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An open letter to Nate Robinson

An open letter to Nate Robinson


Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email.
A newsletter by LEVEL
December 1, 2020  •  7 min read  •  View in browser

An open letter to Nate Robinson

Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email. From moving on from this weekend's shameful boxing debacle to the week in racism, from pop-culture picks to a must-read LEVEL story, it's everything you need and nothing you don't. If you're loving what you're reading, tell a friend to tell a friend.

Ay Nate,

First of all, fam, you good? Like, I know your pride is all messed up and we'll get to that in a second but, like, physically. Are you awake right now? I really hope so because, man, you got knocked TF out Saturday night. By a White Trump supporter who got famous off YouTube! Think we need to chop it up about where you messed up — but don't worry, I have some good news for you, too.

First off, if you're going to give a MAGA bro a chance to knock your ass out, you need to be prepared to win the fight. I'd like to think that as Black people we are mostly evolved from being embarrassed about what other Black people do. (Except for when the Black family on Family Feud gives a dumb answer. We're still working on that one.) But your performance on Saturday night embarrassed the hell out of Black folks across the country.

You know why? Because you made a MAGA dude happy. At this very moment, he's got a photo on Instagram where he's wearing your jersey, man. You know how many of us want to beat the hell out of a racist? You had the chance to do it legally and got folded like a rigged ballot. In front of the world. Snoop started singing Negro spirituals to bring you back to life. We had to all gather our prayer circles for your health while knowing cats in QAnon and Facebook and Parler chat rooms were losing their damn minds in the biggest celebration since the Battle of Augusta. I know it was your boxing debut, but still. We haven't witnessed a second-round knockout so devastating since Canibus called out Uncle L.

But! You know we won't leave you without some help. Black folks know how to come through like a whiff of smelling salt for the soul. So here's what we're going to do, just for your embarrassment (and our own): We're not going to mention this again. We as a collective of Black people are gonna channel the amnesia-inducing powers of that light-flashing gizmo from Men in Black and do our best to forget it ever happened.

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Nate Robinson, who dat? What fight? We don't even know a Jake Paul. We know a Rand Paul — he lost his fight.

See? If Trump and his ilk can pretend the election never happened, we can pretend the Knockout That Never Happened never happened. This is how we heal as a people. Nate, you just gotta lay low — like, on-the-canvas low — until all is forgotten. Cool? Cool.

Now, let's go ahead and talk about the slugfest-turned-hugfest that was Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr., since it was the only fight of note that happened this weekend, seeing as all others — especially those between NBA players and dweebs — were cancelled.

Yours forgetfully,

— David Dennis Jr., senior staff writer

This Week in Racism

🗑 "Kris Kringle" Doesn't Have Quite Enough Ks for Some Folks, We Guess

Chris Kennedy's father died on Thanksgiving 15 years ago, and every year when the holiday rolls around, Kennedy commemorates him by decorating his lawn with a giant Christmas display. For the past few years, those decorations have included a Black Santa Claus — something his neighbors in North Little Rock, Arkansas have complimented on. And then there's the racist-ass grinch who sent him an anonymous letter from a White Santa this year to complain about it. "You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a negro," said the letter. "You being jealous of my race is no excuse for your dishonesty." Beyond the very strong Megyn Kelly in 2013 vibes, we've got a few thoughts about this. First off: "negro"?! What year does this vigilante Santa think it is? Second: we like to think we're imaginative people, but "being jealous of White people living in Arkansas" is a concept that has quite literally never occurred to us, and we're guessing we're not alone. If there's a bright side to this story, it's that Black Santas are reportedly proliferating throughout North Little Rock as people decorate in solidarity with Kennedy. Maybe once we settle this debate, we can finally take on the fable of White Jesus. (CNN)

🗑 Say Farewell to the White Panther

Here at This Week in Racism, we've become depressingly familiar with a very specific kind of racist: the elected official who thinks that their bigotry is too clever to keep it to themselves, and insists on posting wild racist jokes to social media. One of those elected officials was a town council member who was forced to resign this summer in Moncks Corner, South Carolina; last week we learned that a Black woman, Latorie Lloyd Walker, had been elected to fill his seat. The social media joke that cost dude his job was a Facebook image of Hillary Clinton in blackface with a caption that read "Dear Joe, I'm still available" — a reference to Biden's choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his VP nominee. But if you're wondering why we still haven't identified the racist councilmember by name, it's because we've been savoring that specific detail. Dude's name, and we swear to you we're not making this up, is: Chadwick Sweatman. Chadwick Sweatman. That shit is Busta Rhymes on a posse cut; if you don't save it for the end, then you're doing it wrong. That name, once again? CHADWICK SWEATMAN. Wakaren Forever! (The Post and Courier)

🗑 Black Firefighters Detail Decades of Discrimination By Mayo (Honestly, Same)

In this case, Mayo is a person: William "Trey" Mayo, the fire chief in Winston-Salem, NC. That's where a group of active and retired Black firefighters went before the city to demand Mayo's resignation for fostering a work environment that included countless episodes of racist hazing and harassment by White firefighters. One complainant spoke of having nails scattered under her truck's tires, and tobacco juice poured into her boots as she prepared to go out on a call. Another was told that his White wife couldn't visit him at work, despite the fact that White firefighters' partners showed up frequently. Two captains in the force, the group alleged, spoke about running over demonstrators who were protesting the murder of George Floyd; another White firefighter made a noose during a knot-tying class. The best part? All the city has done so far is call for a "climate assessment" evaluating the fire department. "We'd had very few grievances or complaints in the last couple of years," said city manager Lee Garrity. Funny how that happens, right? (ABC News)

The LEVEL Up: Culture Picks From the Editors

📺 Power Book II: Ghost

The younger St. Patrick's coming-of-age story continues in this mid-season premiere that finds Tariq tangled in both collegiate and criminal drama. Will his double lives begin to blend? What's the deal with that nympho professor? Will Meth and Mary break out of character and into song for a reprise of "All I Need"? We need answers, so we'll be watching. (12/6 at 9 p.m. EST, Starz)

🎧 Lil Wayne, No Ceilings 3

Mixtape Weezy rocking to industry beats on a project that crashes Datpiff — it feels like the Obama years all over again! At least until "Life Is Good" drops, and Wayne doubles down on his facepalm-worthy cosign of President Trump. Still, the 20-track DJ Khaled-hosted project is worth a listen for the plethora of punchlines, guest spots by Drake and Young Thug, and a track called "Peggy Bundy." (YouTube)

🎥 Macho: The Hector Camacho Story

As a boxer whose career spanned three decades, Puerto Rican legend Hector "Macho" Camacho's light shined brightly as he squared up with some of the greatest bruisers of his generation (Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad). But it wasn't without turmoil — the New York native battled drug addiction and legal troubles before his shocking death in 2012, a murder that remains unsolved. Rewind his wild life and times in this new knockout documentary. (12/4 at 9 p.m. EST, Showtime)

LEVEL Read of the Week

Mayor David Dinkins' Fight to Undo New York City's Race War

When New York's first (and only) Black mayor died last week, his passing reignited memories of the fraught era he'd inherited from predecessor Ed Koch; from racial violence to crack's continuing pall, the city seemingly stayed in crisis. But as Nelson George writes in a clear-eyed remembrance, Dinkins represented something equal measures pragmatic and hopeful: by fending off Rudy Giuliani and embodying New Yorkers' dreams of the city as a "gorgeous mosaic," he did his best to reunite and heal. Mr. Dinkins, thanks for being our mayor. Read the story.

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