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

Charlotte erupts after police-related shooting

Protestors take to streets after Keith Lamont Scott was killed

12:00 PMOn the evening news, none of the TV stations in Charlotte, North Carolina, cut into coverage. By the 11 p.m. shows, it was all they reported on. On Tuesday afternoon, Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by Charlotte police while they were searching for a different person, who was wanted on outstanding warrants. The news spread across Facebook after Scott’s daughter went live to tell the world exactly what she thinks about the law enforcement in her town. Warning: explicit language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFO7kVjtipo

That’s two black men in two days, shot and killed by police officers over matters that were unrelated to them. The first was Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His name had barely become a trending topic as a hashtag before another one was killed. Scott was 43 years old.

By nightfall, crowds had gathered near where the shooting occurred. They took over the roads and took their protest to Interstate 85. The police broke out the tear gas, then the demonstrators shut down the highway. What’s so depressing about all this is that we now have a basic narrative for everything that happens in these situations. Person gets shot. Mass of people show up in anger. Police attempt to disperse legal gathering. A handful of officers are hurt in the exchange. Twitter takes notice. Law enforcement starts in with smear campaign of victim. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Scott apparently had a gun, which apparently means he’s a threat. It should be noted that North Carolina is an open-carry state. A permit is NOT required to carry a gun openly in the state. Meaning, outside of profiling and assumptions, this person was doing nothing wrong. It was first rumored that Scott was sitting in his car reading a book when the shooting occurred. According to police, getting in and out of his car with a gun in a neighborhood where there *might* be a criminal was a good enough reason to shoot him. It’s unclear if he pointed the gun or not.

To be clear, here’s why that line of reasoning works with a certain element of the public. Let’s just start with the assertion that black people are dangerous. You have to start there, otherwise, nothing makes sense. Then, we move to the concept of a black person carrying a gun. This is where the extrajudicial and judicial meet. Again, it is perfectly legal to carry a gun openly in North Carolina. But, once this black person, with a gun, is not immediately obedient to an officer’s demands, many folks who consider themselves reasonable people think that’s a decent justification for lethal force. Meanwhile, a guy sets off a bomb in the middle of New York City and manages to not get shot to death by the authorities.

The flurry of recent high-profile shooting prompted United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to address the matter. “These tragic incidents have once again left Americans with feelings of sorrow, anger and uncertainty,” Lynch said at the annual conference for the International Bar Association. “They have once again highlighted — in the most vivid and painful terms — the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of color. And in Charlotte, they have once again led to widespread protest. Unfortunately, we saw several instances of violence during the protests, and 12 police officers and a number of demonstrators were injured as a result. Protest is protected by our Constitution and is a vital instrument for raising issues and creating change. But when it turns violent, it undermines the very justice that it seeks to achieve and I urge those demonstrating in Charlotte to remain peaceful in their expressions of protest and concern.”

In her wide-ranging remarks, she added that the Department of Justice is trying to work in everyone’s best interest. “At the Department of Justice, we are working tirelessly to build trust between law enforcement officers and the communities we serve and we will continue to do so. We will continue to forge dialogue between citizens and police officers. We will continue to do everything we can to give the brave men and women who wear the badge the tools and training they need to do their jobs safely, effectively and fairly. And we will continue to protect the rights and liberties of every American – no matter who they are, what they look like, or what uniform they wear,” she said.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton plays in Charlotte. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reps Charlotte. Residents will tell you that Charlotte is vulnerable and not a city particularly ready for this discussion or fight, if it comes to it. The Panthers play the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. That national anthem ceremony will be a heavily scrutinized one.

New De La Soul documentary

from ‘Mass Appeal’ chronicles the group’s long journey

5:18 PM

When it comes to lessons on how to stay not only relevant, but successful, there’s no better example in hip-hop than De La Soul. When the three kids from Amityville, Long Island, New York, burst on the scene back in the late 1980s, they were a completely different look and sound from what most of the game was doing in that era. Lazily categorized as rap hippies, their career has spanned four decades.

Personally, Buhloone Mindstate is my favorite album of theirs, but Stakes Is High probably ranks as the best. Anyway, their journey has been legendary, and with the help of Mass Appeal they now have a documentary to show for it. The half-hour film has a lot of great moments for older heads who remember how the group’s identities were always being tested. There’s a great appearance from then music A&R Dante Ross and, of course, the group itself, along with Prince Paul, is a big part of the film.

