I am so tired of America demanding I not believe that which is front of my own eyes.
I’ve written about this before, about the gaslighting of America, but my god, it’s coming at us from the fucking left, too.
Let’s talk about those Covington boys. Let’s talk about the sneering video and then the counter interpretation and then the counter interpretation to the counter interpretation. Whatever.
I don’t want to recount the details in excruciating detail because it doesn’t matter. IT DOES NOT MATTER. Yes, I understand some Black Hebrew Israelites were slinging terrible slurs at the #MAGA teens.
And that’s wrong. Yes. Excellent. Thank you.
I also understand that this has no material effect on what happened there, other than to give Trumpers and white middle-of-the-roaders everything they need to frame those boys as victims and uphold the white patriarchy they embody.
We all saw that teenager’s sneer. We all know that grin, because it’s not new. Those assholes aren’t new. I know them. You know them. We all went to school with them. We encounter them daily still.
That is the shit-eating grin of white supremacy.
At this point you have to be downright delusional to argue that Trump supporters are anything other than:
- Outright racists; or
- Accepting of racists as long as it brings them something they want.
And the line between those two is thin as hell.
Okay, so we see a group of Trump-supporting youth sent to march for “life” (hahaha) or, in more accurate language, against women’s reproductive rights, and then we see them chanting and blocking and sneering at brown people, and moderates are like let us not jump to any conclusions.
Motherfucker the conclusion has already been jumped. IT JUMPED TO ITSELF. The conclusions were jumped at the appearance of the red #MAGA hats.
At this point, it is unequivocally true that wearing a Trump hat is screaming into the world: “I AM AT THE VERY LEAST COOL WITH RACISM.”
So get the hell out of here with “Let’s not jump to conclusions.” Those are tiny misogynistic racists acting like tiny misogynistic racists who will become big misogynistic racists just like their parents, Brett Kavanaugh.
Yes, both parents are Brett Kavanaugh.
The willingness of people to show up for these boys. To minimize their racism. Why? Because people were mean to the boys?
Is the entire context of this situation – namely, boys screaming I AM A BIGOT AND LOATHE WOMEN’S BODILY AUTONOMY – erased because they were called names?
Once again, we bring knives to a gun fight. We are so fucking quick to let them mostly off the hook. We are so quick to see them as victims and declare that we just shouldn’t “ruin their lives!”
These are Hitler youth and we’re worried about their futures.
We are staring into the face of fascism and saying “Let’s just hear out both sides.” We are staring at babies in cages demanding the officers have a chance to explain. We are Donald Trump saying surely there are some “very fine” Nazis. We are getting angry that Antifa broke ATM machines during a white nationalist rally. We are yelling at #BlackLivesMatter protesters for shutting down our freeways.
These boys did not happen in a vacuum. They cannot be separated from the social situation surrounding them.
And those hats, those boys, hold all of it. All of that context.
They are pussy-grabbing.
They are “Why is the term ‘white supremacist’ a bad thing?”
They are “brown people are dangerous.”
They are babies in cages.
They are “laziness is a trait in blacks.” – Trump, 1999
They are “shithole countries.”
They are remove access to birth control but also abortion but also you need to sleep with your husband at all times.
They are “that rapist has such a promising future ahead of him.”
They are the endless lies streaming out of Trump’s mouth.
They are the deconstruction of the free press.
They are the government shutdown and government officials calling it a “free vacation.”
They are the trans military ban.
They are the shit-eating grins of white supremacy, and we saw it with our own fucking eyes, and instead of recognizing this, people are concerned about the boys’ feelings, with making sure we aren’t mean to them, that we get them every benefit of the doubt, that we protect their fragile little selves.
They made clear where they stand when they put those fucking hats on. Why are we so hesitant to make clear where WE stand?
They’re over there screaming “I hate brown people!” and moderates are like, “Oh, honey. Were those black people mean to you? I get it, sweet boy who looks like my son, you were overwhelmed. It was complicated.”
