Yesterday, progressive lefties, in particular, those not who cannot claim identity politics were put on notice at the other place with the advent of this new group, the TOP Equity Group.
According to the profile, the TOP Equity Group’s aim is this:
DK Equity Group is comprised of DK staff committed to eliminating white supremacy in Daily Kos and the movement. This account has multiple staff members who will identify themselves in written posts and will use personal accounts to comment.
Since the paid staff have proclaimed they will self-identify themselves as members of that group, be reassured I’m not doxxing anyone here, which would be against most blogging rules.
Rachel Colyer, a caucasian TOP senior campaign director,
threw the second bomb penned the first diary of the TOP Equity Group to introduce the concept of white supremacy among progressives. Here’s her construct:
White supremacy has always been the foundation of the American ethos and people who actively support white supremacy have become emboldened once again. Now, more than ever we need to support marginalized populations (read: listen to black women and people of color) to work to end white supremacy within ourselves, our communities, and our institutions, like Netroots Nation and Daily Kos.
I’m going to cite an example of how white supremacy has been internalized within our own progressive community, but it’s bigger than this example. I’m talking about the system of white supremacy that white people learn from birth, and act on with privilege everyday. In this instance, the feeling that they had the right to tell black protestors, how and when to speak against their oppression.
On Saturday, August 12th 2017, a group of black protestors convened in front of the stage at Netroots Nation as Democratic party candidate for Georgia governor, Stacey Evans, took the podium. Protesters held signs reading: “Stacey Evans = Betsy DeVos” and “No One Can Win Without Us.” They interrupted Evan’s speech chanting, “Trust Black Women,” and “Stacey Evans is not progressive,” illuminating their opposition to Evan’s stance on the privatization of education which is, ultimately, damaging to black children and communities. In response, white folks around the room began yelling out, “Let her speak,” shouting down protestors and confronting black audience members who rose in support.
The white response of confronting the black protesters who opposed Stacey Evans and repeatedly asked all of us to “Trust Black Women” to make education decisions for their children, was terrible. Stacey Evans is in favor of school vouchers, privatization, and charter schools, which aren’t progressive values and disproportionately harm black children.
To be clear, Colyer is referring to this diary, “From-Charlottesville-to-Netroots-Nation white-supremacy is everywhere even in progressive spaces” by Kelly Macias, who attended NN2017 two weeks ago but penned this diary to jump start the new cultural revolution at TOP. I was not at NN2017, so I cannot vouch for what happened at that session. The picture tells something of the story, but not the complete story.
To me, reading Ms. Macia’s account was a reminiscent mirror of an incident at the 2016 NV Dem Party convention, in which fake news perpetuated by Jon Ralston (and consequently dismissed from his reporting position at the Nevada Sun) about chairs being thrown by Sanders supporters when the NV party chair did not allow follow the procedural rules. As we know, that was a lie that was distorted to no end.
From Rolling Stone:
“But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada,” he said, referring to an incident in January when a bullet pierced the window of his Las Vegas headquarters on a day the candidate was on site. “And apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.”
Sanders went on to denounce the way the Nevada state convention was conducted, saying Lange should at the very least have held a head-count rather than an yay/nay voice vote, and accusing her of refusing to acknowledge motions from the floor or accept any petitions for amendments in violation of the rules. Sanders also protested the disqualification, “en mass,” of 58 of his delegates.
“These are on top of failures at the precinct and county conventions,” Sanders said, “including trying to depose and then threaten with arrest the Clark County convention credentials chair because she was operating too fairly.”
But hey! If you didn’t bother reading Macias’ diary, no problem! Ms. Coyler will surmise for you to point out what she thinks the diarist intended to say, but didn’t wish to point the finger directly in the progressive left’s eye (as though they had not poked at the eyes before).
White progressives, we should honor protest, and we often do, when we consent to it. We should not attempt to silence the voices of black people who are speaking out in protest. As white progressives, we should recognize that we are perpetuating systems of white supremacy by telling groups of marginalized and impacted communities when, where, and how they can fight their oppression.
(emphasis by the author, not mine)
As one can tell, this construct is fraught with many problems. There’s a difference between white supremacy and white privilege. White privilege does exist in the US and other places in Europe. Whites are less likely to be pull over by a policeman when there is a slight traffic infraction or to be asked to put their hands on the dashboard when questioned by the police.
There are microaggressions in this country, which I think is the correct term, instead of white supremacists. The white supremacists do exist in the US, we saw them in Charlottesville, Boston, Dallas, and other places. There’s a march from Charlottesville that started Saturday and ending today to protest the American Nazis.
Macias says the same white progressives who shouted that they wanted to hear the speak didn’t see their own double standard:
Lastly, it didn’t escape my attention that these very same white people who shouted down a room full of black women protesters at Netroots then went out later that evening and participated in a solidarity rally/march for Charlottesville. What’s striking is that they could identify the white supremacy present at the neo-Nazi/KKK rally that killed Heather Hayer, but couldn’t see the white supremacy present in their own behaviors and actions earlier in the day.
Interesting hypocrisy. Heather Heyer was a Bernie Sanders supporter and a white woman.
