This Week’s 5: Robbing FEMA to Pay ICE (Again)

Author's Note: This Week's 5 is a weekly collection of stories designed to provide insight into how racism works and serve as an easily accessible resource for people trying to have nuanced discussions about these issues. For more explanation on how This Week's 5 works and descriptions of each of the categories, click here.

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Representative Steve King saying racist things is about as consistent a bet as the sun rising and setting every day. He was back at it again recently, this time using his platform to spread casual Islamophobia. While speaking at a town hall, King decided to address the Chinese government’s abuse of Uighur Muslims, which includes mass roundups and detainment. He found the thought of the Chinese government forcing the Muslim prisoners to eat pork particularly amusing, laughing and telling the crowd, “That’s actually the only part of that that I agree with is, everybody ought to eat pork. If you have a shortage of bacon, you can’t be happy.” Sadly, this bad Bill Maher impression (i.e. an unfunny politician mimicking an unfunny comic) is somewhat mild for the same congressman who once asked what’s wrong with white supremacy and told the country we can’t build our civilization with “other people’s babies.” As much as I’d like to focus on the terribleness of Steve King, the fact is that he has supporters who continue to vote him into office. Clearly there’s a large contingent of people who love this racist talking point machine. So what do we do when not just has the system legitimized white supremacy, but continues to rub our faces in it? I don’t have the answer, but maybe we should start with applying pressure to those that continue to give white supremacists cover. Read more from the Huffington Post.

Institutional

No one has yet to give me a good explanation for why the Trump Administration’s treatment of Puerto Rico shouldn’t be an impeachable offense. Their cruelty and vindictive neglect has heavily contributed to the deaths of thousands of Americans following Hurricane Maria and the administration has taken every opportunity to further the damage and mock Puerto Ricans since. The latest disgusting act is a two-for-one deal of institutional racism. In order to detain more migrants, the Trump Administration has diverted funds from the FEMA disaster relief program to go towards more beds in migrant detention centers. This is especially cruel because it comes as Puerto Rico braces for another massive hurricane. Furthermore, the president took to Twitter to call the US territory corrupt and imply that they don’t deserve more aid money. The strategy is about as transparent as it gets. By recognizing that an embarrassing percentage of Americans view Puerto Rico as another country, the administration is able to get away with treating US citizens with cartoon-villain-like cruelty. In this particular case, they are using control of funding to literally and figuratively starve Puerto Rico while bolstering the resources for ICE’s terror campaign against migrants. Everyone can see it and yet, these stories quickly become afterthoughts. Read more from Al Jazeera.

Critical Race Theory

In this week’s episode of “Bigots Expose Themselves in the Darndest Ways,” the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee passed a resolution calling for the expulsion from Congress of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar. In their statement, the Alabama GOP members justified their resolution by saying Omar is “unpatriotic” and ungrateful. This all stems from their alleged anger towards Omar’s comments criticizing Israeli lobbying groups. If you haven’t been paying attention and just read the preceding sentences with little or no context, you might be wondering how any of this adds up. How can someone be unpatriotic for criticizing a lobbying group representing another country (and specifically, that lobbying group’s efforts to provide cover for human rights violations against Palestians)? For that matter, why would state representatives in Alabama use their time to call for the drastic measure of expelling a representative from Minnesota from Congress, especially when there are national figures like Steve King and Donald Trump who revel in the anti-Semitism that these GOP members are supposedly so upset about? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that Representative Omar is a Black woman and one of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress, right? That couldn’t possibly be why they thought such an extreme measure would be acceptable… Read more from CNN.

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