Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Our Racist Trees
Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don't visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.
Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims die very hard.
Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased "inclusiveness" at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, "African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation's history because of the horrors of lynching." What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It's guilt by arboreal association.
The origin of the bizarre racist lynching theory of national parks appears to be Carolyn Finney. Finney was an actress noted for, apparently, little more than an appearance in The Nutt House. Then she became a cause célèbre for race activists when she was denied tenure by Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management because her work didn't meet academic standards.
Her supporters blamed racism, rather than her academic shortcomings, and protested vocally.
These days she's a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. What wasn't good enough for UC Berkeley is good enough for national parks. She is also the author of Black Faces, White Spaces. In it she claims that "oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings."
Finney cites the work of Joy DeGruy Leary who invented a Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that she claims black people suffer from. Affected by PTSS, black people experience "fear and mistrust of forests and other green spaces." According to Finney, the tree is a racist symbol to black people.
"Black people also wanted to go out in the woods and eat apples from the trees," Finney explains." But black people were lynched on the trees. The tree became a big symbol." Black people are triggered by trees and suffer Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks. You can't expect them to go to on a hike.
What shall we do about the racist trees? Finney is front and center at the new "inclusion" initiative, "You're sitting here making up a rule and assuming that everybody is going to feel comfortable to come to the woods and go on a hike," she whined. "Maybe they're not interested in doing that, that's not how they like to come to the woods."
In addition to complaining about the racist trees, the inclusion initiative also claimed that national parks alienate Latinos because of the "color of the uniforms that rangers wear."
What's wrong with the color of park ranger uniforms? According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, they look too much like the border patrol. Even though the uniforms are actually completely different. But much like the lack of lynchings at Yellowstone National Park, the truth doesn't matter here.
None of this is really about the nonsensical pseudoscientific ravings you just read. National parks don't care what race you are. Trees are as blind to color as they are to everything else. Forests don't need to be made more inclusive. This campaign is led by people who hate and reject natural spaces.
Finney claims that Theodore Roosevelt's vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in "privilege". Or as Fearn put it, "Preserving wild places is a white concept, going back to Rome."
Influential figures in the National Park Service reject the fundamental idea of preserving natural beauty. They view a forest as a "white concept" full of scary racist trees. Or at least that's what they claim.
That is what this is really about. The Obama era has rotted the Federal government with radical figures who are at war with fundamental American concepts and values. They intend to use their power to destroy those concepts and values. This is another example of that same ugly phenomenon.
Alcee Hastings complains of a "green ceiling" for hiring minorities. Aside from the usual diversity hiring push and buying from minority businesses in the "inclusiveness" proposals, not to mention nonsense about racist trees and scary uniforms, is a move to divert the focus to urban development. Then there's the flow of money to "community organizations" to engage "culturally diverse communities".
All that is code for robbing parks and moving the money into the same network of corrupt organizations that already swallows all the money that the Federal government can throw at its local projects. This isn't inclusiveness. It's blackmail. Advertise in our publications. Give us grants. Or your trees are racist.
For all the safe space rhetoric, the arguments ultimately come down to money. It's not about racist tree symbolism or uniform colors. It's about creating positions for people like Carolyn Finney or Mickey Fearn so they can lecture us on how parks are privilege and nature is racist. It's about finding yet another unlikely target for baseless claims of racism to be milked for money, grants, ads and contracts.
The Obama era has seen the "Sharptoning" of America as the same ugly shakedown scams that were being practiced in New York or Chicago were suddenly national policy. This is the Sharptoning of the National Park Service. It's happening in every agency and arm of government. We just don't notice it.
The accusations are absurd. And yet the payoffs keep coming. And there's little doubt that this latest "inclusiveness" initiative will also pay off. Our parks will suffer. Our slimiest politicians will prosper.
Finney says that national parks should represent where we want to go collectively as a people. But the beauty of a walk through the woods is that you don't have to "collectively" go anywhere. A hike is not a national mission. It's a place for individuality. And the left never fails to remind us how it loathes the individual and worships the collective impulse of totalitarian movements. This is paired with a hatred for beauty.
