All Articles Tagged "Oklahoma"

Univ. Of Oklahoma Frat Video Scandal Unites The Sooner Community Against Racism

March 11th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Oklahoma City

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When news broke about the Sigma Alpha Epsilon scandal at the University of Oklahoma, there was great outrage throughout many of the communities here in my new home in the Sooner State. Just getting accustomed to “the southern life,” my guard quickly went up regarding racism. I expected to be outnumbered when it came to my opinion. What was surprising, however, were the conversations it created and swift reaction from both officials at the university and students. I honestly thought certain minority organizations would have to ban together and create a certain media following in order to see action from the university.

That obviously was not the case as University of Oklahoma president David Boren had no issue telling all the members to vacate the frat house without care or assistance to help them find a new place to live. He also expelled two students with whisperings he’s trying to boot more from the college. Even some protesters who rallied on campus to show their disgust of the SAE events questioned whether or not there need to be any more public displays because of the university’s actions. For once it seemed like we didn’t have to spoon-feed doing the right thing.

Even the cook who became unemployed from the incident has since been offered another position at the university.

It’s coming up on a year since my husband, son and I packed our bags and moved from the New York City area to Oklahoma. To say we experienced a bit of culture shock is an understatement.

Surprisingly, things have never been better.

There’s a great sense of pride you feel becoming an “Okie” resident. Even with its ups and downs, it’s a place that focuses on family and relaxed living. We were shocked at how welcoming our neighbors were considering we’re the only Black homeowners on our block. Unlike the suburb we lived in New Jersey (my husband owned a condo), folks here didn’t question how or why we’re able to live in a custom-built home. Everyone knows each other by name, will stop and wave and even send you something nice during the holidays.

These kinds of events show we have more progress that must be made, even in 2015. What this horrible video did was spark conversation and unity among residents, who want to show how unacceptable these actions are.

“They better do something about this and fast,” said one of the white ladies at my local gym. “I will pull my daughter out of that school quick, fast and in a hurry.”

“Who the heck raises their child to be so evil and disrespectful?” questioned a nearby corner store owner?

Since the video surfaced, I have noticed more discussions about race and ways we, as parents and the general community, can try to prevent this from happening again. While I know that’s a very “Kumbaya” mentality to have, as a Black woman raising a family in Oklahoma, it’s nice to hear, and a bit unexpected.

I never went to the University of Oklahoma but did attend a small college in Michigan that had similar numbers when it came to Black attendance (around six percent). Needless to say you experience folks who are generally ignorant of different cultures and diversity as well as those who have no problem showing intolerance. It’s pretty evident most of the participants of this fraternity chapter are out of touch and deserve punishment.

This incident really makes me mad for the obvious reason, but also the portrayal of the place I’ve grown to love. It’s really easy to write off a state like Oklahoma as racist and intolerant even though situations like this can and have occurred throughout diverse areas of the country. The general backlash also has the potential to hurt the local economy when you consider Oklahoma is a major college football state with tons of businesses — even minority-owned — that thrive on its popularity (my favorite is Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ). You can’t drive through Norman (the location of the University of Oklahoma) without seeing a Sooner-related business. While it appears there haven’t been any students leaving OU because of the scandal, the university did lose a top recruit that could be the start of a growing number.

Who knows how this will play out in days or years to come. Even with such a troubling event, I’m glad to see a united front that goes beyond racial lines.

Drinking & Passionate Football Fans Don’t Mix: Alabama Fan Attacks Oklahoma Fan At Game!

January 4th, 2014 - By Drenna Armstrong
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The college football season is winding down and because of that, we are getting the very best of WTF news! Once again, it comes from a fan of a college team that’s made it to Madame Noire two times in as many weeks: the Alabama Crimson Tide.

This week, we have a clip from the stands at the 2014 Sugar Bowl. In the video, you see the woman, now identified as Michelle Pritchett, an Alabama fan as evidenced by her scarf, approaching a young man now identified as Michael Connolly, an Oklahoma fan as evidenced by his shirt. While you can’t make out what’s being said both parties have told their sides of the story to Deadspin and it seems to boil down to either Connolly and his friends wanting to fight her 16 year old son due to their high level of trash talking or her son wanting to fight them for the same reason.

But let’s pretend we haven’t heard both sides yet and just watch the video in raw form.

She’s pulled away by a man (presumably her husband) and is reluctantly taken back closer to her seat. But when he turns away for two seconds, the woman slides behind him and jumps over people to attack the young man. Seriously, she leaps over people and rows to get to him. As she’s being pulled off the guy by other guys in the section, she starts wildly kicking, aiming straight for his head. Finally, the man who initially pulled her away comes back and while he’s dragging her away again, she starts randomly hitting another guy.

