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

The first battery-free Game Boy wants to power a gaming revolution

The battery-free Game Boy. A video game console powered by a combination of energy from the sun and button-mashing during gameplay. 

It’s an orange brick about the size of a paperback novel but weighs only half as much as the original Nintendo Game Boy released in 1989. De Winkel, a computer scientist at Delft University of Technology, has been working on building the device for about a year. He calls it his “baby.”

Officially it’s dubbed the “Engage” (no relation to Nokia’s failed console, I’m told) but the inspiration is obvious. Beside the absence of a battery slot on the back, the device looks exactly like Nintendo’s revolutionary handheld. “It was critical from the start of the project that we maintain the feel of a Game Boy,” de Winkel says.

Source: CNET

University of Missouri (Mizzou/MU) marketing professor Joel Poor relieved of teaching duties after telling student from Wuhan ‘Let me get my mask on’ in Zoom video lecture

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In the video posted on Twitter, Poor asked students if anyone was from outside the U.S., and a student responded that he was from Wuhan, China. After hearing where the student was from, Poor made this comment.

“Let me get my mask on.” 

Following the backlash on Twitter, Poor wrote in a later email that the comment, which was in reference to Wuhan being the origin of COVID-19, was a joke. While Poor may have meant this comment to be humorous, some MU students do not see it in that way. Many students have replied to the tweet saying that they found the comment to be racist and xenophobic.

Source: Columbia Missourian

Facebook launches Instagram Reels in 50 countries, hoping to lure TikTok users

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With TikTok’s future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries today, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.

Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through — similar to TikTok’s “For You Page.”

Source: The Verge

Canon Issues Statement Regarding Overheating Concerns With New EOS R5 and R6 Cameras When Video Recording

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In the statement, Canon said that the R5’s combination of high resolution, high video frame rate, high bit rate, and usage of the full width of the sensor all create a lot of heat. In order to combat this, the company used a magnesium alloy body to help dissipate internally generated heat, along with an “overheat control” function for reducing any heat generation while the camera is in standby mode. In addition to these features, the company also clarified that they decided not to install a fan in the R5 because it would have increased its size and weight and compromised its weather resistance.

Source: Fstoppers

Canon’s EOS R5 Is the Brand’s Most Powerful Full-Frame Mirrorless

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Dubbed the EOS R5, the upcoming camera uses a newly-designed image sensor and processor to enable no-crop capture of both 8K and 4K video recordings. The former can be shot in a RAW format while the latter can reach up to 120 frames-per-second, and amazing feat for a camera of this size. All its 8K and 4K modes will support Dual Pixel CMOS AF, and a new advanced animal AF mode has been integrated, which is capable of tracking animal eyes, but also their faces and bodies if the eyes aren’t visible. It boasts five-axis in-body image stabilization which works in tandem with optical image stabilization offered by both RF and EF lenses. Of course, it also carries dual card slots to allow for both a CF card and SD card. Most impressively, Canon has announced a price tag of “under $4,000” USD, an exceptional price for a video recording workhorse with specs which can reportedly outperform the $39,000-USD full-frame Sony Venice.

Source: HypeBeast