Racism, Trump’s sexism

Take a look at Anna Holmes’ column in the Washington Post about Trump’s sexism – and, while I understand Holmes has a column in the Lifestyle section – doesn’t sexism deserve a more news-worthy section? Would the WaPo place an article about racism in the Lifestyle section? Perhaps sexism, like racism, is considered a “lifestyle”? Hmmm…

Column:  Anna Holmes on Donald Trump’s sexism

Holmes provides sufficient evidence of Trump’s evidence but I particularly like these 2 conclusions:

his utterance lay bare the modus operandi of the unreconstructed misogynist, in which women should be sexy, but not sexual (just as airlines once required of stewardesses, the Miss USA organization denies entry to contestants who have ever been married or “given birth to, or parented, a child”); a willingness to relinquish autonomy over one’s fertility is both an asset and a job requirement; and female worth is quantified not by character or accomplishment but by hip-to-waist ratio.

and

Perhaps this legacy of unapologetically gleeful misogyny — not his reputedly shady business practices or his absurd questions about President Obama’s birthplace — will end up being Trump’s electoral Achilles’ heel. Despite his protestations over the years that he “loves” and “respects” women, the fact of the matter is that whatever their party identification or their positions on the economy, foreign policy or abortion rights, women don’t take kindly to being defined by their body mass index, their mothering skills or their supposed disposability. (“People change their positions all the time, the way they change their wives,’’ said Trump confidant Michael Cohen earlier this year as a way to explain his boss’s newfound animus toward abortion rights.)

She ends:

Not that Trump cares. “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive],” he told a writer for Esquire in 1991.

Ewwww! (also see: comment about his daughter’s body – double ewwww)

And here’s an article in AlterNet (probably not their lifestyle section) about Trump’s racism:

Obama’s Mama vs. The Donald’s

By implication of skin color, Donald Trump is more inherently American than Barack Obama.  Which would come as a real shock to Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white woman born and raised in the American heartland of Kansas.  Trump’s mother, on the other hand, was an immigrant from Scotland.

There is nothing more fundamentally anti-American than parsing out shares of American identity based in proportion to skin color.  By any definition of the values and ideals of our nation, Barack Obama is as much or more an American — an inheritor and perpetuator of the American Dream — than Donald Trump who was born with America and everything else served up on a silver spoon.  And the undocumented migrant mothers who are toiling in our nation’s fields today so they may create a better future for their children are arguably just as American as Barack Obama’s mother. 

Too often, we treat American identity as a tangible birthright given only to some rather than an aspirational dream available to all.  Yes, one has to be a citizen to be President — and Barack Obama (unfortunately) was forced to prove that previously and re-prove it again.  But one does not have to be a citizen to be American.  The America for which our ancestors fought and for which we continue to fight for today is not simply the soil onto which you are born but the spirit in your heart — the idea that all people are born equal and should have equal opportunity, that this hallowed nation shall be a place on earth where people from all walks of life can pursue their dreams together. 

Come to think of it, I think I heard more hallaballu about Will & Kate accomplishing the American dream of rags-to-riches than I did for Obama. Go figure.

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Remember the post about the park ranger “snapping” and killing his wife and kids – Well, now the real truth comes out

In 2009, I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Washington Post – it had to do with a park ranger that “snapped” and killed his wife and two teenage stepchildren.

Park ranger ‘snapped’ before three slayings, court told

Here’s my letter to the editor: Words that matter, or not

In the April 3 Metro story “Park Ranger ‘Snapped’ Before Slayings of Family, Court Told,” about a man suspected of killing his wife and two stepchildren, the reporter took what I call the “Snap, Cackle, Pop” approach. In sum, the media report that the “nice guy” snaps because of his wife’s cackling or nagging, and so he pops her with a gun to put himself out of his misery.

This template for reporting on domestic violence must go.

Three to four women, and sometimes their children, die every day under circumstances related to domestic violence. Media accounts that excuse the behavior of the abuser or blame the victim for the crime are unacceptable. Often, there is a pattern of abuse, and it doesn’t involve the wife’s “nagging.” More often, the issues involve control or jealousy by the abuser.

Interviewing those close to the abuser will typically result in kind words because an abuser can provide a normal if not charming exterior. And, if the abuser commits suicide, rarely will you find a source willing to speak ill of the dead. Thus, we hear all these stories of “nice guys” who kill.

