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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 subs.
Donald Trump has a history of beefing with people, ideas and things that allow him to purport some semblance of leadership. His latest beef is prompted by (maybe his new found revelation?), that TikTok is not a U.S.-owned company. Trump is saying that the mega video sharing app will be “out of business in the United States,”unless it sells its ownership to a U.S. company such as Microsoft. Of all of the many things he could be at odds with (like I don’t know the federal response to COVID-19 or the proliferation of systemic racism), he is choosing to once again feign patriotism/concern for American innovation by saying that it’s either an American-owned TikTok or no TikTok at all.
The question is how does he propose putting TikTok out of business in the U.S. when it is a mobile app that can be downloaded? Does he plan to prohibit all smartphones from being able to have the app as a downloadable option? Is he aware that apps generated from companies based outside of the continental U.S. can still be used by U.S. citizens?
But let him have one TikTok video go viral, and all of a sudden it will be the greatest app ever invented, no matter its place of origin.
Twitter user Kalyia had a viral moment when her observation of a post by the New York Post was retweeted over 140,000 times, reaching well beyond her follower count. The Post shared a story of a Florida man who purchased a (whole ass) Porsche with a fake check he printed himself, while George Floyd as Kalyia points out, was killed over an alleged counterfeit twenty dollar bill. In an egregious example of how white privilege shows up in our everyday lives, one man was able to scam his way to owning a luxury sports car while another was lynched as a result of allegedly trying to use a bill that could not adequately fill the gas tank of a Porsche.
And as often as it can feel pointless to juxtapose the criminality of white Americans with that of Black Americans, the unfairness can never be ignored. It is merely a matter of identity that makes a white American male trustworthy enough to be able to write a hot check to a Porsche dealer that does not afford a Black man the ability to survive to see the alleged error of his decisions.
Writer/cultural critic Robert Jones, better known as Son of Baldwin, is one of the most consistent tellers of truths in these truth telling streets. Recently, he eloquently broke down the all too often skewed perspective of racism along geographical lines with the following tweet:
“It’s interesting how the perception is that Mississippi is a racist state, but New York is not (or that the South is racist and the North is not). I live in NYC and I can tell you about how we didn’t have sundown towns because the racists would come after you in broad daylight.”
As a native southerner who has traveled extensively across these here United States, let me be the first to say that the South does not hold a trademark on American racism. It is easy to readily identify the South as the definitive soil of all things relative to white supremacy when we think of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow or the iconography of monuments dedicated to the Confederacy or waving of rebel flags.
But racism as we understand it is an American construct. One that has impacted people of color from the boroughs of New York City to the boulevards of Los Angeles and all points between.
Twitter user @Stop Trump shared a simple yet powerful image of Colin Kaepernick that speaks volumes to the times we’re in. The black and white image of an Afro’d Kaepernick in a leather jacket with a caption that reads “Reminder that Colin Kaepernick repeatedly tried to peacefully tell us every Sunday that we had a major, systemic problem,” punctuates how unjust it was for him to be blackballed from the same NFL that purports to now be about championing social justice.
Funny how these things work…