It was a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.
The first presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle took place last night, September 29th.
While we've known for a long time that Trump doesn't think treating others with basic respect is a necessity, that fact has never been clearer than last night when he spent 90 minutes interrupting and insulting both opponent Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. Not only was the majority of the debate just the three men talking over each other; when Trump did actually form a complete sentence, he mostly spouted blatant lies and falsehoods—not to mention that he flat-out refused to condemn white supremacy.
In fact, if you want to see just how many times both men exaggerated, twisted, or just straight up denied the truth, check out Politifacts 100% accurate fact check of the debate. It will quickly become clear that Trump almost exclusively lied while on the debate stage.
Still, facts have become a negligible facet of democracy under the Trump administration, so it's no surprise that Trump supporters still feel certain that their president's truly childish behavior in the debate was not only acceptable but praiseworthy. To be honest, it's difficult to fathom that there are many truly undecided voters at this point. You're either against the rise of fascism, white supremacy, misogyny, and misinformation, or you're voting for Trump and have decided those things are fine with you. In the most polarizing political moment perhaps in the history of America, the undecided voter is rare (and probably not paying attention).
So if most people are already certain about who they're voting for, why did anyone watch the debate? Let's be honest with ourselves: we watched because we knew it would be such a disaster it would be entertaining, we watched as a form of passive self-flagellation, and most of all we watched so we could keep up with the Twitter discourse. The only bright spot in the darkness of 2020 is the endlessly hilarious Twitter takes that both encompass the chaos of the moment and remind us not to take anything too seriously.
Here are our favorite Tweets about the first 2020 presidential debate, divided by category.
Watching the debate as a form of self punishment
Self care is easier said than done, and as the months of social isolation wear on, we're all getting more and more prone to doom-scrolling on social media, reading opinions that we know will make us angry, and engaging in Facebook comment battles with our weird great uncle who might be an actual Neo-Nazi now. For many of us, watching the debate was just an extension of this toxic behavior.
https://t.co/a4yomieMva— Michael Tannenbaum (@Michael Tannenbaum)1601429657.0
We protected our mental health by not watching this debate.— Black Women Radicals (@Black Women Radicals)1601433502.0
It’s ok to admit that we’re watching the debate because it’s basically self harm— 🥴 (@🥴)1601427190.0
Just marveling at how much three men can talk over each other
The amount of times Trump interrupted either the moderator or Joe Biden were truly countless, and ultimately forced Biden and Wallace to interrupt him and each other to get a word in edgewise. What resulted had a similar energy to a Kindergarten classroom if all the students were on amphetamines.
lol did trump’s kindergarten teacher never teach him to wait his turn to talk— hannah 🧃 doing school (@hannah 🧃 doing school)1601428437.0
This debate makes Uncut Gems feel like a Bob Ross episode by comparison— Evan Rytlewski (@Evan Rytlewski)1601429390.0
Mocking and/or pitying Chris Wallace
Poor Chris Wallace had the toughest job of the night. He had to try to maintain some semblance of control while asking important questions and then ensuring that the American people could actually hear the answers to the questions. It ultimately proved to be an impossible task, and America was divided on whether or not he could have done better.
Someone start a GoFundme for Chris Wallace’s bar tab— Dominic Ciaverella (@Dominic Ciaverella)1601431556.0
Chris Wallace is struggling, trying to seem like a jovial hale fellow well met., while being mugged.— ANNE LAMOTT (@ANNE LAMOTT)1601430166.0
Feeling bad for Hillary and despising the amount of toxic masculinity on display
If I wanted to watch three out-of-touch old white men yell at each other, I would have just waited for my family Thanksgiving in Texas.
The silver lining of this debate is that now we have a video to show people when they ask what "toxic masculinity" is— Emily Atkin (@Emily Atkin)1601429114.0
Thanks, I’m fine. But everyone better vote. https://t.co/fkuQ042HvM— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1601434432.0
Men are too emotional to be president.— Jill Filipovic (@Jill Filipovic)1601433085.0
From the moment Joe Biden said "Would you just shut up, man," many started thinking about the double standards for men and women in power.
