Race | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Saturday, June 23, 2018

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 2:25 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh protests of slain teen Antwon Rose extend into weekend
CP photo by Jared Wickerham
Scene from Antwon Rose protest on June 22
More than 200 hundred people marched from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to Point State Park on Saturday afternoon — a fourth consecutive day of protests in the name of late teenager Antwon Rose.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh rally for police-shooting victim Antwon Rose begs people to get politically involved
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh
Leon Ford was shot in the back during a routine traffic stop six years ago, leaving him paralyzed. After years spent speaking out against police brutality, he recently settled a lawsuit with the city of Pittsburgh. He has since become an integral part of the city’s and the country’s police-reform movement.

On Thursday afternoon, Ford sat in his wheelchair at the Allegheny County Courthouse amid thousands protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose.

“This is painful for me,” Ford said. “I fought for six years and I didn’t think this would be happening.”

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Sen. Toomey bill repeals Obama-era anti-discrimination regulation in auto industry
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pat Toomey
It’s been a chaotic year and a half with the Trump administration in the White House and Republicans in control of U.S. Congress. But one area where both Trump and Republicans have been organized and effective is in rolling back financial regulations created in the wake of the Great Recession.

Since 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has seen several regulations stripped by Congress, including a repeal championed by U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

Now, a law co-written by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) has eliminated another CFPB guidance; one that was created to ensure racial minorities aren't taken advantage of by the auto-lending industry. On May 21, President Donald Trump signed into law the repeal of that informal rule. With the guidance gone, consumers in Allegheny County and the entire U.S. shouldn’t expect the CFPB to tackle car companies and auto lenders that upcharge based on race.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 6:28 PM

click to enlarge State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s pro-gun rally attracted support of group with white-supremacist origins
Photo courtesy of Sean Kitchen
American Guard Members attending Daryl Metcalfe’s pro-gun rally on April 30
Gun owners run the gamut in America. According to a 2017 Pew Research report, white people have the highest percentage of gun owners at 36 percent, but black citizens aren’t far behind with a 24 percent gun-ownership rate. Republican-leaning Americans are more likely to own guns (44 percent of them do); 20 percent of Democratic-leaning Americans also own guns.

But state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) may be learning that if you come out extremely pro-gun in today’s America, you may be inviting some pretty extreme individuals to celebrate with you. On April 30, Metcalfe hosted a pro-gun rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg titled “Rally to Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

Rally-goers filled the Capitol rotunda to listen to speakers like Metcalfe, state Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Murrysville) and NRA news host Cam Edwards. Republican gubernatorial candidate and Richland resident Paul Mango was also in attendance. But the rally was also attended by members of the American Guard, which the Anti-Defamation League has labeled a white supremacy group.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 11:54 AM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh officials remove controversial Stephen Foster statue
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pittsburgh workers removing the Stephen Foster statue
Early in the morning on April 26, the controversial Stephen Foster statue was removed from its post in Oakland. In October 2017, the Pittsburgh Arts Commission voted to remove the statue, which many Pittsburghers had deemed racist for its minstrel-like depiction of a black man sitting at Foster’s feet. Foster, a native Pittsburgher, is the famous composer of songs like “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races.”

The statue came off of its post fairly easily. A crew of several Department of Public Works employees wrapped thick rope around the statue and it was pulled off the base with a backhoe. The ropes were removed after the statue was loaded onto a flatbed truck; the truck drove slowly away and nothing was damaged.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 11:08 AM

Local comic Day Bracey clashes online with alt-right comedian Owen Benjamin over canceled Pittsburgh show
CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
Day Bracey

Owen Benjamin is a well-known comedian in the conservative-media world. Benjamin is white and one of his signature bits is singing a song called “that [n-word] stole my bike.” Benjamin has defended his takes on race as tackling political correctness. He is a self-described critic of liberalism and left-leaning politics. In March, he tweeted “what a [n-word] queer” and linked a story about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Benjamin has said efforts to curb his brand of comedy are censorship.

In late March, the New Hazlett Theater canceled his stand-up event in Pittsburgh after learning more about Benjamin’s material and social-media presence. About a week later, Benjamin’s Twitter account was suspended after he tweeted about Parkland Shooting survivor David Hogg’s pubic hair. He had more than 180,000 followers on Twitter before his account was suspended.

But before Benjamin’s Twitter account was permanently suspended, he had a confrontation with Pittsburgh comedian Day Bracey, who had pushed back against Benjamin’s racist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Bracey believes Pittsburgh venues shouldn't work with Benjamin, given his use of racial and LGBTQ slurs. But, in arguing with Benjamin and his legion of fans on Twitter, Bracey had his Twitter account permanently suspended, which he says is a big hit to his growing brand in Pittsburgh. Even so, Bracey is hopeful Pittsburgh will reject Benjamin's brand of comedy. But Benjamin has apparently found a new venue and he has cast himself as the victim of "activists" like Bracey. He hopes to use Pittsburgh to highlight what he calls a "shaming" culture on the left.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 1:11 PM

click to enlarge Updated: "There Are Black People In The Future" text removed from East Liberty public-art project at behest of landlord
Photo courtesy of Alisha Wormsley
The removal of a message from a public-art project last week is stirring controversy in Pittsburgh.

The Last Billboard, created by Carnegie Mellon professor Jon Rubin, has been posting messages by local artists to a billboard on top of a building in East Liberty since 2013, but last week marks the first time the building's landlord intervened. "There Are Black People In The Future" was posted to the billboard on March 3 and removed several weeks later.

"Last week, The Last Billboard’s landlord, We Do Property, forced Alisha’s text to be taken down over objections to the content (through a never-before evoked clause in the lease that gives the landlord the right to approve text)," Rubin wrote in a statement on the project's website on April 3.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 2:54 PM

click to enlarge More than a dozen swastikas drawn in snow on cars in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood
Photo courtesy of Facebook
A swastika carved into the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue, in Oakland, on Jan. 16
On Jan. 16, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh was walking to work in Oakland around 6:45 a.m., when he came across a swastika drawn in the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue. The student, who is Jewish and gay, was offended by the swastika and cleared it off.

But as he continued to walk down Meyran, he spotted about 15-20 more swastikas. All were drawn into the snow on car windshields, on both sides of the avenue. That was when the student knew he had to do more than just brush off the swastikas. So, he took pictures of the swastikas and posted them on Facebook, along with a post saying that this behavior needs to stop and denouncing anyone for promoting Nazism and white supremacy. The post was shared more than 620 times. The student requested to remain anonymous, saying he fears retaliation from making the incident public.

“Someone took the time to stand there to make them perfectly visible,” said the student in an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper a week after the event. “I think it was somebody who wants to promote hate. I am Jewish and am I gay, that symbol triggers me.”

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Day Bracey had had enough. Earlier this month, the well-known Pittsburgh comedian and co-host of the Drinking Partners craft-beer-focused podcast had been engaging in some social-media back-and-forth with another area comedian, Zach Hudak. Bracey took offense at some of Hudak’s posts, which often included racist and homophobic memes, and responded to some of the posts on Facebook.

Then Hudak took the discourse to another level. He responded to Bracey days later with a video he made and posted to Twitter on Oct. 16, tagging Bracey, who is black. The video (shown above) features Hudak, who is white, in black face, imitating Bracey, using a minstrel-like voice, and saying, “Hello there, this bes Day Bracey, when I sees the racist, sexist, Eskimo-phobic, peckerwood motha fucka Zach Hudak, I am gonna be curb stompin’ his ass.”

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 6:25 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh White Supremacist Hardy Lloyd arrested in connection to incident detailed in Pittsburgh City Paper story
Video screenshot of Hardy Lloyd giving a Nazi salute at an August protest in Mount Lebanon
On Sept. 15, U.S. Marshals picked up Hardy Lloyd, a Pittsburgh man with multiple connections to white supremacy groups, and arrested him for allegedly obtaining illegal weapons, lying to his probation officer about yelling "white power" in front of protest at the office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) and for lying about posting anti-Semitic fliers on cars in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside. He is expected to be returned to federal prison for violating his probation, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh City Paper
first reported about some of Lloyd's recent actions in August. Lloyd, who has a history of violence and membership in white supremacist organizations, resurfaced just two days after the neo-Nazi and white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va. One Mount Lebanon resident who asked not to be named attended the Mount Lebanon protest and told CP in August that Lloyd was wearing a camouflage hat with a double lightning-bolt symbol. This symbol is sometimes referred to as “SS bolts” and is derived from the Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s website. The ADL says SS bolts are a common symbol in white-supremacist/neo-Nazi circles.

The resident said Lloyd gave a Nazi salute yelled "white power" and walked through the crowd quickly. The resident called Lloyd's actions "disturbing."

In July, he was released from prison after serving time for online harassment, threatening police officers and contacting another white supremacist. As a condition of Lloyd's parole, he was not allowed to have contact or post content on the internet in ties to terroristic organizations like white supremacists.

Lloyd took to the Internet to comment about the story and single out those who spoke to CP. For example, Lloyd called several sources connected to the story race traitors and in response to a source who said the situation in Mt. Lebanon with Lloyd "scares you." To that Lloyd wrote: "If that scares you you'll have a heart attack with my plans for the muds and jews [sic]."

click to enlarge Pittsburgh White Supremacist Hardy Lloyd arrested in connection to incident detailed in Pittsburgh City Paper story (2)
Image courtesy of creativityalliance.com
Screen shot of Lloyd's response to Pittsburgh City Paper's original story

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, U.S. Marshals "found weapons [Lloyd] isn't allowed to have, including a hatchet, a switchblade, a modified baseball bat and a martial arts 'fighting stick' he ordered online."

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Lloyd was the former Pennsylvania head of the World Church of the Creator, an organization that believes “race, not religion, is the embodiment of absolute truth and that the white race is the highest expression of culture and civilization.” The SPLC also reports that in 2002 Lloyd began “referring to himself as ‘the doctor of all hate’ and promoting himself as the leader of the so-called ‘Order of National Socialism,’ whose motto was ‘Wake up and Kill Someone.’” In 2003, Lloyd was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and kicked out of the World Church of the Creator.

For decades Lloyd had run-ins with the law and was in and out of jail, mostly for illegally owning firearms. In 2004, Lloyd was acquitted of a murder charge, even though he admitted to shooting and killing Lori Hann, a woman he met through online dating. The jury in that case “apparently believed that Lloyd reasonably assumed that Hann was armed,” according to SPLC. The SPLC also notes four years after the shooting, Lloyd posted a video online apparently taunting the Hann family by rapping a song titled “Bitch Killer” with the lyrics, “Bitch killer, better her than me, bitch killer, fuck Hann's family, bitch killer, I know Lori's family's grievin', bitch killer, but tonight I got even.”

Lloyd was ordered to remain in custody by U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy. Lloyd's preliminary hearing is Sept. 19.

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