News Fix: South Carolina will Vote to Debate the Removal of the Confederate Flag and Other News Stories

Hey backpackers! You should put on some more sunscreen. Rachel would approve.

+ A mural depicting LGBT Latinos in San Francisco was vandalized multiple times last week and now the artists are facing threatening and offensive comments on social media. The mural, created by Manuel Paul of the Maricón Collective, features a gay couple, a lesbian couple and a trans man and with the words “Por Vida.” The vandals spray painted the couples’ faces and left the trans man untouched but after news broke of the story, the vandals returned to deface the trans man too. The mural was replaced and was then defaced again later in the week. The gallery and artists have received homophobic messages on their instagrams. The gallery hopes to replace the mural again but this time they’re asking the community for help by donating funds. The gallery also plans to host a community forum in the future.

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The defacement and re-defacement of the current digital mural by Manuel Paul of Maricón Collective has only proven the credibility of its purpose. Galeria de la Raza believes in the importance of continued dialogue about LGBTQ visibility, awareness, and acceptance in the Mission District and within the greater Latin@ communities. Galería does not condone actions of hate, violence and homophobia and is dedicated to continuing to promote understanding and tolerance through peaceful means. While ignorance and hate may have been expressed by the few, we thank the extraordinarily generous support we have received from the vast majority of the community. We are in the process of organizing a community forum to engage the larger community in the coming days but in the meantime we need to raise funds to fix the current mural. Please consider making a donation at:https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1392515

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+ A Florida police officer is suspended after forcing a teen lesbian to strip while he masturbated and threatened to arrest her if she didn’t comply. Sgt. Jesus Menocal, Jr., pulled over a young lesbian couple, who are 17 and 20 years old, after they made an illegal U-turn. Menocal asked the 17-year-old to get in his police car and drove her to a substation where he took her to a private room and proceeded to ask her intrusive questions like the classic “how do lesbians have sex?” He then started touching his genitals and ordered the teenager to strip. She took off her shorts and refused to take off her top and bra. The teen was released with no charges after 15 minutes. The couple filed a complaint. The officer was suspended with pay and there’s now a pending investigation.

+ Google will now remove revenge porn from their search results. In the past, Google only obliged people for legal reasons. Google Senior Vice President Amit Singhal wrote in a blog post:

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims — predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results.”

+ Tondalo Hall, who’s sentenced to 30 years in prison for allowing child abuse, while the actual abuser of her child only served two years, was granted a full hearing on her application to shorten her sentence. Hall described in her application for clemency how she was in an abusive relationship with Robert Braxton, the father of her child, and feared for her life and her child’s life if she alerted authorities about his violence.

+ After July 1, trans state employees and trans family members of state employees in Nevada can use their state’s health insurance to cover transition-related medical procedures including therapy, hormone therapy and gender affirming surgeries.

+ Rick Scarborough, antigay pastor from Texas, really doesn’t want gays allowed to be married in this country because apparently he would set himself on fire if the Supreme Court decides on marriage equality and that it’s all a satanic plot.

+ Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church reopened for service on Sunday. Reverend Norvel Goff led the service and preached about love and forgiveness. The service was solemn and emotional and began with reading the names of the 9 people who were murdered in the church. There was a heavy police presence with police checking bags and stationed throughout the church.

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+ Anonymous Twitter sleuths @HenryKrinkle and @EMQuangel uncovered Dylann Roof’s outright racist manifesto. (Who started calling it a manifesto? What makes it a manifesto?) Anyways, I didn’t read all of it because it’s just complete filth but some of the stuff I skimmed through sounds a lot like the beliefs of regular white people you may know.

+ In Roof’s manifesto, he mentions the Council of Conservative Citizens, a designated white nationalist hate group, as a source of information which inspired him to kill 9 black people in their church. The current leader of CCC is Earl Holt, who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates for President and Congress. Now those candidates are trying to give back his money and disassociate from his name. Presidential candidate Ted Cruz will be refunding the $8,500 that Holt donated to his campaign and PAC. Presidential candidate Rand Paul said he would be donating the money he received from Holt to families of the victims. And presidential candidate Scott Walker will return his $3,500 donation back to Holt.

