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This Week's 5: Stories Untold and History Unlearned

April 13, 2018

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: Many of us didn't need a court ruling to know that the NYPD terrorizing Muslims through a campaign of surveillance, harassment, and police brutality following 9/11 was not just racist, but historically oppressive. That said, the receipts are now that much more official. Read more from Al Jazeera.

 

Institutional: Let the media coverage tell it and you would have no idea that nearly 40 percent of Parkland students are students of color. Whether intentional or not, ignoring these students effectively silences discussions on the nuances of the gun violence debate, such as how increasing police presence in schools can negatively affect students of color. Nonetheless, these students are making their voices heard through a project called "Stories Untold." Read more from the Huffington Post.

 

Critical Race Theory: This week is a critical race theory bonanza, with intersectionality, affirmative action, and the myth of the model minority all sharing the spotlight. White supremacy often works like a magic trick, convincing people to look at one hand while the other is doing the dirty work. Such is the case in this debate that pits minorities against each other over a small slice of admissions, yet conveniently ignores policies like legacy admissions that predominately benefit wealthy whites; not to mention the fact that powerful white people are almost exclusively calling the shots on these policies. Read more from NBC News.

 

History: When I was in school, the one historical crime against humanity I could count on learning about (in a thorough way anyway) was the Holocaust. We spent whole units reading history books, firsthand accounts, poems, and watching videos, among other activities. Teachers made sure we knew the important statistics, events, and historical players. Fast forward to 2018, and a frightening chunk of Americans have little to no grasp of these details. It can't be said enough that if we don't know history, we are doomed to repeat it. Read more from CBS News.

 

The Fragility Breaker: I often come across people who like to say that I should get over slavery because it happened so long ago. I've noticed these people have an interesting tendency of selective amnesia where you have to remind them that, not just did slavery have negative generational effects, but that crimes against humanity continued to happen after it was abolished. Perhaps chief among them was the height of lynching, where thousands of Black people were publicly murdered as picnic entertainment for white people. My mother vividly remembers hearing the Ku Klux Klan riding outside of her house at night when she was growing up, so when I hear that pictures of lynchings make white people uncomfortable, I couldn't be any less sympathetic. Whether it's complaining about lynching photos or NFL players kneeling to protest police brutality, if you prioritize your comfort over people's suffering, you are part of the problem. Period. Read more from The Root.

 

 

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