Colorlines - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 09:12
It's impossible to ignore the racist undertones in much of the world's Ebola coverage. Just yesterday, the United Nations huaman rights chief warned against anti-African discrimination over the disease. But it's already happening. Stassa Edwards over at Jezebel offers this:
African illness is represented as a suffering child, debased in its own disease-ridden waste; like the continent, it is infantile, dirty and primitive. Yet when the same disease is graphed onto the bodies of Americans and Europeans, it morphs into a heroic narrative: one of bold doctors and priests struck down, of experimental serums, of hazmat suits and the mastery of modern technology over contaminating, foreign disease. These parallel representations work on a series of simple, historic dualisms: black and white, good and evil, clean and unclean.
The Western medical discourse on Africa has never been particularly subtle: the continent is often depicted as an undivided repository of degeneration. Comparing the representations of disease in Africa and in the West, you can hear the whispers of an underlying moral panic: a sense that Africa, and its bodies, are uncontainable. The discussion around Ebola has already evoked--almost entirely from Tea Party Republicans--the explicit idea that American borders are too porous and that all manners of perceived primitiveness might infect the West.
Edwards goes on to give a brief history of racist moral panics around disease.
In the United States, where the first Ebola-infected patient, Liberian-born Thomas Eric Duncan, died, the disease is increasingly becoming a stand-in for blackness. As Hannah Giorgis writes at the Guardian:
[Duncan] - and the West Africans to whom he is tied by both birth and cause of death - have become nothing more than disease vectors responsible for infecting innocent western health workers, tarnishing pristine nations by importing the blemish of an African scourge. And yet, American citizenship alone does not sanitize the blight of blackness; Amber Joy Vinson, the second healthcare worker diagnosed with the virus, is already being met with scrutiny as Nina Pham's quarantined dog receives anoutpouring of support.
Colorlines - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 06:59
Here's what I'm reading up on today:
- President Obama may name a new czar to oversee the country's Ebola response. Meanwhile, a nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital detailed just how underprepared the staff was to handle the virus.
- And speaking of Ebola, here's a brief history of racist moral panic over disease.
- There's no end in sight for California's drought.
- 40,000 voter registration forms submitted by black and Latino would-be voters magically disappeared in Georgia.
- The San Francisco Giants will meet the Kansas City Royals in this year's World Series.
- The inmate population at Rikers Island is the lowest it's been in decades. So why have costs to run the prison risen so dramatically?
- Before gentrification, New York City was covered in graffiti -- Hua Hsa writes in the New Yorker about the 1981 documentary "Stations of the Elevated."
- Pharrell Williams has gone Kanye West on us.
- Junot Diaz writes about food.
- Sleep? You're doing it wrong.
New America Media - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 00:05
SAN FRANCISCO – Many Asian-American voters are undecided on key candidate races and ballot measures in the lead-up to the Nov. 4 election, according to a new analysis by the Field Poll’s Mark DiCamillo. The trend tracks with other surveys... Ngoc Nguyen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=70
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 14:59
Keep the national policing conversation sparked by the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford and more going. They're the subject of a town hall panel in Brooklyn tonight that will livestream for two hours, beginning at 7 p.m. E.S.T. Panelists include: Esmeralda Simmons, Center for Law & Social Justice, Medgar Evers College; Lumumba Bandele, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Jumaane Williams, City Council Member; Rinku Sen, Race Forward (publisher of Colorlines); Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; and Anthony Miranda, Latino Officers Association.
Watch livestreamed video above. Join the online conversation and Tweet questions to panelists: #BHeard.
And read ProPublica's latest on police killings and black men: in recent years, young black men were 21 times more likely than young white men to be killed by police.
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:56
Elizabeth Peña, the Cuban-American actress who starred in several treasured films and on the hit show "Modern Family," died on Wednesday in Los Angeles of natural causes. She was only 55 years old.
Before "Modern Family," Peña was known for her memorable roles in "La Bamba," "Tortilla Soup," and as a voice actress in "The Incredibles." In a moving memorial at Latino Review, Peña's nephew, the writer and director Mario-Francisco Robles, remembered his aunt's accomplishments:
I didn't call her Elizabeth, or Liz, or Leechy. She wasn't Aunt, Auntie, Tia, or Titi. To me...she was Ñaña. That was the name I assigned my aunt when I was just a baby, and it's the name I continued to refer to her as when I visited her in Los Angeles last week. She was our star. She was my star. We celebrated her triumphs. We sweated through her struggles. As a family, even when we didn't always talk, we would all do whatever we could for one another. When I got married 3 years ago, despite their being some logistical hurdles, she flew herself, her husband, and both her kids to attend my special night in New York's Hudson River Valley. Dancing with her, my uncle, and my cousins under the stars that night is a memory I've always cherished, and it's now one that I'll have to hold onto for the rest of my life.
My Ñaña is gone.
Read more at Latino Review.
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:46
Justin Simien, the director of "Dear White People," stopped by to chat with Stephen Colbert this week to talk about his debut film, which is in theaters nationwide this month. It's a fun segment -- Simien talks about the premise of his film and is noticeably unimpressed by Colbert's black friends.
New America Media - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:36
Traducción al inglésImagen: Alex Camacho sostiene la foto de su hijo Brandon Xavier. El joven se quitó la vida el año pasado. Hoy día, Alex y su esposa Iraida ayudan a prevenir el suicidio a través de su fundación Brandon’s... Johanes Roselló http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:17
Why do whites live where they live? Why do blacks live where they live? "In 1968, Larman Williams was one of the first African Americans to buy a home in the white suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. It wasn't easy." That's the beginning of Richard Rothstein's "The Making of Ferguson" in the fall issue of The American Prospect. As any St. Louisan will tell you, you can't talk about what's wrong with Ferguson without first understanding the region's patchwork of municipal boundaries--holdovers from the Jim Crow era, Rothstein says. He emphasizes that current residential segregation is not just a result of choice or the private prejudices of white homeowners. It's also, "the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises"--not only in St. Louis but throughout the country.
That government, not private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once widely recognized. In 1974, a federal appeals court concluded, "Segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was ... in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments." The Department of Justice stipulated to this truth but took no action in response. In 1980, a federal court ordered the state, county, and city governments to devise plans to integrate schools by integrating housing. Public officials ignored the order, devising only a voluntary busing plan to integrate schools, but not housing.
Read the rest, including the Jim Crow-era experiences of pioneering black homeowners, now at The American Prospect. Looking for even deeper analysis? Check out Rothstein's paper at The Economic Policy Institute.
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:15
Erykah Badu, who's known for doing silly things in public, performed incognito last Friday in Times Square. It wasn't quite silly, according to the artist. "I kinda always wanted to see what it would be like to sing for money on the streets," she said in the self-made iPhone video.
She wound up taking home $3.40. New York City just ain't right.
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 08:38
Archie Panjabi, the actress who plays the gun-toting, ass-kicking investigator Kalinda Sharma in the CBS drama "The Good Wife," has signed on to headline a new pilot with 20th Century Fox TV. From Deadline:
Panjabi had been thinking about moving on from the show for a while. "Archie is an amazing actress who helped build Kalinda from the ground up as an enigmatic, powerful, and sexy character," The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King said in a statement. "It's been a pleasure to write for her, and we'll be sad to see her go; but we still have her for the rest of Season 6, so let's not exhaust our good-byes yet. We look forward to meeting all the wonderful new characters Archie brings to the screen. But either way, we're keeping the boots."
Panjabi won a 2010 Emmy for her role on the show, becoming one of the most recognizable actress of South Asian descent in Hollywood. The new pilot is tentatively set for the spring or fall of 2015.
Colorlines - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:39
This is what I'm reading up on today:
- Dallas' Texas Presbyterian is in damage-control mode, but lax U.S. guidelines may be to blame for the hospital's failure to stop the spread of Ebola.
- RIP Elizabeth Peña, 1959-2014.
- Remember that awful video of tech bros kicking brown kids off of a San Francisco soccer field? Longtime residents of the city's Mission District rallied on Wednesday to change the city's Park and Recreation reservation policies.
- Lucas may be able to use Venmo to send cash to friends, but Ahmed apparently can't.
New America Media - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 00:30
Traducción al españolPictured above: Alex Camacho holding a photo of his son, Brandon Xavier. The young man took his own life last year. Today, Alex and his wife Iraida are helping prevent suicide through their foundation Brandon’s Key 4 Life.... Johanes Roselló, Translated by Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 00:05
LOS ANGELES -- The real-life story of José Osuna -- like the character Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables -- gives credence to the idea that a second chance is sometimes all you need to turn your life... Julian Do http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=23
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 15:40
The United States is just three weeks into the latest phase of its effort in Iraq against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria--the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group--but already there are calls for it to escalate.
This past Sunday on CNN, Senator John McCain (R-Ala.) advocated for a greater number of U.S. ground troops to get directly involved in fighting the group. ISIS is "winning, we're not," McCain complained. McCain is not alone. His sentiments have been echoed by others in Congress and among key American allies around the world such as the United Kingdom and Turkey.
The problem is that the unfinished business in Iraq and Afghanistan shows us that scaling up the military campaign against ISIS will create severe costs that won't be shouldered equally by all Americans. Sadly this fact is lost on many involved in the debate.
Before launching headlong into a third Iraq War it's important to step back and review the costs of the past 13 years of combat. Not surprisingly, the sacrifice of war, monetary and otherwise are disproportionately borne by people of color and the young.
According to The Costs of War project at Brown University, the total costs for the second Iraq War and the ongoing one in Afghanistan is $4.4 trillion. Cost-wise, these two conflicts should be considered as one because it has long been established that the war in Iraq prolonged the one in Afghanistan by drawing away resources from it and causing it to drag on. Everyone in the country could go to college for nearly a decade free of charge with $4.4 trillion.
What's astounding is that this eye-popping price tag could very well be the tip of the iceberg. As Costs of War points out "each additional month and year of war adds to that toll. In fact, total costs could stretch as high as $6 trillion in the coming years as veterans benefits and the like tally up.
Beyond the monetary issues there are others that are beyond measure.
Nearly 7,000 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. But these numbers exclude military contractors, the private paramilitary outfits hired by the government to supplement the work of the armed forces. Folding them into official casualty figures nearly doubles the number of U.S. deaths.
Fifty thousand American men and women were wounded in action, with another 330,000 having suffered some variation of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by their time at war. Added to these dramatic impacts is the grim fact that nearly 200,000 Afghani, Iraqi and Pakistani civilians have been killed in these conflicts since 2001.
Although the deaths and injuries cause unconscionable pain, the ramifications of these casualties are not spread evenly throughout society.
Nearly half of all those who've died in the war are under the age of 25. When it comes to race, close to two out of five of those serving in the U.S. armed forces is black or brown. And once they return from the battlefield, according to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, black veterans are more likely than their white counterparts to be unemployed (PDF).
The war has also impacted historically marginalized communities in other ways. Iraq and Afghanistan diverted the nation's attention and financial resources from investments necessary to ensure that the working poor have an economic shot. For instance, additional capital promised to schools identified as struggling by No Child Left Behind wasn't delivered as planned. In fact, during some of the Iraq War's most active years, No Child Left Behind school assistance was half of what the law pledged. Schools serving the nation's poorest children were hung out to dry for low test scores but were not provided the help needed to turn them around.
The two wars have done more economic damage than underfunding. The sky-is-the-limit approach to military spending since 2001 created the massive debt that's been used to justify the rolling back of economic opportunity programs that helped build the middle class. The entire cost of Iraq and Afghanistan were not paid for directly, rather they were charged to the nation's credit card. Concern over this mounting debt is what fueled the Tea Party. Once in office, conservative members of Congress went about slashing everything from food assistance, to housing help to pre-school education under the banner of getting the nation's fiscal house in order.
As I have written before their arguments don't hold up to scrutiny. The nation is nowhere near broke, but that was never the point. A wing of the Republican Party has always sought to run up the nation's debt and then use it as an excuse to shrink the government programs they oppose. This even has an unfortunate name: "starve the beast." Yet the money being shoveled out the door for the two wars was the sort of justification for which they'd worked for so long. They've spent most of President Obama's time in office using it to advance their aims.
The United States is not fully into a third Iraq War, but its important to remember that there students on the verge of entering high school who've never known a time when the United States is not a war. Hopefully as decision-makers and the national security establishment will consider what's next in the Middle East they will recall the staggering economic, political and social costs that continue to reverberate across the nation from the last set of wars in the region.
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 14:54
The FBI effort to quash black nationalist "subversion" in the 1950s and '60s set the agency up well to continue infiltrating and destabilizng black Muslim communities when Sept. 11 provided a 21st century mandate to fight the threat of Muslim "radicalization," The Nation argues this week in its report about Ayyub Abdul-Alim.
Abdul-Alim, who's Puerto Rican and black, grew up in New York City and was living in Springfield, Massachusetts, when he was first approached by an FBI agent in 2010. The agent's invitation to become an informant grew into harassment and hounding. Then police, Abdul-Alim says, planted a gun on him and arrested him in 2011. In custody, a police officer, also working with the FBI, offered Abdul-Alim a trade--his freedom for a lucrative contract as an FBI informant. He refused, and ended up paying dearly.
Arun Kundnani, Emily Keppler, and Muki Najaer, reporting for The Nation, put Abdul-Alim's case in historical perspective:
Since 9/11, a key element in the FBI's counter-terrorism tactics has been the aggressive recruitment and deployment of large numbers of informants among Muslim communities in the United States. Part of the purpose is to gather information on political or community activism, which the FBI frames as a precursor to extremist violence. But the tactics also fit a familiar pattern--one that harkens back to the FBI's history of targeting the civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, when it was likewise asserted that extremist ideologues were fueling violence.
Today, black Muslims stand at the intersection of the War on Drugs' institutional racism and the War on Terror's institutional Islamophobia: their race frames them as prone to gang violence, their religion as a terrorist threat. Abdul-Alim's case shows the extreme measures the FBI is willing to use to pressure Muslims to work as informants on the terror war's domestic front.
Read the story in its riveting entirety at The Nation.
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 13:49
According to the Associated Press (AP), an undocumented student who left to Mexico in hopes of helping his mother battle cancer will be allowed to return to the United States on temporary humanitarian parole.
Dario Guerrero Meneses, 21, is a student at Harvard. After his mother, 41-year-old Rocio Meneses Díaz, was unsuccessfully treated for cancer in the U.S., Guerrero accompanied her to Mexico for alternative care this past summer. Nevertheless, she passed away a week later, on August 14.
Guerrero's lived almost his entire life in the U.S., first arriving at the age of 2. And although he obtained Deferred Status for Undocumented Immigrants, which largely protects him from deportation, Guerrero was ineligible to return immediately.
Guerrero, who will soon be a father himself, petitioned for the ability to return on humanitarian grounds through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services; he was approved Tuesday. AP posted his reaction and specified that the move doesn't carve out a permanent solution:
"Oh my God. I don't know. I feel good!" Guerrero said as the news brought tears of joy to his aunts and cousins. Guerrero said he was excited to resume his education and take up new family responsibilities.
This parole is temporary. It lasts for two years and does not give him legal residency, let alone a clear path to U.S. citizenship.
You can read the full story over at AP.
New America Media - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:00
An Indian national convicted of killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother in a kidnapping for ransom gone awry has been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania.The jury’s decision to hand down the death penalty on Tuesday night after convicting Raghunandan... New India Times http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:49
A new PBS series presents, as millennials site .Mic* notes, an "unironic" look at how white Americans experience their racial identity. Last week's first installment of the 22-episode series by filmmaker Whitney Dow* is a little more than a minute of interviews with residents of Buffalo, New York, one of the country's most segregated cities. Expect more as Dow will interview more than 1,000 people around the country. Some of his goals, as shared in his artistic statement:
"...to engender debate about the role of whiteness in American society and encourage white Americans to become fully vested participants in the ongoing debate about the role of race in American society.. ...The Whiteness Project hopes to bring everyday white Americans, especially those who would not normally engage in a project about race, into the racial discussion--to help them understand the active role their race plays in every facet of their lives, to remove some of the confusion and guilt that many white people feel around the subject of race and to help white Americans learn to own their whiteness--and everything positive and negative it represents--in the same way that every other ethnicity owns its ethnic identity.
Check your local PBS station for showtimes.
*Post has been updated since publication to to reflect that PolicyMic.com has changed its name to .Mic and to correct the misspelling, "Down."
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 09:22
Vonderrit Myers Jr., the 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by St. Louis police last week, had gunshot residue on his hands and clothing, according to crime lab results. The findings, reported by St. Louis' KSDK, are an added piece of evidence as investigators and the public work to build a coherent timeline of events before a uniformed off-duty St. Louis police officer shot and killed Myers last Wednesday. The findings don't, however, reconcile the divergent accounts of what happened before Myers was killed.
KSDK's Kevin Held reports:
The tests confirm gunshot residue on Myers' hand, the inner waistband of his jeans, and on his T-shirt. Investigators say the presence of gunshot residue on a person's hands could mean that individual fired a gun, was near a gun when it was fired, or touched an object with gunshot residue on it. Also, people who are shot at close range can have gunshot residue on their person.
In the wake of the shooting, Myers' family insisted that he was unarmed and holding a sandwich. According to police, the uniformed off-duty officer approached Myers and two others last Wednesday before they scattered. When the cop confronted Myers, police say, Myers discharged a gun three times before the cop responded with gunshots of his own, killing the teen.
Myers' prior interactions with the criminal justice system show that he was "no angel," the St. Louis Police Association said according to the St. Louis American. It's a loaded descriptor though. The New York Times, in its much-criticized profile of slain teen Michael Brown, also described Brown as "no angel," a phrase the paper reserved for convicted white rapists and murderers, a Nazi field marshal and Magic Johnson. Brown and Myers, both black and 18 years old, were shot and killed by police officers exactly two months apart.
Colorlines - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 09:16
This Vine is by far the most hilarious thing Michelle Obama's ever done to push her campaign against childhood obesity. Watch and laugh!
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