You start out in 1954 by saying,
"Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you
can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you.
Backfires. So you say stuff like forced
busing, state’s rights, and all that stuff.
In the Book of Revelation, the Lamb of God opens four seals, summoning forth the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The White Horse rides in the name of conquest and pestilence. The Red Horse for war; civil war and the assault on Christians. The Black Horse is, of course, famine. And the Pale horse is Death, the destroyer of empire.
Our esteemed ruler places mouth to microphone and calls the caravan of Central American asylum seekers, “an assault on our nation”. He calls it “a ploy to destroy America...to bring us to our knees.” He describes it as “an invasion”. He tweets, “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan.” He calls it “a national emergency.” He declares a national emergency. He tweets, “They [Democrats] want Open Boarders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease.” He accuses Democrats of planning the caravan. He accuses George Soros of funding it.
These dog whistles pierce and burn the ears of Trump’s base. They hearken to biblically and historically instilled fear.
In a recent interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, Sarah Sanders said she believes god placed Trump in the White House to uphold Christian values and concerns.
Consider Ellis Island. The Irish, the Jews, the Poles, the Italians were all said to be out to destroy this White Evangelical Christian Nation.
Christian values are constantly threatened; whether it be from Super Predators, crack cocaine, AIDS, communists, video games, Tupac, Harry Potter, etc.
The War on Christmas justifies the Muslim Ban.
And these are hardly fringe opinions. In fact, the opinions need not be extremist at all. When our ruler decries ‘Sharia Law’, he doesn’t need calls for the destruction of Islam (though he’ll take them because they are useful to him), all he needs is to stoke the flames of doubt. It’s not hate, it’s fear he needs. He needs his low-income white voter to see change in their homogeneous community as an attack on their way of life; difference as accusation; their values and thus identities, on the precipice of extinction. This positions him as a crusader for truth and a martyr for morality and positions them as victims of a cabal-like conspiracy.
In the ninth book of the Republic, Plato posits the tyrant is the most fearful man in the kingdom. What happens when this fear engulfs a nation?
The ruler addresses the Union. He says, without irony, “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight, upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.”
He provokes and the Left becomes outraged, which only solidifies his base, only strengthens their confirmation biases. Pointing out, how it makes no sense that anyone, Democrat or otherwise, would wish to bring an apocalypse upon their own children is precisely why it is believed to be occurring. It is a biblical evil. Evil for evil’s sake.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing us that he does not exist. His second greatest trick was allowing racists to hide behind the veil of advocacy. As Pete Holmes reminds us, “The Prince of Darkness does not need an advocate.” The greatest trick the Right ever pulled was convincing the Left evidence is necessary.
Moments later, the ruler says, “And then we had the case of the Governor of Virginia saying he would execute a baby after birth.”
The Left are a bunch of snowflakes, who can’t take a joke, who are weak in the face of opposition, who put America second, who are triggered over the cloth and dye of a flag but apparently they also drink their old-vine bordeuxs from the skulls of babies because Alex Jones told me so.
The Southern Strategy continues to work because of the eye wink. When critics call the ruler a racist (because of all the racist shit he says), all he has to do is tweet a photograph of himself, on Cinco de Mayo, smiling and giving the camera a thumbs up, “Happy #CincodeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” All he has to do is go on talk radio and say, “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” The portion of his base that do not believe themselves to be racists (which is the majority) will point and say, “See? How could one possibly read that as racist?” while his white supremacist soldiers thrown an eye wink back, acknowledging that in order to be elected and run this PC country into the ground, you just can’t say nigger, nigger, nigger anymore.
Locker room talk. Boys will be fucking boys.
For everyone else in the Continental United States, it has always been the end of days. And yet we survived, though I try not to confuse this with hope; most did not survive.
Migrant women will give their daughters birth control before they begin the journey to the US boarder, for it is likely they will be raped and assaulted along the way. Still they choose to leave their home, everything they have ever known, to make this impossibly dangerous journey.
Jumping from a burning building is not hope, nor is it its absence. I recognize hymns are survival tactics, yet, slaves still married. Still, they taught themselves to read.
