Diversity Headlines

Q&A: A Year In, Napolitano Uncovering Treasures of UC

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 05:30
Ed. Note: One year since becoming head of the University of California, Janet Napolitano says she's taken an archaeologist's approach to uncovering the many layers of California's priemiere public research university. Having spearheaded a number of key initiatives -- from... Peter Schurmann http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=64
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Q&A: A Year In, Napolitano Uncovering Treasures of UC

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 05:30
Ed. Note: One year since becoming head of the University of California, Janet Napolitano says she's taken an "archaeologist's approach" to uncovering the many layers of California's priemiere public research university. Having spearheaded a number of key initiatives -- from... Peter Schurmann http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=64
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A New Labor Issue: Control Over Time

Colorlines - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 05:11
 Control Over Time

In a new book, "Unequal Time," sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Dan Clawson argue that workers' control over their time is a crucial labor issue that deserves more attention. "Most the conversation about inequality is about wages--and that's a really important discussion," says Gerstel. "But time is a key way to talk about inequality."

For "Unequal Time," Gerstel and Clawson studied four professions within what they call the medical-health sector: doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Their research emphasizes how class and gender impact who has the most control over their regular work schedules and time off.

Doctors had the most amount of control, and were the wealthiest and most male profession in the group. They had the most control over what schedules they worked regularly, and when they took time off for illness, vacation or caregiving. The CNAs, on the other hand, the lowest-paid employees and mostly female profession in the study, had very little control over any of these questions. They worked schedules determined by their employers, with little flexibility for time off.

Race is often considered in the text, but in their study, the authors didn't look at race as a factor independent from class. Part of this was caused by the study design--they set out to look at how gender and class specifically impacted these workers differently. But the demographics of the so-called medical health professions they included also made it difficult to draw conclusions that were about race separate from class. The doctors, EMTs and nurses were all less than 13 percent non-white while the CNAs were 58 percent non-white. Because there were so few doctors, nurses and EMTs of color in those professions, the authors cite fear of violating their confidentiality if they discussed the racialized experiences of those individuals.

The one place where they were able to extrapolate more about race was within the group of nursing assistants. They studied two different nursing homes in the same region of the country; one had a predominantly black staff and the other a predominantly white one. "The black women faced much more rigid regulations and were distrusted by management," says Gerstel. "The white women at the [predominantly white] nursing home were not [treated in the same way]." But the authors say that the differences between the two nursing homes also made it difficult to definitively say what conditions were about race and which were caused by institutional differences. Ultimately, Gerstel and Clawson argue that class is the common denominator between the conditions they witnessed, while acknowledging that class is also racialized. "White working-class women, black working-class women and Latina working-class women faced many of the same deficits of time and unpredictability, an inability to control their time," says Gerstel. 

"Unequal Time" also addresses the ways family structures create pressures on women of color at work and at home."So you're a single mother, with two kids at home, one of whom has asthma, and you're in a job where you're unexpectedly offered an extra shift [that] you need to take because you need the money. You're facing unpredictability in two arenas," says Gerstel. "Your life is chaotic."

As if to prove her point, news of the untimely death of Maria Fernandes, a 32-year-old mother and employee at three different Dunkin' Donuts locations, was reported by the New York Times on the morning I interviewed Gertsel. Fernandes' presumed accidental death from gasoline fumes and carbon monoxide occurred as she napped in her car between jobs with the motor running. In that instance, it was likely a combination of low wages and scheduling--of needing to juggle shifts at three different locations to make ends meet while not being able to schedule in sleep between shifts.

Economic factors such as increased unemployment post-recession have exacerbated the situation for the low-wage workers. "The CNAs more than any other group have relatively high rates of unemployment. We know the rates of unemployment among people of color are much higher than among whites,"says Gerstel "If the unemployment rate is higher, what happens is that employers can staff lean--hire you for 24 to 32 hours [per week]. Then on any given day they can say 'I've got an extra shift. Can you take it?'," says Gerstel. "They're not mandating overtime. They're offering overtime that you can't refuse because of the conditions of employment that they've provided. It's that kind of lean staffing and unpredictability that we think is the new normal."

The conditions described in the book, particularly for the CNAs, create a precarious situation where workers struggle to make ends meet but also face punitive policies that restrict how often they can miss work for things like illness or caregiving. In the other professions studied, particularly the doctors and nurses, there was much more flexibility and control in the hands of the employees to help them manage these responsibilities, not to mention financial means to pay for childcare or have a stay-at-home spouse.

Recently there has been a policy push to address employer scheduling practices. In July, Senate Democrats introduces the Schedules that Work Act. "By creating a right for all employees to make scheduling requests, and protecting employees who make requests from retaliation, the Schedules That Work Act would give employees a say in their work schedules. Employers would be required to consider scheduling requests from all employees and provide a response," reads a fact sheet from National Women's Law Center about the law. Unless there is a bona fide business issue, employers would be required to grant requested schedule changes for things like caregiving, pursuing education and workforce training, or for the employee's own serious health condition.

Gerstel expressed mixed feelings about the potential legislation: "It is important and could, if passed, deal with some of the worst issues raised in "Unequal Time" and some important aspects of the unpredictability that creates havoc in the lives of low-wage workers who are mostly women and often women of color," says Gerstel. "It is good, for example, that it not only includes pay for those who come to work but are sent home, but it also covers workers at establishments with 15 or fewer workers."

Among the bill's limits, Gerstel says it overlooks the service sector, that the definition of family may be too limited to encompass everyone and that it may give the employer too much leeway to deny requests for time off. And of course, enforcement of any legislation becomes a major issue once it's been passed. Gerstel and Lawson point out in the book that it is the women of color in the nursing assistant roles who were least likely to take advantage of the benefits of the Family Medical Leave Act, a major policy meant to improve worker protections.

"One of the arguments we're making is that we're led to believe that the retail sector is the place where there are unpredictable schedules creating chaos. What you read about in the media is the unpredictability of the lives of young people in retail jobs--Starbucks or clothing stores or restaurants," says Gerstel. "But that really understates the pervasiveness and the new normal of unpredictability. In the health sector, in the service sector, across class there is a huge amount of unpredictability. And it's the CNAs, the women of color, who have the least amount of control over this unpredictability."

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What to Look For In Dueling Autopsies of Michael Brown

New America Media - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 16:17
 In the next few weeks, separate teams of doctors will issue autopsy reports about Michael Brown, the unarmed African American shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. If history is any guide, they will differ, perhaps significantly,... AC Thompson http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Many Insured Californians Unaware They Have Mental Health Coverage

New America Media - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 01:25
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans are generally required to provide mental health coverage – but almost half of Californians who have insurance say that a lack of coverage is the reason they haven’t gotten mental health treatment... http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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White Mother Sues Sperm Bank After Birth of Mixed-Race Daughter

New America Media - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 11:22
  Chicago-area sperm bank is being sued by an Ohio woman for mistakenly giving her vials from an African-American donor, reports the Chicago Tribune. Jennifer Cramblett, who is white, filed a lawsuit stating that Midwest Sperm Bank gave her the... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda Blanco? It's Happening

Colorlines - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 09:21
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda Blanco? It's Happening

Catherine Zeta-Jones has been cast as Griselda Blanco in "The Godmother," an upcoming biopic on the life and death of the Colombian*-born drug queen, according to Deadline. News of Jones' casting has kicked discussions about brownface into high gear, with many observers wondering aloud about why a Latina actress wasn't chosen for the role instead.

"I'm sorry but what part of this casting makes any kind of sense? Come on Hollywood. AreThere NO LATIN actresses???" actress Yolanda Ross tweeted in reaction to the news.

Soraya Nadia McDonald sifts through the controversy over at the Washington Post, writing:

Casting isn't just a problem with biopics. Plenty of people were angered when Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily in the new Warner Bros. "Peter Pan" remake -- more than 23,000 signed a petition telling studios to stop casting white actors in parts written for people of color. In 2013, Johnny Depp in redface as Tonto in "The Lone Ranger" elicited a similar reaction. And earlier this year, Comedy Girls Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia playfully asked "Saturday Night Live" showrunner Lorne Michaels to hire a Latina or two instead of subjecting viewers to castmembers in brownface.

What's more, according to McDonald, is that there are plenty of Latina actresses in Hollywood who could have been better fits for the project:

Zeta-Jones is called upon to be Colombian when there are more visible Latina actresses working in Hollywood than ever -- thanks in no small part to executive producers such as Eva Longoria and Salma Hayek. Hayek was responsible for bringing "Ugly Betty," the show based on the Colombian telanovela "Yo soy Betty, la fea," to network television. And Longoria has really taken charge with her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

Read more at the Washington Post


*Post has been updated since publication to change the incorrect spelling, Columbian

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Q&A: Ebola and Africa’s Untold Stories

New America Media - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 06:05
 Ed. Note: As chair of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma directs the staff and the work of the African Union (AU), the alliance of nations on the continent. In that role, Dr. Zuma – a physician –... George White http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:51
English???????????Riverside?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“?????”??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Cixin Wang???? “?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????”????????“????????????????????????????????????”??????????“?????Family Issues?”???????????????????????University of Nebraska-Lincoln?????Yan Xia????????????Wenzhen Li????????????????Stephan M. Wilson???????????Kevin Bush?????????????Gary Peterson????????????????589????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????99?????????????????? “????????? ????????????????????????????????????”... Sean Nealon http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Supreme Court Takes Up Muslim Woman's Challenge to Abercrombie and Fitch

Colorlines - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:30
Supreme Court Takes Up Muslim Woman's Challenge to Abercrombie and Fitch

Among the cases the Supreme Court will take up in its next term is Samantha Elauf's challenge to Abercrombie & Fitch's hiring practices. In 2008, Elauf, then 17 years old and applying for a job at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, Abercrombie & Fitch store, was told that the headscarf she wore wasn't in line with the company's "look policy." Elauf was turned down for the job. 

While the company policy actually contained exceptions for religious head coverings, the store manager didn't ask Elauf whether she wore her head scarf for religious reasons, and Elauf didn't explicitly ask for an exemption either. Whose responsibility was it to make sure that Elauf wasn't discriminated against based on her religion?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company and won a religious discrimination suit on Elauf's behalf, but last October, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's ruling.

Jessica Glenza at The Guardian explains the questions the Supreme Court will consider:

The case hinges on whether employees must explicitly inform prospective employers that they require a religious exemption, in this case for dress. Abercrombie argues that Elauf did not specifically request an exemption and thus one was not required, even though managers correctly assumed she wore the scarf for religious reasons.

"It is undisputed that Samantha Elauf did not inform Abercrombie that her religious beliefs required her to wear a headscarf when she was at work. It is axiomatic that an employer must have actual notice that an applicant's mandatory religious practices conflict with an employment requirement," attorneys for the company argued.

The EEOC argues that if "actual knowledge" of an employee's religious beliefs is required by employers, companies could discriminate against employees because of perceived religious practices, so long as they do not have explicit statements from an employee.

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Estudiante de UC Berkeley aspira a ser la versión femenina, mexicana de Carl Sagan

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:00
EnglishBerkeley, California - Cuando Ana Aceves tenía 12 años, estaba sentada en el porche de sus padres en la ciudad de Merced del Valle Central en California, levantó la vista hacia el cielo nocturno y tuvo un "viaje astral". Ella... Peter Schurmann http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=64
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Bruce Lee Day Kicks Off Grand Opening Opening of Exhibit At the Wing

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 12:50
 Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is declaring today Bruce Lee Day to commemorate the opening of a new three year exhibition on the life of the iconic martial arts star, reports the International Examiner.The tribute at the Wing Luke Museum Do... International Examiner http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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'We Are the South' Rises with LGBTQ Racial Justice Activists

Colorlines - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 11:31
'We Are the South' Rises with LGBTQ Racial Justice Activists

LGBTQ activists at the intersection of race, place, class, sexuality and so much more working toward racial justice in the South? No, you're not dreaming. This week, the Better Together Southern Leadership and Action Cohort, a network of eight organizations gathered by Colorlines' publisher Race Forward, launched We Are the South. It is a photo campaign highlighting the people at the center of this week's launch. On social media, #WeAretheSouth and #SomosElSur amplified those activists' experiences.

Here now, a roundup of some of the photos activists shared via wearethesouth.org.

RT @YouthBreakOUT: #WeAreTheSouth #SomosElSur pic.twitter.com/Id54InwtBO #FreedomSide

— Sasha Costanza-Chock (@schock) October 1, 2014

#WeAreTheSouth #SomosElSur pic.twitter.com/I7MIkde5Wt

— BreakOUT! (@YouthBreakOUT) October 1, 2014

Farmworker Immigrant Father. Raised by a Single Mother. Queer, Chicana in the Miss. Delta #WeAreTheSouth #SomosElSur pic.twitter.com/p3tuD0onCY

— Miss. Safe Schools (@MSSafeSchools) October 1, 2014 wearethesouth_tumblr_10314.jpg Image via wearethesouth.org from the Center for Artistic Revolution, a Little Rock, Arkansas, social justice organization.

I was so fortunate to be apart of this camp #QYLTS and to be apart of this campaign #WeAreTheSouth #SomosElSur pic.twitter.com/qlu17Uy0xi

— Natt O. (@_Nat_the_Cat_) October 1, 2014

This photo campaign is important bc We didn't stop work in the 1960s. We kept going! We keep going #WeAreTheSOuth pic.twitter.com/reCnuetvQY

— Paris Hatcher (@parishatcher) October 1, 2014

For more information and to submit your own photo, visit wearethesouth.org, and check out Better Together organizer Paris Hatcher's Storify of this week's Tweet chat. 

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‘Medida Q’ lucha por preservar el espacio abierto

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:36
English TranslationSi usted es un residente del condado de Santa Clara y está de acuerdo con la idea de que el Espacio Abierto no es sólo esa sala de conferencias disponible dentro de su oficina, entonces la ‘Medida Q’ es... Jenny Manrique Cortés http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Shooting Death of Mayor Shocks Bell Gardens

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:09
The wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo was a longtime victim of domestic violence, according to her attorney, who said Thursday he hopes to meet with prosecutors and provide evidence to help them reach a “just conclusion”... Gloria Alvarez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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No Second Chance For Ferguson's PR Rep, Also An Ex-Con

Colorlines - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:07
No Second Chance For Ferguson's PR Rep, Also An Ex-Con

Ferguson's public relations operative Devin James, 32, has been under fire since last week's Post-Dispatch report that he once served time in 2009 for killing an unarmed man in 2004. James, who is African-American, says it was self-defense. He's since lost his city contract but according to MSNBC, is staying on as spokesman, pro bono. Now, James is telling his story--and viewed next to the week's negative reaction to his criminal past (and possibly lying on his resume), it's hard not to think of second chances. Who gets them? Who doesn't? James, it must be said, isn't all that different from tens of thousands of other African-American men seeking to start over with criminal records stemming from everything from failure to pay excessive criminal fines to murder. 

James explained his motives, background and past during a 10-minute St. Louis Public Radio interview yesterday (follow link for audio). An excerpt:

It's important to have someone who's faced similar challenges at the table [in Ferguson] at the strategic level.... I know what it's like to be a black man who has a sense of fear when he's pulled over from law enforcement or who fears any interaction with law enforcement. I know what it's like to have been in the system and therefore have challenges establishing my credit again or being able to get a job afterwards. ...The fact that I didn't graduate from high school; I got my GED. The fact that...my education so to speak, or lack thereof, didn't define me. So I think I bring something to the table.

Even with the recent attacks on me, I guess it would be different if I was a rapper, or if I was a football player, then none of this really matters. But because I'm not, you know, all of a sudden we need to destroy this person's character--when I'm one of the only African-Americans that's actually at the table trying to make sure that Ferguson changes their perspective.

If everyone in the St. Louis region has a problem with me and I'm the guy who's overcome some of those challenges, kinda got his life together, got a company going, trying to make a positive impact and you still have a problem with me--what do you think about the folks who don't have their life together? Is that to say that they shouldn't be given a second chance as well?


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Measure Q Would Preserve Open Space in Silicon Valley

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:05
 Traducción al españolIf you are a resident of Santa Clara County and the words “open space” mean more to you than just that available conference room in your office building, then you may have an interest in Measure Q.Scenic hillsides,... Jenny Manrique Cortés http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar Explore Death in New Video

Colorlines - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:30
Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar Explore Death in New Video

Flying Lotus' new album "You're Dead!" comes out next week on October 7. This week, he dropped the video for his song "Never Catch Me" with Kendrick Lamar, which chronicles the gripping tale of a young black boy and girl who emerge from their caskets and dance away from their own funeral. It's dark, but eerily hopeful. Watch. 

In an interview with Pitchfork, Flying Lotus talks about how his preoccupation with the afterlife informed his latest project.

With this album, I was trying to come in at that moment and navigate the different thoughts that might go through your mind. Maybe being in disbelief that you died. Maybe having regrets about things that you'd done in the past. Maybe finding comfort in dying and coming to grips with the fact that we never die--that's the overall message in the end. 

Read more.

(h/t Pitchfork via The Fader)

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Hong Kong’s ‘Che’ Points at the Collapsing Facade of Elitist Hong Kong

New America Media - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:10
 Photo: Exhausted and battered, “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung is the first protester to sit down in protest on the cordoned plaza of the Legislative Council, where he serves as a parliamentarian. A surge of thousands of students soon followed his example... Yoichi Shimatsu http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Andre 3000 Talks Jimi Hendrix on Letterman

Colorlines - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 08:51
Andre 3000 Talks Jimi Hendrix on Letterman

Andre "3000" Benjamin paid a visit to David Letterman this week to talk about his starring role in the Jimi Hendrix biopic "All is By My Side." The rapper/actor admitted to doubting himself during filming. "Who plays Hendrix?" he asks Letterman. But by most accounts, Benjamin did a superb job in the role. 

(h/t Okayplayer)

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