Disclaimer: This post is based on episodes 2, 5, and 6, half of those shown so far.

“Pose” (2018- ) is a US television show on FX centred on five transgender women of colour – played by five transgender women of colour. Radical, I know. It is pretty much “Paris Is Burning” (1991) made into a television show, with some straight White characters added. It takes place in New York of the late 1980s: greed is good, AIDS, the ballroom scene, Patrick Nagel paintings, etc. “Pose” was created by Ryan Murphy, a White gay man who gave us the hit show “Glee” (2009-15).

“Pose” made history last Sunday (July 8th 2018): its sixth episode, “Love Is the Message”, was the first episode of US television ever written and directed by a trans woman of colour – Janet Mock.

It is the first show on US television I have seen…

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Patricia Okoumou


Therese Patricia Okoumou (c. 1973- ) is the woman who climbed up on the Statue of Liberty in New York on July 4th 2018. She was protesting President Trump’s immigration policies:

“Michelle Obama, our beloved First Lady, that I care so much about, said, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ And I went as high as I could.

“Trump has ripped this country apart. It is depressing. It is outrageous. I can say a lot of things about this monster, but I will stop at this: His draconian zero-tolerance policy on immigration has to go. In a democracy we do not rip children, we do not put children in cages. Period. There is no debating it. Nothing you can say to me can justify putting children in cages. Only a stupid, unintelligent coward and insecure – I will add, a maniac – will rip a tender-age child from its…

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zero tolerance immigration policy


The zero tolerance immigration policy (2018- ) was rolled out in the US in April 2018 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Over this past Father’s Day weekend it has become infamous for separating children from parents who cross the south-western border, putting the children in cages.

An Ipsos poll on June 14th and 15th asked 1,000 people in the US age 18 or over if they agreed with this:

“It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally.”


  • 27% agreed,
  • 56% disagreed,
  • 17% unsure.

By party:

  • 46% Republicans agreed,
  • 29% Independents,
  • 14% Democrats.

Only 32% of Republicans disagreed!

The policy is opposed by the United Nations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, 300 US Catholic bishops, First Lady Laura Bush, the Southern Baptist Convention, and even Franklin Graham.

President Trump blames the Democrats

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separating children from parents

U.S. depravity has led us to mass incarceration, then prisons for profit (private prisons), now we are incarcerating innocent children for PROFIT in private prisons. Disgusting


“Immigrant Children” by Rob Rogers, June 1st 2018. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to print this political cartoon. It fired Rogers two weeks later.

Separating children from parents has a history:

1855: Frederick Douglass, who was Black:

“The practice of separating children from their mother, and hiring the latter out at distances too great to admit of their meeting, except at long intervals, is a marked feature of the cruelty and barbarity of the slave system. But it is in harmony with the grand aim of slavery, which, always and everywhere, is to reduce man to a level with the brute. It is a successful method of obliterating from the mind and heart of the slave, all just ideas of the sacredness of the family, as an institution.”

1943: Anne Frank, who was Jewish:

“Dearest Kitty,


“Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day…

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William Barber


Rev. Barber in 2016.

Reverend William J. Barber II (1963- ), a US civil rights leader, is a Disciples of Christ pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He is best known for the Moral Monday protests in his state (2013-17). Now in 2018 he is going nationwide, picking up where Martin Luther King Jr left off in 1968, helping to lead a new Poor People’s Campaign.


  • political: Martin Luther King, Ella Baker, Robert F. Williams, the populist movement of the 1890s.
  • theological: Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, James Cone.


  • Cornel West: “That brother is the real thing.”
  • Bernie Sanders: “[Barber] is doing some of the most important work in the country.”

Barber’s view of US history is much like mine, informed by Howard Zinn, Nell Painter, and the Black counter-frame: a call-and-response between Black Reconstruction and White backlash. In its finer moments…

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Dear White People


“Dear White People” (2014) is a US film about White racism. It follows four Black students at the fictional Winchester University, a predominately White institution (PWI) where rich White people send their children. It has since become a television series on Netflix. This post is only about the film.

The film now seems dated – even though it is only three and a half years old. It came out in October 2014, just in time for Halloween. But as it showed in cinemas, protesters were marching in Ferguson, already making the film seem out-of-date and quaint. The rise of Trump in 2016 and the Neo-Nazi violence of the Charlottesville riot in 2017 have made it seem quainter still. It now seems so 2013.

It starts with Samantha White, one of the main characters, calling out White racism on the university radio station. Even that now seems dated: in the Trump…

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Us and Them


Us and Them (by -400,000,000) is where we divide the world into those who are like us – the Us, the in-group – and those who are not like us – the Them, the out-group. It seems to go back at least hundreds of millions of years, back to when we were fish. Upon it is built racism, religious bigotry, genocide and all the rest.

It is universal, it is deep, it is instant. It is as automatic as breathing. Which is why in the United States a White police officer can gun down a Black person and yet honestly say it had nothing to do with race. Because it took place too quick for his conscious mind to take part.

Implicit bias: The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures, among other things, how much you favour Whites over Blacks (or the other way round). It measures reaction times that…

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net neutrality


(Illustration: The Verge)

Net neutrality (2002-2018?) is the idea that the companies which run the Internet – companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast – should not play favourites but should treat all websites equally. They should not be able to block, slow down, or charge you extra for a website like Netflix, YouTube or Twitter.

Before net neutrality, police brutality was never a nationwide issue in the US, even when it led to riots that got nationwide attention, like Detroit in 1967 or Los Angeles in 1992. Because Whites controlled the media.

Without net neutrality the Internet in the US will likely go the way of the rest of the media: controlled by a handful of big companies which determine in effect what you see and hear. The Internet was the one ray of democratic sunshine in a plutocratic world.

For and against net neutrality:

  • For: Internet content…

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Dr B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) was the Dalit (untouchable) who helped write the constitution of India. He is a hero to Dalits and Sudras, who live at the bottom of the Indian caste system.

He has no US counterpart: no Black man or Native helped to write the US constitution – it was White men all the way.

Reservations (affirmative action) was something he wrote into the constitution. It requires the government to reserve places in government employment and at universities for “backward” groups like the Dalits. It was only meant to last ten years (till 1960), but everyone wanted to be “backward”, so it became a way to win elections: count more people as “backward” and promise more places.

“Dalits” was a term he pushed. It means “broken men” in his native Marathi. He thought it was better than calling oneself “untouchable”.

Growing up Dalit, he was not allowed…

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Childish Gambino: This Is America

“It is a world where guns are valued more than people. This is America.” -Abagond


“This Is America” (2018) is a song and music video by Childish Gambino, the nom de rap of US actor Donald Glover, he of “Atlanta” (2016- ). The video has gone viral, getting 33 million views on YouTube in the first 48 hours. It is now past 60 million.

Spoilers: If you have not seen it yet, I do not want to ruin it for you. Try this link (might not work in all countries or after five years or so):

Warning: graphic gun violence:

The video features a Charleston-style church massacre, schoolchildren who are up on the latest dance moves, a Ferguson-style uprising, a burning police car, even the White Horse of the Apocalypse (which is a sign of the end of the world in the Bible). It is a world where guns are valued more than people. This is America.

My interpretation: Gambino did not provide…

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