United States

Weekend Read: Slavery shaped America’s pathology on race and whiteness

Southern Poverty Law Center - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 04:43
Four hundred years ago this month, the White Lion, a warship commanded by English privateers, docked at Point Comfort in the colony of Virginia.

Everyone else is talking about Talya Davidson, so I figured we should, too

On August 12th, 28-year-old Toronto resident, Talya Davidson, was videotaped hurling racist insults and spitting on a man in Nathan Phillips Square while holding a sign supporting CPC leader, Andrew Scheer. She was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of assault and 3 counts of assaulting a police officer.



The video, taken by her victim, Farhan Rana, quickly went viral and many people condemned the behaviour, including Scheer himself.


However, people quickly realized something wasn't right. When they dug into her history, it became clear she did not have the type of social media footprint one would expect of an overt racist. Davidson, who is originally from South Africa, seems to have an affinity for Latin American cultures. She claims to have studied at both the University of Guelph and UBC, worked as a journalist in Guadalajara, and has an interesting blog of stories based on her life and travels. She recently participated in a literary event hosted by Carolyn Bennet, and has a YouTube channel of her efforts to learn the guitar.




As eagerly reported by The Post Millennial, (more on them later), Davidson declares her political interests as being substantially left of centre on her couchsurfing profile.



Judging by Davidson's accomplishments, she is smart and driven. At the age of 25, she opened a Venezuelan restaurant called El Arepazo with her then boyfriend, Luis Vega, in Kensington Market. It did quite well for a while and even won a Now Magazine award in 2017.



Vega, however, was a bit of a hothead and got into the news for his own viral video of assaulting a graffiti artist outside his restaurant in 2015. Apparently he was attempting to make a citizen's arrest.


In addition to assault, he also decided to badmouth his suppliers online, and at one point used Talya's Now Magazine account to do so. This comment garnered a response claiming that Vega is homophobic and that anyone who is LGBTQ, or considers themselves an ally, should boycott El Arepazo. Davidson did not appreciate all of this and asked Now to remove Vega's comment.


The most controversial post I found of hers was another Now comment where she compares the hijab to a bra. My first take on it was admittedly not favourable, but upon reflection I can see that while it is awkward, it wasn't intended to cause harm.


So, how does a bright, driven, left-leaning person who is concerned with her social media footprint end up hurling racist insults and writing stuff like this on Facebook? 


As expected by many, Davidson was ordered by the court to have a psychiatric evaluation at CAMH, and for the moment, that is the extent of the answers the public has about the case.

Certain media outlets -- mainstream and otherwise -- and racist extremists jumped on this story between the video going viral and Davidson's transfer to CAMH. What follows are but a few screenshots of an avalanche of stomach-churning Tweets from people who were determined to mould the story to their liking.

First up is Paul Fromm. Before much was known about Davidson beyond the viral video, Fromm claimed that, despite all evidence to the contrary, there was no hate, no crime, and most certainly no hate crime here. It was just "bad manners," and, of course, it is really our diverse society that's at fault.




But once people started digging in, things got really out of hand, starting with supposedly mainstream publications, like The National Post, that ran a headline quoting Michelle Rempel saying the attack was staged.


The article does condemn Davidson's actions, but the headline fans the conspiracy theory flames that this was a hoax. Others went much farther, including The Post Millennial who blamed the mainstream press for falling for an elaborate trick.


Ezra Levant jumped on the hoax bandwagon too, because of course he did. This is apparently what passes for "telling the other side of the story."


And then there is Faith Goldy's fan club, I.D. Canada. Apparently, we need to "wake up."



The articles, Tweets and posts promoting the hoax narrative were unrelenting. They were nauseating to read because they added another layer of insult to Rana's experience by claiming he was either to blame, or in on the conspiracy with Davidson.


The racist attack Rana experienced was very real, and I cannot imagine how seeing Tweets like Bexte's made him feel. Davidson will be back in court on September 12th. Here's hoping the discussion around this case will become more productive and compassionate soon.


Marc Lemire Out in Hamilton

Former neo-Nazi hate group leader Marc Lemire is no longer working for Hamilton by mutual agreement. We provided evidence to investigators that he continued to host hate materials on his now-defunct blog after the story broke.https://t.co/y9SMd23ktn— Canadian Anti-Hate Network (@antihateca) August 16, 2019
Marc Lemire will not return to work for the city following investigation: sources. https://t.co/ULDqCSeJs1 #HamOnt pic.twitter.com/pPgYJwP7SP— CBC Hamilton (@CBCHamilton) August 16, 2019
Sources say Lemire won’t be coming back, but for lots of us questions remain about how a known Neo-nazi got hired and may have been deliberately hidden at the City for years. It’s possible that other employees should face discipline. https://t.co/onIVxxtNxJ #CanLab #HamOnt #OnLab— Sarah Molyneaux (@Sarah_Molyneaux) August 16, 2019

Right to the end, Lemire continued to deny his long-time involvement with the Heritage Front, involvement that ranged from simple membership early on, work on the hate group's website and later hosting it and numerous other hate sites, and finally the leadership of the hate group. This is all outlined in "Marc Lemire: A Summary of Information" that includes links to article written about Lemire's involvement in organized hate.

While the removal of Lemire is positive, there are still a lot of questions regarding his employment and why he appears to have been protected by Hamilton government officials. We also still have questions about his access to sensitive information and whether that information could have been shared with his fellow travelers.



Marjorie Taylor Greene: How an Outspoken MAGA Fan Built a Following in a World of Extremists

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 08:05
Originally a MAGA supporter but now an emerging MAGA star, Marjorie Taylor Greene has deftly leveraged social media and confrontations in public to increase her visibility. Now she’s entering politics as a GOP candidate for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

SPLC publishes Opportunity Costs: Unequal Justice in Alabama’s Community Corrections Programs

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:16
A new investigative report published today by the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals serious flaws in Alabama’s community corrections programs, an otherwise promising system for diverting people from the state’s prisons.

Brother Says He Reported White Nationalist State Department Official to the FBI

Southern Poverty Law Center - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 15:52
The brother of white nationalist U.S. State Department Official Matthew Q. Gebert reported him to the FBI in July over concerns about his radicalization, he told Hatewatch.

SPLC joins brief opposing Kansas law targeting immigrants

Southern Poverty Law Center - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 13:24
The SPLC and 29 worker and immigrant rights organizations filed an amicus brief today urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a court decision stating that a Kansas identity theft law cannot be used to turn local law enforcement into immigration agents.

Two Years After Charlottesville

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 08/12/2019 - 07:12
.page-node #main-content, #main-content .container { max-width: none; margin-left: 0; margin-right: 0; } #video-frame { margin: 2em 0; } @media (max-width:800px) { #video-frame { height: 500px; } } document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", function () { $$(".group-header").after($$("#video-frame")); });

Far Right Infighting Part ∞: Ron Banerjee vs. Goldy Supporters

So one of the bigger stories in the world of Canadian far-right personalities was that Faith Goldy willingly gave up on Twitter to spend more time in thoughtful contemplation. However this might be more meaningful if (a) I was convinced she will stay off Twitter and (b) didn't have nearly half a dozen other social media avenues through which she can continue to be an awful human being:


Goldy has become polarizing even for members of the far right. There are those out there who venerate her as a sort of virgin "Madonna of the Rocks" figure and those who came to loathe her for"selling out by trying to appeal to "the ethnics" during her Toronto mayoral campaign; her alleged relationship with Richard Spencer might have answered the virgin part.

I'm here all week folks! Try the veal and make sure you tip your server!

In any case, we have an instance now where people have taken a firm side on the argument.



Despite his recent humiliation and groveling apology, Rob Banerjee still has to Ron Banerjee. He's still active in anti-Muslim protests and his Hindu nationalism has perhaps become even more overt of late.

He also continues to style himself as Canada's #1 Trump fan and defender:



When Faith Goldy was critical of Indian and Chinese immigrants in some of her last Twitter posts, well, Banerjee went on the attack using Trump as a hustification. This resulted in an extended argument by a few others but especially one Ryan Walker who I've seen posting on numerous extremist Facebook groups




Now this thread was quite mild compared to what came later as Walker posted this on Banerjee's wall:

Yep, 220 comments.

I'm not about to re-post ALL of them, however the ones I will post are instructive. To summarize Banerjee continues to troll, write about the superiority of Hindus and Hindu culture, attack Muslims, and claim that women find him desirable. Ryan Walker and his supporters continue to state that non-Europeans need to "go home", quote white supremacists such as William Pierce, echo Trump's language ("go back where you come from" and "shithole countries"), hint at a violent "purge" of non-European Canadians as being imminent, and then threaten to find and harm Banerjee who bravely provides them with an obviously false address claiming that he's not afraid of them.

It really is quite the show:

Read more »

Weekend Read: Neo-Nazi leader must pay more than $14 million in damages

Southern Poverty Law Center - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:31
A federal judge has ruled in an SPLC lawsuit that neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin must pay more than $14 million in damages for using his website to launch an antisemitic campaign of terror against a Jewish woman and her family.

White Nationalist State Department Official Surfaces in Photographs

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 08/09/2019 - 11:19
Hatewatch has obtained images of Matthew Q. Gebert, a State Department official who is involved in the white nationalist movement.

Judge: Neo-Nazi must pay more than $14 million to Jewish woman targeted by harassment campaign

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:58
A federal judge adopted a recommendation that the publisher of a major neo-Nazi website must pay more than $14 million in damages to a Jewish woman targeted for a relentless barrage of antisemitic threats and messages by the neo-Nazi and his followers.

SPLC statement on Mississippi immigration raids

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 06:57
Southern Poverty Law Center Attorney Julia Solórzano, with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, issued the following statement on today's workplace raids in Mississippi:

U.S. State Department Official Involved in White Nationalist Movement, Hatewatch Determines

Southern Poverty Law Center - Tue, 08/06/2019 - 07:16
A U.S. State Department official oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online, Hatewatch has determined.

U.S. State Department Official Involved in White Nationalist Movement, Hatewatch Determines

Southern Poverty Law Center - Tue, 08/06/2019 - 07:16
A U.S. State Department official oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online, Hatewatch has determined.

El Paso Massacre Galvanizes Accelerationists

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 12:22
The domestic terror incident this past weekend in El Paso has energized the growing “accelerationist” bloc of the white power movement, which argues violence is the only way to achieve its goal of creating a white, non-Jewish ethnostate.

New Civil Rights Memorial to be installed on 54th anniversary of Voting Rights Act

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 08:54
Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten and shot by Alabama state troopers during a peaceful voting rights march on Feb. 18, 1965.

Hate is Alive in America—El Paso Shooting

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 08:44
A manifesto from shooter promotes white nationalist talking points as white nationalists mock those killed in the shooting

Hate is Alive in America—El Paso Shooting

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 08:44
A manifesto from shooter promotes white nationalist talking points as white nationalists mock those killed in the shooting

Pages