Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Ferguson, Missouri’s black community holds vigil after police shoot and kill unarmed teen Mike Brown.
  • Tensions are increasing between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Obama administration. 
  • U.S. Missionaries returning from West Africa who may have been exposed to Ebola are being quarantined in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

What is it for an academic to launch a theory with 25 years of staying power but rarely get credit for its creation? — Signithia Fordham, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York, wrote a personal essay this week explaining how she makes sense of her intellectual erasure. In late July, President Obama reached into a familiar grab bag for Fordham’s controversial “acting white” theory during a My Brother’s Keeper announcement held at a Washington, D.C. public school. The 1986 theory has since been debunked according to the Washington Post, but it remains popular. Fordham’s essay, which doesn’t address the theory itself, is poignant. The erasure of black and Latina girls after all is the key criticism being leveled at Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at young men and boys of color.

From Fordham:

Out of view of this spirited and public debate [about “acting white”], my phone and email inboxes filled to capacity with calls and notes from colleagues and friends who were dismayed that my work was being discussed—again without me.

The critical question I seek an answer to affects, not just me, but also many others: Are black women ignored by American society? Are we compelled to do the imporant labor for others to consume, elaborate, embellish, and dismiss?

Does Fordham have a point?


(h/t Race and Beyond blog, CAP)

Weekend Read: Why Do So Many People Claim Native Heritage?

Weekend Read: Why Do So Many People Claim Native Heritage?

What do Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus and The Crying Indian in that popular 1970s Earth Day PSA have in common? Oklahoman Russell Cobb says they all belong to Wannabe Nation. It’s “bigger than the Cherokee Nation and perhaps even bigger than the entire state of Oklahoma—although that’s difficult to confirm, since the Census Bureau doesn’t keep statistics on this subset of the population,” Cobb writes in a brilliant essay in This Land Press. Definitely check it out this weekend [full text available by popular demand via Longreads].

Add Rachel Aviv’s, Wrong Answer, too. It’s being described as some of the most riveting reporting on the infamous Atlanta Schools cheating scandal that blew up in 2011. (See here for a brief refresher of the allegations, investigation and fallout.)

And last but not least, check out the latest from Colorlines’ Life Cycles of Inequity series about black men, Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind

What’s on your Read-Watch List this weekend?

ICE Detention Officer Complains About ‘Third World’ Mothers and Children

ICE Detention Officer Complains About 'Third World' Mothers and Children

Artesia detention center—a new facility in Texas created to hold migrant families—has garnered negative attention. The center holds about 600 women and children; all have been placed under quarantine following two cases of chickenpox, which means that deportations are currently halted out of Artesia. Migrants seeking asylum are being rushed through for deportation and are routinely being interviewed to establish credible fear without attorneys present. 

Detainees and the few who have visited them have stated that the facility isn’t medically equipped to handle families, and that officers there aren’t exactly friendly. Latino Rebels obtained a recording of one lawyer who called and spoke with ICE Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer Henry Davila, who had choice words about a child that had to be rushed to an emergency room at a hospital out of Artesia. Davila complained about immigrants from “Third World countries” and talked about diseases, viruses and infections from migrants. 

Read more over at Latino Rebels

Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There’s an App for That

Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There's an App for That

First, it was Ghetto Tracker. Now, it’s SketchFactor. The new iPhone app, which will soon be available for Android, allows users to report on what they think are sketchy parts of town—so that other users can navigate around them. The app, which essentially crowdsources fear, just became available for download and has already garnered some racist posts. 

The app was created by Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington; McGuire told Crain’s New York that she was motivated to create the app while living in Washington, D.C., as a young non-profit worker. She lives in New York now and says “almost nothing’s sketchy anymore.” So although she lives in a place in which she claims nothing is suspicious to her anymore, McGuire and Herrington nevertheless introduced SketchFactor. They now stand to make $20,000 for SketchApp as BigApps finalists, a contest sponsored by the New York Economic Development Corporation.

McGuire also told Crain’s that although she understands the potential as SketchFactor as a portal for racism, she hopes people will actually empower people of color to report racial profiling:

“We understand that people will see this issue,” Ms. McGuire said. “And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we’re concerned, racial profiling is ‘sketchy’ and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets.”

Yeah. That’s probably not gonna happen.

(h/t Citylab)

Florida Church Cancels Funeral of Gay Man At Last Minute

Florida Church Cancels Funeral of Gay Man At Last Minute

Upon learning the night before that 42-year-old Julion Evans was gay, a Tampa church canceled his late-July funeral. Pastor T.W. Jenkins expressed regret for the cancellation but told WFLA News that New Hope Missionary Baptist Church preaches against gay marriage. Evans’ husband, Kendall Capers, said that he would have understood the church’s position but called the cancelation during the wake “disrespectful” and “wrong.”

“Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church,” Jenkins said. “I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”

Evans married his partner of 17 years last year in Maryland. His mother said she was baptised at New Hope as a child.

Watch WFLA News above for more.

Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS to protect Yazidis from possible genocide in northern Iraq. 
  • The truce is over in Gaza and a 10-year-old child is the first victim of new Israeli attacks. 
  • Montana Senator John Walsh (D)  pulls out of the race after plagiarism accusations; there’s only a few days left in which to pick a replacement.
TAGS: Morning Rush

Guilty Verdict Returned in Renisha McBride Trial

Guilty Verdict Returned in Renisha McBride Trial

Theodore Wafer, 54, has been found guilty in the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. “I have no problem locking up entire families,” the judge is reported to have said to the courtroom while asking for calm as the verdict was read. Wafer, who was convicted of second-degree murder, had claimed self defense in the shooting death of McBride who, disoriented and unarmed, went to his door late one November night after getting into a car accident.

(h/t CBSDetroit)

New Research: White Voter Support for Fewer Prisoners Depends On Who’s Locked Up

New Research: White Voter Support for Fewer Prisoners Depends On Who's Locked Up

A white female researcher went to a train station near San Francisco and asked 62 white voters to watch a video of mug shots of male inmates—before asking them to sign a petition easing California’s three-strikes law. Some watched a video where only 25 percent of inmates were black. Others, where 45 percent of inmates were black. When it came time for signing, most white voters viewing the video with fewer black inmates signed the petition. Those viewing the video with a higher percentage of black inmates, however, refused to sign, “regardless of how harsh participants thought the law was.” A new Stanford University study out this week reports that this and other experiments show that for white voters, highlighting racial disparities in mass incarceration may actually bolster support for tough on crime policies.

Researchers conducted a separate “real-life” experiment with white New Yorkers around stop-and-frisk. The results were similar to San Francisco’s. The takeaway?

“Many legal advocates and social activists seem to assume that bombarding the public with images, statistics and other evidence of racial disparities will motivate people to join the cause and fight inequality,” Hetey said. “[But] our research shows that numbers don’t always speak for themselves,” Eberhardt said. “Reducing inequality takes more than simply presenting people with evidence of extreme inequality.”

Read more at Stanford News.

Khmer Rouge Leaders Sentenced to Life, DHS Hacking and BofA’s Massive Mortgage Settlement

Khmer Rouge Leaders Sentenced to Life, DHS Hacking and BofA's Massive Mortgage Settlement

Here’s some of what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • A major Homeland Security contractor is hacked, putting government workers’ information at risk. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Jury Deliberation Begins in Renisha McBride Trial

Jury Deliberation Begins in Renisha McBride Trial

Jury deliberation began Wednesday in the trial of Theodore Wafer, 54, charged with the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride last November. The jury, according to Legal Insurrection, is composed of seven men and five women, including eight whites and four blacks. There are two white female alternates.

The McBride trial began on Monday, July 21. She was unarmed and disoriented when Wafer shot her on his front porch late one night, after McBride had gotten into a car accident.

For live updates, follow

When the U.S. Nearly Had Universal Child Care

When the U.S. Nearly Had Universal Child Care

Yesterday marks the 20th anniversary of a federal law that says, “having a baby shouldn’t cost you your job or your health insurance.” Meditate on Ellen Bravo’s words for a minute. Then consider that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which offers 12 weeks unpaid leave, still doesn’t go far enough for most families. But advocates appear hopeful that could soon change. After a near 50-year lull, according to an informative history by Think Progress’ Bryce Covert, a new top-level conversation around the “family friendly” workplace and universal childcare is once again gaining steam—which is good news for all families but in particular single parents and working class families of color. 

Read up on paid leave bills passing in states across the country, where the FMLA falls short, and this 2013 TNR piece on how Pat Buchanan helped kill a 1970s plan to implement national daycare

What one piece of national legislation would do the most to help single parents or families of color?

(h/t Huffington Post)

Professor Loses New Job for Pro-Palestinian Tweets

Professor Loses New Job for Pro-Palestinian Tweets

According to Inside Higher Ed, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has blocked the appointment of Steven G. Salaita to its faculty. Illinois made its appointment public a few weeks ago—and Salaita was to start teaching in the American Indian studies program later this month. 

But Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik writes that according to two sources, Salaita lost his opportunity due to the “tone” of his recent pro-Palestinian tweets:

The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of his comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza. While many academics at Illinois and elsewhere are deeply critical of Israel, Salaita’s tweets have struck some as crossing a line into uncivil behavior.

