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"Saturday Night Live" to Bill Cosby: 'Pull Up Your Damn Pants'

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:26

More women have come forward with shocking stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual predation, and even one of his former handlers has detailed his role in the whole mess. It was just a matter of time before "Saturday Night Live" took aim at the embattled comic. In a somewhat crude segment, Michael Che draws on Cosby's own moralizing and admonishes the 77-year-old to "pull your damn pants up!"

Categories: Diversity Headlines

ICYMI: Giuliani and Dyson Debate 'Black on Black Crime'

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:17

Emotions over so-called black on black crime continue to run high. In a testy "Meet the Press" segment yesterday about Ferguson, NBC's Chuck Todd couldn't get a word in edgewise after former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani bemoaned the lack of attention paid to "black on black violence" by Todd, perhaps other media and show guest Michael Eric Dyson. A third guest, lawyer Anthony Gray who represents Michael Brown's family, looked on. After highlighting cities around the country with disproportionately white police departments, Todd asks Giuliani, "How do you make a police force that looks like the community they serve?" Giuliani answers initially but quickly changes the subject to "black on black crime," a popular subject among both blacks and whites, that The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has long pushed back against

Giuliani argues that black-on-black crime explains high white police presence. Watch above for Dyson's response. 

(h/t Meet The Press)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hagel Steps Down, RIP Marion Berry, Remember Tamir Rice

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 07:49
Hagel Steps Down, RIP Marion Berry, Remember Tamir Rice

This is what I'm reading up on now:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 09:21
Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

The controversial Secure Communities (S-Comm) program is coming to an end under Obama's executive action on immigration. A new program called the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP-Comm for short, will take its place. But will it be much better?

In his announcement Thursday, and then nearly verbatim in Las Vegas Friday, Obama stressed new targets for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): "Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids," the president said. "We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day."

Those dichotomies raise concerns for some. "I was thinking about how certain communities are over-policed à la Ferguson," says Angela Chan, policy director and senior staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "This juxtaposition forgets the reality that some communities are over-policed and over-criminalized."

Like PEP-Com, its predecessor created a path to deportation. The program--which began in 2008 under George W. Bush and escalated under by Obama--required local jails and prisons to hand over the fingerprints of anyone being processed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including people who hadn't yet had their day in court. If ICE deemed the person a threat it would issue them a so-called detainer, a 48-hour hold in a local jail or prison. Although detainers were supposed to last up to two days, many were extended by weeks or months at a time. And although S-Comm was created to catch undocumented immigrants, it often swept up U.S. citizens, even those who hadn't been convicted of a crime. Some local agencies and entire states refused to cooperate with S-Comm because the detainers weren't warrants issued by a judge. Rather, they were the result of decisions made by a federal agency plagued with problems.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) led the charge to end S-Comm and explicitly demanded its end in the days leading up to the president's announcement. In some ways, it seems like NDLON has won.

In a November 14 memo [PDF], Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson conceded that the program essentially failed:

The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued.

The goal of Secure Communities was to more effectively identify and facilitate the removal of criminal aliens in the custody of state and local law enforcement agencies. But the reality is the program has attracted a great deal of criticism, is widely misunderstood, and is embroiled in litigation; its very name has become a symbol for general hostility toward the enforcement of our immigration laws. Governors, mayors, and state and local law enforcement officials around the country have increasingly refused to cooperate with the program, and many have issued executive orders or signed laws prohibiting such cooperation. A number of federal courts have rejected the authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to detain immigrants pursuant to federal detainers issued under the current Secure Communities program.

Under the president's new program, most people who haven't been convicted of crimes won't be issued a detainer--although undocumented immigrants who are suspected of terrorism may be targeted. In addition, PEP-Comm will ensnare people found crossing the border, gang members, those convicted of felonies, people who've been convicted of three misdemeanors, and those who have one "significant misdemeanor" on their record. Significant misdemeanors include domestic violence, burglary and drug-selling. Instead of issuing a detainer, Johnson's memo instructs local and state agencies to notify ICE that the person is question will soon be released.

