Hi. It’s me, your good friend David Dennis. I just wanted to reach out because I know you’re probably feeling sad right now. The man you voted for and obviously love like a play cousin has just a few more weeks left of his presidency. You’ve spent the last four years celebrating — or at the very least condoning — White supremacy, migrant children locked in cages, and more than 200,000 Americans dead due to corrupt incompetence and negligence in federal leadership during a pandemic.
But that’s okay. I forgive you. Katy Perry told me to.
I’ve also been told by White folks that the only way for the country to heal is for me to make people who supported a racist feel better about the end of his presidency.
For the betterment of this country, I want to make sure that you’re okay. I want to absolve you of the burden of having to reckon with the terror you’ve supported. I want to hug the accountability out of you. I want to hold you in my arms and tell you that it’s okay. That I can forgive your hatred and protect you from people judging you for the things you did to us.
But I can’t.
Because you don’t fucking exist. Because I don’t have a single Trump supporter in my life. Why the hell would I? I wasn’t raised to accept bigotry, let alone embrace it. So you, Trump Supporter in My Life, only exist as a figment of the White imagination. Because White people imagine a world where they are off the hook for perpetuating oppression. And they imagine a world where they are still accepted by the people they hurt the most. And they fantasize about the pain they can inflict without repercussions. They dream that they can still be friends with us. It helps them sleep at night.
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So, Trump Supporter In My Life, I’m not reaching out to you because you are a myth. You are as much a part of the White imagination as Santa Claus, economic anxiety, and Donald Trump’s second term.
— David Dennis Jr., senior staff writer
This Week in Racism
🗑 Washington woman makes no bones about her racism with Kamala Harris Halloween decoration
A Richland, Washington woman took a fake skeleton with black bones, threw a black wig on top, and strung it up in her front yard with a “Kamala Harris” name tag. (Get it?) She claims it’s not racist. That’s the real gag, folks. Ronnarae Cowell, 71, says she and her ex-boyfriend were simply having some Halloween fun when they hung a set of three skeletons just ahead of the election (the others have signs that read Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi — take a wild guess what color their bones are). Despite complaints from neighbors offended by some very obvious symbolism, this wacky woman wonders what’s the big deal. The skeletons are hanging by their shoulders, after all. Of course she claims to be a Donald Trump supporter, which begs the question: Where’s her orange skeleton? Get it? Because Trump’s skin is orange. (Tri-City Herald)
🗑 Kenosha alderman can’t help but put his foot in his mouth
Joe Biden’s drawn-out election drew varied reactions. Many of the president-elect’s supporters took their unbridled joy to the streets, banging the shit out of pots, honking the shit out of car horns, rapping the shit out of “FDT.” Those on the other side handled their emotions differently. Such was the case for Rocco LaMacchia Sr., a Wisconsin alderman who attempted to put the kee-kee in his home city of Kenosha with sarcasm that, by our highly scientific calculations, sounds awfully racist. “When we riot, do we start at Best Buy or Target?” he wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday. “I’ve never done this before.” Nevermind the fact that this amateur act serves the city that landed on the national stage after police opened fire on Jacob Blake earlier this summer, leading to protests local and far beyond — his response to the uproar following his puny attempt at a punchline reveals his supreme self-awareness. “It was all a joke — people who really know me know I’m not racist,” he said, after commenters dug up his old tweets “joking” about the Black incarceration rate. And then, the finisher. “I am getting beat up over nothing.” Anyone have a tomato? (Kenosha News)
🗑 NYPD anti-harassment official happens to be a big ol’ bigot
Surprise, surprise: Police officers hate their jobs just as much as the rest of us. Yet instead of moaning and groaning about it to their friends, family, and local bartender, several members of the NYPD anonymously voice their gripes via a notorious police message board called the Rant. The language on this forum is as colorful as you’d expect (think Denzel in Training Day), but King Kong ain’t got shit on a user who goes by the alias “Clouseau,” who over the past year has posted several racially charged attacks on the platform. The user called the Bronx district attorney (who is Black) “a gap-toothed wildebeest,” and referred to former President Obama as a “Muslim savage.” Turns out, an investigation has revealed that “Clouseau” is actually Deputy Inspector James F. Kobel, a high-ranking official who just happens to be responsible for combating workplace harassment in the NYPD. Yikes. We’ve never worked in HR, but seems like a bit of an oversight. (Then again, he probably omitted “bigotry” and “middle-school name-calling” from his resumé.) Kobel reportedly denied the allegations, but last week was relieved of his command of the Equal Employment Opportunity Division. “Despite my denial, it will likely end my career,” he wrote. “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” Maybe he should start with Best Buy or Target? (New York Times)
The LEVEL Up: Culture Picks From the Editors
🎧 The (Re)Session Podcast By Jeezy
Between an upcoming album (The Recession 2), a Verzuz battle with T.I., and a forthcoming weekly talk show, The Snowman has built himself a kingly return to the spotlight. Now, the ATL trap god and (40 Over 40 honoree) is bringing his raspy realness to the podcast world via a weekly eight-episode limited series, in which he’ll cover topics like mental health, the prison system, and grief. All we need is the “Ah-haaaa!” adlib and we’re sold. (iHeartRadio)
🎶 Wizkid’s Made in Lagos
One time for the modern kang of the Nigerian sound! The often duplicated afrobeats artist dropped the most hip-rolling, breezy album of the year, featuring songs like “Smile,” the Burna Boy-assisted, “Ginger,” and “No Stress,” all of which have powered our anti-election, pro-fun Zoom functions for this past week of angst. Grab the over-proofed rum and get saucy — Wizkid done made the perfect album for loosening up. (Spotify)
🎧 Hair Love (narrated by Blue Ivy Carter)
Matthew A. Cherry’s wonderful children’s book has got new life thanks to little miss “Never seen a ceiling in my whole life,” Blue Ivy Carter. It’s now available in audiobook format, which means your kiddos can listen to the book (which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning animated short) read in the voice of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s oldest child. It’s a must have for dads who want to teach their young’uns how to love every part of themselves. (Audible)
LEVEL Read of the Week
The Ultimate Underappreciated List: 30 Black Folks Who Need Their Flowers ASAP
You’ve been stuck on snooze mode for too long. Consider this your wake-up call — a rundown of rising stars (Quay Dash), storied icons (Delroy Lindo), and unsung royalty (Charles Burnett) across all fields who don’t receive adequate props. Let’s change that. Pronto. You’re welcome. Read the story.
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