02-20-2024  5:08 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Supporters of Issue 1, the Right to Reproductive Freedom amendment, attend a rally in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 8, 2023. Some state governments and a federal agency are moving to block companies from selling geolocation data that shows who's been to abortion providers, among other places. (AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File)

    States Aim to Protect Health Data Used in Abortion Battle 

    State governments across the U.S. are adopting or considering laws that would block the sale of personal health data or information about who visits sensitive sites such as sexual health facilities. Medical records are protected by a federal privacy law, but information collected by a lot of apps is not and state legislation is trying to close that gap. Data privacy ihas been a growing concern since the.Supreme Court overturned Read More
  • KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

    KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

    Television station KGW says it deeply regrets inadvertently showing a racist image during a segment called “The Good Stuff,” which invited viewers to share “cheesy, silly, or memorable” photos from the past. The 1950s image showed children throwing balls towards a sign prominently displaying a racial slur. KGW apologised for “the profound hurt this image inflicted upon our viewers and staff, particularly members of our Black community.” Leaders of the Read More
  • Author Michael Thurmond speaks poses for a portrait, Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, in Stone Mountain, Ga. A new book by Michael Thurmond entitled “James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia” focuses on Georgia's white founding father’s failed attempt to ban slavery after starting Britain's 13th American colony in 1733. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    A Black Author Looks at Failed Attempt by Founder of Georgia to Ban Slavery

    Black author Michael Thurmond says Georgia's white founding father deserves credit for inspiring the abolitionist movement that ultimately ended slavery. His new book - “James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia” --focuses on Oglethorpe's failed attempt to ban slavery after starting Britain's 13th American colony in 1733. Georgia's early prohibition on slavery ended and Oglethorpe returned to England where he inspired activists who would become Britain's first abolitionists Read More
  • Mpho Molutsi from the Children’s Radio Foundation during a live community broadcast in Johannesburg. Gulshan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

    100 Years of Radio in Africa: From Propaganda to People’s Power

    Radio is thriving across Africa. Exact figures are difficult to come by because audience research differs across countries. But studies estimate radio listenership to be between 60% and 80% of the continent’s 1.4 billion population. Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

Television station KGW says it deeply regrets inadvertently showing a racist image during a segment called “The Good Stuff,” which invited viewers to share “cheesy, silly, or memorable” photos from the past. The 1950s image showed children throwing balls towards a sign prominently displaying a racial slur. KGW apologised for “the profound hurt this image inflicted upon our viewers and staff, particularly members of our Black community.” Leaders of the Portland NAACP chapter said they were appalled

Rep. Blumenauer Talks Retirement from Congress and His Plans to Help Put Portland Back Together

U.S. Representative for Oregon has held his seat for nearly 30 years.

Former Audubon Group Changes Name to ‘Bird Alliance of Oregon’

Portland Audubon has changed its name to the “Bird Alliance of Oregon," in the latest example of a local chapter to do so because of John James Audubon’s views as a slave owner. While the national organization opted to keep its name, other local chapters have changed theirs, including those in Seattle, Chicago and Detroit.

Childcare, Rural Investment, Wealth Creation, ‘Actually’ Affordable Housing: State BIPOC Caucus Talks Priorities at Start of Legislative Session

The Skanner spoke with BIPOC Caucus policy and communications vice chair Rep. Travis Nelson (D-Portland, Dist. 44) for a session preview. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Wyden, Merkley Announce $70,000 for the Oregon Food Bank

“Nothing is more important than making sure folks in need have food to eat, and the resources to thrive,” Wyden...

Historic Church in Seattle Hosts Free Black History Month Film Series for All

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located in Seattle’s historic Central District, will host “Freedom Fridays: A Black History...

Attorney General Rosenblum: Gun Safety Law Enacted By Voters Should Take Effect Now

Measure 114 establishes reasonable public safety regulations that do not unduly burden the right of self-defense. ...

Guardrail Repair Work to Impact Traffic on Morrison Bridge S.E. Belmont Ramp

On Wednesday, Feb. 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Morrison Bridge S.E. Belmont Street exit lane to S.E. Martin Luther King Jr....

Solemn monument to Japanese American WWII detainees lists more than 125,000 names

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Samantha Sumiko Pinedo and her grandparents file into a dimly lit enclosure at the Japanese American National Museum and approach a massive book splayed open to reveal columns of names. Pinedo is hoping the list includes her great-grandparents, who were detained in Japanese...

State governments looking to protect health-related data as it's used in abortion battle

Some state governments and federal regulators were already moving to keep individuals' reproductive health information private when a U.S. senator’s report last week offered a new jolt, describing how cellphone location data was used to send millions of anti-abortion ads to people who visited...

East and Missouri host No. 5 Tennessee

Tennessee Volunteers (19-6, 9-3 SEC) at Missouri Tigers (8-17, 0-12 SEC) Columbia, Missouri; Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Volunteers -11.5; over/under is 146.5 BOTTOM LINE: Missouri hosts the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers after Sean East scored...

Arizona hires Desireé Reed-Francois as athletic director to navigate move to Big 12

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona has hired former Missouri athletic director Desireé Reed-Francois to guide the athletics department through financial difficulties prior to the school's move to the Big 12. Reed-Francois agreed to terms Monday on a five-year contract that will start at...

OPINION

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...

The Future of Sexual & Reproductive Health Care Begins with Listening to Black Women

Repairing historic harm begins with trust — because we know that when Black women thrive, we all thrive. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

For Black ‘nones’ who leave religion, what’s next?

(RNS) — When Black Americans leave religion, it’s rarely a clean break. Take Rogiérs Fibby, a self-described agnostic, atheist and secular humanist who grew up in the Moravian Church. The head of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Black Secular Collective, Fibby also considers...

Attorneys for Georgia slave descendants urge judge not to throw out their lawsuit over island zoning

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Attorneys suing a Georgia county over zoning changes that they say threaten one of the South's last Gullah-Geechee communities of Black slave descendants asked a judge Tuesday to let them correct technical problems with their civil complaint to avoid having it dismissed. ...

US appeals court to decide if Pennsylvania mail-in ballots with wrong date still count

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court must decide if Pennsylvania voters need to put accurate handwritten dates on the outside envelopes of their mail-in ballots for the votes to count, a dispute with implications for this year's presidential contest. The 3rd U.S. Circuit...

ENTERTAINMENT

Prince Harry races head-first down a skeleton sled track and says 'everybody should do this'

WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Prince Harry raced head-first on a tiny skeleton sled going 99 kph (61.5 mph) down a track at next year’s Invictus Games site Thursday, saying with a smile afterward that everyone should do it. Harry was in Whistler, British Columbia, with wife...

Transform Asian kitchen staples into an umami-packed vegetarian soup

It’s a common misconception that the best soups require long ingredient lists and hours of simmering. In fact, just a handful of high-flavor items can be transformed into an umami-bomb of a soup in just 45 minutes. In this recipe from our book “Cook What You Have,” we get the job done thanks...

Seven-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson welcomes Creed to Daytona 500 with arms wide open

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson and his Legacy Motor Club race team welcomed Creed to NASCAR with arms wide open. So singer Scott Stapp and the rest of the multi-platinum rock band filled them — they handed Johnson an autographed guitar. Johnson, a two-time Daytona 500...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Biden wants people to know most of the money he's seeking for Ukraine would be spent in the US

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Welcome to the 'Hotel California' case: The trial over handwritten lyrics to an Eagles classic

NEW YORK (AP) — In the mid-1970s, the Eagles were working on a spooky, cryptic new song. On a...

College Football Playoff approves 5+7 format and reduces spots for conference champions

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Attacks on ships and US drones show Yemen's Houthis can still fight despite US-led airstrikes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Despite a month of U.S.-led airstrikes, Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels...

As the Ukraine war enters a third year, Putin waits for Western support for Kyiv to wither

When the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, some analysts predicted it might take as few as three days...

Ransomware group LockBit is disrupted by a global police operation that includes 2 arrests

LONDON (AP) — Law enforcement agencies have infiltrated and disrupted the prolific ransomware syndicate LockBit...

By The Skanner News | The Skanner News

By Cynthia E. Griffin NNPA News Report

As she watched President Barack Obama lay out his jobs plan for the nation and repeatedly challenge Congress to address the issue immediately, Madelyn Broadus was thinking "finally, somebody is for the people."

"It seems like for the past 12 years, (the government) is always for corporations and big fat cats. I really feel like he said it right for how we can begin again, the hard-working American people," explained Broadus, one of the 14 million unemployed people that the president was speaking of during his speech.

A sheet metal worker who specializes in installing heating and air conditioning in commercial and industrial buildings, Broadus has not worked a job since November 2009.

"I went to a five-year apprentice program, and when I was about to come out that's when the construction industry went flat," said Broadus, who has existed on unemployment since her last job.

Broadus is not alone as she struggles through long-term unemployment; nor is her situation unique . . . in the Black community.

In fact, a look at employment numbers back to when the United States Department of Labor (DOL) first began segmenting out statistics by race (1972), yields the data that shows the Black unemployment rate has consistently been at least double the national average. In 1982 and 1983, for example, Black unemployment ranged from 17 to 21 percent, while the national rate for that same period ranged from 8.6 to 10.8 percent.

And these numbers, just as today's 16.7 percent rate for Blacks probably understated the number of jobless, believes sociologist Michael Hodge, Ph.D. He said the numbers do not count those who have just stopped looking.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces a report called U6, which is a broader measure of labor underutilization. For example, in June of last year, the DOL unemployment rate was 15.7 percent in July of 2010 while the U6 rate (which includes the officially unemployed, discouraged workers, the marginally attached who have fallen out of the labor force and those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work) was 23.6 percent.

The historically high Black unemployment rates even prompted researchers at UC Berkeley to develop a Black Employment and Unemployment Data Brief that is published each month, shortly after the labor department releases its unemployment figures.

The idea behind the brief said Steven C. Pitts, Ph.D., a labor policy specialist with the Center for Labor Research and Education is to make it easy for people to access all the numbers when it comes to Black unemployment. Pitts said the labor department puts out the basic numbers, but Berkeley's data briefs drill deeper to look at various segments within the Black community.

"The Data Brief has been out 16 months now, and I think what it has done is give people a quick way to get the numbers themselves. It has allowed people to talk with some authority about Black unemployment. It's also been able to expand the conversation around Black unemployment and economic issues."

Some of that expanded talk has been about the impact on Blacks in public-sector employment, where Pitts said about 20 percent of Black folk work.

The long-term nature of African American unemployment is one of the reasons Hodge believes there are some deeply embedded causes for the problem in the Black community.

"There are some structural issues that are causes of the high rate of Black unemployment," said the chair of the Morehouse College Department of Sociology. "I don't want to discount discrimination, because (it) is still a factor in the high unemployment of African Americans, but there are some structural factors at work as well. One of which is education. We have a lower rate of high school completion and college graduation, and that is particularly true among Black men today."

Hodge said the lower educational attainment is directly tied to a lower rate of employment. Another structural challenge is the shifting of the U.S. economy away from a manufacturing to a service one. He noted that these were the types of well-paid jobs African American males could get without a college degree.

But the economy's service-ward shift, combined with off-shore outsourcing, discrimination, and inadequate education have left Blacks, especially men, in the precarious position of not being able to find decent jobs that enable them to support families.

And this definitely has an impact on the entire African American community and contributes in unexplored ways to many of the challenges and ills that are prevalent, believe researchers.

"Black America has always had an alternate vision of work and work opportunities . . . and has had an informal, underground economy that's always been a factor in their lives," points out Alford Young Jr., a professor of sociology and African American Studies and chair of the sociology department of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

This alternative work often leads to constant thoughts about how to supplement your income, noted Young.

"This is very much a stressor and provides an interesting spin on the long-standing notion that Black people, particularly lower income folk only live for today . . . and have an inability to think about the long run and are not prepared for delayed gratification," said Young.

In actuality, the sociologist said these individuals are in almost continual survivor mode.

Young added that in this situation there is a cognitive dissonance when it comes to understanding mainstream work.

"When, for a good portion of your adult life, you exist on the margin, you lose our sense of understanding of the work environment, and what social ties matter most for work," Young said. Consequently, if they do get a job, in order to preserve their dignity on the job such individuals may take actions that are antithetical to keeping the job.

Hodge, of Morehouse, said the other long-term impacts include an increase in crime, and with more people interacting with the criminal justice system, that means more people accruing a record which exacerbates the problem of obtaining a job.

"You see a decline in the value of the community . . . people are losing their homes. Renters move in, who tend not to take care of homes like homeowners."

But the impact goes even deeper than that, say researchers.

"We are still gender-oriented . . . . Males are supposed to be the breadwinners. When they can't perform . . . stress is created in a household," said Morehouse's Hodge. This can lead to high rates of divorce and domestic violence.

According to Professor Barbara Carter, Ph.D., at Spelman College, economically unstable Black men are less likely to enter into formal marriages and create stable families.

"The pattern of high male unemployment helps to promote single-female-headed houses with fewer economic resources. (Women earn less than men in part because the 'gendered' jobs they occupy typically pay less.)

"Many Black women simply don't assume that Black men will be able to support them (even if that is still their ideal), and families often socialize their girls to expect to be economically independent. Other women choose to raise their children alone rather than have an official/legal marriage with an economically unstable man," noted Carter, who is in the Anthropology and Sociology Department at Spelman.

All three researchers also talk about the impact on the psyche of unemployed Blacks, particularly males.

"What you see around you, impacts how you think, and impacts your way of thinking about the world. It creates this cycle that can perpetuate itself; that can be generational and that can be problematic," said Hodge. "Cornel West, I think, talked about this sense of community hopelessness. And when he talked about that, he talked about how unemployment, no jobs, a low graduation rate and all types of things like this perpetuate this sense of learned hopelessness. And so once that happens, it's very difficult to pull a community out of that downward cycle."

And because Black America has not escaped the ethos of work concept that permeates the national psyche, Hodge adds, lack of employment impacts one's emotional state.

"I'm not going to say that people have less respect, but we react how we are reacted to. When larger society does not treat you well, there is an attitude not so much of lack of respect but of 'I'll get mine the only way I can get mine.'"

Young believes the impact is different at the various economic levels.

Many in the lower socioeconomic levels, who live and operate in communities where joblessness is abundant, are often wholly divorced from work and work opportunities.

"For those in the stable working class, they are in a precarious category," Young said. "There is a lack of comfort and security at work. At one point you focused on how to have your children advance beyond your status, but now the Black middle class has abandoned that notion. Instead now they are struggling to figure out how to retire."

According to the Los Angeles UCLA Black Worker Center, the demographic of the working class is probably the most invisible in the African American community, and that creates problems when it comes to looking at issues of work and jobs.

For the Black professional class, there is a gender imbalance, which is particularly troubling for women who are interested in connecting in marriage with someone of their same race.

Young also noted that for the professional class, there is a sense of isolation, and that for the lower income there is an emerging concern about how to make sense of a work world that is increasingly more technology-based.

The University of Michigan professor also noted another future impact that is beginning to manifest itself—the "monitoring" of a growing mass of older African Americans who have never been connected to stable employment and now must be incorporated into the conversation about social security, Medicaid and healthcare.

While the state of unemployment in the African American community is extremely challenging, researchers retain their optimism for the future in part because of the past resiliency and creativity of the African American community. That includes "hustling" (whether legitimately or illicitly) to bring in money. They are also optimistic because of actions that new generations of Blacks are taking.

One of those sets of actions is what Hodge sees among the young college students he observes.

"The Black male students I see have a hustle they are trying to create while they are in school. They set up entrepreneurship opportunities for themselves and their colleagues. They do things to promote themselves."

And they are doing this in large part by harnessing the power of technology, adds Hodge. Their goals, like those of Black entrepreneurs of the past are to give back to the community, partially in the guise of jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum—the mass worker side—are organizations like the Los Angeles UCLA Black Workers Center, which Pitts said are doing much like the legendary A. Phillip Randolph: helping to empower Black workers as a group.

"A. Philip Randolph and the movement of sleeping car porters not only built power—meaning developing leaders such as Ed Nixon who could stand up to employers and make the demands of workers and who knew their individual fate were linked to the collective—but Randolph also was a strategist and used research and analysis to understand the political landscape and the dynamics of the power that he was up against. He made sure that the porters understood the railroad industry and how it worked; that they understood the boss, his values and motivation; he explored what political tools he had to fight with and those that were needed; he knew the political landscape of the Black community and the labor movement and where they were willing to go. All of that led to their success," said Lola Smallwood-Cuevas of the UCLA Black Worker Center.

"Today Black workers are on their own and in the dark, like so many American workers, and they are struggling in a complex economy overlaid with enormous systems of oppression and greed," continued Smallwood-Cuevas. "At the Black Worker Center, we believe the organization and development of worker/leaders, community strategic alliances, and smart analysis, strategies as well as an agenda out of the grassroots is what is needed."

Researchers also believe that what is needed is to take the conversation about Black unemployment well beyond job training and creation and deep into an understanding of the future world of work as well as how to meaningfully connect youth and adults (including the formerly incarcerated) to this new and ever-changing employment landscape.

The Black Worker Center, also believes the discussion needs to include looking at the labor market and repairing the structural policies and procedures that facilitate creation of "bad" jobs and employment inequities.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast