Across Black America week of Feb. 16, 2017.
carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 2/16/2017, midnight
What was intended to be an homage to Sen. Maxine Waters (CA-43) turned messy real quickly, after news site AJ+ referred to her as “sassy.”
The Al Jazeera-owned website posted a video with the caption, “Meet @MaxineWaters, the sassy Congresswoman leading the fight to impeach President Trump.” The word “sassy,” historically used to stereotype Black women, was also used in the video text, calling Waters the “sassiest woman in Congress.” It took no time before Twitter comments castigated the news outlet for the faux pas. Many called for the site to take down the video and tweets altogether. People reacted on social media with comments supporting Waters as well as scolding Al Jazeera. One tweeted: “Calling women in politics ‘sassy’ is bad idea. She is a courageous, extremely smart, insightful, powerful politician.”
Confronting its slavery-tinged past, Yale University says it will change the name of the residential college of White supremacist John C. Calhoun for computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, also known as “Amazing Grace.” The decision was a “stark reversal” of the university's decision last spring to keep the name in an effort not to “erase history,” according to The New York Times. "I made this decision because I think it is the right thing to do on principle," Yale President Peter Salovey said. “John C. Calhoun's principles, his legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good, are at odds with this university.” Calhoun, the nation's seventh vice president, attended Yale and was its valedictorian. Calhoun College, which opened in 1933, was decorated with depictions of slaves carrying bales of cotton, and derisively referred to as the “Calhoun Plantation.”
Over the summer, a Black dishwasher in Calhoun smashed a stained glass windowpane that depicted slaves working on a plantation, because he found the image degrading. He was offered another job at the university after students and faculty rallied around him. Hopper, a trailblazing computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who received a master's degree and a doctorate from Yale, died in 1992. "Humans are allergic to change," she once said. “They love to say, ‘We've always done it this way.’ I try to fight that.”
A 19-year-old became the youngest eligible woman ever to run for office in Georgia, after she won a legal battle on Feb. 9 to compete in a local city council race, reports The Huffington Post. State law requires that candidates be 21 to seek office, unless a city charter notes otherwise, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. The DeKalb county board of elections ruled that Mary-Pat Hector could run, because the Stonecrest City Charter simply says that candidates must be over voting age. Her opponent had challenged her candidacy, saying she was too young. “Justice was served, and the law prevailed. The board's decision is a testament to the inclusion of the next generation's participation in the democratic process,” Hector said in a statement. A Spelman College student and a youth coordinator with the National Action Network nonprofit, Hector said that she ran to give more young people a voice. “Young people are starting to really understand and see that they can truly be a part of the political system and they can truly run for office,” she told CBS 46. She also expressed confidence to the station that she could balance her responsibilities being a student and a politician. The city council election is on March 21.