Jorge Rivas, Wednesday, January 18 2012, 1:50 PM EST
Ward Connerly, the man that’s campaigned agaisnt affirmative action across the country, is being accused of mismanaging and exploiting donations made by fellow conservatives for his own benefit. The American Civil Rights Institute that was founded by Connerly is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and by the attorney general of California, according to the NY Times.
Connerly has faced similar accusation before but this time the detailed allegations come from Jennifer Gratz, the named plaintiff in a landmark 2003 Supreme Court case that struck down a race-based admissions policy at the University of Michigan.
“I’m sorry to hear this because I’m a great admirer of both of them,” Roger Clegg, the president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which also opposes affirmative action, told the NY Times. “She is a courageous, smart person — and Ward is also a courageous, smart person.”
Clegg went on to say there were “few people who can do or would do what he does,” adding that it is hard to set a salary on a job that requires enduring racially charged name-calling from fellow blacks.
According to Times, the most recent tax filings from the American Civil Rights Institute showed Connerly’s annual salary reached $1.5 million, more than half the institute’s revenue.
Below is a copy of a letter sent to the board of Ward Connerly’s group,
the American Civil Rights Institute, last September by a lawyer for
Jennifer Gratz. The letter was obtained by The
New York Times.
Jorge Rivas, Wednesday, January 18 2012, 11:41 AM EST
A young Latina who identified herself in a video as an undocumented immigrant approached presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at fundraiser in New York yesterday to ask him why he isn’t supporting her DREAM.
The woman began by asking Romney is he would support the DREAM Act as president and he replied by saying he had already said publicly that he would veto it. The woman interjected and asked him, “why aren’t you supporting my dream?”
“Because if someone comes here illegally,” he started to say, before the the young woman cut him off again to explain she has a 4.0 grade point average.
“That’s wonderful,” Romney said before his team ushered him away.
The video was uploaded to YouTube by DRM Capitol Group, a Washington political consulting firm that identifies as the “lobbying arm of the Dream Act movement.”
The young DREAMer says Romney was extending his arm to shake her hand but pulled away when she said she was undocumented. “He pulled his arm away from me like I were to be a criminal,” she says in the video.
The woman in the video also goes on to say that Romney supporters told her to go back to Mexico as she was leaving. “I was actually born in Peru,” she replied to Romney supporters.
“The jobs gap between black and white workers is a story that we’ve seen for more than 50 years, but this report shows that unemployment rates for Black workers have not fallen as much as they have for their white and Latino counterparts,” said Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at the center and author of the report.
The report also found when black women and black men are examined separately, black female unemployment rates rose, while black male unemployment rates fell.
Update 10:08am EST: Looking to take action to help stop SOPA? It’s easy. Go here to learn more, contact your Senator, sign a petition, or censure your own website in protest of the bill.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has got the entire Internet up in arms today. Media justice advocates say the bill is anathema to basic functioning of the Internet; for a system that’s based on relative freedom and connectivity, SOPA would work as the online world’s stingy gatekeeper, giving government the power to shutdown websites altogether.
Today, hundreds of websites are joining in a day of action to SOPA’s threat to freedom of expression on the Internet. Several civil rights and racial justice organizations are joining in what’s been called an “Internet strike,” by closing their websites from 8 am to 8 pm eastern time. Colorlines.com’s Jamilah King, who covers media policy, explains why:
The Internet’s been an important space for communities of color to tell their own stories and advocate for issues they don’t often see in film or on television. SOPA puts that independence in jeopardy. It’ll add yet another barrier to how and what we can communicate.
So, here are the basics on what you need to know.
Who’s behind SOPA? Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas politician who’s been known mostly for his anti-immigrant stances in recent years. Smith’s got big industry backers, namely: The Recording Industry Association of American, the Motion Picture Association of America (now led by former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
What’s the justification for SOPA? Supporters of the bill claim that it’ll help copyright holders (think big record labels) protect their content. Rep. Smith has criticized the bill’s opponents and explained that SOPA would only target foreign websites that put American businesses at risk.
But opponents argue that the definition of “foreign infringing sites” is too vague. As it’s written now, they argue, the bill will fundamentally alter the relative freedom with which the Internet currently operates. What’s certain is that it’ll add a level of supervision to the Internet that’s never existed before.
Who’s opposed to SOPA? Basically, every website that you visit regularly. Most notably, Wikipedia, Craigslist, and Reddit, along with thousands of other websites, have chosen to go dark in opposition to the bill and to help educate users about its potential impact. But the list doesn’t stop there: Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and Twitter have also publicly opposed the bill. The White House has also announced that should the bill reach President Obama’s desk, he will veto it.
How would SOPA work?
It allows the U.S. attorney general to seek a court order against the targeted offshore website that would, in turn, be served on Internet providers in an effort to make the target virtually disappear. It’s kind of an Internet death penalty.
More specifically, section 102 of SOPA says that, after being served with a removal order:
A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order…Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within five days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order.
How would it impact me? If you create or consume content on the Internet, under SOPA the government would have the power to pull the plug on your website. If you’re a casual consumer, your favorite websites could be penalized and shut down if they seem to be illegally supporting copyrighted material.
This is especially important for human rights groups and advocates in communities of color, who could faced increased censorship if the bill is passed. The language of the bill makes it easy for the US Attorney General to go after websites it simply sees as a threat.
Scott Douglas, activist and executive director of the Greater Birmingham Ministries, was a guest on The Colbert Report on Monday and discussed Alabama’s tough anti-immigration law in context of the civil rights movement.
Many people told Douglas he was brave before going on the show but he did so anyway because he wanted to get his message across: “We don’t need 50 immigration laws across America, we need one comprehensive law that’s just and fair for everyone.”
Douglas told the Birmingham News that people gave him a lot of advice, and the best he said was to remember that Colbert “is the comedian, not me.”
Even when Colbert tried to derail him, Douglas did an amazing job and kept to his talking points, he delivered meaningful context and more impressively he managed to slip two MLK quotes in to the 5-minute interview.
We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to email@example.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.
The large majority of people in the United States are part of 99%. But have you ever wondered if you’re closer to the 1% or the 99%? The NY Times has a quick and easy to use tool that will tell you where you and your household income stand in relation to the rest of the country.
And if you find yourself in the single digits (or even a double digit) please, by all means, hit that red donate button at the top of the page.
Mosquita y Mari—the film about the tender love between two Chicana teenagers growing up in Huntington Park, one of the most vibrant immigrant Latino communities in Los Angeles—now has an official trailer.
The film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this Saturday. There are five screenings of the film and only one them has tickets available online—so get your tickets ASAP.
Viola Davis In The Help
“No matter what, people don’t think of me for glamorous parts. I’ll go to an audition or a meeting in a pretty dress, and they still think of me as depressed or embattled. Hopefully, that will change.”
Octavia Spencer in The Help
“I don’t know how to cook or bake or prepare anything in the kitchen, and my character, Minny, is a fantastic cook. That was the hardest part of playing her. I don’t know how to do anything other than get a plate from the cabinet and stick something in the microwave.”
Wisconsin Democrats filed petitions Tuesday afternoon with more than a million signatures calling for a recall election against Gov. Scott Walker, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The move is in reaction to Walker’s attacks against his state’s unionized workers, a tone that set off a wave of anti-union efforts across the country and could jeopardize the livelihoods of many black public sector employees.
The filing comes a year after Walker ended most union bargaining for public workers in the state. Experts say the shear number of signatures will ensure the election will be held. But they also flag Democrats don’t actually have a candidate yet.
“The debate over Walker is critical for many reasons, but high among them is that it’s the first, big modern example of working class white communities pushing back on tactics that have been used against people of color for decades,” Colorlines.com’s Editorial Director Kai Wright said on Tuesday.
Wright provides more context on today’s announcement:
“The right has spent decades attacking the public sector by blowing racist dog whistles. First they called anyone who needed help from the public sector lazy or criminal. Then they said anybody who appeals to government for protection from bias is looking for “special rights.”
Now it’s greedy, entitled public sector workers—jobs that, not coincidentally, are uniquely important in black communities. Walker overplayed his hand, and in doing so revealed an important truth: Inequity starts with people of color, but it doesn’t stay there.
If Wisconsin’s recall goes though it will become the third state in history to recall their governor.
French fashion magazine L’Officiel, “the Bible of fashion and of high society,” has put Chanel Iman on the cover of their February issue.
The New York Times called Iman a “model from day 1” and she was also in American Vogue as one of the “World’s Next Top Models.”
“They want girls who are ethnic, but light-skinned girls. If a girl is very dark, they say no,” Carol White, Premier Model Management founder and Naomi Campbell’s former agent, told the Daily Mail last year in a discussion of Paris runways.
Carol says Paris and Milan are the most notorious for not casting black models for runways and magazine covers. “There, they absolutely don’t want black girls. A black model has to be a real star before you can take her there. They only take a black girl when the biz is buzzing about her.”
On Tuesday the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH) published an open statement to the fans of The Help and said the film “distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers.” According to the historians about the only thing that’s true in the film is that working black women in the South often labored as domestic servants in white homes.
The historians say their statement is meant to provide context for this popular
rendition of black life in the Jim Crow South and that it is
in no way a criticism of the “stellar performances of the African
American actresses in this film.”
Viola Davis in the ‘The Help.’
The open letter describes the “regional accent” used in both the film and book versions of The Help “child-like” and an “over-exaggerated “black” dialect.” In the film, for example, the primary character, Aibileen, reassures a
young white child that, “You is smat, you is kind, you is important.” The historians say they do not recognize this black community described in the film.
The Help’s representation of these women is a disappointing
resurrection of Mammy—a mythical stereotype of black women who were
compelled, either by slavery or segregation, to serve white families.
Portrayed as asexual, loyal, and contented caretakers of whites, the
caricature of Mammy allowed mainstream America to ignore the systemic
racism that bound black women to back-breaking, low paying jobs where
employers routinely exploited them. The popularity of this most recent
iteration is troubling because it reveals a contemporary nostalgia for
the days when a black woman could only hope to clean the White House
rather than reside in it.
The letter also points out the widespread sexual harassment, physical and verbal
abuse that took place in the homes of white employers that is absent in the film and book.
The historians also go on to say most of the black male characters in the film are depicted as drunkards,
abusive, or absent. “Such distorted images are misleading and do not
represent the historical realities of black masculinity and manhood,” the women of ABWH wrote.
The letter is signed by Ida E. Jones, National Director of ABWH and Assistant Curator at Howard University; Daina Ramey Berry, Tiffany M. Gill, and Kali Nicole Gross, all Associate Professors at the University of Texas at Austin. And Janice Sumler-Edmond, a Professor at Huston-Tillotson University.
“The Shit Girls Say” meme has gone meaningful. A group of women created a video with “shit everybody says to rape victims” that includes famous lines like, “well, what was she wearing,” “but you were drunk” and “you had sex with him before though.”
Few details on who made this video but it was uploaded to YouTube Monday by someone identifying themselves as “therapelady.”
Actress Adepero Oduye arrives at NBCUniversal’s 69th Annual Golden Globes Viewing and After Party. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)
When Meryl Streep took the stage to deliver her acceptance speech for winning the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress she mentioned Adepero Oduye’s name as someone who could be up on that stage winning that same award.
An amazing honor coming from one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood if you consider Oduye wasn’t even nominated for her performance in “Pariah.” Streep telling you that you’re a great actress may hold more cachet in Hollywood than the Golden Globe award itself.
Streep took the stage and immediately mentioned she forgot her glasses at the table and just went to ad lib her acceptance speech.
“I’m gonna have to remember, but Glenn, Viola - oh my God I’m gonna leave people off - Michelle, Rooney, Gilda, yeah and how about Adepero Oduye, how about ‘Pariah,’” Streep said.
The audience applauded.
On Monday Oduye responded on Facebook:
“I was actually attending a viewing party upstairs where the ceremony was being held. When Meryl mentioned my name people just started yelling and screaming, and I was feeling like a deer caught in headlights. I felt like I was in a Spike Lee movie, like when the characters move in slow motion. It was like an out of body experience, very surreal. I got to meet Meryl afterwards. She gave me a big hug, and we talked about the importance of supporting other women. She was so nice, very sweet person.”
Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942 in a predominantly black West End neighborhood in Louisville. The boxing legend and social activist turns 70 today.
Ali took up boxing at age 12, later becoming a top amateur boxer and Olympic gold medalist. He also went on to on to become the first three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.
Ali was later stripped of his titles when he was convicted of draft evasion during the Vietnam war.
“I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong… No Viet Cong ever called me nigger,” Ali said about his decision to not appear for the draft.
Ali took his battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and in 1971 they ruled in his favor.
Ali celebrated his birthday early on Saturday by hosting a fundraiser at his education center.
“The Ali Center is a vessel for sharing Muhammad’s legacy and championing his social significance,” Lonnie Ali said Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press. “The center empowers people — especially youth — to create transformational change in the world.”
At Sunday’s Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate, Newt Gingrich got a standing ovation from the audience after he challenged moderator Juan Williams by saying he stood by his racially loaded statements about the president and “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods.”
“Speaker Gingrich, you said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools,” Williams asked. “Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?”
“No. I don’t see that,” Gingrich said without any hesitation.
Williams went on to explain himself:
I have to tell you my Twitter account has been inundated by all races, who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities. You saw some of this reaction dug your visit to a black church in South Carolina. We saw some of this during your visit to a church in South Carolina where a woman dad’s asked you why you referred to President Obama as the food stamp president. It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.
“Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history,” Gingrich said. “I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.”
Speaking at a fundraising Des Moines, Iowa in December, Gingrich said poor kids didn’t have any work ethic “unless it is illegal.”
It’s not often enough we get to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, so with the help of a few readers on Twitter, I compiled a list of songs that actually sample MLK speeches or reference his legacy.
Listen to the songs and then the MLK’s speeches that inspired them right below.
Happy MLK Day!
We’re taking the day off here at Colorlines.com but we’ll be back tomorrow.
And please, if you have any other suggestions for songs that you’d like to suggest to other readers, chime in and leave a comment below.
Robert Dwayne “Bobby” Womack released “American Dream” in 1984. The song samples MLK’s “I have a dream” speech.
Common - “A Dream”
Common’s “A dream” was produced by Will.i.am for the film ‘Freedom Writers.’ It was released in 2006 and samples MLK’s “I have a dream” speech.
Stevie Wonder - “Happy Birthday”
“Happy Birthday” was written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder for Motown in 1981.
Wonder became one of the main figures in the campaign to have the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. become a national holiday. He wrote this song to raise awareness and support for the campaign.
You’ll have to click-through to YouTube to listen to the song but below is a snippet from the “Happy Birthday” lyrics.
I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
that they should make it become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King
Public Enemy - By The Time I Get To Arizona
When Public Enemy released “By the time I get to Arizona” in 1991, Arizona and New Hampshire were the only states that did not recognize the Martin Luther King holiday.
The song is aimed at former Arizona governor Evan Mecham who he refused to recognize Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday.
This song samples “Two Sisters of Mystery” by the ’70s Funk band Mandrill.
The music video stirred some controversy, as it depicts the the governor being assasinated with a car bomb.
U2 - “Pride”
U2 released “Pride” in 1984.
This began as a song about US president Ronald Reagan—Bono had lyrics written condemning Reagan for an arrogant pride that led to nuclear escalation—but after seeing an MLK exhibit at the Chicago Peace Museum in 1983, the band re-wrote the song to honor King’s legacy.
Coretta Scott King approves of the song! She invited the band to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta in 1984 and the band stopped by during their 1984 US tour.
“We are fortunate this year to honor Bono for exemplifying many of the qualities that my husband, Martin, indicated were imperative to moving our society into the beloved community of which he so often spoke,” Coretta Scott King said at a 2004 awards ceremony at the King center.
Below is a verse of the song:
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky Free at last, they took your life They could not take your pride
U2 - “MLK”
The last song on the group’s fourth album entitled “Unforgettable fire” is called “MLK,” another tribute to MLK.
Black Flag - “911 For Peace”
Anti-Flag released “911 for Peace” in 2002. A reader pointed out the song samples MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech at the 2:30 minute mark.
“Modern Family” won the Golden Globe prize for best TV comedy on Sunday but the acceptance speech got a little weird when the show’s co-creator and executive producer Steven Levitan joked around by saying Sofia Vergara said studio executives made great lovers.
The Golden Globes Awards are put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and in honor of that—speaking in Spanish—Vergara took the stage and said the “Modern Family” team would accept the award in two languages, English and Spanish.
The acceptance speech seemed pre-planned, Vergara would say a few words in Spanish and Levitan would translate in English. But at one point Levington stopped translating and was just poking jokes and alleging Vergara may have gotten to where she is by sleeping with executives.
Octavia Spencer was named best supporting actress at the 69th annual Golden Globes awards on Sunday for playing Minny Jackson in the civil rights era dram “The Help.”
“With regards to domestics in this country—now and then—Dr. King said it best: ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,’ and I thank you for recognizing that with our film,” Spencer said during her acceptance speech.
Although the “Help” characters are fictional “they represent scores of real people,” Spencer said backstage.
A few people in the audience gave Spencer a standing ovation as she walked to the stage, including Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, Samuel Jackson, Nicole Kidman, and Maya Rudolph.