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I clearly remember waiting in a line for coffee. There was a black guy before me but the woman behind the counter ignored him and asked me what I wanted.

I told her I was not next in line that the man in front of me was. She started yelling at me "Mam do you want a coffee or not." I said no and walked away.

I was shocked.

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So accurate. I became aware of white privilege at a young age, ironically enough the way non-whites do. Living in Honolulu during my junior high years, I was often made to wait in local stores until all the local people were served, or ignored and not served at all. Walking down streets I didn’t know we’re not where I should be, I was regularly allied “stupid haole”, bumped, jostled, otherwise made to feel I was inferior. I was ambushed going home from school one day by a group of local kids led by Filipino guy on whom I had accidentally splashed some water when putting away my lunch that at school. Got pretty badly beaten up, and my bike was damaged.

But here is where the story takes a turn, and I learned part of the reality. This same kid walked to school every day through the military housing area where ai lived (my Dad was a career officer in the U.S. Navy). I had a .22 rifle. I walked up to him, pointed it at his chest, and told him that if he ever walked that way again, I would shoot him, say it was self-defense, and the white MP’s (military police) who regularly patrolled our neighborhood would back me up. Looking back, I am ashamed to say I reveled in the fear that crossed his face. Even though he was bigger than me, neither he nor his friends ever bothered me again, nor did he ever walk through our neighborhood to get to school.

There were also tons of non-whites at my school who became friends and did not treat me that way. And my parents both intensely anti-racist Southerners, had over to our house for dinners and barbecue/ picnic parties the only two black officers at that time in the entire Pacific fleet (my Dad lost what would have been his final promotion for doing that).

When we returned to the mainland, I was acutely aware of the dimensions and power of racism. I have spent my life fighting it whenever I had any power to do so. My sophomore y year college roommate was at the time the VO of our very radical Black Students Union. I was his only white friend for many years, and he remains one of my dearest friends today, 55 years later. I got my firm to make Dr. King’s birthday a firm holiday a year before that happened, over the protests of our COO and others about how much money it would cost us to lose the profits from that day’s work. I appointed as the VP of a volunteer organization of which I had become President the first black woman ever to hold that post.

I could go on, but I won’t. Because my actions and viewpoint on white privilege and racism have proven toxic to a number of people close to me, who delight in excoriating me for my “great white guilt”. It isn’t that, though maybe it should be with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and some of whom owned slaves. But I have always been acutely aware that, though most of what I accomplished in my life was due to genetic blessings and hard work, one of those blessings has been my whiteness. Because I was spared the daily need to deal with the alternative in every aspect of life.

It wouldn’t matter even if all the MAGAts were forced to live a month as a non-white person in a white neighborhood and workplace. Because they would know when the month was up they would get their privilege back. That is why it is so important to teach racial realities to the children of today. To learn the true history of racial interaction should enable them to accept the importance of change, and that it might mean they will not automatically have a special advantage in every situation.

That--the loss of that distinction and the power and psychological comfort it brings--is why so many adult MAGAts are beyond reach. And why our only way to progress is to defeat their champions at the polls. If we fail, the progress we have made, through monumental effort and at great cost, will be lost.

It will take many lifetimes in all likelihood for white privilege to disappear, if it ever does. Demographically, I think it must. But that process will take far longer, and will be exponentially harder, if TFG and his cult win in November. We must not let that happen, whatever effort it demands of us, and whatever it legally requires. We must vote in overwhelming numbers, and know and be prepared to defend the outcome, for when we win, the fascists will do all they can,including use violence, to change the outcome. I believe we can win. But only if the apathetic, timid and, yes, disaffected among us rise above all that for the greater good. I will keep doing what I can to further that objective. I implore all of you to roll up your sleeves and do the same.

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You are peeling a very Dicey onion here. There are so many oppressions. Shall I start with the oldest of women from the garden of Eden into a patriarchy defined by oppressive slavery that continues today? Or the exploitation of other sentient beings as we mercilessly use and abuse them? Or the rampant antisemitism that is part of this country’s heritage. Our Wedtward Ho the nation and Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans. Our record on immigrants is not much better.

It seems to me that Americans racism and the “lost cause,” is about as bad as I have ever seen it post slavery. Having bully Trump fascist in the White House in a stolen election-thank you electoral college, a fascist GOP house and a level of corruption in the Supreme Court that truly requires a Magna Carta revolution to impeach all the traitors is daunting given the Gerrymandering and gaming of “fair elections” and judges nationally. 80% of us appear to want a democratic republic, 20% are bat shit crazy and 10% can be swayed by a shoddy click bait mass media that refuses to do their journalistic job because of the monopolists who control most of the media that the average person reads and listens to. Where we go from here is up for grabs! One things for sure whatever happens if it doesn’t go the fascist way will be contested and this muddle of hate and division will continue

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What a tragedy that the news media have been bought and sold by ‘, far right’ read racist propaganda.

