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#Iconic : Black Women, LGBT Candidates Reign Supreme

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Black women and queer candidates reign supreme over Republicans to take back the House.

Democrats around the country watched with bated breath as they awaited the results of their local elections. While threats of voter suppression loomed, tensions were high. However, Dems can celebrate the day with monumental gains in racial and gender diversity.

#BlackGirlsRock

Lauren Underwood is the youngest black women to run for Congress in 2018. A registered nurse in Illinois, she will represent the 14th Congressional district. Jahana Hayes, a former state and national teacher of the year, has emerged victorious in her race against GOP candidate Manny Santos to take the seat in Connecticut. Ayanna Pressley will represent Massachusetts as the first black congresswoman.

“This was the first election ever where white men were not a majority of the Democratic candidates for the House and white men were still 3/4 of the Republican candidates.” Ronald Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst

First two Native American women elected to Congress

First Native American women elected to Congress

First Native American Women

Additions to the House include, for the first time ever, two Native American women. Sharice Davids, of the Ho-Chunk Nation, won in Kansas to replace a GOP representative. A former MMA fighter, Davids makes history as Kansas’ first openly gay rep. Deb Haaland, the former chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, will occupy the seat Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham vacated to run for governor.

First Muslim Women elected to Congress

First Muslim Women elected to Congress

First Muslim Women

Michigan is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States. As a Detroit native, I could not be prouder to announce that Rashida Tlaib will be representing the state. Even better, is that she will be occupying the seat left by Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who vacated after sexual misconduct allegations.

First Bi and Gay Governors

First Bi and Gay Governors

LGBT Firsts

Kate Brown is the first bisexual and openly queer person to be elected governor. She will represent Oregon and joining her is Jared Polis. Polis is now the first openly gay member of Congress and he represents Colorado.

Female Firsts

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are the first Hispanic women to make it to Congress from Texas. South Dakota has elected Kristi Noem as the states first female governor. While not yet declared, Arizona looks to appoint Krysten Sinema however, she is in a tight race with GOP Rep. Martha McSally.

Overall, women now hold over 100 positions in the House of Representatives. The future is female!

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Dear Bernie Sanders and White Progressives, We Need To Talk

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In an excerpt of an AfroPunk post, an author alleges that Bernie Sanders is “confused as hell.” Unable to call racism by its name, they lament that progressives like Bernie are ignorant and complicit in its propagation.

As a Black woman who lives in Vermont, a state that is 94% white and credited as one of the most liberal in the country, let me explain. Progressives are unable to acknowledge racism because they are unable to identify it in the same way a person of color does. They are so blissfully unaware of the nuances and prejudices and so willing to compartmentalize their own behavior that attaching the word racism to it is unthinkable. What I mean is, their white fragility prevents them from being able to see racism in any form, discuss it, and/or attack it.

What does it mean to be white

The manner White progressives are taught to identify racism is almost storybook – clear lines of good and evil. Their understanding of racism is a clear act of intentional antagonism or discrimination directed toward someone of a different race on the grounds of superiority. To Robin DiAngelo, the woman who coined the phrase “White Fragility”, to be progressive meant to be clueless.

“Well, I was a classic white progressive, which meant that I was clueless about racism, which meant I could not answer the question, “What does it mean to be white?” I thought I was not racist, and I really didn’t have anything more to learn.”

In an interview with Slate, DiAngelo goes on to recall applying for a job as a diversity trainer. “I was in for the most profound learning curve of my life,” she says. “It was a parallel process. One, working side by side with people of color who were challenging the way that I saw the world and my place in it.”

Consider in all of this, that white people are self-segregating and have been since the 60s. Like DiAngelo, they are not finding themselves surrounded by people of color who will disrupt their way of thinking until they reach an embarrassing age.

“Part of being white is that I could be that far in life, be a full professional, educated adult, and never have had my racial role be challenged in general, or by people of color in particular.”

Self-Segregating

White liberals are curiously guilty of saying one thing and doing another. Take gentrification. University of Illinois sociologist, Maria Krysan, conducted an experiment in Chicago to examine the process of how people decide where to live. She asked Chicago-area residents about their housing search and people of all races agreed they wanted to live somewhere that was relatively diverse and integrated.

Housing Survey Results

Debunking the myth that Blacks and Latinos prefer to stay in their own neighborhoods, Krysan proves that it is Whites who cry for diversity but remain segregated. Remember, Vermont is 94% White but 46 states have a White population of 50% or higher.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bernie was asked his thoughts on why the Democratic Party was unable to win several key Senate and gubernatorial races. But it was his thoughts concerning the underperformance of Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum that got attention.

“I think you know that there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

While his response wreaks of white fragility, its true. White people are losing the luxury of undifferentiated whiteness and racial obliviousness, forcing them to examine themselves and their communities. In “Get Out”, it was a family of Obama supporting White liberals who were villains, not red hat wearing, torch burning misogynists.

Relation of White Fragility to Cognitive Dissonance

Relation of White Fragility to Cognitive Dissonance

By definition, white fragility is the state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. Spanning fear, anger, and guilt, the display can include behaviors of argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.

Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jane Elliott conducted a race experiment that challenged people to examine their underlying prejudices to disarm them of weaponizing race. By simulating discrimination on people who would otherwise never experience it, Jane educates people who would continue to think like Robin DiAngelo in all her white ignorance. The problem is that she is just one woman, and while her efforts are well-meaning, it requires the person on the other end to be receptive of change. Cognitive dissonance and white fragility are in a marriage that has lasted longer than either terms have had names. And we have seen what happens when we leave White women to their own devices.

If we are invested in a progressive future, where POC, LGBT, and differently abled people are represented, we must commit to attacking bias in the moment. We cannot, like white progressives, stand by and massage reality about what is and is not racist to placate people on the fence. White progressives need to start working, living, and socializing in communities that challenge their school of thought instead of reinforcing the dogma they’ve been fed for generations. But their education cannot and will not come at the expense of the disenfranchised. #NotYourMule

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Michelle Obama: “I’ll never forgive Trump for endangering my family”

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Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama, lets loose in her upcoming memoir set for release November 23rd.

Discussing everything from childhood experiences that shaped her into the powerhouse she is today, to life in the White House, ‘Becoming’ is sure to be a must-read.

On Trump

It has been taxing under the Trump Administration to watch the attack of policies Obama set in action. None know the anguish like our beloved First Lady, Michelle Obama. In her memoir, she is candid about her displeasure with harmful rhetoric Trump. A copy of the memoir obtained by the Washington Post quotes Michelle on the birther conspiracy theory:

“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she writes. “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”

Michelle goes on to discuss how disgusted she was when she heard the infamous tape in which Trump bragged about grabbing women. “It was an expression of hatred that had generally been kept out of polite company, but still lived in the marrow of our supposedly enlightened society — alive and accepted enough that someone like Donald Trump could afford to be cavalier about it.” Like all of us, she tried to ignore his election.

Herstory

While the 426-page memoir is not a full-on confessional style read, Michelle is open about her past, family, and their future as public figures. The book is broken into three sections: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More. She shares her thoughts on everything from the institutions of gentrification in Chicago to her whirlwind romance with Barack. Tackling her legacy, she laments how “haunted” she felt when she was criticized publicly during her husband’s 2012 campaign for reelection.

“If I’d learned anything from the ugliness of the campaign, from the myriad of ways people had sought to write me off as angry or unbecoming, it was that public judgment sweeps in to fill any void. . . . I knew that I would never allow myself to get that banged up again.”

Right now, the Forever First Lady is embarking on an arena book tour, which is slated to have A-list guests. Her inaugural date features Oprah and feminist favorite Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will moderate her London date. Tour stops span the US, and include meet and greet packages if you have the coin.

Will you be picking up a copy of ‘Becoming’?

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307th Mass Shooting Claims 12 Lives

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In the 307th mass shooting of 2018, 12 have been murdered at a Thousand Oaks bar.

During a college night event, the gunman, a White 28-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps, opened fire killing as many as he injured. Refusing to count the gunman, Ian David Long, among the victims, Sheriff Geoff Dean tallied the dead at 12. Twelve are also among the injured. The identities of the victims have not been released.

The details

A horrific scene, police are still trying to make sense of the carnage at Borderline Bar & Grill. Shots were first fired around 11:20 pm PT (2:20 am ET). The gunman shot a member of bar security outside and forced his way in, but not before shooting a young woman working the counter just inside the entrance. Officers began arriving roughly 3 minutes after the initial call to law enforcement as shots rang out.

Not long after, Sgt. Ron Helus, a casualty of the night’s events, entered with a California Highway Patrol Officer. This was the unfortunate moment Helus was struck, then pulled from the line of fire by the officer who accompanied him. Helus was in his 29th year of service and due for retirement.

While little is known about the victim and images difficult to find, we are still able to put a face to the executor of these horrors.

Thousand Oaks Gunman

Thousand Oaks Gunman Ian David Long

The gunman was a student at California State University Northridge, however, he had not attended since 2016. University President Dianne Harrison released a statement requesting support and offering counseling services during this troubling time:

CSUN President Statement

CSUN President Statement

Continuous updates on the shooting can be found here

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