November 2, 2009

Black Supermodels Cover Fashion Mag
The fashion industry is famously ignorant when it comes to race and representation. Heck, we have to celebrate every time a Black model gets her own spread inside a magazine. But for the highly anticipated September issue of i-D magazine, they found not just one, but four Black supermodels—Arlenis Sosa, Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn and Sessilee Lopez—to grace the magazine’s cover. And none of them is Naomi Campbell! Count it as a big step for the fashion industry, if a very small one for women of color who have the money and the bodies to emulate the look.


Black Kids Ain’t What You See on TV
Despite racist stereotypes promulgated by mainstream media and accepted by far too much of the public, Black kids from poor families are less likely to drink, sell drugs, steal or damage property than their white counterparts. The Urban Institute reported these findings, drawn from national longitudinal studies, which could mitigate enduring, harmful ideas about Black youth if enough people pay attention to the report. Now, if only it would do something about the disparities in arrest rates of young men of color!


New Orleans Won’t Ask for Papers
In an effort to foster an open and safer community—and in a move of common sense—Mayor Ray Nagin and New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Warren Riley announced in September that the city will not ask crime victims or witnesses for documentation of their immigration status. They realized that the former practice deterred people from coming forward to report crimes and forced immigrants underground. No word on whether people who are detained and arrested will also be exempt from questioning.


North Carolina Enacts Racial Justice Bill
How’s this for a model policy? North Carolina’s governor recently signed the North Carolina Racial Justice Bill, which allows an inmate facing the death penalty to challenge their case by providing historical and statistical evidence proving a history of racial disparities in the use of the death penalty. And judges can block prosecutors who pursue the death penalty if they find a historical pattern of racism in the punishment’s use.

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