Diversity Headlines

Guess Who's Editing the Wiki Pages of Police Brutality Victims. The NYPD

Colorlines - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 08:35
Guess Who's Editing the Wiki Pages of Police Brutality Victims. The NYPD

Computer IP addresses traced to police headquarters in New York City have been used to make edits to the Wikipedia pages of NYPD brutality victims Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and others. Wikipedia is the sixth largest Web site in the world. Anyone can edit and revise entries, which is both the draw and detraction of all so-called "citizen media" like it. "Anyone" includes the state or in this case, the New York City Police Department. It's unclear whether these edits are part of a directive, performed by individuals or even, how many people are involved. But, over the past decade, "a significant number [of edits] have been to entries that challenge NYPD conduct," online political news site, Capital New York reports.

Last December for example, hours after a grand jury did not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo, edits to the "Death of Eric Garner" entry included:

  • "Use of the chokehold has been prohibited" was changed to "Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited."
  • The sentence, "Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them," was added to the description of the incident.
  • Instances of the word "chokehold" were replaced twice, once to "chokehold or headlock," and once to "respiratory distress."

The legality of the "chokehold" or whether Pantaleo's action could even be described as a chokehold were key pushback points in the early debate over how Garner died. The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide last August due to "compression of the neck" and to the chest. Chokeholds are banned under NYPD policy.

Regarding Sean Bell, the 23-year-old man whose death hours before his November 2006 wedding day sparked citywide protests, a user on the NYPD network edited the "Sean Bell shooting incident," on December 2009 to read: "one Latino and two African-American men were shot at a total of fifty times" instead of "one Latino and two African-American men were shot a total of fifty times." [emphasis Colorlines]

Undercover police officers had fired 50 times at Bell and two friends, all unarmed, after his bachelor party. Bell was hit four times. Joseph Guzman, survived 16 bullet wounds. Trent Benefield reportedly survived three.

Read Capital New York to learn more about their investigation and edits made to other flashpoint topics like, "Stop-and-frisk."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

5 Things We Know About Kendrick Lamar's New Album

Colorlines - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 08:34

Kendrick Lamar released the cover art and album title for his new project, due out March 24. Here's what we know about it so far:

1. It's called "To Pimp a Butterfly. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he stopped short of explaining the meaning, but did say this: "That will be taught in college courses someday."

2. It's "unapologetically black," according to Pharrell, who listened to the track "King Kunta."

3. He's angry. In the interview with Rolling Stone (due out on newstands this Friday), the rapper opened up about grappling with depression and self-doubt after the success of 2012's smash hit "good kid, m.A.A.d city." Those emotions are a driving force behind the new album. "It's just him expressing how he's feeling at the moment," producer Mark "Sounwave" Spears told Rolling Stone. "And right now, he's mad."

4. He gave his sound engineers really emotive directions. "He would say, 'I want it to sound eerie,' or 'I want it to sound like you're driving past something.' Or he talks in colors: 'Make it sound purple. Make it sound light green,'" Derek "MixedByAli" Ali told the magazine.

5. The song "u" was the hardest one to write. Lamar describes the track as a counterpoint to the self-love anthem "i," and details how the song tackles his struggle with depression.

Read more.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

San Francisco Police Officers Investigated for Sending Racist Texts

Colorlines - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 08:21
San Francisco Police Officers Investigated for Sending Racist Texts

Four veteran San Francisco Police Department officers are being investigated for having sent racist and homophobic text messages. The messages, exchanged during 2011 and 2012 the San Francisco Chronicle reports, surfaced in connection to a fifth officer, Sgt. Ian Furminger, 48, who was recently convicted in federal court on corruption charges. With more attention being paid to police misconduct and racial bias over the past year, that means in addition to their street interactions, officers' activity online (i.e., Facebook, Wikipedia) and via text are garnering more scrutiny, too. 

In a May 2012 text message exchange between Furminger and an unnamed officer:

...[he] asked whether he should be worried that the black husband of one of his then-wife's friends had come over to his home.

The officer responded, "Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its (sic) not against the law to put an animal down."

"Well said!" Furminger replied, according to the prosecutors' court filing. "You may have to kill the half-breeds too,'' the unnamed officer replied, adding: "Don't worry. Their (sic) an abomination of nature anyway."

Messages with other officers include the phrases, "White power," and "All n-- must f-- hang."

