The skanner. (Portland, Or.) 1975-2014, January 09, 2019, Page Page 2, Image 2

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    Page 2 The Skanner Portland & Seattle January 9, 2019
Challenging People to Shape
a Better Future Now
Bernie Foster
A More Diverse Congress, a More Perfect Union?
Bobbie Dore Foster
Executive Editor
Jerry Foster
Advertising Manager
Christen McCurdy
News Editor
Patricia Irvin
Graphic Designer
Monica J. Foster
Seattle Office Coordinator
Susan Fried
The Skanner Newspaper, es-
tablished in October 1975, is a
weekly publication, published
every Wednesday by IMM Publi-
cations Inc.
415 N. Killingsworth St.
P.O. Box 5455
Portland, OR 97228
Telephone (503) 285-5555
Fax: (503) 285-2900
The Skanner is a member of the
National Newspaper Pub lishers
Association and West Coast Black
Pub lishers Association.
All photos submitted become
the property of The Skanner. We
are not re spon sible for lost or
damaged photos either solicited
or unsolicited.
©2018 The Skanner. All rights re served. Reproduction in
whole or in part without permission prohibited.
d ay ! • L i ke u s o
n F
o k • learn • co
the poem was first published
in Esquire Magazine in 1936.
Though Hughes did not con-
sider it one of his favorites,
it captures the duality of our
nation, the marked difference
between our nation’s soar-
ing establishing rhetoric and
the stark reality that many
No freedom
in this home-
land of the
free, but this
Congress of-
fers freedom
experience. In the words of
Malcolm X, it is the difference
between the American dream
and the American night-
mare. Here is what Langston
Hughes writes in his poem: 
“Let America be America
again. Let it be the dream it
used to be. Let it be the pio-
neer on the plain Seeking a
home where he himself is free.
(America never was Ameri-
ca to me.) Let America be the
dream the dreamers dreamed
— Let it be that great strong
land of love Where never kings
connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by
one above. (It never was Amer-
ica to me.) O, let my land be a
land where Liberty Is crowned
with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life
is free, Equality is in the air we
(There’s never been equali-
ty for me, Nor freedom in this
“homeland of the free.”)
No freedom in this home-
land of the free, but this Con-
gress offers freedom possibil-
ities. It offers the possibility of
fixing the Voting Rights Act,
even as the Supreme Court
has attempted to erode vot-
ing rights, even as at least two
elections were stolen in 2018,
those of Stacey Abrams in
Georgia and Andrew Gillum
in Florida.
This Congress offers free-
dom possibilities in resisting
the insanity of a “wall” that
the Great Negotiator (and
purported author of The Art
of the Deal) swore that Mex-
ico was paying for. Not. This
Congress offers freedom pos-
sibilities in its efforts to pre-
serve the Affordable Health
Care Act and to move us to
Medicare for all. This color-
ful Congress (the pictures tell
it all) offers a sharp contrast
to the dismal (as in grey and
navy suits) set of Republi-
cans, overwhelmingly white
and male, and overwhelming-
ly staid.
It’s not about MAGA (Make
America Great Again), it’s
about MAF, or Make America
Fair. This is what Congress-
man James Clyburn shared
when he spoke at the ceremo-
nial swearing-in.
He opened with the words of
French historian Alexis Toc-
queville, who observed when
visiting this country: “the
greatness of America lies not
in being more enlightened
than any other nation, but
rather in her ability to repair
her faults.”
Clyburn went on to list the
many ways our nation has at-
tempted to self-correct, from
the passage of the Emancipa-
tion Proclamation to the Su-
preme Court Brown v. Board
of Education decision declar-
ing “separate but equal” to be
“inherently unequal.”
Clyburn talked about the
Great Society legislation, an-
other of our nation’s attempts
at self-repair, and he conclud-
ed by saying that, “America
does not need to be made great
again, she is already great.
Our challenge is to make that
greatness apply fairly and eq-
uitably to all of our citizens.”
Can this diverse new Con-
gress make our nation fair for
many who have never experi-
enced our nation in the way it
is supposed to be? In the words
of Langston Hughes, “It never
was America to me.”
We’ve come a long way since
he wrote his 1935 poem, but
we still have so much to do.
After these last two dystopian
years, this new Congress of-
fers us many possibilities.
May they manifest!
LOOKING BACK: In 2018, ‘Living While Black’ Stories
Exploded on Social and Mainstream Media
hether it was sitting
at a Starbucks in
Philadelphia, sleep-
ing at college or
simply walking to one’s apart-
ment in one’s own building,
a major social media trend
emerged in 2018. That trend
was: Documenting bias and
micro-aggressions that would
later be featured in main-
stream media.
Much of what was docu-
mented was recording by
the object so many have with
them 24/7: Their cell phone.
The wave of incidents docu-
mented was not new — but the
media attention on such sto-
ries along with the responses
that have followed signals a
cultural shift that’s likely to
last for years to come.
There were multiple inci-
dents.Below are six that made
headlines and garnered wide-
spread media attention:
Updated daily.
y •
he 116th Congress, sworn
in on January 3, is the
most diverse our nation
has ever seen. There are
more women — 102 — than
ever before. More members
of the Congressional Black
Caucus — 55 — than ever
before. Indeed, a former
Congressional Black Caucus
intern, Lauren Underwood
(D-IL) is part of the incoming
first-year class. At 32, she is
the youngest Black woman to
This Congress includes the
first Native American wom-
an, two Muslim women, open-
ly gay representatives, and
others. Much of this diversity
was displayed at the ceremo-
nial swearing-in of the Con-
gressional Black Caucus, an
inspirational event that pre-
ceded the official swearing-in
on Capitol Hill. There, as I
listened to speeches by the
top Congressional Democrats
– incoming speaker Nancy
Pelosi (CA), incoming Major-
ity leader Steny Hoyer (MD),
and incoming Whip James
Clyburn (SC), I was awash in
hope and optimism. These
leaders, along with outgoing
Congressional Black Caucus
Chairman Cedric Richmond
(LA) and incoming Chair Kar-
en Bass (CA) spoke of chal-
lenge, struggle, and optimism
and focused on possibilities.
As I listened to them I could
not help but think of the poet
Langston Hughes, and his
poem “Let America Be Amer-
ica Again.” Written in 1935,
Local News
Pacific NW News
World News
Jobs, Bids
Community Calendar
in y o u r c o m m u n
In April in Oakland, Califor-
nia, Michelle Snider posted a
YouTube video of Jennifer
Schulte calling the police on
her and her husband Kenzie
Smith. Schulte dialed 911 be-
cause she was upset they were
BBQ’ing in a public park. The
story quickly went viral and
Schulte was tagged as “BBQ
In May in Connecticut, Sar-
ah Braasch called the police
on Yale graduate student Lo-
lade Siyonbola. The problem?
after she fell asleep in a com-
mon room in her dorm. When
police arrived, Siyonbola ran
the conversation live on her
Facebook Live.
In May in Philadelphia,
two men, Donte Robinson
and Rashon Nelson, were ar-
rested at a Starbucks after
an employee called the cops
on them as they waited for a
business meeting to begin.
The multi-billion-dollar cof-
fee chain would later close all
of its stores to conduct train-
ing for all their employees re-
garding racial bias.
In August in Madison, Wis-
consin, Shelia Stubbs, who is
the only African American on
the 37-member Dane County
Board of Supervisors, was cam-
paigning in her district when
someone called the police.
The national
political en-
has become
with Presi-
dent Trump’s
focus on vil-
ifying and
In December in New Jersey,
Andrew Johnson, a Black high
school wrestler, was com-
pelled to have an impromp-
tu pre-match haircut after a
referee with a racist incident
in his past decided Johnson’s
hair violated the rules. The
referee, Alan Maloney, was
later fired.
In late December, a security
guard at a DoubleTree Hotel
called the police on Jermaine
Massey as he used a phone in
a lobby. Two employees were
fired because of the incident.
It was likely not coinciden-
tal that such incidents have
spiked on social media and in
mainstream news during the
presidency of Donald Trump.
The national political envi-
ronment has become conten-
tious with President Trump’s
relentless focus on vilifying
and stereotyping minorities,
particularly Mexican immi-
grants, while at the same time
failing to quickly and affirma-
tively denounce racism and
Hate crimes along with a
resurgence of white suprem-
acist groups have been re-
corded by the Southern Pov-
erty Law Center and other
hate watchdog organizations.
The incidents have highlight-
ed the power of social media
a few years after the birth of
Black Lives Matter which also
featured the power of social
media content.
nt •
lo c a l n e w s •