Who gets to decide what is racism?

The United States is finalizing efforts to send millions of AstraZeneca vaccines to Mexico and Canada. The FBI seeks help in identifying suspects in the Capitol riot. And the Atlanta shootings have renewed the debate over white violence and privilege.

It’s Alex with Thursday’s news.

But first, murder hornets again?! The United States and Canada are setting up for a showdown as the 2021 nesting season starts.

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Who gets to decide what is racism, hate? 

Eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, were killed Tuesday in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas before police arrested Robert Aaron Long, 21, a white man, and charged him with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. For many, the killings were clear acts of racism – yet the notion drew pushback from authorities and critics on social media, writes USA TODAY’s Marc Ramirez. For some, the situation echoes a history of moments when others’ perceived racist experiences were downplayed and dismissed by detractors who called such concerns overblown or too emotional. “Those in power – and in this case, those who are white and male – maintain their power partly by determining and defining what constitutes violations of these rules,” said Charissa Cheah, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. “What we are seeing is a key characteristic of institutional and systemic racism and misogyny.”

The victims in the Georgia shootings included a small-business owner, an Army veteran and a wife on a date with her husband. Some of the victims’ names had not been released as of Thursday afternoon; others were identified as Xiaojie Tan, 49, Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, and Daoyou Feng, 44. 

  • Asian women lived in fear – long before the shootings Tuesday night that showed America the brutality of anti-Asian violence.
  • These powerful photos show communities gathering to unite against anti-Asian hate and remember the Atlanta shooting victims.

Councilmember Helen Gym address community members during a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent. (Photo: JOE LAMBERTI/USA TODAY NETWORK ATLANTIC GROUP)

Real quick

  • No stimulus check yet? Use IRS “Get My Payment” tool to find the status of new COVID-19 relief payments.
  • Peloton says a child has died in an accident involving the company’s Tread+ treadmill.
  • Anti-Asian hashtags soared after Donald Trump first tied COVID-19 to China on Twitter, study shows.
  • Biden officials’ first meeting with China may be “frank” on tough issues, from genocide to trade retaliation.
  • Alexi McCammond and Teen Vogue “part ways” after backlash against editor’s past racist tweets.

Do you know this person? The FBI wants to know

The FBI seeks help in identifying 10 suspects allegedly involved in assaults on police officers during the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono said the suspects were drawn from videos showing rioters wielding clubs, flagpoles, furniture pieces, stolen police shields and chemical spray as they stormed undermanned officer lines outside the Capitol. Others are shown in hand-to-hand combat. “Our work is far from over,” D’Antuono said in a video appeal. “We need the help of the American people.” Of the more than 300 people arrested, D’Antuono said, at least 65 have been charged with assaulting officers, but “some of the most violent offenders have yet to be identified.” Review the FBI videos here.

Capitol police officers in riot gear push back demonstrators who try to break a door of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana, AP)

NAACP to NFL: Don’t fund Fox News

The NAACP sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking the league not to allow Fox to use it as a bargaining tool during upcoming rights fees negotiations, and thus help fund Fox News. The NAACP called the network “a uniquely destructive force” that “foments racism, undermines public health recovery from the pandemic, and repeatedly attacks the legitimacy of last year’s Presidential election.” The letter, sent  March 9 and obtained by USA TODAY Sports, says in part that “the NFL’s programming should not be used as a bargaining tool for Rupert Murdoch to help fund Fox News’ hatred, bigotry, lies and racism.” The NFL did not immediately return a request for comment; however, the league announced a mega-deal Thursday afternoon with television partners CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN/ABC.

What everyone’s talking about

  • Defense attorney in Derek Chauvin trial says case “is not about race”; Minneapolis defends timing of $27M settlement.
  • Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as first Latino secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • “You bum, why did you hit me?” 75-year-old Asian American woman beats attacker with stick in San Francisco.
  • Foster kids in Florida are starved, beaten and molested, records show. But few caretakers are punished.
  • The House passed a bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of “Dreamers,” but it will likely face an uphill battle in the Senate.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe, Europe regulator says

Europe’s top medicines regulator said Thursday the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine is safe and should be delivered across Europe and elsewhere. A number of countries, including Germany, France and Italy, paused on giving the AstraZeneca vaccine amid reports of unusual blood clots in several people among the 18 million who have received at least one dose. The vaccine is not available in the USA, where a large-scale study has been finished but not made public. The United States is finalizing efforts to send a combined 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada in its first export of shots. Millions of doses have been stockpiled in the USA, in case it receives emergency use authorization, sparking an international outcry that lifesaving doses were being withheld when they could be used elsewhere.

  • More than 15% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, and 28% have had at least one dose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

A break from the (cruise)

  • The Ford Bronco. The Chevrolet Trailblazer. The Toyota Supra. The Land Rover Defender. Could these long-gone vehicles make a comeback?
  • Genesis GV80 SUV, which Tiger Woods crashed in, is named Top Safety Pick+ by auto safety organization.
  • Driving on Mars or nails on a chalkboard? “Very noisy” audio of rover traversing planet released.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

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