05-30-2024  1:48 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade Grand Marshal is Greg McKelvey

McKelvey is the band director at Battle Ground High School

New Police Oversight Board Still On Track Despite Challenges, A Trip to Court

But advisory committee members say they’re left in the dark about the progress of city code they helped form.

Oregon 2024 Primary Results

Maxine Dexter, Janelle Bynum, Dan Reyfield and Elizabeth Steiner secure nominations; other races too soon to call.

AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in Oregon's Primaries

Oregon has multiple hotly contested primaries upcoming, as well as some that will set the stage for high-profile races in November. Oregon's 5th Congressional District is home to one of the top Democratic primaries in the country.

NEWS BRIEFS

First Meeting of Transportation Committee Statewide Tour to be at Portland Community College

The public is invited to testify at the Portland meeting of the 12-stop Transportation Safety and Sustainability Outreach Tour ...

Forest Service Waives Recreation Fee for National Get Outdoors Day

National Get Outdoors Day aims to connect Americans with the great outdoors and inspire them to lead healthy, active lifestyles. By...

Acclaimed Portland Author Renée Watson Presents: I See My Light Shining

The event will feature listening stations with excerpts from the digital collection of oral testimonies from extraordinary elders from...

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free For All Returns for 2024

Parks Local Option Levy brings the city a full slate of free movies, concerts (including pop icon Sheila E), Free Lunch + Play, the...

GFO Library Open on Memorial Day

We are remaining open to give our patrons an opportunity to use the library on a day off from work. ...

Jury deliberations begin in trial of Idaho man charged in triple-murder case

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Jury deliberations began Wednesday in the case of an Idaho man charged with murdering his wife and his girlfriend's two youngest children in what prosecutors said was a callous scheme for money, power and sex. “Three dead bodies ... and for what?” prosecutor...

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

Mizzou uses combined 2-hitter to beat Duke 3-1 to force decisive game in Columbia Super Regional

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Laurin Krings and two relievers combined on a two-hitter and seventh-seeded Missouri forced a deciding game in the Columbia Super Regional with a 3-1 win over Duke on Saturday. The Tigers (48-17) had three-straight singles in the fourth inning, with Abby Hay...

OPINION

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

'Star Trek' actor George Takei is determined to keep telling his Japanese American story

TOKYO (AP) — The incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including children, labeled enemies during World War II is an historical experience that has traumatized, and galvanized, the Japanese American community over the decades. For George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu...

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the...

Republican blocks confirmation of first Native American federal judge for Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker from Montana blocked a Biden administration judicial nominee who would have been the state's first Native American federal district court judge, officials said Wednesday. Attorney Danna Jackson with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai...

ENTERTAINMENT

With a new War Rig and a fleet of motorbikes, 'Furiosa' restarts the motorized mayhem of 'Mad Max'

NEW YORK (AP) — When it was time to start making “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” production designer Colin Gibson went to a garage in Australia to find some old friends. It had been years since 2015’s “Fury Road” wrapped production. Many of the vehicles seen in the film had...

The Beach Boys, going into the sunset, look back on years of harmony and heartache in documentary

Both the Beach Boys and “The Beach Boys” — the new documentary dropping Friday on Disney+ — are all about blending a range of voices. The three Wilson brothers — Brian, Carl and Dennis — along with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine, brought a harmonic revolution to...

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who skewered fast food industry, dies at 53

NEW YORK (AP) — Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, an Oscar nominee whose most famous works skewered America's food industry and who notably ate only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. Spurlock died Thursday in New...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

From electric vehicles to deciding what to cook for dinner, John Podesta faces climate challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Podesta was two months into his new role as President Joe Biden’s global climate envoy...

Boeing reaches deadline for reporting how it will fix aircraft safety and quality problems

Boeing is due to tell federal regulators Thursday how it plans to fix the safety and quality problems that have...

Josh Gibson becomes MLB career and season batting leader as Negro Leagues statistics incorporated

NEW YORK (AP) — Josh Gibson became Major League Baseball’s career leader with a .372 batting average,...

US pledges 5 million in aid to Western-leaning Moldova to counter Russian influence

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday pledged 5 million in aid to...

Brazil's president withdraws his country's ambassador to Israel after criticizing the war in Gaza

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil withdrew its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday after months of tensions between the...

France's Macron urges a green light for Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia with Western weapons

France’s president has joined the head of NATO in pushing for a policy shift that could change the complexion of...

Charles Barkley
Omar Tyree, The Black Athlete, Special To The Skanner News

Charles Barkley at East Carolina University, by Gallery 2

In the middle of an American turmoil between the police force and African-American men, what I would like from Santa Claus this Christmas is a viable solution, which may include more social awareness, logic and sensitivity from the Mike Ditkas and Charles Barkleys of the world.

