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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Barneys Hopes Consultant Will Make Racial Profiling Problems Go Away

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:42
Barneys Hopes Consultant Will Make Racial Profiling Problems Go Away

Nine months after the New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman opened an investigation into racial profiling at Barneys over racial profiling allegations, the company has agreed to pay $525,000 in costs, fees and penalties. The store will also reform practices that single out shoppers of color. 

The investigation was sparked by complaints from two black shoppers who said that they were racial profiled at the company's flagship Madison Avenue store. Trayon Christian, 19, and Kayla Phillips, 21 reported being "stopped, frisked, searched and detained." Other complaints followed.

In addition to paying up, the store has also agreed to hire an "independent anti-profiling consultant with expertise in the prevention of racial profiling in loss prevention and asset protection," according to the New York Times. 

(h/t New York Times)


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Little League Pitcher 'Throws Like a Girl,' Heads to World Series

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 08:15

Mo'Ne Davis is only 13 years old, but the Little League pitcher is already throwing 70 m.p.h. pitches. After posting the first-ever shutout thrown by a female little league pitcher, Davis is headed to the Little League World Series. And she's not stopping there. "I'll probably either be the first female in the MLB or in the NBA," she told the "Today" show.

(h/t Bustle)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Questlove on Robin Williams: 'The Smallest Gesture Can Mean the World'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 07:05
 'The Smallest Gesture Can Mean the World'

There's been an outpouring of grief since word spread that Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, died Monday of a suspected suicide. That sentiment also extends to the hip-hop world, as Questlove memorialized Williams on Instagram:

Man. The smallest gesture can mean the world to you. Robin Williams made such an impact on me and didn't even know it. He named checked all of us in the elevator during the 2001 Grammys. I know y'all think I do this false modesty/T Swift "gee shucks" thing to the hilt. But yeah sometimes when you put 20 hour days in you do think it's for naught and that it goes thankless. Grammy time is somewhat of a dark time simply because you just walk around asking yourself is it worth it or not: all the sweat and blood. I just felt like (despite winning grammy the year before) no one really cares all that much for us except for a select few. Especially in that environment I'm which people treat you like minions until they discover what you can do for them...if you're not a strong character you run the risk of letting it get to you.

This particular Sunday we were walking backstage and had to ride the elevator to the backstage area and we piled inside when suddenly this voice just said " thought....rahzel....the roots from Philadelphia!!!! That's right you walked on this elevator saying to yourself "ain't no way this old white dude knows my entire history and discography"....we laughed so hard. That NEVER happened to is before. Someone a legend acknowledged us and really knew who we were (his son put him on to us) man it was a small 2 min moment in real life but that meant the world to me at the time. Everytime I saw him afterwards he tried to top his trivia knowledge on all things Roots associated. Simply because he knew that meant everything to me. May his family find peace at this sad time. I will miss Robin Williams. #RIP."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Ferguson, WHO Approves Ebola Drugs and Detroit Flooding

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 07:01
F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Ferguson, WHO Approves Ebola Drugs and Detroit Flooding

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

  • More than two months after a crash that killed his friend, Tracy Morgan is still recovering
Categories: Diversity Headlines

This is How the South Organizes [Photos]

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 03:50
This is How the South Organizes [Photos]

About 200 low-wage workers from five southern states--Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia--gathered last weekend at a baptist church in a quiet northeastern corner of North Carolina. Organizers called it "Solidarity City"--a nod to Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign of 1968 and its six-week Washington, D.C., encampment for a living wage called Resurrection City. Street protests are one thing. But building community largely happens at intimate gatherings like this conference--one of many allowing low-wage workers time and space to learn about their common issues no matter the workplace. It's emblematic of how low-wage labor in the South is coming together--amongst themselves, first, and largely away from the media spotlight. 

SolidarityCity15.JPGOn and off for the past four years, Maria Garcia, 26 (left) has worked in a North Carolina tobacco field. Originally from Florida, Garcia earns $7.25 an hour and says pesticides are sprayed when she and other workers are in the field. "I'm the only one who seems to get sick from it," she says. But after meeting folks in other industries this weekend she says, "I see it's also bad for fast-food workers. I used to work at McDonald's a while back but the only problem I had was that my manager decided I'd be manager for the day while she did nothing." (All color photos by Raise Up)



Workers belonging to UFCW Local 1208 representing 12,000 workers at the Smithfield Plant in North Carolina, the largest pig slaughterhouse and meat processing plant in the world. Smithfield workers are considered veteran organizers, after winning a 16-year fight to unionize.

