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Tag Archives: White Supremacy

The transphobia “moral” panic

People contributing to anti trans rhetoric are playing a much more dangerous game than they realise.

The current wave of anti-trans sentiment will lead to more violence and victimisation. Initially the attacks will hit people who are visibly trans women. Eventually, it will spread to anyone who is LGBTQI+. The same forces promoting this violence are those aiming to limit women’s rights, and ultimately purge their countries of unwelcome categories of people.

Be very sure you know what you are doing if you join in.

In America over one weekend in Pride Month alone, extremism monitors tracked “seven in-person extremist activities targeting LGBTQ people.” In the most dramatic event, 31 uniformed men in balaclavas were dragged from a U-Haul vehicle before they could create a “riot” at a Pride event in Idaho.

American political aspirants and preachers demanded death penalties for homosexuality in a year when 250 anti LGBTQI+ bills were introduced around that nation. In Ohio laws were passed that would allow the genital inspection of secondary and tertiary female student athletes. In Idaho, the law would make it a life-sentence felony for parents or doctors to help trans youth gain puberty delaying treatment, including making it a trafficking offence to take them out of the state in pursuit of medical care.

This hysteria feels much more extreme than in Australia, but as we saw on our streets over the pandemic, the violence of the turbulent world of American politics is brought here through internet swamps. Trump flags and nooses appeared in our street protests. Australians unknowingly appealed to American constitutional amendments for protection from health measures. Most Australians were shocked to see violent brawls with the police on our streets apparently emerging out of nowhere.

And in the global sewers of the internet, the reasons for the panic are clear. Of all the manifold bigotries that pervade the space, the one with the most convergence is that gay or trans people are pedophiles. That facts dismiss this as nonsense is no help; facts long since ceased having traction in this sphere.

This iteration of social contagion is not surprising. It is easier to absorb a “moral” panic when it confirms feelings of discomfort or incomprehension. Again, when it builds on earlier waves of “moral” panic, the new variant can confirm previous prejudice.

The “save our children” hysteria of the QAnon movement crescendoed in the worst of the pandemic. Lonely and frightened people sat at home on their computers absorbing a fantasy built on earlier waves of child stealing (and sacrificing) panics. Some of the people caught up in the QAnon cult would have been immersed in the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s where childcare operators were persecuted over baseless accusations of mass child abuse. QAnon proved they hadn’t been fools to believe.

The trans panic of this moment calls upon earlier fear and horror at the existence of Queer people in general. It was only in 1994 that mainland Australia legalised homosexuality, with Tasmania following three years later. The religious campaign against marriage equality during the postal vote in 2017 harnessed all the risks and threats that conservative Australians might dread.

The success of the equality vote brought change. Queer people in Australia described feeling accepted and finally welcome as part of the community. People felt newly safe to hold hands with their partner in the street.

These changes are recent and fragile. The Religious Right is fighting hard to limit equality, then ultimately to reverse it. This is most clearly apparent in the United States, but Australia saw Scott Morrison’s faction echoing its strategies. His religious discrimination bill aimed to grant religious groups the right to practise discrimination. In the election, Morrison’s decision to harness Katherine Deves’s feminist transphobia aimed to draw in a fresh base for his religious bigotry.

*And this feminist support for transphobia needs to be seen for what it is. “How the far right is turning feminists into fascists” traces the trajectory from some early radical feminist movements to the new anti-trans “feminism.” It is as likely to celebrate women for their child-bearing capacity as it is to echo ethnonationalist ideas. While feminisms are a broad range of beliefs, this kind seems grim.

The American Religious Right which Scott Morrison aimed to inject into Australian politics is infused with the theocratic belief in the absolute necessity for Evangelical/Pentecostal Christians to purify society. Christian Nationalism demands that all sexual activity in the state is procreative and within marriage. All men must be strong patriarchs. All women must be submissive wives. The Religious Right has not, however, placed itself at the centre of American “conservative” politics by being clumsy. It has deployed any strategy to achieve its aims, and encouraging women outside the churches to define their value in their reproductive capacity has been useful. It both works to aid the Religious Right’s war on women’s reproductive freedom as well as gaining allies against the LGBTQI+ people who would blur the boundaries.

They have convinced a sizeable proportion of America that progressives demand abortion up to the point of birth. The ludicrous parallel distortion is the depiction of trans women as a threat to other women. Both nightmare boogeymen prevent rational discussion of the issue, but rational discussion was never the goal.

The issue in America is driven from the top by well-funded Christian Libertarian thinktanks, and from the ground in the post-QAnon MAGA base. Republican politicians believe they have the key to minority rule in juggling these interest groups. In Australia, the nascent Religious Right is regrouping after Scott Morrison’s defeat. The secular version of their talking points is being amplified on Sky News, funnelled free-to-air into the regions.

