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Bakari Sellers Definitively Explains Why Blackface is Racist

"I think that many times white people do not understand what blackface means," Sellers said.

The photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page of a man in blackface and another man dressed in a KKK costume is sparking a national conversation. The racist act of wearing blackface goes back to the mid-19th century. It's 2019 and Black people still have to explain why it's offensive.

Bakari Sellers represented South Carolina's 90th district in the lower house of the state legislature from 2006 to 2014. Sellers became the youngest Black politician in the country at age 22.

He explained on CNN's "State of the Union" what white people don't understand about blackface.

"First we have to say that Democrats and Republicans alike have problems with race in this country," Sellers began. "We can say that Republicans have more of an issue, but that doesn't matter. Racism is in the fabric of the United States of America."

"And when you see those images," he continued. "You see the KKK, and the KKK just brutalized, raped, lynched, pillaged many African-Americans not just throughout the south but across the country."

"I think that many times white people do not understand what blackface means," he explained. "When you have your son going out in blackface for a costume or your son goes to prep school or elite day schools and they dress up in blackface, basically it means you're calling me n***er."

"The reason why I say that is because blackface goes back to the mid-19th century where people were dressing up showing them to be lazy, to be ignorant, hypersexual and to be all-out disrespectful to our culture."

"So when I see images like this, it harkens on the fact we have a serious issue with racism in this country. But governor Northam, even as a Democrat, doesn't understand his own actions. And it's very traumatizing when we sit here and critique it, because I'm like — can people just not be racist?"

That is why people are calling for Northam to resign.

CNN 02 03 2019 bakari

The Conversation (8)
Walter06 Feb, 2019

Look, I have no problem understanding why some black take offence to "black face", although admittedly most blacks today don't really know anything more about it than most whites. The problem I have is with the very plea you just made; "can people just not be racist?" How do you expect that to occur when you want to bring the past alive and lynch everyone for every mistake they ever made? Northam made mistakes 30 years ago! That is a very long time ago. There was a time when that was about the life expectancy of most people! And yet you want to "lynch" him for those mistakes despite the fact that he has shown no racist actions or behavior for years, in fact quite the opposite! If you truly want what King wanted, what Jesus wanted and what you just claimed you wanted then there are some things you have to forgive, forget and move on. Give Northam a break and the benefit of the doubt, it is the "right" thing to do!

Mona12 Feb, 2019

Chester is right, white people are VERY uncomfortable in talking about race. As WALTER suggests, why can it not just be forgotten, wiped out like it never happened. But, how do black people forget it when they relive the remnants of it EVERYDAY? Everything is NATURALLY set up for white success. ANYTIME that you see a successful black person, it was from their hard work, fortitude and having to be the BEST. There are no family trust funds handed through the generations. Historically, when blacks became successful, jealous white men took it away, burned it down. Now today, they vote in a racist President to help them do it. Yes, times have changed, but they remain the same. Bakari is right, racism is the fabric of the US. One thing for sure, they few politicians in the spot like are just the beginning...BRACE yourselves...once more year books and other materials come to light, I will wager that 50% of the white folks age 40 and over have some sort of racist activity on their records....more southern and mid-western states.

votetocorrect07 Feb, 2019
Bakari Sellers really told it like it ia!
Evelyn Miller06 Feb, 2019

"Can people just not be racist?" Unfortunately, the answer to that question is NO. People are human and because they are human, they are flawed. Some more than others. That said, it's an understandable sentiment but, sadly, not attainable (in my perspective). I also think it's sad that Black people still have to educate those who are ignorant (or pretend to be ignorant) of the destructive and toxic impact blackface (and other racist behaviors and actions) has had on the African-American culture and people. Northam has become a distraction and he needs to step down - now.

chester Pleasant06 Feb, 2019

so you’re saying that folks with a PHD understand quantum physics but don’t understand Back face. Black folks need to stop making excuse for other’s action. Everything Isn’t “white privileges”. A term created for comfort. I’ve been a subscriber to this page for several years. America continue to find creative ways to create comfort in discussing race and racism. That’s why it never gets discussed.

Middle School Student Arrested After Refusing to Recite Pledge of Allegiance

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."

An 11-year-old boy was arrested for not following orders and "causing a disruption" when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

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TV Station Reports on Michigan Governor's 'Curves' and Gets Slammed on Twitter

"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.

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U.S. Citizens Detained for Speaking Spanish Sue Border Patrol

"It's unconstitutional to detain people just because of their language, accent, or color of their skin," says the ACLU.


Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, American-born Latinas, are suing US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers for racial profiling.

They were detained at a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana, last year, by an officer who asked the women where they were born after hearing them speak Spanish.

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Senate Backs Legislation to Make Lynching a Federal Hate Crime

"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.

It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.

Harris tweeted on Thursday:

Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.

The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.

It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."

In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.

"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.

"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."

According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."

"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."

"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.

White Supremacist's Apology Doesn't Deter Judge From Giving Him a Life Sentence

Family and friends said the apology was insulting, and that Timothy Caughman's death was their "life sentence."


James Jackson, 30, a white supremacist, killed Timothy Caughman, 66, a Black man with a sword. Jackson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

His apology: "I just wanted to apologize to everyone who has been negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy. If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened."

Caughman's friends dismissed the apology, as fake.

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Don Lemon and April Ryan Debate Intensely Over Kamala Harris' 'Blackness'

CNN analysts April Ryan and Don Lemon were up in arms over Sen. Kamala Harris' ethnicity.

White House correspondent April Ryan and CNN anchor Don Lemon got into an intense debate over 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris' ethnic identity.

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