Everyone is scared to death to tell the truth. Why, that would reflect poorly on the white supremacists who own and direct the power of the media. Rupert Murdoch has been a destructive force everywhere he’s used his money to lie about his twisted values.

Look at the damage done by Fox News in the past many years.

That has divided this country.

It’s the lies that have corrupted the view of reality.

The Obama presidency is trashed because it did offer a time when the majority of the country set aside the worst view of racism and accepted reality . The reality that black Americans were every bit as capable of high ideals as white Americans were.

That was a time of hope but it activated the sickest racists to rebound against equality and what this country really meant.

Take Mitch McConnells statement to President Obama. Paraphrasing but reporting that the best moment ‘ was when he looked president Obama in the eye and told him “ you will not appoint a new Justice to the Supreme Court”.

Mc Connell was proud of his racist and nasty statement. Still is today . And that gave permission to Trumps minions to up their ugly rhetoric continuing to today.

The vile and racist vitriol from Trump and his followers is evil . Satan , Putin , and Orban are the Sponsors for Trump. And acceptors of his ugliness which is now cheered and tolerated by Republicans across the board.

These are small people . With withered hearts and compromised brains that are setting the stage for more violence and hate.

Every ‘speech ‘ of Trumps is rambling hate and attacks on everyone who may oppose him because they have a moral compass of integrity.

They’ve perverted any good in this Society to pure contempt and hatred for morality itself .

People need to get really clear on this .

The blasphemy by Evangelicals to call Trump the Chosen one is atrocious . He was chosen by Satan .

I think God cringes every time this mistaken rant is repeated.

He has no tolerance for racism .

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But for Justice Roberts, Democrats would hold the House and could pass a new version of the voting rights act. Roberts most consequential ruling came one decade ago this month, when he took the lead to gut the Voting Rights Act's Section 5, which required certain states and localities with a history of racial discrimination to clear any redistricting or other electoral change with the Justice Department or a federal court. Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013).

No doubt love for Trump is partly driven by racial hatred of Obama. He kicked off his political career promoting "birtherism." This week he used the same accusation against Haley.

Until LBJ and the voting rights act, Blacks did not have full citizenship when discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting were banned. It was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.

As a start, the Biden-⁠Harris Administration Continues to Promote Access to Voting: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/05/fact-sheet-the-biden-harris-administration-continues-to-promote-access-to-voting/

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I have always judged a person by the content of their mind and their heart not the color of their skin. It is hard for me to try to understand the privileged mind. The GOP is full of a bunch of crazies themselves. Who are they the pass judgment on anyone's sanity or ability? Thom was right yesterday, when one of his callers said that Trump used to be a writer for the national Enquirer. Thom knew immediately, Trump is not smart enough to be a writer. Trump is not intelligent enough to be a good leader either. But, Trump is intelligent enough to steal the national Treasury and use a bunch of right-wing thugs to do it with. Just like most of the current leaders on Earth and the past leaders on Earth did. No wonder the human race doesn't evolve!

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This article exposes the key element in American politics. I am attaching an article I wrote 18 months ago that appeared in the DAILY KOS. I have been banned subsequently for going after the corporate Dem. leadership. Perhaps you will find this article to the point...

ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL, AND IN THE DARKNESS, BIND THEM.

… appearing in Daily Kos, May 23, 2022

I had hoped to contribute essays in my own order… one that I felt would best present a vision of how we got to where we are now. Events, however, are throwing up powerful manifestations of the struggle for power in the America that cannot be ignored. So, I must respond to events.

While the SCOTUS/Roe v. Wade revelation highlighted the use of anti-abortion to mobilize confused and troubled Americans in support of right-wing and (so called) conservative leaders, the murders in Buffalo NY reach down to THE fundamental control element in American politics.

We will discuss the One Ring of Power. The power of being White. And the power to determine who is White.

It is a result of America's genetic defect at conception: Slavery. *

* I cannot go into a full exposition of American history, here. The compromises made with the slave holding states to bring forth the constitution; the emergence of two separate economies doomed to clash; etc., all requires a good deal of exposition. This will be offered, shortly, in my blog, Drawing the Curtain. However, we can touch upon key elements, some drawn from my own personal history.

During a campaign visit to Tennessee in the early 1960s, Lyndon Johnson said to his aide, a young Bill Moyers:

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

This is the essential source of power in American politics. The one Ring that rules them all... No other comes close.

