This Week in Racism

White Drivers Are Taking Road Rage to Racist Levels

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

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

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.

🗑 Slur-hurling fender bender tender turns out to be retired LAPD detective

Of all the phone videos that have ever featured a White person dropping the N-bomb, it’s hard to starting more promisingly than these eight words: “Oh, you can say n****r but I can’t?!” The unholy octet kicked off a minute-long clip captured in Santa Clarita, California, after a minor car accident between a young Black man and a very angry, very cop-looking middle-aged White man. Not surprisingly, the footage blew up on Twitter. Even less surprisingly, the cop-looking middle-aged White man turned out to be a retired LAPD detective. But here’s where it gets good. According to the LAPD, L.A.’s attorney general’s office will be reviewing 370 cases handled by the detective, to see if his willingness to say things like “get back in your cage and wait until the monkey controller gets here” (yes, really) might have compromised his work. We’re gonna go ahead and guess it’s a big yes on that one. (NBC 4 Los Angeles)

🗑 We have a feeling this New Jersey woman might also be a retired LAPD detective

Last week, two Black women were driving in Bayonne, New Jersey, when they got rear-ended. Hard. Hard enough that the other car’s entire fender came off. At first, the other driver allegedly offered them cash; then, when they balked, she launched into a live, completely ad-libbed rendition of The Sopranos’ Most Racist Moments. Yes, if you’re keeping count, this is the second traffic accident this week where the White driver — who, again, is at fault — calls the Black driver a “monkey.” This time, at least, Facebook viewers (and the women whose car was hit) got the cathartic joy of watching police show up and promptly arrest the woman for disorderly conduct, with the possibility of a “bias intimidation” charge still under consideration by the prosecutor’s office. (Hudson Reporter)

🗑 Black juror dismissed from Derek Chauvin’s case for acknowledging the obvious

If you’re wondering why Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial hasn’t begun yet, it’s because attorneys are still filling out the jury. (As of yesterday, only a single alternate juror was left to be found, at which point the proceedings could begin; the ex-Minneapolis PD officer is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd last May.) Jury selection is a sadly predictable process, mostly because in a case like this, where Chauvin’s blatant disregard for Floyd’s life was captured in full by both a bystander and surveillance cameras, it exposes defense attorneys’ panic at anything resembling a fair trial. That’s how you get jurors like a Black woman in her sixties who, according to the Associated Press, hadn’t seen the video and had no firm opinion of Chauvin or Floyd. (Given the fact that Chauvin is basically dressed as a Blue Lives Matter flag at this trial, it’s impossible not to have an opinion, but we’d never cast aspersions on our elders like that.) But it’s also how you get potential jurors who are rejected for reasons that boil down to acknowledging racism. That’d be “Juror No. 76,” who last week told attorneys that he experiences racism daily, and agreed with the idea that police are more likely to use force on Black people than on White people. “As a Black man,” he said, “you see a lot of Black people get killed and no one’s held accountable for it, and you wonder why or what was the decisions [sic]. So, with this, maybe I’ll be in the room to know why.” Except he won’t be. Too real for Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson, apparently. (AP News)

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