Just straight up insults
It's not about looks, but these are pretty funny.
trump looks like a tupperware container after you had spaghetti in it— ꧁Madimoiselle꧂ (@꧁Madimoiselle꧂)1601430530.0
Biden: It's hard to get any word in with this clown Trump covered in orange makeup: Hey hey let me just tell you— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn Torabi)1601439951.0
Trump refusing to condemn white supremacy
wallace: condemn white supremacy biden: yeah say it the president: https://t.co/pJk5UGiXeK— ziwe (@ziwe)1601433546.0
12-hours later and Trump still hasn’t said he misspoke about white supremacy and the Proud Boys gang.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼)1601481848.0
he said "how do you feel about black people" trump said "i love the police"— giabuchi lastrassi (@giabuchi lastrassi)1601431190.0
There were no winners and the losers were the American people
While we think Biden did his best to retain some level of calm under the circumstances, there is no question that the entire debate was a disaster that provided almost no concrete information.
trump: i support bad things. my opponent supports good things biden: shut up, man. i do not— Shaun (@Shaun)1601435217.0
Trump: BABHAHAEJRNTKIDDUEHEHEHEJASJDBBDNRIRIF Biden: KANDJFFISUWBEJTKGUBWBSKAISHSBDBDBDBEH— Natalie (@Natalie)1601428783.0
this debate https://t.co/jjYUNagilZ— Hannah Jewell (@Hannah Jewell)1601430326.0
While I feel that I could summon the rage to creatively disembowel Trump, Joe Biden only makes me angry enough to w… https://t.co/CNwxsZKBdr— Brooke Ivey Johnson (@Brooke Ivey Johnson)1601435192.0
Disgustingly, Trump repeatedly went after Biden's family, insulting his son Hunter repeatedly and (falsely) claiming he had received money from Russia and been dishonorably discharged. Trump then later made it very clear that he is prepared to deny the election results should he lose.
Politics aside, if any other American were on national TV bum-rushing a parent as they talked about a vet son havin… https://t.co/xpIEa1n12v— Jeffrey Wright (@Jeffrey Wright)1601439165.0
For those who hadn’t been listening for the past 4 years, Trump just told you that he ain't leaving and that he is… https://t.co/dd0XUILF9y— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay)1601435250.0
Joe Biden spent the final moments of the debate urging Americans to vote. Donald Trump spent the final moments of t… https://t.co/Altz1izDX1— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren)1601433820.0
No matter what you took away from the debate last night, make sure you're registered to vote and have a plan to do so. Check your voter registration at Vote.Org.
How founded are the concerns about the app's security?
Say what you want about TikTok, but there's no question that the app is a massive success.
TikTok has surpassed 2 billion downloads and set a record for app installs in a single quarter, making it one of the most popular apps of all time. But as concerns about the security of the Chinese owned social media network mount, TikTok's future in the United States is looking more and more uncertain.
On Friday, President Trump told reporters that he would ban TikTok from operating in the United States through emergency economic powers or an executive order. This comes after concerns about the apps use of data, particularly the concern that the Chinese government has access to the data the app gathers from American users.
TikTok fans immediately expressed their concern, with one user, Ehi Omigie, saying, "Everyone is live right now," in a livestream on the app Friday night after news of Trumps statement spread. "Everyone is going cray cray ... If it does happen, follow me on Instagram."
Does Trump have the power to legally ban TikTok?
While it remains unclear what exactly banning the app would look like from a legal perspective, Trump could possibly add TikTok to a list of foreign entities that "present a greater risk of diversion to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, terrorism, or other activities contrary to U.S. national security and/or foreign policy interests," thereby forcing Apple and Google to stop supporting the app.
This has been a successful strategy in the past. Last year, Trump added the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei to the "entity list," successfully forcing Google to cut ties with the company. But according to Variety, "'Putting TikTok on that list would be unusual and legally dubious,' James Lewis, director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), recently told The Verge. There's no evidence TikTok has engaged in criminal activity threatening U.S. national security, although TikTok was fined for alleged violations of the U.S.'s child data-privacy law (which the FTC is reinvestigating)."
Additionally, given Trump's history of unsubstantiated claims, many Americans doubted whether his threat was worth taking seriously. That was until Sunday, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Trump's statement on Fox News, saying, "Here's what I hope that the American people will come to recognize -- these Chinese software companies doing business the United States, whether it's TikTok or WeChat, there are countless more ... are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus—could be their facial recognition pattern, it could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they're connected to."
