Justice Department Urged to Investigate Marco McMillian’s Murder

Justice Department Urged to Investigate Marco McMillian's Murder

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is urging the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS) and Civil Rights division to launch an investigation into the murder of Marco McMillian. The NBJC wants the agency to investigate the murder as a potential racially-motivated and/or anti-gay hate crime.

McMillian was a black gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi whose dead body was found beaten and burned along the Delta last week. Although authorities have arrested 22-year-old Lawrence Reed and charged him with McMillian’s death, they have said that the killing was personal, not political.

In a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, NBJC Executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks writes:

After speaking extensively with the family, community and anti-violence coalition members like the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), NBJC feels the perpetuation and validation of the “gay panic” defense is irresponsible. The conflicting reports as well as the current racial and anti-LGBT climate in Mississippi is justification enough for a federal investigation.

NBJC is standing firmly with Marco McMillian’s family so that their concerns do not fall on deaf ears. The details of this case just aren’t adding up. Whether on the basis of race or sexual orientation, hate is hate. If there is the possibility that McMillian was murdered because of who he is, that warrants the Department of Justice’s involvement.”

The letter goes on to cite the disturbing uptick in recent Mississippi hate crimes.

In 2011 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report released a report that detailed a spike in Mississippi anti-gay and racially-motivated hate crimes. According to NBJC’s letter, local activists expressed concerns that the numbers may be twice as high than what is officially on record due to underreporting and fear of retaliation. The report also revealed that more than two-thirds of Mississippi’s counties failed to file a report with the Justice Department.

In 2011, James C. Anderson, 48, died tragically in a Jackson, Mississippi, parking lot. Surveillance video shows two carloads of white teenagers beating and robbing Anderson. They later ran him over repeatedly with a truck. Witnesses report one teenager yelled “white power,” and the driver of the pickup shouted a racist slur. Anderson and his partner, James Bradfield, of 17 years were raising a child together. Last year, three men were convicted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

Just last month, when an openly gay couple, Dr. Ravi Perry and Prince Paris, were invited to speak at a Mississippi Historically Black College and University, local pastors rallied and protested the lecture. The public outcry resulted in the institution scaling down the visibility of the event and distancing itself.

George Zimmerman Skips ‘Stand Your Ground’ Hearing

George Zimmerman Skips 'Stand Your Ground' Hearing

In a move that’s stunned observers, George Zimmerman announced on Tuesday that he would waive his right to a Stand Your Ground hearing.

The hearing was scheduled for April 22. If Zimmerman proved to a judge that he had indeed acted in self defense, the hearing could have led to the dismissal of his murder charges. But, as ABC News noted, the hearing could have also led to Zimmerman taking the stand and becoming his own worst enemy.

Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Zimmerman is entitled to immunity and if he can prove he shot and killed Martin Feb. 26, 2012 self defense. If self defense was determined, all criminal proceedings would have immediately stopped, and Zimmerman would have walked free.

But Zimmerman’s legal team also risked the possibility that the judge would reject the motion and the hearing would give prosecutors an opportunity to pick apart Zimmerman’s testimony.

For now, George Zimmerman’s defense team will spend its precious time and money trying to pick apart Trayvon Martin’s high school and social media history. Stay tuned.

It’s Not Just Chicago: 100 Youth Homicides in Miami Since 2009

Miami is reeling from a wave of gun violence which, like in Chicago, has claimed the lives of youth and devastated communities along the way. Most recently, 17-year-old Jose Videa was shot in the stomach while he waited for a school bus last Monday. His was just the latest in a string of gun-related incidents over the last week which claimed the lives of two other Miami youth.

It’s been a deadly couple of years. Since 2009, more than 100 youth have been killed in Miami-Dade County, and at least 81 of those homicides involved guns, the Miami Herald reported. It’s wearing down those in Miami in charge of keeping kids safe.

From the Miami Herald:

And close to half were students of Miami-Dade County public schools, according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who began campaigning against youth violence after Aaron was shot Dec. 19 while riding his bike from a friend’s house in Wynwood at 9 p.m.

“I made a promise when I became superintendent that I would attend the funeral, a viewing, a burial for every single child who would die a violent death in Miami. I am tired,” Carvalho, superintendent since late 2008, said during a news conference on the first day back from winter break. “We’ve covered this one time too many. I’ve attended over 40 such events, and it’s time to stop.”

