Rinku Sen, president and executive director of The Applied Research Center, publisher of Colorlines.com, appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the significance of getting the Associated Press to stop using the term “illegal” in reference to immigrants.
President Obama may be on a new collision course with those that put him in office. Today’s headline in the New York Times shows why. “Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal,” flashed the world’s busiest news site. According to the Times, Obama is set to offer up close to a trillion dollars in new cuts to domestic programs ranging in areas from health to unemployment insurance.
This latest round of reductions would fall hardest on those hit by the recession and demand very little from the few who’ve never had it better. As such, the president would continue an unfortunate pattern on economics of yielding to the power plays of Republicans against the interests of the vast majority of Americans.
But beyond this, the proposal includes two curveballs which might aggravate his base even more.
The March jobs report issued by the Department of Labor this morning showed that the economy added only 88,000 jobs last month. Unemployment for African Americans and Latinos remained virtually unchanged, with nearly one out of seven blacks and one out 10 Latinos out of work.
Sadly the tough news in today’s jobs report doesn’t end there. If you or the people you know continue to face difficult economic times, here’s why.
Less jobs were created in March than at any point since last summer. And the rate at which new jobs are being created would need to nearly double to keep up with new entrants into the labor market, due to population growth.
Even the report’s apparently good news turns sour upon closer inspection. Despite the sluggish employment increase, somehow the overall unemployment number fell to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. But it dropped only because nearly a half million people gave up looking for work out of frustration. Their exit from the job market makes it appear that more people found work than actually did.
Ill Doctrine and Colorlines.com producer Jay Smooth was a guest on “All in with Chris Hayes” on Thursday night to discuss film critic Roger Ebert’s legacy. Ebert, died Thursday, two days after revealing cancer returned to his body.
“That was one of the things I valued about him as a hip-hop critic, the way he was just as curious and serious about so-called low art and high art and bring down arbitrarary distictions that often carry a lot race baggage, class baggage, and other sorts of baggage with them,” Jay Smooth said on “All in with Chris Hayes” on Thursday night. “He helped model a relationship of popular art and carve out a critical landscape where something like hip-hop culture could be treated with the respect and culture it deserves.”
The Chicago Sun-Times, the base of operations for Ebert’s syndicated reviews, announced Ebert passed away at the age of 70.
President Obama is in a world of trouble today after making comments at a fundraiser about California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ looks. Obama called Harris the “best looking attorney general by far”, inciting widespread anger over another talented woman once again being reduced to her sex appeal. But Harris is a politician to watch — not because of her looks, but because of her political track record. Here are three issues that she’s taken especially strong stances on during her career.
- Support of Gay Marriage. Harris was in the news a lot last week when California’s Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage, was argued before the Supreme Court. The case made to the Supreme Court largely because, as attorney general, Harris refused to defend the ban. “As the daughter of parents who were active in the Civil Rights Movement, I refuse to stand in the doorway of the wedding chapel block same sex couples’ ability to marry,” Harris said on the Rachel Maddow Show. Later, when Harris addressed whether straight couples would be impacted by same sex marriage, Harris went to work: “On the issue of standing we make the very obvious point that if you have nothing at stake in the outcome of this, you need to sit down.”
Opposition to the death penalty. Throughout her career, Harris has maintained her opposition to the death penalty. When she was elected to office as attorney general, Harris made an oath that she would never seek the death penalty. And so far, she’s kept that promise.
Approach to criminal justice. Before she was California’s Attorney General, Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco. During her tenure, she started a program called “Back on Track”, an initiative designed for non-violent juvenile offenders. In exchange for a guilty plea, young people could enroll in a year-long program go to school and maintain a job, often an internship with a local organization. At a graduation ceremony for the program participants in 2009, Harris said: “We know the power, the beauty and the potential of our young people and we know that sometimes we all make mistakes.” But after being held accountable for those mistakes, Harris told the graduates, “We as a community need to make sure we’re doing all we can to help them reach their potential.”
The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday morning they are considering changes in policy regarding their use of the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ Their statement came three days after the Associated Press announced they would no longer recommend journalists identify undocumented immigrants using the i-word.
“The common usage of the i-word has become heavily racialized and targeted at people of color,” Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines.com, told the L.A. Times. Sen was quoted in the L.A. Times’ story that revealed the paper was reviewing their use of the i-word.
At the Los Angeles Times, “illegal alien” was the preferred usage from 1979 until the newspaper’s style guide changed in 1995, said Henry Fuhrmann, assistant managing editor in charge of copy desks.Since then, writers have been directed to use “illegal immigrants” while avoiding “illegal aliens” and “illegals.”
The Times’ Standards and Practices Committee has been considering the issue since last fall and will soon make a recommendation to top editors, Fuhrmann said. Some writers have already been avoiding “illegal immigrant,” Fuhrmann said, just as “illegal alien” had fallen out of favor before the 1995 stylebook update.
“It is much easier to dehumanize and to silence somebody when you’re calling them an illegal,” said Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, in 2010. His organization launched a campaign that year calling on journalists to reevaluate their use of the tern “illegal immigrant” because it dehumanizes people, they argued.
That same year, Colorlines.com also launched the Drop the I-Word campaign to call on journalists and publications to stop using the i-word.
The Los Angeles Times is in a unique place because the city of angels is home to the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the United States. But not only that, the paper also received a large grant last year to improve their coverage of people of color and the issues they care about.
The paper is owned by the Tribune Company and in 2012 they received a $1-million grant from the Ford Foundation to expand their “coverage of key beats, including immigration and ethnic communities in Southern California.”
Seems like the L.A. Times should get with times, right?
Roger Ebert, writer and film critic, has died. An unparalleled and conscientious figure in the field of film criticism, he’s owed a debt of gratitude by all of us who believe that pop culture is at its best when it’s critiqued and put in context with the society that produced it. He is survived by his wife Chaz Ebert.
Via Kat Chow, here’s Ebert at Sundance 2002, addressing a fellow audience member (and fellow white man)’s complaint that director Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow did an ‘amoral’ job of representing Asian Americans. “What I find very offensive and condescending about your statement is, nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers ‘How could you do this to your people?’” yells Ebert. “This film has the right to be about these people, and Asian American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be! They do not have to ‘represent their people’!” (Longer transcript here.)
Ebert is also remembered fondly by Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to win Best Picture at Sundance. As she tweeted today:
Hurts. Thank you, Roger. For always being kind to me as a publicist. For championing me as a filmmaker. For teaching me how to love movies.— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) April 4, 2013
It was no surprise that North Carolina Republican state lawmakers would be introducing voter ID legislation this year, after a Republican governor was elected in November. But they attempted a head fake last month by suggesting they would take a tempered, “slow-walk“-ed approach to fashioning voter ID legislation. Instead, state Republicans in the House and Senate unleashed one of the most extreme voter restriction packages in the nation.
Despite no inkling of voter fraud in the state, Republicans introduced the following bills this week:
- HB 451 and SB 428: Cut a full week from the early voting period.
- HB 451 and SB 428: Repeal same-day voter registration during the early voting period.
- HB 451: Bans all early voting on Sundays.
- SB 666: Prohibits the child dependency tax deduction ($2,500) for parents if their child registers to vote at a different address, such as the town or city where they attend school.
- SB 666: Allows poll observers to move about more freely in the polling place, which creates more opportunities to intimidate poll workers and voters.
- SB 721: Requires strict government-issued photo ID to vote.
- SB 721: Enforces a 5-year waiting period, after a person convicted of a felony has served their time, before they can get their voting rights back (having their rights restored must also be approved unanimously by their county board of elections).
- SB 668: Amends the state constitution to disqualify voters deemed “mentally incompetent.”
Add Arkansas to the un-modern family of states with restrictive photo voter ID law. This week, the Republican-controlled general assembly over-rode Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of the law, which would require Arkansans to show a driver’s license, passport, college student ID, employee or concealed handgun license.
Gov. Beebe warned last week that a photo voter ID law would be an “unnecessary measure that would negatively impact one of our most precious rights as citizens.” This didn’t phase Republicans, though. State Sen. Bryan King, who sponsored the bill, said “It’s going to become the law of the land here in Arkansas, and that’s a great thing.”
The aggressive trend of states passing restrictive voting laws, which began in earnest in 2010, has not reversed since civil rights groups fought off similar laws last year. Aviva Shen at Think Progress writes:
In the past few years, voter ID laws have surged in popularity among Republican-dominated state legislatures. Though many were struck down in court before the 2012 election, five states — Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, and Tennessee — will have strict voter ID requirements in effect for the 2014 midterm elections. Nor does the fad seem to be dying down; a new report from ProjectVote finds that 30 states have introduced vote-suppressing laws in 2013. Of these, 20 introduced voter ID bills.
Virginia’s new voter ID law, much stricter than a different voter ID law they passed last year, still has to be approved by the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, if courts ultimately find a voter ID law in Pennsylvania valid, then it’ll be added to the restrictive voter stew.
This week the Brennan Center for Justice released a report showing that restrictive voter laws are multiplying in 2013:
Since the beginning of 2013,
- > At least 75 restrictive bills were introduced in 30 states.
- > Of those, 64 restrictive bills are still pending in 26 states.
- > Of those, 25 restrictive bills are currently active in 15 states, in that there has been legislative activity beyond introduction and referral to committee (such as hearings or votes).
