The news is stressful. We get it—we write it! Maybe you’re protesting, maybe you’re donating, maybe you’re reading up or keeping tabs on the way your representatives are responding to the present moment, maybe you’re buying from one of these Black-owned Portland brands. Keep doing that!
Staying engaged is a marathon, though, not a sprint. You’re gonna need breaks. When you take one, consider checking out some of the stuff keeping us sane (or somewhere close), which we’ve collected here in our weekly culture roundup.
Dave Chappelle’s surprise new special derives its title from the length of time Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck. Chappelle drives the point with a sledgehammer: eight minutes and 46 seconds. It was also the time at which Chappelle was born, he says. 8:46 a.m. “I can’t get that number out of my head,” he says. And, now, neither can we, nor should we. “Who. Are. You. Talking to. What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God? That’s what is happening right now,” Chappelle says. “It’s not for a single cop. It’s for all of it. Fucking all of it.”
To use a word that’s been used and overused this week, it’s an unflinching observation of the dots that led us to this moment, this legacy of stolen Black lives. Chappelle offers a small apology, saying, “Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand,” but it’s exactly that unrefined anguish that gives every word such depth. It’s a powerful reminder that the road from slavery to Jim Crow to now is not very long at all. George Floyd called to his dead mother as he was dying. Chappelle says in his set that the only other time he’s seen someone do that is when his own father was dying and called out to his grandmother. Later he comes back to his great-grandmother and great-grandfather—“and they were slaves! Are you out of your fucking mind if you can’t see that?”
Little did we college students know when this book was assigned to us for an interpersonal communication class how radically powerful it would be. New York Times best-selling author, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies, public speaker, and Black feminist Brittney Cooper expresses her anger at a perpetual system of racial injustice that is and continues to be reinforced by those who benefit from it. Through the lens of Black feminist theory, in a conversational and at times comedic tone, she reminds us that lived experiences and emotion cannot and should not be erased from the testimonies of women and people of color. As the title suggests, Cooper has a way of channeling her rage—and she knows how to unapologetically call out bullshit when she sees it—into the voice of an activist who genuinely invites readers into the conversation. Listen to Cooper herself read the audiobook aloud to fully experience her superpower come to life. —Lauren Carlos, editorial intern