Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Kansas City Bans Smoking Inside Public Housing Apartments

Kansas City Bans Smoking Inside Public Housing Apartments

In Kansas City, Missouri residents can no longer smoke indoors or in their own yards if they live in public housing. The smoking ban in all 1,700 units begins July 1 but smokers can seek a six-month extension to January 1, 2015. The Kansas City ban, which affects 5,000 families, 80 percent of whom are African-American, is part of a trend. Since 2009 and at HUD’s urging, according to The Kansas City Star, nearly one-third of public housing authorities around the country have implemented property-wide smoking bans.

Needless to say many KC public housing residents who smoke are, eh hem, unhappy. Besides the public health benefits, the ban raises privacy concerns and carries the potential for eviction if residents can’t control their addiction. Talk about new incentive to quit.

Former Abercrombie Manager Explains Systemic Discrimination

Former Abercrombie Manager Explains Systemic Discrimination

In an essay published on Salon, Oliver Lee Bateman, a former manager for Abercrombie & Fitch describes how he got recruited without so much as an interview—and perpetuated crass discrimination against people of color and people of size. Bateman, who’s now a history professor, explains how the company not only discriminates in the employee hiring process, but also how it encourages those employees to do its bidding on the sales floor: 

Allow me to recap:  there’s this awful, terrible, gross, maleficent company that I and thousands of other foolish young people have worked for. It’s run by some of the nastiest pieces of work in retail. Its reluctant employees, hired because they have college degrees and prepossessing, phenotypically Caucasian/Aryan bodies, are encouraged to join in the fun:  ridicule the brand representatives, laugh at fat people, and hate on everybody who isn’t “collegiate” and “quality.”

You can read the essay, titled “I sold my body (and nearly my soul) to Abercrombie,” in its entirety on Salon. 

Circus Accident, Target CEO Resigns and Astroid Bolts by Earth

Circus Accident, Target CEO Resigns and Astroid Bolts by Earth
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
 
  • Target’s CEO finally resigns after December’s massive data breach. 
  • You know when you don’t want to unfollow, but you don’t want to see that person’s tweets? You can mute them now
TAGS: Morning Rush

Fears About Immigration Consequences Affected Latinos’ Healthcare Enrollment

Fears About Immigration Consequences Affected Latinos' Healthcare Enrollment

Latinos posted lower than projected signup rates in President Obama’s healthcare enrollment, according to new numbers released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services. Part of that may have been due to families’ fears about how handing over information to the government.

Advocates in California and other states warned that among other rollout snags was hesitation in the community that signing up would also alert other sectors of government about family members who are undocumented, the Washington Post reported.

From the Washington Post

Sign-ups among Hispanics lagged initially, notably in California, which has been viewed as a bellwether for the nation because the state embraced the ACA and because it historically has had a very large and diverse uninsured population. The state spent millions targeting Latinos for sign-up, but participation was dismal late last year. Advocates complained that there were not enough Spanish-speaking counselors and that legal U.S. residents feared alerting the government to their unlawfully present relatives.

Advocates outside of California noticed a similar trend, attributing the lagging Hispanic enrollment to a delay in the Spanish-language version of the federal enrollment Web site, HealthCare.gov, as well as technical difficulties experienced by people in families with mixed immigration status who were trying to enroll on the federal marketplace.

 

 


Hispanics historically have had the nation’s highest rate of uninsured, with 
29 percentwithout coverage in 2012, according to Census Bureau figures. About 17 percent of African Americans15 percent of Asian Americans and 10 percent of whites did not have health insurance that year.

Over the past seven months of enrollment, attention has focused on Hispanics because they represent a huge proportion of the nation’s uninsured. Moreover, the population skews younger than the American public at large, making them key to the White House’s goal of ensuring robust enrollment by healthy young people.

According to the report, people who identified themselves as Latino accounted for 7.4 percent of total sign-ups in the 36 states with federal-run exchanges. The administration cautioned, however, that it did not have ethnicity data for about 31 percent of people selecting coverage on the federal marketplaces. The report also didn’t include data from the 15 state-run exchanges, and it doesn’t account for people who may have obtained coverage through Medicaid.

 

TAGS:

Fears About Immigration Consequences Affected Latinos’ Healthcare Enrollment

Fears About Immigration Consequences Affected Latinos' Healthcare Enrollment

Latinos posted lower than projected signup rates in President Obama’s healthcare enrollment, according to new numbers released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services. Part of that may have been due to families’ fears about how handing over information to the government.

Advocates in California and other states warned that among other rollout snags was hesitation in the community that signing up would also alert other sectors of government about family members who are undocumented, the Washington Post reported.

