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The Other Pandemic: The Viral Spread of Racism in America

This week, democracy-ish hosts Danielle and Toure are more triggered than usual, which is saying a lot.

Just weeks after we learned of the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, we’re faced with two more viral videos that expose just how dangerous, and deadly, being Black in America can be.

  • Christian Cooper was birding while Black in Central Park when he asked a white woman to leash her dog. What happened next was an epic Karen meltdown.

  • The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police has sparked outrage across America.

  • Police meet ‘rioters’ in Minneapolis with tear gas, rubber bullets and multiple arrests, while armed white MAGAts storm state capitols with no fear of reprisal.

  • Joe Biden got a little too comfortable with Charlemagne and said something stupid. But when the president says dumb shit every day, do we care?

First, there was Central Park Karen.

ICYMI: Christian Cooper, a Black man, was birdwatching in the Ramble when he encountered the Karen: angry entitled white lady Amy Cooper (no relation), whose cocker spaniel was off-leash and trampling delicate plants. He calmly asked her to leash her dog (which is required there). When she refused, he began recording video on his phone. Incensed, she called 911 and screamed that “an African-American man is threatening my life.”

Then, if that wasn’t enough, we saw a white Minneapolis police officer pin George Floyd –– who was already handcuffed –– to the ground with his knee on his neck, for eight minutes. Three other officers stood by and watched while Floyd cried out repeatedly: “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness. Floyd died in the hospital later that evening.

Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store.

“There is a lot of pain going on,” says Toure. “We originally thought that we were going to talk about Joe Biden, who said, ‘you ain't Black if you don't vote for me.’ Then suddenly ––”

Danielle interrupts: “Didn't that happen last year?”

Nope. It’s only been a week. Let’s vent.

Episode Highlights –– On Amy Cooper and George Floyd

The performance of white fear

The Amy Cooper video went viral because a white woman was caught weaponizing her privilege.

If Christian Cooper didn’t have the presence of mind to hit “record,” we might have never known that her call was a performance, delivered about 12 feet away from her “attacker.”

“She did it in three different octaves,” Toure says.

Amy’s 911 call could have led to Christian’s wrongful arrest, or worse.

We know that because of what happened to 12-year-old Tamir Rice. “The police didn't even bother to get out of the car before they opened fire on him,” Danielle says. “That’s what the cops do … They come up with their guns locked and loaded, ready to bust a cap. They roll up like gangsters on black people.”

White privilege entitles women like Amy to the presumption of innocence. “Amy knew that. It may not have been conscious, but it was in her soul,” Toure adds.

Then, after the video went viral and she was fired from her finance job, Amy went into peak Karen mode and delivered an “apology.”

“I don't like to degrade women. But I'm angry. That bitch went on CNN and said that she was scared. As I was watching the video, I thought, does she look scared to you? As she was strangling her dog ... rolling up aggressively towards Christian?”

“Talk about white fear,” says Toure.

Black survival shouldn’t hinge on being ‘perfect’

The Central Park story has everything, Toure says.