04-21-2021  3:48 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Albina Highway Covers
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Housing Advocates Push to Free Public Funds for Housing from ‘Discriminatory,’ ‘Antiquated’ State System

Currently, organizations must apply for funds through one of 18 regional agencies. Even state officials decry the system.

Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Superfund Taxes; End 25-Year Polluter Tax Holiday That Slowed Toxic Cleanup

President Biden identified restoring payments from polluters into the Superfund Trust Fund as a top priority as part of a major infrastructure plan.

Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre

Lawsuit Describes Night of Fear for Wall of Moms Protester

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland, Jennifer Kristiansen also accused a federal agent of groping her as he trapped her against a wall, leading her to fear she would be raped

NEWS BRIEFS

Senate Confirmation of Vanita Gupta as Associate Attorney General is Historic, Vital for Our Nation

Gupta is the first woman of color ever to be confirmed to the role ...

Five Lucky Oregonians Won a Second Chance at Holiday Winnings

Prizes ranged from jumi,500 to 0,000 depending on the value of the original Scratch-it top prize. ...

Girls on the Run of Portland Metro Awarded Campbell Soup Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Grant

Supporting the Campbell Soup Foundation’s focus on encouraging healthy living, Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful,...

Ageless Awards Honor Older Oregonians Who Redefine Age

Four Oregonians will be honored for their inspiring contributions later in life during a free, public, virtual celebration on April...

Legislators Introduce Bill to Create a Statue of Shirley Chisholm Inside the U.S Capitol

Rep. Yvette D. Clark introduced the bill as part of a larger effort to increase the representation of Black women within the Capitol. ...

Man faces federal child sexual exploitation charges

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A North Bend, Oregon, man is accused of sexually exploiting a child and prosecutors are concerned there could be other victims. A federal grand jury in Eugene returned a three-count indictment in April, charging Shannon Weatherbee, 47, with sexual...

2 arrested in Portland protests, mayor extends emergency

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested two people Tuesday night in downtown Portland, Oregon, after a large group of people marched through the streets and smashed windows of businesses, including different Starbucks locations. The city has seen repeated protests and vandalism...

OPINION

George Floyd Should Still Be Here

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement in response to the jury’s conviction of Derek Chauvin ...

The Verdict, The Nation, and Us

The conviction of Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the death of George Floyd represents a much-needed breeze of change ...

Letter to the Editor: Portland Police Union Response to Chauvin Trial Verdict

The Portland Police Association union says in the coming days, their officers will work hard to preserve our community’s right to peacefully protest ...

Portland Commissioners Release Statement on Recent Protests

The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Editorial Roundup: US

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: ___ April 21 The Buffalo News on climate change, Earth Day and President Joe Biden's environmental plan: The realities of climate change present Buffalo...

Grim list of deaths at police hands grows even after verdict

Just as the guilty verdict was about to be read in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, police in Ohio shot and killed a Black teenager in broad daylight during a confrontation. The shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, who was swinging a knife during a...

Sheriff: Deputy fatally shot Black man while serving warrant

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina deputy shot and killed a Black man while executing a search warrant Wednesday, authorities said, spurring an outcry from a crowd of dozens that immediately gathered at the scene and demanded law enforcement accountability. The...

ENTERTAINMENT

Updated field guides, other titles lure readers outdoors

The new season of spring shows has begun, and viewership is way up by all accounts. We’re not talking about screens, which we’ve all been glued to during the pandemic. Less noticed is another trend: people tuning in to nature for quieter, real-life, high-stakes drama. ...

NatGeo's ‘Secrets of the Whales’ surfaces little-known facts

NEW YORK (AP) — When a killer whale slowly circled back toward wildlife photographer Brian Skerry in the middle of the ocean after discarding the giant sting ray it was devouring, panic is not what came to mind: “Part of my brain is thinking, ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing,’”...

A farmer to chefs reveals his deep vegetable knowledge

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite thousands of years of humans working the soil, there are still things to learn. Just ask Farmer Lee Jones about the beet leaves. The Ohio-based farmer had planted too many beets and the surplus was dumped in a pile in a cooler. He returned later to find...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Europe lines up more shots, hoping to beat back virus surge

BERLIN (AP) — Slow out of the gate, the European Union has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with the...

