02-04-2023  1:16 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

NEWS BRIEFS

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

"Meet Me at Higo" Opens in the Level 8 Gallery of The Seattle Public Library's Central Library

The traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum tells a fascinating community and family history about Seattle’s Japantown ...

NAACP Portland Calls for Justice With Community Prayer Vigil

Community leaders will hold a prayer vigil Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon, to reflect on the tragic brutality that led to the death of Tyre...

Man sentenced for stealing police rifle during protests

SEATTLE (AP) — A 26-year-old Everett, Washington man was sentenced Friday to 16 months in prison for stealing a high-powered rifle from a Seattle police vehicle during protests after George Floyd was killed in 2020. Jacob D. Little pulled the rifle out of a heavily damaged police...

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in 'Goonies' fish incident

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985...

Penn, DeVries lead Drake to 88-81 2OT win over N. Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Roman Penn scored 28 points and distributed six assists and Drake pulled off a dramatic 88-81 double overtime win again Northern Iowa on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs overcame a career-high tying, 30-point effort from Bowen Born who made a 3-pointer at the...

Brown's near perfect shooting effort sends Missouri past LSU

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kobe Brown scored 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting and Noah Carter scored 14 points and Missouri won its third straight, beating LSU 87-77 on Wednesday night. Brown tied his career high with 10-made shots having accomplished the feat twice before. Reserve Deandre...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

DeSantis eyes 2024 from afar as GOP rivals move toward runs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren't holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House have begun actively courting top political operatives...

At Nichols' funeral, Black America's grief on public display

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sound of the djembe drums started as a low tremble and grew more distinct as the musicians drew closer to the hundreds gathered inside the Memphis church. “We love you, Tyre,” the drummers chanted, referring to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to give GOP response to Biden address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican address to the nation in response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech next week as the GOP seeks to show it's creating a new generation of leaders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Grammy predictions: AP writers debate who'll win on Sunday

The Beyhive is all abuzz over the possibility that Beyoncé will have a chance to make Grammy history this year, which should make for an exciting awards show as she's up against heavy hitters Adele, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles. She'll need just four more trophies to ascend to the...

'Daily Show's' Roy Wood to headline White House press dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) — Real and fake news will collide again at this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Roy Wood Jr., who plays a reporter on “The Daily Show,” the long-running Comedy Central program that blends comedy and news, will headline the event on April...

Looking for love online? New study shows mixed experiences

NEW YORK (AP) — Whether looking for love or a casual encounter, 3 in 10 U.S. adults say they have used a dating site or app — with mixed experiences, according to a Pew Research Center study out Thursday. For the under-35 set, more than half have tried it. The overall number,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dozens of soldiers freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home following a prisoner...

Biden makes progress on 'unity agenda' outlined in 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top...

Pope says South Sudan's future depends on treatment of women

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Pope Francis warned Saturday that South Sudan’s future depends on how it treats its...

G-7, Europe reach deal for price cap on Russian diesel

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday that industrialized countries in the Group of...

Ally claims Bolsonaro plotted coup to block Lula presidency

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian magazine on Thursday released audio of a senator claiming then President Jair...

State of the Union: Biden sees economic glow, GOP sees gloom

WASHINGTON (AP) — Going into Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Joe Biden sees a nation with its...

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.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.