Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Keystone XL Sorta, Kinda Has a Job for You

Keystone XL Sorta, Kinda Has a Job for You

This week the State Department opened a public comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil daily from the Canadian tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refining. Critics say that the project threatens Native communities, while supporters argue that it’ll bring much-needed jobs (For more on this, be sure to read my colleague Brentin Mock’s piece that looks at whether Keystone XL will, in fact, produce good jobs.)

Now, the folks at Movement Generation’s Justice and Ecology Project based in Richmond, Calif.—home to the perpetually troubled Chevron Richmond Refinery—have released their own parody of what a Keystone XL job might look like for someone from the community.

Jordan Davis Murder Trial Begins in Fla. Today

Jordan Davis Murder Trial Begins in Fla. Today

Opening statements in the murder trial of a 47-year-old white man, accused of killing a 17-year-old black boy in Florida, began at noon today. Follow this link to watch live. A day after Thanksgiving in 2012, Michael Dunn allegedly shot Jordan Davis at a Jacksonville gas station following an argument in which Dunn complained about loud hip-hop music coming from Davis’s friend’s car.

In a New York Times short documentary film this week, filmmaker Orlando Bagwell looks at a key similarity between Davis and Trayvon Martin: “Stand your ground” laws. Bagwell says Davis’s story:

“…provides insights into the larger question of whether these laws, which encourage handguns in public places and shooting in the name of self-defense, ultimately make us safer and more civilized. Is this the society we hope to leave to our children?”

(h/t The Florida Times-Union)

‘Meet Your First Black Girlfriend’ Video Nears 1 Million Views

'Meet Your First Black Girlfriend' Video Nears 1 Million Views

It’s been just over a month since Brooklyn-based comedian Akilah Hughes released the video “Meet Your First Black Girlfriend,” which takes a funny look at black-white interracial romance. 

Hughes spoke to the Huffington Post about why she decided to make the video:

I think Black women are exoticized in interracial relationships because the media only portrays Black women in a few ways, while other races tend to get more options. The media mold for a young Black woman is very limited—must be extremely aggressive, commandeering, unintelligent, etc.—while that has not been the case with the overwhelming majority of Black women I’ve met from all different backgrounds. Truthfully, I think more Black women would feel comfortable dating outside of their race if that wasn’t the case, because it’s one thing to have a TV show or movie that doesn’t know you see you in that negative light—it’s quite another to find out that your significant other does as well. When media starts to reflect the actual world we inhabit instead of aiming to create it, I’m sure there will be greater understanding in interracial relationships.

Looks like the message resonates with plenty of viewers. 

 

TAGS: Video

Hari Kondabolu on Why You Can’t Be ‘Obsessed With Race’ in America

Hari Kondabolu on Why You Can't Be 'Obsessed With Race' in America

By most estimates, 2042 is the year when white people are projected to become the minority racial group in America. Comedian Hari Kondabolu, of “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” fame, has a debut album coming out called “Waiting for 2042” that hilariously takes a part the anxiety and overall ridiculousness surrounding that conversation of America’s changing racial demographics. 

Here’s a sneak peek, in which Kondabolu opens with the line, “Saying that I’m obsessed with race and racism in America is like saying that I’m obsessed with swimming while I’m drowning. It’s absurd.”

Childish Gambino Recorded a Pretty Great Cover of P.M. Dawn

Childish Gambino Recorded a Pretty Great Cover of P.M. Dawn

Former “Community” star Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) recorded a really good cover of P.M. Dawn’s 1992 hit “I’d Die Without You” over at BBC Radio 1.

It’s a nice change for Glover, who’s been on plenty of hip-hop heads’ shit list’s since the release of his 2011 project “Camp,” which detailed, among other things, a very problematic Asian fetish. Marah Eakin over at the A.V. club writes that, “It’s so good, in fact, it kind of makes you wonder why Glover—if he’s off TV comedy now—doesn’t pursue more of a straight R&B sound instead of hip-hop.”

Via Consequence of Sound.

How to Make Sense of George Zimmerman’s Senseless Fight With DMX

How to Make Sense of George Zimmerman's Senseless Fight With DMX

I’ve been among the many people who haven’t wanted to give any attention to George Zimmerman’s latest publicity stunt, which involves fighting DMX on Celebrity Boxing Match. But the story, and Zimmerman, aren’t going away any time soon. So how do you try to make sense out of something that’s so ridiculously stupid? You don’t. Because, as Rembert Browne writes over at Grantland, it’s worthless:

Nothing about fighting in the name of Trayvon has any merit. DMX isn’t a hero. His desires scream Jack Ruby, not Nat Turner. And with his decision to participate, it only fuels Zimmerman’s circus, setting the stage for one of the most disrespectful events to take place in recent memory. Because, over everything else — beyond how offended you or I may be — there is a set of parents who have to watch this sideshow play out. A set of parents who outlived their murdered son. And a sideshow that wouldn’t exist if their son were alive. A sideshow that exists only because their teenage son is dead.

Every single person directly or peripherally associated with this fight is worthless. From the actors involved to the space that holds the event to the charity that accepts any money from the proceeds. Worthless.

Read more over at Grantland. 

Angel Haze, Azealia Banks Fed Up With an Industry That Preys on Black Talent

Angel Haze, Azealia Banks Fed Up With an Industry That Preys on Black Talent

Angel Haze did an interview with Hypetrak recently where she talked about everything from her childhood to her admiration for Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Grammy’s. She also opened up a bit about why she thinks there are so many female rappers in hip-hop right now:

It’s really crazy, it’s shifting, it’s like some weird cosmic shi*t is happening where there’s more female rappers than there have been in previous years, and it’s all about having [the scene] expand so far that more girls now realize you can do it all at one time without being the same as one another. Like there’s nothing remotely similar between me, Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj - I’m on one side, Iggy’s on another, Nicki’s on another - it’s just crazy and there’s so much variety.

But while there’s plenty of variety, power in the industry hasn’t changed all that much. 

Last December, when Haze talked publicly about leaking her album four months ahead of schedule, she said that she was frustrated with her label, which she accused of sitting on the project for too long. “If the main source of your happiness becomes the sole source of your stress, then something needs to fucking change.”

Azaelia Banks pointed that out last week on Twitter when she called out the structural inequity that’s at the heart of her repeated album delays. The Harlem rapper begged to be dropped from her label, Universal, and then wrote on Twitter: “I’m tired of having to consult a group of old white guys about my black girl craft. They don’t even know what they’re listening for or to.”

Though Haze and Banks have had their own personal and creative beefs, they’re saying the same thing: there’s an abundance of talent that’s running up against the same old structural barriers. They’re speaking out because they know you’re listening. 

King’s Children Fight to Sell his Nobel Medal and Bible

King's Children Fight to Sell his Nobel Medal and Bible

In time for Black History Month, the King children want to sell his Nobel Peace Prize medal and his personal Bible, sworn over by Pres. Obama during the 2013 inauguration. Daughter Bernice King alerted the public to her brothers’ lawsuit in an open letter yesterday. She names a “private buyer” as the interested party. The complaint, according to the Boston Globe, does not mention an intention to sell the items.

This latest incident is one in a string of sibling lawsuits over the keepsakes of Dr. King’s legacy, which also entangle Harry Belafonte. It highlights, for some, the vast difference in values between the best and worst of the Moses and Joshua generations, respectively. (Another high profile family spat moved to closure this week with the reading of Nelson Mandela’s will.)

One view says, butt out. These squabbles are private family matters and therefore best left to family to sort out. Another says Dr. King’s items should be viewed in the same light as the Buddhist temples of Bamiyan or treasures looted from Baghdad’s Iraq Museum: as belonging to human civilization and treated as such.

What’s your take?

(h/t Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Help Us Celebrate Trayvon Martin’s 19th Birthday

Help Us Celebrate Trayvon Martin's 19th Birthday

February is a doubly bittersweet month for the family of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin. It’s been nearly two years since he died on February 26, and today, February 5, would have been his 19th birthday. To commemorate the day and to honor a life cut short, Colorlines started the hashtag #19forTrayvon. We asked our followers to think about who they were and what they experienced at 19. Each tweet represented a possibility or opportunity now lost not only to Trayvon, but to all young people whose lives have been cut short by racialized gun violence. 

Happy birthday, Travyon. 


Take a Sneak Peek at Little Dragon’s Creative Process

Take a Sneak Peek at Little Dragon's Creative Process

Swedish electronic band Little Dragon is hard at work on their forthcoming album, “Nabuma Rubberband,” and decided to give fans a sneak peek at their creative process. Check out this video, which was shot in their home studio in Gothenberg, Sweden. 

Via Okayplayer.

The Deadly Logic Behind Piers Morgan’s Awful Interview With Janet Mock

The Deadly Logic Behind Piers Morgan's Awful Interview With Janet Mock

In case you missed it, Janet Mock made an appearance on “Piers Morgan Live” last night to talk about her new memoir “Redefining Realness.” But instead of asking about the actual issues that she lays out in the book, Morgan did what has become sadly predictable of mainstream media when it comes to covering trans communities and focused almost exclusively on Mock’s physical transition. 

As you can see when you watch the clip, the on-screen description of Mock was that she “was a boy until 18,” even though she’s identified as a woman since high school. Morgan’s Twitter account then asked its followers, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”

It was upsetting to watch for many reasons, but especially because Morgan’s questioning implied there’s an inherent deception involved in being transgender. It’s a logic that says that being transgender is a choice, a costume, a scheme put on to dupe cis men. It’s also the same logic at the core of so-called “trans panic” legal defenses, in which cis men accused of killing trans women have, often successfully, argued in court that they were “provoked” to attack their victims after discovering their biological sex. It’s a warped sense of power cloaked in patriarchy that has dug early graves for women like Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata, teenagers who were violently killed for being themselves.

Mock kept her composure during the CNN interview, but later told Buzzfeed that Morgan was “trying to do info-tainment.” She added, “he doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”

Mock and her supporters voiced their outrage on Twitter last night which, once again, completely flew over Morgan’s head. The CNN host said that he wished he’d never booked Mock and then called Mock and her supporters “dimwits” before sending this threat: 

  

Farm Bill Passes Congress with More Food Stamp Cuts

Farm Bill Passes Congress with More Food Stamp Cuts

As expected, Congress today passed a farm bill that will further reduce stamp benefits by $8 billion over the next decade. It’s the first farm bill passed since 2008.

The 68-32 Senate vote registered dissent on both sides of the aisle. Some Democrats opposed any cuts to food stamps at all while, according to The Hill, some Republicans wanted more safeguards to prevent most of the subsidies from flowing to wealthy farmers. 

Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Five Quotes to Celebrate Rosa Parks’s Birthday

Five Quotes to Celebrate Rosa Parks's Birthday

Rosa Parks became an icon of the civil rights movement after refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Although she wasn’t the first black person to do so, Parks’s civil disobedience kicked off a massive boycott and Supreme Court decision that affirmed that Alabama’s segregation laws were unconstitutional. Here are five quotes attributed to Rosa Parks to remember her by on the day of her birth, 101 years ago today.recite-3525--25243370-p42um2 (1).pngrecite-21040--22895952-t5ng42.pngrecite-15243--23120051-12g28fi.pngrecite-15243--23044583-1yqkvjs.pngrecite-15243--23000000-18dfeua.png

Sweet Baby Girl Laughs in the Rain for the First Time

Sweet Baby Girl Laughs in the Rain for the First Time

Meet 15-month-old Kayden, whose family captured her first frolic in the rain on camera. It’s the stuff of pure joy and happiness, and will absolutely make your day.

 

TAGS: Kids Video

American Promise Premieres on PBS

American Promise Premieres on PBS

Two African-American boys enter kindergarten at the exclusive and predominantly white, Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. One boy, Seun, leaves at the end of 8th grade. His friend, Idris, stays but struggles. “American Promise,” filmed by Idris’ parents over a 13-year period, looks at why.

If you didn’t catch last night’s PBS premiere, no worries. The film is playing online through March 6. And check out our Julianne Hing’s October interview with Idris, here

Tell us what you think!

In Immigration Court, a Family’s Fate Decided in Seven Minutes

In Immigration Court, a Family's Fate Decided in Seven Minutes

The nation’s immigration case backlog—the queue people whose fates are waiting to be decided by an immigration judge—is 350,000 people long. The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow spent a day in one Virginia immigration judge’s courtroom and produced a portrait as heartbreaking as it is infuriating. The backlog, steadily populated by aggressive immigration enforcement, means judges are forced to make rapidfire decisions that will affect the rest of whole families’ lives.

From the Washington Post:

“Farmville, Room 294, can you hear us?” a court interpreter asked. The screen seemed to freeze. The court took a short recess while a technician fixed the video feed. As the recess continued, Iraheta’s wife, Maria, and two sons stood up in the second row of the courtroom and walked toward the video screen. “There he is!” said Dylan, 9, an American citizen, tugging at his mother’s shirt. They stood within view of the camera so Iraheta could see them. “Oh, God,” Iraheta said, wiping his eyes as they smiled and waved. “You came. Thank you.”

He had not seen all of them together for seven months, since he got into his car to drive to his sister’s house for a Sunday barbecue and was pulled over by police for drinking and driving, a mistake that threatened to undo the life he had built in the Manassas suburbs. He had crossed into the United States illegally in 2000, and Maria had followed a year later. He worked in construction; she walked two miles each evening to wash dishes at IHOP for $8 an hour. They paid taxes, joined a church and raised three kids, now 19, 15 and 9. Two months after Iraheta was apprehended and placed into deportation proceedings, his family celebrated the birth of his first granddaughter — “an honest-to-God second-generation American,” one cousin said.

For 14 years, Iraheta and Maria had shared the same bed in a small apartment, but now they could think of little to say. He motioned for his boys to come closer to the camera so he could study their haircuts. “You look nice,” he said. “Grown up.”

 Read the rest of the story at the Washington Post.

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: ‘Who Cares?’

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: 'Who Cares?'

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t care about diversity in comedy, a fact that he expounded this week during a Buzzfeed interview on CBS This Morning. “It really pisses me off,” he said about the question. “People think [comedy] is the census or something, it’s gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?”

Well, actually, a lot of people do, and they have for decades. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and Margaret Cho have found big audiences by focusing their comedic routines on race in America. And it works. But don’t tell that to Seinfeld, because he’s obviously not listening.

(h/t Gawker)

TAGS: 2010 Comedy Video

Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan Among Black Actors Featured in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue

Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan Among Black Actors Featured in Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue

Remember back when Vanity Fair’s Young Hollywood cover featured an all white cast of actors and we had to dream up a version that reflected the real America? Looks like they didn’t make that same mistake this year since they tapped two of the industry’s biggest young black stars for the cover shoot. Jezebel points out that this year’s cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz, tries to make up for past wrongs. In addition to Chiwetel Edjiofor and Idris Elba, the main cover also includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris and Chadwick Boseman (42).

The PTSD Crisis That’s Plaguing America’s Poorest Neighborhoods

The PTSD Crisis That's Plaguing America's Poorest Neighborhoods

The media is filled with stories of the violence that plagues America’s poorest black and brown neighborhoods, but a recent investigation by ProPublica’s Lois Beckett highlights one of its longest lasting side effects: hundreds of thousands of untreated cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Here’s Beckett:

Studies show that, overall, about 8 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. But the rates appear to be much higher in communities - such as poor, largely African-American pockets of Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia - where high rates of violent crime have persisted despite a national decline.

Researchers in Atlanta interviewed more than 8,000 inner-city residents and found that about two-thirds said they had been violently attacked and that half knew someone who had been murdered. At least 1 in 3 of those interviewed experienced symptoms consistent with PTSD at some point in their lives - and that’s a “conservative estimate,” said Dr. Kerry Ressler, the lead investigator on the project.

“The rates of PTSD we see are as high or higher than Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam veterans,” Ressler said. “We have a whole population who is traumatized.”

PTSD, particularly when it’s untreated, can take a huge toll on relationships, parenting and finding a job. According to some researchers, it can also lead to increased aggression and violent behavior. ProPublica points out that most of the nation’s trauma centers aren’t equipped to deal with the problem.

ProPublica surveyed a top-level trauma center in each of the 22 cities with the nation’s highest homicide rates. Just one, the Spirit of Charity Trauma Center in New Orleans, currently screens all seriously injured patients for PTSD. At another, Detroit Receiving Hospital, psychologists talk with injured crime victims about PTSD.  

Read more over at ProPublica

Laverne Cox: Loving Trans Women is a Revolutionary Act

Laverne Cox: Loving Trans Women is a Revolutionary Act

This year’s National Conference for LGBT Equality: Creating Change wrapped up over the weekend in Houston and got off to stellar start late last week when Laverne Cox offered up a rousing keynote speech. In it, Cox talks about how loving transgender women is a revolutionary act. Watch the entire thing in the clip above.

(h/t Feministing)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202