Most domestic homicides are not inexplicable. There is often a clear pattern that leads to murder.

The media owe it to the community to provide that information.

Well, two years later, we finally learn the truth (and of all sources it’s Fox News!!) :

Slain woman’s family breaks silence in Virginia triple murder

Ronquillo Dean also testified that his brother suffered from psychological issues and “he had, you know, some breakdowns” after becoming distraught when his first marriage ended and later learned Dean “didn’t go to work for a year.”

During this time, Dean was working as a ranger.

“They should have been concerned,” Clark said, referring to the Park Authority.

Clark says “Evidently it wasn’t a problem” for Dean to carry a gun “because he was never stopped.”

The family also deposed former Prince William County police officer and family acquaintance, Pete Paradis, who Dean requested come to the house the night of the murder. Paradis said Dean couldn’t get a job early on in his career with Prince William County police because of a “drug incident.”

During the questioning, the family’s attorney also produced a letter from Prince William County Schools to Dean, saying he had been “rejected” for a security job because of “an unsuccessful background investigation.”

Dean’s brother also said he was turned down by Fairfax County Police, but did not know the reason.

The ex-wife and the story that she told about his having violent dreams and wanting to hurt people and the fact that he could carry a gun and nobody cared? When you add all those things up and the loss of three wonderful people, it makes you angry,” Clark said getting emotional.

Dean told police he and his wife argued and he couldn’t take it, but Elizabeth Dean’s mother calls it all lies, that have tarnished her daughter’s short life.

“It was bad enough that he had killed them, but to make it appear as if he was forced to do it because he was angry?” she said.

Women’s human rights get put on the back burner…again…and some @$$hole from USAID says they’re just “pet projects” that were too troublesome and unattainable

It’s just incredibly discouraging to read that women’s human rights are getting put on the back burner — I shouldn’t even use the word “put” – we  just remain there, in a holding pattern. Some advances have been made, but we have so far to go to gain just basic rights in the world.

In Afghanistan, US shifts strategy on women’s rights as it eyes wider priorities

It started out on the right foot:

…it insisted that the winning contractor meet specific goals to promote women’s rights: The number of deeds granting women title had to increase by 50 percent; there would have to be regular media coverage on women’s land rights; and teaching materials for secondary schools and universities would have to include material on women’s rights.

It changed to this in order to be a more “attainable” goal:

Now, the contractor only has to perform “a written evaluation of Afghan inheritance laws,” assemble “summaries of input from women’s groups” and draft amendments to the country’s civil code.

I love this: “the women’s issue” – isn’t it a HUMAN issue or a SOCIETAL one?

 J. Alexander Thier, director of USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs. “The women’s issue is one where we need hardheaded realism. There are things we can do, and do well. But if we become unrealistic and overfocused . . . we get ourselves in trouble.”

So, are women a lost cause?

Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities,” said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. “There’s no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down.”

This will be my first time cursing on the blog: WE ARE NOT A FUCKING SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP AND HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NOT A “PET PROJECT.”  How can half the world’s population be called a “special interest group”? What a fucking condescending, dehumanizing, arrogant thing to say. Well, women, you heard it straight up – your human rights are considered “pet rocks.”

Here’s what the Afghan men think of women and ways in which USAID is helping:

Despite deep opposition to women working outside the home, or even continuing schooling after puberty – in rural southern Afghanistan, a common expression among men is that “a woman’s place is in the home or in the ground” – USAID is trying to chip away at those attitudes by providing micro-credit for women to start businesses, teaching them to make handicrafts at home and encouraging them to participate in civil society groups.

I’m tired of women’s human rights getting relegated to the back burner, especially over violent men. Do you have to take up arms to get recognized? Does the “men’s issue” trump women’s basic rights to education, land ownership, protection against violence, dignity…? Why does violence take precedence over human rights? I think we’ve got the cart before the horse. If we strengthened human rights- particularly women’s – we’d strengthen families and communities.

Is the Washington Post running a scam?

Here’s info from Change.org:

Here’s how the Washington Post Company makes billions of dollars:  

Veterans, single moms, and working parents are lured in by admissions counselors at Kaplan University Online (a for-profit college owned by the Post). Students use federal loans to sign up for classes that can be 14 times more expensive than a comparable community college class. 

