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Bret Stephens is a Mildly Inconvenienced Saltine American.

The fragility of white people not only leads them to Cry & Lie when faced with the truth about themselves, but it’s that fragility that turns any mild inconvenience into the apocalypse. When you have spent most of your life basking in the sunshine, the first drop of rain feels like the end of the world. The rest of us are used to inclement weather and we’ve packed an umbrella. MISAs don’t understand why the sun would ever stop shining.

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We have to talk about MISAs for a quick moment (because I have a job interview later, and I need to distract myself from it so I won’t be nervous).

I think most of us — especially those of us who have ever worked in retail — are most familiar with MISA Susan, she of the classic Speak to the Manager Haircut. MISA Susan doesn’t understand why she can’t use a coupon that’s expired, when an expiration date means something is no longer of use. MISA Susan doesn’t understand why something without a sale sticker can’t magically be assigned a random price just because she found it in the sale section. MISA Susan was told by Applecare.

And MISA Susan will try to get you fired because she was mildly inconvenienced. To her, the customer is always right and the employee must always be subservient. Nevermind that oftentimes the customer is dead wrong and that you have not LOST any money if you have not BOUGHT anything because it wasn’t the price you wanted. MISA Susan wants you to kiss her ass for her minor inconvenience, and if you do not, she has no problem trying to affect your life in such a way that you may not be able to buy groceries or keep a roof over your head.

Some of us have worked with one or a few MISA Karens. No matter the situation, MISA Karen can find a way to turn a minor inconvenience into “why am I being attacked?” complete with tears and possibly a trip to HR so she can — common thread! — attempt to ruin your life by taking away your ability to support yourself. MISA Karen is especially dangerous to Black co-workers because her many microaggressions that we ignore everyday finally reach a point where we have to tell her about herself. And then she cries, because she’s now the victim of the Angry Colored Person’s Rage aka the recipient of Mild Criticism From An Exhausted Non-White Co-Worker. MISA Karen can’t tell the difference between criticism and violent rebuke, so she cries. The mild inconvenience of being forced to reckon with her own actions has led her to tell HR that you were yelling at her and she felt threatened.

Bret Stephens is of the MISA Chad variety, the white man of some position or stature (or imagined stature) who takes any mild action against him as an act of war that should be responded with — take a guess!– by trying to ruin someones life by getting them fired. MISA Chad can take any negative comment (or imagined negative slight) toward him and compare it to the actual struggles faced by disenfranchised communities. If you call MISA Chad “white boy” he says it’s like you called him the n-word. If you tell MISA Chad that Marvel is going to have more female superheroes, it’s an attack on his entire gender. And if you compare MISA Chad to an insect in a tweet that only 14 people even cared enough to interact with, he compares it to language used by totalitarian regimes to diminish people and he tries to get you fired.

Bret Stephens got dragged up one side of Twitter and down the other, and he could have cut his losses, ignored it, and let the news cycle wash it away in less than 24 hours. But MISA Chads can’t do that. There’s no such thing as taking an L gracefully, let alone reflecting on your actions and how you could have gone a bit overboard. They’re not even capable of disengaging from the issue. Just after Bret Stephens said he was deleting his Twitter, he went on national television to justify himself.

MISA Karen and MISA Susan are annoying, but MISA Chad is actually dangerous because he holds more power. MISA Karen can get you fired, but MISA Chad can get you killed because those are the ones who open fire in public spaces because they were mildly inconvenienced by being turned down for a date or a job. Those are the ones who become cops and then beat or kill innocent people for not being deferential enough for their liking.

Bret Stephens got on national television to lie about his reasons for copying a man’s boss on a tweet where he was mildly inconvenienced the same way the police get on the stand in front a jury to lie about how they were afraid for their life. The fragility of white people not only leads them to Cry & Lie when faced with the truth about themselves, but it’s that fragility that turns any mild inconvenience into the apocalypse. When you have spent most of your life basking in the sunshine, the first drop of rain feels like the end of the world. The rest of us are used to inclement weather and we’ve packed an umbrella. MISAs don’t understand why the sun would ever stop shining.

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Race

Gen Z slang is all AAVE.

Are there any Black people working at Vanity Fair???

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Watch this video please. Some white child I have never heard of has been tasked by Vanity Fair to explain “Gen Z slang” and almost every word is just African American Vernacular English aka Ebonics aka How Most Black People In America Talk With Their Friends And Family. None of these words are new…because I’ve been saying them for twenty years with other Black people.

Bop – AAVE
This is the newest AAVE word on the list because we weren’t really saying bop when I was in elementary school. I think that came about in the early 00s.

Clown – AAVE
Clown/Clowning, at least 30 years in the game on that one.

Shook – Unclear
Shook is not a word I heard in real life until after I started seeing it on the internet. It quickly made its way from social media out into the real world, but I didn’t know that was a Gen Z thing. I thought it was Millennial Gays.

Stan – Millennials
To the best of my knowledge, Eminem did not take stan (a stalker fan) from us, because I didn’t hear it until his song came out. Still, this little boy has mentioned neither Eminem nor the song, because these children apparently think they made everything up?

Doin the Most – AAVE
You play too much, you do too much, she do so much, they always do the most, etc. We’ve had this since the 80s.

Facts – AAVE
Facts is so old it might even belong to Gen X. Definitely spread from the New York area throughout the country with hip-hop.

Hit Different – AAVE
Rule of thumb: if your slang phrase drops an S on the verb,  you can probably assume it was taken from us, because that’s a grammar rule in AAVE. Also, his example where he likes Taco Bell more than the Mexican restaurants on Sunset? Throw this child AWAY.

Deadass – AAVE
Another word from the NYC area that spread with hip-hop. Headass didn’t catch on because white kids weren’t smart enough or creative enough to actually understand how to use that one.

Highkey – AAVE
This one belongs to the Millennial Blacks born in the 90s. They drove the popularity of this one.

Snack – AAVE
Older than dirt. Gen X was definitely using this one. Baby Boomers might’ve even had it. Snack is SO OLD.

Slaps – AAVE
I don’t remember saying slaps until the mid 2000s, so I don’t know how old it is, but I know a white toddler didn’t teach it to me, which is what this child would have been at that time.

Put Someone On – AAVE
I honestly didn’t even know white people said this. I didn’t know this one had reached critical mass in popularity for the white kids to not only say it with regularity but say it so much they claimed it for themselves.

Rona – Internet Slang
It could be a product of who I follow on social media, but I thought the Millennial Gays were the ones that made Rona popular because they were calling it Miss Rona all the way last spring.

Say Less – AAVE
I want this child to say less. I know a 19-year-old white kid who actually says this a lot. I need to ask him where he thinks it comes from…

Extra – AAVE
Maya Wilkes on Girlfriends loved to say extra and that was 20 years ago. Please stop playing in my face.

Fire – AAVE
Old. My daddy damn is well over 70 and says fire.

Bet – AAVE
It’s just getting silly at this point. Bet is so versatile and so popular it’s not even slang anymore.

Lowkey – AAVE
Lowkey doesn’t mean you just want to do it a little bit. It means you want to do it but you shouldn’t, or you want to do it but don’t judge me, or you want to do it but you’re conflicted. I hate when nuance is taken out of our culture.

Receipts – AAVE/Gay AAVE
Every Black woman on reality television says receipts and they got it from their gay glam squads. I don’t know if that’s a fact. I’m just throwing it out there because it is so widely popular for that segment of the population and has been for at least 15 years.

Whole Meal – AAVE adjacent?
It’s obviously related to snack, which is ours, but I’ve never actually heard it.

Yikes – They can have that one. Nobody says yikes anymore.

Anyway.

Vanity Fair. Please hire some Black people. The way y’all just committed this unforced error on a pleasant Wednesday is just ridiculous and confusing. Nobody asked for this and nobody was having this conversation, but y’all bust through Youtube like the Kool Aid Man for absolutely no reason, and now y’all will be dragged for the rest of the week.

Also, Black people over 30 — if you have anything to add, let me know and I’ll add your clarifications in an edit. I mean, obviously I’m brilliant, but I don’t know every word in the world, so correct me where I’m wrong while we discuss this as a family.

This is just another example of how Black people drive culture in this country. What we do is hot and everybody else falls in line behind us. White kids on social media have picked up “slang” from Black Millennials on social media. Then they do their little tiktoks and talk to their friends who aren’t following us on social media, and suddenly a whole bunch of white kids are passing around slang to each other that originally came from us….because they haven’t created anything themselves. It’s the same reason white white kids in Montecito will randomly have a light Southern accent on some of their words.

If it’s hot and you can’t pinpoint where it came from? It’s probably Black people.

 

EDIT: Looks like the video is now private. I guess they did get dragged, just like I thought they would.

 

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I love Black people.

Why does that offend so many white people?

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I’ve randomly said “I love Black people!” on many social media platforms over the years and never really thought twice about it. Something will happen, I’ll post it, other Black people will comment in agreement, and that’s that. Some white people will even like the post because whatever I’m referring to is something they appreciated reading or seeing or experiencing with us.

There’s this white guy in my comments today asking why certain things are okay for Black people to say, but not for white people. For example, if we say “I love Black people!” it’s fine, but if white people say “I love white people!” there’s automatic blowback. He seemed genuine enough, though young and a little misguided, so I engaged. I used to engage all the time when I did that kind of thing to pay my rent, but now I rarely expend mental energy online trying to teach white people I don’t know (for free!). This got me thinking because it just hasn’t come up in conversation before.

First of all, Black people and white people move through society completely differently. Different rules apply in how we are allowed to communicate because different rules were created for how we are treated. If you are a white person who purports to be on the side of progress, be less concerned about why Black people can say things white people can’t, and be more concerned with creating an equitable society where we wouldn’t even want or need to.

Alongside that, I’m just so curious where that impulse comes from to even question it.

When I say “I love Black people!” it’s because I felt something that I knew a lot of other Black people were feeling at the exact same time. Some shared cultural experience across a wide swath of the community made me laugh, or I felt bonded by a hardship we can all relate to because we’re Black in America.

When I say “I love Black people!” I feel proud of us for overcoming and achieving something, or I’m in awe of us for finding joy in the face of everything this country has thrown at us.

When I say “I love Black people!” I’m not saying I don’t love other people. I’m having a moment within myself and with my community where I feel a kinship in struggle or excitement or some combination of emotions that I know a lot of other Black people are also feeling.

So when white people ask why they can’t say “I love white people!” it’s not that I mind that they love white people, I’m just curious about what particular instance made you want to say it? What happened that made you feel so connected in a shared experience with White America? I’m not white, so I don’t know for sure, (and if any white people have any comments that are especially insightful, I’ll edit them into the end of this post), but I don’t see a “white community” bonded together by anything in this country other than a shared history of oppressing everybody else. That’s not a read, that’s just me looking from the outside and observing how white people relate to the “white community” at large. When you are the dominant force in a society, everything is just yours in a way, so you don’t need to fight to hold on to anything. Black people have had to fight together against….well, the “white community” for the past four centuries. We are bonded by everything that fight has entailed and the legacy it has left us. What do white people have?

If you are a white person reading this and you have had the urge to say “I love white people!” I would like to know what happened and what the feeling was like. I’ll give you some examples.

When I saw Nia Dennis’s very Black floor routine for the UCLA gymnastics team, I said “I love Black people!”

When I saw this old video of a group of Black men watching Whitney Houston sing the National Anthem and how they were going so hard for her, I said “I love Black people!”

When I see Black Twitter laughing at Shay Moore’s videos of life in the South, I say “I love Black people!”

White people, if any of you have these moments where you feel so proud to be white that you want to exclaim “I love white people!” for other white people to read/hear and join in, let me know. That’s not a set-up. I’m just genuinely curious how people whose history isn’t defined by oppression relate to the rest of their skinfolk with a sense of pride, and how a need to affirm each other in a country that continually questions their worth would manifest itself in statements of love and appreciation.

(Okay…my question does sound like a set-up to get dragged now, but I just kept typing and the words kept coming.)

 

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Race

Hank Aaron’s Guinness World Record

His record isn’t for what you think it is.

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Baseball great Hank Aaron passed away today and I went into a quick dive into his life after reading this excellent write up by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A Hall of Famer, Atlanta’s first professional sports star, and, in a soft-spoken way, an agent of change in the post-Jim Crow South, Aaron came to embody the city as he embodied the Braves.

