Things That Matter

A Cuban-American Is Behind The Hate Group “The Proud Boys” And POC Have Questions

If you’ve been following the news centered around the rise of the white supremacist movement in America, fueled by Trump’s nativist 2016 campaign, you’re probably familiar with The Proud Boys. The group was founded in the midst of the Trump campaign and describes itself as a “drinking club that stands behind Donald Trump.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated The Proud Boys as a general hate group given the spew of white nationalist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric from its members.

Last November, a Proud Boy Rally in Portland, Oregon broke out into a full-fledged brawl with Antifa (a left-wing Anti-Fascist group). This week, Portland spent $2 million in security measures to ensure another Proud Boy rally, called “End Domestic Terrorism,” left nobody injured. Shockingly, The Proud Boys is nationally led by Afro-Cubano Enrique Tarrio of Miami, and Latinos have something to say to him.

The Proud Boys’ goal today was to have Antifa declared a domestic terrorist organization.

@AlexiaKapralos / Twitter

While Oregon is already a very white state, due to its black exclusion laws that outlawed POC from settling in the state from 1844 to 1926, its major cities have become a hub for progressives.

The Popular Mobilization movement (Pop Mob) spent the day trying to thwart The Proud Boys’ efforts to demonize the movement by having folks dressed up as poop emojis, hosting a banana costume dance party and more. “Having a conversation is useless. We’re not going to change their minds,” spokesperson Effie Baum said of The Proud Boys. “But we can make sure their videos are filled with poop emojis and a lot of music.”

The entire city’s police force was on the scene, along with FBI, as buses carrying The Proud Boys arrived in Downtown Portland.

@FordFischer / Twitter

While police had closed the Morrison Bridge, the Proud Boys cheered when they learned police gave them the privilege of crossing. Then, the police formed a physical barricade under the bridge to separate The Proud Boys from their counter-protesters. Police confiscated bear spray, shields and metal poles from the groups.

Several stores closed in advance of the protest, including chains like Starbucks and even small businesses. Wildfang, a clothing outlet that prides itself in fashion for queer folks, chose to close shop for the day. “As a small business, this can be a tough decision to make, but the safety of our employees + the community that we serve is always our top priority,” the business wrote on their Instagram. “We love you, Portland. F*ck white supremacy.”

A leaked group chat reveals that the Proud Boys premeditate violence before their rallies.

Untitled. Digital Image. Huffington Post. 17 August 2019.

Huffington Post published leaked messages from a Proud Boys group chat that illustrates the group’s primary goal to inflict violence on their counter-protesters.

Another chat member, Alan Groot, wrote, “If any contact is made with you, that’s assault. If they take your hat, spray you with silly string, spit, push… It’s assault. We need to have all our guys there before we retaliate though if we can. The cops aren’t going to let us fight long. We need to inflict as much damage as possible in the time we have.”

Trump’s tweet calling Antifa an “organization of terror,” satiated The Proud Boys’ mission.

@realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“This smells like a setup, folks,” tweets one woman. “Proud Boys go to Portland to goad #AntiFA into violence so Trump feels justified in labeling the anti-Nazi group as an organization of terror…?”

Joe Biggs, a former InfoWars writer and organizer of today’s neo-Nazi rally, told The Oregonian that “President Trump’s Twitter” gave them what they wanted. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching Antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”

So, if The Proud Boys self-describe as a drinking club, why are they a hate group?

@QuotesGavin / Twitter

Co-founder of Vice Media and Vice magazine, Gavin McInnes (no longer associated with the outlet) is the founder of The Proud Boys. In 2002, when asked what he thought about his Williamsburg neighborhood, he said, “Well, at least they’re not niggers or Puerto Ricans. At least they’re white.”

Here are just a few of his quotes from his Get Off My Lawn podcast:

It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.

Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 19, 2018

Maybe the reason I’m sexist is because women are dumb. No, I’m just kidding, ladies. But you do tend to not thrive in certain areas — like writing.

Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 28, 2017

The Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally was planned by a Proud Boy.

@FordFischer / Twitter

Then-President McInnes “expelled” Unite the Right Rally organizer Jason Kessler from the group in an attempt to distance the group from the violence, and consequent fear in the POC community, that it incites.

Portland’s own Lieutenant Tina Jones admits that, “these events can cause alarm, anxiety and even fear for certain members of our community.”

This Latino Portland resident faked a farewell to his friends, worried that he would be killed by The Proud Boys on his way to work.

@ThisIsHans / Twitter

One of his friends replied, “You’re half white, you’re good.” Because Brown isn’t the dominant gene here. “True,” he replied. “I’ll just get like a toe cut off or something.”

Another friend reminded him that Proud Boys “allow in a lot of self hating Latino dudes.”

@thejedgentry / Twitter

Unfortunately, he has a point. In fact, McInnes stepped down as leader of The Proud Boys after getting into legal trouble and is succeeded by Cuban-American Enrique Tarrio.

Tarrio doesn’t believe Trump is a racist.

@PressToDigitate / Twitter

He thinks it’s sad to see “that kind of rhetoric” tossed around about Trump.

Tarrio referenced his Cuban upbringing as a “similar atmosphere” to the Proud Boys. “My house, at like 7 o’clock in the morning, there’s like 20 people, in my house, talking about politics, roasting each other, just making fun of each other. I was brought up in that environment, so that kind of brings me into the f*ckery that comes along with being a Proud Boy,” he said.

Latinos and POC have so many questions for Tarrio.

@BrotherBlack9 / Twitter

Twitter user Juan-Carlos Cruz tweeted, “I can’t believe that a Cuban-American, Enrique Tarrio, is a member of the Right-Wing Proud Boys. Lord have mercy!! Shameful, sad and disappointing.”

Tarrio’s social media accounts were deactivated by Facebook and Instagram after he captioned a photo of Leslie Jones comparing her to an “ape.” While The Proud Boys claim they expelled all Proud Boys who attended the Unite the Right rally that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer, Tarrio admits he was in attendance.

Students Under Investigation After Flashing White Power Symbols On National TV During Army/Navy Football Game

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Students Under Investigation After Flashing White Power Symbols On National TV During Army/Navy Football Game

@TheTNHoller / Twitter

The United States Military Academy has opened a formal investigation into whether Army cadets and Navy midshipmen flashed white power symbols during a nationally televised broadcast of the Army-Navy football game Saturday. At least three individuals flashed the upside-down “ok” hand gesture, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate symbol meant to signify “white power.” Footage of the gestures went viral on Twitter as folks circulated allegations that the military students were flashing white power symbols on nationally televised media “because they fully understand that most people in the dominant society share their views, and there will be no serious punishment against them.” President Trump attended the game and visited both locker rooms before the start of the match.

“The United States Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, The United States Military Academy’s superintendent, said in a statement. Meanwhile, Naval Academy officials appointed a preliminary inquiry officer to head up the internal investigation. 

Twitter is calling for the expulsion of the students who flashed the symbol, which seemed especially telling when flashed behind the head of a black cadet.

CREDIT: @BIGKAHUNAVAN / TWITTER

Two cadets clearly flash white power hand signals; one of them does it right behind the head of a black cadet. This is on live TV at the Army-Navy game. The @NavalAcademy should kick these students out,” one Twitter user called out. Another person wants to expel them and fine them for the taxpayer dollars that went toward their education thus far. “Imagine how these young black men will feel when they see this footage of their classmates flashing white power signals directly behind their heads. This is shameful and horrific behavior,” comments another user. 

Meanwhile, others are saying that the gestures are far more sophomoric. “IT’S THE FREAKING CIRCLE GAME!,” tweeted one POC. The alleged game is based on tricking someone into looking at the hand gesture which would allow you to playfully punch that person. If you ever played the VW Beetle game as a kid, it’s pretty similar. Others don’t buy it. “Right behind the head of the black guy? Come on…” asks one user. “I ain’t buying it either. If it were true, the black guy or other minorities would be playing the “game” as well. Funny, the “game” signal givers hands are NEVER BROWN. Why’s that now?” asks another Twitter user.

That said, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) details a much more insidious and increasingly common use of the “O.K.” hand gesture that began in 2017.

CREDIT: @GININATEACUP1 / TWITTER

Both the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League have described the symbol as hate speech. White nationalists first started using the symbol because of how it creates a “W” and a “P” to denote “white power.” In 2017, internet gateway to the alt-right, 4chan, started disseminating the symbol as a way to “trigger liberals.” SPLC says that the symbol is a “deliberate attempt to “trigger liberals” into overreacting to a gesture so widely used that virtually anyone has plausible deniability built into their use of it in the first place.” According to SPLC, the hoax started when the following post went viral: “We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand signal is a symbol of white supremacy. Make fake accounts with basic white girl names and type shit like: OMG that’s so truuuuu…” It seems to be working. 

Before the 4chan hoax went viral and spread to anyone who was simply anti-liberal, it was used by alt-right figures and white nationalists. In fact, the white supremacist who murdered over 50 worshippers in the Christchurch mosque flashed the symbol in court.

Plausible deniability remains the crux of the issue. The “O.K.” signal is so ubiquitous, it makes it difficult to prove malicious intent.

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

Still, at least three different young men flashed the symbol on national television this weekend, knowing President Trump was in the audience. Several Trump supporters have expressed glee in using the symbol simply because of its underlying intent to prove liberals and minorities as triggered.

Military officials feel its “inappropriate” to speculate any further on the students’ intent while the investigation is underway. 

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

The SPLC cites the use of the “O.K.” hand gesture as a ploy to “trigger” liberals as participation in a “toxic subculture.” The Center cites such a troll as someone with a “direct gateway not just to the alt-right, but also to even more poisonous cultures such as that of woman-hating “incels.” The Center says that “it’s easy” for a simple “troll” to morph into a white supremacist surreptitiously signaling your presence to other white supremacists.

READ: A Family At Universal Studios Had Their Trip Ruined By A Character From ‘Despicable Me’ Who Flashed A White Power Symbol

She Chased Latino Teens Off A Playground And Now ‘Swing Set Susan’ Is Facing Criminal Charges

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She Chased Latino Teens Off A Playground And Now ‘Swing Set Susan’ Is Facing Criminal Charges

A woman the internet nicknamed “Swing Set Susan” was charged with a felony this week. Samantha Louise Eley, a 38-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas was charged with impersonating a public servant, according to the arrest warrant affidavit

Eley became a viral meme when a video showed her pretending to be a cop in order to intimidate Latinx teenagers off a playground at Dream Park. The video was viewed over 5 million times on Twitter. 

Eley was arrested earlier this week on an unrelated bond violation, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, from a previous arrest in a domestic violence case. ‘Swing Set Susan’ along with “BBQ Becky” and “Permit Patty,” are a part of a string of recent incidents where white people have invoked the police to complain about people of color’s innocuous behavior. 

‘Swing Set Susan’ targets a group of Latinx teenagers. Then goes viral.

A teenager shared a video captioned with, “We were just trying to play. I guess we’re adults.” The teen was one of many having a good time on a swing at Dream Park when Eley interrupted by pounding on the swing as she screamed at the children. 

“Stop! Stop!” Eley is heard yelling at the teens. “It’s a children’s park, stop. Stop now.”

Eley accused them of not really being kids. When one girl corrected her, she went on a tirade. Eley insisted the playground was only for thirteen-year-olds and under. In a statement by the Fort Worth Police Department, they said the parks and playgrounds are open to all ages, even if some equipment is recommended for younger children. 

“Okay, well, I’m a f—— PD, so get the f— out of here now if you’re not here to play as a child,” Eley screams in the video. 

The girl then says they’re 16. Eley continues to argue with the children about whether they are children, before telling them 16 is old enough to be arrested as an adult. The kids largely remain quiet while some can be heard saying they should just leave. 

The Star-Telegram reported that a man who witnessed the incident told officers Eley left when he said he was calling the real police. 

Fort Worth Police Department investigate the incident. 

According to the Washington Post, Detective B. Cantu created a six-page photo lineup that included a mugshot of Eley. After identifying the teen in the video, they had her come in and choose the offender from the lineup. She chose Eley’s picture. 

“The teen told the detective that she did believe the woman was a police officer and that she and her friends left the park because of their interaction with her, according to the arrest warrant affidavit,” Lateshia Beachum reported for the Washington Post. 

Eley was already in police custody on a charge of bodily injury assault.  When the detective went to read Eley her Miranda rights and to interview her at Tarrant County Jail, she allegedly declined to speak.

The Star-Telegram reported that she had been charged on August 29, for assaulting a family member. In 2014, Eley was also sentenced to 16 months probation. In 2017, she spent 50 days in jail for DWIs, the newspaper found after reviewing Tarrant County court records. 

“Swing Set Susan” could face $10,000 in fines and 10 years of incarceration if she is convicted of impersonating a public servant. 

This isn’t the first time Latinx folk have been targets of white ire.  

In 2017, BuzzFeed News reported a man went on a racist tirade after overhearing a Puerto Rican man speak to his mom in Spanish. 

“Learn how to f—— speak English,” he shouts in a viral video. “We live in America.” 

Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. In 2018, Vox reported a white lawyer who threatened to call ICE when he overhead two restaurant workers speaking Spanish. 

“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he says to one employee in the video. “This is America.” The United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking nation, with more Spanish-speakers than Spain. 

This year another white man had a meltdown because he couldn’t understand why a Mexican restaurant had a menu in Spanish. 

“That’s bulls—” he said in a video according to The Hill. ‘It says it in Mexican. We’re not in Mexico. We’re in America! Above the border. The red, the line. I’m an American!”

These are just a few incidents of many that have swept the nation since Trump has taken office. In the United States, hate crimes rose by 17 percent in 2017, with anti-Latinx crimes raising by over 24 percent according to the FBI.