ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: racism

Who Is The Good Guy with a Gun?

Last week on the night of Thanksgiving, a shooting at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama killed a 21-year-old black man, E.J. Bradford, home for the holidays. Official media coverage of the shooting reported that the police had killed Bradford, because he was the initial shooter. However, in the following days, local social media reported a very different story: Bradford did not shoot anyone. He was simply one of the very many Alabama citizens who pulled out their guns at the sound of a gun going off. Regardless of your feelings on guns, Bradford wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was the “good guy with the gun” and he was black. And not only did that lead to his death, it lead to warped media coverage, because the police lied… Read more »

Too Little Too Late, America: The Milo Yiannopoulos Edition

The alt-right poster boy from our nightmares, Milo Yiannopoulos, has been dominating the news for the past few days. Writer at Breitbart News, speaker at universities, and personified air horn, Yiannopoulos has become an online celebrity in recent years, and is experiencing a fall of epic proportions. From his early career as a troll on Twitter and outspoken opponent of the political and social left, he has recently filled his time with outing trans students, inciting passionate protests at his venues, and — most terrifyingly — condoning pedophilia. However, this article is not going to talk about Yiannopoulos. While I could rant about his words and his actions, how they reflect on the larger American social sphere and how they show us the steadily growing bigotry of the country, this article… Read more »

Tomi With The Bad Hair: Sorry, Trevor Noah Didn’t Drag Lahren

It’s Finals Week. Yes, the anxiety-inducing week where professors throw out all care for student’s mental health and we cram a semester’s worth of material down our throats. However, because my life seems to be plagued by a particularly specific brand of evil, not all my classes held finals. Some of them held mini end-of-semester lectures meant to show students “the big picture.” Today’s final was one of those. My teacher spent the better half of an hour telling us we couldn’t write and lacked passion. The second half however, he answered questions from students on a variety of topics. It was during this section of class that he uttered this phrase: “The most important issue we as a country must tackle next is the issue of the Black Man.”… Read more »

The Night I Realized How Much I Benefit from White Privilege

Trigger warnings: police brutality, racism, violence I have a 20-year-old hand-me-down car that I absolutely love. Its name is Flacco, after my NFL team’s quarterback, and it’s a ’95 purple Ford Thunderbird with a V8 engine that I might get a little carried away with on long, empty roads sometimes. Like any older car, it requires a bit of extra maintenance. Shortly before my grandparents gave it to me, they had a new engine put in. Fairly recently, I replaced the battery. Even more recently, one of my headlights went out. Unaware of this fact, I drove to the gas station about a mile down the road one night. On the way back, I saw the lights start flashing and heard the siren and for the first—and so far, the… Read more »

WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT FLINT’S WATER CRISIS

Since we’ve covered it here on ChoiceWords before, I’m not going to tell you exactly why the Flint Water Crisis is a reproductive justice issue. Others have done that with more tact than I might have. What I want to do today is tell you how important it is to muster a response to this crisis, from my own experience. I used to report on business news in Birmingham, Ala. It was an interesting job, to say the least. I got to interview everyone from cookie barons to the Japanese Consul-General of the Southeastern United States. And while I worked there, I would have to do a great deal of research on the companies I wrote about. If I was going to interview someone from Caterpillar, I needed to know how their distribution… Read more »

What Student Activists Should Take Away From Mizzou

The University of Missouri is having a historic fall semester of immense social change. A series of student and faculty demonstrations against systematic racism at the university just forced their president to step down. Happening at the same time, graduate students protested health care cuts the university had made. This resulted in the unionization of graduate workers and direct action taken by the faculty council to fix it. The momentum built by the student efforts is influencing colleges across state boarders including in my home state, Kansas. Kansans and Missourians have a rivalry that dates back to Bleeding Kansas, when towns burned over the slavery debate. Missourians and citizens of the then Kansas-Nebraska territory battled over whether or not slavery would be part of the Kansas economy. The Kansan abolitionists… Read more »

I Have a Problem With the Confederate Flag, but not Because It’s Racist

Fewer than 7,000 people live in Lynchburg, Tennessee, if you count the residents of the entirety of Moore County. Most of them find employment at the Jack Daniel Distillery just off Main Street, which is where over a dozen old-timey shops sell whiskey-soaked fudge, moon pies and cowboy apparel. One such shop caught my eye the last time I was there: a store specializing in confederate flag merchandise. I have no way of verifying its existence now, as I could not find a listing on yelp or on the Lynchburg tourism website, but it existed at least a few years ago. I’d been there. Inside, you could purchase just about anything under the sun styled with the flag. Everything from mint tins to belt buckles to Fuzzy Dice and a… Read more »

Police Violence Against Women, Girls, Queer People of Color

During this outpouring of demonstration and activism against the racist American system that does not indict killer cops, and media release of accounts of police brutality, let’s not forget that black girls and women are also murdered by the police. In the recent weeks we have seen many stories that highlight injustices of police brutality, and many of these have prominently featured the killing of black men. It is important to think about how the deaths of unarmed, innocent people at the hands of the police are not isolated incidents. Black men are uniquely impacted by this violence, but the brutality is also not just against men. Children, women, and queer folk of color are also facing death and abuse by the system. Perhaps, it is simpler for the media to… Read more »

It’s Okay to Like Problematic Things

I’m a simple person. I love pop culture. I love consuming as much media as I can — TV, books, music. Sometimes, though, the things that I like are flawed, just like most things in life. Sometimes, I like things that are problematic, and don’t align with my views on social justice. I like “The Devil Wears Prada,” even though it paints eating disorders and a thin frame as healthy and perfect. I like “Lord of the Rings,” even though the storyline demonizes women and certain races. Romantic comedies are my guilty pleasure but I often have to ignore a nagging voice in my head while I watch them—“Wow, this is pretty sexist and misogynist. I definitely shouldn’t be enjoying this.” Sometimes, my life feels too much like the Onion’s… Read more »