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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

Nashville Airport Store Seeks Works by African American Authors

The store, a namesake project of Mrs. Rosetta Miller-Perry and The Tennessee Tribune, will open March 2020 ...

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

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AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

Indigenous ‘Molly of Denali’ is more than a cartoon for some

Charitie Ropati watched the pilot episode of “Molly of Denali” in her Columbia University dorm room, huddled around a computer screen with friends.“We were crying,” Ropati said. “We realized we finally had positive representation.”“Molly of...

Nonprofit funds lawyers to defend news media in 5 states

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A nonprofit press freedom group announced on Tuesday that it would provide pro bono legal services in five states to help local news organizations defend their right to gather and report the news. The Local Legal Initiative of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

California governor asked to pardon late gay rights leader

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Legislature’s LGBTQ and black caucuses on Tuesday asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to posthumously pardon a civil rights leader who was jailed for having gay sex nearly 70 years ago.Bayard Rustin was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., along with...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's Davos remarks rife with distortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — On a rarefied world stage in the Swiss Alps, President Donald Trump cited accomplishments on clean air that aren't real, a level of economic progress he hasn't achieved and a blue-collar boom yet to be seen.His preening performance at the Davos economic conference was rife...

Akim Aliu, who spoke out about racism, signs with Czech team

Akim Aliu, the player who helped prompt a new discussion about racism and coaching behavior in hockey, is heading back to the ice.Aliu signed Tuesday in the Czech Extraliga for the remainder of the season. He joins HC Litvínov with 14 games left in the season, giving him a chance to display...

ENTERTAINMENT

Oscar presenters to include Colman, Malek, King and Ali

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The winners of last year’s acting Academy Awards will return to the Oscar stage next month to present the coveted statuettes.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that Olivia Colman, Rami Malek, Regina King and Mahershala Ali will present...

Rocker Ozzy Osbourne announces Parkinson's diagnosis

NEW YORK (AP) — Rocker Ozzy Osbourne says that he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a nervous system disorder that affects movement. The 71-year-old Grammy winner and former vocalist for the metal band Black Sabbath said during an interview on “Good Morning America”...

Weinstein defense points to 'loving emails' as openings near

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein's lawyers want to use intimate emails from his accusers to try to convince jurors in his rape trial that any contact was consensual, the defense said Tuesday as an appeals court rejected an 11th-hour request to move the trial out of town. Opening statements...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Auschwitz, 75 years after its liberation

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in...

At 90, Alaska Native woman will be 1st counted in US Census

TOKSOOK BAY, Alaska (AP) — Lizzie Chimiugak has lived for 90 years in the windswept western wilds of...

Netanyahu tries to rally global opposition to ICC case

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on the world to take “concrete...

Allegations bite into business of 'Africa's richest woman'

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese bank EuroBic said it will stop doing business with companies and people...

Survivor stories spotlight Auschwitz liberation anniversary

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Putin names new Cabinet as key members of Russian govt stay

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin formed his new Cabinet Tuesday, replacing many of its...

McMenamins
Moni Basu and Daphne Sashin CNN

(CNN) -- It was a homecoming rally to cheer on the Waverly Wolverines football team. They were undefeated this year. Everyone was proud.

Then, in the midst of the cheers and a sea of red and white pom poms came a 30-second skit that, for some, turned an afternoon of school pride into one of shame.



Three white male students involved in the skit made light of domestic violence, and they did it in racist manner, say some.

Two were in blackface as they re-enacted a 2009 domestic abuse incident in which singer Chris Brown assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna. The student who played Brown was vying for the school's "Mr. Waverly" title -- a school tradition in which skits are performed and the one that garners the most applause wins the title.

On Monday, Waverly alum Matthew Dishler posted a photograph of the skit on CNN's iReport. He says someone shared the image on Facebook.

The photo went viral.

By Tuesday afternoon, the CNN iReport had more than 46,000 views and showed up on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Gawker and in local newspapers.

Suddenly, Waverly High School became synonymous with racism and sexism.

Twitter lit up with comments about the skit. Many were critical, but some defended the skit.

"I don't think it was offensive at all," said Chelsea House, who earned her high school diploma from Waverly last year and moved to Alabama but returned for homecoming last week and saw the skit.

"There's nothing wrong with blackface. There's nothing wrong with dressing up as a black person. Black is but a color," House said.



Waverly Central School District Superintendent Joseph Yelich said Tuesday that he did not believe the students in the skit intended to offend anyone.

Waverly resident Thomas Rumpff, a 2007 graduate of the high school, said he believed most of the kids were unaware of the historical context of blackface, a form of theatrical makeup used by white people in minstrel shows that perpetuated racist stereotypes of African-Americans.

Rumpff said the Rihanna incident had also been satirized online and on television before.

"Was this a little bit inappropriate? Yes," he said. But said the incident "has been completely blown out of proportion."

Other incidents of blackface have surfaced this year, including a Colorado Springs second-grader who offended a teacher when he painted his face black to resemble the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Waverly High skit was approved by school officials before it was performed, Yelich said. He acknowledged the problem and said he was speaking with students, teachers and staff at the school in the coming days.

"My concern is to start making something teachable out of this particular circumstance," he said.

The desire to win likely fuels outrageous behavior, said Fran Bialy, assistant director of A New Hope Center, an agency that aids victims of rape, domestic violence, assault and hate crimes.

Other skits at the pep rally involved Tarzan and a dairy farmer milking his cows. Last year, a student played Tiger Woods, also in blackface. "I have heard about blackface, but ... they're portraying Hollywood events," alum Ryan Bronson said. "It would be the same thing if he bought a mask."

Bottom line, Bronson said: People are being too sensitive.

"They go crazy about every little thing," he said. "The school and everybody are going to basically stop letting kids be kids."

Dishler said he posted the image not to cast a harsh light on anyone but to prod the school to do better with issues of diversity.

"I don't believe the kids really knew what they were doing is as offensive as it is," Dishler said. "The administration was watching this go on, and they let it happen."

Alum Vlad Chituc also blamed school officials.

He said Waverly, a small town off Interstate 86 just west of Binghamton, New York, could easily be seen as a place that affirmed stereotypes of all sorts.

Of Waverly's 4,444 people, 4,312 were white, according to 2010 census data.

Chituc said he was "extraordinarily offended" by the skit and ashamed that his school seemed to be OK with it.

"On the one hand, I can't blame the kids for being ignorant," Chituc said. "It's a small town, and the kids don't know any better. It's the responsibility of the administration to let the kids know this is not how you behave in 21st-century America. ... They've been failing at that spectacularly.

"The administration should be creating an environment where minorities are welcome, not the butts of racist jokes that make light of domestic violence."

Chituc contacted Waverly High School Principal Kim Forero by e-mail.

He sent CNN Forero's response, which read in part:

"Thank you for your concerns. We will continue to address issues of diversity and respect for all. The format of pep rally will need to be reconsidered. I appreciate your concern for your alma mater."

Yelich, for his part, said he could see how the skit could have been misconstrued and that he intends to set clearer expectations for behavior.

"I have some opportunities here to make positive change," he said.

CNN was not able to obtain the names of the students involved in the skit.

Whatever their intentions were, one thing was clear: Their portrayals of Chris Brown and Rihanna fell short -- the kid who played the dairy farmer was crowned Mr. Waverly.

CNN's Katie Hawkins-Gaar contributed to this report.

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