imagine if Omar had said that! But as he points out, Congress, including Democratic leaders, have fully accepted the righteousness of genocidal theocratic reasoning.

Speaking at AIPAC’s conference last year, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested that Israel did not need to end any of these practices — because the Arabs wouldn’t make peace with the Jewish State, even if it did:

Now, some say there are some who argue the settlements are the reason there’s not peace … some say it’s the borders … Now, let me tell you why — my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. The view of Palestinians is simple, the Europeans treated the Jews badly culminating in the Holocaust and they gave them our land as compensation.

Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin.

When Schumer says that America “must stand strong with Israel,” he means that it must block any and all efforts to liberate Palestinians from race-based oppression. When the Obama administration declined to veto a unanimous U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements in 2016, Schumer decried the move as “frustrating, disappointing and confounding.”

I think it is Schumer’s view that is simple, and using the Torah as a justification is religious blithering…and that ought to be unacceptable in any evidence-based approach to policy. Meanwhile, Omar’s views are far more humanistic, and she gets accused of racism.

There are costs to selectively policing bigoted (or insensitive) speech. The Democratic Party’s decision to spotlight Omar’s moment of rhetorical insensitivity toward Zionists — while ignoring, or actively championing the oppression of Palestinians — distorts public understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The party’s actions have the effect of casting Omar as the face of “extremism” on the Israel-Palestine issue, even though her official position — that any peace agreement must “affirm the safety and rights of both Palestinians and Israelis” — is more consistent with America’s purported values than almost any other lawmaker’s. Never mind that Chuck Schumer proudly defends Israel’s right to permanently disenfranchise Palestinians, as a means of protecting its ethnostate from the “demographic threat” posed by other people’s babies. Since Omar’s remarks attract bipartisan condemnation — while Schumer’s do not — it is Ilhan Omar who gets branded as “the Steve King of the left.”

Interesting. While Steve King of the Right gets sympathy and support from his colleagues, who refuse to condemn him other than a little mild tut-tutting, the “Left” in Congress is far more concerned with policing reasonable ideas that question the unthinking support for Israel than they are with the flagrant racism of the Republicans in power.

See also:

Seriously? Omar is going to be rebuked?

Jacob Wohl and Laura Loomer are in Minneapolis. Be still my heart.

The pinnacle of Jacob Wohl’s career was his attempt to shut down the Mueller investigation by cobbling up a fake company, Surefire, and spreading the rumor that they had info on a sex scandal involving Robert Mueller. He’s a far-right, fanatical conspiracy theorist who is paranoid about Muslims. He’s also not very bright.

Laura Loomer’s career reached it’s peak when she handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office door to protest the fact that her account had been banned for racist remarks. She gave up when she got cold. She is obsessed with Muslims. She is also not very bright.

It was kismet. These two shallow, untalented, lazy people who run after any media attention have joined forces to…chase after more media attention. They have failed to name their partnership in media whoredom, though, so I’ve decided to give this whiny duo one.

Let’s call them the Chucklefuck Twins.

Anyway, they have paired up to engage in another media blitz that will be just as successful as their previous efforts, I’m sure. They have picked a target, hired a security and film crew, and have dived on their chosen Gotham City to right wrongs, reveal the villainous underbelly of the scabrous slums, and document the evil that lurks there.

They’re in Minneapolis.

They chose to descend on the city in February, which tells you how clever they are. Loomer got cold in NY in November. We’re at -5°C here on the prairies, and we’re supposed to be hit by a major blizzard tonight. I live here in outstate Minnesota, and I wouldn’t travel to Minneapolis today — we know that this time of year the roads are hazardous and the weather can turn on you.

I guess we’re an irresistable target to racist xenophobes, though. Minnesota has the most refugees per capita of any state. We’re honestly open and friendly, we encourage people to move here, we think it’s great that they form distinctive communities. We’ve got a large Hmong population, for instance — they and other groups have been an asset to our universities and make our cities diverse and interesting. It turns out that an atmosphere of tolerance improves the quality of life for everyone.

But the Chucklefuck Twins aren’t here for the Hmong. Oh, no.

Wait. The total population of Somalis and people of Somali descent in Minnesota is between 40 and 50 thousand, and many of them were born here. We get a few thousand refugees from all sorts of places, not just Somalia, every year. His math is nonsense.

I’ll return to that “third world ghettos” comment in a moment.

That first bit is correct. Minnesota now is populated mainly by descendants of immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia who displaced the native Ojibwe and Dakota nations. Speaking for my own family of Swedes and Norwegians, one thing that may help make for a more tolerant community is that we remember and take pride in our ancestry — people still celebrate Swedish and Norwegian holidays here, and make traditional foods — so we’re sympathetic when other people arrive here and try to preserve their own culture. We’re not being taken advantage of here, we have our own family stories of moving to a harsh environment and both trying to adapt and retain our identities. Somalis, welcome! What do you like to eat? Shall we share?

The Chucklefuck Twins are not making friends here. At the start of this video, they pan across our snow-covered streets and declare Minnesota not a very pleasant place, it’s a wonder why anyone wants to come here (you showed up in February, Chucklefucks!) before making a big complaint about the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

They showed up at the Center and quickly determined that Jews are banned, and they only help Muslim Somalis and claim that they were kicked out and the door locked behind them, when they disingenuously say they were only there to see if they could help their oppressed Jewish relatives in Europe.

I will just point out the official position and role of the ILCM.

Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) is a nonprofit agency that provides immigration legal assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. ILCM also works to educate Minnesota communities and professionals about immigration matters, and advocates for state and federal policies which respect the universal human rights of immigrants.

They help “low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota“. They are not a travel agency. They are there for people in Minnesota who need legal and educational assistance.

The Chucklefuck Twins showed up at their door with a film crew and bodyguards. They were obviously not in need of their kind of help.

The Chucklefuck Twins are lying assholes, trying to gin up controversy.

And that’s right…they have hired a top-notch security team and are driving around Minneapolis in armored cars because they are so terrified.

This is ridiculous. No one cares about two paranoid, xenophobic chucklefucks wandering about the city. No one is conspiring to go after them. They’re here for two reasons: because Ilhan Omar (“The Jihadi” as they call her) was elected to congress from here, and because we have a neighborhood nicknamed “Little Mogadishu” in Minneapolis (we also have a place called “Little Canada” — I don’t know if it’s on the Chucklefuck Twins’ itinerary).

Wohl mentions that he thought he was in the movie Black Hawk Down when he drove into the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. Right. This place.

That, by the way, is the “third world ghetto” he’s complaining about. It’s located right around the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. I’ve been there many times — without an armored car. If you want to try some African food of all varieties, not just Ethiopian, it’s the place to be. (I wonder where the Chucklefuck Twins are dining tonight? I doubt that they’ll be taking advantage of their opportunities here.)

It’s also the nicest “ghetto” I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to neighborhoods in North Philadelphia that look bombed out and crumbling, but this is a pleasant part of Minneapolis. If you’re ever in the Twin Cities, you should explore it, because we’re not all Swedes with funny accents dining on potatoes and salt herring.

Good god but the Chucklefuck Twins are appallingly stupid bigots.

KKK < Nazis?

A small-town newspaper in Linden, Alabama, the Democrat-Reporter, published a little editorial calling for the return of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s badly written and rather incoherent.

It’s also grossly ahistorical. The author seems to think the Klan was made up of ex-slaves galloping about in costumes, killing rich people.

Slaves, just freed after the Civil War, were not stupid. At times, they borrowed their former masters’ robes and horses and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what.

The author, Goodloe Sutton, is notorious for writing inflammatory garbage. He’s a good ol’ boy who is leaning heavily into the stereotype.

Other editorials have disparaged women with crude comments about their weight: Michelle Obama was labeled “a chubby chick” by the Democrat-Reporter, while Hillary Clinton was a “little fat oinker.” In January 2017, an editorial predicting that Clinton would be sent to prison stated, “Fat women are more stupid than trim women. Hillary wasn’t trim.”