Baseball’s all-time home run king died Friday at the age of 86, according to Channel 2 Action News and several reports. The Braves have not confirmed Aaron’s death.

“I don’t think too many people got a chance to know me through the years, and that was something that was my own doing, because I’m actually kind of a loner, a guy that has stayed to himself,” Aaron said in a 2006 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “A lot of people thought they knew me, but they really didn’t.

“They pretend that they know me, but I travel alone. I do just about everything alone. I have associates, but I don’t have many friends. I would just want to be remembered as somebody who just tried to be fair with people.”

(cont. AJC)

I grew up in a basketball and football household, but my dad kept up with baseball and I went to a handful of Braves games growing up. Hank Aaron was just kind of a vague figure in the back of my mind, someone I knew had a lot of home runs, but that’s about all I knew about the man. The AJC paints a vivid picture of a soft-spoken Black man in the Deep South navigating his way through baseball during the Civil Rights Era, and it’s an engaging read from top to bottom. This particular section jumped out at me:

Aaron had eight seasons with 40 or more home runs, the last coming in 1973, when he finished the year with 713 homers and an estimated 930,000 pieces of mail. Much of it was racist. There also were enough death threats for the FBI to get involved. Aaron received personal protection through the off-season.

That’s like 3,000 pieces of mail a day! I did a quick dive into it so let’s set the scene.

Babe Ruth played baseball from 1914 to 1935, and interestingly enough, while I most associate him with the NY Yankees, he started and ended his career in Boston. He set numerous baseball records (two of which still stand today) and in 1936, he was one of the inaugural five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s one of the greatest sports heroes of all time, Trump gave him a Medal of Freedom in 2018, and the official candy bar of Major League Baseball bears his name (even though it wasn’t created for him, it became inextricably associated with him during the height of his fame). He also hit 714 home runs in his career, a record which stood for almost four decades until Hank Aaron came along.

By the early 70s, Hank Aaron had been quietly chipping away at Babe Ruth’s home run record for twenty years, first with the Milwaukee Braves and then in Atlanta when the team moved to Georgia in 1965. At the end of the 1972 season, Hank had 673 home runs, and for a player who already had eight seasons where he hit 40 or more home runs, it was assumed he would indeed break Babe Ruth’s record of 714 in the very near future. Baseball fans follow the game, so baseball fans were aware of Hank’s hitting stats. Racist America follows notable Black people, and this Black man putting himself within striking distance of a white man’s achievement made the country take note. The amount of hate mail spiked once non fans became aware of Hank’s threat to a record they didn’t even really care about until it was in danger of being broken by a Black player.

On July 21st of 1973, Hank Aaron hit #700 and he was receiving about 3,000 pieces of mail a day. The Braves hired a secretary just to handle Hank’s mail, and team management forbid him from opening his own letters to shield him from the vitriol.

The volume was so great that the Braves assigned secretary Carla Koplin to handle Aaron’s mail. That freed up his time but also shielded the legendary slugger from some of the vile remarks and death threats aimed at him. There were also some congratulatory letters and words of encouragement, but the negative comments heavily outweighed the positive and the Braves gave Aaron his own security detail.

“I was forbidden to open mail for two and a half years. I had a secretary that had to open all my mail and when the games were over with, I had to go out of the back of the baseball parks.”

(cont. Sportscasting)

When the season ended in October, Hank had 713 home runs, one shy of the record. The next six months gave racist America ample time to seethe and write. Hate mail turned to death threats and anyone remotely supportive of Hank was a target.

Lewis Grizzard, then sports editor of the Atlanta Journal, reported receiving numerous phone calls calling journalists “nigger lovers” for covering Aaron’s chase. While preparing the massive coverage of the home run record, he quietly had an obituary written, afraid that Aaron might be murdered.

(cont. Hank Aaron)

Hank Aaron made it to the 1974 season and broke Babe Ruth’s record in Atlanta on April 8th. Between July 1973 and June 1974, Hank Aaron received over 930,000 pieces of mail, the most ever for a private citizen, and a record that still stands today. When I saw that Hank Aaron had a Guinness World Record, I assumed it was for home runs, but his record was broken by Barry Bonds in 2007. Hank has a world record not for baseball, but for racism — America’s other great pastime.

 

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