This Week in Racism

Zoology Teacher Literally Makes an Example of Black Student

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.

🗑 Maybe the NBA needs to go back into the Bubble to protect players from fans

Likely since the time James Naismith first hung up a peach basket, American sports fans have been all too willing to show their asses. And with the NBA playoffs finally happening in front of live crowds for the first time since Rudy Gobert shut the league down, they’re making up for lost time by indulging in age-old fuckery like running onto the court. But another strain has emerged over the past week, though. Throwing bottles at athletes. Dumping popcorn on them. Spitting on them. (On that last one: Buddy’s lucky Trae Young didn’t even notice. And that it was Trae Young. Russell Westbrook would’ve gone full Artest on that Jersey Shore reject.) Not convinced there’s a common thread here? Ask Ja Morant’s dad, Tee, whom one racist-ass Utah Jazz fan threatened last week by saying, “I’ll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.” For the most part, these fans got what’s coming to them: lifetime arena bans, season ticket revocation, even arrests. But goddamn, if they can’t even cope with the sight of a Black athlete walking back to the locker room, it’s time to get a volunteer corps of retired ballers to dispense some Malice at the Palace-style justice on these yahoos. (ESPN)

🗑 High school teacher stands and delivers some classic racism

Thanks to Hollywood rightfully highlighting pedagogical icons like Jaime Escalante and Joe Clark, middling-ass educators everywhere are convinced they’ve gotta do something special to reach these kids. At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves about the high school teacher in Nebraska, whose zoology final included a yearbook photo of a Black student with the question “which class includes the animal shown?” The student in question, a junior named Ezekiyal Wells, had taken a class with the teacher the prior year but had no idea his photo was being used, let alone that it was being used with such blatant disregard for Wells’ dignity. Yeah, humans are animals (of the class mammalia), but 1) the history of comparing Black folks to beasts is seemingly never-ending, and 2) no other students were shown on the question, or even anywhere on the test at all. Might a scenario exist in which the teacher closed their eyes and picked the student photo out of the yearbook completely at random, never once considering what using the image might imply? Never say never. But even if that was the case, ask yourself: Do you really want someone that stupid teaching your kid? (WBTV)

🗑 And now for your regularly scheduled episode of “Something is very wrong with law enforcement in this country”…

The New York State Police has a problem. Part of the problem is that of its 4,700 officers, 4% are Black and 6% are Latinx. That’s a far cry from the 16% and 19% those groups represent among all New Yorkers, a pattern replicated in many other states. (The NYPD breakdown, for comparison, is currently 30% Latinx and 15% Black.) But the other, bigger part of the problem is why the numbers are so low. A new investigation by the Associated Press spoke to a number of minority NYS officers and found widespread repeated instances of discrimination, racist language and images, and retaliation against Black officers who filed complaints. Our favorite of the bunch: The White employee who told a Black co-worker “take the cotton you’ve been picking out of your ears.” In case you’re wondering: That happened in 2008, so it’s not like the dude had just walked out of the movie theater after seeing Get Out and thought he was being clever. Nope, just another reason all the “reform” in the world isn’t likely to do shit. The problem isn’t the chokeholds, y’all; it’s the culture that breeds the chokeholds. (Associated Press)

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