The four officers, all of whom have at least 10 years on the force, have not been identified according to state law. While they have been reassigned to other duties, one public defender raises the prospect of re-investigating their cases from the past few years.

(h/t San Francisco Chronicle)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Durst: 'Killed Them All,' Free Ice Cream Today, Kendrick Lamar's New Album

Colorlines - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 08:20
 'Killed Them All,' Free Ice Cream Today, Kendrick Lamar's New Album

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

  • Multimillionaire Robert Durst, the subject of HBO's "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" documentary, says he "killed them all," after an interview ends but he's still on mic. Durst, who has long been suspected of murdering his first wife and a close friend, was arrested in New Orleans for the friend's murder on Saturday. Durst already admitted to killing a neighbor, but he got away with it. 
  • After leaking "King Kunta" Friday (which you'll have a harder time finding today due to copyright infringement), Kendrick Lamar's album is released one week early on iTunes and Spotify
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Facebook Disabled Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford's Account. Again

Colorlines - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 12:12
Facebook Disabled Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford's Account. Again

Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford was one of the people I wrote about in a feature story this week that outlines the many ways in which Facebook's "authentic names" policy penalizes people with Native American names. The social network has suspended Natives' accounts because it deemed their legitimate names as fake. Facebook has also arbitrarily changed Native users' names. In one case I found that white supremacists triggered the suspension of a high-profile author's account by reporting her name as fake. They called it "ghost activism."

The bass guitarist for the rock group Scatter Their Own says she had her name challenged by Facebook about two years ago. To submit her government-issued ID to the social media network for reinstatement Brown Eyes-Clifford had to leave the Pine Ridge Reservation and purchase a printer/scanner. Facebook accepted her ID, but changed her last name. She's listed as "BrownEyes-Clifford," not Brown Eyes-Clifford.

On Thursday, just a day after Colorlines published the story that includes Brown Eyes-Clifford, her Facebook account was once again disabled. Here's a screenshot she provided Thursday from her cell phone:


Brown Eyes-Clifford contacted me, saying, "I feel as if I am being deliberately targeted again because I spoke out against Facebook." Brown Eyes-Clifford lost access to two pages she administers on Facebook, including the Scatter Their Own fan page. Her husband, Scotti Clifford, is technically an administrator on the page, but he also lost access to it since it was his wife who first created the page. Scatter Their Own is currently touring and is headed to SXSW. Losing access to its Facebook page meant losing access to contacts, dates and confirmations. "Our SXSW tour is about to begin and I handle all our marketing and social media promotion for our band Scatter Their Own," Brown Eyes-Clifford said on Thursday. "I just don't know what to do."

All the communication I'd had with Brown Eyes-Clifford on Facebook was also deleted from my personal message box. 


On Thursday Brown Eyes-Clifford stopped what she was doing in the middle of her tour to re-submit her government-issued ID to Facebook. Today at about 11:30 a.m. ET, Brown Eyes-Clifford received a notice that her Facebook account had been reinstated. Her name remains misspelled.

When asked why Brown Eyes-Clifford's account was suspended, a Facebook spokesperson who had previously talked to me on grounds that we not use their name emailed me today that the company doesn't comment on individual accounts.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Silencing of a Radio Legend

Colorlines - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 11:50
The Silencing of a Radio Legend

"The Art Laboe Connection" is the nightly fireside chat with Latinos that neither FDR -- nor any American president -- have had with us.

For 23 years, six nights a week from 7 p.m. to midnight, and 6 to 12 on Sundays, Art Laboe, 89, has taken requests from his predominately Latino listenership spread across Arizona, Nevada and California. The broadcast legend who trademarked the term "oldies but goodies" and created the country's first compilation album has not only played the hits. By reading and playing his listeners' messages on the air he has given them a voice.  

I was raised on Laboe's voice wafting from a boxed transistor G&E radio beneath the wall-mounted phone in our kitchen. I listened to the underbelly of struggle present in its dedications. Like other loyal listeners, I have been able to decipher the numerous requests made to or from California cities like Corcoran, Madera, Wasco, Salinas and Chino as those from the state's overcrowded prison system. I grew up hearing callers--particularly those who were imprisoned--say inspirational things like, "Keep your head up;" "Don't let nobody get you down" and "Stay strong." They'd use popular nicknames such as Smiley, Shy Eyes and Clown Face.

