Things That Matter

A Country Is On Edge As White Men Threaten To “Shoot Up” Walmart’s From Texas To Florida

In the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, threats of copycat attacks are emerging across the United States, causing patrons, particularly Latinos, fear to even shop at the low-cost retail corporation.

On the morning of August 3, a white supremacist terrorist walked into the Walmart Supercenter in east El Paso with a semi-automatic, opening fire at a sea of shoppers. Twenty people were killed and 24 others were injured, most of them Latinos. The shooting is the second-deadliest attack directed at Latinos in recent history, following the 2016 mass killing at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, which claimed the lives of 49 people, 90 percent of them gay Latinos.

Many fear that copycat gunmen are emboldened after the El Paso attack.

The gunman, a pro-Trump white man who was arrested and is facing capital murder charges, has a documented history of being a far-right white nationalist, with multiple anti-Latinx and anti-immigrant posts on his social networks. In one, he says he was inspired by the Christchurch mosque shooting, was concerned about a “Hispanic invasion” and was “defending his country.”

Since the El Paso Massacre, at least eight Walmart’s have faced threats across the country.

In the days that have followed the El Paso attack, the deadliest mass assault in 2019, officers have arrested several white supremacist men inspired by Crusius who have made threats about carrying out killings at Walmarts near them.

Walmart shoppers in Texas were threatened at least two times since El Paso.

In Texas, two more warnings of attacks at the retail store have shaken the state. On Wednesday, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for making terroristic threatening remarks that led to the evacuation of a Walmart. Also, over the weekend, a man was arrested for posting an “imminent threat” on a social media site that was supposed to occur at a store in Harlington at a planned date. He was placed under arrest for a “terroristic threat.”

In Missouri, 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko walked into a Walmart store on Thursday wearing body armor and carrying a rifle and a handgun.

The man didn’t fire his weapons, but his menacing presence still sent shoppers to flee. Andreychenko, who recorded the entire incident, said he was testing if “Walmart honored the second amendment.” The state does not require a permit to openly or conceal carry a firearm for people who are 19 years or older. Andreychenkom, who was arrested by an off-duty firefighter, faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of the felony charge of making a terrorist threat in the second degree.

A Florida Walmart was evacuated after a man called in threatening to “shoot up” the place.

A day after the shooting in El Paso, a Florida man called and threatened to “shoot up” a Tampa-area Walmart where his mother is employed. Shortly after the call, officers directed shoppers out of the store and into the parking lot. While law enforcement later determined the threat was not credible and soon reopened the store, the man, 31-year-old Wayne Lee Padgett, was arrested and charged for making a false report of using a firearm in a violent manner, which is a felony offense in the state.

Also in the Sunshine State, a man in Central Florida warned on Facebook that his followers shouldn’t go to Walmart this week.

Apparently, the man was expecting to receive his semi-automatic. According to law enforcement, the 26-year-old subscribes to white supremacist ideology and has a history of creating fake accounts to make menacing posts. He has been charged with writing threats to kill or do bodily harm.

The growing violence directed at Latinos, including a massive immigration raid in Mississippi that rounded up 680 mostly Latino workers, has many fearful of running errands or speaking Spanish outside of their homes. For them, being brown, speaking accented English or conversing in Spanish marks them for death in the current political and social climate.

On Twitter, many Latinos are voicing their concern.

“I, a Latino and immigrant who works at Walmart, fear for my life every time I go in to put produce on shelf because I could be shot,” tweeted one user on Tuesday.

Others have made the decision to stop shopping at the retail store altogether.

“Dear @Walmart, my exchange student from Colombia arrives next week. No way in hell will I take this young Latino woman school shopping in one of your stores. I fear for her safety and mine,” wrote another Twitter user on Wednesday. 

For those living in areas with vast populations of Latinos like Los Angeles, New York, Texas, Chicago and Florida as well as in locales where they are a minority, the fear is all the same. In a country where 18 percent of the population is Latino and so much of the national history, language, culture and economy is shaped by Latinos, we, and all we encompass, have become targets of violence by a growing group of homicidal white supremacist men.

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White Professor Pretended To Be Black And Taught African-American And Latino Studies

Things That Matter

White Professor Pretended To Be Black And Taught African-American And Latino Studies

@DukePress / Twitter

As the debate around racial justice and inequality continues to rage throughout the U.S, a white woman has reignited the debate on cultural appropriation and ‘black fishing.’

The woman – a professor at George Washington University – has confessed to faking her identity as a Black woman and using that identity for financial gain with book deals and to teach African American history. She’s also accused of claiming a fabricated Latina heritage by former students.

The story is eerily similar to that of Rachel Dolezal who made similar headlines in 2015 when – as president of a local NAACP chapter – was outed as a white woman pretending to be Black.

A white woman has admitted to faking a Black identity for her entire professional career.

Social media is reacting to the news that a white professor who teaches African, Caribbean, and Latin history pretended to be a Black woman for years. The story has reignited a debate on race and identity and cultural appropriation.

Jessica Krug, who teaches at George Washington University in Washington, DC admitted in a blog post on Medium that for the better part of her adult life, “every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.”

She added, “To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”

In many New York activist circles, Krug was known by the name Jessica La Bombalera and was often seen speaking at New York public hearings on police brutality. Those who knew Krug as La Bombalera have taken to social media today to announce their upset.

“I’m dazed and still processing my emotions, but mostly, I feel betrayed, foolish and, in many ways, gaslit,” said the author Robert Jones Jr on Twitter.

She’s also accused of appropriating Latin culture in her speech and discussions.

According to students at GWU, Krug would use a lot of Spanish in her speech. For example, rather than “plantains” she would always say “plátanos.” But the exact place she was from always changed.

She once spoke about how plantains were important to her family in the Dominican Republic, but told another student she was from Puerto Rico, according to students. Still, she never would have guessed Krug was lying.

Krug admits that she financially benefited from faking a Black identity.

When writing her book Fugitive Modernities, Krug accepted financial support from Black cultural institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. But according to her own Medium post, her career was rooted in a “toxic soil of lies.”

In her book, which was published before her recent confession, she goes on to say, “My ancestors, unknown, unnamed, who bled life into a future they had no reason to believe could or should exist. My brother, the fastest, the smartest, the most charming of us all. Those whose names I cannot say for their own safety, whether in my barrio, in Angola, or in Brazil.”

Although she points to mental health issues as affecting her, she doesn’t see them as an excuse for her actions.

In the same Medium post, Krug points out that she suffered from a traumatic childhood and has faced several mental health issues. However, she acknowledges that these are not excuses for her behavior.

“To say that I clearly have been battling some unaddressed mental health demons for my entire life, as both an adult and child, is obvious. Mental health issues likely explain why I assumed a false identity initially, as a youth, and why I continued and developed it for so long.”

“But mental health issues can never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that, in spite of knowing and regularly critiquing any and every non-Black person who appropriates from Black people, my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives,” she wrote.

The story is eerily similar to that of Rachel Dolezal – who also faked being Black for professional gain.

Credit: Tyler Tjomsland / Getty Images

Krug’s confession about her identity is similar to the case of Rachel Dolezal – a white woman from Spokane, Washington – who made headlines in 2015 when she was outed for similar lies.

When Dolezal was outed as a white woman impersonating a Black woman, she was president of the Spokane branch of the NAACP, a civil rights organization, and a a part-time African studies teacher at a local university.

Dolezal, who said she started identifying as Black around the age of five, was a graduate from Howard University, an historically Black college, which she sued in 2002 for discrimination against white people and for favouring African American students.

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Kellogg’s Has Launched A Pan De Muerto Cereal And Here’s Why It’s Such A Big Deal

Culture

Kellogg’s Has Launched A Pan De Muerto Cereal And Here’s Why It’s Such A Big Deal

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Mexico has several deeply rooted traditions. Among them is the annual ritual of celebrating those who are no longer on Earth, known as Día de Muertos. During this celebration, people consume sugar skulls, an altar – or ofrenda – is decorated with the favorite items and foods of the deceased’s, and pan de muerto is widely eaten.

Across Mexico, there is a flurry of activity and traditions leading up to the main celebrations on November 1 and 2 and it’s become an international attraction – attracting foreigners who travel to Mexico in order to witness the celebrations.

The Coronavirus pandemic has people looking for some sense of normalcy and that may explain why you can already find pan de muerto in several panaderías and super markets. However, what caused fury among users of social networks was the launch of a cereal line inspired by the humble pan de muerto.

Kellogg’s has launched a pan de muerto cereal and social media is celebrating this big news.

What would Mexico be without its traditions? For example, without the Day of the Dead. Around the world, Mexico is connected to this day that revolves around serious traditions, rituals, and foods.

Now, it appears that international brands are catching on as Kellogg’s (yes, the international cereal company) announced that it’s decided to create and launch a line of cereals based on Mexico’s famed pan de muerto.

The new cereal by Kellogg’s has already landed in certain stores and includes the flavors of rollos de canela, churros and pan de muerto. On the packaging you can see the new labeling and ingredients such as orange blossom, butter and vanilla.

The origins of pan de muerto are deeply rooted in pre-Hispanic history.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

Pan de muerto is a type of pan dulce that’s commonly eaten in the weeks (or even months) leading up to the now famous holiday of Día de Muertos. It traces its origina back to the time of the Spanish Conquest, inspired by pre-Hispanic rituals that were largely modified under Spanish colonialism.

The delicious pan is a butter-based bread with orange blossom and anise scents, it has a soft flaky brioche-like interior; the crust is thin and golden and many people love the “bones and skull” pieces because they get a little crispy on the outside.

Although the cereal does have people asking – is this cultural appropriation?

As soon as the product hit shelves, it ignited a debate on the issue of cultural appropriation. Many accused the multinational of seeking to profit on the backs of one of Mexico’s most respected and prized traditions. Many pointed out that food is deeply connected to tradition and it’s a cultural symbol that should be respected – not packaged up for commercialization.

However, even if some are against the product launch, it’s too little too late as boxes of the new cereals are already hitting store shelves across the country. In fact, many Internet users are taking to social media to highlight new finds and to share the information so others can get in on the frenzy and give the new product a try.

Not everyone understood the excitement for a cereal…

Although the launch by Kellogg’s of this iconic food as a cereal caused much of social media to lose its cool, not everyone was convinced. Many expressed how confused they were that people were freaking out over a cereal…

While others were ready to spend all the money they have…

This Twitter user was so excited they’re ready to give up all their money for the cereal, saying “Take all my money!” Thankfully, they don’t have to give up all their pesos for a box – with it going for about $63 pesos (or about $3 USD) per box.

So what do you think? Should this product come to the U.S.? Would you be excited to give it a try? Or is it blatant cultural appropriation?

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