Human resiliency is beyond the words I have.
It truly pains me to know that countless people read change as the weaponization of an agenda. It pains me to see them so afraid—and how quickly defense turns to hatred.
I’ve tried writing an ending to this thing for a few weeks now. It’s not coming. I don’t have advice. Coded language is garbage and we need to keep calling it out but if we (cause the burden will always be on the tired and weary) don’t figure out how to quell these fears, then those horsemen will come.
By now we’ve all heard of, read, and/or seen the tweets about Esquire’s March issue.
In the cover photo, sits a white kid, on his regular-ass bed, in his regular-ass room, his face holds a scowl or confusion or maybe he has a fart. He wears a flannel, a hoodie beneath, and is
fitting his socked-foot into a fashionable sneaker. It’s tagline reads, “What it’s like to grow up white, middle class in the era of...#MeToo, and a divided country.”
You can guess the reactions. The Left made assertions about representation. Fox News ran the story ‘The Left Decided It Hates Young, White Men’. We all know our roles in this dance.
When I saw the cover, I laughed--because it was connected to this tweet by Fran Tirado “finally, the representation we’ve been waiting for”. That is objectively a well written joke—and it basically ends there for me. And I knew for the internet it wouldn’t; that all these voices would ‘weigh-in’ and do what they do to get views/likes/clicks. It would keep showing up on my feed, in the news I read, so I decided to read the article.
Drumroll...it was uneventful. It was boring.
Probably cause it’s not for me. It’s for Esquire’s market, which according to David Granger, Editor in Chief, “Esquire is special because it is a magazine for men...a magazine about the interests, the curiosity, the passions, of men.”
Also, this isn't some quote buried in the recesses of the internet--I found this on Esquire's sit. We're men. We're loud. We're here and when we got here we pretended to 'discover' here because here did not exist pre-men.
It was also written for those of the Left, the wealthy, white Clinton voters, to shake them, to show them the forgotten America; the land and its peoples between the coasts. This is not a new conceit. It’s a perfectly fine conceit in fact; and somewhat necessary. However, it’s not easy.
A number of years ago, I attended a lecture by George Saunders. At some point, he said, the hardest book to write in America would be a sympathetic rendering of a Republican. It’s certainly one of them.
The article’s intention was to humanize this kid, who holds views that particularly under this administration are hard to swallow: he’s a fan of Trump, he’s anti-abortion, he’s fairly entrenched in genders role; he he got into a physical altercation with a female peer, “she smacked him in the face. He smacked her back.” The kid’s explanation being, “I hit her back because I didn’t know how to react.” At some point he reasons that a woman can do whatever she wants to a man, without fear of punishment and he ends with, “I still don’t really understand. I know what I can’t do, I just don’t know what I can do.”
Well, that was a lot. I should mention the consequences for the assault were as followed: he spent a couple hours in detention. He got a ticket sending him to municipal court. End of story.
I used to work with this white guy in LA. This guy had grown up in liberal LA, he liked hip-hop, liked basketball, had a college degree from a liberal California college, and all he ever did was say out of pocket shit.
At this particular job, conflict mediation and resolution played a big role, which meant, I had to sit and listen to a bunch of veiled, dog-whistle racism and xenophobia because he didn’t know any better and was trying to learn and how was he suppose to learn, when people kept criticizing him? He, like the Esquire kid, expressed that he felt targeted as a white man--that the world was against him.
I did say to him, in one of my less-patient moments, to cry me a fucking river.
In order for him to do this work, I had to bite my tongue, coddle fragility, and listen to nonsense. It was also expected that I practice patience. For when I exhibited anger, I was out of control, I was lecturing, I was being unfair; I should’ve known better. When he exhibited anger, it was necessary for his progress and growth.
We are consistently asked to turn an offense into a teachable moment. We are asked to not be offended.
In his defense, he tried hard and grew because of it; he even apologized to me, on a couple of occasions. However, I’m not sure what I got out of my interactions with him.
These are important questions for young white men to be asking—and they have every right to a safe space. They’re just asking the wrong people.