Laboe has also served as a fixer. For example, if I was locked up and need to reconcile with my other half on the outside, Laboe would announce, "From José in Corcoran [Prison] to Guadalupe in Fresno: I'm sorry for last week and hope this song reaches you well." And here is when Art would interject with as pragmatic a cosign as possible, something like, "OK José, well I hope you're listening Lupe, here's your song 'Daddy's Home.'"

Just as the oldies Art plays represent the longing for better days, so do the people who call into his show with hopes of repairing fragmented ties with loves lost. "The Art Laboe Connection" is one of the few remaining request-line shows where oral narrative is at the root to its success, function and production. There's arguably nothing on the airwaves as original as "The Art Laboe Connection."

Yet "The Art Laboe Connection" was silenced last month. The New York-based conglomerate iHeartMedia changed the oldies format of Hot 92.3 FM, the show's Los Angeles home. That station, now called Real 92.3, is dedicated to hip-hop and R&B. Meanwhile Laboe's show was moved to Fresno's KOKO 94.3 FM, a significantly smaller station.

IHeartMedia's Vice President of Marketing Eileen Woodbury told the L.A. Times, "We believe this new format will resonate well with the audience in Los Angeles." But the response from Laboe's fans has been a resounding "no." At press time close to 9,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the station go back to oldies and put "The Art Laboe Connection" back on the air. 

As for Laboe, he exited 92.3 with class and respect, but not without a body shot to the new ownership. "We wish the best of luck to the new format," he told the LA Times. "And to all those who were let go to make way for the Real 92.3."

I believe that if you really love radio, you will do everything in your power to keep DJs such as Art Laboe on the airwaves until they are physically incapable of doing soor when they decide to quit. And before that day comes, they should have their programs archived. 

Indeed, the oral and aural histories documented in Laboe's request-line radio show are Library of Congress worthy. Laboe represents the Latino/Chicano voice and experience from the 1940s to the present. He is that important to Latino and Los Angeles history. 

As a small token of my appreciation for his years of service, I have three songs I want to personally dedicate to Mr. Art Laboe. From José in Oakland by way of Pomona, to Art in Los Angeles: Keep your head up.

"Don't Let Nobody Get You Down," War 

Of the many War songs requested on Laboe's show, this is an anthem of Chicano struggle. For everyday Angelinos and state inmates alike, this is the song you send someone when they've been laid off, denied bail or they're trying to graduate from college. Between the subtle güiro and the mourning horns, this is the song that should've been playing at the end of the Zoot Suit Riots.

"Suavecito," Malo 

The album cover of the debut Chicano album says it all--brown pride through indigenous imagery. Malo,* a band created by Carlos Santana's cousin, found success with this low-rider gem that picks up where "Angel Baby" and Brenton Wood's "Me & You" left off. "Suavecito" conjures up an image of a pair of lovers at an L.A. drive-thru leaning together against the side of a '50s-era Chevy.

"You Are Everything," The Stylistics 

There are few things better to hear after Art Laboe's dedication than the opening notes of this classic from the Stylistics. This is the kind of song that can't be faded into or faded out of--you must hear it in its entirety. It describes how I feel about the impact Art had on my motherand her friends from the '50s onward. 

*Post has been updated to reflect the proper name of the band Malo.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama on Kimmel, Shooting Fireballs From Your Hand, Star Wars Roundup

Colorlines - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 06:53
Obama on Kimmel, Shooting Fireballs From Your Hand, Star Wars Roundup

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

  • President Obama tells Jimmy Kimmel that the shooting of two police officers is criminal, and that the perpetrators should be arrested. 
  • Obama also reads mean tweets about him.
  • You can now "shoot fireballs at will", right from your hand. No, seriously
  • Star Wars VIII is coming May 2017--not to be confused with a standalone Star Wars films that will be released next year titled "Rogue One."
  • There may be water--and life--on some of our neighboring planet's moons. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Sentenced in Immigration Fraud Case

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 14:25
Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Sentenced in Immigration Fraud Case

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain sentenced Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh to 18 months in prison after the 67-year-old Odeh was convicted of falsifying information about her past to gain citizenship in the U.S. The sentence was issued to a packed courtroom, with dozens of Odeh's supporters present. She was released on bond and plans to appeal her conviction, according to the Rasmea Defense Committee.

A Detroit jury convicted Odeh in November of failing to notify U.S. immigration authorities that an Israeli military court had found her guilty of participating in a 1969 bombing in which Israeli civilians died. As part of her sentence Thursday Odeh's citizenship will be revoked, and after serving her sentence she'll be automatically deported to Jordan.

