Roseanne Barr and Whataboutism
The big news of last week was Roseanne Barr’s popular sitcom being shut down because she tweeted something seriously racist.
For those unaware of what she tweeted, I’m going to show you. This is in reference to Valerie Jarrett, who is black:
It’s important to understand that comparing people of color (specifically black people) to apes is not just kind of racist. It is part of a long history of dehumanizing black people.
So what she said wasn’t just a “misstatement,” it was racist as fuck.
Barr has made racist statements in the past and has been publicly supportive of Donald Trump (as is her right), who is also a racist. And a sexual predator. We shouldn’t forget that Trump is a sexual predator.
This one, however, got her fired. And that doesn’t piss me off because free speech is not consequence free speech.
It does piss me off that a whole lot of other people are out of work because of what Barr said. Now, that’s the way this shit goes sometimes. They all knew Barr had a tendency to say outrageous things and they took that risk. The likely assumed the fact the show was enjoying high ratings might protect them from all but the most egregious things their star might say online.
Bad news: She said the most egregious thing.
Still, in the midst of liberal dance jams celebrating the fall of Roseanne, remember that our racist in chief is going to give Roseanne a golden parachute of some kind because he has shown the unending capacity to reward those who show him loyalty. Like Dinesh D’Souza.
So while Barr will carry on supported by the most nepotistic President in history, the rest of her cast and crew is out of work. They will find other work. But let’s remember that when Barr took herself off the air, she got a shit ton of other people fired in the process and they are not as likely to enjoy the love of the right Roseanne will enjoy.
Of course, a side effect of Trumpism is what John Oliver calls Whataboutism (he didn’t originate it but I heard it from him so I’m giving him credit).
Since Roseanne Barr got in trouble for being a racist, the right has immediately started looking for left leaning celebrities to punish. While this is fallacious reasoning, they don’t care. They can’t blame Barr for being racist so instead they want to find someone they can point to as a liberal who didn’t get punished for doing the same thing Barr did.
This allows them to remain the victimized underdog despite the fact they control all three branches of the Federal government, most governor mansions, and most state legislatures.
So what they came up with was Whoopi Goldberg and a shirt she was “wearing.”
I put “wearing” in quotes for a reason. The reason, of course, is that this image is a complete fucking fake. You can actually tell it is doctored if you know anything about doctoring images.
But that really doesn’t matter. What matters is to switch the conversation from Barr being a racist to Goldberg wearing a horrible shirt about Trump killing himself.
And let’s be clear – while I believe all of us (especially people of color) would be a lot better off if Trump was not our President – I don’t want him to shoot himself. I wouldn’t wish that on his family any more than I would wish all of the people working on “Roseanne” would lose their jobs because their star is a racist shitbag.
When you point out this photo is doctored to conservatives, their response is basically “yeah but she probably wore something that offensive at one point and besides whatever you used to find the proof it’s fake has a liberal bias because we conservatives are persecuted and that’s why we control all three branches of the federal government, and most governor’s mansions and state legislatures.”
They don’t care. Even though the most un biased proof in the world is just looking at the picture. It’s doctored! Holy shit! Are you willfully blind or actually blind?
Later in the week, conservatives shifted their attention from the fake picture of Whoopi Goldberg to a real thing Samantha Bee said on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”
In talking about immigration, Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.” She has since apologized because it was a poor choice. It wasn’t very funny. And when you are a comedian, being funny is top priority.
Barr should realize that as well.
Cries have gone up for Bee to be fired because, you know, double standard liberal bias blah blah blah. I mean, Barr apologized, right? And she got fired. But Bee didn’t. Yet. LIBERAL BIAS!
Now let’s understand the difference between racism and calling the President’s daughter a bad name.
One is racism. Full stop.
What Bee said was pretty stupid. Her and her writers had opportunities to make a different choice. They probably thought they were being edgy. But they were just calling Ivanka Trump a name. A really horrible name. A name that really didn’t do anything useful.
And look – I’m completely against tone policing. You want to use the c-word to describe someone, that’s your call. But you’d better have a really good fucking reason for doing so and if your reason is “it’s a punchline,” it needs to be the best fucking punchline you’ve ever uttered. The odds are just saying “cunt” is not going to be the best punchline you’ve ever uttered.
The right suggests that Bee’s apology is disingenuous because she had to know what she was doing when she said the word.
And yeah, she did. I’m a comedian. I’ve performed in some really offensive shows and when I’ve said offensive stuff. I knew what I was doing every time.
