#InTheseTweets | Twenty-First Edition

Donney Rose
Jul 1, 2020 - 10:00

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In These Tweets is a weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter. A collection of snapshot analyses on a variety of moments impacting our world. Sometimes serious, sometimes light, always substantive. We outchea, #InTheseTweets.

Restaurant owner Rashad West had an up-close view of the brutal death of George Floyd and is now speaking in opposition of Derek Chauvin’s claims that Floyd was resisting arrest. According to LEVEL, West wrote he witnessed George Floyd’s execution take place right outside of his establishment’s doorsteps. He said, “the whole narrative about this man fighting with police and doing this and that and none of that was true.”

Without being anywhere in the vicinity, millions of people around the world watched extended footage of Floyd’s arrest and came to the conclusion that he was not being resistant. The national outrage is directly attributed to Chauvin’s cavalier slaughtering of Floyd while Floyd was telling him that he was cutting off his air. What West is offering at this point is critical eyewitness testimony that confirms the public’s assumption.

But, we have seen similar scenarios like this play out before where primary witnesses to crimes of police violence are discredited, intimidated or both. Let’s hope that Rashad West’s statement will be of benefit in the case against all of the officers responsible for the death of George Floyd and that neither his business nor he himself ends up in harm’s way while advocating for justice.

The year 2020 has reached its halfway mark and over a half million people worldwide have died from the novel coronavirus. The United States accounts for more than 20 percent of those deaths alone and is experiencing a second wave of cases surging all across the country. Our collective optimism hoped for the summer to be a season of decline for COVID-19, but just as states began to rest on their laurels in regards to public restrictions, the virus proved just how much it was not finished with us.

And as U.S. citizens wage cultural warfare over wearing masks vs. adhering to social distancing guidelines, the people of this nation are rapidly dying. We are in a period characterized by federal ineptitude and the delusional arrogance of citizens who assume that they are too healthy to die. Grim times indeed. 

College writer Taylor Harrison hit the Twitterverse with a series of rhetorical questions regarding the social shaming of folks who have had to file for unemployment during the pandemic. It should go without saying that no one should be talking shit about anyone who needs unemployment after several businesses were forced to close, but people on the internet are weird.

Terry Crews, who at the onset of the #MeToo movement was heralded as a bastion of progressive masculinity, has been backsliding in the public for a minute and appears to have put his foot in his mouth yet again. Recently, Crews, in a foolhardy attempt to speak truth to power on the social climate at hand, had these gems to contribute on Twitter:

“Defeating White Supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy” and “We must ensure that #blacklivesmatter doesn’t morph into #blacklivesbetter,” which leads me to the following questions:

a) The fuck are you talking about ‘Julius?’ 

b) Do you know the social science around the concept of white supremacy?. 

c) If you do, how do you equate defeating white supremacy without white people to this idea of Black supremacy? 

d) Again, the fuck are you talking about ‘Julius?’

It may be time for ole Terry to get an interpreter because whatever he’s been trying to communicate as of late has missed the mark on multiple levels. Slow it down, big fella.

Twitter user @bocxtop (first-mate prance) dropped a solid observation about gestures that look like surface-level dismantling of systemic racism when he tweeted: “Black people don’t care if you stop saying ‘master bedroom’ or if u remove problematic shows from decades ago from Hulu, Black people want an end to police brutality and institutionalized racism. Everything else is useless pandering.” 

And though it’s a pretty bold generalization (as there are Black folks that are proponents of things being renamed and removed), I agree with the overall sentiment expressed here. 

You cannot treat an aneurysm with a band-aid, and American racism has always been a national emergency that has required much more than minimalist treatment. The debt owed to Black American dehumanization goes much deeper than tweaking some language or calling racist symbolism by another name. 

If Black folks are not persistent in demanding that America truly overhaul systems that have upheld our subjugation, then it is really of no consequence if every symbol of racism goes or stays, because the root cause will still remain.

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