Floyd verdict gives hope, if only fleeting, to Black America

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Relief, even if fleeting and momentary, is a feeling that Black Americans have rarely known...

AP PHOTOS: Looking back at fiery George Floyd protests

The protests raged night after night, starting in Minneapolis and swiftly spreading across the U.S. and around the...

Ukraine adopts military reservist law amid Russia tensions

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a law allowing to call up reservists for...

As extreme weather increases, climate misinformation adapts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Climate scientists have warned for years that a warming planet would cause more extreme...

Putin vows a 'quick and tough' Russian response for its foes

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sternly warned the West against encroaching further on...

Albina Highway Covers
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

In a panel discussion at the Summer Television Critics Association tour this past summer, Aaron McGruder, creator of the popular comic strip, Boondocks, defiantly told the audience that he'll use the N-word as much as he pleases in episodes of the series on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. If folks don't like it, then they'll just have to get over it. After all, everyone uses it.

He's right. Black comedians and rappers sprinkle the word throughout their rap lyrics and comedy lines, and Black writers and filmmakers go through lengthy gyrations to justify using the word. The word has been canonized in hip jargon.

Harvard professor Randall Kennedy, in a provocative but conflicted short polemic, "nigger," published a few years ago, denounced the double standard that Blacks apply to Whites. He railed that nigger is hardly the earth-shattering, illegitimate word that many Blacks and Whites brand it.

McGruder, and N-word users and apologists, loudly agree. Their rationale boils down to this: the more a Black person uses the word, the less offensive it becomes. They claim that they are cleansing the word of its negative connotations so that racists can no longer use it to hurt Blacks. Comedian-turned-activist Dick Gregory had the same idea some years ago when he titled his autobiography, "Nigger." Black writer Robert DeCoy also tried to apply the same racial shock therapy to Whites when he titled his novel, "The Nigger Bible."

McGruder and N-word apologists tick off an endless storehouse of defenses to justify use of the word. They claim that that it is a term of endearance or affection. They say to each other, "You're my nigger if you don't get no bigger." Or, "that nigger sure is something." Others use it in anger or disdain, "Nigger, you sure got an attitude." Or, "A nigger ain't s—."

N-word apologists have no patience with those who want to purge the word from public discourse, wage war against classics such as "Huckleberry Finn," encode it in hate speech laws and impose penalties and sanctions on professors, basketball coaches, and public officials who use it no matter how instructive or benevolent their intentions.

Yet in their passionate plea to recast public thinking and debate over the word, they forget, ignore or distort one thing. Words are not value neutral — they express concepts and ideas. Often, words reflect society's standards. If color-phobia is a deep-rooted standard in American life, then a word as emotionally charged as nigger will always reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes. It can't be sanitized, cleansed, inverted or redeemed as a culturally liberating word. Nigger can't and shouldn't be made acceptable, no matter whose mouth it comes out of or what excuse is tossed out for using it.

There are still dozens of daily examples where Whites (and other non-Blacks) taunt, and harass Blacks by calling them nigger; spray-paint the word on their homes, businesses and churches; and physically assault and even murder Blacks. The N-word reigns supreme at the top of the stack as the favorite racial epithet hurled at Blacks during these crimes.

Even when the word isn't used, the sentiment is that Blacks are still fair game too be abused and dehumanized, and the N-word reinforces that belief. The word nigger has and will always have grotesque and deadly meaning to African Americans.

Some years ago comedian Richard Pryor publicly admitted his complicity in aiding and abetting the legitimizing of the word. The irreverent Pryor had practically made a career out of using the word in his routines. But following his return from Africa, he told a concert audience that he now considered the word profane and disrespectful. He was dropping it from his act because he had too much pride in Blacks and himself. The audience exploded in thunderous applause.

McGruder would probably frown on Pryor's racial conversion. But Pryor got it right. And anyone who apologizes for McGruder's defense of the N-word should rent the tape of that concert to understand why there's nothing hip in using or misusing the word.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a columnist for BlackNews.com.

Trial: George Floyd's Death

Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Kevin Saddler