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There’s a Story Behind the Little Boy Who Had a Special Oval Office Moment

There's a Story Behind the Little Boy Who Had a Special Oval Office Moment

In May 2009, 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia was visiting the White House with his father, a former Marine who was leaving his 2-year stint working for the National Security Council as part of the White House staff. The father asked to take a family photo with the president and before they left the Oval Office Jacob had a question for the President.

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” Jacob asked Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to repeat his question.

Mitt Romney: Educating Kids of Color is the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Era’

Mitt Romney: Educating Kids of Color is the 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Era'

On Wednesday, the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney delivered a speech at the Latino Coalition’s 2012 Small Business Summit Luncheon and didn’t mention the word immigration once but he did manage to talk explicitly about the failure of many U.S. schools with students of color. But while some have celebrated Romney for addressing the issue explicitly his comments are part of a larger movement to privatize schools.

“Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It’s the great challenge of our time,” Romney said in front of The Latino Coalition, a pro-business group led by President George W. Bush’s Small Business Administrator.

“As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it,” Romney went on to say about his controversial plans.

Colin Powell Expresses Support for Gay Marriage

Colin Powell Expresses Support for Gay Marriage

Below is a transcript of Powell’s statements on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:”

“I have no problem with it, and it was the Congress that imposed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, though it was certainly my position and my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, as you’ll recall. But as I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

Fewer Blacks and Latinos Entering CUNY, Nation’s Largest Urban Colleges

Fewer Blacks and Latinos Entering CUNY, Nation's Largest Urban Colleges

Since the recession hit fewer black and Latino freshman are entering the City University of New York (CUNY), the largest institution of higher education in New York City, and one of the largest public university systems in the country. A new report from the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) has found that as more New Yorkers are returning to school, black and Latino students are having a tough time competing against students with higher SAT scores and grade point averages.

TAGS: CUNY students

Brooklyn Boxing Coach Kicks Wall Street Where it Hurts [Video]

Brooklyn Boxing Coach Kicks Wall Street Where it Hurts [Video]

[Warning: The video above contains explicit language.]

Animal New York, the same publication that brought us the latest Jay Smooth video, has another video that’s bound to cause reactions. Their latest video follows boxing instructor Eric Kelly, a four-time National Amateur Boxing champion, who now works at the Church Street Boxing Gym training “a bunch of fucking nerds” from Wall Street.

You’ve been warned. The video above contains a river of explicit language (some of homophobic) geared towards Wall Street “nerds” who seem to appreciate him because they’re paying big money for their time with Kelly.

TAGS: wall street

Pixar is Jumping on Boat to Capture Latino Audience with New Día de los Muertos Movie

Pixar is Jumping on Boat to Capture Latino Audience with New Día de los Muertos Movie

Last month Pixar announced the filmmaking team behind the Academy Award-winning “Toy Story 3” is working on a film that delves into the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos. The untitled movie is slated for a 2015 release date.

Some are calling Pixar’s new film a nod to Mexican audiences on both sides of the U.S. border because “Toy Story 3” is actually the highest-grossing movie of all time in Mexico. According to the LA Times, the 2010 animated film collected $59 million at the box office in 2010, more than blockbusters like “Avatar” and the “Harry Potter” finale.

Seven-Year-Old Aspiring Rapper Mir Money Breaks Down on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Seven-Year-Old Aspiring Rapper Mir Money Breaks Down on 'America's Got Talent'

…on the trouble with having children on reality TV show competitions.

EBONY Magazine Commissions Street Artist Shepard Fairey to Illustrate Trayvon Martin

Graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey, who created Barack Obama’s 2009 “Hope” poster, has illustrated a new figure: Trayvon Martin.

via Fairey’s blog: I have followed Trayvon’s case closely and I think any compassionate human being can relate to Trayvon as a brother or son and would want to see a thorough investigation into the killing of an unarmed person. In my portrait I wanted to emphasize Trayvon’s humanity as well as the public outcry for a just investigation into his death.

trayvonmartin-shepard-fairey.jpg

Obama Holds 34-Point Lead Over Romney Among Registered Latino Voters

Obama Holds 34-Point Lead Over Romney Among Registered Latino Voters

President Obama holds a 34-point lead over GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino respondents. Despite broken immigration promises and a record number of deportations Latinos continue to support the President.


MSNBC’s Mark Murray unravels the poll’s findings:

In this survey, Obama holds a 34-point lead over Romney among registered Latino voters, 61 to 27 percent. In 2008, according to the exit polls, Obama defeated McCain among this key voting bloc, 67 to 31 percent.

In addition, Obama’s approval rating among all Latino adults stands at 61 percent (compared with 48 percent of all Americans in the new NBC/WSJ poll), and approval of his handling of the economy is at 54 percent (versus 43 percent overall).

Meanwhile, Romney is struggling with Latinos, the poll shows. Just 26 percent view him positively, while 35 percent see him in a negative light. By comparison, Obama’s positive/negative score among Latinos is 58/23 percent.

The NBC/WSJ/Telemundo survey — an oversample from the just-released NBC/WSJ poll — was conducted May 16-21 of 300 adults who identified themselves as coming from a Latino or Spanish-speaking background. That sample includes 119 interviews that were conducted in Spanish.

Poll: People of Color More Likely to Support Gay Marriage Than Whites

Poll: People of Color More Likely to Support Gay Marriage Than Whites

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found 53 percent of U.S. voters believe gay marriage should be legal, a record shift in public opinion from just six years ago when support was at 36 percent. The poll also found people of color are more likely to support gay marriage than whites with black support at record high.

The Washington Post explains the the findings:

The poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter. Though statistically significant, it is a tentative result because of the relatively small sample of black voters in the poll.

The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.

“This is why they call it a bully pulpit, and why presidential leadership extends far beyond debating Congress,” said Kai Wright, Colorlines.com’s Editorial Director. “Reactionary politics have always found a powerful tool in fear, in stirring horrific fantasies that the sky will fall if we strip away layers of privilege and exclusion. My family will hate me if I come out. Voters will hate me if I stand up for what I believe. But polls have shown consistently that when LGBT people and their allies stand up and lead, people in all communities follow.”

Kanye West, Beyonce Lead BET Awards Nominations

Kanye West, Beyonce Lead BET Awards Nominations

The nominees for the 2012 BET Awards were announced Tuesday and leading the way with seven nominations is Kanye West. Beyoncé followed with six nominations, Jay-Z received five nominations.

“We are massively excited about having Sam Jackson, the world’s biggest box office star, host The BET Awards 12,” said Stephen G. Hill, president of music programming and specials, BET Networks. “His wit, presence and gigantic personality are the perfect match for our show.”

The Avengers star Samuel L. Jackson is set to host the July 1 awards ceremony, to be held at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium.

Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown are slated to perform at the awards show.

Proposed Book Project ‘My White Friends’ Explores Photography’s Description of Race

Photographer Myra Greene has been exploring photography’s description of race and the challenges of describing whiteness by photographing her white friends for the past 10-years. “My White Friends” is a collection of Greene’s photographs that she’s now trying to develop in to a book.

Greene recently started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her book, the New York Times’ “Lens” blog interviewed her recently about her project and provides more insight:

Myra Greene grew up in New York, where she was used to being around people of different races. But as she embarked on her photographic career, her work and travels took her to places where she was the only African-American.

And she knew it.

“I’m always thinking about race,” she said. “I recognize it when I’m the only black person in a room. My white friends will notice I’m the only black person, too. But they don’t notice a room full of white people.”


Meet the Nguyen Seniors Whose Yearbook Quotes Went Viral

Meet the Nguyen Seniors Whose Yearbook Quotes Went Viral

Meet Presentation High School seniors Alexandra, Angela, Angelica, Elizabeth, Emily, Isabella, Madeline, and Vi Nguyen who submitted senior quotes for the yearbook that once combined read “We know what you’re thinking, and no, we’re not related!”

A picture of the yearbook first spread around San Jose, Calif. where the young women attend high school but it quickly made international international headlines appearing on “Gawker,” London’s “Daily Mail” and they even had a segment on CBS’s “Inside Edition.”

The San Jose Mercury News caught up with the Nguyens:

A few months ago, Presentation High School senior Isabella Nguyen thought it would be funny if she and her friends — who all share the same last name — used their senior quotes in the yearbook to spell out a message: “We know what you’re thinking, and no, we’re not related.”

That message went viral this week. And the eight students — who actually include twin sisters — have become mini-celebrities caught in a media frenzy that even they’ve referred to as “Nguyen-sanity.”

Each of the students at the all-girls Catholic school in San Jose — Alexandra Nguyen, Angela Nguyen, Angelica Nguyen, Elizabeth Nguyen, Emily Nguyen, Isabella Nguyen, Madeline Nguyen and Vi Nguyen — had a word or two from the phrase printed beneath their names in the yearbook, which students got Monday.

The Nguyen seniors say they’re ready for even more coverage.

“We’re shooting to be on ‘Ellen’ or the ‘Today’ show,” said Isabella Nguyen.

Donald Glover Seen Canoodling With Lena Dunham on Set of ‘Girls’

Donald Glover Seen Canoodling With Lena Dunham on Set of 'Girls'

Last week the creator of HBO’s “Girls” Lena Dunham tweeted a picture of Donald Glover on the set of the show that just started filming it’s second season, then the New York post published a photo of both stars sitting on a stoop together with flirtatious body language, now Dunham is staying tightlipped about the whole thing.

“Even though the show [from week to week] is just a slight shift in people’s emotional landscapes, I like to act like we’re protecting state secrets,” Dunham told TVLine.com.

Dunham’s “Girls” has received criticism for the lack of diversity on the series but she recently told NPR’s “Fresh Air” the show’s second season would be more diverse.

“Now we have the opportunity to do a second season and, believe me, that will be remedied,” Dunham said. “I’m really excited to introduce new characters into the world of the show. Some of them are great actors of color.”

Now everyone is dying to know if Glover is a new love interest on the show. What say you?

TAGS: Girls HBO TV

Louisiana School Psychologist: ‘Young Black Thugs Who Won’t Follow the Law Need to Be Put Down’

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed two federal civil rights complaints against the Jefferson Parish school system for allegedly discriminating against black and disabled students and sending them to alternative schools, where they often languish for months or even years before returning to school. Now the civil rights organization is highlighting racially charged comments made by one of the district’s psychologists as evidence of potential racial biases.

“Young Black Thugs who won’t follow the law need to be put down not incarcerated. Put down like the Dogs they are!” read one tweet made by Mark Traina, the Jefferson Parish school psychologist, who has worked with alternative schools and in central administration.

On Monday, the Times-Picayune reported Traina worked in central administration with the process of referring children to alternative campuses.

In another tweet about the Republican presidential primaries in March, Traina wrote, “I grew up in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana - I am a Wallace Man at Heart!”

“It’s particularly alarming to have someone who works for the school system in a position of authority be pro-segregation,” Eden Heilman, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center told NOLA.com, referring to Traina’s remark about George Wallace, segregationist governor of Alabama.

“The Southern Poverty Center knows that these allegations are ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!,” Traina wrote in an education forum on NOLA.com last week. “Everyone knows that our jails throughout the United States are disproportionately filled with black people. Why would the rate be any different in an educational environment,” Traina went on to ask.

The Southern Poverty Law Center complaint filed with the department’s Office of Civil Rights claims the district’s alternative school policies have resulted in students with disabilities accounting for 52 percent of referrals to alternative schools, when they represent only 11 percent of the district’s student population. Black students account for 78 percent of all alternative school referrals even though they are only 46 percent of the district’s student population.

50 Percent of Those Exonerated in National Registry are Black

50 Percent of Those Exonerated in National Registry are Black

The University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law have partnered to launch a National Registry of Exonerations that keeps an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989. The group’s inaugural report released this week reveals 50 percent of false convictions are of black defendants.

The National Registry of Exoneration documents include 891 exonerations with summaries of the cases and searchable data on each. Their latest report focuses on the 873 exonerations that were entered in the Registry as of March 1, 2012. 

Below are key findings from the Center’s study of the 873 exonerated defendants as printed in the report:

  • 93% are men, 7% women;
  • 50% are black, 38% white, 11% Hispanic and 2% Native American or Asian;
  • 37% were exonerated with the help of DNA evidence; 63% without DNA; as a group, they spent more than 10,000 years in prison - an average of more than 11 years each.
  • Since 2000, exonerations have averaged 52 a year - one a week - 40% of which include DNA evidence.
  • The 873 exonerations are mostly rape and murder cases, but the data also include
    many more exonerations for other crimes than previously known.

For all exonerations, the most common causal factors that contributed to the underlying false convictions are perjury or false accusation (51%), mistaken eyewitness identification (43%) and official misconduct (42%) - followed by false or misleading forensic evidence (24%) and false confession (16%).

Listen to the Last Song Whitney Houston Recorded for ‘Sparkle’ Soundtrack

Listen to the Last Song Whitney Houston Recorded for 'Sparkle' Soundtrack

The last song Whitney Houston ever recorded has leaked online. Produced by R. Kelly, the song is called “Celebrate” and is a duet with Jordin Sparks who appears alongside Houston in the upcoming film “Sparkle.”

According to TMZ, the song performed four days before Houston’s death.

Most immigrants Sent Back to Mexico Detained at Work or Home, Border Apprehensions Decline

About one-in-six migrants sent back to Mexico (17%) were apprehended at work or at home in 2010, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center analysis. The rise in home or work apprehensions is a pretty significant jump from previous years—in 2005, only 3% were apprehended at home or at work.

By contrast, a declining share of Mexican migrants report being apprehended at the border—25% in 2010, compared with 33% in 2005 and nearly half (49%) in 1995.

While the number of people crossing from Mexico into the United States has fallen to 40 year lows, the rates of deportation have reached historic highs.

“The new data unveils what we already knew: as migration wanes, immigration enforcement is shifting gears, moving increasingly to the interior of the United States and is targeting people who’ve lived here for long periods, have homes and jobs and families here,” said Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter Seth Freed Wessler.

“As previous Pew data shows, nearly two thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the country for more than a decade and nearly half have children here. Considering these shifting demographics, the fallout of the government’s insistence on deporting 400,000 people annually is likely to accumulate to toxic levels,” Wessler went on to say.

Many of those deported are parents who leave children behind. Between January and June of 2011, the United States carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children, according to federal data obtained by Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center.

Jay Smooth On Not Freaking Out About Nonwhite Births Becoming Majority

Jay Smooth On Not Freaking Out About Nonwhite Births Becoming Majority

Jay Smooth, host of New York’s WBAI-FM hip-hop show “Underground Railroad,” just released a new video that speaks to those that have been left uneasy with news that for the first time in history babies of color are the majority.

The video comes via Animal New York who will be premiering two new Jay Smooth videos a week.

TAGS: Jay Smooth

Dharun Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days, May Not Be Deported

Dharun Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days, May Not Be Deported

On Monday, Dharun Ravi, the 20-year-old Indian immigrant, convicted on 15 counts of illegal spying on his Rutgers dorm mate was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The story made national headlines after Ravi’s gay roommate Tyler Clementi discovered Ravi was spying on him and committed suicide days later.

“I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi,” Judge Glenn Berman told the court. “He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity.”

ABC News has more details:

Three of the convictions carried a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. Because Ravi is a citizen of India, and is in the U.S. on a green card, he could be deported following his sentencing. The U.S. deports most criminals convicted of felonies, with the exception of thefts of amounts under $10,000.

Ravi had previously rejected a plea deal that would have spared him any jail time or the threat of deportation, but put him on probation and would have required him to perform community service.

Ravi faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and any jail time will likely also mean deportation for the Indian native.

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