Dorothy Counts


Dorothy Counts (1942- ) was the first Black person to go Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina in the southern US. That was on September 4th 1957. Pictures of her first day made the news worldwide, calling James Baldwin back from Paris:

“I could simply no longer sit around Paris discussing the Algerian and the black American problem. Everybody was paying their dues, and it was time I went home and paid mine.”

On that morning she put on a blue dress her grandmother had made her, prayed and remembered her father’s words:

“Hold your head up high. You’re not less than anyone else.”

Streets near the school were blocked. She had to walk the last two blocks. Whites were spitting on her, calling her names, throwing sticks and stones and milk cartons, telling her to go back to Africa. She was not afraid. She did not get angry. She just kept walking. By the time she got to the front door, spit was dripping off the bottom of her dress.




Once in school it got no better. People pushed her, jeered her, threw things at her when she was not looking. Teachers acted like she was not there, even when she raised her hand, even when boys were spitting in her food.




Two White girls befriended her – but then unfriended her when they started getting harassed too.


On the fourth day someone hit her in the back of the head with a sharp object. Now they were trying to actually hurt her. When she got to the car to go home she saw the back window smashed – with her brother inside. Now she was afraid.


“I did not feel I was being protected in any way within the confines of the school because there were adults there and they did nothing.”

Neither the school nor the police were willing to protect her. And, unlike Elizabeth Eckford and others of the Little Rock Nine, she had no army protection. So her father sent her north, to suburban Philadelphia, to live with relatives and go to an already integrated school.

The experience made her not bitter but better, determined “to make sure that bad things don’t happen to other children.” She went to university and became a preschool teacher and social worker. She still lives near the high school.

Two Whites asked for her forgiveness in later years. She told them she had forgiven them long ago.

Desegregation: The county schools would go on to fight school desegregation all the way to the Supreme Court, which forced it on them in 1971 in Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. But then in 1999 the courts overturned it.

By 2010 Counts was saying of her granddaughter’s high school:

“At the beginning of the school year, they would go for weeks without books, for weeks without enough chairs for everyone in the classroom. When I heard about that I thought, Lord, this brings back memories.”

Now in her 70s, she is still fighting for desegregation, frustrated but determined.


Dorothy Counts-Scoggins at 70.

– Abagond, 2017

See also:


Statements made by US President Trump during his first month in office that PolitiFact has rated as False, Mostly False or Pants on Fire:

January 20th 2017:

“We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth … of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”


Mostly False: Not by the typical measures.

January 22nd:

“The media … sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.”


False: Unprecedented tough words.

January 23rd:

“In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent.”


Mostly False: Most recent data shows a decline.

January 26th:

“Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady — I mean — just terribly increasing.”


False: They were the third-lowest last year since 1990.

January 26th:

Says ICE and border patrol officers “unanimously endorsed me for president.”


Mostly False: Support from unions, but not from all members.

January 29th:

“If you were a Muslim, you could come in, if you were a Christian, it was impossible.”


False: Christian refugees have entered US.

January 30th:

“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”


Mostly False: Obama was more specific and narrower.

February 6th:

Says “109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers” were affected by the immigration executive order.


False: More like 60,000+.

February 6th:

Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have “gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported.”


Pants on Fire: An abundance of coverage.

February 7th:

“Smart! ‘Kuwait issues its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries.’ “


Mostly False: Kuwait move was old news, at best.

February 7th:

“I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.”


Mostly False: Savings already in the works.

February 8th:

“The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.”


False: This is wrong.

February 9th:

Says CNN’s Chris Cuomo “never asked” Sen. Richard Blumenthal about Blumenthal’s misstatements on his own service in Vietnam.


False: Cuomo did ask about it.

February 12th:

“While on FAKE NEWS @CNN, Bernie Sanders was cut off for using the term fake news to describe the network. They said technical difficulties!”


False: Sanders was mocking Trump.

February 16th:

The media has “a lower approval rate than Congress.”


Mostly False: Congress wins a race to the bottom.

February 19th:

“Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”


False: Bowling Green massacre, part two.

And this does not even count the stuff said on his behalf by his spokesman Sean “Alternative Facts” Spicer or adviser Kellyanne “Bowling Green Massacre” Conway.

Nor does it count Trump’s Mind-Bender of the Month (February 16th):

“The leaks are absolutely real, but the news is fake.”

Republican Bubble: According to an Emerson College poll that came out on Feburary 7th, 91% of registered Republican voters think the Trump Administration is truthful, while 88% think the press is untruthful.

Tom the Dancing Bug 1326 trump mysteries - leak is real news is fake

Tom the Dancing Bug 1326 trump mysteries – leak is real news is fake. Click to enlarge.

– Abagond, 2017.

Source: PolitiFactEmerson College, YouTube.