Perhaps the most interesting footage is of both Paul and Maceo making beats. Those clips have the feel of Rhythm Roulette, the feature that the site does featuring random producers plying their trade after a trip to the record store. Anyway, it’s worth noting that when De La Soul tried to crowdfund a record, the group asked for $110,000. Their fans chimed in with more than $600,000.

Indeed, De La Soul is not dead.

What is #TheRealAU

Black students at American University set to protest racist treatment on campus

2:55 PMWhile Howard and Hampton universities were across town battling over who could call themselves “The Real HU” on the gridiron, farther uptown in the leafier climes of Northwest Washington D.C., black students at American University were using the hashtag #TheRealAU to shed light on incidents across campus that they say are racially motivated. One student told The Washington Post that a banana was thrown at her late at night inside a dorm.

The school held a town hall on the matter, but at the same time claimed the scenarios were not racially biased. “Regarding the known facts, on Sept. 8, an incident that was not characterized as bias-related occurred in a residence hall,” a university statement said. It’s not the first time something has happened like this in recent weeks, and the AU Black Student Alliance issued a statement of its own regarding the matter.

It’s also important to understand the climate of American University. Known for turning out many politically minded graduates, many people on campus would consider themselves progressive. But it’s also the kind of place where most of the black people you see there are those working in facilities or food service on campus.

In 2015, Sydney Gore wrote a story titled “What It’s Really Like To Be Black On Campus: As Told By a Black College Grad” for Nylon magazine. In the essay, she describes how in her final year on campus at AU, the moods of racial tension across the country exploded into a barrage of insults on social media in the university environment.

“Instead of being met with support by our peers, we were criticized. Students posted statuses about how our chanting was disrupting them from studying because this happened to occur during finals,” Gore wrote. “The backlash was so bad that it got to a point where people were calling our demonstrations a ‘minstrel show’ on Yik Yak. (I want to point out that my student body constantly rallies in support for anything that has to do with the environment, but as soon as the discussion turns to the human lives that occupy that space, allies are silent and nowhere to be found.)”

There’s a protest scheduled on campus for 4 p.m. on Monday, and we’ll update as needed.

Daily Dose: 9/19/16

Suspect in custody following New York City explosion

2:00 PMMy colleague Mike Wise wrote an incredibly personal column about how his life relates to the situation at Penn State University. We’ll have him on the All Day Podcast to discuss it. Be sure to tune in.

An explosion went off in New York City over the weekend and the effects are still being felt across the region. There was confusion from the beginning. Facebook immediately set up a safe check-in system and politicians were using it for their campaign gain. But, behind all that, the blast that was previously not considered to be affiliated with terrorism maybe sort of is now. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump thinks we should be profiling people, by the way. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on Good Morning America on Monday, trying to ease peoples’ fears. A suspect has been caught.

Bears are tremendous animals. They’re almost fun to watch. They get a bad rap as overly dangerous because people have these fears about getting mauled or their children being eaten or whatever. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with them. From Berenstain to Yogi to Chicago, bears have always been good to me. Plus, how can you dislike anything you can watch catch their own fish? In certain residential areas, though, bears are a real problem. On this week’s What’s The Point podcast, FiveThirtyEight’s team discusses the secret to tracking bears.

When Washington and Dallas faced off on NFL Sunday, it was a heated battle. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman faced off against Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant a couple of times, but ultimately, the Cowboys prevailed, 27-23, after Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn’t hit any receivers open downfield. Anyways, after said loss, the league decided it wanted to drug test Norman. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy. Why is not exactly clear, but he felt that making someone urinate in a cup instantly after a game is insulting. ESPN’s John Keim reports.

Courtney B. Vance is that dude. The longtime actor who portrayed Johnnie Cochran in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a limited series Sunday night, and his speech was tremendous. These things are not always easy to pull off without going fully rogue, but Vance nailed it. Check out that little punch move he pulls on Cuba Gooding Jr. before hitting the stage. He then proceeded to shout out his wife, Angela Bassett, then walked off with a hilarious kicker.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re not familiar with the concept of “guarantee games,” it’s when big college football programs pay smaller schools to come play them at home. The money is guaranteed for the smaller program and the win is guaranteed for the big school. But, there is a psychological cost, at some point.

Snack Time: Reasons Nos. 1-10 as to why I don’t attend NFL games as a fan: fights. People get hammered and act extremely violent. On Sunday, we had two more entries to add to that list.

Dessert: Danny Brown’s new song is mega fire. Give it a spin.

Daily Dose: 9/16/16

Step right up, get your iPhones

3:00 PMI went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture this week. It was a transformational experience, to say the least. I wrote about it.