It’s basically a scam. Sixty-nine percent of students drop out. A third of students default on their loans, meaning taxpayers are stuck with the bill and the students have their credit destroyed — while Kaplan keeps all the money.

Read more

One in three South African men admit to rape

More than 1 in 3 South African men admit to rape:  Study

JOHANNESBURG — A new survey says more than one in three South African men admit to having committed rape.

A 2010 study led by the government-funded Medical Research Foundation says that in Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city of Johannesburg, more than 37 percent of men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape.

More than 51 percent of the 511 women interviewed said they’d experienced violence from men, and 78 percent of men said they’d committed violence against women.

A quarter of the women interviewed said they’d been raped, but the study says only one in 25 rapes are reported to police.

Where’s the outrage?

Where’s the outrage when girls are raped and videotaped? Where’s the outrage when women are targeted because they’re female and killed? Where’s the language to express the horrors of being stabbed in the face and torso by a person you once loved?

Notice the difference in these 2 articles – one calls for outrage over the suicide of a young boy caught on tape having sex with another male. The other rationalizes the behavior of videotaping a teen girl being gang-raped – the video spread widely on Facebook.

With Tyler Clementi’s death, let’s try friending decency 

…we should add an urgent call to renew respect for privacy. As a community of decent people, we have to rally ourselves to stop the insanity of narcissism and exhibitionism that inculcates the broader notion that nothing is off-limits.

And-

Whether or not you agree with the anti-smoking movement, you can concede that it worked. Why not apply the same template to those who would invade another’s space? We don’t want to outlaw cameras or otherwise limit free expression, but we can certainly make it unattractive and unacceptable to intrude on others. Next time someone takes your picture or posts it on the Internet without your permission, raise the roof. Point a finger. Stand athwart civilization and yell, “No more.”

When others are victimized by another’s lack of scruples, be outraged. And never publish or distribute images of anyone without his or her permission.

Now compare this to Tracy Clark-Flory’s account of the girl who was raped and videotaped:

Teens share photos of assault on Facebook

For the most part, these are not pedophilic child pornography collectors; many of the distributors are teenagers themselves. This of course has many adults asking that age-old question: What’s wrong with kids these days? I suspect there are a couple explanations that do not require us to label “kids these days” as amoral animals.

And-

These sorts of images are the norm. We have access to them, they exist, and so we view them — duh. Carry this view a little further and it isn’t hard to understand how even a nonsociopathic teenager might opt to view a photo of a girl’s rape, or even send it along to a friend. This is so often how we share things, good and bad; we hit “forward” or “re-tweet” or “like,” etc. Technology offers us a sense of privacy, and detachment, even as we’re sharing these things with the entire Web. The online mentality is one of entitlement and total freedom, no one has ownership over anything (just ask record label execs). I would venture to say that it hasn’t even occurred to many of the kids — the ones who are not, you know, patently evil — that they are violating this girl themselves.

Forgive them sisters for they know not what they do?! I don’t think so.

This case demands as much outrage as the case of the Rutgers student. The young girl did not commit suicide, but she will be at risk for suicide as well as other mental and possibly physical repercussions.

 Please contact Tracy at Tracy@salon.com to let her know the case deserves outrage. Share the case with other media outlets, let the media know that women’s lives have as much value as men’s lives, let the media know you want to read about women, too. This case was virtually ignored by the media. The similarities should have been pointed out – it’s not just the LGBT community that faces such discrimination.

Name it. Change it.

A new campaign called “Name it Change it” is out to stop sexism in its tracks! You too can participate – see the Web site for details:

Name it Change it

Watch the video “

Here’s a description of the campaign:

Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, often negatively affecting their campaigns. The ever-changing media landscape creates an unmonitored echo chamber, often allowing damaging comments to exist without accountability.

We must erase the pervasiveness of sexism against all women candidates — irrespective of political party or level of office — across all media platforms in order to position women to achieve equality in public office. We will not stand by as pundits, radio hosts, bloggers, and journalists damage women’s political futures with misogynistic remarks. When you attack one woman, you attack all women.

Here’s an article in the Washington Post about it: Women’s groups target sexism in campaigns

And here’s a letter to the editor about the article (note the misogynist comments on it):  Group references sometimes overlook the absence of women