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.
🗑 Funny, we don’t remember Wilford Brimley dropping the N-Bomb
Late last week, the National Federation of State High School Associations streamed an Oklahoma high school basketball game between the female squads from Norman and Sapulpa. (Are people really still calling it “girls basketball?” Really?) During the pregame National Anthem, a number of the Norman athletes knelt, which seemed to set off one of the play-by-play announcers from state sports network OSPN. “They’re kneeling?” he asked his broadcasting partner in disbelief, clearly assuming his mic was off. “Fuckin’ n*****s. I hope Norman get their ass kicked.” Once the raw footage of the tirade hit Twitter, OSPN refused to name the voice behind the hatred, but ultimately Matt Rowan — who happens to own the network — took responsibility. Now, we’ve heard people explain away their racism using all kinds of excuses, most of them being variations of the Shaggy Defense. But Rowan opted for something with a much, much higher degree of difficulty. “I will state I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking,” Rowan said in a statement issued to The Frontier. “While not excusing my remarks, it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful.” That’s the great thing about science; you learn something new every day! We can’t wait to hear Derek Chauvin blame it all on scurvy. (The Oklahoman)
🗑 Welcome to another episode of “Law School Professors Gone Wild (Racist)”!
Georgetown University Law Center perennially ranks in the nation’s top 15 law schools; it’s produced senators (Mazie Hirono, George Mitchell), journalists (Savannah Guthrie), “journalists” (Greta Van Susteren), and whatever ex-RNC chair Michael Steele is classifying himself as these days. Last week, someone discovered that a recorded Zoom call between two of the school’s faculty members contained what we here at LEVEL like to call “a shining crystalline distillation of the problem.” In discussing class participation over the years, adjunct professor Sandra Sellers shared that “I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my ‘lower ones’ are Blacks. Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You get some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.” All the hits are here! You’ve got your default “lower ones,” your begrudging acknowledgment that there are some “good ones,” and of course the obligatory hey-this-isn’t-my-fault-I’m-a-good-liberal hand-waving of saying it gives her “angst.” And let’s not forget “Blacks”! The law school’s dean terminated Sellers the next day, but don’t worry too much about her: The conservative spin machine has already anointed her a sacrificial lamb of “cancel culture.” The National Review went with “Increasingly, Facts Are Racist,” which is a particularly nice contortion to avoid the idea that maybe professors are responsible for what happens in their classrooms. But hey, what do we know? We’re still over here trying to figure out that whole diabetes thing. (ABC News)
🗑 Pardon our French, but don’t pardon these French
In 2015, 12 staffers at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were murdered by two men angry that the magazine had published a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad; the tragedy became a flashpoint for a charged discussion around freedom of speech, satire, and the blurry line between commentary and hateful baiting. This weekend, Charlie Hebdo again found itself in the global spotlight. This time, though, it was thanks to a decision that was entirely its own. Coming on the heels of Oprah Winfrey’s explosive interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the magazine’s newest cover blares the headline POURQUOI MEGHAN A QUITTE BUCKINGHAM (“Why Meghan left Buckingham”); underneath, a cartoon depicts Queen Elizabeth and Markle as Derek Chauvin and George Floyd, with the Queen kneeling on Markle’s neck while the latter says “Parce que je ne pouvais plus respirer!” (“Because I could no longer breathe!”) We’re gonna be real with you; we’ve got no jokes for this one. It’s just fucking vile. We grew up reading Mad Magazine, and even its ugly stepchild Cracked, and not a single one of the juvenile-ass headlines they published over the years comes close to the level of disrespect and utter lack of judgment the Charlie Hebdo staff shows in publishing it. We’ll just leave it at what Bas said and dip out. (CNN)