All Articles Tagged "racism"

“They Find New Ways To Kill Us Everyday” Gabrielle Union On The Challenges Of Raising Young, Black Boys

October 24th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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It seems like every other week, I find something new to admire about Gabrielle Union. Whether she’s speaking out about women’s issues, race and racism, or the industry, she always speaks thoughtfully and poignantly. And her thoughts on raising the sons she shares with Dwyane Wade. Naturally, as the children of parents in the industry, they have advantages that she and her husband weren’t accustomed to growing up. And so they both have to make sure that their children still remember the conditions of “the real world.”

Recently Union appeared on the cover of Essence and in a behind-the-scenes video she spoke about the challenges she faces in raising Black boys to take pride in themselves but to present as subservient when confronted with police.

“Our conversations about race and police are constant. Even if society didn’t give us hashtags everyday to prompt us. I was raised talking about it all the time, very aware. Whether that be from Black scholars, and other Black intellectuals, Black artists. My mom was just very diligent about supplementing out “education.” Now I have to use education finger quotes because I didn’t know anything. I got to college and was clueless. I think they teach us what they want to teach us. And it’s up to you to figure out what you don’t know and be clear that you’re ignorant and then you can do something about it. I try to make sure our boys are not as ignorant as I was. We are raising privileged Black boys, which creates an interesting situation. That me and D—we weren’t raised with that kind of privilege. So we’re kind of learning through their eyes. They’re rich kids. The kind of friends they have, talk kind of crazy to adults. ‘Not you guys.’ because A. that’s not the house we have and B. you can’t say crazy, disrespectful things to authority figures and think you’re going to walk away and make it home. That’s not your reality. You’re gonna have Uncle LeBron, Uncle Chris Paul and Uncle Carmelo. Those are your perks.”

Then she spoke specifically about an incident where she and Dwyane feared for their sons’ safety. The boys asked Gabby if they could go to their neighbors’ basketball court and play. She said no because it was after dark.

“I don’t trust our neighbors to not see our teenage boys, our tall teenage boys, as children and not as threats to put down like an animal. D didn’t ask me if the boys had asked me. They pulled the ole okie doke. He doesn’t tell me until 30-40 minutes later when I asked where they were. And he was like, ‘Oh yeah, they walked down…’ I panic and then I get him to panic. We hop in the car and we go track them down. We told them to stop where they were. If they were under a street light, to just stay there. And as we’re in route to them there are cop cars coming from [their direction]. And it wasn’t even the cops that I was necessarily afraid of. Our neighbors have personal security too and in a stand your ground state, an open carry state, they’ll shoot you first and get off later.”

I try to think of every scenario but they find new ways to kill us everyday. We try to make them as aware and as informed as possible without stripping them of their pride. That’s a tough thing. How do you arm our Black boys with all the knowledge and all the pride and all the power that we can but then ask them to be subservient when it comes to illegal search and seizure. I still struggle with it. And it’s hard to tell somebody this is how you have to act. You don’t have to believe that about yourself but this is how you have to act so you can come home.”

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

MacArthur Genius Poet Claudia Rankine Is Spending $625K To Study Whiteness

October 20th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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When award-winning author and poet Claudia Rankine was recently awarded $625,000 from the prestigious MacArthur genius grant she announced she was going to use the thousands to study whiteness. This, needless to say, stirred up lots of curiosity and questions. But according to Rankine, only by studying whiteness will we get to the roots of racism in America. She said, “It’s important that people begin to understand that whiteness is not inevitable, and that white dominance is not inevitable.”

Rankine, who won the National Book Award in 2014 for her book, Citizen: An American Lyric, told The Guardian she wanted to explore how “the structure of white supremacy in American society influences our culture.” To do so she plans to donate her $625,000 stipend from her MacArthur genius grant to create the Racial Imaginary Institute, which will be a think tank “where artists and writers can really wrestle with race.” The institute will be located in downtown Manhattan.