I’ve also crossed the line and been called on crossing the line. And I apologized.
Not because I didn’t know what I was doing. But because I got it wrong. I thought what I was doing was clever and funny and it was just stupid and wrong. When you screw up, you apologize and that apology can be sincere even if you thought you knew what you were doing at the time. Samantha Bee got it wrong and her apology is basically saying she got it wrong.
Should her show be cancelled? Probably not. Because getting it wrong is different from being a fucking racist.
In the end, though, none of us are talking about racism. And if we can really get to the heart of what pisses me off about all of this, it is that last bit.
What Barr said was racist. Comparing a black woman to an ape is racist and demeaning.
Barr has been racist for a long time. The people supporting her (specifically Trump) are also racist. They don’t like it when people point that out because being racist is bad. And it should be.
Doctoring a picture of a black celebrity to counter what Barr said doesn’t solve the fact that what Barr said was racist.
Tone policing what Bee did just takes attention away from Barr being a racist.
So what we aren’t doing is talking about racism. Barr had the number two show in the country and she’s been racist for a long time. This time she crossed a line and couldn’t walk back to the other side.
But she’s going to be rewarded for that racism because the most powerful man in the country is a racist.
People should lose their jobs for being openly racist. Trump should never have been hired in the first place because he is openly racist.
So please, let’s forget about the fact that Samantha Bee made a bad joke at the expense of the President’s wealthy, powerful, and attractive (to the President) daughter. Because Ivanka Trump can take it.
I mean seriously, stop worrying about Bee’s language choices for a moment to recognize that at the end of all of this, Ivanka Trump is doing just fine. You want to be offended on behalf of anyone in this entire endeavor, how about being offended for Whoopi Goldberg because she’s the only person who didn’t do what people are accusing her of doing. She’s also the only person of color.
You know who isn’t doing just fine? People of color in America. Because our President is a racist and he’s going to give Roseanne Barr a job while all those other people who worked with Barr, most of whom are not racist, won’t get a call from the white house.
Barr, Bee, Ivanka and yes, even Whoopi Goldberg are all sideshows to that basic fact. The racists are winning. Trump even said it himself this week (he said “we are winning” and may have meant “conservative jackasses like me are winning” but “racists” is just as likely). If you want to be pissed off about anything, be pissed off about that.
So for the last few years, some players at Football games have knelt during the National Anthem to draw attention to racial problems in America. The NFL had allowed it but clearly it pissed some people (like our whiner-in-Chief) off.
The reasons are spurious. It doesn’t disrespect the troops because the National Anthem never used to be about the troops. It doesn’t actually hurt ratings because television ratings are falling for the NFL at the exact same rate they are falling for all other network broadcasts. It doesn’t even disrespect the country because the right to voice concern with what is happening in our country is literally built into the first amendment. Yes, these people protesting are rich but they aren’t protesting for themselves you myopic dickbags. This may be hard to believe, but people can give a shit about others and some try to use their public platform to help those people.
I guess it just pisses off (mostly white) people who don’t think that (mostly non-white) people have anything to complain about.
So the “compromise” the NFL has come up with is to require players to stand during the National Anthem or, if they can’t do that, they can stay in the locker room. Failure to do so will result in a fine levied against the team. The team then can decide what to do to the players including fines or suspensions.
32 people (all but two of them white) have decided that protesting players (who are mostly black) should stay out of sight rather than quietly taking a knee during the national anthem.
Our President has responded by saying that if you can’t respect our flag and country by standing for the anthem, maybe you should leave the country.
So our President has basically told black people in America that they should leave. Because apparently staying out of sight isn’t good enough.
What the President said is really important here. Because you can’t separate the rise of white nationalism from that asshole. When he makes statements like he made this week, he is empowering people who think that America is for white people.
The other part of this conversation is the number of people who respond to all of this by saying technically it is the right of the employer (a NFL team) to impose restrictions on how their players behave in public. Because technically it is. I mean, what the owners are doing is legal.
But it is a straw man argument. So what if NFL teams have the legal right to tell their players to stand up and shut up? By doing so, they are sending the message that their version of patriotism is more important than anyone else’s. Further, they are sending a message that rich people get to control the lives of everyone they pay.
They are forcing players to be patriotic. Which isn’t even patriotic. What will be patriotic is when players kneel knowing there are potential consequences for the action.
