01-18-2022  2:48 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner Foundation Drum Major for Justice 2022 is Teressa Raiford

Through political campaigns, legal actions, founding the grassroots organizing group Don't Shoot Portland and through her fearless determination to speak up against racial injustice, Portland-born Teressa Raiford has made a lasting impression on our city and our state

Paid Workplace Training Internships Program Receives Support From City

Black, Latinx students receive skilled on-the-job training, career coaching, through POIC-RAHS program

Oregon Supreme Court OKs Dropping Bar Exam for Alternatives

The state’s highest court in a unanimous vote “expressed approval in concept” to a pair of alternative pathways designed for law students and postgraduates seeking admittance to the state bar

Washington Lawmakers Kick off Mostly Remote Session

Lawmakers in Washington state have started a new legislative session amid the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and much of their work will be done remotely 

NEWS BRIEFS

Culture + Trauma: An Artist Comes Home

An installation at the Alberta Arts Salon curated by Bobby Fouther is a visioning of the uncensored Black life. ...

MLK Day March Starts at Peninsula Park

Humboldt Neighborhood Association invites the public to participate in the March for Human Rights and Dignity in commemoration of the...

Shabbat Service Honors Martin Luther King Jr.

Congregation Beth Israel's Shabbat Service will be online Friday, Jan.14, at 6 p.m. to honor Dr. King’s work and legacy. ...

MLK Virtual Youth Summit Offers Resources for Portland’s Young African Americans 

With the ongoing rise in youth violence in our community, Highland Christian Center aims to take practical steps to reach our youth...

Underground Railroad Topic of Genealogy ZOOM Presentation

The public is invited to join the Genealogical Forum of Oregon’s African American Special Interest group Saturday, Jan, 15, from...

Portland nurses 'urgently concerned' about health in schools

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — As COVID-19 cases surge in Oregon — forcing some of the state’s largest school districts to close last week due to staffing shortages — a letter from three dozen nurses at the Portland Public School District circulated over the weekend, in which they question the...

Police rescue 2 after home slides off foundation

Police in Bellevue, Washington, rescued two people from a home that slid off its foundation early Monday morning. The Seattle Times reports police received a call of flooding around 4 a.m. and officers, along with fire crews, arrived to find a partially-collapsed two-story home...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Norwegian mass murderer appears before parole hearing

SKIEN, Norway (AP) — Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in bomb-and-gun massacres in Norway’s worst peacetime slaughter in 2011, appeared Tuesday before a court for a parole hearing. The Telemark District Court must rule whether Breivik is still...

Sinema, Manchin slammed as Senate begins voting bill debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing stark criticism from civil rights leaders, senators return to Capitol Hill under intense pressure to change their rules and break a Republican filibuster that has hopelessly stalled voting legislation. The Senate is set to launch debate Tuesday on the voting...

NHL pioneer O'Ree says having Bruins retire jersey an honor

BOSTON (AP) — Willie O’Ree has experienced many honors during his lifetime, from becoming the NHL's first Black player in 1958 with the Boston Bruins to being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. But the 86-year-old says having his No. 22 jersey retired in Boston on...

ENTERTAINMENT

Los Angeles police investigate Ye after battery complaint

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police are investigating after a battery report was filed Thursday against Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West. The incident that spurred the complaint took place in downtown Los Angeles at about 3 a.m. Thursday, LAPD spokeswoman Redina Puentes said. No...

Elvis Costello rocks out from the back porch

NEW YORK (AP) — Elvis Costello's 32nd album rings with the sound of a tight rock ‘n’ roll combo sweating together on a tiny stage, feeding off each other to produce a joyful noise. Yet that's all a mirage. Costello and his three-piece band, the Imposters, were...

Review: Jamestown Revival, more than just a roadhouse band

Jamestown Revival, “Young Man" (Thirty Tigers) The list of really good Americana roadhouse bands that have emerged from the Texas music scene over the years is a long one. The list of those that distinguished themselves by doing something fresh and original, not so much. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Bejeweled camels wrestle for victory in Turkey

SELCUK, Turkey (AP) — Black-eyed Nirvana and Mr. Isa, two male camels from the western Aydin province of Turkey...

In tiny Wyoming town, Bill Gates bets big on nuclear power

KEMMERER, Wyoming (AP) — In this sleepy Wyoming town that has relied on coal for over a century, a company...

Satellite photos show aftermath of Abu Dhabi oil site attack

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday appear to show...

Hong Kong to cull 2,000 animals after hamsters get COVID-19

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday that they will cull some 2,000 small animals, including...

Japan ready to expand virus restrictions as infections surge

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's government is preparing social restrictions in Tokyo and other regions as the omicron...

AP PHOTOS: Bejeweled camels wrestle for victory in Turkey

SELCUK, Turkey (AP) — Black-eyed Nirvana and Mr. Isa, two male camels from the western Aydin province of Turkey...

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.

The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events