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.
I’ve wrote this before and I’ll write it again. Never underestimate the audacity of anti-Blackness. Despite a history of anti-Black racism, a former Lehigh student still found himself in position to repeatedly poison his Black roommate, so much so that he was recently arrested and charged with attempted murder. Specifically, the culprit put a tasteless, odorless, colorless substance called Thallium in his roommate’s food, drinks, and mouthwash. Prior to this, his criminal history included charges of ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief for writing anti-Black slurs on a dorm desk. Read more from the Grio.
Just when you thought the Trump Administration’s jailing of migrant children couldn’t get worse, two Guatemalan children, 7 and 8 years old, have now died in detention centers in the past month, including one on Christmas Eve. In a reasonable world, the President might take this time to back off and reconsider his cruel immigration policy. Instead, Trump refuses to mention the deceased children in his tweet storms where he continues to demand $5 billion for the same “border security” that is hunting down Brown immigrants and putting them in concentration camps. As of this writing, Trump’s government shutdown is going into a week and numerous American livelihoods are being held hostage, all to get more funding for human rights crimes. Not just should they not get a penny. They should be prosecuted. Read more from NBC News.
Critical Race Theory
The prison industrial complex often isn’t subtle. Mass incarceration is powered by the disproportionate jailing of Black and Brown people for drug related offenses. In Memphis, this couldn’t be more clear than a case where a white man and a Black man were arrested together after a drug sting. The white man now faces one year in prison while the Black man faces 15, allegedly because the there was a gun in the car. In the majority of the cases where the roles are reversed or both of the culprits are men of color, everyone involved gets the gun charge. Yet, whenever there seems to be an opportunity to give leniency to a white culprit, the justice system always seems to take it. This Memphis case is just the latest data point. Read more from the Grio.
This week marked the beginning of Kwanzaa. The 7 day holiday, which begins on Dec. 26 and ends on Jan. 1, celebrates principles that promote Black American and pan-African empowerment. These 7 principles are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a professor of African studies at California State University Long Beach. According to a past Karenga interview, what separates Kwanzaa from other Black American holidays is the focus on practicing and educating about the 7 specific ethical principles. Read more from USA Today.
The Fragility Breaker
2018 was yet another year chalk full of aggressive acts of whiteness. Some horrifying yet humorous. Others just horrifying. The Root compiled its annual “Wypipo Awards” and I can already hear the self-proclaimed “allies” complaining. Unfortunately for them, this is a white fragility free zone. We can pretend that too many white people still don’t understand things like white privilege and institutional racism, but the reality is that they’re surrounded by the information, much of which is available to them for free (like this column). Still, white supremacists and their sympathizers are the quickest to cry when they are called out for their racism. Perhaps the only thing more sad is the chorus of supposed white allies who keep telling us to give these people a chance. When you take a step back and look at these supposed opposing sides, the common denominator is a desire, above all else, to avoid criticism. This shallow motivation transcends political ideology and constantly steers movements away from action and towards appeasing white feelings. If there’s anything we should get rid of for 2019, entertaining white fragility should be near the top of the list. Read more from the Root.