Tag Archives: deportation

Grading Obama

There’s a tendency in this country to speak of ex-presidents with the same generosity one would use to speak of the recently departed. A “funeral parlance” (if you’ll forgive the awful pun) that leads folks to look on the old administration with rose-tinted glasses. Considering the replacement, that’s going to be doubly true this year.

Not at Culture War Reporters, though.

Here’s our final grade for Obama,

Note: The issues selected here are based upon the principles we here at CWR seem to touch on most frequently. We hope to make this a regular tradition, provided the United States still exists in four years and that this writer will not have been imprisoned or sent to work on a lunar penal colony.

Economic Equality:

Advocates of the president will be swift to point out that the unemployment rate at the beginning of the president’s term was in the double digits, and has since fallen to about 4.9% after years of slow but steady recovery. And there absolutely should be credit where it’s due- the Obama administration has seen the recovery of the economy. Can I whine about it not being enough though? You bet I can.

While many Americans are finally back to work, the positions they find themselves in are often low-paying with little to no security. While that’s not entirely the president’s fault, the president himself has been agonizingly slow (and bafflingly conservative) in advocating a raise for the minimum wage. While the extremely wealthy are paying slightly more in taxes, taxes have also risen for folks making less than $250,000 a year (which is the overwhelming ****ing majority of us) with the majority of the president’s proposed reforms having ended in defeat. All in all the extremely rich continue to enjoy unrivalled luxury and unchallenged control of US politics and wealth.

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Final Grade: D+

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Our Fascist Overlords (So Far…)

There’s an old Arab quote that roughly translates to “Don’t tell me about a man, tell me about his friends.” i.e, you are the company you keep. In spite of the present efforts for a recount in certain key states, we are still very much bracing for a Trump presidency, and perhaps worse yet, a Trump cabinet. Let’s get to meet our new fascist overlords:

2Ambassador to the United Nations: Nikki Haley

Born to Sikh Indian parents, Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley earned acclaim for her decision to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds. While maintaining a number of hardline positions- especially in terms of immigration- Haley again made headlines with her early criticism of then-candidate Trump. Criticism that earned her calls to be deported.

Deported to exactly where remains a mystery, as Haley was born in America. But as plenty of Trump supporters imagine America to be an inherently white country, they showed no qualms about reminding Haley (and people of color) that their presence in this nation is merely tolerated

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Image retrieved via Policy.Mic

Which makes Trump’s decision to offer her UN ambassadorship surprising, and Haley’s acceptance even more so. But perhaps that’s just to show how much the Republican party has chugged the Kool-Aid. A woman who, simply because of her first name and her skin tone, received calls for her “deportation” is now the international face of the same “siren call of the angriest voices.” Certainly it’s a chilling picture of what’s to come, and enough to silence anyone claiming that the house and senate will somehow act as a counterbalance to Trump’s Fourth Reich. Continue reading

There Are Actual Newts Less Slimy Than Gingrich

This week’s post won’t be a long one. After all, there’s not much to say that we (and a thousand others) haven’t said already.

It’s been another day, another senseless and tragic attack.

Another wave of people sending their “thoughts and prayers”, another wave of people mocking the ease and meaninglessness of profile filters.

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Another reaction of people pointing out our own hypocrisy as attacks twice as deadly (though no more or less terrible) go without mention in Africa, Asia, South America.

And nothing we’re going to do in the next days and weeks will change what’s already happened. The only thing we can do is decide how to react, and readers, please don’t react like serial philanderer and defender of “traditional marriage” Newt Gingrich.

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You’d think a guy who does this would be more thrilled about the prospect of a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy…

His reaction to last week’s appalling attack in Nice has been to propose- I kid you not- a “Sharia test”, in which all Muslim Americans would be tested to see if they support fundamentalist Islamic law. Any that did would be promptly deported, Gingrich says.

Now some of you might be saying, “But Gordon, you stalwart vassal of decency and dignity, is that really so absurd? Gingrich himself stated that he doesn’t have problem with moderate Muslims and that he’s even “glad to have them as citizens.” And you support the complete separation of church and state, so wouldn’t you be cool with this?”

No, and I’ll tell you why.

Answer me this- what’s a “Muslim?”

It’s someone who believes in Islam, right?

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Not so Nice After All: 4 Examples of Racist Canadian History That You May Never Have Heard Of

Canadians like to think that we’re a pretty nice bunch.

