Silver Rights

News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.

Saturday, April 05, 2003  

The most racist of blogs

Whether to write about racism in the blogosphere is a dilemma. If I do, I give bigots the attention they desperately desire. If I don't, other bloggers and blog readers, busy with their own lives, may not become aware of the nefarious purposes of some of our neighbors in Bloggersville. Despite some misgivings, I've decided to discuss possibly the most racist of blogs, Gene Expression.

Let's focus on an all too typical post from the site.

April 02, 2003

East Asian male + Jamaican female

the_alpha_male tried to post this over at the old MT installation. . .

Anyhow, here is his post.....

I recently came across a television news story that talked about Michael Lee Chin, who owns one of the top 10 or so largest mutual fund and finance companies in Canada - AIC. As a blog that's intensely interested in Human Biodiversity, I thought you all might find him intriguing. It's not often that one comes across a half Chinese/half Jamaican billionaire (according to one 2002 article, one of 3 "Black" billionaire’s in North America).

Here's a quote (source):

"if you want to divine why Lee-Chin’s so successful, look at his roots. He grew up as one of nine children in a close-knit, entrepreneurial family in the Jamaican seaside town of Port Antonio. The spot had long been a tropical hideaway for the rich and famous. Tycoons like J.P. Morgan and William Randolph Hearst once anchored their yachts offshore, while Hollywood swashbuckler Errol Flynn, who bought a nearby island, claimed he’d never met a woman as beautiful as Port Antonio. Both of Lee-Chin’s grandfathers were from China; his grandmothers were Jamaican. The Chinese began migrating to the island in the 1860s as indentured laborers to work on plantations following the abolition of slavery, and the descendants of mixed Asian-Jamaican couples today account for less than 5% of Jamaica’s population. “As kids we were harassed because we weren’t fully black and we weren’t Chinese either,” recalls Lee-Chin. “We were both betwixt and between.”

What's interesting is that he shows traits that [sic] usually ascribed to black males:

"At six-foot-four, the 51-year-old Lee-Chin is a powerhouse. He works out at least five times a week in a personal gym in his Burlington mansion, once owned by former Laidlaw chief Michael DeGroote. He can bench press a stunning 275 pounds, although these days he pumps just 225—five more than he weighs—preferring to concentrate on endurance rather than sheer strength. Lee-Chin says 50 push-ups is the minimum needed to qualify for a competition. I politely decline."

Athletic prowess, strict workout regimens and physical feats of strength aren't traits that are commonly associated with Asian business leaders. Neither is the gift for the gab, which is what I am assuming the authors meant when they stated that ".... The secret to his success? Lee-Chin is a salesman, pure and simple. "

Here's a pic of Mr. Chen. And here's another splurge of info.

What perplexes me is how the black community seems to take him as one of their own (as far as I know, he's half African black and half Chinese). Maybe he identifies with the black community, I don't know much about the man. He's half African and half Chinese, so it seems to me that the Chinese community have as much right to claim his as one of them.

Anyways, discuss amongst yourselves.

The entry's comments section consists of similar unthinking bigotry, mainly claims about African-Americans being 'naturally' athletic. (And, of course, 'naturally' stupid.) The article being mangled by the Gene Expressors can be read here.

The thinking is a dictionary definition of racism:

rac·ism    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (rszm)


1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

racist adj. & n.

Consider the opening gambit: "What's interesting is that he shows traits that usually ascribed to black males," followed by completely unsubstantiated claims that black men are inherently athletic and, apparently, inarticulate. That is a constant theme among racists, both the traditional variety and 'scientific' racists, or as they now prefer to call themselves, 'racial realists.' (Yes, I know 'racist fantasizers' would make more sense.)

The other theme of the entry, that business acumen and financial success are non-black 'traits' is equally bigoted. Individuals have traits, not groups. On a comparatively minor note, I was surprized to see Alpha Male refer to Chin as "Mr." That is pretty unheard of at a blog where topics such as "black = ugly," hopes that AIDs will wipe out most or all the population of Africa and the enshrining of disgraced academics such as blatant racist J. Phillip Rushton as heroes is the norm. I doubt Razib, the ill-informed, African-American hating windbag lead poster, would have used the courtesy title.

