Thursday Open Thread | Remembering Toni Morrison😢😢

We lost one of the giants this week when Toni Morrison died at the age of 88. There really are no words to describe how brilliant Ms. Morrison was, and what she brought to the world as a FREE Black woman with a mastery of the English language. There are things my soul didn’t know that it needed to wrestle with, until I had read Morrison’s novels. I know that some are chosen to deliver the world the truth.

Toni Morrison was chosen.

Thank you, Ms. Morrison.

What Ms. Morrison saw as her purpose:

“What I’m interested in is writing without the gaze, without the white gaze,” Morrison told the New York Times Magazine in 2015. “In so many earlier books by African-American writers, particularly the men, I felt that they were not writing to me. But what interested me was the African-American experience throughout whichever time I spoke of. It was always about African-American culture and people—good, bad, indifferent, whatever—but that was, for me, the universe.”

We are fortunate enough that a documentary on Morrison was completed before her passing:


The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.

“If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And white people have a very very serious problem”

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

A LOT of power in these Morrison ‘Truths’.

Posted on Facebook:
Barack Obama

“Time is no match for Toni Morrison. In her writing, she sometimes toyed with it, warping and creasing it, bending it to her masterful will. In her life’s story, too, she treated time nontraditionally. A child of the Great Migration who’d lifted up new, more diverse voices in American literature as an editor, Toni didn’t publish her first novel until she was 39 years old. From there followed an ascendant career—a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and so much more—and with it, a fusion of the African American story within the American story. Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful—a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories—that our stories—will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time.”







Like a compass #ToniMorrison’s work and words oriented so much of my thinking and feeling about my place in this country. I have no words to express what this loss feels like.
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) August 6, 2019

We aired a conversation between Morrison and @CornelWest at the Nation Institute in 2004. “We can’t talk about public health, public education, anything without talking seriously about African Americans,” Morrison said.
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) August 6, 2019

Desiree S. Evans (@desireevans) Tweeted:
Remember that 70s Black women’s literary renaissance? Do you know why it existed? #ToniMorrison used her platform as an editor at Random House to publish a new generation of writers like Toni Cade Bambara, Gayl Jones, Angela Davis. Making space, mentoring, changing the damn game.

Baldwin’s funeral

This entire thread of Morrison history:

And, this Twitter Thread was so powerful…about how Ms.Morrison’s words changed this one life:

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
A quick, powerful story I will never, ever forget about #ToniMorrison:
In college I befriended a fellow student I’ll call James. James was Black but had been adopted by a white family and raised in an all white community. I was one of his 1st black friends. At 20.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
I was an African American studies minor and convinced James, who was a business major, to take a Black literature class with me to fulfill one of his electives. The first book we read was The Bluest Eye.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
I had read it in high school, it’s an amazing text but wasn’t new to me. Some others in the class had read it before too, maybe half of us, but for many folks, it was new. The professor began quizzing us on why the book is considered so seminal.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
After a few other comments James raised his hand. He was choking on his words, it was obvious he felt angry and ashamed: “This is the 1st book by a Black person I’ve ever read,” he said quietly, “I didn’t know Black people could write like this.”

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
The room was the most quiet I have ever heard. This young Black man had made it to college without ever reading a Black author. The other students, Black and white, were silent. The professor was silent. No one knew what to say right then.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
James started crying. “I read it twice already,” he muttered softly. About half the room was teared up. To this day it is one of the most powerful moments I’ve experienced in a classroom. The professor pulled us back together and the class went on.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
We read Ellison, Hughes, Hurston and others in that class. Years later James told me that class changed his life. It changed how he understood Black people, how he understood America, but most importantly it helped him understand many experiences he had never had language for.

Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) Tweeted:
He told me he took The Bluest Eye home to his parents. Asked them why they kept it from him, pleaded w/ them to read it. Used it to try to get them to SEE. That relationship isn’t my story to tell, but thank you Toni Morrison for helping my friend & many others to see themselves.

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79 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Remembering Toni Morrison😢😢

  1. I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to the victims families. May God have mercy on his soul. RIP!

  2. eliihass says:

    “..I was 26, newly married and more than a little idealistic when I set off for my first diplomatic assignment almost a decade ago as a member of the 157th class of commissioned U.S. Foreign Service officers.

    According to a certain type of right-leaning conspiracy theorist, that would make me part of “The Deep State” — a shadowy government within the government that puts its own interests above the expressed wishes of the electorate. Adherents to this theory believe that thousands of federal workers like me are plotting furiously to subvert the Trump administration at every turn. Many on the left, too, hope that such a resistance is secretly working to save the nation from the worst impulses of President Trump.

    They have it all wrong. Your federal bureaucracy under this president? Call it “The Complacent State” instead.