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Especially now, as Drumpf’s presidential candidacy reveals the racist underbelly of our neighbours to the South, we Canadians pride ourselves on being nothing like the States. We happily disassociate ourselves from the violence and xenophobia that seems to crop up at every Drumpf rally.

It’s just so incredibly convenient to revel in our not-Americanness, as though that in itself makes us not racist. We try to pretend that same kind of racism doesn’t exist here, even though the same fear-baiting tactic was used in our recent election. We try to ignore the recent hateful attack on Syrian refugees, newly arrived in Canada. We try to forget that our country was built upon the exploitation of people of colour.

In case you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, I’ve included a couple examples below.

1. Canada had Legal Slavery

In elementary school the only time I learned about slavery and Canada was when we studied the Underground Railway. Through these stories of escape and hope I, like many Canadians, was led to believe that Canada had offered an escape for Black men and women who were trapped as slaves in the United States.

What I never knew (until recently) was that Canada was not always the beacon of hope that it appeared. As historian Natasha Henry highlights in her article about Slavery in Canada,

“African slavery existed in the colonies of New France and British North America for over 200 years, yet there remains a profound silence in classrooms and teaching resources about Canada’s involvement in the African slave trade. According to available historical documents, least 4,000 Africans were held in bondage for two centuries in the early colonial settlements of New France (Quebec), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Upper Canada (Ontario).”

Luckily, novelists have begun to draw attention to the stories that our history books have overlooked. Afua Cooper’s The Hanging of Angélique, for example, tells the true story of Canadian slave Marie-Joseph Angélique. Meanwhile, Lawrence Hill’s Book of Negros, reminds us that many escaped slaves were actually shipped back to the States by Canadian authorities. He also explores the extreme racism that drove some black Canadians to move to Sierra Leone. Continue reading

Bigotry, Borders, and Beyond

Let’s try a little exercise here-

What’s the first image that pops into your head when I say the word “refugee”?

For many, it will be that of displaced African villagers, perhaps with stomachs bloated from hunger, listlessly waiting in line for water in some desecrated wasteland.

For others, it might be more recent images: those of shivering, terrified Syrians, crammed into boats as they prepare to make a perilous voyage across the Mediterranean.

But how many would think of scenes like this?

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No, that’s not the Balkans or Turkey or Darfour. That’s the Congregational Church of Austin in Texas, barely over a thousand miles from where I’m writing these very words.

The “American Immigration Crisis” has been quietly brewing since 2014, when a sudden surge of migrants- most of them young children– attempted to cross into the US from countries in Central America.

The response by many, as you can probably guess, was less than welcoming-

Across the Southwest (and the country at large), outrage was expressed over these “illegals”, the town of Murietta, CA perhaps serving as the best example. In July of 2014  buses carrying migrant families were protested in a manner that can only be described as repulsive- but I’ll let you watch for yourself and decide:

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Culture War Correspondence: Cultural Sensitivity

GORDON: Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening. Our topic for tonight comes to us from the distant country of Sri Lanka, where a British woman has been deported for transgressing local standards of cultural and religious sensitivity… as a result of having a tattoo of Buddha on her arm…


KAT: Wow. Remind me to get my tattoo removed.

GORDON: You sport the Buddha on yourself?

KAT: Nah, it’s all just wishful thinking. I’m far too broke to have any ink.

(On textbooks)

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Fame Day: Nate’s Vlogs

We really can’t get started on Fame Day without giving a shout-out to the youth of France, who have turned out en masse over the past couple days in protest of  the forcible deportation of a Roma student who was taken from a school bus in the middle of a field trip. These students have been actively calling for the resignation of the popular anti-Roma Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, to resign, and since the beginning of the protests, French President Hollande has caved to the protest and declared that the formerly expelled Roma student will be allowed to return to school.

For all the flak I give France for their issues with bigotry and Islamophobia, I really have to tip my hat to these students. These are high schoolers coming out across the country to demand justice from their government, and lo and behold, they got responded to (in a way that didn’t exclusively involve tear gas). This took some guts and ingenuity I wish the youth in the US had- I don’t know the last time high schoolers protested independently on any issue (since the 70s, at least), and I really wish the same tradition of dissidence existed over here as it does in other countries.

But let’s move on to the star of the day:

Nate’s Vlogs.

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