yaymukund’s weblog ^_^

Something that Republican presidents love to do on their first day of office which is reinstate something known as the "global gag rule," which is that agencies around the world which receive US support for their health programs are not allowed to provide abortion of contraception services or even talk about them— hence the name "gag rule."

We love when we talk about foreign and national security policy to focus on the high geopolitics— "what does it mean the Kurds versus versus the Shia versus the Turks?"— but that global gag rule is gonna affect the lives of as many women and families as anything else Donald Trump does his first hundred days in office. Their lives are always on the line when Americans vote and it's not something we ever talk about or think about but it's a very real consequence of what happened last night.

— Heather Hurlburt on Global Dispatches, "The Foreign Policy of Donald Trump" (25:07)

This past January, when I started [teaching the post-emancipation African American history survey course], Obama was running in the primary against Hillary Clinton. Many of us still presumed that Clinton was going to be the nominee and then Obama became a movement over the next several months.

I was watching this transpire in my course. I told my students in the beginning of the course I would not be talking about the election until the end of the course because this is a class of history. But I guaranteed them that there would be themes every week in the election in the primary battles that linked what happened in January 31, 2008 to discussions of what's happening in Reconstruction America. These narratives that Glenda [Gilmore] has already alluded to— white womanhood, the threat of the black male— these are long, long narratives and I simply can't believe that those narratives are going to disappear.

Maybe. Maybe— I doubt it— but maybe they've altered somehow. Let's just see what happens once maybe the economy gets better or maybe once middle east strife becomes less confusing. I think that role of the racial specter can come up much more easily when we're not all hurting so much.

— Jonathan Holloway in Three Yale Historians Discuss the Election of Barack Obama (soundcloud, 2008)

Working-class politics had so little room to maneuver in hard times that racial sympathy was shoved aside. In a famous 1844 public correspondence with the abolitionist Gerrit Smith, labor reformer George Henry Evans spoke for many labor leaders when he declared himself "formerly" an advocate of abolition: "This was before I saw that there was white slavery."


Workers on the very bottom may have negotiated the cementing of their class position beneath the artisan class by denying that position through celebrations of their free-white status as well as embracing it through unseemly— and unrepublican— activities such as racist mobbing and other forms of public racial antagonism. Thus did popular racism aid the formation of the white working class: "whiteness" was capacious enough to allow entry to almost any nonblack worker, and resilient enough to mask the class tensions that were worked out in the modality of race.

Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (1993) by Eric Lott

It may surprise you or not surprise you that when we went to Iraq in 2007, General Petraeus and I said, "Do you know why these people fighting? Show us the data," no study like the Vietcong Motivation & Morale Study (1966), pdf had ever been done. That was the period when the Secretary of Defense and military commander on the ground used to describe the enemy as "evil-doers" and say that "the evil-doers hate us because they hate who we are, not because of what we do." And we said, well, let's look into that.


Based on [a survey of 24,000 people in detention]— which was partly quantitative and partly based on interviews— we determined that 70% of the people were fighting us primarily for economic reasons. Another 20% were fighting us because they had belonged to a former regime group for a formerly dominant social group that had been dispossessed by what happened in Iraq after 2003. They were fighting us to reestablish their position of social or political ascendancy. Less than 10% of the people that we were fighting were motivated predominately by religious motivation or ideology associated with Al-Qaeda. And in fact, a high proportion those 10% were foreigners; they weren't even from Iraq. So that's the sort of data set for Iraq and we did similar surveys in Afghanistan later the tended to show that basically what you have on on the ground in most cases is a very, very small number of irreconcilable fanatics who draw their power from their ability to intimidate, manipulate, and mobilize a much larger group of people who are fighting us primarily because we're in their space and feel like they need to defend themselves rather than because they naturally support that small extremist clique.

— David Kilcullen on Accidental Guerrilla Warfare in the Midst of War (youtube)

The destroyers of the tea were dressed to look like indians and also professed imitate their speech they gave a "War Whoop" and the chiefs among them used an otherwise "unintelligible" mock Indian language which was then supposedly relayed to the other men aboard the ships via an interpreter. Accounts at that time noted the dialect, the "jargon" were the "most hideous Noise" that the participants in the Boston Tea Party had made. (These are all quotes from contemporary accounts.)


The blacksmith Joshua Wyeth was a participant in the Tea Party. He later remembered "We surely resembled Devils from the bottomless pit rather than men." The loyalist Peter Oliver we've agreed in his account he later wrote, "it was the Rule of Faction"— in other words it was the way of the Sons of Liberty— "to make their Agents first look like the Devil in Order to make them Act like the Devil."

— Professor Benjamin L. Carp on Resolute Men (Dressed As Mohawks) (youtube)

Years ago, I read a book by historian John Cell called The Highest Stage of White Supremacy. In it, Cell looked at what he called Herrenvolk Democracy. These are societies that function democratically for a certain portion of the population but in which one large portion of the population was excluded from the right to democratic practices. He compared South Africa, the Jim Crow South, and he began to talk about how these societies tend to function. One of the things that he observed was that in societies like South Africa in which the excluded group vastly outnumbered the included group, they tended to be much more rigidly racist, much more rigidly adhering to the doctrines of white supremacy than in societies in which the excluded group was a minority.

I thought about John Cell and I thought about that book last summer when I was in South Carolina because we understood those dynamics in Harlem, we understood those dynamics in Detroit, we understood those dynamics in Watts, we understood those dynamics in Ferguson. But what we are looking at here and what we are grappling with are those same demographic dynamics on a national scale. It's in this light that we can understand the vitriolic anger and the vitriolic response that has animated the Donald Trump campaign. It's in this light that we understand the murderous rage of a young man [Dylann Roof] who felt that "black people were taking over." It's in this light that we have to confront the unpleasant implications of a society that is rapidly approaching a majority-minority status.

— Jelani Cobb on The Half Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today (youtube)

Some discouragement, some faintness of heart at the new real future which replaces the imaginary, is not unusual, and we do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind, and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.

Middlemarch (1871) by George Eliot

"Of course, the old thing that we always fear is tending to happen in the Association [the NAACP]. It is tending to become a white man's organization working for the colored people in which no colored people have any real power." In the white world, ability, temperament, determination were assets— "the rule of effective work"— but, as his racial experience of nearly half a century cruelly reconfirmed, "the colored man gets no such chance. He is seldom given authority or freedom; when he gets these things he gets them accidentally," as with the creation of The Crisis. "Even when his ability is patent," wise and cautious white people deem it "inexpedient to trust him." Everything "tends to this break along the color line." For Du Bois, the encouraging fact that there were small yet growing numbers of white people free of prejudice and unequivocally enlisted in the crusade against Jim Crow was reason not for celebration but for rededicated militancy, and he governed his office manners accordingly.

W.E.B. Du Bois, 1869-1919: Biography of a Race (1994) by David Levering Lewis

As a leading authority on women's rights, Nancy F. Cott, states, "the suffrage movement since the late nineteenth century had caved in to the racism of the surroundding society, sacrificing democratic principle of the dignity of black people if it seemed advantageous to white women's obtaining the vote.

W.E.B. Du Bois, 1869-1919: Biography of a Race (1994) by David Levering Lewis

Black performance itself, first of all, was precisely "performative," a cultural invention, not some precious essence instilled in black bodies; and for better or worse it was often a product of self-commodification, a way of getting along in a constricted world. Black people, that is to say, not only exercised a certain amount of control over such practices but perforce sometimes developed them in tandem with white spectators. Moreover, practices taken as black were occasionally interracial creations whose commodification on white stages attested only to whites' greater access to public distribution (and profit). At the same time, of course, there is no question that white commodification of black bodies structured all of this activity, or that the cultural forms of the black dispossessed in the United States have been appropriated and circulated as stand-ins for a supposedly national folk tradition.

Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy an the American Working Class (1993) by Eric Lott