Diversity Headlines

NYT Apologizes for Offensive Cartoon on India’s Mars Mission

New America Media - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:58
Days after it published an offensive cartoon mocking India's successful Mars mission, The New York Times apologized Oct. 6 saying it was not trying to "impugn" India but was highlighting that space programs are no longer the exclusive domain of... India West http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Lack of Asian-Language Materials on Exchanges Leaves Many AAPIs Uninsured, Say Advocates

New America Media - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:20
The lack of Asian-language materials on health care exchanges has left hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders uninsured, according to a report released last month by Action for Health Justice (AHJ).“Sixty percent of our population... Viji Sundaram http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Where Ebola Meets Concerns Over Race, Class and the Uninsured

New America Media - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:15
It’s a question that’s left people scratching their heads: How does a fully equipped hospital send an Ebola-infected man home—right after he arrived from West Africa and complained about being sick?Some observers and public health experts are beginning to wonder... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Columnist Asks, 'Why Is White Poverty Invisible?'

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:17
Columnist Asks, 'Why Is White Poverty Invisible?'

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., who is African-American, wandered the hills of eastern Kentucky recently in order to talk about what he calls, "the great white whale of American social discourse," white poverty. Not many people talked to him. As Pitts details in the essay, reporters, nor any other kind of media, really, have not been kind to the region. But he wanted to make a larger point, too, about the racialized way in which Americans discuss poverty. He writes:

Our deeply racialized view of poverty bears no resemblance to reality. Though it's true that African Americans are disproportionately likely to live below the poverty line, it is also true that the vast majority of those in poverty are white: 29.8 million people. In fact, there are more white poor than all other poor combined.

So Pitts went to the epicenter of white poverty, Owsley County, Kentucky in order to make his point about changing the country's narrative around our images of the poor.

Read Pitts' essay at The Miami Herald, in particular, his assessment of the "nexus between white poverty and blackness."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Los Angeles to Decide Fate of 287(g) Today

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:14
Los Angeles to Decide Fate of 287(g) Today

By Secure Communities standards, its precursor, the federal immigration-local police partnership program 287(g), seems anachronistic. Older, more expensive, less widely used, 287(g) authorized local police to act as if they were immigration agents. Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will decide the program's fate in the county.

As the federal government has turned its attention to Secure Communities, Los Angeles has lost much of the financial incentive to track the immigration statuses of people cycling through the criminal justice system, KPCC reports. In recent years, immigrant rights activists have pushed back on both programs, winning the TRUST Act, a state law in California that limits the detention requests the federal government may make of local law enforcement agencies. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, for its part, has recommended that the county hold on to its 287(g) contract, KPCC reports. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch St. Louis Cardinal Fans Chant 'Let's Go Darren!'

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:11
Watch St. Louis Cardinal Fans Chant 'Let's Go Darren!'

Major League Baseball's playoffs are underway, and the St. Louis Cardinals are in a tough series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. St. Louis, of course, is close to the epicenter of civil disobedience that's broken out after white officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old unarmed black Ferguson resident Mike Brown. And last night, Cardinals fans began chanting in support of Officer Wilson in a confrontation with Ferguson protestors. Things pretty much devolved from there. Here's video:

Deadspin's Tom Ley points out some of the most upsetting moments:

  • We start off with a bang. At about the 22-second mark, an old white Cardinals fan begins telling the protesters--all of whom appear to be black--that they need to get jobs. He looks right in the camera, proudly, and says, "That's right! If they'd be working, we wouldn't have this problem!"
  • At about the 1:30 mark, the crowd of Cardinals fans begin drowning out the protesters' chants with a "Let's go Cardinals!" chant. Well, they could be saying worse things...
  • At the 2:40 mark, they start saying much worse things. The "Let's go Cardinals!" chant has turned into a "Let's go Darren!" chant. Cool.
  • At 8:10 one of the Cardinals fans calls one of the protesters a "crack head" and tells him he needs to go see a dentist.
  • At 8:50 the "Let's go Cardinals" chant starts up again.
  • At 9:05 one of the Cardinals fans starts telling one of the protesters that if he ever "saw him in the street" he would "look at the ground." They argue for a bit about who would and would not whip whose ass.
  • At about 10:25 a small blonde lady starts yelling at the protesters: "We're the ones who gave all y'all the freedoms that you have!"

Yeah, it's ugly. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Will.i.am, Questlove in Jimmy Fallon's Teeny Bopper Spoof

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:01
Watch Will.i.am, Questlove in Jimmy Fallon's Teeny Bopper Spoof

Jimmy Fallon just keeps winning. In a new installment of his popular segment "Ew," in which he pokes fun at teeny bobber culture, Will.i.am joins in on the fun. 

You may remember Michelle Obama's guest appearance from earlier this year. Another classic:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

TV on the Radio Gets Fans Excited About New Album

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:00
TV on the Radio Gets Fans Excited About New Album

TV on the Radio is getting ready to drop a new album later this fall, and this week the band released a couple of new videos for the tracks "Happy Idiot" and "Careful You." The new album is called "Seeds" and will be out on November 18. It's their first project since their bassist/producer Gerard Smith passed away in April of 2011. And it'll be their first since singer Tunde Adebimpe confirmed the band had left Interscope (their label since 2006's "Return to Cookie Mountain"), according to Pitchfork.

"Happy Idiot"

"Careful You"

Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Ebola Case in Spain, Morocco Mulls Legalizing Marijuana Cultivation, Nobel Prize in Physics

Colorlines - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 07:04
New Ebola Case in Spain, Morocco Mulls Legalizing Marijuana Cultivation, Nobel Prize in Physics

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

  • Facebook's contract bus drivers seek to unionize for better pay and working conditions.  
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Vietnamese Independent Reporters Become Martyrs For Their Paper's Cause

New America Media - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 03:45
 In a church compound in the bustling heart of Ho Chi Minh City, journalists and editors upload the latest online edition of Redemptorist News in a secret backroom bureau. First established in 1935, the Catholic newspaper was shut down by... Vietnam Right Now http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

UC Davis Student Establishes On-Campus Undocumented Center

New America Media - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 01:00
A harsh reality once stood between Ana Maciel of Soledad, California, and her dream of a college education: She is an undocumented immigrant. Now, just a few years later, the junior is living that dream at the University of... Julia Ann Easley http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Here's More On That St. Louis Symphony Flash Mob

Colorlines - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 18:51
Here's More On That St. Louis Symphony Flash Mob

By now you've watched viral video of 23 protesters who delayed (or, disrupted, depending on your point of view) this weekend's St. Louis Symphony program to dedicate a requiem to Michael Brown. Here's a bit more of their backstory from the three organizers, Sarah Hermes Griesbach, Elizabeth Vega and Derek Laney. They're middle-aged, parents (including one grandparent, Vega) and all have been involved daily in Ferguson--from street protests to doing healing art with children to planning actions--since the late hours of Saturday, August 9.

Of all places for an action, why the symphony?

Because Cardinals Stadium didn't work out too well. A few weeks ago Griesbach and Vega, by all appearances two middle-aged white women in Cardinals jerseys, showed who they really were. "When we lowered our Michael Brown banner," Griesbach says, "we went from people being smiled at to instantly being perceived as representing something that was hated." A wall of sports fans started screaming, 'Pants Up, Don't Loot' and 'Lock Them Up!' After being handcuffed and escorted out of the stadium--moreso "for our own safety," both say--Vega recalls Griesbach looking at her and deadpanning, "I think we need a new venue." Vega says she cracked up. "I really needed to laugh, then," she says.

A couple of days later while reliving their game nightmare at a local Thai restaurant, Griesbach hit on the symphony crowd--mainly because they weren't the typical Cardinals crowd. "I knew they would be more receptive. I knew this was a public that was interested in the world, that listened to NPR, read newspapers and [was therefore likely to hold] nuanced views."

Oh my God, but that song?!

Vega got the idea for, "Which Side Are You On, Friend" from a 2013 Rebel Diaz remix featuring dead prez.

"That was stuck in my head. I had been arrested a couple of days before and I was in jail singing this song," Vega says. The hardest part of their planning meeting was figuring out the new lyrics.

Derek, that voice!

Laney fit right into the cultural milieu as he started off the round in a seemingly stage-quality baritone. "No, I'm not a professional singer," says Laney who also started the hashtag, #ChalkedUnarmed. "We knew we wouldn't be able to cherry-pick singers so I just stepped up to do it." Unsurprisingly, he's had several compliments on his voice since.

Most gratifying?

Vega points to this moving quote from conductor*, Kenneth Woods:

"One friend of mine questioned whether staging a protest on private property was fair to the hall, the orchestra and the audience. I'm not sure I agree. If the concert hall can't be the center of civic life, a hub for intellectual discussion, a place to share ideas, a place we can mourn, cry, scream, love and heal together, we may as well burn every concert hall to the ground. When we value genteel niceties and professional convenience over the existential questions of right and wrong, life and death, we, as artists, have probably made ourselves completely irrelevant."

What's next for the upcoming Weekend of Resistance?

This coming Friday night, Vega says there will be a día de los muertos (day of the dead) event for all people killed by police this year. The reading of the submitted names will be followed by a two-mile march to the Ferguson police station to challenge its 11 p.m. curfew. On Saturday, look for five "pop-up" potluck lunches to take place throughout St Louis County. Mike Brown, race, class and privilege will be the topics of conversation, all led by trained facilitators. 

Also, find an updated schedule of events here.


* Post has been updated since publication to accurately reflect that conductor Kenneth Woods is not affiliated with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Supreme Court's Sour Record on Civil Rights, Racial Justice

Colorlines - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 15:01
Supreme Court's Sour Record on Civil Rights, Racial Justice

It's back-to-court day for the Supreme Court, which began its new term today. Among the key race issues the Supreme Court will consider this year are gerrymandering of African-American-heavy districts, the Fair Housing Act, religious discrimination, and the extent to which rap lyrics comprise a threat. 

In other words, it's time to brace yourself. University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky writes in the Los Angeles Times that for those concerned with civil rights, the High Court's long past and recent history doesn't inspire a lot of confidence:

[O]ver the course of American history, the court has repeatedly failed at its most important tasks and at the most important times. As much as we might like to think of the court as an evenhanded dispenser of justice, it often is not. For the first 78 years of American history, until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, for example, the court consistently sided with slave owners and aggressively enforced the institution of slavery. For 58 years, from 1896 until 1954, the court embraced the noxious doctrine of "separate but equal" and upheld Jim Crow laws that segregated the races in every aspect of Southern life.

Citizens think of the nation's highest court as the last resort for the individual, but the Supreme Court has continually failed to stand up to majoritarian pressures in times of crisis. During World War I, individuals were imprisoned for speech that criticized the draft and the war without the slightest evidence that the expression had any adverse effect on military recruitment or the war effort. During World War II, 110,000 Japanese Americans were uprooted from their homes and placed in what President Franklin Roosevelt referred to as concentration camps. During the McCarthy era, people were imprisoned simply for teaching works by Marx. In all of these instances, the court ruled in favor of the government and erred by failing to enforce the basic constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and equal protection.

Read the rest at the Los Angeles Times, and a quick look at cases the Supreme Court will consider this term from SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Michel Martin on Who Americans Are, Really

Colorlines - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:41

When St. Louis Public Radio wanted to host the region's first live town hall on August 28 to discuss Michael Brown's murder and the explosive events after, it's no surprise they asked Michel Martin to moderate. Part of the job that Thursday evening in Wellspring Church would mean mediating--and there's no media personality better at hosting tough conversations and bridging chasm-like divides than Martin. The former host of "Tell Me More," which ended this August after seven years on air, took the other seat in a recent and intimate hour-long interview with Krista Tippett. She hosts the excellent radio program, "On Being," which very often touches on the role of faith in her subject's lives. The talk is wide-ranging, from Martin's growing up in Brooklyn, to dealing with her younger brother's suicide and her role as a journalist in a society that struggles still with talking about race and difference.

Listen above. And if you don't already regularly listen to "On Being," get on that.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Supreme Court denies 7 appeals in 5 states

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:10
  In a surprise development, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday announced it would not accept for review any of the seven appeals on same-sex marriage bans from five states – Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Utah. The action means that... Bay Area Reporter http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Supreme Court denies 7 appeals in 5 states

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:10
 In a surprise development, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday announced it would not accept for review any of the seven appeals on same-sex marriage bans from five states – Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Utah.The action means that the stays... Bay Area Reporter http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama Endorses Bowser for D.C. Mayor

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 13:45
 President Obama endorsed D.C. Council member Muriel E. Bowser on Monday in the city's mayoral race as the hotly-contested campaign enters its final weeks.In a statement released through Bowser's campaign, Obama said that he was proud to support the 42-year-old... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Does Bill Maher Think I Might Kill Him?

Colorlines - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 13:36
Does Bill Maher Think I Might Kill Him?

A few days before some 1.4 billion Muslims around the world gathered with their families to celebrate Eid ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), American television personalities took it upon themselves to make hurtful and obtuse comments about me and the religion that I follow alongside nearly a quarter of the world's population. My mother shoved her iPad in front of me after dinner on Friday. "Look at what they're saying about us now," she said. "I thought this kind of stuff was over."

Once again, as the United States embarks on yet another war in the Middle East, mainstream news anchors have insisted on framing their discussions about Islam and Muslims as those about the religion's inherent and unique relationship to violence. It's a popular framing that renders hundreds of thousands of American Muslims into a suspect class of citizens. I am left asking myself the same question that W.E.B. Du Bois asked himself and other African-Americans in 1903: "How does it feel to be a problem?"

On the September 29 episode of "CNN Tonight," Don Lemon bluntly asked author Reza Aslan if Islam promoted violence, a question that would never be asked about any other religion or ethnic group. Also, co-host Alisyn Camerota perpetuated the myth that Muslim women uniquely suffer from genital mutilation and are unable to drive due to a "primitive" justice system. Then, in a follow-up installment on October 2, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo even went on to say that Aslan's tone might have further affirmed American fear of Islam and its "hostility."

And on the October 3 episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher," author Sam Harris confidently claimed that there were only four types of Muslims: violent jihadists, Islamists who work within the political system, conservative Muslims who hold "deeply troubling" views about women and homosexuals, and nominal Muslims "who don't take their religion very seriously." Maher went on to claim that Islam is "the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f**king kill you if you say the wrong thing." When an exasperated Ben Affleck criticized Harris and Maher for racist stereotyping, Maher retorted: "You're not listening to what we are saying."

I was listening. I was listening to an incessant ringing in my head. It was Bill Maher telling his viewers nationwide that I might one day snap and kill him for saying the wrong thing. And because he feels that way, Maher is one of those types of people who fit the definition of an Islamophobe. He is quite literally afraid of Muslims. He is afraid of me.

By their broad characterizations and hasty conclusions none of the four television hosts seemed interested in telling stories about the vast majority of Muslims who live in the United States and abroad. If they were, they might have encountered real stories about real Muslims living in the post-9/11 world. Instead, they rationalize their own fear-mongering by pushing a narrative about the dangerous person they perceive me to be. With their attempts at writing and disseminating their own version of me, Maher, Harris the anchors at CNN, and countless others take away the ability of Muslims to share their own stories. These are stories that must be told but are of little interest to the mainstream media.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was 10 years old and sitting in art class when my mother called the front desk and asked for me to wait in the office until she arrived. When she finally got there, she rushed me and my younger brother and sister into her minivan where I found the child she was babysitting laughing and jumping up and down in his car seat. I pressed my mother about why we were leaving school so early, but she refused to let us in on the secret and simply said we needed to go home.

When we reached the six-lane intersection directly in front of our house, we found three police officers blocking traffic heading toward Washington, D.C., and, in turn, blocking access to the street in front of our house. The police officer, a white man wearing black sunglasses, waved his arms and motioned my mother to turn her car onto the next street. She rolled down her window and explained that he was blocking the only street she could use to get home. "That's my house," she said as she pointed over the officer's head.

"Lady, you've got to move this way," the officer barked, his neck glistening with the sweat of a warm September morning.
"But look officer, my house is right there and I have all these kids in my car."
"You need to move right now."
"Sir, there's no way I can get these kids home without getting through to that street."
"I'm going to count to three and you're going to move. One..." The officer moved closer to the hood of the car and stared at my mother.
"You're not listening to what I am saying," my mother plead.
"Just do what he says, Mom," I let out.
"...Two," the officer said.

My mother lifted her foot off the brake. The officer shouted and raised his gun and pointed it at my mother. A scream left from my chest almost instinctively as I tried to hide myself by sinking myself lower into the seat. My younger brother and sister began to cry out. My mother swung the car toward the direction the officer wanted us to go and began driving away, her stony gaze set straight on the road ahead of her.

After maneuvering through some back streets, we finally arrived home and my mother went into the kitchen and told me to put on a movie to watch with my siblings. I gathered my younger brother and sister and the child my mother was babysitting in the other room, handing them each different toys to keep their hands occupied.

I wondered if my mother had a preference for what movie we picked, knowing that she didn't really like movies that weren't musicals or animated. Maybe we could watch "Pinocchio," I thought. I walked back to the kitchen and heard the water running. My mother stood with her hands clutching the sides of the sink, sobbing into the drain. I stood there and watched, not knowing what to say.

The police officers directed traffic for the next six hours. As we learned of what had happened in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, my mother felt that it wasn't right for them to stand out in the sun all day without eating and so she sent me out to offer some leftovers from the previous night's dinner and three bottles of soda. Later that evening, my mother organized a candlelight vigil in front of our house and invited all of our neighbors to take part in a moment of silence for all the people who died that morning.

Recently, my mother attended a community event regarding Ferguson, Missouri, and police accountability. She told me that as she witnessed the tragedy of Mike Brown's murder unfold, she felt somehow connected to the families there. At the meeting, she heard from a range of speakers, largely African-American, testifying to their experiences with the police. "I wanted to tell my story, but I knew the event wasn't really about me," she told me last week. "So I decided not to speak."

My family's story was forever changed by a single police officer who decided to try and write our story for us, who only saw my mother for what he thought she was, regardless of the kind of decency she embodied that day and every day. But now that pointed gun is part of our family story. No mother should have a pointed gun be a part of their story, but as the media continues to write our lives without acknowledging the hurt they put out in the world, I am afraid that people will act out on the fear that Maher and others like him claim to feel about me and my mother. I am afraid that people will continue to profile me and my family because that is the logical conclusion of what Maher and CNN put forth to their viewers. It's a conclusion that not only leads 37 percent of Americans to hold an unfavorable view of Islam, but also is a sad reminder of that racial profiling has become an integral part of American life in order to make some people feel more safe.

I don't think my family's story will ever be discussed on CNN or on Bill Maher's show because it's not a real story to them. They would rather recycle, peddle and receive applause for the same tired and racist myths used over the past 13 years to justify wars overseas, surveillance at home and bigotry among ourselves. It's a bigotry that leaves me and my mother living in fear every time we turn on the television and find someone else telling our story. Because we are not real people to them. And that's precisely the problem.

My mother taught me that you defeat bigotry with humanity. If only we could find time to talk about hers.

Waleed Shahid grew up in Northern Virginia and now lives in Philadelphia where he is an organizer and a freelance writer. He tweets at waleed2go.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Georgia School Putting the Wheels on Common Core

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 12:44
It was a rare chance for reporters to learn about Common Core Standards from inside a school. It was a chance to see teachers using them with students. The always-excellent New America Media arranged it. I learned a lot at... Mary Silver http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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The Sketchbook Diary of Hong Kong’s Protests

New America Media - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 12:24
  HONG KONG- In a buzzing anthill of protestors rallying the Occupy Hong Kong protests, one ant stands still, watching. As you leave Admiralty underground station, a megaphone informs protesters where to go, a long queue heads to a Mc... JMSC Reports on Occupy Central http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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