Last week more than 20 pastors from Miami gathered to demand an end to gun violence. Their proposals? More community policing, youth mentorship and an end to the “don’t-snitch” culture which means those responsible for shootings often go free. They’re not new ideas, and much more will be needed to curb rampant gun violence. But the issue is about much more than just guns—it’s also about poverty and community safety and the disenfranchisement of communities of color—and it’s one that won’t go away on its own.

Miami leaders are starting to come around to this reality. From the Miami Herald, again:

Carvalho, who days earlier had canvassed Allapattah with the family of Bryan Herrera, a Miami Jackson sophomore shot dead on his bicycle Dec. 22, worried that the issue would “die out as a result of time simply passing.”

That hasn’t happened, in part because kids keep getting shot.

Proposed Welfare Drug Testing Bill Tells Poor to Sign Away Rights

Proposed Welfare Drug Testing Bill Tells Poor to Sign Away Rights

A week after a federal appeals court ruled against a Florida law that required welfare recipients to pass a drug test, a Republican congressman reintroduced similar legislation at the federal level.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn), would require states to gather urine samples randomly from 20 percent of adults who receive benefits from the Temporary Aid for Needy Families program.

“By allowing random drug checks, we can ensure families who receive TANF benefits use them for their intended purpose of feeding, clothing and providing shelter for their children, while cutting the tie that enables drug abuse,” Fincher said in a statement yesterday. “It’s not unreasonable to ask folks to stay clean in order to receive federal assistance.”

The TANF program currently provides some very poor families with an average of less than $400 a month, though many eligible families with children do not receive welfare checks.

Recent attempts by states to impose mandatory drug tests on welfare recipients have revealed the bills are solutions in search of a problem. In Florida, which implemented a drug testing program for several months until a court blocked it, nearly 98 percent of applicants passed the drug test.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last week upheld the lower court’s decision blocking the Florida law. The decision also applies to a similar bill in Georgia.

The panel of judges said Florida failed to prove that drug abuse among welfare recipients is a serious problem. “The State has presented no evidence that simply because an applicant for TANF benefits is having financial problems, he is also drug addicted or prone to fraudulent and neglectful behavior,” the judges wrote.

The court’s core problem with the Florida and Georgia laws, however, had more to do with concerns that testing people without their permission and without any actual suspicion of drug use violates the 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Fincher’s bill attempts to sidestep these constitutional concerns by requiring all welfare recipients to sign “a waiver of constitutional rights with respect to testing.”

“The State may not use any part of the grant to provide assistance to any individual who has not signed a waiver,” the language of the bill reads. Said differently, the bill asks poor people to sign away their 4th amendment rights.

When Fincher introduced identical legislation in 2011, it failed to clear committee and few think the bill has much of a chance this year.

Oberlin President Says ‘Significant Progress’ Has Followed Campus Hate Speech

The president of Oberlin college says that the Ohio college is making “significant progress” investigating a series of hate speech crimes on campus during Black History Month. The college, known widely as a place that’s liberal and forward-thinking, canceled classes on Monday in order to hold a series of rallies to help unify students.

The incidents in question included a “whites only” being written above a water fountain and a swastika scrawled across a science center window, according to the college newspaper the Oberlin Review. The paper also reported a series of physical assaults on campus in which the assailant made derogatory remarks about a student’s ethnicity.

More from USA Today:

“All these reports are being investigated thoroughly,” President Marvin Krislov said at an afternoon rally at Finney Chapel, the The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported. “We have made significant progress in the investigation of these instances.”

“We believe these actions represent the work of a very small number of very cowardly people,” he told a packed audience of 1,200 students. “I am shocked that this happened at our college, which I love. It hurts all of us.”


Did Somebody Say Malware? Bring on the Colorlines Community!

Did Somebody Say Malware? Bring on the Colorlines Community!

Once again, we’ve been reminded just how awesome our community is here at Colorlines. After a few harrowing days of battling a security breach on our site, we’re in suprisingly good spirits around here. Why? Because we couldn’t have fixed the problem without the amazing help of some of our eagle-eyed readers.

Many of you who visited Colorlines over this past weekend were met with scary warnings about malware attached to our site. Yikes! We were scared, too. But know that we have successfully chased away the evil demons of the Web. We submitted the site for review to experts at Google and they found it to be clean and malware free. Yay! But what happened?

Our content management system—or, the thing we use to publish stories—had a big, fat security hole that someone exploited. (We have no reason to believe we were targeted; rather, this is a problem many others have had with the same system.) We were first able to the identify the problem with the help of several readers who chimed in via email and social media to point us in the right direction. We thought we’d fixed it, but by Friday afternoon the problem had grown critical and Google placed us on its list of compromised sites.

Luckily, we were able to fully close the security breach over the weekend. And again, we asked both Google and outside consultants to give the site a once-over, and they confirm we’re in great shape. So we can now get back to the work of offering you daily news and analysis in which race matters. Thanks to all of you who helped out—and really, there were a bunch—and here’s to malware-free future!

TAGS: housekeeping

Female Veterans Are Fastest Growing Segment of Homeless Population

The Defense Department has found that about one in three military women has been sexually assaulted, a rate twice as high as that among civilians. Follow up studies have also found men and women who have faced sexual trauma in the military are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, with black females disproportionately affected.

This week Patricia Leigh Brown of The New York Times profiled several women who faced sexual trauma while in the military and are now homeless. The video below accompanied her story published on Wednesday.

An excerpt from Brown’s story is below

While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. 


Of 141,000 veterans nationwide who spent at least one night in a shelter in 2011, nearly 10 percent were women, according to the latest figures available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, up from 7.5 percent in 2009. In part it is a reflection of the changing nature of the American military, where women now constitute 14 percent of active-duty forces and 18 percent of the Army National Guard and the Reserves.

Women who have just completed an intensive therapy program for veterans in Long Beach, Calif., shared their experiences of sexual trauma in the military with the New York Times.

In December 2011 the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that found black female veterans are disproportionately affected by homelessness. [PDF]

According to the report 45% of homeless veterans they identified were black women, 41% white, 7.6% Latinas, and 1.3% were API. The majority of those homeless are veterans who fought in the Persian Gulf Period or after (8/90-present)—including conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Kansas, If You Can’t Beat Them Then Force Them to Take Drug Tests Too

In Kansas, If You Can't Beat Them Then Force Them to Take Drug Tests Too

Democrats in Kansas were unable to kill a Republican bill that would require welfare and unemployment recipients pass a drug test, but they were successful in adding an amendment that would require lawmakers to also face testing.

The bill approved by Kansas Senators on Thursday will require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to undergo drug screenings before receiving assistance. Democrats approved the bill on the condition that the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and legislators also undergo drug screening tests.

The Kansas City Star explains:

State lawmakers may have to take a test to prove they’re not on drugs.

That’s because senators tentatively agreed Wednesday to add lawmakers to a bill that requires drug tests of any welfare or unemployment recipient who state officials reasonably suspect is using illegal substances.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Wichita Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, who opposed testing the poor and unemployed but wanted to include lawmakers if the idea were to pass.

Lawmakers, however, shot down another proposal that would have required drug tests of businesspeople controlling companies that get economic incentives from the state.

In the past two years at least 25 states have considered drug testing cash assistance applicants.

Earlier this week a federal appeals court struck a blow to a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for all applicants to the state’s welfare program.

The ruling, authored by Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett, added that “there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a ‘concrete danger’ that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use.”

Marco McMillian Had Big Plans for the Small City of Clarksdale, Mississippi

Marco McMillian Had Big Plans for the Small City of Clarksdale, Mississippi

Marco Watson McMillian was on track to make history in Mississippi. An ambitious, young, openly gay black politician, McMillian was running for mayor of Clarksdale, his hometown. It’s a city perhaps best known for the blues, the place where musician Robert Johnson said he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a guitar. Its roughly 20,000 mostly black residents may live in a place well versed in the music of heartbreak, but McMillian’s death has put a new tragedy in the national spotlight.

McMillian was a proud son of Clarksdale. At 34 years old, he was already accomplished. The Mississippi Business Journal listed him as one of its “Top 40 Leaders Under 40,” and in 2004 EBONY listed him as one of the nation’s best young leaders. He graduated magna cum laude from the WEB DuBois Honors College at Jackson State University. He was active in his church and served as the International Executive Director for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. And he had big plans for Clarksdale.

Here are his political platforms on crime, education, and the economy.




Man Arrested in Slaying of Black Gay Mississippi Politician Marco McMillian

Man Arrested in Slaying of Black Gay Mississippi Politician Marco McMillian

A 22-year-old man has been arrested in the apparent slaying of Marco McMillian, a promising black Mississippi politician who was openly gay. McMillian, 34, was running for mayor of Clarksdale, Miss., until his body was found along the Mississippi Delta on Wednesday.

Lawrence Reed, of nearby Shelby, was pulled from a wrecked car belonging to McMillian on Thursday. The accident happened about 30 miles from where McMillian’s body was found, according to ABC News. Reed was airlifted to a local hospital and is expected to be jailed for McMillian’s murder once he’s out of the hospital.

News of McMillian’s death has shocked his supporters and those around the country who admired his tenacity to seek office in such a conservative state. From all accounts, McMillian was a dedicated, accomplished young politician who stood a real chance to win elected office in a traditionally red state and worked toward changing the landscape of the state’s politics.

From CBS News:

McMillian, a Democrat, wasn’t running what many would consider a typical campaign for political office in Mississippi, which is known for its conservative politics. Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith said McMillian’s campaign was noteworthy because he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in the state.

McMillian, who was black, also forged ties while serving for four years as international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Photos on McMillian’s website and Facebook page show him with a younger Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat.

In addition to his role at the fraternity from 2007 to 2011, McMillian previously worked to raise funds as executive assistant to the president at Alabama A&M University and as assistant to the vice president at Jackson State University, according to his campaign. He was also CEO of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations.

A statement from the fraternity said he secured the first federal contract to raise awareness about the impact of HIV and AIDS on communities of color. It noted that Ebony Magazine had recognized him in 2004 as one of the nation’s “30 up-and-coming African Americans” under age 30.

After news of his death, McMillian’s campaign published this note to fans on its Facebook page:

Words cannot describe our grief at the loss of our dear friend, Marco McMillian. The shocking news of Marco’s death is beyond difficult for us to process. We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life. Tragically, that life has been cut short. At this time of loss, we ask that you keep the family and loved ones of Marco in your prayers.

GOP Finally Stopped Blocking Violence Against Women Act

The House voted on Thursday to pass the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA.)

The legislation that assists victims of domestic and sexual violence passed on a vote of 286 to 138, with 199 Democrats joining 87 Republicans to reauthorize the 1994 law.

President Obama has pledged to sign VAWA.

“Today Congress put politics aside and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Eighteen years ago, I envisioned a world where women could live free from violence and abuse. Since VAWA first passed in 1994, we have seen a 64% reduction in domestic violence. I am pleased that this progress will continue, with new tools for cops and prosecutors to hold abusers and rapists accountable, and more support for all victims of these crimes,” President Obama said in a statement issued shortly after the vote.

ABC News/Univision politics reporter Emily Deruy points out House Republicans objected “to the fact that the bill includes a provision that allows Native American authorities to prosecute non-American Indians in tribal courts. It also includes protections for immigrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Akiba Solomon,’s managing editor, said “it’s pitiful that it took the loss of a presidential election and a rethinking of the entire GOP strategy to convince some House Republicans that just because a bill is called the ‘Violence Against Women Act’ that doesn’t give them the right to obstruct measures designed to protect transgender people, gay men and reservation-based Native American women who are sexually assaulted by non-Native American men.”

“I’m still floored that not once, but twice, some House Republicans actually opposed a bill because it helps too many people suffering intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual violence. I’m glad, however that the bill passed and look forward to it becoming more effective,” Solomon went on to say.

Bloomberg Apologizes for Its Name-That-Racial-Stereotype Cover

Bloomberg Apologizes for Its Name-That-Racial-Stereotype Cover

Bloomberg has a message to readers: they’re sorry.

As reported by Dylan Byers over at Politico:

Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret,” Josh Tyrangiel, the magazine’s editor, wrote in a statement sent to POLITICO. “Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.”

Read the full thing here.

TAGS: Bloomberg

Bloomberg Businessweek’s New Name-That-Racial-Stereotype Cover


Uh, wow. As the American Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie says, a more racially diverse and equitable newsroom would have never let this cover go out: “It’s not just the black and Latino caricatures—the whole cover plays into the widely-debunked myth that unreliable minority borrowers were responsible for the financial crash. … [T]he truth is that they were disproportionately victimized by unscrupulus lenders. This cover, however, all but implies that minorities are primed to cause another crisis.

Update 1:15PM EST — The artist is Lima-born Andres Guzman, who may or may not be aware of the American legacy of imagery he’s summoning here. In our conversations about this, however, let’s keep the impetus where it belongs: on Bloomberg Businessweek’s creative director Richard Turley, who commissioned and approved the cover for the publication he represents.

