Updated: 45 min 11 sec ago
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 23:12
ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News
Remember that show "Sister, Sister" from back in the late '90s? It followed two teenage identical twin sisters (played by Tia and Tamara Mowry) who were separated at birth, found each other, and then, along with their adopted parents, made a family.
The real-life story of Samantha Futerman and Anaïs Bordier is even better.
The identifcal twin sisters weren't only separated at birth, but adopted by families on differen continents. Now they're making a film about their journey, which was also picked up by "Good Morning America." Here's their story:
(h/t Angry Asian Man)
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 21:23
Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an important reminder of the unique challenges facing the black community in its fight against HIV/AIDS. African-Americans only account or 12 percent of the U.S. population, but make up 47 percent of all of the country's new HIV infections. Approximately one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime, as well as one in 32 black women. Today, the Centers for Disease Control released new data on what's called the "HIV care continuum" showing that among blacks who had been diagnosed with HIV:
* 75 percent were linked to care.
* 48 percent stayed in care.
* 46 percent were prescribed antiretroviral therapy.
* 35 percent achieved viral suppression (i.e., the virus is under control at a level that helps keep people healthy and reduces the changes of transmitting the virus to others).
* Black males had lower levels of care and viral suppression than black females, and those who were younger (under 25) had lower levels than those who were older.
That data paints yet another bleak picture but, as Kali Lindsey writes at The Grio, there's reason to hope:
Since the beginning of 2014, health insurance programs expanded under the ACA are prohibited from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions, and certain preventive services must now be provided at no cost to the beneficiary, including routine HIV screening. Historically, many people with HIV have been prevented from accessing healthcare services that we now know remain vital for those with HIV and beneficial overall to public health. Studies have shown initiating HIV treatment as early as possible is in the best interest of those living with HIV, but it also has the added public health benefit of reducing transmission rates if viral suppression can be achieved and sustained. This is why it is so important that, under the ACA, all plans must provide treatment to people who are HIV positive.
Last year, TheBody.com released a compelling infographic illustrating the multiple risk factors at play in black communities struggling with high HIV infection rates.
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 21:18
But don't tell that to KTLA reporter Sam Rubin, who embarrassingly confused Samuel L. Jackson with Laurence Fishburne. Jackson's response, though, was perfect:
"You're as crazy as the people on Twitter. I am not Laurence Fishburne! We don't all look alike! We may all be black and famous, but we don't all look alike. You're the entertainment reporter for this station and you don't know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne? There must be a very short line for your job. Oh, HELL NO. Really? Really? I'm the other guy. The other one. What's in your wallet?"
Watch it below.
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 21:16
Another showdown is brewing over ethnic studies, this time at California State University, Los Angeles, where students are demanding that the administration add an ethnic studies requirement to the school's general education curriculum.
On Tuesday, 75 students showed up to an Academic Senate meeting to make their demands public, arguing that the courses are an important part of developing critical thinking skills in an increasingly multicultural society.
"College students who take an ethnic studies class can go out and uplift their community," Jelani Hendrix, a 23-year-old Pan-African studies major, told the Los Angeles Times. "They can show that all of us are more alike than different."
But ethnic studies programs throughout the California State University system, and the country, face tremendous hurdles as universities slash budgets and the programs suffer from dwindling enrollment. Cal State Long Beach recently moved to reduce the status of its Africana Studies program and a group of faculty from across the 23-campus Cal State system have advocated for a moratorium on proposed changes.
"General education requirements should be open to all departments and programs," said Gretchen Peterson, chairwoman of the Cal State LA sociology department told the Times. "Ethnic studies should be integrated throughout the curriculum."
The 55-member academic senate, which includes students and college deans, rejected a similar ethnic studies requirement last month. It's expected to take up the issue again next week.
In the video below, students and faculty speak out at a press conference in Los Angeles.
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 21:14
"White privilege." The term has become so popular over the past few years that our crack team of editors and writers at Colorlines have begun to wonder if its frequent use has lessened its impact. Has the saying, "Check your privilege" outlived its usefulness? And once those who benefit from racial privilege have acknowledged it, what are some practical next steps they can implement to level the playing field and make greater strides toward racial and social justice?
At 12:30 p.m., host Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) will discuss these questions and others with a knowledgeable panel of activists and educators, including:
- Terry Keleher, RaceForward Thought Leader and Project Specialist (@TerryKeleher)
- Mia McKenzie, writer, activist, and creator of Black Girl Dangerous (@BlackGirlDanger)
- Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Director of Diversity at Brooklyn Friends School and Founder/Director of the White Privilege Conference (@eddieknowsmoore)
- Kenzo Shibata, Chicago-based educator, writer, and activist (@kenzoshibata)
Watch live and join us on Twitter to weigh in with your own questions and comments, using the hashtag #whiteprivilegechat.
