This Week in Racism

One Thing That’s Not Fake About Pro Wrestling: The 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. If you already get our newsletter, Minority Report, you’ve likely seen this — but now the rest of the internet can get a taste.

🗑 WWE puts its own racist history in a sleeper hold, gets slammed for it

In the ever-expanding sea of streaming platforms, NBCUniversal’s Peacock has managed to amass a decent library of exclusives. It’s now the only place you can find The Office, as well as [checks notes] Two and a Half Men and the Matrix movies — and last week it added the WWE, so wrestling fans now have a place to get their kayfabe fix. There’s just one thing: The league has a truly shameful history when it comes to race, and some of its most offensive moments seem to have been magically left behind in the move to Peacock. Moments like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper going half-blackface, or Vince McMahon going full… whatever this is. So what, that shit just never happened? For a league that as recently as 2019 released racially questionable (at best) merchandise, and has given Hulk “I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n****r” Hogan hosting duties at the upcoming Wrestlemania, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. All Elite Wrestling, anyone? (New York Times)

🗑 Nothing says “I’m qualified to shape young minds” like a 30-minute tirade about Black folks

In Palmdale, California (shout out to Paul George!), a sixth grader was having trouble accessing his online education portal for remote work. This wasn’t just any school; it was the Desert Willow Fine Arts, Science and Technology Magnet Academy, the name of which at least would suggest that the school should have a handle on such things. When the student’s mother reached out, the school referred her to the student’s science teacher, who then set up a Zoom meeting. Great, fine, let’s all get this taken care of. Presumably, they discussed how to get the kid up and running, but the problem wasn’t what happened on the call — the problem was what happened when the call ended and the teacher forgot to disconnect. Instead, she started telling her husband about the meeting. “I mean these parents, that’s what kind of piece of shit they are,” she said, adding, “Black. He’s Black. They’re a Black family… you’ve taught [the student] to make excuses that nothing is his fault. This is what Black people do.” This went on for 30 damn minutes; at one point, the teacher started writing an email to other teachers mocking the student’s teacher. The teacher resigned; the mother sued. What happened next has yet to be resolved, but we do know one thing: Anyone who doubts what our kids are up against just got yet another piece of evidence added to the pile. Don’t try to climb it — you might get altitude sickness. (NBC 4 Los Angeles)

🗑 The racism-avenging team-up you never knew you needed: Byron Allen and Ice Cube

Michigan residents who opened Sunday’s edition of the Detroit Free Press found a full-page ad taking square aim at one of Motown’s biggest companies. The ad, signed by a group of media executives, excoriated General Motors and its chairperson, Mary Barra, for spending only .5% of its advertising budget with Black-owned media companies. “Mary, the very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded, and you don’t have true economic inclusion,” read part of the letter. Even better? Said group included Ice Cube and Byron Allen. Apparently, the group had asked for five years to meet with Barra in order to lobby for GM’s ad dollars, only to be shunted off to the company’s marketing department. This isn’t Byron Allen’s first go-round unleashing holy fire on a giant corporation; last year, he settled a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast for racial discrimination. If you’re keeping score, that means that not only does Allen own The Weather Channel and a handful of other cable networks, as well as more than a dozen local TV stations, but he’s also more than willing to throw his power around to make the big boys do what’s right. That’s almost enough to ignore the fact that he gave his company the most uninspiring name possible. Entertainment Studios? C’mon, Byron, it may be worth a billion dollars, but it sounds like you run it out of your garage. (Detroit Free Press)

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