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November 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM
If you haven’t seen the “The Purification Process,” at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, your chance ends this weekend. The dramatic-comedic play tackles everything from breast cancer to work, marriage, friendships and those cringe-inducing mother-daughter tensions - all of this viewed through the lenses of African Americans.
There’s a reason to focus on black women. While white women are more likely to get breast cancer than any other group, African American women are more likely to die from the disease. Race is appropriately inserted into this conversation. Racial differences in breast cancer survival rates are real and are attributed by researchers to a number of factors, including access to health care and the biology of different kinds of breast cancer. Research into genetic links may also help explain some of the differences.
Local theatre should serve a dual purpose, at once entertainment but also a reflection of the dialogues and tensions of its surrounding communities. Langston Hughes is a small theatre in the Central District fulfilling its role as a venue for art, ideas, politics and pop culture. ”The Purification Process,” will have you laughing at some parts, crying at others. I’m compelled to write about the play and recommend it because of its power to inspire important conversations, and action, about cancer and health in African American communities.
There is a lot to discuss. Consider that:
Breast cancer diagnoses are on the rise in black women.
A Harvard study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research medical conference last year reported that within three years of a breast cancer diagnosis, black women were 50 percent more likely to die than white women.
In June, a Journal of the American Medical Association study found that black women are less likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis within five years because they undergo fewer screenings, have poorer health and by the time the breast cancer is found it is often at an advanced stage.
Check out the You Tube clip below as one couple, Nate and Leslie Miles, offer their post-performance view of the play.
October 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM
I greet with some consternation the Washington Supreme Court ruling that police officers’ license to search people extends to their purse, even if the purse is not on their person but nearby.
Long story short. Police arrested a woman in 2009 who was a passenger in a car with stolen license plates. The officer handcuffed her and placed her in the back of the cruiser and then returned to the car and searched her purse, finding methamphetamine.
A Yakima County Superior Court judge ruled the meth couldn’t be used at trial because the officer didn’t have a warrant to search her purse. A state appeals court agreed. But the state’s highest court Thursday reversed the lower courts, saying that because the purse was in the woman’s lap when she was arrested, it was an article of her person under the long standing “time of arrest” rule.
The upshot: In the eyes of law enforcement, I am my purse. Search one, search the other. I was afraid this would happen one day.
First, I admire anyone who would not give up seconds after trying to search through my over-sized purse. I’m leery about sticking my own hand in there. I have found old lunches in my purse. I once cut my finger on a knife stored next to a dehydrated grapefruit I forgot to eat. I routinely lose small objects, keys, etc., in the inner folds of my purse. On a positive note, when I recently forgot a canvas bag at the grocery store, my purse worked just as well. So now police can search me and it.
Justice Debra Stephens, writing for the majority, said that in the Yakima case, the purse was initially on the woman’s lap and thus should be considered part of her person. Justice Mary Fairhurst disagreed, arguing that these kinds of searches are meant to protect officers from any hidden weapons or prevent someone from destroying evidence.
But once the woman was handcuffed and sitting in the police cruiser, there were no security concerns that would justify searching her belongings without a warrant.
This case was not a slamdunk. At a hearing on a motion to suppress the meth as evidence, it was argued that it was obtained in violation of the woman’s Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable” searches and seizures. Indeed, the trial court conceded that “[t]he facts here fall slightly outside of being completely on point with” two past precedent setting cases, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Arizona v. Gant ruling and the high court’s own ruling in State v. Valdez.
A 5-4 decison means the court was clearly conflicted. What’s your take on the court’s ruling?
September 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM
My column this week features three longtime Washington educators preparing to launch three separate public charter schools. Brenda McDonald, Kristina Bellamy-McClain and Maggie O’Sullivan are working with the Washington State Charter Schools Association.
These women are bright, experienced and have strong ties in the communities they’re choosing to locate their schools. McDonald’s entry into the Spokane School District should be made easier by the fact that Spokane was the first district in the state to be approved as a charter school authorizer. The district is obviously open to an innovative new school emphasizing foreign languages and STEM studies. The other two women are considering schools in Tacoma and South King County.
September 13, 2013 at 4:03 PM
It’s been a week of surreal debate about women and journalism.
Julie Chen, co-host of CBS show “The Talk,” revealed that she had undergone plastic surgery on her eyes after a former news director and an agent told her that she looked too Chinese.
Earlier, Harvard released a landmark study about why the news industry has floundered, showcasing interviews with more than 60 people — five of which were women.
Here’s the common thread between them: Men dictate how we see the world. Their perspective becomes the history of record and dictates the shape of things to come.
Why bother leaning in?
