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.
George Clooney And Other Stars Launch Public LA Film School
George Clooney is one of many stars co-founding a public high school in the Los Angeles United School District to provide underserved communities an opportunity to break into the film industry.
What We Know:
- Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, and Eva Longoria are just a few listed as the founding members of the Roybal School of Film and Television Production. Housed in the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake District area of LA, the magnet program will provide curriculum, practical training, and internships.
- In a statement, Clooney said, “Our aim is to better reflect the diversity in our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities this industry has to offer.” LAUSD teachers will be given access to industry professionals in order to achieve these goals.
- Under the direction of principal Blanca Crus, the school’s curriculum will be developed to meet the standards of the State of California. Austin Beutner, LAUSD Superintendent, expressed his approval, “Physics is involved in the choice of lens by a cinematographer, math is part of the foundation for a musical score…critical thinking skills are needed to design a set, screenwriters need a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know chemistry of the different materials they might use — all of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school.”
- The Roybal School of Film and Television is expected to launch in the fall of 2022. The plan is to enroll underclassmen to begin and expand to upperclassmen in the following two years. There will then be an opportunity to expand the pilot program to more schools in LA.
Initiatives like these spearheaded by actors in the industry show the desire for the film world to better capture the American experience in all capacities.
Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College, Allocated to Enrich the School’s Journalism and Sports Program
Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand’s donation will enrich Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program founded by actor and director Spike Lee and late sports columnist Ralph Wiley.
What We Know:
- The contribution comes from Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment, which grants monetary gifts to associations that preserve Black culture. Previously, the Black Community Commitment assisted the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ida B. Wells Society.
“We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future,” said Jordan about the endowment.
- Morehouse College wrote in a news release that the donation would make scholarships, technology, and educational programming more available to students. Monique Dozier, Morehouse’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, expressed gratitude for the charity. Dozier declared the funds would ensure “equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history.”
- The program, which Morehouse provides as a minor, focuses on the absence of Black leadership in sports journalism and athletics. So far, more than 80 students have added Journalism and Sports to their undergraduate studies.
- Lee and Wiley came up with the idea after discussing the fact that sports journalism lacks minority reporters, despite many athletes being people of color. This motivated the two friends to find a way to fix this disparity. Eventually, officials from Lee’s alma mater entered the discussion, and they added a Journalism and Sports concentration to Morehouse’s curriculum in 2007. After some time, the university upgraded it to a minor.
- Morehouse prepares their pupils with four core courses on reporting, interviewing, ethical fundamentals, online writing, social media, and sports coverage while using photography and videography as storytelling tools. Undergraduates may also partake in internships and register in elective courses that teach them topics such as African-American politics, history, psychology, and economics.
Moreover, Lee has stated that Jordan’s donation will create “a rich legacy of storytellers” to influence the representation of Black people on television and Hollywood. “We’ve got to tell our story,” Lee declared.
The Bodies of 215 Children Discovered at Former Canadian School for Indigenous People
Using ground-penetrating radar, officials were able to identify a mass gravesite with 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.
What We Know:
- The Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, was established by the Roman Catholic Church in 1890 and closed in 1978. Residential schools were a part of a nationwide Canadian initiative to assimilate indigenous children forcibly. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 were taken from their families and prohibited to practice any aspect of native culture.
- The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people announced the discovery. Chief Rosanne Casimir says some of the victims were as young as three years old. The causes and timing of their deaths are unknown.
- Kamloops was one of the largest Residential Schools in Canada. In total, 150,000 children attended the institution. Former students recall unsanitary conditions and exposure to numerous contagious diseases.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calculates a minimum of 3,201 residential school deaths. This number is uncertain because of unaccounted deaths and destroyed files. In the case of Kamloops, a local museum archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find a paper trail documenting the victims.
Mass graves at residential schools have long been an urban legend in indigenous communities across Canada. This discovery at Kamloops proves these suspicions to be true. “This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honor the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
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