+ The South Carolina General Assembly is expected to vote today on whether or not to extend their regular session (which ended June 4) to debate the removal of the Confederate flag on the state capitol. NBC News reports, “A decision to continue the session would take two-thirds of the vote, as would passing legislation to take down the flag.” On Monday, Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol at a news conference in the wake of the 9 killed at a historic Black church. Haley added she’d use her power as governor to call a special session of the state legislature if they don’t vote to debate it.

“The murderer, now locked up in Charleston, said he hoped his actions would start a race war. We have an opportunity to show that not only was he wrong, but that just the opposite is happening,” Haley said. “My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move our state forward in harmony, and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are now in heaven.”

+ After Haley’s announcement, Walmart and Sears Holding Corp announced they will no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn followed in Haley’s lead and denounced the use of the Confederate flag on their license plates and on their state flag respectively.

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 206 articles for us.

35 Comments

  1. I feel really conflicted about the Tondalo Hall case. On one hand, of course Braxton should’ve received a heavier sentence, but I don’t think she shouldn’t have received some sort of consequence. Subjecting your child to abuse is obviously not okay, but also, subjecting your child to watching domestic violence between you and a partner is also abuse. And so is knowing your child is being abused in your home and not stopping it.
    This is something my mother, grandfather, and I argue about all the time. My grandfather’s father was mentally ill (he had extensive brain damage) and was physically, verbally, and sexually abusive toward his wife and eight children. His wife, my grandfather’s mother, didn’t leave. By the time my great-grandfather died (young), he had put his four year old in a coma, left two of his children permanently brain damaged and unable to live independently, and one dead. My grandfather and my mother are both pretty adamant about my grandmother having been a good person who wasn’t responsible for any of it, but I strongly disagree. I feel bad for her; she had a rough life and got the raw end of the stick in pretty much everything (indigenous, third grade education, dirt poor, etc) It’s one thing to struggle to leave an abusive relationship if there are no children involved; it’s COMPLETELY different when a child is involved. You are responsible for what happens to that child in your home if you’re aware of it.
    I dunno. Obviously I have strong, personal feelings about this.

    • oh man, that’s a lot of difficult, complex feelings. i’m sorry that happened in your family.

      i think in Hall’s case, she just got soooo much time — 15 times more time in prison than the man who broke the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old daughter. she was in an abusive and violent situation and she couldn’t escape so i think for the circumstances, it would be fair to reduce her sentence drastically.

      • And I agree about the imbalance in sentences. I just really dislike how it’s being framed; I’ve seen a lot of of people maintain that she was completely innocent in the whole situation. That’s she’s JUST a victim. And I just don’t think that’s true. I think it’s incredibly important for people to understand that allowing an abuser access to your child is fundamentally wrong, and an abusive act. I think you can admit that, state that, and not justify it or brush it under the rug, while also maintaining that the imbalance in sentences was incredibly unfair and misogynistic (as domestic violence sentences always are, always have been) and justice needs to be served. At the heart of it, though, the victim in this whole situation was that baby, more than anyone else.

    • That is a truly awful thing that happened in your family, and obviously every family’s case is different, but statistically women and children are vastly (I’ve seen stated figures up to 70x) more likely to be killed when they leave an abusive relationship. I don’t think in the majority of cases it is at all as easy as saying “you’re responsible for what happens if you see it”, when they are very likely (and credibly) being threatened with death if they leave. I personally can’t place blame on anyone who has to choose between their children’s ongoing abuse and their death.

  2. Wow, a lot to take in today. First of all, WTF. That Florida police officer???? Did he watch Bad Lieutenant and think, “Now there’s a guy I can really look up to!” Jesus Christ. I hope he faces criminal charges as well as being fired.

