Category Archives: JUSSIE SMOLLETT

The 1619 Project: Reframing History & Redefining Racism

“White Supremacy” is a progressive canard to keep the race card viable in the absence of actual racism. It paints all whites as inherently racist and promotes the worst of tribalism as a progressive political tool.

The New York Times’ 1619 Project seeks to “reframe” American history to mark the year 1619 as the “true founding.”  The first purpose of the 1619 Project is to cement slavery as America’s original sin.  The “reframing” comes about, first, in the telling of a narrative so distorted as to be false, then, second, in redefining “racism” to attach the slander to a whole host of things that either are not caused by racism or are not racist by definition.  Mirable dictu, America is suddenly a nation full of virulent racists / white supremacists.

It is helpful before continuing deeper into this morass to take a balanced look at the actual history of slavery in this country, not as an original sin that still stains us today and that can only be explicated by destroying the country, but rather as an extremely difficult issue that was set on the road to being righted by our Founders and their progeny. In a recent AEI article, author Mark Perry quotes extensively from black economist (and one-time card carrying communist) Thomas Sowell:

Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved – and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the Ottoman Empire, decades after American blacks were freed.


Everyone hated the idea of being a slave but few had any qualms about enslaving others. Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century – and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of the 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there. But who is singled out for scathing criticism today? American leaders of the 18th century.

Deciding that slavery was wrong was much easier than deciding what to do with millions of people from another continent, of another race, and without any historical preparation for living as free citizens in a society like that of the United States, where they were 20 percent of the population.

It is clear from the private correspondence of Washington, Jefferson, and many others that their moral rejection of slavery was unambiguous, but the practical question of what to do now had them baffled. That would remain so for more than half a century.

In 1862, a ship carrying slaves from Africa to Cuba, in violation of a ban on the international slave trade, was captured on the high seas by the U.S. Navy. The crew was imprisoned and the captain was hanged in the United States – despite the fact that slavery itself was still legal at the time in Africa, Cuba, and in the United States. What does this tell us? That enslaving people was considered an abomination. But what to do with millions of people who were already enslaved was not equally clear.

That question was finally answered by a war in which one life was lost [620,000 Civil War casualties] for every six people freed [3.9 million]. Maybe that was the only answer. But don’t pretend today that it was an easy answer – or that those who grappled with the dilemma in the 18th century were some special villains when most leaders and most people around the world saw nothing wrong with slavery.

While Sowell notes the reality, the NYT actually does posit an “easy answer” to the slavery issue. The Times “reframes history” in the 1619 Project to tell it in Howard Zinn fashion, erasing or minimizing the First Great Awakening and the abolition movement, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement.  And with that, the Times then claims that America is still a country full of virulent racism — at least if you support Trump or are not a progressive.  Of course, the lack of racism in mainstream America is a problem, so progressives have redefined “racism” into “white supremacy,” something that implies virulent, evil racism but means, in actuality, nothing.

To put it another way, a strict, classic definition of “racism” means “a belief that race is the primary detriment of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” The decline of actual racist acts in America’s mainstream, though, has become a real problem for progressives who have bet their entire political future on keeping minorities believing that they are under siege and that their only protection is to voting proggie.  There is a reason, not that many years ago, that then Vice President Biden told an audience of black Americans at an NAACP meeting that Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains.”  And there is a reason President Obama, author of all that racial healing in his administration, told Latinos that Republicans were their “enemies.”

So what is “white supremacy?”  Well, at least when the Left talks about it, it’s not the old KKK crap anymore. Instead, we can use the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” (pictured at the top of this post) as our guide to see just how outrageous it is and just how disconnected it is from people actually engaging in racist acts predicated on the belief in the inferiority of minorities — i.e., actual racism.

A college professor put together and uses the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” for a mandatory course she teaches for elementary education majors at Salisbury University in Maryland.  I was reminded of it the other day when I saw it at the Ace of Spades blog. The pyramid names nothing as “racist” that has not already made it into the mainstream media over the past several years.  The list goes from ludicrous, to insane, to evil, literally making of everyone not a proggie a white supremacist.

Racism Pyramid of White Supremacy

Tier One — Genocide 

At the top of the “white supremacy” pyramid are those who call for genocide of blacks or other minorities. No one in the mainstream for the entire history of this nation has ever called for that — but one would not know that today.  According to the NYT, the President is a “white supremacist” who, according to MSNBC, wants to exterminate Latinos. Moreover, according to CNN, Trump is already responsible for more deaths than Mao (40,000,000-75,000,000), Stalin (20,000,000) and Hitler (11,000,000) put together.  And by extension, if you are a Trump supporter. . . .

Tier II –  Violence

a)  Unjust Police Shootings & Police Brutality — This is the BLM obscenity that blacks have more to worry about in the inner cities from police than they do from black on black violence.  Until, of course, one actually looks at the numbers, then at the facts of just about every case — yet you still have virtually all progressives, including Kamala Harris and Fauxcohauntus, pushing this canard, at whatever expense to police such race hustling might bring.

b)  Lynching — The extra-judicial killing of a person as an act of mob justice and with any substantial basis in racism declined precipitously as the Civil Rights movement took hold in the 1950’s.  The last — but perhaps most horrendous — race-based lynching was that of fourteen year old Emmett Till in 1955 Mississippi.  So here we are almost seventy years removed from that event.  The vile racism that gave rise to that event is dead in this country.  But proggies are still trying to paint a link between the racists who murdered Till and all not-progressives today.

For instance, two years ago, Vann Newkirk, writing in The Atlantic in an article entitled How the Blood of Emmett Till Still Stains America Today, proclaimed the lynching of Till an act of “white supremacy.”  So, while the racism that motivated Till’s lynching may be, in all relevant respects, banished from the mainstream of society, it still lives on under the newly minted charge of “white supremacy.”  Non-progressive whites, virtually all of whom are neither committing or tolerating racism, still not only own all the guilt for slavery, but for the lynching of Emmett Till as well.

[Bookworm here: I’d like to suggest that race-based lynching still has a bit of a hold in America, at least as recently as the early 1990s. In 1992, for example, was beaten almost to death because he was a white man in the wrong place. And a year before that, Al Sharpton instigated the Crown Heights riots that saw black men kill random Jewish men after a Jewish motorcade accidentally killed one black child and injured another.]

c)  Hate Crimes — The whole concept of “hate crimes” is one that needs to be banished from American jurisprudence.  That said, it is the perfect metaphor for what is happening in this nation today.  The majority of “hate crimes” — i.e., crimes with a racial component — occurring in this country are progressive hoaxes to drive a racial narrative, with Jussie Smollett being simply the most notable and recent.

Tier III — Calls For Violence:

a)  Neo-Nazi’s, KKK, Burning Crosses — These are the people in this nation who in fact can be called racist and are associated with movements having a history of violence.  These groups are not conservative groups nor are they tolerated in mainstream society.  Today, the total number of people in these organizations nationwide, in a nation of over three hundred million people, is probably at or under 100,000.  I would not be surprised to find about the same number or higher if you add up ANTIFA, anarchists, and black nationalist groups.

b)  The N-Word — The professor lists using the “N” word as a call to violence.  I agree.  I only point out that I look forward to the day when the right understands that being falsely labeled racist is also a call to violence.

c)  Confederate Flag — I am not going to argue this one.  I think Bookworm’s take on the flag and Confederate statutes (see item 11 in the linked post) is the right one, and this is one case where the subjective feelings the flag and paeans to Confederate generals might engender is sufficient justification to move them into museums.

Tier IV — Actual Discrimination

 a)  [Systemic] Mass Incarceration — This has long been a stalking horse for progressives.  For progressives, enforcing the law against blacks is ipso facto proof of racism. The statistics do not show disparate treatment against blacks for sentencing, only that blacks’ rate of criminal conduct is out of proportion to their numbers in society.  Regardless, Trump has in fact been the only President to push through prison reform with an eye towards giving blacks caught up in the prison system a second chance.  That must be “sneaky” white supremacy.

b)  [Systemic] School to Prison Pipeline — Again, another stalking horse, calling this discrimination.  The fact that there might be fundamental problems in the dysfunctional culture of lower socio-economic blacks is never the cause — and by calling the pipeline discrimination, that makes it racist to even discuss and solve the problem of young black men leaving school and heading straight into the prison system.