Consider your dream career. One of the first steps, you might take, would be to find someone in the position you want and ask them how they got there. Maybe young white men should be doing that. Go find an older white man, who you believe isn’t being attacked for his white male-ness, and ask how he escaped our wrath. If you cannot find a mentor, perhaps try the library. Either way, it’s not my fucking job. I really do believe and commend this work and I simultaneously believe, it’s not my fucking job.
One last freebie: Hey Esquire boy, here's something you can do that no black or brown man could ever do, you can smack a white woman and get nothing more than a parking ticket for it.
This article’s pitfall was its inability to humanize this kid. It held him up as a banner for young, confused white men, trying to find their footing. It even makes an interesting play towards analyzing the white default, that is, how difficult it can be for someone deemed to be a part of the default (privileged white male reality) and still feel he does not fit in. I imagine that’s not easy but I wouldn’t know because I live in your world. I don’t say that as a slight. I mention it because it’s no longer inherently interesting—maybe it never was. What is it like to be middle class, white, and male? Turn on the television. Open a magazine.
This story has always been told and will continue to be told—and that’s fine, I guess. Think about how many spin offs there have been of the CSI franchise. People still watch them.
Same story, different cast. But with each season the ratings have dropped. Maybe ratings are just dropping for middle class white men .
Recently Portland Commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty (who also happens to be the first black woman to serve on Portland City Council), released a statement about the white men who shouted her down at a City Hall meeting. She expressed concern over white-male privilege and how their disruptions created a “chilling effect on people who are unaccustomed to coming to our City hall to have their voices heard”.
This is why I voted for Hardesty. This is why she was backed by BLM.
As you can imagine, some white men were quite upset about this. It should be noted that these men have made names for themselves. They consistently interrupt meetings causing some to be canceled.
This week, the Willamette Weekly, decided to print some of the emails Hardesty’s office received re: her statement. They also decided to include the senders’ names.
I am here for it.
Some highlights from the various emails:
What a sexist, racist, misandrist, ignorant thing for you to say. I understand you saying such a thing like that in the privacy of your own home,
but no, you have to “Get Whitey” right up front.
Since historically there has been a precedent set on the exactitude of language, particularly when discussing non-normative dialectics (e.g. black speech), re: rules, grammar, definitions, it seems important here to point out that sexism and racism—like most isms—operate, prima facie, within power structures. Women can be prejudice but they cannot be sexist—for they do not wield the kind of institutionalized power men (i.e. white cis-men) carry in their back pockets. I’m going to be honest, I had to look up misandry. Oxford defines it as a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men—the female equivalent of a misogynist. What does that look like? Because misogyny looks like a white male in Florida walking into a bank and shooting five women. Or another white male, still in Florida, walking into a yoga studio and again targeting women. A misandrist? Crickets. Let’s all say it together: Men are afraid of being laughed at, women are afraid of being murdered.
Furthermore, no black person says Get Whitey. Ever since Black Panther, we now refer to y’all as colonizers.
Re: the privacy of one’s home. Did you just show your ass? Cause it sounds like something you might do. As in, I’m pretty sure you sing nigga at the top of your lungs when black people aren’t around. I would roll the dice on that one.
You’re not off to a very good start. That chip on your shoulder is going to get mighty heavy mighty fast if you keep saying this kind of stupid shit!
This chip that you’re describing—is it a potato chip? Also I don’t know if 250 years of slavery, 150 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate and unequal, racist housing policies, racist drug wars, birther accusations, police shootings, the prison industrial complex...we can do this all day...can be called a chip. It seems a little heavier than a chip.
Your comments regarding white privilege shows the racism that you carry on you should not be a commissioner in Portland, so next election year
we will see if you still hold that seat.
Another, strangely veiled threat.
Quick recap: Hardesty did not threaten white men. She used the word concerned. Why do you read that as a threat?
You may be a black woman in charge, but that is no right to turn the tables and not only see color,
but also complain publicly about the behavior of race...YOU ARE A BLACK BIGOT!!!!
