Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago
Tue, 06/18/2013 - 14:49
All Brittney Griner wanted to do was show her dad some love on Father's Day. That's it. But apparently when you're a proudly gay 6'8" black professional women's basketball player, even the most ordinary expressions of love invite the most vile demonstrations of hate.
Griner posted a photo on Instagram with her father on Sunday. The message was innocuous enough: "Happy Father's Day love you daddy". But one user, who apparenly is a regular troll of Griner's Instagram account, responded "2 men." Griner, who acknowledged in her recent ESPN profile that she regularly reads the messages of love and hate that people leave her on social media, had apparently had enough. So she responded:
you always got something smart to say! Why don't you try to get a life and stop being a sorry individual that has nothing to do but be a horrible demon! You need to look and [sic] the mirror and se what u are!!! Get a life! So be happy u finally got your fam because I responded! But know u look like an axh though! :) have a good day!
Griner then posted a seperate Instagram photo of the regular doses of Internet hate that she gets every day. See below.
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Mon, 06/17/2013 - 21:22
After years of waiting, Dave Chappelle fans will finally be able to see their favorite comedian in action this summer. Gawker's Neetzan Zimmerman has the details:
Funny or Die announced this morning that Chappelle, who has been infamously difficult to track down since he abruptly left his widely acclaimed Comedy Central show in 2005, will headline the website's first (annual?) Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival.
Kicking off in Austin, Texas, on August 23rd, the tour will go coast-to-coast over the following five weekends.
Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 21 at Live Nation.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 21:20
Most of us live our lives in public. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, email, or Instagram, the vast majority of us are way too attached to our gadgetry, and sometimes that addiction comes at the expense of healthy, in-person social interaction. But there's hope. Fans of smart race writing will see a familiar face on the cover of the latest issue of Fast Company: Baratunde Thurston. The comedian and New York Times Best Selling author of "How to Be Black" on how he unplugged from the Internet and regained his sanity.
Here's a snippet:
Not surprisingly, there is lots of advice online about how to move your existence offline. Some of it was actually useful. For instance, there are plenty of good recipes for hot toddies, so I grabbed a couple. There are a plethora of posts on digital detox, including one called "How to Take an Email Sabbatical," by Microsoft researcher danah boyd, who goes so far as to auto-delete all inbound emails and send an auto-reply informing senders "to resend their message when I return." I couldn't commit to that. The FOMO (fear of missing out) in me is strong. What if Kerry Washington (the Scandalstar, whom I have somehow never met) wrote me confessing her love and I missed it because of some extremist view on vacation emails? To ensure an inbox-free vacation, my chief of staff would log in every few days to check that I didn't miss anything urgent such as a family emergency, holiday party invite--or that message from Kerry.
It's a good read, and maybe a model for those of us who could use summer sabattical from the Interwebs. Read the entire thing here.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 20:41
Dwyane Wade is one of the NBA's best players, playing for what is arguably the NBA's best team, and he probably has the league's boldest fashion sense.
The Miami Heat superstar hasn't been shy about his aspirations to be a fashion icon, but he's definitely stepped it up to the next level this season. Rod McCullom pointed out at just after Game 4 of this year's NBA Finals that Wade rocked capri's (again), a pair of Louboutins, and a cute little red purse. Behold after the jump:
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 20:32
The U.S. State Department submitted a report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination about the state of racial injustice in America. The U.S. government says in the report that "more can and should be done in many areas" regarding their commitment to race discrimination. They also admit that "more can be done" for "strengthening understanding and respect for human rights."
The report helps the nation fulfill its obligations under the U.N.'s international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, or CERD. The State Department writes, "This Report shares our progress in implementing our undertakings under the CERD and on related measures to address racial discrimination."
The ACLU is calling the report "a step forward," but says there's still much work to be done.
"With its submission of this report, the Obama administration makes the critically important point of acknowledging that racial discrimination still persists in the U.S.," said Chandra Bhatnagar, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program. "However, the report glosses over how certain federal policies, such as those allowing state and local involvement in immigration enforcement, have been vehicles to enable racial discrimination to occur. Further, the report doesn't address the pressing need for a national plan of action to end all forms of racial discrimination, which many other countries have already created."