Rankine said she came up with the idea from visiting bookstores. She recently went into a bookstore at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art “and I asked them for books on whiteness. The man was like, ‘What?’

“I said, ‘Well, you know. Books that address the ways in which white contemporary artists deal with whiteness, interrogate it, analyze it, work in ways that push up with constructions of whiteness.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’”

Rankine actually went to three other bookstores and had the same conversation. These stores, she found, did have books on African-American art, but found that no one had really deconstructed “race in general or whiteness in particular.”

“There’s a lot of other ways to start thinking about whiteness, and it involves the kind of underbelly that has been kept from the American public,” Rankine said. Rankine feels such deconstruction will reveal a lot about America and our ideas about race. She points to the criminal justice system, in particular an experience she had during a visit she made to the Ohio Reformatory for Women, as one such example. “This prison is 80 percent white women and 19 percent Black women. One percent other. But when I say to people 80 percent of the women in this prison are white rural women, they’re shocked. And they’re shocked because that information is kept from them. It’s kept from them because it doesn’t bolster the ideas that blackness equals criminality. It’s contrary to that. It doesn’t enforce the idea that white people should be afraid of black people and not afraid of each other.”

Rankine also told The Guardian she understands why people don’t want to focus on whiteness,  “I think we’ve seen whiteness centralized forever, so they’re no longer interested in making it the subject, putting it in the subject position. But I think that it’s been centralized in order to continue its dominance, and it’s never been the object of inquiry to understand its paranoia, its violence, its rage.”

Democrat Donations To “Rebuild” GOP’s Firebombed Office Is An Act Of Violence Against Black People

October 18th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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In the Democrat’s version of “being the bigger person” it is Black people, women and other disenfranchised groups who always get thrown under the bus.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the Democrats and how members of the party from all across the country are donating money to help a GOP campaign office reopen its doors.

Yes, you read that right.

According to published reports, GOP headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina was firebombed late Saturday night. The investigation is still pending and no suspects have been named. However a swastika along with the words, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else”were both spray-painted on an adjacent building.

Although police have no clue who is behind the dastardly act – or their political leanings – David Weinberger, a democrat from Massachusetts, has started a GoFundMe asking his fellow comrades to donate $10,000 because:

“No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs.

So, let’s all pitch in , no matter what your party affiliation, in and get that office open again quickly.”

Thus far, the page has raised over $13,000.

On the surface it seems like a noble gesture. At the least, it is a symbol of the inherent goodness of Americans who can look past another’s personal political ideology and reject violence just the same. And at the most, a reminder of what makes the Democratic party different, and more respectable, than its supposed arch nemesis (because as we all know, if the firebomb had been aimed in the other direction, we would not have heard a peep from the Republicans).

Still, this is the same GOP which has nominated Trump and Pence as its choice for President of the United States. Two men who are running one of the most racist, misogynistic and flat-out dangerous campaigns in contemporary politics. Two men who have allowed – and even encouraged – violence at its rallies.

And this is the same GOP that has introduced, lobbied and passed reproductive laws so restrictive, it now means that some women in America have to trek up to 100 miles just to get a legal abortion. This is also the same GOP which has passed various voter ID restrictions, which many (including the Supreme Court) feel intentionally obstruct the rights of mostly Black and Brown people to vote.

I’m talking about the same GOP that refuses to support sensible gun laws, even as the country appears to be shooting itself into oblivion. And the same GOP which has routinely scapegoated immigrants, particularly the ones with Islamic names, for those shootings even as studies have suggested it is White men who are the biggest threat to this country.

For decades, the Republican Party’s “arguing and talking” have gone far beyond what could be considered reasonable political discourse. And while the party itself may have never raised a hand in violence, its actions both on The Hill and on the campaign trail are just as homicidal.