Salaita’s Twitter account has gone silent in recent days.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is not new to controversy. The school retired its mascot, Chief Illiniwek, in 2007, but it remains a presence on campus, causing some students serious distress. And after the school’s chancellor, Phyllis Wise, declined to declare a snow day on a particularly cold day this January, students soon took to Twitter to make racist and sexist attacks against her.

J Kēhaulani Kauanui, an associate professor at Wesleyan, has created an action page on Facebook to back Salaita, asking supporters to call and write their complaints about blocking his hire to Chancellor Wise. 

NYC Sikh Man Called ‘Terrorist,’ Run Over by Truck

NYC Sikh Man Called 'Terrorist,' Run Over by Truck

New York City’s Sikh community is asking authorities to investigate the recent attack of a Sikh man as a hate crime. 

Sandeep Singh, 29, was crossing a street with friends in Queens, New York, last week when a man in a pick-up truck began yelling at them. The driver exited his car and exchanged words with Singh, a married father of two. According to witnesses, the driver called Singh a terrorist, and told him to go back to his country.

The driver returned to his vehicle and Singh stood in front of it in protest. That’s when the driver ran him over—dragging Singh about 30 feet. Surveillance cameras caught the attack. Singh remains in the hospital and his attacker remains at large.  

Singh has issued a statement through the Sikh Coalition that explains that the attack was motivated by hate: “I was attacked because I am a Sikh and because I look like a Sikh. Justice should be served so that no one else goes through what I have been through. We need to create a world without hate.”

According to the Village Voice, the Department of Justice requested that the local police commander meet Sikh leaders on Monday to discuss the Singh attack, as well as other issues facing the community: 

In addition to hate crimes, Sikh leaders cited experiences being robbed, mugged or physically attacked that they feel have not been adequately investigated by local police.

“There’s a sense that there is a real apathy in the 102 [precinct] in Richmond Hill, as it applies to this community,” Singh says.

That feeling is compounded by the fact, that the NYPD—unlike police forces in London, Toronto and Washington D.C.—prohibits officers from wearing turbans, a rule that prevents observant Sikhs from serving in the police force.

The Sikh Coalition is pressing for the investigation to dig deeper and find Singh’s attacker.

Federal Inquiry: ‘Culture of Violence’ Against Teens At Rikers

Federal Inquiry: 'Culture of Violence' Against Teens At Rikers

A two-year federal investigation released Monday reveals a “pervasive” and “deep-seated culture of violence” throughout the adolescent facilities of Rikers Island, the nation’s second largest jail. “Adolescent” refers to those ages 16 to 18. The island’s three adolescent facilities house about 500 teens daily, most of whom, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, “have not yet been convicted of crime, and about half of whom have been diagnosed with a mental illness.”

The 79-page report is extraordinary in its description of the brutality levied at these inmates—by others and corrections officers—and the lengths to which officials went to cover up their beatings or disappear reports of abuse and more. Many young inmates requested solitary confinement for their own protection.

Two wardens in charge of the above facilities during the period under inquiry were recently promoted within the Department of Corrections, according to today’s Daily News.

Read the full federal report, available at The New York Times.

Gaza Ceasefire Holds for Second Day, Missouri Execution and One Billion Passwords Stolen

Gaza Ceasefire Holds for Second Day, Missouri Execution and One Billion Passwords Stolen

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Oak Creek, Two Years After the Sikh Mass Murder

Oak Creek, Two Years After the Sikh Mass Murder

Today marks the second anniversary of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh gurdwara shooting, a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of seven people. White supremacist Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people before turning this gun on himself. Mass murders have become almost commonplace in the United States—but one thing that sets this shooting apart is the racial hatred that motivated the attack.

Over at NBC News, civil and immigrant rights advocate Deepa Iyer writes about how the Oak Creek community is healing and rebuilding after the massacre:

The Sikh Healing Collective was formed to address the mental health and trauma needs with resources that integrate language, cultural and faith norms, especially to assist the children who lost parents in the shooting, or witnessed unspeakable violence while hiding in the gurdwara’s basement and kitchen pantry during the massacre.

Young Sikh Americans like Mandeep Kaur and Rahul Dubey began to take leadership positions both within the gurdwara and with non-Sikh groups, to better build partnerships and address the community’s needs as a whole. Similarly, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi has plans to build connections between various race and faith groups in town with interfaith organizations and events.

And buoyed by the testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini before the Senate Judiciary Committee about losing his mother in the massacre, organizations around the country came together to successfully advocate Department of Justice to include categories of Sikh, Arab and Hindu in tracking hate crimes at the federal level.

