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Category Archives: The New Jim Crow

Reports of Jim Crow’s demise are a bit premature…

Racial Predatory Lending – Just The Old Jim Crow Made New

Lenders have done a partial 180 on lending. The rules are much stricter now, limiting the housing market. The same types of predatory lending now flies under a different flag for minorities.

Why a housing scheme founded in racism is making a resurgence today

Beryl Satter knew something like this was bound to happen. Or, rather, to happen again.

The Rutgers historian wrote the book on an obscure form of predatory lending from the mid-20th century that victimized black home buyers when banks would not lend them mortgages. Her book, “Family Properties,” came out in 2009, on the heels of the housing crash. And as she traveled the country talking about it — about families defrauded from the homes they thought they owned, about sellers who promised home ownership but collected deposits and evictions instead — people kept approaching her.

“Pretty much everywhere I go, people say ‘I’ve been hearing about this,'” Satter says. “Contract” selling is making a comeback.

In this model, buyers shut out from conventional lending are offered an alternative: They can make monthly payments on a home directly to the seller, instead of a bank, with the promise of receiving the deed only once the property is entirely paid off, 20 or 30 years down the road. In the meantime, they have few of the legal protections of a typical home buyer but all of the responsibilities of one. They don’t build equity with time. They can be easily evicted. And if that happens, they lose all of their investment.

According to the Detroit Free Press, more homes were bought in Detroit last year using such “land contracts” or “contracts for deeds” than conventional mortgages. In a series of recent stories, the New York Times has reported thatWall Street is now betting on this market, with investors buying foreclosed homes by the thousands and selling them on contract. Earlier this week, the Times reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is nowinvestigating the practice’s resurgence, although it is not by definition illegal.

What is particularly alarming about the trend, though, is that we’ve seen it before. In its earlier incarnation, it was an explicitly racist form of exploitation. And now it is victimizing the same groups again: mostly lower income and minority home buyers who can’t access traditional credit.

“There’s nothing new here in the slightest,” Satter says. “This is just a continuation of the same old game. That’s what’s so disturbing.”

In the earlier era when this was common, between the 1930s and 1960s, contract lending was in some cities the primary means middle-class blacks had to buy homes. Real estate agents and speculators jacked up the price of properties two- or threefold. Then when families fell behind on a month’s payment or on repairs, they were swiftly evicted. The sellers kept their deposits and found the next family.

Satter’s father, Chicago lawyer Mark Satter, helped organize black Chicagoans to fight the practice in the 1950s. He estimated then that about 85 percent of homes bought by blacks in Chicago were bought on contract. “It was the way you bought,” Beryl Satter says. “There was no other way.” Many of those families then struggled to keep their homes in a system that was not sustainable by design.

Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates based his blockbuster 2014 article “The Case for Reparations” around the story of Chicago blacks who suffered under this system, the outgrowth, as he put it, of a segregated city with “two housing markets — one legitimate and backed by the government, the other lawless and patrolled by predators.”

The Times reports of what’s happening today sound eerily similar. Writers Matthew Goldstein and Alexandra Stevenson report that an estimated 3 million people have bought homes through contracts, although the numbers are hard to track given that the deals are regulated differently in each state and are not subject to the same disclosures as mortgages.

The practice is particularly common, they report, in distressed Midwestern communities like Akron and Detroit, where the government offered hundreds of foreclosed properties to investors in bulk sales. Those same investors, the Times reports, have turned around and sold the properties on contract to moderate-income buyers for sometimes four times as much.

Why now?

But why, though, would a financial scheme created in an era of sanctioned racial discrimination be making a resurgence today? Since Satter’s father tried to sue over the tactic a half-century ago, the Fair Housing Act and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act were passed. And the end of legal discrimination opened up legitimate lending to more blacks who were no longer forced into the housing market’s rapacious underworld.

But a crucial similarity between the two eras exists: Many people still can’t get loans today.

Now, this is the case because lenders have tightened their credit standards since the crash, overcorrecting for the bubble’s exuberance with historic stinginess. The Urban Institute has counted more than 5 million loans currently “missing” from the housing market — mortgages that would have been made between 2009 and 2014 if lenders used the kind of credit standards that were common back in 2001, a benchmark for more reasonable lending prior to the housing bubble.