So why are some Democrats rewarding them with a new villain’s lair where they can continue to wreak havoc and make war on the very people who the DNC swears it cares the most about?

I don’t know neither.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. It’s about civility – or at least the appearance of it.

The idea that everyone’s voice and gripe about the system is valuable and on equal footing. And even if we can’t see eye-to-eye on our core beliefs, there is always a middle ground that we can always agree on.

It’s a conscientious idea. But in reality, political civility has always been a privilege concept. For America, it is a concept largely bred out of homogenous (white and male) history where White supremacy was law and as such, White people did not always have to empathize with Black people (along with other people of color, women and even other poorer Whites) who had to fight – sometimes violently – for inclusion into the political process.

Or as noted by Ijeoma Oluo, editor-at-large for The Establishment, who writes brilliantly in the piece entitled,The Privilege of Civilized Discourse:”

“If your son will never be one of the 1 in 3 black men imprisoned in America, if you will never need an abortion, if you don’t have to fear watching your family die in a drone strike, debate can be vigorous fun—like being a freshman in Poli Sci all over again. When you have nothing to fear, the most important decisions in our government all turn into thought experiments where everything—even the lives of human beings—is up for compromise.

But for the rest of us, for those of us directly and horrifically impacted every day by the slow and comfortable pace of “progress,” the call for civilized debate is barbaric. The lack of yelling, the lack of protest, the lack of rage and urgency around issues that are literally killing people is a glaring testament, not of our manners, but of our lack of basic empathy as a society.”

Listen, folks can spend their money as they see fit. But all I’m saying is, if the aim is to take a stand against the angry and violent mob who disrupts all of our important arguing and talking, maybe that money would be better spent in Flint, Michigan.

You know, the place where Black, Brown and poor folks are slowly dying after their water supply was violently poisoned by their Republican government?

Or maybe within the immigrant communities, where individuals are being pulled away violently from their families and deported.

And perhaps among the victims of police brutality who still have to live in communities where cops are openly campaigning to Make America Great Again.

But I guess it is always easier to claim anti-violence when the boot is not on your neck.

Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and the reigning queen of unpopular opinions. She is also from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit

Homie Don’t Play Dat: Why Black Children Shouldn’t Dress As Clowns For Halloween

October 14th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Homie the Clown Photo Credit: Wiki

Homie the Clown
Photo Credit: Wiki

I’m not a Black parent but if I had a Black child, I certainly would not let her or him dress as a clown for Halloween.

Not this year. Not next year. Not never for that matter.

And especially not while everyone is seeing creepy clowns in bushes and dark alleys everywhere.

And I’m not just talking about Donald Trump.

According to MIC, there have been over 100 clown sightings this year in the U.S alone. How do they know that?

Well apparently there is a map, courtesy of the website Atlas Obscura (you can view the map here), which has been tracking the phenomenon for months.

The sinister clowns, whose nefarious acts range from attempting to lure children into wooded areas to standing under light poles and looking like scary a–clowns, have also been spotted in the UK, Canada and Australia.

The mysterious clown sightings are causing so much alarm, police departments across the country have begun issuing warnings. And there are already reports of violence. According to the Mexican website Posta, two men dressed as clowns were savagely beaten to death after scaring passerbys on the streets of Ecatepec.

The hysteria has gotten so bad, the McDonald Corporation is making Ronald McDonald lay low until everything blows over. No, I’m not kidding.

According to the Associated Press:

“McDonald’s Corp. said Tuesday that it is being “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” as a result of the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.” The company did not provide any other details about how often its red-haired mascot makes appearances, and how that will change.”

Poor Ronald. He ain’t even do nothin’. Besides, everyone knows Burger King’s King Mascot is the real creep…

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with Black people?

I’l tell you.

Basically, what is usually considered normal, fun and, at the most, mischievous behavior for White folks becomes menacing, criminal and downright threatening when Black people do it.

Think I’m lying?

