Another Public Figure Thinks Rape Jokes are Funny

via Kai and Nezua

Arizona is rapidly getting a reputation as one of the worst places in the country for brown people. Not only does it have a high concentration of vigilantes perpetrating border injustice but also has several state politician supported attacks on organizations and academic programs for or about people of color, specifically targeting MECHA and Chican@ Studies, as well as multicultural curriculum at the grade school level.

In this environment, it is no surprise that radio djs think they can make comments about Chican@s without consequence. Jon Justice has used his radio show, on Arizona’s radio 104.1, to advocate sexual violence against well known human and immigrant rights activist Isabel Garcia. Not only did he speak about it on air, he put videos of himself assaulting a pinata likeness of her with her picture on it while crying out “viva la raza.” (The layers of sick conflation of racism and sexism here would take a whole semester to unpack.)

Ooooooh Viva la Raza….feels SOoosoosoosoo gooood

 

Can I take her home with me? I’m going to take her home with me! MmMmMM…

-from video on you tube

The connection between sexual exploitation, assault, and immigration policy is well documented. Arizona, like other border states, has “rape trees” where women’s under garments are strewn across branches presumably as a sign of the price they paid to cross the border (while some have claimed these trees, which appeared shortly after the minute men, are propaganda for the conservatives, the existence of rape on the border by all sides is well documented, including a case against Border Patrol in TX and ongoing complaints of sexual assault in detention). And stories of assault and degradation surface regularly with ever new ICE raid. It is clear there is a mentality in border towns that rivals that of the neo-nazi inspired anti-immigration beatings in Russia. They too put their videos out on the internet. And they too believe it is an important part of checking any citizen or government inspired policies supporting immigrants’ rights and inculcating a growing culture of hate. And while Jon Justice may have physically assaulted no one, his actions not only resonate with the stories of those who have but could, in the wrong hands, incite such behavior. Worse, Jon should know this since he was quoted as saying:

I dont know about you, but when I see children beating up on the likeness of a human being, and then another person like isabel garcia … picking up the head of that likeness of a person … and then parading that around I would take that as a threat of physical violence

Like John McCain however, Jon Justice thinks jokes about rape and especially those with racial over or undertones are both amusing and acceptable.

 

This is not just an isolated attack either. At one point in the video, Jon argues that raping women of Mexican descent is “easy”:

Oh, she’s pretty light, actually! You see when you do all that work on the border in the hot sun, you lose weight!

His argument not only expands his target beyond Isabel Garcia, whose only crime was winning a Human Rights award from Mexico and standing up for the legal rights of the immigrant community in Arizona, to all brown women. And he does so, by making jokes about unsafe labor conditions less than 2 months after a pregnant teenager died of heat stroke working in the vineyards in California while the foreman did nothing.

 

In a nation where “shock jock” Imus is back on the air after a national campaign to hold him accountable for his disparaging remarks about women of color, and djs in Alaska made racialized sexist jokes about indigenous women with very little non-local out cry (and claim innocence b/c of lack of intent after a 3 week suspension), there is more at stake than what one dj has said and done. If we map these incidents and their frequency, we cannot ignore that the radio has become a key site for the targeting of women, and women of color in particular. During an election year in which it became acceptable for media pundits and outlets to refer to one of the candidates as a “shrew” a “b—h” and a “monster” and depict another as a terrorist burning down all things American from within the White House, there is a very real ideological battle at stake when we ignore or excuse people like Jon Justice.

In a state like Arizona, which has become increasingly hostile to its indigenous and Chican@ and Latin@ communities, his racist and sexist behavior is all the more dangerous. The fact that he has now chosen to play victim in this situation and encourage his listeners to vilify Derechos Humanos speaks to how little he understands the consequences of his behavior as well as the reasons for why neither rape nor racially motivated assault are amusing. Like others that claim victim status when they are victimizing a people, Jon thinks pointing to the actions of his intended victims excuses his own behavior. As I say to my students, if you hit a person and they yell back does that make you less guilty of assaulting them? Sadly, when the second person is a woman, a person of color, or a woman of color than some people think the answer is yes

The good news: several companies have expressed concern about the continued employment and lack of sanction for Jon Justice and pulled their advertising. And there is a write in campaign sponsored by Derechos Humanos.

Here is a list of things you can do:

  1. Contact local Pima County officials in support of Isabel Garcia
  2. Call on the advertisers of 104.1 FM “The Truth” radio to end their support of hate radio, misogyny, and racism.
  3. Visit Derechos Humanos for other ideas and resources, including sample letters.

 

21 thoughts on “Another Public Figure Thinks Rape Jokes are Funny

  1. I want to preface this by admitting that I’ve only recently heard about this story and so therefore I may not have all the facts.It disgusts me that this DJ would fight back against Garcia by using that sort of imagery. Nothing will change my disgust to approval, but according to his website (which I realize may or may not be entirely accurate) the supporters of Derechos Humanos haven’t employed the best techniques either. I don’t think that the pinata incident documented on YouTube justifies insinuations of rape–please know this–but it seems to me that both sides need to be more civil.If I am wrong in this or am missing some vital information, please point it out. But, it seems to me that violent imagery begets violent imagery.

  2. welcome to the blog. Do you see how comparing a protest to the mimicking of rape while expressing both racist and sexist comments about an already targeted group shifts the discussion away from oppression and into the realm of “everybody makes mistakes”? How does that shift prevent us from discussing oppression? How does pointing to Derechos Humanos behavior help us to understand a pattern of verbal violence against women, and women of color in particular, by a series of djs documented in this post?Ultimately, the question that everyone needs to ask is: does the act of protesting violence against immigrants negate the act of mimicking the rape of a woman in a global forum like youtube as well as on a local radio station? As, I said in the post, sadly for some people the answer is yes. For me, there is never an excuse for pretending to rape someone. And all though a discussion of protest tactics is certainly an interesting one, I would like us to stay on task here in discussing the point of the post: several disc jockeys and 1 presidential campaign have engaged in public racist and sexist jokes and some have advocated or excused rape in the process.

  3. As I said in my initial comment, I agree with you that insinuations of rape are never okay and that they disgust me (btw, I am female). And I do agree that this kind of attack is something specific to the female experience. I am simply trying to understand the issue more clearly. I don’t believe that his reaction to the protest was appropriate in any way, but the historian in me just doesn’t quit when it comes to looking at something from multiple angles.I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, and I really do want to learn more about the issues. I simply am the sort of person that needs to ask lots of questions :). Can you point me to some newspapers or something that will talk about this particular incident (or series of incidents) in more detail?

  4. I think everybody engaged on this blog looks at things from multiple vantage points. The difference I see here is what is centered in those multiple vantage points. There are several links in this post that should help you get started on doing your own research on this topic. As a historian, I know that you have been well trained on how to access primary and secondary resource materials. Stop by and let us know what you find.

  5. […] are never so giddy as when they’re finding new ways to remind bitches who’s boss. And if they have to fashion their own papier-mâché likeness of Isabel Garcia and molest it, if they have to mock her and mimic her to do that, then by God, that’s what they’re […]

  6. Thank you for posting this information. This is utterly disgusting. I will do whatever I can to help him get fired.

  7. I know that this post was about his rape behavior but I cannot stop thinking about the link you provided to truthout. This is the first time I heard of this occurring. I won’t derail your conversation by making it the focus but I felt the need to express my horror at the vulnerability of these women. Here we see the perfect intersection of race, class and gender impacting someone’s life in the most terrible way..

  8. welcome to the blog Kristin.Renee – I don’t think discussing rape on the border is off-topic. The preponderance of sexual assault by coyotes, vigilantes, and documented cases of border patrol agents are all part of the narrative I think Jon Justice is tapping into when he decided to rape his pinata version of Garcia. He knows, as he says clearly in reference to some one else’s behavior, what he is calling up and why.

  9. Ahh, this story has made me really upset. Especially because I spent much of my childhood in Arizona, and I can attest to the blatant and awful racism there (what racism isn’t “awful”? :P). This DJ is a sorry excuse for a human being. I am tired of white males saying “this is just a joke.” Well, it’s not, it reinforces oppression of marginalized groups, and it has extremely tangible effects on those groups, specifically women of color. Rape isn’t funny. Period.Oh, and of course the white males will make themselves out to look like the victims in the end. Ugh.How is it that people cannot see the connections between this white DJ making simulating the rape of a Latina and the rapes, tortures, and murders of girls and women near the U.S./Mexico border?

  10. I am another who has just heard of this story. It makes me sick that anyone would “joke” about rape. This guy needs not to be working. Is there a radio station address that one can write to express outrage?

  11. welcome to the blog Andi. Click on the Derechos Humanos link in the post; they will have the most up to date list of contact numbers.

  12. I agree with this blog. Instead of this horrible act on Garcia’s likeness, Jon Justice instead should have beat the head off of the pinata and paraded it around a busy parking lot… that would have been perfectly okay.

  13. welcome to the blog TF – while cynicism has its place in critique it is almost always undermined when underpinned by a lack of factual integrity or equivalent comparison. I’m not quite sure which feminist group supports rape jokes and blatant racism but thanks for letting us know that we kind find them in Tuscon.

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