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: The first edition of This Week's 5 was published on Mar. 3, 2018. Today is Jun. 8, 2018. That's how long it took to for a story to go full slavery. While the defense lawyers claim that the term slavery is too charged for this moment in history, I would argue hundreds of hours of unpaid labor, beatings with various kitchen items, and regular barrages of racial slurs are far more offensive, but that's just me. Read more from The Root.
Institutional: Institutional and overt racism often work hand-in-hand when those in power do nothing to stop racial harassment under their watch. This is the basis for the latest lawsuit against Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education, who are being sued by the NAACP, National Federation of the Blind, and Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, for scrapping civil rights enforcement regulations and dismissing hundreds of complaints. In effect, this refusal to protect minority children's civil rights leaves them even more vulnerable to systemic issues like racist bullying from fellow students and negative bias from teachers, which can manifest in everything from unfair grades to disproportionately harsh discipline. To allow the perpetrators of this pervasive racism to police themselves (see: foxes watching over the hen house with a kitchen attachment) is unconscionable, and yet, DeVos seems like she could care less. Read more from The Root.
Critical Race Theory: Anytime you hear a white man ranting about how Asians are smarter and more hardworking than Blacks and Hispanics, your Spidey senses should start tingling. That's the model minority myth in action. This week, Steve Bannon decided to add a little twist to it. According to him, Asians taking advantage of H-1B visas, which allow employers to hire foreign workers for specialized fields, are the real bad guy. And not just that. Guess who their biggest victims are, according to Bannon? Blacks and Hispanics. To the untrained eye, this faux empathy might seem like quite the change of heart from someone who branded the Breitbart platform as the "home of the Alt-Right." However, when you consider that the model minority myth has been weaponized for decades to, among other things, erase the struggles of Asian communities, pit Blacks and Hispanics against Asians, and distract from any critical analysis of white people, then Bannon's latest soundbite is just par for the course. Read more from the Huffington Post Asian Voices.
History: If you're around my age, you probably remember hearing the song "Zoot Suit Riot" more times than you would ever care to count. Chances are, at no point in the repeated plays on the radio did you ever get any kind of explanation for what the term actually meant. Turns out, the fun, party record is a reference to a series of attacks in 1943 by white servicemen on Blacks and Hispanics for wearing zoot suits, which were oversized suits that were a symbol of the Jazz scene. As you might guess, these attacks inevitably spread to other cities throughout the country. What was the reason so many angry white men saw fit to attack Blacks and Hispanics for their clothing, you ask? According to them, zoot suits were "unpatriotic." Sound familiar? Read more from Al Dia News.
The Fragility Breaker: President Trump disinviting the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House after the vast majority of players refused to go is a case study in how white fragility turns into white lies that then motivate white supremacist actions. Instead of just accepting that Eagles players weren’t coming, Trump chose to release a statement lying that they “disrespected” the flag by kneeling during the national anthem, which no Eagles players actually did, and then calling for a celebration without them to not just honor the military, but sing the anthem “loudly and proudly.” In case you missed what happened there, Trump essentially blamed one group of Black players for the protests of others, which is classic profiling to go along with using his office to attack peaceful protests. That President Bone Spurs was so petty he decided to hold a Star Spangled Banner sing-along only made his actions that much more transparent. Weaponizing patriotism against Black people is nothing new in this country, but Trump has removed whatever subtlety there used to be. Taking to the bully pulpit to rile up your base against the Eagles because they wouldn’t come to your party is bad enough. That you would so quickly and so easily stoop to using every racist dog whistle you could find says all we need to know about how fundamental white supremacy is to your worldview. The same goes for everyone who continues to cheer Trump on during this crusade. For the millionth time undercover white supremacists, we see you. Read more from CNN.