Google’s Latino-Targeted Domain, .SOY, Inspires Frustration, Confusion

Google's Latino-Targeted Domain, .SOY, Inspires Frustration, Confusion

Google has launched a new domain, .SOY, targeted at a Latino audience. 

In Spanish, “soy” means “I am”—but in English, of course, it refers to the beans that make soymilk and tofu possible. That’s probably why it confused English speaking vegans and vegetarians, who also feel they have a claim to the word.

But that’s not all.

While Google claims that “.SOY is the place for Latinos online,” some are wondering if and why it’s necessary for the corporation to develop a domain that virtually segregates Latinos into one domain—but fails to truly include Latinos where it counts, with jobs. Over at Cosmopolitan, Alanna Nunez writes:

If Google really wants to reach Latinos in a meaningful way, .soy probably isn’t the answer. Why doesn’t Google (I’m looking at you too, Apple and Intel, both of whom have also come under fire for a lack of diversity) examine its own hiring practices? Google’s latest Diversity Report stated that its U.S. workforce is only 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black. Moreover, a 2014 study from nonprofit Working Partnerships USA suggests that Silicon’s Valley’s “invisible workforce” — made up of people in low-paying roles such as janitors, security guards, and landscape workers at big tech companies such as Google, among others — is dominated by blacks and Latinos, while technical roles are overwhelmingly white and Asian.

Over at Latino Rebels, meanwhile, Roberto Lovato points out the geographic irony of Silicon Valley’s failure to engage Latinos:

How can a company based in parts of the United States where the overwhelming majority of the country’s 50 million Latinos live, be so border-walled off from the physical, geographic and cultural reality just outside its gates, so self-absorbed in the virtual world where it is king? Another equally pointed question has to do with us, specifically with where and how Latinos relate to the Digital Darwinism that is (again) shuffling and redefining the social and economic positions of Latinos and us all.

In searching for an answer, there’s no better place to find it than here in the Bay Area birthplace of the digital economy. Whether in the area around Twitter headquarters, in the biotech labs surrounding the soon-to-be World Champion (again!) Giants’ stadium or in the former farmlands where I saw Latino farm workers harvesting fruits and vegetables pushed out by mostly non-Latino workers and companies harvesting the new crop (enormous wealth and astonishing class divisions), the genetically-modifying ethic and the spirit in Google’s .SOY capitalism is clear: We will define you for you—if you let us.

Still, other Latinos are participating in Google’s Latino domain., for example, is creating a clearinghouse of Latino startups and what it calls “inclusive investors,” which indicates a given venture capitalist’s interest in backing people of color. 

Study: Where Stop-and-Frisk Goes, Trauma Follows

Study: Where Stop-and-Frisk Goes, Trauma Follows

While cops and civil rights advocates tussle over stop-and-frisk in the courts, and experts debate its efficacy, researchers are tracking something else: stop-and-frisk’s impact on the mental health of young men. Their findings suggest a harmful link. 

In a phone survey of 1,261 New York City men between the ages of 18 and 26 conducted between September 2012 and March 2013, those who reported more interactions with police also reported experiencing higher levels of trauma and symptoms of anxiety. Their findings were published last week by the American Journal for Public Health in an article named “Aggressive Policing and the Mental Health of Young Urban Men” authored by Columbia University professors Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan, Bruce Link and Yale University professor Tom Tyler. 

Among respondents, 85 percent had been stopped at least once in their lives, while 46 percent had been stopped in the last year. More than five percent of the men who responded said they’d been stopped more than 25 times in their lives. Those who reported more police contact experienced higher levels of anxiety and symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, even when controlling for demographics and their own criminal histories. Young black men were disproportionately stopped and frisked by police, and researchers found that they experienced symptoms of trauma at higher rates than non-black respondents. Researchers say theirs is the first study to examine the mental health impact of stop-and-frisk by surveying the population most directly impacted by the practice.

“Most of the police encounters our respondents described didn’t include an arrest or incarceration, yet they still reported associated mental health symptoms,” Geller, a professor of sociomedial sciences, said in a statement. “This tells us that even the low levels of interaction that many urban residents experience may have consequences.”

The researchers are careful to say that their findings don’t prove a causal link between intrusive stop-and-frisk policing and the corrosion of young men’s mental health, yet add that like others who have found that criminal justice practices can pose a threat to people’s physical and mental health, “[o]ur findings suggest that any benefits achieved by aggressive proactive policing tactics may be offset by serious costs to individual and community health.”

Jersey School District Apologizes for Elementary School Ebola Panic

Jersey School District Apologizes for Elementary School Ebola Panic

Two students arriving from Rwanda were set to start school at Howard Yocum Elementary in Maple Shade, New Jersey, earlier this month but the school’s fear about Ebola kept them from doing so. 

According to Fox 29, a school nurse sent a letter to teachers and staff warning them that two students from an east African nation had enrolled and would soon start classes. Rwanda is Ebola-free—so much so, that it recently started screening and strictly monitoring travelers visiting from the United States. The nation, which straddles east and central Africa, is nowhere near Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which have been ravaged by the virus.

Rwanda’s closest to Liberia, but at a distance of nearly 3,000 miles—roughly the distance between Dallas, Texas, and Quito, Ecuador. Nevertheless, a rumor about the children enrolling in the school spread to parents.

In a post that’s dated October 18—a Saturday—Maple Shade’s school superintendent attempted to clarify the district’s position:

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously.  As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday.  This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus.  Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21 day waiting period.  The family is looking forward to joining the Maple Shade Schools the following week. 

Please see the links below for more information about the Ebola virus.

Beth Norcia, Superintendent of Schools

Fox 29 then reported on developments and spoke with local parents: 

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

After considerable media attention, the district apologized on Monday:

Dear Maple Shade Community Members:

As you know, the Maple Shade School District has been the object of extensive media coverage and community dialogue over the past several days. Our schools have become the unwitting “face” of our nation’s fears with regard to pressing health concerns.

If we step back as a community, it is clear that we are of one mind. We all care about our children. New parents were anxious to enroll their children in our public school system. A staff member was anxious to allay any possible fears even before they arose. Community members raised questions about potential health risks to all of our children.

None of the actions that have shined the regional light of media exposure on Maple Shade Schools was mean-spirited or ill intended.

Next week, we will welcome the new students whose parents graciously offered to keep them close this week. Our staff, students and entire school family will be enriched by their presence, as we are by each and every student with us today.  

As these students enter our doors, we vow to safeguard them and offer them the best possible education here in the Maple Shade Schools. That is our promise to every student.

We will, however, consider the unintended consequences of our messages more carefully in the future. No matter how well intentioned, a message that originated within our schools created conflict and concern within the Maple Shade community. We offer our sincere apologies.

Beth Norcia

The kids are expected to finally be able to attend school next week.

North Korea Releases Ohio Man, McDonald’s Still in Decline, FTC’s New Chief Technologist

North Korea Releases Ohio Man, McDonald's Still in Decline, FTC's New Chief Technologist

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • North Korea releases Jeffrey Fowle, an Ohio man it held for six months after Fowle left a Bible at a nightclub. 
  • If the weather feels like cooperating wherever it is you live in nearly all of North America, you’ll be able to watch Thursday’s partial solar eclipse. (I suggest the strainer method if you haven’t done that one before!) 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Junot Díaz Endorses Call to Boycott Israel

Junot Díaz Endorses Call to Boycott Israel

Junot Díaz has formally endorsed the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). He joins more than 370 other cultural workers in the call against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 

The best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient signed on with the USACBI, which calls for an end to the occupation and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, according to an October 21 press release from the campaign.

In the release, Díaz explained his position:

If there exists a moral arc to the universe, then Palestine will eventually be free. But that promised day will never arrive unless we, the justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation. Our political, religious and economic leaders have always been awesome at leading our world into conflict, only we the people alone with little else but our courage and our solidarities and our invincible hope can lead our world into peace.

You can see the full list of USACBI endorsers here

One Lawyer Keeps the Pressure On For Criminal Justice Reform

One Lawyer Keeps the Pressure On For Criminal Justice Reform

Making the rounds on national media this week is public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson whom Desmond Tutu calls, “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” His new memoir, “Just Mercy,” is about a man wrongly convicted and put on death row and it promises to keep the country’s attention squarely on the 2.2 million people currently incarcerated in the United States—and the unjust ways that many of them arrive there. Stevenson’s mainstream media tour is yet another indication that, following the success of Michelle Alexander’s, The New Jim Crow, the country is ready to at least talk about criminal justice reform and reducing mass incarceration.

Stevenson is executive director of Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative. Watch his recent “Daily Show” interview with Jon Stewart above. And if you haven’t already seen it, check out Stevenson’s more intimate 2012 TED talk, too. 