Security was called and the woman was escorted out.

Now listen, I’m all for trash talking at sporting events but when it gets to the point where cooler heads cannot prevail, I’m going to concede for the greater good.

Anyway, check out the video and listen to the comments people are yelling out in the background. Hilarious!

Tis The Season: Teriasia Dean Returns $800 and Lost Purse Despite Facing Eviction

December 30th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 1.04.30 PM

Source: KFOR

Tis the season. And more than that, when you do the right thing, good things always come back to you. Karma is real all year ’round. And we saw that once again in the case of Teriasia Dean, a makeup artist from Oklahoma. Earlier this month, Dean found a coach purse in the parking lot of her apartment complex. It contained $800 and a wallet complete with credit cards. And instead of taking a “finder’s keepers” approach, she located the owner of the bag and returned it. She told the Oklahoma Star, “It wasn’t my bag. It wasn’t my stuff. That’s not my belongings.”

What makes Dean’s act of kindness so remarkable is that when she found the bag, she was facing her own hardships. She had been hospitalized three times in the past year and had just received a notice saying she would be evicted if she did not pay $670 in rent by the end of the month.

Dean told KFOR, “I’ve always been that ‘never let em see you sweat’ type girl. I tough it out and I make it work.”

New station viewers were moved by Dean’s strength and goodness and decided to do something about it. Many called in asking how they could help. And it wasn’t just lip service. One viewer ended up donating $800 in cash to Dean.

That gesture caused this tough girl to shed a tear or two.

“You have people who don’t even know you who do things for you and bless you. I’ve always been a giver and it’s different to receive. I am forever grateful. I am very grateful.”

You can check out Dean’s story in the video over at KFOR.

 

 

Oklahoma Charter School Will Now Allow Afros & Dreadlocks, Should Tiana Return?

September 10th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Fox 23

Source: Fox 23

Our hearts collectively broke last week when we watched 7 year old Tiana Parker cry after being sent home because her school deemed her locs “unpresentable.”

Before little Tiana was sent home, Deborah Brown Community, a charter school  in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had already enacted a policy describing afros, mohawks and dreadlocks as “faddish” styles. Naturally, when the news of Tiana’s mistreatment spread, many stated that there was nothing faddish about styles like the afro or wearing one’s hair in dreadlocks. Clearly, the school was either out of touch, completely culturally ignorant, discriminatory or a mixture of all three.

After Tiana’s story  received national attention, from the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and professor/news correspondent, Melissa Harris Perry, who wrote Tiana a beautiful and encouraging letter, the school decided to review the policy once again.

Yesterday, after a two-hour board meeting, the Deborah Brown Community, a school comprised of 98 percent African American student enrollment, decided to officially change their policy. References to personal hair styles have been removed and according to the Tulsa Fox affiliate, has been replaced with this:

“Each student and the parents/guardians of the student are responsible for the personal hygiene of the student. The administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the student, his or her classmates and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment.”

Board Chairman, Kenneth James told Fox 23: “It was never our intent to cause any harm to Tiana or her family by our actions. If harm did occur, we apologize.”

Tiana’s parents, who have already removed her from Deborah Brown Community,  said they would still like for Tiana’s former educators to issue her an official apology.

Sounds fair, if you ask me.

While it’s great that the school amended this policy, it’s alarming that a school with 98% African American student enrollment could be so unaware of the discriminatory nature of their policy. It makes me wonder if the administration reflects the student and parent population they serve. So, with that in mind, if the school officially apologizes to Tiana, do you think her parents should send her back t

Giving Back: Usher Joins Oklahoma Tornado Relief Concert

May 28th, 2013 - By MN Editor
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Usher pf "relief concert"

From The Grio

Usher and Darius Rucker are teaming up, along with other top music artists, to perform at a concert to help those affected by the recent tornado that tore through Oklahoma.

The event, titled “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert,” was organized by country singer and native Oklahoman Blake Shelton. Joining Rucker and Usher, who worked with Shelton on The Voice, are country stars Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire, among others listed in the lineu

Get the rest of the concert details at The Grio.com.

