Diversity Headlines

Native Appropriations Reminds You: Don't Dress up Like an Indian on Halloween

Colorlines - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:15
 Don't Dress up Like an Indian on Halloween

Halloween is just 10 days away--and so are the annual nightmares that come along with it.

Over at Native Appropriations, Adrienne Keene provides a roundup of several years' worth of posts about why it's a really bad idea to dress up like an Indian. (A bonus post explains what to do when your friend dresses up like an Indian, too!) If you're still not positive that you shouldn't dress up like an Indian, then this post is for you.

Included are:

And if the list seems like a little too much to read, here's Keene's wrap up:

Native peoples are a contemporary, LIVING group of people, not a costume. Seriously. Stop putting us in the same category as wizards and clowns. Don't believe me? Come to a Native event dressed like that, and see how many friends you make! Fun for everyone!

So, what are you dressing up as?

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Lupe Fiasco Releases New Track 'Haile Selassie' Feat. Nikki Jean

Colorlines - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:57
Lupe Fiasco Releases New Track 'Haile Selassie' Feat. Nikki Jean

Lupe Fiasco is gearing up to release a new mixtape called "Lost in the Atlantic." He dropped the track "Haile Selassie" on Friday featuring singer Nikki Jean, who fans may remember from 2007's "Hip-Hop Saved My Life."

(h/t Hypetrak)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Roxane Gay: White Men Don't Get Same Level of Online Harassment as People of Color

Colorlines - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:46
 White Men Don't Get Same Level of Online Harassment as People of Color

Culture critic and English professor Roxane Gay sat down with the Chicago Tribune's Christopher Borelli to talk about the whirlwind of a year she's had since publishing her first collection of essays, "Bad Feminist." Gay talks about the delicate line she walks between engaging online audiences and facing tons of racist and sexist harrassment. 

White men don't receive the same level of (expletive) that women and people of color do online. They don't see the harassment. Of course they see a yes-man culture. They're not having their physical appearances -- "You're ugly," "You're fat" -- brought up. They are not even aware of the real world. It's adorable. Writing about literary culture, they seem to be protecting literary truth. They have good points: Critical rigor is important, what the Internet is doing to rigor is not small. I would just to like to see an awareness that others live in this world, that the subject is about more than a notion of literary integrity.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Facing Race Spotlight: Palestinian-American Activist Linda Sarsour

Colorlines - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:46
 Palestinian-American Activist Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American executive director of the Arab American Association in New York City, has had plenty to do this past year. As Gaza burned, and the media drumbeat of ISIS grew ever louder, people in the U.S. were grieving and responding to a spate of police killings of black men, including Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Sarsour's longstanding work on law-enforcement accountability converged with her Arab-American civil rights work.

Two weeks ago, Sarsour joined a contingent of activists who traveled to Missouri to participate in Ferguson October and to speak with Arab and South Asian business owners in Ferguson. "We were thinking about what our role is as Arab-Americans and Muslims, as the children of immigrants or immigrants ourselves. What is our role in the larger conversation about race and racism in the U.S.?" 

For the last decade Sarsour has been pushing for an end to racial profiling in law enforcement, primarily around domestic surveillance programs run by the federal government and the NYPD that target American Muslims. She says that has required Arab-American communities to "build solidarity with people and communities who have been impacted for decades by police brutality, by racial profiling, by stop-and-frisk and by broken windows policing."

November 15, in Dallas, Sarsour will break down racial injustice in the post-September 11 era at Facing Race, the biennial conference held by Colorlines' publisher, Race Forward. She spoke with Colorlines about how she spent her summer and the lessons and laughs she's taken away from young people on social media.

Can you talk about what you took away from your time participating in Ferguson October?

What I took away from Ferguson was that it's OK to be angry. That anger is not something we should be ashamed of when we are each working against injustice. Injustice is supposed to make us angry. And that anger can be productive and translated into systemic change. I was proud to be angry, which is something we're told not to be--angry Arab women or angry black women. But in Ferguson it felt good to be angry, and we were angry alongside people around us who also showed you love. It was something I never felt before in my life.

