Gregory Humphrey History Minute: One Inkwell

I love history, and always wanted to teach a high school class. As such, here is one story that many do not know, but how grand it is to learn. From Dred Scott to Justice John Marshall Harlan’s famed dissent on behalf of the rights of Black Americans comes the story of an inkwell and the power of hope and inspiration. (That is my mom in the pictures on the wall.)

White Tennessee GOP Racists To Bring House Session To Quick End

The politically tin-eared and overtly racist behavior of Tennessee Republicans backfired.  The conservative ones planning to run away from the statehouse surely buy their white sheets in bulk. When the white male Republicans rose to speak on the floor to oust two duly elected Black members they felt it was their right to act most offensively. It was almost as if those Republicans felt their actions were justified akin to how Margaret Mitchell wrote of the attitudes and behavior of that type who would do so much harm in the Jim Crow period when Reconstruction progress was undone due to racism.

As we know from how racist actions have played out over the years there is only one way this could end in Tennessee.  It had to severely backfire.  The first consequence was felt immediately as the nation learned the names and messages of the two elected members who otherwise would not have had national recognition. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson have a national platform that will resonate in the 2024 presidential election. The nation is diversifying demographically with younger voters from a broad array of nationalities playing key roles in elections, (as seen in Wisconsin this month) but the GOP is determined to continue using overt racism to play to the dwindling and aging white rural voters.

This week news was reported that due to the increasing heat from the public Tennessee House leadership Republicans are telling their members to pack for a long week when they come back Monday. They hope to adjourn by the following Friday or Saturday.   The session seems to be coming to a rather abrupt end. Hmmmm…. This action of the GOP would be funny if not for the dead children from gun violence in a Tennessee school recently that requires to be addressed.  What the change in session plans underscores, however, is that the racist, anti-children, but pro-NRA and pro-gun Republicans are running away from the statehouse.  Rather than deal with dead school children that needed to be scraped off the classroom floor from bullets that obliterated their bodies, Tennessee Republicans want to end the national scrutiny of their sordid racist actions.

What has happened in the statehouse over the past number of days in Tennessee is remarkable. But even more remarkable is the awareness from the public that is taking place about the character (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party in that state. What has been unleashed by the GOP will not end just because the session draws to a close. As a reader of history, one lesson that is repeated in many books on the shelves behind me as I type is the one now heard by more and more citizens nationwide. Fascism fails when people pay attention.

WIAA Needs To Sanction Muskego High School For Overt Racism, Beloit Boys Basketball Team Demonstrated Best Among Us

Late Saturday, I was alerted by a friend that WMTV was reporting about a most outlandish and truly sad story concerning how the Beloit High School boys’ basketball team was treated at Muskego. The N-word and swastikas were written and drawn in the dust in the visiting boys’ locker room.  Overt racism extended to a parent in the stands hearing monkey noises and racist words from the student section at the game. Video evidence shows some Muskego students standing to watch the game dressed in black face masks and tank tops, an aim to depict Black people from a racist perspective. 

Ah, yes.  The idea a high school curriculum and sports program should be an elevating experience for students where character enhancement and maturity are shaped and molded by teachers, coaches, and school staff seems to have bypassed many at Muskego High School. While a grasp of civics, geometry, and literature is openly pressed in the classrooms there must also be a quiet continuance of shaping the moral character of students in our taxpayer-funded public schools. We desire those who graduate to have integrity as a foundation so an ethical way of living and behaving in society results throughout life.  We trust that young adults will demonstrate the basics of respect for themselves and others. It does not take long to read and watch, however, about Muskego High school students on Friday night to notice the goals for character development have failed. 

What was striking about the student-athletes from Beloit is how poised and mature they proved to be considering the blatant racism exhibited by Muskego students. When it comes to strong character and how we wish young people to face the world, even when they have every right to be angry and disheartened, the Beloit basketball team demonstrated the best among us. There is no way not to be appalled at the mocking Muskego boys who dressed for a reaction, some wearing black masks.  We are aware of the derision masks created among a certain demographic during the pandemic, and had students been ordered to wear them during the playoff basketball game Muskego parents would have been apoplectic. Is it any wonder many in the state will think, upon seeing the behavior of Muskego students, that their tax dollars are not creating the bang for the buck that is desired when paying the yearly bill.

The backwater mentality of Muskego seems willingly mired to racism since the school team’s name remains the Muskego Warriors with a logo of a spear. One would trust news has traveled to the Waukesha County school district that Native American mascots are no longer acceptable in modern society.  When efforts were made in the state to remove such racist team names some in Muskego spoke out against the move claiming it took away ‘their heritage’. It is almost impossible not to scream aloud over such obliviousness. The demographics of the town speak volumes about why such behavior at the school abounds.  The Bulwark reports that Muskego’s population is 96.6% white, with a mere half a percent being of Asian descent. Those who do not share in the diversity of life or are expected to find empathy with others often lack vital aspects of character development.

