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

Racism

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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…


The vice president is not above criticism, but after just a few months on the job, media narratives feel especially spiteful

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

Although Kamala Harris becoming America’s first female vice president is an historical feat worthy of continued celebration, that has not made the position itself any less of a pain to hold.

Former Vice President John Adams once said of the vice presidency: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Another former vice president, John Nance Garner, was less interested in prose when conveying his resentment for the job. “The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss,” Garner once declared; he…


[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.

In Sunday’s European Championship soccer final, Italy rallied to beat host country England in…


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…


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…


Linda Franks blows into a plastic noisemaker at the perimeter of Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish Prison during a protest with other members of the reform coalition. Her son, Lamar Johnson, died while in custody at the prison in 2015. Photos: William Widmer for LEVEL

In one decade, 45 people died in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Most were charged with nonviolent misdemeanors. Most didn’t have their day in court. Most were Black. How did the system fail them?

Lamar Johnson was driving to pick up his grandmother from dialysis in May of 2015 when a Baker, Louisiana, police officer pulled him over because his car windows were tinted. Four days later, a guard found the 27-year-old hanging in his cell at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Years before Covid-19 ravaged correctional facilities across the United States, the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison (EBRPP) experienced its own prolonged wave of death. From 2009 to 2019, 45 prisoners died in the jail’s custody, which is nearly double the national average. …


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.

In Crystal River, Florida (surprise!), police arrested a man for vandalizing a van for…


Toppling White supremacy has never been more within reach, but its defenders are too sensitive and ungrateful to allow for meaningful progress

Photo by Duncan Shaffer on Unsplash

It has never been easier for White America to stop racism in its tracks, and yet here we are in the summer of 2021, debating over things like Juneteenth and Black history in classrooms and, still, the matter of Black lives. Apparently the melting pot of America is more like a tepid hot plate when it comes to fulfilling and honoring old values, never mind incorporating new ones. We refuse to acknowledge or contend with the past, opting instead to gentrify it to make way for people with no past, and thus no context for caring or empathetic citizenship.

All…


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.

Located just west of Boston, the Massachusetts town of Newton has long been a…


It is coming in public and in private, whether we like it or not

Note: This essay has been updated to reflect the passage of the Juneteenth bill by Congress, as well as the signing of the bill into law by President Biden on June 17, 2021.

Here it comes. Get ready for it. As Stanley Tucci’s Nigel says in The Devil Wears Prada, “Gird your loins!” Millions across America are about to argue against a new national holiday. My guess: about 30 million or so. Only good ol’ American racism can turn a nation of hardworking, God-fearing, Best-Buy-shopping people into proud advocates for fewer days off in the working year.

The twisted Tweeting…

LEVEL

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

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