This Week in Racism

Georgia Police Chief Says Black Folks Didn’t Have It That Bad During Slavery

It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life. But no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we created a weekly racism surveillance machine. If you already get our newsletter, Minority Report, you’ve likely seen this — but now the rest of the internet can get a taste.

🗑 One of these days, a racist cop will be straight-up fired instead of “told to resign”

In tiny Hamilton, Georgia, police officers claimed that they weren’t using their body cameras because they wouldn’t turn on. The problem wasn’t that they were broken; it was that they were full. (Uh, anyone ever hear of an IT department?) But when city employees downloaded the footage clogging up said bodycams, they found their own chief of police and a patrolman going full Grand Wizard during a casual conversation. The pair ran through all the greatest hits on the footage, which was originally captured before a Black Lives Matter protest in June: using the N-bomb to refer to Rayshard Brooks; saying they’d rather have sex with a man than Stacey Abrams; complaining about the protests because slavery had happened “200 years ago”; and, as the grand finale, pointing out that enslaved folks didn’t have it that bad anyway. “But for the most part, it seems to me like they furnished them a house to live in, they furnished them clothes to put on their back, they furnished them food to put on their table, and all they had to do was f — ing work,” police chief Gene Allmond said. “And now, we give them all those things, and they don’t have to f — ing work.” Unbelievably, Hamilton’s mayor — who is Black, mind you — gave the two the chance to resign. Which they both did. Well, the chief did; the patrolman, John Brooks, asked to resign, but then didn’t turn in his equipment by the appointed time, at which point he was terminated. So that’s what it takes, huh? (NBC News)

🗑 Uh, that’s not what “paying with a Black card” means

Last Thanksgiving, a woman checked in for her American Airlines flight at North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas Airport. Everything went fine — until a few days later when she checked her banking app and saw a debit labeled only as “African American Service Charge.” She called the airline; she called her bank; each kept pointing her to the other. Finally, last month, a local TV news organization began digging into the story. American Airlines claimed that it was unable to change the text on a given charge, and because the woman had checked her baggage at a self-serve kiosk, it couldn’t have been their fault. Mastercard confirmed that, saying that the American charge had come through correctly. That narrows it down to either the bank that issued the credit card or Mastercard itself, but the description remains unchanged on the charge. The investigation continues, and a suspect has yet to be identified, but if we’re gonna put our detective hat on, we’re gonna say it was Kolonel Kustard in the Kitchen… with absolutely zero seasoning. (WBTW)

🗑 How many Nazi robocalls does $10 million get you?

Montana may be Big Sky country, but it’s also Big Swastika country. In January, the FCC slapped Montana resident Scott D. Rhodes with a $9.9 million fine for multiple campaigns of racist robocalls. Throughout 2018, Rhodes sent thousands of calls targeting Black and Jewish politicians — including Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein — and spoofing the caller ID so that the calls appeared to be coming locally. He did the same to Charlottesville, Virginia, residents after the White supremacist “Unite the Right” rally that year, and to residents in Iowa and Idaho. Rhodes, who runs a neo-Nazi website and podcast we’re not going to mention here, brought that same energy to his robocalls, some of which included recordings of Adolf Hitler. All Rhodes lead to bigotry, we guess! (USA Today)

Dishonorable mentions

  • The Florida Woman (OF COURSE) who defended her vile-ass racist rant by saying “It doesn’t matter if I said [the N-word] 100 times in 30 seconds,” she said. “I don’t care who’s upset.” (KMOV)
  • The same Florida Woman who then doubled down to another reporter by saying “To finally get someone to come out and go ‘I’m a racist. I’m sorry for what I did.’ That will never come out of my mouth. Ever. Never.” Damn, lady, we get it! (ABC 7)
  • Australian Rules Football club Collingwood, who was sued by an ex-player for a culture of systemic racism that including being called “chimp” by his own damn teammates. (BBC)

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