JetBlue was forced to apologize Thursday after honoring convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur – mother of Tupac Shakur – as part of Black History Month at a John F. Kennedy International terminal in New York.
The airline removed the poster after an image of the Shakur tribute appeared on social media.
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“The intention was always to unite our crewmembers and customers around the importance of Black History Month and we apologize for any offense the poster may have caused,” a JetBlue spokesman said in a statement, according to FOX 29 Philadelphia.
The image of Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, was in the exhibit for 21 days before one flier noticed.
“Became the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after escaping to Cuba from prison where she was serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of a police officer,” one of the bullet points read.
The tweet posted by Jen Muzio originally said the poster was at LaGuardia Airport, but she later clarified the poster was seen at JFK.
Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted of murder for a 1973 shooting that led to the death of a New Jersey State Trooper. She escaped from prison in 1979 and is believed to be living in Cuba.
On Monday, the 37-year-old has a court date in connection with charges he’s facing in Philadelphia that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation for allegedly being part of an Antifa mob in November that attacked two Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, both Hispanic. Alcoff and two others charged in the attack have pleaded not guilty.
But while Democratic officials are distancing themselves from Alcoff now, until recently he was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals.
His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders.
As the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform, Alcoff participated in congressional Democratic press conferences, was a guest on a House Democratic podcast and met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2016 through 2018.
He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating.
Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials on April 2016, again in March 2017 and a third time in May 2017, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
During this time, he reportedly was an Antifa leader in Washington. Alcoff’s former employer had little to say about the matter.
“As of December, Mr. Alcoff no longer works for AFR,” Carter Dougherty, spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, told Fox News in an email.
Dougherty didn’t answer whether Alcoff had been fired or resigned. He also didn’t answer whether the organization was aware of Alcoff’s associations during his employment.
Alcoff was reportedly also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, the group responsible for gathering and shouting threats outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November and for heckling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi at a Washington restaurant in September. Reports have not said Alcoff was directly involved in either incident; only that he was associated with the group.
Democrats are hardly eager to be associated with Alcoff now. Most spokespersons for Democratic members of Congress did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, or distanced themselves from Alcoff.
In one appearance, Alcoff dressed up as “Lenny the Loan Shark” at an event last Marchheld outside the CFPB headquarters, which featured Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.
“The congressman has never interacted with him nor has he taken any financial policy advice from him. Their names have appeared on the same piece of paper,” Beyer spokesman Aaron Fritschner told Fox News. “He appeared at the same press conference, but they didn’t speak to each other. This person was literally wearing a shark outfit.”
In the February 2018 press statement, House and Senate Democrats co-sponsoring the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, which boosted regulation on payday lenders, issued versions of a press release, most including the Alcoff quote.
“The Consumer Bureau and Congress have in the past understood the way that payday lenders structure loans to catch Americans in a cycle of debt with exorbitant interest rates,” Alcoff said in the press releases. “It is unfortunate that some in Washington would rather open the loan shark gates than continue to think about sensible borrower protections. The SAFE Lending Act would put Washington back on track to stop the debt trap.”
In August, Alcoff was a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast, criticizing the decline of the CFPB under the Trump administration.
“It’s been an incredible kind of erosion [Trump administration actions] recently, but these are really, really important basic functions [CFPB’s mission] that people across the country should be able to look to Washington and expect,” Alcoff said on the podcast.
In connection with the subsequent attack in Philadelphia, the two Hispanic Marines said the Antifa mob of about 10 or 12 attackers shouted racial slurs during the beating. Only three from the mob were identified and arrested. The attack happened at the same time as a right-wing rally in Philadelphia, which Antifa showed up to protest. The Marines who were assaulted said they were not even aware of the rally.
“On one side, you have the Proud Boys, a racist group of Nazi thugs. On the other side, you have anti-racist activists,” Alcoff’s lawyer Michael Coard told Philadelphia Magazine. “Unfortunately, in the mix, there were two Marines who were caught up in the whole thing as innocent bystanders.”
