Diversity Headlines

Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

Colorlines - 7 hours 52 min ago
Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it has opened an investigation into whether Newark, New Jersey's school reform plans violate the civil rights of the city's black students, Reuters reported. Civil rights groups, including the Journey for Justice Alliance and the Advancement Project, filed a complaint in May with the Department of Education alleging that school closures in Newark, New Orleans, and Chicago have a unique and disparate impact on black and Latino students, who are vastly overrepresented among those who attend schools targeted with school closures plans in all three cities. Black students were 52.8 percent of Newark public school enrollment but 73.4 percent of those affected by school closures in the 2011-2012 school year. White students, meanwhile, were 7.9 percent of the district but just 1.1 percent of those whose schools were shuttered.

In Newark, the school reform plan One Newark is set to close 13 more public K-12 schools. 

"Closing the doors of public schools is not the way to improve public schools," Sharon Smith, founder of Parents United for Local School Education said at a Wednesday press conference, the Star-Ledger reported.

The civil rights complaint was filed on the same week as the 60th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Read the civil rights complaint in full (PDF). Catch up on Colorlines' coverage of the civil rights complaint.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Summer Fun in the City [Photos]

Colorlines - 9 hours 8 min ago
Summer Fun in the City [Photos]

After a week of grisly headlines, sometimes we need to just bask in the beauty of everyday people. Few things conjure up more joy than summer. Whether it's going to the beach (when it's allowed), cooling off at the pool or dancing at a block party, we've always found ways to celebrate while the sun is shining. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and revisit the smiles, ice cream cones and swimsuits of yesteryear. 

  New York City


Three young girls pose on Bond Street in 1974. (Danny Lyon/National Archives)


Kids beat the heat at Koscuisko Pool on July 4, 1974. (Danny Lyon/National Archives) 


Another scene at Koscuisko Pool in summer 1974.  (Danny Lyons/ National Archives)


Three boys clown for the camera in Lynch Park in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives) 


Two Lynch Park-goers in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives) 


Kids play at Jacob Riis beach in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives)

Chicago chicagosummer1_071414.jpg

Girls cool off with the fire hydrant in the Woodlawn section of Chicago in June 1973. (John H. White/NARA via The Atlantic)


Participants in the Bud Billiken Day Parade along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in August of 1973.  (John H. White/NARA)


Hundreds turn out for the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade along MLK Drive. (John H. White/NARA)


Swimmers beat the heat on Lake Michigan in August 1973. (John H. White/NARA)


A family enjoys a picnic at 12 Street Beach on Lake Michigan, August 1973. (John H. White/NARA)

 Los Angeles


Verna Williams and partner at Santa Monica Beach in 1931. (Courtesy of Shades of L.A.)


A Samoan family in Carson in 1971. (Courtesy of Shades of L.A.)


Students celebrate the last day of school at Hoover Street School in 1976. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)


Teachers on the last day of school in 1967. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)

lasummer3_071414.jpg          Miss Watts 1967 and her court wave to the crowd. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library )

San Franciso


Two men hit the San Francisco streets in the 1970s. (Courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)


Party time in 1970s San Francisco. (Courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)

sfsummer5_071414.jpgIce cream time in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

It's Finally Here: Watch the Trailer for Aaron McGruder's 'Black Jesus'

Colorlines - 9 hours 55 min ago

Aaron McGruder's highly anticipated new show "Black Jesus" finally has a trailer. The show premieres on Adult Swim on August 7, but for now, here's a taste of what to watch out for, with an appearance from John Witherspoon. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch This Woman Perform a Monologue to Beyonce's 'Single Ladies'

Colorlines - 10 hours 19 min ago

Nina Millin and The Beyoncélogues FTW!

From Jezebel's Hillary Crosley:

The time Millin tackled "Single Ladies" and "Best Thing I Never Had" and while they aren't as scary as "Mine," they are also funny. Very funny. My favorite line? "I up on him, he up on me" which Millin delivers as if it was "Et Tu, Brute?" Enjoy "Single Ladies" above and check out "Best Thing I Never Had" below.



