Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Middle Schooler to Obama Cabinet Member: ‘White People Are Taking Over’ My Neighborhood

Middle Schooler to Obama Cabinet Member: 'White People Are Taking Over' My Neighborhood

When Shaun Donovan, Barack Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, went to go visit Everett Middle School in San Francisco’s historically Latino Mission District, he probably expected to hear glowing things from students at a school that had drastically improved their academic performance in recent years. 

Donovan sat with the school’s principal Lina Van Haren and several students about what they like and dislike about their neighborhood. One 12-year-old student’s gave a brutally honest answer.

“The Mission District, around here, has changed a lot because there’s a lot of white people taking over the Mission,” said a 12-year old, when asked by her principal what’s changed in the surrounding area, according to the San Francisco Weekly. “I used to always see Latinos in the Mission — and, yeah.”

She continued, “People are moving out of the Mission because it’s getting more expensive since so many more white people are moving to San Francisco,” she continued. “And that’s why it’s harder to get to school and black people are moving out.”

A recent map of rental prices backs up the middle schooler’s claim. The median rental price per bedroom in the Mission is about $2,400.

(h/t SF Weekly)

Elderly Chinese Couple Takes On San Francisco’s Tech-Driven Gentrifiers

Elderly Chinese Couple Takes On San Francisco's Tech-Driven Gentrifiers

Before their scheduled eviction today, Gum Gee Lee and Poon Heung Lee, an elderly Chinese couple who’ve lived in their San Francisco apartment for 34 years, are putting up one last very public fight. They’re the last holdouts in a building that was bought by a real estate developer whose specialty is flipping old apartment buildings into luxury condos. Elected city officials, community members and the Lees are currently in front of the apartment building ready to engage in civil disobedience to protest their eviction, said Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus’ attorney Omar Calimbas, who represents the Lees.

The Lees worked in the city for decades, raised their family in their apartment and still care for a disabled daughter in their home. When developer Matthew Miller offered buyouts to the other tenants, the Lees tried to move as well. But as seniors on fixed incomes whose daughter is dependent on care she receives in San Francisco, Calimbas said, they didn’t have the kind of leverage they needed. So they decided to stay and fight. 

In a daylong protest outside their 1840-A Jackson Street apartment building the Lees, accompanied by politicians like San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim and community advocates including the Chinese Progressive Association and the San Francisco Tenants Union, protested their eviction. 

The Lees don’t actually have much legal recourse; under California law a landlord may evict tenants if they are pulling the unit off the residential rental market. But in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area where the tech boom has forced a rent explosion, the law, called the Ellis Act, has facilitated the evictions of long-time San Francisco residents—particularly those who can’t afford to stick around in the new housing market. Ellis Act evictions and buyouts have increased three-fold since just the beginning of the year, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The Lees’ fight is about much more than just tenants’ rights. It’s also a protest against the gentrification that’s remaking the city into a luxury playground that few but the rich can afford.

“The goal here is to get the ear of City Hall and start working toward concrete proposals to set up safety nets for families like the Lees, those most at risk of being evicted,” Calimbas told Colorlines. “Especially when there is a rebound that makes rent-controlled propoerties very attractive to short-term high-yield flipping strategies.”

The Lees do not have a place to move to, Calimbas said. 

Applying for DACA? There’s an App for That

Applying for DACA? There's an App for That

Now, there’s a phone app for avoiding deportation. Immigration Advocates Network, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council teamed up to produce Pocket DACA as part of the “Own the DREAM Campaign,” which is now available for iPhone and Android.  Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA can be a cumbersome process, requiring a lifetime’s worth of documents such as school and medical records that prove continuous residence in the U.S. This app is meant to answer questions and help youth determine if they’re eligible to apply. 

Say what you will about DACA, which is starting to show some cracks. But Google Play users took the opportunity to share their thoughts on immigration reform, many giving the product a one-star rating because they said it “encourages criminal behavior,” and that illegal immigrants are likely to join gangs. Otherwise, the app seems to be getting mostly positive reviews from youth and organizers who’ve used it. 