Coard, an African American activist in Philadelphia, also told the magazine regarding the alleged slurs, “The question that I have for the D.A.’s office and the police is this: Does anybody think that I, Michael Coard, would represent a racist? … I would never represent a racist. In fact, if I believed that he was a racist, I would prosecute him myself.”
IN one of his most decisive foreign-policy moments, President Trump recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s interim leader. Free countries from the Western Hemisphere, Europe and beyond, including some adamant Trump critics, joined the US in support of Guaidó and against Nicolás Maduro’s crumbling socialist dictatorship.
Dictators’ club: China, Cuba, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah are lining up behind the socialist thug Nicolás Maduro. The US is leading the global pushback.
Yet China, Russia, Iran and others jumped to Maduro’s defense. Cuba — the country that installed Maduro in power in 2013, as Hugo Chavez was dying in Havana — has overseen the vicious crackdowns against impressive pro-democracy rallies.
Since Wednesday, more than 800 anti-Maduro demonstrators have been thrown into Cuba-modeled dungeons.
So the lines are drawn. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council Saturday, every country must now pick sides: “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”
But how does America help the forces of freedom win? It’s about money. And, true, the global antidemocratic club has been bolstering Maduro for a long time, while we’re fairly new to the game. Even so, Washington has the advantage.
China, for one, has offered Venezuela some $65 billion in loans. But Caracas hasn’t made much progress toward repayment, and so Beijing isn’t likely to invest further for now. Sure, China’s communist rulers express public support for Maduro, but cautious Beijing will await the outcome of the current uncertainty. PS: China isn’t looking for additional anti-US fronts.
Russia might go further. According to Reuters, Moscow is already sending paramilitary troops and contractors to Caracas. The Kremlin uses such mercenaries where it wants to be involved militarily while keeping plausible deniability, as it has in Syria and Ukraine. But while Venezuela may be yet another site to confront America, the Kremlin doesn’t see it as Russia’s hill to die on.
Cuba is most deeply involved. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union financed the Castro regime in exchange for sugar cane. Needing a new sugar daddy after the Soviet collapse, Castro found Chavez. Venezuela supplied all of Cuba’s energy needs, while Havana guaranteed the regime’s survival.
It is the Cubans who train and reinforce Maduro’s notorious intelligence apparatus. Like in Cuba, the top Venezuelan army brass is getting rich through high positions in the country’s oil and other enterprises. Venezuelan generals, like their counterparts in Havana, get to profit from illicit drug and arms deals.
Such clandestine deals are aided by the Iranian regime and its Lebanese-Shiite proxy, Hezbollah. Relations between Caracas and the Mideast’s Iranian-led Shiite axis go back to the early days of Chavez’s rule.
Today the No. 3 official in the Maduro regime’s hierarchy, the Lebanese-born Tareck El Aissami, is “a bagman for Hezbollah,” says Vanessa Neumann, president of the consultancy group Asymmetrica and a leading researcher of Mideast terrorist activities in Latin America.
Hezbollah, along with the Maduro regime, funds much of its operations with the narcotics and arms trades. And that, says the Venezuela-born Neumann, could help the opposition she strongly supports. “With friends like these,” she says, “it makes it easier for us.” The opposition is making the case for the West to place Caracas on the list of terrorist-sponsoring states, leading to automatically imposed sanctions.
The American response has now gone beyond sanctions. On Thursday, soon after Guaidó was sworn in, Pompeo pledged $20 million to help him and the Assembly. That’s small change, but it’s a start.
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced $7 billion in sanctions, including on government-owned oil giant PdVSA. While Venezuelan assets in the US, including oil giant Citgo, will continue to operate, profits will no longer go to Maduro’s cronies. They will be deposited instead in “blocked accounts” designed to benefit the people through the US-recognized Guaidó leadership.
Combined with similar measures by America’s global allies, the latest US move can help turn the tide in Caracas.
Democracy “never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that needs to be imposed,” Elliott Abrams, Trump’s new point man on Venezuela, said at the UN Saturday. But while Maduro’s allies impose, America can unite the free world in isolating him economically — and win one for democracy.
For me, being black and armed in America is intellectually taxing. Add the fact that I am one of the most recognized gun rights advocates in the country, and it can be downright exhausting.