We already know Black people can’t hold toy guns without getting real-life gunned down by police. We already know we can’t knock on doors at night, asking for help, without getting shot in the face. We already know that Black kids in particular are under surveillance and being preyed on by wanna-be town watchers. We already know that Black people get the police called on them for looking suspicious. We already know that white people like to invent crimes against Black people. For instance, the “knock-out game,” which was eventually proven to be nothing more than a figment of the white racist imagination. And we already know that, generally, Black kids are seen as older and less innocent than their White counterparts.

So what do you think might happen if little Raheem in a clown mask finds himself on the doorstep of a clown hater – who also has a fear of Black people?

The odds are he won’t be getting a treat.

Listen, I know I may sound a little paranoid, but can you really blame me?

The media is already playing on the anxieties people have about clowns. And when you think about the era we are currently living in – from All Lives Matter to cops pledging their allegiances to Donald Trump’s racist, sexist and xenophobic campaign –there is certainly enough probable cause for us to be concern.

At least for the children’s sake.

I mean, if McDonald’s doesn’t think it’s safe for Ronald McDonald out in these streets, why have your kids out here as painted-up targets?

Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and the reigning queen of unpopular opinions. She is also from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit

“I’m Going To Beat Your A**”: Trump Supporter Arrested For Threatening Black Woman At Grocery Store

October 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Albany Police Department

Albany Police Department

I don’t think we needed any more proof to know that supporters of Donald Trump are a wayward group of people. Anyone talking saying they’re ready for a “revolution” if Hillary Clinton were to win, putting their hands on Trump protesters during rallies, and standing by a guy who likes to grab womenfolks by the you know what are truly the bread in a basket of deplorables. Still, the following story shows that if you run into a Trump supporter on the street (look out for the red hat and bumper stickers), you might want to run in the other direction — or have your pepper spray ready.

According to the Albany Times Union, a Donald Trump supporter by the name of Todd M. Warnken confronted a Black woman at a ShopRite grocery store on Monday night. Police were called and spokesman Steve Smith said that Warnken yelled at the woman, “Trump is going to win and if you don’t like it I’m going to beat your a**.”

According to the woman, 27-year-old Shavaria Moore, it all started when Warnken, standing in an express line at the time, allegedly told two Hispanic customers to get out of the line because they had more than 20 items. When they didn’t, she said that he grabbed their groceries. When the cashier told him to stop, Moore claimed that he called her a “colored.”

After being escorted out of the store for being disruptive, Warnken encountered Moore outside and let her have it as she waited for a cab to take her groceries home.

“He yelled, ‘You (racial slur) had your time. Your eight years are up.’ That’s when he looked and pointed at me,” Moore told the Albany Times Union. “The assistant manager got in front of me and got him to move along.” Afterward, he made the threatening statement.

Police picked him up not far from the ShopRite store and Warnken was charged with misdemeanor aggravated harassment. After being arraigned in court on Tuesday, he was released and ordered to appear in court on October 18. An order of protection was signed during the arraignment.

Moore said that she was quite shaken up after the incident, as she had never been called the n-word in her life. She’s worried that Trump’s ugly campaign rhetoric will make her community a volatile place. It’s clear that it’s already made his supporters as bold as ever.

“I was hurt, I was saddened, I was slightly angry,” Moore said. “I was surprised this type of thing was happening in my town. It made me feel unsafe. I didn’t know if this guy would hit me or throw something. I was shaking. I was alone. I’m safe now but it’s a feeling that is going to take time to go away.”

“I Was Called Tar Monkey”: Miss USA Deshauna Barber Was Bombarded With Hate After Win

October 10th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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While we love to inform you of the young Black women having success in pageants in the States and abroad, and there have been quite a few as of late, the reality is that not everyone is ready for such progress. Therefore, those people will go out of their way to discredit such accomplishments in the harshest of ways. Just ask the current Miss USA, Deshauna Barber.

