12-13-2019  1:29 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Louisiana State University President Heading to Oregon Job

F. King Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the position at Oregon State University at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university

PHOTOS: Black Santa Visits Northwest African American Museum

The Skanner's Seattle photographer Susan Fried was on hand to snap some photos

English Language Learners' Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

Oregon educator boosts student achievement and future prospects at Gresham High School

Portland Resident Hoping to Donate Kidney to Black Recipient

Fewer Black patients receive live kidney donations

NEWS BRIEFS

Friends of the Children Chapter Coming to Tacoma, Executive Director Announced

Organization empowers youth facing the greatest obstacles through the long-term support of professional mentors ...

Oregon Humane Society Celebrates the Adoption of the 11,000th Pet of 2019

Max, a two-year-old Labrador/Weimaraner mix, is going to a new home with the Dunlap family of Damascus ...

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Louisiana State University president heading to Oregon job

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University is looking for a new system chief, after President F. King Alexander was appointed Friday to lead Oregon State University.Oregon State's Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to hire Alexander in a special meeting, confirming that Alexander...

As California thins forests to limit fire risk, some resist

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. (AP) — Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. Their goal: To protect communities such as Redwood...

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

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Donor pulls jumi.5M grant to UNC-Chapel Hill over 'Silent Sam'

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A New York-based not-for-profit foundation has withdrawn a jumi.5 million grant intended for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in light of a financial deal between leaders of the university system and a Confederate group to preserve a controversial...

Belgian carnival removed from UNESCO list over racism row

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A famous Belgian carnival was removed from the U.N.'s cultural heritage list on Friday following complaints that its most recent edition contained blatant displays of anti-Semitism.The Aalst carnival was taken off UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list during a...

Anti-Semitism order raises tough issue of defining prejudice

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s order to expand the scope of potential anti-Semitism complaints on college campuses is raising the stakes of an already tense battle over how to define discrimination against Jews.The executive order Trump signed on Wednesday tells the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Greta Gerwig on making 'Little Women' 'at the speed of life'

NEW YORK (AP) — The first movie Greta Gerwig saw in a theater was “Muppets Take Manhattan.” When it was over, her parents momentarily couldn’t find her. She had run to the front of the theater to put her hands on the screen.“I thought I could get into it,”...

'Lemonade' by Beyoncé is named the AP's album of the decade

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 15 albums of the decade by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu:1. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”: At the beginning of this decade, Beyoncé was already the greatest singer of her generation. She won a record six Grammys in a single night, had women...

'Mad Men' actress Christina Hendricks files for divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks filed for divorce Friday from her husband of 10 years, actor Geoffrey Arend. Hendricks filed the marriage dissolution documents in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The 44-year-old Hendricks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Blue-collar character actor Danny Aiello has died at age 86

NEW YORK (AP) — Danny Aiello, the blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included...

‘Rise of Skywalker’ is almost here, but a dark side looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Disney bought Lucasfilm for more than billion in 2012, there were lofty...

In surprise decision, US approves muscular dystrophy drug

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators approved a second drug for a debilitating form of muscular...

Ex-PM elected Algeria's new president, to protesters' dismay

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria newly-elected president Abdelmadjid Tebboune vowed after his victory was...

El Salvador court gives hefty sentences in mass gang trial

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has sentenced 373 convicted members of the...

Battle ahead: Scotland party leader vows independence push

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won the majority he needs to push through Brexit, but he...

McMenamins
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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