Your Favorite Childhood Cartoons Grew Up and Got Radical

Your Favorite Childhood Cartoons Grew Up and Got Radical

There’s a group of queer artists of color who didn’t take too kindly to a recent story that depicted ’90s cartoon characters as sleek Fashion Week attendees. As writer Mia McKenzie wrote at her blog, “Lisa Simpson, proud feminist with so much to say about gender roles, body shaming and capitalism, drawn in this hyper-thin, rich girl way? Why, baby Jesus? Why?”

So McKenzie teamed up with artist Julio Salgado and fellow writer Tina Vasquez to re-create their favorite ’90s cartoon characters as grown-up, radicalized activists. The lineup includes Lisa Simpson (“The Simpsons”), Daria (“Daria”), Jasmine Du Bois (“The Bookdocks”), and Dora the Explorer, just to name a few.

Daria_Lisa_edited2-194x300.jpgLisa Simpson and Daria

Bio by Tina Vasquez

Lisa Simpson and Daria Morgendorffer met by way of an alumni group through their mutual alma mater: Smith College. Once, after the Feminism & Media conference, they had one too many cocktails and ended up kissing in a Marriott Hotel hallway, but no weirdness ensued. Their shared love of dismantling patriarchy, smashing mainstream beauty standards, and using their middleclass, cisgender, heterosexual, white girl privilege to fuck shit up from inside was strong enough to push past the awkward aftermath. Morgendorffer works as a writing instructor with San Francisco’s 826 Valencia and Simpson is a women’s studies professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In their free time, they collaborate on their zine Cat Fancy. Both women are still processing what they learned from #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

 

Jasmine_edited-194x300.jpgJasmine DuBois from “The Boondocks”

Bio by Mia McKenzie

Jazmine left Woodcrest, Illinois to go to college at age seventeen. Much to her father’s chagrin, she chose a historically black institution, in hopes of undoing some of the anti-black brainwashing she was victim to in her parents’ house. At college, she majored in music and embraced black militancy, which made her friend Huey Freeman very proud. Jazmine didn’t care, though, because she also found black womanism and stopped giving a shit what Huey thinks of her. She is not here for his or any man’s approval. She dropped out junior year to go on tour with her hip-hop-funk band, “Smashing Misogynoir,” and never looked back. She’s a social justice activist, a professional kickboxer, and a mom.

 

Dora_edited-194x300.jpg

Dora the Explorer 

Bio by Tina Vasquez

Growing up, Dora became accustomed to her abuelitas and tias, even her own mom, pinching her chubby cheeks, patting her round little belly, simultaneously adoring her “baby fat” while also lamenting its existence. Dora had body issues for the bulk of her childhood, but in high school something snapped and she said Fuck. This. Shit. It was around this time that Dora began exploring other women’s bodies. Hearing her partner whisper, “You’re so fucking sexy” as they messed around in the girl’s locker room did wonders for her self-esteem. When her cousin Diego came out as undocumented after high school, organizing around the Dream Act, Dora was inspired by his movement work and began her journey as a queer, fat, femme activist. Using only her blog and camera, Dora fights fat phobia by showcasing the beauty of her cis and trans sisters - curves, dimples, stretch marks, and all. Dora also does queer porn, appearing in the latest installment of Courtney Trouble’s Lesbian Curves with April Flores. It was awesome.

The list includes many more of your favorite cartoon characters, and you can see it in full over at Black Girl Dangerous

* This post has been updated since publication.

 

Federally Contracted Workers Bring Labor Fight to Obama’s Front Door

Federally Contracted Workers Bring Labor Fight to Obama's Front Door

Low-wage workers from the nation’s federal workplaces are marching straight to their top executive today to demand fair, living wages from President Obama. It’s expected to be the largest strike yet for workers employed under federal contracts, concessions and lease agreements at workplaces like Union Station, the American Zoo, the Ronald Reagan Building and the Smithsonian Museum. Workers want President Obama to issue an executive order ensuring that federally contracted workers are paid a a living wage.

Backed by Good Jobs Nation, a coalition of workers’ rights and faith groups, workers argue that they’re are paid criminally low wages that force them to turn to public assistance to make ends meet. Folks who can’t retire on their $8.75 per hour janitor pay; fathers who can’t pay all their family’s bills even with full-time work as cooks, and young moms who don’t make enough in tips to make up for the $3 per hour they make as restaurant servers are the people who’ll be marching to the White House today, and delivering personal letters to Obama to demand some action. 