It is time for the WIAA to step away from their often timid and reserved nature and level sanctions on the Muskego School sports program.  If players and coaches feel the sting they can then be instruments for good in their school to usher in the needed changes in attitudes, where there must be a complete redress, and then in decorum that our society demands. What took place Friday night is no longer in any way acceptable. There must be consequences. Sports programs, in part, are designed to build character.  The WIAA can provide a beneficent effect with tough sanctions to force some sunshine into a school district that has openly and disgustedly displayed overt racism.

Angry Parents About History Classes Need To Produce Their Syllabus

There are many discussions in school districts around the nation as to what is the proper way to teach history, along with what to teach regarding our nation’s original sin and its consequences.  Instead of allowing historical research to drive teaching and classroom instruction, there are some parents who seem able, in their own minds, to create the class syllabus and reading sources for students.  It goes without saying, as long-time readers of this page well know, I do not cotton to the idea of catering to the manufactured partisan culture war outrage about the teaching of the ugly side of our national story. 

I have listened and read during the past couple of years complaints lodged by some parents around the nation about their children being ‘confused’ and somehow ‘harmed’ as a result of teaching history accurately. I have often desired the chance to converse with those parents about how they might compose classroom teaching.  For example, how might they describe or teach the changes in rhetoric and laws after equality started to be a factor in our nation following white men of all classes having suffrage (roughly 1820)? It is no small topic, to be sure, and has broad offshoots, but since some parents are sure history is not being correctly taught and their children somehow feel ‘bad’ as a result I continue to be seriously curious as to their ideas for a classroom syllabus.

We start to see in essays, newspapers, and political rhetoric at state constitutional conventions, following the time when all white men attained suffrage that the use of language for women, Blacks, and Indians took on a harsher tone.  How might the disturbed parents of the 21st century instruct a classroom about white males’ constructed laws that were aimed to prevent others from achieving the same rights? How does one teach about the argument strongly espoused at the time by white males that nature and God placed limits on political equality?

How, for instance, would parents teach the reason for whites deciding in the first decades of the 1800s to disallow free Blacks from voting.  I noted this week that it was the mid-1830s when both Tennessee and North Carolina deprived the voting right of free Black men.  How might parents place in a classroom discussion Thomas Jefferson’s famed words in the Declaration of Independence with the slaveholding mentality who argued Blacks were created for servitude?

During the pandemic, I heard the term “master race democracy” on PBS’ Amanpour and it resonated with me as it fits as an umbrella over the period leading up to the Civil War. One racial group used the political and social levers to reign over another. I have never let the North off easy in this regard for the actions of pols and citizens alike were far, far less than ideal when dealing with Blacks, Indians, and then Hispanic peoples during the Mexican War period.  How does the story of our history unfold in a classroom without going deep into the historically accurate narrative that shows race and sex were major factors in our nation, with white men doing all they could to create and maintain power over all others? As we look at these questions it needs to be understood that is precisely what these parents are doing now with their local tantrums concerning teachers correctly and fully teaching history in the classrooms.

We must teach history completely to students in our public schools. The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. History matters.

Racism Run Amok, Scott Adams Latest Lesson About How Not To Behave

I was walking in the West Towne mall Saturday evening when I heard the news that Dilbert cartoon creator Scott Adams went off this week on a racist, hate-filled, and completely asshat production of discriminatory rants.  To top off the insanity he did it all on YouTube.  The level of outrage from the business world, which is where the tire often meets the road when dealing with this type of person, greeted me once home and searched the internet for background.

The backlash began following an episode this past week of the YouTube show, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” Among other topics, Adams referenced a Rasmussen Reports survey that had asked whether people agreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white.”  This is where the national ear pricked up to the dog whistle question which is aimed at white resentment along with an attempt at limiting their responsibility for racism.  By using this question there is hope to deflect from the national dialogue about Black lives and how we can bend the curve towards greater awareness of racism and ways to limit and remove it.  In other words, the question is code language for those who saddle up to white supremacists.  If Adams does not like being compared with that company he should not act like a racist.

Adams, who is white, repeatedly referred to people who are Black as members of a “hate group” or a “racist hate group” and said he would no longer “help Black Americans.”

“Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” Adams said on his Wednesday show.

When this type of racism exerts itself there must be quick and powerful actions to make it clear the majority of the nation will no longer tolerate or entertain such behavior. I have a more than 50-year appreciation for newspapers and as such was truly moved by what I found to be the reaction in publishing offices, where Adams once had ongoing contracts.

The Los Angeles Times cited Adams’ “racist comments” while announcing Saturday that Dilbert will be discontinued Monday in most editions and that its final run in the Sunday comics — which are printed in advance — will be March 12.

The San Antonio Express-News, which is part of Hearst Newspapers, said Saturday that it will drop the Dilbert comic strip, effective Monday, “because of hateful and discriminatory public comments by its creator.”

The USA Today Network tweeted Friday that it also will stop publishing Dilbert “due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator.”

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and other publications that are part of Advance Local media also announced that they are dropping Dilbert.

“This is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve,” wrote Chris Quinn, editor of The Plain Dealer. ”We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”

Christopher Kelly, vice president of content for NJ Advance Media, wrote that the news organization believes in “the free and fair exchange of ideas.”

“But when those ideas cross into hate speech, a line must be drawn,” Kelly wrote.

It was not so long ago that people akin to Adams thought they could use homophobic and even violent language against gay men and women. It took continuous and determined measures to limit and then mostly bring an end to the verbal sewage. Society can slowly be molded and shaped. Everything from wearing seatbelts to not smoking indoors to ending the rude, crude, and demeaning language from bigots. Scott Adams is now a lesson for others to learn from.

The only question is how long before the Republican Party puts him on the same racist pedestal alongside Kyle Rittenhouse? Or how soon Donald Trump wants him to run for the U.S. Senate? You know the white sheet crowd is only hours away from commenting.

Treating Migrants Humanely On National Radar Following Ron DeSantis’ Racist Actions

Racist tactics by conservatives have always been ugly

We know what plays to approval on Fox News in the evening hours when profoundly ridiculous notions and racist attitudes are presented. We also know those same views will meet strong disagreement and rejection from large swaths of the nation that is not wedded to the absurd network. What makes the FOX crowds giddy does not translate well to the nation as a whole. A case in point would be the plain mean-spirited abuse of migrants at the hands of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

This was underscored when a new poll from Reuters-Ipsos was published Friday which showed that only a third of Americans think it’s appropriate for Republican governors to fly or bus migrants to other states. Half of the Republicans polled and only 1 in 6 Democrats said it was something in which they could agree. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats say they opposed the practice. Forty-five percent–including 63 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans–said state leaders transporting migrants were committing illegal migrant trafficking.

The poll is reflective of the mood in the nation following the awful news of flying migrants thousands of miles across the country to Martha’s Vineyard.  The island off Massachusetts only has 17,000 year-round residents, and as we know from news reports this spring has housing problems for their workers who arrive during the warm months as tourists roam about.  Making a purely partisan point with the lives of migrants was unseeingly, and immoral.

It is truly troubling that some Republican pols are comfortable with the use and manipulation of people–vulnerable migrants—for the single purpose of scoring points with white voters who willingly watch FOX News. That network does not present migrants as human beings fleeing dreadful conditions in their homelands or that they seek to work hard or will find many businesses in every sector in each state wishing to hire them.  (Jobs, it needs noting, those same white FOX News viewers will not fill.)

I noted on my Twitter feed a slice from history that made a strong point about this situation.  The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library posted a tweet comparing the DeSantis racism with the “reverse Freedom Rides” that occurred in the 1960s in our nation. 

“To embarrass Northern liberals and humiliate Black people, southern White Citizens Councils started their so-called ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,’ giving Black people one-way tickets to northern cities with false promises of jobs, housing, and better lives”.

Americans know racism when they see it, and the strong rebuke of DeSantis that was registered across the nation has made one point most clear. Stop using migrants as political pawns.

White Supremacists In America Today Stoked By FOX News

Charlottesville, August 2017 Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists, Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There are so many columns and sources to read today following the mass shooting Saturday that much of the agenda I had laid out for myself got pushed aside. This Sunday for much of the nation meant absorbing the horror and intensely emotional consequences of the mass shooting in Buffalo.

James had asked late last night if the father of an 8-year-old child had survived the assault of bullets from the Bushmaster XM-15. We found out today that the child and her dad, who were at the grocery store picking out a birthday cake, thankfully were not shot. Dad hid with his daughter inside the milk coolers until the police arrived.

The accounts from those who were outside the store, ones who heard the high capacity bullets being shot from the weapon, and family members recalling their loved ones made for heart-wrenching television watching.

But also the columns and opinion pieces from newspapers and from citizens around the country who gave voice on social media made for many must-reads.

Late this evening as the nation prepares for the Blood Moon eclipse in the sky–and it seems so fitting for this day–comes Brian Stelter’s words. Via CNN’s Reliable Sources.

