You Want A Confederate Monument?


confederateBody.jpg (615×820)

Yesterday Trump tweeted – “I will veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (of all people) Amendment, which will lead to renaming (plus other bad things) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E Lee and many other military bases from which we won Two World Wars is in the Bill!”. Pocahontas of all people, other bad things? WTF! Appalling disregard for minorities, historical ignorance, calculated right wing campaign fodder – you decide, I’m speechless.

Last Sunday, editorial opinion by Caroline Randall Williams appeared in the New York Times. Amid Trumpish support for white nationalism, Trump outrage over NYC Mayor de Blasio planning to paint Black Lives Matter on 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower (Trump tweeted – “de Blasio is going to paint a big, expensive, Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating the luxury Avenue” ) and widespread initiatives to remove Confederate symbolism – Caroline Randall Williams penned perspective every American should read and take to heart. Quoted in part below, full article link after that.

“I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.

Dead Confederates are honored all over this country — with cartoonish private statues, solemn public monuments and even in the names of United States Army bases. It fortifies and heartens me to witness the protests against this practice and the growing clamor from serious, nonpartisan public servants to redress it. But there are still those — like President Trump and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell — who cannot understand the difference between rewriting and reframing the past. I say it is not a matter of “airbrushing” history, but of adding a new perspective.

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help.

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children.

What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals?

You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter.” – Caroline Randall Williams

Confederate Monuments – Another Perspective

Beryl Dickinson-Dash


In 1949 Beryl Dickinson-Dash was a third year arts major attending McGill University in Montreal. At the time, only 150 of 8,500 McGill students were black. Most blacks were international students, Beryl Dickinson-Dash belonged to a handful of Canadian born black students, notedly a black Canadian woman who knew of no other black female Canadian students.

Beryl with her mother Maisy

Winter Carnival was a big deal at McGill, a mid-winter festival presided over by Carnival queen and four princesses. Keen beauties required 25 signatures from male students to secure nomination. Without her knowledge, the roommate of Beryl’s boyfriend (whom she later married) submitted a photo she’d given her boyfriend on his birthday along with 25 signatures from black male students. Beryl was shocked to find herself one of 26 official candidates.

Next came the ceremonial tea, an afternoon of polite white glove decorum and radio interviews. 26 were cut to 15, 15 became 5 finalists after a second round of interviews and struts. Beryl made the final cut. Each candidate was assigned a campaign manager.

Campaigns reached fever pitch, Beryl’s boyfriend, his brother, roommate and black students rallied behind her. Telegrams were sent to McGill posing as endorsement from prominent companies and organizations. Posters of Beryl appeared in every classroom. Voting booths with scrutineers proved seriousness of a fair vote. Results were leaked several days before official crowning. Beryl won by a landside, so much so final numbers wouldn’t be released as doing so might “injure the other girls”. Just past midnight, March 5, 1949 on her 21st birthday, Beryl Dickinson-Dash was crowned McGill Carnival Queen at the Montreal Forum in front of 8,000 spectators.

A newspaper clipping from March 5, 1949, announcing the pageant victory. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Beryl doesn’t know why a predominantly white student body elected her Carnival queen. “Perhaps they were tired of how things were” she said. Regardless, she became a media sensation, front page news in papers and magazines. South of the border, Color magazine sponsored Dickinson-Dash (now Beryl Rapier) for a two week trip to West Virginia – her first negro college. A painting of Beryl standing in front of West Virginia state capital building by artist William Edouard Scott titled Spirit of Democracy was presented to McGill as a token of appreciation from people of America. I remind you – it was 1949!

Color magazine sponsored a two-week trip to West Virginia for Rapier. A press clipping from that trip features photographs of her at West Virginia State College. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Sadly, few people in Canada know the story of Beryl Dickinson-Dash. But for stumbling upon her story last week courtesy CBC Radio Doc Project, I’d remain oblivious to a remarkable moment in Canadian history. More photos and history at the link below –

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/how-montrealer-beryl-dickinson-dash-made-history-as-mcgill-s-first-black-queen-of-carnival-1.5605944

I Think Not!


Home province British Columbia, Canada has a population of 5.1 million. Population of U.S. state Maryland is 6.06 million. As of today the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. is 2,659. Of that, 183 cases are considered active. 2,309 persons recovered, 167 died. Of the 183 active cases, only 16 are hospitalized, 4 of those in ICU. Compare home stats to those of Maryland – 58.404 confirmed cases, 2,776 deaths, 4,240 recovered. Even when taking 900,000 or so more Maryland residents into consideration, the difference is staggering.

