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The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 5/31

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Virtual Graduation Speech for the Class of 2020

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Musician, Rapper, Performer: Deetranada

So much happened this week and the internet was nearly too much for me to write about. Headlines, tweets, and Instagram posts were filled by Christian Cooper, Amy Cooper, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. Lana Del Rey continued to double down on her post that targeted women of color, Doja Cat was accused of being racist, Jimmy Fallon was in blackface, Shaun King continues to sell “wokeness to white people,” and apparently Joe Biden is now determining who is Black. The internet fully saturated me this week.  

 

1. Twitter: Amy Cooper

In this video taken by Christian Cooper, a white woman named Amy Cooper (no relation) threatens him and calls the police after he asks her to leash her dog in Central Park. The area where this video was taken is known as The Ramble and dogs are always required to be leashed as indicated by clearly posted signs in the area. Christian Cooper, a bird watcher and Black man, was concerned that the dog would disturb the birds in the area and frequently has to ask owners to leash their pets. In the video, Amy Cooper can be seen disregarding Christian’s requests for her to stay away, performing distress when calling the police where she mentions Christian’s race multiple times, and showing a lack of concern for her dog as she roughly handles her pet. It is abundantly clear that Amy Cooper called the police because she wanted violence inflicted on Christian Cooper by the police, an action that has many people calling her a terrorist

 

2. The Independent: It looks like Amy Cooper, the white woman in the viral Central Park video, is a liberal. That’s important

Since the video of Amy Cooper threatening Christian Cooper went viral, she has lost her job, been banned from Central Park, and her dog has been taken away from her. The video has led some to question if she supports Trump or is otherwise conservative, “however, campaign contribution information — with donations to Democrats such as Barack Obama, Pete Buttigieg, and John Kerry — leaked online earlier today appeared to suggest that Amy actually identifies as a liberal.” Racism is everywhere, and is very prevalent in white liberal and leftist spaces where morality is often performed but not structurally present. “White violence is not the sole domain of Trump supporters, or open white supremacists,” writes Nylah Burton. “White violence is pervasive, spreading everywhere and tainting everything. And when we overlook liberal white racism, we put ourselves in grave danger.”

 

3. Very Smart Brothas: Thoughts on Forgiving Amy Cooper (aka ‘Darth Karen’), Who Got Fired, Banned From Central Park, and Lost Her Dog

While Amy Cooper, per the video in the link above, has apologized for what she did… does anyone believe her? Is anyone willing to forgive her? I most certainly am not. The writer Damon Young also briefly considered it because he is “Christian-ish” but, he writes, “JUST CAN’T GET PAST HOW THIS NIGGA MIGHT GET BANNED FROM CENTRAL PARK BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET BANNED FROM THE OUTSIDE WHEN THE OUTSIDE IS ALREADY CLOSED??? ALL MY BIG FORGIVENESS ENERGY WAS ZAPPED UP LIKE HER EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS AND HER SOCIAL CALENDAR AND HER TINDER PROFILE AND HER INVITES TO POTLUCK JAMBOREES OR WHATEVER THE FUCK DARTH KARENS DO FOR FUN AND HER BANK ACCOUNT AFTER CHRISTIAN COOPER SUES HER WHEN I JUST SAT HERE AND REALLY PONDERED REAL HARD ON HOW BAD OF A PERSON YOU MUST BE TO GET BANNED FROM A MOTHERFUCKING EIGHT HUNDRED AND FORTY ACRE PUBLIC PARK.” Amy Cooper, aka Darth Karen, knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she called the cops, and as Jemele Hill tweeted “What happened to George Floyd is what Amy Cooper hoped would happen to Christian Cooper.”

 

4. Instagram: Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey has royally fucked up over the past week or so. As I wrote in my last column, Del Rey made a post on Instagram criticizing the music industry’s double standards; said she was judged differently from Doja Cat, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and others whose performances involve “being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating, etc”; and claimed to have paved the way “for other women to stop ‘putting on a happy face’ and just be able to say whatever the hell they wanted to in their music.” Del Rey’s initial comments were controversial as she completely ignored the compounded oppression that Black women and women of color endure, and many also objected to her ahistorical understanding of music history, noting the peculiar absence of white performers such as Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette and the like in her statement. This misunderstanding also ignores the contributions of many other women of color who preceded these artists.

After already doubling down on her comments twice (once in the comments of her original post, and once through another post to her account), she does it again in this video. In her first post and subsequent responses Del Rey uses racialized language to describe herself  as “soft,” “delicate,” and “fragile,” things Black women have never been allowed to be. While I believe that Del Rey didn’t intend for her statement to be about race, it is. And in order for her to have some of the nuanced conversations she wants to have about her music’s relationship with feminism, Del Rey needs to understand her relationship to whiteness and how that is privileged in feminism (For Harriet has a great video on this). 

Right now, my biggest qualm with Del Rey isn’t what she said in her statement, but that she doubled down on it THREE TIMES, hasn’t listened to the criticism of the women of color she named in her original post, and shows a complete unwillingness to learn. I don’t think Del Rey is deserving of all the attention I have given her, but someone I used to be much closer with agrees with the singer’s defense of herself and I can’t stop thinking about it. I also believe that this could have been a tremendous learning experience for Del Rey and the people coming to her defense, but instead they are supporting an insidious form of racism. Racism doesn’t just happen in extreme acts of violence, it is also present in small “delicate,” “soft,” and “fragile” moments. So maybe Lana Del Rey doesn’t matter that much, but this conversation matters tremendously. 

 

5. YouTube: DOJA CAT THIS IS THE PROBLEM!

#DojaCatisoverparty trended last weekend as a video of the rapper/singer surfaced on Twitter where she said “such my dick nigger” in a chatroom to a group of alleged white supremicists, and for a 2015 song titled “dindu nuffin,” which is a racial slur about victims of police brutality. The internet was quick to cancel Doja Cat, then uncancel her within 24 hours over everything. Doja Cat has also issued an apology and statement about everything, which I honestly really appreciate. 

In this video, taken before Doja’s apology and statement, Zach Campbell addresses the complaints against her and tries to contextualize them within her life and identity as a mixed person that grew up with a white mother. Campbell also discusses cancel culture, and how he is “more concerned with how we are canceling her before we know what’s going on.” If we are interested in people growing and learning, cancel culture isn’t the most effective method. 

 

6. Politico: Minneapolis cop charged with murder in Floyd’s death

On Monday night George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck while Floyd laid handcuffed on the ground gasping, “I can’t breathe.” Chauvin and three other officers who looked on were fired the next day, and Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder within four days of Floyd’s death. According to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, there is an ongoing investigation into the other officers, but he “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.” ALL OF THEM ARE DANGEROUS. If you can stand by and watch someone be murdered without trying to stop it you are complicit. 

Protests have broken out around the country for Floyd and against police brutality. 

 

7. Human Rights Campaign: HRC Mourns Tony McDade, Black Trans Man Killed in Florida

Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was killed by police in Florida on Wednesday. While the particular details of McDade’s death are still coming to light, trans people of color are disproportionately murdered or the victims of violent crimes, which can be fueled by “a toxic mix of transphobia, racism and misogyny.” Further, “in an injustice compounding this tragedy, McDade was misgendered in some media reports.” While we know of some deaths and injustices because of recordings and social media, a lot more are forgotten. 

 

8. The Cut: Breonna Taylor Was Shot and Killed by Police in Her Own Home

Louisville police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, in her home in March. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping when plainclothes police knocked on the door before breaking it down without identifying themselves. Walker, who had a gun, shot a cop in self protection and was arrested. He has since been released. The police searched Taylor’s home in conjunction with an investigation focused on Jamarcus Glover, who they believed “was receiving mail and keeping drugs or money earned from drugs at Taylor’s home, and a judge signed off on a search warrant that included Taylor’s address just before 1 a.m. on March 13. The warrant included a ‘no knock’ provision, which allowed law-enforcement officers to enter Taylor’s house without identifying themselves.” 

Taylor’s family is pursuing a lawsuit against the Louisville police, and the FBI has started an investigation into her death. Further, the audio of Walker’s 911 call after Taylor was killed was released on Thursday, and protests over her death took place in Louisville that night. Seven people were shot. This was the same night that protests escalated in Minneapolis over the murder of George Floyd. 

 

9. Daily Beast: Shaun King Keeps Raising Money, and Questions About Where It Goes

I have always been skeptical of Shaun King. I first learned of King about a year ago through Twitter when he was fundraising to reboot Frederick Douglass’ The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper originally founded in 1847. In the beginning I was curious and intrigued by King and his tweets, but almost immediately I started to learn of controversies he’s been involved in, and I haven’t trusted him since. 

Imani Gandy, a journalist and lawyer, describes King best in this interview as someone who “sells wokeness to white people.” King is known for raising millions of dollars for projects that never come to fruition going back as far as 2011 and including The North Star, which has produced little of the promised content. The main problem with King is his words and actions never align, but many “white liberals who want someone or something they can give their money to (as if that) washes away all of your sins, and absolves you of any requirements to do any self-reflection, to do anything that would make you understand that you need to be helping people at a grassroots level, not just giving money to one guy who you probably never really researched. He makes white folk feel safe because he doesn’t ask anything of them besides giving money,” as Gandy told the reporter for this piece. 

 

10. YouTube: Joe Biden on Black Woman Running Mate, Democrats Taking Black Voters for Granted + Wiping Weed Crime

I’ve never liked Joe Biden as a presidential candidate. He has never even been close to my top three candidates. But here we are, and he is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic party. During an interview with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne tha God, Biden was on his normal bullshit, but at the end he tried to make a joke saying, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” Charlamagne responded, “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact I want something for my community,” before Biden cut him off and urged him to “take a look at my record” while bringing up how the NAACP has endorsed him in the past. 

If I’m being generous, I understand Biden’s argument that he is less bad for Black people than Trump, thus Black people should vote for him. I also think he is paying lip service to Black voters and don’t think he will have any follow-through. I agree with Charlamagne who said in an interview with MSNBC that “it has to come to a point where we stop putting the burden on Black voters to show up for democrats and start putting the burden on democrats to show up for Black voters.”

 

All images taken from referenced articles, except for featured image, which is a composite of images from the artist Broobs (IG: broobs.psd). 

Have a suggestion for next week? Email afoehmke@bmoreart.com with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”

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