Editorial Note: From time to time members of our editorial team find it necessary to respond to sensitive community issues. This reporting is a reflection of a racial incident that occurred this week in Carrollton, Georgia. Most opinion pieces are found in the Opinion section.
Being completely honest with you, it’s not unfathomable to believe that as a Black man in America, the last thing I want to deal with just happens to be the one thing that never goes away. Pandemic and global emergencies aside—racism is here to stay. She waves her nasty finger in my face at least once a week. Blatant, fragrant. Racism.
For nearly a day, I ignored tags and mentions directing me to a 50 second TikTok video with two white teenagers. Less than 6 seconds into the video they kick the door into a well-lit bathroom and tossed into the sink is a ripped piece of wide-ruled notebook paper with word ‘niggers’ scribbled on it. For obvious reasons, you can imagine I had no interest in watching further. The Black experience, despite your nationality, is for the most part monolithic in the United States. The pain runs deep because day in and day out, it’s still inflicted.
Earlier today, I finally decided to take a look at the video, knowing that obviously, I’d be discussing it amongst friends or next week on the radio. Getting past the first six seconds, I watch the video play out. A white female holds her smart phone in the mirror, while the male reaches for the cup to reveal what’s written underneath it. The male, who we know now is named Jeffrey Hume, just seconds later lifts up a cup of water to reveal another sliver of paper with the word ‘black’ written on it. He takes the cup of water and pours over the ‘niggers’ sheet in the sink. Panning the camera to the other side of the sink, the white female, Stephanie Freeman focuses on another cup of water pinning down yet another sliver of paper, the verbiage: ‘don’t have a dad’, Jeffrey pours yet another full cup of water over the ‘niggers’ paper. At best effort, it immediately became evident to me that this was not going to be the type of TikTok video I’ve come to enjoy while on quarantine. It appeared that the odd couple would continue lifting cups and reading statements as they read the next one: ‘eat watermelon and fried chicken.’ The pouring continued.
Okay I know this probably isn’t going to get a lot of views but I just thought I’d show everyone how racist the kids at my school are. The girl’s name is Stephanie Freeman and she’s a senior at Carrollton High School. pic.twitter.com/jjsLtToSLH
— Camden (@camden52801) April 17, 2020
The next cup, ‘make good choices’ was empty. There was nothing to pour out. Jeffrey shakes the cup as Stephanie proclaims ‘there’s nothing there!’ The game continues, ‘rob people’ Stephanie belts as Jeffrey interjects ‘specifically white people,’ pouring water over the ‘niggers’ paper once again. Seemingly overjoyed, the couple aim at the last cup. Stephanie announces ‘the last cup is…’ as Jeffrey answers ‘goes to jail’ and pours water on the paper for the final time. The video blips as the faucet runs and they pour one final full cup over the paper.
It was obvious to me why this video caused the uproar that it did, yet this time it did not generate the usual shock or disgust. I wondered, as I analyzed my own reaction if I was growing numb to this sort of white nonsense, yet immediately came to grips with the truth: this was meant to get a reaction. This was done boldly. This was not in jest, not as a mistake and not as a joke. The words were written. The camera was rolling. The words were said. The video was edited. The video was uploaded. The video was posted. The video was shared. This was intentional. This was malicious. This behavior is innate. They relished in this. This is an exact picture of who they are, whether they’ve ever shown the world this piece of them or not. This is more than likely who their ancestors were.
Writing this, in this climate, I had to consider my future. How far am I from a Fox News smear? What can I say that will not inhibit me or severely limit my chances at success if I plan to spread my wings and run for office one day? You see, I’m thinking. I’ve considered, despite my little success, how quickly things could come to a screeching halt. Privilege has a way of ignoring natural alarms. It’s often said that racism is taught behavior and for it to end, the teacher must die. I argue, that while taught, it must also be embraced. Conditioning plays a major part on how one sees the world, but we’ve all been taught that what’s in you, will come out.
Like many times before, the forensic detectives of Black Twitter did the dirty work. We know who these thugs are because of the hard work of these heroes, but why is it the responsibility of the oppressed to identify, prosecute and demand justice of their attackers? It’s time for this type of hateful behavior to be met with pressure. Racism, in any form should face severe ramifications like the crime it is. More often than not 15, 16 and 17, Black and brown bodies are charged as adults for felony crimes, why not even the playing field?
Jeffrey and Stephanie have been expelled from Carrollton High School. While their future may seem bleak to some, it’s no secret to you or me that they’ll be back to their normal lives in no time.
Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack
Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.
What We Know:
- Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
- Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
- A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack. Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.
Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.
Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building
The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.
What We Know:
- Howard University has renamed its College of Fine Arts after late actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last year at age 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. The historically Black university shared a time-lapse video showing the installation of the new letters on the school’s building, which is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”
- Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
- Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.
In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.
Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities
The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.
What We Know:
- The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.
“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.
- Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
- In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
- Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.
Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.