And it is jealously guarded. Witness the furor over the discussion and teaching of Critical Race Theory. The right wing, their mouthpieces, and their billionaire masters, went into a frenzy of attack to protect this most powerful tool of control.

Some years ago, I took my family to Gettysburg PA and spent two days exploring the battleground park. One afternoon, I, my wife, and two daughters walked the almost one mile between Seminary Ridge (where Confederate forces were poised) to Cemetery Ridge (where the Union forces were entrenched). We walked through the same corn field, over the fence and across the road, up to Cemetery Ridge.

It is a long walk. And on that day in July 1863, all in the face of massed artillery in front and to the side from the Round Top hills.

Historians know that walk as Pickett’s Charge. It was a slaughter.

During the 15 to 20 minutes it took to walk, I thought about the poor farmers, yeoman mechanics and such that made up the South's rank and file. Few, if any, had ever owned -- or would ever own -- a slave. I wondered what compelled them to make that walk.

Also, I considered the Confederate general officers, saddled on horses, waiting behind them, giving orders -- slave owners all... moneyed gentlemen of political power. What magic spell did they weave to have these men walk into hell?

A few years later, I was in a taxicab in New York City. From the name on the driver's license and his accent I surmised the driver was newly in America from Eastern Europe. In conversation, we talked about living in New York and such and he suddenly volunteered that it was better that we (he and I) stay away from the n*****s.

I went quiet. Afterward, I realized he was attempting a rite of passage that all Europeans make upon coming to America. A declaration of being White -- being in solidarity with me on this most elemental level. He was in this country no more than a few years, could barely speak English, and already he understood the power of the Ring.

And I thought of what Lyndon Johnson said sixty years ago.

I have since considered about my father's people struggling in America. Italian immigrants who strove to be included. And how, finally receiving the blessing of those who had already made the rite of passage, they too became White. And, then I considered the fool with an Italian name who is the head of the Proud Boys. A dupe.

Being a man of the mid-20th Century, I recall a lot of what life was like before integration. One thing I recall is that always in cases of unease, argument, or strife -- be it in a bar, or on the ball field, or at work -- as a last resort someone would make the appeal that, at least we are all White. Some years ago, I named this the 'Least Common Denominator' ploy.

I hear and read about Democratic Party leaders wondering why they are losing Hispanic voters to the Republican Party.

They are puzzled. Even with all the striving for inclusion, the declaring that we all stand with them, as part of a great rainbow coalition, they are defecting...

But the powers in the Republican Party understand something the Democrats do not: Many Hispanics, like many of the Italians, Jews, etc., etc., before them, don't want to be part of any effin' coalition!

Hell no! In that dark place of their hearts, there is a hunger.

THEY WANT TO BE WHITE!!

White, when they walk into a restaurant;

White, when they look for a house;

White when placing their kids in school.

White, when they get stopped by a cop.

As long as being White bestows privilege, the spell will not be broken:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

The fight is clear, and the challenge defined: Deny the Republican Party the power to bestow that privilege.

And expose that privilege for the dark secret it is represents.

DL

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During the time of the Russian empire Jews were also kept in a "Pale of Settlement". It was largely centered around the Polish lands taken in the late 18th century, though extended into the Ukraine and Baltic areas. In any case, Donna's statement that, "Many Muslims, Asians, Jews, Puerto Ricans and many other races are privileged" struck a nerve. She is confusing nationality, religion, and ethnicity here, something I've seen some of my college students do when they write about "Mediterranean" or "Scandinavian" races.

All this probably goes back to the very poorly thought out 19th century ideas about separating people by some sort of stereotypical appearances. (Naturally Germans or French or English--depending on who was doing the classifying--were always on top.) It was bad then and much worse when the Nazis got hold of it. But it shows how pernicious and easy it is to classify anyone who is different as "the other." I am not saying Donna is a racist just that it is so hard to fight this kind of thinking when it is so easy to fall into it.

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When my cousin was little, she and her brown skinned friend were sitting outside coloring with crayons, and her friend said, "pass me the black crayon." My cousin reached for the crayon labeled "Black," and her friend said no, and pointed to the crayon that said "Brown. I could see that by labeling people as "Black" we were confusing the colors. Black should be Brown, and everyone falls on some shade of that. That being said, I think that in the movie American Fiction, the filmmaker is trying to point out "White" people in the media such as book publishers and Hollywood filmmakers, have reduced all "Black" people to a Ghetto trope. White privilege begins with being able to be considered multifaceted because of the color of your skin people do not view you as having a narrow set of living circumstances or behaviors, or values because of your particular skin color.

https://www.exploratorium.edu/video/angelica-dasss-humanae-project

Color itself is deceptive as well, because we call people who look "White," "Black" if they have a "Black" parent. Well, is what your parent looks like your race, or what you look like your race? https://ynaija.com/melting-pot-black-man-and-white-woman-have-4-children-and-they-are-all-different-look/

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-to-have-one-black-parent-and-one-white-parent-but-still-look-white

So while White and Black are not races but colors, privilege is accorded to what is perceived as White skin color in a White Supremacist country. Ours is not the only one.