In March, the US Human Rights Network along with dozens of racial justice organizations sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he develop a "National Plan of Action for Racial Justice" that would bring the nation in full compliance with its commitments under the U.N. convention.
"Despite a strong civil rights legacy, race disparities linked to institutionalized and structural forms of racism continue to exist in almost every sphere of life in the United States," reads the letter, which lists examples of present-day unresolved racial discrimination:
- In the 2009-2010 school year, 74 percent of African-American students and 80 percent of Latino students attended majority minority schools, where most of their classmates are nonwhite. An outcome of the deeply segregated and racially and economically isolated American education system is severe achievement gaps between students of color and white students.
- Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, and Latinos are disproportionately incarcerated in the United States. Two-thirds of the two million prisoners in the United States are African-American or Latino. The disparities can be linked to improper policing practices like racial profiling. Drug policy and drug sentencing also contribute by disproportionately targeting African Americans and Latinos.
- People of color and Indigenous Peoples are also more likely to live near hazardous waste facilities with nearly half of all people of color in the United States living within less than two miles of a hazardous waste facility.
There's also the recent HUD-sponsored investigation that found people of color are less likely to be shown housing units by real estate agents and landlords than white people -- findings that HUD apparently isn't prepared to resolve anytime soon, as Seth Freed Wessler and ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones recently reported on (which won the National Low Income Housing Coalition Media Award for Hannah-Jones).
It should also be added that the Voting Rights Act's Section Five, which prevents racial disenfranchisement intentional and unintentional in areas with a history of racial discrimination, and also race consideration in affirmative action policy are both in danger of being deleted from the law books by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sherrilyn A. Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who is helping defend both of those issues in the Supreme Court, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times today saying, "If there is public discomfort, it is precisely because race still does matter, because it still resonates so powerfully in American life."
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 20:32
The New York Times may have led its Thursday census story with handwringing over the decline of the white population in the U.S. But that wasn't all that the U.S. Census Bureau released. The other big news? Asians are now the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the country. Asians in the U.S. now number 19 million, a change of 2.9 percent between 2011 and 2012, NPR reported.
The change comes on the heels of shifting migration patterns. According to a 2012 Pew report, Asian migration surpassed Latino migration to the U.S. for the first time, the AP reported last year. Rapid demographic changes are underway in the country. The majority of babies born in the U.S. are now Asian, Latino or black.
And yet, the reaction to demographic change in the U.S. is all too often nativist fear of some kind of newcomer-led overthrow. Where Asians are concerned, those fears become tinged by a yellow peril panic that xenophobes have been practicing for about as long as Asians have been coming to the U.S., which means, for well over a century.
Beau Sia's poem "The Asians Are Coming, The Asians Are Coming" has always been one of my go-to salves for that tired xenophobia. It's also the first thing I thought of when I heard the Census news. Enjoy.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 20:10
Oakland writer Chinaka Hodge recently caught up with Oakland filmmaker Ryan Coogler and good things happened. In a piece for San Francsico Magazine's Writers on Writers series, Hodge interviewed Coogler about what it's like to make art about their hometown. Coogler's highly anticipated directorial debut, "Fruitvale Station", is set to be released next month. It's a really good interview, and you should read it and send it to all of your friends.
But what struck me most about the interview were the types of intimate details that you get when hometown folks get together and talk about their work. Things like:
1. Ryan Coogler brings his own PB&J sandwhiches to fancy places.
So, it's 1:01 p.m. on a Monday. We sit in the cinematic lap of luxury, with all of the trappings one would expect from Lucas et al. But instead of grandly parading around the sprawling campus, we post up in a quiet cafeteria, nearly unseen, with Coog munching the humble PB&J he brought from home.
2. Favorite 2pac album? Me Against the World.
I press further: What's your favorite Pac album? Coog furrows his brown-skinned brow as if I have asked him to pick a favorite child or most preferred appendage. He finally chooses: Me Against the World. That question is like a hood litmus test, and Ryan shows his true nature, picking the work that best epitomizes Shakur's time in Oakland
3. He's getting married!
Coog, age 26, has been preparing for the July national release of the film under the new name Fruitvale Station, planning his upcoming nuptials to his absolutely stunning fiancée, and somehow maintaining an admirable state of calm.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 18:17
Before Kevin Clash became a controversy, he was an anomaly. He was a history-making black performer in a world that was mostly white, and became the voice behind Elmo, one of the most loved figures in child entertainment. Clash has since been rocked by several accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior with several underage boys. The allegations led to Clash's resignation from the show last year.
Nonetheless, Clash took home three Emmy Awards last week at the Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts show. In total, Clash took home awards for his work as executive co-producer of Sesame Street, which won for Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series; Outstanding performer in a Children's Series; and he shared another award for Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series.
Clash hasn't been heard from publicly since the scandal broke, so he didn't accept the awards in person. But his wins pretty much sum up the competing sentiments about him: talented, troubled, and ominously absent.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 16:16
The San Antonio Spurs handed an epic beat down to the Miami Heat last night in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. But that hasn't been the only talk around South Texas. Instead, critics lashed out at the Spurs organization for inviting an Sebastian De La Cruz, an 11-year-old Mexican-American, to sing the national anthem before the game.
He can sing, right? Right. But some NBA fans were outraged that the Spurs would have a Latino boy sing the national anthem.
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 16:13
It's never easy to talk about an incarcerated loved one in public, and it's an especially difficult task for children. In 2007 the Sentencing Project estimated that 1.7 million kids in America have at least one parent behind bars, more than 70 percent of whom are children of color. But the task of explaining a complex adult topic to a child may have gotten a little bit less cumbersome now that Sesame Street is involved.
The long-running children's series has released a new toolkit called "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" that includes videos, worksheets, and tips for both children and caregivers. The series is aimed at kids ages 2-7 years old, but the tips could be helpful for older kids and even adults, too.
From Sesame Street's website:
The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers. It can bring about big changes and transitions. In simple everyday ways, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments. With your love and support she can get through anything that comes her way. Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through.
Along with videos, the series also includes a list of helpful tips to help children through the complicated emotions that go along with talking about a loved one's incarceration:
1. Build security. In the morning, let your child know some of the things that will happen throughout the day. For example, "Grandma will pick you up from school. Then you'll go to the park, and later we'll all have dinner together."
2. Share your heart. Give your child a paper heart to keep in her pocket. You might say, "This is to remind you that I love you and will always be there for you."
3. Express emotions. Take time each day to check in with your child and ask, "How are you feeling?" Remember to let your child know that it's okay to have big feelings no matter what they are.
4. Answer honestly. When explaining where an incarcerated parent is, you can say, "Daddy is in a place called prison (or jail) for a while. Grown-ups sometimes go to prison when they break a rule called a law."
5. Stay connected. Phone calls are a great way to reach out. Help your child to think of something she'd like to tell her incarcerated parent, and give her a photo of her parent to hold during the call.
6. Prepare together. Before you visit your incarcerated loved one, let your child know some of the things she can expect to happen. For instance, "We won't be able to sit in the same room with Mommy, but we can see her through a window and read a story together."
7. Take care of yourself. Caring for yourself helps you care for your child. At least once a day, do something that you enjoy or find relaxing.
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 19:57
It's a momentous week for the Colorlines team, as we say a bittersweet goodbye to an old friend, and offer a hearty welcome home to another.
As any regular Colorlines reader knows, Jorge Rivas has been part of the DNA of this publication and our community since--well, before it existed in this form. Back when our online presence was primarily a single news blog, Racewire, Jorge was one of our leading voices. In 2010, when we relaunched Colorlines magazine as Colorlines.com, turning a quarterly print publication into a daily news beast, we leaned heavily on Jorge's many skills to get us pointed in the right direction. Since then, he's been in the mix doing just about everything--providing pop culture coverage that's as fun as it is insightful; shooting and editing gorgeous video; developing reader polls and chats and other interactive features; laying out beautiful pages; and even fending off malware attacks. I don't oversate the point in saying that Colorlines.com would not exist without Jorge's extraordinary efforts to make it so.
Today we bid him a sad, but excited farewell. Jorge will be joining one of the most buzzed about projects in news media today--Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision that is launching formally later this year. While we hate to see him leave, we're thrilled to know he'll be bringing the same racial justice lens he created at Colorlines to this exciting new effort in cable news.
Also today, we welcome home one of our favorite contributors, Aura Bogado. Aura will be joining the Colorlines team as a news editor and reporter, and we're thrilled to be able to bring her voice to the site daily. As a Colorlines editorial fellow, Aura helped lead our Voting Rights Watch project in 2012. As a both an editor and an investigative reporter, her coverage of immigration, Native communities and progressive organizing, among other things, has been groundbreaking and eye-opening. We are delighted to welcome her back to the team fulltime.
We'll be adding more new contributors throughout the year, and expanding our coverage of culture, both high and low, later in the summer. More on all that soon. For now, join us in thanking Jorge for his incredible contributions--and in welcoming Aura as we look forward to many great stories to come.
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 19:02
Earlier this week we brought you news of Sesame Street's important new toolkit to help kids deal with a parent's incarceration. It's an important endeavor, though one with some suspect bankrollers. The Atlantic Wire pointed out on Thursday that British contractor, BAE Systems, is one of the feature's main sponsors, and they make their money in part from for-profit prison labor. The support for Sesame Street comes from BAE System's large philantrophic arm, which you can read more about here.
So far, the series itself has sparked strong reactions both for and against the project. More from The Atlantic Wire:
The package has so far elicited pretty polarized reactions. CBS News, which unveiled the effort, praise the attempt to confront the very real issue of children with loved ones in jail: "Sesame Street, in its simple, familiar way, is trying to break [incarceration] down, using imaginary characters to explore -- and explain -- what was once unimaginable, but now more and more common." (Indeed, the U.S. incarceration rate is the world's highest.) The libertarian magazine Reason, however, saw things a bit differently: "Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail."
You can see more about Sesame Street's "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" over on its website.
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 18:56
We knew this was coming. One June 8 Jason Collins, the first openly gay major men's professional athlete, tweeted a photo of himself standing with his old college roommate before marching in Boston's Gay Pride Parade. Collins was wearing a black Nike t-shirt with #BeTrue emblazoned on the front in rainbow-colored lettering.
Now we know that it's official: Nike is launching a new line specifically targeting its gay athletes and customers. The new Nike #BeTrue collection includes t-shirts, shoes, flip flops, and iPhone cases.
Esquire tweeted photos of the collection on Tuesday:
Huffington Post's Gay Voices doesn't think that this is Nike's one-off attempt to captialize on the noteriety of openly gay athletes.
Sports leaders, the media and advocacy groups are currently touching down in Portland, Ore. for the second annual Nike LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Oregon.
The event, founded by Outsports' Cyd Zeigler, the National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Director Helen Carroll and LGBT sports pioneer Pat Griffin, takes place June 12-15 and will include college and professional athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, political figures, LGBT advocates, journalists and more.
The country's highest profile openly gay athletes have signed endorsement deals with the company. Along with Jason Collins, the WNBA's Brittney Griner has an endorsement deal with Nike that also allows her to also wear the company's menswear.
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 14:47
A new report released Monday by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy takes a rare look at an often overlooked subgroup of young people: Asian American, Pacific Islander and AMEMSA boys and young men. AMEMSA stands for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian--it's a handy acronym worth remembering in a post-Sept. 11 U.S. context, where members of these communities often have overlapping experiences, but more typically, are seen as indistinguishable from each other.
So what ought we know about the boys and young men of these communities? Some of the facts may surprise you--and to the extent that they do, serve to highlight the grave misunderstandings the wider public has of Asian-American and AMEMSA communities broadly. Misunderstandings abound in part because of a stubborn model minority myth that suggests that all Asian Americans are wealthy, high-achieving and well-educated. The reality is far from that blanket picture. The U.S. Census Bureau's own "Asian" category now encompasses 23 different Asian subgroups, all of whom have vastly different migration histories and cultural backgrounds. Some Asians came to the U.S. as refugees of war in the 1970s, some as laborers in the 19th century, some as newly recruited engineers to the tech industry. With all that difference and with no unifying linguistic or cultural binder, Asians are a truly difficult community to categorize.
So what about those facts?
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 14:45
Families with two fathers? Families with just one father? And families with none? Immigrant families; families connected by love and commitment, if not blood; families with a father behind bars--those are all still real and legitimate families. And those fathers and families all deserve the love, support and access that mothers do.
This Father's Day, Strong Families, a project of the Oakland-based reproductive justice organization Forward Together, has got all of those kinds of families and fathers covered. After producing a similar series of inclusive Mother's Day e-cards since 2011, 2013 marks the first year Forward Together is releasing a series for dads.
Each e-card in the series is a real work of art, and entirely customizable. Send one here.
Thu, 06/13/2013 - 18:41
Armed with the power of their stories, young undocumented immigrants, so-called DREAMers, have made themselves the faces of immigration reform. Their stories, about coming to the US as children and growing up to find an uncertain future, play in Washington as an urgent call to grant undocumented immigrants a path to stay in the US.
Yet as is often the case of shared narratives, some people don't fit. A new project out of Mexico City aims to tell the stories of "Los Otros Dreamers," young immigrants who grew up in the US without papers but were either deported or decided that they'd take their chances in Mexico.
The project, a book in progress, is the work of Mexico City-based, American academic Jill Anderson and Mexican photographer Nin Solis. They are travelling around Mexico to meet young people who in recent years have come back to Mexico and are now trying to build lives for themselves. "This is a new collectivity of young people," Anderson, a PhD in American Studies, told me. "This is the generation of the children of the mass migration from Mexico and they're now back."
Anderson and Solis launched a kickstarter campaign to support the project, which they plan to self-produce and then shop around to publishers. They're looking for donations to help move the project to completion.
Solis's images are coupled with deported and returning young people's own words. The book offers readers in the US and Mexico a clear view of a community that's mostly invisible in both countries. "I heard people speaking English and I assumed they were gringos, but they are from here and from there," Solis told me, of young deportees she met near her house. "I hope this project raises their visibility."
Some of the young people in the book, which is called "Los Otros Dreamers," hope that this visibility will help change U.S. and Mexican policies. On the US side, it's about the passage of immigration reform. In Mexico, it's about broader government recognition of the needs of young people who return. Some need help finding work or a home. Others, those who hope to go to college in Mexico, often find that Mexican institutions don't respect US school transcripts. Years of school in the US, can mean nothing in Mexico.
Hector Bolivar is one of the people in their book. He's lived in Guadalajara, Mexico for two years, since he left his life, his friends, and a musical instrument business that he started in Los Angeles. He told Anderson and Solis:
The entire idea of an undocumented student was taboo and no one, including myself, knew what to do with me. [...] On my 29th birthday I had a moment of reflection. I was living in the US alone by this time, my family having moved back to Mexico a few months before, and I came upon a discovery. I was tired. I looked at my past and my future in the U.S., I looked back at my accomplishments and my failures, realizing that it was as good as it was going to get for me under my current legal status. In late June I bought my plane ticket dated August 7th, 2011. I began saying my goodbyes to everyone I knew, not knowing if I would see any of them again.
Through the book project, Bolivar has now met with others like him. And he says that he's intent on breaking the taboo around those who return. He plans to open a store front music shop in Guadalajara.
Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:22
June 11, 1963:
- Alabama Gov. George Wallace infamously stands in front of the doors of the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium refusing to admit two African-American students, James Hood and Vivian Malone, who were there to register and integrate the college as ordered by a federal district court.
- At 3:40 p.m. that afternoon, Gov. Wallace steps aside as Hood and Malone are escorted into the school by federalized Alabama National Guards and U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. Malone later says, "I didn't feel I should sneak in, I didn't feel I should go around the back door. If [Wallace] were standing the door, I had every right in the world to face him and to go to school."
- Across the globe, Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, publicly self-immolates by setting himself on fire on a busy road in Saigon. His act was a protest of Buddhist persecution by the South Vietnamese government. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the suicide by Malcolm Browne brought world attention to the injustice when it ran in the Associated Press.
- Later after Gov. Wallace's stand-down and stand-aside, President John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights. Asks Kennedy, "We preach freedom around the world, but are we to say to the world, and . . .to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes?" The speech cribs heavily from Martin Luther King Jr., notably the "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," which took moderate white Americans to task for not standing up more aggressively for civil rights.
- That night, civil rights activist Bernard Lafayette, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, is attacked in Selma, Alabama by a white man who Lafayette was just helping with his car. The attacker pistol whips Lafayette repeatedly leaving an open gash on his forehead. He is hospitalized.
June 12, 1963:
- Just after midnight, NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers is assassinated in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Mississippi by Klan member Byron De La Beckwith. Evers' wife and children were at home awaiting his arrival when it happened. Bernard Lafayette's wife Colia worked closely with Evers and was in Jackson when he was murdered, nursing her own wounds from King's Birmingham clash with police in April that year.
- Later that morning, Bernard Lafayette checks out of the hospital against doctors wishes after learning what happened to Evers. But Lafayette didn't go home to change his bloody clothes. Instead, as Gary May wrote in his book "Bending Toward Justice," Lafayette "immediately went into the downtown streets, a walking advertisement that showed the city's racists that they could not run him out of town." Selma civil rights lawyer J. L. Chestnut found Lafayette walking with his "eyes all swollen, face bruised, blood all over his shirt. Chestnut tried to get him to go home, but Lafayette told him "No way," and word his blood-stained shirt for the rest of the month.
Thu, 06/13/2013 - 15:24
A new report commissioned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed yesterday that prospective renters or home buyers of color are significantly less likely to be shown units compared to white home seekers. The results of the study, conducted by the Urban Institute with a $9 million grant from HUD, are fairly unsurprising--discrimination is present everywhere and housing is no exception.
But as ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones reports, HUD has no plans to do anything to stop the practices revealed in the new study. Hannah-Jones writes:
[T]he more startling thing may be what HUD intends to do with its findings. ...[T]he federal agency has no plans to use these tests to actually enforce the law and punish the offenders.
Once a decade for the last 40 years, HUD has produced a massive survey to reveal the pervasive discrimination that, year after year, exists in America's housing marketplace. But as ProPublica reported late last year, HUD as a policy refuses to invest the same kinds of time, resources and techniques in prosecuting those guilty of the very discrimination its expensive studies uncover. Instead, HUD outsources testing used to find and punish discriminatory landlords to dozens of small, poorly funded fair housing groups scattered across the country.
And Congress has shown little appetite for forcing HUD to do more meaningful enforcement. A bill that would create a national testing enforcement program at HUD is expected to soon die in committee for the third time.
The Urban Institute conducted 8,000 tests in 28 cities by sending testers of color and white testers with otherwise equal qualifications to realtors to inquire about apartments and homes. The report found that black, Asian and Latinos borrowers are less likely to be shown houses or apartments. That means folks of color have fewer options for where to live, are forced to spend more time and money looking for a home, and end up stuck in neighborhoods some may hope to leave.
As the author of the Urban Institute report said in a video that accompanies the report, "discrimination in housing contributes to the persistence of broader inequalities in housing, in home ownership, in neighborhoods, access to education, wealth building. So where we live really matters."
ProPublica's previous investigation revealed that HUD has consistently refused to act affirmatively to stop these practices despite clear legal, decades-old prohibitions against racial discrimination in housing.
Wed, 06/12/2013 - 22:09
Six-year-old Grace Colbert, star of the Cheerios commercial, and her parents, visited MSNBC's Thomas Roberts to share their take on the racist backlash the ad received soon after it premiered.
"Being part of a biracial family, it's just the reality," Christopher Colbert, the father of the six-year-old Grace, told MSNBC on Tuesday. "We're also part of the face of America."
Colbert added that he was "excited" about the reactions to the commercial, both good and bad.
"Being a biracial family is just a reality. We're also a part of the face of America, and so America just needs to see that this is just a way of life and that this is just the way life is today," Colbert said during the interview. "I wasn't upset or anything I was pretty much really excited to have this type of reaction so we could see where we still stand in America."
The six-year-old actress' mother, Janet Colbert, said that her daughter thought all the attention the commercial was getting must have been because of her great smile.
According to Census data, among opposite-sex married couples, one in 10 (5.4 million couples) are interracial, a 28% jump since 2000. In 2010, 18% of heterosexual unmarried couples were of different races (1.2 million couples) and 21% of same-sex couples (133,477 couples) were mixed.
The number of mixed-race babies has also climbed over the past decade. More than 7 percent of the 3.5 million children born in the year before the 2010 Census were of two or more races, up from barely 5 percent a decade earlier.
Wed, 06/12/2013 - 21:49
This essay was originally published at Salon.com on June 9, 2013.
There are a few dictums that have enjoyed pride of place in black American families alongside "Honor your parents" and "Do unto others" since at least Emancipation. One of them is this: The road to freedom passes through the schoolhouse doors.
After all, it was illegal even to teach an enslaved person to read in many states; under Jim Crow, literacy tests were used for decades to deny black voters their rights. So no surprise that from Reconstruction to the first black president, the consensus has been clear. The key to "winning the future," in one of President Obama's favorite phrases, is to get educated. "There is no surer path to success in the middle class than a good education," the president declared in his much-discussed speech on the roots of gun violence in black Chicago.
Rarely has that message resounded so much as now, with nearly one in seven black workers still jobless. Those who've found work have moved out of the manufacturing and public sectors, where good jobs were once available without a higher ed degree, and into the low-wage service sector, to which the uncredentialed are now relegated. So while it has become fashionable lately to speculate about middle-class kids abandoning elite colleges for adventures in entrepreneurship, an entirely different trend has been unfolding in black America -- people are going back to school in droves.
It's true at all levels of education. Yes, black college enrollment shot up by nearly 35 percent between 2003 and 2009, nearly twice the rate at which white enrollment increased. But we're getting all manner of schooling as we seek either an advantage in or refuge from the collapsed job market. As I've reported on the twin housing and unemployment crises in black neighborhoods in recent years, I've heard the same refrain from struggling strivers up and down the educational ladder: "I'm getting my papers, maybe that'll help." GEDs, associates degrees, trade licenses, certifications, you name it, we're getting it. Hell, I even went and got certified in selling wine; journalism's a shrinking trade, after all.
But this headlong rush of black Americans to get schooled has also led too many down a depressingly familiar path. As with the mortgage market of the pre-crash era, those who are just entering in the higher ed game have found themselves ripe for the con man's picking. They've landed, disproportionately, at for-profit schools, rather than at far less expensive public community colleges, or at public universities. And that means they've found themselves loaded with unimaginable debt, with little to show for it, while a small group of financial players have made a great deal of easy money. Sound familiar? Two points if you hear troublesome echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis.
Between 2004 and 2010, black enrollment in for-profit bachelor's programs grew by a whopping 264 percent, compared to a 24 percent increase in black enrollment in public four-year programs. The two top producers of black baccalaureates in the class of 2011 were University of Phoenix and Ashford University, both for-profits.
These numbers mirror a simultaneous trend in eroding security among ambitious black Americans with shrinking access to middle-class jobs. It's true that the country's middle class is collapsing for everyone, but that trend is most profound among African-Americans. In 2008, as black folks flocked into higher ed, the Economic Policy Institute found that 45 percent of African-Americans born into the middle class were living at or near poverty as adults.
For too many, school has greased the downward slide. Nearly every single graduate of a for-profit school -- 96 percent, according to a 2008 Department of Education survey -- leaves with debt. The industry ate 25 percent of federal student aid in the 2009-2010 school year. That's debt its students can't pay. The loan default rate among for-profit college students is more than double that of their peers in both public and nonprofit private schools, because the degrees and certificates the students are earning are trap doors to more poverty, not springboards to prosperity.
There's been growing, positive attention to this problem, and the Obama administration's ongoing efforts to rein in the excesses of for-profit schools are arguably among its most progressive policy goals. But few have understood the for-profit education boom as part of the larger economic challenge black America faces today. The black jobs crisis stretches way back to the 2001 recession, from which too many black neighborhoods never recovered. Workers and families have been scrambling ever since, trying to fix themselves such that they fit inside a broken economy. And it is that very effort at self-improvement, that same American spirit of personal re-creation and against-all-odds ambition that has so often led black people into the jaws of the 21st century's most predatory capitalists. From subprime credit cards through to subprime home loans and now on into subprime education, we've reached again and again for the trappings of middle-class life, only to find ourselves slipping further into debt and poverty.
Kiesha Whatley is an example.
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@JamilSmith The distorted #media depiction of African American men & boys has real life consequences, again. #mediadiversity #Tremaine