Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Study: Portland Drivers Show Racial Bias When Yielding to Pedestrians

Study: Portland Drivers Show Racial Bias When Yielding to Pedestrians

By dressing up three white and three black men of similar age and build in identical clothes and sending them out into a busy Portland intersection researchers at Portland State University and the University of Arizona found that Portland drivers don’t treat all pedestrians equally.

Researchers chose a busy Portland crosswalk “where yielding isn’t influenced by cross traffic or turning,” The Oregonian reported, and found that black pedestrians had to wait 32 percent longer than their white counterparts and were passed by double the amount of cars before they could cross the street. 

“It’s amazing to look at something you thought might be subtle and to see it instead so clearly,” Portland State University researcher Tara Goddard told the Oregonian.

Turns out that nationally, pedestrian fatalities for African-Americans is 60 percent higher than it is for whites, and Latino pedestrian deaths are 43 percent higher than whites’. That may be influenced by pedestrians taking greater risks to cross when drivers won’t yield to them, researchers theorize. Read the rest at The Oregonian.

More Than 100 Protesters Arrested Outside McDonald’s HQ

More Than 100 Protesters Arrested Outside McDonald's HQ

The Golden Arches may become known for something other than its food. Yesterday about 250 police officers, including those in riot gear, met a large crowd of employees, clergy, community members and labor organizers protesting low pay outside McDonald’s corporate headquarters near Chicago. Oak Brook police report arresting more than 100 of a crowd it estimated at 1,000 to 1,500. Organizers put the number, arriving that morning on 32 buses, at 2,000. It remains to be seen whether or how the march on Hamburger University, including Moral Mondays leader and NAACP-NC president, Rev. William Barber, SEIU president, Mary Kay Henry and McDonald’s employee Eddie Foreman, can change the game for fast food workers and McDonald’s, which yesterday closed and barricaded the campus. Workers have been demonstrating since 2012 for a $15-an-hour wage increase, against wage theft and erratic scheduling and for the right to unionize without retaliation.

More protests are planned today. Shareholders are gathering for McDonald’s annual meeting where, according to the AP, they’re also expected to cover executive pay packages (highlighted in this 2012 Bloomberg investigation) and marketing to children in communities of color.

(h/t CNNMoneyBloombergWSJ)

Thai Coup, eBay Security Breach and Coates on Reparations

Thai Coup, eBay Security Breach and Coates on Reparations

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

  • The Thai military has taken power of the government through a coup d’état. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

McDonald’s Campus Closes Because of Fast Food Protests

McDonald's Campus Closes Because of Fast Food Protests

Today, following last week’s first ever global fast food worker protests, hundreds of workers from around the country descended on McDonald’s corporate headquarters outside Chicago. In anticipation of the crowd the McDonald’s campus was a ghost town however, closed for the day. Moral Mondays leader, Rev. William Barber, president of the NAACP-NC is there, as is another southerner, Eddie Foreman. Foreman is a McDonald’s employee from Opelika, Ala., arrested last week, and charged with criminal trespass, he says, for protesting with other workers outside his local restaurant. Despite the legal trouble and risk of a second arrest, he made the trip north from Opelika today.

Barricades and fencing surround the entrance to McDonald’s HQ and around 150 people have been arrested, Foreman says. Asked what he’ll remember most about today’s protest, Foreman says, “I’m going to remember how many people have the same problem I have and went and fought for themselves.”

Fast food workers have staged wage protests since 2012 demanding a $15-an-hour wage increase as well as the right to form a union without retaliation.

NYPD Smashes 14-Year-Old Boy Through Store Window

NYPD Smashes 14-Year-Old Boy Through Store Window

In the Bronx this past Saturday night, an NYPD officer allegedly smashed a 14-year-old boy through a store window, critically injuring him. Reporting from the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange raises questions about the boy’s arrest, his detention on the scene while bleeding profusely from the chest and officers’ reporting of the incident.

According to JJIE:

Initially, EMS did not rush to the scene because when the officers put the call over they did not indicate that there was a pediatric emergency, a source familiar with the incident said. Instead they used a protocol normally used for drunks. The office did not issue a “sheet” — an email to the police press corps detailing newsworthy events — on the incident….

A spokesman for the police department said two teenagers were arrested, ages 13 and 14, at approximately 11 p.m. Officers charged both of the suspects with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and assault. He said he could not confirm the incident involving Payne being thrown through the glass. “It’s not listed in the report here,” he said.