Millions of Americans over this same time have had their credit ruined by foreclosures — in many cases because of predatory subprime lending that has now put them in the crosshairs of predatory land contracts. Minorities who were disproportionately targeted for the former are not surprisingly concentrated among those caught up in the latter.

“When the banks close down, people still need to buy,” Satter says. And so they find a way. Just as creative investors find a way to meet their demand. Land contracts are to housing what payday loans are to banking and Rent-A-Centers are to furniture. What people in need can’t access through credit someone is always willing to provide — for a price.

A lawyer for Harbour Portfolio Advisors in Dallas, one of the larger players in the new wave of contract lending, told the Times that the firm’s business model is “to purchase unproductive residential properties and sell them to other people who will make them productive again.” But Satter frames this differently.

“Choices that black Americans have had for housing loans have been predatory loans, or no loans,” she says. And when banks choose not to loan, she adds, this is who they choose not to loan to. “The result,” Satter says, “is a complete revival of redlining in a slightly different guise.”

This is why she wasn’t surprised to see the practice she’d studied as a historian (and lived through with her family in the 1950s) re-emerge as front-page news.

One other factor, though, helps explain why contract selling is back again. The demand among buyers who can’t get mortgages is deep. But so is the supply of houses that might accommodate buyers at the moderate end of the market. The foreclosure crisis created a vast stock of vacant homes, many of which have deteriorated through neglect. Steven Brown, an affiliated scholar at the Urban Institute, has pointed out that the growing number of homes worth less than $50,000 may help explain the rise of contract selling:

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Loretta Lynch Opens Up With Both Barrels on North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law

If the so called “Bathroom Law” is Constitutional – then the states are legally able to introduce Jim Crow all over again. The goal of the racist Republicans is to give a religious exemption for racism in their states.

Loretta Lynch destroys North Carolina for ‘state-sponsored discrimination’ against trans people

Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday accused the state of North Carolina of “state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals.”

Lynch said during a press conference the controversial “bathroom” law targeted transgender people who sought “to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security, a right taken for granted by most of us.”

She also warned that the federal government could curtail federal funding for North Carolina if the state continued to enforce the law.

She noted that the Justice Department had sent a letter to North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, warning that the law violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But “instead of replying, North Carolina and its governor chose to respond by suing, thus we are filing civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina,” Lynch said.

“What we must never do is turn on our neighbors, our family members, and our fellow Americans for something they cannot control and deny what makes them human. This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislation identity and insists a person pretend to be something or someone they are not.”

“This is not the first time we’ve seen discriminatory responses to moments of progress,” she remarked. “This law provides no benefit to society. All it does it harm innocent Americans.”

Lynch also chided North Carolina, saying that “this country was founded on equal rights for all.”

The so-called “bathroom law” requires that people use the restroom corresponding to their birth gender. The law also prohibits local governments from banning discrimination against LGBT people.

The Department of Justice sued North Carolina on Monday, seeking a permanent injunction to block the law and a declaration that it is discriminatory.

More than $800 million in federally-backed loans for public universities are at risk if North Carolina refuses to comply with the federal government, according to the Associated Press. The University of North Carolina system could lose more than $1.4 billion in federal funding.

 
 

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Conservative Bigots Try and Make DC Metro Issues Racial

The right wing racist Washington Times has trolled the racists today, with an article claiming that all of the problems with the DC Metro Subway System are because of black people working there. He even upchucks the idea that since (supposedly) 95% of the Bus drivers are black – then that must be why the Subway System is broken! Then there is the old “affirmative action” troll to white racists – bringing out the bigots like this, who are fully acceptabe in the Washington Times “Newspaper” –

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LMAOROTF you havnt a clue dude this is how all cities run and have for decades we turned government into make work for apes then they expanded with lawsuits into private sectors like construction autos healthcare welcome to minority run america coming to a european nation near you

Indeed, if the writer wasn’t a racist piece of shit, he/she/it would have recognized the situation in Metro isn’t any different than that in NYC, where 90% of the Firemen, and 60% of the Cops are Irish. And unless we are going back to the days when Irish weren’t quite white people, then “affirmative action” for white Irish people isn’t any different than what happened at Metro in the front line, blue collar workers.