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On the mark, sir! Well done.

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Jan 11·edited Jan 11Liked by Thom Hartmann

Socrates said that "the beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms."

White privilege is the privilege to define what white privilege is.

Whilst you white folks pontificate.

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Keep on bragging my brother. Your definition of privilege is hard to understand for the privileged who simply are unaware of how it works. We need a simple but understandable praise to break through this fog of war. Over 4 centuries of this unconscious but intentional brainwashing in America will take a lot of awaking.

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Jan 13Liked by Thom Hartmann

Totally agree and over these past few years especially am learning things I was never taught in school.

I can’t believe we never learned about Black Wall Street and the massacres that took place... or now learning of the ongoing assault against native Americans through Scoceses Killers of the Flower Moon... and the incredible difficulties immigrants face through Minari.

I am humbled... and committed to recognizing and validating the human experience that transcends color, race, socioeconomics and all of the differences politicians and grifters try to exploit in the name of power and greed.

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Jan 11·edited Jan 11

This is really an amazing column, and it really shouldn't be. White people, like me, should already know this, and be fighting against it all their lives, but it's seldom acknowledged. It just IS. I am 65 years old and only recently became consciously aware of my white privilege. I knew in the back of my mind that it was there, but like Donna of the Email, I didn't think about it, and didn't really have occasion to talk about it. I tried in various ways to tamp it down and not take advantage of it, but then we started hearing more blatant statements from Trump and his plans for a second term, it started to sound like it was going down to the neighborhood level, where Hitler also went. A door-to-door kind of thing. In conversation with my mom, who is 91 and scared/angry about what is going on, I found myself making the statement, "We're white, you're Christian and I could be too if I had to be, and I don't REALLY have to be gay if it comes to that. We'll be fine." It soothed her in the moment, but soon after I was horrified at what I'd said. The key notion in the statement was that we're white, and because of that, everything else would probably fall away, as long as the Trumpstapo doesn't check voting records.

In all the time I spent online fighting with MAGAts, especially over their overt racism, I'd never thought about what "white privilege" actually meant in my own life. I'd even been told in various forums that I acted like a traitor to my own race, which seemed ridiculous to me. But then that statement. It finally smacked me in the head what white privilege actually meant; that when the chips are down, my whiteness would save me. It was a rude awakening, and something that's bugged me ever since. The column today is 100% correct, if we don't ever deal with the inherent racism in the US, it's also going to continue around the world, as we still seem to be the world leaders in everything, including culture. For gods' sake, some goof in Argentina (?) got elected recently after campaigning with a chainsaw! That's just Trump on A LOT of steroids. We still lead the world even though we shouldn't because look at us now! WE'VE become the sh*thole country and we're exporting that too!

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Questions that we, as a country, could ask ourselves:

What do I gain from feeling superior to others?

What do I gain from thinking ill of others?

What do I gain from scapegoating certain groups?

Do I need this hatred so I can feel better about myself?

Do I need this hatred to belong to my family, my friends, my community?

Would I incur someone’s wrath or disapproval if I altered my stance toward the hated “other?”

How did I come to believe that I’m “not OK” unless I triumph over someone else?

Other thoughts…?

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White people get so defensive over the term "white privilege." We think, "well I worked hard and had no privilege." But we must realize that Black and brown people in the very same circumstances as we are in have to work harder and manage the racism that comes their way to be successful and to just live. The USA has never reached the "color blind" equality of the Declaration of Independance or the hopes of Abraham Lincoln by ending slavery. Part of it is indeed a racist feeling of I'm better than you, and I also blame politicians who selfishly use fear and divisiveness (racism) to garner votes. Systemic racism is alive and well in criminal justice, policing, medical care, education, etc. However, the Supreme Court and others want to pretend it is not and dismantle programs and educational subjects that speak of and try to alleviate these ills. We must talk about it not try to hide from it. We can also recommend books that may make white people more aware of this deep-seated issue. I try to pass on "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein and "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander as good starting points. There are many other great books, The 1619 Project is one once you can get an offended person's eyes opened.

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