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Racist Cake-Cutting Scandal: Afro-Swedes Call for Action, Artist Speaks

Racist Cake-Cutting Scandal: Afro-Swedes Call for Action, Artist Speaks

A Swedish organization promoting the rights of people of African origin on Tuesday called for the minister to resign for participating in a “tasteless, racist spectacle” that’s made international headlines.

“According to Moderna Museet, the cake eating party was intended to highlight the problem of female circumcision, but how this is supposed to be done with a cake depicting a racist caricature of a black woman … is unclear,” said Kitimbwa Sabuni, head of the African Swedish National Association.

The artist is speaking out and says this is all a misunderstanding.

“A lot of people saw the images online and took them out of context and they accused me and the culture minister to be racist,” the artist Makode Linde said in a video interview with Al Jazeera. He says he’s criticizing aspects of just this subject and think “the people who have been upset about the art piece or about the images they;ve seen I think is all misunderstood the intention or agenda of me as an artist.”

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the museum emphasized that it was against “any form or racism” and that the event featuring the controversial installation was organized by the Swedish Artists’ National Organisation (KRO) to highlight “the fight against censorship and for freedom of expression”.

“Moderna Museet understands and respects that people find the pictures and video clips from World Art Day upsetting, especially when they are shown out of context. The intention of KRO and Makode Linde was to draw attention to and discuss today’s racism, not to reinforce it,” the museum said.

The museum was evacuated Tuesday after they received a bomb threat from an english speaker that accused the museum of being racist.

TAGS: art Sweeden

Queen Latifah to Headline Long Beach Gay Pride

Queen Latifah to Headline Long Beach Gay Pride

Queen Latifah will headline the main stage May 19 at Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Pride, the second largest gay pride celebration in the nation. Long Beach is the most ethnically diverse large city in the United States and it’s gay pride celebration is also one of the most diverse in the country.

The concert will be the 42-year-old Grammy winner’s first-ever engagement ever at a gay pride celebration anywhere in the world, according to Long Beach Pride organizers.

“From hip hop to R&B, pop to standards, Queen Latifah is the voice of our generation, and her concert will be phenomenal,” said Long Beach Pride co-president Pat Crosby.

Study: Racial Make-Up of Jury Pool Impacts Trial Outcome‎

Study: Racial Make-Up of Jury Pool Impacts Trial Outcome‎

Juries formed from all-white jury pools in Florida convicted black defendants 16 percent more often than white defendants, a gap that was nearly eliminated when at least one member of the jury pool was black, according to a Duke University-led study.

The study, “The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials,” published Tuesday on the Quarterly Journal of Economics, focused on how conviction rates varied with the composition of the jury pool, which is randomly determined by which eligible residents are called for jury duty that day.

“I think this is the first strong and convincing evidence that the racial composition of the jury pool actually has a major effect on trial outcomes,” said senior author Patrick Bayer, chairman of Duke’s Economics Department.

Researchers examined more than 700 non-capital felony criminal cases in Sarasota and Lake counties from 2000-2010.

“Our Sixth Amendment right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury of our peers is a bedrock of the criminal justice system in the U.S., and yet, despite the importance of that right, there’s been very little systematic analysis of how the composition of juries actually affects trial outcomes, how the rules that we have in place for selecting juries impact those outcomes,” Bayer said.

Georgia Governor Signs Welfare Drug Testing Bill Into Law

Georgia Governor Signs Welfare Drug Testing Bill Into Law

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal approved a bill on Monday evening that will soon require all applicants to the state cash assistance program to pass a drug test. The law will face legal challenges from Georgia civil liberties groups. The Social Responsibility and Accountability Act, as the law is called, will take effect on July 1st. It closely resembles a Florida law that in October was blocked by a federal district judge citing “constitutional infringement.”

At least two-dozen other states are now considering laws that would require TANF applicants to undergo drug tests before receiving benefits. The laws have gained widespread support despite scant evidence of a problem to be solved. In the four months when Florida’s law was in play before it was blocked in October, only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for drugs.

Many of the bills’ supporters argue that the legislation saves states money and stops widespread abuse of the welfare system. But the data from Florida suggests the legislation is a solution without a problem. Indeed, according to data obtained by the ACLU of Florida, the program actually cost the Florida more money than it saved.

Chara Fisher-Jackson, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia told Colorlines.com, “Pure and simple, this is part of the war on the poor. When economy is bad it’s easy to target the most vulnerable. What this really does is to degrade someone who needs public assistance.”