c)  [Systemic] Racial Profiling and Stop and Frisk — Stopping a person to question or search simply because of that person’s race is a 4th Amendment violation and would be racist.  No one argues that.  But stopping and searching someone is neither a 4th Amendment violent nor racist if, because of surrounding circumstances, the police have a reasonable suspicion that the person might be involved in a crime.  This goes back to NYC’s policy of “stop and frisk” that the NYPD used successfully to bring down crime by and against minorities circa 2000.

d)  [Systemic] Redlining —  Redlining has been illegal since the 1970’s.  It was a practice by financial institutions to refuse loans to people regardless of qualification if they lived in particular areas, most often in inner city areas.  Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act to end it, but then Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd used the CRA to destroy all color-blind lending standards as racist.  This social engineering under the guise of correcting for racism led to the Sub-Prime Crisis and the Great Recession of 2008.

e)  Housing Discrimination and Employment Discrimination — These have been unlawful since the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Rare cases of actual racism still occur on the fringes of society and are dealt with through the courts.  That said, the majority of Housing and Employment discrimination cases of today rely on the “disparate impact” theory, which holds that one does not even need to show an intent to discriminate if a policy is shown to affect minorities disproportionately for whatever reason, including, as mentioned above, colorblind reasons.  As Thomas Sowell has opined, much of what the left falsely claims today is racism in society is based on their manipulations using the “disparate impact racket.”

f)  Anti-Immigration Policies — This is pure post-modernism, where the subjective feelings of the progressive author are embraced as objective fact.  There are countless reasons to enforce the border and require that our federal government control immigration.  Indeed, that is an express right and duty of the federal government in Article I Sec. 8 of the Constitution.  And yet, for the progressive left, any attempt to stop illegal immigration, and any attempt to deport illegal immigrants is deemed “racist” and is part and parcel of “white supremacy.”

g)  Funding Schools Locally — We’ve been funding schools locally in this country for as long as there have been schools.  It is a state and local function.  It is not an Art. 1, Sec. 8 enumerated power of the federal government, the Department of Education notwithstanding.  As Thomas Sowell points out, the problem with minority educational achievement or lack thereof is not school funding.  But apparently, you are a white supremacist if you do not support a federal takeover of funding for schools.

Tier V — Veiled Racism

a)  Victim Blaming — If you believe that people should address the problems of their community and that they are responsible for their own actions, you are a white supremacist.

b)  Paternalism — If you offer suggestions for minorities to solve the problems of their community, you are a white supremacist.

c)  English Only Initiatives — The ability of a nation’s people to communicate using a common language is near a foundational element of societal success and a keystone for individuals to succeed in society.  That seems like a valid, non-racist basis to require that everyone learn the English language in this country.

d)  Euro-centric Curriculum —  This is nothing more than reverse racism.  Unless one can articulate how substituting X for Y acts as an improvement to our society, then this is nothing more than intentionally destroying the common culture of a nation founded in Western civilization because of identity politics.

e)  Claiming reverse racism — To point out that the progressives are attacking whites on the basis of their skin color alone — which is all the white supremacy movement is — is itself an act of white supremacy.  Apparently, though, while the professor does not make this point, it appears that the progressive left defends itself against charges of racism by claiming minority status.  Somehow, being a minority in proggie land means that obscene racism is not truly racist.  This is all part of the redefinition of “racism” into a purely white, original sin.

f)  Tone Policing —  So telling a minority to tone down if that person is emoting so that you can have an exchange of ideas is racist because . . . minorities can’t control their emotions?

g)  Cultural Appropriation — To borrow from another culture because one appreciates something is about as far from racism as one could act.  How that becomes an act of “white supremacy” is beyond my ken.

h)  Tokenism — So having minority friends is now “white supremacy?”

Tier VI — Minimization

a)  Denying you are a white supremacist — This may seem completely insane, but to be white and deny your white supremacy is proof that you are a white supremacist.  No less than the NYT has proclaimed that in “The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial.”

b)  Colorblindness — Treating a minority the same as everyone else — the very antithesis of racism — is proof that you are a white supremacist.

c)  Not believing the experiences of people of color —  If you question a person’s narrative or point out that the person’s subjective feelings are not the same as objective facts . . . you are a white supremacist.

d)  Post-Racial Society — I’m not quite sure what the professor means by that, but I am assuming that she means that to posit a post-racial society as the goal for America, as Martin Luther King did, is “white supremacy.”  The goal of progressives is an identity centric society where a critical mass of the identities vote proggie.

