Bubba Wallace emerges as NASCAR’s improbable yet ideally suited change agent

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-13 20:55Z by Steven

Bubba Wallace emerges as NASCAR’s improbable yet ideally suited change agent

The Washington Post
2020-06-13

Liz Clarke, Sports Reporter


“I encourage people to have those tough conversations just to educate yourself,” Bubba Wallace says. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Born in Alabama and reared in North Carolina, Bubba Wallace doesn’t remember seeing a Confederate flag until he went to a racetrack. His memory isn’t tied to a particular track because the flag was a fixture in the grandstands nearly everywhere he competed as a young racer.

But that’s not what transformed Wallace into a change agent in America’s most tradition-bound sport. It was the video of an unarmed black jogger being gunned down in Georgia after he was cornered by a white father and son brandishing a pistol and shotgun.

“The Ahmaud Arbery video was the final straw for me in being silent. That shook me to the core like nothing has in the past,” Wallace, 26, said in a telephone interview Friday. “Something flipped inside of me to be more vocal and stand up for racial equality and make sure we get a hold on that and change the face of this world and get it to a better place. Creating unity and compassion and understanding of each of our brothers and sisters is so powerful. We have to preach that to the ones that don’t want to listen and understand.”…

…The only full-time African American racer in NASCAR’s Cup series, and the first since the late Wendell Scott of Danville, Va., retired in 1973, Wallace is uniquely suited to lead NASCAR into the future its executives say they want: one in which women and minorities feel welcome and fill the grandstands, pit crews and driver ranks in numbers that mirror the diversity of America.

Wallace’s father is white; his mother is black. Both are NASCAR loyalists and fans, in particular, of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. So Bubba, who started racing at age 9, grew up an Earnhardt fan, too…

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The importance of learning to style my multiracial son’s hair

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-10 01:38Z by Steven

The importance of learning to style my multiracial son’s hair

The Washington Post
2020-02-05

Nevin Martell


Nevin Martell and his son, Zephyr. (Indira Martell)

When I look at my son, Zephyr, I see a blend of his mother and me. His golden caramel skin is made with her browned butter and my heavy cream and white sugar. Both of us lent him elements for his face — her smile, my eyes. When he makes jokes, I hear echoes of myself, but when he laughs, it reminds me of my wife. He got her speed and my endurance.

Despite my paternal desire to see a piece of me in every part of him, soon after his birth I became convinced that somehow my genes played no role in the creation of his hair. He got that solely from his mother, whose tightly coiled curls require patient care and attention. All her diligent work pays off. From buns to braids to an Afro — whatever style she chooses elicits compliments. I have a head of straight strands, requiring little maintenance and styled in a fashion my barber calls a disconnected cut, which is appropriate given how little thought I give it.

As it began to grow into its curl pattern, Zephyr’s hair became less and less like my own. Though I tried, I never seemed to be able to dress or style it in the way he preferred. So, for the first few years of his life, it became solely his mother’s purview. Whenever it needed to be done, I would throw up my hands like a sitcom father from another era and exasperatedly declare to my wife, “You take care of it, because I can’t do it!”

“You’re perfectly capable,” she would always admonish me as she deftly coaxed his curls into place. “It’s not rocket science.”…

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Trump loves to blame the black guy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-01-09 20:48Z by Steven

Trump loves to blame the black guy

The Washington Post
2020-01-09

Jonathan Capehart, Opinion Writer

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump speak before members of the media during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump speak before members of the media during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Anyone else tired of perpetually petulant President Trump blaming former president Barack Obama for, well, everything?

Boo-hoo, the air conditioning makes the White House too cold. Waaa, it’s unlawful for Turkey to buy U.S. fighter jets because it purchased missiles from Russia. Hmmph, Iran is restarting its nuclear program after I junked the international treaty Obama negotiated that put the whole thing on ice for at least 10 years.

On Wednesday, hours after some yapper on “Fox & Friends” said, “This moment right now is on Barack Obama, not Donald Trump,” the 45th president of the United States blamed the 44th. “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump mewled. “The very defective [Iran nuclear agreement] expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.” As my Post colleague Paul Waldman noted, “None of those things is true.”…

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Raptors GM draws on mixed upbringing in building team’s post-Kawhi Leonard identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-20 01:29Z by Steven

Raptors GM draws on mixed upbringing in building team’s post-Kawhi Leonard identity

The Washington Post
2019-11-19

Ben Golliver, NBA Reporter


“I don’t think I look super Asian or white,” said Toronto Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster, who became the NBA’s youngest GM when he was appointed in 2017. “Being both was freeing.” (Chris Young/The Canadian Press/Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — When Bobby Webster took the stage as a guest speaker at the U.S.-Japan Council’s annual conference earlier this month, the moderator introduced him as a world champion and a hapa.

The first label was self-evident: Webster is the Toronto Raptors’ general manager, a low-key strategic planner and salary cap specialist who reports to Masai Ujiri, the organization’s brash, larger-than-life president.

The second term — a Hawaiian phrase that means “part” and refers to people of mixed race — described Webster’s Japanese-American background. Webster’s mother, Jean, descended from Japanese immigrants who came to work in the stables at a Hawaiian sugar plantation around the turn of the 20th century. Webster’s father, Bob, a redheaded Chicago native, moved to Hawaii in his late 20s and never left…

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How to become an ex-black man

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2019-10-16 01:25Z by Steven

How to become an ex-black man

The Washington Post
2019-10-11

Carlos Lozada, Book Critic

Protesters march in the street in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 20, 2014. (Jeff Roberson, File)
Protesters march in the street in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 20, 2014. (Jeff Roberson, File)

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
By Thomas Chatterton Williams. Norton. 174 pp. $25.95

Thomas Chatterton Williams has seen the future, and he is it.

The son of a mother who is “unambiguously white” and a father whom none has described as “anything other than black,” Williams grew up in middle-class New Jersey suburbia, where he sought to assert his black identity through hip-hop, basketball and BET. Blackness, and America’s racial binary, became “so fundamental to my self-conception that I’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations,” he writes.

But now Williams has reflected, and he finds blackness lacking. Not just blackness but whiteness, too, and any divisions and hierarchies based on race or color, those resilient constructs to which Americans attach such weight. Williams, a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, has come to see himself as an “ex-black man,” a transformation he contemplates in a thoughtful yet frustrating memoir, “Self-Portrait in Black and White.” The precipitating force was the birth of his daughter, Marlow, who entered the world with blond hair, light skin and “a pair of inky-blue irises that I knew even then would lighten considerably but never turn brown.”

Upon seeing her, Williams realizes that “whatever personal identity I had previously inhabited, I had now crossed into something new and different.” It is for Marlow, and because of her, that Williams comes to embrace the “fluidity of racial borders.” To that end, he painstakingly reconsiders just about every potentially relevant aspect of his life — his relationships, his distant relatives, his DNA test (39.9 percent sub-Saharan, 58.7 percent European), his elementary school days, the shape of his face, even a single strand of light hair emanating from his clavicle — as part of his attempt at “outgrowing the bounds and divisions of identity, of touching the universal.”…

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Judge strikes down Virginia race requirement for marriage license as unconstitutional

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-10-15 18:56Z by Steven

Judge strikes down Virginia race requirement for marriage license as unconstitutional

The Washington Post
2019-10-11

Rachel Weiner

Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. struck down a Virginia law mandating that marriage license applicants state their race. (Bob Brown/AP)
Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. struck down a Virginia law mandating that marriage license applicants state their race. (Bob Brown/AP)

A federal judge on Friday struck down as unconstitutional a Virginia law requiring people to state their race when applying for a marriage license.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia is naturally rich in its greatest traditions,” Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. wrote in his opinion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. “But like other institutions, the stain of past mistakes, misgivings and discredited legislative mandates must always survive the scrutiny of our nation’s most important institution . . . The Constitution of the United States of America.”

The law, Alston found, violates the 14th Amendment right to due process. It is one of his first opinions; he was sworn in as a federal judge in August.

“We’re very pleased, of course,” plaintiffs’ attorney Victor M. Glasberg said. “The only unfortunate part is that it took a United States district judge to strike a Jim Crow provision that the state of Virginia insisted on defending in court.”

…He also disputed the contention that there is no “straight line” between a 1924 state law prohibiting interracial marriage and the requirement to choose a race when getting married. On the contrary, in his order he agreed with Glasberg that the law reflected a racist and segregationist past embodied in the first state registrar of vital statistics, a white supremacist named Walter Plecker

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Kamala Harris gets personal

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-09-26 02:00Z by Steven

Kamala Harris gets personal

The Washington Post
2019-09-23

Jennifer Rubin, Opinion Writer


Democratic presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) stands ahead of her address to an NAACP banquet on Saturday in Charleston, S.C. (Meg Kinnard/AP)

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has built her career on a model of inclusive, progressive change. She tells voters she became a prosecutor so she could change the system from the inside. However, she has rarely described herself as an insider on behalf of the African American community. But her address at the Charleston, S.C. NAACP Fund Banquet on Saturday shows that’s changing.

At the onset of her campaign, Harris was criticized as not sharing enough of herself. While she has touted her education at Howard University and raised her experience being bused to school as a young girl, her presidential campaign has stressed universality and inclusion. Her “3 a.m. agenda” has stressed that what keeps us up at night — medical bills, housing, our kids’ education — does not depend on whether one is a Republican or Democrat. She routinely states that “we have so much more in common than what separates us.”

That reticence, by necessity, has receded. Voters demand a level of candor and intimacy from their presidential candidates. To both define her message and defend her record, she has had to explain her tenure as a prosecutor and rebutted claims that she was a cog in the machine of mass incarceration. She’s been obliged to share stories of her experience as a prosecutor comforting mothers whose children have been shot and killed and in instituting anti-bias training for police officers.

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When people challenge her blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard, it means she’s one of us.’

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 22:41Z by Steven

“When people challenge her [Kamala Harris’] blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard [University], it means she’s one of us,’ ” says Howard grad and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong. “She comes from there. No one should challenge her blackness.”

Robin Givhan, “Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.The Washington Post, September 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/16/kamala-harris-grew-up-mostly-white-world-then-she-went-black-university-black-city/.

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Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-09-17 17:04Z by Steven

Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.

The Washington Post
2019-09-16

Robin Givhan, Fashion critic


From left: Karen Gibbs, Kamala Harris and Valerie Pippen at Homecoming in 1986-1987. (Courtesy of Karen Gibbs)

When anyone challenges her racial identity, the presidential candidate points to her four years at Howard University.

Kamala Harris wanted to go to a black school. That’s what black folks called Howard University in the early 1980s when Harris was a teenager considering her future.

Harris, she would say later, was seeking an experience wholly different from what she had long known. She’d attended majority-white schools her entire life — from elementary school in Berkeley, Calif., to high school in Montreal. Her parents’ professional lives and their personal story were bound up in majority-white institutions. Her father, an economist from Jamaica, was teaching at Stanford University. Her mother, a cancer researcher from India, had done her graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, where the couple had met and fallen in love. And Harris’s younger sister would eventually enroll at Stanford.

Harris wanted to be surrounded by black students, black culture and black traditions at the crown jewel of historically black colleges and universities

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Virginia couples no longer have to disclose race on marriage license applications, state attorney general says

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-09-16 19:22Z by Steven

Virginia couples no longer have to disclose race on marriage license applications, state attorney general says

The Washington Post
2019-09-14

Hannah Natanson


Sophie Rogers and Brandyn Churchill, who are getting married on Oct. 19, are shown in this engagement photograph in the Napa Valley. (Christophe Genty/Christophe Genty Photography)

Virginia will no longer require couples to identify by race on their marriage licenses, the state’s attorney general announced this week.

Under a new policy — which Attorney General Mark Herring detailed in emails to court clerks and members of the media late Friday — people getting married will be able to select “Declined to Answer” in a box asking about race. Herring also told clerks they must issue a marriage license “regardless of an applicant’s answer or non-answer to that inquiry.”

The new guidance comes about a week after three couples filed a federal lawsuit alleging the required disclosure of race is unconstitutional because it violates the First, 13th and 14th amendments.

“We were happy to help quickly resolve this issue and get these couples what they asked for,” Herring said in his statement. “These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves to get married.”…

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