Closer to home, ponder Washington State, population 7.1 million – 1,300 new cases over the weekend, compared to 29 in B.C. To date Washington state accounts for 24,401 confirmed infections, 1,161 deaths. And there’s impatience to open the border, why?

Total number of COVID-19 deaths in Canada is 7,835. New York state alone accounts for 30,374 of America’s 112,579 COVID-19 deaths. As more than 20 U.S. states report increased cases in the past 14 days, Canada maintains a sharp decrease. Still think the Canada/U.S. border should open? I think not!

See the source image

 

Rumsfeld On Looting


In April 2003 following the U.S. invasion of Iraq,  then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this of looting and lawlessness in Baghdad –

“While no one condones looting, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime. And I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.” – https://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/04/11/sprj.irq.pentagon/

Another time, place, defense secretary and president in U.S. history. Words spoken by a man who orchestrated invasion of Iraq,  the man who authorized waterboarding, deprivation and torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. A man who said “stuff happens” when asked about unrest in Iraq. The same man who said he didn’t think anyone wouldn’t accept looting and lawlessness as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.

Ponder Rumsfeld’s words in the context of what’s happening in America tonight.

See the source image

What Would Obama Say?


July 2016, responding to police involved killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, President Obama said –

“All of us as Americans should be troubled. These are not isolated incidents. They are systematic of a broader set of disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels like because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same and that hurts. That should trouble all of us. This is not a black issue. This is not a Hispanic issue. It’s an American issue.”

This link illuminates Obama sentiment, acknowledges racial inequality, asserts imperative for law enforcement reform and collective social responsibility for racism in America –  https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/barack-obama-police-brutality_n_577ed1ede4b0c590f7e8af19?ri18n=true

Ponder Trump response to George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” death in Minnesota. As a 4th day of protest intensifies across America, I find myself asking – What would Obama say? How would he diffuse tension? Would Obama blame “radical left Mayor Jacob Frey”? Tweet “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a direct quote from Alabama segregationist George Wallace, infamous four term Alabama Governor whose 1963 inauguration speech declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”? Would Obama quote Wallace, a man MLK called the most dangerous racist in America? Absolutely not!

Tonight I evoke fresh consideration of America’s plight – what would Obama say?

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you.

Incel Terrorism


Incel stands for involuntarily celibate, hash-tag/moniker of a profoundly misogynistic online community united by feelings of sexual rejection. Long simmering Incel hatred of women took root years ago in shadowy forums and alt-right chatter hubs. Amid a plethora of mass shootings and violent crime the Incel movement went largely unnoticed until now. Today, Canada elevated Incel aggression to criminal act of terrorism.

In February 2020 a 17 year old machete wielding male entered a Toronto massage parlour, killing Ashley Noelle Arzaga, seriously wounding two more women. Ontario police arrested the suspect on site, initially charging him with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Further investigation brought in the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team when evidence indicated the attack was motivated by Incel ideology. On May 19, 2020 RCMP updated charges to, “murder – terrorist activity.”

Incels favour “Chad” and “Stacey” as namesakes for hate and envy.  Chad men are attractive but intellectually flawed, Stacy are women who reject incels for Chads. Don’t scoff, this is deeply messed up psychology.  Serious enough for Canada to lay terrorism charges against a young man attacking women at a Toronto massage parlour.

Incel motivated violence against women isn’t new. The link below illustrates numerous atrocities directed at women by awkward inductees of this murky online movement. What’s new, dare I say historical is Canada’s interpretation of the offence.

Ours is not a Chad and Stacy world. Ours is a online world where Chad and Stacy loathing involuntary celibates bloom in basement solidarity. Right, wrong or knee jerk Canadian perspective, as of May 19, 2020 intel motivated violence is an act of terrorism in Canada.

What is the ‘incel’ movement that police allege inspired a terrorist attack at Toronto massage parlour?

Liberty In America


This article by Shannon Gormley appears in the June 2020 issue of Maclean’s magazine. It begins –

“On a rainy day in late April, in a once-storied democracy now ruled by a certifiable madman who gives senior positions to his simpleton children because he wants to, who boasts of grabbing women by their private parts because he wants to, who uses the highest office in the land to enrich his gaudy hotels and let off his thuggish friends because he wants to, who threatens the press corps and Mexican people and his political opponents and his ex-wife because he wants to, who slathers gold paint on his MDF furniture and orange cover-up on his face because he wants to, who tells lie after lie after lie for no other reason than just because he wants to, during a global pandemic when the same madman’s dazed inaction has resulted in more people dying from the virus in his country than any other in the world – on that day, an armed militia drove up to the Michigan state government building, stormed the visitor’s gallery and stalked the balcony, assault guns brandished as legislators sat below.”

“Their demand: that they too be able to do what they want, no matter what others want. What they want is, they claim, liberty.”

“Liberty: In their view, it is the freedom to threaten others; in reality, it is they who threaten freedom. They want to do what they want to do and they want to do it whenever they want to do it, however they want to do it, and here is the key: It is not that they want to do what they want to do in spite of the fact others may get hurt, they want to do what they want to do because others may get hurt. That they are scaring people is no accident. It is the point. It is what they want. They imagine liberty is being taken from them and must instead be taken from others. To maintain their own parched little plot of freedom, they rain fear down upon everyone else.”

“And so, in and around the Michigan statehouse, some have waved rifles because they believe they have the God-given right to subject lawmakers to reasonable fear of getting their heads blown off; some have carried the Confederate flag because they believe they have the God-given right to subject Black people to the reasonable fear of being lynched.

Some have threatened to incarcerate a female legislator because they believe they have a God-given right to subject women to reasonable fear of all manner of retribution. And all have swarmed public spaces in a mass because they believe they have a God-given right to subject other people, their own societies, their own country and beyond, to a reasonable fear of a deadly virus.”

I’ve quoted snippets from a thought provoking read few Americans are likely to ponder. Gormley’s article deserves consideration. Full article linked below – what does liberty mean to you?

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/what-liberty-really-means-to-gun-wielding-lockdown-protestors-in-america/ar-BB13W1sZ?ocid=spartanntp

a group of people standing in front of a building: An armed group entered the Michigan State Capitol building to protest the stay-at-home orders, on April 30, 2020 (Seth Herald/Reuters)

 

Next Please


It’s hard to remember when I stopped laughing at Trump antics. Once initial shock of president elect Trump wore off, exchanging guffaws with like minded people lent hope to a seemingly desperate situation. Now, on day 1,207 of America according to Trump, anyone still clucking disbelief needs to wake up. For whatever reason, this clip from today’s White House briefing punctuates Trump absurdity –

 

Zoonotic Ponder


Zoonotic ( zoonoses ) refers to infectious disease transmitted from animals to humans. Hard fact – over 60% of infectious disease contracted by humans are zoonotic, 75 % of new emerging diseases have zoonotic origins. From mosquito, rodent, bat, flea, beaver,  to water contaminated courtesy cow dung, nature doesn’t blink at inflicting humanity with respiratory or gastrointestinal disease. Zoonotic encompasses viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic human infection.

https://www.healthline.com/health/zoonosis#list-of-diseases

Chances are COVID-19 is zoonotic, so why all the conspiracy jibber-jabber? The SARS outbreak of 2002-2004 is widely accepted as zoonotic transmission from cave dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan Province, China to humans via intermediary civet cat hosts. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (and if you believe China is actually cracking down on farmed wildlife destined for sale as meat ) exotic wildlife for human consumption never raised a brow in China. Have conspiracy theorists forgotten viral videos of Chinese foodies chomping the head off bats in high end restaurants, or annihilating live baby mice in a bowl of broth? By what stretch of imagination did conspiracy ignore zoonotic covid-19 infection in favour of some nefarious bio-weapon laboratory goof?

I’m tired of conspiracy theorists pointing hysterical fingers at everything from Bill Gates to secretive new world orders, biological warfare or targeted population purge. I get it, people are upset, they’re in denial, searching for something to blame. Anything is possible, but until evidence proves otherwise – COVID-19 is zoonotic.  Everyone needs to chill.

 

 

Pondering Photographic Perspective


Seeing is believing, pictures speak a thousand words, right? Not so fast – ponder photographic perspective. Swedish photographers Olafur Steinar Gestsson and Philip Davali conducted a little experiment for photo agency Ritzau Scanpix. The premise was simple, capture images of the same subject matter at the same time from two perspectives. One with telephoto, the other a wide angle camera lens.

https://www.boredpanda.com/different-perspective-telephoto-lens-vs-wide-angle-philip-davali-olafur-steinar-ry/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Telephoto lens –

Wide angle lens –

Telephoto –

Wide angle –

Telephoto –

Wide angle –

For weeks my photographer husband has criticized headline images of irreverent social distancing. Not to say it doesn’t exist, far from it. That said,  it’s worth pondering how telephoto images are used to sway, reinforce or punctuate public perception. Now I get it.