In an interview with The Huffington Post last week, the Army Reserve officer opened up about how important her win was for young Black girls. In the midst of doing so, Barber admitted that she used their excitement for her, along with the support of her family and followers, to stay positive. After winning the title in June, Barber was hit with a barrage of negativity by racists on social media.

“I faced a lot of backlash when I was crowned. I had no idea of the backlash I would face,” Barber said. “I don’t want to say I felt shielded because I was in the military, but I felt like the respect that I would be given because of the fact that I wear the uniform and I serve this country and so has my family, the sacrifices that we’ve made, I just knew that everyone would just be ‘whoo whoo’ and ‘We love Deshauna, she represents this country.’ And I have been positively received, but there’s been a lot of negative.”

Barber said she was called all kind of ugly things. Insults were so harsh she ended up second-guessing her beauty and doubted herself.

“I was called tar monkey and the n-word,” she said. “I had a lot of moments where people thought I was better off being Miss Africa USA versus Miss USA. And to me, it was very discouraging. I went from maybe 800 followers on Instagram to 30, 40,000 in less than two hours. I went from being someone just sitting in a cubicle being a government contractor and having my weekend in the military, to being kind of tossed in the spotlight. I had to really reevaluate how I feel emotionally about myself and the confidence I have. Because there are moments where I was like, ‘Man, am I really that ugly? Do people really feel like I don’t deserve to represent this crown?’ But there’s a lot of little black and brown girls that are looking up to me that are saying, ‘You know what? She looks like me.'”

With that in mind, Barber has gone on to speak to those same young girls to ensure that they feel supported. That includes speaking to girls during a recent panel discussion at The Steve Harvey Foundation’s Girls Who Rule The World camp. She reminded them, after reminding herself, that just because your skin is darker doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful and of worth.

“I really had to understand that I’m an American woman and I can be Miss USA,” Barber said. “Just because my skin is Black doesn’t mean I’m ugly. I really had to think about that long and hard. I thank my mom and my boyfriend and my siblings for being able to help my self-esteem raise. I had some really hard days the month and weeks after because of the amount of messages I was getting that were so negative and hurtful, and the amount of racism I faced. Just the social media part of it was so difficult. But I am so happy that I was really able to build my confidence and understand, ‘You know what? Deshauna, you are a queen. You have to stand up. You have to represent that.’ And I want to push and make other women that look like me understand that you are beautiful and that I’m glad I’m able to represent us.”

White Student Calls Cambodian Roommate The N-Word, Threatens To File Restraining Order For Tweeting Conversation

October 10th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Last week, Temple University Junior Mal Sary tweeted several screenshots of a group message thread between her and her roommates, Carissa and Brittany. During the conversation, Carissa, a white student called Mal  a n—er several times.

When Mal asked her roommate not to call her a racial slur, Carissa justified her actions by claiming that, “Our society pretty much black people have normalized ni—a.”

Since Brittany wasn’t actively participating in the group message at the time, Mal decided to have a personal conversation with Carissa about her use of the n-word and how she relates to Black people. Mal then tweeted their conversation to Temple University’s Twitter account again.

After tweeting Carissa’s continual use of the word and harassment, Mal received a text message from Brittany stating that both she and Carissa filed a police report against her. Brittany furthered explained that if Mal doesn’t move they will file a restraining order against her.

Although Carissa and Brittany attempted to flip the script on Mal for exposing their incredulous behavior on the internet, social activists have praised Mal for schooling them both on the repercussions anyone can face when using racial slurs. In an interview with The Tab, Mal revealed that, “She [Carissa] thought this was a joke, that I had taken the time to tell her why she shouldn’t do something but did anyways because she thought there’d be no consequences. That’s the unfortunate realities of white privilege, as she was a white woman. She brazenly did not care. I can’t reiterate that enough, and she did not care until I tweeted the photos and black people began tweeting at her and asking her why she thought this was OK.”

