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This Week's 5: The Dispatcher Chronicles

June 1, 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: Looking for a job that exposes you to copious amounts of flagrant racism? Consider becoming a 911 dispatcher. With the seeming explosion of news stories of white people frivolously calling the police on Blacks, one former 911 dispatcher decided to share her story with Vox. What she revealed is that not just did these calls come in droves every day, but often times, she had no choice but to send police as a matter of policy. In one case, she got a call from a woman who said she dreamed of a knife-wielding Afghan man. The dispatcher decided to send an Afghan officer to take the report, which was the only amusing ending in a collection stories that were anything but. Read more from Vox.

 

Institutional: The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has proven to be one of the most horrific examples of government neglect in recent history. This is perhaps best exemplified by the disparity between the official government death toll in Puerto Rico and a recent Harvard study that surveyed households about their experiences. While the official death toll was 64, the study estimated the real number of Hurricane Maria-related deaths to be anywhere between 800 and 8,500, either of which is substantially larger than the official government number. It's hard to look at these statistics and not remember that at one point, President Trump actually told the people of Puerto Rico that they should be proud of their low death toll. Read more from NPR.

 

Critical Race Theory: What does it look like when racism, classism, and combat sports intersect? One example would be an underground fight club full of wealthy white patrons, taking bets on exclusively low-income Black and Brown boxers. A former boxer recently shared his story about participating in these secret fight clubs and how it taught him about how white supremacy works in real time. Read more from The Root.

 

History: The first Memorial Day was celebrated on May 1, 1865. Who was celebrating, you ask? 10,000 people that included recently freed slaves, Black schoolchildren, soldiers of color, and their allies. The celebration came about after a group of Black workmen dug up the bodies of Union soldiers that were discarded in a mass grave and reburied the bodies to honor them. On that first Memorial Day, people paraded around the racetrack where the fallen soldiers had previously been held captive and began a tradition that evolved into the national holiday we know today. Read more from The Root.

 

The Fragility Breaker: Dear Roseanne Barr, saying that you didn't know the Black woman you called the baby of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes was, in fact, a Black woman is not just not an excuse, it's just slapping an extra helping of bigotry (and contradiction) on top of an already wildly racist statement. Also, and more importantly, being called out for promoting virulent racism doesn’t make you a victim. Yet white supremacists, their sympathizers and apologists have been working overtime all week to spin the canceling of Roseanne’s show for her racist tweet as an act of left-wing tyranny and censorship. How is it that the same people who were applauding the NFL for silencing player protests are now crying because ABC realized it’s not obligated to empower Roseanne to spew obvious racism? Do they think we can’t see them? Do they think so little of our mental capacity that they’re not even trying anymore? Or are they just completely out of control of the words that continue escaping their mouths? None of those answers are acceptable or qualify them to have opinions we should take seriously, but nonetheless, ABC still invested a lot of time and money into rebooting a show to cater to them. What does that tell you about the currency of white privilege? Read more from Salon.

 

 

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