This Week’s State of the Union

The State of the Union is the Only Afro in the Room’s weekly line-up of news related to race relations and diversity. Stories are organized by their relative impact on these issues: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

How Unified Was the Human Race During the Week of August 12-16, 2013?


In the United States, a Court Holds That NYC’s Racist Implementation of Stop-And-Frisk Is Unconstitutional, and a Real Discussion on Racism Occurs in Philadelphia.

While, in Israel, a Teacher’s Conference Discusses How to Improve Anti-Racism Education in Schools.


In contrast, Most U.S. Public Schools Are Failing to Teach the Civil Rights Movement, which would explain why, Smart Whites Are Just As Racist As Dumb Whites, According to a Scientific Study and a New Poll Reveals Racially Segregated Friendships.

Meanwhile, people are experiencing racial intolerance all over the globe, including in Ireland where Eye Witnesses Report Recent Incidents of Racism (25% Committed Against Blacks), and Even Americans and Brits Wonder Why Australia is So Racist. Sounds to me like the teapot and coffeepot are calling the little Outback kettle black?

Finally, I can’t overlook the irony that Racism Still Exists in the Fashion Industry.


Racism Is Really Bad For Your Health. Scientific Studies Link Racism to high blood pressure and adult onset asthma in African Americans

It’s Also Really Bad For Your Mind, as evidenced by the racially defeated Wendy Williams who commented that “Natural is for personalities, not hair,” in conjunction with her launching a new line of wigs because, you know, that’s what Black women really need: access to more fake hair. Just…Wow.

Obama Was Targeted by Racists Across the United States. I admit that this isn’t really news as racists have targeted him throughout his presidency, but I did find some of this week’s taunts to be particularly low-brow. It’s as though all the racists got together and decided to stop the coded speech and veiled references, and instead let it all hang out like their Confederate flags.

To confirm my suspicions, Texas Openly Defended Its Racially Discriminatory Redistricting.

Lastly, you’ve already heard about this, but for the sake of posterity, I had to share that Oprah Was Snubbed By A Snooty Shopgirl Who Wouldn’t Let the Billionare Hold a Bag Because It Was “Too Expensive.”

“Big Mistake. Big. Huuuuge!”

Pretty Woman (1990)

Honoring Jackie Robinson, The Only Afro on the Field

Last night, I learned that vandals scribbled racial epithets on Jackie Robinson’s statue. (CNN’s coverage of the story) That prompted me to revisit his life and career. What I encountered was the story of a man whose mental strength was even more remarkable than his extraordinary physical talent. Though known for his achievements in baseball, did you know that Jackie Robinson was actually gifted in four sports:  football, basketball, track, and baseball? He was the first UCLA student to earn varsity letters in all four sports, and he played semi-pro football in Hawaii. Did you know that he had the guts to call the Yankees racist for refusing to integrate their team, and then dealt the final blow by leading the Dodgers to defeat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series? Did you know that he was court martialed while serving in the Army World War II (and later exonerated) for refusing to sit in the back of the bus at boot camp?

In his lifetime, he was a world-renowned athlete, civil rights champion and businessman. His archetypal career can serve as a beacon to the would-be A-Rods and Armstrongs of the world.  He deserves our utmost respect and our gratitude for shattering the racial barrier to this “all American” sport. To learn more about Jackie’s athletic career, visit To read about his life on and off the field, check out

Better yet, let’s teach those racist vandals a lesson by donating money to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  Jackie Robinson was the youngest son of a single mother.  Due to financial hardship, he had to drop out of college.  Donations to the Jackie Robinson foundation will help send a disadvantaged youth to college and pay honor to his great legacy.

(Note: TheOnlyAfrointheRoom is not employed by or otherwise affiliated with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the opinions expressed here are those of TheOnlyAfrointheRoom’s primary author)

Oprah Wears Giant Afro Wig On O Magazine Cover

O Mag - Sept 2013 - Giant AfoLast week, my blog post pointed out that Black female celebrities rarely wear their natural hair in public. Well, I guess I stand corrected. Oprah, the most famous of all Black female celebrities, is donning a gigantic afro wig that would make even Mufasa, the original Lion King, bow down. There is a small part of me that worries our hair may be viewed as an amusing charicature; however, if allowed to grow without mitigation, some of us would actually look like this. Natural hair, at it’s absolute best, grows up and out like a halo surrounding the head of a Renaissance saint. So, do your thing, Oprah. Even if it’s not really yours (and thus not really natural), I choose to look at this as a bold celebration of all that Black hair can be.

Learn more about the genesis of this O Magazine cover at US Weekly: