UK Home Office suffers setback: can't destroy family by deporting American head-teacher as his British wife begins cancer treatment

The UK Home Office's war on migration has suffered a setback: an American head-teacher had lived in Scotland for nearly ten years will be allowed to stay and help his British wife of four years as she begins cancer treatments. The Home Office had been absolutely set on deporting David MacIsaac, having declared his marriage "a sham," despite the massive shortage of qualified head teachers. But after the pesky Observer newspaper called attention to MacIsaac's plight, and Scottish politicians took up his cause, the poor Home Office was forced to change direction, causing irreparable economic harm to the private security company that would have otherwise been enriched by a government contract to shackle MacIsaac and physically abuse him all the way back to America.

But have no fear: Britain's new migration policies will ensure that countless other MacIsaacs will be cruelly taken from their homes and families in an effort to pander to the Daily Mail, bigots, and crypto-bigots who say things like "Oh, I'm not a racist, but when people arrive too fast for us to assimilate them, it doesn't do anyone any good" (or its cousin, "I'm no bigot, but certain groups just don't want to assimilate.")

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On Richard Cohen's gag reflex

Yesterday, Washington Post sinecurist Richard Cohen wrote that "conventional" Americans "gag" at interracial marriages. His editor, Fred Hiatt, offered a squirmy apology, but Cohen himself is 'hurt' by accusations of racism. To those who see Cohen's critics as suffering from a 'reading comprehension' problem--Cohen's a Tea Party critic, don't 'cha know!--The Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates has a powerful explanation of why this is not so. Think Progress gathers the columnist's long history of racist, sexist and homophobic commentary into one convenient location. Alex Pareene, meanwhile, assails Cohen's post-facto clarifications: "He thinks he is defending himself, but he is actually directly contradicting the thing he wrote."

Study: racists more likely to own guns

"For each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home." [Discovery via Gawker]

UK government sends 40,000 texts to semi-random foreigners (and some Brits): "You are required to leave the UK!"


Britain continues its slide into official xenophobia: a government contractor sent nearly 40,000 texts reading "Message from the UK Border Agency. You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have right to remain." At least 400 of these reportedly went to people who had the right to be in the country, including some UK citizens. But the contractor says it's all OK, because people who received messages in error weren't deported -- all they had to do was convince a sloppy, faceless, mercenary corporation that they had the right to be in the country and the threats of deportation, deprivation of access to their homes, employment and families ceased. Theresa May, the government's Foreignerfinder General, says it wasn't her idea to send the texts -- just like all the ministers who disavowed the vans driving around London's browner neighbourhoods with giant billboards reading "In the UK illegally? GO HOME or face arrest!"

But still: No biggie!

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Can you see the racism now?

(Via Political Blindspot. Thanks, Matthew!)

Take the impossible "literacy" test Louisiana gave black voters in 1964

Here's the first page of a three-page "literacy" test that racist authorities in Louisiana presented to black people as a way to keep them from voting in 1964. You had 10 minutes to complete the test, and one wrong answer out of 30 disqualified you. (Thanks, @RobotCommission!)

The missing body of Addie Mae Collins

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, a major event in the history of civil rights in the United States. Members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a box of dynamite at the church, which was a major organizing center for the black community and civil rights protests. The resulting explosion killed four girls — Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.

That part of the story is pretty well-known. What isn't well known is the fact that one of those girls, Addie Mae Collins, may well have been a victim of racism after her death, thanks to a longstanding tradition where white medical schools raided black cemeteries for dissection cadavers. I happened to stumble across this story last week, while reading Harriet Washington's book, Medical Apartheid. The tale, and how it connects to racism both historical and modern, haunted me all day yesterday.

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Abercrombie and Fitch to be fined after firing headscarf-wearing Muslim

Islamic attire being against Abercrombie and Fitch's "look policy", it fired a Muslim employee. There's so much one might say about this, but it is the opinion of one person that matters: Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
Rogers ruled the firm violated anti-discrimination laws when it sacked Hani Khan from a Hollister brand store. Ms Khan was initially allowed to wear a scarf in the Hollister brand's colours at the San Mateo, California store, but was later fired. The retailer had argued deviation from its "look policy" would affect sales.

