Monday, December 26, 2022


It isn't all that hard to convince people that a minority group is less-than-human. This propaganda piece from the 1800's tried to fuel anti-Irish sentiment.

Demonizing is all the rage these days, but then again it never went out of style.  If you want to oppress a minority group, all you have to do is spread stories that "those people" are less-than-human and you can then do whatever you want.

For example, when Europeans colonized the Americas, they spread stories that the natives ("Indians") were savages and little more than wild animals.  They ran around naked half the time, smoked "tobacco" and were ruthless killers.  We were doing them a favor by converting them to Christianity and taking away their lands.  And if they didn't see the light, well, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" ...and you take their lands.

Note that taking things from the minority in question is usually the common denominator.  If they don't have anything, then preventing them from getting anything is on the agenda.

Africans suffered a similar fate - in the US and worldwide.  Once again, we are told that these are "savages" and need to be liberated by the white man and taught the Christian faith.  "The White Man's Burden" they called it.  Of course, this "burden" included taking away their countries and their wealth.  In the Americas, of course, this same demonization was used to justify slavery.  Blacks, we were told, were like animals - they needed discipline.  If left to their own devices, they would rape, rob, and murder, and of course, it goes without saying, they were lazy and indolent (again, these are common traits assigned to a number of races, including Hispanics).  They don't feel pain like we do, it was said - which justified beating them like a mule.  Once again, taking-away is the goal, in this case, their own freedom.

It never ends, of course.  There is always some new minority group to marginalize and demonize.  The Irish, as I noted before, were discriminated against in their own country as wealthy Englishmen bought up all the land and reduced the native population to tenant farmers.  In America, the same old tropes about any minority group were bandied about - they're lazy, they drink to excess, they are indolent, they are criminally inclined, they are ugly and undesirable.  Oh, that and they're Catholic.   Can't have any of that!  Not in white-bread Protestant America!

Of course, as a marginalized group achieves power, these tactics of marginalization start to fail - but not without a fight.   They killed our first Irish-Catholic President, and they don't think much of our second one. But the Irish - like many other immigrant groups - are here to stay and they have succeeded, largely, in assimilating into American society (and vice-versa) - which is a lot easier to do when you are white, of course.

Jews bear special mention because they have been demonized - quite literally - over the centuries.  They have been accused of all sorts of nonsense, from cannibalism to devil worship.  And the caricature of the "dirty Jew" served to reinforce the notion that somehow they weren't even human.  Before there was a holocaust, there was a steady drumbeat of antisemitism in Europe - going back centuries, of course, but amplified by the Nazis in their day.  They succeeded in convincing ordinary citizens that Jews were a threat to their culture and country and what's more, were into all sorts of deviltry. That laid the groundwork for the increasing oppression and eventual murder of millions.

And sadly, we are seeing the same thing happening today.  What is odd is that many Jews are very conservative and Republican, but the very same party is harboring and inflaming this modern antisemitism.  It makes no sense to me that Jews would support this, but I guess since these same antisemites have unconditional love for Israel (because this fulfills an imaginary "end times" prophesy) they go along with the deal.   It is a dangerous Faustian bargain!

Of course, anti-Muslim sentiment has been strong in this country, since before the hostage standoff in Iran in 1979 and amplified after 9/11.  Again, we are told that a minority is "taking over" and that their habits and customs are an anathema to American values and ideals.  Sharia law is being enacted in Dearborn! (No, it is not).  Before long, your kids will be memorizing the Koran in school, while saying "Merry Christmas!" will get them expelled.  Again, not true. Sad that I have to say that.

Asians are once again in the cross-hairs, although the incidents of anti-Asian violence appear to be perpetrated by blacks - and often homeless people.   It is not atypical that one minority sets out against another (Hispanics versus Blacks, for example).   But I think these incidents, particularly where the perpetrators are mentally ill homeless people, are the result of the constant anti-Asian drumbeat that the right-wing has promulgated.   Wind-up soldiers will do your bidding, if you just create the atmosphere of paranoia and demonization.

Of course, this is nothing new. The Chinese Exclusion Act specifically targeted Asians, even as America was welcoming immigrants of all other stripes.  The stereotype of "Asian hoards" overrunning America had currency then, and through the cold war.  Once again, a minority is seen as cunning and ruthless - when, of course, they are not lazy and indolent.  You know, smoking opium in those opium dens that the British established to enslave them.   Drug wars are nothing new, it seems.

Of course, today, Asian stereotypes have been updated.  Asians are smart and "good at math" and thus "taking all our jobs" when they are not eating dogs or live fish or something else gross.  Again, the idea is to make "the other" seem alien and inhuman - demonizing.