And that’s going to happen, by the way. Anthem protests were mostly over. This new policy means they will probably be bigger than ever next season as players engage in a game of chicken with owners to effectively say “OK, I’m kneeling. Now what?”
But please stop defending the billionaires because they can legally do this. Yeah. I get it. They can.
We all know that. Why can’t you all shut up about what they have the legal right to do? If you aren’t OK with it, don’t be OK with it. It’s like you want to hide behind the legality of the action to throw your hands in the air and say “what can I do? It’s their right!”
Are you OK with them taking advantage of that right or not? The rest is window dressing. It’s like saying “I agree with Black Lives Matter but they shouldn’t block traffic.” Fine. You don’t like that some protests block traffic. Do you no longer agree with Black Lives Matter because they blocked traffic?
Either you agree with what the owners did or you do not. Their right to do it is not relevant. When they exercised their right, were you OK with it or not?
I’ll remind those who are paying attention that the two players most readily identified with the anthem protests – Colin Kaepernik and Eric Reid – still don’t have a job. Reid, especially, is considerably better than average at his position and he has been contacted by one team this year. That team owner specifically asked Reid if he would kneel for the anthem.
So making the choice to speak up (by silently kneeling) is costing some people jobs. But we don’t seem interested in the risks those players have taken for exercising their first amendment rights. Only the rights of the billionaires who don’t like what they are doing.
This week, I’ve been listening to white people talk about how these are “important issues” but the anthem “isn’t the right time” to call attention to them. They say that they watch football to “escape” from politics and that minute and a half when someone kneels quietly at the beginning of the game just makes it impossible to enjoy the three hours of football that follow.
Excuse me for being indelicate but fuck them.
While they complain about how politics “invades” their enjoyment of football, pretty much every black man in America sweats out a traffic stop because they want to make sure they don’t get shot. Do these assholes whining about politics invading their play time stand at attention during the anthem? Or do they simply expect the players on the field to do so while they can concentrate on their fantasy football scores?
If you think this is just about the NFL, you are mistaken. It is about black people trying to tell white people something and white people constantly saying “you need to tell me in a different way.”
First, they said “you can’t block traffic or I won’t listen.”
Then they said “you can’t kneel quietly or I won’t listen.”
Now they are saying “Just stay out of sight. Then I promise I’ll listen.”
White People Are Calling the Police on Black People All Over the Place
Since I missed last week’s column (I was on a trip for my anniversary and we had a lovely time thank you), I didn’t get to write about the white woman who called the cops on a black student who fell asleep at college or the white woman who called the cops on a black family barbecuing. I was also going to write about the two Native American students who were on a campus tour but detained when a white woman called campus security on them.
I was going to write about all three happening in the same week. But then I didn’t write a post last week.
Then this week a Hobby Lobby manager called the police when a black man with proper receipt tried to return something to their store. Shockingly, the manager was a white woman! A white woman also called the police on a black man who was inspecting a property he was planning to buy.
In every one of these cases, the people had done nothing wrong. I mean aside from not being white. In most cases, the individuals reported were at least inconvenienced by the situation. But in all cases, the police acknowledged they had, basically, done nothing wrong.
I suppose all of these people of color should be relieved that they hadn’t raised the concern of a white male because he probably would have shot them and claimed self defense.
I know, not all white women call the cops on people of color. And not all white dudes shoot black people. It seems silly that I have to point out that I’m using hyperbole to make a point but I fear I will bruise fragile white egos if I don’t point out to the white people reading this column that I’m not talking about them specifically.
But then let me as a white dude say this – yes I am.
Because this is our problem. When you put a racist in the White House and you argue that we need to understand both sides of the argument, you are forgetting that sometimes one side is right and the other side is wrong. When a black man can’t return something to a store without the manager calling the cops, the problem isn’t the black man’s behavior.
One one side you have a guy just trying to get on with his day and on the other, you have a racist.
So maybe you aren’t specifically calling the cops on black people. Or shooting black people. Next time it happens, though, maybe you should stop trying to see the “other side” because if you are white, you can’t even begin to understand what it is like to know someone might call the cops on you for existing.
The White House Correspondents dinner was this weekend. It is an event in which a comedian is hired to roast the President and the White House Press Corps. For the second year in a row, Donald Trump opted not to attend.
Because he’s a coward who isn’t capable of listening to a single negative thing said about him. That alone should piss you off. Donald Trump is a coward. Doesn’t matter the awful things that may or may not have been said. He couldn’t take the softest of softball jokes about him.
