Diversity Headlines

Filmmaker Freida Mock on ‘Anita: Speaking Truth to Power’

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 22:48

An interview with Oscar Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock Lee about her latest documentary on the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearings, and the high profile and sometimes disturbing public discourse around sexual harrassment, race, and politics.

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Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama: 'The Affordable Care Act is Here to Stay'

New America Media - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 21:07
 President Obama announced Tuesday that more than 7 million people have signed up for health insurance under his Affordable Care Act as the March 31 deadline passed."In these first six months, we've taken a big step forward," he said during... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

United Nations Warns of Famine, Floods, if Climate Change Not Addressed

New America Media - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 20:19
 The evolution of the world’s climate is predictable in some ways and unforeseeable in others, but there are bright spots in the form of opportunity for action, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its much-heralded... Indian Country http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Vow to End Maryland’s Diversion of Foster Youth’s Benefits

New America Media - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 12:00
 WASHINGTON – Federal benefits for individual foster youth are routinely used by the vast majority of states to reimburse themselves for the cost of foster care placement. A bill that would have ended the practice in Maryland is unlikely to... Khalil Abdullah http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=69
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Vietnamese Parents Face Culture Shift With Common Core

New America Media - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 11:30
VietnameseWESTMINSTER, Calif. – Before coming to the United States Hanh Le worked as a high school teacher in Vietnam. Despite her background in education, like a lot of Vietnamese parents she says she is confused by the new Common Core... Tina Ha Giang http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Educando la generación más experta tecnológicamente

New America Media - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:46
Read in EnglishLa educación en los Estados Unidos está dando un gran salto en el uso de herramientas digitales. Los profesores ya pueden llamar a expertos en ciencias por Skype durante las clases y los estudiantes pueden crear páginas en... Irene Florez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Technology Changing Classrooms, Some More Than Others

New America Media - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:00
Traducción al españolEducation in the United States is vaulting into the digital era. Students today can use Facebook to create book report-related author pages, while teachers can Skype in experts for in-class science lessons. But with disparities in funding and... Irene Florez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Move to 'Cancel Colbert' and So-Called 'Hashtag Activism'

Colorlines - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 16:00
The Move to 'Cancel Colbert' and So-Called 'Hashtag Activism'

There's already been so much written about Suey Park and the #CancelColbert hashtag that erupted on Twitter late last week. In case you missed it: The Colbert Show decided to take aim at Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington, DC NFL Football Team, who had recently announced the formation of a charity whose name included a racist slur directed at the group he's supposedly trying to "help."

Colbert ran a piece of satire on last week's show and followed up afterwards with a tweet about his fake, "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." Suey Park, a 23-year-old Korean-American activist who also started the influential #NotYourAsianSidekick hashtag last year, then called on her followers to #CancelColbert.

What's important to understand here is that Park's aim wasn't necessarily to get The Colbert Show kicked off the air. Instead, it was to, as point out that satire isn't always the best activism. "Well-intentioned racial humor doesn't actually do anything to end racism or the Redskins mascot," Park told the Jay Caspian Kang at the New Yorker. "That sort of racial humor just makes people who hide under the title of progressivism more comfortable."

Kang's take was one of the more useful pieces of writing on the subject over the weekend. In it, he steps back from the singular controversey itself and focuses instead on the unsettling questions it brings up about race and so-called "hashtag activism:"

I do not know if I believe that Park set out to incite this particular riot when she first tweeted #CancelColbert, but I also do not believe that any activist really owes an explanation for the mess she leaves in her wake. Over the past two days, much of the debate about #CancelColbert has been about the efficacy of hashtag activism and whether the act of dissent has been cheapened by the ease, and sometimes frivolity, of Twitter protests. As the debate intensified, I, too, thought that we had reached a point where hashtag activism had circled back onto itself--a moment when the earnestness of a conversation like #NotYourAsianSidekick had been compromised by self-promotion and race hustling. But journalists and pundits are particularly sensitive to charges of self-promotion and hustling because we so often use Twitter to self-promote and hustle. Unlike Park, we usually do this without any particular ideological motivation--and if we are honest with ourselves, I think we can admit that one reason we may find Twitter activism distasteful is because it interrupts our online socializing with questions we might not want to answer.

Read more at the New Yorker

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Michael Jackson May Have Been the Greatest Beat Boxer, Ever

Colorlines - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:52
Michael Jackson May Have Been the Greatest Beat Boxer, Ever

An old demo tape of Michael Jackson's hit "Beat It" has recently been making the rounds on Tumblr and it's an incredible display of his musicianship. Here's a video of it:

Here's more:

As Jackson couldn't fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.

One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: "One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. "here's the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here's the second chord first note, second note, third note", etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills."

And here's another clip, from the annals of MJ YouTube fandom: 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ariz. Mom's Arrest Triggers Outpouring of Support

Colorlines - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:48
Ariz. Mom's Arrest Triggers Outpouring of Support

Over the weekend, strangers mobilized to help an Ariz. mom facing child abuse charges after leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons in a parked car while she went for a job interview. An online fundraiser begun for Shanesha Taylor's $9,000 bail blew through that goal. More than $60,000 has been donated so far. And the #ISupportShanesha hashtag on Twitter is on fire. It's a running commentary that Taylor is not alone and that indeed, her impossible choice between work and childcare is not unique. Millions of women and their children (and dads and grandmothers, too) can relate. So what about them?

The danger of charity is the same thing that provokes it: an individual story so affecting that it moves people to act. It's easy to relate and react to a single human being. It's difficult to nurture a sustained response to the millions of Shanesha Taylors living both below and scraping by above the federal poverty line (currently, $20,000-a-year for a family of three). But if social justice is the goal, then attention must be paid to everyone else and the social safety net, too.

Over at ThinkProgress Annie-Rose Strasser looks at state cuts to subsidized childcare--about 40 percent--over the past four years in Ariz. And Taylor came to mind in a brief post last Friday about a little known but apparently successful federal housing program that, while available nationwide, is poorly funded. In Houston for example, federal funds allow 540 of 18,000 eligible households ( or .03 percent) to participate in its Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, which helps to transition families off welfare. 

Issues like housing and childcare aren't as media friendly as abortion or images of a woman "leaning in" in a power suit. But they are critical this election year for most of America's working moms and their families. 

Expect more of Shanesha Taylor's personal story to unfold as the week gets underway. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Faces of Cesar Chávez's United Farm Worker Movement

Colorlines - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:44
The Faces of Cesar Chávez's United Farm Worker Movement

While talking to reporters about his new film, "Cesar Chávez: An American Hero," director Diego Luna said that his inspiration for the project is deeply personal. "My first son was born in Los Angeles; he's a Mexican-American. I wanted my son to look at a film and see where he comes from," the actor-turned-director told The Boston Globe. "I was shocked that there had not been a movie about Cesar Chávez."

Luna's feature film will undoubtedly re-introduce Chávez's story to new generation of mainstream moviegoers. The film focuses on his work as co-founder and leader of the United Farm Workers (UFW), the first group to ever unionize California's mostly Mexican and Filipino farmworkers. It stars Michael Peña as Chavez alongside Hollywood heavyweights America Ferrera, who plays Chavez's wife, Helen, and Rosario Dawson, who stars as his trusted ally Dolores Huerta. The film is an important step in cementing Chávez's legacy as an American civil rights hero, but, like many biopics, it offers a sanitized version of a deeply complicated man and movement. In a critique of the film, Inkoo Kang wrote at the Miami New Times:

Luna's Chávez isn't a man of contradictions. Nor is he a man of action. He merely suffers: beatings by angry white farm owners, unkind words from an increasingly rebellious Chato, agony from spectacular protests such as a 25-day fast and a 300-mile march. The film doesn't seek admiration for his deeds or his force of will, only sympathy for enduring the kind of physical pain the Jackass crew used to undergo every week for MTV.

To that end, it's important to remember that every movement is larger than any one man. Arturo Rodriguez, current leader of the UFW, says that the union has received a tremendous response to the film that he hopes will translate into action. "We hope that a new generation of folks are educated about the lives of farmworkers back then, and the risks that were associated with starting a union that's still around 50 years later," he says. 

Below are images of Chávez and the men, women and children he helped organize through the UFW. All photographs are courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library Photo Archive at Wayne State University. 


chavezhuelga_032514.jpgCesar Chavez and his "Huelga" car taken during the Delano Grape Strike at J.D. Marlin Ranch in Tulare County, Calif., 1965. The strike lasted more than five years and, at its height, involved more than 17 million Americans who refused to purchase grapes from California growers who would not bargain with their workers. 


ufw4_copsbat.jpg A performance of El Teatro Campesino, the cultural arm of the UFW, featuring Don Sacato, location unknown. (Photograph by John A. Kouns, 1966)


ufw9_boygrapes.jpgChild holding picket sign in front of Raley's Market during the grape boycott, Sacramento, California, 1968.


ufw10_jessica.jpgSupporters of the grape boycott demonstrate in Toronto, December, 1968.
Jessica Govea, one of the union's most powerful organizers, is in the center, front row. (Photograph by The Hamilton Spectator)


ufw3_chavezfamily.jpgHelen and Ceasar Chavez with their six children, location unknown, California. 1969.


ufw5_womenstriking.jpg Supporters of the UFW gather in the fields outside of the Paso Ranch to wave flags during a strike. (Photograph by Cris Sanchez, May, 1973)


ufw7_copscar.jpgCarlos Fierros, a UFW member, is arrested for violating a grower injunction that prohibited farm workers from walking off of the fields in protest, at Bagdosaria Ranch, Coachella Valley, California, March 24, 1974.


ufw6_beaten.jpg Nagi Kobatte, a participant in a peaceful picket line, is seen here after being beaten by a Teamster, near Lamont, Calif., 1973. California growers enlisted Teamsters, many of whom were working class and white, as the conservative alternative to unionizing efforts led by Mexican and Filipino farmworkers. (Photograph by Cris Sanchez)



A female striker holds a UFW eagle flag and covers her face to hide her identity during the  1974 San Luis strike, Ariz. (Photograph by Ben Garza)

ufw1_huerta.jpg Dolores Huerta at a rally in Oxnard, Calif. in 1976.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Aaron McGruder (Sorta) Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks'

Colorlines - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:41
Aaron McGruder (Sorta) Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks'

Aaron McGruder took to his Facebook page to address why he left his beloved show, "The Boondocks" before its fourth and final season:

 "As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I'd like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons".

    "I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life's work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind".

    "To quote a great white man, 'Hollywood is a business'. And to quote another great white man, "Don't hold grudges".

    "What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks - particularly the television show and it's relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable".

    "As for me, I'm finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS".

It's certainly vague, but gives enough to let fans know that McGruder's basically outgrown the show. It makes sense -- it's been at the center of his artistic life for nearly two decades. In the mean time, get ready for "Black Jesus," which sounds pretty amazing. 

(h/t Shadow and Act)


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Leland Yee Helps Set Dangerous Precedent for Affirmative Action

New America Media - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:20
Ranking California Democratic State Senator Leland Yee made the news twice in recent weeks. And both times it was for the wrong thing. The first time was for his FBI bust on charges of gun running and public corruption. The... Earl Ofari Hutchinson http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

César Chávez Film Has Lukewarm Opening Weekend

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 22:26
César Chávez Film Has Lukewarm Opening Weekend

Despite positive reviews and targeted screenings in Mexican-American markets, opening weekend for Diego Luna's César Chávez biopic was important, but spectacular. From Deadline:

Lionsgate/Pantelion's Cesar Chavez bowed in a fairly large number of theaters with disparate results. The film about the farm workers champion lured a strong following in areas he was active, grossing $3 million overall for a $4,518 average. The film also boasted an A Cinemascore, though the film starring Michael Peña as the civil rights activist/labor organizer as well as America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson fared comparatively slow in New York. Abramorama, meanwhile opened Mistaken For Strangers in 9 theaters with an OK start. It grossed $81,800, averaging $9,089.


Categories: Diversity Headlines

People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:42
People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

Around this time last year, the Republican Party was finally coming to terms with why they lost the presidential election in 2012. They first claimed voter fraud was the culprit for Mitt Romney's loss. But after some soul-searching they came to the realization that they were just really bad at connecting with voters of color. The party released an "autopsy report" of what went wrong in 2012 candidate and listed failed "minority outreach" as a primary cause of death. 

This year is supposed to be the time when they show America that they've learned from their mistakes. With an important mid-term congressional election season on our hands, 2014 is the year where the Republican Party is expected to show and prove how much they've evolved on race. The Democratic Party has already seized upon the one-year anniversary of the Republican autopsy by declaring the Republican rebranding a failure. 

Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida wrote in The Huffington Post that the GOP "is a year older and not a bit wiser." That might be true, but things aren't looking so bright for the Democratic Party either, a year-and-change after their big 2012 win. After all, Wasserman wrote this just a couple of weeks after her party experienced a crushing defeat in a congressional special election held in her own Florida backyard.

With that in mind, her op-ed read like a kid making fun of a student who got left back a grade, but only as coverup for the fact that she flunked her first major exam. The real issue Wasserman might want to concern herself with is whether the Democratic Party has evolved at all on its own outreach to people of color.   

Both parties are worth sizing up on this matter, but first, let's see if Democrats had a point in their autopsy of the GOP autopsy. The case, as laid out by Wasserman, isn't that convincing. Wrote the DNC chair: 

In the past year, we've heard Republican leaders and operatives call a female candidate an "empty dress," talk about women's "libidos," and -- once again -- try to downplay abuse. We've heard them use derogatory terms to describe Latino immigrants, use insulting stereotypes for African-Americans and our president, and support outright discrimination against LGBT Americans.

Probably the most blatant and recent example of this was when Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's pick for vice president in 2012, sent a racial dog whistle out about "inner-city" men being too lazy to work. That was pretty bad. Can Obama's party claim the high ground here, though? MSNBC news show host Melissa Harris-Perry has already called them out this, writing last week in The Nation, "After all, [Ryan's] comments have been the mainstream view of the Democratic Party for decades."

It was the Democratic President Bill Clinton, and a whole lot of Dems in Congress, who created the laws that pushed millions of people of color off of welfare rolls in the 1990s -- #facts.

Also this:

"{E]specially in this high-growth environment, where are you going to get people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping? ... we don't need to put those employers in the position of hiring undocumented and illegal workers." 

That was the Democratic candidate Alex Sink talking about Latinos, not a Republican.

The Democrats are correct about Republicans obstructing legislative progress on immigration reform and raising the middle wage. Republicans also keep shooting themselves through serial votes to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act -- enough times that Obamacare could file a restraining order on them at this point. 

But, the Democrats have been holding up progress on a few items themselves. It wasn't just Republicans that voted to block the much-respected attorney Debo Adegbile for head of the Justice Department's civil rights division. Democrats helped make that happen. And while the GOP is definitely responsible for shutting the government down last fall, quite a few Democrats in the House joined that melee. 

One way that Republicans claimed that their minority outreach would be serious was by getting behind more candidates of color. I interviewed a few of those candidates in December. Two of them, Katrina Pierson of Texas and David Williams III of Illinois, were defeated in Republican primaries this month. Another black Republican candidate, Erika Harold, also lost in Illinois. (Williams was been calling me almost every week with stories about how he thought his fellow Republicans were purposely trying to sabotage his campaign.) 

To the Democrats credit, they helped get Cory Booker elected to the Senate last fall. But that will not make us forget that when Senate Republicans proposed legislation to kick people with past felony convictions off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) last summer, Democrats went along with it in the first instance.

All goes to show that instead of dancing on the Republican's supposed grave, perhaps Democrats might want to make sure they're not digging themselves a hole in the process. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Captain Sikh America Responds to Joe Budden's 'Terrorist' Pic

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 20:45
Captain Sikh America Responds to Joe Budden's 'Terrorist' Pic

Vishavjit Singh, the cartoonist who brought us Captain Sikh America, is back with a new cartoon that takes aim at Joe Budden, who posted a picture of a Sikh elderly man on Instagram and stereotyped him as a "terrorist." Singh wrote a rap (above) and posted it on his Tumblr page that calls out Budden's prejudice. 

Budden has since apologized

(h/t Sikhtoons)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Climate Change, Obamacare Deadline and Final Four

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 16:53
Climate Change, Obamacare Deadline and Final Four

Here's what I've been reading this morning:

  • Those aren't missing flight MH370 plane parts in the Indian Ocean; they're junk
  • It's back up now, but the Obamacare site was down earlier today, which is the last day for open enrollment for 2014. 
  • Must-read on Suey Park and #CancelColbert. 
  • Apple wants to make walking while texting safer by making your phone's text background a live feed of whatever's in front of you. 
  • It was snowing here in New York when I woke up this morning, but spring is supposedly coming soon--along with allergies
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Largest IRS Phone Scam Ever Targets Indian Americans

New America Media - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 11:00
 Indian Americans and other South Asian Americans are being predominantly targeted by scam artists pretending to be Internal Revenue Service officials who threaten to send out an arrest warrant if money is not paid to them immediately over the phone,... Sunita Sohrabji http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Fresh Food Oasis in San Francisco's Tenderloin

New America Media - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 11:00
photo: Fadhl Radman with business advisor Scott Schaffer. (Melanie Young/KALW)In San Francisco’s Tenderloin, getting healthy fare often isn’t an option. Without a full service grocery store in the neighborhood, residents rely on corner stores, and the district has the city’s... Melanie Young http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Aging Alaska Faced Looming Shortage of Care Providers

New America Media - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 10:30
 Photo: Tlingit Indian and retired fisherman Henry Porter’s arthritis forced him into assisted living. (Joaqlin Estus/KNBA)Part 2. Read Part 1. ANKORAGE, Alaska.--Good physical and mental functioning is considered a sign of successful aging, along with an engaging social life and financial... Joaqlin Estus http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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