Categories: Diversity Headlines

Study: One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

Colorlines - 10 hours 47 min ago
 One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

One in 10 youth locked up in juvenile detention has experienced suicidal thoughts in the last six months, according to sobering new findings published by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF). The article is the latest installment in a series from the Northwestern Juvenile Project examining the mental health of youth at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.

The findings may shed some light on other troubling trends about young people's experiences in juvenile detention, where the youth commit suicide at two to four times the national rate of youth in the general population.

According to researchers' findings, not only had 10 percent of youth had thoughts of suicide, 11 percent had attempted suicide at least once. The average age of kids' first suicide attempt was 12.7 years. Whites are at a higher risk than youth of color for committing suicide. White males were more than two times more likely as black males and five times more likely than Latino males to tell someone about their suicidal thoughts. But researchers also found that Latino and black males were far more likely than others to have thoughts of "death and dying" in the last six months. 

Write the report authors (PDF):

It is unclear whether and how concern about death among African American and Hispanic males is related to risk for suicide. Some studies suggest that such concern may result from a greater likelihood of having lost siblings and peers to violent death as compared to non-Hispanic white males. These findings also may reflect an awareness of a heightened risk of mortality. Among the Cook County sample, African-American and Hispanic males had a substantially greater risk of an early violent death than non-Hispanic males. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

Colorlines - 11 hours 39 min ago
Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

In an interview with Time Magazine, Questlove answered Nolan Freeny's question "Are you pro or anti Iggy Azalea?" by defending the Australian rapper's hit "Fancy" as the "song of the summer."

Here's the thing: the song is effective and catchy as hell, and it works. Just the over-enunciation of "hold you down"? [Laughs]It makes me chuckle because all I can see is my assistant holding a brush in the mirror and singing it.

I'm caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, "She said the N-word! She said the N-word!" I'll call people out -- "Yo, don't troll." I know you're ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that "Fancy," above any song that I've ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we're truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.

And to tell the truth, I was saying this last year, I don't think it's any mistake that four or five of my favorite singers are from Australia. Like between Hiatus Kaiyote, there's a bunch I can name for you right now, but I don't think it's a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under. A lot of them more soulful than what we're dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that's sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we're really not in the church as we used to be, and that's reflected in the songs now.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I'mma let Iggy be Iggy. It's not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I'm in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I'll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect -- I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, "Fancy" is the song of the summer.

Read more at Time and Gawker

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Video: The War on Drugs and War on Immigrants Are Intertwined

Colorlines - 12 hours 54 min ago

Here's an all too easily forgotten reality: mass incarceration and the U.S. deportation machine are deeply intertwined. And black immigrants get swept up in both systems. A new video from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration spells it out:

The rate of detention and criminal deportation is soaring. Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America are overrepresented in immigration detention and criminal deportatiton proceedings by five times their presence in the undocumented community. And all Latino undocumented immigrants are disproportionately affected by a wide margin. Ultimately all forms of crimnalization keeps people divided. 

The new video is part of a BAJI campaign called #therealcrime. Find out more at BAJI.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Actress Emily Rios Talks About Coming Out to Her Mexican Family

Colorlines - 14 hours 7 min ago
Actress Emily Rios Talks About Coming Out to Her Mexican Family

Emily Rios, the 25-year-old actress who stars in FX's "The Bridge" and had a role on AMC's "Breaking Bad," recently opened up about coming out to her family. Rios was born in Los Angeles and raised as a Jehovah's Witness in nearby El Monte. In an interview with AfterEllen, she said that she's proud to take on queer roles.

I'm gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian -- this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family," she said. "Mexican-Americans especially -- because this generation, we come into America and your family wants to be proud. You want to come to this country and say 'This is what I have to show for it. I brought my family and we're living our better life.' For my family, my mom didn't want me to live a difficult life. She brought me here for a better one so she's like 'Your coming out...I don't want this to be this. I want you to be comfortable.