Matthew McConaughey Defends Washington, D.C., NFL Team Name

Matthew McConaughey Defends Washington, D.C., NFL Team Name

In a cover story interview for November’s GQ, Matthew McConaughey makes clear that, despite being from Texas, he’s a hat-wearing fan of the Washington, D.C., NFL Team:

[You] were a Redskins fan growing up in Texas? What the hell was that about?
Two things. First: 4 years old, watching Westerns, I always rooted for the Indians. Second, my favorite food was hamburgers. The Redskins had a linebacker named Chris Hanburger.

That’s all it took?
When you’re 4 years old, that’s all it takes. I got a Redskins hat in my bag right now.

Hollywood Westerns were largely about myth-making, which shaped misconceived nations about Natives—and McConaughey’s comment appears to point to that.

And, there’s more:

What do you think about the calls for the team to change its name?
Man, it’s twofold. What interests me is how quickly it got pushed into the social consciousness. We were all fine with it since the 1930s, and all of a sudden we go, “No, gotta change it”? It seems like when the first levee breaks, everybody gets on board. I know a lot of Native Americans don’t have a problem with it, but they’re not going to say, “No, we really want the name.” That’s not how they’re going to use their pulpit. It’s like my feeling about gun control: “I get it. You have the right to have guns. But look, let’s forget that right. Let’s forget the pleasure you get safely on your range, because it’s in the wrong hands in other places.”

But as a fan, it would hurt you a little to see the logo gone?
It’s not going to hurt me. It’s just… I love the emblem. I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it’s in the court of public opinion, it’s going to change. I wish it wouldn’t, but it will.

Not everyone was “fine with it since the 1930s,” since the term the team name uses refers to skinning Natives for bounty.

McConaughey also made the claim that he “know[s] a lot of Native Americans,” who apparently back his claim but won’t say so publicly. He then made a rather confusing comparison to gun control—a topic that doesn’t include a racist team name.

Then again, he seems pretty certain the team logo will soon go. 

You can read McConaughey’s interview in its entirety over at GQ

Picking a Halloween Costume? Watch This Cupcake Tutorial First

Picking a Halloween Costume? Watch This Cupcake Tutorial First

Using cupcake-making as a metaphor, our colleague Kat Lazo has a fabulous new video that breaks down the way that Halloween has become a sad excuse for cultural appropriation, misogyny and a lot more: 

Lazo’s a video production specialist for Colorlines’ publisher, Race Forward—but she also works on her own stuff. Check out her YouTube channel, TheeKatsMeoww.  

RIP Oscar de la Renta, New Ebola Gear Guidelines, Leslie Jones Joins SNL

RIP Oscar de la Renta, New Ebola Gear Guidelines, Leslie Jones Joins SNL

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Total CEO Christophe de Margerie dies in a crash in his private plane at Moscow’s airport; he was in Russia to further expand his oil empire. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

In Georgia, Immigration Frustration May Test Latino Voters’ Impact

In Georgia, Immigration Frustration May Test Latino Voters' Impact

Latinos are already remaking U.S. demography, but their impact on elections is still up for debate. In Georgia, demographic shifts, combined with Latino voters’ perennial disappointment over immigration reform, make for a unique race this fall. A key question, as in other recent elections, is whether Latinos will express their frustration by staying home. Such a move would hurt Democrats more so than Republicans, who in 2010 sought to capitalize on this tension by airing a political ad urging Latinos to stay home from the polls.

Los Angeles Times’ Mark Barabak reports on the issues at play in the countdown to these midterms:

Latinos have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the new federal healthcare law and Velez, a Democrat, considers it a good thing Obama has done. But it was just one thing — and a small one at that — compared with the immigration issue, [Eddie] Velez said. “Everything that was promised didn’t happen,” said the round-cheeked 33-year-old, who may skip next month’s election, figuring it won’t make much difference who wins. “Nothing has changed.”

In many ways Georgia offers both a reflection of the past and a window into the future of Latinos’ growing political clout.

The Latino population has increased from less than 1% of Georgia’s 4.6 million residents in 1970 to more than 9% of the state’s nearly 10 million residents today.

Eventually, Latinos, Asian Americans — also Democratic-leaning and rapidly growing in number — and the state’s historically large black population are expected to turn Georgia from solidly Republican into a swing state. “Republicans are just going to run out of white voters,” said Charles Bullock, a demographics and political expert at the University of Georgia.

