SPACE FORCE!

Like everything else about this administration, the SPACE FORCE is probably also about whiteness.

 

I know I haven’t written in a while, but in my defense, I’ve been getting a PhD (and then recovering). But now I’m back, I’m a doctor (not that kind of doctor), and also: SPACE FORCE!

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The sitting-in-a-golf-cart president of the united states has been making more noise lately about the so-called “Space Force” he wants to add to the military, sending out six mediocre-at-best (and your-graphic-designer-friend’s-worst-nightmare at worst) logos for his fashy mailing list to “vote” on (i.e. raise money for the reelection campaign he started like, three months into office). Hold on, if you haven’t seen them I’ll dig them up… here:

 

[six SPACE FORCE logos]

So, here’s the thing about the logos. Aside from being utterly shite, busy designs that are at once both meaningless and and entirely forgettable, and aside from the hideous circa-2003 flash-animation feel and the unrepentant keming issues, and aside from the utterly blatant ripoff of the NASA “meatball” and the fact that if these were military logos no country in their right mind would take the US seriously (heh as though they do anymore anyway, but fine), there’s still more to talk about when it comes to both these logos and SPACE FORCE in general.

 

[the logos for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and SPACE FORCE]

So the president and his administration can’t actually make a new branch of the military, for starters. What they can and have done is direct the DoD to draft plans for how a SPACE FORCE would work as a sixth branch of the military (after the Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines). But it’s unclear what it would actually do, how it would be arranged, or why it’d be worth the money to do such an administrative rejiggering.

Mike Pence said recently that “the space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation; what was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” which …is bullshit from start to finish. Space has always been both adversarial and contested (maybe he doesn’t remember a little thing called the “Space Race”? Reagan’s plans for “Star Wars”?) and things have been held in check by a little thing called “diplomacy” (which to be fair, Trump has never in his life heard of). We actually have an international treaty that (in short) says “no weapons in space,” but as we all know, Trump doesn’t give a damn about treaties (or laws of any sort).

Image of an art-deco rocket launching with the words "I have a question about the Space Force. When is Puerto Rico getting electricity?"
From Robert Bruce Design

The US does send military satellites into space, usually under the watchful eye of the National Reconnaissance Office, one of the “big five” intelligence agencies (along with the CIA, NSA, DIA, and NGA), and the Air Force does send up unmanned X-37s for secret reasons, so perhaps it would take on some of those responsibilities? Or perhaps it would act more like the Coast Guard, there to rescue astronauts who run aground (or collide with space junk)? It’s pretty unclear what the SPACE FORCE is needed for, especially when Flint still doesn’t have clean water and Puerto Rico is still without power.

But I think a friend of mine really put his finger on the issue the other day when we were discussing these logos. He pointed out that they all have something in common: they’re intensely “retro.”

They’re the #MAGA of space.

These logos reveal something really important about what Trump and Pence and the whole administration are trying to get at: these aren’t forward-looking plans, they’re distilled nostalgia. Just like Make America Great “Again” hearkens back to a fantasy “golden age” where white people had everything and nobody else mattered, this Space Force is hearkening back to the “space age.” And what did the space age promise?

Whiteness in Space.

Look, I’m not the first person to say that The Jetsons takes place in a dystopic future in which the systemic exclusion of people of colour has been extended to its logical conclusion: a future without black people. I’m not the first to point out that it’s a show about a nice white family with a sapient robotic slave, or that it replicates literally everything monstrous about the patriarchy in one all-encompassing swoop. But if SPACE FORCE isn’t about going backward to a time when “the future” was about the (all-white) Robinsons exploring alien worlds, or about the “all-American” (white) Flash Gordon fighting Yellow Peril, then I will eat my hat.

The goals of white supremacism can inevitably be seen in the things it idealizes. Maybe I’m reading too much into the garbage-disposal logos for the SPACE FORCE, but I’m not reading into what it represents. The drive to have a “strong” (i.e. military), nationalist, American presence in space is part and parcel of Making American Great Again, and that almost certainly means weaponizing space against people of colour in some form or other.

In V for Vendetta, the guard at the party’s propaganda station watches “Storm Saxon” at his post. For all its flaws, it sure gets some things right—but maybe it should’ve called the tv show SPACE FORCE, instead.

Signed: The Remixologist.

A movie poster for Starship Troopers but retitled "Space Force"

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The featured image is of the Jetsons in their weird little spaceship and is captioned “Space Force!”

Okay One More Thing About White Supremacism

If someone calling you a Nazi is enough to make you act like one, I got news for you.

 

I know I talk about a lot of “qwhite interesting” things on here, from how people support white supremacism without ever saying out loud “white people are better” to how supposed “free speech” supporters are nothing of the sort, but I find myself compelled, once again, to write a little bit here about the latest terrible take.

A journalist (who shall remain nameless) has essentially formulated a response to those of us who know a white nationalist when we see one, indicating that it’s us—the ones who call them white nationalists, white supremacists, and Nazis—that are driving them to become white nationalists, white supremacists, and Nazis. The logic seems to be that we—by labelling them something awful—are somehow driving them to be more radical.

I’m here to say, in short, “no.”

If you’re accused of white nationalist sentiment, and your response is “You want to see white nationalism? I’ll really show you white nationalism!” you really didn’t need us to call you one.

You just needed an excuse to show it off.

A normal person, a person who hates white nationalism, who hates white supremacism, and who hates Nazism, when accused of white nationalism, white supremacism, or Nazism, will try to demonstrate the precise opposite. They will not try to be more white nationalist, white supremacist, or Nazi-like. They will try to be less so.

If you find yourself in the unpleasant position of being called a white supremacist, consider:

(a) listening to why the person thinks you’re one

(b) comparing that description of what you’ve done to white supremacists, and

(c) not doing any of the things that make you even remotely like a white supremacist.

And just for the record, when someone’s calling you a “Nazi,” it’s not because they think you’ve already built camps and are marching millions to their murder.

They’re saying you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t care enough to stop it. The kind that joined the Nazi party because, well who else were you going to vote for? Because, you know, that Hitler fellow, he really just says what he means, you know? At least he’s honest.

Those people were Nazis too. They were every single bit as responsible for the murders that took place.

If you double down when someone calls you a white supremacist? You were definitely already one.

Don’t double down; fix yourself.

Signed: The Remixologist.

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Featured image is of the Wiktionary definition for “double down.”

 

White Supremacism Is More Than Saying “White People Are Better”

You just have to put white people’s comfort over the rights of anyone else.

 

Had a fun (read: banal) little bit of back and forth yesterday on Twitter Dot Com with someone convicted of a hate crime for teaching his girlfriend’s dog to “nazi salute” when prompted with antisemitic speech and then putting a video of it on YouTube and leaving it up to drive traffic to other videos.

I said (not really to him, but someone had tagged him into the coversation and I hadn’t noticed) that I didn’t believe the “it was a joke” defense because of his association with a white supremacist (one “Tommy Robinson,” aka Stephen Christopher Yaxley, formerly of the notorious anti-Muslim hate group the “English Defense League“) and his simultaneous wearing of a symbol commonly worn by white supremacists with a hard-on for vikings, the Valknut. He responded demanding proof that his buddy is a white supremacist, in the form of the demand: “Find me evidence of Tommy saying that the white race is superior, which is a requirement to being a white supremacist.”

I didn’t have the time or energy at that moment to explain that there really is no such requirement, but here, I’ll say it now:

You do not have to say “the white race is superior” to be a white supremacist and/or to support white supremacism. You don’t have to get caught on tape saying it. You don’t have to be photographed wearing a white sheet over your head with little holes cut for your eyes. You don’t have to get a membership to a Nazi party or give Nazi salutes in rooms full of people chanting things like “white power” or “Trump! Trump! Trump!”.

You just have to act like a white supremacist.

So here’s just a few things white supremacists do, that, if you happen to find yourself doing, you might want to think long and hard about. Because maybe, somehow, you don’t know that you’re participating in white supremacism.

Well, here’s your chance to stop.

 

1. Giving preference to white people over others.

Here’s a photo of the White House intern pool. Notice anything? I’ll wait.

If your workforce looks like this, when white people make up far less of the population than the roughly 97% shown above, then you’re probably participating in white supremacism.

Fun fact: you get bonus white supremacy points if your automatic response to this is something about “merit.”

 

2. Implying that nonwhite people should “know their place.”

Expecting nonwhite people to be silent, to not speak up for their own wellbeing, to be grateful for their success as though it’s somehow something you allowed them to have? Yeah, that’s definitely something a white supremacist does. So don’t do that.

 

3. Spreading conspiracy theories about nonwhite people “infiltrating” or “subverting” a country.

Xenophobia, fear of anyone or anything different, is the primary weapon of white supremacy. It’s used to take insecurities about change in a person’s neighbourhood, town, or country, and elevate them to the point where the people who harbour them start advocating for white supremacist positions, like “separate but equal” (see below). This is, in point of fact, why I don’t believe Mr. Yaxley’s claims to not support white supremacism: because he’s spreading xenophobic lies about “Islamism spreading across the country.” In Yaxley’s defense, he does seem to limit his personal bigotry to the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. The fact that Muslims are by and large nonwhite is, I’m sure, totally inconsequential.

 

4. Advocating for the division of society along racial lines, even if you say “everyone’s equal.”

White supremacists love this one, because it lets them pretend they’re not what they are. Out loud they’ll say things like “everyone’s entitled to a homeland,” and then use it to advocate for a white ethnostate. Fun fact: you can’t make a white ethnostate in a place where nonwhite people currently live without being a white supremacist. The action of preferentially removing people from where they live so that white people can be more comfortable is literally putting the comfort of white people over the rights of nonwhite people, and that’s a white supremacist action.

 

 

This is the thing: you don’t have to say “white people are better” to be a white supremacist.

You just have to consistently put white people’s interests, or even their simple comfort, over the rights and comfort of everyone else.

That’s it. That’s what makes a person a supporter of white supremacism. That’s what makes a person complicit in white supremacism. Even if they never say “whites are better” out loud. It’s not “thoughtcrime” to point this out. It’s not “1984” to call racism racism. It’s putting white people over nonwhite people over and over again, using whatever excuse you feel like coming up with at the time.

So if you find yourself doing these things, white folks? And you don’t like people saying you’re supporting white supremacism or you are a white supremacist? Here’s a quick tip: stop.

I’ll see you all next week.

Signed: The Remixologist

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Featured image of a family of Klan members (one adult and three children, in Klan hoods and robes): Image Editor, CC BY 2.0