As a black man, some people expect me to say that being armed and black in America is dangerous. My whole life I’ve heard that a black man with a gun is always going to be considered a threat. I’ve also carried a gun for years and have been pulled over many times while carrying a gun with no problems—and I have no plans of stopping.
Guns have done more to keep blacks safe in this country than being unarmed has ever done.
So, do I think it is safe to be black and armed in America? In truth, I think it is unsafe to be black and not armed in America. Guns have done more to keep blacks safe in this country than being unarmed has ever done. I also believe that the more black people arm themselves, the safer it will be to be black and armed.
Just consider: Harriet Tubman carried a revolver to protect against slave catchers and their dogs while she led black slaves to their freedom. Black civil rights activist Robert F. Williams obtained a charter from the National Rifle Association and set up a rifle club to defend blacks in Jonesboro, Ark., from the Ku Klux Klan and other attackers. The Black Panthers followed police around, armed with firearms and law books to police the police. C.O. Chinn was a black man during the civil rights era who was armed to the teeth and provided security to the “nonviolent” sectors of the civil rights movement. The Deacons for Defense and Justice, an armed African-American self-defense group, was founded in 1964 to protect civil rights activists and their families. Black men used guns during the Civil War to fight for their freedom. And countless black Americans use guns every day to protect themselves, their families and others they love.
Guns keep black people safe. It is true that, compared to a lot of their non-black counterparts, gun ownership among blacks can come with a unique set of risks. But I believe it is important to realize that these risks don’t outweigh the benefits.
The first time I carried a concealed firearm, I experienced a wide array of emotions. I waited a long time for my permit to come in, so I was giddy with excitement when the wait was over. I felt empowered knowing that I didn’t need to rely on a police officer magically appearing if I were attacked.
But I also felt anxiety. I was a young black man with a gun, and up until that point, I had been taught that if a cop ever realized I had a gun on me,he’dmore likely think I was a criminal than a legal concealed carrier. As a result, I took the painstaking effort to make sure my gun was completely undetectable. I even learned what signs cops look for to determine if someone was carrying a gun and made it a point not to do those things.
But one question remains: Why the hell would I, as a young black man, get a concealed-carry license and carry a gun on me 90 percent of the time if I believed all this? I decided to carry a firearm despite the perceived dangers from the police for the same reasons teenage gangbangers and drug dealers carry guns illegally—they are more worried about being caught without a gun by an enemy than with one by a cop. In the same way, on a subconscious level, I was more concerned about being caught without a gun by a criminal than I was by a cop when I was legally carrying a firearm.
The anxiety of avoiding the ordeal of being seen as a threat by police if you have to draw your firearm in public is not limited to blacks.
Note, I am not saying that I can’t become the victim of a cop or another armed citizen who, because of my race and the gun I carry, might treat me like a threat instead of another legally armed citizen. What I am saying is that those people are the exception, not the rule.
Since last July, there have been three cases in which a black good guy with a gun was shot and killed by police. At the time of this writing, these cases are still under investigation, so I’m not going to speculate on the motivation behind the shootings. But I will say that the anxiety of avoiding the ordeal of being seen as a threat by police if you have to draw your firearm in public is not limited to blacks. After carrying a firearm for some time, I began researching and learning more about the intricacies of concealed carry. I discovered that the question of what to do so you don’t get shot by a cop if you have to pull your gun in public had been a topic of discussion in the online gun community for years, by gun owners of all races.
Though we are fortunate to have the Second Amendment in this country, we also have a large segment of the country that believes anyone carrying a gun who is not law enforcement is a bad guy. Unfortunately, some who believe this become police officers. I believe threat identification and de-escalation have long been weak points of training in police departments. In a country with the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, learning how to deal with potentially armed citizens at the scene of an active-shooter situation should be a top priority for all police training. Long story short, if you’re going to carry a badge and gun in this country, unless a person is actively shooting at you, shooting at other people who are clearly not a threat, or threateningly presenting a firearm, you should err on the side of the possibility that the person might be a good guy with a gun.