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 19:57
In March of 2012, Aloni Bonilla was pulled over by a local police officer for suspicion of driving under the influence. After police escorted her to the hospital for a blood sample after a breathalyzer at the scene found traces of alcohol in her system. What happened next, which Bonilla chronicled in a video she posted to YouTube last year, is the now the subject of an appeal before the L.A. County Superior Court. Here's more from Jorge Rivas at Fusion:
Bonilla claims the 20-minute video uploaded to the video sharing site shows the officer using excessive force and contradicts statements made in the police report. She took the officer to court to dispute the charges in the police report that Bonilla says the video proves are false.
The officer contends that Bonilla waved her arms around and approached him to try to head butt him. The video shows the CHP officer pushing Bonilla against the wall and then forcing her to the floor. He then pins Bonilla down with his knee.
Bonilla ended up with a black eye from hitting a wall-mounted medical device, according to court documents. Today, she has five slipped discs in her spine and neck she says were a result from the altercation with the officer.
Bonilla, who at the time was a math major at Cal State Los Angeles, was charged with and convicted of vandalism, resisting arrest and failure to provide a driver's license. She's appealing her conviction and the judges who heard her case are expected to make a decision in the next two weeks.
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 17:31
Due to a spate of bizarre rants from members of the 1 percent over the past two weeks, it would be easy to conclude that America’s super-rich have gone off the rails. A well-known billionaire Tom Perkins recently compared the plight of America’s economic elite to that of Jews in Nazi Germany. Fellow billionaire, Sam Zell, rushed to his side and declared the fascist comparison “right.” If these bizarre statements were merely the strange musings of lone, eccentric rich people, no one would care. But the problem is that what the ultra-wealthy think has a disproportionate influence over our political system and their economic values have dominated American economic policy for the last three decades. The disturbing truth is that these comments help to give insight as to why economic inequality is hardening and resistant to change.
Chronic racial and gender imbalances amongst the super-rich only add to their detachment from the world around them. Despite the glitter and visibility of black and Latino celebrities, black and Latino wealth is the lowest on record. The annual list of America’s richest four-hundred people, generated by Forbes, highlights alarming realities.
Even though they make up half of the U.S. population, only 48 women are on the list. Only one Latino, Jorge Perez, and one African-American, Oprah Winfrey, are on it as well. The list indicates an even starker truth. Even in rapidly diversifying present-day America, close to 100 percent of America’s wealthiest households are white; 96 percent to be exact. These whopping wealth inequities underscore that the super wealthy occupy a world apart from the rest of us, one that is growing more distant.
Reinforced by political access, national economic policy, and their own echo chamber of social networks and media outlets, their world has an outsized influence on and negative consequences for the reality lived by everyone else.
Wealth and its discontents
The latest glimpse into the Oz-like mind of the superrich erupted when Perkins fired off a screed to The Wall Street Journal on January 25. His letter to the editor was sparked by anger at San Francisco’s anti-gentrification protests centered on Google’s private bus network used to ferry employees to the company’s campus 35 miles away. In his note Perkins railed against “progressive radicalism,” and declared that there were “parallels” between Hitler’s Germany and “the progressive war on the American 1 percent, namely the ‘rich.’” Even though Perkins gave a partial apology for some of his words days later, the damage was done. In response to his screed, Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman penned an op-ed titled, “Paranoia of the Plutocrats.”
The problem with Perkins’ paranoia is that he is not alone in it. Despite the fact that the top 1 percent has captured nine out of 10 dollars of all the wealth added to the economy since 2000, there is a pervasive sense that they are the ones facing persecution and denigration. As wealth therapist Jamie Trager-Muney told Politico, “I think that with Occupy Wall Street there was a sense of the heat getting turned up and a feeling of vilification and potential danger.” But as Krugman points out the real danger in America is poverty and inequality. There is “strong evidence that high inequality leads to worse health and higher mortality,” he writes. Being poor, rather than being rich, is what kills.
Regardless of the facts, the issue is that what the rich actually believe about themselves and about everyone else has an excessive impact on American society. As was laid out in a report last year by the think tank Demos, wealthy individuals are far more likely vote and contribute to political campaigns. Those making over $150,000 showed up at the polls nearly twice the rate as those making less than $20,000. In 2012, just 41,000 Americans—out of a total population of 310 million—gave $2,600 or more to presidential campaigns that year. But these contributions made up nearly one out of four dollars raised that year meaning that these individuals’ impact on presidential fundraising was 2,500 times greater than their actual percentage of the population.
Given that there is a sense amongst the wealthy that they are America’s losers, it makes perfect sense that they would use their disproportionate political power to steer greater assistance their way. According to research by the Russell Sage Foundation, the wealthy are twice as less likely [PDF] to support a minimum wage that guarantees income above the official poverty line and almost four times less likely to support to the Earned Income Tax Credit which helps keep 10 million people out of poverty; half of them children. But they are more likely to support “a society where the government does nothing except provide national defense and police protection, so that people would be left alone to earn whatever they could.”
And as I have written before, since 1980, they have done just that by championing, achieving and reinforcing an economic system that taxes wealth from investments at a far lower rate than work. This reverse subsidy is then paid for by the rest of us through a rollback in government spending on economic opportunity programs and by loading up on debt charged to the national credit card. The 1 percent’s aggressive paranoia coupled with their outsized political influence has created a situation where working Americans actually underwrite their success, yet have nothing to show for it but 40 years of falling wages and increasing scorn.
But all of this leads to the question of why the perceive the world so differently than the rest of us.
One contributing factor is that the massive accumulation of wealth can rewire the brain. In an article on “the money-empathy gap” New York magazine contributing editor Lisa Miller puts it this way: “Living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular and less compassionate than other people.” Wealth psychology researcher Paul Piff breaks it down even further, “The rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.” The bottom line is that can contribute to pathologies and anti-social behavior.
But, as I have laid out before, another reason that the rich can see themselves apart is that they live in society which champions their very elevation. Culturally, as former Reuters editor Chrystia Freedland has written, we see wildly successful business people as “heroes.” Despite the fact that half of Americans are struggling to get by, the truth is that we still revere aspirational wealth culture as if it were before the crash, even though the values of hyper-wealth can be contrary to those necessary for a broad-based prosperity that gives everyone a shot. In fact, whole networks are built off of the concept of living gilded lives, like the cable network Bravo, and transformation from poverty to the world of multimillionaires is at the core of the number one reality show in the history of television, A&E’s controversial “Duck Dynasty.”
Additionally the super rich have their own dedicated channel, CNBC—like Fox News for conservatives—to reinforce it all. Ostensibly a financial news channel focused on the world’s stock markets, CNBC is a daily parade of the 1 percent and the values they hold dear. In what might be a surprise to non-viewers, the network dedicates all three hours of primetime on Wednesdays to a show called the “Secret Lives of the Super Rich” where the 1 percent can learn everything from which firms specialize in super-rich security, to which luxury watch brands require an application to purchase them, to how hide luxury cars in secret uber-secure facilities away from everyone else.
The channel, through its correspondent Rick Santelli, actually gave the Tea Party movement its name and on the day that he did so created what a fellow anchor described as “mob rule” on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in order stir other “capitalists” to his cause. CNBC personality, Larry Kudrow, opens his evening show with the mantra “We believe that free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity.” While the perennially irascible Joe Kernan opens the morning program “Squawk Box” with tirades against anyone who doesn’t seem completely down with the 1 percent. He once referred to Paul Krugman as a communist and to those dedicated to bio-diversity as “enviro-socialists.”
In this alternative universe where wealth is first, it’s no wonder that MSNBC hosts, such as Melissa Harris Perry, are reprimanded or even punished for their on-air transgressions while their colleagues at sister network CNBC continue unbowed and unabated. But then again, they have two different audiences: one rich, the other not.
Indeed, rather than feel paranoid, Perkins and his colleagues should feel right at home. That’s because they’ve successfully constructed a society that defers, supports and caters to those that have the most even as they pathologically convince themselves otherwise.
Of course there are the extremely wealthy who are committed to social and economic justice. George Soros, Bills Gates and Katrina vanden Heuvel all spring to mind. But the fact that they and others like them are standouts—rather than the rule—underscore the broader point here.
The only way that any of this turns around is if Americans take measures to remove money from politics. That’s the good thing about living in a democracy rather than an actual fascist dictatorship: average citizens have the ability to bring about real change.
Tue, 02/11/2014 - 21:57
Accused murderer, Michael Dunn is currently being cross-examined by a Florida prosecutor. Follow this link to watch live. Add your Tweets to hashtag #DunnTrial.
Michael Dunn is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis a day after Thanksgiving in 2012, at a Jacksonville gas station. The shooting following an argument in which Dunn complained about loud hip-hop music coming from Davis's friend's car.
Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:54
Tired of the same old workout routine? Is Nike Training club just not cutting it for you anymore? Then try Andia Winslow and Monique Walton's new Legacy Workout, which boasts Tuskeegee crunches, Shirley (Chisholm and Jackson) pushups, and house cleaner/child rearer ab rolls.
The Legacy Workout is dedicated to the memory of bodies of work. Of bodies at work. And at play. Of minds committed to mining greatness, to combating injustice, to insuring a future for future bodies, and minds. The Legacy Workout is dedicated to legacy makers past, present and future. The black body. The celestial body. The empowered human body, in motion.
This is not trivial. This is tribute. Each movement reflects a person, a people, or a point in time -- an era. Because they dreamed us, because they dreamed of a better place for us --and for themselves-- we owe them. We owe it to ourselves to do/be better. To be caretakers of our bodies without which we cannot persist; we cease to exist. Infinity is our limit.
Let the history of black bodies in America be all the inspiration that your daily workout needs.
(h/t Ava DuVernay)
Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:41
It's been a while since we heard from 21-year-old fashionista E.J. Johnson, NBA legend Magic Johnson's son. E.J.'s coming out story, coupled with the fact that he has his parents' very public support and his bold approach to black masculinity, has been one part of the conversation about LGBT folks in the sports world. On Monday, E.J. was a guest on Wendy Williams show, where he talked about coming out, accessorizing, and obsessing over Lupita Nyong'o's fashion tastes.
Feb 13, 2014 - Mar 08, 2014
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@JamilSmith The distorted #media depiction of African American men & boys has real life consequences, again. #mediadiversity #Tremaine