These young people in Ferguson are not waiting for national leaders to come in and tell them how to organize, when to sit in the streets, what to occupy, how to chant, or what their demands are. These are young people who taught me that I don't need anyone else to lead me or guide me, I'm going to do whatever feels right at that moment.

I remember this one moment at the end of the rally; I've had nightmares about it since. People had congregated in a park. There was a fountain in this park and the water was colored red because there was a Cardinals game, and their team's color is red. And right across the street was a historic building where they used to auction off slaves.

So there were these steps, and battles and blood. To think we were standing there talking about the murder of young black men across the country, and to think of Mike Brown laying in his blood for four hours while we were standing across from a place where slaves were auctioned off, it made me realize that history continues to repeat itself. Ferguson is teaching us that we can't keep doing the same thing expecting different results. It's time for radical organizing, and that's exactly what they were doing in Ferguson. 

Can we talk about resistance elsewhere, too? This summer with the devastation in Gaza there were powerful protests in the U.S., and with ISIS dominating headlines, there's been really creative resistance from Arabs and Muslims here. Can you talk about what you've seen this summer and fall?

In July we were watching the massacres happening in Gaza, and people made a connection between Gaza and their water supply and Detroit and their water issues. People were connecting the dots with creative messaging, saying, "From Detroit to Gaza, water is a human right." We are here supporting people. These are people of color, poor, living in a densely populated piece of land who can't even get access to clean water, and we look across the world and have empathy for them. But right here in our own country in a place like Michigan, we have our own fellow Americans who are literally without running water in their apartments. We are a superpower, there should be no reason why any American should be without water. 

Did you notice any other connections being made?

Remember Ferguson, when that paramilitary response was brought [to protests]? People in Gaza, who barely have Internet access, were tweeting at people in Ferguson telling them how to protect themselves from tear gas. Even without our intervention as Palestinian-Americans--I'm Palestinian-American and have family living in Gaza and the West Bank--ordinary people in Gaza in a war found the time to reach out to fellow human beings across the world. [They said] you are in resistance. We are in resistance. This is how you resist tear gas. Somebody better write a book about that because it's so magnificent and so inspiring. 

And in Ferguson, I saw Palestinian flags being flown, not by Palestinians. It was young black kids who were chanting: "From Ferguson to Palestine, occupation is a crime." I was like, "What?" It was beautiful. It inspires people wherever you are, whether you are in Detroit, or L.A., or New York or a little city in Gaza, it inspires you to keep resisting knowing other people across the world are resisting. 

Can we shift gears and talk about the cycle of Islamophobic fear-mongering, hate crimes, backlash and resistance? What part of the cycle are we in now?

Nothing that I saw post-September 11, [during] the first few weeks, months or even years is anything close to what I've seen in the past four years. Our community, and I'm talking about Arab, South Asian, and Muslim communities--unfortunately most Americans think we're the same thing--live in the most hostile civic environment that I've ever experienced in my life, and I'm 34 years old. My parents, who've been here for over 40 years, say the same thing. 

We never saw mosque opposition. It's a new phenomena. We never heard of people trying to pass anti-Sharia bills, which would basically ban Muslims from practicing their faith fully. We've never seen people on TV equate terrorists with an entire faith group. We've never heard pundits say: "a bullet to their heads," that's the way we solve this problem.

For us, right now, there's so much external pressure on the community, not just from media or elected officials, [but] from external terrorist groups all the way across the world. It's gotten to the point where it's brought some of our leaders to their knees. [They] apologize for any horrific thing [that] anyone who's Muslim or says they're Muslim does in the name of Islam. What's different about this kind of heat is this doesn't happen in any other community. You will never, ever see a person from the Jewish community or Christian community or the Buddhist community--no one is ever put in a position where they have to apologize for every single person that supposedly is from their faith group who does something horrifying. So why is that? That's what hurts me the most, to see imams and leaders in our community who feel the necessity to continue to condemn, day in and day out things that have nothing to do with them, and have no association with them as American Muslims. And I think that is not sending a message of empowerment and encouragement to our young people, which scares me the most.

[Some of our] young people are like, "We can't even be proud of who we are because we have to worry about people saying they're Muslim like us, and we have to apologize for every Muslim who does something in the world. I just won't tell people I'm Muslim. How about if my name is Mohammad, but I just tell people I'm Mo or Mike and I'll be all right.

People say, "What are you talking about? Muslims aren't a race, you're a faith." And I'm like, duh, thank you. I kinda know that. But whether we like it or not, based on government policies, we've been racialized as a community. There are specific policies being implemented by the U.S. government and some law-enforcement agencies on the federal and local level targeting people who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim. So we have become a racialized community. Stop-and-frisk focuses on black and brown young people. Well, surveillance programs are focusing on Muslim communities in all of their diversity. And, I'd add that at least a quarter of our community is African-American Muslims. These people have to deal with issues that black communities already have to deal with, plus the additional layer of anti-Muslim hate preventing them from doing things like going to mosque and dressing traditionally. 

Can you share your thoughts on a social media response to that, via #MuslimApologies and #Notinmyname?

Young Muslims on social media are the masters of using snarkiness and satire to make light of a situation that's actually pretty serious. #MuslimApologies was hilarious. And a few years ago, when it came out that the NYPD was spying on Muslims, we did one called #MyNYPDfile. We were reading secret documents in people's files and seeing nothing incriminating except for people going to mosque, hanging out in a bookstore or drinking coffee. So we started a hashtag where we asked people, "If there were a leaked file on you, what would it say?" It was hilarious and it was also powerful, because we were able to raise awareness. 

What are you looking ahead to in your work?

It's really about integrating Arab-Americans and South Asian and Muslim communities within the larger work around combatting racism in the U.S. and continuing to see campaigns that are multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-sector. I think [that's] the only way we will win. I saw that already happen in New York City with police reform. I want to see that become the norm and not the exception.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

NYC Ebola Case, Border Deaths Drop, Amazon's Stock Plunge

Colorlines - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:45
NYC Ebola Case, Border Deaths Drop, Amazon's Stock Plunge

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Feds Kill Funds for ‘Most Successful’ Senior Housing Program

New America Media - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 00:35
  Photo: Essex Village, in North Kingstown, R.I., is among the last federally subsidized Sec. 202 developments providing housing with dignity for low-income elders. (Courtesy, Retirement Housing Foundation) TAYLOR, Mich.––When construction started on Heritage Park Senior Village here in mid-October,... Andre F. Shashaty http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Gay Sex is Gay Sex and Politically, That Matters

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:25
Gay Sex is Gay Sex and Politically, That Matters

When viewers tune into ABC tonight, they’ll be greeted with new episodes of Shonda Rhimes’ hit show “Scandal” and one for which she serves as executive producer, “How to Get Away With Murder.” Chances are, they’ll also be greeted with steamy sex scenes, some of which star same-sex lovers. Rhimes responded sharply to one viewer’s criticism on Twitter:

@shondarhimes the gay scenes in scandal and how to get away with murder are too much. There is no point and they add nothing to the plot.

— Dina (@Dabdelhakiem) October 19, 2014

. @Dabdelhakiem There are no GAY scenes. There are scenes with people in them.

— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 19, 2014

. @Dabdelhakiem If u use the phrase “gay scenes”, u are not only LATE to the party but also NOT INVITED to the party. Bye Felicia. #oneLOVE

— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 19, 2014

She’s right, of course. The scenes don’t feature morally bankrupt aliens out to corrupt America’s innocent youth. They’re characters with compelling storylines and sexual desires, innately human sexual desires that happen to be really fun to watch. But it’s also true that when it comes to the show’s gay characters, those desires have been criminalized for centuries. Rhimes isn’t just making critically acclaimed television that just so happens to feature love “scenes with people in them.” She’s arguably making the most daring network television featuring gay characters ever, and that deserves to be named for what it is.

Let’s just put this out there: Gay sex is gay sex. Gay sex is hot. Gay sex is not straight sex. While most sex among straight adults isn’t a legal matter, gay sex is different. It’s still inherently political. As far back as 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in Virginia for which the penalty for sodomy between two men was castration. In 1948, Congress enacted the District of Columbia’s first law against sodomy, posing as punishment 10 years in prison, a $1,000 fine and mandatory psychiatric treatment. As recently as 1997, 21 states in America had enforceable sodomy laws, which made it a crime to have gay sex. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that sodomy laws amounted to an “unconstitutional invasion of privacy,” and even though district attorneys have declared such laws to be virtually unenforceable, 12 states — including Michigan, Mississippi and Texas — still have them on the books. In recent years, as many as a dozen men were arrested by the East Baton Rogue sheriff’s office for violating Louisiana’s statute against “unnatural carnal copulation.

Rhimes’ shows are almost singlehandedly normalizing gay sex in American culture. And she’s doing it on ABC guaranteeing that more people are watching than ever. There have certainly been some TV forays into gay sex in recent years. “Noah’s Arc” showed what love between black men could look like. Illene Chaiken’s “The L Word” had lots and lots of hot and sweaty gay sex (Shane + Carmen 4Ever!), but you still had to look to find it. Even on CBS’ “The Good Wife,” the gun-toting, boots-wearing, bisexual investigator Kalinda Sharma has managed to woo damn near half of Chicago’s legal establishment but there isn’t much on-air gay sex.

What Shonda Rhimes is doing is writing great gay sex scenes. Why not name them?

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery in South Korea

New America Media - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:55
The steady flow of foreign visitors to South Korea for plastic surgery has led to a spike in the number of disputes over surgeries gone awry, reports the Korea Times in Los Angeles.The paper notes a lack of communication between... YeoJin Kim http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

New York City Council Wants To Tackle City's Intense School Segregation

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 13:35
New York City Council Wants To Tackle City's Intense School Segregation

Coming on the heels of an embarrassing March report that the nation's largest school district is among its most racially segregated, some members of the New York City Council today introduced measures to tackle the longstanding problem. They include:

The council exerts little influence over the school district. Only the bill is legally binding. But the package could add pressure on the department of education to revisit segregation.

The March report's premise is that "school integration is still a goal worth pursuing." Can separate be equal, the authors ask? Yes.

If measured by test scores, a few resegregated schools show high performance. But even if equality can be reached between racially isolated schools, students may never achieve the skills and abilities required to navigate an increasingly diverse nation.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

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New America Media - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 13:33
 English?? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????(DNA? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??)? ?? ??? ????. ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???, ???, ? ?? ?? ????? ????? ????. ?? ??? ???... Jeffrey Norris http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Racial Diversity Among America's Working Artists Virtually Non-Existent

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:08
Racial Diversity Among America's Working Artists Virtually Non-Existent

It's hard to make a living off of your art, but that's especially true for artists of color, according to the Roberto A. Ferdman at Wonkblog:

Nearly four out of every five people who make a living in the arts in this country are white, according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by BFAMFAPhD, a collective of artists dedicated to understanding the rising cost of artistry. The study, which surveyed more than 1.4 million people whose primary earnings come from working as an artist, represents a broad population of creative types in the country, and reveals a number of troubling truths.

The study digs a bit deeper, finding that 80 percent of people with art school degrees are white. That's important when you're talking about gaining access to the institutional structures -- faculty connections, business direction -- that are often pre-requisites for a successful professional career. So as the country grows more diverse, its crop of working professional artists remains stubbornly white. Read more at Wonkblog

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Expert Who Analyzed Leaked Mike Brown Autopsy Report Says She Was Taken Out of Context

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:00
Expert Who Analyzed Leaked Mike Brown Autopsy Report Says She Was Taken Out of Context

One of two medical examiners the St. Louis Post-Dispatch enlisted to analyze Michael Brown's leaked official autopsy report says that her comments were taken out of context. Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco told MSNBC, "You cannot interpret autopsy reports in a vacuum. You need to do it in the context of the scene, the investigation and the witness statements. Sometimes when you take things out of context they can be more inflammatory." Melinek's analysis concluded, according to the Post-Dispatch, that Brown was reaching for Officer Darren Wilson's gun and suggests that his hands had not been raised in surrender as described by eyewitness accounts. 

Read the latest at MSNBC. And the backstory for those catching up on Ferguson this week: An official autopsy and a toxicology report obtained by The St. Louis Post Dispatch is intensifying the heat around already-controversial police, eyewitness and community accounts of how Wilson came to fatally shoot Brown. The leaked autopsy report, officially released to prosecutors but not the public according to the Washington Post, comes ahead of an expected St. Louis County grand jury decision on whether or not to indict Wilson. Questions have been raised about the source of the leak and its timing, as well as the integrity of the secret grand jury proceedings.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

California’s Prop 1 Gives East Valley Families Hope for Clean Water

New America Media - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 09:57
Above: (R to L) Cirilo Ortega Dominguez, 33, Daniel Jimenez Ortega, 18, and Pedro Ortega Dominguez, 28, work in fields near their homes in Thermal, Calif. All three men, along with their families, live in the Valenzuela Mobile Home Park.... Amber Amaya http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Smart People Listen to Radiohead, Dumb People Listen to Beyoncé, Says Racist Study

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 08:43
Smart People Listen to Radiohead, Dumb People Listen to Beyoncé, Says Racist Study

Software developer Virgil Griffith set out to see if there is a correlation between the type of music people listen to (based on the most "liked" performers on Facebook at more than 1,300 American colleges) and their SAT scores. The study's been making the rounds, on and off, for the past five years, but it popped up again recently because Griffith posted a new chart. And, as Emma Silvers points out at SF Weekly, the findings aren't just unscientific; they're racist.

Let's see, T.I., Lil Wayne, and the entire history of gospel, hip-hop, and reggae are all the province of morons? Whereas people who listen to Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, and Guster are the folks you should want in the operating room should you ever need brain surgery? Nope, definitely not a giant, racially loaded can of classist assumptions and privilege-worms to open here. Absolutely no correlation between the dominant ethnic makeup of America's most exclusive private schools and the fact that apparent hordes of the country's most promising minds -- actual young people, presumably -- have listed Counting Crows as one of their favorite bands on Facebook. 

Here's Griffith's latest chart:

music-smart-dumb.jpg

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Concise History of U.S. Divestment in Black Men [VIDEO]

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:45

Throughout 2014, Colorlines is examing the structural  inequities that shape the lives of black men. Too often, we zero in on black men only at thier point of premature death. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant--and on it goes in a grim roll call. But what if these men had lived? What lives would they face? On a whole host of issues, the data suggets they'd have faced massive, sometimes insurmountable odds against safe, healthy and prosperous lives. Our "Life Cycles of Inequity" series focuses each month on a different life stage or event in which those odds have been shown to be particularly long, thanks to structural inequities that grow out of our nation's collective political and economic choices. 

This month, we step back and look at the bigger picture of this structural inequity. Colorlines' economic justice columnist Imara Jones often reminds us that the world in which we live isn't happenstance. Leaders make decisions, and they have consequences. Policies drive outcomes. As such, the outcomes we now see for so many black men have come from generations worth of bad policy choices. Over more than a century, black men have been excluded--either overtly or implicity--from the economic opportunity initiatives that have helped create an American middle class and saved millions from poverty. In the video above, Imara and graphic artist Tatiana Lam explain that history. 

We hope you'll watch it, share it with your networks and join the conversation in social media with #LivesOfBlackMen

--Kai Wright, series editor

Categories: Diversity Headlines

6 Ways the White House Can Help Truly Keep Our Brothers

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:43

Editor's note: Our series "Life Cycles of Inequity" explores the ways in which inequity impacts the lives of black men. Each month, we focus on a life stage or event in which that impact has been shown to be particularly profound. In the video above, Colorlines economic justice columnist Imara Jones explains how black men have been cut out of economic opportunity initiatives for more than a century.

After nearly six years of de facto silence on race, the White House this year swung into the harsh world that men of color inhabit with the unveiling of its "My Brother's Keeper" initiative.

When compared to their white peers, black men are nearly half as likely to graduate from high school; earn $6 an hour less in the labor market; are three times as likely to live in poverty and 10 times as likely to have been a victim of homicide--not to mention off-the-charts incarceration rates. This depressing data has been well documented for over a generation and is not in dispute. To describe the totality of what's going on, Marian Wright-Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund drops the world "school" and simply dubs it "the cradle-to-prison pipeline."

As the president launched "My Brother's Keeper" in February, he lamented that the country had become "numb to these statistics" and that all too many Americans "take them as the norm." He described the White House initiative as having potential to give young men of color "a boundless sense of possibility."

Life Cycles of Inequity 
A Series on Black Men 

About This Series

WATCH: A Concise History of Divestment in Black Men

[Ch. 4] The Hip-Hop Hustle, Then and Now

[Ch. 3] Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind

[Ch. 2] Why Young, Black Men Can't Work

[Ch. 1] Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

VIEW THE WHOLE SERIES

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Though the initiative has since drawn noticeable criticism--for, among other things, its paltry pledge of $200 million in mostly private resources and overlooking black women--the unveiling nonetheless raised hopes that the country was arriving at a turning point. Veteran Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson called it "the kind of targeted public-private initiative that might actually do some good, even without tons of new federal money thrown in."

Those hopes were strained severely in May, when the White House published My Brother's Keepers' six policy recommendations.

Despite the fact that the report places poverty at the top of issues facing young men of color, not one of the six policy recommendations in the document directly addresses poverty itself. Surprisingly, the first proposal for addressing the vast and deep inequities confronted by men of color is "entering school ready to learn." That's followed by "reading at grade level by third grade." True, these steps are important and worthy, but the colossal inequity faced by black men is systemic and widespread, not individual and personal. Systemic problems require systematic remedies.

The hopeful news is that public policy can begin to address the difficulties with which men of color contend without massive new funding. The president can use executive action to reform several mistaken policies and procedures that stack the deck unfavorably for black men. Here are six ideas that didn't make it into the My Brother's Keeper recommendations. They would be a good place for the president to start:

1. Make Work Pay for Single Men

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which Congress created in the 1970s and has gradually expanded over the years, is designed to ensure that low-wage workers can make ends meet. By dramatically cutting the taxes owed by low-income households, it manages to keep 10 million people out of poverty.

But the EITC is currently designed to primarily help custodial parents. According to the White House, a childless person working full time and earning minimum wage is eligible only for up to $25 a year in EITC help, and workers under 25 years old are excluded altogether. As the Obama administration has documented, these rules significantly limit the program's impact among both black and Latino men. 

President Obama has already urged Congress to expand EITC. As with other issues where Congress has refused to budge--immigration, LGBT civil rights and cybersecurity, among them--the White House could explore ways to unilaterally enlarge and retool the EITC program while it waits for Congress to act.

2. Focus Job Training Programs on Black and Latino Men

One way to help remedy the job-skills gap created by incarceration and educational barriers is to focus existing job training programs on black and Latino men.

Currently the federal government spends $18 billion a year on job training. As a report by Congress' General Accounting Office details, many of the nearly 50 job training initiatives are scattered across nine governmental departments, with most of the money sent to the states in the form of grants to fund uncoordinated efforts at the local level.

One way to better organize this patchwork of programs is to target them on those who need help the most. Some programs, such as those that concentrate on workers with disabilities and on Native American workers, already focus their efforts. But President Obama could issue an executive order asking that priority be given to efforts that are directed at black and Latino men.

3. Focus Federal Grants on Real Anti-Crime Strategies

As the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University points out, crime is committed by a handful of people: just five people out every 100 commit violent crimes. But policies such as "stop-and-frisk" can sweep up nearly 80 out of every 100 young black men in neighborhood-wide dragnets. Due to these stops, young black men who have not committed serious crimes rack up fees and minor citations for things like riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, which in turn expose them to greater risk for jail time in future, random stops.

But a further problem with these "broken window" policing strategies is that they do little to end the actual violent crime epidemic in communities of color. Two proven approaches to reducing crime are direct, peer-led interventions in street violence and policies that pursue the small number of people who are responsible for violent crime, rather than target entire communities. The My Brother's Keeper report does endorse these approaches and one recommendation calls broadly for their growth. But to get specific, the federal government could spur or even mandate both approaches through restrictions on the way local police departments use grant money.

4. Break the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Disproportionately applied school discipline is a key driver for both high levels of unemployment and incarceration for black and Latino men. As I've written before, students who are suspended are up to five times less likely to graduate.

Here again, the My Brother's Keeper report identifies the problem and calls for an end to suspensions and expulsions in the early educational years. But there's a way for the administration to actually achieve that goal. Each year the Department of Education collects detailed information about racial disparities in school discipline. This existing data could be used by the government to compel each of the thousands of schools who receive federal education funds create an action plan and a timetable to eliminate racial disparities in school discipline.

5. Expand Public School Academies for Black Boys

According to a report by the education non-profit ETS, competitive same-sex academies can increase the chances of black boys graduating high school by 60 percent; putting the attainment of high school diplomas on a par with those for white boys. Each year President Obama's Education Department hands out billions of dollars in grants to the nation's poorest schools, often with strings attached, to steer school districts to policies that it believes to work. These grants are a potential tool to expand public school opportunities for black boys and scale up now-localized, pilot schools that are already underway.

6. Transform Prisons Into Education Centers

Six out of 10 of the 2.3 million people behind bars are men of color. Lack of educational opportunity is one important reason for why they're in the criminal justice system: According to the National Education Association, eight of 10 of those behind bars did not finish high school.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a program to fund associate and bachelor degrees in New York's prisons. The governor points out that it costs $60,000 to incarcerate someone but only $5,000 a year to educate each prisoner, all while "giving a real shot at a second lease on life." Those who earn degrees in prison are far less likely to come back. The federal government could drive a similar effort on a national scale. And given the fact that the president runs all of the federal government's prisons, President Obama could begin laying the groundwork right away.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch FKA twigs Battle in a New Google Glass Video

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:28
Watch FKA twigs Battle in a New Google Glass Video

In a new #throughglass concept video, FKA twigs summons all-girl battle dancers—and actually makes Google Glass look pretty dope:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Did 'Dear White People' Miss the Mark on Casual Racism?

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:25
Did 'Dear White People' Miss the Mark on Casual Racism?

Justin Simien's debut film "Dear White People" has won over plenty of fans with its satirical approach to race, an approach that depends heavily on showcasing outrageously racist acts. But what about the subtle microaggressions that happen every day? Carimah Townes writes at Think Progress that it's a major oversight of the film:

The film would've been more interesting if microaggression carried the same weight as explicit racism, given the nation's ongoing discussion of race relations. Many argue that we live in a post-racial America, and that argument is largely predicated on what racism looked like in the country's past. No, slavery doesn't exist any more, and Jim Crow laws no longer keep black people from occupying public spaces. But to say that racist attitudes no longer color American society, a microaggression in and of itself, ignores casual acts of racism that occur every day. The purpose of the film was to highlight the experiences of a lot of black people, but aggressive, in-your-face racism overshadowed -- and minimized -- the profound effects that microaggressions have on them.

Read more at Think Progress. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

One Gunman in Attack in Canada, UNC Cheating Scandal, Partial Solar Eclipse

Colorlines - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:20
One Gunman in Attack in Canada, UNC Cheating Scandal, Partial Solar Eclipse

Here's what I'm reading up on:

  • Two AP reporters take the opportunity to visit places in North Korea that "no foreign journalists and few foreigners had been allowed to see before." 
  • An unarmed White House fence jumper, Dominic Adesanya, is apprehended
  • Wow. For nearly two decades, 3,100 UNC students--many of them student athletes--took shadow classes that required little work and were graded by a secretary: 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ebola Outbreak Threatens Food Crisis in West Africa

New America Media - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:57
German aircraft arrives in Ghana to help deliver U.N. supplies for emergency Ebola response. Credit: UN Photo/UNMEERUNITED NATIONS (IPS) - The widespread outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which has resulted in over 4,500 deaths so far, is also threatening... Thalif Deen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines
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