See also:


impeach-nixon-buttonThere are six main ways to remove a US president, short of overthrowing the government, here listed from the most frequently successful to the least:

Method #1: Term limit

  • Time required: up to ten years
  • Examples: Obama (2017), Bush (2009), Clinton (2001), Reagan (1989), Eisenhower (1961), etc.
  • Remarks: Thanks to George Washington, the first president, the custom was to step down after eight years in office. Only Franklin Roosevelt was president longer (12 years). In 1951 the 22nd Amendment to the constitution set the limit to two and a half four-year terms (10 years).

Method #2: Voting the president out of office.

  • Time required: up to four years
  • Examples: Bush (1992), Carter (1980), Ford (1976), Hoover (1932), etc.
  • Remarks: The chief means provided by the constitution, though it is way easier to win an election as president than as a challenger (see term limits). The election for president takes place every four years, the next one in 2020. There are no recall elections for president.

Method #3: Assassination

  • Time required: a few seconds (but would take days to months to prepare)
  • Examples: Kennedy (1963), McKinley (1901), Garfield (1881), Lincoln (1865).
  • Remarks: To date this has been done by shooting the president. The US is awash in guns, but the president is heavily guarded, increasingly so with each attempt and more so now because of the fear of terrorism since 9/11.

Method #4: Getting the president to step down

  • Time required: months to years (because of some sort of scandal)
  • Examples: Nixon (1974), Johnson (1968), etc.
  • Remarks: In 1968 Johnson decided not to run for a re-election, the Vietnam War having made him deeply disliked. In 1974 Nixon resigned after leaders of his own party in Congress persuaded him to step down – though by then there was clear proof that he was behind the cover-up of the Watergate break-in, a crime, enough to carry out:

Method #5: Impeachment and trial

  • Time required: months
  • Examples: Bill Clinton (1998) and Andrew Johnson (1868) were both impeached but neither were convicted
  • Remarks: Article II, Section 4 of the constitution:

    “The President … shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    It takes a majority of the House of Representatives to impeach and then two-thirds of the Senate to convict after trying him for the crime. Generally speaking, about a third of the president’s own party would have to agree to convict.

Method #6: 25th Amendment

  • Time required:  days, maybe weeks
  • Examples: none so far
  • Remarks: If the president goes mad or is otherwise unable to carry out his duties, he can be removed by the vice president and a majority vote of the cabinet (the president’s top advisers) and a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. Downside: Would only work in clear-cut cases, particularly since the cabinet is generally packed with loyalists.

For those keeping track at home:

  • House: 55% Republican
  • Senate: 52% Republican

The 2018 mid-term elections are unlikely to change it that much: the House is deeply gerrymandered to favour Republicans while in the Senate 25 Democrats and Independents will be up for re-election compared to only 9 Republicans.


Source: LA Times

– Abagond, 2017.

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This went to #1 on the US pop chart in 1971, to #2 on the R&B chart and #4 in Britain. An extremely well known song in the US, probably better known than either Isaac Hayes or the film it came from, “Shaft” (1971). Hayes wanted the song to get across that John Shaft was “a relentless character always on the prowl, always on the move.”

Instruments are by the Bar-Kays, who used to back Otis Redding. Backing vocals by Dawn (Stax session singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson), who backed Tony Orlando.

The video is from the beginning of the film. It shows Times Square in New York in January 1971. At the 4:00 minute mark you can see Naomi Sims on the cover of Essence, a magazine which director Gordon Parks had a hand in founding.

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Who’s the black private dick
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
You’re damn right
Who is the man
That would risk his neck for his brother man?
Can ya dig it?
Who’s the cat that won’t cop out
When there’s danger all about
Right on
You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother
(Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ about Shaft
(Then we can dig it)
He’s a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
(John Shaft)

Source: Songfacts.

Do Brown lives matter?


Do Brown lives matter? By Brown, with a capital B, I mean non-Black POC (people of colour) in the US, anyone who is neither Black nor White: Latinos, Asians, Natives, Muslims, Others, etc. And, the way things are going, maybe Jews too.

Note: Strictly speaking Latinos and Muslims are not races, but in the US in the 2010s they are close enough, certainly close enough for the purposes of this post. “Muslim”, by the way, includes Sikhs, and any Arab person, since most Islamophobes do not know the difference.

It should go without saying that Brown lives matter. But over and over again, whenever I do a post on Brown lives, some commenter, sooner or later, is going to inform me that said Brown people do not like Black people, meaning that I should not waste my breath on them.

