Diversity Headlines

PSA: George Takei Wants Straight People to Vote

Colorlines - 3 hours 39 min ago

It's National Voter Registration Day, and George Takei is here to remind straight people to vote. Why? Because they're likely raising the gay leaders of tomorrow. Watch. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

San Francisco Takes a Stand Against Abortion Restrictions Targeting Asian Women

Colorlines - 5 hours 23 min ago
San Francisco Takes a Stand Against Abortion Restrictions Targeting Asian Women

If you don't know the ins and outs of reproductive justice, you may be surprised to find out that the second most proposed ban on abortion has racist undertones and questionable legal enforceability. Often called "sex-selective abortion bans," these prohibitions have passed in eight states, and 21 have been introduced in states and Congress since 2009. 

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing sex-selective abortion bans on the basis that they promote discrimination against and stereotypes of Asian and Pacific Islander women. California State Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R) had attempted to get a ban on sex-selective abortions passed in May but the measure failed.

Shivana Jorawar, reproductive justice program director for the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), says that sex-selective abortions are an international issue. "There's a very real problem of son preference in [countries including] India and China [that] can result in sex selection," she explains. "In those countries opportunities for education or economic security are very limited, and property is passed down through male children. All of these things create a very strong preference for sons."

Evidence that similar practices exist in the United States is shaky. A  report released by NAPAWF in June spells it out:

The main empirical support for the view that [Asian-Americans] are obtaining sex-selective abortions based on son preference in the United States is from a study by economists Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund published in 2008. That study, using United States census data from 2000, found that when foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans have two girls, the sex ratios at the third birth in those families is skewed towards boys. However, in analyzing more recent data from the 2007 to 2011 American Community Survey (ACS), we found that the sex ratios at birth of foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans are not male-biased when all their births are taken into account. In fact, foreign-born Chinese, Indians and Koreans have proportionally more girls than white Americans.

Along with the scant proof that sex-selective abortion is occurring in the U.S. is the question of enforcement. While each of the bans vary, most threaten to penalize providers who know that their patients are sex-selecting and perform the procedure anyway. So, theoretically, one would have to prove that a) a woman wanted an abortion because of the sex of the fetus, b) that the doctor knew of this intent, and c) that the doctor performed the procedure anyway. That's a lot of difficult-to-ascertain elements in one scenario. "It should come as no surprise [that] we've never seen a prosecution under these laws," says Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

While both Kolbi-Molinas and Jorawar say they haven't heard of anyone who has been denied an abortion based on these laws, Jorawar says she's heard a handful of racially charged anecdotes from API women in Pennsylvania, one of the eight states with a ban in place. "We have been hearing anecdotal stories of women being denied the ability to see their ultrasounds," says Jorawar. "[The women are told], 'We're not able to let you know if you're having a girl or a boy,' accompanied by a lecture about how in this country we value girls and boys equally."

David Chiu (D), the board supervisor who authored the San Francisco resolution, learned about the issue from NAPAWF. Jorawar says that the group approached Chiu earlier this year because they wanted to take a more proactive stand against sex-selective abortion measures. While the city's resolution does not prevent such a ban from being passed in the state of California, Chiu says he hopes it will raise awareness. "I believed that San Francisco ought to take a stand against the latest anti-choice policies [that are] based on racial stereotypes," he says of why he pushed the resolution. "I'm proud that, with a unanimous vote by our Board of Supervisors, San Francisco became the first jurisdiction in the country to oppose these bans. We hope that other governments follow suit before [a] ban comes to your town.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Is 'Black-ish' the Modern Day 'Cosby Show?'

Colorlines - 5 hours 26 min ago

ABC's "Black-ish" is set to debut this week, which also happens to be the 30th anniversary of "The Cosby Show." Karen Grisby Bates talked about the comparison over at NPR's Code Switch:

The show stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as two middle class black professionals who deal with the insidious racism of the American mainstream. The show premieres on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Listen: Kendrick Lamar Raps About Self Love in New Song

Colorlines - 7 hours 29 min ago
 Kendrick Lamar Raps About Self Love in New Song

Kendrick Lamar released the first track called "i" off of his upcoming album. The project is slated for release later this fall. Here's more from Ambrosia for Heads:

Based around a not-so-obscure Isley Brothers sample, the song follows Kendrick's Flaunt magazine interview (as recently reported by Billboard) that the superstar had moved away from listening to Hip-Hop, and purchased the Isleys' whole catalog for his listening pleasure. "i" arguably veers into Pop music more than anything from K-Dot's previous releases. However, with its interesting cover art (look closer), specific opening monologue material, and the actual lyrics, it's seemingly quite brilliant. Kendrick Lamar is still rapping for (and to) Compton (literally and figuratively), but he's talking about the universal need to love one's self.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

John Cho Talks About Barriers Facing Asian-American Actors

Colorlines - 7 hours 36 min ago
John Cho Talks About Barriers Facing Asian-American Actors

Actor John Cho is starring in the new ABC primetime series "Selfie," which premieres on September 30. Cho plays the role of Henry Higgins, a marketing expert who's tasked with rebranding embattled personalities. He spoke with Momo Chang of the Center for Asian American Media about his long and successful career, which includes "American Pie," "Harold and Kumar" films and "Star Trek."

Just from a creative standpoint there are just entire genres that I'm locked out of, being Asian, because of historical reality. You know, like the cowboy picture (laughs). Basically you're doing immigrants, smaller immigrant roles. And if you're doing bigger roles, you're doing modern tales. That is to say, contemporary stories. And you can do futuristic stories. So I guess I've done those.

What I'm locked out of is American history. There just aren't roles written for Asians in stories that revolve around American history. So you're dealing with that handicap off the bat.

You can read more at the Center for Asian American Media. Watch the pilot for "Selfie" below:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

NYC Transit Official on Anti-Islam Ads: 'Our Hands Are Tied'

Colorlines - 8 hours 5 min ago
 'Our Hands Are Tied'

One day after a new batch of anti-Islam advertisements went up on New York City subways and buses, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) officials are responding to Arab and Muslim activists' outrage, saying there isn't much they can do about the matter. 

The ads are sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an "active anti-Muslim group."

MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz addressed the matter in an e-mail to Al Jazeera. "We review every viewpoint ad under the standards, but a series of court rulings have made clear that our hands are largely tied."

AFDI says that the ads are protected under the First Amendment. But Hoda Elshishtawy, a national policy analyst at the Muslim Public Affairs Council hopes that the broader public will see the hate behind the messages. "They absolutely have the right to put up this hateful message because of the First Amendment," she said. "It's disgusting the way they choose to wrongfully represent a religion. Obviously the group is just out there to promote their own hate and their own twisted view of how they view Islam and Muslims," Elishishtawy told Al Jazeera.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

J. California Cooper: 'I Was Not Afraid to Talk About God'

Colorlines - 8 hours 34 min ago

African-American playwright and author J. California Cooper passed away this past weekend at the age of 82, according to EBONY. In the 2012 interview posted above, Cooper talks about her lifetime of work and she notes, "In my stories, I was not afraid of or ashamed to talk about God. I wasn't trying to be too bold, it's just that I love Him. And I know He said, 'If you're not afraid of me, I won't be ashamed of you.'"

Spirituality was an important part of Cooper's work as a storyteller. Her work includes the 1984 short story collection "A Piece of Mine" and the 1986 collection "Homeade Love." 

The University of Minnesota has a more detailed biography and collection of interviews with Cooper. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

U.S. Bombs Syria, Eric Holder Talks Reform, California's Drought

Colorlines - 9 hours 44 min ago
U.S. Bombs Syria, Eric Holder Talks Reform, California's Drought

 Here's what I'm reading up on today:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dolores Huerta: Obama was right in delaying action on immigration

New America Media - 16 hours 50 min ago
Photo (above) by Angela Torres, courtesy of VOXXI.com Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta is standing by President Barack Obama on his decision to delay executive action on immigration and is asking the immigrant community to have patience.“We have... Griselda Nevarez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Why Latino Leaders Are Wrong to Stand With Obama on Immigration

New America Media - 17 hours 29 sec ago
Above: CSU Bakersfield professor and immigrant rights activist, Dr. Gonzalo Santos. // photo: South Kern SolEditor's Note: President Obama’s recent decision to delay executive action on immigration until after the November elections disappointed many immigrants and rights activists. Some Latino leaders,... Gonzalo Santos http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Prison Sentences for Vietnamese Activists Protesting Land Grab

New America Media - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 20:08
  Three land activists from Duong Noi [D??ng N?i], a village in suburban Hanoi mostly known for its long-standing land disputes, on Friday appeared before the Ha Dong People’s Court. While they were on trial, dozens of their supporters were... Vietnam Right Now http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Proposed New Venture Fund to Invest in UC Innovation

New America Media - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 15:37
The University of California last week announced the creation of UC Ventures, an independent fund to pursue investments in UC research-fueled enterprises, subject to the approval of the UC Regents. The Office of the Chief Investment Officer would make an... UC Newsroom http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Once Again, Anti-Islam Ads Go Up on New York City Transit

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:47
Once Again, Anti-Islam Ads Go Up on New York City Transit

Once again, a major American transit system has become a hotbed of racial hate. On Monday the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a far-right group based in Houston, Texas, that's led by conservative activist Pamela Geller, launched an ad campaign that uses photos and images to denigrate Islam. Geller pulled a similar stunt earlier this year in Washington, D.C., but this time she's upped the ante: the ads will include a photo from journalist James Foley's gruesome beheading.

That's Going To Leave A Mark.... [Coming Soon To NYC Buses] http://t.co/zQaXbL0giv pic.twitter.com/JzxbW5pxPw

-- Anti-CAIR (@AntiCAIR) September 18, 2014

islamads_092214b.jpg

As Jack Jenkins points out at Think Progress, this isn't the first time New York City's subways have been a spectacle of Islamophobia. "In 2012, the group posted ads in Washington, D.C. and NYC that referred to enemies of Israel "savages," and this summer it put posters on 20 buses in the U.S. capital that included an image of Adolf Hitler sitting next to Muslim leader Haj Amin al-Husseini underneath the caption, "Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran." Read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Angela Davis Connects Movement to Free Palestine to Black Feminism

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:42
Angela Davis Connects Movement to Free Palestine to Black Feminism

Angela Davis spoke with activist and author Frank Barat in a wide-ranging interview recently, portions of which were captured in The Nation. In the lengthier transcript, Davis makes the connection between the movement to free Palestine and the work of black feminists throughout the African diaspora:

FB: How would you define "black feminism"? And what role could this play in today's societies?

AD: Black feminism emerged as a theoretical and practical effort demonstrating that race, gender, and class are inseparable in the social worlds we inhabit. At the time of its emergence, black women were frequently asked to choose whether the black movement or the women's movement was most important. The response was that this was the wrong question. The more appropriate question was how to understand the intersections and interconnections between the two movements. We are still faced with the challenge of understanding the complex ways race, class, gender, sexuality, nation and ability are intertwined--but also how we move beyond these categories to understand the interrelationships of ideas and processes that seem to be separate and unrelated. Insisting on the connections between struggles and racism in the US and struggles against the Israeli repression of Palestinians, in this sense, is a feminist process. 

Read the full interview at Jadaaliyah

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Listen to Michael Jackson's Duet With Queen's Freddie Mercury

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:21
Listen to Michael Jackson's Duet With Queen's Freddie Mercury

Before Freddie Mercury released the song, "There Must Be More to Life Than This" on his 1985 album "Mr. Bad Guy," the Queen lead singer recorded a duet of the track with Michael Jackson. Producer William Orbit recently updated the track and released it to fans. Take a listen. 

(h/t Ambrosia for Heads)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

NYT Editors 'Deeply Regret' That Readers Took Offense to Shonda Rhimes Article

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:34
NYT Editors 'Deeply Regret' That Readers Took Offense to Shonda Rhimes Article

Writing in the New York Times' opinion pages, public editor Margaret Sullivan sheds more light on the internal reaction to Alessandra Stanley's much-criticized article that called Shonda Rhimes an "angry black woman" and described Viola Davis as "less classically beautiful" than lighter-skinned black actresses. Sullivan quotes culture editor Danielle Mattoon:

"There was never any intent to offend anyone and I deeply regret that it did," Ms. Mattoon said. "Alessandra used a rhetorical device to begin her essay, and because the piece was so largely positive, we as editors weren't sensitive enough to the language being used."

Ms. Mattoon called the article "a serious piece of criticism," adding, "I do think there were interesting and important ideas raised that are being swamped" by the protests. She told me that multiple editors -- at least three -- read the article in advance but that none of them raised any objections or questioned the elements of the article that have been criticized.

"This is a signal to me that we have to constantly remind ourselves as editors of our blind spots, what we don't know, and of how readers may react."

Read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

In Ferguson, an 11-Year-Old Boy Grabs the Mic

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 07:41

Marquis Govan, 11, knows what Ferguson needs: jobs. It's what he told the St. Louis County Council on August 19  and it's the message he took yesterday to a national audience on CBS "Sunday Morning." Just listen to the video above--especially when he interrupts reporter Jane Pauley with, "Look, let me tell you why," to explain why kids at his school do not aspire to become police officers.