Oh, you were praying for your safety around those mean black men? TOTALLY GET IT NOW, JOSH.
You think the Trump-sycophant GOP is telling everyone not to jump to any conclusions about brown people? About women who say, “I have been raped?” (It’s a very dangerous time for men, you see.) You think they’re extending grace and decency to the children ripped out of their mothers’ arms at the border? Are they respecting Americans while they feed us endless lies to further their nationalistic, authoritarian agenda?
I’m not saying “They did it to us so let’s do it to them.” What I’m saying is that we need to stop playing nice while these motherfuckers are happy to let us die, to kill us, to decimate democracy, to remove my daughter’s rights over her own body.
Fuck the expectation that I allow these assholes a way out from themselves because some PR firm wrote an adorable letter stating his shit-eating grin was actually the face of a humbly praying, scared young man.
I am tired of not calling this what it is: Racists acting like racists, gleefully.
We will gaslight the hell out of people to protect white patriarchy. All we have to do is flip the narrative to turn the white man into the victim and boom! Miracles happen! Now #MAGA smirk guy is all over TV, adored across the land.
No more unearned “grace and courtesy.”
I have an idea: If you want grace and courtesy, stop supporting a neo-fascist who refers to human beings as “vermin.”
If you want grace and courtesy, speak out against what your party has become. Speak out against this racism.
Sure, not every Trump supporter is an overt white supremacist, but every overt white supremacist – KKK, neo-nazis, white nationalists, proud boys – is a Trump supporter.
Nah, it’s because that is the party, the platform, Trump himself, and a person wearing that hat is loudly declaring they are just fine belonging to the party of Nazis.
I don’t care that they’re teenagers. They are the face of the next wave of everything disgusting about our country, and we’re over here worried about paving the way for them to succeed. Actions have consequences, and all these boys learned, as well as all the boys watching them on TV, is that they can be race-based bullies and not a goddamn thing will happen to them.
In fact, they will be coddled and celebrated.
Can we please for the love of god stop being so fucking “polite,” stop playing by the rules in the name of some faux wokeness we’ve invented for ourselves? Can we recognize the part of ourselves that defends white patriarchy? Can we face our own lingering investment in white supremacy and the benefits it affords us?
We need to fucking stand for something, just like they do.
All of this middle-of-the-road false equivalence delicate flower bullshit is partly what got us into this mess. The GOP is a flaming pile of dog shit, but they sure as hell own that pile, don’t they? They have built an entire platform on bigotry but goddamn that message is clear, ain’t it?
The Trump GOP stands for evil but by god it STANDS FOR IT.
Can we do that? Can we be absolutely unwavering in our fight against Trump and everything he stands for?
We aren’t being deep over here in the gray area. We aren’t being a “bigger person.”
Change comes through those willing to stand on the right side of history even if it makes them uncomfortable, and they do it every time.
They believe that which sneers before their very eyes.
Hey, hi. I wrote a book, and the paperback comes out May 7, with new content in the back.
SuzWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 15:08
You give me hope and strength. Thank you for saying these things.
JulieWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 15:33
Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you (yet again) for putting words to my anger.
erickaWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 15:43
HeatherWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 15:54
Every single word. YES.
I grew up with a school brimming with those assholes. And they grew up to be bigger assholes.
This shit ends now. We’ve got some mess to clean up.
Suzanne Crosina-SahmWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 16:12
You express so perfectly what I have been thinking. Thank you.
LoriWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 16:34
You nailed it as usual. I’m watching this total load of shit go down and my mind just keeps flashing back to that contemptible smirk and that fucking maggot hat and I just can’t stand it.
I am not by nature a violent person, but if that little zit on the ass of humanity were standing in front of me, he be picking his teeth out of his butt. His parents hired a goddamn PR firm. That should tell everyone what we’re dealing with here.
I despair. DESPAIR I tell you.
Jennifer WolfeWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 16:41
Yesyesyesyes. Thank you. Our kids are watching – and now they’re acting. I’m making sure that the kids I see everyday in my classroom are watching me practice kindness and not hate; this is going too far. Thank you.
JamesWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 17:11
This self-righteous vitriol sets the cause of equality back a few decades. Your crude rhetoric is no better reasoned or expressed than that of the most clueless Trump supporter.
Julie AnneThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 0:24
Hey, hi there, James. Could you please explain how this sets equality back?
Equality for who?
In what manner is it now delayed and can you explain the mechanism by which this post is responsible?
Because if it’s equality for women, I’m quite upset, though remain confused. If it’s equality for those of minority backgrounds, that’s equally upsetting, but no less confusing.
The only thing I see here in your comment is that maybe you got hung up on the part where it’s hard to be a man these days.
Struth, take heart! It’s easier than ever to be a man! You don’t need to feel pressured to conform to the norms of that dreaded “toxic masculinity”! You can walk whatever line you want, because “man” now defines such a broader range of acceptable behaviours than ever before!
Unless you’re a douchebag. The only people that are in any way threatened by this, are the ones that are being called out for being douchebags.
So… I’m sorry to hear you’ve recently discovered you’re a douchebag, but we all have to come to uncomfortable truths about ourselves in order to grow.
Take it like a man (does that assuage your bruised sense of maleness?), Keep your stick on the ice (sorry, I’m a Canadian), and try to big up enough to fit into the ‘new’ society. 1950s called, even they don’t want your rhetoric anymore.
Sorry, have a great day.
JamesThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 15:25
Sure Julie Anne, a douchebag, as a tool of feminine hygiene, is always ready to explain to privileged white women why their blinkered fascination with others’ white privilege is not only self-defeating but hypocritical. Details do matter. First, watch some of the other videos of the event and see Nathan Phillips – who, as it turns out is not a VietNam vet) insert himself into the group of schoolboys and beat his drum in their faces. Im sure women of the caliber who would read this blog would not tolerate any stranger of any color walking up and beating a drum in their faces and chanting in a strange language. But unlike you, Janelle and the greek chorus here, the boys didn’t recite their vocabulary of vulgar insults, they chanted along and generally acted amused. In fact, the schoolboys were the only parties in this mess that didn’t resort to expletives and threats. Sure they should have walked away. But they didn’t. And yes, they were wearing MAGA hats, the symbol of the odious Donald Trump. Wearing a MAGA is not yet a crime and wearing one does not make one a Nazi or a Klansman.
It might feel good to hurl insults and vulgarities at your imagined enemies, but you’re doing a great disservice to the causes of feminism and progressivism and trapping yourself in an inescapable cycle of cynicism.
Julie AnneFriday, 25 January, 2019 at 13:28
The only thing you got right was the cynicism. Also I’m a woman. A woman of a particular calibre, even! Wowee.
Thank you for your response. It did not really help clarify anything but I’m sure it felt good to hurl insults and vulgarities at me.
I’d even permit you to do it to my face, while shouting a “strange language” and beating a drum. Because everyone has a right to a voice. Though I notice when you found Janelle’s blog you felt the need to negate her voice.
Thanks for that, if it wasn’t for brave, helpful men like you, us silly women would carry on misunderstanding what other people get up to. Because we’ve never been on the receiving end of someone else’s judgment, criticism or insults, we need you to tell us when we’re wrong. Us nattering, bird-brained, privileged women, White God bless us, every one.
AmySaturday, 26 January, 2019 at 19:15
“Schoolboys” with a PR firm. And not-yet-illegal MAGA hats.
JessicaSunday, 27 January, 2019 at 9:40
Aww, James, thanks for setting us straight. I *almost* fell for the wisdom and righteous rage in this post until you came along and cleared it all up for me. What would we do without helpful men like you?
WendyWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 17:57
Yes to all of this. Thank you. That fucking smirk on that kid’s face…
LauraThursday, 21 February, 2019 at 18:45
The kid looked like he was smiling because he doesn’t know what to do. Are grown adults picking on children now?
MarshaWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 17:57
AnnaWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:00
Yes. Thank you. All the “but-but-but” and I’m like DO YOU SEE THE HATS?
AnnabelWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:05
This. You put into words what I am unable to because I choke on my rage. Thank you.
Stephanie J. JankowskiThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 4:06
Exactly what Annabel said.
LaurieWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:14
Very. Well. Said.
Erin CWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:18
No one ever put on the MAGA hat because they want the country to be more fiscally conservative. The only purpose of that hat is to notify everyone else around them that they believe they are superior to other on some level.
Thanks for saying the hard things, the things that need to be said and heard and understood.
KylieWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:24
I live in Australia.
You are fabulous.
If you haven’t heard of Clementine Ford and Catherine Deveny, I think you should look them up. They may be your sole mates.
CarrieWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:35
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you!!
BernieWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 18:47
Yes. All of this. Thank you.
Erin PWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 19:14
Boys – ALL children – will be what they are taught. In excusing these kids, we’re excusing the adults raising them. No more.
ReneeWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 19:23
TRUTH! Every word! And thank you for saying them!
janelleWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 19:36
this is everything i have wanted to say but couldn’t put into words.
im ready for war. its been a one-sided war for a long time. i want to fight back.
JillWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 20:15
Times like this, I despair that there is not a “waving my lighter in the air” emoji. Sing it sister. We are dealing with Nazis. Nazis with PR firms.
LorainWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 21:03
Thank you. The defense of these kids has been slowly killing my resolve. You single handedly restored it.
MirandaWednesday, 23 January, 2019 at 21:20
Aw, cmon, poor kid was afraid of the big bad drum… Hope someone was able to comfort him afterwards.
Yes, we all know that grin.
I got that grin from a similar idiot who told me the only reason I was in the private school we attended was because I was half-Hispanic…
Keep speaking up
BethThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 3:46
This could have only been better if I had written it myself, because then I would be the smart, on point, truth telling woman with a book deal! #Queen! But hey that’s you, and I’m so happy you are out here. Keep preaching, sister. Sharing this with my colleagues and screaming it from the roofs in Philly. Mad respect.
MaryElThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 4:05
I just wrote a really dark reply, then deleted it… but god on you, Janelle for expressing this assault on decency without diving into complete despair.
Regarding the venue, the anti woman march (of course those boys were there!)
I am so frustrated by people who think they have a right make medical decisions for strangers. Unfortunately some of those people are related to me and I am way cooling my interactions with them, but haven’t been brave enough to just come out and say sorry but this is unacceptable to me.
MaryElThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 4:08
*good on you, Janelle
KatyThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 4:38
Those hats are equivalent to wearing swastikas. Great job parents. You are raising Hitler youth!
Laurie PrimThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 4:51
Nailed it, thank you, it takes writing this off my to-do list today. Don’t worry, that just frees up more time for me to resist this shit in my own community in person. You rock, stay loud. xo
RobiThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 5:14
Will you please be my BBF who comes with me everywhere and narrates life (out loud – because my last F*%# has just escaped the building…)?!?!?!?!
KerryThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 10:02
I went on an absolute rant about this to my two young, white, boys. I cannot agree enough that the gray area is a wasteland. I made it incredibly clear to them what would happen if I EVER see them disrespecting another person like that. We talked about truth and decency and what they could do if faced with that. It’s my eensy bitty part of doing something to help.