So many exclamation points. Let’s unpack this. You may be a black woman in charge. What an audacious thing for a black woman to hold any sort of seat at all. Turn the tables. Are you sure you know what racism looks like? Cause that wouldn’t be the table turned. Not only see color. Bruh, do you not see color? Cause then you can’t join the Air Force. But also complain publicly about the behavior of race. That was a mouthful of words. Should we complain in the privacy of our homes? Cause that reads like the dude above.
Also, why is she a black bigot? Couldn’t you just have labeled her a bigot—or does black bigot make it worse?
At the very least, you owe the entire city of Portland, and especially white males, a very genuine,
heartfelt apology. There’s nothing in my life that was handed to me because I’m white, and male.
I’ve worked my ass off for everything I’ve got, and I willingly give myself to my community, and to
those in need, including three young black boys who played basketball on my son’s team, two of
whom had fathers in prison. They couldn’t afford their uniforms, so I bought them for them...
Sometimes, I would have them stay over for parties with the other boys on the team.
There are a lot of good white males in this city…
Re: this proposed heartfelt apology. That shit ain’t about to happen. Also, I live in this city, don’t group me in on your bullshit.
Look everyone works hard and this bootstraps argument continues to feed the myth of meritocracy. I certainly believe you when you say you’ve worked hard. I believe, you and all of us, work way too hard because capitalism is an asshole. However, when you say that you’ve never had anything handed to you because you’re white and male, shows your insulation from racism. It only highlights your privilege. The mere language of hand-out is racist. It drums of images of greed and lies and most of all, laziness, which historically has been used against brown and black communities in this nation. Consider the paintings and sculptures of the lazy Mexican and his siesta. Or slaves. Fredrick Douglass in his memoir wrote, “More slaves were whipped for oversleeping than for any other fault.” Though in fairness, everyone’s favorite slave owner, Thomas Jefferson, knew the truth, positing, negroes require less sleep than whites. Nigga that’s just science.
Oppressed groups have yet to reach basic human rights. When you’re drowning and a whole group of people refuse to throw you a life-line, it’s difficult to feel entitled to anything.
Question: Is EBT a hand out? Cause the number one people on EBT are white And if you look at the breakdown of who is on EBT, the largest group are seniors and then single mothers. What about public housing? WIC? Vouchers for child care? How about when this country bailed out banks during the recession? How’s that for a motherfucking hand-out?
Let me list a few things that were, in fact, handed to you from birth:
Oppressed groups are constantly accused of carrying chips, of being sensitive, of creating false narratives surrounding racism. Hardesty simply expressed concern over white male privilege and this makes her a racist.
Here’s an example of racism: last month, 60% of people pulled over by Portland PD were black—yet black people only make up 6% of Portland’s population. This week in Miami, black children were advocating for gun reform and to save their housing project and a white man with a hand gun ran up on them calling them niggers. That’s what racism feels like. A gun in your face, not a mild rebuke.
Hardesty specifically used privilege, in order to avoid calling these men racists, since the number one thing white men are afraid of is being called a racist.
Things I am afraid of in order:
1) a white man with a gun
2) climate change
3) a white man with a badge
5) a white man in a MAGA hat
6) flushing the toilet on an airplane
If you think I’m some alt-right Trump Republican, I’m not. I’m a liberal democrat who voted for
Bernie...I absolutely will not put up with your ‘Identity Politics’ and your race baiting. So until you
clean up your act and apologize, you will have one more constituent who will work his damnedest
to remove you from office.
I, unfortunately, do not have a cookie to award you for voting for Bernie. What I will say is last time I say Bernie, he had teamed up with Shaun King, and the Los Angeles BLM chapter, to talk the economic inequalities centered around race and gender.
Clean up your act? Did you just tell her to cut the shenanigans or cut the malarkey? Asking for a friend.
To all of you white guys: I don’t understand your anger or your threats. She didn’t have you removed; she didn’t tell you not to come back; she expressed that unheard voices may remain unheard, if you continue to monopolize the conversation (and I use that final term loosely). You are angry because you are unpracticed at self-reflection—for it is your privilege, as white males, to never have been questioned.
Maybe you’ll see me at the next City Hall meeting. I am willing to hear out your anger. I am willing to hear your arguments about race baiting and these charges of racism against Hardesty. All I ask is next time I’m on an airplane, you come in and flush for me.