    Like many in my cohort, I came into the government inspired by a president who convinced me there was still some truth to the gospel of American exceptionalism. A child of immigrants from South Korea, I also felt a duty to the society that welcomed my parents and allowed me and my siblings to thrive.

    Over three tours abroad, I worked to spread what I believed were American values: freedom, fairness and tolerance. But more and more I found myself in a defensive stance, struggling to explain to foreign peoples the blatant contradictions at home.

    In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, I spoke of American openness and friendship at consulate events as my country carried out mass deportations and failed thousands of “dreamers.” I attended celebrations of Black History Month at our embassy in Lisbon as black communities in the United States demanded justIce …And in Vancouver, I touted the strength of the United States’ democracy at the consulate’s 2016 election-night party as a man who campaigned on racism, misogyny and wild conspiracy theories became president-elect.

    Since then, I have seen Trump assert the moral equivalence of violent white nationalists and those who oppose them, denigrate immigrants from “shithole countries” and separate children from their parents at the border, only to place them in squalid detention centers.

    But almost three years since his election, what I have not seen is organized resistance from within.

    To the contrary, two senior Foreign Service officers admonished me for risking my career when I signed an internal dissent cable against the ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries in January 2017.

    Among my colleagues at the State Department, I have met neither the unsung hero nor the cunning villain of Deep State lore. If the resistance does exist, it should be clear by this point that it has failed.

    Instead, I am part of the Complacent State.

    The Complacent State sighs when the president blocks travel by Muslim immigrants; shakes its head when he defends Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; averts its gaze from images of children in detention camps. Then it complies with orders.

    Every day, we refuse visas based on administration priorities. We recite administration talking points on border security, immigration and trade. We plan travel itineraries, book meetings and literally hold doors open for the appointees who push Trump’s toxic agenda around the world.

    I’m ashamed of how long it took me to make this decision. My excuse might be disappointing, if familiar to many of my colleagues: I let career perks silence my conscience. I let free housing, the countdown to a pension and the prestige of representing a powerful nation overseas distract me from ideals that once seemed so clear to me. I can’t do that anymore.

    My son, born in El Paso on the American side of that same Rio Grande where the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter were discovered, in the same city where 22 people were just killed by a gunman whose purported “manifesto” echoed the inflammatory language of our president, turned 7 this month. I can no longer justify to him, or to myself, my complicity in the actions of this administration. That’s why I choose to resign…”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) Tweeted:
    This is madness. ICE tried to raid a *homeless shelter* in NYC on Tuesday night. Lied that they had a warrant. Thankfully, security guards knew their rights & asked to see it. They showed a random photo. They didnt have a warrant. They were forced to leave.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The attorney for the Montana man who fractured a teen’s skull over the national anthem says his client believed he was acting on Trump’s orders— Jason Wilson (@jason_a_w) August 8, 2019

  5. rikyrah says:

    Just sitting in the purse?

    Ain’t No Way: Estate Conflict Reveals Aretha Franklin Once Kept $750,000 in Uncashed Checks in Her Purse

    Anne Branigin
    Yesterday 8:00pm

    The battle over Aretha Franklin’s estate has gotten capital M-MESSY, requiring a long, drawn-out court hearing this week in which deep familial divisions—and some pretty shocking details about the late great singer’s finances—were on full display.

    Among the revelations: Franklin, who allegedly did not have an accounting system while she was alive, once had $750,000 in uncashed checks in her purse, according to one of her son’s attorneys.

    Three quarters of a million dollars?? Just sitting?? In your pocketbook???? Talk about being in your bag! (It’s also part of why Franklin could always be seen on stage with her purse not too far from her—though previous reporting stated it was because she required payments be made to her in cash before her performances.)

  6. rikyrah says:

    Pragmatic Obots (@PragmaticObot) Tweeted:
    I have to wonder about the level of care that people of color would receive from medical staff that wanted to smile for the cameras with trump. Studies have already shown a racial bias in medical diagnosis and treatment.

  7. Liza says:

    For real? They don’t get to redefine “anti-semitism.”

  8. Carson is here with his sweet self. He has a birthday coming up. I’m ordering a yard sign that’ll say “Happy 2nd Birthday, Carson”.

    Carson came in and asked me for some gum. A few days ago, me, son in law and Carson went grocery shopping. I picked up a bucket of gum and put it in the basket. Carson got the bucket and opened it. That bucket is not easy to open. Since he had opened it, I gave him a piece and he told everyone in the store who stopped to talk him that he had gum. LOL

  9. rikyrah says:

    McGahn makes dubious confidentiality claim to avoid testifying

    Rachel Maddow reports on former White House counsel Don McGhan’s claim that he cannot testify before Congress because he is obligated by client confidentiality to Donald Trump, even though he was not Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Booker, Biden rail against racism and Trump rhetoric

    Rachel Maddow shares highlights from speeches by Senator Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic candidates for president, in which they criticism how Donald Trump’s rhetoric has helped fuel a resurgence of racism in the United States.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Divisive Trump presence disrupts Dayton community’s healing unity

    Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the divisive presence of Donald Trump ruptured the unity of the Dayton community still healing from a deadly mass shooting, and how public pressure for gun reform has been received by Republican politicians previously disinclined to consider it.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Trump visits to gun massacre sites met with protests

    Rachel Maddow looks at the less-than-welcoming reception Donald Trump received from the Dayton and El Paso communities when he arrived to visit first hospitals responders in the wake of deadly gun attacks.

  13. rikyrah says:


    Why was the only picture of him at the hospital in Dayton was WITH A CHILD?


    Just asking.
    Uh huh
    Uh huh

  14. rikyrah says:

    O’Rourke: Trump language is giving license to act on racism

    Beto O’Rourke, former congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, talks with Rachel Maddow from El Paso, Texas about holding Donald Trump responsible for his divisive and dehumanizing language, and calling for unity among Americans in the face of violent racist terrorism.

    • Liza says:

      At first glance, I just looked away. Just more of Trump’s bullsh!t.

      Then I realized that this another time when a picture is worth ten million words. These two despicable, sub-human monsters, smiling like jokers, flashing their dental implants, are telling us they really don’t care.

  15. Hey, Chicas!

    Y’all remember Anson Asaka from Jack and Jill Politics? Well, he’s a candidate for Baltimore City Council District 4. Whoo Hoo! 🎉🎉🎉

  16. rikyrah says:

    Because, IT IS welfare, Dear.

    Farm Discontent Spills Over as Ag Secretary Is Confronted in Minnesota

    … Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, drew applause as he leveled criticism of the administration’s trade policy at a forum with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in front of thousands of farmers gathered in a metal barn for a panel discussion.

    American farmers took a fresh financial hit from Trump’s trade war over the weekend as China announced a halt to all U.S. agricultural imports after the president threatened Beijing with another tariff increase.

    Wertish criticized Trump’s “go-it-alone approach” and the trade dispute’s “devastating damage not only to rural communities.” He expressed fears Trump’s $28 billion in trade aid will undermine public support for federal farm subsidies, saying the assistance is already being pilloried “as a welfare program, as bailouts.”

    Others joined in. Brian Thalmann, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, complained about Trump statements that farmers are doing “great” again. “We are not starting to do great again,” he said. “We are starting to go down very quickly.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Some North Carolina Sheriffs Refuse to Comply With ICE. Republicans Have a Plan to Thwart Them.
    “You bring me a federal warrant.”

    On the day his office stopped complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, newly elected Sheriff Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, invited immigrant activists to his offices to celebrate. Grinning, he cut into a white sheet cake that featured “287(g)” in black print at its center, slashed through with red icing, to symbolize an end to the department’s participation in the voluntary provision that allows ICE to ask sheriffs to hold undocumented immigrants after they’ve been arrested by the department.

    “We just don’t do that work anymore,” McFadden said.

    But soon, he may have to cooperate with ICE officials. In the months since he celebrated his election, McFadden has been fighting a public battle with the federal agency after an undocumented immigrant committed a high-profile crime, and state Republicans have jumped in to use the controversy as a campaign issue.

    In June, North Carolina Senate Republicans passed a controversial new bill, HB 370, that would require sheriffs to comply with ICE detainers. (A slightly different version of the bill had already passed the House; Republican leaders have been delayed from sending the bill to the governor’s desk due to ongoing disputes over the state budget.) Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has called the bill unconstitutional and says he plans to veto it. In a statement, Cooper grumbled that the bill, and the issue of immigration detention in general, has taken on a life of its own and become “about scoring political points.”

    “It’s sad to see the governor has sided with radical open-borders liberals,” Rep. Destin Hall, a sponsor of the bill, said of Cooper’s decision. But less than a year ago, support for immigrants swung elections in the state.

    In the 2018 election, black sheriffs were elected in North Carolina’s seven largest counties. McFadden was among them. The new sheriffs knocked off two 16-year incumbents, one of whom held the position for nearly 25 years, “largely because they objected to hardline immigration policies,” experts told the News & Observer. For the sheriffs, who manage their local jails, that meant ignoring requests from ICE to detain previously arrested undocumented immigrants so the agency could deport them. Such requests are made through a federal provision, 287(g), which allows ICE to work voluntarily with local authorities. At a press conference in Charlotte earlier this summer, McFadden, who has been one of the most outspoken of the new sheriffs, told reporters that the provision was “off the table.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Why do I feel that the outcome would have been different if that had been LeRoy Jenkins or Abdul Nadir’s mother coming to the police station 🤨🤨🤔🤔

  19. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄 😄😄

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