I want it to be an incidental thing, which is what happens in our everyday life," Rios said. "I wanted to make sure the whole lesbian aspect wasn't this whole coming out story and the character wasn't going to be made more flamboyant in any sort of way.

Read more at AfterEllen

Categories: Diversity Headlines

This Is What James Baldwin Wrote About Israel and Palestine in 1979

Colorlines - 14 hours 30 min ago
This Is What James Baldwin Wrote About Israel and Palestine in 1979

In an article that originally appeared in the September 29, 1979 issue of The Nation, James Baldwin wrote that "Jews and Palestinians know of broken promises."

But the state of Israel was not created for the salvation of the Jews; it was created for the salvation of the Western interests. This is what is becoming clear (I must say that it was always clear to me). The Palestinians have been paying for the British colonial policy of "divide and rule" and for Europe's guilty Christian conscience for more than thirty years.

Finally: there is absolutely--repeat: absolutely--no hope of establishing peace in what Europe so arrogantly calls the Middle East (how in the world would Europe know? having so dismally failed to find a passage to India) without dealing with the Palestinians. The collapse of the Shah of Iran not only revealed the depth of the pious Carter's concern for "human rights," it also revealed who supplied oil to Israel, and to whom Israel supplied arms. It happened to be, to spell it out, white South Africa.

Read more at The Nation

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Eric Garner and Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing'

Colorlines - 14 hours 32 min ago

What's become clear in the aftermath of Eric Garner's death is that NYPD chokeholds, though officially banned, happen all too often. There have been more than 1,000 complaints of officers using the tactic in recent years. But its influence in our cultural memory is strong, as Spike Lee demonstrated when he edited footage of Garner's death with the pivotal scene in his 1989 film "Do the Right Thing" when cops kill Radio Raheem.

Over at Shadow and Act, Tambay A. Obenson wrote that the video is "essentially holding up a mirror to reality, emphasizing how much his art seemingly imitates (or maybe I should say, reflects) real life - still, some 25 years later, since that film's release."


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Missing Air Algérie Flight, Israel Attacks U.N. School in Gaza, and #TimeTitles

Colorlines - 14 hours 39 min ago
Missing Air Algérie Flight, Israel Attacks U.N. School in Gaza, and #TimeTitles

Here's what I'm reading up on this morning:

  • An Air Algérie flight is missing, and likely crashed in northern Mali with about 116 people on board. 
  • Jobless claims fall again to their lowest level since 2006. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

July Lit: "Song for An Asian American Radical: Yuri Kochiyama" by David Mura

Hyphen Blog - 14 hours 40 min ago

A second helping of July lit: a poem by David Mura, in honor of Yuri Kochiyama.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Subprime Loans Are Back With a Vengeance

Colorlines - 18 hours 16 min ago
Subprime Loans Are Back With a Vengeance

Just when you thought that the subprime mess might be winding down, the truth is that it's coming back with a vengeance. Even though Citibank recently received the largest penalty ever issued against a financial institution for subprime mortgage loans, toxic loans are showing up for another product: cars. As the New YorkTimes reports,banks are bilking working poor communities of color to the tune of billions. Sadly, they are the latest reason why America should have brought the banks to heel when it had the chance at the height of the financial crisis. Instead the nation propped up the banks and millions are back in a lurch.

As the Times reports, subprime auto products "have risen 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis." If loans continue to be issued at the same rate as this year's, they will reach $600 billion in 2014 alone.

Just what's brought subprime loans back to life? The answer lies in the origins of the first crisis and the many parallels that this new one has to the old.

