Category Archives: Race

Concordia College Alabama to close at end of spring semester

Image: Selma Times Journal

From The Associated Press…

Concordia College Alabama, a historically black Lutheran college, will close its doors at the end of the spring semester.

The Selma Times-Journal reports Dr. James Lyons, the college’s chief transition officer and interim president, shared the news with faculty, staff and the student body on Wednesday.

The school was founded in 1922 and has a current student population of around 400. It is Selma’s only four-year college accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

In-depth story from Selma Times Journal

Posted by The NON-Conformist



Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear

Billy Graham was a preacher man equally intent on saving souls and soliciting financial support for his ministry. His success at the former is not subject to proof and his success at the latter is unrivaled. He preached to millions on every ice-free continent and led many to his chosen messiah.

Graham also left behind a United States government in which religion plays a far greater role than before he intruded into politics in the 1950s. The shift from secular governance to “In God We Trust” can be laid squarely at this minister’s feet.

Graham’s message was principally one of fear…fear of a wrathful god…

More from CounterPunch News

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The “Alt-Right” Is Building a White Nationalist Mass Movement With “Operation Homeland”

The “Alt-Right” Is Building a White Nationalist Mass Movement With “Operation Homeland”

The “alt-right” didn’t really enter the spotlight of mainstream US culture until it dropped back into the gutter. For the first years of its infancy, from the founding of “” in 2010 until the popularization of the #AltRight hashtag in early 2015, members had focused on trying to rehabilitate the image of white nationalism.

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Sessions invokes ‘Anglo-American heritage’ of sheriff’s office

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday brought up sheriffs’ “Anglo-American heritage” during remarks to law enforcement officials in Washington.

“I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elected process,” Sessions said in remarks at the National Sheriffs Association winter meeting, adding, “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.”
“We must never erode this historic office,” Sessions continued.
Invoking “Anglo-American heritage” seems to have been an impromptu decision by the attorney general. A written version of the remarks says that Sessions was supposed to say: “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.”
Posted by The NON-Conformist


Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” Isn’t Just Good — It Marks a New Reign

Chadwick Boseman (left) and Lupita Nyong’o star in “Black Panther,” the Marvel film about a monarch and superhero who hails from the fictional country Wakanda, an African tech-utopia that has never been conquered and is uniquely rich.

A certain socially conscious apprehension can come with popular art that’s expected to be groundbreaking or revolutionary. Black Panther arrives freighted with the highest of expectations. Here’s the Marvel movie even non-Marvel fans are prepared to root for, the rare black superhero film, one boasting not only an almost all-black cast but helmed by a black director as well. The stakes are higher, here, than just the fate of the Marvel Universe: What if it sucks? What if it flops? What would that mean for the future of diversity studio tent poles?

It’s a great relief to confirm that Black Panther is genuinely worth rooting for, a clear standout on Marvel’s roster — and certainly on track for box-office success. It’s only Ryan Coogler’s third feature — and an ambitious leap from his impressive 2013 debut, Fruitvale Station, and his critically acclaimed Rocky franchise entry, Creed (2015) — but Black Panther is executed with the confidence of a far more experienced filmmaker. Coogler and his team have conjured a universe and fleshed out its players, one existing (honestly, thriving) in the even bigger cinematic universe that is Marvel. It’s a case of the right story landing in the right hands. As with Creed, Coogler again freshens up a stale formula, making something familiar not just relevant but urgent. (Case in point: When Black Panther’s sister roasts his traditional sandals with a three-years-late joke based on the “What are those?” meme, before gifting him with high-tech sneakers, the line is delivered with such earnest glee that it doesn’t even feel out of touch.)

Chadwick Boseman plays King T’Challa, a/k/a the Black Panther, a monarch and superhero who hails from the fictional country Wakanda, an African tech-utopia that has never been conquered and is uniquely rich. The source of its material wealth is a Marvel-magic resource called vibranium. This Edenic world is fully realized onscreen thanks to Hannah Beachler’s paradisiacal production design and Ruth E. Carter’s traditional-meets-futuristic costume design. And it’s captured by Coogler’s Fruitvale Station director of photography, Rachel Morrison, who just made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work on Dee Rees’s Mudbound. Morrison is adept not just at superhero spectacle but at illuminating and photographing, for clarity and beauty, the skin tones of a cast full of actors of color that includes rising newcomers and veterans like Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker.

At first, thanks to a cleverly deceptive storyline, Black Panther may lead you to believe the big battle will involve defeating the caricature-like evil white guy, Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis, appearing in his human form rather than through motion capture, with a good dash of Eurotrash. Klaue is an arms dealer whose trickster ways lead T’Challa and his squad of women on an undercover mission to a Busan, South Korea, casino — and a fight sequence more 007 than Marvel. Watching the female warriors fight together — the general Okoye (Danai Gurira), spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and T’Challa’s tech-savvy younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) — I couldn’t help but think how the three would justify a Charlie’s Angels reboot. Black Panther goes full Fast and Furious in the car chase that follows, on the streets of the practically undrivable Busan, where the alleys are narrow and the foot traffic busy. As T’Challa ditches his exquisitely tailored jacket for his Black Panther suit and starts climbing neon-coated buildings with feline ease, the women, clad in fancy gowns and barefoot-driving at electric speed, step up to the spotlight.

Their screen time marks the best parts of the film. At times, the actresses’ charisma overwhelms Boseman’s. That’s partly in character, as T’Challa is a king who thinks of and serves his people, the kind of monarch who puts the kingdom first. In that regard, Black Panther is smart to give equally exhilarating fighting scenes for the Dora Milaje (Wakanda’s female bodyguards) as it does for Black Panther himself. Newcomer Wright, especially, is a revelation — she’s got the spunk, the punch lines, the outfits, and the heart.

Boseman’s star power is further tested when Serkis’s storyline is cast aside to make room for the actual villain — Klaue’s sycophant Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who not only nearly steals the throne, but also steals the show. Jordan, who has starred in all of Coogler’s features, is a magnetic presence, and is portrayed with such a refreshing departure from the cartoonish Klaue. Like all the best antagonists, Killmonger has an agenda we can empathize with (he wants to avenge his father’s death), and his arrival in Wakanda inspires the nation to question how they’ve been so private with their riches, living comfortably without helping other oppressed black people throughout history. Coogler gives the villain’s backstory as much thought as the protagonists’; at one point, I even wondered if the big twist was that Jordan’s Killmonger would actually prove to be the rightful heir to the throne. Because the character has depth, the big fight at the end — as Wakandans face off against one another — never feels senseless or trivial.

Still, Boseman is an actor with a lived wisdom on his face, fit for the role of this king-slash-superhero. Written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther brings grounded history — in Black History Month, no less — to a fantastical story, carefully considering the world in which the characters reside. There are generations of consequences at play here, and T’Challa must make weighted political decisions — for his people, for other black people outside Wakanda, for the world. Just as Spider-Man’s uncle famously said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” T’Challa, too, is told by his father: “It’s hard for a good man to be king.”

Black Panther
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Walt Disney Pictures
Opens February 16

by Kristen Yoonsoo Kim/VilliageVoice

Posted by The NON-Conformist

This Is How White Liberals Can Be Allies in Fighting Racism and Oppression of Minorities Someone has to start doing some giving.

In November, the Washington Post reported on an unexpected outcome of the Kevin Spacey sexual harassment scandal: a textbook example of a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job. Following Stacey’s firing from the movie All the Money in the World, lead actress Michelle Williams received roughly $1,000 to reshoot scenes, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the $1.5 million paid to supporting actor Mark Wahlberg. Williams and Wahlberg are both represented by the William Morris Endeavor agency, though they have different agents, and director Ridley Scott had previously told USA Today that “everyone did [the reshoots] for nothing,” informational bits that seem to add to the situation’s overall shadiness. For all the exculpatory arguments being floated around the internet (Wahlberg’s agent is the real-life Ari Gold; Williams had a bum contract), a pay difference of 1,500 times remains laughably difficult to justify. Wahlberg donated his reshoot fee to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, along with a statement expressing the kind of sudden interest in gender pay parity frequently sparked by bad press.

The story stands in contrast to Tuesday’s news that actress Jessica Chastain, who is white, used her privilege to help ensure that actress Octavia Spencer, who is black, would receive the pay she deserves but is consistently denied due to racism and sexism. During a panel titled Women Breaking Barriers at the Sundance Film Festival, Spencer described how a conversation about the gender pay gap led to an exchange about the salary advantages white actresses have compared to actresses of color.

“We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there,” Spencer joked. “And then I said, but here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table. And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she had no idea that’s what it was like for women of color.”

Chastain suggested they take a “favored nations” approach to salary negotiations on an upcoming comedy project the two will be starring in together. By tying their pay together, the actresses would take home the same paycheck. “Fast-forward to last week,” Spencer said. “We’re making five times what we asked for.”

This is a story that could be horribly misconstrued as a “love see no color” moment in the media, and if it is ever made into a film, Hollywood will surely insist that Sandra Bullock play Chastain. But get beyond whiteness’s reflexive tendency to applaud itself for every millimeter of power willingly given, and there are reasons it’s genuinely noteworthy. Chastain deserves recognition for doing the right thing, and for being the exception that proves the sad rule, unwittingly showing how rarely that happens. As Spencer noted, “People say a lot of things,” but doing is a lot harder. “She’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said of Chastain. “When it came down to it, she was right there and shoulder to shoulder.”

Performative allyship is always more abundant than action. Whenever a longstanding issue of inequality rises to the level of widespread visibility—meaning the groundswell of horrific stories forces the powerful to recognize what the disempowered have long told them existed—the country enters a period of “national conversation” that rarely goes much beyond words. The trickle-down effect, in terms of substantive corrective actions, can be hard to locate, because all too frequently there’s no there there. What passes for activism is often just virtue theatrics that play well in a society obsessed with optics, but aren’t necessarily aimed at leveling unbalanced playing fields.

It’s been noted again and again that the MeToo movement has overwhelmingly focused on the sexual bullying of white women who have fame and money, while ignoring the daily struggles of the most vulnerable women and non-binary folks. If the women who are calling men out keep failing to call themselves out—or asking men to push for equality while refusing to cede some of their influence—nothing changes. White women’s feminism and advocacy should look like what Chastain did, but it rarely does. We’re left with meaningless hot takes, pussy hats, and Facebook filters. The questions for people who say they want real equity are: what power do you wield and what are you giving up to make that happen? Solidarity is often a top-down matter. Folks on the lower rungs are often overlooked until their fates are linked to those whose presence is given greater value.

In her 2016 memoir, Taraji P. Henson wrote about how she was paid the “equivalent of sofa change” for her Oscar-nominated supporting role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, while Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt received millions. Henson didn’t have the name recognition of her costars at the time, nor the fame she has now, but even with those factors taken into account, the pay disparity seems outlandish given she was a “solid up-and-coming actress with a decent amount of critical acclaim for her work.” She got a low-six-figure deal, the smallest of fractions of her co-stars’ salaries, and was told she’d have to pay for her own hotel accommodations for the three-month shoot.

Henson spells out in her book why the onus is on those with power to speak up:

The math really is pretty simple: there are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them, and we’re consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we starve. I knew the stakes: no matter how talented, no matter how many accolades my prior work had received, if I pushed for more money, I’d be replaced and no one would so much as blink.

Last year, during an interview with Variety, Chastain said she was done “getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid. I’m not allowing that in my life.” Clearly, she realized it was a declaration that required a concurrent commitment to all the other women in the field to make sure they aren’t subject to starvation economy survival methods. Spencer—who for the record, beat out Chastain in the Oscar’s Best Actress Category—will hopefully receive a pay bump on every film from here on out, though Hollywood’s commitment to sexism and racism make that unlikely. On Twitter, Chastain suggested truly supportive male stars put their money where their mouths are to achieve gender pay fairness. “[Octavia] had been underpaid for so long,” she wrote in the message. “When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.”

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, speaking at another Sundance talk, drove the point further home. “It’s nice to go out and march. We can do that. It’s nice to wear black at the Golden Globes—it’s nice to do that. But what are we doing behind closed doors? And I’ve got to give our sister Jessica Chastain her props because she stood up for Octavia and put it down. And that’s how we all need to do it for each other.”

By Kali Holloway/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Is the Women’s March more inclusive this year?

This weekend is an important horizon on the U.S. landscape of women’s history: People across the nation will mark the anniversary of the historic Women’s March on Washington. But for some women, the anniversary is another reminder of the shortcomings of the 2017 Women’s March.

Critics said the march centered on cis white women at the expense of women of color and trans women, both groups who many felt had more to lose under a new administration many saw as hostile to human rights. At the start, organizers of the women’s march were almost all white, though they quickly course-corrected by bringing on Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

But some underrepresented women felt their issues — such as racism, discrimination, police brutality, LGBTQ inclusivity, and immigration — were relegated in favor of issues that matter most to straight, white, middle-class women.

“We have to decide: Do we want equality and justice for a select group, or do we want it for everyone, and we know all these issues are tied together,” said Ruth Hopkins, a Native American writer and activist. “Gender justice is related to economic justice and racial justice and we have to think about all these things.”

As the 2018 Women’s March and sister marches converge on Saturday and Sunday across the country, many women are asking: Has anything changed?

Women of color have a complicated history with feminism

Feminism’s long history of perceived racism, combined with what some women saw as a lack of intersectionality at last year’s march, resulted in many black women and women of color refusing to attend.

Intersectionality, coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is the recognition of how different backgrounds and the racism, sexism and classism that come with those identities overlap and impact the ways people experience oppression and discrimination.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl