That and more this week In Race and Racism

Two friends play video games./ Getty Images

The racial nonsense was thick this past week. From an adjustable hate speech slider for gamers to the racist roots of the District of Columbia’s federal disenfranchisement, here’s some of the race and racism news you might have missed.

“Computer: Decrease racism shields by 17 percent.”

How much White nationalism, body shaming and sexism would you prefer to experience today? Apparently Intel thought that answers other than “none” were acceptable, because it recently previewed a service that would allow video gamers to choose the degree of racism, misogyny or hate speech that comes in through their headsets from other players…


THIS WEEK IN RACISM

Your weekly dose of racist news to know

Activists shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. It’s a highway that was constructed right smack dab in the middle of a prosperous Black-owned business and homeowner district.

This week’s look at the race and racism stories you may have missed offers plenty of examples of how the effects of racism permeate everything from the air we breathe to the roads on which we travel — but there are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. And this week’s bit of good news is proof that the mass movement against police brutality and for Black lives is bearing fruit.

When racism is in the polluted air we breathe: The Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief, Michael Regan, is ordering the department to use the “full array of policy and…


This week in racism

Also, turns out race-based hostility can happen when working remotely

People from Haiti and others who are seeking asylum in the United States sit and sleep outside the El Chaparral border crossing on February 19, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

It’s been a hell of a week. We’ll start with a trip to the underworld courtesy of Lil Nas X, learn what space travel has to do with the descendants of enslaved Africans in Brazil, and finish up with the next piece of Black Girl Magic that Marsai Martin is blessing us with. Here are some of the race- and racism-related stories you might have missed in the last week.

Good takes on hellscapes: Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” video continues to leave a trail of controversy in its wake, from the moral panic of Christians…


This sounds DREAMY. I think my problem at this point is really that all my devices are getting old, but I'm definitely looking into this once I upgrade everything.


Keep Close Watch

Stop explaining away Black people’s justified skepticism of vaccines

Security workers in front of the MedMen marijuana dispensary on March 23, 2021 in Evanston, Illinois. The City Council of Evanston voted to approve a plan to make reparations available to Black residents due to past discrimination. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Here are the racist (and anti-racist) news headlines you might have missed in the past week. We’ll start with the ongoing water crisis that might have escaped your attention because it’s not in Flint, Michigan, and finish with anti-racist muppets. How’s that for a contrast?

One of America’s Blackest cities doesn’t have safe water: A few weeks ago, I mentioned the thousands of folks in the overwhelmingly Black city of Jackson, Mississippi, who were still without drinking water weeks after back-to-back winter storms knocked out their service. But like a pimple that lies painfully under the skin before erupting, Jackson’s…


Seattle’s Tina Bell is forgotten no more

Black and white photo of Tina Bell performing.
Black and white photo of Tina Bell performing.
Tina Bell. Photos courtesy of Scotty Ledgerwood.

When you think of grunge, do you picture a bunch of long-haired White guys in plaid shirts, singing about teenage angst and self-loathing? Time to expand that viewpoint. Standing above them all should be Tina Bell, a tiny Black woman with an outsized stage presence, and her band, Bam Bam. It’s only recently that the 1980s phenom has begun to be recognized as a godmother of grunge.

This modern genre’s sound was, in many ways, molded by a Black woman. The reason she is mostly unknown has everything to do with racism and misogyny. Looking back at the beginnings of…


RACIST, BOGUS, AND UNACCEPTABLE

Anti-Black racism and anti-Asian racism are baked into our pop culture and media

Activists participate in a vigil in the Chinatown area of Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2021, in response to the shooting in Atlanta. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

I write this in the aftermath of a horrific crime in which a White man killed eight people, most of them women of Asian descent. And as we are all too aware, this kind of violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It comes amid a rash of attacks against Asians and Asian Americans. It follows years of dehumanizing and offensive rhetoric that came prominently, but not solely, from former President Donald Trump and the people around him. And much like anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism is baked into the pop culture and media we all consume.

There have been numerous times…


Thriftiness is a dish best served cold.

A color advertisement from the 1950’s shows a smiling woman showing off a chest freezer stocked with food
A color advertisement from the 1950’s shows a smiling woman showing off a chest freezer stocked with food
“Deepfreeze Freezer” by dok1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I recently read this really interesting New York Times story about families with multiple refrigerators and freezers, and what that fact can say about socioeconomic class, and even race and ethnicity. That got me thinking about my own family’s fridge/freezer habits.

Growing up, our family had one freezer-fridge combo in the kitchen and then a big standing freezer in the basement (and later in the garage, when we moved to a house without a basement). The second freezer stored all the stuff Mom got on sale, made in batches, or that was part…


Racist, Bogus, and Unacceptable

Yes. It’s a list. Read it.

Photo: Jéan Béller/Unsplash

What week is it again? What year is it? This week’s roundup of racial fuckery includes updates to a lot of things we’ve seen before: the latest in the trial against the officer charged with killing George Floyd, attempts to make it harder for people to vote in Georgia, and more.

Is there an emoji for copyright infringement? In a year where words were not enough, I know I sure appreciated the chance to express myself via emoji — especially during this summer’s anti-police brutality protests, when I could raise a virtual fist in the same skin tone as my…

Stephanie Siek

Stephanie Siek is a writer and editor who loves cats, cookie dough and aborted alliteration.

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