Sunday, January 21, 2018

No Substitute For Respect - White Supremacists Infesting Maine, As Usual #mepolitics

 Elizabeth Ann Mitchell, Penobscot, On Why She Interrupted Janet Mills With Some Truth
Central Mainers often claim, We're not racist because there are no people of color around to be racist to. It's not true and never has been, but it's a pitch perfect example of why racism is not about the hatefulness of any individual. Racism is a systemic problem that affects and harms every single person living under it, no matter whether they are deemed by their appearance to be one of the "superior" group or one of the targeted groups.

Native people have maintained their culture, including language, while being sytematically robbed of their territory and persecuted for their beliefs in Maine. 

The Penobscot and Passamoquoddy are sovereign nations, and if anyone should leave so that a homogenous group of people can live in paradise, it certainly isn't Natives who should go. Skowhegan Area High School in central Maine continues to cling to its racist mascot the "Indian" despite the sobering testimony of Natives explaining how damaging this is to their children

Now lots of immigrants from around the globe have settled in Maine and are subject to racist harrassment and microaggressions daily. Check out this substitute teacher addressing a high school student with Lebanese ancestry. Brody Elahmar recorded her threatening him with deportation (though it's doubtful she knows such a big word) and ordering him to "speak her language." 

His comeback is priceless: "How many languages do you speak? I speak three."

Posted to YouTube by Brody Elahmar with the comment: "My teacher was harassing me because of my color !"

On the heels of this abuse of power by a public employee came news that the town manager of far north town Jackman is an avid white segragationist who invented a flag for an all-white New England devoted to Anglo culture that he imagines. With the ironic name Kawczynski, he is now trying to raise funds on a site called Hatreon (I can't make this shit up) that lacks guidelines banning hate speech like other crowdfunding sites have.

The town's selectmen may not have known about his desire to build an all-white "Albion" when they hired him, but he's been really active on social media since last November. Currently, they are conferring with their lawyer and I suspect he, like the substitute teacher, will be fired. 

The Chamber of Commerce in Jackman has already come out publicly in favor of firing him. 

(Too bad the Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce has not done the same; instead, it concocts racist promotions to "help" local businesses.) Jackman relies heavily on tourism for revenue, and a boycott would hit them where it hurts.

Here is the letter I sent to them via the contact listed on the town's website, Administrative Secretary

Dear Jackman selectmen,
Your recently hired town manager, Tom Kawczynski, is making quite a splash as the public face of racism and religious bigotry in northern Maine. I am going to assume that you knew nothing of this when you hired him. Of course he is entitled to his views and to express them under the 1st amendment. But, in his capacity as town manager, encouraging those who share his hate to move to Jackman is problematic.

As a resident of central Maine along Route 201 I am concerned that a nearby town's manager is an active white supremacist. I hope the hateful crowds who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia last year do not feel welcome to congregate near my little town on the Kennebec.

As a teacher I will continue providing opportunities for children to learn what we all have in common: our humanity, our compassion, and our critical thinking abilities. As a history major I have a keen appreciation of what happens to societies who descend into hateful beliefs and practices. It is not a happy outcome for any group, however much they consider themselves "superior" to other people.

Lisa Savage

I think such groups and individuals are afraid of competition. Who wants to be outdone by a teenager that speaks more languages than you do? 

Would it surprise you to learn that the KKK was active in Maine in the 1920's marching against Francophone immigrants who were taking "our" jobs?

The KKK in Maine is having a resurgence in these troubled times.

It is time for those quietly watching the rise of white supremacists in office to stand up and be counted.

1 comment:

loveEliz said...

That photo of the grown men in silly pointed hoods makes me shudder even though I think it looks rediculous. Didn't old school masters put bad boys in dunce caps of that shape? Sorta fitting, really. Love, Eliz