But Brown lives do matter:

  1. Because all lives matter. While it is understandable that Blacks will be mainly concerned about Blacks, Asians about Asians, Whites about Whites, and so on, that concern should never be so narrow and limited as to shut out concern for others. Pro-Black should not mean anti-Brown. After all, if it is wrong to be against Black people because of their skin colour, it is wrong to be against anyone else because of their skin colour.
  2. Because racism against any strengthens racism against all. It is all part of the same mindset – White supremacy. Although racism takes different forms against different races, racism tends to weaken or strengthen as a whole. At least in the US. The Chinese Exclusion Act, for example, was passed at the same time as Jim Crow laws. Likewise, the Immigration Act of 1965 was passed during the Civil Rights Era.

Part of why I do posts on Brown people is because White people are not as good at hiding their anti-Brown racism, particularly their Islamophobia. It gives me a better understanding of their much better-hidden anti-Black racism.

Divide and rule: In the US people of colour either hang together or they will hang separately. So long as Whites are able to divide people of colour against each other, Whites will rule, no matter how small their numbers.

I used to think 2042 would be some kind of turning point, the year Whites become less than half the US. I no longer believe that. The rise of Donald Trump makes clear that a good number of Brown people (and some Blacks too) will vote for an open racist.

Counter-frames: I need to do a proper post on Brown Trump voters (and Black ones too), but it seems that many Asians and Latinos are too new to the country to fully understand what is going on. They have weak counter-frames, as sociologist Joe Feagin would say. They trust Whites too much and believe in the fool’s gold of becoming honorary Whites. They have not lived through enough US history to learn the hard way.

– Abagond, 2017.

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On Wednesday February 15th 2017, President Trump was asked about rising anti-Semitism in the US:

QUESTION: Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder what you say to those among the Jewish community in the States and in Israel and maybe around the world, who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?

TRUMP: Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honoured by the victory that we had: 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221 but then they said there’s no way to 270. And there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there. I will say that we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on. Because a lot of bad things have been taking place over a long period of time. I think one of the reasons I won the election is because we have a very, very divided nation. Very divided and hopefully, I’ll be able to do something about that. And I – you know, something that was very important to me.

As far as people, Jewish people — so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now. A son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot of different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening and you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love. Okay? Thank you.

The next day he was again asked what he is going to do about rising anti-Semitism: one report says there has been 48 bomb threats against Jewish centres over the past couple weeks.

TRUMP: So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican – [the reporter starts talking] quiet, quiet, quiet.

See, he lied about – he was gonna get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive.

I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the prime minister [of Israel], you heard Bentanyahu [Benjamin Netanyahu] yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, “I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time” and then he said, “Forget it.”

So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.

– Abagond, 2017.

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deportation raid


A deportation raid is where the government comes to your house or place of work to arrest you, jail you and possibly deport you, sending you out of the country. In the US they are carried out by agents of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of Homeland Security.

In a typical raid, there is a knock at the door at four or five in the morning. They say it is the “police”. You open the door and then comes what some describe as:

“the most horrifying moment of their life. Nowhere to run to, no one to scream to for help.”

The ICE agents come into your home. Your children are crying and screaming. ICE is asking you questions, often in bad Spanish. They arrest whoever they feel like – citizen or not (they will sort it out later). They put you in handcuffs in front of your children and take you away.

Alexandra Suh, director of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) in Los Angeles:

“It’s hard to overstate how disruptive this is, how wrenching this can be – people picked up in a raid might be the only source of income for a whole family, dressed their kids for school in the morning, cooks for their family, they might be a person supporting an elder parent or young baby. To imagine that person would be ripped away – imagine how it could affect everyone around them is extremely serious.”

Note that no sanctuary city can stop ICE from coming to your door.

You do have rights, even if undocumented:

  1. You do not have to open the door unless they show a warrant signed by a judge (through a window, under the door).
  2. You have the right to remain silent.

Once you open the door, they can come in. They will not bang down your door like the Gestapo – unless they think you are armed.

You should urge everyone in your house to remain silent, to record or write down what is going on. Badge numbers are important. Ask for a lawyer and do not say or sign anything till you do! 


Click to enlarge.

Have a plan of what to do if taken, especially in regard to your children.

After you are taken ICE sorts out who you are with the help of their fingerprint computer – which makes a false match 1.6% of the time. If you were not in their computer before, you are now.

If they decide to deport you, they send you to a deportation centre, part of the prison-industrial complex. You should get a hearing, but due process is not their strong point, even under Obama. If you lose, they put you in chains on an unmarked plane.


President Obama deported 2.5 million, a record, thanks in part to Clinton’s laws, Bush’s counter-terrorism computers and broken-windows policing.

President Trump wants to triple the number of ICE agents. From what he has signed so far, it seems he intends to deport maybe 9 million.

Note: That Trump deports only dangerous criminals is a lie!


– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: mainly Al Jazeera (2017), USA Today (2017), unitedwedream.org.

See also:


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