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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

30 TSA Officers Report Racial Profiling at Boston’s Logan Airport

30 TSA Officers Report Racial Profiling at Boston's Logan Airport

More than 30 federal officers with the Transportation Safety Administration in Boston have reported that a new passenger screening program frequently leads to racial profiling, the New York Times reported over the weekend. The news made waves in part because the program that’s in question at Boston’s Logan airport is being eyed as a potential model for airports across the country. But for black passengers who’ve already been targeted, news of the report, and the potential for accountability, were welcome — and clear signs that it’s not so easy to be “race-neutral” in an already flawed method of surveillance. 

It’s never seemed random to me,” Steven Wellman, a computer programmer  who’s black and flew into Logan airport on Sunday, told the Boston Globe. “When I travel alone, I am pulled from the line every single time — every single time.”

That sentiment was shared by another black man who once sued the airport after being illegally detained. King Downing is an attorney and director of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center  who was moved to legal action in 2003. “No one should be surprised, because it’s been going on for years, at airports and in other law enforcement situations, and there has been evidence of it for years,” Downing told the Globe. “My first reaction was, ‘Finally, it’s about time.’ Now let’s see if we can do something about it. It’s been way too long.”

The TSA officers’ steps in reporting their concerns is unprecedented, according to the Times, which reported:


Distinguishing Your Friends From Potential Terrorists

Distinguishing Your Friends From Potential Terrorists

The RedEye, which is published by the Chicago Tribune, recently published the “Turban primer” which illustrates the differences between Sikh men, Iranian leaders, Taliban members, Indian men and Muslim religious elders. Seems like a ridiculous attempt to teach readers the religious significance of turbans for Sikh men versus the turban-donned Taliban member after the tragic shooting at the Wisconsin Sikh temple.

Angry Asian Man compares this to the a 1941 article in Life magazine on how to distinguish Japanese from Chinese people. Amazing how 71 years later, folks are still using the same finger-pointing tactics.

Deported Dad’s Parental Rights Hearing is Postponed

Deported Dad's Parental Rights Hearing is Postponed

After 21-months separated from his children, a deported father who was allowed back to the United States on August 1 to fight for his parental rights will have wait another two weeks for his court hearing. Felipe Bautista Montes was originally scheduled to appear in the Alleghany County, N.C. courthouse today where a judge was expected to decide the next steps in the parental rights case. But this morning, court officials told reporters gathered at the courthouse that the presiding judge would not appear in court, citing health issues.

“I have been waiting for this for so long,” Montes told Colorlines.com this afternoon after he heard the news of the postponement. “I’m getting desperate. I thought today was the day.”

Montes, who was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was deported from rural Sparta, N.C. in late 2010 for repeated traffic violations. His three U.S.-born children were soon removed from the custody of his wife, Marie Montes, who could not support the children without her husband, the primary caretaker and breadwinner in the family. But the county child welfare department refused to respect the family’s requests that the kids be placed with Mr. Montes in Mexico. Isaiah and Adrian, the couples 4 and 2-year-old children, were placed in one foster home and their baby, Angel, who was born weeks after Montes was detained, in a separate home.

Montes’s case has made national headlines since February when Colorlines.com broke his story and Presente.org launched a petition calling for the reunification of the family. After over 21,000 people signed the petition, the Mexican consulate in North Carolina applied to federal immigration authorities for a permit for Montes to return to the United States to attend his hearing and try to reunite with his children. Montes was granted a 90-day “humanitarian parole” and on August 1 he flew into the Charlotte, N.C. airport. Consular officials say the grant is the first of its kind for a deported parent.

It’s unclear if Felipe Montes will be allowed to visit with his children while he waits for the hearing, now scheduled for August 24. On Tuesday, the child welfare department allowed him to see his youngest child, and last week he saw the two older children for the first time since his deportation. As Felipe left the visitation room at the social services office, Isaiah asked his father, “Will you take us with you, daddy, will you adopt us?”

“No,” Montes replied, “I don’t have to adopt you, you’re my babies, you’ll go with me as soon as I fix everything.”

Donna Shumate, Montes’s court appointed attorney, walked out of the historic brick courthouse this afternoon and told Colorlines.com, “Felipe is disappointed but we’re moving forward.”

Montes’s case is one of thousands around the United States in which children of deported parents are stuck in foster care. In many of these cases, child welfare departments and juvenile courts argue that it’s in the best interest of the U.S.-citizen children to stay with foster care providers rather than be returned to their parents in another country. An unknown number of these children have been adopted and deported parents are severed from all contact with their kids.

Michael Jackson’s Family Appreciates Incredible Olympic Swim Tribute

Like pretty much everyone else, Michael Jackson’s family was impressed by Russian synchronized swimmers Natalia Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina, who pulled off an incredible routine to honor the late singer recently. The two swimmers wore Michael Jackson-themed bathing suits and performed to the King of Pop’s amazing, “They Don’t Care About Us.” The performance won them a gold medal.

LaToya Jackson told TMZ, “I’m thankful for the honor that the Olympian swimmers paid to my brother Michael’s memory.”

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Rep. Joe Walsh Calls Obama ‘Son’, Wants to ‘Pat Him on the Head’

Illinois Republican Representative Joe Walsh actually went there with the patronizing, racist remarks. At a BBQ in his district on Sunday, Walsh called the president “son” and said he wanted to “pat him on the head.”

“There’s something different on the ground, and I think it’s going to overtake us all again, think it’s going to overtake the political class,” Walsh said. “I think it’s going to respectfully pick this president up and pat him on the head and say, son, son, son, Mr. President, you were never ready to be president, now go home and work for somebody and find out how the real world works.”

Here’s video of the whole thing:

Activists Celebrate as José Luis Sin Censura Goes Off the Air

For 18 months, activists from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition have fought to get José Luis Sin Censura off of television. The show, which is basically the Spanish-language equivalent to the Jerry Springer show, as been derided for its repeated use of homophobic slurs. Today, those activists won.

GLAAD and NHMC received a letter today from Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. outlining the company’s decision to drop the show. Basically, all the negative press was bad for business. The company said that it’s “pleased to have amicably resolved this matter” and is “glad NHMC and GLAAD will no longer discourage companies from advertising with Libereman Broadcasting.”

You can see the letter in its entirety over at GLAAD’s blog.

NYC Holds Rally to Honor Gurdwara Shooting Victims [VIDEO]

NYC Holds Rally to Honor Gurdwara Shooting Victims [VIDEO]

New Yorkers held a rally yesterday to honor the those killed in the Oak Creek shooting massacre. The day marked a national day of remembrance and solidarity for people across the country. Here’s a video of scenes from Manhattan.

TAGS: Sikhs

Individual Choices and Shared Costs: The Case of Protesting Chick-fil-A

Two websites have responded to Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance with a novel approach. Instead of forcing millions of Americans to chose between their fried chicken sandwiches and support for LBGT civil rights, Chicken Offset and Chick-fil-A Confessional allow people to perhaps do both.

Though glib and slightly campy, these sites represent a growing movement by economists to grapple with the fact that our individual choices have broader consequences. To our detriment, the way that both our economy and the broader society is organized often passes the costs of those choices on to others, while we solely enjoy the benefits.

These sites want to change our approach. At Chicken Offset, progressive minded Chick-fil-A addicts can purchase a $1 credit for each meal eaten at the Mayberry-esque establishment. The site pledges that $0.90 of the dollar credit will end up at It Gets Better Project or the Williams Institute. But their essential thrust of the websites is correct.

Chick-fil-A Confessional takes a slightly different approach. Instead of a flat rate, this site calculates donations based upon the amount spent at the poultry-pushing restaurants. The more you spend the more you have to give.

In addition to It Gets Better, the site lists the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD as potential beneficiaries. Recognizing the impact that the recession has had on many, “hugging a gay” is also a compensatory option offered by the site.

It would be great if these portals also listed LGBT grassroots organizations on the front lines of local communities, as well as those dealing with the crisis of queer youth of color. As our publisher, the Applied Research Center, has explored, these groups are horribly underfunded and the LGBT movement suffers as consequence.

Romney Enlists Gingrich on Welfare-Bashing Kick

Romney Enlists Gingrich on Welfare-Bashing Kick

The Romney campaign is ratcheting up it’s charges that President Obama “gutted” welfare reform by ending work requirement’s for program participants. Following the release yesterday of a campaign ad titled “Right Choice” that claims the Obama administration now “just send(s) you your welfare check,” the Romney camp today enlisted Newt Gingrich to throw down in the ring.

On a conference call with reporters today, Gingrich launched a forceful attack saying, “On the hard left there is unending desire to create a dependent America. There is a deep repudiation of middle-class work ethic,” the Hill reported.

“It’s not just Obama’s a radical, but the people he appoints are even more radical,” Gingrich said.

The former primary rivals have joined forced to attack an administrative policy shift last month that will grant states more power over the administration of their cash assistance programs. The attacks are based on lies, but the assaults are likely to help the Romney campaign sure up the GOP’s white, working class base.

Former Undocumented Immigrant Leo Manzano Wins Silver Medal for U.S.

Former Undocumented Immigrant Leo Manzano Wins Silver Medal for U.S.

On Tuesday, Mexican-born American runner Leo Manzano won a silver medal in the men’s 1,500-meter final, running the fastest time ever by a U.S. athlete at the Games. Manzano, 27, entered the U.S. at the age of 4 without papers, according to LetsRun. He didn’t gain legal residency until 10 years later.

“Silver medal, still felt like I won! Representing two countries USA and Mexico!”, Manzano tweeted shortly after his win. Most of his tweets throughout the Olympics have been in both Spanish and English.

“I am honored and excited to represent both the United States and Mexico by earning this silver,” Manzano told the Associated Press. “Standing on the podium has been a dream of mine and I share it proudly with my family, friends, coaches and all my supporters from Austin, Marble Falls, and Granite Shoals, Texas as well as Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.”

On the track Manzano celebrated with the U.S. flag and the Mexican flag.

Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara Shooter Talked of ‘Racial Holy War’

The more authorities find out about Wade Michael Page, the man who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Sunday, the worse it gets.

Christopher Robillard, who told CNN Page was his “closest friend” when the two were in the military, said that Page talked often about a “racial holy war.”

“He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come,” Robillard said. “But to me, he didn’t seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people.”

Page was trained as a psychological warfare specialist and rose to the rank of sergeant before he was discharged for showing up to formation drunk. Robillard nonetheless said Page as a “very kind, very smart individual.”

Authorities also know that Page fronted a white supremacist band. They know that Page was once in the military, before he was discharged. They know that the he was tattooed with the logo of Stormfront, an online community of white supremacists.

For many, those pieces of information are enough to settle the whys of Page’s brutal last act. But authorities insist they are continuing to look into Page’s motives for an act they’re investigating as domestic terrorism.

Gabby Douglas Too Busy Competing to Care What You Think About Her Hair

Gabby Douglas Too Busy Competing to Care What You Think About Her Hair

No one was mystified by the uproar over her hair more than Gabby Douglas, the two-time gold medalist and history-making Olympic gymnast.

“I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” Douglas told the Huffington Post. “I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair.”

“I don’t think people should be worried about that,” she said of all the fuss about her hair. “We’re all champions and we’re all winners. I just say that it’s kind of, a stupid and crazy thought to think about my hair.”

Today’s the Voting Rights Act’s Birthday. What’s It to You?

The Voting Rights Act, it seems, is not going to be allowed to ease into middle age quietly. There ought to be festivities greeting the Act today, on the 47th anniversary of the day President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the bill which outlawed voter discrimination that disenfranchised African-American voters. Yet, this year in particular it’s come under aggressive attack by states intent on dismantling the Act. Forget the birthday cake. It may be time to light a candle for the civil rights law.

Colorlines.com’s Voting Rights Reporting Fellow Brentin Mock says the VRA’s been under attack for a while now, but this year’s been different. “Certain counties and states have been sling-shotting at the Voting Rights Act for years, but this year they’ve pulled out bazookas and hope to blow a hole right in its heart: Section 5, which protects voters in certain states and counties that have histories of racial discrimination.”

As the court case dealing with Section 5 of the VRA winds its way toward the Supreme Court, so much is at stake.

An Olympic-Sized Income Gap Even Among Our World Class Athletes

An Olympic-Sized Income Gap Even Among Our World Class Athletes

The division between the 99 percent and the 1 percent extends to the U.S. Olympic team.

The United States sent 529 athletes to compete in 25 sports. The gaping income inequality seen in the wider society is stark even amongst this group carrying the nation’s pride in London.

Sure, Gabby Douglas just garnered a multi-million dollar endorsement deal from Kellogg’s with her two gold medals. Millionaires populate the US Olympic Basketball Team. The seven-figure Williams sisters dominate Olympic tennis. And high-performing runners in track and field events might break six-figures.

But for every Gabby, Lebron, and Serena, there are medal-winning Olympians in less well-known sports, like shot put and archery, who must work two and three jobs to represent the world’s richest country. Even Gabby’s mom had to sell her jewelry and do without to keep her daughter in the running until fortunes could turn.

NBC paid almost $2 billion to carry the games and the U.S. Olympic Committee budget is $170 million, but little of it flows to the actual competitors. Even top athletes in key events struggle.

According to CNN’s Money, “only 50% of American track and field athletes who are ranked in the top ten … earn more than $15,000 a year in income from the sport.” Many struggle to pay their bills.

Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooter Bought His 9MM Gun Legally

Lethal weapons are not so difficult to come by, even legally. Wade Michael Page, the identified shooter who gunned down six Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this weekend, bought the firearm he used in the attack legally, law enforcement authorities said today, Reuters reported.

According to FBI special agent in charge Teresa Carlson, Page had no criminal record before the attack, though the Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking Page’s white supremacist ties for years.

Page wasn’t the only shooter who acquired his weapons legally. James Holmes, the man charged with killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater just weeks ago, bought all four of his guns legally as well.