This country’s “mainstream” media machine, in its rabid attempt to vilify guns and sway people away from exercising their Second Amendment rights, has done everything in its power to push the image of bad gun owners as the rule, instead of the exception. Our media have excessively promoted the image of the armed, gang-banging, hyper-aggressive, violent black male, while at the same time pushing the narrative that all white male gun owners are potential mass-shooting domestic terrorists who hate black people. Are we then surprised that there might be incidents in which a good black guy with a gun is prematurely seen as a bad guy with a gun by someone who’s only image of a black man with a gun has been what the media have portrayed?
If such a tragedy occurs, the same media that have mastered the art of sensationalizing these incidents will breathlessly report and speculate about racial motivations, without having any truly relevant information or facts. They do this to insidiously reaffirm the narrative they have been pushing for years—if you are black and carry a gun, you will be shot. Ironically, the same media never talk about racist origins of gun control laws, or how most such laws were designed to keep guns out of the hands of blacks. Nor do they discuss how the very same violent image of black men they push today is the same image that was used in the past to scare unassuming whites, causing some of them to support those racist gun control laws.
Two years ago, I received a message from the mother of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black concealed-carry license holder who was pulled over and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez when he thought Castile was reaching for his gun. The letter was a scathing critique of my response to the shooting. The part of the message that hit the hardest was her closing line: “You ain’t no exception; the same thing can happen to you.”
Admittedly, the letter made me feel terrible. But what was I supposed to do? Stop carrying my gun? Stop exercising my rights? What happened to Castile was terrible, and, like I said in my open letter about it, it could have been avoided altogether if the officer had conducted the stop the way he was trained to perform a felony stop. Nevertheless, cases like Castile’s are still the exception.
I know one thing is for sure: It has never been safer to be black and armed in this country than it is right now.
I know that’s not a popular thing to say as a black man in today’s political climate, but that’s why these cases are such a big deal when they do occur. And even then, the motivations behind the shootings are never clear-cut—at least not clear-cut enough to say that a cop shot a black guy with a gun just because he was a black guy with a gun, and not for some other reason, justified or not. As a result, these cases send my cognitive dissonance—about what I’ve been told my whole life, what I’ve actually experienced, what the statistics show, and what reality has presented—into a downward spiral where I second-guess myself into oblivion on these issues.
However, I know one thing is for sure: It has never been safer to be black and armed in this country than it is right now. There were times in the past when it was legal to beat and even kill a black person who was found to have a gun, or any other weapon, on him. Today, there are black gun rights groups, social media accounts dedicated to black gun ownership, black firearm instructors and black gun rights advocates. There was a time when it was not safe for blacks to vote, but we continued doing it anyway. Regardless of how dangerous it might or might not become to be black and armed in this country, I’ll continue to exercise my natural rights the same way black people of the past—who faced more significant and more consistent harm—chose to exercise theirs.
Sympathy for transgender people cannot trump objective reality.
Last week, a member of my Orthodox Jewish congregation approached me at synagogue to tell me a story. Many of the women in the congregation exercise at a females-only gym for modesty purposes. The gym is successful; its main constituency is religious women who don’t wish to be stared at by men, or to see men in various states of undress.
According to the congregation member, this month, a transgender woman — a biological male who suffers from gender dysphoria — came to the gym. This man, who retains his male biological characteristics, then entered the locker room and proceeded to disrobe. When told by management that he could use a private dressing room, he refused, announcing that he was a woman and could disrobe in front of all the other women.
The predictable result: Many of the actual biological women began cancelling their memberships. When the management asked people higher in the chain, they were simply told that to require the man to use a private dressing room or to reject his membership would subject the company to litigation and possible boycott. So the gym will simply have to lose its chief clientele because a man with a mental disorder believes he has the right to disrobe in front of women.
As it turns out, there are indeed public-policy consequences to the question of transgender pronouns. Those public-policy questions all revolve around a central issue: Can subjective perception trump objective observation? If the answer is yes, tyranny of the individual becomes the order of the day. We all must bow before the subjective wants, needs, and desires of people who require special protection from life’s realities. We must reeducate generations of people to ignore science in favor of feelings. We must strong-arm individuals into abandoning central planks of their morality in the name of sensitivity.