From the Washington Post

Sign-ups among Hispanics lagged initially, notably in California, which has been viewed as a bellwether for the nation because the state embraced the ACA and because it historically has had a very large and diverse uninsured population. The state spent millions targeting Latinos for sign-up, but participation was dismal late last year. Advocates complained that there were not enough Spanish-speaking counselors and that legal U.S. residents feared alerting the government to their unlawfully present relatives.

Advocates outside of California noticed a similar trend, attributing the lagging Hispanic enrollment to a delay in the Spanish-language version of the federal enrollment Web site, HealthCare.gov, as well as technical difficulties experienced by people in families with mixed immigration status who were trying to enroll on the federal marketplace.

 

Florida Passes In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Florida Passes In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Florida governor Rick Scott is expected to sign #HB851 today. The legislation, now passed by both state houses, will allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition there. The bill cleared its biggest hurdle Thursday, when the Republican-controlled Senate voted to approve it—senators had killed previous efforts to do so.

Once the bill is signed, Florida will become the 21st state to create tuition equity for undocumented students. The effort was led was students themselves, who’ve been fighting to pay in-state tuition for years. It represents a massive victory, where Republicans control the governorship, the Senate and the House. 

(h/t Palm Beach Post)

L.A. N.A.A.C.P. Chief Resigns Over Sterling Flap

L.A. N.A.A.C.P. Chief Resigns Over Sterling Flap

The Los Angeles branch of the N.A.A.C.P. faced intense scrutiny for its plans to award disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling a second lifetime achievement award. Yesterday, the president of the branch, Leon Jenkins, resigned amid an investigation by the organization’s California state conference, the New York Times reports.  

Under Jenkins’ leadership the branch gave Sterling, who has donated $45,000 to the branch since 2007, a similar award in 2009. 

From the Times:

In announcing Mr. Jenkins’s resignation, the national N.A.A.C.P. said it was “developing guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.”

Mr. Jenkins could not be reached for comment after his resignation was made public. When questioned by a reporter outside his office in a Culver City shopping mall on Wednesday, he said only, “I’d talk to you if I could, but I’ve been told not to.”

Sterling’s racist words weren’t the only indication of his views. In 2009 he agreed to pay $2.725 million to settle a housing discrimination suit connected to apartment buildings that he owned. 

‘Documented’ Opens in Theaters

'Documented' Opens in Theaters

Jose Antonio Vargas’s “Documented” opens in theaters today. Vargas, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, published a story in the New York Times Magazine in 2011 that revealed his undocumented status—and was then featured in Time Magazine. His documentary is about immigration, but it’s also a deeply personal film that illustrates how bad policy creates borders between family members.

Vargas tells Colorlines that it was important for him to make an honest film. But as difficult as “Documented” is to watch at times, the viewer is rewarded with an intimate look at a complex life. We’ll be sharing a Q+A with Vargas here next week.

The film opens in New York today, and will air on CNN this summer. 

Jobs Surge, New Michael Jackson Song from 1983 and Mars Rover Selfies

Jobs Surge, New Michael Jackson Song from 1983 and Mars Rover Selfies

Here’s what I’m reading up on today: 

  • There’s a new Michael Jackson song—from 1983: 

  • NASA’s Curiosity rover takes selfies before test drilling on Mars. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Live Chat: Scholars Discuss Beauty, Black Women, Bodies—and Beyoncé

Live Chat: Scholars Discuss Beauty, Black Women, Bodies--and Beyoncé

Yet another must-see live chat is set for this evening. And this one’s titled: “Beyoncé: Beauty. Body. Blackness.”

Tonight, leading black female scholars and public intellectuals will gather at Drexel University from 6-8:30pm ET to discuss black women, beauty, bodies and blackness all through the lens of Queen Bey herself. The event will include a viewing of Beyoncé’s visual album, and promises to be a rich conversation. 

The lineup of speakers includes:

  • Joan Morgan, cultural critic; author of “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roots”
  • Yaba Blay, PhD, co-director of Africana studies at Drexel University; author of “(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race”
  • Brittney Cooper, PhD, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University; co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective
  • Esther Armah, journalist, playwright and MSNBC political commentator
  • Dr. Kaila Story, associate professor, women’s and gender studies / Pan-African studies; Audre Lorde Chair in race, class, gender, and sexuality studies at University of Louisville
  • Treva Lindsey, PhD, assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the Ohio State University.

Tonight’s event is hosted by Africana Studies at Drexel University and co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Women’s Studies program and the Drexel University Media Studies Group.

The conversation is set to be live-streamed here, starting at 6pm ET.

Warpaint Guitarist Says Beyoncé Looks ‘Like a Slut’

Warpaint Guitarist Says Beyoncé Looks 'Like a Slut'

For starters, there’s a band called Warpaint. No comment. 

But anyway, during a recent interview with Q Magazine, the band’s guitarist, Theresa Wayman, had some choice words about Rihanna and Beyoncé:

“She [Rihanna] has an insane voice, she could’ve done something so much more subtle and artful,” suggests the Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman, who also was dismayed by Beyonce’s recent adoption of twerking.

“It just gets worse,” she adds. “Every song on Beyonce’s last album has her basically looking like a slut and she does not need to do that. She’s gorgeous and so fucking talented. And they all take it as women’s liberation!”

The post doesn’t make clear who the “they” are that are taking anything “as women’s liberation.” Is it Riri and Bey? Their fans? Black women? It’s unclear. 

Wayman responded to pushback about her statements with a quasi apology on the band’s Facebook page. It reads, in part:

What I was referring to, specifically, was my take on the video clip for “Superpower” where I felt her role in that clip undermined the song - which is one of my favorites. That’s pretty much it. As a fan I was confused with her choice to sexualize herself in that particular moment. On the other hand “Drunk in Love”, in my humble opinion, is so powerful in it’s sexuality. I could watch that on a loop forever. Ultimately she can do whatever the fuck she wants.

Pretty sure Beyoncé already knows she can do whatever she wants, though.

(h/t Consequence of Sound)

Florida Jail Blast Kills 2, New Rob Ford Video and ‘MFA vs. POC’

Florida Jail Blast Kills 2, New Rob Ford Video and 'MFA vs. POC'

Here’s what I’m reading this morning: 

  • May Day protestors in Istanbul defy a rally ban and clash with riot police. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

In Sterling’s Wake, is Snyder Next?

In Sterling's Wake, is Snyder Next?

It seemed like everyone applauded the National Basketball Association’s decision yesterday to bar Clippers owner Don Sterling for life. But some also noted that while racism is being seriously challenged in the NBA, the same isn’t true for the National Football League:

Senator Harry Reid, (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor today to call on the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, to take action to get the Washington D.C. football team to change its name. Reid cited precedent:

It’s been done before, right here in Washington, D.C. 17 years ago [the owner of the] Washington Bullets, and the late Abe Pollin, a wonderful man, Madam President, saw all of the gun violence and murders taking place in the DC area. And what did he do? He voluntarily decided that name, Washington Bullets, wasn’t any good and changed [the] name. He didn’t his team to be associated with bullets. So he changed the name of this organization: the Washington Bullets to the Washington Wizards. The Wizards is a good name. Don’t you think Daniel Snyder can come up with a name? It should be easy. 

Do you think the Washington team will change its name any time soon?

NY Renames Street for Muslim EMT and Cadet who Died on 9/11

NY Renames Street for Muslim EMT and Cadet who Died on 9/11

Mohammad Salman Hamdani was on his way to work in Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001 when he heard and saw what happened at the Twin Towers. The 23-year-old EMT and police cadet rushed to scene to help; his body was later recovered at Ground Zero. Hamdani, who emigrated from Pakistan with his parents as a toddler, was later unjustly accused of having been involved in the attacks. 

Hamdani’s name was later cleared—but serves as one of countless examples of the ways Muslims are profiled in New York. This week, however, a street in Bayside, Queens (just a block from where he lived) has been renamed Salman Hamdani Way.

(h/t New York Daily News)

Is Immigration Reform Undermining Latino Civil Rights?

Is Immigration Reform Undermining Latino Civil Rights?

Angelo Falcón recently posed a provocative question: Is immigration reform taking over the “traditional” Latino civil rights movement to the point that they’re now in conflict? “Although immigration reform affects about 15 percent of the total Latino population,” Falcón writes, “as a public policy issue it now occupies almost all the Latino policy agenda, sucking up, as one colleague recently put it, all the oxygen on Latino issues.”

With Obama facing increasing pressure to act on deportations, ongoing immigration reform protests and frustration among DREAMers, Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, raises his questions at, he admits, a sensitive time. But he seems driven, too, by perhaps a longtime concern that immigration reform is inherently assimilationist. The Latino civil rights movement, he says, has traditionally been oppositional.

Juan Cartagena’s point-by-point rebuttal is a worthy follow-up. It takes issue in particular with Falcón underestimating the proportion of Latinos impacted by anti-immigrant laws. For example, Cartagena, head of longtime civil rights group LatinoJustice PRLDEF, says that increased racial profiling because of anti-immigrant laws affects more Latinos than those who are undocumented. 

And over on Feet in 2 Worlds, journalist Von Diaz profiles DREAMers who’re moving away from the movement’s core goal. Says one:

“The DREAMer narrative disciplines and censors a lot of undocumented people. It brings notions of who’s a good immigrant, and who needs to prosper in the U.S. …I think we talk about the border, but we ourselves within the immigrant rights movement, we’ve been building walls, about who we are and as human beings and people and our experiences.”

Check out all the threads above. It’s a rich discussion.