Mega corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s are the most visible employers of the low-wage economy and indeed, in the last year low-wage workers from those very companies have staged broad public actions to demand fair pay, but Good Jobs Nation argues that big-box and fast-food companies are hardly the worst offenders. The U.S. government creates two million low-wage jobs, according to Good Jobs Nation, compared with the 600,000 low-wage jobs McDonald’s is responsible for, or Walmart’s 900,000.

The Labor Department is also investigating Good Jobs Nation’s formal complaint that federally contracted companies owe $1 million in back pay and wages to workers. 

Five People of Color Named 2013 MacArthur ‘Geniuses’

Five People of Color Named 2013 MacArthur 'Geniuses'

This morning, the MacArthur Founation named its 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows, commonly referred to as “Genius Grants,” and this year’s class includes five visionary artists and scholars of color. Photographer Carrie Mae Weems, playwright Tarell McCraney, choreographer Kyle Abraham, musician Vijay Iyer, and researcher Angela Duckworth have been named among this year’s winners.

Here’s more about each artist. Biographies and videos are from the MacArthur Foundation.

Carrie Mae Weems is a photographer and video installation artist examining the complex and contradictory legacy of African American identity, class, and culture in the United States. Her intimate depictions of children, adults, and families in simple settings document and interpret the ongoing and centuries-old struggle for racial equality, human rights, and social inclusion in America. 

Tarell Alvin McCraney is a playwright exploring the rich diversity of the African American experience in works that imbue the lives of ordinary people with epic significance. Complementing his poetic, intimate language with a musical sensibility and rhythmic, often ritualistic movement, McCraney transforms intentionally minimalist stages into worlds marked by metaphor and imagery. 

Kyle Abraham is a choreographer and dancer probing the relationship between identity and personal history through a unique hybrid of traditional and vernacular dance styles that speaks to a new generation of dancers and audiences. With diverse training in music, visual art, and dance—and breathtaking skill as a performer—Abraham’s highly physical dance vocabulary reflects the youthful energy of the hip-hop and urban dance he encountered in his adolescence as well as a strong grounding in modern dance technique. 

Vijay Iyer is a pianist, composer, bandleader, electronic musician, and writer forging a new conception of jazz and American creative music through an eclectic oeuvre that includes compositions for his own and other ensembles, collaborations across multiple genres and disciplines, and scholarly research on the act of listening.  An ardent investigator of musical communities, practices, histories, and theories, he mines core rhythmic, melodic, and structural elements from a wide range of sources to construct richly varied, improvisation-driven solo and ensemble music.

 

Angela Duckworth is a psychologist whose studies are clarifying the role that intellectual strengths and personality traits play in educational achievement. Duckworth’s work primarily examines two traits that she demonstrates predict success in life: grit—the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward long-term goals—and self-control—the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses. A major difference between the two qualities is that grit equips individuals to pursue especially challenging aims over years and even decades, while self-control operates at a more micro timescale in the battle against what could be referred to as “hourly temptations.” 

‘Baby’ Veronica Taken from her Family and the Cherokee Nation

'Baby' Veronica Taken from her Family and the Cherokee Nation

In a landmark adoption ruling three months ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Indian Child Welfare Act didn’t apply to keeping a young Cherokee girl named Veronica with her biological father, Dusten Brown. But it remained unclear whether that meant Veronica would be turned over to the white couple that wanted to adopt her.

After bouncing the case back to South Carolina, there have been several developments. Most recently, Brown was involved in secret negotiations with the adoptive couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, but was barred from talking about the case because of a gag order. Those negotiations never worked out, however. Federal marshals took Veronica, who is four years old now, from Cherokee tribal headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla., on Monday night.  

Suzette Brewer, who’s been detailing developments in the case for Indian Country Today, explains what a loss this has been for Cherokee Nation, as well as for the Brown family:

Exhausted and left with few options other than jail time and the loss of his military career and pension, [Dusten Brown] discussed her peaceful transfer with his family, legal team and tribal officials. He and his wife, Robin, packed a few bags for Veronica, who had just turned four years old last week. Before the family gathered to say their last goodbyes, Tommy Brown, Veronica’s grandfather, began suffering chest pains and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. 

The Capobiancos have previously said they will allow Veronica to keep her ties to her nation—but are not obligated by any agreement to do so. 

Strange Fruit: AIG CEO Says Investment Bankers Lynched Like in ‘Deep South’

Strange Fruit: AIG CEO Says Investment Bankers Lynched Like in 'Deep South'

A teenage black boy whistles at a white woman or stares at her a second too long in the 1950s and he gets bludgeoned, shot, attached to a cotton gin and sunk in the river. In the 2000s, finance investment brokers almost break the entire American economy by gambling with risky financial schemes, and then become the target of millions of furious workers and Occupy-ers who lost their 401k and pensions savings, but don’t do much more than wave hostile posters outside the brokers’ windows.

There’s no difference between the two scenarios, at least according to Robert Benmosche, CEO of the “Too Big To Fail”-tagged, multinational financial insurance company AIG that almost went belly up in 2008. When the company was saved, thanks to bailouts from Congress and President George W. Bush, it issued bonuses to its board members, as did many other finance corporations whose accounts took the same plunge. 

Americans became understandably astounded that these companies issued bonuses at their expense, and much of that frustration helped trigger the Occupy movement. But Benmosche said that anger was unfounded. As he told The Wall Street Journal (via Ezra Klein at The Washington Post):

The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangman nooses, and all that — sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”

According to the Tuskegee Institute, almost 5,000 people were lynched between 1882 and 1951 for “crimes” as trivial as insubordination — being black and talking back to a white man — or for simply trying to register to vote. AIG brokers got away with almost murdering the U.S. economy and walked away not with noose bruises around their necks, but with millions of dollars in bonuses.

Benmosche’s comments are a reminder of why it’s not people of color who need black history and ethnic studies programs, and also of how detached from reality the one percent really is. 

As Republicans Flee Immigration Reform, Pelosi May Introduce Her Own Bill

As Republicans Flee Immigration Reform, Pelosi May Introduce Her Own Bill

Just as the prospects for passage of a House immigration reform bill looked to be imploding last week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told a group of leading House Democrats and Washington immigration advocates that she plans to introduce her own immigration reform legislation.  According to Politico, the California Democrat could release her legislation as early as the first week of October.

The Pelosi bill would closely resemble the legislation passed in June by the Senate but would incorporate border security provisions included in a proposal from the House Judiciary Committee. Its introduction could provide a jump-start to an immigration legislative process thrown recently into chaos.

Last week, two House Republicans who’d been heavily involved with drafting a separate bipartisan immigration reform bill announced publically that they were walking away from the table. Following the news, Illinois Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez, perhaps the leading reform proponent in the House, declared the bipartisan reform effort “stalled.” He added, “I don’t believe we’re going to produce a bill anytime soon.”

The Pelosi bill could pull immigration reform back out of the grave, but the bill’s ultimate passage still depends on House Speaker John Boehner, who would have to call the legislation to the floor for a vote, something he’s said he would not be willing to do without support from a majority of Republicans. Even with Pelosi’s adoption of the House Judiciary committee’s border security provisions, that level of GOP support remains a high bar.

Here’s B-Girl Terra Battling Other Adorable Small Children

Here's B-Girl Terra Battling Other Adorable Small Children

Remember B-Girl Terra? We dubbed her the flyest six-year-old dancer around. And it turns out, she’s just one of many talented little b-boys and b-girls who occassionally battle each other at break dance performances around the world. Here she is battling B-Boy LeeLou last spring in France. 

(h/t Jamie Thomas on Twitter)

Watch the Trailer for Aziz Ansari’s New Netflix Comedy

Watch the Trailer for Aziz Ansari's New Netflix Comedy

Here’s a look at Aziz Ansari’s “Buried Alive,” which premieres on November 1. 

Asian-Americans Speak Out Against New Run of ‘Miss Saigon’

Asian-Americans Speak Out Against New Run of 'Miss Saigon'

The Broadway Musical “Miss Saigon” recently celebrated its 24th birthday and is gearing up to launch in Minneapolis and Detroit. But the play’s new run is giving some the chance to speak out. The musical, which was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boubil, and Richard Maltby, centers on a romance between an American man and a Vietnamese woman during the Vietnam War. Since its opening in 1989, the play has become one of the longest running and most enduring representations of Vietnamese people in the Western world. But many detractors accuse the play of trafficking in age-old Asian stereotypes.

A new Tumblr campaign has popped up called Don’t Buy Miss Saigon: Our Truth Project. In it, dozens of Asian-Americans, most Vietnamese men and women, can “share their truths, as an act of resistance,” according to the website

Here’s one story. You can check out the dozens of others at Don’t Buy Miss Saigon: Our Truth Project:

I am a Vietnamese American woman, and this is my truth: It is not customary practice in Vietnamese culture to force marriages between family relatives, let alone cousins, nor force betrothals between children. Traditional Vietnamese culture is one of the most feminist progressive cultures - we had laws stating that daughters had equal rights to inherit family property as sons, women could own and inherit property as men, and women could keep their family names instead of forcing them to change their surnames to their husbands family’s at the same time that women in Europe were seen as little more than marriage chattel to be sold for their dowries. Miss Saigon doesn’t want you to know about these truths. 

I am a Vietnamese American woman, and I would choose to fall in love with a Thuy over an American G.I. any damn day of the week. Miss Saigon doesn’t want you to know about this truth.   

I am a Vietnamese American woman. Why don’t you care about my truth?  - -NB

Drake Channels Michael Jackson to Give Fans a New Marvin Gaye

Drake Channels Michael Jackson to Give Fans a New Marvin Gaye

Tuesday is the official release date for Drake’s third full-length studio album, “Nothing Was the Same,” and he’s got big ambitious for his new record. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, the Toronto rapper talks about his process of making the new album and, specifically, his hit single, “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”

At about the 12-minute mark in the interview, Drake says: “My motive was to give people in this generation something similar to a Marvin Gaye song, similar to those songs that are still around in 15 years and you say, ‘I remember that moment. I remember that song. I still dance to that song.’”

As he raps on his six-minute long intro, “Tuscan Leather,” Drake’s on a mission to “change the culture.” And while his recipe of mixing rap with R&B may not be new, it’s certainly proving to be wildly successful.

Lee Daniels Won’t Answer Question About Being Black, Gay: ‘I Want to Work’

Lee Daniels Won't Answer Question About Being Black, Gay: 'I Want to Work'

Director Lee Daniels recently sat down for an interview with Southern California radio station KCRW and it’s what he didn’t say about being an out gay black filmmaker in Hollywood that made news. During a segment on “The Business,” Daniels is asked to comment on why it’s so hard for openly gay black actors and filmmakers to gain acceptance in the entertainment industry, but he chooses to remain silent. His rationale? “I want to work.”

(Jump to the 6:50 mark for Daniels’ interview) (h/t Shadow & Act)

Sikh Professor Attacked in Potential Hate Crime

Sikh Professor Attacked in Potential Hate Crime

On Saturday night Dr. Prabhjot Singh was brutally attacked in his neighborhood by a large group of young men, who yelled the words “Osama,” “terrorist,” and “get him.” He says they grabbed his beard, punched him, and dragged him to the ground where they continued to beat him. He was rushed to the hospital with a fractured jaw and several missing teeth. Singh is Sikh and wears a turban and beard, and says he’s been profiled as a Muslim and attacked in the past, although never so violently. 

Singh is a professor at Columbia University, and is also a practicing physician. In addition he has also been an advocate for addressing historic discrimination against Sikhs in the U.S., which he says goes beyond mistaking this ethnic group for Muslims. The suspects have not yet been detained. 

Highlights From Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference

Highlights From Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference

Last week, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. held their 43rd Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., where African-American representatives in Congress interface with their constitutents and other district stakeholders about policies that best serve black communities. It’s an event that in recent years have been draped in scandal, as when newspapers reported questionable spending on the affair and alleged steering of awards and scholarships to family members of the Caucus. Other years brought shock, like when Obama told them to “stop complaining.” 

