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.
🗑 Adele goes full dancehall queen, gets massive blowback
Like so many other similar events around the world, London’s Notting Hill Carnival celebrates Caribbean culture with a massive multiday party. The pandemic may have moved the Passa Passa inside this year, but singer Adele wanted to show her support — which she did in an Instagram post that made Kim Kardashian’s cornrow debacle look like an Ann Taylor catalog. Jamaican flag bikini top? Check. Feathered regalia? Check. Bantu knots that look like they’ve got her scalp screaming for help? Let’s call that one a bounced check. Like an unholy offspring of Rachel Dolezal and Chris Tucker’s character in The Fifth Element, the singer’s hair instantly became a first-ballot Cultural Appropriation Hall of Famer, and elicited a social media outcry that can only be described as a dutty whine. Next time you want to switch up your look, we suggest a beanie, man. (The Independent)
🗑 Don’t worry, White people: Karens come in all colors
Another week, another group of Black people being accosted by someone for zero reason. This time, it was a public beach in El Segundo, California, where three friends out for a run found themselves fending off a verbal tirade and false-pretense 911 call from a woman who was either also out for a run or just liked wearing fitness gear to indulge in some cardio-racism. When they passed her again, one of the trio pulled out her phone to record a rare sighting of Karenus nonwhiticus. While not often seen in the wild, the elusive species is immediately identifiable by mating call (and now all-time classic phrase) “my environment is being harmed by this African Black person!” (KCAL 9)
🗑 Florida teen gets early promotion to Florida man with a racist-ass Zoom-bombing
Let the record show that “Zoom-Bombing” is both a phrase and a phenomenon we would have been just fine finishing 2020 without. Last week, a high school student in Broward County interrupted his virtual class by calling himself “Grand Wizard of the KKK” and embarking on a minutes-long slur-filled rant that we’re guessing was not exactly related to his classwork. (Then again, Florida, so you never know, but still.) The kid topped things off with a Nazi salute and a sprinkling of N-bombs, just in case observers had any unfilled squares on their Racist Floridian Bingo card. As the local news affiliate that reported the story pointed out, this “[brings] up the question of how to discipline students in the age of distant learning” — or, more obviously, it brings up the question of how he got all the way to high school in the first place. (NBC 6 South Florida)