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.
🗑 Hey, Remember All Those Racist Mascots Getting Replaced? Surprise! They’re Still Around
Aunt Jemima. Uncle Ben’s. Mrs. Butterworth. This summer, the companies that own all three brands — apparently moved by the fact that anti-racism was suddenly in vogue, rather than being an inescapable moral truth for centuries — announced that they would be reconsidering their use of mascot characters that the whole damn world knew were racist. So let’s check in on them, shall we? Aunt Jemima: According to a PepsiCo spokesperson, “It will take time for the changes to fully move through our complex supply chain, but consumers will see changes this year and early next year.” Uncle Ben’s: Just last week, Mars announced that it would change the brand’s name to Ben’s Original, with a new logo and design to hit shelves next year. And finally, Mrs. Butterworth: “Our brand and packaging review is underway,” said a Conagra representative. So….nothing, then. Given all this very serious reconsideration, we’d like to propose a toast. Here’s to “complex supply chains” and “review is underway,” the vaguely plausible-sounding excuses allowing enormous companies to cower in their inertia for as long as they damn well please! (CNN Business)
🗑 Texas Cop Finds Police Murder Hilarious, Dank-Memes Himself Out of a Job
If you ever find yourself having even the slightest bit of hope about humanity, go ahead and fire up the ol’ Facebook. That’s where you might have seen Fort Worth PD officer Roger Ballard — who, exactly as you’d expect, seems to share an account with his wife and include the ignominiously retired Mississippi state flag on his profile photo — post what the kids call a meme. Well, it’s really what the kids call a hideously racist meme: a dead Black man lying in an open casket, with a caption reading, “The face you make when you don’t understand ‘stop resisting.’” Aside from functioning as a perfect encapsulation of a fundamentally broken system, the meme also worked to get Ballard fired. [Holds up finger, cocks head to listen to imaginary TV producer] I’m sorry, we’re just getting word that Ballard was actually “indefinitely suspended,” which means that [listens intently] rather than being immediately terminated for publicly espousing a sentiment that singlehandedly invalidates his employment as an officer of the peace, he [listens, jaw dropping] has the right to appeal said termination. If you need us, we’ll be planning to never go to Fort Worth for any fucking reason whatsoever. (NBC 5)
🗑 Zoom Continues to Be Great at Virtual Backgrounds, Very Ungreat at Preventing Interrupting Racists
You remember the riddle, right? Goes like this:
Now imagine that, but instead of hearing the knock at your front door it was at a meeting of an anti-racist task force in Western Michigan last week. And instead of a delightful moo from a lazy herbivore, you’re assaulted by a barrage of slurs and hardcore pornography from someone who overrode the mute functionality. Kind of the perfect advertisement for the task force, if you think about it. (The Lakeshore)