GJohnsit has an excellent takedown essay at C99 which points out more of the fallacies in that diary by Macias. He wondered outloud if that was the new Russia? I wondered if TOP in proclaiming its cultural revolution, “the new radical center” but wondered if it had lost its way to become the neo-People’s Democratic Dictatorship?
This is what I penned at C99 yesterday as comment to someone from my essay, “Has the Radical Center Lost its Way”:
What’s ironic, is that same blog supported a candidate [Hillary Clinton] who was a centrist and still has supporters in a rebranded group, New Democracy, which met in CO two weekends ago. Fivethirtyeight pointed out the dichotomy of values messaging the New Democracy/Dem Party in this way:
But there is a real, pressing battle in the Democratic Party over identity issues too, with some in the party worried that movements like Black Lives Matter turn off white voters while others say the Democrats should speak bluntly and unequivocally on issues that particularly affect women and nonwhite voters.
“We also have to avoid vilifying people whose social views aren’t as ‘progressive’ as we think they should be,” reads the mission statement of a new group of centrist Democrats called New Democracy. The group, whose advisory board includes Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, argues that “both parties have indulged in a civically corrosive form of identity politics.”
My original question was “Has the Radical Center Lost Its Way?” If TOP has decided that anyone who challenges the new TOP Equality staff in any fashion (and it’s discovered one isn’t PoC), then it’s not progressive at all. And it’s certainly not listening to New Democracy. TOP thinks it’s the radical center. But I don’t see how they can be when the former president [Barack Obama] was lauded at all costs despite continuing wars he promised to withdraw from or appoint people for leading educational policy who were for school vouchers because it benefited students of color whose attended public schools were underfunded. Yes, Duncan [evolved and]abandoned it and shifted to competitive grants–still neoliberal policy; Betsy DeVos picked up the mantle but for privileged white students, more aligned with dismantling public education in general. Obama did not push very hard his Dem senators enough to get a vote for a centrist SCOTUS pick in 2016. So much for that radical center!
A song comes to mine from my childhood, a country-crossover tune by Jeanne C. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA”. Along with John Prine, Tom T Hall is one of the best storytellers about small town observations, and he penned that little jewel. The Boot (a C & W music blog) interviewed Hall last year, explicating about the lyrics:
“Harper Valley PTA” shows off Hall’s mastery of translating keen observations into compelling lyrics and music — and that’s no accident. The now-famous songwriter had planned on making a career as a journalist or novelist — but then “Harper Valley PTA” won the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance and the CMA Award for Single of the Year.
Below, Hall tells The Boot about the hit song and what inspired him to write it.
The story is a true story. I didn’t make the story up; I chose the story to make a statement, but I changed the names to protect the innocent.
There were 10 kids in our family. We’d get up in the morning, and my mother and father would get bored with us running around, and we’d go terrorize the neighbors up and down this little road we lived on — after we had done our chores, of course. I was just hanging around downtown when I was about nine years old and heard the story and got to know this lady. I was fascinated by her grit. To see this very insignificant, socially disenfranchised lady — a single mother — who was willing to march down to the local aristocracy read them the riot act, so to speak, was fascinating.
I wrote the song 30 years later; that song was my novel. I had been reading Sinclair Lewis. As a young man, I read Lewis’ novels Babbitt and Elmer Gantry, which is about hypocrisy; Babbitt is, of course, about the social structure of the small town. So, being a big Sinclair Lewis fan, when I wrote “Harper Valley,” I incorporated elements of Elmer Gantry into the song.
I want to tell you all a story ’bout a Harper Valley widowed wife
Who had a teenage daughter who attended Harper Valley Junior High
Well her daughter came home one afternoon and didn’t even stop to play
She said, “Mom, I got a note here from the Harper Valley P.T.A.”
The note said, “Mrs. Johnson, you’re wearing your dresses way too high
It’s reported you’ve been drinking and a-runnin’ ’round with men and going wild
And we don’t believe you ought to be bringing up your little girl this way”
It was signed by the secretary, Harper Valley P.T.A.
Well, it happened that the P.T.A. was gonna meet that very afternoon
They were sure surprised when Mrs. Johnson wore her mini-skirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard, I still recall the words she had to say
She said, “I’d like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley P.T.A.”
Well, there’s Bobby Taylor sittin’ there and seven times he’s asked me for a date
Mrs. Taylor sure seems to use a lot of ice whenever he’s away
And Mr. Baker, can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town?
And shouldn’t widow Jones be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?
Well, Mr. Harper couldn’t be here ’cause he stayed too long at Kelly’s Bar again
And if you smell Shirley Thompson’s breath, you’ll find she’s had a little nip of gin
Then you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a mother I’m not fit
Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites
No I wouldn’t put you on because it really did, it happened just this way
The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.
The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.
Brothers and sisters, I bring you the YT of this classic.
Yep, TOP’s Equity Group has become the modern day Harper Valley PTA. And I am rebranding it as such, The-Other-Place PTA.
For purposes of discussion, I have decided to rename the group the TOP PTA, after a tune by Jeanne C. Riley.