At least he knows it, I guess. So he holds a campaign event where everyone loves him and then tweets about an event he didn’t attend like some kind of smug asshole. Which is the role he was born to play.
Michelle Wolf spoke truth to power and she didn’t pull punches. The predictable result was conservative politicians upset because she made jokes about Trump’s pussy grabbing (he said it you magnanimous fucks) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ lies (not her appearance – watch the actual video).
In the end, she called out the press and that is probably why they turned against her. She pointed out that whether or not the press corps likes Trump, they made him. They profit from him and even as Trump takes unending potshots at them, they are secretly happy to have him around.
She then pointed out that Flint still doesn’t have clean water.
You can complain that she wasn’t telling a joke when she said that. You can even argue that her comedy routine wasn’t funny (I laughed but comedy is subjective). But the fact is her final message – that all of this is bullshit because the people of Flint should be able to drink water and none of us give a fuck about that any more – got lost amidst reporters falling all over themselves to feel sorry for Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
So many things wrong here. First, THERE WAS A NEO-NAZI RALLY IN GEORGIA.
Now only a few dozen Nazis showed up because historically, Nazis are cowards who rely on superior numbers and intimidation to gain power. Since they haven’t superior numbers, it is easier to hide in their basement and blog about how much they hate people who aren’t like them.
You can’t ignore the fact that some of them have the courage to crawl out of their holes and remind the public they exist. This is a new thing since – oh – November 2016 and it should scare anyone with a conscience.
Nearly 700 law enforcement officers (some reports say over 400 so I don’t know for sure but there were a lot of them) showed up to deal with the rally they believed would be much larger. Over 100 counter protestors showed up to remind the Nazis that they are racist fuckwits who shouldn’t get to say anything without being shouted down.
So the end result of all of this was the police arrested…some of the counter protestors.
Because they were wearing masks which is in violation of a 1950’s era law directed at the KKK.
Video from the event shows police in full riot gear with guns drawn. I’m not going to pretend I know what was going on there but let’s be really clear about this – it doesn’t matter. The protesters were holding up their hands and clearly didn’t need to be held at gunpoint by over a dozen police officers.
I really think we need to stop this whole “Antifa and white supremacists are the same” bit because someone’s going to get hurt and I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to be the Neo-Nazis. And how fucked up is that?
I will note this story actually happened late last week and a lot has happened since then. But in case you somehow missed it, let me sum up.
Two men entered a Starbucks in Philadelphia last week. They did not immediately order because they were waiting for a colleague. One of them asked to use the bathroom and was told the bathroom was for customers. They were then asked to leave. They refused because they were waiting for a colleague before they ordered. The police were called and they were arrested for trespassing. Which, I guess, they technically were.
But who cares? White people go into Starbucks all the time and nobody calls the cops when they want to use the bathroom before ordering.
The cops weren’t called because these guys were trespassing. They were called because the manager was uncomfortable. And the manager was uncomfortable because they were black.
Starbucks has responded better than most companies. Their CEO has apologized to the two men and on the 29th of April, every Starbucks will close for racial sensitivity training.
And white people are pissed. What are they supposed to do for their coffee?
Now one day of sensitivity training doesn’t erase the problem. As the article linked above points out, black people aren’t surprised by this story. They deal with this kind of thing every day of their lives.
So let’s hope Starbucks doesn’t check a social justice box and assume everything is OK. Because it isn’t. Read More…
Post racist America is alive and well in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
14-year-old Brennan Walker (yes – you read that right – he’s fourteen) missed his bus and he got lost. Sounds pretty scary, right? Not compared to what happened next.
Next, he rang a doorbell to ask directions. The woman who answered the door freaked out and said he was trying to rob them. Because most robbers ring the doorbell.
Her husband grabbed a gun and that’s when Brennan ran. As he was running away, the dude shot at him. Fortunately, he missed or Brennan would be a statistic and his murderers would be claiming they were in fear for their lives to avoid going to jail.
And they probably were.
Because they are racist fucks who freaked out when a black kid came to their door. The guy who shot at Brennan (who was convinced he was a “good guy with a gun”) is facing charges but we all know he’s probably going to get away with it. Because a fourteen year old kid asking for directions was a credible threat.
What’s sad is Brennan’s mom told him this could happen. She warned him that people would be afraid of him because he’s young and black. The warning probably saved his life because he ran away from the murdering racists before they could murder him.
Isn’t it great, though, that the mothers of black young men need to prepare them for situations like this? Because they actually happen?