Obama spoke again at this year’s conference, as the keynote for their Phoenix Awards banquet, this time with tough words for Republican members of Congress who’ve been acting as dumbbells, weighing down progress on budget negotiations to keep the federal government from running out of money. He also chided them for attempting to defund food assistance benefits and Obamacare.  But he said despite the attacks that he wasn’t tired.

“I don’t get tired is because I’ve seen people who are in this audience and what you’ve done, the odds that you’ve overcome,” said Obama at the reception, which also honored Rep. Elijah Cummings and the historic “spirit of 1963” struggles for civil rights. 

Discussions around Congress restoring voting rights, reforming criminal justice, addressing black unemployment and climate change also dominated the conference. Below are highlights:

Economy — Just as the CBC conference kicked off, the House voted to cut $40 billion from SNAP food stamp benefits, which framed many of the discussions held about why African-Americans have been catching such a tough break in the current broken economy. A roundtable discussion led by Louisiana’s Rep. Cedric Richmond and Sen. Mary Landrieu and Texas’ Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee explored ways that Congress should address the growing racial wealth gap, and discussed a Senate report on economic inequities. Sen. Landrieu said that income and education gaps between whites and people of color have closed, but the “data tells us that this progress has not translated into the closing of the wealth gap.”

conyerscbc.jpg

(Rep. John Conyers addresses voting rights during CBC conference.)

Voting rights — During a workshop hosted by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan on restoring the Voting Rights Act to full power,  Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer made a surprise visit to assure that that was exactly what was happening in Congress. Shortly after, at another voting rights discussion Attorney General Eric Holder reinforced his commitment to protecting people of color against elections discrimination and said not to view the Supreme Court’s weakening of the Voting Rights Act “as a defeat for the cause of voting rights, but as an opportunity to ensure that modern protections are adequate to the challenges of the 21st century.”

Climate change —  Another surprise visit happened when new EPA chief Gina McCarthy crashed a panel discussion on environmental justice led by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. She had just announced the same morning at the National Press Club the EPA’s new regulations on carbon emissions from new power plants, a ground-breaking policy targeted at curbing climate change. Before CBC members, she said that under her reign EPA’s priority would be communities of color and those most vulnerable to environmental dangers like climate change. Said McCarthy, “I want every grant program we have to be first screened for who is going to benefit. I want funds from every portion of our agency going towards addressing those most in need.”

Criminal Justice reform — At a forum on criminal justice issues led by Rep. Maxine Waters of California, Attorney General Eric Holder continued his streak of letting the nation know that he was implementing new sentencing policies that would remedy the mass incarceration crisis that has been devastating communities of color. CBC members and their constituents applauded the announcement Holder made about new guidelines for ending mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent offenders that would be applied not just to new cases moving forward, but also retroactively to pending cases where a defendant has been charged but is still awaiting adjudication.

Comedian Kristina Wong Talks Asian Dating Fetish

Comedian Kristina Wong Talks Asian Dating Fetish

Kristina Wong’s already talked about white guys and their Asian fetishes. Now, during a recent appearance on W. Kamau Bell’s “Totally Biased,” the comedian took her analysis one step further.

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Listen to a U.S. Citizen’s Story of Being Detained By Immigration Enforcement

Listen to a U.S. Citizen's Story of Being Detained By Immigration Enforcement

Earlier this month Sarah Abdurrahman, a reporter for WNYC’s “On the Media,” was detained without explanation along with other family members by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Niagra Falls. She and her family are Muslim, and were returning from a family wedding in Canada. They later learned that other friends coming from the same the wedding, who are also Muslim, were separately detained at the Detroit border. Each person interviewed describes being bullied and harassed about their religious background, and some were subject to harsh physical treatment and had their cell phones searched or confiscated.  Now, Abdurrahman says she will be further investigate CBP and plans to file an official complaint against the agency for lack of transparency. 

This family’s story highlights ongoing camplaints against CBP, including that they racially profile individuals at the border, often violating their rights by confiscating electronic devices, or using abusive physical and psychological tactics—even against children—to terrify detainees. 

