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: No political party has a monopoly on racism, but when it comes to distancing itself from white supremacists, sometimes I wonder if the GOP is even trying. At the highest levels of leadership, the Trump Administration seemingly never misses an opportunity to appeal to white supremacists while, at best, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell do nothing, and at worst, embolden him. Meanwhile on the ground, white supremacists make their intentions clear by doing things like assaulting a Sikh man in California who not only was a well known community philanthropist, but also Republican donor. In fact, at the time of the assault, the victim was posting campaign signs for a Republican candidate. According to the report, the man claims the white supremacists threw sand in his eyes, beat him, and told him to “Go back to your country.” They also spray painted his truck with hate symbols. So much for checking all the boxes for the “exceptional minority.” If it’s really all about the politics, perhaps the GOP should actually do something about this white supremacy problem now that it’s clear their own supporters are in danger. Read more from the Hill.
Institutional: It was not a good weekend for Portland police. Even with Berkeley cops getting caught doxxing anti-fascist protesters, Portland’s department couldn’t escape a wave of headlines making clear what many have suspected for years: The department clearly, at best, harbors a significant number of white supremacist sympathizers. They once again demonstrated this by disproportionately going after anti-fascists and, as evidenced by video captured at the scene, seemingly relished in the opportunities to use force. While apologists can spin this story however they want in the present, history will not reflect kindly on the police. Story after story, both from national and local news outlets, has captured Portland police officers going out of their way to sympathize with white supremacist and right wing extremists, despite the fact that these are the most vocal groups when it comes to promoting anti-police violence. That these same cops reserved the vast majority of their force for anti-fascists, including firing a flash bang grenade that busted one person’s head open, surprised no one. Nonetheless, these officers need to be held accountable and having to explain for the rest of their lives why they stood with the fascists is only a small part of that. Read more from the Huffington Post.
Critical Race Theory: “Scientific racism” is a concept that slave owners and colonizers developed to justify violating other human beings. In the case of slavery, scientific racism suggested that Black people had smaller brains, were prone to violence, and thus needed to be controlled. To say the architects of these theories pulled them out of their asses would be giving them too much credit because that would imply there was a foundation for these thoughts. Nonetheless, the tropes persist to this day. Most notably, the President of the United States has a penchant for using some variation of “low IQ” whenever insulting Black celebrities. Most recently, this happened with Don Lemon and LeBron James, right on the heels of James opening up an innovative public school for Ohio children no less. Trump has also leaned into the trope when attacking congresswoman Maxine Waters. Perhaps most famously, he led a campaign questioning former President Barack Obama’s grades in college and demanded to see his transcripts. As someone who just tweeted admissions to his own crimes and blatant acts of obstruction of justice, for Trump to question the intelligence of the former editor of the Harvard Law Review tells you all you need to know about the science of scientific racism. Read more from CNN.
History: On August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, the US military dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 129,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and causing an epidemic of radiation-related diseases. These bombings are two of the most profound and profane examples of what can happen when we dehumanize people in the name of politics. Make no mistake, war is politics. We refer to the veterans of World War 2 as the “Greatest Generation” for defeating Hitler but they didn’t drop their atomic bombs on Germany. In fact, including the atomic bomb attacks, conventional air raids against Japan were considered the most devastating attacks of the war. That’s to say nothing of the fact that we put Japanese Americans in internment camps in the US, which we didn’t see the need to do with German Americans or others who could be tied to our European adversaries. That many Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing anniversary articles are short, tend to focus on gimmicks like virtual reality tours, and barely mention the destruction--tens of thousands people incinerated instantly while many others suffered from cancer, birth defects, and issues with brain development--is telling. Read more from AOL.