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Judge Greenlights N.Y. Post Racism Trial

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hostile Work Environment for People of Color Alleged

San Francisco Chronicle Won't Use "Redskins" Team Name

Latinos Say PBS Should Have Done More to Keep Suarez

MBAs Give Inmates a Business Plan for Their Newspaper

CNN Wanted the Wrong Person to Defend Blackface

Fusion "Feels a Bit Too Ivy League Latino Privileged"

Slavery Becoming Unavoidable Topic; Professor Takes Pride

Short Takes

Sandra Guzman, being interviewed by WPIX-TV reporter Lisa Mateo, alleges that Ne

Hostile Work Environment for People of Color Alleged

"In a setback for the New York Post, a district judge on Tuesday dismissed an effort to dispatch a lawsuit from a former employee alleging that she was harassed while at the paper and unlawfully fired," Sam Stein and Michael Calderone reported for the Huffington Post.

Ikimulisa Livingston

"The suit, brought by onetime Post editor Sandra Guzman, will now go to trial, Guzman's lawyer told The Huffington Post.

" 'We are extremely pleased with Judge [LornaSchofield's thoughtful opinion and look forward to holding the NY Post and Col Allan responsible at trial for their discriminatory actions,' said Guzman's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor.

"The Post's parent company, News Corp., will not be part of the legal proceedings, as the judge granted its motion for dismissal. But both the Post and Col Allan, its editor-in-chief, had their motions denied.

" 'We are pleased that the claims against News Corp were thrown out,' a New York Post spokeswoman said in a statement. 'We look forward to presenting the truth about the remaining charges — which are completely unfounded — to a jury.'

Austin Fenner"Guzman sued the Post in 2009 alleging that she had been repeatedly harassed in the newsroom and eventually fired for speaking out against a highly controversial cartoon about President Barack Obama. The cartoon depicted the author of Obama's stimulus package as a chimpanzee shot dead.

"Additionally, she alleged that higher-ups at the Post had fostered a hostile work environment for minorities like herself — a black, Puerto Rican female. Allan, she said, showed her and other colleagues a cell phone picture of a 'naked man lewdly and openly displaying his penis,' while other editors and colleagues repeatedly used misogynistic or racist language. . . ."

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is considering a lawsuit with similar claims by former Post reporters Ikimilusa Livingston and Austin Fenner. A motion for summary judgment is pending, according to the Thompson Wigdor law firm, which is representing the former Post employees.

"Livingston says in her complaint that she was paid less than white colleagues with less experience, and denied stories she wanted to write," Hamilton Nolan reported in 2009 for "Like the others, she says that after she complained about the infamous Dead Chimpanzee cartoon, the company put her on its shit list and gave her poor performance reviews. Perhaps her juiciest allegation: Steve Dunleavy, recently retired legendary drunk Post columnist, was a huge racist."

Stein wrote in 2009, "Austin Fenner, who was fired from the Post on the same day that former editor Sandra Guzman sued the paper over her own dismissal, claims that he was 'routinely humiliated,' 'openly cursed at' and subjected to 'Jim Crow'-style segregation while working as a city desk reporter,"

Fenner said he faced retaliation for comments he made to Journal-isms about the chimpanzee cartoon, saying it "churned my stomach when I saw it."

On ESPN's "First Take," Stephen A. Smith, left, says he is not certain that Native Americans oppose the term "Redskins." Skip Bayless is not so willing to indulge the term. (video)

San Francisco Chronicle Won't Use "Redskins" Team Name

The San Francisco Chronicle has become the latest U.S. newspaper to eschew the term "Redskins" when referring to the Washington NFL team.

Managing Editor Audrey Cooper told the Poynter Institute in an email, "Words are powerful, and so is how we choose to use them," Andrew Beaujon reported Wednesday for Poynter.

"Mike Florio reported Tuesday that such a decision 'was communicated internally on Friday, October 25.' Cooper confirms that, saying one of the paper’s sports columnists proposed the move, Beaujon wrote.

"In her email to Poynter, Cooper explains the Chronicle' reasoning:

" 'Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs — and make no mistake, 'redskin' is a slur — except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it. For example, we will use the team name when referring to the controversy surrounding its use.

"Absent the media attention on this issue, I doubt any reader of the San Francisco Chronicle or would have noticed our choice to use to use 'Washington' instead of the team name. We are choosing to use another word that accurately describes what we are writing about. We are not the first media outlet to make this change, and I know we will not be the last. . . ."

With a weekday circulation of 242,433 weekdays and 300,958 on the weekends, the Oregonian in Portland is the largest U.S. newspaper with a similar policy. The Chronicle's circulation is 220,832 weekdays and 287,923 on weekends, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, the Kansas City Star and Washington City Paper also do not allow the team to be referred to as "Redskins."

Meanwhile, "Representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation on Wednesday asked NFL executives to sanction Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for conduct detrimental to the league for continuing to use a team nickname and mascot that 'promote a dictionary-defined racial slur,'" Don Van Natta Jr. reported for

"In the 90-minute meeting between Oneida Nation representatives and three senior league executives in New York City, the officials also asked for all team owners to meet with Oneida leaders the week of Super Bowl XLVIII. And they asked that Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was traveling Wednesday and did not attend the meeting, visit Oneida Nation homelands in upstate New York.

"But the Oneida representatives left disappointed, saying after the meeting with senior NFL executives Jeff Pash, Adolpho Birch and Paul Hicks that the league 'defended the use of a racist name,' Oneida spokesman Joel Barkin said. . . ."

Latinos Say PBS Should Have Done More to Keep Suarez

Ray Suarez

"Several Latino organizations are coming to the defense of prominent Latino journalist Ray Suarez after the broadcasting giant said he quit PBS because he was starting to feel increasingly marginalized," Lucia Suarez wrote Wednesday for Fox News Latino.

"Suarez (who is not related to this writer) told Fox News Latino this week that his contributions to the public television network were [heavily] minimized over the last couple of years and he felt he 'didn't have much of a future with the broadcast.' 

"Prominent Latino leaders said they were disappointed that the network did not do more to keep Suarez — and make sure that one of the nation's leading Latino journalists had a primary role in the station's future.

" 'We have tremendous regard for Ray Suarez,' said Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute of Latino Policy . . . 'It's an outrage that someone as well qualified and that dedicated 14 years … was put in a position and treated like a second-class citizen.'

The story also said, "The executive producer of PBS NewsHour issued a statement Wednesday saying the network was disappointed when Suarez tendered his resignation, particularly because they were in the middle of re-launching a new format that would have featured him as chief National Affairs correspondent." It continued, "Under the new format, Suarez would have covered health care, immigration, religion and education. . . ."

The MBA team at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley presented a prelimina

MBAs Give Inmates a Business Plan for Their Newspaper

"Saw history made today," William Drummond, journalism professor at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote Wednesday to his Facebook followers. "Six MBAs from the Haas School of Business sat in a room with about 15 San Quentin prisoners and presented a preliminary business plan to increase the circulation of the San Quentin News by tenfold and reach all 33 institutions in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Hamdallah."

Drummond messaged Journal-isms the backstory:

"This whole idea got rolling last February. I teach a course in the Journalism School at Berkeley in which journalism students visit the prison to edit copy and do research on articles for the San Quentin News ( No internet is allowed inside the walls. The editors of the paper were eager to expand its reach beyond SQ and they asked me how such a goal might be achieved. I approached Rich Lyons, dean of the Haas School of Business, and asked if it might be possible to help the inmates realize their ambition."

Drummond said Lyons put him in touch with Nora Silver, director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and an adjunct professor at Haas.

"Later she and I visited SQ and met with the editors," Drummond continued. "They applied to the Center and their application was accepted. The MBA team is to provide 700 hours of consultation, a business plan and a feasibility study. It's worth noting that the meeting today to roll out the preliminary results was postponed for two weeks, because SQ was on lock-down. This followed two unrelated deaths of prisoners. The prison remained locked down while authorities conducted an investigation. The prisoners were found to have died of natural causes."

Julianne Hough in her Halloween costume (Credit: Pacific Coast News)

CNN Wanted the Wrong Person to Defend Blackface

If CNN was looking for someone to defend Julianne Hough's blackface costume, for which she apologized after a torrent of criticism, the network shouldn't have come to writer Jelani Cobb, an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut and director of its Institute for African American Studies.

At a Hollywood party Friday night, the 25-year-old actress dressed up as the Crazy Eyes character in the hit Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black."

Janelle Griffin, an editorial producer for "CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin," wrote Cobb on Monday, "What are your thoughts on Julianne Hough's controversial Halloween costume?

"Do you consider this an example of Blackface? Should there be . . . the outrage there is over it? Or is it overblown?

"We're looking to hear perspectives who think this isn't real blackface and the outrage is overblown. . . ."

In a Facebook posting that was reposted quickly by others, Cobb wrote, "I'm embarrassed that CNN has been reduced to this kind of tabloid bullshit. Even more embarrassed that they'd think I would go on and assuage the consciences of people who . . . know nothing of the history of minstrelsy or why black people find it offensive or know but simply don't care. Perhaps the young woman had no ill intent. That doesn't mean people are overreacting by calling her on it. Call John McWhorter or Carol Swain. Summon the limited insight of Don Lemon. I'm never that dude."

On Monday, Huffington Post reported, Hough offered this apology via Twitter: "I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."

Fusion "Feels a Bit Too Ivy League Latino Privileged"

"We knew it is early days, but one of the biggest turnoffs right now is the lack of Afro-Latino talent on your network," "Los Rebeldes," pen name of the staff of the Latino Rebels blog, wrote Wednesday about the new Fusion network that debuted Monday.

"Just saying. And we get that you changed direction, but remember, you are a partnership of ABC and Univision. Giving a wink to Latinos (light-skinned ones, too) is not enough. Go deeper. Be risky. Right now, your lineup feels a bit too Ivy League Latino Privileged. If that is the demo you are going for, cool, but that just means that you are still underserving the population you want to reach."

Los Rebeldes began with, "We are rooting for you guys, ever since you had said a long time ago that you were going to be a new channel for young Latino [millennials]. That was cool. Somewhere, that message went from Latino [millennials] to [millennials] in general, and even though we scratch our heads about that one, we still wish you tons of luck with the new channel. Having you guys succeed would send a message to the rest of the media landscape that this new multicultural world matters. We admire you for that."

Los Rebeldes expanded on these opening impressions: "If you could, just run Jorge Ramos's show on a constant loop for eight hours a day." "Have fun, but don’t try so hard"; "Be diverse"; "Move beyond Miami"; and "Be social."

Slavery Becoming Unavoidable Topic; Professor Takes Pride

For a decade, Harriet Tubman returned to the South approximately 13 times and he

With "12 Years a Slave" on movie screens and Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" series on PBS, it's becoming difficult to avoid the painful subject of slavery.

On the installment of "The African Americans" that aired Tuesday, however, a segment on the Underground Railroad ended with Vincent Brown, Charles Warren professor of history and of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, touting slaves' behavior as a point of pride.

"When I think about the Underground Railroad, it makes me want to claim slaves, right, as my ancestors, because they were genius in order to pull something off like this," Brown said. "I think about this, and I think, wow, you know, slavery is not a shame on me because my ancestors were some of the most creative, resourceful people in the history of the United States. That's a shame on the slaveholders, but there's no stigma that I bear by being descended from people who could do something like that. You know, who could pull something like that off."

For moviegoers, the pain recreated in "12 Years a Slave" apparently is worth enduring. Writing in the Los Angeles Times about the true story of a free black man tricked into slavery, John Horn told readers Tuesday, "If some potential ticket buyers have been put off by the film's frank and sometimes unsettling depictions of slavery, they have yet to become a factor. The film is considered a leading contender for the Academy Awards, and has attracted some of the strongest reviews of the year.

"Starting Friday, '12 Years a Slave' will begin showing at theaters in San Francisco, San Diego, Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Cleveland and similar major metropolitan areas.

"The film doesn't show signs of weakening in big markets where it premiered a couple of weeks ago. . . ."

Meanwhile, researchers warn not to take the wrong message from the recent successes of serious films about African Americans. "A new study from USC Annenberg [PDF] shows it's business as usual when it comes to employing underrepresented races and ethnicities in the industry," the university said Wednesday.

"USC Annenberg Professor Stacy L. Smith and her team analyzed 500 top-grossing films at the U.S. box office over five years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and over 20,000 speaking characters. The evidence reveals that in 2012, black or African Americans represented 10.8% of all speaking characters, while Hispanics represented 4.2% and Asians 5%. In the top-grossing films analyzed from 2012, nearly 40% depict black characters in less than 5% of all speaking roles. . . ."

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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 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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Slavery Becoming Unavoidable Topic...

"Roots"  still makes me seethe. I fear  "12 Years a Slave" will throw salt in my gaping wound. But I am more disturbed by director Steve McQueen's bravado--like he discovered Northup's story. In 1984, American Playhouse presented the same drama, starring actor Avery Brooks who was directed by the phenomenal Gordon Parks.   

Judge Greenlights N.Y. Post Racism Trial

Wow. As a former NY Post reporter who use to go eyeball to eyeball with some of the notorious bigots and racists in that newsroom, this is well worth following. Does anyone know if Steve Dunleavy is going to be called to the stand?  SD - and here also -

The Post should settle out of court (for big bucks) while it has the chance.

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