Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

We Love NASA Scientist QuynhGiao Nguyen’s Immigrant Survival Story

We Love NASA Scientist QuynhGiao Nguyen's Immigrant Survival Story

Via the excellent Women@NASA series comes this profile of materials scientist QuynhGiao Nguyen. Nguyen’s story is pretty remarkable. While it’s well-documented that women are pushed away from science from the toy aisle onward, Nguyen faced additional barriers — not just as a woman of color, but as an immigrant kid who arrived in an American public school at the age of 7, speaking no English.

“Lakewood Public School System was a huge influence in my life,” says Nguyen in the video. “They really nurtured me and they spent the time in my reading and my writing and my pronunciation skills.”

“I had just as many challenges as any typical American kid would have, and maybe a little bit more. I was sometimes bullied. I was sometimes pushed around. I was told to go back to my own country or people would make fun of my name. I wanted to change my name to Lisa Smith for the longest time. And it wasn’t until I became a US citizen at age eighteen — I had the legal right to change my name at that point in time, and I decided, ‘You know, I’m okay with being QuynhGiao Nguyen. It’s okay.’”

A year later at age 19, Nguyen was offered her first position at NASA as a research intern, and the rest is history (and a lot of hard work). Her passion for her work is infectious, and it’s quite the argument for comprehensive multilingual education in public schools — and for ensuring that women of color have the support they need to counter bias and succeed on their own terms.

Thanks to NASA for understanding the power of immigrant women of color as role models, and thanks to the SPACE SHARES Tumblr for bringing this video to our attention!


We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts, visit our Celebrate Love page.

New York’s Mostly Black and Latino Stop-and-Frisk Victims Speak Out

Natalie Portman Used the Term ‘Undocumented’ to Introduce Demián Bichir

Natalie Portman Used the Term 'Undocumented' to Introduce Demián Bichir

Natalie Portman took the stage at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday to announce the year’s Best Actor nominees. When she introduced Demián Bichir for his role in “A Better Life,” she identified his character as an “undocumented immigrant”—and not with the pejorative ‘illegal’ term.

Speaking to Bichir, Portman said, “You created so much empathy for another human being that we all left the theater looking at the world differently. As Carlos Galindo, an undocumented immigrant fighting to give his son the opportunities he never had, you made us face very true portrait of a human being no one had ever dared us to consider before.”

“It was very meaningful for Natalie Portman to say ‘undocumented immigrant’ in a room full of people that may be accustomed to hearing the i-word. Whether her own or that of the writers, it was a meaningful choice that shows progress, and it would have been impossible for her to talk about the dignity and depth in Demian Bichir’s portrayal had she used the i-word,” said Mónica L. Novoa, campaign coordinator for the Drop the I-Word Campaign.

Ben & Jerry’s Apologizes for Linsanity Fortune Cookie Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Apologizes for Linsanity Fortune Cookie Ice Cream

A Boston Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop has apologized for creating a “Taste the Lin-sanity” frozen yogurt flavor that included lychee honey swirls and crumbled fortune cookies.

“There seemed to be a bit of an initial backlash about it,” Ryan Midden, Ben & Jerry’s general manager for Boston and Cambridge, told Boston.com, “but we obviously weren’t looking to offend anybody and the majority of the feedback about it has been positive.”

More on Oscar for Best Documentary Short ‘Saving Face’ and Where to Watch [Trailer]


Directors Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won a Best Documentary Short Oscar for their film “Saving Face” at the 84th annual Academy Awards on Sunday. The film chronicles the arduous attempts of acid-attack survivors Zakia and Rukhsana to bring their assailants to justice, and follows the work of Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who strives to help them live a more normal life.

22k ‘Chavo Del Ocho’ Fans Meet for Flash Dance in Mexico City [Video]

An estimated 22,000 dancers gathered in Mexico City last Sunday to perform a ‘mega-choreography’ dance in honor of the man that created the Spanish-language sitcom “El Chavo del Ocho.” The sitcom follows an orphan played by the show’s creator, Roberto Gómez Bolaños, as he gets into teenage mischief with his neighbors that live in a fictional apartment building.

The first episode of “El Chavo del Ocho” premiered in Mexico on June 20, 1971 and it still syndicated in most Spanish speaking countries including the United States, giving first generation U.S. born Latinos an opportunity to connect to the TV shows their parents watched in their native countries.

Oscar Viewers Meet Aurora Guerrero’s ‘Mosquita y Mari’ During Commercial Break [Video]

Jorge Ramos Tells Sheriff Arpaio That Latinos Think He’s ‘Worst of America’

Jorge Ramos Tells Sheriff Arpaio That Latinos Think He's 'Worst of America'

Univision’s Jorge Ramos had a heated exchange with Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio on his show Sunday.

“Now, as you know, to many Latinos, Sheriff Arpaio, you are the face of racism and discrimination. You know that?” Ramos asked Arpaio.

“Well, I’m a pretty nice guy, having lived in Mexico City, South America, Texas and Arizona. I’ve never had any problems with a Latino. They love me,” Arpaio responded, standing in front of one of his jails.

And the Oscar for Most Racist Host Goes to Billy Crystal in Blackface?

And the Oscar for Most Racist Host Goes to Billy Crystal in Blackface?

During the opening sequence of the Oscars on Sunday night a blackface-clad Billy Crystal revived his Sammy Davis Jr. impression.

The worst part is the blackface appearance showed up at the same time Justin Bieber made a surprise cameo—perhaps the only moment during the Oscars that could attract a younger audience.

When Octavia Spencer won supporting actress for “The Help,” comedian Paul Scheer tweeted her win “shows just how far we’ve come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface.”

TAGS: Oscars

Viola Davis Walks the Oscar Red Carpet with Her Natural Hair

viola-davis-oscar-red-carpet.jpg

Actress Viola Davis (L) and actor Julius Tennon arrive at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

And as I predicted last week Davis is wearing Vera Wang.

No Acting Oscar in the Last Decade Has Gone to Latino, Asian, or Native American

No Acting Oscar in the Last Decade Has Gone to Latino, Asian, or Native American

In 2002, Halle Berry became the first African-American actress to win an Academy award for Best Actress but since then all Best Actress winners been white.

“This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me - Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett and it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened,” Berry said in her moving acceptance speech in 2002.

But the “door” that “has been opened” that Berry spoke of has a long way to go. All Best Actress winners since her 2002 win have been white.

And no winner in any acting category during the last ten years has been Latino, Asian American, or Native American, according to a new study titled “Not Quite a Breakthrough: The Oscars and Actors of Color, 2002-2012,” that was sponsored by the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkeley School of Law and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

True Story: Oscar Statue Modeled After Mexican Man

EmilioFernandez-300-jpg_024813.jpg
Emilio Fernandez

The 8-pound, 24-karat gold plated statues that will be handed out Sunday evening at the 84th Annual Academy Awards were modeled after a Mexican man.

You read that right.

The most recognized trophy in the world known simply as “Oscar” is modeled after Mexican filmmaker and actor Emilio Fernandez.

Solvej Schou on the history of how the statue came to be:

Working in Hollywood, Fernandez befriended Mexican actress Dolores del Rio, then wife of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s art director and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences member Cedric Gibbons. Del Rio introduced Fernandez to Gibbons, who was in charge of supervising the statuette’s design.

Gibbons asked Fernandez to pose in the buff for a sketch to create the basis for the 8.5-pound trophy. Reluctantly, Fernandez did, and the design became the foundation for artist George Stanley’s famous sculpture of the statuette, given out at the very first Academy Awards in L.A. in 1929.

That design remains to this day.

side_oscar.jpgThe irony of it all is that only two Mexican actors have ever been nominated for an Oscar. This year’s best actor nominee Demián Bichir is the second Mexican (male) actor to be nominated in the 84-year history of the Oscars.

Across all categories only 11 out of 2,809 Oscar trophies have been awarded to Mexicans— and they’re mostly behind the scene awards.

The number of Mexicans in the Academy that gets to vote for who gets Oscars is also pretty low. Only 2% of Academy voters are Latino. Out of 5,100 Academy voters only about 100 are Latino—-which probably leaves you with a dozen or three Mexicans in the mix.

Today’s Love Goes to Arizona’s Banned Book Smugglers

Today's Love Goes to Arizona's Banned Book Smugglers

The Librotraficante Caravan is bringing contraband books—or “wet-books”—to Arizona. The project is also intended to raise awareness of the “prohibition” of the Mexican-American Studies Program and the removal of books from classrooms.

“When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican-American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors - that was too much. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond,” said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge.

NYPD Also Spying on New Jersey Muslims for the Past 7-Years

NYPD Also Spying on New Jersey Muslims for the Past 7-Years

The New York Police Department has secretly been conducting surveillance on Muslims in New Jersey and they have done it with the permission of the governor’s office — granted in 2005 by former Gov. Richard Codey, reports NJ.com.

Current state and local officials say they had no idea the NYPD had been working in New Jersey.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the New Jersey State Police both said they were unaware of the operation.

Yahoo Sports Contributor Uses Yao Ming Picture in Jeremy Lin Story

Yahoo Sports Contributor Uses Yao Ming Picture in Jeremy Lin Story

Add this one to the list Jeremy Lin media coverage FAILS.

In a story about Lin “finally having a bad game” and the New York Knicks losing to the Miami Heat, a Yahoo Sports contributor illustrated the story with an image of LeBron James and Yao Ming.

To be fair, they didn’t actually identify Lin or Ming in the photo’s caption. And the story is was written by someone in their contributor network. But really? They needed a picture of an Asian player (that was not Lin) for this story?

On Thursday, Yahoo News published guidelines by the made by Asian American Journalists Association on Jeremy Lin media coverage that everyone should read.

Viola Davis at Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon [Photo]

Viola Davis at Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon [Photo]

Viola Davis attended Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel last night.

Leading ladies Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Octavia Spencer and Pam Grier, along with executive producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes were selected as this year’s honorees.

“The luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like Kerry, Pam, Paula, Octavia, and Shonda, and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come,”said Constance White, Essence’s editor-in-chief, according to the HuffPost.

Biracial Man Mistakenly Included on Time Mag’s Latino Voter Cover

time-latinos-voters.jpgThis week’s TIME Magazine cover that lands at newsstands today claims Latinos will declare who the next President is. “Yo Decido. Why Latinos will pick the next President,” the covers headline reads.

The cover is made up 20 portraits that include a dancer, a DREAMer; a nutrition undergrads, car aficionados and immigration activists; Mexicans, Hondurans and Guatemalans. And a man who could pass as Latino but is actually half Chinese and half white.

Michelle Woo at the OC Weekly describes the cover and feature story:


The accompanying story by Michael Scherer explores how the rising force that is the Latino vote can turn Arizona into a presidential battleground in 2012. The cover illustration is made of 20 different portraits of Latino men and women in Phoenix, all photographed by Marco Grob. In classic Time form, it’s clean and powerful.

Except that at least one person pictured is not actually Latino.

A friend of mine, Michael Schennum, is the short-haired gentleman in the top row, center, behind the letter “M.” He is half Chinese and half white. Not Latino. Not even a little bit.

Group Files Paperwork to Find Out Who Gave NYPD Money To Spy

Group Files Paperwork to Find Out Who Gave NYPD Money To Spy

Following months of reports revealing widespread NYPD surveillance of Muslim Americans, and the use of anti-Muslim propaganda in NYPD training, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has submitted Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to obtain public information regarding the sources of funding for these NYPD initiatives.

AALDEF’s statement published in it’s entirety below:

Georgia Rep. Fights Anti-Abortion Bill with ‘Anti-Vasectomy Act’

Georgia Rep. Fights Anti-Abortion Bill with 'Anti-Vasectomy Act'

NealYasmin765.jpgRep. Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro.

Georgia State Rep. Yasmin Neal has introduced House Bill 1116 that proposes limiting vasectomies for men, except in cases where not getting one would result in death or “impairment of a major bodily function.”

The anti-vasectomy bill was a response to a bill that would punish abortions performed after the 20th week of pregnancy with prison sentences between one and 10 years.

“The day has come where men should feel the same pressure and invasion of privacy that women have faced for years,” Yasmin said a statement.

Don’t Be Racist, and Other AAJA Tips for Discussing Jeremy Lin

Don't Be Racist, and Other AAJA Tips for Discussing Jeremy Lin

Tips on how to avoid basic racist flubs shouldn’t need to be spelled out so plainly. But if the last few weeks of Linsanity swirling around the Knicks’ breakout star are any indication, everyone, and journalists in particular, could use a basic brush up on how to talk about that rarest of species: heterosexual Asian-American male star athletes.

Enter the Asian American Journalists Association, which has supplied a basic 101 guide (via Yahoo) for what to know, what to avoid, and what not to get all obsessed with when covering the cultural phenomena that is Jeremy Lin. The basic gist of the guide? Language matters. And reporters may think they’re deploying harmless one-liners that poke fun at, or even celebrate, Jeremy Lin’s Asian heritage, but they should be cautious of what the AAJA calls “danger zones.”

From the AAJA guide:

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