When decent Australians allow themselves to be carried along by the wave of this moral panic, they are not defending women. What they are doing is becoming caught up on the rational-sounding fringes of a hysteria that will lead to violence.

The overlapping groups attacking LGBTQI+ people in America include Christian fascists and post QAnon conspiracy theorists alongside a range of other extremist factions. Anti-LGBTQI action has overtaken all the other “cross-pollination opportunities” like CRT, pandemic health measures and abortion access.

The violence in Australia is unlikely to look like militia in U-Hauls, but how many bashings or murders would be acceptable? The attack on trans people – or abortion – are not ends in themselves but trojan horse missions with the aim to replace our democratic projects with theocracy, and our freedoms to shape our lives with stringent rules of chaste behaviour.

We need to work together, just like the overlapping groups that despise us.

 

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The day I realised I belong to THAT generation

That generation – the one populated with a surplus, it seems, of angry, aging, white men attempting to cling to a sense of long-past-its-use-by-date supremacy. Even after the Trump election victory in the USA I somehow still thought of such men as “the older generation”. Not, to be honest, that I consciously thought about it – it just seemed that way.

I read many of the published letters of daughters to their Dads/parents expressing their concern over the parents’ voting choice. Even though I knew these daughters were young enough to be my daughters, somehow I still saw their fathers as not my generation. I did not see the same number of letters to mothers – which surprised me, given the percentage of white women (that actually voted) that voted for Trump. I did see an interesting analysis; it still doesn’t help me understand that particular demographic.

It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a man I’ve known for many years that the reality of my generation was brought home to me. In response to something I said, he kindly suggested I read a column in that day’s Herald Sun. The sub-text proposed I would be enlightened – or have my views “corrected”. On the basis of “keep your friends close, your enemies closer” I do sometimes find myself reading the tabloid and always end up in a grumpy mood. In this case I chose not to subject myself to such an irritation.

Driving to school later that day, I was still puzzling why the conversation had taken the turn it had. The light dawned. Then an even bigger light blazed through my consciousness. HE IS YOUNGER THAN I AM. Oh my God, I thought to myself, these men are MY generation!

I have enough men of my generation as followers on Facebook and Twitter to know not all men of my generation fall into this category. Thankfully, otherwise I’d be rather distraught. Perhaps their existence has cushioned me from the reality. Men of the other variety don’t follow me – or I them. I was interacting with like minds, not seeing the wider picture. I also know there are many men of younger generations who are caught up in the ideology of regaining white male supremacy but I do think hope the ratio is lower. It is men of my generation and slightly younger that are in power: they worry me more.

As a society, we have made important progress in challenging men’s illegitimate authority in the past century. But the Trump campaign made it painfully obvious that men’s sexual exploitation of women, possible only in a society in which men believe themselves to be naturally dominant over women, remains deeply entrenched. The ease with which so many men embraced Trump’s celebration of sexual exploitation, and so many women were willing to excuse it, is evidence of the strength of patriarchal values and norms.

Source: ABC

The above article was written about the USA, clearly, but how applicable is the content to Australia? More so than I would have thought, despite the evidence of Abbott’s behaviour (and others of his ilk). Those are men I don’t know personally: somewhere in my sub-conscious I still viewed them as, well, rather odd. Not the norm. That was too scary. It wasn’t until someone I knew, someone of my own generation and cultural background, led me to my light bulb moment.

How, at my age, could I think all these patriarchal types were an older generation? I suspect it comes from my father. I recall my mother disagreeing with my father involving me in what my mother saw as “male stuff” on the farm. I drove tractors, worked in the shearing shed, delivered lambs, marked lambs (for city readers, marking is removing tails and testicles) and gave mouth-to-nose resuscitation to a calf. I never remember seeing my mother on a horse. I have a faint recollection of her steering (not driving, steering) a tractor once. I suppose I grew up more as a boy than a girl, per “traditional” roles. My father never treated me as if I was “the fairer sex” so why would men younger than my father treat women differently? Not just treat women differently, but minorities as well. My father, if he was still alive, would be 95. So men like Trump, only 25 years junior, I could still sub-consciously put in that “soon they’ll all be gone” category.

I can’t put men my own age in the “soon they’ll all be gone” category, for that means I have to include myself and I’m not planning on “going soon”. What I failed to acknowledge was Trump’s age in relation to my own. Selective reasoning on my part.

We have generations to still battle this societal problem. Fathers of my generation are still influencing their children and grandchildren, male and female. It is going to be tough being a parent in the USA for the next few years: yet is Australia really all that different? Just less “out there” perhaps, at least in relation to sexism although racism is particularly rampant at this time.

Now, as the reality of a Trump presidency sets in, concerned parents face a new slew of questions about raising their children in a time of collective change and uncertainty ― not to mention bad behavior being modeled by our highest elected official. Seventy-five percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 say Trump is not a good role model for children, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.

With kids being more exposed to arguments from adults around them and in the media, it’s important to teach them how to disagree and have their own opinions without attacking or undermining those who hold different views.

Source: Huffington Post – Advice From Psychologists On Raising Kids Well In Trump’s America

Now I have to adjust to being a member of THAT generation. I don’t like it already.

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White Supremacist says Ms. Hanson is misunderstood

The Reclaim Australia Movement is conducting a rally in my home town of Rockhampton and Pauline Hanson will be the guest speaker at the event.

In our local newspaper (The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin) and local groups on Facebook, there has been commentary regarding this event. Reclaim Australia purport that it is not a racist event, but inclusive of everyone.

Bro Michael Ireland of the Church of Creativity (founded by white supremacist leader Ben Klassen) has now established a local chapter in the Rockhampton community. The Church of Creativity is a white supremacist movement, which has a doctrine built on the notion of “nature.” That is God created white people and white people essentially need to take charge of the earth or else it will spiral towards a path of destruction. (No links in my blog to this rubbish – sorry).

To put into perspective where this white supremacist church has established itself; I will detail the population demographics of Rockhampton.

Rockhampton is a town in Central Queensland, and sits on the Tropic of Capricorn. The traditional owners of the land in Rockhampton are the Darumbal People. The Aboriginal Township of Woorabinda is 170 km west of Rockhampton. There are 6.5% of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Rockhampton, which is higher than the state average of 5%. In addition, 12.5% of Australia’s South Sea Islander people live in Rockhampton and although the dominant population ancestry groups are Australian, English and Irish; Rockhampton has a growing trend of Indian, Filipino, South African and Vietnamese people (Profile.Id, 2013 & Dept of Communities, 2014).

Bro. Michael Ireland had this letter published today (15/07/2015) in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in defence of Pauline Hanson. I have published my response below, which has been submitted for consideration as a Letter to the Editor.

bro michael ireland

 

My Response

Perhaps Bro Michael Ireland should rename himself “the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It is very misleading to the public when an individual uses the title of “Bro”, indicating he is using the title to speak on behalf of a religious faith.

Bro Michael Ireland does indeed belong to a Church. The Church of Creativity, Rockhampton. Some of his opinion pieces have appeared on the Church of Creativity Website. He starts opinion pieces with, “Racial greetings to my fellow White brothers and sisters.” He urges people to obtain a copy of the true bible for the white race – The White Man’s Bible. In other opinion pieces, he refers to Christian People as “Christ-Insanes.” This certainly speaks to the hypocrisy of the use of the title ‘Bro’, which is normally understood within society as relating to a Christian faith.

Perhaps when Bro Michael says that Pauline Hanson is misunderstood; he does not recognise that Ms. Hanson’s version of equality is in fact inequality. When he calls into question homeless shelters for Indigenous homeless youth, and blames the Government’s investment in Indigenous programs as ‘guilt over colonization’; he does not stop to consider that there are considerably more barriers to achieving equality for Indigenous people than there are for those of non-Indigenous backgrounds. He does not recognise that when it comes to working towards equality, not everyone starts from the same starting point.

I am not an Indigenous woman, but I am a local woman and I feel great pride when Darumbal Elders such as Wade Mann give the Welcome to Country at events. It fills me with an overwhelming feeling of pride for the area I live in; a feeling of awe at the beauty of the land and animals described and an intrigue and excitement of stories I was never taught at school and I look to Uncle Wade with respect as an Elder and a leader in our community.

When Bro. Ireland’s doctrine states, “We believe that without the white race any worthwhile culture and civilization are impossible” He does not recognise how other cultures can enrich us and teach us and how we can learn respect for customs and traditions. Multiculturalism helps us to stop being insular and selfish and gives us the gift of inclusiveness.

When people promote Ms. Hanson today, they do so on the platform of creating a ‘non-Muslim’ Australia. They seem to forget that Ms. Hanson has ridden on the back of negativity and fear mongering of Asians and Aboriginal people. Ms. Hanson’s 1996 Maiden speech to Parliament warned Australians of the damage that Aboriginal people and Asians do to our society. Now that the fear and hatred has turned to Muslims, she is milking that cow until it is dry. It would be a safe bet that if people started to be scared of the Irish, Ms. Hanson would jump on that bandwagon to serve her own pockets. Ms. Hanson is the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set.

The growth of the Patriots and White Supremacist movements can be summed up in the words of Aboriginal Elder and former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Patrick Dodson:

“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.”

 

Originally published on Polyfeministix

 

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