He continued, "President Trump has said enough and we're going to fix it and so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party."
Pompeo concluded, "I promise you the President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people. That's the mission set that he laid out for all of us when we began to evaluate this now several months back. We're closing in on a solution and I think you'll see the President's announcement shortly," he said.
Trump sets deadline for TikTok sale or shutdown www.youtube.com
Can Trump make money off a TikTok deal?
Trump has said that unless an American company buys the US sector of TikTok, the app will be banned from September 15th onward. He has also stated that he believes the US treasury should get a cut of any deal that is made. He said, "The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible," he said. "It would come from the sale, which nobody else would be thinking about but me, but that's the way I think, and I think it's very fair."
A governing body taking a portion of the profit from this kind of transaction would be unheard of. Charlotte Jee, a reporter at MIT Technology Review, said Trump's comments were "pretty astonishing." She said: "I hate to say this but it is kind of almost Mafia-like behaviour - threatening a ban which pushes down the price then saying, 'Oh we should get a cut of that deal afterwards to say thank you for what we've done there.'"
She continues, "It is extraordinary behaviour as well because last week we had lawmakers in the US trying to look at whether tech companies are too big and now we've got Trump trying to make one of them even bigger so it is a really, really bizarre situation to be in."
Trump hates TikTok teens
It's worth noting that this threat from the President comes just weeks after users of the app claimed responsibility for the poor turn out at Trump's Tulsa rally. As Eden Gordon noted in her article "K-Pop Stans and TikTok Teens Trolled a Trump Rally—What Could They Do Next?," "A coterie of K-pop stans and teenagers on the app TikTok say they came together and inspired thousands of people to reserve tickets to the rally—with no intentions of showing up. It seems to have worked. 'My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets. You have been rolled by America's teens,' tweeted Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt on Wednesday. Over the weeks before the rally, thousands of kids registered to attend the Tulsa event; it practically became an Internet meme."
Are the Chinese really stealing data through TikTok?
While it's possible that Trump's desire to ban TikTok is partly due to TikTok user's activism at his expense, there are well-founded concerns about the safety of the app.
TikTok is owned by a large Beijing based social media company called ByteDance. Since its inception, TikTok has released several app updates that included urgent security vulnerabilities, but experts agree that's not uncommon for social media apps. The majority of concerns about TikTok's security revolve around fears that the Chinese government is receiving the data of American users. As Forbes notes, "In recent weeks, we have seen reports emerge suggesting that TikTok is 'Chinese spyware,' alleging that the app steals data from users' devices and sends it to China. This is certainly not proven and almost certainly not true on any level, at least not in the way it is presented."
Like any social networking app, TikTok does collect and monetize data from its users. But that's no different than Facebook or Twitter. "It's not any worse or any better than what Facebook, Google and thousands of apps are doing already," Cyjax CISO Ian Thornton-Trump tells Forbes. "Any free service is going to want to monetize the data it's accumulating."
Of course, the big difference comes from the fact that TikTok is a Chinese company that is gathering information on American citizens, and it's the first social media app owned by a foreign power to truly compete with American owned networks. While the data gathering itself may not be inherently insidious, experts believe that the way China uses it could be.
Thornton-Trump goes on to say, "TikTok and other apps present a danger of mass manipulation and social control and disinformation. The danger may be minimal to the individual but serious for society and democracy." Still, one has to question how this is any different than Facebook, which faced major backlash over accusations of influencing the 2016 election via data gathering of this nature. There's no question that a heavy dose of nationalism is no small part of the American backlash against TikTok.
Of course, TikTok is desperate to dispel any concerns. In a statement shared with USA TODAY Saturday, TikTok said, "US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access." They added that the company's "biggest investors come from the US."
Can TikTok be saved?
According to the New York Times, "The powerful Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, has been examining ByteDance's 2017 purchase of Musical.ly, an app that eventually morphed to become TikTok. The committee has decided to order ByteDance to divest TikTok, and the government is engaged in negotiations over the terms of the separation, according to a person familiar with the administration's plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity."
Apparently, Microsoft and other companies are in negotiations to purchase TikTok. after a call between Microsoft's chief executive Satya Nadella and Mr Trump, Microsoft confirmed on Sunday in a blog post that it would continue discussions about possibly buying TikTok. It remains unknown whether the app will really be deactivated in the US come September 15th if a deal isn't made.
How do you fall back on your "Well they shouldn't commit crimes!" argument now?
It was recently announced that the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 while in police custody, will be reexamined by Colorado Officials.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis personally announced that his administration will reexamine the case. The governor wrote on Twitter, "a fair and objective process free from real or perceived bias for investigating officer-involved killings is critical." Polis added that he is having lawyers "examine what the state can do and we are assessing next steps."
Public confidence in our law enforcement process is incredibly important now more than ever. A fair and objective p… https://t.co/vGdBthXcQc— Governor Jared Polis (@Governor Jared Polis)1593032085.0
Undoubtedly, Gov. Polis was influenced by a petition, signed by over 2 million people, that urged him to reopen the case of Elijah McClain, who died after being put in a chokehold by police in a Denver suburb. McClain's case has been the subject of renewed outrage since the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; which were instrumental in sparking wide-spread protests against racist police brutality.
The facts surrounding Elijah McClain's death
On August 24, 2019, McClain was on his way home from a convenience store. He was wearing a ski mask, something his sister later told ABC affiliate, Denver7 that he often did because he "had anemia and would sometimes get cold." He had gone to the convenience store to buy his brother an iced tea.
Soon, McClain was stopped by three white officers because a 911 caller described a "suspicious person" in a face covering "waving their arms around." According to McClain's family, it was likely he was dancing to the music in his headphones, something he often did.
According to CNN, the police report said that McClain resisted officer contact and a struggle ensued. The audio from one of the officer's body cams depicts McClain clearly pleading with the officers, saying, "I'm an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking." He goes on to say that he was trying to stop his music to listen to them, and they promptly start to arrest him. One officer is heard telling another, "He just grabbed your gun, dude."
The full audio of McClain's arrest and subsequent murder can be listened to below. The transcript is as follows:
"I can't breathe. I have my ID right here... My name is Elijah McClain. That's my house. I was just going home. I'm an introvert. I'm just different. That's all. I'm so sorry. I have no gun. I don't do that stuff. I don't do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don't even kill flies. I don't eat meat. But I don't judge people, I don't judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better... I will do it... I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I'll do it. I'll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I'm a mood Gemini. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work."
In the video, McClain can be heard sobbing, vomiting, and then saying: "Oh, I'm sorry I wasn't trying to do that. I just can't breathe correctly." You can also hear one of the officers threaten to bring a police dog over to him and bite him for "messing around."
Later in the footage, one officer can also be heard admitting McClain had done nothing illegal.
Body Worn Camera Regarding the In-Custody Death of Elijah McClain youtu.be
As McClain sobbed, one of the officers put him in a carotid hold, or chokehold, and he briefly lost consciousness, according to an overview of the incident provided by police. Soon, paramedics arrived and administered ketamine to sedate McClain, according to the report. McClain then suffered a heart attack while in the ambulance and was taken off life support three days later. His family said at the time that he was covered in bruises.
The officers involved were cleared of all wrongdoing
After McClain's death, the Adams County district attorney, Dave Young, declined to file criminal charges against the officers involved, though they were placed on administrative leave briefly before being reinstated. In February 2020, a police review board declared, "[t]he force applied during the altercation to include the carotid control hold and the force applied during the altercation was within policy and consistent with training."
Additionally, in a coroner's report Forensic Pathology Consultant Dr. Stephen Cina was unable to definitively explain McClain's cause of death. Cina said that "the manner of death may be accident if it was an idiosyncratic drug reaction. It may be natural if [McClain] had an undiagnosed mental illness that led to excited delirium, if his intense physical exertion combined with a narrow coronary artery led to an arrhythmia, if he had an asthma attack, or if he aspirated vomit while restrained."
He continued, writing that Mcclain's death, "may be a homicide if the actions of officers led to his death (e.g. carotid control hold led to stimulation of the carotid sinus resulting in an arrhythmia)."
When CNN asked DA Young about the recent tidal wave of support for the reopening of McClain's case, Young said, "we've got to have the evidence ... so the petitions, the emails, the voicemails and Facebook attacks to me, my family, everyone else expressing their opinions ... is not evidence." Young added that he doesn't "condone the actions of the officers. I think they could've done things differently."
Who was Elijah McClain?
Since his death, Elijah has been described by family and friends alike as an "angel." He worked as a massage therapist, and seemed to be universally beloved by his coworkers and clients.
According to CBSN Denver, his mother, Sheneen McClain, described her son as life-giving. "I thank God that he was my son because just him being born brought life into my world, you know what I mean?" she said. "I know he was giving life to other people too.
According to the Sentinel, Eric Behrens, a friend of McClain's, said, "I don't even think he would set a mouse trap if there was a rodent problem."
A former client and friend of McClain, Marna Arnett, reportedly said he, "Was the sweetest, purest person I have ever met," She added, "He was definitely a light in a whole lot of darkness." Arnett also mentioned McClain's social anxiety to reporters, attributing his frequent mask wearing to both his anemia and a desire to create a separation from the world. "He would hide behind that mask," Arnett said. "It was protection for him, too. It made him more comfortable being in the outside world."
One of the most frequent anecdotes mentioned on social media about McClain is the fact that he often used his lunch breaks to play the violin for the dogs and cats in a nearby animal shelter, believing the music helped to calm them.
Elijah McClain playing the violin for cats
The more you read about McClain, the more obvious it becomes that he was a gentle young man, often anxious, but eager to love and be loved. The more you read about McClain, the more heart-wrenching his death becomes. Why? Because he didn't deserve it. Because he was a good guy who didn't commit a crime.
His supposed resistance was likely just the result of the extreme anxiety that would likely overtake most of us in that situation—particularly a young Black man; particularly a person who clearly already struggled with anxiety. The case of Elijah McClain makes white people particularly uncomfortable, because they can't justify it.
Why "All Lives Matter" people aren't sure what to say about Elijah McClain
"George Floyd was using counterfeit money," they argue. "The police had to restrain him!"
"Well, sure, Breonna Taylor was sleeping, but her boyfriend pulled a gun! The cops had to shoot!"
These are common tactics conservative white people use to deny the pandemic of racist police violence in America. Arguments like "Well, he shouldn't have committed a crime, then!" have long followed in the wake of anger over the death of a Black person at the hands of the police.
Even more common, white people comfortable with the status quo tend to talk about all the past transgressions of the Black victim in question, or use language to conjure images of a threatening individual, as if that justifies the police's behavior.
This line of thinking has become so prominent, that doctors CalvinJohn Smiley and David Fukunle conducted a 2016 study on the topic entitled "From 'Brute' to 'Thug:' the Demonization and Criminalization of Unarmed Black Male Victims in America". The study sought to investigate, "The historical criminalization of Black males and its connection to contemporary unarmed victims of law enforcement. And "to interpret how Black male victims are portrayed by traditional mass media, particularly through the use of language, in ways that marginalize and de-victimize these individuals."
Smiley and Fakunle found ample evidence that Eric Garner, a Black man killed by police officers in 2014 for selling cigarettes, was (posthumously) routinely characterized in the media as physically imposing (Garner was 350 lbs), unhealthy (Garner had a history of asthma), and inherently criminal.
They write, "The prominent references related to Mr. Garner's physical attributes were micro-invalidations and micro-insults regarding his behavior at the time of his death, which involved Garner vehemently defending his role in breaking up an altercation. Additionally were the micro-invalidations related to his past actions and lifestyle. This included criminality and the perception of being a 'hustler' due to his propensity to sell single cigarettes, which is illegal yet not a felony in New York."
Essentially, white people who lean towards the "all lives matter" argument are quick to brush off the discomfort that racist police violence forces them to feel. They do so by justifying a Black victim's death. This is often done by finding a reason the victim "deserved" to die, or finding reasons to excuse the police officer's actions.
In the case of Elijah McClain, this kind of justification is almost impossible. McClain was gentle and physically small, had a good job, was possibly neurodivergent, had no criminal history, and was literally just walking home from the store. The audio of his last moments depict a person trying desperately not to offend anyone, even in that dire and unjust situation.
If your argument in the past has been, "Well he just should have complied with the police officers and shown them the respect they deserve," then how do you reckon with the fact that some of McClain's last words were, "All I was trying to do was become better... I will do it... I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I'll do it. I'll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me."