This is Goodloe Sutton.

He seems to have written a lot of nonsense for publication in his paper (written poorly if the above sample is representative).

When Sutton’s comments on the Klan began getting attention on Monday, longtime readers pointed out that it wasn’t the first time that the paper’s editorial page had endorsed extreme or openly racist views. In May 2015, an editorial stated that the mayor of a city “up north” had “displayed her African heritage by not enforcing civilized law.” Another, published in June of that year, called for drug dealers, kidnappers, rapists, thieves, and murderers to be hung “on the courthouse lawn where the public can watch.”

“Dope heads know how to grow marijuana but not cotton,” one August 2014 editorial read. “They don’t pay sales taxes on what they grow so this doesn’t register with the economists who compile the statistics about jobs and employment. This market is dominated by blacks.” That same month, President Barack Obama was described by the paper as a “Kenyan orphan president” who was elected because Americans thought “it would be cool to have a colored man” in the White House. Later, amid the national controversy over football players kneeling during the national anthem, the Democrat-Reporter declared, “That’s what black folks were taught to do two hundred years ago, kneel before a white man.”

But now something has changed. Major newspapers are writing about this backwards hick in Alabama, and people are calling for his resignation. Uh, he owns the newspaper, he gets to write what he wants, and his only limitation is keeping his subscriber base. This is pure “Free Speech!” + “CAPITALISM!”

You don’t oppose limitless free speech and unfettered capitalism, do you? That would be unamerican.

OK, I’ll assume you’re an intelligent person who recognizes that otherwise good principles can be carried to an extreme — that maybe there should be some limits, that, for instance, a newspaper publisher calling for vigilante justice, declaring that a little murder is no problem, and inciting a notorious hate group to lynch and kill and burn is a bit over the line. There is a line, right? We may disagree on precisely where to draw it, but reasonable people will agree that there ought to be some constraint on what you can publish. If nothing else, I’ve noticed that the Libertarian alt-right love to sue people for libel, so there’s that restriction.

Another thing I’m noticing is that the shock-horror expressed so strongly is a clear indication that most people consider promoting the Ku Klux Klan is clearly crossing that unstated, fuzzy line (it could also be that people enjoy mocking Southern redneck attitudes, making it easier to move the line to their detriment). In general, though, we can say that civilized people agree that the KKK is an evil, hateful organization and that endorsing it is bad.

I agree that the disgust with the editorial is entirely appropriate. But then I’m curious: why don’t we see an equivalent degree of revulsion from the media at people who celebrate Nazis or eugenics or the Confederacy? Do Nazis have better PR? Nazis and the Confederacy (the KKK is only part of the ongoing damage dealt by the Civil War) killed far more people than the Klan. Why doesn’t the media, or the American people, express the same outrage at groups throwing Nazi salutes and wearing swastika arm bands, or congress people with rebel flags in their office, that we do to some podunk dipshit racist in Alabama?

Humans are really bad at assessing risk.

Hometown Klan

David Leppert

I’m browsing, as one does, and reading a bit of labor history, and the name of my hometown, Kent, Washington, comes up. I had to look, because I knew that town well — I’m familiar with the streets, the major buildings, my father’s family lived there for generations, and it always seemed like a dead quiet small town that was never going to come up in history. There’s nothing there! Banks and gas stations, a five-and-dime, a sporting goods store, lots of little business and residences, and when I was growing up, it was mainly a farming community. They grew a lot of lettuce and cauliflower.

So what do I find? The mayor of Kent in the 1920s (before my time, before my parents’ time, but my grandparents would have been kicking around then) was an Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. This wasn’t Mississippi, but Washington state, and apparently the KKK had a surge of popularity in the 20s, to the point where a KKK member could be elected to office and I guess we were known as a “100% Klan town”.

