Seven Years Ago Today: Good Black News Was Founded

(Image by Maeve Richardson)


GOOD BLACK NEWS
 proudly celebrates its seventh anniversary today, with our followers across FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestInstagramGoogle+YouTubeWordPress, our RSS feed, and LinkedIn. Although initially launched on March 18, 2010 as a Facebook page (read the detailed story behind GBN’s creation here), in September 2012, GBN created this dedicated website, goodblacknews.org, which has allowed us to expand our presence on the internet and provide archives and search functions to you, our loyal readers.

In the past year, we were greatly honored to not only have our Editorial “What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege” republished on The Huffington Post, On Being (we made their “Best of 2016” list), Everyday Feminism, and Quartz, but also to see so much thoughtful dialogue spark around the topic.

And as of last week, we are proud to share that because of the existence of Good Black News, Founder and Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson is featured in (and earned the international cover of) Australian quarterly Dumbo Feather.

(photo by Atsushi Nishijima)

The outpour of appreciation you’ve shown us via likes, comments, shares, reblogs and e-mails means the world to us, and only inspires GBN to keep getting bigger and better and create more original content.

Good Black News remains a labor of love for our Founder/Editor-In-Chief (Lori) and Lifestyle Editor (Lesa Lakin), and we must gratefully acknowledge this year’s contributors: Rebecca Carpenter, Susan CartsonisJulie Bibb Davis, Alyss Dixson, Dan Evans, Gina Fattore, Eric Greene, Thaddeus Grimes-GruczkaAshanti Hutcherson, Warren Hutcherson, Brenda Lakin, Joyce Lakin, Ray Lancon, John Levinson, Jason Lief, Neeta McCulloch, Hanelle Culpepper Meier, Jeff Meier, Catherine Metcalf, Minsun Park, Tajamika PaxtonPatrick-Ian PolkFlynn Richardson, Rosanna Rossetto, Gabriel RyderTerry Samwick, Becky Schonbrun, Susan ShafferCallie TeitelbaumTeddy TenenbaumArro Verse, and Joshua A.S. Young. You are all deeply, greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Maeve Richardson for re-conceiving and redesigning all the GBN logos and banners across social media.

Please continue to help us spread GBN by sharing, liking, re-tweeting and commenting, and consider joining our e-mail list via our “Contact Us” tab on goodblacknews.org. We will only use this list to keep you updated on GBN and send you our upcoming e-newsletter (fingers crossed!) — nothing else. And, of course, you may opt out at any time.

GBN believes in bringing you positive news, reviews and stories of interest about black people all over the world, and greatly value your participation in continuing to build our shared vision.

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to providing you with more Good Black News in the coming year, and beyond!

Warmly,

The Good Black News Team

Lori Lakin Hutcherson (l) and Lesa Lakin (r), GBN Editors

EDITORIAL: What I Want To Be Able to Tell My Children About Their Next President

Xavier and Lori Hutcherson (screenshot via youtube.com)

Xavier Hutcherson and Lori Lakin Hutcherson (PrioritiesUSA ad screenshot via youtube.com)

by GBN Founder and Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson

by GBN Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson

I know everyone wants this election to be over already – you’ve seen every debate, every news clip, every “shocking revelation”; been inundated in your social media feeds for what seems like an eternity with everyone’s thoughts, opinions, screeds, salvos and takes on who is or isn’t a worthy presidential candidate and why.  So here, in these last days, I’ll weigh in with what my choice ultimately boiled down to for me: When the final results are in, what do I want to be able to say to my 9 year-old and my 7 year-old about who their next president is?

In 2008, this moment was revelatory: I was bathing my then almost 2 year-old son Xavier (who since birth has been negotiating the challenges of cerebral palsy and epilepsy) when Barack Obama was officially proclaimed the future 44th President of the United States.  I looked at Xavier… he smiled.  I teared up, my heart swelled and I told him it was just proven without a doubt that the impossible IS possible, that his own potential was limitless and he could be whatever he wanted to be when he grew up.

In 2012, more of the same – but now I got to say it to my then 3 year-old daughter Phoebe too, who in her lifetime has never known a president OTHER than Barack Obama. Wow.  And now in 2016 she has the potential to see a woman rise to the top post of our nation for the first time in U.S. history – which will also be a truly awesome milestone of possibility to celebrate.

But even more than that, I want to be able to tell my children whether or not I or their father agree with the politics of our next president, that our next president is worthy of our respect and support.  That our president at her or his core is a decent human being who is doing her or his best to make our country stronger and create more opportunity for the majority of Americans.  That our president values and respects women, the LBGTQ community, people with disabilities, people of color and people with varied religious beliefs.

For me, it is glaringly obvious that there is only one candidate in true contention for the Presidency who fits that description: Hillary Clinton.  Which is why my sister and our Lifestyle Editor Lesa Lakin produced the ad below and why I agreed to have me and my children take part in the political ad below (we are at the :12 mark).  I wanted Xavier and Phoebe to know who I supported, and why it was worth putting ourselves out there to do so.