Think about it this way: White supremacists used to disguise themselves in white robes and secretly meet under the cover of night. Now they sit at home and convene on extremist message boards, in broad daylight, interconnected like never before. They may hear their twisted beliefs echoed by TV stars and elected officials. The Buffalo shooting video that was live-streamed on Twitch was akin to a modern-day lynching to some degree. It was a vein of hate streamed for anyone to see. While Twitch removed the original video quickly, and said it tried to stamp out any reposting, the massacre from the POV of the gunman is still one click away on other sites. “The video is never going away,” WaPo reporter Drew Harwell wrote the following.

‘’The Buffalo shooting video is circulating online. One copy has more than 2 million views. Someone linked to it 10 hours ago on Facebook; it now has 500 comments, 46,000 shares and is still online. The original Twitch stream had 22 viewers. The video is never going away.’’

The shooting and what is at the core of the rancid belief structure of too many of our fellow citizens is very much cause for concern. The shooter in Buffalo did not just click on one website or read one racist rant online. He was spoon-fed vile racist rubbish that is pushed by FOX News no different than drug dealers peddling their sordid poisons on street corners.

Then the echo chambers of elected conservative Republicans mimic and ape the shows and hosts on FOX News for ever-more coverage aimed at the under-educated base who lap up the hate speech. Then they go out and spew it to others at work or through social media. Is it any wonder that the Associated Press and NORC conducted a large national poll examining conspiratorial ideas showing nearly half of Republicans agree to at least some extent with the idea that there’s a deliberate intent to “replace” native-born Americans with immigrants?

White nationalism and white supremacists are real And they are dangerous. Just ask the residents of Buffalo.

In 2021, Tucker Carlson went even further and openly embraced the “great replacement” theory that inspired the Buffalo shooting as well as the earlier white-supremacist attacks in Pittsburgh, El Paso and Christchurch. He suggested that “the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.” (His Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham has said the same thing.) The Anti-Defamation League demanded that Fox fire Carlson. But Fox’s chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch, stood by him, allowing his network to continue spewing racist vitriol.

A number of Republican politicians, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.), have openly espoused the “great replacement” theory too. A few hours after the Buffalo shooting, Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters (R) posted a video saying: “The Democrats want open borders so they can bring in and amnesty **tens of millions** of illegal aliens — that’s their electoral strategy.” J.D. Vance, the GOP Senate nominee in Ohio (who, like Masters, is bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel), offers an even sicker twist on this demented theory: He says that Democrats are not only opening the borders to create “a shift in the democratic makeup of this countrybut that President Biden is deliberating letting fentanyl into the country to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland.”

FOX News and other right-wing sites have promoted the racist theory over and over again to their audience, and we are seeing the results from hate-mongering. Our nation had a painful example this weekend of what happens when white supremacists give up dog whistles and use a foghorn.

Unless we step up as a united country and use everything from PSAs on prime time broadcasts, newspaper editorials, and late-nite hosts denouncing in pithy ways the knuckledraggers, we are not going to stem this racism and resulting violence. Liberal society must pounce hard on what we are being offered as an alternative to the diverse world we live in.

And so it goes.

White Man Kills Ten In Racially Motivated Mass Shooting, Leaves Manifesto Linking Thoughts With Tucker Carlson’s ‘White Replacement Theory’

So, just another Saturday in America. An angry white man with easy access to weapons.

N-word could be seen written on the front sight of gunman’s automatic rifle.

Ten people were killed and three more were wounded when a man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, authorities said Saturday. Police said the shooter, who is now in custody, has been charged with murder in what officials are calling a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. 

“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. “This was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

At approximately 2:30 p.m., an 18-year-old white man exited his vehicle at a Tops Friendly Market, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference. The suspect was “very heavily armed” and had a tactical helmet and gear, Gramaglia said. Police said he also had a camera and was live-streaming the shooting. 

The suspect shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store, he said. Once he walked inside, he encountered a “beloved” retired Buffalo police officer working in the store as a security guard. The guard fired multiple shots that hit the suspect, but they did not impact him due to his tactical gear, Gramaglia said. The suspect then killed the guard, who has not been named.

The suspect eventually returned to the front of the store and encountered police, Gramaglia said. He put a gun to his neck when he saw police, but officers talked him into putting it down and surrendering, Gramaglia said. He was then taken into custody.

The horrific story gets more sinister and dark as we learn about Payton Gendron, the killer.

He left a manifesto in which he talks about the incendiary theory that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is constantly talking about on his show. This is known as the ‘white replacement theory’, which goes directly against diversity in the country and perpetuates white supremacy. Inside this manifesto, you will find several talking points that Tucker often mentions in his program.

When will the people in this nation rise up and tell the NRA puppets in Congress and statehouses that we are tired of this bloodshed and carnage from gun manufacturers?

And so it goes.