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Race

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The controversial producer and rapper has a cult of personality so strong that nothing he does — even trivializing slavery — can damage him

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Two years ago, Kanye West was asked if he feared of losing his audience in light of recent controversy surrounding comments made about race and politics.

“I’m only … afraid of my daddy, God,” West told L.A. radio host Big Boy. “I done been 15 years. I’m telling you that God is showing you that you can have your own thoughts, bro. I been canceled before there was cancel culture.”

I don’t think God has anything to do with it, but West never really had anything to worry about. As much as people like to complain about cancel culture, West…


The Olympics’ sexist and racist punishment of female athletes of color makes it difficult to celebrate the contests

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

I’m rooting for 18-year-old Namibian runners Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi in the Olympics’ 200-meter competition not only because they’re incredible athletes but because they’ve been biologically discriminated against.

A couple of weeks ago, the two teens were banned from Tokyo’s 400-meter race because, according to the World Athletics, their testosterone levels were too high. No foreign substances or performance-enhancing chemicals were found in the bodies of these young women; their natural testosterone levels alone were the cause of their Olympic disqualification.

The only reason Mboma and Masilingi were tested in the first place is that Africans have spent all…


Photo illustration: Save As; Source: Everette Collection

After pulling the trigger in Hollywood’s most ominous drive-by, Lloyd Avery II began to mirror the lifestyle of the gangster he portrayed on-screen. But the late actor’s demise is much deeper than life imitating art.

Based on numbers alone, Lloyd Avery II’s character in Boyz N the Hood is a minor role. Four scenes. About eight lines of dialogue. At most, two minutes of screen time. He’s listed in the credits as Knucklehead #2, but fans of the film know him as the Blood who shot Ricky. He’s best remembered emerging from that cardinal red Hyundai clutching a sawed-off shotgun like he’s death incarnate, set to perpetrate one of the most tragic movie murders of all time. Radiating intensity, Avery’s charisma elevates this nameless henchman into an iconic villain.

“Lloyd had a presence that I…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

I keep it realer than most while on the job, but there are limits to how freely I’ll speak around my co-workers

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

Around this time last year, I had a professional breakthrough. Last summer, in the midst of various American institutions being taken to task for upholding systemic racism, I decided to shed my code-switching ways once and for all. Longtime readers may remember me pouring out a lil liquor for my White voice and making a personal promise to more closely align my out-of-office and on-the-clock personas. I’ve been logging on to work as my full Black self ever since.

I have no regrets about this subtle yet meaningful choice. Keepin’ it real hasn’t gone wrong yet. But if I’m being…


The research provides conflicting answers, and educators still aren’t sure

Photo: M. Monk/Unsplash

As a special educator in Baltimore City, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD) is a prevalent diagnosis among my students. You don’t have to be in a classroom long to know just how much of a sticky subject the disorder is, particularly for Black boys. Over the years I’ve taught many boys diagnosed with ADHD, but only one girl, since ADHD presents differently based on gender — just one of several factors in its routine underdiagnosis.

The critics who say there are too many ADHD diagnoses often charge that the education system is pathologizing normal behaviors, like students not staying…


Revisiting K-Dot’s genius in the midst of unprecedented times

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As Black lives haven’t mattered and cities that were one-time citadels of Black excellence have been roiled by manic, racist antagonism, I’ve kept an ear open and eye out for one note of salvation: King Kendrick. The Negus. The good kid in a “m.A.A.d city.” The un-pimped butterfly. And I’ve heard nothing.

Maybe the age of pop-aspiring rap was so choked with snap-trappers, marble-mouthed mumblers, and turnt-out turn-ups that we were too devoid of our souls to receive the power of a cultural statement from Kendrick Lamar in the mainstream.


And the overturning of his sexual assault conviction doesn’t make him any less of a monster

Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

The only thing worse than a rapist is a sanctimonious one that doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up and rot in silence. No reasonable person should’ve ever expected Bill Cosby to be quiet though.

Based on the Twitter profile maintained while he was incarcerated, the comedian and accused tormentor of allegedly 60 women fancied himself as some sort of political prisoner. This nigga ain’t Nelson Mandela, but sadly the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has provided this monster more material to play the martyr. …


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.

After 30 years on the job, an Ohio police chief has resigned after surveillance…


After years of assimilation, I relearned the importance of loving myself — and my Puerto Rican culture — in full

First days of swim team, one of my first steps towards assimilating to life in the States. Courtesy of author.

Once upon a time on a Caribbean island, I would climb palms, knock down coconuts, and sell them for a dollar. But 35 years have passed since my family left Puerto Rico for the States. That’s three decades for this transplant to sprout new roots, time enough to bear three ripened fruits of my own.

My core formed on the tiny tropical island of Puerto Rico. Surrounded by the different hues of Caribbean blues, I grew up swimming anywhere that kept me cool. Then, when I turned 10, my dad’s government job transferred him to Texas. …


It’s bigger than drow elves and trolls. The cult classic board game’s recent shakeup evokes how oppressors retain the status quo.

Photo Source: Getty Images

When I was around 10 years old, on an otherwise unremarkable Saturday afternoon at the Main Library in Downtown Columbus, Ohio, I had my life changed.

I was walking through the children’s area when I saw a large group of kids seated around two tables that had been pushed together. Sheets of paper covered every surface and everyone had their own set of weird candy-like dice. A young man older than the rest of the group sat at the head of the table with a cardstock screen standing in front of him, hiding hand-drawn maps on graph paper and several…

LEVEL

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