- > Two states have already passed 3 restrictive bills this session
The Brennan Center also points to 200 voting reform bills that have been introduced in states that would expand early voting, and modernize the voter registration process.
Why this all matters is that 2014 will be a pivotal year for congressional elections. Civil rights advocates are hoping 2014 won’t bea re-run of the 2010 mid-term elections that led to the Tea Party planting themselves in Congress while Republicans took control of dozens of state legislatures. The consequence of that 2010 takeover was the birth of the restrictive photo voter ID movement.
Workers from McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and other chain restaurants in New York City went on strike today for the second time in six months. Strike organizers are calling it the largest mass action of fast food workers ever: over 400 employees from 60 restaurants are refusing to work today, according to New York Communities for Change, the group spearheading the strike. They’re demanding benefits, $15 hourly wages—“We can’t survive on $7.25,” workers chanted at rallies in Brooklyn and Manhattan—and say they want a union.
Colorlines.com caught up with some of these striking workers this morning as they rallied in front of a Wendy’s on Fulton St. in downtown Brooklyn. Many held signs like those carried by Memphis sanitation workers in the 1968 strike championed by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I am a woman;” “I am a man.” Today marks 45 years since King was shot and killed while supporting that strike.
Shalema Simpson, 24
Brooklyn. Employer: Wendy’s
“I have a three-year-old and I’m not making enough money right now so I’m living with my grandfather and four other people in a one-bedroom apartment. I am supposed to be working inside there right now but I am out here instead. I’ve worked at McDonalds, Hale and Hearty, Shake Shack and they are all bad but right now this is the worst establishment. Sometimes our checks bounce. It’s too much. I don’t know if [the strike] will change anything but at least we’re being heard.”
On the heels of the Associated Press decision to remove “illegal immigrant” from its Stylebook, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines, calls on the New York Times to do the same. In October 2012, we published an open letter to the Times that said: Words Matter. And, the i-word is out.
Since we launched the Drop the I-Word campaign almost three years ago, the number of outlets agreeing to stop using the term “illegal” has increased at an accelerating pace. The Times is also considering a change, but has not said how “sweeping” it will be. Writer and comedian Negin Farsad directed a video for Drop the I-Word that encourages the paper of record to “Get With the Times” by dropping the i-word today.
Raffi Williams, the son of Fox News analyst Juan Williams, has been hired by the Republican National Committee to help the party reach out to black voters. News of the twenty-four-year-old new hire comes two weeks after the party published its 90-page blueprint to attract “minority,” gay and young voters.”
“I think it’s a slow process. If you expect us to get a ridiculous amount of African-Americans in the next election, that’s not going to happen probably,” Williams told Buzzfeed. “But we can start to make inroads, and the more inclusive we are as a party, the better optics we get to other demographics as well — not just African-Americans — and that helps us in the long run.”
“So it’s about making those new connections and getting the support I need. People are really enthused about it,” Williams said. “And that’s a nice thing for me. I didn’t know what I was walking into exactly, but from the chairman on down, everyone is so on board with this.”
First Lady Michelle Obama hosted 80 high school and college students from across the country for a screening of “42” at the White House on Monday. “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball.
Alongside the students were guests Harrison Ford, Chadwick Boseman and Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson.
“Jackie and Rachel Robinson weren’t destined for greatness — they prepared themselves for greatness, which meant that they could make a difference outside of baseball, as well. And that is the only thing that is important for you to understand,” the First Lady told the young crowd. “You can be great in your profession, you can earn a lot of money, you can be famous, but the question is what are you doing for others.”
The students at the screening traveled to the White House from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington, DC; Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, MD; TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA and Amino Jackie Robinson Charter High School in Los Angeles, CA.
The First Lady told the students both she and President Obama found the film was “very powerful” when they watched it over the weekend.
State Sen. Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, took the stand Monday in the landmark stop-and-frisk federal trial to testify about a 2010 conversation with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. During his testimony at the Floyd vs. City of New York trial, Adams said Kelly purposely targeted black and Latino to men to ensure they knew were being watched “every time that they left their homes.”
Adams had traveled to Albany for a meeting on 10 July 2010 with the governor to give his support for a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from maintaining a database that would include the personal information of individuals stopped by the police but released without a charge or summons. In discussing the bill, which ultimately passed, Adams said he raised the issue of police stops disproportionately targeting young African American and Latino men.
“[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams testified.
“How else would we get rid of guns,” Adams said Kelly asked him.
Adams told the court he was stunned by the commissioner’s claim and immediately expressed his concerns. “I was amazed,” Adams testified. “I told him that was illegal.”
In the last 11-years, the NYPD has conducted a staggering 5-million stop-and-frisks. Of those who were stopped and patted down for “seeming suspicious,” 86 percent were black or Latino, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union released last month. In 2012 alone, police made 533,042 of these stops with 89 percent resulting in no arrest or ticket.
An August 2012 New York Times poll found opinions about stop-and-frisk are divided by race. Fifty-five percent of white New Yorkers described the use of stop-and-frisk as acceptable; 56 percent of blacks called it excessive. Among Latinos, 48 percent said it was acceptable, and 44 percent said it was excessive.
Colorlines.com caught up with David Floyd, the 33-year-old lead plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk case, and asked what he felt when he was randomly searched and why he decided to challenge the NYPD.
Take a look at the video below.
Snoop Lion teamed up with Drake and his daughter Cori B to deliver an anti-gun anthem in his latest video, “No Guns Allowed.”
Lyrics from the peace anthem “No Guns Allowed” are below:
[Verse: Snoop LioExplainn / Cori B.] Money makes a man and that’s a crime If we all were rich, we’d spend more time With our daughters and sons, they’re losing their minds We all feel hurt, here’s mine, hear me now
[Chorus: Snoop Lion / Cori B.] Cause, no guns are allowed, in here tonight We’re gonna have a free-for-all, no fights I wanna get lost in the crowd, in here tonight I need to hear my thoughts, turn the music up loud
[Hook: Snoop Lion] Let the music play, me don’t want no more gunplay When the bodies hit the ground, there’s nothing left to say, ay, ay Me don’t want to see no more innocent blood shed Me don’t want to see no more youth dead Come hear me now
“No Guns Allowed” is the new single from Snoop Lion’s forthcoming reggae and dancehall influenced album, “REINCARNATED,” available later this month. The album is executive produced by Diplo and the Major Lazer production team and will be released in conjunction with Berhane Sound System, Mad Decent, VICE Music, and RCA Records.
It’s been a good day at Colorlines.com and so it’s only appropriate we share a song with you that includes lots of bells and hand clapping.
Singer and pianist Laura Mvula was born in the UK and raised with myriad musical influences. Jazz came courtesy of her father, gospel via the church on Sunday and classical music through training in violin and piano from the age of 10.
She studied for four years at the Birmingham Conservertoire, where as well as gaining expertise in composition she acquired the name Mvula from her Zambia-born husband Themba Mvula — she’s had the African blogosphere laying claim for a minute, but she’s a daughter of the diaspora.
Her debut studio album, Sing to the Moon, will be released in the U.S. on May 14th, 2013.
What does it take to be a good ally? Well, for starters, listen more and talk less.
“The job of a good ally is not to save anybody but rather to help create the conditions under which people can assert and grow their own power,” said Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of The Applied Research Center, on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show.
The Associated Press announced on Tuesday they will no longer recommend journalists use the term illegal immigrant when referring to immigrants in the United States without legal permission.
The announcement comes more than three years after Colorlines.com launched The Drop the I-Word campaign that called on media outlets to stop using the term “illegal immigrant” because it is a racially charged slur that confuses the immigration debate and fuels violence.
“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally,” wrote AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on the organization’s blog.
“It’s great to see the Associated Press stand up for responsible journalistic standards. The style guide is the last word on journalistic practice so it’s particularly important for the AP to set this standard,” said Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research and publisher of Colorlines.com. “This should put the debate to rest.”
The updated AP Style Guide entry is being added immediately to the AP Stylebook Online and Manual de Estilo Online de la AP, the new Spanish-language Stylebook. It reads as follows:
illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.
Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
Chris Brown released his latest video on Monday for his song “Fine China,” off his upcoming album “X.”
Here’s what you need to know about it.
1. Someone watched “Rush Hour” too many times.
In the music video for his latest single, “Fine China,” the singer gets a taste for some Asian flavor and romances the wrong girl — the daughter of Triad boss (played by Francois Chau) — does some kung fu dance-fighting with tough guys and ends up in a standoff against bad people with guns. It’s all rather ridiculous.
2. The opening scenes in the “Fine China” music video were shot in Hancock Park… the same neighborhood where Chris Brown beat up Rihanna in 2009.
The scenes were shot just blocks away from the domestic abuse incident and in both incidents Brown was driving a red Lamborghini.
A Tennessee bill that would cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school cleared committees of both the House and Senate last week.
The measure takes “a carrot and stick approach,” one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, told the Knoxville News and Sentinel.
A Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation last week to stop welfare payments to parents if their kids get bad grades in school. The sponsor, State Senator Stacy Campfield said, “One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education.” But he added, “We have done little to hold [parents] accountable for their child’s performance.”
The bill would chop nearly a third of family’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits, already a pittance, if their child fails to pass state competency tests or get’s held back. How exactly the threat to make poor people poorer will improve educational outcomes isn’t at all clear.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported.
The measure faces another committee hearing in the House, but is now clear for a floor vote in the Senate.