Kareem Reacts to This Week's News: Queen Dies, Bannon's Comeuppance, Racist Bank Tries to Steal Check, Kyrgios' Epic (and Comic) Meltdown, and More
My thoughts on the top--and not so top--stories in this week's political, sports, and pop culture news.
Politics: This Week in Open Racism
Summary: When a Black woman, Lizie Pugh, 71, tried to open a savings account with a jackpot check for about $12,000 from a Michigan casino at a Fifth Third Bank, she was told by three White bank employees that the check was fraudulent and they insisted on keeping the check. Only when Pugh threatened to call the police did the bank return her check. Fifth Third Bank released a statement in response: “At Fifth Third, we are committed to fair and responsible banking and prohibit discrimination of any kind. Our employees are trained to help every person with their banking needs — customer or non-customer — while minimizing the risk of any potential fraud.”
My Take: I can’t decide which is more infuriating—and racist—the employees clearly discriminatory behavior in trying to bully this elderly Black woman, or the bank refusing to take responsibility by releasing a statement that basically says, “Move along. No racism to see here, folks.”
If the employees were so convinced this was fraud, why didn’t they call the police themselves? And why, when the woman threatened to call the police, did they return her check? Why didn’t they call the casino to verify the check? Rather than just shrug it off, every Black person—as well as every company and individual against racism—should immediately withdraw their money from Fifth Third Bank and move it somewhere else.
Sports: Tennis Tantrum All Athletes Can Relate To
Summary: After Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios lost in the men’s quarterfinals of the U.S. Open to Russian Karen Khachanov, he congratulated his opponent at the net, then went to the sidelines to smash two racquets against the ground.
My Take: I’d like to wag my finger at Kyrgios and talk about sportspersonship and being a role model for the kids watching, but there is something so comical about this that it’s hard to be too judgmental. First, it was a heartbreaker of a match: 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4. Second, Kyrgios seemed to be having some physical pain issues throughout the match. Third, he acted calm and sincere at the net when congratulating Khachanov. And then a few seconds later he just snapped, beat the hell out of those two racquets, and picked up his stuff and left as if nothing had happened.
Yes, the outraged commentators are correct that he shouldn’t have done that. But there was something so honest and spontaneous about his frustrated outburst—not directed at refs or the crowd or other players but at himself—that all athletes can relates to. I just can’t hate on him for it.
Music: A Jazz Legend Sings Again
Summary: Legendary Flora Purim, 80, talks about her decades as one of the greatest jazz singers ever. Her first studio album in 17 years, If You Will, was recently released. Prim collaborated with Chick Corea and Stan Getz. The interview is a wonderful story of her rise to jazz stardom.
Here’s Purim and Chick Corea performing “You’re Everything.” The song starts off in a slow lovesick melancholy then suddenly accelerates into an energetic celebration of love.