02-02-2023  2:32 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

NEWS BRIEFS

"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...

Oregon State Celebrates Black History Month With a Series of Events

Free events highlight the achievements and perseverance of Black and African American communities from the past to the present. ...

Word is Bond Announces Second Annual In My Shoes Walking-tour Project for Black History Month

Tours run February 4 through February 25, 2023 in King, New Columbia, Vancouver, Woodlawn, Goose Hollow, Montavilla, Parkrose, and...

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

Kidnapper leaves bloody trail in Oregon, hides under house

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police converged in force on the tiny, unincorporated community of Wolf Creek in southwest Oregon the night of Jan. 26 as they hunted for a suspect who was wanted for kidnapping and torturing a woman nearly to death — and who had previously been convicted of a similar crime...

REI lays off 167 at HQ, cites ‘increasing uncertainty’

SEATTLE (AP) — Outdoor company REI has laid off more than 100 people from its headquarters in and around Seattle, citing “increasing uncertainty” and a need to be profitable. President and CEO Eric Artz said in a letter to employees on Tuesday that 167 people lost their jobs,...

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

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. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black history class revised by College Board amid criticism

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — High school senior Kahlila Bandele is used to courses that don’t address the African American experience. Then there’s her 9 a.m. class. This week, it spanned topics from Afro-Caribbean migration to jazz. The discussion in her Advanced Placement course on...

DeSantis pushes ban on diversity programs in state colleges

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced plans to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory in his latest step onto the front lines of the nation's culture wars. The Republican governor...

Child welfare algorithm faces Justice Department scrutiny

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Justice Department has been scrutinizing a controversial artificial intelligence tool used by a Pittsburgh-area child protective services agency following concerns that the tool could lead to discrimination against families with disabilities, The Associated Press has...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dr. Dre celebrates 'Chronic' anniversary with re-release

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dr. Dre will celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Chronic” with a re-release of his highly acclaimed debut studio album. The multi-Grammy winner’s iconic first solo album will make a return to streaming services on Wednesday. His 1992 release became a...

Missy, Willie and George Michael among Rock Hall nominees

NEW YORK (AP) — Missy Elliott, Willie Nelson, Kate Bush, Iron Maiden, Cyndi Lauper, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow and the late George Michael are the 2023 nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, reflecting a mix of country, soul, hip-hop, metal, pop, rap-rock and grunge. ...

'Dr. Phil' talk show to end daytime TV run after 21 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Daytime television psychologist “Dr. Phil” McGraw says he plans to end his talk show after 21 years in the coming months, but viewers haven't seen the last of him. “Dr. Phil” was the most prominent spinoff from Oprah Winfrey's show, which once dominated...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Sunak marks 100 days as UK prime minister as problems mount

London (AP) — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has angry unions to the left of him, anxious Conservative Party...

House GOP preparing to oust Democrat from committee

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are preparing to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign...

Kidnapper leaves bloody trail in Oregon, hides under house

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police converged in force on the tiny, unincorporated community of Wolf Creek in southwest...

Bank of England poised for big rate hike to tame inflation

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates by as much as half a percentage point...

Pakistan arrests prominent political ally of ex-PM Khan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police arrested a prominent political figure in an overnight raid on his home near...

Austria expels 4 Russian diplomats based in Vienna

VIENNA (AP) — Austria's government said Thursday that it has ordered four diplomats based in Vienna, including...

Moni Basu and Daphne Sashin CNN

(CNN) -- It was a homecoming rally to cheer on the Waverly Wolverines football team. They were undefeated this year. Everyone was proud.

Then, in the midst of the cheers and a sea of red and white pom poms came a 30-second skit that, for some, turned an afternoon of school pride into one of shame.



Three white male students involved in the skit made light of domestic violence, and they did it in racist manner, say some.

Two were in blackface as they re-enacted a 2009 domestic abuse incident in which singer Chris Brown assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna. The student who played Brown was vying for the school's "Mr. Waverly" title -- a school tradition in which skits are performed and the one that garners the most applause wins the title.

On Monday, Waverly alum Matthew Dishler posted a photograph of the skit on CNN's iReport. He says someone shared the image on Facebook.

The photo went viral.

By Tuesday afternoon, the CNN iReport had more than 46,000 views and showed up on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Gawker and in local newspapers.

Suddenly, Waverly High School became synonymous with racism and sexism.

Twitter lit up with comments about the skit. Many were critical, but some defended the skit.

"I don't think it was offensive at all," said Chelsea House, who earned her high school diploma from Waverly last year and moved to Alabama but returned for homecoming last week and saw the skit.

"There's nothing wrong with blackface. There's nothing wrong with dressing up as a black person. Black is but a color," House said.



Waverly Central School District Superintendent Joseph Yelich said Tuesday that he did not believe the students in the skit intended to offend anyone.

Waverly resident Thomas Rumpff, a 2007 graduate of the high school, said he believed most of the kids were unaware of the historical context of blackface, a form of theatrical makeup used by white people in minstrel shows that perpetuated racist stereotypes of African-Americans.

Rumpff said the Rihanna incident had also been satirized online and on television before.

"Was this a little bit inappropriate? Yes," he said. But said the incident "has been completely blown out of proportion."

Other incidents of blackface have surfaced this year, including a Colorado Springs second-grader who offended a teacher when he painted his face black to resemble the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Waverly High skit was approved by school officials before it was performed, Yelich said. He acknowledged the problem and said he was speaking with students, teachers and staff at the school in the coming days.

"My concern is to start making something teachable out of this particular circumstance," he said.

The desire to win likely fuels outrageous behavior, said Fran Bialy, assistant director of A New Hope Center, an agency that aids victims of rape, domestic violence, assault and hate crimes.

Other skits at the pep rally involved Tarzan and a dairy farmer milking his cows. Last year, a student played Tiger Woods, also in blackface. "I have heard about blackface, but ... they're portraying Hollywood events," alum Ryan Bronson said. "It would be the same thing if he bought a mask."

Bottom line, Bronson said: People are being too sensitive.

"They go crazy about every little thing," he said. "The school and everybody are going to basically stop letting kids be kids."

Dishler said he posted the image not to cast a harsh light on anyone but to prod the school to do better with issues of diversity.

"I don't believe the kids really knew what they were doing is as offensive as it is," Dishler said. "The administration was watching this go on, and they let it happen."

Alum Vlad Chituc also blamed school officials.

He said Waverly, a small town off Interstate 86 just west of Binghamton, New York, could easily be seen as a place that affirmed stereotypes of all sorts.

Of Waverly's 4,444 people, 4,312 were white, according to 2010 census data.

Chituc said he was "extraordinarily offended" by the skit and ashamed that his school seemed to be OK with it.

"On the one hand, I can't blame the kids for being ignorant," Chituc said. "It's a small town, and the kids don't know any better. It's the responsibility of the administration to let the kids know this is not how you behave in 21st-century America. ... They've been failing at that spectacularly.

"The administration should be creating an environment where minorities are welcome, not the butts of racist jokes that make light of domestic violence."

Chituc contacted Waverly High School Principal Kim Forero by e-mail.

He sent CNN Forero's response, which read in part:

"Thank you for your concerns. We will continue to address issues of diversity and respect for all. The format of pep rally will need to be reconsidered. I appreciate your concern for your alma mater."

Yelich, for his part, said he could see how the skit could have been misconstrued and that he intends to set clearer expectations for behavior.

"I have some opportunities here to make positive change," he said.

CNN was not able to obtain the names of the students involved in the skit.

Whatever their intentions were, one thing was clear: Their portrayals of Chris Brown and Rihanna fell short -- the kid who played the dairy farmer was crowned Mr. Waverly.

CNN's Katie Hawkins-Gaar contributed to this report.

MLK Breakfast 2023

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