AnnaMonday, 28 January, 2019 at 21:15
Good on you. When I was like in the 5th grade I decided to make fun of a classmate because my friends were doing it. Gross shit. Body shaming. Slut jokes the works. My very calm father lost his fucking shit and ripped me a new one. I almost died of shame and never did that again no matter what.. Good parents can stop stuff in it’s tracks if they care to do so.
charyn GrandauThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 15:37
I absolutely see the white privileged future of these young men looming over them and the threat they pose to many. However, I have a problem with vilifying them to this degree. First, we have made them the face of this encounter when the adults and institutions that created their privileged behavior are getting off free. I have not seen pictures of their chaperones who condoned and encouraged their behavior circulated. I don’t see them trying to educate these young men in the rudiments of democracy or the basics of their own religion. Vilifying these young men will serve to shut them down to any alternative voice and drive them deeper into their privilege. They need to be educated, calling them names will not accomplish that. Like it or not, they are part of this nation’s future and the election of Trump shows that when these types are driven underground they seethe with anger and will find a way back with a vengeance. If we don’t find a way to reach them this country will be destroyed after many people are harmed.
Jocelyn MaloneThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 15:41
Yes. Yes. YES. The GOP have played the long game so well. From grooming law students and stacking the courts, to having PR firms spin reality to suit them. Democrats can’t even agree on what racism is. SO sick of white friends and family who just close their eyes to it, who get defensive and argumentative in the face of evidence. I keep getting told I need to chill out, that I play the “race card” all the time. White liberals need to get their shit together and educate themselves on what they are supposedly fighting for.
KristenThursday, 24 January, 2019 at 20:29
This is hateful prejudice. I hope you will consider that words like these have the potential to incite violence.
MichaelaFriday, 25 January, 2019 at 2:13
Thank you for the work you do. When despondency seems like an obvious and attractive choice, you opt for rage and I love you for it!
Ps: you might like to know that, ever since reading your book, I think of you as ‘Good News Janelle’ and occasionally ask myself “Ok, what would Good News Janelle say”… this is obviously totally normal and not weird.
Finally, I should probably also thank you for making me feel less lonely in this world for also wondering why the fuck it always smells of rotten apples in the car when there are never any actual apples to be found … this has literally preoccupied me for years and I am greatly relieved it’s not just my car…
renegademamaMonday, 28 January, 2019 at 14:30
Gah! Thank you. Appreciate it.
kathy sFriday, 25 January, 2019 at 10:50
I was going to stop being so angry this year. I was going to focus on the good things. How can there be such fuckery in this country!? I’m so tried of all this! Yes I feel the rage and I’m tired of waiting >.<
Levy Lee SimonSunday, 27 January, 2019 at 23:24
TrinaMonday, 28 January, 2019 at 9:09
Yes. Absolutely. Thank you.
KarenMonday, 28 January, 2019 at 11:25
“Both parents are Brett Kavanaugh” – the best.
DeniseTuesday, 29 January, 2019 at 10:06
How do we do this? I’ve been raised to be nice, nice is my go-to, but nice is going to fucking enslave us all. I’m doing my part, raising my family to use their privilege to speak for those whose voices aren’t heard, but with everything going on, I feel the need to do more.
LauraMonday, 11 February, 2019 at 18:27
This is why I left the Democrat party..
Mary Beth SeleckyFriday, 15 February, 2019 at 15:38
Thank you for this beautiful essay. I love ALL of it. It’s exactly what I tried say to my sweet 10 year old son who tried to “correct” me for being appalled by the sneer. Write on! You inspire me.
AllanMonday, 22 July, 2019 at 21:11
I am so disgusted with what has been happening to this country. And all I can think is vote. But not just vote – Vote for women. I wholeheartedly hope that women are the answer to get out of dumpster fire we find ourselves in. Whenever I tell my friends that I will vote for a woman over a man any chance I get, I’m given counter examples. Margaret Thatcher, Betsy Devos. Okay, I’ll accept that. But I’m putting my faith in AOC and Ilhan Omar AND Pelosi. And all the female senators, representatives, and future presidents who will have my vote.