This Week’s 5: The House That Shirley Chisholm Built

November 9, 2018

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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What’s more racist than a Confederate flag t-shirt? A Confederate flag t-shirt with a noose on it along with the words “Mississippi Justice.” It doesn’t get much more on the nose than a white man wearing said shirt to the polls to vote in Mississippi. Yet, that didn’t stop at least one shameless white supremacist (yes, if you wear THAT shirt to the polls, it’s safe to say which side you’re on) from doing just that on Tuesday. His picture has since gone viral and he was fired from his job as at a local hospital. Before you feel sorry for this man for his lost first amendment rights, understand that the same first amendment that grants him the right to wear a Confederate flag shirt with a noose on it to intimidate people at the polls allows others to criticize him. Now he’ll have plenty of time to keep exercising his first amendment rights in the unemployment line. Read more from Newsweek.

 

 

Institutional

One of the favorite tactics of white supremacists who think they’re subtle is casually telling easily verifiable lies. If you make a statement against the Trump Administration's persecution of immigrants, you can bet there will be someone confidently yelling that immigrants “suck up all our tax dollars” and “take our jobs,” while somehow simultaneously being lazy and criminals (How does that work?). They’re so sure of themselves despite resounding data that immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take; work many of the jobs Americans won’t take and are highly represented in high skilled, high paying jobs as well; and commit significantly less crime than naturalized citizens; among other favorable data points. Read more from PBS.

 

 

Critical Race Theory

What happens when you mix misogyny, racism, white privilege, and easy access to guns? In addition to a normal Tuesday in America, you increasingly often get tragedies like the recent shooting at a yoga studio in Florida. The white man who murdered two women and injured a few other people was later identified as an “incel,” or “involuntarily celibate,” which refers to a movement of men who believe they’re not just entitled to sex, but to also take out their sexual frustration through violence against women who reject them and anyone else they see fit. Not so shockingly, many in this “community” also traffic in heavy racism and this shooter was no different. He made YouTube videos ranting against women’s rights that also included screeds against interracial relationships. Furthermore, he was charged multiple times for battery against women and identified by a number of past acquaintances as a creepy, volatile individual. Nonetheless, he was never treated like the threat, by authorities anyway, that so many men of color are who couldn’t dream of walking the streets so freely (or alive) with his record. One has to wonder, if he hadn’t shot himself, do you think the officers would’ve taken him to Burger King? Read more from NBC Miami.

 

 

History

The 2018 Midterm Elections marked a number of milestones for women of color running for elected office. The first indigenous and Muslim women were elected to Congress, multiple Black women became the first to win congressional seats in their respective states, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, among a number of other historic feats. While it’s important to celebrate these women, we would be remiss not to recognize the trailblazers who made it all possible. In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress and then made more history four years later by seeking the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. During her time in Congress, she played a pivotal role in creating the national school lunch program, expanding access to food stamps, and establishing WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children, and Infants. In many ways, the influx of progressive women of color into Congress is just the latest step in shaping what we may one day call the “House That Chisholm Built.” Read more from Essence.

 

 

The Fragility Breaker

If you’re reading this, chances are, you think it’s ridiculous that Donald Trump could respond to a reporter’s question about calling himself a nationalist by calling her question racist. Especially coming from his whiny voice and position of power, it’s the worst kind of white fragility. Once again, for most of you, that’s not a revelation. What might not be so easy to swallow, well-intentioned white people, is that this is what you too sound like when you’re dismissing people of color talking about their experiences with or concerns about racism. Every time you smugly ask why everything has to be about race with us, that’s what you sound like. When you suggest white supremacist gangs like the Proud Boys terrorizing people is a “fringe” issue, that’s what you sound like. Is it a wonder that this weekend, the New York Times ran a story titled “U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It”? Trump and everyone cheering him on clearly want to continue the tradition of the GOP aiding and abetting this terrorism. The real question is, will you be helping them? Read more from Buzzfeed News.

 

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