Get Ready for Downton Abbey’s First Black Character

Get Ready for Downton Abbey's First Black Character

The British period drama television series “Downtown Abbey” is introducing its first black character as part of a storyline about race relations in the 1920s, according to the UK’s leading tabloid, The Sun.

(Continue reading at your own risk because there may or may not be spoilers below.)

The Sun has more details about the new black character:

The award-winning stately home drama is seeking an actor to play musician Jack Ross.

Casting notes were sent out to actors’ agents earlier this month. They describe Ross as “Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s.

“He’s black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma.”

Whoever lands the role should “ideally be able to sing brilliantly”. The notes add: “Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor.” Jack Ross will play a key part in the fourth series of the hit TV saga alongside a string of other fresh faces.

The Season 2 finale of “Downton Abbey” earned PBS its highest overnight ratings since 2009’s “Ken Burns National Parks.” The series’ ratings were up 25 percent from its first season, doubling the average PBS viewership.

Academy Adds Lupe Ontiveros to ‘In Memoriam’ Slideshow

Academy Adds Lupe Ontiveros to 'In Memoriam' Slideshow

On Wednesday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences added actress Lupe Ontiveros to the 2012 ‘In Memoriam’ slideshow on the Oscars’ website). The addition came came four days after the Academy left Ontiveros out of the ‘In Memoriam’ reel that aired during the Oscar broadcast.

“Lupe Ontiveros is among the many worthy artists we were unfortunately not able to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on,” read statement from the Academy sent to the LA Times.

Fox News Latino reports the Academy added Ontiveros to the slideshow after the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts sent a letter requesting the actress be included in the online gallery.

Ontiveros had a 35-year career in the film and television industry. Her first television appearances came in 1976 when she played a maid on the series “Charlie’s Angels.”

Her television and film career went on for another 35-years until she passed away on July 26, 2012 at the age of 69.

Ontiveros estimated she played a maid at least 150 times on screen, or 300 if you count stage performances too.

“I’ve given every maid I’ve portrayed soul and heart,” Ontiveros told the New York Times in 2002.

Chinese Farmers Battle for Wages Amid Glamour of Silicon Valley

Chinese Farmers Battle for Wages Amid Glamour of Silicon Valley

When most people think about Silicon Valley, they don’t think about farmers. Agricultural work seems almost like the antithesis of the Googles and Apples of the world. But a new piece published by Hyphen Magazine exposes the hardships faced by Chinese laborers in and around the world’s biggest tech hub.

Li Lovett writes at New America Media, in partnership with Hyphen:

Of the roughly 130 Asian growers documented in this county, the majority are Chinese, and most of the Chinese growers here own land in or on the fringes of urban zones. In areas zoned for agriculture, land can be purchased at $100,000 an acre, according to Aziz Baameur, a University of California farm adviser based in Santa Clara County. However, land in the bedroom communities of Silicon Valley, such as Gilroy and Morgan Hill, could easily fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 per acre. New farmers have few prospects of buying land “unless it’s someone from Silicon Valley who is cottage farming on the weekends,” Baameur says.

Read the full story here.

TAGS: Farmers

Let These Adorable Kids Inspire You to Celebrate Black History Every Month

Let These Adorable Kids Inspire You to Celebrate Black History Every Month

Today is the official end of Black History Month, a time that doesn’t exactly lend itself to easygoing celebrations. There’s a good portion of folks who argue that black history shouldn’t be limited to a month-long celebration, and still others who see it as a unique time to highlight black America’s contributions to this country. Regardless of where you fall along that spectrum, here’s one thing that everyone can agree on: adorable and hilarious kids.

Throughout the month of February, Maryland-based photographer Eunique Jones has been doing a series called “Because Of Them, We Can” that pays tribute to black leaders whose sacrifices paved the way for younger generations to realize their dreams. According to Jones’s website, the intention was pretty straightforward:

As a motivational speaker and a photographer, I recently realized that my lens can also be my microphone. For Black History Month, I wanted to create a campaign that would empower and excite young people about their history and their future in a creative and yet relatable way. I thought about my two sons and how they were both born during President Barack Obama’s election and re-election. How awesome is that?! From there, I began to think about all of the individuals, past and current, who have and/or continue to blaze new trails and pave the way for the future. Because of Them, We Can.

Each day of February, Jones released an new photograph that linked the present to the past. The photos each feature kids-lookalikes to some of the most notable names in black film, activism, and sports.

You can see — and share — the photos on Jones’s website and on Facebook. A quick sampling is after the jump.






NFL Teams Are Asking if Manti Te’o Is Gay, Homophobia in Football Alive and Well

NFL Teams Are Asking if Manti Te'o Is Gay, Homophobia in Football Alive and Well

Apparently so, because the federal protections that apply to most of the rest of us don’t extend to the guys we root for every fall. Here’s more from Martin Rogers at Yahoo! Sports:

A quirk in the American legal system means that NFL teams are governed by differing laws on the level of intrusive questioning they can impose on potential draft picks such as Manti Te’o.

Te’o’s sexuality has been the subject of much debate following the fallout of the Notre Dame defensive star’s hoax girlfriend saga that thrust him into a storm of media attention and, unfortunately, public ridicule.

One NFL insider, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio, said Monday that several NFL organizations would like to know whether the powerful Hawaiian linebacker is gay, describing the matter as the “elephant in the room.”

…While federal law protects certain characteristics from discrimination, such as race, gender, religion or belief and disability, it “has been slow to catch up on aspects like sexuality,” according to Professor Dylan Malagrino, a sports law expert from Western State University College of Law, in Fullerton, Calif.

In total, 13 of the NFL’s 32 teams are legally allowed to ask Te’o about his sexuality based on what’s legally permissible in each team’s home state.

There was much hubbub around the varying stances NFL players took in the weeks leading up the Super Bowl. In short, the league really wants you to believe that it’s a forward-thinking space, but the culture of sports has long been filled with both overt and covert homophobia. This news about Manti Te’o seems like one more entrenched, systemic reason why we shouldn’t expect homophobia to go away in professional football any time soon, because a players’ presumptive sexuality is still seen as a huge off-field liability.

Lupe Ontiveros’ Family Speaks Out: Oscars Snub Was a ‘Glaring Omission’

Lupe Ontiveros' Family Speaks Out: Oscars Snub Was a 'Glaring Omission'

Lupe Ontiveros’ conspicuous absence from the Oscars’ “In Memoriam” montage this year was but one disappointment in an especially offensive year for the Academy Awards. The Latina actress’ family noticed, too. In a statement issued on behalf of his family, Ontiveros’ youngest son Elias Ontiveros said the show’s producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a “poor decision” when they left his mother out of their memorial montage this year.

Ontiveros called the omission a missed opportunity to reach out to Latino audiences, for whom his mother was a beloved star. But more, by failing to recognize Lupe Ontiveros’ lifetime of work in Hollywood, the Academy showed its true colors, which are, well, extremely white. It was exactly the kind of erasure that Ontiveros fought against during her career.

In life, and after her passing, Lupe Ontiveros was a highly regarded actress, a Hollywood mainstay who played by her own estimation at least 150 maids during her decades-long career. She imbued her characters with dignity, and yet chafed against the confines of an entertainment industry with so little imagination about the kinds of characters a Latina actress could portray.

“You’ve got maids and you’ve got maids,” she told NPR in 2009. In auditions she often knew exactly what to expect: “‘You want an accent?’ And they’d say, ‘Yes, we prefer for you to have an accent.’ And the thicker and more waddly it is, the more they like it. This is what I’m against, really, truly.”

“I long to play a judge. I long to play a lesbian woman. I long to play a councilman, someone with some chutzpah,” Ontiveros said. Chutzpah she certainly had. She also took pride in her career. “I’m proud to represent those hands that labor in this country,” she told The New York Times.

The Ontiveros family’s statement is included in full after the jump.

Student Protest Forces School to Talk Stadium Deal With Prison Giant

Student Protest Forces School to Talk Stadium Deal With Prison Giant

It’s been a hectic week for students at Florida Atlantic University. Recently, the school announced that it had sold its football stadium naming rights to GEO Group, the nation’s largest operator of private prisons. The school’s board of trustees approved the deal earlier this month, and it’s estimated that the school will receive $6 million over the next twelve years. It’s reportedly the largest one-time gift that the school’s athletic department has ever received.

That money is of little comfort to students at the school who oppose the move. This week, they’ve staged a number of protests, including a sit-in at University President Jane Saunders’ office.

Here’s more from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

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