Bungled Execution, Massive Flooding in the South and the Post-antibiotic Era

Bungled Execution, Massive Flooding in the South and the Post-antibiotic Era

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

TAGS: Morning Rush

Scenes from a Protest: Clippers Fans Stand Against Sterling

Scenes from a Protest: Clippers Fans Stand Against Sterling

By yesterday afternoon, news of Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime NBA ban had already settled in. But there was still plenty of anger among the protesters who gathered outside the Staples Center Tuesday. With game 5 of the Warriors and Clippers first round playoff series hours away, Angelenos, most without a ticket to the game and many of them professed Lakers fans, gathered to let it be known that they wanted to Sterling as far away from the NBA as possible. 

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Leaders from the National Action Network and the Nation of Islam address the crowd.

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“That $2.5 million they fined him? He’s going to make that at today’s game,” said Ron Nelson of Pasadena, who printed 20 t-shirts with the design he was wearing. “My thing is get him out.”

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Luis Gordiano and Matiana Lopez hold a sign they brought to the game.

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“I came out to support the hometown Clippers,” says Jubilee Shine, who held Messiah, 10 months. “I’m happy that [NBA Commissioner Adam] Silver listened to the players’ association and the community but he has to follow through on it like [Warriors point guard] Stephen Curry said, and make sure that Sterling is absolutely separated from this organization and from the league altogether.”

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“Are you a Clippers fan?” Colorlines asked Mollie Bell, of Compton. “I’m actually a Lakers fan,” Bell said. “If we can do anything we need to dig out the COR. COR stands for the ‘culture of racism.’”

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“Fouled Out!” read Clippers fan Abraham Dilan’s sign. “I’m very happy about the decision,” Dilan said. “I hope Magic will buy the team.”

Complaint: Boomers! Parks Discriminate Against Muslims and Sikhs

Complaint: Boomers! Parks Discriminate Against Muslims and Sikhs

If you’re an observant Sikh or Muslim who wears a headcovering, Boomers! amusement parks don’t want you on their Go-Karts. That’s the complaint from the Council on American Islamic Relations-California (CAIR-California) and United Sikhs, who held press conferences today to announce the filing of joint complaints against the amusement park chain. 

The public accommodation complaints are being filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and allege that Boomers! amusement parks effectively bar Muslim and Sikh parkgoers from certain rides by throwing up safety concerns about riders’ religious headcoverings without providing accommodation for those riders. The amusement park is in essence cutting thousands of local residents off from portions of the park, “solely based on their faith,” the two organizations said in a joint statement today.

“It troubles us that every other amusement park is able to make sufficient accommodations to permit women wearing hijabs to ride some of the fastest roller coasters in the world, but that Boomers! has unequivocally denied them access to the Go-Kart rides,” CAIR-Northern California Civil Rights Coordinator Brice Hamack said in a statement. What’s more, United Sikhs staff attorney Manmeet Singh said in the statement, “Boomers! has failed to provide any clear or sensible reasoning for denying individuals with religious headwear requirements access to Go-Karts.”

According to its website, the Boomers!-owned Palace Entertainment runs over a dozen Boomers! parks around the country. The majority are based in California. 

More Deadly Tornadoes, NBA to Reveal Findings on Sterling and Tony Nominations

More Deadly Tornadoes, NBA to Reveal Findings on Sterling and Tony Nominations
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 
 
  • New research explains why the 1918 flu pandemic was so deadly. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

A Desegregation Order’s End Brings Shifts to Top Chicago Public Schools

A Desegregation Order's End Brings Shifts to Top Chicago Public Schools

In 2009 U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras lifted a decades-old federal desegregation order that mandated that no Chicago public high school could be more than 35 percent white. Since that fateful ruling, Chicago’s top public high schools have been making a quick backslide into segregated territory, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

Almost immediately after the 2009 ruling barred Chicago public schools from considering race in their student makeup, students of color, Asian students included, started falling from the rolls of students admitted to top Chicago public high schools.

The Sun-Times breaks down the shifts at individual schools:

At Walter Payton College Prep on the Near North Side, more than 41 percent of freshmen admitted the past four years have been white, compared with 29 percent in 2009, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of Chicago Public Schools data has found.

At Jones College Prep in the South Loop, 38 percent of this year’s freshman class is white, compared to 29 percent four years ago.

In 2010 — the first year race was no longer used to determine the makeup of Chicago schools — the percentage of white freshmen at Northside College Prep in North Park rose from 37 percent to 48 percent.

And at Whitney Young College Prep on the Near West Side, the percentage of black freshmen has steadily declined in the past three years, while the percentage of whites has risen.

“I consider these schools to be gated communities for children of privilege,” Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the group Parents United for Responsible Education, told the Sun-Times.

The dynamic is not limited to Chicago alone. For decades courts have been undoing desegregation orders and limiting the impact of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and many schools around the country remain or have returned to their pre-Brown segregated days. 

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