The problem is that families haven't had the opportunity to heal from the last subprime mess. With more than 13 million foreclosures impacting nearly 40 million individuals, personal balance sheets are still recovering. That's because foreclosed debt weighs down credit scores for nearly a decade. Low credit scores lock out borrowers in need from traditional, non-predatory loans. The legacy of the original subprime crisis is to make once creditworthy people vulnerable to the latest subprime push.

And those most at risk are black and brown. Since people of color with excellent credit before the financial crisis were up to 70 percent more likely to be steered into subprime mortgages--and then foreclosed upon--than white borrowers with similar credit scores, the original subprime mess wrecked both the wealth and credit of black and Latino communities. Not only has the loss of millions of homes sent the level of black and brown wealth to the lowest on record, it's tanked the credit profile of these borrowers. We've arrived at the point now where three out of out four African-Americans have subprime credit scores of 620 and less. Not surprisingly, lenders are pushing the latest predatory loans on anyone with a credit score of 640 and under.

With the millions of new subprime borrowers that the 2008 meltdown created, it's no surprise that the finance industry is off to the races. As Mother Jones put it, banks "are pooling bad loans just as subprime mortgage lenders did, and then slicing them up and selling them to investors including hedge funds and pension funds."

As with subprime mortgages, lenders are squeezing borrowers of subprime auto loans in almost every way imaginable. The interest rate on these loans can be up to five times higher than standard-rate loans. Not only can interest rates hover at 20 percent, but subprime loans are often twice or even three times what the car is worth. Financial institutions are profiting from the vulnerable by charging them an exorbitant interest rate on a sky-high principal.

Fraud is likely at work. Loan representatives at dealerships mislead consumers to believe that the high payments will diminish over time. They also help juice the credit applications of potential borrowers and create income for borrowers out of thin air. The New York Times reported that the paperwork of one applicant, Social Security recipient Rodney Dunham, said that he made $35,000 a year--from a job that he'd held 30 years ago. "I'm not sure how I got the loan," he told the Times.

And just like the last subprime go-round, independent agencies like Standard & Poor's that are supposed to rate the soundness of these products impartially have given some institutions the green light. Their stamp of approval has provided the necessary cover for some of the worst subprime mortgage offenders like Wells Fargo to get in on the subprime auto game with no looking back.

The reason why borrowers apply and accept these loans is not a surprise. Having been victims of the original meltdown, subprime auto loans are often the only option for getting a car. Automobiles remain the No. 1 transportation method in America, so having access to a car is essential. Applicants for low-wage hourly work are often asked in interviews whether they have reliable transportation to and from work. The choice is often stark: Take the loan or fall further behind. The sad part is that these financial products ultimately create a no-win situation for the nation's working poor.

But why do banks and other financial institutions underwrite and invest in them? The answer is because they are wildly profitable. The high interest rates and principals provide double-digit returns in the short term. Because banks report profits every three months, what might happen next year is a distant thought. The business community calls it the "tyranny of the quarter" where companies do whatever is necessary to juice profits in three-month chunks.

The broader point here is that traditional banking is a slow growth business. Low interest rates and less borrowing mean lower profits. At a time when average Americans are worse off than they've been in nearly four decades, banks are seeking creative--and in this case deceptive-- ways to amp up the bottom line.

The only problem is that profits, yet again, are coming at the expense of those who can least afford them. Given the regulatory power that exists in Washington, preying on the working poor can be stopped. But that would mean taking on the banks--something that those with real power refuse to do.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

African Dances, From A-Z: The Best Thing on the Internet Right Now

Colorlines - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 13:01

Because it's Wednesday, and we all need something fierce to look at, watch this awesome video of contemporary African dances. 

(h/t BoingBoing)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas City's Attempt to Bar Child Migrants

Colorlines - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:57
Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas City's Attempt to Bar Child Migrants

Civil rights and legal advocacy groups have filed a civil rights complaint over a Texas city's attempt to block migrant children from being detained in town, reported The Center for Public Integrity.