Republican state Senator John Albers, who sponsored the bill in Georgia said he was motivated by more than dollars and facts in backing the bill. He says the bill is about personal responsibility.

“This is really an ideology bill,” Albers told Colorlones.com. “In my case, I believe its time for an era of responsibility. The goal is not to have an overwhelming cost savings.”

Trayvon Martin, Alabama’s Immigration Law Highlighted at Racial Profiling Senate Panel

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From left, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., appear as witnesses at a Senate Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen entitled ‘Ending Racial Profiling in America.’ (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Several members of Congress and civil rights leaders presented at the Senate hearing on racial profiling Tuesday to discuss how blacks, Latinos and Muslims have been unfairly targeted in their states. The hearing before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee is the first in the Senate on the topic since before 9/11.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., was on the first panel of witnesses and said Alabama’s immigration law is promoting racial profiling by law enforcement because it allows them to target anyone they suspect of being in the country without legal status.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers perform their jobs honorably and courageously, putting their lives at risk to protect the communities they serve,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “But the inappropriate actions of the few who engage in racial profiling create mistrust and suspicion that hurt all police officers.”

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that for the year 2005 black drivers (4.5 percent) were twice as likely as white drivers (2.1 percent) to be arrested during a traffic stop, while hispanic drivers (65 percent) were more likely than White (56.2 percent) or Black (55.8 percent) drivers to receive a ticket.

“Every year, thousands of people are stopped while driving, flying, or even walking simply because of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration or citizenship status, or religion,” Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU wrote in a statement submitted to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. “They are not stopped because they have committed a crime, but because law enforcement authorities wrongly assume that they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity because of their physical appearance.”

Missed the Tupac Hologram? Don’t Worry, Dr. Dre May Take it On Tour

Missed the Tupac Hologram? Don't Worry, Dr. Dre May Take it On Tour

The Tupac Shakur “hologram” performance at the Coachella music festival has overshadowed every other live performance at the festival. So much so that there are talks of taking it on tour.

Wall Street Journal with more details:

The rapper’s ghostly image was created by Digital Domain Media Group Inc., DDMG +17.48% the visual-effects house responsible for making the virtual versions of Brad Pitt that populated 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The movie won the Oscar for visual effects.

Representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg plan to discuss logistics for a tour involving the two performers and the virtual Tupac, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

One option would be a tour in stadiums, involving other hip-hop stars, including Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Alternately, they could stage a more limited tour, featuring only Dre, Snoop Dogg and the virtual Tupac, in smaller arenas.

Digital Domain’s chief creative officer, Ed Ulbrich, told the Wall Street Journal that the performances of the rapper’s hits “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” weren’t simply old ones captured on film and repurposed: “This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion.”

A tour with the virtual Tupac is likely but not guaranteed and would take months, a source close to the project also told the WSJ.

Oscar Grant Movie in the Works, Starring Octavia Spencer

Oscar Grant Movie in the Works, Starring Octavia Spencer

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and “Chronicle” actor Michael B. Jordan are in various stages of negotiations to star in “Fruitvale,” an indie drama being produced by Forest Whitaker, according to the Hollywood Reporter

The movie is believed to center around Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old father from Hayward, Calif. who was killed by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year’s Day 2009 after he and several friends were detained. Grant, who was unarmed, was lying face down on the train platform when Mehserle pulled out his gun and shot him in the back.

If the deal goes through Spencer would play Grant’s “tough and protective” mother. Jordan would play a 22-year-old Grant.

Grant was killed at the Fruitvale Bart station.

Mitt Romney: Not Winning Latino Vote “Spells Doom for Us”

Mitt Romney: Not Winning Latino Vote

In conversation with donors in the backyard of a private home in Palm Beach GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney offered a glimpse of how he thinks his party can win more Latino voters: he plans on reminding Latinos Obama didn’t get immigration reform for them like he promised.

But Romney also says he has high hopes that by November Latinos will care more about the economy than immigration. Seems contradictory, no?

Swedish Culture Minister Caught in Racist Cake-Cutting Scandal

Swedish Culture Minister Caught in Racist Cake-Cutting Scandal

On Sunday the Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut in to a large cake shaped like a black woman as part of an art installation which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision. The event took place at Moderna Museet which reports say is partly funded with public tax dollars.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the “genital mutilation cake” on his Facebook page: “Documentation from my female genital mutilation cake performance earlier today at stockholm moma. This is After getting my vagaga mutilated by the minister of culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. Before cutting me up she whispered “Your life will be better after this” in my ear,” the artist wrote on Facebook.

“According to sources Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to declare festivities open by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by removing the cake woman’s labiums,” reports Swedish news site Friatider.Se.

The 31-year old artist uses mass cultural icons which he revamps into a new historically manipulated narrative. “Contemporary western ideas of paradise and the romanticizing of exotica and the ‘simple life’ collide with history’s gruesome facts of slavery, apartheid and racism,” the artist’s website proclaims.

“In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.

“The objectification of the black female body via the cartoonish color scheme distances the viewers from the victim’s humanity,” said Akiba Solomon, who blogs about gender matters on Colorlines.com. “I can’t imagine that any victim of female genital mutilation or sexual exploitation would feel the least bit empowered or represented by this—more like mocked and exploited.”

Report: Banks Let Black and Latino Foreclosed Homes Waste Away

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On Monday, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) filed a formal complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development alleging that foreclosed properties in white areas are much better maintained and marketed by U.S. Bank than those in neighborhoods of color. The week before the same group filed a similar complaint against Wells Fargo.

Earlier this month the NFHA announced the results of an undercover investigation into the ways the nation’s financial institutions are failing to maintain and market Real Estate Owned (REO) properties in black and Latino neighborhoods. A report of the investigation, “The Banks Are Back, Our Neighborhoods Are Not: Discrimination in the Maintenance and Marketing of REO Properties,” (PDF) includes incidents of discrimination in the care and maintenance of properties in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Oakland, Calif., and Dayton, Ohio.

The Late Manning Marable Wins History Pulitzer for Malcolm X Biography

malcolmxcover2012.jpgThe late Manning Marable won the Pulitzer Prize for history Monday, honored for a Malcolm X book he worked on for decades but did not live to see published.

Marable, a longtime professor at Columbia University, died last year at age 60 just as “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” was being released. The Pulitzer Prize committee called Marables’s book “an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and tragic.” (The board moved the book from the Biography category to the history category.)

Tupac’s Mom ‘Positively Thrilled’ About Coachella Hologram

Tupac's Mom 'Positively Thrilled' About Coachella Hologram

TMZ reports that Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was “positively thrilled” with her late son’s holographic “performance” at Coachella. Afeni Shakur says she watched a live stream of the performance online.

A representative for Shakur also told TMZ Dr. Dre asked Afeni for approval to incorporate Pac into his performance — and she said yes. As a thank you, Dr Dre made a donation to the rapper’s charity The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

Remembering Selena Quintanilla: Murals, Statues and Tattoos

Remembering Selena Quintanilla: Murals, Statues and Tattoos

Although there had been Latino pop stars to cross-over to American mainstream culture before Selena Quintanilla-Perez was different. She was a Chicana who spoke English at home first that first-and-second generation Latino immigrants alike could relate to. 

She also rose to fame at time when it was clear that the country was seeing changing demographics and anti-immigrant laws began to pop up. And still made the tops of both english and spanish pop charts.

So today we remember Selena. Take a look at the images below of how others remember the pop star that passed away on March 31, 1995.

Selena Quintanilla-Perez would have turned 41 today.


Selena!
Mural in Cypress Park, California. Photo by waltarrrrr.




Pleasant Valley Pylon | Selena tribute (side 2) Austin, Texas (Photo by That Other Paper)

Caine’s Arcade Gets a Block Party, Video Raises 166k for College

Caine's Arcade Gets a Block Party, Video Raises 166k for College

After school today (and after his dentist appointment) Caine has appointments with the NY Times and TIME Magazine, according to updates on his Facebook page. On Saturday, he also had a line around the block of people trying to get a fun pass.

Donations for Caine’s scholarship fund have ballooned up to $166,172 and still counting. The film has more than 4 million views in just over a week.

TAGS: Caine Monroy

Associated Press Wins Pulitzer for Reporting on NYPD’s Spying on Muslim Neighborhoods

Associated Press Wins Pulitzer for Reporting on NYPD's Spying on Muslim Neighborhoods

On Monday The Pulitzer Prize Board announced The Associated Press has won a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for a series of stories on a secret New York Police Department program that spied on Muslims.

The prize was awarded to Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley for “their spotlighting of the New York Police Department’s clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities, resulting in congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering.”

Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter, has been following the AP’s coverage as it has unraveled since 2011. You can read more of Colorlines and Wessler’s coverage by visiting the Colorlines.com/nypd-spying page.

Eva Longoria Defends New TV Series She’s Producing on Latina Maids

Eva Longoria Defends New TV Series She's Producing on Latina Maids

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Eva Longoria defended the upcoming ABC pilot “Devious Maids” that she’s executive producing. The show centers around four Latina maids in Beverly Hills with stories that Longoria says are worth telling.

Written by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry and based on the Mexican format, “Devious Maids” follows four maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Ana Ortiz (“Ugly Betty”), Roselyn Sanchez (“Without A Trace”), Dania Ramirez (“Heroes”), and Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”) have signed on to star in the four leading roles.

“They are the leads of the show, and they are playing maids, which is a realistic reflection of our society today in America,” Longoria told the Huffington Post.

“When we get any sort of backlash like that-“Oh, they’re just playing the stereotypical maids”-my immediate response is, ‘So you’re telling me those stories aren’t worth telling. That those people are lesser than. That their stories aren’t worth exploring. That they have no complexity in their life because they’re a maid?’” Longoria went on to say.

Kai Wright Talks LGBT Housing Bias on MSNBC

Kai Wright Talks LGBT Housing Bias on MSNBC

Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued a rule for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to end discrimination against LGBT Americans. Kai Wright, Editorial Director of Colorlines.com, joined the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC to discuss the Obama administration’s recent updates to non-discrimination policies that now encompass sexual orientation and gender identity.

Tupac Takes Coachella Stage via Hologram With Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg

Tupac Takes Coachella Stage via Hologram With Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg brought Tupac Shakur on the main stage of the music festival Coachella late Sunday night. Shakur was shot dead in Las Vegas in 1996.

Dre and Snoop Dogg both come out Compton, about 130 miles away from the Coachella Valley. The pair brought a live band with them along with an 3D unexpected hologram of Shakur and a real life Eminem, 50 Cent, Warren G and newcomer Kendrick Lamar.

Earlier reports predicted Snoop Dogg, who headlined Coachella on Sunday, would perform with a hologram of long-time collaborator Nate Dogg, who died last year from a series of strokes.

And yes, Hologram Tupac is already on Twitter.

Obama Promises Immigration Reform in First Year of Second Term

Obama Promises Immigration Reform in First Year of Second Term

On Friday evening, Univision News’ new anchor anchor Enrique Acevedo spoke with President Barack Obama about some of the country’s most pressing issues at the moment.

Below is a transcripts on Obama’s comments on immigration reform and the Trayvon Martin case.

Enrique Acevedo: Mr. President, excuse the personal note, but I grew up in a generation that has lived with the unfulfilled promise of immigration reform, and I’m not that young. And do you think if you are reelected you will be the President that gets it done? And can you promise you’ll do it within the first year of your second term?

President Barack Obama: I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it. It’s worse than that. We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country; that — and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption.

‘Mad Men’ Actress Who Plays Firm’s First Black Employee Says She Has ‘A Lot of Responsibility’

The LA Times has an interview with Teyonnah Parris, the actress who plays Don Draper’s new secretary and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s first black employee on the hit television series “Mad Men.”

It’s a big deal because Mad Men is one of TV’s most popular shows and hasn’t really dealt with race explicitly yet. Parris says there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the role too.

man-men-dawn-2.jpg Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

From the LA Times:

LA Times: A lot of people were concerned that Dawn was simply window dressing, like, ‘look, the token black character that will signal the changing times.’ And we sort of got to know a little bit more about her in last week’s episode, but it was mostly through the eyes of Peggy. What are your thoughts on that? 

Parris: Um, I think Peggy is the perfect person for us to learn about Dawn. She’s the woman on the show who is more open-minded, feminist — she doesn’t even know she’s a feminist, but that kind of air about herself. I thought it was pretty cool to see her mind-set and her beliefs and these things that she stands for sort of tested and see how that plays out for Peggy — because, you know, we hear her talk about how her boyfriend is covering the riots in Chicago and all kinds of things. And then we have this heart-to-heart and at the end there’s the purse thing. The subconscious judgments that her character harbors and probably didn’t even realize it.

I realize a lot of responsibility comes with this role. it’s the first time the show has had an African American in the office, but I try not to let it overwhelm me.

TAGS: Mad Men TV
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