In Chen’s case, the words of powerful men made her future. Her news director in Akron, Ohio, and a talent agent’s remarks motivated her to get plastic surgery to enlarge her eyes. She is open about the fact that her career took off after she underwent the procedure. She moved out of local news to the network, joining CBS’s “The Early Show” before going to “The Talk.”
At Harvard’s Kennedy School, three male researchers undertook an important project to document the downturn in the news industry over the last 30 years. Funded by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, they interviewed 60 thought leaders in technology and journalism, ranging from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. Five of the people were interviewed were women. Dubbed Riptide, it was history told by men about men.
(The study had other serious diversity issues regarding race and age; here is a statement from UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, which I serve on the board of.)
I don’t have a problem with Chen’s decision. She was brave to share it and open herself up to the inevitable criticism. Hopefully she’s created space for people to talk openly about the challenges women face in in broadcast journalism.
Incidentally, many Asian women living in Asia get eyelid surgery. A cousin of mine, who grew up in Asia and now lives in the U.S., had the eyelid surgery done. (We have never talked about it. She’s a distant relation.)
It’s unfair to criticize Chen for her plastic surgery while overlooking the many other broadcast journalists of all races, men and women, who quietly undergo chin tucks, face lifts, hair implants and brow lifts.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Hate on the beauty and fashion industry that worships youth and European features. Remember when Don Draper said in “Mad Men” that love was invented by ad men to sell nylons? Beauty was invented too.
Here is video of Chen’s confession:
This blog post, originally published at 4:03 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2013, was corrected at 11:40 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2013. The previous version incorrectly referred to an organization by its former name UNITY: Journalists of Color.
September 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM
My recent column sticks up for 7-year-old Tiana Parker, an Oklahoma girl forced to choose between her school and her hairstyle.
The Tulsa girl was sent home from school, on the first day no less, because her hair was styled in dreadlocks. She kept her hairstyle but switched to a new school that will hopefully be more interested in what’s in her head, rather than on it.
For those who think there are bigger issues than a hairstyle, I agree. That’s why the Deborah Brown Community School’s ban on Afros, dreadlocks and other hair styles it calls “faddish” is not only silly, but emotionally harmful to black students. Schools fixated on the academic well-being of black students should not forget their emotional well-being.
I was drawn to the Tulsa story because it involved education but also opened a window onto the sturm und drang surrounding the politics of black hair. Yes, black hair is a political issue. Who can forget the 2008 New Yorker magazine cover depicting Michelle Obama as a black militant wearing an Afro. When a naturallycurly.com web poll asked if the U.S. was ready for a first lady with natural kinky hair, 56% of respondents said no.
For black women hair choices can have an impact on our profession. A black meteorologist in Louisiana, who had traded her long straight hair for a short afro, was fired for her response to a viewer who criticized her new look. According to a Philadelphia Daily News column, the unemployed journalist is now hailed as the Rosa Parks of hair.
The National Museum of African Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution, hosted a “Health, Hair and Heritage,” symposium last June exploring the hair’s impact on the politics of racial identity.
MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris Perry explains why hair matters, politically and economically.
July 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM
A lot happened at Microsoft this morning. Divisions were dissolved, new ones formed, executives were demoted, promoted and excommunicated. It had all the elements of the “Game of Thrones” TV show on HBO, and Thursday morning was its Red Wedding episode where several major characters were killed in graphic, bloody ways at the end of a wedding banquet. (The actual episode’s name was “The Rains of Castamere.” It’s incredibly violent, but you can watch the final scene on Youtube.)
The fiefdoms we were familiar with — the North, the Wall, the Iron Islands — are gone. Lines have been redrawn all over the map.
One thing is clear. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer remains King of Westeros. He proclaimed this era “One Microsoft” in a memo to employees. (The new tagline actually sounds more “Lord of the Rings” than “Game of Thrones,” but I digress.)
The silos of Windows, Office, Xbox, Bing/MSN and Server software no longer exist. The new territories are called Operating Systems Engineering, Devices and Studios Engineering, Applications and Services Engineering and Cloud and Enterprise Engineering. Engineers are the Lannisters of the new Microsoft.
This change-up is long overdue. Microsoft reorganizes itself every couple years, and it had been some time sine the last major one in 2005. What Microsoft had was not working, either in maintaining ground with Windows 8 or in conquering new territories with the Surface and Windows Phone. This one is actually reminiscent of a Bill Gates period when the company was divided into technology focused groups with names such as platforms and applications and interactive media.
Like the aftermath of the wedding episode, where Robb Stark, his wife Talisa, his mother Catelyn and many of his banner men were slaughtered, things are kind of messy right now. Servants are mopping up blood in the dining hall. From the outside, it just looks like a lot of people will report to Ballmer, but it’s unclear where each product, like Windows or Office, will land.
