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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Racism
White Kids Terrorize Ethnic Neighborhood, or: Another Long Night in Minneapolis

When we moved into this neighborhood some 35 years ago, it was dying. The storefronts on Lake Street were mostly boarded up.

Call it the American miracle. Immigration from Mexico, Central and South America, and Somalia turned this neighborhood around. Little ethnic mom-pop shops resurrected Lake Street.

Now every single one of those businesses is gone. Over the course of the past four nights, I have watched my neighborhood be systematically dismantled around me.

Last night it was the white kids' turn.

Hundreds of angry white kids—let me be nasty and say trust-fund anarchists from the suburbs—defied the governor's curfew orders and marched through a largely ethnic and immigrant neighborhood already traumatized by three nights of fires and looting.

I live just a few hundred feet from the epicenter of last night's destruction. More buildings and businesses—virtually all of them Latino-owned—were pillaged and torched. Four of them are still burning as I write this.

Truly, a mob is an organism with many legs and no brain.

“Why don't these kids all go back to the suburbs and leave us alone?” my next-door neighbor said to me as we stood on the sidewalk and watched the noisy march. Penny, who's African-American, is the block matriarch; she's lived here longer than anyone else.

If it weren't for the violence that accompanied it, it all would have been kind of funny. The whole thing had a defiance-for-the-sake-of-defiance “I'm not going to bed and Mommy/Daddy can't make me” feel to it.

Eventually, of course, the trust-fund anarchists went back to their apartments in other (quiet) neighborhoods, leaving behind them more burning buildings and more mayhem in a neighborhood already traumatized by its own destruction.

I have not the slightest doubt that the vast majority of those folks last night honestly want justice for George Floyd (1974-2002), an African-American man brutally murdered on Memorial Day by a white policeman only blocks from here. Believe me, so does everybody in this neighborhood.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Anthony.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I used the Facebook and Email buttons to repost your blog on Facebook and mail it in to my local newspaper.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    11:30 on Saturday night, and it's quiet in Minneapolis except for the military copters overhead, thank Goddess. Now that the polic
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    So sorry to learn of this, Steven. As I watched the conflagration I was wondering how close it was to your house. Now I know, an

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Heathen Symbol or Hate Symbol?

Resources for the disambiguation of Heathen symbols vs. hate symbols. TW: discussion of racism

This is a resources and links page for how to tell the difference between a religious symbol being used by heathens and a hate symbol being used by neonazis or white supremacists. There are several different symbol guides linked from this page. Using the various symbol guides requires more than looking up a suspect symbol; it also requires taking context into account. For example, once while screening applications I ran across the version of Othala with wolves attached to the lower legs of the symbol. The first time I saw this symbol, I wondered: is it the footed Othala used by Nazis or is it just the regular Othala but with wolves? I used a reverse image search (the Chrome extension) to find the origin of the symbol, and found the page of the artist who designed it. The page had many pagan and heathen artworks, none of which looked like neonazi or white supremacist symbols. The artist's statement on his website was an unobjectionable, pretty standard pagan statement. I concluded the Othala-with-wolves symbol's resemblance to the footed Othala was just a coincidence. The context provided by the artist's other artworks and artist statement helped me interpret that image.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Alas, Ill News in Pagandom

Alas, ill news in Pagandom.

To judge from his social media presence, it would seem that Holden Matthews—the domestic terrorist who recently torched three predominantly-black churches in Louisiana—is pagan, apparently of some folkish heathen variety.

If that doesn't make you angry, it should.

If that doesn't make you feel ashamed, it should.

Here are some entirely inadequate responses:

He's not a pagan/heathen.

That's not real paganism/heathenism.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm pagan, not heathen.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm heathen, but not folkish.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm folkish, but not racist.

Who Matthews is in his own heart, we do not know. But we can be certain that refusal to take ownership of problems in our own community achieves nothing.

Some better responses:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Carol. I've updated.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    link no longer working

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dealing with Governor Blackface

Well, well. The mills of the gods may grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine.

The political future of Governor Blackface of Virginia now lies in the hands (O happy irony) of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

Of course, I don't get a vote here. But if I did, here's what I would be tempted to say.

Dear Governor Blackface:

Your callous actions in the 1980s were despicable in their casual racism, and you are right to be ashamed of them.

We take you at your word that you regret your actions. For this reason we will continue to work with you as governor, to make the best decisions that we can for the people of Virginia.

Please be aware, however, that as we do so, we will be watching you closely.

Extremely closely.

Yours most sincerely, etc.

Then, of course, he'll owe them bigtime.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I'm from Virginia; the story isn't over yet, it just keeps coming. Not only did the governor do blackface according to yesterday'
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    This is turning out to be a more complicated issue than it looks. I was listening to a Public Radio show discussing this blackface

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Resources for anti-racism work

This is the final in my series on racism in Paganism. It is devoted to resources we can use to educate and challenge ourselves with the long-term results of having a multiracial Pagan movement where all feel welcome.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Racism Rears Its Ugly Head Again

The young woman in that figurine isn't doing a facepalm (it's an ecstatic posture) but it was the closest I could come in Minoan art. "Facepalm" is pretty much my mood right now because I've just had to boot yet another round of racists out of my Modern Minoan Paganism discussion group Ariadne's Tribe

Unless you've been on an extreme media fast lately, you're probably aware that there are a lot of right-wing racist (plus other prejudices) type people out there right now, spouting their hateful propaganda and doing their best to convince others to join them. Unfortunately, many of these people have infiltrated Pagan groups in order to expand their recruiting. We hear a lot about this happening with Norse Pagan groups, but it's also happening in Hellenismos and now, Minoan Paganism as well.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Drowning in a Sea of White

I am working on a blog about race in Paganism, so I am posting this guest column by Elena Gutierrez. Elena is a mixed-race Latina, Tarascan (native Mexican), white young woman in the Midwest.

I am drowning in a sea of white. I am not at an actual sea with light colored sands and receding waves, but rather, the extravagant dining hall my grandparents eat at every night. I am ‘blessed’ with the opportunity to eat in the same dining hall when I go to visit them. The table cloths are of thick material and they are so white you would think they are brand new, straight from the package, rather than washed after each use from meal times. Maybe they are brand new. It would only make sense based on where they live. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, live in a retirement villa. They have to ask us in advance when we schedule a visit, if we would like to stay for dinner, if we respond yes, they have to hurry to make reservations. They are my white grandparents. I am drowning in a white sea that is made up of all the retired masters of their career fields. It is a white population who sit at their white tables with their white pearls hanging from their necks smiling with their expensive fake white teeth.

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