As it turns out, the story of Frank Sobotka tells us everything

You already knew The Wire was full of gems. “You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way.” “You come at the king, you best not miss.” But among all the power moves and palace intrigue, David Simon packed some instructive-ass jewels you might have missed. As David Dennis Jr. points out, the show’s second season, particularly the arc about Baltimore’s dockworkers and their ill-fated smuggling plot, presents a razor-sharp portrait of White privilege and expectations. To watch it, Dennis writes, “is to see the privileged become the villain — despite, or maybe because of, the fact that they don’t have to deal with the problems that plague Black communities across the proverbial railroad tracks.” …


Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email. From the arrival (finally) of a new president to the week in racism, from pop-culture picks to a must-read LEVEL story, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. If you’re loving what you’re reading, tell a friend to tell a friend.

Four years ago, after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president of the United States of America, we all knew we were in for some shit.

A long-time racist, frequently failed businessman, and former reality television star was suddenly leader of the free world, and he wasted no time torpedoing a nation that was already deeply fractured. His Twitter account became the most disturbing social media destination; his followers, many of whom are White supremacists, became increasingly brazen with their hate. …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

‘Leader of the Proud Boys’ is one hell of a resume builder

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

6. CEO of Young Money

Who knows what the hell kind of deal Lil Wayne made with Trump. But now that the rapper has officially been pardoned by his soon-to-be unemployed homie, don’t be surprised if that gesture is repaid in the form of enlistment as head of Weezy’s record label. Seeing Trump dramatically swivel around in a boss’ chair rubbing those tiny little hands together is a special kind of chaos that feels appropriate for 2021. Just wait for the face tats.

5. Commissioner of the Big3

Tunechi isn’t the only rapper the Donald broke bread with while in office. …


This Week in Racism

It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

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Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life. But no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we created a weekly racism surveillance machine. …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Hit dogs holler, that’s all we’re saying

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Photo: Zero Creatives/Getty Images

5. “This is a pretty disgusting article. If Parler got silenced why should Medium not get the same treatment? It’s far, far worse.”

Totally, man. Calling for Trump to face (legal) repercussions for his (legal) violations is far, far worse than fantasizing about murdering elected officials, based on a conspiracy theory that has been dismissed in courtrooms across America due to not having even a shred of evidence to support it. The only thing you forgot in this gem is telling us we’re the real racists.

4. “How is it difficult for POCs to vote? Even voter ID laws which ensure against illegitimate voting, are somehow construed as racist — as if POCs are legally unable to obtain IDs.”

You know that phrase “do your research”? Wait, what we are even asking? Of course you do. People love trotting it out before revealing that their conclusions are based on doctored videos and citation-free journalism. …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

All hail the King!

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Photo illustration; image sources: Agence France Presse/Getty Images, Flyer via Elegant Flyer

5. Enjoy all of the classic party flyers

Every Martin Luther King Jr. Day there emerges a new set of heavily photoshopped flyers that depict the icon with all of the D-boy essentials: a thick wad of cash, gaudy jewelry, strippers, bottles of Hennessy. It’s damn near a Black institution. Go ahead and celebrate by basking in their stupidity, and then daydreaming about the civil rights leader’s iconic march on Compound.

4. Share an MLK quote that makes White people uncomfortable

Your White friends love to post “Kumbaya” King quotes about peace, unity, and faith in America. But they don’t know the real MLK was a whole revolutionary. So share one of his spicier quotables. Here’s a start: “Why does White America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains?” But don’t attribute it to him. Drop that tidbit after they get angry and call you racist. …


My mother warned me that posting is always a bad idea

“Coming of age in the golden age of MySpace and Facebook meant that my mother and every single Baby Boomer adult around me urgently insisted that posting anything personal online was a Bad Idea™. Holding a drink at a party? Bad idea. Posing in a bikini on the beach? Bad idea. A status where I wrote “fuck”? BAD IDEA. The reasoning was simple: The internet is forever, which would allow employers to one day find my digital footprint and deem me an unprofessional, unhireable mess.

You can then imagine my surprise when pro-Trump insurrectionists did some pretty bad crimes at the U.S. Capitol and just posted about it on Facebook! Did they have no adults in their lives who warned them about the dangers of oversharing online? Were they living under rocks? It’s flabbergasting!” …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The world is yours!

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Photo: fizkes/Getty Images

4. Sunday

Regardless of the extended weekend configuration, Sunday is a sad, anxiety-ridden reminder that the end is near (with no operating Chick-fil-As to soothe your soul). Before you know it, you’ll be back to fielding Slack messages and forcing smiles throughout Zoom calls in which you have to remind your co-worker Jan for the millionth time that her mic is muted, for fuck’s sake.

3. Friday

Friday has long held a special place in the cultural canon — hat tip to Cube and Kanye for their contributions — but it loses some of its luster as part of a Big Three. We know you already half-ass it on the regular; when it becomes a day off, it’s still a bit like business as usual. …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

‘Lying’ to ‘inciting insurrection against the U.S. government’ is a hell of a spread

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Photo: Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

3. Bill Clinton

Once upon a time, in a 1998 New Yorker essay, Toni Morrison famously dubbed Clinton the first Black president — a statement that has long been misinterpreted as affectionate. In actuality, she was referring to the way the saxophone-playing prez was scrutinized and disgraced for his sexuality. A Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted to impeach Slick Willie for obstruction of justice and lying under oath, due to his denial that he had an adulterous sexual relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. …

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