What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 2/27/17

When it comes to airports, they don’t want you to be comfortable

2:00 PMSunday was Nike Air Max Day. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a good reason for the company to release a bunch of rare colorways of an extremely popular shoe. Obviously, DJ Khaled did it big.

The identity politics surrounding clothes in airports are ridiculous. On Sunday, United Airlines found itself under criticism because of the company’s policies surrounding people flying on what are known as “buddy passes.” Basically, if you’re not paying for a ticket, you have to dress like you work there, which is a ridiculous rule, but a rule nonetheless. It came to a head when a couple of 10-year-old girls weren’t allowed on a plane for wearing leggings. Don’t even get me started about TSA constantly haranguing me for wearing sweatpants.

When it comes to marijuana, this is a country divided. There are those fighting for full legalization, others who say it’s harmful, others who want to at least find a way for states to make money off of it and another group that’s just trying to keep their kids safe, but not how you think. For many kids, medical marijuana is the only thing that can keep their seizures under control. Meaning, violent outbursts go down and they can live a normal life. Guess who’s the latest to join that fight? Conservative mothers in Texas. Yep, you read that right.

In case you missed it, things didn’t exactly go as planned for the White House this weekend. The health care bill completely fell apart, President Donald Trump lied to the media about what he was doing, claiming he was working when he was actually playing golf. That said, the breakdown of the GOP’s leadership surrounding this situation has been pretty remarkable. It’s more than just a matter of the establishment vs. the tea partiers. They’ve got major issues.

Baseball season is around the corner, which is good news for me. Why? Because baseball is my favorite sport. The nearly impossible happened last season in case you forgot. No. 1, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Secondly, they played the Cleveland Indians, who hadn’t been in the World Series in forever. This year, we could talk forever about who’s going to win what. But the story about the son of Cleveland’s general manager spilling the beans on a potential deal is basically the best thing ever.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I don’t know another about monster truck racing, except that it’s cool. I’ve been to a few rallies in my day and they are nothing but incredible melanges of power and noise. Over the weekend, someone pulled off a front flip, in a truck, during a competition. This clip is positively insane.

Snack Time: Want to hear a story about how local journalism needs your support in order to stand up against lawmakers? Here’s one from Tennessee that’s certainly worth sharing.

Dessert: If you’ve had a rough start to Monday, this should cheer you up.

John Lewis helped squash ‘Trumpcare’ bill

The Georgia congressman’s speech is an instant classic

5:17 PM

In every presidential administration, there’s a moment where, specific partisanship aside, you can point to when you look back on things and say, That’s when things got real. On Friday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), delivered the kind of speech on the House floor that you’ll instantly want to watch again after you’ve seen it once. TL;DR: This ain’t happening on my watch.

“My heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families,” Lewis said. “My heart aches for those who are living paycheck to paycheck. My heart mourns for innocent, little children whose very life depends on if their families can pay the bills. This is the right and wrong of it. This is the heart and soul of the matter. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values.”

The bill never had the votes and now the White House is scrambling on how to spin this. The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” is still the problem, apparently. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said after “Trumpcare” was pulled.

Lewis is an American treasure, but we all already knew that. Every once in a while, he reminds us emphatically why that’s the case.

When black girls go missing

in Washington, D.C., too many questions, too few answers

3:21 PM

It doesn’t matter why. When more than a dozen black and Latina girls go missing in a short period of time, there is an obvious problem. This is the reality that officials in Washington, D.C., have been dealing with over the past month or so, as coverage has shined light on a problem that’s shocked many people. As of Friday, the city has 22 open missing juvenile cases.

When this number first went viral, there were many questions. How could that be? How is it possible that this was not common knowledge not only locally, but nationally? If these kids were white, would they not be celebrities by now based on public concern for their safety? All valid questions that the Metropolitan Police Department tried to answer by saying that the number of cases had not increased, only their visibility in letting the public know. Gee, thanks.

On Twitter, #bringbackourgirlsdc is trending. Meanwhile, the FBI was spending resources on finding Tom Brady’s stolen New England Patriots Super Bowl LI jersey. But the discussion around this epidemic is one that’s exposed exactly how difficult missing person cases can be when it comes to children.

When you think of missing kids, we have images in our head of stranger danger and creepy guys in vans luring children with candy. Nightmares of someone sneaking into a home at night and snatching a kid out of bed, or what have you. But many cases have nothing to do with that at all. When it comes to human trafficking, many girls are lured with the promise of some life improvement. In other cases, there is physical coercion. Until cases are solved or people are found, there’s no real way to know why someone left their home.

Perhaps as important is the connectivity between the public’s view of what leaving home means and what the reality of the circumstance might be. A kid could be leaving an abusive home situation. Or, their captor could be telling them how to describe why they left on their own free will. Not to mention that when it comes to black girls, they are so often characterized as either “fast” or not acting age appropriate, an effect that only hurts when it comes to public sympathy in these cases.

The entire situation leaves us with a very frustrating circuit of excuses. People blame the media for not reporting the cases. Police say they need help from the public. Meanwhile, the basic pillars of toxic masculinity, misogyny and racism that create these issues go unaddressed.

Her questions here are important. There is better police work to be done. There is certainly better reporting to be done. But the parts within us that allow us to devalue, denigrate and ultimately ignore women of color are as important to address openly. Let’s not forget that this is still America, where abuse of the black body was not only permitted, but celebrated as a way of life for years.

The solution is about more than safety on the streets. The Congressional Black Caucus is now calling on the FBI to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.” But Relisha Rudd isn’t some singular case.

The underlying trend here is that if you continue to marginalize, mock and mistreat black women as a matter of course in polite society, what happens to them as girls in the criminal world will only continue to get worse.

Daily Dose: 3/24/17

There’s no shame in second place, Puerto Rico

2:30 PMJust want to say thanks to Martenzie Johnson for filling in yesterday with Daily Dose. I was stuck in business travel commute hell and learned the hard way that my driver’s license expired on my birthday this week. Make sure to check yours, folks.

Today’s the day we figure out if the Affordable Care Act will die. If you don’t recall, President Donald Trump hitched his wagon to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who claims he’s been looking to drastically change the health care system in America since he was drinking out of kegs in college, which is weird in itself. Anyway, both plans that have been put together have gotten little support in Congress, but because the president is impatient on everything, he issued an ultimatum to the GOP: Vote on it Friday or else we’re sticking with the status quo. Alrighty then.

The ancillary effects of broader policies definitely affect day-to-day lives. If a country issues draconian rules on basic things like the right to exist in a nation regarding one’s fear of being forced out, there are certain things that people aren’t willing to do. One of them is report crimes. Sort of the same reason why black people don’t like calling the police when they’re victims, because often it is assumed they are the ones that have done wrong. This story about women dropping domestic violence cases for fear of deportation is very sad.

Guns are everywhere in America. With that proliferation comes multiple different scenarios and outlooks. There are those who believe that any limit on anything related to firearms is a bad idea, because it infringes upon the so-called freedom of citizens. There are others who think that a little regulation when it comes to something that could end a life is not only sensible, but necessary. However, there are some who think that there’s a solution: smart guns. Check out this documentary about why that concept hasn’t seemed to be able to get off the ground.

The World Baseball Classic is over, but still getting some run. The United States smoked Puerto Rico in the final this week, winning 8-0. Afterward, the Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones said that he felt like his opponents were a little too ready to party, following a win they hadn’t even secured yet. Jones said as much publicly and Puerto Rico team captain Yadier Molina didn’t take kindly to it. Now, the catcher wants Jones to apologize, claiming that he can’t possibly understand what any medal at all means to the people of Puerto Rico.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Jimmy Fallon and The Roots doing impromptu versions of popular songs with random props has been the stuff of legend for some time. Now, they’ve taken things next level by bringing in Migos to do “Bad and Boujee” all while wearing funny work outfits. Bless this show.

Snack Time: There are not one, but two films about legendary activist and Black Panther Angela Davis. Here’s an interesting story about how the casting of these flicks could and probably should go.

Dessert: Need a gift for that big Beatles/OutKast fan in your life? Here you go.

Daily Dose: 3/23/17

Black people again targeted by a murderous white person

3:00 PMClinton Yates isn’t here today. He was out late celebrating his birthday last night. Actually, he’s in Bristol, Connecticut, handling his business. Little-known fact: Clinton is 137 years old.