Oklahoma’s Republican Senators Opposed Money For FEMA, Assistance To Victims Of Hurricane Sandy

May 21st, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Sen. Tom Coburn. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

With Moore and surrounding Oklahoma cities and towns still reeling from the effect of what has been called “the biggest, most destructive tornado in the history of the world” (it’s definitely among the worst), the area is still just trying to get a grip on the extent of the devastation. President Obama, almost immediately, signed a disaster declaration Monday night, and he’s assured the people impacted that the country stands with them.  With this action, The Huffington Post reports on the voting record of that state’s two Senators, particularly as it relates to disaster relief. As it turns out, Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, both Republicans and fiscal conservatives, voted against more funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and supported a plan to cut assistance to  Northeast victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“In a December press release, Coburn complained that the Sandy Relief bill contained “wasteful spending,” and identified a series of items he objected to, including ‘$12.9 billion for future disaster mitigation activities and studies,'” HuffPo reports. A spokesperson for Sen. Coburn says he would like to see the aid offset by other cuts. Those “offsets” were made in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Sen. Jim Inhofe (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The article goes on to say that Oklahoma comes in third behind Texas and California for federal fire and disaster declarations.

“And despite their voting record on disaster aid for other states, both Coburn and Inhofe appear to sing a different tune when it comes to such funding for Oklahoma,” the HuffPo says. Oh really?

FEMA is already in Moore, according to US News & World Report. The magazine says that colleagues may decide not to make any cuts in order to fund disaster relief, which would put the Senators in “the hot seat.”

GOP Rising Star T.W. Shannon Becomes Oklahoma’s First Speaker of The House

March 21st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

Just as the GOP announced an outreach campaign to minority communities, Oklahoma got its first black Speaker of the House. And he happens to be a Republican.

According to The Daily Caller (via EUR), Tahrohon Wayne Shannon, 34, has taken the coveted post. “He’s not only their first, but youngest ever, and the ‘first African American Republican speaker in the country since Reconstruction,'” the article says, quoting the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Shannon is a sixth-generation Oklahoman and member of the Chickasaw Nation.

The  GOP is a already prepared to parade out Shannon’s success. He was invited to the widely-covered Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is one of the places where future Republican presidential candidates are chosen.  This year, the conference notoriously shunned New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was a Republican darling through this most recent election. Many believe he was not invited because of  his alliance and praise of President Obama during Hurricane Sandy.

It was during this conference that Speaker Shannon spoke about Oklahoma’s brand of diversity. “In Oklahoma, we’ve got urban areas, rural areas, Native American tribes, oil and gas activity. We’ve got a lot of opinions and ideas,” The Daily Caller reports.

Do you think Shannon will help the GOP’s efforts to attract more African Americans to the party?

Toothache?! Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That: Sweet Brown Stars In Local Dentist Commercial

February 8th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: YouTube.com

Source: YouTube.com

If she plays her cards right, Sweet Brown, should make a pretty penny off of the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” catch phrase for at least 2-3 years to come. And if this commercial is any indication of her business savvy, then maybe she’s on the right track.

Using her ever popular catch phrase, she stars in an Oklahoma dentist commercial. Watch it and let us know what you think.

Are you tired of the Sweet Brown catchphrases yet or should she continue to collect them checks.

Authorities Search For Clues in Baby Abandonment Case

January 10th, 2013 - By madamenoire
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mother-murdered-left-trunk-baby

From Eurthisnthat

There is a tragic story out of St. Louis, Missouri, that was thought to be a story of abandonment, but was really a homicide.

Ebony-Jackson Shelton, 30, was found stuffed in the trunk of her own car.  The last anyone heard from her, she was headed to her cousin’s home, but she never made it, according to St. Louis’ Fox 2 News.

The report includes a Facebook posting of a video of her newborn baby on his grandfather’s lap, spending quality time and her speaking to her new baby off camera telling him to talk to grandpa.

Read more Eurthisnthat.com.

Watch Your Kids! Police Fine Mom $2,500 Over Urinating Toddler

November 8th, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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iStockphoto

An Oklahoma mom, Ashley Warden, was issued a $2,500 fine after a passing police officer caught her three-year-old son urinating on the family’s front yard.

According to ABC13, the Piedmont, OK (heh!) police officer “wasn’t swayed by Warden’s argument that the offender was a toddler who’s still being potty trained.”

The town’s police chief says the ticket will be thrown out. And Piedmont (heh!) Mayor Valerie Thomerson took issue with the officer’s harsh punishment.

“Is it an embarrassment to our police department? Absolutely,” Mayor Thomerson told the AP. “Do I still support our police department Absolutely.”

The amount is excessive, but should the mother have been fined for her son’s actions? When should a parent be held responsible for law-breaking children?