Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:16
Comedian Kristina Wong recently gave a commencement address at UCLA's Asian Pacific Islander graduation. In it, she talked about what life was like when she was an undergad at the school, navigating her way through tough classes, professional aspirations and the demands of being an Asian-American woman in higer ed.
In a bit about the emasculation of Asian-American men, Wong re-defined what she considers sexy. From her speech:
Let's address first of all, the emasculation of Asian men and how the media "doesn't consider Asian men sexy." Where the hell is the world getting these ideas that Asian men aren't sexy?! I want to see the young Asian-American men of your generation model healthy masculinity that's not being reflected in mainstream America. I want the future of Asian men to show that what's sexy is respecting a woman's boundaries, dismantling patriarchy, fighting for social justice, all while coding the heck out of a computer program! That's what's sexy! Asian-American men, are you going to be the new face of sexy?
Watch the 20-minute speech above, or read the full text after the jump.
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:05
From the good folks with the upcoming film "Dear White People" comes this short PSA to anyone who's ever tried to explain away their racism.
(h/t The Huffington Post)
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:04
Under the federal government's Secure Communities program, the Department of Homeland Security accesses fingerprints whenever they're entered in a local database. Those fingerprints are then screened, and jurisdictions are asked to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the feds. Critics charge that the Secure Communities program is a massive dragnet that often targets people who haven't even been accused of any serious crime for deportation. The program has also netted U.S.-born citizens. Local authorities aren't forced to honor the federal government's hold--it's simply a request, made without a warrant.
Under what's known as the TRUST Act, California chose to stop cooperating with the program in January of this year, except in cases where the person in question is charged or has been convicted of a serious crime.
In California's Orange Country, however, 25-year-old Samuel Sixtos-Gomez is now facing deportation because of an old warrant for driving without a license. As the OC Weekly's Gabriel San Román reports, Sixtos-Gomez was walking down the street when local sheriff deputies began questioning him. When it was revealed that he had an outstanding warrant for driving without a license, he was arrested:
The misdemeanor offense for which police arrested Sixtos-Gomez that afternoon falls under the TRUST Act, which became law on Jan. 1 and protects undocumented, low-level offenders from being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by law-enforcement agencies. But, on April 18, after several days in the Orange County Jail, Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) officials allowed ICE agents to fetch Sixtos-Gomez at the jail and transport the 25-year-old to San Bernardino County's Adelanto Detention Center, a facility run by the Geo Group, a controversial, lawsuit-ridden private for-profit firm. He remains there until an immigration court decides if he should be deported.
Perhaps more alarming, however, is that the OC Weekly writes that the Orange County Sheriff Department's spokesperson admits his agency violated the TRUST Act: "We've acknowledged our error of detaining and releasing Mr. Sixtos-Gomez into the custody of ICE in violation of the TRUST Act on April 18."
Sixtos-Gomez--who has been deported six times, but returned to the place he's called home since he was 8--remains in detention. Despite the TRUST Act, federal immigration law will likely back his removal.
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:59
Add this to the list of reasons why Laverne Cox will go down in the history books: She's the first transgender actress ever to be nominated for an Emmy Award. Cox's nomination was one of 17 earned by the cast of "Orange is the New Black," (OITNB) the Netflix original series that takes place inside of a women's prison.
It's been a whirlwind couple of years for Cox, who has risen to international stardom thanks to her role as Sophia on OITNB. In addition to her role on the show, Cox was also featured on the cover of Time magazine and anointed grand marshall of this year's New York City Pride Parade. Matthew Breen wrote over at The Advocate about Cox's rising cultural importance:
She's not an activist or a policy wonk, and yet her experiences and upbringing have aligned with this moment in American culture so precisely that to think of the unique struggles of the trans community, and its successes despite longstanding institutional and cultural barriers, it's no surprise she's the first name on many lips. She's never called herself a leader and even demurs from the term role model, preferring possibility modelinstead. But she's here, and she's talking, and we're listening like we never have before.
In Cox we're witnessing the anointing of an icon.
Cox was one of a handful of actors of color to earn Emmy nominations, along with her castmate Uzo Aduba, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson and Angela Bassett.
New America Media - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:27
Recognizing Muslim American community’s contributions and rich heritage, Los Angeles city council has declared July 2014 as Muslim American Heritage Month, a decision widely welcomed by the Muslim community.“It’s a very important resolution. It’s historic,” Najee Ali, the project’s founder,... Muslim Observer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:25
As black and brown communities continue to endure the lowest levels of wealth on record--a result of the housing market's collapse six years ago--there's one area of the real estate market that's surging forward: properties that sell for 1 million dollars and up. As the rich dominate the housing market, everyone else is left behind. Given that white people make up nine out of 10 of wealthy households, the disproportionate gains at the top of the market have racial implications as well.
Top-end home sales were the first to recover from the housing meltdown and have been rocketing upward ever since. This trend is but the latest sign of divergence between the rich and everyone else. And there aren't just domestic factors at work here; the luxury housing boom is the result of global forces of inequality turbocharged since the financial crisis. This points to a fundamental change in the way our economy operates.
In the wake of the Great Recession, growth in purchases of a homes valued at $1 million dollars or more has at times outpaced that of homes on the market for $250,000 and less by as much as 3-to-1.The surprise is that it's worse than it even looks. The downward spiral in home sales below $250,000 would be even steeper if the rich weren't snapping up vacation homes at a bargain. So far this year, sales of part-time vacation homes--with a median price of nearly $200,000--have increased by the largest amount in over a decade. Fueled by wealthy buyers, this activity in the middle part of the housing market is actually helping to prop up the cost of lower-priced homes. Economist David Berson told The Wall Street Journal that even though "the benefits of second homes accrue disproportionately to the upper half of the income distribution" ultimately "it's a positive thing."
But even the most expensive of homes for the wealthy are soaring to new levels. In the first three months of 2014 home sales of $2 million and above were 1/3 higher than in the previous record-breaking year of 2013. In May, sales of million dollar homes were almost five times greater than those selling for $100,000 and less, according to the National Association of Realtors. As Bloomberg News,"million-dollar homes in the U.S. are selling at double their historical average while middle-class property demand stumbles."
What's great news at the top of the housing market is bad news for everyone else.
Although overall housing market values have recovered from the 2008 meltdown, the reality is that these gains are concentrated amongst wealthy homeowners. And as their home prices surge, average homeowners and potential homebuyers are sidelined with real-life consequences.
As I have written before, homeownership is the number one way that people of color accumulate wealth in America. Home equity--essentially the ability to borrow using one's house as collateral--is the way that countless numbers of blacks and Latinos have gone to college, started businesses and been kept out of poverty when emergencies arise. In fact, homeownership accounts for 1/2 of all black wealth in the United States--double that of whites.
Given the stakes, how have the wealthy seized the commanding heights of the real estate market while everyone else is stuck below? The answer lies in how we responded to the 2008 financial calamity. In the late Bush and early Obama administrations, the government's post-crisis energy and money went to prop up Wall Street--the center of global finance--while large parts of the economy were left to fend for themselves.
By writing a blank check to Wall Street through the $800 billion TARP program, the United States ensured that the economic mechanisms that the wealthy use to get rich-- bank-administered financial instruments--would continue to operate. Coupled with the fact that central banks in the United States and around the world essentially loaned trillions of dollars to global financial institutions for free, this means that the über-rich were supported even as the economic survival for everyone else was left to atrophy. In fact, nearly four million homes are either in foreclosure or a month past due even though billions in unspent TARP and other federal funds were designed to help average homeowners.
Given the indirect bailout that the U.S. taxpayer provided for the wealthy in the United States and around the world, it's of little surprise that a driving force behind high-end home sales are the global rich. Purchases by international buyers have increased by almost 50 percent--to $92 billion in the period ending of March of this year.
Entire areas of the country have been transformed and integrated into the international real estate market in response to the demand. More than half of all global buyers in the U.S. are snapping up properties in Florida, California, Arizona and Texas.
As Steve Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors said recently, "We live in an international marketplace. So while all real estate is local that does not mean all property buyers are." The center of gravity for the wealthiest of the world's buyers is New York City.
In a recent New York Magazine article titled, "New York Real Estate is the New Swiss Bank Account," Andrew Rice lays out how nearly one out of three luxury property sales there have been made to international buyers. Property seekers from Asia, Europe and Latin America have snapped up condos for as much as $90 million. Real estate agent Ryan Serhant of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing" recently called an apartment listing for $110 million a bargain.
With all-cash offers funneled through shadowy offshore companies, the global rich so dominate the city's real estate market that up to one out of three apartments in New York's wealthiest zip codes remain empty 10 months a year. As one developer put it, New York is now the safe deposit box of the international 1 percent.
The bottom line is that America's real estate market is distorting itself in new and potentially harmful ways.
Yet the hardest thing about the entire situation is that the housing market can't be retooled without a dramatic change in Washington where the rules of the road for housing and the way we finance it are set. And that will only happen when citizens demand it.
New America Media - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:02
When Dr. Calvin W. Rolark Sr. insisted on the slogan, “Award-winning newspaper,” his daughter, Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes, had just one desire.“We have got to live up to it,” she said.So, when the newspaper earned four National Newspaper... The Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 07:47
Here's a little known fact: A chance encounter between 20 Vietnamese refugee women and actress Tippi Hedren in 1975 triggered the onset of the ubiquitous Vietnamese nail shop across America. A new documentary called "Nailed It" is out to tell the story of incredible growth and impact a small community of people have on today's $8 billion nail trade, according to its Indiegogo campaign.
Nail industry work has, until recently, been mostly ignored by the media. In 2007, journalist Momo Chang reported at Hyphen Magazine on the range of health problems facing nail industry workers:
In 2007, Time magazine named nail salon work as one of the worst jobs in the United States because of the toxic products used in most shops. Nevertheless, the industry has tripled in size during the last two decades and rakes in $6 billion annually. About 42 percent of the 349,370 manicurists in the United States are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 96 percent are women, according to Nails Magazine, a nail industry publication. In California, 60 to 80 percent of nail salon workers are Vietnamese American. These workers are exposed to a constant dose of toxins, every hour, for eight or more hours a day.
For this new documentary, the filmmakers are looking to raise money for production and post-production costs totaling $15,000. They're calling it "the definitive story of Vietnamese-Americans and their impact on American culture and the nail industry." Read more.
Colorlines - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 07:02
Here's what I'm reading up on this morning:
- Israel continues to bombard Gaza. But be careful what you read; ABC's Diane Sawyer tells her audience that Palestinian victims are actually Israelis.
- Argentina beats the Netherlands to claim a spot in the World Cup final on Sunday.
- Obama visits Texas but not the southern border. Meanwhile, Rick Perry calls the humanitarian situation on the border "Obama's Katrina."
- Jobless claims fall again--and more than expected.
- Harley-Davidson recalls 66,421 touring motorcycles for front break trouble.
- The Emmy Awards announces its (almost all white) nominees.
- FIFA bans Nigeria over government intervention.
- 80 percent of adults with serious mental illnesses are unemployed.
- Berkeley's city council approves a plan to provide free medical marijuana to the poor.
- Why are hellbender salamanders disappearing?
Hyphen Blog - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 06:49
For July, we're excited to be able to bring you a sneak peek of Ed Lin's forthcoming novel, Ghost Month.
New America Media - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 01:00
Some years ago in a New York subway train I witnessed a scene that will always serve, for me, as an important marker of sorts about the fate of this nation.A man in ruffled clothes walked up and down the... Andrew Lam http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=8
New America Media - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 12:35
When President Obama announced last week that he was going to take executive action on immigration because immigration reform in Congress was dead and because of the tens of thousands of Central American unaccompanied minors just then arriving at our... Maegan Ortiz http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 11:51
(VNRN) – The Free Viet Labor Confederation on June 9 issued a statement calling for the release of imprisoned labor activists and declaring their decision to come out with activities to protect “the legitimate rights of the undefended Vietnamese laborers.”In... Vietnam Right Now http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:47
A federal judge sentenced former New Orleans, La., Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for corruption. Nagin was convicted in February but learned his fate today. The former mayor, whose pleas for help during Hurricane Katrina drew national attention in 2005, was convicted in February of accepting bribes in the form of money, resources and vacations from companies that wanted city contacts.
Mr. Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty in February on 20 counts, most relating to kickbacks from contractors looking for city work. He was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office. He was charged with taking kickbacks in the form of cash, cross-country trips or help with the family-run granite countertop company; the bribes were handed out by men looking for city business ranging from software supplies to sidewalk repair. Many of the schemes, though not all, took place after Hurricane Katrina, when contractors crowded into the city for rebuilding work.
Many of those involved eventually pleaded guilty and testified at length against Mr. Nagin at his trial.
The corruption had been so thoroughly covered in the local news media that few people were surprised by the verdicts in February. Mr. Nagin had come into office in 2002 as a reformer from the business world and a foe of cronyism. But the city grew frustrated with his stewardship, particularly in his second term when the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina stalled and Mr. Nagin seemed unengaged. By the time he left office in 2010, many in New Orleans had moved past frustration and were simply ready to see him go.
Nagin set to turn himself in to authorities to serve his time in federal prison in September.
New America Media - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:27
The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them... New America Media http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 09:23
You might already be familiar with Aamer Rahman as part of the comedy duo "Fear of a Brown Planet." He's been performing in London these days and told the Guardian about what it was like to grow up in Australia. From the Guardian:
What's exciting is how Rahman seems neither to exaggerate nor soft-soap the perspective of a brown-skinned man from a country he calls "a sunny Nazi beach resort, a white-power Disneyland in the ocean". This is just how it is, and the laughs come ruefully from the indignities Rahman suffers along the way - and from the comical disparity between how white western culture sees itself and how it's experienced by others.
Rahman's bit about so-called "reverse racism" went viral last year. Here it is again, just in case you haven't already seen it:
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 09:05
It's long been said that hip-hop is a global phenomenon, and here's more proof: a short documentary on Nigerian B-Boy dancer Victor "Vikbone" Kalejaiye. The film, "Portrait of a Lagos B-Boy," takes viewers to Lagos' vibrant breakdancing scene as Kalejaiye struggles to make a name for himself as a dancer.
(h/t Shadow and Act)
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 08:39
Here's Tanzina Vega of the New York Times on her newly created beat about race and ethnicity in America:
[The beat] really grew out of the work that I did on my old beat covering digital media and advertising. After the 2010 census showed that the Latino population had grown to 50 million, media companies and advertisers put more emphasis on the Hispanic market. So I started expanding my coverage to include ethnic media including Univision, Telemundo and the other companies that were focusing on that growing demographic.
I also wrote about Hispanic stereotypes in network television, colorism in Hollywood with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone -- which was criticized because she is lighter skinned than Simone was -- and I profiled Eva Longoria, who was lauded for casting five Latina leads in her new television show but criticized because they were all maids.
In media, we were hardly living in a post-racial United States.
A few years ago, CUNY Journalism School caught up with Vega, who's an alum, to talk about life at the most influential paper in the country.
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 08:37
Over at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain have compiled a list of Muslim-American leaders who've been under FBI and NSA surveillance. The list includes mostly civil rights lawyers and academics who seem to have wound up in the crosshairs simply because they say that Muslims in America are entitled to the same rights of citizenship as everyone else. On the list are:
• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.
Awad, the co-founder and executive director of CAIR who's interviewed in the video above, isn't happy about the revelations. A Palestinian born in Jordan who has been an American citizen for two decades, Awad once served as Vice President Al Gore's Civil Liberties Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. He's rubbed elbows with some of the Washington's most powerful elites. "I'm outraged as an American citizen that my government, after decades of civil rights struggle, still spies on political activists and civil right activists and leaders," says Awad. "I'm really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, we are treated with suspicion."
Read more at The Intercept.
Colorlines - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 08:31
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Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck expressed what appears to be a genuine concern for Central American migrant children arriving at the southern border--and announced an effort to bring tractor-trailers full of food, water and teddy bears for migrant children in need. On his program, Beck also denounced the long history of U.S.-backed coups and destabilization in Latin America.
Beck's announcement is drawing attention--and suspicion--on all sides. That's not lost on Beck, who says, "I've never taken a position more deadly to my career than this, and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this."
In what appear to be contradictory phrases in the same "Glenn Beck Program" segment, Beck says that he'll be heading to the border next weekend where he claims he'll illustrate the "illegals who are being caught and released." Nevertheless, he asks supporters to donate money for his humanitarian effort.
Meanwhile, a Senate commission is hearing testimony on unaccompanied child migrants this morning. The hearing, titled "Challenges at the Border: Examining the Causes, Consequences, and Responses to the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border" is live, and all testimony is available for download on PDF online.
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