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Entries in National (18)


Black Excellence: Malcolm Mitchell



Photo Courtesy of Book for Keeps

By Karima E. Rustin

Malcolm Mitchell, a 24-year-old rookie wide receiver for the New England Patriots, assisted New England in coming back from a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, and take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. While his teammates are reveling in their shared victory, Malcolm achieved another victory most people don’t know about. A victory he is more proud of than a Super Bowl ring.

When Malcolm entered his freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2011, he could only read at a junior high school level. When he suffered an injury to his ACL, he made a decision to improve his reading, so while working through rehabilitation, he made sure he had a book in his hand. Completing his first trilogy, The Hunger Games, ignited a passion for reading, leading him eventually to join an all-women book club. He became one of its youngest members.

Most athletes want to build an impenetrable legacy based on physical prowess. What is most exciting about Malcolm’s story is that he wants to build a legacy to outlive his football career. For all the catches, yards, and touchdowns he will accomplish during his lifetime, Malcolm wants to ignite and excite the imaginations of young minds. He started a literacy foundation Read with Malcolm and partnered with Share a Magic, a non-profit, to promote reading among students in Title 1 schools. Malcolm is an author as well. In 2015 he decided to self-publish a children’s book “The Magician’s Hat.” Hopefully the book is the first of many. I believe Malcolm’s story can inspire any young person to believe that it’s never too late to fundamentally change your life.



Beyoncé Owns It at the SuperBowl

By Lucinda Holt

As a child, I can remember being admonished in subtle and not-so subtle ways—especially by people like my grandmother—to represent the race well through how I did in school, spoke and carried myself. The pressure of Dont embarrass us was ever present as I was growing up, and part of not embarrassing us was always being seen as respectable and never sexual. The last thing you wanted to do as a black girl or woman was feed into the already hyper-sexualized image of the black woman that is alive and well in the American imagination.

Of course the problem is that black women are human beings, who also happen to be sexual people. Can I be a fully realized, complicated person who is many things, including sexy? Do I have to be the poster-child for respectability?

Photo by AP

We all come up with ways to express our full humanity in spite of the racist and sexist notions that would limit who we are and how we express ourselves, and I have to say that I'm not mad at Beyoncé for expressing that sexuality in all its glory in front of millions of people during the SuperBowl. Beyoncé is an amazing performer who dances and sings better than any of her critics ever will, while being very sexy. Do we need a variety of images of black women that aren’t limited to the sexual images that we often see? Yes. But let’s not disavow the power of owning one’s sexuality and determining how, when and with whom we share that part of ourselves.

I love what The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith had to say about these issues in his blog post  Michelle, Beyoncé and the Fruitless Politics of Respectability.

What Beyoncé did was own her sexuality, for herself and no one else, in a public space—and it freaked some people out. Whether you think Beyoncé was ‘self-objectifying’ is a question of whether it’s possible for a woman to publicly embrace her sexuality without being defined by the hetero-male gaze. As a hetero-male, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn when I say: Not everything is about us. In fact, most things aren’t, we just pretend they are so we can feel good about ourselves.


Toward a More Perfect Union

By Sheryl Wright

"Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time–but it does require us to act in our time....You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

President Barack H. Obama

57th Presidential Inaugural Address 

January 21, 2013


Karl Rove’s Post-Election Spin

By Sheryl Wright

Karl Rove, the Republican mastermind responsible for bringing us George W. Bush and the man behind $175 million in spending this year against President Obama and other Democratic candidates, is no stranger to making dubious claims about his own record or the record of the Obama administration. His willingness to stretch the truth on a host of issues has been documented.

Less than two days after the presidential election, Rove took to the Fox News airwaves to explain how President Obama won by suppressing the vote. The claim is the exact opposite of the facts—since 2011, Republican elected officials across the country have done everything in their power to make it more difficult for Democratic-leaning voters to vote.

Republicans have been spinning fast to explain Romney’s loss, Rove’s accusation that President Obama’s campaign suppressed the vote ranks as one of the most dishonest. To paraphrase a line from President Clinton’s speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention—it takes some brass for Karl Rove to accuse President Obama of doing what Republicans did. 



John Lewis—A Beacon for Voting Rights Continues to Shine

Many of us are familiar with “Bloody Sunday,”—a seminal day in the lead-up to President Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. On that day, March 7, 1965, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), then the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was beaten by state troopers as he helped lead a voting rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama.

47 years after his skull was fractured on that bridge in Selma, Rep. Lewis is still on the front line in the fight to protect voting rights. He recently took to the floor of the House of Representatives to slam an amendment that his colleague, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), tried to slip into an appropriations bill. If passed, the amendment would have defunded Justice Department enforcement of the provision of the Voting Rights Act that is intended to prevent racial discrimination. In other words, the federal government would be stripped of its’ ability to block discriminatory voter id laws, such as those currently under challenge in South Carolina and Texas.  

Rep. Lewis’s response to the proposed amendment won’t be remembered as a pivotal moment in our history, but it's the best few minutes of C-Span footage that I’ve seen in a while. 

In the face of Lewis’s righteous indignation, Broun withdrew the amendment