As difficult and divisive as our current times can be, as I do here on Good Black News, in everyday life I work hard to stay focussed on the positive (and some days, as we all know, that is REALLY REALLY hard).  I always want my children to live in a welcoming atmosphere of possibility, encouragement and hope.  Of civility and decency.  Of responsibility, fairness, and a willingness to admit one’s mistakes and do better.  I want the same values they are learning to live by at home and school – to listen, be polite, not name call, take turns, share – to be values I can say our nation’s leader lives by as well.  Come Wednesday morning, if Hillary Clinton has won, I can say that to them.

But if she doesn’t win… frankly, I don’t know what I’m going to say.

Solange Knowles Writes Insightful, Personal Essay on Racial Discrimination

Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles (photo via solangemusic.com)

article by Lesa Lakin

by Lesa Lakin, Lifestyle Editor

Today I woke up to a Facebook post that my roommate from college shared on her feed. Her response to that tauntingly generic Facebook encouragement— “What’s on your mind?” seemed a little more perturbed, urgent and determined than usual: “This is a must read! #blacklivesmatter #takeaknee and if u don’t like my hashtags feel free to unfollow me.”  Whoa… okay, she had my attention. I found my glasses and I was in. The share was an essay by Solange Knowles about her recent experience with racial discrimination at a Kraftwerk concert.

The essay is entitled “And Do You Belong? I Do…”,  and the title is a pretty good indication of what follows. Here we go, I thought… I am about to read about how someone had caused Beyoncé’s sister to feel some type of way. I knew it would be a truthful expression of Solange having to deal with some, well… ignorant mess. I’ve certainly been there. This was going to be a level of discrimination probably more than the norm though, because why else make such an effort to share?

Solange’s essay is thought-provoking and definitely worth the read. She is insightful and honest about her past experiences with racial discrimination, as well as her recent encounter while trying to dance and enjoy music with her family.

Though the content of the post is not surprising – again, so many of us have been there – the trash throwing did surprise me. (Yes, someone throws trash at Solange and her family.) Really?? It was taken there??? But instead of responding in the moment in a way that likely would have brought negative attention to her and her family, I have to applaud Solange for instead turning to Twitter, then laying it out there again in writing, as well as covering the anticipated naysayers with intelligent responses.

Here is her essay in its entirety:

http://saintheron.com/featured/and-do-you-belong-i-do/

In light of GBN’s own essay on personal discrimination:

https://goodblacknews.org/2016/07/14/editorial-what-i-said-when-my- white-friend-asked-for-my-black-opinion-on-white-privilege/

We are reminded by her action that knowledge is power, well-chosen words are power, and speaking up in protest is power. I think it’s important that she bravely lays it out there for the world to hear.

Thank you, Solange.

NBA Legend Michael Jordan Speaks Out on Police-Related Violence, Donates $2M to Help Facilitate Change

Michael Jordan (photo via cbssports.com)

Michael Jordan (photo via cbssports.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson and Lesa Lakin

According to usatoday.com, former NBA great Michael Jordan has today not only spoken out against police violence towards people of color and the retaliatory violence that has ensued, but in an effort to help ease tensions, he has also put his money where his mouth is, donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal  Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly-established Institute for Community-Police Relations.

In a statement shared via The Undefeated on Monday morning, Jordan said the following:

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism.  I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.

Here’s his post:

“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).

So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”

Here’s my response:

Hi, Jason.  First off, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted your post and made it part of mine.  I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed.  I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding.  Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime – in fact I just spoke with my sister Lesa about how to best do this yesterday – because I realized many of my friends – especially the white ones – have no idea what I’ve experienced/dealt with unless they were present (and aware) when it happened.  There are two reasons for this : 1) because not only as a human being do I suppress the painful and uncomfortable in an effort to make it go away, I was also taught within my community (I was raised in the ‘70s & ‘80s – it’s shifted somewhat now) and by society at large NOT to make a fuss, speak out, or rock the boat. To just “deal with it,” lest more trouble follow (which sadly, it often does).  2) Fear of being questioned or dismissed with “Are you sure that’s what you heard?” or “Are you sure that’s what they meant?” and being angered and upset all over again by well-meaning-but-hurtful and essentially unsupportive responses.

So, again, I’m glad you asked, because I really want to answer. But as I do, please know a few things first: 1) This is not even close to the whole list. I’m cherrypicking because none of us have all day.  2) I’ve been really lucky. Most of what I share below is mild compared to what others in my family and community have endured. 3) I’m going to go in chronological order so you might begin to glimpse the tonnage and why what many white folks might feel is a “Where did all of this come from?” moment in society has been festering individually and collectively for the LIFETIME of pretty much every black or brown person living in America today regardless of wealth or opportunity. 4)Some of what I share covers sexism, too – intersectionality is another term I’m sure you’ve heard and want to put quotes around, but it’s a real thing, too, just like white privilege.  But you’ve requested a focus on personal experiences with racism, so here it goes:

1. When I was 3, my family moved into an upper-middle class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys. One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother and fortunately, his mother believed mine.  My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then Mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends. This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.