His fear is palpable in the audio recording, as is his aggressor's brutality. Elijah McClain's murder cannot be explained away as anything other than a moment of racist abuse of power with deadly consequences.
Guilty people don't deserve to die either
The discomfort and reckoning that Elijah McClain's case has brought up in white people (specifically those who have been trying desperately to pretend that the police are a necessary force for good) can only be productive. But that's not to say that there is anything acceptable about justifying a person's murder at the hands of the police because of past criminality or any other factor beyond a clear and imminent deadly threat.
If Elijah McClain HAD committed a crime, it still wouldn't be justifiable that he died at the hands of the police. We have a system in place for assigning punishment to those who commit crimes. It's a deeply flawed system, but it at least affords people the right to a trial before they are sentenced. It is not the role of the police to kill—not even the guilty.
If McClain's story is making you uncomfortable because he was so obviously "one of the good ones" or because you can't explain away the police officer's actions, perhaps now is a good time for you to question your view of justice. Why do you think past crimes justify someone's death? Why do you think a police officer who "feels in danger" has the right to murder someone?
For that matter, why do you think any crime justifies someone's death? Have you ever stolen something small from a store? Has your child or loved one? Do you think they would deserve to die for that crime?
If we're going to put an end to America's decades-long history of police brutality, we're going to have to collectively rethink our culture of retributive justice. While Elijah McClain certainly didn't deserve to die, neither did the thousands of Black people—guilty of a crime or not—who have lost their lives to the brutality of the American justice system.
Elijah McClain's death should make you uncomfortable, but so should every other death at the hands of American policing.
The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
White people: We need to look to BIPOC leadership before participating in any anti-racist actions, online or otherwise.
As protests against racist police brutality continue across the United States and the world in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd, many people are taking to social media to share their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Posts shared across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook include information on how to help protestors, how to financially contribute to black led organizations, how to protest safely in the face of police force, and how to be a better ally to the black community. Much of this is vital information that shows how helpful social media can be when harnessed for good.
Today, in another supposed show of support with the Black Lives Matter movement, a #BlackOutTuesday hashtag has begun to spread, particularly on Instagram. The hashtag is posted in combination with an entirely black square. Here is an example:
In theory, the idea is to so thoroughly occupy Instagram with this lack of content, as to make the movement impossible to ignore. Unfortunately, many black-identifying people of color have pointed out the folly of this hashtag. Notably, the danger of using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in combination with these posts buries vital information and activist posts that are exponentially more beneficial to the movement than an empty black square. Layla F. Saad, the best-selling author of Me and White Supremacy, posted the below video with the caption, "Hi all. For those taking part in the black out posts, please don't use the blacklivesmatter hashtag as it is actually muting/silencing this hashtag and important information that is being shared under that hashtag. Instead use #blackouttuesday. Thank you @ginaatinukeknight for this heads up."
Some are even questioning the intention of the hashtag, like singer-songwriter Kehlani, who posted on her Instagram story, "while i really do f*ck wit the intention behind the 'black out' something about its execution doesn't seem smart. we keep each other informed on here, we are each other [sic] news channels because we cannot trust the news. we cannot disappear for a day. secondly, now when you check the #BlackLivesmatter hashtag, it's no longer videos, helpful information, resources, documentation of the injustice, it's rows of black screens."
Supposedly, the original initiative was a music industry movement called #TheShowMustBePaused started by WOC music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang. According to The BBC, "All three major record labels have shared a message on social media promising 'a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.' Employees have been given Tuesday off as 'a day of action,' intended to 'provoke accountability and change.'"
Many artists jumped on board, including Lady Gaga, who said, "[President Trump] holds the most powerful office in the world, yet offers nothing but ignorance and prejudice while black lives continue to be taken," she wrote. "He is fueling a system that is already rooted in racism, and racist activity, and we can all see what is happening."
But how exactly #TheShowMustBePaused became #BlackOutTuesday is unclear, but seeing as it does not seem to have been started by a BIPOC lead organization or BIPOC leader, it is our (white people's, in particular) responsibility to question it before participating. For one thing, simply posting a black square to Instagram is an incredibly easy action, even easier than reposting information or otherwise amplifying the voices of POC through social media. Before participating, ask yourself if you have decided to post your black square simply to assuage your own white guilt/feel like you're helping, or because you've genuinely been led to believe (by a POC) that your action is helpful to the movement. Instead of posting a black square, could you be taking more tangible steps? Could you be posting information for protestors, or suggestions of places to donate? Could you be holding yourself accountable for past racist actions? Could you be educating yourself on your own privilege? One also has to see how suspiciously close to censorship this action seems on the day after President Trump threatened the lives of protestors. Is now really the time to be quiet and remove ourselves from social media, or is it a time to be louder than ever?
If you do decide to participate in #BlackOutTuesday, at the very least, make sure you aren't using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, and as always, look to the leadership of POC before participating in any action, online or otherwise. Also, if you're white, consider giving the below post a thorough read.
Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There i… https://t.co/6k9alCsBq7— jimmy fallon (@jimmy fallon)1590526687.0
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
Quarantine is many things, but it's definitely a good time to catch up on movies.
So you're technically "working from home" right now, but we know that really means lying in front of your TV with Slack open on your laptop.
If you're going to give yourself over to the gods of streaming while you avoid COVID-19, you may as well watch something worthwhile. Here are 10 movies that you need to see before you die, and since they're available on Netflix right now and you don't have anything better to do, you really have no excuse not to watch them.
A Quiet Place
While the apocalyptic themes of this movie may hit a little close to home right now, it's a gripping enough film to distract you from how tired you are of the person you're stuck in quarantine with. Written, directed, and starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place explores a world that's been overrun by monsters with super-sensitive hearing. The few people left on earth are forced to exist and communicate in almost total silence in order to stay alive.
Now's the perfect time to revisit this thrilling classic. No matter how tired you get of staying indoors, at least you aren't being stalked by a massive shark like the characters in this Spielberg masterpiece.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
If you like the Coen Brothers, you'll love this quirky, episodic Western. If you don't like the Coen Brothers, you ought to watch this anyway, because it's so completely different than any other movie, you're sure to feel strongly one way or another. This anthology style film has no problem breaking the fourth wall and forcing you to reconsider everything you thought you knew about the Western genre.
Winner of three Oscars, this movie from director Alfonso Cuarón will stick with you long after the closing credits. The story follows a maid working for an upper-middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s, and it's sure to put your personal struggles into perspective.
This mind-bending thriller will have you on the edge of your seat (even if that seat is the sofa you've been sitting on for days now). Ex Machina follows a computer programmer named Domhnall Gleeson who wins the opportunity to spend a week with the enigmatic creator of the world's leading AI technology. Soon, Gleeson finds out that all is not as it seems in the high-tech mansion.
Is there any scene in the history of cinema that's more iconic than the pottery scene in this classic movie? Patrick Swayze plays the ghost of a banker seeking to warn girlfriend Demi Moore she's in danger via psychic Whoopi Goldberg. This film is as cheesy as it is excellent, and you really have to see it given its lasting cultural impact.
This stunning animated adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book is an absolute treat. This film from Laika, the company behind Kubo and the Two Strings and ParaNorman, is as visually appealing as it is creepy. If this isn't the kind of film you'd normally watch, maybe now is the perfect time to branch out.
There's nothing like Greta Gerwig's and Noah Baumbach's cutting wit and moving observations about life and friendship to help you forget about a building global pandemic. This semi-autobiographical film has become a cult classic and has arguably one of the best scripts of all time.
Honestly, we wouldn't normally recommend you spend 3 hours of your one short life on this movie, but what else do you have to do right now? Settle in, pop some popcorn, and prepare to squint at the special effects that only do an okay job at making Robert De Niro look younger. If you can stick it out, it really is an excellent film.
12 Years a Slave
This Oscar-winning historical drama, based on Solomon Northup's autobiographical book, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt. It follows the life of a free black man living in pre-Civil War America who is abducted and sold into slavery. It's a searing portrait of the brutality of slave life, and it should be mandatory viewing for everyone.
The Wildest Online Conspiracy Theories About the Coronavirus And Why Everyone Is Talking About Bill Gates
Just don't listen to anything qAnon says.
If there's anything that's spreading faster than COVID-19 is spreading across the globe, it's rumors and misinformation about the virus.
You may have heard any number of things about the new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China by now, but odds are that only a fraction of that information is actually accurate. Here are the craziest, falsest, and just plain funniest coronavirus conspiracy theories.