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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Ignorance in action

Many of these folks need this place

Parties mocking blacks spark outrage

By BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press Writer 22 minutes ago

CHARLESTON, S.C. - White students at Tarleton State University in Texas hold a party in which they dress in gang gear and drink malt liquor from paper bags. A white Clemson University student attends a bash in black face over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. A fraternity at Johns Hopkins University invites partygoers to wear "bling bling" grills, or shiny metal caps on their teeth.

From Connecticut to Colorado, "gangsta" theme parties thrown by whites are drawing the ire of college officials and heated complaints from black and white students who say the antics conjure the worst racial stereotypes.

At the same time, some black academics say they aren't surprised, given the popularity of rap music among inner-city blacks and well-to-do suburban whites alike.

The white students, they say, were mimicking the kind of outlaw posturing that blacks themselves engage in in rap videos. They suggest the white students ended up crossing the same line that says it is OK for blacks to call each other "nigger," but not all right for whites to do it.

Whites often don't realize their actions are offensive because they are imitating behavior celebrated in music and seen on television, said Venise Berry, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Iowa who has researched rap music and popular culture.

"The segment of rap music that is glamorized and popularized by the media is gangsta rap," said Berry, who is black. "It has become an image that is normalized in our society. That to me explains clearly why they don't see it as wrong."

Some of these people are straight up racists.

Some simply know nothing about how black people live, like a certain US Senator