Meanwhile, Twitter announced this week that it would seek to ban those who “misgender” or “deadname” transgender people. In other words, if you note that Chelsea Manning or Caitlyn Jenner is a man, or if you use the names “Bradley” or “Bruce” with regard to the aforementioned transgender people, Twitter could ban you for “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs.” So you will abide by subjective self-definition, or you will be censored. Twitter recently banned a leftist feminist for merely noting that sex is biological and that men cannot become women.
It doesn’t stop there. As Walt Heyer of The Federalist reports, a Texas divorce case now pits a mother who dresses her six-year-old male child, James, as a girl and calls him “Luna” against James’s father, whom she is accusing of child abuse for refusing to treat James as a girl. Heyer reports, “She is also seeking to require him to pay for the child’s visits to a transgender-affirming therapist and transgender medical alterations, which may include hormonal sterilization starting at age eight.” James, as it turns out, prefers being called James and being treated as a boy by his father. That’s not stopping Mom. Refusing to abide by the judgment of a six-year-old — or in this case, a six-year-old’s mom — could mean losing your child in a world where we treat sex as malleable.
There are real-world consequences to the deliberate rewriting of basic biology, and the substitution of subjectivity for objectivity. It means rewriting business operation, school curricula, medical treatment standards, censorship rules, and even parenting. Sympathy for those who suffer from gender dysphoria is obviously proper — no one wants transgender people harmed or targeted. But sympathy for a mental disorder should not trump either objective reality or competing priorities based on those objective realities. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is not a story about the wonderful sensitivity of a population educated on the subjective desires of a ruler ensconced in sartorial self-definition. Falsehood crumbles in the light of day, no matter how sympathetic we are to those who wish to perpetuate it — unless force becomes the order of the day.
I just finished reading Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne tha God née Lenard Larry McKelvey the straight-shooting radio personality. I found the book raw and to the point on success and life.
Charlamagne is a stoic and a realist in a good way. Every young person needs the reality check he lays out on fame and careers.
However, he made a statement in the book which I find disturbing, “80% of white people are evil.”
Now before I respond I want to mention my past. From 1978 to 1980 I marched in thirteen civil rights marches from Boston to Raleigh.
I was seriously injured in four of those marches – I am proud to have bled for the cause.
Charlamagne people – all people – have issues. But your statement about the 80% is fueled not by logic but by your reading and praise for a hateful and vile person named Louis Farrakhan.
Black Nationalism contradicts the many good things you wrote in your book. This type of angry illogical thinking hurts African Americans.
Charlamagne I know you like straight talk so here it is. Racism for black people is not about color. I have observed that Africans’ and Caribbean black people who come to the U.S. do not suffer the same racism as African Americans. How do you explain that?
Even after decades of living in this country numerous people from the African continent and the countries of the Caribbean find great success and few racists issues.
So, the issue is in my professional opinon is cultural not based on skin color. I am a lecturer at Howard University and I have proffered this idea to the students and most agreed with me, well let me clarify, those who have grown up in upper income families agreed.
Is rampant rape the price Finnish women must pay for giving asylum to migrants? Finland, now, has become “one of the least safe countries in Europe for women,” according to Finland’s leading newspaper.
Crimes committed by asylum seekers have increased dramatically. Swedish-language asked a criminologist who says having an immigrant background doesn’t explain criminality and that the issue is more complicated than that.
Finland’s biggest daily newspaper devoted many column inches to the issue of rape. The topic of rape and violence against women has come to the forefront of discussion in Finnish media since highly-publicised incidents of rape committed by asylum seekers in recent weeks.
Only one in four rapes reported to police In the year 2000, HS displayed on a graph, 488 rapes were reported and in 2014 that number was 940 reported rapes. So far this year (from January to October) the figure stands at 864 reported rapes.
Finland is one of the top countries in the EU for incidents of violence against women. Using figures from the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, some 47 percent of women in Finland have experienced violence at some point in their lives since the age of 15.
The only other country in the EU with a higher percentage is Denmark, with 52 percent. Among the lowest percentages of violence against women were in Hungary (21 percent), Ireland (15 percent) and Austria (13 percent).