The title “division president” no longer exists. Some were demoted to executive vice presidents. As a result, the playing field was leveled for two women executives, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller. Microsoft’s head of human resources, Lisa Brummel, and the chief financial officer, Amy Hood, were already women. It’s progress for gender equality in Microsoft’s top leadership ranks because the men above them took a step backward, but I’ll take it.
There’s a lot to decipher in the long employee memo. In fact, the memo doesn’t feel at all simple and singular like the phrase “One Microsoft.” The main takeaway:
Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.
The rest of this post is going to get incredibly geeky, so if you don’t watch “Game of Thrones,” please move on. Also, this video below is also violent, so only press play if you are prepared to see some spearing and dragon breathing:
Julie Larson-Green = Daenarys Targaryen. The former Windows vice president has a high-profile task to lead the Devices and Studios engineering Group. Building devices has not been a strong suit for Microsoft, outside of the Xbox, so she’ll be watched carefully. (more…)
June 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Guest columnist Danielle Campoamor calls Seattle’s dating scene dysfunctional and says it’s because men are too timid to approach women. If you missed it, check out her Saturday guest column, What’s wrong with Seattle’s dating scene. She also spoke to KIRO radio about her column.
Do you think it’s true that Seattle men are more timid and shy than men elsewhere? Do you have another explanation? Or do you think Seattle’s dating scene is totally normal?
Join us for a live chat with Campoamor, a Seattle freelance writer, at noon on Wednesday, June 12.
We want to hear from men, straight or gay, and women whether you’ve shared her experience.
Can’t make the chat? Let us know in our online poll whether you agree with Campoamor.
Update 4:24 p.m.
Danny O’Neil, 710 ESPN Seattle radio host and former Seattle Times sports reporter, will be stopping by at 12:30 p.m. during the Wednesday chat to talk about how he failed to ask me out. “Me” as in Sharon. Not Danielle. Danny and I are now married.
Update 6/11/2013 5:41 p.m.
We are bringing on another man’s perspective: Rishad Quazi, who leads the Seattle Singles Meetup group and works in the tech sector. The group has 7,000 members, which he says makes it the largest Meetup group in the area. Quazi has lived in cities all around the world, and has called Seattle home since 2005.
He disagrees with Campoamor about Seatle’s dating scene and this city’s male disposition, but he’s saving his thoughts for the chat. Tune in at noon Wednesday to hear from Quazi.
May 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Good on Microsoft for promoting Amy Hood to the position of chief financial officer. Hood is the second woman to enter the leadership team that reports to Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Here is Microsoft’s press release and The Seattle Times’ news story on her promotion. Lisa Brummel, head of human resources, is the other woman in the elite group of executives.
The company appears to be doing a good job of getting women in the management pipeline, with Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller leading the Windows group, which I wrote about in blog post. Unfortunately, Reller seems to have been given the job of delivering the bad news on Windows 8, at least in this Wall Street Journal story on Windows 8 getting a reboot.
The progress on gender equality is a major shift from the company’s early days, which was male-dominated and highly confrontational, as U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., said in an interview for another blog post.
I am still waiting for a woman to be named CEO at a major public company in Seattle. Silicon Valley has Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. With the exception of the banking industry, gender equality in our region’s CEO seats have stagnated at publicly traded companies, which was the topic of my column “Sheryl Sandberg, ‘Lean In,’ the gender gap in Seattle leadership.”
Having reported on Microsoft for many years, I would not predict that a financial officer swill succeed Ballmer as CEO, but Hood’s elevation is still worth a woo hoo.
April 23, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Dove sells soap, body cleansers, skin lotions and oils. That was until lately. The powerful brand has embarked upon a series of commercials that explore the precipitous minefield of women and self image.
The latest features a former forensic artist for a police department sketching a series of women hidden from view behind a curtain. Since the artist cannot see them, he must rely on their descriptions of hair length, facial structure, shape of the nose and other prominent features. The artist then asks women to describe the face of one another. The result, well, check out this Youtube version yourself.
March 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Join us Tuesday at noon for a virtual book club. We’ll be talking about Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” We’ll discuss the gender gap in Seattle leadership and how to get to an equal world based on the ideas Sandberg raises in her book. Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook.
Here is my column that ran last Thursday about Sandberg’s book and the gender gap in Seattle leadership. This is a follow up blog post featuring some thoughts from U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene and former Microsoft executive about whether tech companies are indifferent to women in the workplace.
Update 1:52 p.m. 3/25/13:
Political consultant Cathy Allen will be joining the chat as a featured panelist. Allen has been training women to run for office for 22 years. She works with women around the globe but is based in Seattle with the Connections Group.
Update 1:15 p.m. 3/26/13:
Thank you to Cathy Allen and everyone who joined us on the chat! It’s now over, but you can re-live the event below.