06-19-2018  5:35 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Prosecutor: Oregon man justified in shooting near hotel

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A heavy equipment operator was legally justified when he shot and wounded a knife-wielding man last month outside an Oregon hotel, a prosecutor said Monday.However, Robert Garris was foolish to appoint himself "sheriff of the Days Inn" and initiate a confrontation with the...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDANHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed because of damage from a wildfire that scorched the area last year.The Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall Creek area near Eugene, also are...

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Spokane man convicted in 2015 deadly shooting

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane man has been convicted of killing a Moses Lake teenager during a 2015 robbery attempt.The Columbia Basin Herald reports Jeremiah Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Germany: Syrian teen on trial over anti-Semitic assault

BERLIN (AP) — A 19-year-old from Syria is on trial in Berlin over an assault in the German capital on an Israeli wearing a skullcap.The young man is charged with bodily harm and slander. The April 17 attack caused nationwide outrage and fueled concerns over anti-Semitism in Germany.German...

City where many slaves entered US to apologize for slavery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina city where almost half of all the slaves brought to the United States first set foot on American soil is ready to apologize for its role in the slave trade.The resolution expected to be passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday offers a...

ENTERTAINMENT

In 'Jurassic World,' a dino-sized animal-rights parable

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around.Since Steven Spielberg's 1993 original, the dinos of "Jurassic Park" — many of them...

Immigration detention policy becomes major issue in media

NEW YORK (AP) — In a phone conversation with her executive producer over the weekend, "CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King wondered if there wasn't more the network could do on the story of children being separated from parents through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration...

Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo share baby photo

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine spent his first Father's Day as a dad of two.Supermodel Behati Prinsloo shared a photo on Instagram of the 39-year-old holding their second daughter, Gio Grace, who was born in February. Their first daughter, Dusty Rose, is nearly 2 years...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Yemeni officials say fighting rages around Hodeida airport

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Fierce fighting raged Tuesday outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida,...

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether...

Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were...

China hopes for implementation of NKorea-US summit outcome

BEIJING (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the...

Twin brothers reunited 74 years after WWII death at Normandy

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — For decades, he was known only as Unknown X-9352 at a World War II...

France's Macron admonishes teenager; video goes viral

PARIS (AP) — A video of French President Emmanuel Macron strongly admonishing a teenager who called him by...

Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

Images of successful African American athletes inspire the dreams of millions of young Black men. That matters in a culture where athletes are viewed as demigods, yet positive images of Black masculinity are hard to find. Author Thabiti Lewis takes a hard look at sport, racism and images of Black masculinity in his groundbreaking new book 'Ballers of the New School: Race, Sports and American Culture.' A professor at Washington State University, Vancouver, Lewis has a full schedule that includes talking to young men and women in cities across the country about masculinity, sport and race. Teens are especially welcome at this event.
Lewis will speak at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 29 at Reflections book store, 446 NE Killingsworth St., Portland. The Skanner interviewed Lewis by phone Jan. 25.

The Skanner: In your book, you write a letter. What's that about?
Thabiti Lewis: I write a letter to my cousin, who is turning 16. I had a call from my aunt who was a bit distraught. Previously he had been an honor student, but his grades had slipped. He'd decided that sport was going to be his route to a profession. So I wrote this letter for him and for all the other young people of all backgrounds. And I should also say that right now, today, he is finishing his last semester of his Masters degree in Engineering.
The Skanner: What do you want to tell Black teens?
Thabiti Lewis: I want to tell them that I understand the pressures they are under. That they are grappling with what it means to be an African American male, to be a male in America and dealing with the fact that it is not that cool to be smart, but it is really cool to be a jock. There's so much coming at you. So I'm just saying: Don't forget you can be involved in this in what I call 'the sweat free zone' – which is administrative, management, ownership, sales or writing about sports.
So what does it mean to be male, but also a "baller" someone who's living life in a certain way and they're in control. And to really be a baller, is to be a person who has political consciousness, who is intelligent and is a Renaissance person. Those people are really positioned to have really have their voice heard and to make an impact.

The Skanner: Your book is taking a hard look at how race and masculinity and sports impact African American men and women.
Thabiti Lewis: The book is about race and sports in American culture, so it is a vehicle to engage in a conversation about the nature of race progress. It explores what is valued in American culture, and looks at our notions of masculinity, particularly Black masculinity as reflected in sports. I look at some true and false ideas we have: the notion of sport and that upward mobility narrative that too many young folks see as their best opportunity. I pull the covers off that.
I'm saying, let's realize that's a long shot. I'm also saying you have a better chance of becoming an English professor, a physician, a nurse or a lawyer than you do of becoming a professional athlete because it's such a minute pool of individuals who make it to that level.

The Skanner: 'Ballers' questions a lot of what we accept without much thought?
Thabiti Lewis: Yes. How are people of color represented in sports culture? How are women represented? What does that say? Are they in positions of leadership, power? What does that show us? So that's what I try and do.
I try to offer solutions as well. Because there is a movement to change these things – to change these images, to change how intellectuals are seen. 'Ballers of the New School" is really about a movement to address these things.
So what I'm also doing in the book is examining how racial images can be good and how they are cast in negative ways in contemporary society. And we have do some control over this. We can change that by spinning different narratives. My projection is optimistic. How can we use sport to really take us toward the post-racial society that we would like to see? To do that we have to get past – we have to get post-racism and here's how we do that. And then we can be post-racial

The Skanner: Where did you grow up and how did you begin thinking about how our culture views Black men?
Thabiti Lewis: I'm from St. Louis Missouri. I was writing a column there while I was at university, but once I finished my doctorate I began to think about putting the things I'd been writing about into the book. I'm lucky. I was a good athlete, so I was socially accepted and it was permissible for me to be a pretty good student and show my intellectual ability. So I have been there. I went to a high school that had the worst football team so I refused to play because I had standards. I am very honest about my own experience in the book. The only way to look forward is to be honest.

The Skanner: You have two daughters, so you are having to practice on other people's sons. You are welcome to work with mine.
Thabiti Lewis: I'm trying to clear the social landscape so that they are dealing with young men who are confident and unwed to notions of patriarchy. How about that? (Laughs.) Can't raise them to be different sorts of women, and face men who aren't prepared or ready for such women.

PHOTOS: From top, Thabiti Lewis, Book jacket.

If you miss Dr Lewis at Reflections, you can also see him speak at noon March 1, in the library at Washington State University, Vancouver.

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