This Week in White Supremacy #145: ‘How systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition’

Washington Post: ‘How systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition’ – Throughout his lifetime, Floyd’s identity as a Black man exposed him to a gantlet of injustices that derailed, diminished and ultimately destroyed him, according to an extensive review of his life based on hundreds of documents and interviews with more than 150 people, including his siblings, extended family members, friends, colleagues, public officials and scholars. The picture that emerges is one that underscores how systemic racism has calcified within many of America’s institutions, creating sharply disparate outcomes in housing, education, the economy, law enforcement and health care.

From William Jackson Harper (@dubjackharper) on Twitter:

Long Thread: So I’ve had a rather disturbing experience this past week. I agreed to a virtual event with one of the charities I’m involved with, Arts In The Armed Forces (AITAF). As the son of a Marine I have a deep respect for those who serve in our military. The event was an all-academy virtual screening of a movie I selected, that cadets would watch on their own, which culminated in a Talkback/ Q&A session via zoom. I thought this was a great idea.

I think exposure to and interaction with the arts is a necessary part of any education. 

Furthermore, I think watching a movie with an eye toward discussion is an effective way to explore differing viewpoints, mindfully interrogate our own responses to a piece of art, and to expand our capacity for empathy.

I gave them a list of three films for AITAF to choose from. American Honey, Citizen Kane, and Malcolm X. Malcolm X was selected and I couldn’t have been happier. I love this film. I have a very specific and deep connection to this film. 

It’s arguably the greatest biography committed to film. Washington’s performance in this movie is a thing to behold. The restraint, the fire, the commitment, the physical and intellectual rigor of his work is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. 

Additionally, I was happy to discuss the themes of this movie, the historical significance of the man, and hoping to have a wider discussion about how we view our past, and how those we venerate or revile were just people, complex, flawed people who were full of contradictions. 

Now the disturbing part. Two days before the event, I was informed that students at two of the academies would not be taking part for fear of running afoul of President Trump’s “Executive Order Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” which requires that federal and military institutions refrain from training material that promote a “pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors…” 

Which meant they possibly couldn’t watch Malcolm X.

I would encourage everyone to go and read it in its entirety here:

I don’t disagree with the idea of combating race and sex stereotyping. But that is not what this order is about. This is censorship. This executive order is an attempt to censor certain difficult truths that still haunt our society. 

This executive order denies the very real experiences of so many minorities in this country. This executive order is rooted in the fictitious idea that the scourges of racism and sexism are essentially over, and that the poisonous fallout from centuries discrimination isn’t real. 

But all of these things are real, and they remain to this day some of the most salient malignancies in our society.

The film Malcolm X is history. American History. This film is not propaganda meant to teach one to favor one race or sex over the other. It’s History. It’s an admittedly thorny history, but it is history. 

I believe that the selective censorship of certain chapters of our country’s because we find it disquieting, or because it disrupts our narrative and tarnishes our self-image, is cowardly at best, dangerous at worst, and dishonest either way. And honesty is paramount if we are to ever continue to progress as a society. 

I feel we have a collective duty to engage in self-reflection, and to hold ourselves accountable when we don’t live up to our professed American ideals. However, I feel we cannot do that without a thorough, unflinching, unpleasant dialogue with our past. 

A dialogue that so many brave educators and activists are attempting to have right now. A dialogue that this President and his administration are trying their damnedest to silence. 

In the end three of the four slated academies did participate. We had a lively discussion, and there were some very incisive questions from the community. However, one did not for fear of potential consequences of stemming from an Executive Order from the White House. The fact that the film that the film Malcolm X could be considered “Anti-American” by this administration is very frightening to me. 

We can’t let this slide. I would encourage us all to stay vigilant, to question every single decision this administration makes, and every single word out of their mouths. Most importantly, WE HAVE TO VOTE. If we don’t, we are whistling past the graveyard. K. Bye. 



  1. Asian Americans Go From Lowest Unemployment Rate To One Of Highest : NPR
  2. Student Discipline Rates Show Black Girls Are Disproportionally At Risk – The New York Times
  3. Editorial: Abbott’s order closing ballot drop-off sites is voter suppression — plain and simple. – Houston Chronicle
  4. CREW requests ICE records on forced hysterectomies – CREW | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
  5. Joyce Echaquan’s partner Carol Dubé pleads with feds to find answers
  6. Wendell Pierce on Twitter: “The convergence of two pandemics: My friend was diagnosed with Covid 19 after a car crash. After a few days of treatment, he was sent home to die. The disparity of healthcare that we receive as African Americans is at the heart of the BLM movement too.” / Twitter
  7. Texas Tribune on Twitter: “Just two days after 31-year-old Jonathan Price was fatally shot, a Texas police officer was arrested on suspicion of murder. But a lawyer for Price’s family says Shaun Lucas should have been arrested faster.
  8. New Report Finds “Deluge” of Antisemitic Tweets Directed at Jewish Members of Congress as 2020 Campaign Heats Up | Anti-Defamation League
  9. Lee Gelernt on Twitter: “NYT reporting tonight that DOJ officials overruled request to exempt babies from horrific fam sep practice. I’ve been litigating this case since 2018 and each revelation is still shocking, tho at this point I know I shouldn’t be shocked.” / Twitter
  10. ‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ Jeff Sessions Said – The New York Times
  11. Chelsea Janes on Twitter: “A white man just told a Black woman that saying there is systemic racism in the criminal justice system is “an insult” as a fly landed on his head, and that is all I’ll say about that.” / Twitter

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