2. When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant but in her gut, she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go.  I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant – that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement.  If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.

3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class.  This was meant to be funny.  It wasn’t.  So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester.  The point here is if you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.

4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates pissed that another black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair.  An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off.  The point here is if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it”that is white privilege.

5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day. The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser: Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.” Doctor: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.” Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.  Store employee: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.”  Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard.  I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton, and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever. Woman, to the boy: “What college are you going to?”  Boy: “Princeton.”  Woman: “Congratulations!”  Woman, to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?” Me: “Harvard.”  Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?” I think: “No bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.”  But I say, gesturing to my LABELED boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”  Then she says congratulations but it’s too fucking late.  The point here is if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege. Continue reading

Puma Creates BHM Sneakers in Honor of Iconic Olympic Sprinter Tommie Smith

Image #: 13530908 American athletes Tommie Smith (middle, gold medal) and John Carlos (right, bronze medal) at the Award Ceremony for the 200m race at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, October 16, 1968. The Olympics Black Power salute was a notable black power protest and one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games. DPA/LANDOV

American athletes Tommie Smith (middle) and John Carlos (right) at the Award Ceremony for the 200m race at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, October 16, 1968. (Photo: DPA/LANDOV)

The image above is a powerful one. This black power salute is embedded in our history. In 1968 Olympics athletes Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) made history during the Olympic games in Mexico City. With the world watching the sprinters stood on the medal podium and raised their black-gloved fists in the air in silent protest for human rights and for black Americans to stand in solidarity.

It’s that powerful image that was the inspiration for Puma’s capsule collection honoring Tommie Smith and Black History Month. What I didn’t realize is that gold medalist Tommie Smith removed his suede Pumas right before he stepped onto the podium shoeless in black socks, to represent poverty and slavery.  After that subtle statement, he then raised his fist.  With that unmistakable gesture, Tommie Smith altered the course of history and dedicated his life to change. Emblazoned with Tommie Smith’s silhouette, with fist raised, the Black History Month Pack honors a legacy on the track and off. I must applaud Puma for honoring this hero.

Yara Shalhidi and Tommie Smith at the Puma and Sheikh Shoes Launch Celebration at Mastro’s Beverly Hills

Yara Shalhidi and Tommie Smith at the Puma and Sheikh Shoes Launch Celebration at Mastro’s Beverly Hills (Photo credit: Charles Jim-George)

puma

Check out Puma’s Black History Month Collection here:

http://us.puma.com/en_US/men/featured/black-history-month

Sheikh Shoes:

http://www.shiekhshoes.com/m-9-puma.aspx

For more about the 1968 Olympic Black Power Salute:

http://time.com/3880999/black-power-salute-tommie-smith-and-john-carlos-at- the-1968-olympics/

Lesa Lakin GBN Lifestyle

Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle

THE GOODS: Great Gift Guides for Last-Minute Finds – GBN

Best Gift Guides

Today for the GOODS we are doing a serious full court press and bringing you some of the best gift guides out there. The clock is ticking… and the shipping days are dwindling, so here’s a quick collection of guides with something for everyone (cross fingers). And, yeah… there are always gift cards… or simply the gift of your company and LOVE. So don’t stress… and enjoy the holidays!

Elle Gift Guide’s got something for everyone:

http://www.elle.com/gifts/

Target Hot Toys of the Year:

http://www.target.com/c/kids-toys-gifts-ways-to-shop/-/N-5cgh5

GQ Ultimate Gift Guide for Everyone

http://www.gq.com/gallery/ultimate-holiday-gift-guide-wife-girlfriend-family-buy-christmas-hanukkah#2

Consumer Reports Holiday Gift Guide:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/shopping/holiday-shopping-and-gift-guide/index.htm

For Tech Lovers check out:

http://www.cnet.com/holiday-gift-guide/

Harpers Bazaar Holiday Gifts:

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/holiday-gifts/

Barnes & Noble Holiday Gift Guide

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/holiday-gift-guide/

The Honest Company:

https://www.honest.com/gift/guide

Yahoo Tech Gifts For DAD:

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/christmas-gift-guide-perfect-tech-173718267/photo-asus-chromebook-flip-c100-1450463114991.html

Global Grind Last-Minute Gifts for Bae:

http://globalgrind.com/2015/12/15/gift-guide-for-bae/

Urban Outfitters:

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/category.jsp?id=GENERAL_CATEGORY

And one final guide for kicks and giggles… and honestly, she does curate some cool (if stratospherically overpriced) items. GOOP is always worth a look… and there are affordable finds.
http://goop.com/the-goop-gift-guides/

Lesa Lakin

Lesa Lakin