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 created a 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.
🗑 Okay, we’re gonna need to do something about British horse owners
If you’re a racing fan who lives in central England, you may have decided to head to Wolverhampton over the weekend to play the ponies. That’s where you would have seen a two-year-old filly enter the race under the name of — wait, this can’t be right. [Holds up racing form] Really? The horse’s name was Jungle Bunny? Yes, that’s exactly what the horse was named. We say “was” because, within a day, the British Horseracing Authority had retroactively changed the horse’s name so that records of the race list it as Jungle Bells. But wait, there’s more! The Guardian tracked down the horse’s owner’s wife, who claimed that they’d named the horse after its father, Bungle Inthejungle. (Guess they were big Jethro Tull fans.) “I’m upset because we’ve had our Sunday ruined by everybody ringing about it,” she told the paper. “It makes you look like a racist, which I am certainly not.” If you still hadn’t placed your bet in the office pool because you were waiting for the most emblematic sentence of 2020, your patience has been rewarded! (The Guardian)
🗑 Things Texas loves: Barbecue, big cars, and the word “negro”
Language changes over time. That’s just a fact, as they say. (Hey, remember facts?) For instance, there was a long period of time during which the word “negro” was deemed perfectly acceptable. We can discuss why that was, or if we should have been using the word at all, but one thing we can all agree on is that that long period of time is also long over. There’s just one problem: Someone forgot to tell the state of Texas. It’s not like people didn’t try — in 1991, the state legislature passed a law eliminating “certain racially offensive names given to geographical features” — but in the nearly 30 years since that law was passed, only one location’s name was changed. (Also: 1991? Really? Y’all waited until 25 years after the Black Power movement?) As an NPR investigation found, the state submitted all name-change proposals to the federal government, which then reached out to the specific Texas counties where places like Negro Hollow and Negrohead Bluff could be found. And that’s where the trouble really happened: According to the federal agency handling the matters, those counties resisted the change, so the federal agency rejected the request. This leaves us coming up on 2021, with nearly 20 places in the state register still using the word. So here’s to 2021 — the year Texas finally stops using a word it should have stopped using more than 50 years ago! (NPR)
🗑 Don’t worry, San Francisco’s got things completely under control
For all its famous political progressivism, San Francisco doesn’t exactly have a great track record on matters of race — just witness its ever-dwindling Black population, shunted by gentrification and exclusionary zoning to some of its least-served neighborhoods. And judging from a class-action suit recently filed by three Black city employees, things aren’t going all that great in SF’s public sector either. Drawing on official data from the city’s Department of Human Resources, the suit alleges that Black employees make on average $32,000 a year less than their White counterparts, are half as likely to be promoted, and receive nearly double the disciplinary actions. On a more personal level, the three plaintiffs detail a number of racist offenses they’ve endured at work, from receiving racist emails from supervisors (for example, being told something was “mo’ betta”) to receiving performance reviews that claimed their facial expressions made people “uncomfortable.” So much for being Sucka Free, we guess. (Mission Local)