Racist, Bogus, and Unacceptable

Colorful Emojis, George Floyd Murder Trial and Georgia GOP’s Tantrum Illustrate This Week’s Proof of Racist Fuckery

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 own. But as the older and more decrepit among us might recall, emojis used to come in a single, Simpsons-yellow skin tone. Back in 2013, a Black woman named Katrina Parrott developed an app to give folks emoji options that matched the melanated rainbow. She is now suing Apple for inviting her to present her idea — and then promptly using it themselves, rendering her app obsolete.

Unfair taxation: You might know something about how practices like redlining and subprime lending have maximized the racial wealth gap. But there’s another problem for Black homeowners, particularly those in urban areas: at least some municipalities are routinely overvaluing homes in low-income Black neighborhoods and undervaluing homes in more affluent areas. This means that the Black homeowners can end up paying proportionately much more in property taxes, and can even lose their homes. This Bloomberg story explains how this happens, and how there’s a whole industry set up to profit when families have taxes they can’t pay.

Learned racism? Civil rights attorneys and students have filed a lawsuit against the New York City school system, arguing that it exacerbated racial inequalities by sorting children into different academic tracks as early as kindergarten. The suit says this results in White children being overrepresented in the city’s selective high schools and programs for gifted students, while Black children are underrepresented.

Jurors take the stand: Jury selection is ongoing for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the killing of George Floyd. Questions for potential jurors include their views on the Black Lives Matter movement, attitudes about the credibility of police, and how they themselves resolve conflicts.

Deadly interventions: A bill to repeal Georgia’s “citizen arrest” law is moving to the state’s senate for debate after unanimously passing its House of Representatives. A past prosecutor in the case of Ahmaud Arbery’s death had cited the law as a reason why the men who killed Arbery were justified in chasing and ultimately shooting him. Read more about the bill and the racist roots of “citizen’s arrest” here.

Civil rights marching backward? Meanwhile, Georgia Republicans are apparently still salty about Trumpian claims that absentee voting enabled Biden to “steal” his 2020 election win. The state’s senate narrowly approved a measure that would restrict absentee voting to people who are over the age of 65, physically disabled, or out of town on Election Day. This is in addition to other bills under consideration that limit Sunday voting and reduce the use of ballot drop boxes. “This is entirely driven by the existential crisis of a Republican Party that has decided that rather than adapt to the changing needs of the populace, it is easier to stop the people from participating,” says Stacey Abrams, whose organization helped organize record voting turnout among African Americans in Georgia last year.

When it’s your relative that’s racist: Well, you know we can’t close out this list without at least referring to the bombshell interview Oprah did with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (yes, I put her name first, don’t @ me). Their conversation exposed the British royals’ intrafamily and institutional racism, particularly the revelation that one of the royals expressed concern about the skin color of baby Archie (who was at that point still in utero). That’s opened up some space for folks whose parents are different races to talk about times they were the targets of racist words and actions from members of their own families. This BuzzFeed piece is a heartbreaking but worthy read.

I know it can be hard to digest all the racist nonsense we had to endure this week. So this week’s palate cleanser is brought to you by this story from The Undefeated, which pays tribute to some of pop culture’s best bad and boujee Black women, from A Different World’s Whitley Gilbert to Insecure’s Molly. Bon appétit!

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

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Momentum is a blog that captures and reflects the moment we find ourselves in, one where rampant anti-Black racism is leading to violence, trauma, protest, reflection, sorrow, and more. Momentum doesn’t look away when the news cycle shifts.

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