Top 4 Google searches of Calabasas are as follows:
How much does it cost to live in Calabasas?
Growing up in The Valley, Calabasas was just some place where rich white people lived. Everyone called it Cala-black-less. White kids included. It was never a destination, the way say, Santa Monica or Malibu are. There was and remains, nothing there, save The Commons and even that, in many ways, is just a fancy strip-mall with shitty ice-cream.
The first time, I purposefully went to Calabasas, was, in fact, to go to The Commons to watch a movie. I was sixteen and just got my license and thought it would be fancy to go there on a date. My girlfriend at the time was Mexican and afterwards, she said, Let’s never go back cause people were staring.
The white kids I grew up with didn’t fuck with white kids from Calabasas. They would drive up to The Commons and skate around and knock over trash cans doing their best to scare the botox from foreheads.
In high school, I ran track and in the preseason, we would race Calabasas on their track. It was much of let’s-go-over-and-see-how-the-richer-half-lives, with their rubber track and entirely white team. Our team, which won city back to back, would mark this shit on the calendar. Cause we knew we were gonna fuck them up. Half of our squad was from South Central. The other half were Chicanos from the The Valley. The only event they ever won was pole vaulting cause we didn’t have a pole-vault team. Shit. We didn’t even have a rubber track—ours was dirt.
Calabasas was something you drove past to get to Kanan. It was absolutely nothing. Like Thousand Oaks and Augora Hills and all the other shit out there.
Jayden Smith just dropped a video entitled “A Calabasas Freestyle”, which means it will be one of several? Hopefully not. That’s not a shot at the other Mr. Smith. He’s not the worst rapper and I’m not his target audience. But this music video, among other narratives centering on Drake and Kanye and what-not, create a false sense of what Calabasas actually is.
It’s not pretty out there. It’s hot and dusty and kinda feels like every other wealthy suburb with track housing-mansions and horse stables and cul-de-sacs. There’s no commerce in Calabasas proper. There’s no shopping. There’s no where to kick it. That’s why in the video Jayden and his friends (which are the most amount of black people in Calabasas has ever seen) are skating in parking lots and drinking ice coffees at The Commons. Granted they’re skating around Teslas but it is somewhat-kinda similar to what other suburban kids do—just plus millions of dollars.
If you live in Calabasas, you entertain in your mansion because if not, it’s gonna be a long drive. Downtown LA is 35 miles away. This is part of what makes LA so weird. In what other universe are you living 35 miles away from shit to do? And don’t come at me about The Valley. I don’t care how much The Valley has been gentrified (ethically I definitely care)—the type of shit Calabasas residents want to do isn’t about to be found in Van Nuys.
The music video is somewhat representative of Calabasas, if you look past the wealth and false glamour. The only shots are in parking lots, at a strip mall, on some sort of semi-arid desert bluff, and it’s final shot of a fading afternoon overlooking the 101. This describes a good portion of my high-school life. It was driving up hills and parking and sitting on car hoods. It was sitting on car hoods in Ralph’s parking lots. It was going to house parties that your homie told you about and never materialized. And somehow, always finding your way, and the end of a night, to a Taco Bell. The difference is I grew up within a plurality. Kanye might’ve put Calabasas on the map but it’s still white heavy and conservative (which seems to be working for Kanye these days). People choose to live in Calabasas so they’ll be left alone, so they’ll be with others who look and think like them, so they wont have to see peasants, beyond the ones they employ.
When Smith decries (in auto-tune), “Another black boy dead again”, its your neighbors who perpetuate and perpetrate. Now that’s terrifying. To be trapped. Wealth is a trap. It’s a pretty comfortable trap but a trap, nevertheless. I don’t think one has to have grown up poor to rap well but I’ve yet to see the child of a celebrity rap well.
Smith drops a couple lines about “the freshest niggas” and how he’s seen niggas—stop it, statistically, there are less than .01% black folks in Calabasas. The recent comments of Rep. Steve King made about the new House and how the Democratic Party is no country for white men, literally there are entire cities made up of thousands and thousands and thousands of white people and no brown people. White people are not losing this imagined war. There are no niggas in Calabasas—however, if Smith decided to drop a song entitled ‘Niggas in Calabasas’ and it is 4 minutes and 20 seconds of silence, that would be hard as fuck.