The Wisconsin attack is being investigated as an act of domestic terror, authorities said. Those who belonged to the Wisconsin gurdwara have called it a hate crime, though.

State Legislatures Passed 20% Fewer Immigration Laws in 2012

When Arizona rocketed to national notoriety when it passed SB 1070, it kicked off an anti-immigrant craze in state lawmaking. But state lawmakers found other things to occupy their time this year. Fewer states passed immigration bills this year, according to an analysis released by the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Immigrant Policy Project today.

In the first six months of the year 41 states enacted 114 immigration bills and passed 92 immigration-related resolutions, down 20 percent from the more than 250 laws and resolutions state legislatures passed in the first half of just last year, when lawmakers introduced a record number of immigration bills. States still tackling immigration are doing so namely to restrict the lives of undocumented immigrants by empowering law enforcement officers to engage in immigration investigations.

But the costly, protracted Supreme Court battle over SB 1070 gave state lawmakers pause. “States took a bit of a pause on the issue of immigration as they waited for the Supreme Court to rule,” Senator John Watkins of Virginia, co-chair of the NCSL Immigration and the States Task Force said in a statement.

In the meantime, state lawmakers went back to other, more pressing issues, like tackling budget deficits, and restricting voter access to the polls.

Read the NCSL report for more.

Jeremy Lin on the Upside of Others’ Low Expectations

“I think the advantage of being an Asian basketball player in America is that no one expects anything from you, and no one thinks you are going to be good.” So says Jeremy Lin, the former Knick whose fantastic winning streak sparked the short-lived but high-flying sports craze known as Linsanity.

“The reason why I said it was an advantage is because everyone takes you lightly, and the minute you step out on the court, you give it to them and you immediately earn their respect, but no one is going to give it to you right away, not in America at least,” Lin said in Taipei this weekend, USA Today reported.

It’s a generous way of making lemonade out of the lemons that are the subtle bigotry which has stalked Lin the entirety of his NBA career. As one of the precious few Asian Americans who’ve made it to the NBA and the only Asian American in the league today, Lin has often been asked to make sense of the role his race played in his career, and his star-making turn this year. Sometimes he’s soft-pedaled the reality of race in America, and other times he’s been straightforward. After all, it was Lin who told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that basketball’s seen as “a sport for white and black people. You don’t get respect for being an Asian-American basketball player in the U.S.”

Yet before being sidelined with a knee injury this season, Lin demanded just that. Since signing a deal with the Houston Rockets, Lin’s been gearing up for the next season, and on a tour of Asia. On his agenda? Hosting basketball camps for young players there.

Wisconsin Sikh Temple’s Shooter Was Long Known As White Supremacist

The details coming out in the aftermath of the Sunday’s tragic shooting at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin are just as grim and terrifying as folks expected. Wade Michael Page, the identified shooter, was not just a 40-year-old military veteran before he shot and killed six people gathered at a Wisconsin temple. He was also being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who’d long ago identified him as a member of white supremacist circles, including as a band leader of a group called End Apathy.

Page gave an interview to a white supremacist website in 2010, and told them he’d been part of the white power music scene since 2000, until he formed his band in 2005 with the goal of ending his own and others’ apathy. Prior to his white supremacist ties, Page was an enlisted Army man who joined the military in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

But on Sunday, Page turned his gun on American Sikhs who were gathering for Sunday services. He killed six people before a police officer shot and killed Page.

How Will Deferred Action for DREAMers Work? New Details Released

After several delays, the federal government has finally released guidelines about how DREAMers can begin to apply for deferred action starting August 15. The federal government is beginning the public rollout of information after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on June 15 that the Obama administration would halt, immediately, the deportations of those who would be eligible for the federal DREAM Act, a narrow legalization bill aimed at young undocumented immigrants who immigrated to the U.S. as children and were raised in the country. Along with the deportation halt the federal government has made an allowance for those who are eligible to receive two-year work permits, with an opportunity to renew work permits for another two years.

As of August 15, those eligible for deferred action, and a two-year work permit are those who:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Dominique Dawes: ‘So Thrilled to Change My Website’ After Gabby Douglas’ Win

Dominique Dawes: 'So Thrilled to Change My Website' After Gabby Douglas' Win

Before Gabby Douglas, there was Dominique Dawes. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist spoke with Fox Sports about Douglas’ history-making moment on Thursday, and spoke through proud tears through most of the interview.

Dawes, who is in London and was in the arena cheering Douglas on said, “I am so thrilled for Gabby, her mother, her sisters, her dad, and all the little young girls looking at her being impacted by what she did. I’m so thrilled now to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal. It couldn’t go to a better kid, to a better mom, who wants to see her daughter excel.”

Dawes had more to say on Twitter: dominiquedawestweet_080312.jpg

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