White supremacy is a serious threat, and “REVOLT Black News Weekly” is investigating its surge in the nation and how it can be stopped. On Friday (May 19), global news anchor Mara S. Campo hosted an at times scary episode that keyed in on “Black bodies under attack” as well as Black families battling for justice with independent autopsies, Gen Z making its imprint on the world and, of course, a salute to The Notorious B.I.G. for his heavenly 51st birthday.
The episode started with a look at one of the biggest and well-documented threats to our country — radicalized white men. President Joe Biden spoke on the threat of white supremacy during his commencement speech at Howard University, which came soon after an attack at an Allen, Texas shopping mall by a gunman who reportedly had a swastika tattoo. His speech was also a year after the heinous mass shooting in Buffalo at a supermarket that targeted Black patrons in a Black neighborhood. Per the episode, white supremacist violence is dangerously on the rise.
Just some of the domestic terrorists that “RBN” noted included Dylann Roof, who killed nine Black people at a church in South Carolina in 2015; a man who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring over 30 others at the 2017 Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville; and the white nationalist who killed 23 at a Texas Walmart.
“It’s pretty bad. The white supremacist movement in the United States is surging, I’ll put it that way,” said Lecia Brooks, a senior advisor at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “It’s a danger as we see played out in these horrific shootings that take place.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports there were at least 733 hate groups within the United States in 2021, and 98 were white nationalist groups. Per the FBI, there were 6,121 hate crimes in 2016. In 2021, that number rose to 10,840, an increase of 77 percent and the highest level of hate violence in three decades. But most disturbing, hate crimes against Black Americans account for half of all race-based crimes. Also in 2021, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security declared white supremacist violence was the biggest threat to the country.
“The most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland is white supremacy,” said President Biden at Howard University. And only two miles away, the far-right group Patriot Front was reportedly holding a rally while carrying racist paraphernalia.
Brooks added, “What most people fail to recognize is that these ongoing culture wars — this anti-LGTBQ, this anti-trans, this anti-woman, this anti-people of color — is all tied together in this white supremacist ideology.”
Additional cause for concern and fear comes with the rise of vigilantism. Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, WI in 2020, yet he was acquitted of all charges. Recently, in New York City, 24-year-old Daniel Penny was arrested after putting a Black street performer in a chokehold, which reportedly killed the mentally ill man.
Continuing with the theme of the criminal justice system, “RBN” took a deep dive on medical examiner offices and the autopsies they conduct, which are often crucial pieces of evidence in murder investigations. Many Black families feel that independent autopsies are there only hope for justice. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been paying for autopsies to help families discover the truth about the demise of their loved ones.
A potent example of a case where an independent autopsy was essential was the death of Laquan McDonald in 2014. Although the officer who shot and killed him was initially cleared because of his claims of self-defense, an autopsy released months later revealed the Chicago teen had been shot 16 times, including nine times in the back. A lawsuit was filed demanding the release of the police footage of the shooting, which, upon being made public, revealed that McDonald was walking away when he was shot. In 2018, the officer was finally convicted of second-degree murder.
Fortunately, McDonald’s autopsy was thorough and complete. But too often, Black families allegedly do not get the same treatment, particularly in police-involved shootings. Sometimes, it comes down to who conducted the autopsy. The autopsy is conducted by the coroner or the medical examiner, depending on the state. The latter is a forensic pathologist who conducts the autopsy themselves and is usually appointed by the mayor. But the coroner is elected or appointed and may also be a police officer or prosecutor in the same county. Interestingly, they are not required to have medical training and instead hire a forensic pathologist to conduct the autopsy.
Because of this, an independent autopsy — if you can afford one — is critical. A 2021 study found an astonishing 55 percent of fatal encounters with the police between 1980 and 2018 were misclassified in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System. The miscalculation rate was a horrifying 59.5 percent in deaths of Black people. Too often, independent autopsies reveal inconsistencies with what the authorities claimed and spotlights what the evidence actually indicates to have happened.
Lashawn Thompson, 35, was found dead in Fulton County Jail, and his death was ruled “undetermined” although the autopsy reportedly mentioned insect bites. Thompson’s family claimed he had more than 1,000 bed bugs on his body when the schizophrenic man was found dead in his cell, and they also alleged he was “eaten alive.” The family is seeking a second independent autopsy and it’s being paid for by Kaepernick. The former NFL quarterback launched the Autopsy Initiative in 2022, where he pays the fees (usually $3000 to $5000) for a secondary autopsy for families of anyone whose death is police-related.
While Generations X, boomers and millennials continue to beef, “RBN” correspondent Kennedy Rue took a look at how Generation Z is asserting itself and making their own rules. Whether it’s sports, education, tech or activism, Gen Z is 69 million strong and the most diverse group as 14 percent are Black, 4 percent are multiracial and 25 percent are Hispanic.
“I love the fact that Gen Zers really feel rooted in who they are,” said author Tamara Zantell, the mother of a Gen Zer. For example, according to Edelman, 70 percent of Gen Zers are involved in a social or political cause. From social justice, to gun control, to climate change, they are often in the lead.
“I think Gen Z knows where it’s at,” said Joyel Crawford, an author and career coach. “They know what they want. I think it’s a fantastic thing to embrace, and to celebrate and acknowledge. When companies are looking to hire talent, you would want somebody who is sure of themselves and confident. That’s something that’s needed, especially in leading our global economy.”
Also in the episode was a summer entertainment preview of tours to watch (including an on-the-ground look at the Something in the Water festival), a dive into the Hollywood Writers Guild strike and more. Of course, there was also a special nod to the birthday of the late, great Notorious B.I.G. “Biggie made me want to work at Bad Boy — as much as Puff was that guy, Biggie was his greatest creation,” said reality star Rich Dollaz. Rest in power, Christopher Wallace.
Be sure to catch new installments of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app. Plus, watch a quick clip from the episode below.
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