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’re pleased to introduce our 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.
🗑 “Kris Kringle” doesn’t have quite enough Ks for some folks, we guess
Chris Kennedy’s father died on Thanksgiving 15 years ago, and every year when the holiday rolls around, Kennedy commemorates him by decorating his lawn with a giant Christmas display. For the past few years, those decorations have included a Black Santa Claus — something his neighbors in North Little Rock, Arkansas, have complimented him on. And then there’s the racist-ass grinch who sent him an anonymous letter from a White Santa this year to complain about it. “You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a Negro,” said the letter. “You being jealous of my race is no excuse for your dishonesty.” Beyond the very strong Megyn Kelly in 2013 vibes, we’ve got a few thoughts about this. First off: Negro?! What year does this vigilante Santa think it is? Second: We like to think we’re imaginative people, but “being jealous of White people living in Arkansas” is a concept that has quite literally never occurred to us, and we’re guessing we’re not alone. If there’s a bright side to this story, it’s that Black Santas are reportedly proliferating throughout North Little Rock as people decorate in solidarity with Kennedy. Maybe once we settle this debate, we can finally take on the fable of White Jesus. (CNN)
🗑 Say farewell to the White Panther
Here at This Week in Racism, we’ve become depressingly familiar with a very specific kind of racist: the elected official who thinks that their bigotry is too clever to keep it to themselves, and insists on posting wild racist jokes on social media. One of those elected officials was a town council member who was forced to resign this summer in Moncks Corner, South Carolina; last week we learned that a Black woman, Latorie Lloyd Walker, had been elected to fill his seat. The social media joke that cost dude his job was a Facebook image of Hillary Clinton in blackface with a caption that read “Dear Joe, I’m still available” — a reference to Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his VP nominee. But if you’re wondering why we still haven’t identified the racist council member by name, it’s because we’ve been savoring that specific detail. Dude’s name, and we swear to you we’re not making this up, is Chadwick Sweatman. Chadwick Sweatman. That shit is Busta Rhymes on a posse cut; if you don’t save it for the end, then you’re doing it wrong. That name, once again? CHADWICK SWEATMAN. Wakaren forever! (The Post and Courier)
🗑 Black firefighters detail decades of discrimination by Mayo (honestly, same)
In this case, Mayo is a person: William “Trey” Mayo, the fire chief in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. That’s where a group of active and retired Black firefighters went before the city to demand Mayo’s resignation for fostering a work environment that included countless episodes of racist hazing and harassment by White firefighters. One complainant spoke of having nails scattered under her truck’s tires and tobacco juice poured into her boots as she prepared to go out on a call. Another was told that his White wife couldn’t visit him at work, despite the fact that White firefighters’ partners showed up frequently. Two captains in the force, the group alleged, spoke about running over demonstrators who were protesting the murder of George Floyd; another White firefighter made a noose during a knot-tying class. The best part? All the city has done so far is call for a “climate assessment” evaluating the fire department. “We’d had very few grievances or complaints in the last couple of years,” said city manager Lee Garrity. Funny how that happens, right? (ABC News)