2019 – George Takei On His Memoir, “They Called Us Enemy”

2019 – Veteran actor George Takei may be best known as Sulu from “Star Trek,” but he also has a darker story to tell. During World War II, thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were forced from their homes and sent to internment camps, Takei among them. Now at 82 years old, he says that the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants motivated him to speak out and revisit this in a new memoir.

George Takei: ‘We Were Terrorized. That’s The History Of America As I Know It’

Actor George Takei became a sci-fi legend when he starred as Mr. Sulu in “Star Trek.” But his road to success was not a sure thing in the America he grew up in. As a young Japanese-American boy during World War II, he was imprisoned with his family in the now infamous U.S. internment camps. He tells our Hari Sreenivasan about the history behind today’s anti-Asian attacks as part of “Exploring Hate,” our ongoing series of reports on antisemitism, racism, and extremism.

A Racial Slur, A Viral Video, And A Reckoning – White High School Student Mimi Groves Withdrew From Chosen College After Three-Second Video Causes Uproar; Classmate Who Shared It Publicly Has No Regrets

LEESBURG, Va. — Jimmy Galligan was in history class last school year when his phone buzzed with a message. Once he clicked on it, he found a three-second video of a white classmate looking into the camera and uttering an anti-Black racial slur.

The slur, he said, was regularly hurled in classrooms and hallways throughout his years in the Loudoun County school district. He had brought the issue up to teachers and administrators but, much to his anger and frustration, his complaints had gone nowhere.

So he held on to the video, which was sent to him by a friend, and made a decision that would ricochet across Leesburg, Va., a town named for an ancestor of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee and whose school system had fought an order to desegregate for more than a decade after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.

“I wanted to get her where she would understand the severity of that word,” Mr. Galligan, 18, whose mother is Black and father is white, said of the classmate who uttered the slur, Mimi Groves. He tucked the video away, deciding to post it publicly when the time was right.

Ms. Groves had originally sent the video, in which she looked into the camera and said, “I can drive,” followed by the slur, to a friend on Snapchat in 2016, when she was a freshman and had just gotten her learner’s permit. It later circulated among some students at Heritage High School, which she and Mr. Galligan attended, but did not cause much of a stir.

Mr. Galligan had not seen the video before receiving it last school year, when he and Ms. Groves were seniors. By then, she was a varsity cheer captain who dreamed of attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, whose cheer team was the reigning national champion. When she made the team in May, her parents celebrated with a cake and orange balloons, the university’s official color.

The next month, as protests were sweeping the nation after the police killing of George Floyd, Ms. Groves, in a public Instagram post, urged people to “protest, donate, sign a petition, rally, do something” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word,” responded someone whom Ms. Groves said she did not know.

Her alarm at the stranger’s comment turned to panic as friends began calling, directing her to the source of a brewing social media furor. Mr. Galligan, who had waited until Ms. Groves had chosen a college, had publicly posted the video that afternoon. Within hours, it had been shared to Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, where furious calls mounted for the University of Tennessee to revoke its admission offer.

By that June evening, about a week after Mr. Floyd’s killing, teenagers across the country had begun leveraging social media to call out their peers for racist behavior. Some students set up anonymous pages on Instagram devoted to holding classmates accountable, including in Loudoun County.

The consequences were swift. Over the next two days, Ms. Groves was removed from the university’s cheer team. She then withdrew from the school under pressure from admissions officials, who told her they had received hundreds of emails and phone calls from outraged alumni, students and the public.

The use of the slur by a Heritage High School student was not shocking, many said. The surprise, instead, was that Ms. Groves was being punished for behavior that had long been tolerated.

Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County, lies just across the Potomac River from Maryland, about an hour’s drive from Washington. It was the site of an early Civil War battle, and slave auctions were once held on the courthouse grounds, where a statue of a Confederate soldier stood for more than a century until it was removed in July.

Mr. Galligan recalled being mocked with a racial slur by students and getting laughed at by a white classmate after their senior-year English teacher played an audio recording of the 1902 novella “Heart of Darkness” that contained the slur.

During that school year, Mr. Galligan said, the same student made threatening comments about Muslims in an Instagram video. Mr. Galligan showed the clip to the school principal, who declined to take action, citing free speech and the fact that the offensive behavior took place outside school. “I just felt so hopeless,” Mr. Galligan recalled.

For the University of Tennessee, the outrage over Ms. Groves followed a string of negative publicity over racist incidents at its flagship campus in Knoxville. Last year, Snapchat photos of students wearing blackface and mocking the Black Lives Matter movement went viral, shortly after a student was suspended by her sorority for referring to Black people with a racial slur in an online video. In 2018, swastikas and other hateful messages were painted on campus, months after white supremacists hosted an event during Black History Month.

Public universities are limited in their ability to expel students for offensive language. They have more leeway with incoming students, who are not yet enrolled, though many state schools try to avoid officially revoking admissions offers over speech issues.