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What goes unsaid is how many racists Blacks in Metro know exactly what the situation is and zealously take advantage of it. This is a clear example of racist Blacks terrorizing Hispanics and Whites knowing they can get away with it because Metro absolutely condones racism by Blacks toward other races. Where is the Justice Department and why aren’t they arresting and prosecuting the leaders of this Department? You know, the Justice Department ran by a Black man. Did I just answer my own question?

I’m posting this as an anthropological study of conservative racism, and how lower intelligence life forms are incited to bigotry.

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Is anyone surprised? Negroes, with few exceptions, screw up everything they touch. I’ve seen it over and over. There is indeed a pattern here. You cannot run a civilization with any sort of Affirmative Action hiring process.

In terms of the “Culture of incompetence, nepotism, and corruption” – the author is correct. Claiming such is the result of race, in the face of concrete historical precedent of the same thing happening in every major city, is racist trash.

Metro Workers installing a new Rail Switch, one of the most dangerous places to work on the tracks

Metro derailed by culture of complacence, incompetence, lack of diversity

‘Inept get promoted, … capable get buried’

Ninety-seven percent of the bus and train operators at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are black, with only six white women out of more than 3,000 drivers, according to Metro documents — a lack of diversity at one of the region’s largest employers that has led to an acknowledgment of failure in affirmative-action documents and spawned a series of lawsuits.

The homogeneity, interviews with dozens of current and former Metro workers indicated, is a proxy to a clubby culture of favoritism in which merit has little to do with promotions, and accountability, such as noting safety violations, is a career death knell. In typical examples, court and Metro records show, a black man who spent eight years in prison for dealing PCP was promoted to a high-level management position soon after his release, and whites in the same positions as blacks with far less seniority are inexplicably paid less.

With Metro’s budget chronically strained and reports of mismanagement coming more regularly than trains, interviews and internal records depict a likely root: an environment in which hardworking employees are actively excluded and those who rise are those willing to do the bare minimum — never causing a stir by flagging rampant safety violations, reporting malfeasance or proposing improvements.

“When the accident happened in 2009, I called a supervisor and said, ‘Is this the one we all dreaded?’ The way workers do their jobs, we all knew it was a matter of time. … The inept get promoted, and the capable get buried. Smart people were put in the corner, ostracized and given nothing to do,” said Christine Townsend, who sued Metro for discrimination and won.

It is a culture in which a white male engineer near completion of a Ph.D. was passed over for a management position in favor of a black man who was barely literate, multiple staffers said.

“The average rider wouldn’t believe the things that go on. There are so many easy things we could do to make the system better,” a station manager said. “But they’d never put me in charge because they know I’d make sure others actually did their jobs. They don’t want change. It’s go along to get along.”

Metro is a quasi-public agency that receives funding from the federal government, Maryland, Virginia and local jurisdictions to operate a regional bus and rail transportation system in the national capital area, but is not beholden to rules that apply to fully governmental entities. With a $2.5 billion operating and capital budget for fiscal 2012, Metrorail serves 86 stations and has 106 miles of track, while Metrobus serves the nation’s capital with 1,500 buses.

Metro’s affirmative-action plan notes that the 1.4 percent of its bus and train operators who are Hispanic and the 25 percent who are female of any race are “less than reasonably expected.” It does not make note of the 1.5 percent who are white.

Even in entry-level occupations typically dominated by Hispanics, there are virtually none at Metro. Only one laborer out of 67 is Hispanic; of 540 landscapers, carpenters and cleaners, only 22 are Hispanic. In the national capital region, Hispanics make up 13 percent of adults and blacks comprise 25 percent; white women constitute 29 percent.

“The odds of such a disparity occurring by chance are statistically infinitesimal,” Ronald A. Schmidt, a lawyer representing 12 white women exploring a class-action lawsuit, wrote in a 2003 letter. “There appears to be an entrenched network of African-American employees at WMATA that is able to steer jobs, promotion, training and other career enhancing benefit to persons of their own racial or ethnic group.”