Tier VII — Indifference

a)  Remaining Apolitical — This is binary.  You either join the progressives and buy into their obscene canards or you are a white supremacist, even if you could care less about race.

“White Supremacy” is an obscene dark fantasy.  But Project 1619 and the MSM at large are all engaged in pushing this canard.  There is not a single major outlet outside of Fox not running with it.  It is an effort to balkanize and turn our nation from a melting pot into a state based on tribalism permanantly ruled by progressives.  With this latest foray into “white supremacy,” progressives will either keep this obscene dark fantasy of racism in America alive, or progressives will lose any hope of regaining political power.  It will be the ruin of our nation if they succeed.

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Perry Mason: intelligent television from a bygone era

If you’re fed up with the inanity of fake news, the depressing facts in real news, and the stupidity of modern pop culture, may I recommend Perry Mason?

I’ve always enjoyed knitting to classic television. I’ve knit my way through I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Carol Burnett, and a host of other shows that I classify as “mental comfort food.’ My latest knitting show is Perry Mason, which ran from 1957 through 1966.

I actually have very vague memories of watching Perry Mason with the family when I was still a very little girl. Raymond Burr frightened me, for he was a big man, with big eyebrows, and represented AUTHORITY. He was an uber-Daddy figure, seeming to me to be much more stern than my real Daddy, who was usually a jovial man who left most disciplining to my mother (who nevertheless would say things such as, “Wait until your father hears about this”). The result was that I didn’t come away with very good memories of Perry Mason, which I remembered as a scary show.

My distaste for Raymond Burr wasn’t helped when, in my 20s, I saw him in Rear Window. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that he fulfilled perfect his actorly responsibility to play an unappealing character.

Last week, though, when I picked up my knitting, I went hunting for some classic TV and found Perry Mason just sitting there, waiting to be watched. I sampled an episode, liked it, and kept going. I’ve now watched brilliant criminal defense attorney Perry Mason, Della Street (his insanely loyal, hardworking secretary), Paul Drake (his private investigator), Lieutenant Tragg (the primary police investigator), and Hamilton Burger (the District Attorney) through two hats, a scarf, and a pair of socks. Aside from my knitting accomplishments, which are a pleasure on their own, it’s been enjoyable catching up with this show.

To begin with, watching the show with adult eyes — not just adult eyes, but lawyer eyes — I can see that Perry Mason is anything but scary. Instead, as Raymond Burr plays him, he is the “perfect gentleman.” Mason is learned, brave, ethical, generous, kind and, of course, remarkably intelligent. The face that I once thought overwhelming I now see has an almost hound dog appeal to it.

Looking at the bio information for Raymond Burr, it seems that a lot of Burr himself shines through in that character. Burr was a brave man who survived being shot in the stomach on Okinawa while serving in the Navy during WWII. He was renowned for his generosity, for he took seriously Errol Flynn’s advice that if he still had money in his pocket when he died, he’d done a bad job at life. In fact, despite his memorable generosity, Perry Mason and Ironside meant that Burr died with $32 million in his pocket, which he left entirely to his life’s companion, Robert Benevides.

William Hopper, who played Paul Drake, Mason’s private investigator, was another interesting person. If his last name is familiar, it’s because it reminds you of Hedda Hopper who was his mother. Hedda started in Hollywood as an actress, but later become a renowned, and extremely powerful, gossip columnist. William Hopper’s father was DeWolf Hopper Sr., a forgotten name now, but a hugely successful matinee idol back in the day. Hopper himself was a very good-looking man. Moreover, he didn’t just rest on his family’s laurels. During WWII he was a Navy frogman, which was the predecessor to today’s Navy SEALS. Hopper went into the service with sleek brown hair but the stress was so tremendous that he left the service with the striking snow-white hair one sees in the show.

Ray Collins, who played Lt. Tragg, had a few interesting things in his past too. He was a descendant of the commander of Sutter’s Fort in the years before the Gold Rush, a factoid that I, a native Californian, find amusing. In the 1930s he played not one, not two, but three(!) roles in Orson Welles infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast. Welles cast him again in Citizen Kane, in which he played the ruthless Boss Jim Gettys, as well as in The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil. Ironically, William Hopper’s mother, Hedda, had tried to block Citizen Kane because everyone knew that it defamed her friend William Randolph Hearst.

William Talman, who played the excellent DA who nevertheless lost every case, had his own story. For one thing, he entered WWII as a private and left it as a major, something that argues intelligence and good people skills. From a modern perspective, the more intriguing thing was that he was arrested during the run of Perry Mason for attending a party that the police claimed was “wild,” including guests who were nude. Talman insisted he was innocent of wrongdoing, his case was dropped, and a judge eventually criticized police conduct, but the show’s producers nevertheless tried to kick him off using the morals clause in his contract. It was only because of a viewer write-in campaign that he was reinstated in his job after the claims against him were dismissed. Talman, a heavy smoker, succumbed to cancer. Before he died, he became the first celebrity to make a short movie decrying the harm cigarettes cause.

Let me take a minute to explain here when I meant when I said that Talman is interesting from a modern perspective. Just think about the treatment meted out to Talman, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, versus the treatment Jussie Smollett got for almost certainly filing a fake police report in service of a fake crime committed to bump up his pay base. The media and the entertainment industry went all out for him and it took Empire’s producers forever to decide that he shouldn’t return to the show — although his contract continues, which presumably means he still gets paid. As for the morals clause that almost destroyed Talman’s career, all the nudity is on-screen now, rather than hidden discretely at “wild” parties. Without nudity, HBO would have nothing to run on its many channels. The more tame stars probably fake moral turpitude to get their names in the press….

Barbara Hale, who played Mason’s loyal secretary, has a very boring bio — unless you consider it interesting in the Hollywood world to read about someone who managed successfully to stay married, raise three children, be a star in a long-running show, and have no scandals whatsoever attached to her. Her main claim to fame was that she had a magnificent shriek and was sometimes dubbed in for other actresses.

So that’s the cast. What I really like about the show, though, is that it’s smart. Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote the books on which the show was based, was a career litigator until he was able to make money from his writing. His inside knowledge about how cases worked, especially in a time before pre-trial discovery ensured that all the facts were developed before the trial began, meant that the trial scenes in his books had a strong, authentic underpinning. The show’s writers carried that authenticity into the TV show itself. The show’s courtroom procedure, from objections, to entering evidence, to the judge’s rulings, are therefore entirely accurate. Indeed, I would have had an easier time at law school and as a young lawyer if I’d watched re-runs of that show.

Each episode is a mini-murder mystery with Perry invariably representing the wrongly accused person and then brilliantly sussing out the true criminal, whom he exposes with savagely polite cross-examination. What impresses me is that I’m never quite sure who the real killer is. I’ve read a lot of mysteries in my time, so I’m usually pretty good at figuring out “whodunnit.” These shows, however, are so smartly written they usually don’t give the game away until the end.

I’m also enjoying the whole late 1950s feel of these black and white episodes (I’m only halfway through season 2, so I’m up to 1959). I love the women’s clothes; I love the way everyone is politely referred to as Mr., Mrs., or Miss; I love the old cars (even though they were death traps); and I love the combination of hard-boiled criminals (for it is 50s noir) along with an innocence that was both part of the culture and part of a world that insisted that TV maintain certain standards of decency.

Mostly, though, I love that the show respects the viewers’ intelligence. Sure, there was stupid television out at the time. Much as I adore I Love Lucy, no one could argue that it was intellectual fare. Perry Mason, though, assumes that it’s viewers have a fairly sophisticated vocabulary, can track a complicated plot with multiple characters over the course of 45 minutes, and will sit patiently waiting for a denouement, without needing the constant laughs or dramatic mini-plot twists that modern-day entertainment consumers, with their 45-second attention spans, demand.

If you have access to the old Perry Mason shows (I’m watching through Amazon Prime), why don’t you give them a whirl?

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