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YWCA Racial Justice Contest 2018

From our dear friends at Northcentral PA YWCA:

the YWCA Racial Justice Contest 2018

Racial Justice Essay Contest 2018 

For more than 125 years, Lycoming County’s own YWCA has been committed to racial equity, justice and eliminating racism in our community through education, peaceful dialogue and public advocacy.

YWCA website
Go to YWCA website for more information

Through history, we’ve been inspired by women like Rosa Parks and Recy Taylor, and men like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy.

Today, the YWCA Northcentral PA wants to know how you are fighting racism in our community. Using the prompt and guidelines below, we invite you to submit your original essay in the YWCA’s first annual Racial Justice Essay.

Your original work must be submitted to the YWCA Northcentral PA by 4:30pm on Monday, April 16th. 

Submissions can be sent electronically to or dropped off at the YWCA Northcentral PA, 815. W. Fourth Street, Williamsport. Please only one submission per student.


How has racism impacted your life and how are you working to eliminate racism and promote peace in our world?


The 2018 Racial Justice Essay Contest is open to all students in Lycoming County ages 10 to 18.

Essay Criteria Requirements 

Essays should be between 750 and 1000 words.
Essays may be handwritten (must be legible) or typed.
Essays must be in black ink on white paper, double-spaced and single-sided.
Pages must be numbered at the bottom (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4).
Essays must be the original work of the student.
Include the Contact Entry Form.

Judging & Winners 

All essay entries will be judged by a multi-racial panel of men and women.

One winner will be chosen from each of the following age groups:


Winners will be announced Monday, May 19th at 6:00pm during a reception at the YWCA where they will present their winning project.

Winners will receive a $25 gift card and teachers of the three student winners will receive a $250 gift card. 

The N-Word dilemma


The N-Word

America has been consumed with issues of its racist past and is currently struggling with racial attitudes and how those they have serious consequences in everyday life.

In January 2017, we focused on Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, then February was Black History Month, then in March we celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the Selma marches for voting rights. Race, race, race. What is a poor racist to do? Enough all ready?

Some bigots are probably saying, “The niggers are taking over!”

Racists point to hip-hop music as a double standard. Blacks use the (N-Word) all the time. So what’s the big deal? Why can’t whites use the word?

Well, I want to go on record as saying, “I don’t think anyone should use it.” ( I use it here, sparingly, in this essay to make a point.)

Black America has a problem. Why do young black men shoot each other with such frequency? I believe it is partially due to a culturally ingrained self-hate. No other American demographic willfully, without hesitation, exerts such levels of violence on its own community. The root of this violence stems from the historical devaluing of black bodies. The N-word was designed to dehumanize individuals that were enslaved. The violence we see on our streets among black young men is the result of accepting that devaluation as fact.

Some will argue that it is okay for black people to say the N-word. Others say that its use causes further separation. Popular comedians and rappers defend its use. The separations are real. Unfortunately, some people refuse to acknowledge the cultural, social, economic racial separations that still exist today. To heal we must first identify and recognize the injury.

Instead, we have young white men appropriating the negative aspects of black culture by mimicking gansta rap. This is crazy. That is like wanting share a poisoned drink.

Black culture is often oppositional to white mainstream culture. Young black students that speak well in class have been accused of being a sell out and “speaking white”. To be hip, to be cool is to use profanity as a kind of currency among low income blacks. That is my background. I learned to speak two dialects. One black, one white. I had to. It was a matter of survival.

The use of the (N-word) has been around a long, long time. In the black community, black people has used the word as a pejorative and as a term of endearment interchangeably for generations. but should white people use it?

Noted author and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates gives a brilliant explanation is this short video:

Also check out Jabari Asim, author of the book, The N-word:


Ethical standards in AAPN

We now live in an era of fake news and Russian bots. What is true? What is false? What is real? What is fake?

The African-American Perspective Newsletter has limited reporting capabilities and we depend on other outlets of news for stories. We will endeavor to screen false reports but we’re sure some things will slip through the cracks. For that reason we state that we cannot verify the veracity or accuracy of stories generated from other publications and news outlets. We will provide links to the source material and we ask readers to judge for themselves.

Secondly, while we take great pains to eliminate pornography from our pages, we are not prudes. It’s that “eye of the beholder” thing. A naked human body might be porn to some and art to others. Our goal is to share the truth of the human condition from our unique point of view. We don’t intend to objectify a woman’s body but if an image stirs debate about sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or improper sexual conduct we might use it. The goal is light, not heat. Don’t expect to see sexual acts on these pages.

N*GG*RAnd finally there’s the old N-word thing. How should we use it and when? Well, we use the guidelines for obscenities from the Associated Press Stylebook. However, artistic expression is tricky. A rapper’s hiphop expression might use the term “nigger” as part of an art form. Or use of the term might convey its historical context. (Great classic American literature contains the term. Huckleberry Finn or To Kill the Mockingbird are examples reasonable use.) Generally speaking, the publisher, Richard James, thinks the word is derogatory, dehumanizing and refrains from using it personally and professionally.  But there is a harsh reality… The word is likely to be around for a long time to come. So, you might see it pop up on these pages. We will handle it when it comes. We reserve the right to refuse to publish any works that contains offensive language.

Black cons-servatives

Conservative author Shelby Steele
Shelby Steele (Youtube screenshot)

Conservative Author and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Shelby Steele says racism is over, and that American Blacks continue to wallow in victimhood.  He says that they have yet to take personal responsibility for their lives. You can view the video here.

I would like to make a couple of points after watching the video.
Steele acknowledges that slavery, segregation, etc. has harmed African-Americans but he denounces Affirmative Action programs. Evidently, he thinks that Blacks did not need remedial assistance after hundreds of years of oppression.
He said that oppression has ended. He said that racism is not a problem anymore. But President John F. Kennedy said, when he addressed the nation regarding civil rights in 1963, “This is not a sectional issue. Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety. Nor is this a partisan issue. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. This is not even a legal or legislative issue alone. It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets, and new laws are needed at every level, but law alone cannot make men see right.
“We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.”
So, while the government has struck down anti-black laws, America was still a racist country. And there are still nefarious agents who want to reverse the progress earned in the 1960’s. Steele omits the current rise of white nationalism under Trump. He ignores what happened in Charlottesville VA.
And he was wrong when he said that in a segregated America everybody was aware of racism. Not true. At the time, the majority of Americans did not agree with Dr. King’s tactics of direct confrontational non-violence. King was seen as a troublemaker. Most folks did not see the need for fundamental social change. That was the reason for the protest demonstrations in the first place!
He also ignores science. Generational stress has an accumulative effect. Stressed out black mothers pass their negative reactions on to their unborn child. Thus causing high infant mortality rates among black women. Blacks have suffered hundreds of years of beatings, starvations, threats, intimidations, rapes, and murder before and after the civil war, under a white supremacist system, but Steele suggests that with a stroke of a pen the stress of racism was removed and eliminated.
If racism is not a problem anymore, then why does the income gap persist at all levels between whites and blacks? Fifty years after the death of Dr. King, blacks and whites are still not equal in wealth or income. Even high achieving Blacks make less money than their white counter parts. (I suggest that black conservatives make less than white conservatives.)
Finally, why are there so few Blacks like Justice Clarence Thomas or Columnist Thomas Sowell? Because they are the true hustlers of which he speaks. They make their living assuaging white guilt. They let white people off the hook. They tell white America, “The conditions found in Black America are not your problem.” They absolve white America of any responsibility. And white folks love the elixir of exculpation that they are selling.
There is a particular pernicious kind of evil that seeks to persuade victims of violence that they are not victims, especially in light of ongoing attacks.

MLK Day in Williamsport


Richard James speaking at lectern while photo of Dr. King on screen
Photo credit: Olephia Crawford

Everybody can be great. Everybody can serve. AAPN publisher Richard James was please to serve as keynote speaker at the annual MLK Day Rally held at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Bardo Gymnasium, January 15, 2018.

About 350 people attended the event. After a brief Peace Walk on campus, James congratulated everyone for coming out on a cold day. He asked everyone to thank each other for showing up. Then he pronounced the group as a “beloved community”. He said there are two rules in a beloved community, “Look out for each other and treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Check the TV news coverage at WNEP 16

black viewpoint

Why an African-American Perspective?


Red. Black. Green. The colors of the African diaspora. And the flag of the United States of America. The image symbolizes the unique history and experiences of a once enslaved people on the North American continent. Their collective viewpoint is most often different from the common narrative of the white majority. The two groups, working side-by-side for centuries, have formed contrasting and competing opinions on politics, social justice, economics, immigration policies, health care, crime and other issues.

African-American Perspective newsletter intends to present the minority position on a variety of issues confronting America. Through understanding differing viewpoints we can reach common ground. And there are diverse perspectives within the African-American community! Covering all of it is daunting. But we hope to provide the reader a peek into the world of Black Americans.

This is our goal.



African-American Perspective Newsletter

Welcome to the rebirth of the African-American Perspective Newsletter.

portrait of Frederick Douglass

Our mentor and hero is Frederick Douglass, publisher and co-editor of the abolitionist newspaper, the North Star.

We will celebrate his 200th birthday on February 14, 2018. He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in February 1818. The exact date of his birth was not known, he chose February 14th. At 20 years of age, after teaching himself how to read and write, he “stole his body” and escaped to freedom with the help of his wife, a free black woman named Anna Murray. (He changed his name to Douglass later in life.)

He worked the docks of Baltimore harbor, wrote 3 autobiographies, published 2 newspapers, toured the United States and Europe advocating for abolition of slavery, equal rights for ex-slaves and was appointed to high office within the government. He was even nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate!

Learn more about this incredible man at

Thank you Mr. Douglass for showing us the way…

(You can find us on Facebook too! Click here. )

AAPN – rebirth 2018

After much thought, I decided to revive the African-American Perspective Newsletter. I got a little coaxing from my friend Rev. Awun Sam Hwang. He gave me the nudge I needed to plunge into the publishing business again. Thanks Sam!

First issue March 2007

Above: The first issue of the Newsletter initially entitled An African-American Perspective. From March 2007.