1. #FeesMustFall Resurges at South African Universities.
South African university students have been busy for a long time rising up against the state to demand the decolonization of their curricula, as well as for the right to a free college education. This week, however, tensions peaked after Blade Nzimande, the minister of higher education, proposed an 8% fee increase for 2017. In protest, students took to the streets at the University of the Witwatersrand, otherwise known as ‘Wits’ (like vittles, but shorter! Hehe good one, Afrikaans), as well as other schools across the country, like the University of Cape Town where classes were suspended. Higher education is a major issue for South African youth, considering how 80% of the South African population is black, but black students make up only 25% of the entire student population country-wide. While the protests were largely peaceful, police have been firing tear gas, rubber bullets, and even some gunfire for the past few days of this week. As emotions rise, we’ll be watching closely, in solidarity with the students obvs.
2. Three Separate Students Use Snapchat for Racism.
Remember the good old days when a nice, clay face mask was just for purifying your pores and not fodder for weird racist jokes? Well, those days are officially over, folks; this week, three Snapchat users each made an entirely separate, egregious, racist faux pas--two of which were with the once-sacred face mask (the other was just a #classic racist threat from an angry white man watching football). With all three of these offenders in schools in different parts of the country, we’re understandably a little freaked out by the onslaught of racist messaging from young people in the U.S.--the good news is, all three of them have either chosen to leave or have been expelled from their respective universities, sending a message to other students about the severity of racist behavior on campus. And while the two snaps with the face masks were clearly in (failed) jest, the third snap was a blunt, racist threat veiled by no attempt at humor that leaves us all with a lot to consider about the state of racism as it stands in this country. Also, the dude is a Trump supporter. So.
3. In Massachusetts, Black Men Can Flee The Police Without Suspicion.
After multiple news stories this week about even more racially charged police murders of black men, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has just ruled that it is officially legitimate for a black man to flee the police in order to avoid an encounter. If you think this sounds like a strange news story, you’re not alone--but the thing is, for years now, the ACLU has been providing prettyyyyy damning numbers about the disproportionate amount of black people stopped by Boston police. We’re talking, like, black-people-make-up-63%-of-police-encounters-while-they-only-make-up-23%-of-the-overall-population kind of disproportionate. And while the Boston Police Commissioner isn’t thrilled about it, anti-racist activists have spoken out in favor of this ruling, citing the importance of courts in the fight against institutionalized racism in U.S. politics and culture. It may seem like a strange step for the courts to take, but overall it’s little victories like these that will lead to more equality in policing.