Top 5 Ways The State Of Tennessee Welcomes Racists

Betsy at Pith has a post up about how communities provide cover for racists. She writes:

It’s not too much to ask that we look around our communities and ask ourselves if there are ways we’re signalling to dangerous racists that we support their cause. Are there ways that we’re normalizing and making ordinary and mundane things that should be read as warning signs?

Good point. Not to toot my own horn, but I made a similar observation back in 2013 when the League of the South announced plans to hold rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro. At the time I wondered:

What is it about Tennessee that draws the hatemongers out of the woodwork? Thinking … thinking ….

But all sarcasm aside, maybe it’s time to revisit the topic. What signals are we in Nashville and across Tennessee in general sending to racists that their ideas are welcome? How does our state government send the message that we tolerate racist ideas? Let me count the ways.

1- When the Memphis City Council voted to rename city parks named after Confederate figures like KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, the state legislature responded as it always does: by passing a law preventing municipalities from renaming city parks named for military figures. Not included in that legislation: a provision preventing municipalities from also renaming parks and monuments named for civil rights leaders. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers:

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro was approved 26-3 by the Senate on Thursday. The companion bill passed the house 69-22 last month.

Approved 26-3 by the state Senate. Wrap your head around that for a second. Did our noodle-spined governor sign it? Of course he did! Why do you even ask?

2- This hideously ugly assault on common decency off I-65 just south of Nashville:

nbfs2

This is a privately-funded statue of the aforementioned Nathan Bedford Forrest, KKK founder and Confederate general, clearly visible as one drives I-65 between Brentwood and Nashville. Besides being hideously ugly, and honoring a hideously ugly idea, it’s also (usually) surrounded by a display of Confederate flags. Anyone driving into Nashville from the south sees this entirely inappropriate “welcome.”

While the nightmarish statue is privately funded and sits on private land, TDOT has right-of-way alongside the Interstate. Why the hell a massive tree screen wasn’t planted to prevent this assault on the senses from being the “welcome” visitors see as they enter our state capitol, I have no clue. (UPDATE: an effort to restore a vegetation screen has begun.)

3- When racist groups like the Southern National Congress, Stormfront and American Renaissance hold their annual conferences in our state-owned facilities like Montgomery Bell State Park and Fall Creek Falls State Park, it not only goes completely unremarked from our spaghetti-spined Republican governor and legislature, some of our state reps even speak at the events.

As I wrote at the time:

It’s amazing to me that our state legislature can hold pointless, grandstanding votes on anti-UN nonsense like Agenda 21, but a bunch of intolerant bigots and extremists hold a gathering at a taxpayer-funded state facility and no one can be bothered to make even the slightest gesture in objection.

When these things happen and our government can’t even be bothered to issue a declaration of protest, it sends a signal to hatemongers and racists that they are welcome.

4- When empathy-challenged Tennessee legislators troll people of color to garner headlines for themselves and are not rebuked by their caucus.

5- When shit like this happens, and no one is fired.

At what point will the state address the intolerance it endorses?

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Filed under racism, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Annals Of Bad Ideas

It was planned a long time ago and it was supposed to be sarcastic anyway so it’s totally okay, you guys:

An event called “Caucasian Heritage Night” to be put on by a Utah minor league baseball team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-affiliated Orem Owlz, has been cancelled following severe social media backlash via #CaucasianHeritageNight, particularly in light of the recent admittedly racist shooting massacre in South Carolina.

The Orem Owlz baseball team in Utah scheduled Caucasian Heritage Night, or what some are calling a “white appreciation event,” long ago, before the racially-motivated South Carolina shootings, and that the Caucasian Heritage Night event was meant to be a “lighthearted” roast of Caucasian people, poking fun at white stereotypes, reports CNN,

But when the Orem Owlz put up a Caucasian Heritage Night post on Friday, promoting what they perceived to be an event mocking the behaviors and likes of white people, social media blew up, many, such as a woman calling herself Melanin Monroe, apparently offended and angered by the Caucasian Heritage Night event, thinking white people get enough attention as it is.

A “lighthearted” roast of Caucasian people? “Poking fun at white people?” How exactly does one do that, show up with a jar of mayonnaise? Caucasians don’t have a heritage. For that matter, why? Who says it’s okay to make fun of white people any more than it’s okay to make fun of any other ethnicity? Sorry, but that’s not okay!

Anyway, I’m calling bullshit. No matter how much you may claim your intentions were good, there are going to be people out there who will think you’re condoning white supremacy.

Stupid.

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Filed under advertising, racism

Oh, Snap

I know nobody says “Oh, snap” anymore but it seemed an appropriate retort to The Economist’s take on America’s latest mass shooting:

Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.

Cold, but true. The rest of the world no longer feels sorry for us, and can you blame them?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: unless and until there are economic repercussions for our gun lunacy, things are unlikely to change.

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Filed under gun violence, Guns

Universal Background Checks Would Have Prevented Charleston Tragedy

[UPDATE]:

Roof said he bought the gun he used in a local gun store.

If it’s true …

FAIL.

——————————————————–

Yes, it was preventable:

Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.

Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.

But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.

South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the “private sale” loophole.

Memory hole: President Obama has been pushing for universal background checks since the Sandy Hook shootings.

President Barack Obama put pressure on Congress Monday to quickly pass legislation ensuring universal background checks for all gun purchases, while also demanding votes be held on bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Obama’s emphasis on background checks seems to reflect the reality that the assault weapons ban doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, while support for universal background checks enjoys extremely high support in public opinion polls.

“The vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun,” Obama said in Minneapolis, standing in front of law enforcement officials.

He appeared to take a veiled shot at the National Rifle Association, which has reversed its support for ending background-check loopholes despite polls showing that gun owners broadly support such a law.

One group of people is standing in the way of public safety. One group of people and one group only. It’s time to stop listening to the people who have been consistently wrong about America’s peculiar national disease.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Remember the kerfuffle a few weeks ago about Tennessee’s hideous new $46,000 logo? Gov. Haslam said we needed it for “uniformity of messaging” or some such BS.

Well, our new logo was rejected by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office:

According to the federal office, the art was “primarily geographically descriptive,” which was against the rules.

You’d think for $46,000 someone would have known the rules.

FAIL.

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Filed under Tennessee

Take Down That Racist Flag, South Carolina

Un-fucking-believable:

The Confederate flag flying at the Statehouse in Columbia became part of the Charleston church shooting story Thursday after the U.S. and South Carolina flags were lowered in mourning but the rebel banner was left flying at its full height.

[…]

Officials said the reason why the flag has not been touched is that its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.

Gov. Nikki Haley ordered that the state and American flags be lowered, but the Confederate flag flies at full staff over the state capitol. And that, in a nutshell, tells you everything you need to know about this symbol of racism and white supremacy.

Fuck you, South Carolina.

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NOW Is It Time To Have A Conversation About Gun Control?

Horrible news out of Charleston, S.C.:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

South Carolina has the most liberal gun laws in the country, thanks to “reform” recently passed by wingnut Gov. Nikki Haley. And this is the result. The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen sums up the laws thusly:

globe gun

Gov. Haley and South Carolina politicians who endorse the NRA’s agenda have blood on their hands today. Yes, there is a causal relationship between easy access to firearms and gun violence.

The idea that simple gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this and thousands of other tragedies across the country every year is ludicrous. The idea that there’s absolutely nothing we can do about this bloodbath is insane. The idea that we have to live with this violence in our communities because Freedom and the Constitution is pure bullshit.

Enough. We do not have to put up with this. This is not how a free people live. This is how free people die.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns