This Week in Racism

Colorado Republican Nicknames Black Colleague After ‘Little Rascals’ Character

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.

🗑 Looks like we’ve got an early frontrunner for state politician of the year

There’s an old saying that we just made up about Colorado politics: “If you haven’t heard anything wildly offensive in a while, just wait until Richard Holtorf opens his mouth.” In February, the Republican legislator told a colleague whose son had been killed in a 2012 mass shooting that he should just “let go” of the issue. Holtorf told the Denver Post that he couldn’t possibly be racist because he had a gay, Black friend in college. And just last week, on the floor of the statehouse, he responded to a colleague by saying, “Don’t worry, Buckwheat, I’m getting there,” and then claiming it was “an endearing term.” (“Where I’m from, that particular term is used for a younger person, a tyke, a kid, a youngster,” Holtorf later added.) Not otay! As long as we’re coming up with endearing terms, how has no one thought to give Richard Holtorf the A-Rod treatment by dubbing him Dick-Hol? We’re just saying, if the cowboy hat you’re wearing in your official government photo fits… (AP News)

🗑 Racist-ass teachers’ new strategy: When in doubt, just blame the messenger

Earlier this year, the public school district in Naperville, Illinois, invited diversity consultant Dena Simmons, Ed.D., to lead a Zoom seminar. It wasn’t Simmons’ first time addressing the Naperville teachers; she’d visited the district in previous years to run workshops on implicit bias and other topics related to DEI. This time, though, a high school teacher who attended reached out to conservative website The Federalist, which then ran a long article whining about critical race theory and anti-racism frameworks — at which point the racist-ass chickens truly came home to roost. Simmons started getting emails telling her to “go back to Africa,” while the district superintendent got some similar hate mail calling him “subhuman scum.” Kind of a long way to go to avoid acknowledging the possibility that systems of power might just perpetuate longstanding patterns of racial inequity in the name of upholding the status quo, isn’t it? (WBEZ)

🗑 Finally, social media for book lovers can be just as racist as everything else

If you’ve ever used Goodreads, an Amazon-owned platform that lets readers connect with each other to share book lists and reviews, then you know not much happens there. Increasingly, though, Black and queer writers are finding that something does happen there: one-star reviews left on their books by people who clearly haven’t read them. For novelist Liara Tamani, that looked like someone reviewing her not-yet-published YA novel All the Things We Never Knew by telling her to “stop appropriating White culture” and “get your own country away from us civilians.” (Even better, the review ended with the all-time classic line, “White lives matter.”) British publication The I found that some people have given literally thousands of books one-star ratings in hopes of driving down the books’ aggregate ratings and likelihood of being recommended. Goodreads’ response boiled down to “we’re open to feedback” — as if feedback wasn’t already kind of the problem. Jeff Bezos, you’ve done it again! (The I)

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