Forests and lakes are not about where we want to go collectively. They are where we once were. They represent spaces of imagination and reflection that have nothing in common with Finney's compulsion. They don't have to represent Finney's demands for "demographic and ethnic diversity". They allow us a freedom from the confining urban spaces of leftist identity politics that deny our humanity. They show us that life is pure and simple in ways that defy the convoluted nonsense of political correctness.
It's not hard to see why the left, despite its hollow environmental posturing, hates them.
Conservative Group Fights California AG’s Attempt to ‘Chill’ Speech
Though a federal judge recently ruled that a conservative nonprofit group doesn’t have to disclose its donor list to California’s Democratic attorney general, conservatives believe this case is just the latest in an ongoing fight related to political activity and free speech.
“This was a great victory for free speech for everyone in this country,” said Mark Holden, the general counsel for Koch Industries, and a board member of Americans for Prosperity, the group asked to disclose its donor list.
“This effort to chill our right to the First Amendment is critical to what the left’s whole agenda is,” Holden told The Daily Signal in an interview. “They talk about getting big money out of politics, but what they really mean is going after speech and activity they disagree with, made by groups they disagree with.”
On April 21, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real found that Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch, does not have to submit to Attorney General Kamala Harris the names and addresses of its donors who have spent more than $5,000.
In his ruling, Real wrote, “The attorney general’s requirement that AFP submit its Schedule B [donor list] chills the exercise of its donor’s First Amendment freedoms to speak anonymously and to engage in expressive association.”
But the legal fight is not over, because Harris intends to challenge the decision with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The case centers around Harris’ aim to enforce a California state law that requires charities, such as Americans for Prosperity, to file a copy of their IRS tax return with the state, including a so-called Schedule B form that includes the names and addresses of donors who donated more than $5,000 during a year.
Since 2001, Americans for Prosperity has filed the tax form without including the donor list, and until 2010, the state had accepted the charity’s registration in California and listed the group as an active charity in compliance with the law.
In a March 2013 letter, however, Harris declared that American for Prosperity’s 2011 filing was incomplete because it did not include the donor list.
The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit took that challenge to court in December 2014, arguing the California law requiring disclosure of the Schedule B form is unconstitutional.
Harris contends the state law does not infringe on free speech and helps protect the public from fraud and illegal business practices.
“We are disappointed in Judge Real’s ruling and intend to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for Harris, in an emailed statement to The Daily Signal. “The filing of the Schedule B is a long-standing requirement that has helped attorneys general for more than a decade protect taxpayers against fraud.”
In his order, Real said Harris had failed to prove that the state needs donor information to properly investigate charities active in California.
“It is clear that the attorney general’s purported Schedule B submission requirement demonstrably played no role in advancing the attorney general’s law enforcement goals for the past 10 years,” Real wrote.
The judge also said the Koch brothers and other donors faced a threat of harm because the state inadvertently disclosed donor lists nearly 1,800 times on a public website that contains charities’ registration forms.
Harris testified that she has implemented procedures to prevent donor information from being disclosed to the public.
While he is satisfied with the judge’s decision, Holden told The Daily Signal he is worried about what he calls one of the unintended consequences of the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where the justices ruled that corporations and unions can spend unlimited money on political actions that are done independent of a party or candidate.
Critics contend that Citizens United has increased the influence of money in politics, and that groups like Americans for Prosperity showcase the problem of non-transparent laws governing donor disclosure by nonprofits.
Holden, meanwhile, argues that liberal politicians and Democratic-minded groups are using the legal system to attack their political opponents.
As an example, he referred to a recent subpoena issued by Claude E. Walker, the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general, demanding ExxonMobil Corp.’s communications with free-market think tanks including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and climate change-skeptic scientists.
Walker is part of a network of state attorneys general who are alleging that Exxon has misrepresented its products and activities contributing to climate change “in order to defraud the government and consumers.”
“The bottom line is, over the last six years we have seen a war on speech,” Holden said. “We are even seeing it on climate change, where we see the use of threats and force by law enforcement to silence groups they don’t agree with. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s just free speech.”
School sports carnivals have got a problem
Australian feminist Em Rusciano gets something right
YESTERDAY, I was taught a valuable lesson by a bunch of eight- and nine-year-old kids that I think you may want to hear.
I was helping out at my youngest daughter’s athletics carnival (yes I was an elite hurdler, yes I did qualify for world juniors and win my first national title when I was 10. So what? Stop bringing it up) when something caught my eye.
My kids go to an awesome school. However … how do I put this? It has more of an academic/performing arts/paint pictures of your feelings vibe to it than an incubator for elite athletes vibe.
If it was a “knit your own tampon” or “public speak your way out of a hostage situation” or “re-explain the theory of relativity using five different maths equations” race, they would totally nail that sh*t though.
I was standing at the finish line of the 60m hurdles when the first bunch of kids came barrelling through. They were the under-nine boys and one of the lads caught my eye (he had a knitted green and white striped frog beanie on).
I said hello and asked him how many ribbons he felt he may acquire today. Upon reflection that may have been a thoughtless question as moments before he’d finished exactly last in his event, but I’d already forgotten that because: awesome hat! His response floored me. It amused me so much I nearly had an asthma attack.
He said, with both hands on his hips and a deep sigh that belonged to an 80-year-old war vet, “Probably none, I’ll probably just get a few of those (points to participation ribbon) and a bunch of ‘well dones’.”
The tone was unmistakeable. It said: “I’m sick of your sh*t, don’t patronise me with your well dones and participation awards, I know the score.”
It made me wonder, do we give out participation awards to make the kids or the parents feel better?
I decided to conduct subtle interviews with every kid I saw today and NONE of them wanted the participation ribbon. Most of them down right sneered at it. They all understood that someone is going to get to the line fastest, jump the highest and throw the furthest. They all got that some people are better at sport than others and none of them seemed too fazed by that.
Look, if we weren’t giving out the first, second and third place ribbons and the day was just about having fun and being outdoors, great! Let’s go on an Oprah Christmas special ribbon giving spree: “You get a ribbon, and you get a ribbon and you get a ribbon, riiiibonnnnnn!”
However WE DO give out the first, second and third place awards, so what message are we sending them? “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you do win you get a special prize and accolade, but it doesn’t matter, but it does, and the rest of the kids get a generic thing because they’re not special like the kids who won, who aren’t special, but they are ...”
Confusing huh? Imagine being a kid then!
I worry we’re getting to a point with kids sport where we’re attempting to shield them from feeling disappointment and loss. Isn’t that the stuff that builds resilience and resolve? Doesn’t it foster the need to improve and learn and grow?
After my highly scientific research at the track I’m now of the opinion that we don’t need to bother with participation awards.
For three reasons:
1. The kid’s don’t want them. They’re well on to us, the jig is up mates.
2. It’s OK to fail! Don’t be afraid to let your kids feel the sting of defeat. Let their little hearts get a ding or two, help them identify what they can learn from it and then they will grow and be better next time.
3. Don’t reward them for just showing up. It makes them grow up feeling entitled. You’re not doing them any favours — want and need create drive.
All that being said, of course not all kids are going to be the best at all things at all times and that’s OK, as long as your kid finds something he or she likes doing then they’ll be all right.
By the by, old mate frog beanie totally won his 100m … Not that it mattered, but it did, but it didn’t.
David van Gend from The Australian Marriage Forum responds to questions on marriage equality
Q. What is Australian Marriage Forum's opposition to same-sex marriage based on?
The heart of our opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is that such an institution would deliberately deprive future children of either their mother or their father, and that is an injustice we should never contemplate. It hurts children if we break the bond with their mother or father, and same-sex 'marriage' is just a new government policy for breaking that bond. We never learn.
We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is untrue – a legal fiction with no foundation in nature. Marriage is not a social invention to be cut to shape according to political fad; it is a social recognition of timeless natural reality: male, female, offspring. Only a terminally demented culture like the modern West would seek to repeal nature and build our society on an artificial foundation.
We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is a package deal that brings with it the entire radical rainbow agenda. Once homosexual relations are normalised in the central institution of society, that gives the LGBT lobby the big stick of anti-discrimination law to normalise homosexual behaviour in the school curriculum, and to silence conscientious dissenters. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous. 'Marriage equality' is not ultimately about marriage; it is about sexual radicals getting the legal clout to push their values down society's throat.
Q. Are you only opposed to the proposition of equal marriage or is the opposition to equality under the law for LGBTI in general?
Same-sex couples already have exactly the same legal status and benefits as any de facto or married couple in Australia, with no discrimination whatsoever, and we do not oppose that.
Same-sex couples already have full relationship equality with other couples, but their relationship is a different thing to the great natural project of marriage and family and they need to find a different word.
Q. What are your thoughts on homosexuality? Do you believe it is a normal expression of human sexuality?
My thoughts are that homosexuality does not define a person: he or she is a unique, transient and beloved creature like anyone else, and if a person happens to experience same-sex impulses that is merely a puzzling aspect of their emotional makeup; it is not who they are.
Homosexuality is clearly not normal in a statistical sense, since only 1.2% of the Australian population identify as homosexual while 97.5% identify as heterosexual.[i] In a clinical sense I agree with Dr Robert Spitzer, the gay-friendly psychiatrist who led the campaign to delete homosexuality from the APA's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual in 1973, who described homosexuality as "a form of irregular sexual development". It is not a mental illness, but nor is it normal, and for many years Spitzer argued against "the acceptance of the view that homosexuality is a normal variant."[ii] We should not form public policy on marriage or sex-education based on the false view that homosexuality is normal.
Q. In an Australian Marriage Forum advert it states that "The radicalisation of sex education and usurping of parental authority is (in our view) a main objective of the homosexual revolution." Can you explain this further? What do you believe is the end game for LGBTI advocates? Do you believe that legalising same sex marriage will lead to other reforms, if so what could they be?
The logic is simple: if the law says homosexual "marriage" is normal and right, schools will be obliged, by anti-discrimination law, to teach that homosexual behaviour is normal and right. There is no option. Parents today can push back against the 'Safe Schools' program - but parents will be sidelined and treated as bigots if they object to such material once homosexual 'marriage' becomes the law of the land.
Parents need to understand that the genderless agenda is a package deal: if they vote for 'marriage equality' they are voting for 'Safe Schools' on steroids and agreeing to relinquish control of their child's moral education to sexual radicals.
If they vote for 'marriage equality', based on President Obama's executive order this week to all 96,000 public schools in the US, parents are voting for their daughter to have to share change-rooms with disturbed young men who claim they are women – all on the basis of genderless 'equality'.
The end game of any revolution is to remake society in its own radical image: that is achieved largely through controlling the education of the next generation and by silencing dissenting voices. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous...
Q. Some commentators have observed that the debate between progressives and conservatives on issues such as Safe Schools, Gayby Baby, marriage equality etc is part of a "culture war" between left and right. What are your thoughts on this?
Wait for my book in a few months time. There will be a chapter on cultural Marxism and its many and varied fellow travellers and their relentless attacks on marriage and family over the last century.
Q. Are you concerned that language used to describe the push for LGBTI inclusion - eg the flyers we saw recently protesting the AFL's upcoming Pride game, comparing legalising same sex marriage to the stolen generation - could be damaging for LGBTI young people and their families?
I am concerned at the emotional blackmail used by supporters of same-sex 'marriage' which claims that any and every statement of opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is "damaging for LGBTI young people and their families" - so we had better just shut up and let them be the only voice in the public square.
Examples: in the Sydney Morning Herald, Justin Koonin, convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, specified our full-page ad in The Australian (10/8/15[iii]) as an example of the "bigoted opinions that we know cause harm to same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people". [iv] In an earlier report about our television ad aired during Mardi Gras in March 2015[v], the director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said our ad was "actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples". [vi]
Do you see how this game works? If anyone makes the case for keeping marriage between man and woman, the mere act of raising such an argument is "actually harming" children. There is only one solution: say nothing. Breathing a word makes us culpable for depression and even death in young people!
That is shameless emotional blackmail designed to silence one side of a serious debate.
I am astonished at the portrayal of LGBT young people and families as so fragile that they must be protected from hearing any discussion about homosexual marriage and parenting. How condescending! And it goes with the pathetic proposition that we should overturn the foundational institution of society as a form of psychological therapy for LGBT young people and their families. There are less radical ways to help them feel loved and respected.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.