Govan, who spent his first two years in foster care, now lives with his great-grandmother. He attends Loyola Academy in St. Louis.

The first of a series of townhalls to run through November 4 begins this Monday evening in Ferguson. Media will not be allowed.

(h/t St. Louis Public Radio/CBS Sunday Morning)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Nuclear Arms, Climate Justice March, iPhone Sells and Drag Queens

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 07:09
Nuclear Arms, Climate Justice March, iPhone Sells and Drag Queens

Here's what I'm reading up on today:

  • The U.S. is ramping up its nuclear arms arsenal.
  • Apple sold a record 10 million iPhone 6's over the weekend.
  • More than 300,000 people marched for climate justice in New York City on Sunday. The U.N. climate summit begins today.
  • The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples opens today at the United Nations.
  •  Texas Governor Rick Perry is using Joan Rivers' death to stretch his anti-abortion agenda.
  • Omar Gonzalez, the military vet who was caught last week scaling the White House fence, has a story.  
  • ESPN published a timeline of the Ray Rice scandal. Biggest takeaway: The Ravens knew months ago what happened inside that elevator.
  • Facebook's next target: drag queens.
  • funkgodjazz&medicine opened in Brooklyn over the weekend. Go see it. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Meet the People Who Marched for Climate Justice [PHOTOS]

Colorlines - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 05:05
Meet the People Who Marched for Climate Justice [PHOTOS]

On Sunday, September 21, more than 300,000 people gathered around New York City's Central Park for the first ever People's Climate March. The event was billed as the largest climate justice gathering in history, and it signaled an important shift in the movement toward environmental sustainability. It was not merely inclusive of people of color, but dependent on them.

The marchers came for different reasons. There was Brittani, a 20-something, black Tennessee native who remembers her college in Knoxville having the worst air quality in the country. "I want this world to be livable for my children," she told me standing alongside police barricades near West 67th street. There was also Sayema, a Bangladeshi-American college student who had passed signs promoting the march for months on her way to class. "I didn't expect to see this many people turn out," she said, noting that she was impressed by such a massive mobilization. Colorlines spoke with marchers about their motivations for joining the march, and their hopes for the climate justice movement as a whole. 

Mengjun and Jiahui Xu Nanjing and Wuhan, China cj_01.jpg

Both chemistry majors from China, Jiahui and Mengjun know well how to spot the impact of climate justice. From pollution in their hometowns to unseasonably warm winters in their adopted city of New York, they're eager to see change. "I want to put a stop to fossil fuel pollution," Mengjun said. 

Angel

Dominican Republic

cj_02.jpgAngel said he's angry about the economic inequity that's fueling climate change. "Countries like mine are the most impacted by economic policies that create change," he said. "I want us to survive."

Denise

New York

cj_03.jpg

Denise was eager to be a part of the largest climate justice gathering in history. "So many people's lives are being devastated," she said. "From fires and mudslides in California to storms along the East Coast, you hear about it all the time now."

Arthur Queens, New York

cj_04.jpg"I want to put a stop to fossil fuel pollution," Arthur told me along the march's Upper West Side route. A passionate environmental justice advocate, he was one of the many volunteers who helped the historic march go smoothly.

Jessica

Venezuela

cj_08.jpgJessica traveled more than 2,000 miles to make a statement on U.S. soil. "The countries that have the most destructive environmental policies don't take responsibility [for climate justice]," she said.

Arielle

Trinidad and Tobago

cj_10.jpgArielle sees the devastating effects of climate change every day in Trinidad and Tobago. "I don't know where the Caribbean will be in six years," she said. "I've seen beaches completely disappear."

Helen, Nishat and Angela

Bard High School Early College, New York City

CJ_12.jpgClimate change became real for these high school students after Hurricane Sandy. "Our school, which is right along the East River, flooded," Nishat said. "Everything in my locker was ruined and our school moved to Queens for a week." Motivated to take action, they joined their school's chapter of Amnesty International, which sponsored their trip to the march.

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Will Ferguson Be a Tipping Point for Black Youth Voter Turnout?

New America Media - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 01:00
WASHINGTON, DC -- A week before National Voter Registration, Tuesday, September 23, civil rights leaders  hope to increase African American youth voter turnout by citing the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a city where only 12... Khalil Abdullah http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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