Guess what, folks? President Barack Obama was born in the United States! Who knew? For years, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wasn’t one of those people. The man who rose to prominence politically when he publicly demanded that Obama release his birth certificate is suddenly acting like Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is the one who created this issue. This is truly remarkable in its audacity, if we’re being honest. My man is literally just lying to people’s faces then telling you he’s not. ABC News has the story.

People are still lining up for phones. We’ll know that society has advanced as a populous when this is no longer a thing, but until then, we’ll keep talking about it. The culture of the people who do this is fascinating to me. Who are these people who have the disposable income and, more importantly, the time to just sit around outside on a lawn chair waiting for a piece of technology to be released? Anyway, Apple has released the iPhone 7, which is the first version to not have a headphone jack, if you care about that. ABC News reports.

Since the Emmys are around the corner, let’s talk some more TV. A lot of people are on television for a long time, sometimes playing different, but mainly similar roles. There are actors who excel on multiple programs, but others who have only been solid in one role. For example, Kadeem Hardison will always be Dwayne Wayne from A Different World. How that dynamic of intertextuality plays into who gets what awards is a fascinating discussion. FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey breaks down stars who were basically great in one role.

Megan Rapinoe is a real one. She took her protest game to the next level, after Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch threw shade during a National Women’s Soccer League game. She knelt during the national anthem before a game she was playing with the U.S. women’s national team in Columbus, Ohio. Worth noting that in that city, a 13-year-old was killed by police just this week. Anyway, it’s a completely different thing to do this when you’re actually wearing the flag on your jersey, so good for her. ESPN’s Graham Hays reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If nothing else, rapper Bobby Shmurda is a good friend. The Brooklynite, who’s been wrapped up in legal battles for what seems like forever, managed to get less jail time for his friend Rowdy Rebel. How’d he do it? By taking a longer sentence himself. That’s loyalty.

Snack Time: You know you’ve got a pretty disgusting mass transit system if you have to try to design a paint that actually repels urine. Alas, that’s exactly what they’re doing in Philadelphia, if you’re visiting anytime soon.

Dessert: So, they’re making real life Transformers now. Very cool.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is beyond real

and it might be too much for some people to handle

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

Daily Dose: 9/15/16

America’s black history museum is ready for its close-up

2:01 PMIf you’ve ever been in a spelling bee, you know it’s stressful. For whatever reason, I’ve signed up to do another one next week at the National Press Club. Maybe I’ll win this time.

Another day, another black kid gets killed by police in Ohio. This time it was in Columbus, Ohio, where a kid was carrying a BB gun that apparently is a replica of a police weapon. He’s alleged to have been involved in an armed robbery, which means that if you’re black, you deserve to die, apparently. Unsurprisingly, the mayor of the city came out and said we of course need to have “patience.” Funny how in this scenario the authorities never seem to say that we need to find, say, “justice” or “peace.” ABC News reports on Tyree King’s death.

The Emmys are coming up on Sunday. You can prepare yourself for a night full of white people walking on stage to accept their trophies. Oh, wait, what’s that? The voting mechanism was changed up, and there’s now a lot more shows with people of color involved? Yippee. I guess that means we’re really not sure who’s going to win anything. Meanwhile, we’ve got newspapers asking us if “diverse TV” is here to stay. Anyway, FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey breaks down the strongest Emmy categories of all time.

I went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Wednesday. The place is incredible. It’s got just about everything you could want and, if we’re being honest, is probably the best pound-for-pound museum that the Smithsonian has. The food was solid, too. It officially opens up next week and I imagined that it’ll basically be jam-packed for the better part of an entire calendar year. Which means, if you want tickets, you better sign up now. ABC News took a look inside of the facility.

My thoughts on Harambe jokes are well-known. They are basically all funny to me. College GameDay is awash in signs commemorating the slain gorilla and the meme has people making up fake stories about Chinese zoos and colleges handing out stuffed animals to remember the former Cincinnati Zoo resident. Harambe is the meme of 2016. So, of course, people want to get jerseys with his name on it. For whatever reason, someone thought this would be a good thing to ban. ESPN reports that said ban has now been reversed.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re wondering why NFL teams spend so much energy showing love to the troops, now we know why. It’s not because of their love of the military, or the flag, or the national anthem. It’s because the Department of Defense paid them. With tax dollars. Think of this the next time you worry about what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick does.

Snack Time: The family of Sandra Bland has settled for $1.9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. She died in a Texas jail cell after she was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. The video of her arrest is heartbreaking.

Dessert: There’s new music from Play Action and Hit Boy. Dope track.