Smith seems neither to critique nor particularly celebrate Calabasas. It just seems to be the backdrop of lyrics that believe themselves to be deeper and wittier than they are. And maybe that’s all Calabasas is, a fucking backdrop to be ignored.
Recently, LeBron James referred to himself as the greatest player of all-time due to his ability to bring a championship to Cleveland after a 52 year drought, as well as toppling what was considered, at the time, the greatest team ever assembled—and at the very least, the winningest.
And people got big mad. Arrogant. Disrespectful. Let other people say it for you. Yada-yada-yada. The Post even ran an article entitled ‘LeBron James’s GOAT talk got Internet to dig up Michael Jordan’s much humbler comments’. (What a fucking mouthful that was) The article goes on to compare the accomplishments of Jordan to LeBron’s (the chosen accomplishments out-pointing LeBron) and an indictment of James’s perceived hubris.
When I hear the word hubris, I think of Hamlet, because it implies, or really it needs, a downfall. We likely won’t see a downfall from James (because of how much care he puts into his body—making his, undoubtedly, the greatest career in terms of longevity) as well as the fact that we’re discussing basketball and a king and not a prince and seven dead bodies on a stage. Curtain falls.
I’m not here to argue LeBron vs Jordan. The GOAT discussion is purely for entertainment and youtube comments and reveals far more about the debators than the athletes. What I care about are the accusations of disrespect and arrogance.
A few years ago, a coworker asked me who I was going for in the finals. I replied that I would be cheering on the Cavs. Her face soured. She retorted, “I don’t like LeBron—he’s too prideful.”
What does that mean? Or rather, if humility is the opposite, what does that look like?
Remember when Kendrick dropped that verse on ‘Control’ and everyone shit themselves? I didn’t hear—no that’s not true—I did hear a lot of people call it disrespectful, though they meant it positively. They praised Kendrick for going at his peers; and they certainly didn’t call up Macklemore and ask if his feelings got hurt.
In an interview, shortly after, Run the Jewels was asked how they felt about the verse and EL-P, tired and annoyed, responded, “It’s so funny to me to see people freak out. All these born-again hip-hop purists, saying, Lyrics are important. No shit. Some of us been going for the throat our whole careers.” And there’s Killer Mike in the background throwing up his hands like he’s at church (cue Doom, “Got more lyrics than the church got ooh lords”) cause real rappers didn’t sweat shit cause they’re real rappers.
At the end of the verse, after Kendrick lists rap-gods and his contemporaries, he says, “I got love for you all, but I’m tryna murder you niggas/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas” and then poses, “What is competition?”
People walk around in t-shirts bearing the likeness of Ali, with his iconic words slapped beneath, “I am the greatest.” They accused him of the very same disrespect and arrogance. Now we look back and marvel at the shit he talked. Do you understand how mad white America was at this big-ass negro telling white boys that they ain’t shit? And then proving it by punching their faces in? Would we like Ali more without the lines? Without the audacity?
If LeBron’s contemporaries find his statement disrespectful, all the better for us. Now we get to see great athletes go at each other. And to finish that Doom line, “And he hold the mic and your attention like two swords.” Iron sharpens iron.
Old heads always point to the battles between Bird and Magic. In fact, they use it to disqualify the lack of ‘parity’ in today’s NBA (though the whole idea of parity is also bullshit). Bird and Magic brought the best out of each other—often by talking shit. And we, as fans, live for that disrespect. What was the highlight of last season? Probably James Harden crossing over Wesley Matthews and licking his lips before draining a three. Cause greatness doesn’t come quietly. Again, we ask, what is humility? Boring. Puritanical. Likely, in opposition, to competition.
When KD came out this year and called himself the greatest player in the league, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Or when Harden said it. Because it doesn’t ring true. But when LeBron says it, suddenly it holds weight and scratches against the truth. And perhaps, that is the most disrespectful thing of all—that time turns and players get better and we grow old.