Which brings us to these drag show incidents.  Why suddenly these are deemed a "threat" is interesting. It was created, not by accident, by the Murdoch news group.  Commentators like Tucker Carlson have been beating the drum of trans-hate and drag-hate (conflating the two, of course) and claiming that - like every minority before them - that "LGBTQ" people are all Satan-worshiping pedophiles, who are out to "convert" children with "Drag Queen Story Hour".   Worse yet, they are promoting that children change their gender in Elementary school - although there is scant evidence that this is actually happening.

Every accusation is a confession, it is said.  And the loudest voices accusing trans people or drag queens of "grooming" children are the same people who have had their picture taken with underage girls on Jeffry Epstein's private island

And of course, this is expanding to include every stripe in the "LGBTQ" rainbow - all gays are now deemed to be groomers - by the likes of Matt Gaetz, un-ironically.  Every accusation is a confession - again.  Part of this, is, of course, push-back against advances by minority groups, which appears to be threatening if you are in the majority and may someday be a minority yourself (but not any time soon).  Oddly enough, this sort of nonsense resonates mostly with the underclass of poor whites - who see advances by minorities as coming at their expense.  And yes, the stereotype of "white trash" fits right into the narrative of indolence, laziness, violence, criminality, and other boorish behaviors usually attributed to minorities.

Of course, these same sort of crazy accusations have been leveled at all Democrats by the "Qanon" conspiracy, which posits that pizza parlors are being used by Democrats to cannibalize children for their hormones or some such nonsense, in order to feed the insatiable appetites of "the lizard people."

Sounds pretty ridiculous, but it is no more ridiculous than The Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a famous forgery that purported that Jews murdered Christian children and drank their blood.   You see the pattern here, don't you?

The end goal - and there is a goal - is to get followers to believe this nonsense, at least subliminally, so that they will view [fill in the blank] minority as not only less than human, but a demon.  In fundamentalist Christian circles, this is often literally the case.  And you know what you do with demons, right?  Cast them out!

This should be worrying to most Americans, because today it seems every minority group is on the chopping block - Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Gays - whoever.  Even majorities are in peril, such as Democrats and Women.  We take our freedom for granted, but few in American realize that, worldwide, women are basically property, and minority groups are largely slaves.

We should also be worried because already this has progressed from mere hateful rhetoric to action, in terms of windup soldiers attacking various minority groups.  Attacks have been made on synagogues and mosques, as well as on gay bars and drag show performances.  Individuals have been attacked by cowards who approach them from behind and punch them without warning.  This will escalate over time, if not checked.  Young Asian women have been pushed in front of Subway trains.

And just as in the 1930's, people say, "Well, I'm not Jewish, fortunately!  It is sad, but at least they haven't targeted me!"  Yet.  And yet in an eerie parallel to the fascist era, Socialists and Communists (distinct minorities in America) are also being targeted, just as happened in Reverend Martin Niemöller's poem.  I'm no Socialist, but that doesn't mean others don't have a right to that opinion.

And no, I don't understand the whole "trans" thing, but at the same time, I don't understand all the hate over it - and the mostly false stories being spread about it.  And no, I don't understand "Drag Queen Story Hour" but if a parent wants to take their kids to that, I am not sure it will scar them for life.  And a drag show isn't the same thing as some drag queen reading stories to kids. But even drag shows are, at worst, PG-rated with maybe a few R-rated jokes.  Hardly a "sex show" as the far-right alleges.

But again, you see the pattern - spreading lies and stories that simply are not true, to get people riled up, angry, and even violent.  All it takes is one unhinged guy with a gun, and 40 hours a week of Fox TV watching to set them off.

Of course, when that happens, they will be called a "lone wolf" and an aberration and proof that gun control laws simply don't work.

And lest you think this is limited to the United States, think again.  The same sort of prejudices are occurring in the UK and Australia - places where Murdoch publications extend their sticky fingers.  And even in mainland Europe, right-wing thinking is taking hold and prejudices are being fanned, helped in part by a migrant crises.  Right - that.  Migrants are caricatured as animals, swimming across the Mediterranean and climbing onto train cars and trucks to sneak into Western countries.  They are like animals we are told - and reproduce like rabbits.

Maybe there is a migration problem (that can't be solved by deportation?) but demonizing migrants isn't the answer.  And yes, there has been anti-migrant violence in several European countries.  Same shit, different country.

So it ain't just us.  Perhaps this trend is a result of increased population and scarcer resources.  Or it could just be that human beings, every 40 years or so, have to go nuts and kill each other.  Or maybe it is an orchestrated plan by one group to achieve power and/or maintain it. Scapegoating minorities is the oldest game in the book - and keeps your followers distracted so they don't look at the man behind the curtain.

One thing is for sure - if this trend continues, we can expect to see more violence, murder, and mayhem.

That is, unless people say, "Stop!"