Diversity Headlines

South Korean President Considers Raising the Sunken Sewol Ferry

New America Media - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 11:45
 South Korean President Park Geun-hye pledged Monday to consider salvaging the Sewol ferry that sank off Jindo Island last year and killed more than 300 passengers aboard.“I will actively consider salvaging the ship after accepting the opinions of relatives of... Koream Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Louisiana Retains Nation’s and World’s Highest Incarceration Rate

New America Media - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 11:37
 For the first time since 2012, Louisiana’s prison population is starting to decline, The Associated Press reported last week.Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc told state lawmakers Tuesday that Louisiana has seen a drop of about 3,000 state inmates since 2012. He... Louisiana Weekly http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

ICYMI: Mindy Kaling's Brother Pretended to be Black on His Med School Apps

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:47
 Mindy Kaling's Brother Pretended to be Black on His Med School Apps

Vijay Chokal-Ingam, older brother of comedian/showrunner Mindy Kaling, waited 15 years to tell the world that he faked his race in an attempt to get into medical school.

According to an interview with the NY Post, Chokal-Ingam says he pretended to be a black man in his applications, "after seeing fellow Asian Indian-Americans with better grades than he had struggle to get into med school." The 38-year-old says he also shaved his head, cut his long eyelashes and applied under a different name in order to gain admission into St. Louis University Medical School--only to drop out two years later.

Why is he revealing this now, you ask?

Chokal-Ingam says he's revealing his race ruse now because he heard that UCLA is considering strengthening its affirmative-action admissions policies. He says it's a myth that affirmative action benefits the underprivileged.

He's also been extremely vocal on Twitter with his thoughts on affirmative action.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.46.53 PM.png


Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.47.48 PM.pngHe's even created a site called Almost Black where he shares further details about his lie. His sister Mindy isn't the happiest about his decision to go public with his story. He told the Post, "she says this will bring shame on the family," and refers to himself as her "nemesis" on his Twitter page. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Rihanna Calls Out Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:37

rih on the religious freedom bill pic.twitter.com/cOhGZ9TMKq

— Mikela (@innerwildflower) April 5, 2015

Rihanna took a moment out of her performance at the March Madness Music Fest in Indianapolis on Saturday night to blast the state's antigay "religious freedom" law that allows business owners to decline service to LGBTQ people on spiritual grounds.

Of course, the pop star did so in true Rihanna fashion:

Who's feelin' these new bullsh*t laws, that they're tryin' to pass over here? I say, 'F*ck that shit.' I want to hear you say, 'F*ck that shit!" 'Cause we're just livin' our motherf*ckin' lives. Indiana!

She slipped her comment in right before performing her hit "Live Your Life."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Diddy to Executive Produce an Animated Series

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:27
Diddy to Executive Produce an Animated Series

FX has put into development an animated comedy called "Brightmoor," which will be executive produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs. The series was created and written by Chris Powell, a Detroit comedian who recently appeared on "Empire" and Chip Hall, a writer for "King of the Hill." 

"Brightmoor," which FX reportedly described as "'South Park' set in inner-city Detroit," will be about a group of black students at Brightmoor Elementary. 

Combs will executive produce the show under his Revolt Films banner. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Sound and Fury of Mitski

Hyphen Blog - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 09:57

Mitski's sad punk songs and sharp cultural critique are not to be overlooked. 

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Man Charged With Chapel Hill Killings in Court Today

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 08:39
Man Charged With Chapel Hill Killings in Court Today

Less than an hour after killing three Muslim-American family members in their Chapel Hill apartment complex, he says, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks turned himself into police. Hicks will be in court today for a hearing to determine whether he could face the death penalty. In February, Hicks fatally shot three students, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Police reports contend that the unprovoked triple homicide was over a parking dispute, which the victims' families strongly dispute. They say their children were killed because they are Muslim.

If convicted of first-degree murder, the prosecutor has said in court documents that he intends to seek the death penalty.

(h/t AP)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

FBI Responds to Colorlines Twitterchat

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 08:16
FBI Responds to Colorlines Twitterchat

Colorlines recently reported news of the FBI's updated hate crimes training manual which features better tracking of hate crimes against members of Sikh, Hindu and Arab-American communities. The news swept across our social community with many questions posed on Facebook and Twitter including "What took so long?" and "How effective will the change be?"

Partnering with the Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Sikh Coalition, and Simran Jeet Singh, a Ph.D. candidate in Religion at Columbia University, Colorlines hosted a Twitterchat to not only answer questions from our social community but to share perspectives on the new manual and the impact of hate crimes.

We invited the FBI to participate in the Twitterchat. Stephen Fischer, chief of multimedia productions for the agency, told us they "do not possess the capability to have a Twitterchat." Following the chat Fischer e-mailed responses to the following questions:

1. Why did it take so long for the FBI to start tracking hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans?

This topic was presented through the FBI CJIS Advisory Process Board (APB) and approved for addition to the data collection by the FBI Director in June 2013. Once approved, the FBI UCR Program allows 18 to 24 months to implement the new bias categories within our database and to then share this information with the local and state UCR law enforcement contributors.

2. If the perpetrator of a hate crime gets their target wrong, how is the crime classified? 

The FBI UCR Program collects bias crime statistics based on an offender's perception. If the offender is mistaken about the victim's race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., the offense would still be reported as a hate crime as long as the investigation shows the offender was motivated by bias against that victim/group.

3. What is the process of implementation for these changes? Is it focused on local law enforcement and/or accompanied with classes to educate agents?

Technical changes have already been implemented and the FBI UCR Program can receive data when the states/agencies are ready to report. Training guides and classes and the Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines and Training Manual have also been updated and made available to local law enforcement. This information is available through the FBI.gov website. Hate crime training is available upon request from the state program or direct contributor agencies.

You can read all about the Twitterchat in the Colorlines Storify slideshow below. To join the ongoing discussion, tweet @Colorlines using the hashtag #ColorlinesChat.


Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Legs for 'This Bridge Called My Back'

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 07:42
New Legs for 'This Bridge Called My Back'

The 1981 feminist classic "This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color" is getting new legs thanks to a March re-release by SUNY Press. Now in its fourth edition, the anthology has influenced generations of women-of-color activists. In the early '80s it served as a call to action and a reflection of how many felt. Today it's an interesting testament to the progression of a movement.

I spoke with Cherríe Moraga, the surviving editor of the anthology (co-editor Gloria Anzaldúa passed away in 2004) while she was promoting the book in New York City. Below is an excerpt of our telephone conversation, edited for length and clarity.

What inspired the new edition?

Finally of all the forces came together at the same time. There had been a third edition that came out in 2002--a beautiful edition that came out with Third Woman Press. But it was a very small run and with all my traveling I realized that it hadn't really reached people. I had taken a big pause after Gloria's passing but I returned to the project in 2011 [when] politically things started to come together. The first introduction I did was at the beginning of the Egyptian revolution. Hearing from young people again using words like "we are Third World people in a first world country," I had the spirit again to do it. I see there is so much to know from those years for the young activists who want some language and some history for their own political vision.

How does today's political climate compare to the era when "Bridge" was written?

Politically, in terms of economics, everything is worse. On a superficial level we can look at all of these advances. There's more representation on TV, more people of color teaching at the university. Most of the things that we are citing as progress [have] to do with professional-class people [but] what about all of the poor and working class sustaining those institutions? Those conditions are the worst they've ever been. We can't even make a living wage. The whole beauty of feminism of color as an idea, as a way of having consciousness has to do with that multiplicity of identities. You don't look at the one Asian-American woman who made it into such and such or the one black woman, as somehow a model for the conditions of the vast majority of women of color. This is a function of tokenism and of capitalist patriarchy. This is a country where they point to the exception when the rule is so solidly unchanged.

Do you see evidence of progress made by the women-of-color feminist movement?

When you see these eruptions that happen, like with #BlackLivesMatter and the undocumented movement, the queer part is emblematic of the personal is political. That is a solid feminist concept that our intimate lives matter as much as our political lives. When I look at the movement that is happening nationally around sexual assault on campuses, it's a completely feminist movement across race. ... We have a body of work and ideas now that [allows] a young person to know she is not alone. There is a body work to respond to her, which potentially births somebody who will live a life of consciousness and have the possibility of making a contribution for the rest of her life.

You mention Ferguson in your introduction to the new edition. What do you think of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag-turned-movement?

You're talking about the role of social media and even in the introduction I begin with the Egyptian revolution. The role of social media for that rebellion was critical. The beauty of it is when you see it take to the streets and there are bodies involved. The important thing about Black Lives Matter is there is also an on-the-street activism happening. 

What do you hear from your students about the movement?

They'll use language like "I'm ally to this" or "I'm an ally to that." It feels to me sometimes that it is too convenient. To the white students I go: "Hey man, go home and deal with your family's racism." And it's not a popular thing to say. What I loved about those white feminists I knew in the early '80s [was how] they were doing anti-Klan work when some of their family members were Klansmen. Now that is brave. They humbled me with their courage. I'm not taking about separatism. I'm going to deal with my family's business,]. I'm going to go home and make those changes within my class and race.

Some people have responded to Black lives matter with [slogans like] "All lives matter" or "brown lives matter." How do you see black lives matter in relationship with solidarity between communities of color?

I think both things are true. There are these moments in which something surfaces politically and you're talking about the specificity of the black male experience. There is always the danger of things getting liberalized somehow. It gets difficult to not have mixed feelings. The idea of "Black Lives Matter" is a fundamental truth that I think any person of color can relate to and identify with. I'm a light-skinned person; I know who I'm walking with impacts how we are treated in the street. You can't live in your skin and not know what it means to be marked. I feel very beholden to the fact that that has surfaced, "This body is a threat to you and that's why you are wiping it out." I think that's true, and really right on.

What's complicated is that because the U.S. has this black/white lens, it almost feels like the rest of us are never important. And I think it's hard for black Americans to understand that. I think of the thousands and thousands of deaths [among people] coming across the desert to this country. Nobody identifies with all those brown Indian bodies. It all has the same origins: 500 years of colonialism. The scale of the violence toward those bodies, we wouldn't allow that to happen to black bodies in this country. Somehow Mexicans aren't people? ... In the popular cultural imagination, we're not even on the map. It feels complicated, everything starts to feel more complicated. I think that we're allowed to have two thoughts in our heads at once. There are paradoxes and that's OK. That's kind of what you live with.

What do you think of the non-profitization of the feminist movement?

It's been really problematic over the years, and I've certainly been a member of this--the first thing you do is get your 501c3 so you can get grants. Then people get caught up in these organizations and what they are really doing is spending their time in meetings. It's giving everybody jobs but not necessarily resulting in the action you were trying to do. [Very] well-meaning people want to do progressive political action, but that energy gets diluted somehow.

You say in the foreword to the second edition in 1983 that you were "feeling more defeated than optimistic." How do you feel today?

Ironically, to really be a politically conscious person, you have to be really hopeful. I do feel really hopeful all the time. I'm a playwright and people say: "Why do you write tragedies?" But it's in the naming of the wound that the possibility for the curing happens. It's the very act of identifying that opens up the possibility for change. Hope is that you're going through that hard place, [that] you're recognizing the obstacles. By that recognition, which can really hurt, there is a possibility for transformation.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama on Iran, Kenya Bombs Somalia, Junk Food-Eating Ants

Colorlines - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 07:16
Obama on Iran, Kenya Bombs Somalia, Junk Food-Eating Ants

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

GENTRIFIED: Oakland’s Chinatown Seniors Hope to Age in Place

New America Media - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 00:50
 Photo: Tiffany, Helen (age 94) and Aimee Eng, in 2014 photo in Oakland. The Engs trace their North American roots to the 1850s. (Photo by Laura McCamy.)Part 5. Click here to read other stories in this series.  OAKLAND, Calif.--Above the... Laura McCamy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

GENTRIFIED: Nonprofits Help Keep Roofs Over Oakland Elders’ Heads

New America Media - Sun, 04/05/2015 - 00:05
  Photo: Jesse's home got a makeover from Rebuilding Together Oakland. (Photo courtesy of RTO.) Part 4. Click here to read other stories in this series.  OAKLAND, Calif.--“We need to build more housing at all income levels, including affordable housing,”... Laura McCamy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

GENTRIFIED: Homelessness Growing for Oakland Seniors

New America Media - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 00:25
  Photo: St. Mary’s staff member Alita Manuel and volunteer Guitar Whitfield prepare healthy lunches for seniors. (Photo by Laura McCamy) Part 3. Click here for the rest of this series. OAKLAND, Calif.--Guitar Whitfield, 70, spent much of his life... Laura McCamy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

From Coon to Watermelon Jokes, Barriers Remain for Young Black Writers Today

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 13:43
From Coon to Watermelon Jokes, Barriers Remain for Young Black Writers Today

"The publishing industry on which my work depends is 89 [percent] white," writes poet and Buzzfeed LGBT editor Saeed Jones in a new essay about stumbling through that prickly terrain as a young, black writer. Jones, 29, was referencing a 2014 industry survey in which 3 percent of employee respondents described themselves as Asian and Hispanic, respectively, while 1 percent identified as African-American. And in looking for guidance from the experiences of past luminaries like Gwendolyn Brooks and James Baldwin, Jones ends up posing a question: well, how exactly has publishing improved since the 1950s?  (It's the same one raised late last year after a watermelon joke greeted African-American winner Jacqueline Woodson during the National Book Awards.) 

In his essay "Wallace Stevens After Lunch," poet Kevin Young notes that while having lunch with the other 1952 National Book Award judges, Stevens looked at the photograph of the poet Gwendolyn Brooks -- the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1950 -- and said, "Who's the coon?" Noticing the other judges -- all white men -- shifting in their seats with discomfort, he added, "I know you don't like to hear people call a lady a coon but who is it?" Brooks had been on the NBA judging committee that had given the hallowed award to Stevens for poetry the previous year.

These moments in literary history are usually segregated to the footnotes section. Throughout my education, I never heard "Like Decorations In A Nigger Cemetery" discussed in a classroom, never talked about Wallace Stevens looking at a picture of Gwendolyn Brooks and asking, "Who's the lady coon?" -- as if racism vanishes the moment we set foot into the ivory towers and glittering soirees of the literati.

Read more of Jones' essay on Buzzfeed, as well as more about him and his new $12,000 emerging writers fellowship aimed at diversifying media:

When we expect young writers to get experience via unpaid internships, we're actually saying we want only wealthy people writing about American culture in an influential way. That's what we get, right? Or rather, that's what we've gotten used to accepting as normal when in fact, it's a kind of fiction. Diversity is reality. So, in order to do my part to support being in step with reality, I'm really excited about creating an opportunity for emerging writers to get experience and mentorship while also receiving financial support. You can't expect someone to do their best work if they're exhausted and broke. Well, maybe you can expect it but doing so strikes me as a bit cruel.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Death of 14-Year-Old Latino Killed by Chicago Police Kill Labeled 'Suicide'

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 13:40
Death of 14-Year-Old Latino Killed by Chicago Police Kill Labeled 'Suicide'

On the Fourth of July 2014, Chicago police shot and killed a 14-year-old child, Pedro Rios Jr. Although the Cook County medical examiner's autopsy revealed that Rios's death was caused by homicide, his official death record, certified by the same agency, reads "suicide" as the manner of death.

That--and many more disturbing details of Chicago police and the Independent Police Review Authority's (IPRA) practices around officer-involved killings--is what Sarah Macaraeg found in part one of her four-part investigation for Truthout.

According to its website, Chicago's IPRA was created in 2007 over criticism over the police department's misconduct. IPRA is lead "by a civilian Chief Administrator and staffed entirely with civilian investigators, IPRA is an independent agency of the City of Chicago, separate from the Chicago Police Department. IPRA replaced the former Office of Professional Standards." But, Macaraeg's reporting indicates IPRA is failing at holding police accountable: the agency failed to even count at least six officer-involved killings in three years alone--including Rios's death, which is ironically listed as "non-fatal."

Part one of Truthout's investigation yields damning conclusions about the Chicago PD as well as the very costly civilian-led IPRA, including institutionalized bias. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Catching Up on Chris Rock's 'Driving While Black' Posts

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 13:37
Catching Up on Chris Rock's 'Driving While Black' Posts

Chris Rock began chronicling the number of times he gets stopped by the police on his social media channels in February. The posts have since prompted a public conversation among performers on racial profiling.

Rock's first pulled-over pic appeared on Instagram with the caption, "Just got pulled over by the cops wish me luck," and was followed by another two weeks later on Feb 27 with the note, "I'm not even driving stop by the cops again." His latest, and third in two months, was a nighttime tweet, "Stopped by the cops again wish me luck," accompanied by a selfie from the driver's seat. His tweet got the attention of four-time Emmy winner Isaiah Washington, who replied to Rock's tweet, advising him to "adapt."

I sold my $90,000.00 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius's, because I got tired of being pulled over by Police. #Adapt @chrisrock

Musician ?uestlove joined the Twitter chain with a response to Washington.

Prius won't save you from #DWB @IWashington i know. trust.

After coming under fire for his comment, Washington appeared on CNN to clarify his remarks. 

I know a lot of people take issue with the hashtag 'adapt,' thinking that I was implying that white supremacy and racial profiling will stop if you were in a different car. [...] From my experience, police are about the business of policing, night and day. I obviously have a slight advantage because I'm a celebrity during the day and hopefully they'll recognize me. But if they don't at night, I'm vulnerable like everyone else. But I will say this, since I got out of my [Mercedes G500] and been driving a Prius for the last four years, with windows that are tinted darker than the windows that were tinted in my $90,000 vehicle, I have not been pulled over one time.

Rock's choice to share his experience is bringing the issue of racial profiling back to the popuar topics discussed on Twitter. The Washington Post reports, citing the Department of Justice "Police Behavior During Traffic and Street Stops" data report for 2011:

Black drivers are about 23 percent more likely to be pulled over than white drivers. Native Americans are stopped most frequently of all. The federal survey found that relatively speaking, far fewer blacks than whites were pulled over for speeding. Instead, the cops stopped them because of a "vehicle defect," to check a record, or for some other or unspecified reason. Black drivers were also about three times as likely as white drivers to be searched after they were stopped.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Frida Kahlo Love Letters to Be Auctioned Off

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 13:34
Frida Kahlo Love Letters to Be Auctioned Off

Twenty five love letters written by Frida Kahlo between August of 1946 and November of 1949 are headed to auction on April 15 at Doyle New York.

The collection includes over 100 pages of correspondence and were originally saved by Jose Bartoli, a Catalan artist and political refugee who moved to New York to escape the Spanish Civil War. He and Kahlo met while she was recovering from spinal surgery. 

When Kahlo returned to Mexico, she and Bartoli began a secret, long-distance romance, exchanging letters over three years. Bartoli preserved the letters until his death in 1995, after which they were passed down to his family.

In a letter written on August 29, 1946, Frida shares, "Bartoli -- last night I felt as if many wings caressed me all over, as if your finger tips had mouths that kissed my skin." In another she says, "Do not deny me other desires that form the whole of what I feel for you and that can only be called love." Kahlo also sent Bartoli thoughts about her paintings, health and relationship with Diego Rivera.

Rare Books Department Director Peter Costanzo, in a statement to HuffPost, noted:

The Frida Kahlo archive is remarkably important. Her letters to José Bartoli are entirely fresh and unpublished. They provide new information about one of the most important artists of the 20th century. It is an honor and a privilege to present this precious archive to the public. Its contents will surely further scholarship on Frida Kahlo and her works.

The letters are expected to sell for up to $120,000.


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Activists Call on Immigrant Communities to Keep Applying for DACA

New America Media - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 09:15
OAKLAND – Putri Siti is on track to graduate from UC Berkeley this year. But as an undocumented student, there was a time not long ago when her future was much less certain. “When others were worrying about what major... Nayoon Jin http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Trooper Reprimanded After Taking Photo With Snoop Dogg

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 07:36
Trooper Reprimanded After Taking Photo With Snoop Dogg

In laugh-to-keep-from-crying news, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Billy Spears was reprimanded by his superiors after taking a photo with Snoop Dogg at SXSW 2015 in Austin. 

The rapper/actor posted the shot, taken by his publicist, of him and the trooper with the caption, "Me n my deputy dogg," to his Instagram. According to the Dallas Morning News, when the DPS officials caught wind of it, Spears was cited for deficiencies that require counseling for posing with a criminal.

The counseling reprimand read: 

While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges. The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency.

Snoop Dogg aka Calvin Broadus was acquitted of a 1993 murder charge, but apparently, according to the DPS, his convictions for drug possessions are enough to earn him the "known criminal" label. 

Ty Clevenger, Spears' attorney says that Spears had no knowledge of the drug convictions.

The citation will become a permanent smudge on Spears' personnel record and because the action taken against him was not a formal disciplinary action, an appeal is not an option. 

Read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Iran Nuke Deal, Noose at Duke, FLOTUS on Fallon

Colorlines - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 07:01
Iran Nuke Deal, Noose at Duke, FLOTUS on Fallon

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

  • Proof that we have the best First Lady. Ever. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines
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