Dispatches From the Culture Wars - Hard Rain edition

November 17, 2015
portside (November 17, 2015)

The terrorists' target; Why transphobia won in Houston;  Justice vs free speech?; Mormons walk away; White suicide and racism

		The Paris Attackers Hit the City’s Young, Progressive Core - Manu Saadia (Fusion)
		Stalling Civil Rights: Conservative Sexual Thought has been in the Toilet Since the 1940s - Gillian Frank (Notches)
		Racial Justice and Free Speech Are Not Mutually Exclusive - Dennis Parker (ACLU)
		WATCH: Thousands Quit Mormon Church In Wake of Antigay Policy - Neal Broverman (The Advocate)
		Why Poor White Americans Are Dying of Despair - Ryan Cooper (The Week)

	The Paris Attackers Hit the City’s Young, Progressive Core
by Manu Saadia
	November 13, 2015
The attacks were concentrated in the center of Paris, on the Right Bank. These are places and streets that burst with life on a Friday evening. It is where young and hip Parisians gather to drink and socialize. Le Carillon, La Belle Equipe, Le Petit Cambodge: these are ordinary neighborhood joints where you meet your buddies for a quick “demi” of watery French beer or a snack before going out somewhere else.
	I know these places well. This is where I meet up with my old friends whenever I go to Paris. In the early 90s, I saw Prince playing an aftershow at the Bataclan—now a venue which will forever be associated with tragedy and death. This is not the side of Paris seen by tourists or business travelers; rather, it’s an area where actual Parisians and people from the banlieues hang out and mix together. They might have gentrified, yet these neighborhoods have retained their proletarian and ethnically-mixed flavor.
	This is the land of hipster socialists. These neighborhoods recently elected a female socialist mayor, as well as a slew of Green Party candidates, even as the rest of the country voted for the more conservative and anti-immigration parties on the Right.

	Stalling Civil Rights: Conservative Sexual Thought has been in the Toilet Since the 1940s
By Gillian Frank
	November 9, 2015
	On November 3, Houston voters rejected the city’s anti-discrimination law by a 61-39 percent margin.
	The conservative idea that civil rights protections sexually endanger women and children in public bathrooms is not new. In fact, conservative sexual thought has been in the toilet since the 1940s. During the WWII era, conservatives began employing the idea that social equality for African Americans would lead to sexual danger for white women in bathrooms. In the decades since, conservatives used this trope to negate the civil rights claims of women and sexual minorities.

	Racial Justice and Free Speech Are Not Mutually Exclusive
	By Dennis Parker
	November 14, 2015
	The recent wave of college demonstrations starting at the University of Missouri and Yale and spreading to Ithaca and other campuses across the nation have sparked outraged commentary.
	Far from being defenses of academic integrity and openness, those who dismiss the students only perpetuate a sad history of refusal to confront the continued existence of discrimination and inequality on campus. Recent articles, such as “The Coddling of the American Mind” in The Atlantic and other media, have described professors and students feeling so afraid that they will offend someone in class that they feel that the school has ceased to be a marketplace of ideas. Undoubtedly, some students are overly sensitive, but to equate this to the hurt and fear experienced by students and faculty called “nigger” at their colleges, or feeling that their presence is only reluctantly tolerated as shown by their small numbers and the sense that they don’t belong belittles the legitimate hurt which has its roots in the country’s long, sorry history of deliberate exclusion and subordination.

	WATCH: Thousands Quit Mormon Church In Wake of Antigay Policy
	By Neal Broverman
	November 15, 2015
	The Advocate
	Thousands of LGBT Mormons quit the Church following its new policy that calls those in same-sex relationships "apostates" and denies their children baptisms.
	It was an emotional scene in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, where thousands of LGBT Mormons from dozens of states gathered. With 1,000 letters of resignation already submitted online, attorneys received an additional 1,500 letters at the Salt Lake event, which were placed on the lawyers' letterhead to expedite the process. Some ceremoniously walked to mailboxes to send off their final communication with the church.
	Why Poor White Americans Are Dying of Despair
By Ryan Cooper
	November 6, 2015
	The Week
Why didn't America build the economic structures that would ensure economic growth was broadly shared? There are many reasons, but perhaps the biggest one is racism. Research shows that American voters are less likely to support a generous welfare state because of racist attitudes; historical studies demonstrate that the New Deal was politically acceptable only insofar as it excluded blacks.
	Ta-Nehisi Coates has emphasized that white supremacy is a positive interest. White people weren't tricked into their lousy welfare state; it was what they wanted. Better to keep blacks at the very bottom of the social castes than risk joining them in last place, even if that would be a better absolute position.
	But we can see today that there are concrete and unintended side effects to this preference. Whether poor whites are individually racist or not, racism is literally killing them.


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