You can read Iyer’s full dispatch over at NBC News. For full disclosure, Iyer is a board member of Race Forward, which publishes Colorlines. 

In Rare Move, McDonald’s Franchisee Speaks Out

In Rare Move, McDonald's Franchisee Speaks Out

Kathryn Slater-Carter owns a McDonald’s in Daly City, California, and she’s one of a few franchise owners speaking publicly about the minimum wage battle embroiling her industry. Slater-Carter is spearheading union-backed legislation in her state to give franchise owners more rights, a three-year-old effort getting more publicity since the National Labor Relations Board ruled recently that it will treat McDonald’s as a “joint employer” of fast-food workers. Before, McDonald’s could pass the buck on worker conditions to franchisees but this decision could potentially recalibrate the power balance between corporate and franchise owners. Slater-Carter explains that she and other owners are at the mercy of corporate decision-makers. She has a lot to say, too, about fast food workers and the challenges they face:

To be able to offer health insurance we would have had to raise prices significantly. And that’s on low-income people. Part of the problem is, and this is what I told the McDonald’s folks when they wanted us to lower our wages, the cost of living here is too high. …

[If McDonald’s workers unionized], I think the biggest negative effect would be that corporations, the big guys, couldn’t suck as much money off the top. I have mixed emotions on unions, and I told SEIU this. Sometimes I think the union benefits are a little over the top. But by the same token, in this stagnant economy that we’ve got, the little people are getting screwed. So I’m sure you know of the lawsuits for wage theft from the employees against McDonald’s operators in California. Wage theft is wrong, and it comes a point at which people do need to protect themselves and their interests. If they’re working, they deserve to be paid.

Read more at The Washington Post. And at The Nation, learn more about the new House bill designed to “make labor organizing a basic freedom no different than freedom from racial discrimination.”

On the American Perception of Israel’s War In Gaza

On the American Perception of Israel's War In Gaza

“What would you do if Hamas attacked you?”— That’s the question posed to Americans yesterday in a brief but powerful op-ed by author Peter Beinart in The Atlantic. It aims to explain why it’s so difficult for Americans in particular to criticize the state of Israel.

Revealingly, the question is rarely asked the other way: What would you do if your people had been under occupation for almost 50 years and your territory was blockaded by air, land, and sea? It’s rarely asked because we Americans can’t easily imagine ourselves as a stateless people. I suspect this goes to the heart of why people in the developing world generally identify more strongly with the Palestinians than Americans do. If you live in Nigeria or Pakistan, the experience of living under the control of another country yet not being a citizen of that country is fairly recent. (White) Americans, by contrast, have to go back all the way to 1776.

Read the rest at The Atlantic.

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat In Conversation

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat In Conversation

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat have been friends for 20 years now. Danticat hails from Haiti and Díaz, across the border in the Dominican Republic. In the summer issue of Americas Quarterly the two immigrants from the island of Hispaniola discuss a shared responsibility to fight the Dominican Republic’s landmark constitutional ruling last September that left more than 200,000 people of Haitian descent stateless. Due to intense international pressure, including from Díaz and Danticat, the Dominican Republic this May established a pathway to citizenship. But the battle is far from won. As Danticat says, “Two novelists are not going to solve this problem”—but it’s always a treat to listen to them try anyway:

Why should the world—and especially citizens of the Americas—be paying attention to what’s going on in the Dominican Republic? Given that you are both children of the island of Hispaniola living in the U.S., why is this issue important to you?

DIAZ: …that island is my birthplace and one of my two homes; and if people like me don’t fight its injustices, don’t fight for the better future we deserve, who will? As a Dominican living in the U.S., it matters to me a whole hell of a lot that political elites in the D.R. are inflaming ethnic-racial hatred against Haitians to divide the pueblo and keep it from organizing against its real enemies—the elites themselves….

DANTICAT: Both Junot and I—correct me here if I am wrong, Junot—grew up in relative poverty on our respective sides of the island….

DIAZ: Oh yes, poverty aplenty.

DANTICAT: In both our lives, even when we were living on the island, we were also aware of our relative privilege when we traveled to see the relatives or spent time in the campo or the pwovens [rural provinces]. That makes you extraordinarily aware of what opportunity means. And it makes you hypersensitive to seeing not just a few but a slew of rights and opportunities being taken away in one swoop.

You hope you would always speak up. Even when the issue is not as clear as this. You hope you would speak up if someone is sleeping on the floor in an immigration cell in Texas, or if people are being tortured in Guantánamo, no matter what their nationality. People’s lives are being affected here in a way that touches their children and their children’s children.

Read the full interview on Americas Quarterly.

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