SolidarityCity14.jpgEddie Foreman drove up from Opelika, Alabama, with another fast-food worker, Shaniqua Norris. Foreman organized Opelika's first fast food worker protest this past May before joining national protests at McDonald's headquarters later that month.


Panelists (left to right) Nathanette Mayo (public sector), Lindsay Weir (fast food worker; Moral Mondays arrestee), Ty-Eisha Batts (fast food) and Keith Ludlum (slaughterhouse and meat processing) share personal stories of leading and participating in successful worker organizing. 


In 1968, just weeks after Dr. King's assassination an estimated 5,000 civil rights activists lived for six weeks in makeshift tents in what they called Resurrection City. Their demand: an Economic Bill of Rights. (Photo by Henry Zbyszynski/Wiki Commons/1968)


Ty-Eisha Batts, 28, has been on strike since the first fast-food protests in New York City, in November 2012. Because the cost of living was so high she moved from Brooklyn to Greensboro, North Carolina, four months ago. She now works at Hardee's earning $7.75 an hour. It's not enough so Batts is still fighting. "I moved down here, saw a flyer and thought, 'Hey, this is the same thing that's happening in New York,'" she says. "The South is the last to join the fast food strikes I believe but it's really big here, too. It's growing."


Parents brought their children to Solidarity City, which also provided daycare.

SolidarityCity18.jpgKeith Ludlum, 43, president of the union at the Smithfield Plant in North Carolina drove an hour and a half to First Union Baptist Church with 12 other plant employees. A veteran organizer, Ludlum said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of young people attending Solidarity City. "That's a real difference," he says, "and it'll give a shot in the arm to the labor movement."


Solidarity City participants voting "yes" on a resolution to do "whatever it takes to organize the South and win $15 and a union for all workers."


Demonstrators hold "Más dinero ahora" signs during a poor people's march down Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. in June 1968 (Photo by Warren K. Leffler/ US News & World Report/ Library of Congress)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Cartoonists Who Paint a New Picture of Racial Justice

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 13:01
Cartoonists Who Paint a New Picture of Racial Justice

"We need diverse books. We need to make them, buy them, read them, review them, talk about them," award-winning cartoonist Gene Luen Yang told GalleyCat in describing his support for a social media campaign to diversify the publishing world. "Our world is colorful, so our books should be too." This summer, Yang teamed up with Sonny Liew to release a new graphic novel called "The Shadow Hero," based on a character named the Green Turtle who was first introduced by in the 1940s by pioneering Chinese-American cartoonist Chu Hing. The Green Turtle has since been dubbed the first Asian-American superhero by fans and prompted colorful dedications from artists across the genre. "Shadow Hero" is Yang's third book; his last one, 2011"s "Boxers and Saints" was nominated for a National Book Award. His "American Born Chinese" came out in 2006. Yang is one of a handful of working cartoonists whose work about identity has blown up in recent years. He suspects that at least part of the reason can be found in America's changing racial demographics. "I think [identity] is something we all deal with now," he told Colorlines over the phone. "I think that most of us have had some sort of experience when we've been some sort of minority for whatever reasons. It's difficult to grow up now in a mono-ethnic culture. People are now realizing that identity is something you have to actively construct when you get older." Outside of the heavily marketed superhero comics from Marvel and DC, graphic novels are, sadly, as bad in the diversity department as other sectors of the publishing industry. While people of color make up 30 percent of America's population, only 10percent of children's books -- which categorizes graphic novels -- contain multicultural content, according to an infographic from Lee and Lows. But, according to Yang, that's quickly changing. "The kinds of stories that are being in told have grown by leaps and bounds since I was a kid growing up in the '80s," he says.Here are a handful of graphic novels that deal with some aspect of racial justice, whether it's an individual identity or a community coming to terms with itself.


The Shadow Hero (2014)

Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

In 2013, when Yang's "Boxers and Saints" was nominated for a National Book Award, he ruminated a bit on what he's learned from his characters, almost all of whom are Asian and grappling with their identity. "You learn something about yourself every time you write," he told William Alexander of the National Book Foundation. "I think that's what storytelling is. You're trying to figure out what it means to be human. Identity, culture, and belief crop up again and again in my comics. I don't consciously choose to write about those themes. They just sort of... emerge."

A Most Imperfect Union (2014)

Ilan Stavans and Lalo Alcaraz

imperfectunion_080814.jpgThe New York Times called "A Most Imperfect Union" a "witty alternative history of the United States." And it's no wonder: Authour Lalo Alcaraz has built up a well-earned reputation as a genius. "Our heritage is complex and sometimes confusing," . co-author IIan Stavans told the Times. "But then so is the history of this nation." 

The Silence of Our Friends (2012)

Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, Nate Powell

silenceof_080714.jpgTelling the story of segregated Houston in 1968 was no easy task. But Nate Powell and Mark Long, two white authors, felt compelled excavate this part of their own Southern histories in order to show their stake in the fight for racial justice. "It was a unique time of upheaval and self-discovery," Long told Graphic Novel Reporter about witnessing the Civil Rights struggle as a child in 1968.

March (2013)

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell


Rep. John Lewis wants to make sure that younger generations know his story--he was a rabble-rousing young organizer with the Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement. So he took an unconventional step in 2013 and released a graphic novel detailing his role in planning the movement's iconic marches. "As much as this is a story about the civil rights movement ... it allows young people who read it today to shake off that mindset that they are powerless," Lewis told Roll Call.

Demon (2014)

Jason Shiga

demon_080814.jpgIn a review of "The Shadow Hero," Jason Shiga wrote on this blog, "It's a great children's comic, but also a great story about Asian-American identity and the immigrant experience," noting that growing up, "my heroes were never Asian." The main character of his new webcomic "Demon" probably isn't all that heroic and not exactly a role model for kids, but it was called "hilariously ghastly" by Lauren Davis at iO9. "Demon" follows Jimmy Yee, a guy who keeps trying, and keeps failing, to kill himself. It's painfully good stuff. 

Zots: Serpent and Shield (2013)

Daniel and Jorge Parada

zots_080814.jpgThis story focuses on the brutal beginnings of America, namely the 16th century Spanish invasion and decimation of the Mayans. "I tried to get away from [the stories of human sacrifices] and show other parts of the culture, the philosophy, the poetry to give it a context and not be biased," Parada told Mission Local of Zots.  


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Star of Oscar-Winning Short Doc Shares Immigration News

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 12:59

Inocente Azucar is an undocumented Latina artist whose story of struggle won people over when it was packaged into an Oscar-winning documentary last year. After years of living in the U.S. under the threat of deportation, Inocente announced that she's been granted permanent residency and is now the proud owner of a Green Card. She'll now be able to travel to Mexico to see family she hasn't seen in more than 15 years.

// Post by Inocente!!!

(h/t Latino Rebels)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Grandmother Assaulted by CHP Officer Breaks Silence

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 11:31

In a video that went viral in July, a white California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Daniel L. Andrew, is seen chasing, knocking down, straddling and repeatedly pummeling a black woman on the side of a freeway. That woman, 51-year-old grandmother Marlene Pinnock, is now speaking out to media in Los Angeles. 

In an interview with ABC-7, Pinnock she was walking down a Los Angeles freeway when Andrew assaulted her. She says that she has no idea why Andrew assaulted her. Pinnock is still recovering from the beating--she's still in pain from swelling and slurs her speech.

The CHP, which says it's prioritizing the investigation into Pinnock's beating, refused to name the officer involved, but has taken him off patrol. A federal civil rights lawsuit names him as Daniel Andrews. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

'Aunt Jemima' Heir Sues Quaker Oats for $2 Billion in Royalties

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 10:03
'Aunt Jemima' Heir Sues Quaker Oats for $2 Billion in Royalties

Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup is one of the most ubiquitious brands in America, which makes it hard to remember that it's based on a caricature of several black women -- but one in particular. 

Anna Short Harrington was selected for the role of "Aunt Jemima" in 1935 and Quaker Oats trademarked her image and likeness in 1937. According to For Harriet, she was selected because of her own pancake recipe, which was then recreated for store shelves. When Harrington died in 1955, her family says that Quaker Oats was listed on her death certificate as her employer, but the company denies that she was an employee.

Her great grandson, D.W. Hunter, is now suring Quaker Oats for $2 billion plus punitive damages because the company has refused to their share of royalties for using Harrington's recipe and image.

From The Wrap:

The suit further alleges a racial element to the exploitation of Harrington and the other women who portrayed Aunt Jemima, going so far as to accuse the company of theft in procuring 64 original formulas and 22 menus from Harrington. It further alleges that Harrington was dissuaded from using a lawyer, exploiting her lack of education and age, so that thecompany could not pay her a percentage of sales from her recipes.

Read more at For Harriet and CNBC.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Begins

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:28
Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Begins

Starting today, a dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators will face trial over whether they turned to cheating on their students' tests in order to win bonuses and to meet federal and state education standards. Former principals, school administrators, teachers and testing staff have been charged with racketeering, and some have been accused of lying to state investigators and swaying witnesses, AP reported. 

The 12 who face trial today are just a fraction of the nearly three dozen educators who were indicted in a massive cheating scandal which rocked the nation, and the more than 200 teachers and principals that Georgia state investigators found involved in the cheating scandal. In 2011, Georgia investigators confirmed teacher cheating on student tests dating back to 2005 at 44 of 56 Atlanta Public Schools they investigated.

The trial could last months, Reuters reported.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:58
Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

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

  • Ferguson, Missouri's black community holds vigil after police shoot and kill unarmed teen Mike Brown.
  • Tensions are increasing between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Obama administration. 
  • U.S. Missionaries returning from West Africa who may have been exposed to Ebola are being quarantined in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 14:54
Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

What is it for an academic to launch a theory with 25 years of staying power but rarely get credit for its creation? -- Signithia Fordham, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York, wrote a personal essay this week explaining how she makes sense of her intellectual erasure. In late July, President Obama reached into a familiar grab bag for Fordham's controversial "acting white" theory during a My Brother's Keeper announcement held at a Washington, D.C. public school. The 1986 theory has since been debunked according to the Washington Post, but it remains popular. Fordham's essay, which doesn't address the theory itself, is poignant. The erasure of black and Latina girls after all is the key criticism being leveled at Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative aimed at young men and boys of color.

From Fordham:

Out of view of this spirited and public debate [about "acting white"], my phone and email inboxes filled to capacity with calls and notes from colleagues and friends who were dismayed that my work was being discussed--again without me.

The critical question I seek an answer to affects, not just me, but also many others: Are black women ignored by American society? Are we compelled to do the imporant labor for others to consume, elaborate, embellish, and dismiss?

Does Fordham have a point?


(h/t Race and Beyond blog, CAP)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Brittney Griner Talks About Living in China

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:57

If there's one thing that really sets WNBA stars apart from their NBA counterparts, it's the fact that most of them have to play basketball year-round in order to pay the bills. Brittney Griner, the face of the league, is no exception.

Last Spring, ESPN's Kate Fagan caught up with Griner as she tried to adjust to life in China. Now, here's a clip from the new ESPN documentary "Britney Griner: Lifesize" in which the star talks about her time in the country.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

PSA From 'Dear White People': The Best Athletes Aren't Always Black

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:24

Here's the latest PSA from the cast of "Dear White People."

(h/t Global Grind)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Weekend Read: Why Do So Many People Claim Native Heritage?

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:09

What do Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus and The Crying Indian in that popular 1970s Earth Day PSA have in common? Oklahoman Russell Cobb says they all belong to Wannabe Nation. It's "bigger than the Cherokee Nation and perhaps even bigger than the entire state of Oklahoma--although that's difficult to confirm, since the Census Bureau doesn't keep statistics on this subset of the population," Cobb writes in a brilliant essay in This Land Press. Definitely check it out this weekend [full text available by popular demand via Longreads].

Add Rachel Aviv's, Wrong Answer, too. It's being described as some of the most riveting reporting on the infamous Atlanta Schools cheating scandal that blew up in 2011. (See here for a brief refresher of the allegations, investigation and fallout.)

And last but not least, check out the latest from Colorlines' Life Cycles of Inequity series about black men, Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind

What's on your Read-Watch List this weekend?

Categories: Diversity Headlines

ICE Detention Officer Complains About 'Third World' Mothers and Children

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:30

Artesia detention center--a new facility in Texas created to hold migrant families--has garnered negative attention. The center holds about 600 women and children; all have been placed under quarantine following two cases of chickenpox, which means that deportations are currently halted out of Artesia. Migrants seeking asylum are being rushed through for deportation and are routinely being interviewed to establish credible fear without attorneys present. 

Detainees and the few who have visited them have stated that the facility isn't medically equipped to handle families, and that officers there aren't exactly friendly. Latino Rebels obtained a recording of one lawyer who called and spoke with ICE Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer Henry Davila, who had choice words about a child that had to be rushed to an emergency room at a hospital out of Artesia. Davila complained about immigrants from "Third World countries" and talked about diseases, viruses and infections from migrants. 

Read more over at Latino Rebels

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There's an App for That

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:23
Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There's an App for That

First, it was Ghetto Tracker. Now, it's SketchFactor. The new iPhone app, which will soon be available for Android, allows users to report on what they think are sketchy parts of town--so that other users can navigate around them. The app, which essentially crowdsources fear, just became available for download and has already garnered some racist posts. 

The app was created by Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington; McGuire told Crain's New York that she was motivated to create the app while living in Washington, D.C., as a young non-profit worker. She lives in New York now and says "almost nothing's sketchy anymore." So although she lives in a place in which she claims nothing is suspicious to her anymore, McGuire and Herrington nevertheless introduced SketchFactor. They now stand to make $20,000 for SketchApp as BigApps finalists, a contest sponsored by the New York Economic Development Corporation.

McGuire also told Crain's that although she understands the potential as SketchFactor as a portal for racism, she hopes people will actually empower people of color to report racial profiling:

"We understand that people will see this issue," Ms. McGuire said. "And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we're concerned, racial profiling is 'sketchy' and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets."

Yeah. That's probably not gonna happen.

(h/t Citylab)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Azealia Banks' First Post-Label Music Video is Dope

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:19

After invoking the ghosts of "The Color Purple" when she was let go from her label a few months back, Azealia Banks is eager to drop new music on her adoring fans. 

In an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed's Naomi Zeichner, Banks said that can't wait to release her debut album "Broke With Expensive Taste" so she can move on to a new project. "Now that I'm off the label it's a bit of a shock, because now it's like, 'Oh shit, it's real now.' I mean, even though I've been doing it myself the whole time anyway, now it's gonna be more pressure," she said. "I have to do it myself, I have to hire all the people, I have to find all the stuff, I have to pay all the producers, I have to do everything. It's fine, I actually don't mind. I have a good team, lawyer, manager."

And it looks like she's off to a good start. Banks dropped the video for the new track "Heavy Metal and Reflective" on August 5, featuring that signature heavy baseline and some of the best lyrics she's rapped since "L8R." The video was directed by by Rob Soucy and Nick Ace and features Banks escaping a kidnap attempt with her biker gang.

Read more at BuzzFeed.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Florida Church Cancels Funeral of Gay Man At Last Minute

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:17
WFLA News Channel 8

Upon learning the night before that 42-year-old Julion Evans was gay, a Tampa church canceled his late-July funeral. Pastor T.W. Jenkins expressed regret for the cancellation but told WFLA News that New Hope Missionary Baptist Church preaches against gay marriage. Evans' husband, Kendall Capers, said that he would have understood the church's position but called the cancelation during the wake "disrespectful" and "wrong."

"Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church," Jenkins said. "I'm not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles."

Evans married his partner of 17 years last year in Maryland. His mother said she was baptised at New Hope as a child.

Watch WFLA News above for more.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:15
Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

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

  • Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS to protect Yazidis from possible genocide in northern Iraq. 
  • The truce is over in Gaza and a 10-year-old child is the first victim of new Israeli attacks. 
  • Montana Senator John Walsh (D)  pulls out of the race after plagiarism accusations; there's only a few days left in which to pick a replacement.
Categories: Diversity Headlines