The average Metro worker had a $60,000 salary, which rises to $69,000 including overtime. That is more than 71 percent of area residents who had an income in 2010, including 62 percent of whites, census records show…Read the Rest of this Racist Drivel Here

WMATA/Metro Board of Directors 2016

 

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How the CBC Became Irrelevant

The Congressional Black Caucus is one of he most reliably Democrat organizations in politics. This has created a “go along to get along” mentality, which often fails to serve the black community has too often been the operational motif of the CBC. Part of that is due to a generational gap between the membership in the CBC and groups and organizations in the black community increasingly started and led by millennials, The other part of that dysfunction has to do with the Faustian bargain with conservative Republicans which essentially created “Black Zones”, principally concentrated in urban areas. A long term loosing proposition because of gentrification, and black flight to the suburban areas. Leaving the largest population of black folks in the US without representation, as black lawmakers respond to a steadily decreasing urban base, and urban issues.

On the flip side, the artificial gerrymandered whitening of the Districts surrounding urban areas provides ample fodder for white Republican candidates who cannot win in a district with above 20% minority population, and who are either diametrically opposed to the black/minority community, or see no political interest in serving it’s interests. Encouraging racial politics, and enabling a Republican majority in the House far beyond what any general vote totals would accord. The most egregious recent example of which is North Carolina.

The result of this is that the CBC ill serves those groups of black folks who either don’t live in the urban center, or whose educational, economic, and professional interests extend beyond asking for a welfare check. Ergo the very people driving black economic empowerment and inclusion into the social fabric of the nation. The very people who are the center of Color of Change and the BLM movements.

Another day, another Gala…

The Increasing Irrelevance of the Congressional Black Caucus

The group has failed to connect with young voters, which is not a good sign for its future.

On January 25, 1972, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, announced her candidacy for president in a stump speech that sounded very much like those of today’s presidential candidates. Shetold the Brooklyn crowd, “I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests. I stand here now without endorsements from many big name politicians or celebrities or any other kind of prop.” She also stood there without the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, which she helped found the previous year. The reason? Some of the CBC’s members thought Chisholm’s focus on gender and outreach to other groups subverted the caucus’s mission and explicit focus on race.

Four decades later, Representative Donna Edwards sought to become the first black senator from Maryland and only the second black woman ever elected to the body. Like Chisholm, she also did not enjoy the explicit support of the CBC. Edwards confronted CBC members, and they cited her “difficult nature” and failure to establish good relationships as reasons for not endorsing her. On Tuesday, Edwards lost her bid for the Senate seat in a close primary race that may have turned out differently if she’d received the endorsement from more members of the nation’s most powerful body of black legislators.

Among young African Americans, there is a growingsense that there are significant generational differences with the CBC and that the organization may have lost its conscience. Hillary Clinton has taken heat for the 1994 crime bill that led to the disproportionate incarceration of black people, but the bill was only assured passageonce the CBC withdrew its opposition. CBC members have clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters. And activists have criticized the CBC Political Action Committee, a separate but associated group, for the board’s ties to private prisons and big tobacco.

While some of these criticisms are valid, there is little question that the CBC is of immense value to African Americans and the nation at large. For decades, it’s been the organ through which the concerns of black Americans have entered the halls of Congress and the means by which policy victories have been delivered for disenfranchised minority communities. There is simply no doubting that the interests of black America remain central to the caucus’s aims. But there is also little doubt that the black electorate is changing, and the CBC will have to keep pace with this evolution if it wants to remain relevant to black Americans…

Protest is very much a part of the CBC’s character—many of today’s CBC members are contemporaries of the civil-rights movement. It would seem that today’s protest movements would be fertile ground for CBC goals. But many of today’s black activists are not as interested in what they see as respectability politics or dressing in their Sunday best for protests like their civil-rights-era predecessors. They are taking the stage whenever they choose and demanding that presidential candidates hear them. They are challenging leaders from previous generations, and some of those leaders don’t necessarily like it. In the black community, where eldership is revered, the boldness of today’s protesters has rubbed some CBC members the wrong way. Many black activists don’t care; they are less concerned with paying homage to elected officials and more interested in expedient policy outcomes…Read the Rest Here

 

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Republican Judge Affirms New Jim Crow Voting

The New Jim Crow was just validated in North Carolina by a Republican Bush appointed Judge. Is it any wonder they are so desperate to maintain their 5 Thugs in Robes majority on the Supreme Court?

Why a Judge Ruled North Carolina’s Voter-ID Law Constitutional

Thomas Schroeder said the state’s strict new voting law did not unfairly prevent black voters from casting ballots.

A judge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, ruled Monday night that the state’s strict new voting law is constitutional, delivering a major win for conservatives who have sought to tighten laws across the country, and dealing a blow to efforts to stop those laws.

