The Curious Case of the Racist Science Professor Who Didn’t Believe in COVID

The Curious Case of the Racist Science Professor Who Didn’t Believe in COVID

It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

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.

🗑 Weird racist science professor found in the state of Michigan

Full disclosure: We have no idea what kind of a college Ferris State University in Michigan is. We didn’t go there, we don’t know anyone who went there, and we’re sure its doctoral program in pharmacy has enriched more than a few CVS locations in the Mitten State. But if the case of astronomy professor Thomas Brennan is any indication, we’re not gonna be pressing our kids to go there. See, once Covid-19 emerged as a global pandemic, Brennan decided to let all his crazy out, both in the classroom and on Twitter. Not only did he decry the disease as a “stunt” to instill a “leftist new world order” and imply that it was caused by smartphones and trot out the old Jewish-conspiracy standby, but he also referred to Neil DeGrasse Tyson as a “worthless n****r.” (He used the same slur to describe both Bill Nye and the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, which is somehow both hateful and absolutely hilarious.) After learning of the tweets last week, Ferris State placed Brennan on administrative leave, a weird, not-quite-fired limbo from which he’s complaining about being “unfairly portrayed as a racist and anti-Semite.” Can’t a poor guy who doesn’t believe in the moon landing or viruses catch a break? (MLive)

🗑 New survey of medical residents finds rampant racism among patients, surprises no one

Coming out of medical school to be a doctor isn’t easy: You spend at least three years working as a “resident,” getting on-the-job training with supervision. And that stress is only compounded by patients’ bigoted attitudes. According to researchers who published the results of their online survey this week, 45% of Black and Latinx residents had heard racial epithets from patients or had patients refuse to accept care from them. It gets worse: 87% of the female respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment on the job, and every single Asian respondent said a patient had asked them what country they were from. Very cool! While the survey only focused on university-affiliated medical centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Durham, North Carolina, we’re gonna go out on a limb and guess that these aren’t exactly isolated phenomena. Keep it up, sick Americans: Nothing shows appreciation to health care providers quite like racism! (MedPage Today)

🗑 There’s a special place in hell for people who threaten bookstore owners

The day The Little BOHO Bookshop opened in Bayonne, New Jersey, owner Sandra Dear got a note in her mailbox: “Get out, we do not want your kind here.” For three years, the threats continued, including one from a caller who said he wanted to burn the bookstore down with Dear, a Black woman, inside. Last week, after receiving a pair of emails and a death-threat phone call, Dear alerted the authorities. The next day they arrested a man, Qiuewn Zheng, who approached the store mumbling the same phrases from the emails. Yeah, so you know how we usually find some way to crack jokes about the many ridiculous ways racism pops up every day in our society? That’s not happening this time, friends. Independent bookstores are some of the most important small businesses we have; if you live anywhere near Bayonne, give Dear’s shop your business (or just order online!). Maybe you can get Zheng a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! — because we have a feeling we know exactly where he’s headed. (Daily Voice)