Temple University has had a lackadaisical response to the incident but Mal tweeted that students and supporters should contact Temple’s Office Of Equal Opportunity to share how the situation has affected them personally.

#BankingWhileBlack KeyBank Asks Black Woman To Prove Her Paycheck Is Real

October 10th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Another week, another all-too common micro aggression aimed a Black person in this country. This time, it’s a Black woman and it happened at a bank. Trish Doolin’s Facebook story gained quite a bit of traction on Facebook when her friend shared a screenshot of Doolin’s Facebook status.

In the status, Doolin recounted a rather troubling encounter at a KeyBank branch in Washington state.

Doolin wrote:

KeyBank Asks Black Woman To Prove Her Paycheck Is Real

Source: Facebook

BuzzFeed reached out to Doolin afterward and she explained in greater depth what happened.

Doolin had moved to Washington a few weeks ago to accept a new job at a design firm called Nelson, Inc. Nearly a month after relocating, she stopped by KeyBank to deposit her paycheck because her direct deposit service hadn’t taken affect yet.

The 37-year-old told BuzzFeed, “I went in, deposited my check and went about my day.”

But a few minutes later, a banker called her to tell her that there had been a problem with her check and asked if she could return to the bank.

Doolin was taken into a cubicle. When she sat down, she noticed that the bank teller had already pulled up her company’s website on his computer.

“He asked my profession, and then asked why the company’s headquarters were in Philadelphia. Then he asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there.”

He called the company and kept reassuring her that he was doing all of this for the bank’s safety. At this point, he had yet to ask for Doolin’s Identification.

When the company didn’t answer the phone, the banker told Doolin that because her account had not been open for 30 days, they would need to played a hold on her paycheck for nine days until they were able to verify the funds.

“When I realized that I was defending who I was, trying to prove to someone I didn’t know who I was, I knew I was being discriminated against. It was just completely demeaning.”

At around 4:30, she got another call from the bank and a woman told her to, essentially, put the whole incident behind her.

“I can assure he is far from racist. He would have done that to any other customer.”

The woman eventually released Doolin’s funds after she realized the account had been open for 29 days, one day shy of the 30 day minimum.

“She made sure to tell met hat she was sorry that I was ‘having a bad day.’ At the end of the conversation she told me, ‘Go have a drink or something.’”

Doolin said that circumstances like this one can not be chalked up to a bad day or appeased with alcohol.

Later, BuzzFeed reached out to KeyBank, who issued this statement.

As a company, KeyBank values diversity within our organization, our communities and our clients. We do not tolerate discrimination. Client confidentiality means we cannot speak to any specific client’s situation. We can however, describe our Funds Availability Policy regarding client deposits and holds that may be placed on client deposits. Generally speaking and in compliance with applicable law, we advise clients who are new to KeyBank that we may place holds for a short period of time on their deposits during the first 30 days after they open their account with us.

She continued, “I live in a world where, no matter what’s in my brain or purse, no matter how I wear my hair, no matter how fabulous I look when I walk out the door, I’m still Black. People still clutch their purses when I walk past.”

Doolin said that she plans to switch banks this weekend. She said she has yet to tell her employer about the incident because she just doesn’t know how.

“When you’re Black, you can’t go marching around saying, ‘I’ve been discriminated against. It’s that silent pain. You can still hurt, but just don’t do it too loudly.”

She said a mouthful there.

Later, Doolin took to Facebook once again to say that she received an apology, by phone, from the KeyBank executive office.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I was writing this, I was singing Solange’s “F.U.B.U.” in my head. “Oh, to be us.” 

As someone who used to work in a bank as a teller, there were plenty of times when we had to put a hold on someone’s check. It’s a common thing. It was something we would tell people before they walked out of the door. More often than not, people didn’t trip. It might have been an inconvenience but there was nothing they could do about it. If the check was legit, as it almost always was, then they knew the money would be there eventually. These same types of holds have happened to my sister and I in similar circumstances. (Though a 9 day hold is extreme.)