But the Asian Law Caucus' Chan finds what she calls alarming similarities between S-Comm and PEP-Comm--particularly when it comes to local and state agencies doing the work of what should be federal enforcement. "The bones of the program are the same. Under S-Comm, fingerprints are transmitted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by local police. Under PEP-Comm, the same thing will happen."

Chan adds that any entanglement with local law enforcement is a threat to public safety because it invites police to select people for deportation instead of protecting their welfare.

Time will also tell whether agents honor the directives of Johnson's PEP-Comm memo. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Kristina Wong: Asian Vaginas Have the Power to End Racism (NSFW)

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:21
 Asian Vaginas Have the Power to End Racism (NSFW)

Tired of white guys who say, "I'm not racist! I've dated an Asian/Latina/Black woman before!"? This video from comedian Kristina Wong shows why he may be onto something. Warning: this video is NSFW--and NSFFWCSTSSPAV (Not Safe for Folks Who Can't Stand to See Stuffed Penises and Vaginas).

Or not.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:20
A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]

This photo essay is part of Life Cycles of Inequity: A Colorlines Series on Black Men. In this installment, we explore and challenge the notion that black families face a crisis of fatherhood. The installment includes a dispatch from Baltimore, in which four dads challenge the easy assumption that all children of unwed mothers have absent fathers. 

In June of 2013 I started photographing black men and their children and created The Fatherhood Project, the online home for photos that capture them in ordinary moments. A single dad helping his daughter with math homework during a break at work. A dad teaching his daughter how to walk as they wait to see a doctor. A father and son chilling on a stoop.

Why photograph black men and their children? What's extraordinary about these subjects? 

For starters, black men taking care of our children is, on some level, revolutionary--and a form of resistance to the legacies of laws and other tools used to hinder our ability to parent. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for example, fathers were routinely separated from their children as family members were sold. And currently, disproportionately and consistently high incarceration and unemployment rates for black men have made it difficult, if not impossible for many to parent. There's also the disproportionately high rate of homicide among black men, whether by people in their own communities or at the hands of the state. My own father was murdered by a cop a couple of weeks before my 15th birthday.

As New York Times writer Brent Staples asked in a tweet this past Fathers' Day: "Imagine yourself jailed on a low-level Rockefeller-era drug charge. Now a felon: denied a job, housing and the vote. How would you 'Father'"

And yet, even in neighborhoods like my Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, home, beset with problems such as disinvestment and militaristic policing, you see black men parenting or at least making earnest efforts to do so. Some are parenting children who aren't biologically related to them, too. You see them walking their children to school or picking them up; teaching a son or daughter the fundamentals of basketball on an outdoor court; or simply enjoying a morning breeze on the stoop with an infant son. Ordinary moments that crush white media narratives and stereotypes about black fathers.

I find something extraordinary in the ordinary moments captured in these photos, some of which I'm honored to share with Colorlines for its Life Cycles of Inequity series. I hope you will too.

You can explore Marcus Franklin's full photo series on his Tumblr, "The Fatherhood Project." 



Kent prepares to embrace his daughter, Kennedy, who had recently turned 1 when I took this photo, as he encourages her to walk in the waiting area of the doctor's office. Kennedy was about to get a routine checkup. Black dads are just as involved--and often more involved--with their children's daily activities as fathers from other racial groups, a Centers for Disease Control study released in 2013 found.


Giovanni tries to get 9-month-old Ethan to laugh as they sit on their Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, stoop, enjoying a warm Sunday morning days before Giovanni and his wife planned to take Ethan to Giovanni's native Cameroon.


Patrice helps his daughter Tiffiny, 12, with math homework during a break at his IT job. Patrice has been raising Tiffiny alone since her mother passed when his daughter was 6. According to the Pew Research Center, "Black fathers are the most likely to be heads of single father households--29 percent are."

lifecycles_franklin4.jpg of dead prez brings his son to the stage to play during a concert on Fathers' Day in 2013 at Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.


Father and daughter waiting for a bus.


Early photos like this one inspired me to keep photographing black men and their children and to create The Fatherhood Project to showcase the photos. Despite structural systems of inequality such as disproportionately high incarceration, unemployment and poverty rates in neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, there are men making earnest efforts to be there for their children.


Darryl, his fiancée, Linda, and their daughter Ava, 3, talk. Although Ava isn't biologically related to Darryl, he considers her his daughter.


In the nearly three decades since a cop murdered my dad, ending our imperfect relationship, memories of our times together have grown hazy. But the image of me as an afroed toddler straddling one of his legs, leaning back against him, his left arm around me, is one that remains sharp, thanks to this photo. The photo is a record of sorts that, in that moment, he was there. And so are the other photos in this series.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

How to Watch President Obama's Immigration Announcement

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:12
How to Watch President Obama's Immigration Announcement

President Obama will be making a big statement on immigration Thursday night from the White House's East Room. On Friday he will be going to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas to rally support. But major English language networks won't be airing the announcement--CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox will all air their scheduled programming. 

If you're online, you can tune in to White House Live at 8 p.m. Eastern. If you've got cable, don't worry, because MSNBC, CNN and Fox News will be airing the announcement. And, if you speak Spanish, you can tune in to Univision--which is postponing the Latin Grammys (Calle 13--who's up for nine awards--will be performing, so you might want to stay tuned to Univision afterward!).

President Obama took to Facebook Wednesday to confirm his schedule:

// Post by The White House.

It's likely that the President's move will potentially benefit nearly five million people on a temporary basis, without a pathway to citizenship. The president will also be seeking to expand security on the southern border. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Could Pres. Obama's Action on Immigration Help the Fight for $15?

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:12
Could Pres. Obama's Action on Immigration Help the Fight for $15?

It hasn't been lost on observers that Pres. Obama will announce his executive action on immigration reform tonight, at the same time as the Latin Grammy Awards are getting ready to broadcast live on Univision. As a result, the network is delaying the start of the event in order to carry the speech live. And "chances are high," writes TIME's Michael Scherer, "that the leading lights of Latin pop will follow up [Obama's] words with on-stage celebrations of the President's actions." That's not serendipity; that's great marketing.

Less obvious though is the fact that Obama's executive order is also coming at a time when, in the face of a stalled Congress, municipalities and states are moving on their own to increase the minimum wage. Four Republican states were the latest to capitulate, due to citizens' ballot demands. And protesting Walmart workers who previously demanded an unspecified "living wage," now demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage--like fast-food workers. 

So how do these local, people-powered fights for a higher minimum wage dovetail with Obama's executive action on immigration reform? The details of Obama's plan aren't yet known but NYU economist Daniel Altman and others have argued that increasing the minimum wage requires immigration reform, including bringing undocumented workers into the formal labor force. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez touted a similar argument in an October speech, linking immigration reform with raising the wage floor for all Americans (or at least, stalling its downward push). But the impact of immigration (and, reform) on wages remains a contested point, certainly among the GOP. Some are considering another government shut down as one response to Obama's immigration reform.

Look for Obama's remarks tonight to include making as many as 5 million people eligible for work permits, the AP reports. Morgan Winsor of International Business Times explains the economic impact on states like California, New York, Illinois and Texas in particular. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama Introduces Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:09
Obama Introduces Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP

Among the actions President Obama is taking in his executive action on immigration is introducing Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP. The program will be administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Parents of all U.S. citizen children or legal permanent resident children born on or before November 20, 2014 are eligible. Parents of children that are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, are not--and neither are soon-to-be parents whose children are born today or anytime after.

DAP recipients will be eligible for work authorization and be granted relief from deportation for a renewable three years at a time. In order to obtain DAP, parents must demonstrate a constant presence in the United States for the last five years, submit biometric data, as well as pass a criminal background check. Although there was early talk of paying back taxes for the last five years, no such condition exists in DHS memos and wasn't mentioned by Obama in his remarks Thursday evening. Any parent who is already an enforcement priority for the administration is automatically ineligible for for the program.

Like DACA, DAP does not provide legal status--it's temporary relief from deportation. It's estimated that more than three million parents will be eligible for DAP. The fee to apply for DAP will be $465 for each parent, but eligible immigrants won't be able to apply until late May 2015. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

DOJ Releases Holder Video Statement Ahead of Wilson Indictment Decision

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:46

Attorney General Eric Holder appears in a new video released today that touts new guidelines for best practices for policing ahead of a St. Louis grand jury's decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in connection with the shooting and killing of Mike Brown. In it, Holder also encourages peaceful demonstration. 

It's still unclear when the indictment will be announced, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the Jennings School District will be closed Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of an announcement this weekend. School will be back in session for Jennings schools students on December 1.

Two other local school districts, Riverview Gardens and Ferguson-Florissant haven't announced any school closures, and it's not known whether Hazelwood schools, also in the area, will close next week. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Toni Morrison to Colbert: 'There's No Such Thing As Race'

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:14
 'There's No Such Thing As Race'

ICYMI: Toni Morrison paid a visit to "The Colbert Report" earlier this week ands schooled the host on racism. Among her many gems is this one: "There's no such thing as race. Racism is a construct. A social construct." Watch.  

The Colbert Report

Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive

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Big K.R.I.T.'s 'Cadillactica' is Rightfully the No.1 Hip-Hop Album in America

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 08:00
Big K.R.I.T.'s 'Cadillactica' is Rightfully the No.1 Hip-Hop Album in America

Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. earned his second No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with his new album "Cadillactica." As Billboard noted:

[The album moved] 44,000 in first-week sales (his best week ever), according to Nielsen SoundScan. The 28-year old rapper last debuted atop the chart in 2012 with Live From the Underground (41,000 units). The new set includes a host of featured acts, including Raphael Saadiq and Wiz Khalifa. The second single from the set, "Pay Attention" featuring Rico Love, spent a week at No. 24 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart in August.

"Cadillactica" is a concept album, which K.R.I.T. explained in an interview with Complex:

"I wanted to tell where the Cadillac came from on the "Live From the Underground" [a previous album] cover. That was very important for me. But "Cadillactica" in itself is literally my sub-conscious. I wanted to make a planet of it and give it a name...and on this planet, life is a little bit obscure. And it's about the journey in life on Cadillactica, from the beginning of the planet itself to finding life on the planet and how life unfolds on this planet, what people go through on this planet. From being young and rambunctious to find [sic] your purpose in life and being content with what you've done. And then ultimately the end. [I was] figuring out a creative way of telling that entire story of a planet nobody's ever heard of before."

But even that somewhat vague answer doesn't do the album justice. Guest appearances also include Raphael Saadiq and E-40 on standout tracks "Soul Food" and "Mind Control." Each song speaks to a facet of black life in the South. There's the "Mo Grease Than Beat" skit at the end of the especially strong title track that offers up a drive-thru order that comes with "two sides, some poverty or some famine...and if you don't want that famine, you can always get some low self-esteem or a biscuit." There are love songs to speakers ("My Sub, pt. 3") and cars ("Do You Love Me" ft. Mara Hruby) and K.R.I.T.'s demand for the rest of the world to respect Southern rappers ("Mt. Olympus"). But mostly there's K.R.I.T. at some of his finest moments lyrically. 

"I think it was time to go back," he explained to Rolling Stone in October. "You get in the point where people tell you, "Man, you know, people need to be able to rap your songs." And you get caught up in that. So, I wasn't all that caught up in it this time. I was really on some like, 'I want you to listen, I pray you get something from it, but I want to tell you something.'"

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama's Immigration Order, Bill Cosby, Facebook and Unions

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 07:08
Obama's Immigration Order, Bill Cosby, Facebook and Unions

This is what I'm reading up on today:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama Order May Give DACA Parents Some Relief

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 06:25
Obama Order May Give DACA Parents Some Relief

President Obama will make his much-awaited announcement to take executive action on immigration Thursday, according to two Congressional aides speaking under the condition of anonymity. The aides say that he'll head to Las Vegas on Friday. He'll present more details of the order at Del Sol High School in front of an audience of immigrants and their advocates.

This won't be the first time Obama addresses immigration at Del Sol High School. The president was there nearly two years ago outlining another reform plan. He promised then that he would introduce his own legislation if Congress didn't move quickly. The House did introduce and pass a bill--which eventually died in the Senate in 2013.  

The president's plan may expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, by widening age requirements for eligibility. Although DACA isn't a path to citizenship, it protects immigrants from deportation for two years at a time and it provides work permits for that time. Obama may also outline a plan to extend deportation relief to the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or Green Card holders. It's unclear whether the parents of DACA recipients will be eligible. According to one immigration advocate who spoke on condition of anonymity, DACA recipient Astrid Silva and her father have been invited to attend Obama's primetime address on Thursday, a signal that deferred action may be cover parents. The president is also expected to expand visas for high-skill tech workers and increase security along the southern border. Obama's plan is expected to benefit up to five million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. 

The president's plan will likely fall far short of what immigrant advocates have been demanding. In a statement, National Day Laborer Organizing Network head Pablo Alvarado said, "100% of immigrants deserve equality, and regardless of what the President says or when he says it, we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to defend and advance our rights."

But Obama's plan is already being dogged by Republicans. According to Reuters, House speaker John Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, has resorted to implying that Obama is governing as a reigning monarch: "If 'Emperor Obama,'" said Steel, "ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on this issue and many others." 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Sobering Infographic for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 06:21
A Sobering Infographic for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day when we remember all of the lives lost to transphobic violence. This year has been especially deadly for trans women; Aniya Parker's murder last month in Los Angeles was just one of growing list of women who've been violently killed this year because of their gender identity. Over the summer, 28-year-old Zoraida Reyes's body was found in a parking lot behind an Orange County Dairy Queen. In total, 12 transgender women have been killed in the United States in the past 12 months.

Statistics show that trans women of color were the victims of 67 percent of all hate-motivated homicides of LGBT people in 2013. Over at BuzzFeed, Dominic Holden detailed the frightening scenario in Ohio, where four transgender women have been killed in just 20 months. 


Tiffany Edwards, 28, is one such woman who was killed in June. And as Holden explains:

Though violence against transgender people is widely considered a national epidemic by LGBT advocates, the state of Ohio has seen a particularly disturbing trend. Tiffany Edwards was the fourth transgender woman killed in Ohio in the last 20 months. Three of the victims were transgender women of color. The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) also reports 14 incidents of non-fatal hate-motivated attacks on transgender people throughout the state in 2013. Many attacks go unreported. Most recently in Ohio, on Nov. 3, Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was hospitalized after being beaten in broad daylight by a group of men who allegedly yelled, "That's a dude in a dress," the Toledo Bladereported.

Read more at BuzzFeed

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A Community of Black Dads [VIDEO]

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 06:09

This month, our "Life Cycles of Inequity" series focuses on fatherhood. We challenge the widespread, easy assumptions about black fatherhood that so often pathologize black families. In the video above, our series' filmmaker André Robert Lee speaks with a pastor in New Haven, Conn., whose life reveals one of the many things about black family that gets overlooked in the constant handwringing about a crisis of black fathers. For centuries, black families have had a tradition of communal parenting. This tradition stretches back to our West African roots and it was among the cultural tools we used to survive slavery in the Americas and the terrorism of 20th century segregation--both of which actively sought to destroy black family units. The tradition continues to buttress black families navigating today's endemic poverty and the abuses of the criminal justice system. Father Mathis and the men for whom he has been a surrogate father share their stories with Colorlines, and we thank them.

Throughout 2014, Colorlines is examining the structural  inequities that shape the lives of black men. Too often, we zero in on black men only at their point of premature death. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant--and on it goes in a grim roll call. But what if these men had lived? What lives would they face? On a whole host of issues, the data suggests they'd have faced massive, sometimes insurmountable odds against safe, healthy and prosperous lives. Our "Life Cycles of Inequity" series focuses each month on a different life stage or event in which those odds have been shown to be particularly long, thanks to structural inequities that grow out of our nation's collective political and economic choices. 

You can check out the entire series here and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and all social media with the hashtag #LivesOfBlackMen.

Categories: Diversity Headlines