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Here’s What Those Mourning Over Victims Of The El Paso And Dayton Shootings Can Takeaway From Toni Morrison’s Death

Today, Toni Morrison, the first Black woman to receive the Novel Prize in literature died at 88. 

Known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, Morrison meant a lot to many communities. She reshaped American literature, she gave a voice and paved a path for future generations of Black women writers, she was unapologetically herself, she flawlessly wrote about the complexities of the Black experience in America. Above all, she didn’t just write for writing’s sake, she transformed American thought and others’ way of being with her words that still ring true today.  

Morrison was one of the most important American writers of the 20th century and her words will forever stay with the communities she wrote about and the lives of those she touched. 

Morrison, who wrote a total of 11 novels, had a career in publishing before she became an award-winning novelist. Aside from being the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer Price in literature, she was also the first Black woman senior editor at Random House. In a statement released Tuesday morning, her family and publisher Knopf confirmed the death of Morrison. She died Montefiore Medical Center in New York on Monday night after a brief illness. 

Through her writing, she made a point to not write through the “white gaze” and focused on amplifying the Black experience through themes including “slavery, misogyny, colorism, and supernaturalism.” Outside of her writing, Morrison continued to do the same. In multiple interviews, published essays, and other works, she continued to put a mirror in front of American society and show it its true colors. 

Morrison not only transformed American literature with her novels, but she also transformed American society by reminding us to resist racism and white supremacy.

In an interview with NPR’s Michel Martin in 2008, Morrison spoke about why she doesn’t believe in using the word “post-racial” to describe society. In the interview, she was discussing her book “A Mercy” — her 9th novel that revealed what lies beneath the surface of slavery in early America, following the story of mothers and daughters — which takes place in a “pre-racial” time. 

“It seems to indicate something that I don’t think is quite true, which is that we have erased racism from the country, and that certainly isn’t true — or the world,” Morrison said. “Racism will disappear when it’s: no longer profitable, and no longer psychologically useful. When that happens, it’ll be gone.”

She went on to say that at the moment, people continued to make a lot of money off of it and that it protects people “from a certain kind of pain.”

This sentiment still rings true when we think of 2016, a time in which a racist man with disgusting views and ideals of the world took the Oval Office. It also applies to 2019, where Morrison’s last days saw 2 mass shootings within the span of hours and immigrant children and families continue to be ripped apart at the border.  More particularly it applies in an era where America continues to profit off marginalized communities and thrive off racist rhetoric. So, like Morrison states, we don’t live in a post-racial time.

“If you take racism away from certain people — I mean vitriolic racists as well as the sort of, social racist — if you take that away, they may have to face something really terrible: misery, self-misery, and deep pain about who they are,” Morrison continued. “It’s just easier to say that one over there is the cause of all my problems.” 

This interview was only one of many where Morrison dropped some serious gems about racism and white supremacy in America. 

In an interview from 1993 with Charlie Rose,  she spoke about racism being a moral issue because it had become a quality that defined so many people. 

“If I take your race away, and there you are, all strung out. And all you got is your little self, and what is that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Are you still smart? Do you still like yourself?” she said in the interview with Rose. 

The world will continue to mourn Toni Morrison’s death and honor the lasting impact she left behind with her writing. 

Today, everyone who loved Morrison — from readers, fans, to politicians — are sharing what the writer meant to them and the difference she made in their lives.

The Paris Review shared a tweet following the announcement of her death where they said Morrison “influenced just about every English-language writer currently working.” 

Texas Congressman and brother of 2020 presidential hopeful, Julian Castro, Joaquin Castro shared an impactful quote on oppressive language as violence.

The theme of oppressive language resonates more than ever today, especially when the current president of the U.S. uses language as violence to further marginalize and demonize communities of color.

“We have lost a stunning storyteller, unmatched in her imagination and power. She will be deeply missed,” Castro added in another tweet. 

Oprah, who has interviewed Morrison in the past and who also starred in the film adaption of Beloved, shared what her death meant to her on Instagram. 

“She was a magician with language, who understood the Power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them,” Oprah wrote of Morrison. 

California Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Kamala Harris also shared a tweet about how we’ve lost one of the greatest voices and storytellers of our time.

“Her work gave us power, hope & freedom,” Harris tweeted. 

Author and “Project Runway” star Elaine Welteroth stressed the path Morrison paved for Black women everywhere.

“Because there simply would be no me if there hadn’t been you,” Welteroth said in her Instagram caption. 

Afro-Dominicana author and storyteller, Elizabeth Acevedo, referred to Morrison as a “curandera” because of her writing.

“She was so many things. Yes, brilliant, but so witty, purposeful, methodical in her gestures, thoughtful in her answers & a seer, I believe. A curandera. She’s left us so much. And I’m not sure she’s left us at all,” Acevedo wrote in her tweet. 

Lastly, former president Barack Obama, who awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, also shared a touching tribute. 

In 2012, when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he called her works “hallmarks of the American literary tradition. “What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while,” Obama tweeted.

Morrison’s novels and her thoughts on how to resist racism will forever leave an impact on our lives and society. Whether you’ve read her work before or not, it’s never too late to revisit it or to start. 

Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

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Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

dietprada/ Instagram

Anti-blackness has proven to be sorely out of style in the past few decades but the fashion world seems to be behind the times on this one. We’ve told you this story time and time again but somehow the presence of racism, anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation has endured on the runways. Even at institutes of learning where you’d think things like this would now be 101.

So here’s the story once again.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is under fire after they allowed a graduate student to send a racist body of work down the runway.

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It shouldn’t be down to the models to have to refuse wearing blatantly racist accessories on the runway, especially not in a show thrown by an institution like @fitnyc. In an alumni show celebrating their 75th anniversary, MFA graduate Junkai Huang showed a collection that was meant to highlight the “ugly features of the body”. The choice of exaggerated bright red fake lips and “monkey ears”, as well as the school’s response, are leaving us shaking our heads. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Nearing a breakdown, African-American model Amy Lefevre (@lefevrediary ) spoke up about the accessories, but was told by staff it was “ok to be uncomfortable for only 45 seconds”. It’s one thing when it’s a pair of tricky heels, but quite another when you’re made up to look like racist caricatures from the not-so-distant past. Multiple complaints had been made in the days leading up to the show as well, with several people objecting. One anonymous student who was witness backstage, said the show’s producer @richardthornn told the group to “back down and get away” when they brought up the issue again. The accessories didn’t end up making it onto Lefevre, but that didn’t stop them from going down the runway on other models. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a statement to the NY Post, FIT president Dr. Joyce F. Brown emphasized allowing the students the “freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative”, but said they would investigate further. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a time when luxury brands are taking swift action by pulling offensive products and implementing diversity councils in response to similar scandals, it’s a shame to see a learning institution dragging their feet. Shouldn’t they be the ones broadening insights for the ones who will lead fashion in the future and not reinforcing the same aspects that have made the industry notoriously problematic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • #fit #fitnyc #suny #cuny #fashionschool #college #mfa #mastersdegree #alumni #fitalumni #fashiondesigner #design #designer #runway #model #blackface #racism #monkey #grotesque #sexdoll #bodyimage #lumpsandbumps #wiwt #ootd #runwaymodel #nyfw #fashionweek #dietprada

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For the FIT’s presentation which showcased the designers from their first MFA Fashion Design class, students sent models down the runway with thier own collections. FIT alum Junkai Huang was part of the bunch but his line stood out in particular because of its blatant racism. The FIT alum sent models down the runway wearing “large prosthetic ears and lips and bushy eyebrows.” Now people are saying that the images looked quite a bit like racist caricatures.  

On Monday, Diet Prada shared images from the show on Instagram after someone who had gone to the event told the New York Post that the designer aimed to showcase and highlight “ugly features of the body” using props that had been sourced from sex toys.

Amy Lefévre was a model meant to take part in the event but decided to walk out when she saw the props.

“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefévre told the Post in an interview. According to Lefévre she made the decion to not take part when someone had told her that it was “fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.”

“I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions,” Lefévre said “My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life. People of color are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.”

Diet Prada later took to Instagram to share the situation, sparking outrage from many in the fashion community. “Sad times we live in when designers aren’t confident enough to have the clothing sell themselves,” wrote Olivia Dope while another commenter added, “When will this stop? Designers are hung up on controversy to sell cause these pieces can’t sell themselves, clearly.”

In a statement published by the Post, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, said that it would do its best to right the situation.

“This program protects a student’s freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative, so that they find that voice,” Dr. Brown said. “However provocative design and fashion might be though, my commitment to ensure that people are not made to feel uncomfortable, offended, or intimidated is also of the utmost importance not only to me personally but to the college community as well,” they added. “We take this obligation very, very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action regarding any complaint or concern that is made in this situation.”

In a separate statement to the Pst FIT also issued an apology.

“Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize — to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

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Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

aoc / Instagram / Rush Limbaugh / Facebook

During the State of the Union address, President Donald Trump broke protocol and norms by awarding a “surprise” Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former winners of the award are Ellen DeGeneres, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Isabella Allende, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. The newest recipient is conservative and extreme radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh is the latest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Credit: @Acosta / Twitter

Rush Limbaugh is a Conservative radio host who is known to use racist, sexist, and xenophobic language during his shows. He has used his platform to slut-shame women fighting for affordable access to birth control and once referred to a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog. During one show, Limbaugh sang a song to perform a racist rant against then-President Barack Obama.

His racist, sexist, and xenophobic rantings are all documented because of his radio show.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been nationally syndicated since 1988 and boasts 25 million listeners monthly. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks are among the honorees of the award.

A lot of people don’t agree that Limbaugh deserves the honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is supposed to be reserved for civilians who have made major contributions to society. The contributions can be through the arts, philanthropy, science, etc. Many are wondering what Limbaugh has done to further society in a positive way. In a clip from “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Limbaugh is seen making fun of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.

Conservatives and Limbaugh fans are most upset with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s take on the medal.

It was recently revealed to the public that Limbaugh was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Many of the AOC critics have held tight to this fact when attacked the Congresswoman.

Some have gone strong against the New York Congresswoman.

Credit: @marklevinshow / Twitter

Conservatives on Twitter are up in arms about AOC calling out a man’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic past. They aren’t mad that the man said and did those things, just that a Latina Congresswoman reminded people of those comments. Think about that.

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party