NBA players are getting busier … easier. For people of a certain age, you recall the raunchier days of the NBA. From the coke-filled days of the 1980s, the gambling of the 1990s, and the Hpnotiq-and-Hennessy nights of the 2000s, everyone is aware of at least one embarrassing story involving a professional basketball player. But, today, in the era of #brands, the larger-than-life superstars who populate the NBA are no longer straining their bodies late at night, looking for booze and another word that starts with “b.” ESPN writer Tom Haberstroh breaks down the “Tinderization” of today’s NBA.

President Donald Trump is at it again. It seems like it’s been days (or hours, whichever) since the latest Trump administration scandal, but Thursday brought us the commander in chief, himself, in all his glory. Trump sat down with TIME magazine for a wild, wide-ranging interview where he continued his unsubstantiated claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, that more than 3 million undocumented people voted in the 2016 election, that Muslims celebrated the attacks on 9/11, and that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was someway connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Trump ended the interview by telling the TIME reporter that “I’m president, and you’re not.” Nice.

A white man traveled 200 miles to kill a black man. That’s what New York City police officials are saying happened Wednesday following the stabbing death of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman at the hands of Baltimore resident James Harris Jackson. News reports have identified Jackson as a “well-dressed man” and an Army veteran after he allegedly traveled to New York “specifically intending to target male blacks for assault” because “it’s the media capital of the world.” Over here, we’ll call Jackson the racist terrorist that he is.

Quick notes:

  1. Go eat at the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium.
  2. NBC’s highly entertaining The Carmichael Show returns in May with unedited use of the N-word.
  3. The first Power Rangers movie in 20 years comes out today. Read about six former black Power Rangers and what it meant for them to play that role.

Daily Dose: 3/22/17

Wyclef Jean handcuffed, held by LAPD

4:00 PMWe taped another podcast on Tuesday and Danielle Cadet joined us to show off her Northwestern bona fides, since they made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year. We also talked Drake and Dave Chappelle. Have a listen, folks.

Wyclef Jean is a black man in America. Sure, he’s rich and famous, but that doesn’t have anything to do with how the police treat him, because, again, this is the nation we live in. There was an armed robbery in Los Angeles and somehow the former Fugees artist got hemmed up by the police, and now he’s quite angry about it. He wants a formal investigation into racial profiling following his personal incident. That seems a bit lofty, but again, this kind of crap being standard operating procedure is a huge problem.

Toilet paper is a valuable commodity. If you’ve ever been camping or to anywhere where it’s not just considered a given that it will be available, you know how serious things can get in order to find it. In China, TP is not just something that people are providing free of charge. With a billion people, that gets costly, so most places in public operate on a bring-your-own basis, which is hardcore. Check out this story about the lengths some places that DO actually provide it go in order to make sure their stuff isn’t stolen.

We’ve discussed President Donald Trump and Russia. There are all sorts of ties, be they legal or not, that make many people uncomfortable. Also, the head of the FBI pointed out this week that they’ve actually been investigating this, officially. Not to get too speculative, if you’re wondering why this matters, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed it out last week. If the president or anyone in his camp is legitimately financially beholden to another nation and is willing to use public office in this country to repay that debt, we have a huge problem. FiveThirtyEight chats on it.

Don’t come for me, unless I send for you. That’s the message that LeBron James is sending LaVar Ball’s way. Ball is someone we like, but he likes to drop other people’s names in a way that tends to make folks mad. And by talking about James’ children, he upset the King. So much so that James straight-up said publicly, “Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth.” Why he’s engaging with this dude, I don’t know, but this could get good if it escalates.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Have you ever been in a new town or area and wondered: Where can I find a pickup game? Luckily, there’s now an app for that. To be honest, considering all the things that we’ve created shortcuts for, I’m stunned that we took this long to get here. Either way, very smart people.

Snack Time: I understand that the NBA lifestyle is difficult in terms of trying to get your party on while being famous. But the Tinderization of the NBA is basically the best thing ever.

Dessert: Skateboarding is awesome. In Nigeria, the culture is particularly dope.