Citing Helsinki University’s Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy figures, the paper writes that incidents of reported rapes by immigrants were about eight times higher than that of native Finns.The paper also writes that the most reported rapes were committed by people from the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The evening tabloid Ilta-Sanomat featured a blazing headline on page four’s “Refugee Crisis” feature with a headline that reads: “Suspected crimes increase.”
Last Saturday night, a Fox News contributor named Kat Timpf was at a bar in Brooklyn. As she recounted the incident to National Review, a man asked her where she worked. A while later, she said, a woman began “screaming at me to get out.” Timpf walked away, but the woman followed her around the bar while other patrons laughed. Fearing physical attack, Timpf left. She told National Review and The Hill that it was the third time she has been harassed since 2017. A few months earlier, a woman yelled at her during dinner at a Manhattan restaurant. The year before, while she was about to give a speech, a man dumped water on her head.
Protests like these, that target people’s private lives, are wrong. They violate fundamental principles of civil disobedience, as understood by its most eminent practitioners and theorists. And they threaten the very norms of human decency that Trump and his supporters have done so much to erode.
Unfortunately, they seem to be spreading. The Wednesday before Timpf’s experience at the Brooklyn bar, a dozen or so protesters associated with an anti-fascist group called Smash Racism DC assembled in front of the Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s home. While some of what transpired is disputed, this much is not. The protesters chanted, among other things, “We know where you sleep at night.” One of them knocked three times on the Carlsons’ door. Carlson himself was not home, but his wife locked herself in the pantry and called 911. A protester also spray-painted an anarchist symbol on the Carlsons’ driveway. In a now-deleted tweet, Smash Racism declared that Carlson had “spread fear into our homes” and that “tonight, we remind you that you are not safe either.”
In June, roughly a dozen protesters chanted “shame” and “End family separation” at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen while she ate dinner with a companion at a Washington restaurant. Later that week, health-care protesters confronted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi after she left a movie in Tampa Bay. In August, according to the conservative activist Candace Owens, protesters began “harassing and throwing things” at her and a fellow conservative activist, Charlie Kirk, while they ate breakfast in a restaurant in Philadelphia. In September, demonstrators chanting “We believe survivors” chased Ted Cruz and his wife from an Italian restaurant near the Senate. In a recent interview, Carlson said that he can’t go to restaurants anymore because “I get yelled at” and “it just wrecks your meal.”
Conservatives, of course, aren’t the only ones who endure intimidation in their personal lives. Since Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh, harassment has forced her family to move four times, prevented her from returning to work, and required her to hire private security. In October, a Donald Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to the homes of George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Robert De Niro, along with other targets. In June, conservatives grew irate after Representative Maxine Waters told a crowd that “if you see anybody from [Trump’s] cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” But while Waters urged progressives to intrude upon the private lives of their political opponents, she did not endorse physical attacks, something Trump has done repeatedly.
And the people who scream at Tucker Carlson or Kirstjen Nielsen or Ted Cruz have good reason to be angry. The president of the United States is a bigot. He spreads conspiracy theories; he treats the rule of law with contempt. His policies, whether in Yemen, in Puerto Rico, or on America’s southern border, leave vulnerable people brutalized or dead. Carlson, Nielsen, and Cruz are all—in different ways—Trump’s agents. Nothing they have endured remotely compares to the suffering that they have helped to inflict.
But whatever the merits of the causes they promote, they are embracing methods that are deeply corrosive. It matters how activists oppose a government. When they prevail, the approaches they embraced in opposition to power deeply shape how they exercise it themselves. And the protesters harassing prominent conservatives during their private lives have crossed a dangerous line.
The term civil disobedience was invented by Henry David Thoreau, popularized by Mahatma Gandhi, and defined—most prominently—by the philosopher John Rawls. Rawls called it the “public, non-violent and conscientious breach of law undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in laws or government policies.”
The recent protests at homes, bars, and restaurants meet some aspects of Rawls’s test, but fail in one key respect. Some have violated the law, while others have skirted its boundaries. And, as Rawls demands, the recent demonstrations have also been largely nonviolent.
The problem is that they are not sufficiently “public” and “conscientious.” By public, Rawls meant that civil disobedience is a form of political argument. Normal criminals try to break the law without anyone knowing about it. People who commit civil disobedience, by contrast, publicize their infractions to dramatize the injustice they seek to change. For civil-rights activists, furtively sneaking a hamburger at a segregated lunch counter served no purpose. The point was to demand service openly, accept arrest, and thus communicate with the public. In his “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.” In so doing, they “arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice.”
There is a place for private protest. People have the right to quietly refuse to participate in actions they consider immoral—serving in war, for instance—so long as they, too, accept the consequences. Philosophers call this “conscientious objection.” By this standard, Stephanie Wilkinson, who owns the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, was entirely justified in refusing to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders this summer.
But the people who protested outside Carlson’s home, or hounded Nielsen and Cruz in restaurants and Timpf at a bar, were not conscientious objectors. They were not seeking to avoid being implicated in an immoral action. They were seeking to impede people whose actions they consider immoral from conducting their normal lives. Yet they fell short of meeting the standards of civil disobedience. The woman who screamed at Timpf, and the man who doused her with water, communicated no public message at all. The people who protested Carlson at his home, and Nielsen and Cruz at restaurants, did convey a message. They filmed videos and posted social-media statements that conveyed their objections to Carlson’s views on race, Nielsen’s policies towards migrants, and Cruz’s support for Kavanaugh. But they failed in another respect: By obscuring their identities, they refused to take individual responsibility for their actions. When people tried to film them, the demonstrators outside Carlson’s house covered their faces.
Protesting without revealing your identity—even after the fact—is like savaging someone in an anonymous op-ed. You can’t foster honest and meaningful communication with the society you wish to change if you don’t allow people to respond. Showing your face at a protest, like affixing your name on an op-ed, creates a measure of accountability. People think harder about their actions when they know they’ll be forced to answer for them. By protesting openly, King and his supporters took upon themselves a moral rigor that the anti-fascists of the Trump era spurn.
In addition to being insufficiently “public,” the recent protests are insufficiently “conscientious.” They don’t convey what the University of Warwick philosopher Kimberley Brownlee calls a “principled outlook.”
Part of being “conscientious” is ensuring, as much as possible, that protests occur where the injustices are perpetrated. That principle isn’t absolute. It may make sense for NFL players to take a knee before games—rather than in front of police stations—given the massive audience those games enjoy. But there’s no good argument for protesting outside Carlson’s home rather than in front of Fox News, or at a restaurant where Nielsen is eating rather than immigrant-detention centers or the Department of Homeland Security. For one thing, it clouds the message. When sexual-assault survivors descended on the Senate, they were targeting the people empowered to confirm Brett Kavanaugh in the place where they would do it. Their location highlighted their moral appeal. But Ted Cruz doesn’t confirm judges while eating dinner with his wife.
What’s more, protesting in private and semiprivate spaces increases the risk of collateral damage. It’s one thing to inconvenience and embarrass Cruz and his staffers or Carlson and his employees, who have chosen to participate in his public actions. It’s another to inconvenience and embarrass their families. The Smash Racism DC protesters didn’t even make sure Carlson would be home when they gathered outside his house. So their most immediate victim was his wife.
Most importantly, trespassing upon someone’s personal life is, by its nature, intimidating. It threatens the zone of privacy upon which people deeply rely. The protesters know that. In an essay written for ThinkProgress, one of the people at the Carlson protest, Alan Pyke, acknowledges that its point was to make Carlson and his family experience some of the fear that they help inflict upon “marginalized communities.” Pyke writes that “the point … is to unsettle and frighten—and I certainly would have been frightened had it been me in that house.”
The principle is: Turn your enemies’ misdeeds upon them; fight fire with fire. That’s a far cry from King’s insistence, in his Birmingham-jail letter, “that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” Or Gandhi’s declaration that “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Underlying the process that King called “self-purification” is a recognition—which King may have gleaned from Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian he admired—that everyone is corrupted by self-interest and the lust for power. People aren’t as morally pure as they believe themselves to be. Acknowledging that means accepting limits on the power we assume over others. It means resisting the seductive claim that because our motives are virtuous, we can take liberties we would never grant our adversaries. Because King took pains to ensure that his methods were consistent with his goals, he didn’t have to fear that others might employ those methods as well.
