07-07-2020  5:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Portland Black Community Frustrated as Violence Mars Protests

Black leaders condemn violence from small group of mostly-white activists as Rose City Justice suspends nightly marches

Protester Dies After Car Hits Two on Closed Freeway

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died and Taylor and Diaz Love of Portland were injured. The driver, Dawit Kelete has been arrested

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Negotiations will resume in January 2021.

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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Awards Historic $100,000 Founders' Centennial Scholarship

Zeta celebrates 100 years with largest single recipient scholarship awarded by a historically Black Greek-lettered sorority or...

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A collaboration of leading female political strategists aims to fill a void in the world of political consulting ...

jumi.2 million bail for driver that hit 2 Seattle protesters

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Sheriff: At least 8 killed in plane collision at Idaho lake

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — At least eight people, including three children, were killed when two airplanes collided over a scenic mountain lake in northern Idaho, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.One of the aircraft was a float plane operated by Brooks Seaplane of Coeur...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...


Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

Banana Republic or Constitutional Democracy? The US Military May Decide

Will the military, when and if the chips are down, acts in accord with the Constitution and not out of loyalty to its commander-in-chief? ...

To Save Black Lives, and the Soul of Our Nation, Congress Must Act Boldly

For too long, Black people in America have been burdened with the unjust responsibility of keeping ourselves safe from police. ...


AMERICA DISRUPTED: Troubles cleave a nation, and a city

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — It was difficult to celebrate America in Saginaw this year. The deadly coronavirus had torn through the county. Unemployment had surged five-fold. Weeks of protest over racial inequality left many debating what should be hallowed and what must be changed.But Tom Roy had...

Red Sox dogged by claims of racism, sexual abuse

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Indiana officials investigate report of assault on Black man

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Black man says a group of white men assaulted him and threatened to “get a noose” after claiming that he and his friends had trespassed on private property as they gathered at an Indiana lake over the Fourth of July weekend.Vauhxx Booker, a local civil...


Executive turmoil at Essence, Ebony magazines prompt changes

NEW YORK (AP) — Two storied magazines that focus on news and culture in the Black community, Essence and Ebony, are in the midst of turmoil at their top levels.Ebony late last week forced out CEO Willard Jackson following an initial inquiry into some of his financial transactions. The...

Country rocker and fiddler Charlie Daniels dies at age 83

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Charlie Daniels, who went from being an in-demand session musician to a staple of Southern rock with his hit “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” has died at 83.A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday at a hospital in...

Tom Hanks on COVID-19, 'Greyhound' and wartime mentality

NEW YORK (AP) — Since contracting COVID-19 in March, Tom Hanks has been, by most measures, busy. He and his wife, Rita Wilson, flew home after recuperating in Australia, where he had been shooting Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley film. He hosted a from-home episode of “Saturday...


Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — From French soccer jerseys to slick online campaigns, Dubai is...

How risky is dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How risky is dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic? There is some risk, but health officials say there are...

Coronavirus slams Poland's already-troubled coal industry

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Cyprus: EU partners aim to rein in Turkey's 'expansionism'

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus and its European Union partners are working to rein in Turkey’s...

North Korea rejects talks as US envoy arrives in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday said it has no immediate intent to resume a dialogue with...

Depp takes stand in libel trial, claims Amber Heard hit him

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The Root

(The Root)-- Who is the most privileged among the least privileged? That's the question many are asking as Americans discuss how the Supreme Court treated race-centered cases over the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action versus cases over same-sex marriage. Are African Americans and other people of color, who are the most likely to face voter suppression, winners of the dubious prize of "most oppressed," now that the court has struck down a key provision of one of the most important aspects of the civil rights struggle? And how does that compare to the court's treatment of gays and lesbians, which has seen a progressive sea change over the past 10 years?

Just follow last week's headlines about the court's decisions: "Why the Supreme Court Said 'No to Blacks and Yes to Gays,' " blared an analysis by progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner. "Gay Is the New Black," stated the overblown headline atop a nuanced New York Times article by Georgetown University law professor Paul Butler. At every turn, there seemed to be a blunt-force reaction to the court's landmark decisions, setting up the civil rights of gays and blacks as if it were a battle of winners versus losers.

But such headlines ignore the nuances within each group's civil rights struggle. Indeed, Fordham University political science professor Christina Greer, author of the new book The Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, calls comparing the court's decisions not just apples and oranges but "apples and steak" -- that is, possible to compare but highly differentiated.

America was founded with a national framework of racial segregation and exploitation. "All men are created equal" did not include black Americans, male or female. For better or worse, the concept of gay rights (or even gay existence) was not baked into our national framework. Indeed, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights struggle has been based upon the groundbreaking work of racial civil rights movements.

For sure, the fight for gay rights has its own unique history: Their battles are much more recent, and the legal strategies for LGBT rights have moved toward a more state-by-state framework that interacts with federal judicial decisions, versus the civil rights movement's reliance on the federal government to protect rights that states would not. For the moment, with the current Supreme Court, that strategy seems to be working more quickly than a federal action-based rights strategy.

Indeed, the knee-jerk analysis missed all of the texture of each group's history, as well as the intersecting identities of those who are black and gay. Pam Spaulding, editor of the award-winning blog Pam's House Blend, is a black woman legally married to her wife. After Barack Obama was elected in 2008, at the same time that the anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition 8 passed in California, Spaulding recalls, "Vitriol was hurled at blacks that evening, and I recall on the Blend being on the receiving end of angry commenters -- as if I had burned my 'gay card,' as my blackness, which clearly was not invisible to them before, was now a threat."

I interviewed a Los Angeles-based black lesbian activist, Jasmyne Cannick, right after election 2008. She said, "The reason why I wasn't inspired to work on Prop 8 was because that glass ceiling that the white gays are bumping their head up against is to a room that as a black person, I haven't even got a foot in the door of. I'm just trying to put food on the table."

And Stephen Winter, who identifies as a "black biracial queer," told The Root, "My reaction to the decisions was numb rage turned to grief turned to fiery rage. This was, indeed, a great day for DOMA [the Supreme Court's overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act], and a total s--t week for the country. First they come for our right to vote, then they will come for yours. You'll be happily married and completely disenfranchised. This week I saw a glimpse of what could be. As a result, I joined the NAACP for the first time."

Urvashi Vaid, author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics, reminds us that people of color and LGBT Americans not only overlap but also have much in common when it comes to their civil rights. "First, it's imperative to be vigilant because laws you thought were settled can be rolled back in a very short amount of time [e.g voting rights, reproductive rights]," she told The Root. "Second, the defeat of voting rights and the remand on affirmative action makes clear that the court is an agent of the Republican Party, which cannot win with its current politics in a majority-people of color country, and so has to resort to dirty tricks, voter suppression and wholesale denial of voting rights to large parts of the population.

"The Supreme Court did us a favor because it made this less visible reality extremely visible -- as states now pass extremely restrictive laws -- so setbacks can be really good educational and organizing moments. This is one."

So the question remains: What will happen to the fights for equality in America, particularly over racial equality and/versus equality based on sexual orientation? The Supreme Court is framed as a nonpartisan branch of government, but justices are appointed by presidents, each of whom has a partisan affiliation. And of course, race -- and which races vote for which parties -- influences who the president is and who he (or, in the future, perhaps, she) chooses. In this past election, for the first time ever, the percentage of African Americans who voted exceeded that of whites. And in addition, Latino voters were much more likely to pull the Democratic lever for president than they were during the Bush years.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund lawyer Natasha Korgaonkar lays out some ways to draw relationships between the issues the court decided. "The marriage decisions are a very significant and important victory for equal protection. What these cases and issues share is that they're about equality, equality for everyone, regardless of who you are. That's a relationship I see between the two issues."

She continues, "People need to have an unencumbered right to vote in all states -- not only because the right to vote is enshrined in our constitution but because it's through that right we can make significant gains on all issues, including marriage equality." Korgaonkar calls on Congress to take action, as it did when it reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 under President George W. Bush. But it's far from a sure thing that this riven Congress will pass a bipartisan voting-rights measure amid the sequester and general legislative gridlock.

In other words, the final act of the drama of American equality has yet to be written. With immigration, gender, sexual orientation and race all in play -- on the streets and in the courts -- it's hard but critical work to put the pieces of the political puzzle together. So, returning to the question of the day, is gay the new black? The best answer seems to be: That's apples and steak, isn't it?

Farai Chideya is a distinguished writer in residence at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Institute for Journalism. A contributing editor at The Root, she is the author of four books and blogs at farai.com.

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