Tag Archives: Real Change News

Part 1: The gravity of abuse: The complex personal toll of domestic abuse

Brandy and child. Photo by Kate Baldwin

By Rosette Royale, Contributing Writer

Anywhere. He could be anywhere.

Around the corner of the apartment building where they live. Across the street at the construction site where he works. At the nearby bar where he sometimes goes for a beer. She looks around, nervous. What if he sees her?

But she can’t wait. Not anymore. She tightens her grip on the baby stroller and heads off into the night.

She has a plan: make it three blocks, to the shelter for women and children. Borrow someone’s cell phone, call 911. She tried to dial the number back at the apartment, but he yanked the phone out of her hands and broke it to pieces.

She zooms the stroller down the sidewalk of South Othello Street, heading west toward Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, a busy intersection in a diverse, yet gentrifying, south Seattle neighborhood. On her right, an abandoned lot and taco truck, on her left, an unfinished luxury apartment complex. By this time of evening, heading on midnight, hardly a car drives by. The light rail station sits empty. She’s all alone.

Except for her son. Their son. Tomorrow he’ll turn seven months old. About 90 minutes ago, shortly after the yelling and screaming drew her neighbors into the hallway, the child cried while she splashed water on her face in the bathroom of Apartment 21. Now he sits in his stroller, bundled up in a blue, fuzzy snowsuit.
In a rush, she forgot to grab her own coat. Not that she minds. She barely feels the chilly spring air rushing over the red mark on her throat. Continue reading

Twelve Angry Men: True stories of being a black man in America today

This booking photo released by the Cambridge, Mass., Police Dept., shows Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near Harvard University Thursday, July 16, 2009. Gates, a pre-eminent African-American scholar, is accusing Cambridge police of racism after he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior." He was released later that day on his own recognizance and arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Cambridge Police Dept.)

By Joe Martin, Contributing Writer

In 1959, a white Texan by the name of John Howard Griffin undertook a most unusual experiment: by ingesting an oral medication and exposing himself to ultraviolet rays his skin went from white to black. He did not gaze into a mirror until the process was complete. When he finally did so he was thunderstruck: “The transformation was total and shocking. I had expected to see myself disguised but this was something else. … I looked into the mirror and saw nothing of the white John Griffin’s past. … The Griffin that was had become invisible.” And in that moment he stepped into another universe where nothing had changed, and yet everything had changed for him as a person. Suddenly he was perceived as a black man in America. Griffin’s six weeks as a man with darkened skin in the American South were chronicled famously in his book “Black Like Me.”

How different would Griffin’s experience be today? The essays that comprise “Twelve Angry Men” give urgent testimony to the ongoing emotional and social currency of race in our time and of blackness in particular. Of the 12 authors assembled, most are professionals who have achieved considerable status in academia, journalism, the arts and the legal profession. All have stories of encounters with police for simply being black.

While the notable Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is not one of the contributors to this volume, his infamous run-in with Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley made the headlines and is recounted in the book’s introduction by another black Harvard professor, Lani Guinier. Gates was trying to get into his home when a neighbor reported that a prowler might be trying to break into the house. Gates would be arrested on his porch for disorderly conduct when he protested Crowley’s interrogation. Crowley is white. Eventually President Obama brought Gates and Crowley together for a beer and a discussion at the White House. Writes Guinier: “Hollywood could not have asked for a more cinematic display of the many ways we each “read” race against the backdrop of history, culture, and our individual capacity to exercise power or wield authority.” Continue reading

The unmitigated gall of cartoonist Ted Rall

In editorial cartoons and columns, he lambastes liberals and conservatives alike. His latest move? Calling for revolution. Now.

by: Rosette Royale, Street News Service

The funnies. Who doesn’t like the funnies? Probably the individuals who get skewered in them, the windbag-prone characters who suffer deflation at the hands of a talented cartoonist or illustrator. Chances are, many of the folks who find themselves in a Ted Rall cartoon wish they’d never gotten caught in his crosshairs.

An editorial cartoonist fond of characters with pointy noses and beady eyes, Rall knows how to lampoon society’s blowhards. Be they Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative, CEOs or military commanders: In his hands, he highlights their foibles with a lacerating wit. Even Obama doesn’t get a break. And speaking of Obama…

Last year, Rall called for him to resign. Not in a cartoon, but in an editorial column. He’s also written cartoon blogs for the LA Times on the ongoing occupation in Afghanistan. All of which means he’s busy. But not busy enough that he didn’t find time to write a book: “The Anti-American Manifesto” (Seven Stories Press, $15.95) an unabashed call for another American revolution. The book is so tough, it might make a devout Buddhist give up meditation for confrontation.

But the thing is, when you meet Rall, he’s unexpectedly nice. On tour for his new book, we met at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle before his reading We sat in the café where, in the span of roughly 25 minutes, Rall, a Pulitzer finalist for his cartoons, smiled as he let it fly: the Dems, the Republicans, the Tea Party, AIG, the Afghan National Police. He covered them all and then some, in the guise of saying: America, time to wake up!

Rosette Royale: You’re the author, most recently, of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” That’s a title. Continue reading