This week, Colorlines.com editorial director Kai Wright wrote about Trayvon Martin and the centuries-old narrative that’s painted young black men as pariahs. He recently appeared on Latino USA to discuss how the same thing is happening to young Latino men, and how those representations are creating a deadly climate. You can listen to the clip here.
Details are trickling in but at a campaign stop in Janesville, Wisconsin on Tuesday, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum came pretty close uttering the N-word when describing President Obama.
“We know the candidate Barack Obama, what he was like, the anti-war government* nig- *uh, the uh… America was a source for division around the world.”
What do you think? Are you hearing what I’m hearing?
When the clock struck midnight last night signaling the end of the 2012 legislative session in Georgia, the state passed an important milestone.
“This is the first year in many years where no anti-immigrant measures passed in Georgia,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia.
But it might have been a very different story. Georgia was considering, and had quickly advanced, a bill that would have expanded the state’s ban on undocumented students entering public colleges and universities to the entire state network. It was to be Georgia’s update to its anti-immigrant law HB 87, which is currently being challenged in the courts alongside Arizona’s SB 1070.
Currently, undocumented students are barred from enrolling in the Georgia’s top five most competitive colleges.
SB 458, which also included a provision that would have made foreign passports an unacceptable form of idea, breezed the Senate and easily cleared a House panel, but died at the end of the session last night when it never made it to the House floor.
On Wednesday, Georgia state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, the author of the college ban provision, removed it from SB 458 because it was “stalling the bill,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The provision updating forms of acceptable ID was still in the bill, however. Immigrant rights advocates said these provisions were clearly designed to attack the rights of undocumented immigrants; if passed, it would have blocked undocumented immigrants from accessing basic utilities and even marriage licenses.
“Thankfully, [SB 458] died last night,” Shahshahani said.
As Brian Stelter wrote in the New York Times, it took nearly a month for the killing of Trayvon Martin to become national news. But according to a new study the Trayvon Martin case has taken over mainstream news, becoming the first story of the year to get more coverage than the race for the president.
As attention to the story surged, the focus within these three parts of our media culture varied greatly, according to a special report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. On Twitter, the conversation has focused on sympathy for the slain teenager and expressions of outrage at the killing. On blogs, the emphasis has been on the role of race in the highly charged case. In the mainstream media, the Trayvon Martin controversy was heavily a cable news and talk radio story. And there, the primary discussion has focused on two politically oriented issues-gun control laws and the Florida Stand Your Ground statute, which gives citizens the right to use deadly force when they believe they are being threatened.
Moreover, the Martin story has been a much bigger story on MSNBC, whose talk show hosts are liberal, and a much smaller story on Fox, whose prime time lineup leans conservative. The focus of the discussion differs as well. Conservative talkers paid the most attention to questions about who Martin is and to the defense of the man who pulled the trigger, George Zimmerman. Liberal hosts focused primarily on gun control and the Florida law.
A big rush on lottery tickets has pushed the jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing even higher, to a world-record $640 million.
So let’s say you win the Mega Million jackpot tonight, what’s the first thing you’ll do for social justice? After you donate to yourself, what’s your cause, organization, or person that you’ll support financially so they can continue to do their work for common good?
P.S.: You don’t have to be a lottery winner to make a tax-deductible donation to Colorlines.com. Do it right now. It’ll be good luck.
It was called Arturo’s Desert Eagle. And it flew, at up to 100 miles per hour, for just ten seconds. But it was long enough for the 45-foot long, 800-pound body to qualify as the world’s largest paper airplane. And the design for the airplane? That was inspired by 12-year-old Tucscon student Arturo Valdenegro’s design.
A white supremacist hacker says he’s logged in to Trayvon Martin’s Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, and Twitter accounts. The hacker, who goes by the name Klanklannon, has made it clear his intention is to smear Martin’s reputation.
Gawker.com is reporting they’ve confirmed Klanklannon logged in to Martin’s Gmail account. They’re also reporting the hacker changed Martin’s passwords to racist slurs.
The hacker, who goes by the name Klanklannon, posted what he said were Martin’s private Facebook messages to the politics section (NSFW) of the anarchic message board 4chan—called “/pol/”—Tuesday afternoon at around noon. The messages were posted on four slides, strategically arranged to back up the insane racist argument that Trayvon was a Scary Black Teenager and so somehow deserved to be killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman that night.
A slide titled “Trayvon Martin Used Marijuana Habitually,” features an exchange between Trayvon and a friend about getting high. Another slide, “Trayvon Martin was a Drug Dealer,” features Facebook messages and photos that supposedly prove Martin dealt drugs, including a picture of Martin posing “aggressively with a large amount of cash in his hand.” It’s impossible to verify the hacked messages’ authenticity—like other anti-Trayvon Martin propaganda, they’re probably a mix of real and fake content— but they are now being passed around the racist underbelly of the internet, on message boards like the neo-Nazi hive Stormfront, which Klanklannon apparently frequents, as gospel.
In addition to the Facebook messages, Klanklannon posted a list of usernames and passwords for Martin’s social media and email accounts as proof of his exploits. All of the passwords had been changed to racist slurs. (Gmail: “niggerniggernigger” Twitter: “coontrayvonnigger”)
Pinterest, the most talked about start-up of the spring, didn’t catch on at the White House quick enough because someone has signed up for the photo sharing site with the username Obama… and the user picture is that of a primate.
The account name is also prime internet real estate as pinboard-style social photo sharing website becomes more and more popular by the day.
[Update 3/29/2012 5:17pm EST] Reader Celeste W. offers some useful information:
Pinterest has revamped it TOS and Etiquette guidelines and this is a clear violation of those. “You represent and warrant that you are an authorized representative of the entity with the authority to bind the entity to these Terms, and that you agree to these Terms on the entity’s behalf. ” People need to report the account to Pinterest to have it removed. They are actually pretty responsive. Anyone can email them at email@example.com and should report this or any other jackass.
Spike Lee apologized to a Florida couple who claim they were forced to leave their home after the film director retweeted their address as that of George Zimmerman, who shot Fla. teen Trayvon Martin.
Lee tweeted the address to his roughly 250,000 followers last weekend, but he got the wrong Zimmermans.
“Elaine and David McClain are in their 70s and say they have a son named William George Zimmerman who lived in their Sanford-area home in the mid-1990s. They say he is no relation to 28-year-old George Zimmerman who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26,” reported the Associated Press on Thursday.
The couple, in their 70s, say they were forced to flee their home because of threats.
“We’re afraid for our lives. (George Zimmerman’s) got to be 100 times more than that,” Mrs. McClain told WKMG news.
They hope Zimmerman is arrested to secure their own safety.
It’s worth noting Lee also received several racially charged responses after he posted the address.
TMZ also points out, Lee’s apology came a few hours after the McClains reportedly lawyered up.
“It is a tragedy and it is a shame that we’re sitting here 33 days later and there hasn’t been an arrest, or questioning of what actually happened. It’s a tragedy and it is a shame and we all know it,” Oprah Winfrey told “Extra’s” AJ Calloway in an interview scheduled to air Thursday night.
“I saw some people on Twitter saying nothing has changed, the same thing’s going on. Lots has changed and you know why? Because black people, white people, brown people, yellow people all over this country and all over the world are saying the same thing… it’s a tragedy and it’s a shame and justice needs to be served.”
Oprah also told Calloway that Zimmerman is on the top of her interview list. “Mr. Zimmerman… I would love to talk to him.”
Tune in to “Extra” Thursday and Friday to watch the entire interview with Oprah.
Police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who says he shot Martin after he was punched in the nose, knocked down and had his head slammed into the ground.
The surveillance video released Wednesday night by ABC News shows no obvious head injuries on Zimmerman. At one point, an officer inspects the back of Zimmerman’s head but no medical actions were taken and interrogations followed.
In response to the slew of stories of the NYPD spying on just about anyone for no reason at all, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has launched a mass Freedom of Information Law campaign — GO FOIL YOURSELF — to help individuals find out if they have their own NYPD file - and what it contains.
Individuals across the Northeast have contacted us about finding out whether the NYPD is spying on them,” said Nermeen Arastu, staff attorney at AALDEF. “The reports about widespread secret surveillance have left many Muslims and non-Muslims wondering what they can do to create change and advocate for their rights. With GO FOIL YOURSELF, there can now be strength in numbers. If the NYPD is secretly collecting information on you, you have the right to request that information. The more requests that are filed, the stronger the message sent to the NYPD.”
Comedian W. Kamau Bell is getting his own TV show!
Bell is best known for his one-man act, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve Show: Ending Racism In About An Hour” and for telling the very first joke about Barack Obama on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” back in 2005.
“The as-of-yet-untitled 30-minute show - loosely described as a cross between the Daily Show on Comedy Central and more traditional late night chat programs - will premiere this August and run for six episodes,” according to LaughSpin.com, who broke the news.
“I have six episodes to make a mark on Hollywood— or a scar on Hollywood. We’ll see how it goes,” Bell told LaughSpin.com Chris Rock, along with longtime collaborator Chuck Sklar and Bell, will serve as executive producers.
(Full disclosure: W Kamau Bell is a board member at the Applied Research Center, Colorlines.com’s publisher. Objectively and subjective I still think he’s funny though. If you don’t trust my opinion ask Chris Rock.)
Since the Trayvon Martin case has made national headlines, a number of Sanford residents have come forward to complain about how police handled their cases. So many that the city manager is asking the Department of Justice to step in.
“I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard and investigated by an independent agency,” Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte told WFTV.com
He said that so many people complained at Monday night’s city commission meeting about Sanford officers, the city asked the Department of Justice to step in.
A member of Jeremy Lin’s family contacted the former ESPN writer who wrote the infamous “Chink in the Armor” headline so the pair could connect.
Lin met with Anthony Federico, a 28-year-old Connecticut man, during a Knicks off-day. According to Federico, the two discussed their shared Christian faith and Lin’s knee injury. Federico wrote an offensive headline that appeared on ESPN’s mobile site for 35 minutes in the early-morning hours of Feb. 19.
“It went incredible,” Federico said. “I’m just so excited we had a chance to meet. We talked for an hour. I’m just so thankful.”
A Knicks spokesman said on Wednesday that Lin did not wish to publicly discuss the meeting. Calls to Lin’s agent were not returned. Lin, who missed Monday’s game and will not play on Wednesday night because of a sore left knee, was not on the court during Wednesday morning’s shootaround.
Federico apologized after he was fired and called the headline “an honest mistake.” At the time, Lin said he accepted the apology and added, “You have to learn to forgive.”
“We talked more about matters of faith [and] reconciliation. We talked about our shared Christian values and what we’re both trying do with this situation … We didn’t talk about the headline for more than three minutes.”
The fourth annual Shorty Awards were held Monday night at the Times Center in New York. The event that is often called the Grammys and Oscars of social media honored the web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” in the best #Webshow category.
The show’s first episode which debuted in February 2011 is approaching one million views. Since then the series that centers around a young (awkward) black woman navigating though life, love and work has gone on to develop a cult following with fans who have even supported the show financially through Kickstarter.
“Congratulations to @awkwardblkgrl for winning the #Webshow Shorty Award! #shortyawards,” tweeted @ShortyAwards shortly after announcing the winners at the ceremony.
“Woohoo! @AwkwardBlkGrl won the @ShortyAward for best web show!” tweeted Issa Rae, the show’s creator and star.
But not everyone was celebrating Rae’s win.
A group of investors led by Magic Johnson won a bidding war Tuesday and becoming the new owners of the Dodgers.
Johnson, who guided the Lakers to five NBA championships during the “Showtime” era of the 1980s, is a partner in the group along with longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten and movie executive Peter Guber. The controlling owner would be Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services company.
The winning group paid $2 billion for the team — a record for a sports franchise — according to an announcement issued jointly with previous owner Frank McCourt.
“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson said in a statement.
If the deal goes through, Magic Johnson will become the first black MLB owner, according to DrJays.com.