(h/t On the Media

Shady Businessman Exploits Homeless to Wait in Line for iPhones

Shady Businessman Exploits Homeless to Wait in Line for iPhones

The release of Apple’s new iPhone on Friday caused a worldwide ruckus, but the melee in Los Angeles was particularly unique, ending with scores of homeless people being assualted by police officers.

Last Thursday several witnesses spotted groups of men driving around the city’s Skid Row shouting “Who wants to make some money?” The men had reportedly promised people who were homeless $40, cigarettes, and fast food if they agreed to wait in line overnight for the new iPhone 5S and 5C.

But after being driven to the Apple Store in Pasadena and waiting in line for hours, the people who were homeless realized they had been duped. The Los Angeles Times reports:

According to various accounts, the businessman — who refused to identify himself but said he planned to resell the phones overseas at a large profit — had arranged for the homeless people to be given vouchers enabling them to purchase phones.

“It’s not illegal,” the man, who lated identified himself only as “Bobby”,  said in a brief interview with TV reporters. “I’m buying them at full retail price.”

He had not, however, given them money to actually buy the phones. So when the doors opened, the homeless flooded the store, but most of their vouchers appear to have been useless. A mad scramble ensued. The businessman managed to buy at least a handful of phones before the store told him he was done and ordered him out.

The man then declined to pay the homeless people whose vouchers were not used, witnesses and police said. An exhausted crowd erupted in anger.

Not only were the participants in “Bobby’s” scam not paid, but they were also left stranded at the Pasadena store.

Another Emmy Win for ‘Modern Family’ Puts Show on Verge of History

Another Emmy Win for 'Modern Family' Puts Show on Verge of History

The run-up to this year’s Emmy Awards show in Los Angeles was all about disruption. The old guard of network TV sitcoms was finished, and in its place had risen new shows with new distribution models that could permanently transform the television industry. David Finchner, director of the Netflix political drama “House of Cards,” walked away with the prize for best director, marking the first victory in a major category for an online distributor. And AMC’s hit drama “Breaking Bad” picked up its first win in the drama category.

But some things at this year’s Emmy Awards remained the same, and in at least one case, that was a good thing.

For the fourth consecutive year, ABC’s “Modern Family” won the award for best comedy series. Since its debut in 2009, the show has earned a total of 45 Emmy nominations. In terms of consecutive wins, the show now sits behind only “Frasier,” which won the award for best comedy series five years in a row from 1994 to 1998.

The show is structured as a mockumentary that follows three generations of a prominent Southern Californian family. It’s been heralded for its groundbreaking approach to controversial social issues including interracial dating and gay marriage.

Still, the show was one of the only bright spots for actors of color at this year’s awards. Despite all the chatter about “Scandal” possibly making a big splash at this year’s Emmys, actors of color didn’t win any major awards at this year’s awards. Kerry Washington was nominated for best actress in a drama, but was beaten by actress Claire Daines in “Homeland.” ( Although “Scandal” actor Dan Bucatinsky win the award for Guest Actor in a Drama.)

The lack of racial diversity at this year’s awards is neither new nor surprising. According to the Screen Actors Guild, only 28 percent of roles on TV go to actors of color, and few of those roles would qualify as a lead of supporting actor. 

Here’s a partial list of this year’s nominees and winners. For a full one, visit the Los Angeles Times.

WINNER: “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“Mad Men” (AMC)

ACTOR IN A DRAMA 
Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey”)
Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”)
WINNER: Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”)
Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
Damian Lewis (“Homeland”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA 
WINNER: Claire Danes (“Homeland”)
Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”)
Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”) 
Connie Britton (“Nashville”)
Kerry Washington (“Scandal”)

WRITING FOR A DRAMA 
George Mastras (“Breaking Bad”)
Thomas Schnauz (“Breaking Bad”)
Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”)
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (“Game of Thrones”)
WINNER: Henry Bromell (“Homeland”)

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA 
Tim Van Patten (“Boardwalk Empire”)
Michelle MacLaren (“Breaking Bad”)
Jeremy Webb (“Downton Abbey”)
Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland”)
WINNER: David Fincher (“House of Cards”) 

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