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This Week's 5: Cornrows Don't Cover Up Racism

Author's Note: This Week's 5 is a weekly collection of stories designed to provide insight into how racism works and serve as an easily accessible resource for people trying to have nuanced discussions about these issues. For more explanation on how This Week's 5 works and descriptions of each of the categories, click here.

Overt: While codeword racism is clearly popular throughout the country, some racists prefer dropping all subtlety whatsoever. That so many of the perpetrators of these attacks, which often target Muslim women and girls, claim they're doing it to protect people just adds another layer of irony to the ever growing white supremacist terrorism problem in this country. Read more from The Grio.

Institutional: The "Southern Strategy" became famous in politics under President Richard Nixon. Instead of using overtly racist language to galvanize voters, politicians would use seemingly benign terms and rely on assumption and innuendo to get the underlying message across. In this case, data shows that "tough talk" on immigration (see: blatant smears accompanied by imagery demonizing Latinos) just happens to motivate white conservatives to go to the polls in larger numbers. Read more from The LA Times.

Critical Race Theory: The school-to-prison-pipeline is the practice of teachers and other school officials punishing Black students at disproportionate rates to their white counterparts, to the point where many of these Black students are becoming statistics of mass incarceration at an early age. Read more from Vox.

History: There's something to be said for how many mainstream media outlets recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with funeral music and ignore the anniversary of his assassination altogether. It speaks volumes that NRA spokespeople can feel comfortable saying they were inspired by Dr. King while campaigning to silence peaceful protests against police brutality. That so many people misrepresent and disrespect Dr. King's legacy doesn't make it any less disgusting. If your discussion of Dr. King doesn't include his pro-Blackness, fierce opposition to the Vietnam War, the Poor People's Campaign, and how polls show he was hated by the majority of white America, then you're not having a real discussion on Dr. King. Read more from The Root.

The Fragility Breaker: I must admit, the thought process of white people who clearly have no Black friends in a time of crisis amuses me. The only thing I can compare it to is the meltdowns you often see from teams in the closing minutes of basketball games. Still, calling a timeout when you have no timeouts left has nothing on being sentenced for a racist tirade in South Africa and thinking it's a good idea to show up to court with cornrows. Read more from The Root.

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