Both Hall of Fame athletes and outspoken commentators with extremely recognizable names, Ditka and Barkley come from poor, hard-working families. Dikta, born Michael Dyczko to a Ukrainian family in Carnegie, Penn., excelled in football to escape working in the Pennsylvania steel mills and factories of the 1950s and 60s. Likewise, Barkley excelled in basketball to escape generations of poverty and racism in Leeds, Ala., in the 1970s and 80s.

The pair of hard-nosed and tenacious athletes played their respective sports like gladiators with swords and shields in hand. They were manly men and proud of it. They had no problem expressing themselves either, while saying the type of things that other men would only think about.

Ditka and Barkley were able to get away with it too. That’s why hardened, old-school men love these guys. They allowed Joe Blow and Sammy Washington to validate their own unfiltered and uncompromised opinions. Now we have a nation full of no-named Ditkas and Barkleys all over the internet on Twitter and Facebook, saying whatever the hell they want without enough thought behind it.

What does this have to do with Black America’s issues with the police? Well, if you haven’t heard, Mike Ditka, who calls himself an “ultra conservative,” recently made comments that the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, used the police killing of teenager Michael Brown as “a reason to protest and go out and loot.” He confessed that he didn’t understand the uproar, and that he doubted the St. Louis Rams football players who performed a “hands up, don’t shoot” demonstration during their introductions in a recent game against the Oakland Raiders “care about Michael Brown or anything else.”

Ditka says that there are a lot of different things in society that athletes can complain or protest about. Why choose Michael Brown?

Well, Tavon Austin, Steadman Bailey, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens—who all happen to be Black and play professional football for the St. Louis Rams in Missouri—consider the loss of Black life, coupled with injustice from the local police force, important enough to talk about. And why shouldn’t they?  The last time I checked, a human life was more important than anything.

After playing professional football for eleven years, coaching for a dozen more, and now commentating on hundreds of NFL games and thousands of players—many of whom happen to be Black as well—you would think Mr. Ditka would know a little more about African-American culture to at least be sensitive to the complexities of American society and race. But evidently, at age seventy-five, with more than 50 years of being a teammate, a coach and a commentator around African-American men who are fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles and so forth, Mr. Ditka has apparently learned nothing about them. Or maybe he only cares to think about the ones he knows and likes.

I find this lack of knowledge and sensitivity amazing. But it happens every day in America. Many ethnicities, cultures, races, creeds and classes go to work and stand right next to each for forty and fifty years, and still don’t know enough about each other to care. Mike Ditka calls it being “old-fashioned.” He is who he is and he has a right to be who he wants to be.

I call it being selfishly American. We are surface people, who find it very uncomfortable to dig deep enough to understand someone else’s truth and struggles, even as we approach year 2015. But real truth is more complex than a bunch of shocking sound bites. That’s where Mr. Charles Barkley comes into play as an Alabama Black man, who often gets away with saying things that Whites and Blacks consider cute, mainly because he says it so shamelessly with his country accent. But that doesn’t make what he says factual.

Barkley has now aggravated his own family members by commenting on the same Missouri issue as Ditka, while calling the Ferguson looters “scumbags.” He then went on to explain himself by adding more kerosene to the fire. “In all fairness, there are some people out there who are crooks. We, as black people, got a lot of crooks.”

Yes, Mr. Barkley said it and he’s not backing down from it.

Well, thanks a lot, Mr. Barkley. That comment sure helps America to deal with its police issue with African-Americans. I’m sure thousands of hardcore police will just love that one. But the truth is: every race, culture and class has crooks, particularly when they are challenged by economic imbalances. British, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Russian, Australian, Spanish, French, Mexican, Canadian, Brazilian, Jamaican, African, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, you name it; we all have crooks. The United States of America itself is based on the stolen land of crooks, who no longer want us to talk about it. African-Americans, also happen to be stolen people. But that’s too much information to handle. This is supposed to be a sports column with no history lessons or politics.

That’s the problem with Mike Ditka and Charles Barkley. Their shoot-from-the-hip comments create more American extremists, who are eager to press the kill button, while still lacking vital information. This extreme emotionalism of uniformed people creates a society of angry warmongers, who are unwilling to comprehend the logic of more humane compromise. I’m speaking to law enforcement officials as well here. Please learn more about the people you police instead of blindly dictating terms to them. Is America still a democracy?

Meanwhile, Ditka and Barkley remain above the fray as esteemed and wealthy citizens, corralling the masses to war with their gladiator swords and shields in hand, whether they understand their uninformed words and actions or not.

So I’m asking Santa Claus this Christmas to inspire more athletes and public figures to develop the appropriate social awareness, logic and sensitivity about our serious world issues before they speak, text or videotape the wrong things. That way we can prepare ourselves to avoid more of the atrocities that have yet to come. But since Santa Claus doesn’t really exist, I pray for more qualified journalists to form voices of reason that people are actually willing to lesson to.

Yes, informed writers still matter.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast