05-24-2018  2:47 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband...

Attorney general issues ballot title for assault weapons ban

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's attorney general has released a certified ballot title for an initiative that would restrict the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state.The title released Wednesday revises the draft caption following comments from the public and the...

Power outages temporarily halt flights at Sea-Tac Airport

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials say scattered power outages halted some flights on the south side of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.KOMO-TV reports airport spokesman Perry Cooper said after 12:30 p.m. Thursday that flights were slowly resuming.Airport officials said on Twitter that all power...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband...


Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...


NFL's policy could mean a new playbook on protests this fall

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Now that the NFL is drawing the line against players kneeling during the national anthem, athletes protesting police brutality and racial inequality may need to find a new playbook.The question is whether they intend to escalate their protests in some way."The owners can...

Court: School can let trans students use bathroom of choice

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district can allow transgender students to continue using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sexual identity, a federal appeals court panel ruled Thursday.A three-judge panel heard extended arguments in the case before conferring...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve the strained relationship between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Milwaukee Bucks...


Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Stoner comedy pioneer Tommy Chong still toking, joking at 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...


MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

Kam Williams

 "Dear Mrs. Obama, Do you have any idea what you mean to us? By us, I mean the strong, independent, accomplished black women of America. I suspect that on some level you do… but please allow me this small indulgence as I share with you how special you are to us.

 What I am about to say may seem a bit much, but it is important that you know—that everyone know—how much you have changed and are changing everything for present and future generations of black women in this nation...

 You humanize us. You soften us. You make us invisible no more. You made us approachable, feminine, sexy, warm, compassionate, smart, affirmed, accomplished, and fun-filled all at once. Your very nature most emphatically answers Sojourner Truth's 160 year-old question: 'Ain't I a woman?'

Yes, we are women, too."

            -- Excerpted from the Prologue of "Black Woman Redefined"

Recently, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann lamented that the African-American family had been more stable during slavery than it is today. Although the Republican presidential candidate was soon pressured by blowback to distance herself from that insensitive remark, one cannot help but be alarmed by both the suggestion that Blacks might have been better off in chains and by the verbal slap in the face of the millions of sisters doing their best to raise kids alone during this age of single-parent households.

Despite the fact that she is also a Republican, and that she campaigned for both Bush I in 1992 and for Bush II in 2000 and 2004, Sophia A. Nelson, ironically, feels differently about herself ever since the election of a Democrat, Barack Obama. She gushes at length about how much the president's wife, Michelle, means to her in "Black Woman Redefined."

Ms. Nelson's heartfelt how-to strikes this critic as much an appeal to Black female empowerment as a personal coming-home party for a Prodigal Daughter, possibly harboring regrets about her longstanding liaisons with arch-conservatives. For, she devotes the bulk of her book to debunking the sort of cruel stereotypes which the GOP has been fond of circulating for decades, like Ronald Regan's stump speech assailing the proverbial Welfare Queen riding around in a Cadillac and Andrew Breitbart's dissemination of a videotape deliberately doctored to make Shirley Sherrod look like a racist.

The author's aim is to discourage anyone inclined to jump on the "sister-bashing bandwagon" which has enabled everyone from DJ Don Imus ("nappy-headed hos") to misogynist rappers to distort their image. "How is it that an entire race of women—so successful, so beautiful, so intelligent, and so powerful—can be so devalued, vilified, neglected, unwanted, disliked, misused, increasingly misunderstood, and blatantly abused?" she asks.

The answer is complicated, and is arrived at via a combination of anecdotal evidence and a collage of illustrative contributions from such luminaries as CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Roland Martin, documentary filmmaker Janks Morton, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, NPR's Michel Martin, Democratic Congresswoman Terrie Sewell, Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., actresses Kimberly Elise and Taraji P. Henson, and The View's Sherri Shepherd.

Besides writing what essentially amounts to a reverential thankyou letter to Michelle, Ms. Nelson delineates what she calls the "five core goals" fundamental to blossoming as an accomplished Black woman, namely, (1) creating positive multidimensional relationships; (2) establishing a satisfying career; (3) having a balanced and emotionally-rewarding life; (4) maintaining good health; and (5) achieving a spirituality that doesn't reject sexuality.

Ardent, inspirational, insightful and redemptive, "Black Woman Redefined" is likely the only positive book that's going to be published by a prominent Republican about anyone named Obama between now and Election Day 2012.  

"Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama"
by Sophia A. Nelson
BenBella Books
Hardcover, $24.95
368 pages
ISBN: 978-193561894-2

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