But will Latinos refuse to vote this year to send a political message to Democrats not to take them for granted? In recent years, the threat that Latinos, whose midterm election turnout indeed dips between presidential elections, will stay home on Election Day has become as common a refrain as promises of immigration reform made and left unfulfilled. 

Nazis Collect Social Security, U.S. Weapons to Kurdish Fighters, Ferguson Arrests Continue

Nazis Collect Social Security, U.S. Weapons to Kurdish Fighters, Ferguson Arrests Continue

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Have you seen the puppy-sized spider observed in Guyana yet? It’s so big that the etymologist that stumbled upon it first thought it was a possum. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Kris Kobach, in for Political Comeuppance?

Kris Kobach, in for Political Comeuppance?

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with his penchant for hardline anti-immigration policy and reputation for picking, and winning, fights against the invented bogeyman of voter fraud, is in an unexpectedly heated race for re-election against Democratic challenger and former state Sen. Jean Schodorf. 

In a solidly Republican state, Kobach may still be in for electoral rebuke as voters tire of his political shenanigans, and sidelined moderate Republicans seek to regain control of their state, Politico reports. But it’s a political antic and not Kobach’s anti-immigration work or voter ID law crusade which really tested voters’ patience, the Kansas City Star reported earlier this month. Kobach sought to keep a Democratic candidate for Senate on the ballot even after he’d withdrawn from the race, in a move which would have helped a fellow Republican contender.

That’s not to say that Kobach’s policies haven’t had a lasting impact on the national policy landscape. Kobach, an architect of Arizona’s SB 1070, also has served as counsel for the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach also successfully pushed for a Kansas voter ID bill which requres not just proof of identification but also of citizenship. The move kicked some 22,000 people off the voter rolls, critics have argued. Trip Gabriel reports for the New York Times:

“They moved too far to the right,” said Marc White, a lawyer who came to a candidates’ forum last week in Topeka, the state capital, where Mr. Kobach spoke. “We’re a Republican state, don’t get me wrong. But you’re going to have a backlash to the more extreme policies.”

Mr. White described trying to help a man in his 40s caught in limbo by Kansas’ tough new voting law written by Mr. Kobach, which requires voters registering for the first time to document they are citizens. “This individual was born at home in Mississippi and is having a very difficult time obtaining records that would allow him to register,” Mr. White said.

After polling neck and neck with his Democratic challenger earlier this fall, he latest poll out this week by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling give Kobach a six-point lead over Schodorf, Politico reports.

Rikers Island Jail Spends About $100K Per Inmate Annually

Rikers Island Jail Spends About $100K Per Inmate Annually

A new report out today reveals that Rikers Island, the nation’s second largest jail and subject of a damning federal investigation, spends $96,000 per inmate each year. That’s more than a 40 percent increase since 2006 and, The New York Times reports, twice the amount spent per inmate by other big cities like Los Angeles, which houses a larger inmate population. Over the same period that costs have risen, the city comptroller’s office found that the inmate population declined 18 percent at Rikers and violence increased to extraordinary levels.

Roughly 85 percent of Rikers’ annual-per-inmate costs goes to pay personnel.

2013 Was the Deadliest Year of LGBT Intimate Partner Violence On Record

2013 Was the Deadliest Year of LGBT Intimate Partner Violence On Record

For 17 years, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has been collecting data on domestic violence in LGBT communities. They started in 1997 with a report that was the first-ever look at intimate partner violence among LGBT couples. It was an important intervention in the domestic violence movement largely defined by the ways that cisgender men physically or emotionally abused their wives. 

When NCAVP released what ultimately became its annual report, it helped expand the movement within the federal government and departments of public health. Like most statistics on domestic violence, the reported cases were generally thought to be an underestimate because many victims don’t actually report their assaults. But the problem was especially hard for LGBT folks because, in 1997, 21 states had enforceable sodomy laws on the books that could put a queer person behind bars.
Since then, the language has changed, but the problem has not. Domestic violence, which in this report is also called intimate partner violence, is a catchall phrase that refers to “a pattern of behavior where one partner coerces, dominates, or isolates another intimate partner to maintain power and control over the partner and the relationship,” according to researchers.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data on intimate partner violence that included sexual orientation, but left out gender identity. Still, the results showed that LGBT partnerships were not immune to violence: 44 percent of lesbian women and 61 percent of bisexual women have experienced physical violence, stalking or rape in their intimate partnerships.
In this year’s report on intimate partner violence, NCAVP reports that 2013 was an especially deadly year for LGBT victims of domestic violence. By their researchers’ estimates, there were 21 homicides due to intimate partner violence, the highest number ever recorded. More than 28 percent of those victims were people of color. Of the 21 victims in 2012, 10 were identified as cisgender men, eight as cisgender women and three as transgender women.
What’s more:
  • LGBTQ people of color were more likely to report experiencing physical violence, discrimination, threats or intimidation, and harassment as a result of intimate partner violence. 

  • LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color were more likely to experience incidents of intimate partner violence in streets or public spaces. 
  • Bisexual survivors were 1.6 times more likely to experience sexual violence and 2.2 times more likely to experience physical violence as a result of intimate partner violence.
  • Transgender people of color were 2.6 times more likely to experience discrimination within intimate partner violence. 
  • Transgender survivors were 2.5 times more likely to experience incidents of intimate partner violence in public spaces.

  • More than eight percent of reported victims were undocumented (of the more than 83 percent who disclosed their immigration status).

Osman Ahmed, one of the report’s authors, told me by phone that “how you identify is an important factor in terms of how abuse can happen [because] your identity can be used against you within intimate partner violence.”

Read the full report here.

The Underlying Racism of Ebola Coverage

The Underlying Racism of Ebola Coverage

It’s impossible to ignore the racist undertones in much of the world’s Ebola coverage. Just yesterday, the United Nations huaman rights chief warned against anti-African discrimination over the disease. But it’s already happening. Stassa Edwards over at Jezebel offers this:

African illness is represented as a suffering child, debased in its own disease-ridden waste; like the continent, it is infantile, dirty and primitive. Yet when the same disease is graphed onto the bodies of Americans and Europeans, it morphs into a heroic narrative: one of bold doctors and priests struck down, of experimental serums, of hazmat suits and the mastery of modern technology over contaminating, foreign disease. These parallel representations work on a series of simple, historic dualisms: black and white, good and evil, clean and unclean.

The Western medical discourse on Africa has never been particularly subtle: the continent is often depicted as an undivided repository of degeneration. Comparing the representations of disease in Africa and in the West, you can hear the whispers of an underlying moral panic: a sense that Africa, and its bodies, are uncontainable. The discussion around Ebola has already evoked—almost entirely from Tea Party Republicans—the explicit idea that American borders are too porous and that all manners of perceived primitiveness might infect the West.

Edwards goes on to give a brief history of racist moral panics around disease.

In the United States, where the first Ebola-infected patient, Liberian-born Thomas Eric Duncan, died, the disease is increasingly becoming a stand-in for blackness. As Hannah Giorgis writes at the Guardian:

[Duncan] - and the West Africans to whom he is tied by both birth and cause of death - have become nothing more than disease vectors responsible for infecting innocent western health workers, tarnishing pristine nations by importing the blemish of an African scourge. And yet, American citizenship alone does not sanitize the blight of blackness; Amber Joy Vinson, the second healthcare worker diagnosed with the virus, is already being met with scrutiny as Nina Pham’s quarantined dog receives anoutpouring of support.

Read more.

Ebola and Race, 40K Missing Voter Registrations, a Guide to Better Sleep

Ebola and Race, 40K Missing Voter Registrations, a Guide to Better Sleep

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Despite Obamacare Advances, Racial Health Disparities for Women of Color Abound

Despite Obamacare Advances, Racial Health Disparities for Women of Color Abound

From access to health care to health-care coverage and health outcomes, women of color in the U.S. have distinctly different experiences than their white female counterparts, according to a new 50-state report card released Tuesday by the Alliance for a Just Society. 

Black women have worse health outcomes than women overall in unique areas, like hypertension and infant mortality. For all 38 states that self-reported data on the topic, black women have an infant morality rate that’s at least 20 percent higher than it is for women overall, according to the report. In seven states, black women post an infant mortality rate double what women overall experience. Diabetes in particular is a problem that has a disproportionate impact on Latinas and Asian women, and Native American women experience higher rates of asthma than women overall do.

Inequities extend to access to care and healthcare coverage. In more than half of U.S. states, black women are uninsured at rates that are at least 10 percent higher than the uninsured rate for women overall, according to the report. In one-third of U.S. states black women are uninsured at rates 20 percent higher than women overall. In 17 states, Latinas are uninsured at rates double the rate uninsured rate of women overall. 

These problems stem from 21 states’ refusal to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents, concludes the Alliance for Justice Society, whose executive director LeeAnn Hall serves on the board of Colorlines’ publisher Race Forward. Those states that refused Medicaid expansion performed especially poorly in AJS’ report card. Boosting Medicaid expansion tops the organization’s policy recommendations. 

“While many states are making critical progress on women’s health thanks to the Affordable Care Act, this report card underscores that we must do more, starting with getting every state to cover low-income women through Medicaid,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said in a statement, echoing the report card’s findings.

For more, read the Alliance for a Just Society report card here.

How Residential Segregation Still Divides St. Louis

How Residential Segregation Still Divides St. Louis

Why do whites live where they live? Why do blacks live where they live? “In 1968, Larman Williams was one of the first African Americans to buy a home in the white suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. It wasn’t easy.” That’s the beginning of Richard Rothstein’s “The Making of Ferguson” in the fall issue of The American Prospect. As any St. Louisan will tell you, you can’t talk about what’s wrong with Ferguson without first understanding the region’s patchwork of municipal boundaries—holdovers from the Jim Crow era, Rothstein says. He emphasizes that current residential segregation is not just a result of choice or the private prejudices of white homeowners. It’s also, “the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises”—not only in St. Louis but throughout the country.

That government, not private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once widely recognized. In 1974, a federal appeals court concluded, “Segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was … in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” The Department of Justice stipulated to this truth but took no action in response. In 1980, a federal court ordered the state, county, and city governments to devise plans to integrate schools by integrating housing. Public officials ignored the order, devising only a voluntary busing plan to integrate schools, but not housing.

Read the rest, including the Jim Crow-era experiences of pioneering black homeowners, now at The American Prospect. Looking for even deeper analysis? Check out Rothstein’s paper at The Economic Policy Institute.


Crisis Mode at Texas Hospital, Elizabeth Peña Dies

Crisis Mode at Texas Hospital, Elizabeth Peña Dies

This is what I’m reading up on today:

  • Dallas’ Texas Presbyterian is in damage-control mode, but lax U.S. guidelines may be to blame for the hospital’s failure to stop the spread of Ebola.
  • RIP Elizabeth Peña, 1959-2014.
  • Remember that awful video of tech bros kicking brown kids off of a San Francisco soccer field? Longtime residents of the city’s Mission District rallied on Wednesday to change the city’s Park and Recreation reservation policies.
  • Lucas may be able to use Venmo to send cash to friends, but Ahmed apparently can’t.
TAGS: Morning Rush

For One Black Muslim, a Prison Sentence for Refusing FBI Informant Recruitment

For One Black Muslim, a Prison Sentence for Refusing FBI Informant Recruitment

The FBI effort to quash black nationalist “subversion” in the 1950s and ’60s set the agency up well to continue infiltrating and destabilizng black Muslim communities when Sept. 11 provided a 21st century mandate to fight the threat of Muslim “radicalization,” The Nation argues this week in its report about Ayyub Abdul-Alim.

Abdul-Alim, who’s Puerto Rican and black, grew up in New York City and was living in Springfield, Massachusetts, when he was first approached by an FBI agent in 2010. The agent’s invitation to become an informant grew into harassment and hounding. Then police, Abdul-Alim says, planted a gun on him and arrested him in 2011. In custody, a police officer, also working with the FBI, offered Abdul-Alim a trade—his freedom for a lucrative contract as an FBI informant. He refused, and ended up paying dearly.

Arun Kundnani, Emily Keppler, and Muki Najaer, reporting for The Nation, put Abdul-Alim’s case in historical perspective:

Since 9/11, a key element in the FBI’s counter-terrorism tactics has been the aggressive recruitment and deployment of large numbers of informants among Muslim communities in the United States. Part of the purpose is to gather information on political or community activism, which the FBI frames as a precursor to extremist violence. But the tactics also fit a familiar pattern—one that harkens back to the FBI’s history of targeting the civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, when it was likewise asserted that extremist ideologues were fueling violence.

Today, black Muslims stand at the intersection of the War on Drugs’ institutional racism and the War on Terror’s institutional Islamophobia: their race frames them as prone to gang violence, their religion as a terrorist threat. Abdul-Alim’s case shows the extreme measures the FBI is willing to use to pressure Muslims to work as informants on the terror war’s domestic front.

Read the story in its riveting entirety at The Nation.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216