Judge Thomas Schroeder’s opinion—included in a massive, 485-page ruling—upheld the full swath of HB 589. Passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly in 2013, the law changed a slew of North Carolina’s voting rules, including reducing early voting, eliminating same-day registration, banning out-of-precinct voting, and ending pre-registration for 16-year-olds. Perhaps most prominently, the bill instituted a requirement that voters show photo ID to cast a ballot.

Legislators and other proponents of the bill argued that the voter-ID law was a commonsense measure, and that it and other changes were needed to prevent fraudulent voting. The law’s opponents, meanwhile, pointed that there were practically no documented cases of voter fraud in the state, and argued that the changes would disproportionately affect poor and minority voters in the Old North State—voters who are more likely to vote Democratic, which they argued was not a coincidence. Much of the trial focused on whether there was real evidence of fraud, and whether the law actually disadvantages minorities. Both sides brought a barrage of experts to back their view.

Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that while North Carolina had been on the progressive end of the spectrum of voting, the new rules were simply retrenchment and were constitutional. He said the plaintiff—a group that included the North Carolina NAACP, the Justice Department, and others—“failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise.”

Schroeder’s decision to uphold the law was not unexpected. The plaintiffs have already vowed to appeal the decision to a federal appeals court….

The voting law was passed shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act that required certain states and jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to receive “pre-clearance” from the Justice Department before changing their voting laws. While Republicans had been considering changes already, the ruling allowed them to expand their ambition. “Now we can go with the full bill,” Senator Tom Apodaca, chairman of the rules committee, said at the time.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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In Baltimore Ex-Felons Rock the Vote

Not sure there are enough ex-felons in the City of Baltimore to change the traditional political fault lines, but it at least is a beginning in restoring the rights to a group of folks who may be able to build the foundations of a new life after incarceration.

Tearing another piece of that New Jim Crow down so beloved by Republicans as a means to suppress voters of color.

In Baltimore, ex-felons cherish newfound right to vote

On the November night in 2008 when the nation elected its first black president, wild celebrations broke out in west Baltimore. But when Perry Hopkins jumped up from the steps of the Chinese takeout where he was sitting and tried to join the party, he was quickly put in his place.

“Somebody looked at me and said: You got a record, you can’t vote. You ain’t got nothing to do with this, you can’t claim this,” Hopkins recalled. “And it hurt.”

A wiry, intense 54-year-old, Hopkins has been barred from voting thanks to an extensive criminal history that he attributes to a past addiction problem. “I’ve done five years three times, and four years once, so I’ve got roughly 20 years on the installment plan,” he said. “I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”

Of being disenfranchised, Hopkins said: “I felt like my hands were tied behind my back and I was being beaten.”

Now that feeling is gone. On Thursday, Hopkins cast his first votes ever in Maryland’s presidential and mayoral primaries. (He won’t say for whom he voted.) And as an organizer for Communities United, a local community group, he rounded up scores of his neighbors — many of them also former felons — and drove them in a van to the polls, too. “Hey, come vote!” Hopkins was shouting to anyone who would listen Thursday as he stood at a busy intersection, loading up another van with people.

In February, prodded by a grassroots campaign by Communities United and other voting rights and civil rights groups, Maryland restored voting rights to people with felony convictions as soon as they’re released from prison — re-enfranchising an estimated 40,000 predominantly African-American Marylanders. Previously, they’d had to wait until they had completed probation or parole. Democratic lawmakers overrode a veto by Maryland’s Republican governor to push the measure into law. Communities United says it’s registered about 1300 new voters since the law passed.

The move was perhaps the biggest victory yet for a nationwide movement to scrap or weaken felon disenfranchisement laws, which shut nearly 6 million Americans, disproportionately non-white, out of the political process.

Reginald Smith, who was in prison for 14 years after voting at an early voting site for the first time “in a long time.”

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffeannounced an executive order that re-enfranchises more than 200,000 felons, a move that could boost Democrats in the crucial swing state this November. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week signed a law that softens that state’s felon voting ban. And a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, expected imminently, could dramatically reduce the number of crimes that lead to disenfranchisement there.