On my occassional forays into Gene Expression as part of my hate group monitoring, I am always bewildered by the sheer lack of factualness in the things Razib and his cohort say. For example, anyone can search the web and learn that the health of African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans is worse than that of whites, probably as a result of poverty and discrimination. Yet, again and again, they portray blacks, particularly, as physical super men and women. It never seems to cross their minds that athletes are a poor measure of the health of people in general.

If you have ever encountered the Gene Expressors (they usually invade other blogs as a group), you are probably wondering about Razib. He escaped the poverty and violence of Bangladesh as a child. His problems with race and gender seem to date from that time. (A blogger from India has written an entry I think really nails Razib. I may post it.) He seems equally obsessed with blacks (as subhumans) and whites (as a superior group he wishes he were a part of). When I noticed he had recently posted a photo of himself, but as a baby, to Gene Expression, I immediately guessed why: People of color tend to darken with age. We are lightest as babies. I've heard Razib is quite dark-skinned and is often mistaken for an African-American as an adult.

In future entries, I will consider Gene Expression in context with its brother sites, VDare and American Renaissance. They share a liason, longterm 'scientific' racist and serial underachiever Steve Sailer, and probably, funding. I also want to say a few words about bloggers who pretend to be mainstream while participating in Gene Expression and other racist groups.

posted by J. | 2:09 PM

Hopi woman among dead in Iraq

I recently learned from Laura of Interesting Monstah that the other invisible missing woman from the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, was also a minority woman.

FORT BLISS, Texas (CNN) -- February 17, 2003, was deployment day for the 507th Maintenance Company of Fort Bliss, Texas. Soldiers heading for a potential combat area in the Persian Gulf checked their equipment and posed for family pictures.

Pfc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City, Arizona, was among those saying goodbye. A 22-year-old Hopi from the Navajo Reservation, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and granddaughter of a World War II veteran, Piestewa took a few minutes to share some last-minute thoughts with a local television station.

An hour ago, it was announced that her body was recovered with six others from a hospital in Nasiriyah.

The seven missing Fort Bliss soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company ambushed March 23 are dead, the Department of Defense and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, said Friday.

The dead were identified as Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso; Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, of Pecos, Texas; Spc. James Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas; Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 22, of Tuba City, Ariz.; Pvt. Brandon Sloan, 19, of Bedford Heights, Ohio; Sgt. Donald Walters, 33, of Salem, Ore.; and Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, of Cleveland.

I don't know why Piestewa became invisible. For most of the period involved, Pfc. Jessica Lynch and she were both MIA, but it was Lynch who attracted attention.

Lynch, who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital Tuesday, had bunked with Piestewa. Friday, it was reported:

WASHINGTON - Rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch has been unable to provide much definitive information about the whereabouts of her still-missing roommate, Pfc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City, say two Arizona congressman.

But both Republican Reps. Rick Renzi, who represents Tuba City, and Trent Franks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said they remain hopeful that Piestewa, 23, is still alive despite reports of 11 bodies recovered during Lynch's dramatic rescue Tuesday at a hospital in Iraq.

That was not to be, the young woman who had been overlooked amid the glare of publicity focused on her roommate, died still invisible.

posted by J. | 2:15 AM

Thursday, April 03, 2003  


It appears the injuries to Pfc. Jessica Lynch previously reported may have been greatly exaggerated. Accounts from her family do not match those published in the Washington Post. My blogfather, Atrios, has the dirt. I noticed the golly-whiz tone of the story, but did not even suspect the reporter might knowlingly misrepresent the facts.

This new twist makes the issue discussed in the following entry even more interesting. Did the reporter create her own Great White Heroine?

posted by J. | 3:17 PM

Good for Pfc. Lynch, but. . .