    And now, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Rand Paul is doing the right thing (???). Giving the money to the victims makes a hell of a lot more sense than giving it back to the racist hate group so that they can use it again for something awful.

    And finally, it’s so amazing that Walmart is going to stop selling confederate flag merch! That’s where all the racist rednecks in my town go to buy their confederate flag shirts, and hats, and everything else. So, I’ve got some seriously wonderful schadenfreude going on right now.

    • wow, i didn’t think about the Rand Paul thing being a good thing but i agree it’s probably the best decision.

      i know it’s so weird to applaud a Republican lawmaker and a huge ass corporation that doesn’t care about its workers, so I hear you! i think we can just look at it as them doing the thing they should’ve done all along and leave it at that!

  3. I’m really glad that the Confederate flag is being rolled back and hate groups are being identified and held more accountable.

    I hope that more can be done as a community of allies to support the Emannuel AME church and more positive change in SC and the U.S, though. Removing the Confederae flag is a symbol and a start, but it feels like a band-aid and a diversion from a deeper conversation and more critical actions. What do you all think?

    • “I hope that more can be done as a community of allies to support the Emannuel AME church and more positive change in SC and the U.S, though. Removing the Confederate flag is a symbol and a start, but it feels like a band-aid and a diversion from a deeper conversation and more critical actions. What do you all think?”

      I agree that is more symbolic and functions more like a band aid on a very deep infected wound.

    • Yeah, I totally agree that removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds and from stores is just a band-aid to a deep-seeded problem called systematic racism. I think at the moment, these politicians and cooperations are associating the flag with this one horrendous act of “hate” (they’re not associating this with racism, not everyone i think) and not realizing that there’ve been numerous horrendous racists acts under this flag since its inception. I think the way they’re talking about it is a problem because they’re just associating it to Dylann Roof when I’m sure so many white Southerners are filled with pride over that motherf*cking flag who perpetuate racism every day but don’t kill people, you know. But like it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe if they framed it differently and acknowledged what the flag actually symbolizes? Idk.

      • Yes in most ways it’s a band aid to this country’s systemic racism, but if they can finally get rid of any official recognition of the slaveholder’s flag and making it clear to retail outfits that, in future, selling products with that flag on it will no longer be tolerated, it could actually a kind of big deal.

        I’ve lived through 50+ years of hearing idiots try to deny the intrinsic connection between the CSA, slavery and institutionalized racism… this is the first time in decades I recall right wing southerners (and corporate entities like Walmart) willing to actually agree to this. No doubt some quarters will attempt to use other confederate flags or even aryan nation flags (under the premise of expression of “religious freedom” as substitutes) but this is more than a minor change.

      • Thank you Yvonne, and well-said. I think there’s an opportunity for something that connected this low-hanging fruit of banning the flag with a daisy-chain of additional actions, like “if we ban the flag, we should also raise up the church” and other sort of flash-activism events coupled with longer-term change. So, use the visibility and symbolism of the ban-the-flag movement to leverage additional systemic and cultural change.

        I read an article on TheRoot where pastors in historically black and historically white churches in the south are joining forces to ‘desegregate Sunday morning’, and I thought that idea was very powerful idea.

        Anyway, thanks again Yvonne and Bra and Ginapdx.

    • Dude you are a idiot because the flag was never meant for hate it was always for government control because in history class they taught this and they have always said it was of government control they didn’t give a shit about the slavery they wanted to give that shit up it was all the other things they didn’t want to give up is why they fought. Learn your history before you just say we should band and destroy something because guess what? The kkk also uses the American flag as the same as the confederate flag along with a bunch of other flags. So are you going to say we should stop the American flag and every other flag they use in a big incident and just forget about the true history of it too because of what some idiots are misusing it for? People need to grow the fuck up and stop giging into when someone misuses something and makes up shit to fit there agenda should not be given victory and say we are going to band something just because a very small amount of idiots are misusing it. I am going to laugh so hard when they next use the American flag in a big incident and everyone wants to git rid of it too. It will just show how stupid this world is because everyone is throwing out history and given the stupid attackers victory by saying this is what it means now and screw what it really truly meant.