In Maryland, opponents of the change argued that it makes sense to require former felons to complete their full sentence — meaning probation or parole — before getting their rights back. But several of the newly re-enfranchised who Hopkins ferried to the polls Thursday said emphatically that the right to vote was itself a powerful spur toward reintegrating back into society.

“Not being able to vote was hindering me from actually being considered as a full citizen, and it was hindering my whole rehabilitation process,” said Reginald Smith, moments after voting for the first time in decades. “Because I was still being punished for something that I already served time for.”

“Being able to vote, it just makes me feel that much more positive about myself,” said Robert Mackin, 54, shortly before he cast the first ballot of his life. (Who did Mackin plan to vote for? “I sure know it ain’t gonna be no Trump.”)…Read the Rest Here…

 

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Conservatives Again Show Their Racist Behinds on Tubman Being Added to $20 Bill

The conservatives even trotted out their favorite Uncle Tom, Uncle Ben Carson…

Followed by his owner – Donald Trump

 

They only want to honor white men: The pathetic conservative meltdown over the Harriet Tubman $20 bill exposes the right’s petty identity politics

The only reason to be mad about the changes to the money is a belief that only white men should receive tribute

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department unveiled a plan to redesign the $20, $10, and $5 bills to better reflect American history, moving some of the (all white, all male) former presidents around on the bills and making room to put luminaries like Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, and Eleanor Roosevelt on various bills. The biggest shift will be Tubman, who helped create and run the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves, gracing the front of the $20 bill, kicking Andrew Jackson to the back.

(Why Jackson, the Donald Trump of his time — except more genocidal — needs to stay on the bill is another question altogether.)

The Treasury’s decision should be non-controversial. After all, we all agree that history is made by more than presidents (plus, the $100 bill has a non-president on it, which confirms this is a shared belief), and that people other than white men exist and matter. Don’t we? You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who disagrees publicly with these contentions, except perhaps on some Twitter accounts that Trump keeps retweeting.

Yet, in a move that was entirely predictable, right wing pundits are in meltdown, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that, regardless of any surface claims to believe in equality, the reality is that they adhere to the belief that white men are the only ones who really matter and the rest of us are just the supporting cast.

The strategy that modern conservative propaganda uses, when called upon to rationalize overt racism and sexism, is to get conservative women and people of color to express the sentiments. It’s a cheap and obvious but unfortunately effective ploy, and one that was immediately employed by the folks at Fox News to appeal to their audience members who want to hear why they aren’t bigots, even though they revolt at women and black people on money.

Greta Van Susteren played her part to the hilt on Fox Wednesday night, even going so far as to say that she’s “a feminist”, before offering an opinion that disproved this contention.

“Rather than dividing the country between those who happen to like the tradition of our currency and want President Andrew Jackson to stay put and those who want to put a woman on a bill,” she argued.

Denying women the vote, keeping women from working, putting women in the stocks for having a sharp tongue, treating women as subhuman property of men are also “traditions,” you know. The whole point of being a feminist is refusing to accept that tradition trumps a woman’s right to equality. But beyond just that, appeals to tradition are considered a logical fallacy for a good reason. The idea that we should keep doing a stupid and harmful thing because we have done it that way in the past isn’t a grand and noble idea. It’s refusing to learn from experience.

Of course, no one actually buys this argument, not really. The folks waxing poetic about the impropriety of change when it comes to the currency probably aren’t writing their sentiments on parchment paper with quill pens. The only time they cling to tradition is if the tradition flatters their prejudices, in this case the prejudicial belief that only white men can be great Americans.

Van Susteren pretended to be open to compromise by arguing that Tubman should go on a new bill, recommending a $25 denomination. This gambit is quickly becoming a popular one for conservative pundits and politicians who are pandering to white men who think that having only white men on their money somehow makes them superior people by association.

Ben Carson, doing his duty of offering cover for racist opinions, argued on Fox News, “I love Harriet Tubman. I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.”

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump picked up this argument.

“Maybe we need to do another denomination — maybe we do a $2 bill,” Trump told Matt Lauer. “Yes, I think it’s pure political correctness — [Jackson’s] been on the bill for many, many years, and really represented someone who was really important to this country.”

If it’s not obvious what they’re doing here, let me spell it out for you: They’re pretending to be generous by offering to put Tubman on money that either doesn’t exist or people don’t use. The implication is that it’s only okay to honor women of color as long as you simultaneously assert that white men are still better...More

 

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