Sunday, January 10, 2021

White Supremacy Is Everywhere--Even in UFT

Like everyone I know, I'm totally freaked out by what happened in DC last week. I guess no one should be surprised, as it was telegraphed by the President, a whole bunch of House and Senate members, and Trump media outlets and devotees around the country. What was really shocking was the response, or lack thereof, of the police and/ or military. (Worse, the rioters absolutely expected the police to support them.)

We saw a much different approach to BLM demonstrations. There were a few of those in my town, Freeport NY, and the neighboring town, Merrick. I'm constantly walking my dog on the canal here and I was pretty shocked to see a contingent of police, mounted and otherwise, near a local bar. The cops told me they were there to prevent violence. There wasn't any, so they mostly sat in a parking lot talking to one another. But they were prepared. 

In Merrick, a much whiter town, there wasn't any violence either, but there were a whole lot of stupid white people shooting off their mouths about how BLM didn't have the right to assemble, and how the demonstrators should all go to Freeport. There was a video up on Facebook that I'm not gonna search for. There wasn't any violence beyond the verbal sort. It was shocking, though, to see those people publicly announcing their essentially white supremacist positions. This openness is a by-product of the Trump presidency. I guess cancel culture is when you tell these folks to keep their filthy ideas to themselves.

Of course other parts of the country were worse. There was violence against BLM protestors all around these United States, despite the fact that most such demonstrations were peaceful. The contrast in the way BLM was treated in the Capitol with the way the Trump riot was handled is stark indeed. Anyone who doesn't believe in white privilege today has got his head buried in the sand. 

The Trump rioters came in with the expectation of overturning a democratic election. Now, sure, they don't believe it was a democratic election. That's because, in these United States, we've dumped the Fairness Doctrine that required both sides of issues be presented. This enabled Fox News, without which Donald Trump would still be a TV show host. Now, because even Fox doesn't satisfy Trump or the most virulent of his supporters, there are two more news channels. There's OAN and Newsmax, catering to the hardcore Trumpies. 

I was pretty horrified to learn days ago they were both on my cable package. I watched OAN for a few minutes, and they were having a conversation asserting that there were Democrats rioting along with all those lunatics. I follow an ex-teacher friend of mine on Twitter, and her feed is full of tweets saying Antifa was taking part. 

The riot was a step too far somehow, and a lot of rats are deserting the sinking ship, not the least of whom is our good friend Betsy DeVos. You see Senators like Lindsey Graham finally admitting that Biden will be President. Graham is the guy who was humiliated by Trump in the primaries, yet managed to spend a good four years kissing his ample posterior. Graham took a principled stand not to give Merrick Garland a hearing for SCOTUS, but shoved in Amy Coney Island five days before the election. People like Graham are more reprehensible than their followers, because they know better and just don't care.

Now we sit in a country where the white supremacists feel they own it and we don't. I passed a store in Merrick yesterday with an Impeach Cuomo sign. I'm not a huge fan of Cuomo either, so I took a closer look. The next sign said Trump got over 400 electoral votes. This guy hangs this sign on his business and people still come and do business with him. 

So it's not surprising that hundreds of white supremacists felt emboldened enough to go to DC, storm the Capitol, and have no fear of meeting violent resistance. Far worse is the fact that they were absolutely correct. Trump, on Twitter, told them he loved them before finally being forced, likely as not kicking and screaming, to release a video denouncing violence. This is the guy who chants law and order all the time, and we now know the shouts of law and order apply only to certain skin tones. 

Trump himself is a racist and a bigot, having refused to apologize to the wrongly convicted Central Park 5, for whom he demanded the death penalty. There's his assertion there were very fine people on both sides of the nazi rally. It's sickening that so many Americans could overlook that and support him, egged on by Fox and their even lower common denominator spin offs. While not every Trump supporter may be a bigot, their support certainly enables and encourages bigotry. 

And alas, here in New York, we aren't immune to it. PBA endorsed Trump. Can you imagine being police of color and seeing that happen? (Police of color in the Capital spoke of "racist ass terrorists" in DC. The National Guard took its time showing up to help.) 

Of course, there are Trump supporters in UFT as well. It's hard for me to fathom that, as Trump is virulently anti-union, supporting "right to work" and enabling a court that allowed public employees who who felt like it to shirk on union dues. Let me tell you something--as bad as things are, however you feel about UFT leadership, we are very fortunate to weather the apocalypse as well as we have. If Trump had his way we'd all be teaching full classes in buildings or fired. Or dead of COVID. Take your pick.

Even in UFT, this is nothing new. I will never forget what happened to Eric Garner and reading the UFT Facebook page. UFT decided to support the march protesting Garner's death. The borderline racist, not to mention overtly racist, comments on that UFT Facebook post were humiliating to me as a union member and teacher. I'd had no plans to go to that march, but called a friend I knew who was going, and made it a point to be there myself. 

Of course a bunch of those teachers decided to wear NYPD shirts to school after Garner's murder. Here's how it was covered in the NY Post

Angry city teachers who refused to be bullied by their union posted Facebook photos on Thursday of themselves in NYPD T-shirts — after the UFT warned them not to wear the “inappropriate apparel” on the first day of classes.

You see? It's right here. It walks among us. Let's forget about the NY Post characterizing the UFT's suggestion (in a news story no less) that we not openly endorse murder as being "bullied." Can you imagine being a student of color, having just heard Eric Garner was murdered for the offense of selling loosies, and then having your teacher come in supporting the police in this case?

There are times to support the police. I generally support the police. I do not support police who commit gratuitous violence against citizens. I specifically oppose police who capriciously kill people who look like my students. I don't know what all those white teachers were thinking, or even if they were thinking, but I would hate for my kid to see that sort of thinking paraded as that of a role model.

Now that the treachery of the DC mob has been lain bare for all to see, those who encouraged it are taking another tack altogether:



Of course, Ivanka's not alone here. All the House and Senate members who wanted to thwart democracy, who openly tried to reverse the votes of citizens of color, who got caught and failed, now say they want to work together, as though they won't obstruct absolutely everything designed to help working people and promote everything designed to enrich those who least need it. Never mind the hundreds of bills that sat dormant on the desk of Mitch McConnell all these long years. Never mind the suppression of votes that's been going on for years here, or those who still pursue it.

White supremacy was and is everywhere. It's a great sin that Donald Trump, Fox News, GOP reps and others, even some of us, have now normalized and encouraged it. I don't envy Joe Biden the task that lies ahead of him, but I wish him luck.

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