  4. So much bad and gross and awful and WTF, but this was genius:

    “Anyways, I didn’t read all of it because it’s just complete filth but some of the stuff I skimmed through sounds a lot like the beliefs of regular white people you may know.”

  5. I really wish that confederate flags would be forbidden in my country, in Europe. It is now used instead of nazi flag (who are forbidden) by the facist, and you see it everywhere in some rural place. An american tourist told me “If I go to France, it is not to see the f*cking confederate flag”

    • Oh wow. This is a useful tidbit to know when debating with people who insist that Gamergate the Confederate flag is really about “journalistic integrity” “states’ rights”. See, even Europeans know that your stupid flag is racist.

  6. I did read that racist piece of shit paper (I’m gonna call it that way) for 2 reasons:

    First, some newspapers in my country had some information about Roof mentioning Argentina and several other Latin-American countries. In other circumstances, that reading would had be totally laughable, because the “information” he had about “white hispanics” was so wrong; every country in Latin-America is a “Crisol de Razas” (a Melting Pot).

    My second reason it’s a philosophical reason. I’ve been always fascinated, since the first time I read it, with “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” by Hannah Arendt. The idea that evil is not the act of an extraordinary person, a “supervillain”, just the action of an ordinary and average person, it’s one of the most frightening ideas that exist in the world.

    Why this is a frightening idea it’s a little long to explain, but I would try to make it short and related to this case.

    A person, as a social being, is not an isolated creation; we’re all part of a social environment, we’re shaped by all our social interactions and relations, no matter how minor we may consider them.

    When something like Charleston, or any other mass-murder, happens, some people feel the need to say or believe that what happened is just an isolated incident, the act of a “crazy loner” (in this case “extraordinary person capable of evil” is replaced by “crazy loner”).

    Why some people have the need to believe that? Because if you don’t, you may really need to start to think why this happens.

    If every person is shaped by his/her environment, this means that our society may have some problems, because Roof was part of it? We, as a society, have some responsibility? And if our society has problems, what can we do to resolve those problems?

    This final question it’s not an easy question and it’s not a question that every society wants to answer, because it means getting rid of several fantasies we have about the society we’re living in (for example, that racism doesn’t exist anymore) and requires a ton of hard work, not just some patch-work.

    In the case of the US, I have a suggestion. One of the first fantasies you all need to throw is the idea that FREEDOM is related to having an armory in your living room; just remember, you’re living in the XXI Century, the queen of England is not coming to get you and Obama, or any President, will not take your house and your belongings.

    • I’m thinking of reading it. After the shooting in Norway, I read Anders Behring Breiving “manifesto”. It was long, it was horrible, but I learn a lot about how the mind of a facist is built. If you’re interested by the subject and you’re mentally ready (it’s very very hard to read), it’s… interesting.

      I agree about the whole freedom thing. The devise of my country is “liberty, equality, fraternity”, who are three important values, but I have always believed that fraternity should be first. Don’t kill your neighbours is more important than having an AK-47 to “protect yourself”

      • That paper shows such a levels of ignorance that it’s is amazing, for me, that anybody would be willing to show the world how ignorant you are and not feel ashamed about it.

        Many times people think that ignorance is a blessing. But ignorance is not a blessing, it’s a dangerous tool and a dangerous weapon.

    • Whatever value her theories may have, Hannah Arendt was wrong about Eichmann. He wasn’t simply a banal bureaucrat following orders; he was a passionate, highly committed anti-Semite.