I am glad Pfc. Jessica Lynch has been rescued and will be returned to the bosom of her family in West Virginia within weeks. Lynch is being hailed as a heroine who fought back when her company encountered Iraqi irregulars March 23. She was wounded several times by gunshot and knives and emptied her own weapon in return. A good ending to an exciting story, right?

I'm ambivalent. I feel for Lynch as a human being, but know the sympathy extended to her would not be extended to me. The situation reminds me, and I suspect, many other minority Americans, of the double standard applied to people according to race. Some of the news stories have emphasized her whiteness as if it explained her worth.

A pretty 19-year-old country girl who joined the US Army to escape unemployment was feared to be the first woman soldier to die yesterday.

Blonde Jessica Lynch was among 12 soldiers in a US supply convoy ambushed by Iraqi troops.

Others have not been as explicit, but the fact that she is white and female seems to explain part of the fascination with her. Meanwhile, Lynch's African-American comrade in the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, Specialist Shoshana Johnson, has virtually disappeared from the news. In another week, she will probably be as forgotten as Osama bin Laden is with the focus on Saddam Hussein. It is doubtful that her hometown would respond to her release as Lynch's has.

Yesterday, amid the fireworks and blaring sirens that heralded the news they had been waiting for all across the town, her father Greg spoke of his joy at her dramatic rescue from an Iraqi hospital by US troops.

As word of the "spunky little blonde girl" spread, more than 70 friends and relatives crowded into the Lynch’s two-storey, wood-frame house to show their support and share in the celebration.

And, the disparate treatment in the media does not stop there. Based on the women profiled in stories about the 15 percent of us in the U.S, military one would not never guess black women are overrepresented in the demographic. They are almost always white.

Ironically, more attention has been paid to Lynch than to male and minority soldiers who were killed in Iraq, some in a failed attempt to rescue her. Observing the dichotomy in empathy must be particularly difficult for the high percentage of the military that is African-American or Hispanic.

Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., pointed out in a recent memo that minorities are disproportionately represented in the armed forces.

According to the memo, 41% of the Army consists of minorities--those who are African American or Hispanic:

* 38% of the Navy is minority

* 26% of the Air Force is black or brown

* and 38% of the Marine Corp is black or brown

Their fate, if captured, would likely be closer to that of Johnson than that of Lynch. And, salt is being rubbed into the wound. Many conservatives are dismissing black soldiers, particularly, as not important to the military or the war effort because they serve mainly in support units. Most soldiers captured or killed may not be combat troops. Still, dark-skinned soldiers are to be slighted, as they have been in other wars.

The message is not lost on many African-Americans, "While about 75 percent of white Americans support the war, according to a recent survey, 61 percent of blacks are against [it]." There are very rational reasons for their opposition.

"Black Americans are routinely told that there's not enough money for housing, medicine, education and rebuilding the inner city, but . . . considerable sums can be raised for war and rebuilding Iraq," said Ron Walters, a political science professor at the University of Maryland, told the Washington Post.

Nor is the family of invasion of Iraq casualty Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall D. Waters-Bey clueless. "The dead man's sister, Michelle, said: "It's all for nothing, that war could have been prevented. Now, we're out of a brother. Bush is not out of a brother. We are."

Waters-Bey, 29, a crew chief aboard a U.S. Marine helicopter, also left a 10-year-old son and an embittered father behind.

Something that struck me during this week is that as minority soldiers disproportionately serve in Iraq and the military in general, another mode of upward mobility for people of color may be abolished by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON -- With chanting demonstrators outside and packed chambers inside, the Supreme Court weighed the future of affirmative action Tuesday.

In two hours of oral arguments, a number of justices suggested support for racial diversity, even as they emphasized resistance to strict quotas.

The questioning further exposed familiar divisions among the nine justices, while confirming a consensus view about the enduring significance of the cases involving University of Michigan admissions.