Notable Klan members elected to public office in Washington State include the Mayor of Kent, David Leppert, and Bellingham City Attorney Charles B. Sampley. Politicians who were likely members of the Klan include the Mayor of Blaine, Alan Keyes, and Wapato’s Director of Schools, Frank Sutton. Given that the Klan was a secret society, it is hard to differentiate Klan allies from Klan members, and it is likely that many other local elected officials in Washington state were Klan members.

Fortunately, their tenure was short and the Klan faded away fairly quickly, in part thanks to people who stood up against them.

Klan activity in the Valley reached its high point in mid-July of 1923. On July 14, the Klan held its first “Konvention” in the state of Washington near Renton Junction and initiated some 500 to 1,000 new members. A rally for the general public, complete with fireworks and multiple cross-burnings, was held that evening at Wilson’s Station four miles south of the park. The Kent Advertiser-Journal described “a monster crowd of thousands of people who came in between 2500 and 3000 automobiles to participate and witness the ceremony.” The Washington Co-Operator estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 attended. The Globe-Republican, however, indicated that attendees were “attracted chiefly by curiosity and by the lingering suspician [sic] that an exciting clash might occur between Klansmen and representatives of Sheriff Matt Starwich’s office.” The state had a law forbidding public gatherings of masked persons except for masquerades and similar events. Before the rally, the Klan openly dared Starwich to enforce the law, and he insisted he would. The Klan backed down, however, and only wore the masks briefly. Seemingly, the dare was simply a publicity stunt and, if so, it worked. Starwich retaliated a month later by firing a deputy working on the Northern Pacific Railroad for taking part, commenting, “I won’t stand for any Klansmen being connected with my office.” Afterwards, reporting on the Klan dropped off sharply and activity quieted.

While they weren’t parading about in robes, though, they reflected a real problem in that community. People might have chastised the Klan, but at the same time, they’d later applaud internment of our Japanese compatriots.

Traditionally, the Klan has been portrayed as a violent, backwards-looking, and extremist organization that was part of the conservative mood that followed World War One. Recent works, however, emphasize that, for better or worse, the Klan was rooted in the mainstream of society, often attracted leading citizens in communities throughout the country, and championed popular causes. This was the case with the White River Klan. While it is difficult to discern why people in the Valley joined the Klan from newspaper accounts that we have available, Klan ideology clearly spoke to fairly common sentiments. For example, Prohibition enforcement was a major issue in Auburn politics and the Klan’s call for rigorous enforcement was not out of the ordinary at all. Similarly, there was substantial, mainstream, anti-Japanese sentiment. The state of Washington, not the Klan, passed Alien Land Laws to prevent Asian immigrants who, by law, could not become citizens from owning or renting land. When Klan organizers like Jeffries spoke out against Japanese immigrants, they found a receptive audience. Lastly, the sheer spectacle value of the Klan should not be overlooked. The Klan had a mystique surrounding it. People were curious about it and rallies provided entertainment. Most of those who attended meetings and rallies went because it was something to do and did not join, regardless of their feelings about Klan ideology.

Most of that lettuce and cauliflower was grown by Japanese families; my wife worked in those fields in the summer when she was growing up, and I worked in a nursery owned by a Japanese horticulturist throughout high school. They didn’t speak about it, but there was this poison soaking in our town from the time the Klan was thriving there.

I suddenly have a different perspective on my childhood home.

All the Rogan I need

I’ve listened to short clips of Joe Rogan — I can’t stand much more. He’s a pompous dudebro who’s usually having conversations with other dudebros, or some famous IDW twit, and he’s a terrible interviewer. So here’s a perfect example, another short clip in which he’s hanging with his entourage, bantering with some barely coherent gomers, talking about the time he went to see a movie in a black neighborhood, and his first thought on seeing the audience was that this was the Planet of the Apes.

Yes, it ends with Alex Jones decrying Rogan — they’re apparently having some kind of feud. Don’t care. They deserve each other.

There’s also an extended clip out there in which Rogan goes on to say that it was a positive experience, that the crowd was generous and fun, as if that salvages him from being racist. No, guy, it doesn’t: if your first impression on seeing a black person is “non-human primate”, you are definitely racist as fuck. You don’t get to say you’re not racist, the best you can do is admit that you are racist, but that you’re trying hard to improve.