Javier Payne, the 14-year-old, has had contact with the system before. In order to receive greater services, Payne’s mother placed him in a family court-affiiliated “Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS)” program at his middle school. He is in the 8th grade. 

African-American boys, according to a new report, comprise 17 percent of the juvenile population but 31 percent of all arrests. Disproportionate juvenile minority representation, the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency reports, “is evident at nearly all contact points on the juvenile justice system continuum.” Similar rates may apply for Latino youth but, data on ethnic disparities is limited.

By Sunday afternoon a new pane of glass had already been installed at the store. Read more at JJIE.

Drone Strikes, Obamacare, and the WNBA’s LGBT Fans

Drone Strikes, Obamacare, and the WNBA's LGBT Fans

Here’s what I’m reading up on:

  • After 10 years of negotiations, Russia and China have reached a natural gas deal that’s estimated to be worth $400 billion.
  • The White House is set to release a memo written by an appeals court nominee who signed off on the targeted drone killing of a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki.
  • The Obama administration quietly made a little-known adjustment to the Affordable Care Act that freed up billions of dollars to insurers. 
  • The WNBA is launching a new ad campaign that targets its LGBT fans, making it the first pro sports league to do so. 
  • Watch out, D.C.: Malia Obama will soon be eligible for a learner’s permit
  • Northern California is bracing itself for pretty much non-stop rain this fall thanks to global warming. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Trigger Warnings and Free Speech On Campus. Discuss.

Trigger Warnings and Free Speech On Campus. Discuss.

The bounds of appropriate speech on college campuses is shrinking every day—or so it appears to many in the liberal and conservative mainstream. Room for Debate over at The New York Times looks at only the latest speech controversies: Rutgers students protesting Condoleeza Rice as commencement speaker and “trigger warnings” demanded for in-class film screenings, syllabi or works of literature. But this debate is old and especially relevant for many students of color and women. They’re often framed as the “bad guys” pushing back against disagreeable, hateful (as in these examples from Bowling Green, Ky.St. Louis, Mo. and San Jose State in Ca.) offensive or uncomfortable speech. Is free speech really under attack on college campuses? If so, do the attackers generally look like POC and women? 

Thailand’s Military, New York City’s Heroin, and Donald Sterling’s Lawsuits

Thailand's Military, New York City's Heroin, and Donald Sterling's Lawsuits

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Google To Release Numbers on Employee Diversity

Google To Release Numbers on Employee Diversity

In 2011 a year-and-a-half long CNN Money investigation into Silicon Valley’s workforce diversity hit a wall. “Most of the companies”—including Internet giant, Google—“stonewalled us,” the report concluded in 2013. Last week however, Google reversed course and announced that beginning next month it will disclose EEOC data showing the number of women and people of color on its 50,000-member staff, worldwide. It’s expected Google’s disclosure will increase pressure on other tech companies to do the same. Silicon Valley has long contended with a poor reputation for hiring and promoting women and people of color or, seeding their start-up ventures. 

(h/t San Jose Mercury News)

Russia Pulls Back from Ukraine, AT&T Deal, Rent-Regulation in NYC

Russia Pulls Back from Ukraine, AT&T Deal, Rent-Regulation in NYC

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

 

TAGS: Morning Rush

Watch: Video Teaser for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Case for Reparations

Watch: Video Teaser for Ta-Nehisi Coates' Case for Reparations

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is about to drop an opus about Chicago housing that will revive the long dormant U.S. case for reparations. Coates most recently made news with what’s been described as a “public intellectual death match” with political journalist Jonathan Chait over race, the “culture of poverty” and “other people’s pathologies.” (Coates won.) Judging by today’s blog post, Coates is gearing up for another intellectual title, heralding next week’s release with reparations quotes from the Bible, Enlightenment philosopher John Locke and Bailey Wyatt, a freedman speaking at an 1866 political meeting.

Caribbean nations through 15-member body CARICOM thrust reparations back onto the international stage last year, with their demand for compensation from former colonial powers France, the U.K. and the Netherlands.

Weekend Read: The Booker-Zuckerberg $100M Plan to Reform Newark Schools

Weekend Read: The Booker-Zuckerberg $100M Plan to Reform Newark Schools

Of all the education-related stories coming out in time for this weekend’s 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed., The New Yorker’s “Schooled” earns high marks. “The Newark schools are like a candy store that’s a front for a gambling operation. When a threat materializes, everyone takes his position and sells candy. When it recedes, they go back to gambling.” That 2010 quote from a longtime educator describes the frustration long faced by Newark parents and taken on in 2009 by now U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). He’d planned, along with assistance from Gov. Christie (R-NJ) and $100 million from 30-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to use charters to turn Newark into a national model of urban education reform. How did the plan roll out and how’s it working now?

Writer Dale Russakoff tackles those questions in a longread full of disheartening though not unsurprising challenges and reformer and political missteps. Throughout, however, she* keeps our focus on the lives that actually matter: the children’s.

(h/t The New Yorker)

*Post has been updated.

California Fires, Net Neutrality and Donald Sterling Refuses Fine

California Fires, Net Neutrality and Donald Sterling Refuses Fine

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

  • The operator that runs the Turkish mine that was engulfed in fire is denying any negligence in connection to the accident. 
  • Hindu nationalists take the lead in India’s massive elections. 
  • Beyoncé, Jay Z and Solange release a statement saying they’ve worked through their elevator incident. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

A Brown v. Board of Education 60th Anniversary Reading List

A Brown v. Board of Education 60th Anniversary Reading List

On May 17, 1943, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education, that, “in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” The pivotal ruling set in motion decades of political and social shifts, but 60 years later, the promise of Brown remains unfulfilled.

As the nation recognizes the anniversary of the landmark ruling, now’s the time to get caught up on that important history, as well as how Brown has fared in the intervening decades. Here now, a short roundup of some of the best resources and reporting on the topic:

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, in which Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:

“We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities. We believe that it does.”

“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” 

ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote the definitive story on Brown v. Board of Education this year. By zeroing in on the educational experiences of three generations of one Tuscaloosa, Ala. family, Hannah-Jones tells the story of how Brown has held up over time. (Spoiler: not so well.) She wrote:

[W]hile segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.

Tuscaloosa’s school resegregation—among the most extensive in the country—is a story of city financial interests, secret meetings, and angry public votes. It is a story shaped by racial politics and a consuming fear of white flight. It was facilitated, to some extent, by the city’s black elites. And it was blessed by a U.S. Department of Justice no longer committed to fighting for the civil-rights aims it had once championed.

The NAACP, together with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, successfully argued Brown before the Supreme Court. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has compiled a list of resources, titled Brown at 60, including photos, snapshots of the plaintiffs and legal team, and a breakdown of the social, political and legal impacts of the ruling. NAACP-LDF executive director Sherrilyn Ifill’s own recommended reading list for children and adults on Brown v. Board of Education. 

In addition to its brand new report looking at the state of school integration today, UCLA’s Civil Rights Project has also been releasing state by state profiles examining school segregation. Among their most compelling findings? New York’s public schools are among the nation’s most segregated. Check out UCLA’s Civil Rights Project’s state-by-state profiles.

New Yorkers interested in reflecting on Brown in person, NYU is hosting a conference on Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17 called “Brown at 60 and Beyond” with a lineup of some of the nation’s leading experts on educational access and equity.

60 Years After Brown, School Segregation on the Rise

60 Years After Brown, School Segregation on the Rise

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, which forever changed the U.S. education system. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that ‘separate but equal’ had no place in public education. And yet, more than a half century on from that pivotal ruling, significant numbers of black and Latino children attend racially isolated schools and, according to a report from the UCLA Civil Rights Project released today, school segregation is on the rise. There is much to commemorate, but actually not as much to celebrate.

“Brown was a major accomplishment and we should rightfully be proud,” Gary Orfield, a co-director of the Civil Rights Project, said in a statement. “But a real celebration should also involve thinking seriously about why the country has turned away from the goal of Brown and accepted deepening polarization and inequality in our schools.”

Many of the biggest gains in school desegregation happened in the decades immediately following Brown, but in the subsequent years, courts have played a large role in dismantling desegregation plans around the country. Thost shifts, together with increasing residential segregation and inequity and demographic changes, have created a landscape that’s at once brand new and also all too familiar. Today, black children are attending attending racially isolated schools at their highest rates in decades, while more than half of Latino children attend schools that are majority Latino. According to the report, in New York, California and Texas, the majority of Latino students go to schools that are 90 percent students of color—or more. And perhaps most striking, in the Northeast, more than 51 percent of black students attend schools that are at least 90 percent students of color. Those contemporary figures are only somewhat improved from 1968, when 42.7 percent of black students in the Northeast went to schools that were over 90 percent students of color. Segregation is most concentrated in large metropolitan areas, but it’s also prevalent in the suburbs of large metro areas. 

And, the report authors argue, while it’s not feasible in some situations, segregation is still vitally important to addressing enduring racial, economic and educational inequities. “Desegregation properly implemented can make a very real contribution to equalizing educational opportunities and preparing young Americans for the extremely diverse society in which they will live and work and govern together,” the report authors write. “It is the only major tool our society has for this goal.”

Read the report in full here (PDF).

Forget Going Global: Fast Food Workers Are Protesting in the Deep South

Forget Going Global: Fast Food Workers Are Protesting in the Deep South

It’s one thing to walk off the job in union friendly New York City; it’s another to do so in Opelika, Ala. But that’s what a handful of fast-food workers did this morning in a small southern town (pronounced O-puh-LIE-kuh) on the Georgia-Alabama border. In what may be Opelika’s first labor protest ever and the latest so far, in piecemeal worker grumblings in right-to-work states that are anti-union and proud, local McDonald’s and Burger King employees are joining today’s #FastFoodGlobal strikes. They’re said to be happening in 150 U.S. cities and for the first time in more than 30 countries around the world.

“We want $15-an-hour and we don’t want to be fired for talking about a union,” McDonald’s employee and protest organizer Eddie Foreman, 40, told me by phone this Tuesday. He’d vaguely followed news of national protests begun in 2012, but only Googled “fast food union” in March after listening to constant complaints from co-workers.

They include: management taking time, no 40-hour-a-week schedule, no health insurance, and being expected to work multiple job positions at the same minimum wage rate paid for one job. “We can’t have cell phones in our pockets [while working] but most people here are adults with kids in day care and with babysitters,” Foreman says. Workers range in age from 25 to their mid-50s, he adds.

On the phone Tuesday, as time drew nearer to the protest day, Foreman seemed to put more faith in his colleagues at Burger King. He wasn’t as hopeful that his McDonald’s co-workers would walk out with him and road-trip north to merge with other fast-food workers in Atlanta.

“You have no idea. People in this state are scared that the little things they do have, they’re afraid they’ll be taken from them,” he says. “You know how people talk about the Confederacy? This still is the Confederacy. Besides fast-food, Alabama’s main industry is prisons.”

According to Raise Up, which organizes fast food workers in the South, police arrested Foreman this morning, allegedly for trespassing on McDonald’s property. 

Turkey Mine Fire Toll Rises, #FastFoodGlobal and Pet Cat Saves Boy

Turkey Mine Fire Toll Rises, #FastFoodGlobal and Pet Cat Saves Boy

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

  • #FastFoodGlobal kicks off today, as workers strike in 150 cities in the U.S. and 80 cities around the world. 
  • A four-year-old is rescued from a dog attack by his pet cat, Tara:
  • Human astronaut Koichi Wakata says farewell to robot astronaut Kirobo. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Contra Costa County Drops Costly Juvenile Record-Sealing Fee

Contra Costa County Drops Costly Juvenile Record-Sealing Fee

In early May, California’s Contra Costa County removed a $150 application fee adults were required to pay before they could petition to seal their juvenile records. Youth and juvenile justice re-entry advocates fought for the change, which was approved by Contra Costa County’s Probation Department, and both praised the change as an important step in allowing young people who’d been through the juvenile justice system to more fully move on with their lives.

“With the court’s consideration and final approval, we want to provide the most meaningful opportunity for our youth to focus forward and not be encumbered by a prior juvenile record,” Contra Costa County Chief of Probation Phillip Kader said in a statement.

The change comes as the California state legislature is considering a move to do away with record-sealing application fees across the state. The fee, say youth advocates, became a primary obstacle to young people’s ability to move on with their lives. Some states automatically seal juvenile records, but California requires that adults apply for record-sealing. And while a juvenile adjudication is not a technically a criminal conviction, potential employers, landlords, and schools often think of it as one. And for the disproportionately low-income and youth of color put through the juvenile justice system, that $150 fee is prohibitively expensive. 

“When a lot of people have a choice of whether to buy their little brother formula and diapers or maybe  get their record cleaned up, many people aren’t going to spend that $150,” said Stephanie Medley, the Youth Justice Director at the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond. 

Contra Costa County had already been making slow shifts toward doing away with this fee. In November of last year, the county Probation Department made fee waivers available to adults who were unable to pay the $150 fee. As of right now, that application fee no longer exists. 

In the past, an adult with a juvenile record would have to pay a $150 fee to petition for a court hearing, during which a judge would determine whether a person had rehabilitated themselves. Still, there was no guarantee. Some young people would pay the $150 fee and still have their request to seal their juvenile records denied. 

Medley praised the change as an important way “we can create a brighter path for young people and make things accessible so they can have a fresh start.” The juvenile record-sealing application fee is, however, just one of many fees that are levied against youth and their families when they get put through the juvenile justice system.

Child Tobacco Workers in U.S. Linked to Marlboro, Newport, Camel Cigarettes

Child Tobacco Workers in U.S. Linked to Marlboro, Newport, Camel Cigarettes

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a damning report that illustrates the conditions that child tobacco workers endure in the United States. The organization interviewed 141 child workers between the ages of 7 and 17 who work tobacco fields in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, where 90 percent of tobacco is cultivated in the U.S. The conditions that children endure—including likely poisoning—are horrifying: 

Nearly three-quarters of the children interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported the sudden onset of serious symptoms—including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, difficulty breathing, and irritation to their eyes and mouths—while working in fields of tobacco plants and in barns with dried tobacco leaves and tobacco dust. Many of these symptoms are consistent with acute nicotine poisoning.

Tobacco cultivation is hard work, and HRW has found that children are exploited to work the fields in every step, from seeding to pesticide application to harvesting—sometimes by hand, sometimes by machine. Working by hand includes literally working on hands and knees to pick weeds. But working with machines or tools increases the likelihood of grave injury from sudden lacerations.

Long hours and low wages aren’t uncommon: one child interviewed by HRW explains how he worked 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with only one five minute break and one half-hour lunch—and that was on a good day. Some child workers are discouraged from drinking liquids because no bathroom facilities are available in which to urinate. And while most child workers do earn the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, some are paid fixed rates, or have contractor fees or even drinking water allowances deducted from their pay. Child tobacco workers are rarely afforded protective gear—and cover themselves in garbage bags brought from home to provide some safety for themselves.  

Child tobacco workers in the U.S. are mostly Latino. And although their parents may be undocumented, the children themselves are usually U.S.-born citizens. HRW also found that some of the child workers are undocumented, but some applied and were approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which provides temporary relief from deportation two years at a time. Some child tobacco workers also arrive to the U.S. with family members or even alone, just to work the fields.

The tobacco these child workers cultivate enters a supply market and is ultimately used to manufacture some of the best-known brands of cigarettes in the U.S., including Marlboro, Newport, Camel, Winston, Parliament, Virginia Slims, Pall Mall and more.

HRW points out that while U.S. law prohibits children under the age of 18 from buying tobacco products, it also “law fails to recognize the risks to children of working in tobacco farming.” The organization makes a long list of recommendations to the President, Congress, agencies, states, tobacco manufacturers and even employers themselves to address the horrors that child tobacco workers face in the fields.

You can read the report in full online

Peggy McIntosh Sets Record Straight on White Privilege

Peggy McIntosh Sets Record Straight on White Privilege

White privilege. It’s been a hot topic in mainstream media in recent weeks because of a young Princetonian’s controversial essay, “Checking my Privilege.” What is privilege? And maybe more important, what is it not? The New Yorker has a must-read interview with the original expert. Now 79, Peggy McIntosh’s 1988 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” remains, more than 25 years on, the clearest elucidation of the topic. Some highlights:

How McIntosh came to write so authoritatively in the late ’80s about privilege:

… About six years earlier, black women in the Boston area had written essays to the effect that white women were oppressive to work with. I remember back to what it had been like to read those essays. My first response was to say, “I don’t see how they can say that about us—I think we’re nice!” And my second response was deeply racist, but this is where I was in 1980. I thought, I especially think we’re nice if we work with them.

On reaction, over the years, to speaking up about privilege:

Well, at first, the most common responses were from white people. Their most common response was “I never thought about this before.” After a couple of years, that was accompanied by “You changed my life.” From people of color, from the beginning, it was “You showed me I’m not crazy.” And if they said more than that it was along the lines of “I knew there was something out there working against me.”

On the value of honoring and telling individual stories:

I think one’s own individual experience is sacred. Testifying to it is very important—but so is seeing that it is set within a framework outside of one’s personal experience that is much bigger, and has repetitive statistical patterns in it.

There’re more gems from McIntosh, who’s still working on educational equity at Wellesley. Check out The New Yorker interview—as well as the Princeton essay that kicked off the mainstream media’s recent white privilege coverage.

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