‘Ello mates!

I’m back again this week with another roundup of Discourses I Hated.

This is where I take trending topics that I had the displeasure of coming across on my social media timelines while in my perpetual state of “being online,” and bring them to you, so you too can be in the loop against your will.

After reading this week’s edition, I do recommend you go out and touch grass or something, because this week…had a lot to raise eyebrows about.

But also, if you think things are bad, just remember they could always be worse. I mean, I came across this tweet discussing how people in LA housing groups try to find roommates, by posting pictures of …themselves? 

Anyways, enough of how our real lives are becoming a Black Mirror episode, and into this week’s topics.

Colonizers don’t quit

Prince William and Kate are currently on a tour of the Caribbean to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, which commemorates 70 years on the throne. However, protesters in Jamaica have shunned the royal visit, and have been protesting and demanding slavery reparations.

“We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind,” reads an open letter penned by prominent figures and posted by the Advocates Network.

The letter also calls Will and Kate, “direct beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated by the royal family…from the trafficking and enslavement of Africans.” 

It has been said that many Caribbean countries including Jamaica are wanting to follow suit with Barbados, which cut ties with the monarchy in 2021. In fact, Jamaica will begin the process of removing the Queen as head of state after Will and Kate leave the country.

Some have alleged that the current royal tour was intended to quell the dissent, by allowing the general public to interact with “royalty,” and create some kind of backwards nostalgia for the family that stole from them. Beyond the awful imagery, Will acknowledged in a speech while in Jamaica that slavery was “abhorrent,” and “should never have happened,” but did not issue a formal apology.

I for one can’t imagine someone coming to my house, robbing me and my family for all that we have, and then doing periodic visits where I’m supposed to clap for them while they’re wearing all my stuff. 

Many have recognized that it’s long overdue that we stop celebrating a legacy built on violence and stolen wealth. The British ravaged many countries and then tried to create some sense of solidarity by parading themselves around the so-called “Commonwealth” as if we asked for this.

No more clapping for colonizers—it’s about damn time.

Weird violent TikTok trend

CW: Violence against women

Men are not okay. 

A new TikTok trend has men “joking” about all of the ways that they would kill the women in their lives, with a video of them shrugging or smiling with text on screen. 

While people in the comments are defending the TikToks as a “joke,” this negates the fact that many online communities, including the incel community, bonds over fictional violence against women. 

Many incels (which is short for involuntarily celibate), often share violent scenarios of what they would do to women they were dating, or what they want to do to women that reject them. While some may attempt to brush these current TikTok videos off as nonsense, it’s important to recognize that many men who have committed real violence against women can be traced back to “jokes” like these, and to situate it in the larger web of violence against women. 

Misogynistic killer Elliot Rodger who killed six women in Santa Barbara in 2014 was also traced back to an online community where he would regularly share misogynistic and violent messages. He also wrote a “manifesto” outlining all of his grievances with women prior to the killings.

So sure, if you want to brush off your elaborately detailed plans to murder or abuse women as “just for lolz” maybe you should evaluate where you derive your humour, and perhaps, take a look at what the fuck is wrong with you.

Deshaun Watson

CW: Sexual violence

NFL Quarterback Deshaun Watson was signed by the Cleveland Browns in a massive five-year, $230 million contract last week, and while the news reverberated through the league, there is no denying the dark cloud lingering over it. At the time of his signing, Watson was facing 22 civil lawsuits in relation to a number of sexual misconduct allegations. 

“This is typical behavior by NFL teams, which are notorious for vouching for the character of players with a deeply worrisome history, when in truth the only trait that they really care about is whether that player possesses the necessary drive to compete and to win championships,” writes Jemele Hill for The Atlantic. “Of course football character and personal character have frequently proved to be two very different things.”

A number of teams tried to get Watson to sign with them, with full knowledge of the allegations. In addition, none of them attempted to contact his accusers or explore the many allegations against him prior to his signing. I mean, why would they? 

In fact, the Browns included a $1 million base salary in the first season of his contract, in the event that he is suspended by the NFL, protecting his earnings in the event he is found guilty and is temporarily suspended.

ESPN’s Sarah Spain did not mince her words when discussing his signing and what it means for his accusers. 

“Our culture has conditioned us to blame victims and defend athletes.”

This type of treatment of abusers and r*pists in the NFL is not at all new—many players have been signed or remained on teams despite being accused of abuse or assault, in some cases even if it was caught on camera. Defending these men’s legacies and protecting the pockets of rich owners and the league has always been considered more important than protecting victims or getting justice. The lack of consequences for their actions is likely why so many feel that they are able to act so callously. They know that they will be protected, even when they are the ones women need protection from.

As a sports fan, I get that fans may want the best of the best on their teams to bring them closer to winning a championship. But I just think that if athletic prowess comes with a broken moral compass, you should not continually be put on a pedestal. It is disrespectful to victims to be shown that their trauma and experiences are less valid than some man’s right to play football.

On Thursday, a second grand jury in Texas declined to indict Watson, but the civil cases remain ongoing. Watson addressed the allegations during a press conference in Cleveland on Friday, stating, “I understand these allegations are serious. I never assaulted any woman. I've never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and to respect everyone around me….I’ve never done the things that these people are alleging.”

Simultaneously, however, he failed to properly address why he switched between 40 different massage therapists during his time in Texas.

Regardless of the outcome of the civil cases, it’s harrowing for any victim of sexual violence to repeatedly see how such an intricate web comes together to protect abusers when it benefits them, leaving survivors to fend for themselves.

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing

It is never surprising to see the blatant racism on display in the U.S., but this week has really illustrated that even when Black people, and specifically Black women, earn their way into a room, they will still be unfairly interrogated at every step of the way.

Watching the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson has been absolutely blood boiling, as baseless questions and accusations are incessantly hurled at her, while she patiently and calmly answers each one—regardless of how unfair and out of line they are.

For those unaware with the process, judges who are nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States must go through a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which they are questioned on their qualifications, judgment, and philosophy, before a vote. This is an important process because many cases that make it before the Supreme Court have immense ramifications for many people.

However, Jackson's hearing has turned into an attack on her character and credentials by Republicans and the media and political pundits on right, in an attempt to mischaracterize and discredit her.

Repeatedly, Republican Senators have gone down bizarre, racist lines of questioning with Jackson, including “twisting her sterling record into a scare narrative of GOP bogeymen -- critical race theory, the 1619 Project and controversies over transgender athletes and women's sports.” 

Amid all of this, never underestimate Senator Ted Cruz’s ability to make himself look like a complete and utter jackass.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham followed suit, storming out of the hearing after a half-hour rant.

Many have lauded Jackson for her poise and patience, which is in stark contrast to the way that Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, portrayed himself during his confirmation hearing in 2018.

If you will recall, Kavanaugh visibly lost his temper several times during his confirmation hearing, while was defending himself against sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Despite the allegations, Kavanaugh was still sworn in and has served since. 

Someone with assault allegations was sworn in, while Republicans interrogate the validity of Jackson’s track record and credentials in a much harsher way. Make it make sense. 

The standards for Black people are always exponentially higher, and as are the hoops they must jump through in order to get opportunities that they already faced many more obstacles to receive in the first place. 

While the entire ordeal has been horrific to watch, a moment of respite was given in seeing the adoring looks of admiration Jackson’s daughter has been giving her mother throughout the hearings. It is clear that she is immensely proud of the way her mother has handled herself, and her extensive resume that earned her the right to be in this position in the first place.  Let's not forget that key piece of information.

Okay, okay, I’m done. 

I hope we all enter the weekend with the same energy as Britney Spears—completely out of touch with random celebrities who have no impact on our lives. Blissfully unaware and out of touch. What a concept.

See you next week. 

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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