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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Washington Monthly's Ratings Reward Social Mobility

U.S. Muslims More Satisfied Than General Public

NPR Ombudsman Asks for Thoughts on Word "Minority"

Rush Limbaugh's Right-Hand Man Is Black

Station Removes Photo of New Anchor With Chris Brown

Maria Antonieta Collins Back as Univision Correspondent

Karuk Indian J-School Grad Ready for Job at NBC

Short Takes

Jackson State University, shown in a 2010 homecoming promotion, ranked ninth in Washington Monthly's college survey. The magazine emphasized social mobility, research and service. (Video)

Washington Monthly's Ratings Reward Social Mobility

"Washington Monthly released its annual college rankings this week, and black and women's colleges are ranked next to Ivy Leagues," NPR's "Tell Me More" reported on Wednesday. "That's because on this list, colleges score more points for promoting volunteer work and admitting more students with Pell Grants."

Jackson State University, a historically black institution in Jackson, Miss., trumpeted the news on its website under the headline, "Jackson State University outranks Yale, Princeton in national study."

"In its newly released study, Washington Monthly magazine ranked Jackson State University one of the top 10 institutions of higher learning across the country in terms of social mobility, research and service ratings. Coming in at No. 9 among 258 institutions, Jackson State outranked Princeton (No. 31), Yale (No. 39), the Georgia Institute of Technology (No. 54) and Howard (No. 73) universities. Jackson State is the only Historically Black College or University to break into Washington Monthly’s top 10," the notice said.

Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of Washington Monthly, appeared on "Tell Me More" and quickly took a swipe at the better-known rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report.

". . . I managed not to have to work on the college rankings when I was at US News, but it was sort of common knowledge that the metrics were a little bit dicey. And when I came to the Washington Monthly, we ran a series of stories exposing, in a sense, what was wrong with US News' college metrics and suggesting what they ought to do," Glastris said.

"And eventually, we thought, well, if we're so smart, why don't we come up with rankings of our own? And so we did this."

". . . U.S. News measures mostly inputs, how much do they pay their professors, class sizes, things that are not unrelated academics but really don't tell you that much about how much learning is going on.'

Host Michel Martin said, "So the three areas that you use in your ranking are first of all, the first one you call 'based on social mobility.' How committed are they to enrolling low-income students and helping them earn degrees? The second category looks at research production and success at sending undergraduates on to Ph.D.s. And then you give great weight to service."

Jackson State was not the only historically black college or university to benefit under those criteria.

The Mississippi school ranked no. 9, but South Carolina State University was No. 18 and Tennessee State University No. 40.

"We’ve made very persistent efforts in recent years to better serve our students — especially those who don’t have the means for college tuition — and to train them for careers in research and community service," Mark G. Hardy, Jackson State provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in the news release. "This ranking reminds us that we are on the right track."

Glastris said, "Jackson State does a very, very good job of the social mobility measure. They have a lot of low-income students, and they do a heck of a job of graduating them. They also have a big ROTC program. A lot of kids do community service of various kinds that we measure, and on those measures, they — and they got a decent research background. So on those measures, they're the ninth-best national university in the country."

U.S. News plans to release its annual rankings on Sept. 13.

A 63 percent majority of Muslim Americans are first-generation immigrants, with 45 percent having arrived since 1990. And 70 percent of Muslim Americans born outside the United States are U.S. citizens, a much higher rate of citizenship than among the broader immigrant population in the United States, according to the Pew Center for the People & the Press. (Credit: Pew Research Center)

U.S. Muslims More Satisfied Than General Public

"As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, a comprehensive public opinion survey finds no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years," the Pew Center for the People & the Press reported on Tuesday. "There also is no evidence of rising support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans.

"On the contrary, as found in the Pew Research Center’s 2007 survey, Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism by much larger margins than most Muslim publics surveyed this year by the Pew Global Attitudes Project. And majorities of Muslim Americans express concern about the possible rise of Islamic extremism, both here and abroad.

". . . Muslim Americans have not become disillusioned with the country. They are overwhelmingly satisfied with the way things are going in their lives (82%) and continue to rate their communities very positively as places to live (79% excellent or good).

"At a personal level, most think that ordinary Americans are friendly (48%) or neutral (32%) toward Muslim Americans; relatively few (16%) believe the general public is unfriendly toward Muslim Americans. About two-thirds (66%) say that the quality of life for Muslims in the U.S. is better than in most Muslim countries.

"Strikingly, Muslim Americans are far more satisfied with the way things are going in the country (56%) than is the general public (23%)."

NPR Ombudsman Asks for Thoughts on Word "Minority"

Edward Schumacher-Matos"As America's ethnic and racial make-up changes, so, too, does the nation's language and the consensus over acceptable word usage," Edward Schumacher-Matos, NPR's ombudsman, wrote on Monday.

"NPR guests, hosts and correspondents used the term in nearly 80 stories in the last year, not counting the hourly newscasts. Ken Wibecan, a listener from Schuyler Falls, NY, wrote to us:

" 'Many people use [minority] when they really mean African American or Latino. That it is not only inaccurate, but it is also offensive...Does NPR really think that the population of America is composed of only two elements — whites and minorities? I don't think so. And if not, isn't it time to retire that insulting word and use more specific designations instead?'

"Already, just over a third of the country is Latino, black or Asian American, according to the 2010 Census. Non-Hispanic whites have fallen to less than 50 percent of the population in the country's two most populous states, California and Texas. Demographers cited in a June 27 report on 'Tell Me More' projected that non-whites will become the majority of the U.S. population by roughly 2050. Add growing inter-marriage to the mix and the lines between majority and minority are becoming ever more blurred.

". . . So, it would seem that the word 'minority' in describing a racial or ethnic group is useful in some instances. But which ones? This seems a good project for the next several months as we follow NPR reports. I hope that you will aid with your own vigilance, as well as send your general thoughts and guidance."

About 1998, the Unity '99 organization was renamed "Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc.," a development that coincidentally followed questioning by a number of journalists about the appropriateness of the "minority" term.

"I haven't used that word the entire week," Ernest Sotomayor, Unity president in 2004, told Journal-isms at the time. "I don't think there were very many people in that ballroom who felt they were minorities."

In 1991, Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe wrote a column headlined, "'Minor' call, major gaffe" that began, "Let us bury the term 'minority.' Minoriteee ends like tineee, which ends like weeneee, which ends like dinkeee. When corporate and newsroom executives utter the mantra, 'We could use a minoriteee,' I swear they have invented a human specieee so darn puneee, it is a fait accompleee that the search for a minoriteee will be met with futiliteee."

David Lawrence, then president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, read the column and questioned whether ASNE should continue using the term. The name of ASNE's Minorities Committee was later changed to Diversity Committee.

Jackson's 1991 column is in the "Comments" section below.

Rush Limbaugh's Right-Hand Man Is Black

James Golden, aka Bo Snerdley (credit: theGrio.com)"What would certainly surprise "people who are justifiably loath to listen to Rush" Limbaugh— including, but not limited to the black community — that his sidekick is black," David A. Love wrote Wednesday on theGrio.com.

"That's not to say it is surprising that Limbaugh has any black friends. Justice Clarence Thomas, an anathema to some in the black community and elsewhere, due in no small part to his sullying of the Supreme Court with Tea Party money, officiated at Rush's third wedding in 1994.

"But Limbaugh's right-hand man is himself a black guy named James Golden, known as Bo Snerdley. Bo Snerdley is the guy who screens the calls, impersonates black leaders and Ebonics speakers from the hood on air, and acts as the show's one-man peanut gallery and amen corner. Some would even suggest he plays the role of court jester or minstrel.

"Self-described as the 'official Obama criticizer,' Snerdley says he is 'certified black enough to criticize, with a heavy dose of pure, unadulterated organic slave blood.' Part of his shtick is providing a commentary, usually a criticism of Obama or some other black leader, in perfect English.

" 'America is great, it was great before you stepped on the scene. The thing that frightens us sir is you are Hell-bent on destroying what is great in the name of liberalism,' Snerdley offered in one commentary. Then, he translates his statement into Ebonics, so that black folks in the so-called 'hood' would understand."

Evrod Cassimy, right, with Chris Brown (Credit: Westword)

Station Removes Photo of New Anchor With Chris Brown

"Among the top stories on CBS4's website at this writing is an introduction to newly hired anchor/reporter Evrod Cassimy," Michael Roberts wrote Tuesday for Westword, a Denver alternative weekly. "But one viewer who clicked was distressed to discover that Cassimy's head shot . . . was accompanied by a photo of him arm-in-arm with singer Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. . . .

". . . Thus far, Cassimy — who, like Rihanna, is of Caribbean descent (his parents are from Trinidad, she was born in Barbados) — hasn't responded to an interview request on this subject. However, CBS4 news director Tim Wieland, replying via e-mail, writes, 'That photo was taken during an interview Evrod conducted with Chris Brown at his former station [in Orlando, Florida], about a charity event Brown was doing for the Red Cross.'

"However, he adds, 'We've decided to remove it from the bio page.' "

During the previous job, Cassimy maintained a website that called him "TV News' FIRST R&B recording artist." "In July 2008, Evrod joined the Central Florida News 13 team using his microphone to cover the Orlando newsroom as a general assignment reporter," it said. "When he's not covering the big story, Evrod is entertaining on another mic. A singer since he was three years old, Evrod has released his own CD single."

Maria Antonieta Collins Back as Univision Correspondent

Maria Antonieta Collins"Univision, the leading U.S. Spanish-language television network, announced Wednesday that veteran Mexican journalist Maria Antonieta Collins is returning to the organization as a senior special correspondent based in Miami," the EFE news service reported.

". . . Besides reports for the 'Noticiero Univision' evening and weekend newscasts and newsmagazine program 'Aqui y Ahora' ('Here and Now'), the new correspondent will work on special assignments, Univision said.

"The announcement marks the journalist and author’s official return to the network where she began in 1986 as Univision’s first newsperson in Los Angeles.

"Collins later had her own show, 'Cada Dia con Maria Antonieta,' on the rival Telemundo network, and also reported for Mexican TV giant Televisa and publications such as El Nuevo Herald and El Sol de Mexico." 

Karuk Indian J-School Grad Ready for Job at NBC

 Chiara Sottile, graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, is joining NBC's News Associates program. (Credit: Tahiat Mahboob) "Like so many epic battles, Chiara Sottile’s campaign to get more visibility for American Indians started on a playground," Eisa Nefertari Ulen wrote Tuesday in Indian Country Today. "But unlike a typical schoolyard skirmish, this struggle led Sottile to New York’s iconic Yankee Stadium, some of the country’s best golf courses and the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"With an activist’s insistence on justice and a journalist’s obsession with truth, this recent graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism has made a short film, 'Winning for Native America,' (watch the video above) in which New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, former PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay III and Olympic ice dancer Naomi Lang talk about their experiences as American Indians competing at the highest levels of athletic achievement.

"Each athlete talks about life in the mainstream — and about life in Indian country, including the health and education disparities in those two communities, from a personal perspective."

A native Californian whose mother is Karuk and whose father is Sicilian, "Sottile produced the documentary to complete her master’s thesis and, she says, because 'Native peoples are not just lines in history texts, cigar-store dummies or sports mascots. Those kinds of representations indicate how often in mainstream culture Native people are relegated to the past.'

"This film suggests that Sottile’s future career, set to launch in the fall when she joins the next class of News Associates at NBC, will be stellar. . . ."

NBC's News Associates diversity program is described as "a fast-track opportunity for people with the goal to learn news gathering and production skills. It is not designed to train people who wish to be on-air reporters."

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Comments

'Minor' call, major gaffe, by Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

April 7, 1991

'Minor' call, major gaffe

By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

Let us bury the term " minority." Minoriteee ends like tineee, which ends like weeneee, which ends like dinkeee. When corporate and newsroom executives utter the mantra, "We could use a minoriteee," I swear they have invented a human specieee so darn puneee, it is a fait accompleee that the search for a minoriteee will be met with futiliteee. At best, I think of "minoriteees" as midgets. Circus midgets are never ringleaders. They are the boobeees. At worst, I think, "eeensie weensee minoriteee crawled up the water spout; down came the rain and . . ."

Minority is built on a pretty sorry root word, "minor." Minor means "lesser." It means "lesser in importance, rank or stature." It means "lesser" in seriousness or danger; requiring comparatively little attention or concern."

Last but not lesser, "minor" means "A person or thing that is lesser in comparison to others of the same class."

How small can you get? "Minority" is so ingrained in white-dominated culture when talking about black, brown and yellow people, it is often used when it makes no sense.

Recently, Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles said about the 1990 census, "Traditionally, those from the minority community have been undercounted. . ." This comes from an African American mayor of a giant city which is only 37 percent made up of Anglo white people.

The U.S. is still mostly white. But as the percentage of Latino and Asian Americans has grown dramatically, the percentage of white Americans has shrunk from 83 to 80 percent, or 76 percent, after subtracting white Latinos.

There are now too many big places like New York, Chicago and Washington where the concerns of "minorities " have become a majority interest. Boston's public school system is 80 percent children of color. The University of California at Los Angeles recently announced that its percentage of students of Asian descent has passed that of white students.

As late as the 1950s, sociologists subdivided European Americans into "cultural minorities. " As sure as white flight to the suburbs, the term was shortened and gladly handed off to people of color, people who have not uniformly shared in the trafficking of economic and political power.

Eradicating the term "minority" is a beginning toward forcing this country to recognize ethnic and color groups in specific contexts. All people of color might be suffer from discrimination and bigotry. Some groups clearly work together on common agendas. In Massachusetts, the head of the state's black political caucus is a Latino man.

But there is also no question that people of differing Asian descents are in vastly different economic circumstances. Miami Cuban Americans have amassed far more power than Puerto Ricans. Many African Americans have accused college administrators of bragging about " minority" enrollments and "staff" while padding the figures with more preferable students of color and black secretaries.

Many people of color have come to assume white business and educational leaders to be disingenuous when they lump together "women and minorities." This grouping is odd on face value, since women are the majority gender of this country. Then, having given themselves a choice, white men often make white women the alpha and omega of any commitment to diversity, and at that, it is still hideously imperfect.

Call me an African American. Call me a black person not just "a black," which raises the question of, "black what?" e. Call me a person of color which is different from "colored." Colored suggests coloring in or over something. Of color means simply having a color, as is.

Just do not call me a "minority." By the dictionary alone, the term is a blatant diminution of one's humanity. People of color do not say, "Golleee Miss Molleee, what is wrong with those majoritieees?" Western culture does not allow for white people to be thought of in the abstract.

In baseball, the minor leagues are the chump leagues. In music, sad songs are sung in a minor key. In government, the minority party is out of power. To call a human being a "minority " is to shrink them in the mind to somewhere between mouse and gnat at the very time their numbers are becoming a lion's roar. A " minority" can be nothing more than a midget, unseen and unwanted by the gargantuan majoriteee.

Ebonics???

The guy actually translated the bs into ebonics? How can a professional even entertain doing such a thing... The dumbing down of America....

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