Things That Matter

Students Under Investigation After Flashing White Power Symbols On National TV During Army/Navy Football Game

The United States Military Academy has opened a formal investigation into whether Army cadets and Navy midshipmen flashed white power symbols during a nationally televised broadcast of the Army-Navy football game Saturday. At least three individuals flashed the upside-down “ok” hand gesture, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate symbol meant to signify “white power.” Footage of the gestures went viral on Twitter as folks circulated allegations that the military students were flashing white power symbols on nationally televised media “because they fully understand that most people in the dominant society share their views, and there will be no serious punishment against them.” President Trump attended the game and visited both locker rooms before the start of the match.

“The United States Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, The United States Military Academy’s superintendent, said in a statement. Meanwhile, Naval Academy officials appointed a preliminary inquiry officer to head up the internal investigation. 

Twitter is calling for the expulsion of the students who flashed the symbol, which seemed especially telling when flashed behind the head of a black cadet.

CREDIT: @BIGKAHUNAVAN / TWITTER

Two cadets clearly flash white power hand signals; one of them does it right behind the head of a black cadet. This is on live TV at the Army-Navy game. The @NavalAcademy should kick these students out,” one Twitter user called out. Another person wants to expel them and fine them for the taxpayer dollars that went toward their education thus far. “Imagine how these young black men will feel when they see this footage of their classmates flashing white power signals directly behind their heads. This is shameful and horrific behavior,” comments another user. 

Meanwhile, others are saying that the gestures are far more sophomoric. “IT’S THE FREAKING CIRCLE GAME!,” tweeted one POC. The alleged game is based on tricking someone into looking at the hand gesture which would allow you to playfully punch that person. If you ever played the VW Beetle game as a kid, it’s pretty similar. Others don’t buy it. “Right behind the head of the black guy? Come on…” asks one user. “I ain’t buying it either. If it were true, the black guy or other minorities would be playing the “game” as well. Funny, the “game” signal givers hands are NEVER BROWN. Why’s that now?” asks another Twitter user.

That said, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) details a much more insidious and increasingly common use of the “O.K.” hand gesture that began in 2017.

CREDIT: @GININATEACUP1 / TWITTER

Both the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League have described the symbol as hate speech. White nationalists first started using the symbol because of how it creates a “W” and a “P” to denote “white power.” In 2017, internet gateway to the alt-right, 4chan, started disseminating the symbol as a way to “trigger liberals.” SPLC says that the symbol is a “deliberate attempt to “trigger liberals” into overreacting to a gesture so widely used that virtually anyone has plausible deniability built into their use of it in the first place.” According to SPLC, the hoax started when the following post went viral: “We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand signal is a symbol of white supremacy. Make fake accounts with basic white girl names and type shit like: OMG that’s so truuuuu…” It seems to be working. 

Before the 4chan hoax went viral and spread to anyone who was simply anti-liberal, it was used by alt-right figures and white nationalists. In fact, the white supremacist who murdered over 50 worshippers in the Christchurch mosque flashed the symbol in court.

Plausible deniability remains the crux of the issue. The “O.K.” signal is so ubiquitous, it makes it difficult to prove malicious intent.

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

Still, at least three different young men flashed the symbol on national television this weekend, knowing President Trump was in the audience. Several Trump supporters have expressed glee in using the symbol simply because of its underlying intent to prove liberals and minorities as triggered.

Military officials feel its “inappropriate” to speculate any further on the students’ intent while the investigation is underway. 

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

The SPLC cites the use of the “O.K.” hand gesture as a ploy to “trigger” liberals as participation in a “toxic subculture.” The Center cites such a troll as someone with a “direct gateway not just to the alt-right, but also to even more poisonous cultures such as that of woman-hating “incels.” The Center says that “it’s easy” for a simple “troll” to morph into a white supremacist surreptitiously signaling your presence to other white supremacists.

READ: A Family At Universal Studios Had Their Trip Ruined By A Character From ‘Despicable Me’ Who Flashed A White Power Symbol

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Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Things That Matter

Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Pool / Getty

We know LGBTQ rights, birth control, and race are under threat as Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. We know that that conservative judge has been evasive in answering comments about her beliefs which, if appointed, would steer her in making fundamental decisions that could affect American citizens’ lives for decades. Still, though we knew things are bound to go sideways as most things under the Trump administration have, we didn’t realize that an educated woman living in today’s world would refuse to acknowledge a basic societal fact: that “systemic racism” exists in the United States.

In written responses submitted Tuesday night, Barrett repeated her refusal to say whether “systemic racism” exists in our country.

After Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii asked her to explain her view of the existence of “systemic racism” in the United States, Barret refused the opportunity to acknowledge its existence.

“At the hearing, you acknowledged that racism persists in our country, but you refused to answer where there is systemic racism, calling it a ‘policy question.’ You also refused to answer other questions based on your view that they are ‘policy questions,’” Hirono wrote in his questions. “What makes a statement a policy question rather than a question of fact?”

“I believe that racism persists in our country, but as I explained at the hearing, whether there is ‘systemic racism’ is a public policy question of substantial controversy, as evidenced by the disagreement among senators on this very question during the hearing,” Barrett replied. “As a sitting judge and judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer an opinion on the matter.”

Barrett’s approach to the question is not totally uncommon. Previous Supreme Court nominees have avoided answering questions concerning precedent. Barrett clung to the approach during her confirmation hearing last week while sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett used this as a standard and repeatedly cited it as a reason for dodging questions.

Systemic racism exists within our country without question.

It persists in our academic settings, workplaces, as well as in our court and judicial system. The fact is that when a certain group dominates a majority of positions of decision-making power, others struggle to exist and get by let alone get ahead. For generations and right now, white people have been the dominating group with decision-making power and people of color have suffered as a result. Acknowledgment is a vital part of making this change. Particularly from our leaders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Barrett’s confirmation on Thursday afternoon.

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JLo Is In Hot Water For Her Lyrics In New Song With Maluma After She Calls Herself ‘La Negrita’

Entertainment

JLo Is In Hot Water For Her Lyrics In New Song With Maluma After She Calls Herself ‘La Negrita’

Focus On Sport / Getty Images

One of the few highlights we’ve had amid this unprecedented year of trauma has been the music industry. From Maluma and Cardi B to Bad Bunny’s surprise albums, we’ve been blessed with some of the best songs ever. Plain and simple.

Despite the global pandemic, many singers have managed to stay busy and put out new tracks. Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are no different as the duo are working on music for their upcoming movie project, Marry Me.

However, the one of the tracks from the upcoming film isn’t getting the type of reception that JLo had likely counted on.

Jennifer Lopez is facing criticism for calling herself a “Little Black girl from the Bronx” in her new track with Maluma.

Despite the pandemic putting the breaks on so many aspects of the entertainment industry, Jennifer Lopez has managed to keep herself busy with new projects. One of her most hyped projects has got to be her collaboration with Maluma on the upcoming film, Marry Me.

In anticipation of the film’s release on Valentine’s Day 2021, the pair have released two new tracks that will also be in the movie’s soundtrack. However, the most recently released song, “Lonely,” isn’t getting the attention that neither JLo or Maluma had likely hoped for.

In the lyrics for the song, which JLo sings with Maluma, Lopez sings “yo siempre seré tu negrita del Bronx” (I’ll always be your Black girl from the Bronx). Obviously, that lyric is causing loads of controversy and fans and critics alike are letting Lopez know they’re out OK with it.

Many are taking issue with the lyrics because “Jenny From The Block” has never really claimed or referenced herself as Black in the past. So why now? And why use an outdated term that’s incredible insensitive to the Afro-Latinx community.

Negrita is a questionable Spanish term that should definitely be phased out amid Spanish-speakers.

Many people are taking issue with the lyrics because they include the controversial term negrita, which is really an outdated Spanish-language term that’s often used as a term of endearment to describe people who are dark-skinned.

It’s a common nickname among Spanish-speakers but it should be phased out of the Spanish language as it’s extremely insensitive to Afro-Latinos.

Both fans and critics have called out Lopez on Twitter.

Fans were obviously confused as to why Jennifer would describe herself as ‘Black’. 

‘Maybe if she said brown girl she coulda gotten away with it,’ one fan said.  Another commented on social media: ‘This is so insulting as an actual black woman.’ 

‘I heard the song and I was like “what she just say? Rewind that. cause she definitely not Afro Latina,’ one fan said. 

However, many others from the Latina community weighed in to explain that while the translation of ‘negrita’ literally means ‘black girl’, it’s not used in that sense. 

‘If your hispanic or latino you know what she means. yes it sounds weird asf the literal translation but that’s not what she means,’ one fan explained.  They continued: ‘As far as I know it’s like a term of endearment for darker complexion within the community. I think she should have not used it being that not everyone would get it and in my opinion her skin isn’t even considered dark. Plus with the times we are in like let’s do better.”

This isn’t the first time the singer has come under fire for insensitive actions around race.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Jennifer Lopez has been called out for appropriating Black culture, but this is the first time that she’s facing such a major backlash.

Jennifer Lopez has proudly claimed her identity as a Puerto Rican woman but she’s never claimed Black ancestry or self-identified as an Afro-Latina – so her use of the term is troubling.

In the 2001 hit remix of “I’m Real” with Ja Rule and Ashanti, JLo sang along to the N-word slur and faced a similar backlash then. She ended up going on The Today Show to claim that the lyrics were written by Ja Rule and were “not meant to be hurtful to anybody.” She went on to say that “for anyone to think or suggest that I’m racist is really absurd and hateful to me.”

Then there was the whole debacle from this year’s Super Bowl halftime show (which feels like a lifetime ago!) when many criticized her and Shakira for performing for a franchise that didn’t support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hopefully, this incident on JLo’s part will bring with it a discussion about the term negrita and we can finally eliminate it as a ‘playful nickname’ in the Spanish-speaking community.

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