There are, after all, conservatives who sincerely believe that liberals are behaving as monstrously as the Smash Racism DC protesters believe Carlson is behaving. And not all of them are bigots. In evaluating the protests against Carlson, Cruz, Nielsen, and Timpf, liberals should consider the anti-abortion movement. Americans can tolerate a society in which anti-abortionists march and pray in front of abortion clinics. We cannot tolerate a society in which they knock on the door of abortion doctors and tell their families that “we know where you sleep.” We cannot tolerate a society in which anti-abortion demonstrators make it impossible for Rachel Maddow, Elizabeth Warren, and the leaders of Planned Parenthood to go out with their families to eat. Because King sought to convince rather than intimidate, and because his methods reflected a basic respect for the humanity of his political adversaries, we can universalize his protests. We can’t universalize Smash Racism DC’s.
And if liberals and leftists are not moved by appeals to principle or pragmatism, perhaps they will listen to narrow self-interest. If anti-fascists grow accustomed to invading the personal space of Trump’s supporters, they will also invade the personal space of liberals who they do not believe are opposing Trump and his policies vehemently enough. This isn’t a hypothetical concern. In 2017, anti-fascists in Portland camped out in front of the house of Mayor Ted Wheeler, a liberal Democrat. They scattered trash on his lawn and hurled obscenities at his wife and kids. Their objection: Portland had not divested from companies that support the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Anti-fascists might object that the legitimacy of a protest cannot be evaluated in the abstract. The more extreme the injustice, the more extreme the measures that people can take to resist it. There’s something to this. Americans lionize Nelson Mandela, who endorsed armed struggle, because he argued that in apartheid South Africa—which, unlike the United States, made no pretense to racial equality in its founding documents—civil disobedience alone was not enough. Rawls himself argues in A Theory of Justice that his definition of civil disobedience applies to a “more or less democratic state” which “is well-ordered for the most part but in which some serious violations of justice nevertheless do occur.”
Is Trump’s America such a place? That question underlies the debate over the protests targeted at people like Tucker Carlson. But it’s worth remembering that King accepted the restraints of Rawlsian civil disobedience in a segregated south that was, by any reasonable measure, less just and less democratic than America is today. Gandhi did so in colonial India, where he was not even a citizen of the British empire that dominated his life. King and Gandhi’s tactics proved effective, and they shaped the political forces—the Congress Party in India; the Democratic Party in the United States—that they helped bring to power. It is in part because of them that India and the United States are multicultural democracies today.
The people protesting Trump and his allies should remember that. The methods they use now will not only prove more or less effective in checking Trump’s actions. They will help define the progressive alternatives that emerge in his wake. George Kennan once said, “There is a little bit of totalitarian buried somewhere, way down deep, in each and every one of us.” The more power we liberals amass in the years to come, the more we must remember that Kennan’s warning doesn’t only apply to Tucker Carlson. It also applies to the people standing on his lawn.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is condemning a high school band for a football halftime performance that he said was “unacceptable in a civilized society.”
Many are saying the performance Friday night by the band from Forest Hill High School depicted students dressed as doctors and nurses pointing toy guns at SWAT team members prone on the ground, WLBT-TV reported.
Bryant issued his condemnation Saturday in a tweet.
The performance was held at the high school in Brookhaven where two police officers were killed in the line of duty Sept. 29 responding to a call of shots fired, the station reported
Brookhaven’s mayor said the band director was placed on administrative leave, the station reported.
Reports said the performance was based loosely on the movie “John Q,” in which a father played by Denzel Washington takes patients at a hospital hostage in order to secure treatment for his son.
“The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community,” Jackson superintendent Errick Greene said.
Community outraged over Forest Hill’s “insensitive” band performance at Brookhaven High School
Pictures of the Forest Hill High School halftime band performance during their game against Brookhaven High School are going viral on social media.
He also apologized.
The mayor of Jackson Chokwe Lumumba also released a statement.
“I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance,” he said, according to the station.