Unfortunately, he could develop into a saintly egalitarian in the future, and I won’t know it, because watching that clip already exceeded my yearly quota of Rogan, and I’m not watching any more.

“It was an earlier time”

The most recent scandal to emerge out of Virginia is that a number of politicians were hanging around, or were dressed up themselves, with students in blackface or KKK robes.

When asked by CBS 6 to look through old MCV medical school yearbooks, VCU student journalist Caitlin Morris found several racist images from the 1980s showing students in blackface.

“It’s not that surprising that people would be culturally insensitive,” said Morris. “We are still facing racism and systematic racism today.”

On top of those, an image from a 1980 University of Richmond yearbook shows several students in KKK costumes and a black student with a noose around his neck.

Blackface photos and racial slurs were also found in the 1968 VMI yearbook. Senate Majority leader Tommy Norment served as the managing editor of that yearbook.

So now one question is whether they deserve any kind of censure now, 30 or 40 years after the fact. Sure, this was openly racist crap, but hey, 1) it was an earlier time, that was the zeitgeist, you can’t blame the kids for going with the flow, and 2) it was so long ago that they’ve outgrown those attitudes and are now committed to egalitarianism, so don’t hold the person’s past against them, ask what they’re doing now.

I thought I’d address point 1 by looking at my own history of yearbooks. We have our own little collection of ancient yearbooks from the early 1970s at the Kent Junior High Vandals and the Kent-Meridian High School, the Royals. I skimmed through them this morning, reminiscing. Keep in mind that this was the Pacific Northwest, not any place in Dixie.

The results: between 1970 and 1975, there were no yearbook photos of anyone in blackface. No KKK robes. No swastikas. No confederate flags. These were signed yearbooks, and no one scribbled abusive comments anywhere — there were a couple of mentions of Beer Bottle Beach, which was the sandy spot along the Green River where students might hang out of an evening sampling illicit beverages, but that was about it.

I did notice how white the students were — the Pacific Northwest has its own racist problems, which were usually expressed in deeply segregated communities, and this was a suburb of Seattle. I knew very few black students. There were lots of students of Japanese descent, and we had our own unsavory history there. The parents of many of them could tell you about internment camps. None of that was demonstrated in the yearbooks (which is another, subtler problem of the implicit silence of racism).

You know, it was entirely possible for kids in that era to be innocent and completely unaware of the very idea of using racist ideas to disparage others. I don’t know what has been going on in Virginia or other Southern states, but it seems to me that part of the blame has to rest on an openly racist culture that allowed such behavior to flourish. Kids were echoing what their peers and parents were doing, which doesn’t excuse it, but it does say that it isn’t enough to condemn just the individuals — there ought to be some broader soul-searching.

As for point 2, well, you’d think the first line of defense these guys would have is to point to their records. None of them are doing that! Show me that your career has involved opposing racist policies, that you’ve been trying to change the racist culture that encouraged you to fail so hard in your youth. Instead, we’ve got Northam making pathetic excuses for inexcusable behavior, hiring a PR firm, and talking about leaving the Democratic party, and the nominally liberal party of Virginia in shambles.

In summary, we should kill the myth that blackface and other racist behaviors were ubiquitous 30+ years ago. That is not a valid excuse.

Could such behavior be redeemed by a more recent history of change? I think so. All of us did stupid things in our youth, and the first step is to admit that they were wrong, and the second step is to show a record of behavior that belies the impression given by those old photos. It’s troubling that the governor of Virginia hasn’t even tried either of those things, but seems committed to his rationalization that blackface and the KKK costume were simply innocent mistakes.

If he can’t do that, he should resign.

P.S. I also did find my wife-to-be in the books. Here she is in 1970. She’s going to kill me for posting that hair-do. But come on, she was, and is, cute.

And here she is in 1974.

The exception proves the rule, right?

A black scientist writes about James Watson, and it’s insightful. C. Brandon Ogbunu is a computational biologist, so he understands both DNA and statistics, and is in a good position to recognize abuses of both.