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On conservative attempts to co-opt MLK

Hamilton Nolan: "It all adds up to a simple formula: concede wholehearted support for the points that have already been won, while dismissing (as irrelevant, or unpatriotic, or immoral) the points that are still active political issues with which conservatives disagree." [Gawker]

Study: Whites favor meritocracy when meritocracy favors whites

Survey participants were asked to assign importance to various criteria, including grades, in university admissions. Merit scored well among white participants. But...

When asked about "leadership" as an admissions criterion, white ranking of the measure went up in importance when respondents were informed of the Asian success in University of California admissions. "Sociologists have found that whites refer to 'qualifications' and a meritocratic distribution of opportunities and rewards, and the purported failure of blacks to live up to this meritocratic standard, to bolster the belief that racial inequality in the United States has some legitimacy," Samson writes in the paper. "However, the results here suggest that the importance of meritocratic criteria for whites varies depending upon certain circumstances. To wit, white Californians do not hold a principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit."

Brown? In London? Papers please.


(Photo: NRBrizzle)

In London today, members of the UK Border Agency were stopping people of color at various tube stations and demanding that they show identity papers. Several eyewitnesses confirmed that the patrol officers were singling out brown people, that they were intimidating in demeanor, and that they threatened to arrest passers-by who asked what was going on. At least one officer is reported to have removed his badge number. This comes as the UKBA began to blitz London's neighbourhoods with vans threatening undocumented migrants with arrest and deportation and exhorting them to turn themselves in.

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Long-lost diary of Nazi racial theorist and Hitler confidant recovered


Photo: ICE HSI. Click to enlarge.

In Washington today, US officials and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum representatives announced the seizure of a long-lost diary maintained by a close confidant of Adolf Hitler.

The recovery of this historical document was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The author of the so-called "Rosenberg Diary" was Alfred Rosenberg, a leading member of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party during World War II.

Rosenberg was one of the intellectual authors behind key Nazi beliefs, including persecution of Jewish people, expansionist “lebensraum” (living space) ideology, the "master race" theory, and the rejection of modern art as "degenerate." He was tried at Nuremberg, sentenced to death, and hanged on October 16, 1946, after having been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The diary will eventually be displayed in the Holocaust Museum. More photos, video from the press conference where the seizure was announced, video of Rosenberg speaking, and more of the story behind this important historic artifact are below.

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Shell's racist pesticide ad, 1957


From 1957, a disturbing, patronizing, racist Shell ad for pesticides, selling the superiority of big agribusiness.

Weekend Event - White

Documentary on hidden victims of Greek austerity that's crowdfunded, free & CC-licensed

Into the Fire writes, "Into The Fire is a film with a difference. Besides being a hard hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants amidst a collapsing Greek economy, it's also an experiment in new film production and distribution techniques. A year ago, we made a first, crowd-funded trip to Athens. We filmed shocking levels of racism, police brutality, and right-wing extremism - as well as the courageous and inspiring people who are organising against it.

"Into the Fire will be released on 21st April on the internet. We crowd-funded the film and crowd-sourced the subtitles: it's been translated into eight languages using the open subtitler Amara. We are also using crowd-sourcing as the release and distribution strategy for the documentary: anyone who signs up to participate will receive embedding details ahead of time, and the film will be released on various websites simultaneously. The audience becomes the distribution network."

Django Unchained: "A white revenge fantasy"

Noah Smith (who is white) saw "Django," and loved it. "Not for the cartoonish violence (which was OK, nothing special) or for Tarantino's trademark witty banter (which was a bit subdued)," he says, but for its politics. "I'm pretty sure that for all its elements of blaxploitation, Django's politics are all about white people," writes Smith. "It's not a black revenge fantasy; it's a white revenge fantasy." Django isn't black people's story of slavery: it's white people's.