The day after the video went viral, Ms. Groves tried to defend herself in tense calls with the university. But the athletics department swiftly removed Ms. Groves from the cheer team. And then came the call in which admissions officials began trying to persuade her to withdraw, saying they feared she would not feel comfortable on campus.

Ms. Groves’s parents, who said their daughter was being targeted by a social media “mob” for a mistake she made as an adolescent, urged university officials to assess her character by speaking with her high school and cheer coaches. Instead, admissions officials gave her an ultimatum: withdraw or the university would rescind her offer of admission.

In the months since Mr. Galligan posted the video, he has begun his freshman year at Vanguard University in California and Ms. Groves has enrolled in online classes at a nearby community college. Though they had been friendly earlier in high school, they have not spoken about the video or the fallout.

At home, Ms. Groves’s bedroom is festooned by a collection of cheer trophies, medals and a set of red pompoms — reminders of what could have been. Her despair has given way to resignation. “I’ve learned how quickly social media can take something they know very little about, twist the truth and potentially ruin somebody’s life,” she said.

For his role, Mr. Galligan said he had no regrets. “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” he said. And because the internet never forgets, the clip will always be available to watch.

“I’m going to remind myself, you started something,” he said with satisfaction. “You taught someone a lesson.”

Source: NY Times

Mississippi Approves New Flag Design – Had Been The Last State In The Country To Feature An Image Of The Confederate Battle Flag

The new design, which includes a magnolia blossom, was selected by a state commission in September to be put on the November ballot. The final decision came down to the magnolia image and the “Great River Flag,” which featured a shield with white and red stripes and a symbol representing the Mississippi River.

The flag featuring Confederate imagery was officially retired in June after protests against racial injustice and police brutality led numerous states to reckon with the history behind such symbols.

“Our flag should reflect the beauty and good in all of us. It should represent a state that deserves a positive image,” Rocky Vaughan, designer of the magnolia flag, said in a statement in September.

“The New Magnolia Flag represents the warmth and strength of the good people of Mississippi. Now is the time we show the world that we’re from Mississippi, the Magnolia State,” he added.

Source: The Hill

NBA Came In $1.5 billion Under Revenue Projections In 2020, Targets Dec 22 As Start To Coming Season

The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.

There are other options, such as waiting until later in the season to begin play with the hope that more arenas would be able to have fans. But starting in December instead of mid-January or later could generate a difference of roughly $500 million in revenue, the person said.

Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.

Source: The Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets’ Owner Joe Tsai Pledges $50 Million to Create ‘Economic Mobility’ in Brooklyn’s Black Community

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The Brooklyn Nets, led by owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, are pledging $50 million over 10 years to establish and support they hope will lead to economic mobility in the Black community.

The couple will lead a “five-point plan,” which will include continued support for its players pushing for social and economic equality and address wage gaps in communities of color, starting in Brooklyn. The plan will also address diversity within the Nets organization and the National Basketball Association league office.

“After George Floyd’s death, we felt like we needed to take a firm stand on racial injustice,” Clara Wu Tsai said in an interview with CNBC on Monday. “I wanted to state our beliefs on this issue — that racism is pervasive and needs to be addressed, and I wanted to lay out core principles that clarified our purpose as an organization.”

Source: CNBC

Quaker Oats to retire 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo; Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s also plan to phase out racial stereotypes

Earlier on Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced it’s retiring the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the Pepsi (PEP)-owned company said in a statement.

Uncle Ben’s owner Mars is planning to change the rice maker’s “brand identity” — one of several food companies planning to overhaul logos and packaging that have long been criticized for perpetuating harmful racial stereotypes.

And Conagra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, said it would conduct a complete brand and packaging review. Conagra noted it “can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”

Source: CNN

Craig Hodges Tried to Get Michael Jordan & Magic Johnson to Boycott 1991 NBA Finals as Protest to Social Injustices Happening to Black People in America, “Both Turned Me Down”

In this clip, Craig Hodges spoke about approaching Magic Johnson and Jordan to join him for a boycott in 1991 to spark change in the Black community, but Craig said they turned him down and felt it was “too extreme.” He went on to detail the money that was tied up in the marketing behind the faces of the NBA, including Jordan and Magic, likely making it harder for them to speak out on injustices at the time. Moving along, Craig pointed out how Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were seen as Black Vs white by fans, which you can hear more about above.

Without any warning, Dave Chappelle releases new half-hour comedy special “8:46” for free on YouTube; talks George Floyd and takes aim at Don Lemon, Candace Owens, Laura Ingraham

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The special, a 27-minute set filmed on June 6 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where Chappelle lives, is incendiary and brilliant — part sermon, part history lesson, part eulogy. Certainly compared to his most recent specials, where he has toyed with disappointing anti-trans rhetoric and refused to seriously contend with the ways in which he has downplayed Black women’s claims of sexual assault, 8:46 is a relief and a return to form. It is a heartening reminder of what Dave Chappelle does best: tell a great story. This story is one of unfathomable cruelty and injustice, but also resilience.

Source: BuzzFeed News