The decision by SCOTUS is expected in July. If the fighting in Iraq is still going on or the occupation of the country has begun, abolishing affirmative active will send a dual message: People of color are good enough to disproportionately do America's grunt work, sometimes being killed in the process, but not to attend its universities in significant numbers.

posted by J. | 1:28 PM

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

A Mom at war

The woman who has emerged as the symbol of the female soldier at war is Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson, of El Paso, Texas. Spec. Johnson was captured by Iraqi forces March 23 and is being held prisoner. She is the mother of a two-year-old daughter. As blogger Roger Ailes points out, conservative commentators are using the young woman's tragic situation to make their own points, sometimes in ways that demean her.

Washington Times editor Wes Pruden is a particularly telling example of the tendency because he has no use for Spec. Johnson beyond cynical exploitation of her gender and job. Pruden is a neo-Confederate, allied with organizations that believe slavery was justified and that African-Americans should not be denied full rights of citizenship. If he were not busy exploiting her, Pruden would be dismissing Spec. Johnson as a member of a genetically inferior race. In his column, Pruden says:

The capture of the courageous Miss Johnson, and the news that another brave young woman, Jessica Lynch, is dead has some of the aging radical feminists beside themselves with pride and joy. Equal-opportunity death on the battlefield is the latest triumph of the feminist revolution. Body bags are the latest fashion, like something from the salons of Paris.

Like many a bigot, Pruden's contempt for equality applies to gender as well as race. Furthermore, he trivializes the nature of feminism by claiming feminsts want to see young women's corpses in body bags. Don't be mislead by his use of complimentary adjectives. If Pruden had his way, Spec. Johnson and the late Private Lynch would never have had opportunities they took for granted, such as voting and receiving equal pay for equal work.

Other critics of allowing women in the military to serve in positions that may place them in harm's way are less hypocritical, but equally strident.

Elaine Donnelly, a member of the first President Bush's commission on women in the military, argues that the Clinton-era changes [in military occupations open to female solidrs] are coming home to roost.

"This has been pushed by civilian feminists who want to prove theories about men and women and by female military careerists," she says. "Now people like Ms. Lynch and Ms. Johnson are paying the full price for that social experiment."

Donnelly explains her reasoning more fully at the National Review Online. She believes the natures of the genders to be so different there can never be equality when it comes to participation in the military and war.

Anti-feminist blogger Sara of Diotima perceives the issue as protecting society from an unacceptable psychological burden moreso than protecting female soldiers from the risks inherent in being captured. Critiquing Matthew Yglesias' point that any soldier can be raped or otherwise degraded, she says:

I don't think the reasoning behind the Risk Rule was that women can be raped and men can't (although Ms. Donnelley certainly seems to be saying something like that). It probably had more to do with the fear that the American people can't "handle" (whatever that means) the idea that American women are being raped and tortured.

Some other voices are only semi-critical, fully supporting women in the military, but believing exceptions should be made in regard to proximity to combat for single mothers. A liberal commentator asks:

The American military offers its enlisted men and women enormous choices of training and education. Why shouldn't they also be offered the chance to take a few years off and then re-enlist, with no stigma attached?

The military takes dozens of factors into consideration when it deploys people. Why shouldn't single mothers be deliberately kept out of harm's way?

Though those questions are more palatable than the viewpoints expressed by the conservatives, I believe there are strong equal protection issues in treating groups differently, even in the military. If single mothers are given liberal leave and excluded from combat, it is hard to justify not doing the same for single men who are parents. If single parents are treated differently, can we really justify subjecting married parents to the risks at issue? After all, they are parents, the criterion being focused on, too.

I don't know if Spec. Johnson's predicament will be a watershed for the issue of women, especially mothers, at war, or not. Perhaps the issue will disappear among the clamor about other concerns by the time the war ends. If not, those of us who believe allowing women more opportunites in the military is not just defensible, but a good idea, will have to defend our position in the aftermath of capture, injury and death of female troops.

Note: This entry was previously published at Sisyphus Shrugged.

posted by J. | 8:42 PM