Black exceptionalism is a popular and complicated idea. It asserts that a monolithic “average” black identity exists, and that by transcending this average, one is exceptional. While the idea isn’t welded to black achievement, it is related. Successful members of the black community who somehow avoided the regression to the (black) mean are presented as paragons, exceptional ones of their kind. There are backhanded compliments, and then there is black exceptionalism—a racist idea lightly dressed in a pat-on-the-back.

Some of us, in a naïve or perfunctory manner, wear black exceptionalism as a badge of honor, even under the guise of progress: “I will show them what we are capable of.” Good intentions be damned, because to adopt this stance is to walk directly into a pernicious trap. The most effective racist ideas rarely deny the existence of exceptional members of the out-group to which undesirable features are attributed.

On the contrary, the most destructive ideas embrace high-performing members for statistical cover. In order to argue that the mean performance of an out-group is lower for a desirable trait, there should be some high performers. High-performing black people are essential for racism like James Watson’s, and even he might predict a statistical and genetic exceptional negro, because they can’t all be incompetent.

The problem with this argument isn’t only that it avoids critical discussions about the possible sources of group differences, but also that it uses the notion of the exceptional individual to justify racist ideas towards others in the out-group. In general, armchair appeals to statistics often conceal negative feelings that people already have, attitudes forged in the fires of fear and bias, not science.

I’ve seen that routine so often. “I know a Negro with a Ph.D. — in science — therefore I’m not racist.” “I admit that Jews are often academically gifted, therefore I don’t have a bias against them, I just know they’re evil.” “If my statistics don’t convince you that black people are less intelligent, how come they also show that Asians are better at math than white people?” It’s the contrast that is supposed to convince us that they are objectively evaluating real data.

“Intelligence” is an undefinable and complex parameter that changes depending on how you measure it. The only reasonable response to claims that one has characterized the “intelligence” of a large group of people and has some sweeping interpretations is to realize that they are simply expressing their unfounded biases in a pseudoscientific tone, and dismiss them.

I would have guessed Tom Brokaw was one of us…he isn’t

I just heard that interview with Old Tom Brokaw in which he exhibited that common disease in the journalism profession, that attempt to sympathize with bad people to the point you lose sight of the fact that they are, in fact, bad, and you begin to share their views (see also Jonathan Haidt, who is not a journalist, but has acquired a terminal case).

And a lot of this, we don’t want to talk about. But the fact is, on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary, important, new constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats. Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, “Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.” I mean, that’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.

I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.

If you don’t want “brown grandbabies”, that’s simply racism. No matter what shade their skin is, they’re still grandbabies, and still your grandbabies.

If you don’t like intermarriage, that’s simply racism. Don’t pick who you love by their skin color, and don’t demand your children share your weird racist color preferences.

Demanding assimilation is just another way of rejecting differences. That’s simply racism. I see Hispanic people moving into rural Minnesota, and while they may initially struggle with the language, they’re adapting quickly and their children are fluent in English. How fast do you expect them to “assimilate” anyway? Are you expecting them to abandon pride in their family and their heritage, too?

I’ve looked into my family history, and I see a series of Norwegian farmers who settled in Minnesota, and then kept bringing in Swedish mail order brides every generation, almost as if they were refusing to assimilate and insisted on Scandinavian families, rather than melding with the American mongrels. My great-grandparents’ house was full of yellow and blue and knick-knacks in Swedish and Norwegian, and they spoke with a heavy accent that was the result of a lifetime in exclusively Scandinavian-American communities. Were they bad assimilators? Am I unamerican because I still like the Nordic foods of my childhood and still celebrate Swedish/Norwegian traditions?

I don’t even know what “assimilate” means in the minds of these people. Liquify and blend? Because that doesn’t happen. We are who we are. Hispanic people are adding a new strand to our communities, and the only reason they might tend to vote Democratic is because Republicans think like Tom Brokaw. He can go back to celebrating his “Greatest Generation” while ignoring how awfully racist and sexist that generation was.