On Sunday, John Oliver continued to report from his white void for the latest episode of Last Week Tonight which kicked off with addressing the strides and progress that have been made from the last few weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in response from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.
Oliver went down the list of what the current movement has achieved such as the cancelation of Cops and how Sesame Street and CNN teamed for a town hall about racism for children — a town hall that was not liked by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who Oliver called a “one-man homeowners association.”
In addition, the Minneapolis city council has moved to disband the city’s police force while New York has criminalized chokeholds and is set to make police officers’ disciplinary records public. The latter made Michael O’Meara, head of New York’s Police Benevolent Association, angry.
In a clip, O’Meara delivered a passionate speech where he claims that the police are being vilified by media and how they are being included in the conversation. “You have been left out of the conversation because you’re terrible at conversing,” quips Oliver.
On top of that, we have seen the toppling of confederate statues including a statue of Robert E. Lee in Virginia, which Senator Amanda Chase claims is an act of “erasing the history of white people.”
Oliver responds to her saying that she has missed the point adding “You cannot erase the history of white people…it’s like the skid mark on the ass of your favorite shorts. No matter how hard you try, that sh*t’s never coming out.”
This week also saw NASCAR banning the confederate flag from events, which prompted part-time racer Ray Ciccarellia to quit. “Although to be fair that driver had never won a race so we can understand why a flag for losers might have been important to him,” Oliver joked.
In addition, country music group Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A while HBO Max pulled Gone With the Wind. As a result, White House Press Secretary, clearly speaking on behalf of Donald Trump, complained about the removal of the movie saying, “Where do you draw the line?”
“The answer to where you draw the line is literally always ‘somewhere’,” said Oliver. Also, HBO is not permanently pulling the movie it’s going back up with additional context.
He jokingly added, “Finally, who gives a sh*t if something’s not on HBO Max. In fact, there may be no better way to obliterate all evidence of something’s existence than to put it on HBO Max, the only ash heap of history that costs $15 a month.”
He continued, “Symbolic progress is progress and a lot of these changes have been a long time coming but this week also brought stubborn reminders of the institutional inertia that is going to make real change so difficult like Joe Biden sticking by his plan to invest an additional $300 million into community policing efforts which is the precise opposite of the what reading the room is.”
Oliver pointed to more news of unjust treatment of Black men and women by police officers across the country including footage of teenagers getting handcuffed for jaywalking in Tulsa. Also in Oklahoma, an officer told Derrick Scott “I don’t care” after he said he couldn’t breathe. Scott later died in a hospital from a collapsed lung.
“And perhaps the most infuriating of all, as protestors continue to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own home by police executing a no-knock warrant,” Oliver said.
The Louisville police department responded to Taylor’s death with a four-page incident report which was almost entirely blank. The report claimed that Taylor had no injuries even though she was shot eight times.
“That is appalling,” said Oliver. “And when it comes to erasing history, this seems a f*ck of a lot worse than letting a bunch of statues topple, cracked and beheaded — or as it would probably be described on a Louisville police report: no injuries.”
He punctuated the segment by saying, “Yes, it is important to deal with the uncomfortable aspects of our past, but there is also hard, necessary work to be done in changing the unacceptable conditions of our present.”
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