In early July, League City, Tex., city council members voted 6-2, "to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as 'refugee' or otherwise." The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Appleseed, a Texas-based legal advocacy group, filed the federal complaint, charging that League City's resolution discriminates against the affected children and violates the Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint "is a warning to other municipalities that are considering similar resolutions. Cities can't accept federal funds, and then use them to discriminate," MALDEF attorney Marisa Bono told The Center for Public Integrity. 

After several years of steady increases in the numbers of child migrants arriving in the U.S., some 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children fleeing rampant violence and conscription into gangs primarily in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have so far been apprehended this year while attempting to seek refuge in the U.S. Still, overall flows of migrants crossing into the U.S. are still low. In the last year, Border Patrol has apprehended some 420,000 people, AP reported today, after three years of near historic lows of apprehensions. The last time apprehensions at the border were so low was in 1973, when the Border Patrol arrested 500,000 people, AP reported.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Look at the U.S. Marches Calling for and End to Violence in Gaza

Colorlines - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:56
A Look at the U.S. Marches Calling for and End to Violence in Gaza

Across the United States, thousands of people have taken to the streets to call for an end to the Israeli war in Gaza that's claimed more than 600 Palestinian lives. Here's a look at what's happened already in three cities.



Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images


Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images


Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images

San Francisco


Photo credit: @Savannahh_h_
gaza8_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @SafeenS


gaza9_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @ewajasiwicz

gaza10_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @hdgremix

gaza11_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @aarifah_asifee

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Saul Williams Opens Up About 'Holler If You Hear Me' on Broadway

Colorlines - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:17
Saul Williams Opens Up About 'Holler If You Hear Me' on Broadway

Saul Williams, the star of the musical "Holler If You Hear Me," spoke with Rolling Stone this week about why he thinks the show wasn't a success. The show closed after only one month and 55 performances on Broadway. But Williams was quick to point out its accomplishments:

Could you foresee at all that Holler If Ya Hear Me would close this early or was it a surprise?
We've known what was going on all along. Every day at rehearsal, Kenny Leon was saying, "Let's be very clear with the fact that this play is probably going to be hated coming out the gates." We see how full or empty the house is every night. Twenty-six thousand people have seen the play and, of those people, we've had fucking standing ovations every night and tremendous support from the people that have seen it. But the producer, Eric Gold, said to me, "We expect that the first two months are going to be really difficult."

Why do you think more people didn't come out to see it?
One of our producers came in really angry because he had spoken to one of the TKTS people [who man Broadway ticket-selling booths] -- not saying she was a producer -- and asked them, "What about Holler? Should I see that?" And the response of the person who is supposed to guide tourists to plays was like, "It's a bit of a downer. It's not necessarily as fun as" whatever other play they mentioned. Then she approached another one and that person was like, "Oh, it got really bad reviews." We started a street team at the last minute to counter those TKTS people who are really supposed to be promoting everything on Broadway. I also cannot go without saying that there was something deeply embedded in a lot of the reviews that went deeper than just a dislike of the play. 

Read more at Rolling Stone. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Child Refugees: The Consequences of the 2009 Coup in Honduras

New America Media - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:10
If we’re going to discuss the root causes of the current Honduran refugee crisis, let’s get a few things straight.First, the U.S. government has and continues to fund, orchestrate and support coups across Latin America.Most Americans who know anything about... Hector Luis Alamo, Jr. http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

For Some Asian Americans, Addiction Means Suffering in Silence

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:53

Sam Louie, MA, LMHC writes about the guilt and fear some Asian Americans experience when acknowledging their addictions.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

U.N. Suggests Israeli War Crimes, Ukrainian Jets Down and Eric Garner's Funeral

Colorlines - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 07:11
U.N. Suggests Israeli War Crimes, Ukrainian Jets Down and Eric Garner's Funeral

Here's what I'm reading up on this morning:

  • Did you recently purchase peaches, plums, pluots or nectarines at Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, Kroger's or Trader Joe's? They're being recalled
Categories: Diversity Headlines
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