What We Learned in 2015
On this, the final day of 2015, let’s reflect back on what the major events and top news stories of the year taught us.
Charlie Hebdo Attack: “Je suis Charlie.” This phrase, used on social media as a unifying hashtag for the victims of the attack on the office of the satirical French newspaper caught fire. It sent a clear message: we are all French today. While the intent was good, it’s too bad that we completely ignored the fact that the magazine had for a good time, purposely gone out of its way to draw and depict the Prophet Muhammad in caricature.
Now, I’m all for satire and caricature. I love Bill Maher, who happens to thrive at these two skills. However, I’m also a fan of consistency. All that was blurted out over the airwaves about the Charlie Hebdo attack was it was Islamic terrorists and it was an assault on freedom of speech.
But let’s be honest. After we hear “those desert brown people” screaming death to America, don’t we talk about, and then carry out, killings of Islamic terrorists—and let’s not forget innocent Muslims—by bombing them or sending ground troops into their land. Why is Charlie Hebdo’s freedom of speech more important than the brown/ashen people’s?
What We Learned: We don’t really value freedom of speech for everyone. We only value it for white people. #whitespeech
San Bernardino Attack: “The president won’t even bring himself to say the words, “Islamic terrorists” was all that the right droned on about in the press. Except for the fact that President Obama did in fact talk about terrorists who had been radicalized by a misguided faction of Islam. Much ado about Islam being a religion of violence was made all over the media, especially conservative media outlets who couldn’t get enough of labeling everyone with ashen brown skin, who wears a headdress, who speak funny, who has a kinky beard, who works at 7-11, who likes kabobs and curry, who has heard of this book called a Koran, must be a terrorist.
Come on, with names like Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, how can they not be radical Islamic terrorists? Plus we know they have ties to mosques that used religion as a means to radicalize them as well as a calling to kill. That is the textbook definition of terrorism.
What We Learned: We have a programmed stereotype of what terrorists look like and how they use their religion to justify murder. But only if they are ashen brown people. #whitepeoplearentterrorists
Planned Parenthood Shooting: #whitepeoplearentterrorists…which brings us to the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs. Robert Dear, a white, conservative, religious Republican walked into a Planned Parenthood and inflicted violence and death. He killed three and injured 12. At his court appearance, he yelled out, proudly, “you’ll never know the amount of blood I saw in that place…no more baby parts…I’m a warrior for the babies!”
But before he did that, no one would have had any idea he killed for religious reasons, and that he was radicalized by the FOX News faction of Christianity. When news of the shooting first went public, all conservative media outlets and their zombies on social media immediately kicked into their red herring mode. My social media feeds were filled with these people proffering stories about how it wasn’t a planned attack on Planned Parenthood. He had been trying to rob a bank down the street when things went wrong and he ended up running into the Planned Parenthood as a way to escape police.
Oh, the vitriol that poured from their mouths in their defense–before an accusation had even been made–was palpable. Many were screaming “before you braindead liberals go off about this, I got it from a news source that the man was trying to rob a bank down the street…” Well, as it turns out, he wasn’t. He intentionally killed using religion as a reason.
And yet no one has officially called him a Christian terrorist. Or even just a terrorist. In fact, at his hearing, much was made about trying to get him a psych test because, you know, he must have mental health issues. Because he’s white. And Republican.
What We Learned: Our textbook definitions for terrorists only apply to nonwhite people. And only Islam incites violence and hate. #hypocrisy101 #christianterrorists
Police Killings: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Shereese Francis, Sandra Bland, Kindra Chapman. And I haven’t even mentioned Treyvon Martin, who is probably the poster child as victim zero for all of this craziness today. How many black people have to be shot dead or tased till they are nonresponsive before we admit there really is a problem? Actually, two problems. One is extreme police brutality and violence. The other is the brutality and violence is primarily focused on black people.
I know, I know. I can hear all those white conservative talking heads now. But they were committing a crime, or they are thugs, or they just look scary…
But if you’re white and shoot up a theater or a Planned Parenthood, you get arrested nicely, maybe even get fed a burger and fries. And you don’t get dead.
What We Learned: Selling cigarettes, eating Skittles while wearing a hoodie, failing to signal a lane change, or talking back to the police are now all “crimes,” befitting, or at least, reasonable causes for immediate execution by police. If you’re black. #whiteprivilegematters #blackslivemaybe
The Confederate Flag: You know, I’m beginning to think there’s a theme to all these lessons we learned in 2015. But I just can’t quite put my finger on it.
So the Confederate flag finally came down from many state buildings in the south this year. The Confederate flag, flown as an emblem of the Confederacy, which fought a civil war in order to preserve slavery. Only they call it “a way of life…” or “the southern lifestyle.” Effectively, it was and is an emblem of blatant racism and a banner for preservng human slavery. There are no two ways about it.
But even as the flags were coming down, racist southern whites were curdling their patriotic yet cessionist blood, angry over the disrespect being shown to their white heritage.
Dude, that heritage isn’t like lederhosen, a sarong, or a kilt. It’s a white fucking sheet.
What We Learned: White hood okay; black hoodie not.
When white people enslave, abuse, rape, and exploit people, it’s “heritage.” When others do it, they’re brutal dictators, immoral, or terrorists. Sorry, Islamic terrorists…because you know, we’ve already learned this year that there’s only one kind of terrorist… #gimmemahsheets
Donald Trump Candidacy: He’s the dominant front runner in the Republican field. And has been since the summer. Need I say more? How many racist remarks has he made on the trail? I won’t even repeat the stupidity about Mexicans in his announcement press conference. How many racially-tinged incidents have occurred at his campaign events? How many minorites have been hit, kicked, spat upon, and/or beaten because of his rhetoric? We know it’s because of his rhetoric because these offenders openly yell, “Donald Trump is right!” while they’re delivering the beating.
What We Learned: Oh screw it. You know what the lesson is. #whitesupremacy #whitethuglife