Prosecutors had called for a 5- to 7-year prison term for Odeh in the highly politicized case, which garnered national and international attention. During his sentencing, Judge Drain said that while Odeh may have been a "terrorist," he believed she was reformed. He said he was abiding by sentencing guidelines, and sentenced her firmly in the middle of the recommended 15 to 21 months, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Her attorneys have maintained that her 1969 conviction was obtained after torture and sexual assault while in custody in an Israeli military court system with a 99 percent conviction rate for Palestinians. Odeh maintains that she wasn't involved in the attack.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

ICE Raid Apprehends Hundreds of Immigrants With Misdemeanors

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 14:24
ICE Raid Apprehends Hundreds of Immigrants With Misdemeanors

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) conducted a five-day raid called Cross Check that resulted in the apprehension of 2,059 immigrants. Over at CNN, Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is quoted as saying that Cross Check aimed to round up "the worst of the worst criminals." But almost half of those people taken in the operation have never been convicted of a felony.

Obama's executive action on immigration hinges, he's said, on "felons, not families." That executive action is on hold, caught up in the courts after a Texas-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen judge ruled in favor of a 26 state lawsuit challenging Obama's authority. The Department of Justice, meanwhile, filed an appeal to the 5th Circuit today, in hopes of blocking Judge Hanen's order.

The "felons not family" rhetoric is fraught with trouble: felons, like non-felons, also belong to families. Nevertheless, Obama's messaging suggests that his administration is only targeting people with violent criminal records for deportation. But if ICE-ERO's latest raid is any indication, it's not just felons that get caught in the administration's hunt--it's also people who have been convicted of misdemeanors, especially those with DUIs. "This shows that the Executive Action isn't being used to curb deportations," says #NotOneMore campaign member Angelica Chazaro. "It's being used to redirect them against criminalized immigrant communities."

Over at Think Progress, Esther Yu-Hsi Lee provides some damning examples of some of the people caught up in ICE-ERO's recent raid:

Among those immigrants is a 42-year-old immigrant from the Middle East who faces possible persecution or death if he's deported because of his religious belief. The immigrant, whom his wife referred to only by the pseudonym Rick, reportedly became undocumented in 1981 at the age of nine when U.S. immigration officials lost his citizenship application that his father filed for him. His siblings are all U.S. citizens.

Two ICE agents arrested Rick last Thursday morning as he was getting into his truck in his driveway. Rick's wife told ThinkProgress that ICE agents "made it sound like he would get out that day or the next day. They said, 'you have a job. You have a child. You'll probably be able to talk to the supervisor when you get out the next day.'" Rick's wife said that ICE agents stated that he received a "failure to report" violation stemming from a drug-related possession charge that Rick got in the late 1990s. At the time, he served 18 months in immigration detention, and according to various family members, Rick checked in with ICE officials for five years under supervisory visits and a judge in a "drug court program" as a part of his rehabilitation after he was released from detention.

Around 2006, Rick's family members said that ICE stopped his check-in visits because "he has no birth certificate, no records that tied him to [the Middle Eastern country he's from]. ... he was 'not deportable' so they released him," his sister said. Rick went on to receive a degree from culinary school and up until his detention, was working for 13 years in the food industry.

"I'm hurt by this," Rick's sister said, "My 14-year-old son is livid. We're just a basket case. For a person to be picked up from his driveway, he's going to lose his job. He's been working hard and he's married. He pays taxes! We're all humans, we make mistakes. ... Not everyone deserves to be sent back, or held, or detained."

You can read more about the people caught up in the immigration raid at Think Progress

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Univision Fires Host For Racist Michelle Obama Commentary

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 14:21
Univision Fires Host For Racist Michelle Obama Commentary

A popular, award-winning Spanish language television host, Rodner Figueroa, has been fired by Univision after making racist comments about Michelle Obama.

On Wednesday's "El Gordo y la Flaca," Figueroa was talking about Paolo Ballesteros, who applies makeup to look like different celebrities--including sometimes donning blackface to look like Michelle Obama. Here's a short clip in Spanish:

"You know Michelle Obama looks like she's from the cast of 'Planet of the Apes,'" said Figueroa, to some laughter from either the show's hosts and/or audience. "I find her very attractive," responded host Raúl de Molina--who didn't address Figueroa's racist comment on the air.

This morning, @univision tweeted a statement in Spanish, writing that Figueroa's comments about "First Lady Michelle Obama were completely reprehensible and in no way reflect the values ??or opinions of Univision," confirming that Figueroa has split from Univision.

(h/t Latino Rebels)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Las Cafeteras Video 'Mujer Soy' Celebrates Everyday Struggles

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 12:16
New Las Cafeteras Video 'Mujer Soy' Celebrates Everyday Struggles

East LA band Las Cafeteras just released a new video for the song "Mujer Soy" and it's a pretty incredible homage to the everyday work and worth of women:

Here's more from Remezcla

The video made by Elefante Collective features the dance remix collaboration with Yukicito, member of Los Angeles DJ Crew La Junta Sound System. The song carries consistent melodic hymns combined with the traditional folk sounds of flute and jarana. We asked the female members of the group, Leah Rose Gallegos, Annette Torres, and Denise Carlos about how the song came about. Denise said, "I introduced the words and stories to Leah and Annette during a "mujeres music" session we had at my home a few years back. They loved the idea of singing for and about womyn and the three of us created the melodies of the song, which we then presented to the other members of Las Cafeteras." The end result of "Mujer Soy" is an homage to their fellow sisters and each other.

Read more


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Common to White Americans: 'I Love You, Let's Move Past This'

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 10:13

The Daily Show
Daily Show Full Episodes,  More Daily Show Videos,  Comedy Central Full Episodes

Common has a new action film coming out but last night with Jon Stewart, they barely touched on it, what with the rapper-turned-actor's starring role in the country's post-Ferguson conversation about racism. "The ride that you are on, right now," Stewart says. Watch the video above for Common's view of the #BlackLivesMatter movement from his front seat (click here for the extended interview). Together he and Stewart bring much-needed laughter and ease to a subject where defensiveness is the norm. 

(h/t The Daily Show)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ferguson Update, French Yogurt Price Fixing, Kurt Cobain Doc

Colorlines - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:28
Ferguson Update, French Yogurt Price Fixing, Kurt Cobain Doc

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

  • Ferguson's police chief Thomas Jackson will resign
Categories: Diversity Headlines

something went wrong

Diversity at Work - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 01:54
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Women’s Media Center Statement: Komen Foundation VP Karen Handel Resigns

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 11:46
The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure will clearly be a contender for media debacle of the year and the architect of that disastrous decision, former Komen VP Karen Handel, deserved to lose her position. Regardless of Karen Handel’s statement to the media it should be clear that she had to resign because she [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dangerous “Prenatal Discrimination Bill” Crafted by GOP

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:57
An article written by Nick Baumann and published yesterday in Mother Jones, “House GOP Memo: ‘Abortion Is the Leading Cause of Death in the Black Community’,” discusses a new “prenatal discrimination bill” proposed by the GOP. The bill attempts to distinguish between “black abortions” and abortions in general and claims that “abortion is the leading [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

WMC Board Member Gloria Feldt Discusses Public Reaction to Komen Decision

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:54
WMC Board Member and former President of Planned Parenthood Gloria Feldt has written an article for the Daily Beast on the implications of the recent Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. “If this were just about Planned Parenthood,” she writes, “or yet another battle over abortion, the outrage would be [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

“The Marketing of Breast Cancer” and the History of the Komen Foundation

Majority Post - Mon, 02/06/2012 - 11:18
In AlterNet’s article, “The Marketing of Breast Cancer,” Mary Ann Swissler discusses the complicated history of the popular Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Foundation, under fire recently for its decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Swissler reaches back in time and reminds readers that the Komen Foundation “helped block a meaningful Patients Bill of Rights [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton Launches Public Service Initiative

Majority Post - Sun, 02/05/2012 - 22:25
By Marianne Schnall February 6, 2012 Working with the nation’s top women’s liberal arts colleges, Secretary of State Clinton hopes to harness the potential of women around the world to strengthen leadership in both government and civil society. For the world to cope with its full range of problems, women must be agents of change. [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

BREAKING: Statement by Julie Burton, Women’s Media Center President Re: Komen Decision

Majority Post - Fri, 02/03/2012 - 10:44
NEW YORK-We’re relieved for millions of women across the country who will not be cut from access to critical health care services. We think the reaction over the last 48 hours really demonstrates the power of women when we speak loudly and act together. It also demonstrates the power of social media to enact change [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines
Syndicate content