This is Issue 67.2 of Digestable, your thrice-weekly mouthful of things happening in the world.
Today’s news, fermented:
Scanning today’s news, two threads emerge, with not much overlap.
The first is a debate on the status of struggles for racial justice. As Kimberlé Crenshaw, mother of intersectionality and critical race theory explains,
“Wherever there is race reform, there’s inevitably retrenchment.”
Basically, whenever movements to destabilize white supremacy and the institutions that prop it up gain ground, there is backlash (also know as whitelash). In the wake of last year’s uprisings, as well as wins by the very tepid Democratic party, there’s a wave of violent crime (that is not necessarily related to either of these things).
Regardless, the right (and the Dems) are using this trend (and the tragedies that comprise it) to push for more of the status quo, which is failing us, as the above linked article articulates.
But as the status quo continues to fail, the strength of white supremacy prevails, as Elie Mystal writes in a striking piece, My Black Generation Is Fighting Like Hell to Stop the Whitelash. He says of today’s movement:
“We’re not trying to advance rights so much as we’re trying to prevent white people from taking away rights we’ve already won. We’re fighting with both hands to hang on, to preserve what we can until the cavalry arrives, until the browning majority of the country demands representation, until the Boomers die off, until the younger generations can straight up out-vote them, until something breaks the current white supremacist fever sweeping across the land.”
This is…really bleak, and also really true, as is so often the case. White people reading this, please spend some time with the whole article.
There is powerful vision for what accountability looks like without punishment—precisely what we need to grow past the institutions that retrench white supremacy. But those institutions are also getting defended more than ever.
And then there’s the second thread, on another (not nearly as) long fight, in which the tides are (sort of) turning.
It seems like Europe, one of the largest carbon-emitting blocs in the world, is about to propose some actual plans for cutting emissions. The US government might (might) stop directly subsidizing the fossil fuel industry.
This is good stuff, but Democrats, like North Carolina’s governor, are still failing to consult Black and Indigenous communities already suffering the losses and crises of the climate apocalypse.
My point here is—even if we were to dismantle white supremacist institutions or permanently destabilize the fossil fuel economy/grid—unless we do both, horrible consequences will ensue.
Picture this: a transition to clean energy funded by fossil fuel giants that allows the US and EU to keep using disproportionate quantities of energy and do nothing to address climate apartheid. Or, a transition beyond policing and prisons that still means Black and Indigenous folks will disproportionately suffer the impacts of hot urban centers and coastal flooding.
I’ve described these two scenarios at different scales, sure—but regardless of where you draw a line around a crisis, white supremacy and climate apocalypse rely on each other to protect corporations, the governments that do their bidding, and the wealthy that reap the benefits.
Really fun stuff. Here’s a hatching cuttlefish, which is born as a tiny adult. Perhaps, as usual, we can learn something from them.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
A lot has happened since I last wrote a column for ~*Hot Goss*~ -- including the fact that I somehow managed an international move for me and my cat in the middle of a pandemic, and am currently living across the world. I'm absolutely exhausted but I'm also currently in mandatory 14-day quarantine and have no one to talk about celebrity shenanigans with so obviously, picking this back up is a no brainer!
Cardi B's daughter, Kulture, turned 3 recently and like any celebfluencer momma, Cardi threw her toddler a birthday party that costs about roughly the same as my 4-year college degree did, if not slightly more. Cardi documented every bit of the celebrations on her Instagram, because who wouldn't want to see a 3-year-old child receive a $250,000 watch that her limp wrists can't even carry (yet) as a birthday gift while we're all just excited to be able to leave our apartments again after a year of hunkering down indoors. Am i merely exhibiting hating-ass bitch qualities against a child? Probably. But can you blame me? Kulture's watch alone could finance a downpayment on a house! I tried, but I simply could not muster up any feelings of happiness or solidarity for this baby. Good for you though, Kulture. Make your parents' pockets hurt for as long as you can.
Elsewhere, the British have descended into madness after losing the 2021 Euro football (soccer) match to Italy. More specifically, they've descended into racist madness, with some fans hurling abuse at the national team's three Black players -- Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka -- who missed their penalty kicks. The reactions to the loss were so bad that even career racists like Piers Morganand condemned them. Me? I'm a simple gal. I'm not going to pretend I know much about football to attempt to understand the feelings these lads have for losing some championship they've somehow managed to equate to their man/personhood. All I know is I'm so relieved that people haven't tried to pin the blame on Meghan Markle somehow. Because you know someone was scheming in the parlor of a palace somewhere to try and throw the Duchess of Sussex under the bus for this one too.