Diversity Headlines

Navajo Kindergartener Told to Cut his Hair, Sent Home on First Day of School

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:13

Five-year-old Malachi Wilson was all set to start kindergarten at F.J. Young Elementary in Seminole, Texas, but on Monday he was told to cut his hair and was sent home. His mother, April Wilson, contacted the Navajo Nation; the American Indian Movement also put pressure on the district to reverse its decision against the child. Only after she provided documentation of her son's Native-ness through Malachi's Certificate of Indian Blood did the Seminole Independent School District change its mind.

The district's rather lengthy student dress code stipulates more than a dozen rules when it comes to hair. Among them, Mohawks are prohibited. (Mohawks are called that for the way that some actual Mohawk people wear their hair.) Dreadlocks are also prohibited. The handbook says exceptions are made on "certain recognized religious or spiritual beliefs," but students "must receive prior approval by the campus administrator." The district changed its mind about Wilson's hair--but he nevertheless missed his first day of school.

The school district is ostensibly named for the Seminole people. The district's schools use various Native mascots, and refer to their students as "Indians and Maidens." 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Former Giuliani Speechwriter Says We Don't Need Another Dialogue on Race

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:54
Former Giuliani Speechwriter Says We Don't Need Another Dialogue on Race

After Michael Brown's killing, Damon Linker doesn't want another national dialogue on race. Instead the former speechwriter for Mayor Rudy Giuliani wants white Americans to see their country through the eyes of African-Americans. Here's why:

Blacks overwhelmingly believe that the police use deadly force against black suspects...while whites tend to presume that cops do their jobs fairly. This is a big deal, and one that should trouble white America far more than it does -- because it means that whites view armed agents of the government as their allies, while African Americans see those same agents...like the occupying army of a hostile power.

Linker doesn't get at the hard stuff: "how" to get more white Americans to see life from the other side of the color line. But the full essay over at The Week is worth the read. 


Categories: Diversity Headlines

For Freelancers, Growing Opportunity and Risk

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:44
Editor’s note: The recent beheading of freelance journalist James Foley (pictured above) by militants from the Islamic State highlights the growing dangers that freelance reporters covering conflict zones face. NAM Editor Andrew Lam writes the paring back by media of... Andrew Lam http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=8
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Comic Relief: Jon Stewart Takes Down Fox News' Take on Ferguson

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:28

Watch Jon Stewart take down a number of Fox News talking points that are popular among people of color on the left and right, too. Stay tuned until the end when Stewart, who's just returned from vacation asks, "Do you not understand that life in this country is inherently different for white people and black people?" The question gets at the difference, well-noted these past few weeks, in how white and black Americans react to Ferguson. Stewart answers with a tale of two of his employees sent out on an assignment. One is black, the other white. Not much to say: many people know how this story goes.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

En nuestro mundo digital, estarán los jóvenes perdiendo la capacidad de leer las emociones?

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:25
EnglishLas habilidades sociales de los niños pueden estar en declive ya que tienen menos tiempo para la interacción cara a cara debido a su uso mayor de los medios digitales, según un estudio de psicología de la Universidad de California... Stuart Wolpert http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Parents Announce Boycott of Newark Schools Over School Reform Plan

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:14
Parents Announce Boycott of Newark Schools Over School Reform Plan

A group of Newark parents announced today that their children will boycott Newark public schools beginning next week, at the start of the new school year. "NPS Boycott 4 Freedom" is a response to "One Newark," a school reform plan set to take effect next month that will restructure or shut down a third of schools in the city's state-run public school district.

"The NPS Boycott 4 Freedom is an act of resistance and a statement against the One Newark Plan -- Gov. Christie and Superintendent Cami Anderson's destructive and shortsighted plan," Newark parent Deborah Cornavaca said in a statement. "We have decided to escalate our actions to a boycott because we cannot continue to let the state and the superintendent disregard our lived experience and endanger the lives of our children."

In May, Newark parents, together with groups from Chicago and New Orleans and the Advancement Project, filed federal complaints with the Department of Education, charging that school reform and closure plans disproportionately affected African-American and Latino children in those cities. Last month, the Department of Education confirmed that it opened an investigation into Newark's One Newark plan off of the complaints it received.

According to the federal complaint civil rights groups filed, African-American students comprised 53 percent of the district enrollment but nearly three quarters of those impacted by school closures in the 2011-2012 school year. One Newark will have similarly racially disparate impacts on Newark students, parents warn.

Parents are calling for an end to the One Newark Plan, and an end to decades-long state control of Newark Public Schools, as well as implementation of "community-driven sustainable schools," according to parents' demands.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Majority of Chinese Homeowners Don't Have Earthquake Insurance

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:03
A 6.0 earthquake that struck Napa, just north of San Francisco, may prompt Chinese homeowners to consider buying earthquake insurance, reported the Chinese-language daily World Journal. The majority of Chinese homeowners do not buy earthquake insurance when they buy a... World Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Following Ferguson: Teaching the Crisis in the Classroom

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:34
 Teaching the Crisis in the Classroom

Ferguson is fresh on people's minds, and that also goes for students returning to school. But Edwardsville, Illinois, schools Superintendent Ed Hightower responded to the crisis by directing teachers not to discuss the events that have unfolded in the last two weeks, and to "change the subject" should Ferguson comes up in class, KMOX reported.

Other educators are taking a different tack. Washington, D.C., schools issued a five-page teacher's resource guide for how to discuss Ferguson in the classroom. It's full of practical tips, and geared for students in the public district. 

Teachers who discuss police brutality and Michael Brown's death will need to "remember that you will almost certainly have students who have been victims of racial profiling in your classroom," the guide cautions, urging that teachers proceed with care, sensitivity and openness. The Chronicle of Higher Ed, meanwhile, spoke with St. Louis-area college professors about their classroom plans. 

Georgetown professor Marcia Chatelain used Twitter to put together a #FergusonSyllabus for teachers looking for resources for their classrooms. The list Chatelain compiled at TheAtlantic.com, which includes history, fiction, children's books and academic works, is a great resource for more than just students and their teachers. Chatelain's ask was that her fellow educators commit to discussing Ferguson in their first days of class, and share resources with students and each other to help sort through the last few weeks of trauma, confusion and race dialogue. "Some of us will talk about Ferguson forcefully, others gingerly, but from preschool classrooms to postdoctoral seminars, Ferguson is on the syllabus," Chatelain wrote. Conversation sparked by #FergusonSyllabus inspired this resource guide for educators, too.

The long-read of the day is Adam Serwer's historical look at decades of so-called "race riots" in "Eight Years of Fergusons" for Buzzfeed. Serwer writes:

The recipe for urban riots since 1935 is remarkably consistent and the ingredients are almost always the same: An impoverished and politically disempowered black population refused full American citizenship, a heavy-handed and overwhelmingly white police force, a generous amount of neglect, and frequently, the loss of black life at the hands of the police. Yet we're always surprised at what they cook up.

We have had 80 years of Fergusons. We may have more. Violence -- as harmful and self-destructive as it is -- sometimes works.


Moreover, it was not just sit-ins and marches that finally moved President John F. Kennedy to conclude that federal civil rights legislation was necessary, but a riot -- specifically, the 1963 conflagration in Birmingham.

It's worth a read, and adding onto the #FergusonSyllabus. Please share what you're reading, and thanks for joining this Tuesday edition of Following Ferguson.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Poniéndose ‘salvaje’ en la ciudad más diversa en América

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:33
in EnglishEste año se cumple el 50º aniversario de la Ley de Áreas Silvestres, la legislación federal que fue promulgada en 1964 para preservar los espacios salvajes de Estados Unidos. Con esa ley de conservación histórica, 100 millones de acres... Ngoc Nguyen; Traducido por Elizabeth Gonzalez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

SF to Provide Legal Counsel to Undocumented Youth

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:32
San Francisco on Wednesday will announce a new program to provide legal counsel to undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Under the plan, introduced by Supervisor David Chiu, the city will provide $100,000 to the nonprofit Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, to... New America Media http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dreamers Confront Sen. Marco Rubio Over His Support to End DACA

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:27
A group of Dreamers confronted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at an event Monday evening over his support to end the deferred action program that is helping undocumented youth get work permits and live without fear of deportation.Rubio has said he... VOXXI http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Learning From Ferguson: The Real Cost of Criminal Debt

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:05
 The Real Cost of Criminal Debt

In a city with 14 percent unemployment and where more than 20 percent of residents live below poverty, criminal fines and court fees levied on the poor are Ferguson's second largest source of revenue. That's according to a new white paper from St. Louis-based indigent defense group, ArchCity Defenders. "I'll be real honest, I didn't believe them," at first, executive director Thomas Harvey tells the Daily Beast about incessant client complaints of being targeted because they were black and poor. But findings from a yearlong court-watching program changed Harvey's mind--and they're drawing attention to an ongoing national problem of municipalities using local courts to generate revenue from the poor instead of dispensing justice.

The debt-to-prison pipeline--through traffic violations, misdemeanors and arcane courthouse rules and financial penalties--is a major cause of antagonism between Ferguson residents and local police. Criminal debt cripples families and communities after all, and not only the individual receiving the warrant.

(h/t Daily Beast/The New York Times)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

How News Media Fuels the Myth of Black Crime

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:07
How News Media Fuels the Myth of Black Crime

You're not just imagining things. The local news media's intense focus on violent crime is also deeply racialized, at least if New York City's media market is indicative of national trends.

Media Matters reviewed the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts of four New York-area stations over the course of this summer and compared their crime stories to arrest data from the New York Police Department. In a report released Aug. 26, the watchdog group found black suspects in crime stories far outweigh their actual representation in arrests--which is saying something, since we also know arrests themselves are racially skewed, with black people representing far more arrests for, say, marijuana possession than drug-use rates suggest is appropriate.

The disparity in crime coverage was most striking for stories about theft. In local news-land, 80 percent of suspects in New York-area thefts are black, Media Matters found. In real life, blacks represent 55 percent of NYPD's arrests for theft. For assaults, TV-land sees 72 percent of suspects as black. Real life: 49 percent. 

This reality skewing coverage is part of how black bodies become synonymous with crime and danger--and helps justify the violence and danger the state then reigns down upon peolpe like Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But the news media's skewed racial reality doesn't end with crime.

Earlier this year, Colorlines' publisher, Race Forward, analyzed national news media coverage of stories about race. Our research team found that two-thirds of race-focused stories ignored the systemic factors involved, and focused instead on personal prejudices and individual level efforts to name the racist in the room. Race Forward's Jay Smooth explains the findings in the video below.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hours After Brown's Killing, Police in Ferguson Let K-9 Urinate on Memorial Site

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:00
Hours After Brown's Killing, Police in Ferguson Let K-9 Urinate on Memorial Site

It was bad enough that Ferguson police left Michael Brown's dead body in plain sight on a residential street for more than four hours after Darren Wilson shot and killed the unarmed 18-year-old. But what police did the evening of August 9 gives us a better understanding of why Ferguson's black community was even further enraged.

In an article over at Mother Jones, Mark Follman explains how police officers disrespected the still bloodstained spot where Brown was gunned down. It's unclear which police department was responsible, but according to witnesses, one unit allowed their K-9 dog to urinate directly on the memorial site.

And, as if that's not sufficiently horrific, Follman describes what happened to the flowers and candles that Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden had brought to the site where her son was killed:

The day brought other indignities for Brown's family, and the community. Missouri state Rep. Sharon Pace, whose district includes the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, told me she went to the scene that afternoon to comfort the parents, who were blocked by police from approaching their son's body. Pace purchased some tea lights for the family, and around 7 p.m. she joined Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and others as they placed the candles and sprinkled flowers on the ground where Brown had died. "They spelled out his initials with rose petals over the bloodstains," Pace recalled.

By then, police had prohibited all vehicles from entering Canfield Drive except for their own. Soon the candles and flowers had been smashed, after police drove over them.

Things got so bad that local residents began using their own bodies to block police cars from entering the street where Brown was killed.

You can read Follman's article in its entirety on Mother Jones

Categories: Diversity Headlines

5 Reasons Why Black Lives Matter

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:37
5 Reasons Why Black Lives Matter

Stacia L. Brown wears a lot of hats. The Baltimore-based single mother of a 4-year-old serves as Colorlines' Community Engagement Fellow, teaches writing at a local college, runs Beyond Baby Mamas and Bellow, and still finds the time and energy to write--beautifully. Over the past couple of weeks, sparked by the police killing of Michael Brown, she has been writing essays about the slain teen, police brutality, parenting and black vulnerability. Brown posted what became a five-essay series on her personal website, stacialbrown.com.

Here, we share excerpts with you:

1. From "Ferguson and the Patience for The Appalled," August 18, 2014

Forgive us for retiring "We Shall Overcome" for a while. Our president was black, and his attorney general had been tasked with tending to what was left of systemic inequity.  We overcame! Or at the very least, circa 2008, we felt fairly capable of overcoming.

Yes, even when we couldn't catch cabs. Yes, even when we were stopped and frisked. Yes, even when a black Harvard historian was accused of breaking and entering into his front door. That was resolved with a beer summit, wasn't it? Ain't we some overcomers?

Pardon us for reeling in the wake of this latest reminder that we are still psychically, politically, horrifically, oppressed.

We watched a child bake on the asphalt on a middle American town last weekend, while the cop who killed him fled without calling in the murder or staying on the scene. And while sitting on our seat's edge waiting for accountability, we had to reckon with the protracted dawning that no immediate responsibility would be assigned, that none of the shooting officer's higher-ups -- from his police chief to his governor -- would feel the need to reprimand or hold him wholly responsible.

2. From "Ice Berg Boys: On Michael Brown and Other Lives Cut Short," August 16, 2014

Honey, here is a thing you will need to know about young black men: they are icebergs. My lord, how often they've been told to shine up the peak that is exposed, how thoroughly they've convinced themselves that what lies beneath should stay submerged. The waters are dark and frigid, but when you love any one of those iceberg boys, you will want to plumb his depths. You will long to warm him enough to lift him, to lower the water levels, to expose the many moments that he feels the need to hide. And if you succeed, what you will surely find first is fear.

3. From "A Brief History of Black Folks and Sidewalks," August 14, 2014

Henry's Freedom Box or Freedom on the Menu; you have not heard of Emmett Till, have not seen what it seems that every black child must: his bloated, disfigured face in an open casket -- but someday you will understand just how many of our horror stories begin and end with sidewalks.

Whether stepping off of them to let a white man pass or refusing to cross to one on the other side of a street in order to clear a white woman's path, sidewalks have never been entirely inanimate for us. Our teeth have been broken against them. After tussling unarmed on one, Trayvon Martin was accused in court of using a sidewalk as a weapon, just before his blood was splattered across it. And even now, with no particular law in place to compel us, some confess to still ceding the sidewalk for white passersby, in spite of ourselves.

4: From "Stay Here," August 12, 2014

Stay here. Do whatever you can. Duck. Chant. Sob. Rail. But stay. The rest of us are running to and fro in your stead, spreading your words, your footage, your fears, your demands for a demilitarized, diverse police department. We are trying to make the world around you understand how wrong it is for police from multiple counties to bring in heavy artillery on ground and heavy surveillance in sky, in order to subdue the few of you brave enough to venture out each night in search of answers. We are trying to help you hold your county accountable for employing and protecting an officer who would flee down the same street where he opened fire on an unarmed boy and left him there, first to die, then to bleed in open view for several hour

You will never do as much damage to the town's businesses as the damage being done to the town's bodies. Do not try. If there will ever be a way to win, this sort of competition isn't it. On foot, you cannot play chicken with tanks. Unarmed, you cannot play roulette with rifle-bearing riot police.

5. From "When Parenting Feels Like a Fool's Errand: On the Death of Michael Brown," August 10, 2014

I don't want to talk about the boy and the sneakers peeking out from the sheet crudely draped over his corpse in the street, because I have been happy this month and it is so rare that I'm happy and that you, at age 4, don't have to touch my knee or shoulder or face and say, "What's wrong, Mama? You sad?"

I don't want to think of who will go out on her hands and knees to scrub what's left of the boy's blood from the concrete. It will probably be a loved one, her hands idle after hours of clenching them into fists, watching what used to be her breathing boy lie lifeless, as she waited and waited and waited for the police and the coroner and the county to get their stories straight and their shit together and their privilege, sitting crooked as a ten-dollar wig, readjusted till it was firmly intact. All that time they spent, just primping, just holding their whiteness and authority up as mirrors for one another, tuning out the cries of a mourning community -- or garbling them, rather. Did they say, "Kill the police?!" As long as that's the way you heard it, they did. And that is what AP will wire out to every mainstream news outlet who can be bothered to report the death of another unarmed black son on a Saturday night.

Their truth is not our truth.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Gaza Ceasefire, IMF's Lagarde Under Investigation, Kincaid's New Award

Colorlines - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:15
Gaza Ceasefire, IMF's Lagarde Under Investigation, Kincaid's New Award

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

  • IMF chief Christine Lagarde is under investigation by a French court for negligence in a political fraud case. 
  • Cardinals quarterback Antonio Cromartie pays homage to Michael Brown:

Prayers to #MikeBrown and his family. May he Rest in Peace. #StandStrongForMike pic.twitter.com/XBMGT6FPjv

-- ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) August 25, 2014
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ferguson Opened the Door to a Discussion of Black Equality

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:05
 Suddenly the nation is talking about black equality.It took Molotov cocktails in Ferguson, Mo., to forcefully penetrate our slumbering racial consciousness. Ferguson has become a metaphor for race relations in the 21st century; a signifier for the convergence of poverty,... Joseph Paniele http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Grow Your Own “Unretirement” - Minnesota Hmong on the Farm

New America Media - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:00
MINNEAPOLIS--If you know any farmers, you know that, for them, retirement is an elusive concept. Nearly 29 percent of the nation’s farmers (principal operators) are 55 to 64; a third are 65-plus. But there’s another reason for the high... Chris Farrell http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

No Environmental Refugees in Napa After the Quake

New America Media - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:00
 The jolting woke us and we jumped into action mode. “Earthquake!” We bolted through the library to our daughter’s door. The shaking stopped. It was a sleepover night and our daughter’s friend was already on her extended family’s texting tree,... Mary Jo McConahay http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

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New America Media - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:29
English? UCLA ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? 6?? ???? ???? 5? ? ????, ???? ? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ? ? ???? ??? ????. ? UCLA? ???... Stuart Wolpert, Translated by Yeojin Kim http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines
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