      By the way, South America may be a melting pot in general, but the overwhelming majority of people in Argentina are, in fact, of European descent based on immigration in the 19th century and later. (Including all my Jewish relatives living in South America who fled Germany in the 1930s.) There are actually more Italians in Argentina than there are in the USA. (Like Pope Francis’s parents.) I’m pretty sure that the same is true of Uruguay. And there’s a huge amount of racism towards black and indigenous people among white people in Argentina and elsewhere in South America.

      • “By the way, South America may be a melting pot in general, but the overwhelming majority of people in Argentina are, in fact, of European descent based on immigration in the 19th century and later.”

        The european descents part is true, and it’s almost the same in every country in South America. But community inbreeding was never a real thing or a popular trend in Argentina or any other country; not every inmigrant community remained closed to other communities. Most of the families in South America are a mixed of indigenous, criollos descents and european descents (mostly spanish and italians).

        Just because we look white, that doesn’t makes us white. I would always debate that because of one reason: the idea of “white supremacy” in any country built on inmigration is a wrong idea that needs to be fight always and all the way; it’s and ignorant idea, based on half-truths and denial of our origins and ancestry. That idea is also the reason why we’re still fighting with racism in my country.

  7. “Sounds a lot like the beliefs of regular white people you may know”?

    ISIS’ manifesto sounds a lot like the beliefs of regular Muslims you may know. Does that statement seem like a bigoted exaggeration? That’s because it is. Dylan Roof’s beliefs and actions were those of an extremist and should be treated as such.

    • That’s cute but no, Dylan Roof’s beliefs are coded into the very real anti-black attitudes, institutionalized systems that a lot of (regular) white people and other anti-black POC share because it was made to be covert. Dylan said these same beliefs out loud with feeling and a gun.

      • ISIS’ beliefs are coded into the attitudes many Muslims have towards women. See how easy it is to lump a bunch of people into one big, faceless group that can be generalized?

        • This is tedious and I’m not sorry that saying Dylan’s Roof’s beliefs are something a lot of regular white people believe hurts or ruffles your feelings or make you uncomfortable. There are many who hold his beliefs but don’t act on them. There are many white people who hold his beliefs in varying degrees, this is something we have to deal with and derailing and denying it will not change that.

          Twist this again if you want but you can miss me with that derailing bullshit.

        • When the “big, faceless group” in question happens to hold majority social and political influence over the lives of other groups, the harmful attitudes that exist within that group very much need to be criticized. The situation in question is taking place in America. In America, white people hold that influence. Muslim people do not. In America, white society’s attitudes affect the lives of other groups. Muslim society’s attitudes do not. Therefore, in America, white society’s attitudes are relevant to this discussion and open for criticism. Muslim society’s attitudes are not.

          Furthermore, your analogy breaks down because the attitudes being compared are not equivalent. Patriarchal/misogynist attitudes exist in pretty much ALL cultures, so singling out one particular cultural group for censure is racist. Racist attitudes, on the other hand, are by definition held by one group and directed towards another, so singling out the group that holds them for censure is, you know, COMMENDABLE.

          • Any subgroup’s attitudes are open to criticism whether they hold majority influence or not. And ok, if you take issue with my analogy of misogyny to racism (which I do see as fairly comparable since they both involve hatred of a certain group of people), racist attitudes are found among pretty much every cultural group as well. I made the ISIS comparison to illustrate that taking an extremist/terrorist’s actions as an indication of an entire group’s viewpoint is incorrect.

            My main point was, holding an entire group accountable for the actions of some is generally frowned upon, unless the group in question is white people.

    • That’s a very common right wing theory — the “Pink Swastika” idea, that Hitler and all the other Nazis were actually homosexual. In other words, taking a grain of truth — that Ernst Roehm, the head of the S.A., was gay — and extrapolating it into nonsense. What happened to Roehm and his associates (executed in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934) seems to belie the theory, and I haven’t studied it enough to have any idea how they explain that. Or the fact that as many as 50,000 people were arrested and sent to concentration camps for being gay, and somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 died.

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