Olympics, Racism & Rain: Message from Associate Editor Aswad Walker


Though the Olympics is long over, it still has lessons to teach us. For instance, who won the most medals in Tokyo? The U.S.? China? The ROC (whatever the hell that is)? Naw. It was the country I’m calling Pan-Africa. Every time an announcer said Canada, Kenya, Italy, the Netherlands, U.S., Jamaica, Germany, Puerto Rico, etc., won a track and field medal, I look up and see some brother or sister crossing the finish line to make it happen. Why is this important? Most of us grew up with the idea that Blackfolk are the world’s superior athletes (the flipside of that assertion is the erroneous belief that Blackfolk are behind everybody else intellectually). But even up to the 1960s many believed athletes with Aryan (white) genes were superior.

The relay runners representing Team Great Britain, Team Jamaica and Team United States celebrate winning their respective medals after the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Tokyo Olympics, however, reminds us that Pan-Africa is literally #1. And if we ever recognized our connection, look out world! Because it’s not just in athletics. We have gold medal intellectual, artistic and humanitarian abilities, as well. Because the math used to compute Olympic athlete times, the architectural principles used to erect those stadiums, the mapping of the stars and planets used to create the calendars to let us know what day and time it is, and the gold that made those medals… all that came from the genius of Pan-Africa.


Governors Greg Abbott (TX) and Ron DeSants (FL). AP.

COVID cases are skyrocketing, yet Donald Trump lapdogs, governors Greg Abbott (TX) and Ron DeSantis (FL), are doing everything possible to put children’s lives at risk by shunning mask mandates. DeSantis has even threatened teacher salaries and school funding if teachers make students mask up. The TEA joined in on the madness saying schools neither have to report when a child or teacher has COVID, nor conduct contact tracing to warn potentially exposed individuals. These unconscionable policies and procedures that put kids and their parents at risk, are born out of a hyper-racist belief that Black votes are not legitimate because in the eyes/minds of Trump cult members, Blackfolk aren’t real citizens. This racist logic demands a “culture war” on educational truth and science. Hence, the no mask, no vaccine brigade are the same folk who want no Black history taught in schools. But at what cost? These asinine positions put the lives of their own racist spouses, parents and children at risk. To paraphrase the Stone City prophet Rick James, “Racism is a helluva drug.”


Debbie Bosworth (left) and Karla Hopkins. Screenshot: WKYC/News 19

One of my dad’s favorite sayings is, “Don’t piss in my face and tell me it’s raining.” In other words, “Stop lying!” When those not invited to the cookout say “There’s no systemic racism,” just know, that’s not rain they’re throwing in your face. The Root’s Michael Harriot provided a not-so-subtle example of systemic racism when recently tweeting about two women charged with the same crime. The white woman committed more crimes, over a longer period of time, stole way more money, had 21 more charges and was facing over 55 more years in prison than the sister. Yet, the Black woman received three years while her white counterpart got probation. Lord knows, I much rather spend time on uplifting stories like hometown hero Beyonce appearing on four Bazaar covers and introducing her new rodeo-themed clothing line or celebrating the incredible season 4 of The Chi. But I also feel compelled to remind us of the reality we must overcome so we can build the reality we deserve.