Sign in

LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

Life is way too short to be drinking Bud Light

Pouring Modelo beer on tap in a pint glass
Pouring Modelo beer on tap in a pint glass
Photo illustration, source: Kris Connor/Stringer/Getty

For the adventurous drinker, Sol Chelada beer is much better than its generic and forgettable original, which is more like the beer you buy on discount to bring to a party you don’t really want to attend at the home of a person you despise. Hey, at least Covid-19 means you don’t have to do that anymore!

6. Corona Extra

The entry-level south of the border beer. Fine if there’s nothing better available, but if it’s not ice-cold or served with a lime, it’s not much better than any weak American beer — like Mexican Schlitz.

5. Dos Equis

Another victim of citrus-reliance. Great to drink…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

If we let you come, you gotta promise not to bring any of these. Deal?

“Is there a lingering effect after a couple of centuries of racism and discrimination in this nation?” you asked rhetorically on Face the Nation this weekend. “The answer is absolutely.” Great that you’re acknowledging racism and all, Senator, but that “after” is doing a looooot of work here.

4. A vat filled with mayonnaise

“Everyone loves a little extra,” you kept saying, plunking a metal spoon into it like you weren’t violating a cardinal rule of food safety as thoroughly as your continued allegiance to the GOP violates reason.

3. Trump steaks

We get it: You voted with Big Don about 91% of the time — significantly more than…


The former vice president’s preliminary campaigning for a 2024 run is a waste of time and energy

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

It’s almost adorable that Mike Pence is even bothering to tease a presidential bid, much less one in 2024.

The former vice president — who had to run for cover back in January as a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol seeking his head due to his failure to help the ex-president steal an election based on a lie about Black voters — is doing the sort of things that politicians do to tease a White House run. Pence visited the state of South Carolina, which has often played a deciding factor in the presidential primary seasons…


This Week in Racism

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. …


The Only Black Guy in the Office

I’ve accepted this fact and figured out how to use my powers for good

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

A few weekends ago, I bagged some clothes and kicks that had been collecting dust in the back of my closet and dropped them off at a local donation center. ‘Tis the season for spring cleaning and whatnot. What can I say, I’ve always been one for giving what I can to those in need. It’s the fulfillment for me.

This everyday, tax-deductible act — along with the world slowly but surely opening back up — got me to thinking about how I pay it forward in my professional life. My general workplace demeanor might be to keep to myself…


After unlearning my own childhood obsession with the police, I’m giving my child the tools to shape his own worldview

Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

The year is 2020. As usual, the news is on in our home, providing a background ambiance for our daily lives. The reporter, a White woman who is almost in tears, describes the latest developments in the murder of Breonna Taylor.

Murder. I use that word deliberately because seldom is it attached to the deaths of Black people who have done nothing but exist. And that’s what Breonna did. She lived in a world that did not love her, a world that has never loved anyone like her.

I’m frozen.

I want to change the channel, but I can’t. Instead…


President Biden and the Department of Justice made a statement — but there’s still more work to be done

Photo: Melina Mara/Getty Images

You’d be hard-pressed to find two weeks of American history more honorable to the civil rights and lives of Black people than the last 14 days. The 2020 murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd didn’t slow the rate of police killing Blacks; more than 200 have lost their lives to “bad apples” since former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated Floyd last May, according to data from research group Mapping Police Violence. That figure includes the six Black people killed by law enforcement since Chauvin’s second-degree murder and manslaughter conviction on April 20.

These despicable statistics illuminated the answered…


By refusing to cop to ingrained oppression in the U.S., political leaders are living in denial

Photo: Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images

Many Americans have been mulling over Republican of South Carolina, Senator Tim Scott’s wildly fantastic rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress earlier this week.

These remarks, delivered Wednesday night, found Scott offering jaw-dropping observations about the Republican party that the last four years of American life have proven patently false: that the GOP had a Covid-19 relief plan; that GOP changes to Georgia voting laws will somehow make it easier for more people to vote; that the GOP opposes Supreme Court-packing. It was a fun house mirror of appraisals.

Being a Black person in America, there was one line…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

One of hip-hop’s greatest rivalries has yielded some yearned-for duets — most recently on DJ Khaled’s latest album. How do they all stack up?

Photo: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Despite solid, straightforward verses, this solemn Theater of the Mind deep cut is a bit ham-fisted — like pandering too hard to the kind of dudes who refused to acknowledge Soulja Boy as #realhiphop. Loosen up a little, fellas. Sheesh.

5. “Black Republicans,” Nas Featuring Jay-Z

Years of anticipation and royal horns ripped straight from The Godfather: Part II made the perfect setup for this much-anticipated linkup between two former foes. But the hype of this 2006 Hip Hop Is Dead cut was impossible to meet — and the end result felt especially anticlimactic. (Plus, Juelz Santana and Mixtape Weezy did it better.)

4. “BBC,” Jay-Z Featuring Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Nas, and Swizz Beatz

Due to their…


The Marvel series finale undermines its own bold stab at systemic racism

Photo: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was doing just fine.

Its initial episodes were action-packed, mature, and solid applications of a couple second-tier characters. The series largely exists because of one funny scene in a car in Captain America: Civil War, and the show has taken great pains to make Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) totally worth getting to know. Alas, the series, now concluded at six episodes and available on Disney+, didn’t stick the landing in its finale.

There are a lot of reasons why this is true. FWS features a lot of…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store