But the problem with KeyBank’s actions is that they didn’t inform Doolin of the hold until after she deposited the check and left the bank. It was the teller’s responsibility to recognize the amount of the check and inform her, before she left, that there would be a hold placed on it. Secondly, if the bank was going to take some time to investigate the validity of the check, they certainly didn’t need Doolin to do so. The fact that they called her back into the branch to discuss her employment shows that the manager was more interested in criminalizing Doolin and playing vigilante than he was about protecting the bank’s safety. He didn’t need Doolin to perform an investigation into the check’s authenticity. This was about trying to use the bank branch as a court room. And it is completely inappropriate. If the check were indeed fraudulent, it would be the bank’s responsibility to turn it over to authorities, not to try to serve justice in the midst of deposit slips and lollipops.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

Talking While Black: Man Writes Scathing Letter To Neighbors After They Threaten To Call The Police On Him For Loud-Talking

October 6th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

[Almost] every week we speak about the the various microaggressions Black people face in predominately White spaces. Most of them have been featured in our Working While Black series. Last week, we featured a story about a Black woman being accused of stealing ramekins from a high-end store.

Sadly, the shenanigans don’t stop. And they come from all over the country. This week’s is from a Black man whose White neighbors threatened to call the police on him because they believed that the conversations he was having over the phone, in his own apartment, were too loud. Now, I don’t have to tell you that threatening to call the cops on a Black man is equivalent to a death threat these days. And this brotha was NOT having it. He wrote his neighbors, who he called Passive Aggressive, a letter.

This man, Richard Juste, captioned it: “When your neighbor tries it, threatening to call the cops because ‘you’re talking on the phone too loud’ and you gather their life up, real quick.”

Here’s the letter as it appears on Facebook.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

Raissa Santana Becomes First Black Woman To Win Miss Brazil In 30 Years, Only Second In History

October 4th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Since the Miss Brazil pageant started 61 years ago, there has only been one Black woman to win the title (Deise Nunes in 1986). Raissa Santana has just become the second.

Santana, 21, from Paraná in southern Brazil, was crowned on Saturday in Sao Paulo. In July, she won Miss Paraná (along with ten thousand reais, a graduate or post-graduate scholarship and more), and spoke out about the importance of diversity after her win during the summer:

“Diversity. We are all diversity, there is no word to define the human being, today I can be love, tomorrow I can be pain then I can be faith, hope! There are no differences that make us who we are?!”

The marketing student went on to win the whole thing in a competition that was cited as being the most diverse ever, as six out of 27 women were reportedly Afro-Brazilian. Of course, that doesn’t sound like much for a country with more than half of a population that is Afro-Brazilian, but, it’s definitely progress. This is especially true when they’re stripping carnival queen titles from Black women for being too dark.

“I’m very emotional. This here is a mixture of great emotions,” Santana said after her win according to Black Women of Brazil. “I didn’t expect to win this title, but I am very happy to have won this title and to represent black beauty and encourage girls who have the dream of having something, to conquer, to be a model, to be a Miss…now I want to encourage these girls and show them that they can.”

Santana reportedly won a trip to Italy and Colombia, jewelry, a 2017 Kia Picanto, a contract to be the face of Polishop (a popular seller of goods in Brazil), and the chance to compete for the country in the Miss Universe competition in January in the Philippines.

Before Santana’s win, former Miss Brazil winner Deise Nunes said that seeing Santana and the other Black women competing is great, especially if they are vocal about affirming the value of Black culture and beauty.

“This opens doors for them,” Nunes said, “and, if one is elected, it is important that she in fact embraces the cause of negritude and always fights for respect, opportunity and space.”

Sounds like Santana is going to do just that! Check out the moment she won, and more images of the beautiful Brazilian beauty queen below: