Why the Light Skinned Black Guy Acura Casting Call? Whoopi Goldberg Explains [Video]

Why the Light Skinned Black Guy Acura Casting Call? Whoopi Goldberg Explains [Video]

LGBT Students Tell Their Future Selves How Much Better It Will Get

If you’re looking for a little late afternoon pick-me-up, check no further than “Dear 40-Year-Old Me”, a beautifully moving video put together by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. It’s not easy, and certainly not always fun, in most schools for queer kids who have to wage a daily battle with homophobia and gender bias. But these students make it clear that there’s lots of amazingly fun life to live after high school. Watch the whole thing after the jump.


John McCain Just Made a Joke About President Obama Eating his Son’s Dog

John McCain Just Made a Joke About President Obama Eating his Son's Dog

The Mitt Romney campaign has tried to deflect criticism that in 1983 he rode from Boston to Canada with his family dog Seamus in a kennel on top of his roof and driving from Boston to Canada by reminding folks Obama ate dog once. President Obama’s memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” included a story about him being fed dog meat as a young boy in Indonesia with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.

The Obama campaign shot back, with a spokesman suggesting the Romney team was attacking a child, since the Obama act in question took place when he was a kid.

Now Senator John McCain has gotten in to the mix:

Of course, this all started because a conservative blogger decided read Obama’s book again.

Swedish Culture Minister in Cake Stunt: ‘Art Must Be Allowed to Provoke’

Swedish Culture Minister in Cake Stunt: 'Art Must Be Allowed to Provoke'

Sweden’s culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth said Wednesday that she has no intention of resigning over the cake cutting scandal. 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 has 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.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ Writer: Defecating is ‘Taking Obama to the White House’

I’ve been avoiding writing about the lack of diversity in HBO’s new series “Girls” because it’s not really news. But the time has come, thanks to the show’s story editor Lesley Arfin.

I really didn’t care much about the “Girls” pilot episode being all white because most TV is all white. In fact, initially I thought it was unfair the show was getting the backlash considering all the white dudes on the most popular sitcom of the decade “Two and a Half Men” never got called out for putting on such a white show.

lesley-arfin-tweet.pngBut on Monday Arfin responded to critics that said “Girls” was too white by tweeting “What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.” The tweet disappeared Wednesday after some controversy.

That’s not the least bit controversial if you consider some of the other things she’s written.

In an August 2010 post on her blog titled ‘When the shit hits the fan,” Arfin referred to defecating as “dropping off the kids” or “taking Obama to the White House.”

Arfin, a former Vice Magazine columnist, started out as a writer for “Girls” and is now a story editor on the show. “For every season in TV writing (usually) you go up a title, but I’m still pretty low-level so my responsibilities aren’t that concentrated,” Arfin told Vice.

But now that she’s been fanning her own controversies she’s perhaps the most recognized writer after the show’s creator and star Lena Dunham.

Dunham, 24, developed the show that’s centered around her character Hannah and a group of girls in New York City navigating love and careers. The NY Times called it “Sex and the City without Manolos,” a young Carrie Bradshaw in the recession years, if you will.

The show has received a lot of criticism for being all white when it takes place in one of the most diverse places in the world.


UCLA DREAMers Walk Out on Napolitano [Video]

UCLA DREAMers Walk Out on Napolitano [Video]

Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security and the former governor of Arizona, guest lectured at UCLA on Monday and when she praised the controversial Secure Communities program more than a dozen students walked out.

The Daily Bruin with more details: 

About 20 demonstrators walked out of the lecture hall during the speech to protest immigration laws in Arizona and deportations of undocumented students and their families by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, organizers said. The agency is headed by the Department of Homeland Security, which runs under Napolitano’s supervision. As they left the hall, some demonstrators chanted phrases such as “Education, not deportation.”

A number of protesters also chanted the same phrase and “Right to Dream” from outside the building. Their echoes could be heard from inside the lecture hall.

Police officers stood by and monitored the situation, but no confrontations occurred.

“We were trying to make sure that Janet Napolitano addressed the issue of immigration that is so prevalent within the greater L.A. area and within the UCLA community,” said Carlos Castellanos, the external policy chair of IDEAS at UCLA and a third-year political science and philosophy student.

Secure Communities allows federal authorities to peer into the databases of local and county jails to check the finger prints of every person who’s booked. You can read more of’s coverage on the secure communities program by visiting the category page.

Muslim-American Comedians Want to Give Americans a Big Muslim Hug with this Movie [Video]

Muslim-American Comedians Want to Give Americans a Big Muslim Hug with this Movie [Video]

The Muslims are Coming! is a feature documentary film that follows a group of Muslim-American comedians as they go on a tour of Middle America, perform shows, and meet folks who have never met a Muslim before!

Check out the Kickstarter for “The Muslims are Coming” to get the film to a theater near you.

Michelle Obama Calls Trayvon Martin Death ‘Tremendous Loss’ [Audio]

Michelle Obama Calls Trayvon Martin Death 'Tremendous Loss' [Audio]

First lady Michelle Obama says the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida is a “tremendous loss” and that all Americans “have to rally around that piece of it.”

Obama made her first public comments on the case in an interview NPR’s “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin that aired Tuesday. Transcript below:

MRS. OBAMA: Well, you know, first, I — all I can say is that, you know, my heart goes out to the parents, because we all as parents understand the tragedy of that kind of loss, and I think that’s really the thing that most people connect to. And it’s important for us not to lose sight of the fact that this is a family that’s grieving and there’s been a tremendous loss. And we all have to rally around that piece of it.

Talking is good. Conversations have to be forever. You know, they can’t come in spits and starts when there’s an incident. I think we all need, as a country, to continue to talk about these issues, to understand our communities and the challenges that we face, which are different and unique depending upon where you live. It’s all about, you know, continuing to get to know ourselves in a very diverse and complicated country that is America. It is a wonderful place to live. But because it is so diverse, our challenges are complex. So there isn’t, you know, a one-shot solution to this. It is complicated. It takes time. It takes openness. It takes compassion. It takes patience. And it takes a lot of work. So we should all be ready to roll up our sleeves and keep doing that work.

Official Who Banned Mexican-American Studies in Tucson Targets Colleges

Official Who Banned Mexican-American Studies in Tucson Targets Colleges
Huppenthal.jpg John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Photo: Arizona Department of Education)

First Arizona introduced the anti-immigrant law SB1070 then the Mexican-American studies program was banned at Tucson Unified School District and now Mexican-studies programs at the university level might be next.

InsideHigher ED is reporting John Huppenthal, a state official who spearheaded the attack on the Tucson program appears to have a new target: the department of Mexican-American studies at the university and other such college-level programs in the state.

InsideHigher ED has more details:

John Huppenthal, the superintendent of public instruction in the state and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, told FOX News Latino last month that the university produced teachers who then taught in programs such as the Tucson school district, where, he said, the curriculum teaches students to hate Anglos. “I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Huppenthal told Fox News Latino. “To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes.”

Huppenthal, who did not respond to requests for an interview, is a controversial figure in Arizona, and his  latest comments have set off another firestorm and added fresh fuel to a debate in the state about how ethnic studies should be taught in the classroom.  Faculty members at the university see his comments as an escalation of the battle that led to the closing of the Tcson program.

Antonio Estrada, who heads the department of Mexican-American studies at the University of Arizona, declined to comment. “Mr. Huppenthal is a member of ABOR [the Arizona Board of Regents] and it would be inappropriate to discuss these issues in the press before they have had a chance to be discussed within the University of Arizona community, beginning with the president,” Estrada said in an e-mail.

Ai-jen Poo, Activist Leading CA Domestic Workers, Makes Time 100

Ai-jen Poo, Activist Leading CA Domestic Workers, Makes Time 100

TIME named Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, to the 2012 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Nannies, housekeepers and care workers are excluded from almost every major labor law with the exception of minimun wage laws. Ai-Jen has been fighting to change that.

Ai-jen’s organizing of domestic workers, including a decade long push for the groundbreaking Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York State, earned her the epithet “the Nannies’ Norma Ray” from the New York Times. In 2007 she co-founded the National Domestic Workers Alliance to bring dignity and respect to this growing, yet undervalued, workforce nationally. She is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations (CAG), a national campaign including over 200 advocacy organizations working together for quality jobs and a dignified quality of life for all Americans.

The full list appears in the April 30 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Thursday, April 19, and now at

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, “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 “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


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 “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


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.

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