Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Miami Area Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Profiling Charges

Miami Area Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Profiling Charges

Police chief Matthew Boyd of the Miami Gardens Police Department resigned yesterday amid charges that officers racially profiled both customers and employees at a local convenience store. According to the Miami New Times, one employee was arrested 419 times for trespassing in the past five years.

The Florida chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) two days ago called on the Department of Justice to investigate “a systemic pattern and practice of intimidation by officers … against African American residents…”. 

Miami Gardens, with a population of about 100,000, is a majority black suburb of Miami. It has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

What Tech Startup CEO Greg Gopman Doesn’t Know About SF’s ‘Degenerates’ He Insulted

What Tech Startup CEO Greg Gopman Doesn't Know About SF's 'Degenerates' He Insulted

Silicon Valley startup CEO Greg Gopman set back by miles the already bitter relations between the tech industry and, well, everyone else in the Bay Area when he took to Facebook Tuesday night to post a screed about San Francisco’s poor who dot the city’s main downtown thoroughfare. He’s since removed his post, which opened thusly:

Just got back to SF. I’ve traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.

Gopman laments that the poor in other “cosmopolitan cities,” “realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests,” but San Francisco’s “degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city.” 

“You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us.”

Gopman’s words are so cruel and hysterical they sounds like satire, but they’re not. By this morning he’d thought better and wrote, “I’m really sorry for my comments. I trivialized the plight of those struggling to get by and I shouldn’t have.” He asked for some dialogue, “an open discussion on what changes we can make to fix these serious problems.”

So let’s get to it.

Here’s what Gopman may not realize. The tech boom of which Gopman’s a part has spurred an influx of wealth into the Bay Area, and with it, a class of new arrivals who want a piece of the small city’s charm. Swift market forces and the absence of protective regulations have spurred skyrocketing rents and no-fault evictions. Evictions, according to San Francisco’s Eviction Defense Collective’s 2012 report (PDF), are a leading cause of homelessness in the city. Ellis Act evictions in particular increased by over 100 percent in 2012, coinciding exactly with the recent tech boom. “Thirty-five percent of respondents indicated that immediately prior to becoming homeless they lived in a home owned or rented by themselves or their partner,” the report’s authors write. 

Put another way, people like Gopman may actually be contributing to the, ahem, degeneration, of the lives of the city’s most vulnerable.

And even besides the facts, there’s the very clearly emotional nature of the city’s gentrification debate. It’s particularly tough for longtime San Franciscans who are being priced out of their hometowns to stomach derisive remarks from people like Gopman who lay claim to the city and yet who, by their own account, are not even from it. According to his own Facebook profile, Gopman is from Aventura, Florida.

(via Valleywag)

Joe Biden: No, Obama Won’t Stop Deportations

Joe Biden: No, Obama Won't Stop Deportations

It was the usual “get to the back of the line, pay your dues, get right with the law, failed CIR is the Republicans’ fault” ho hum from the White House today when Vice President Joe Biden and Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz sat down for a live chat today hosted by Bing and Skype.

Biden was his chatty uncle self and Muñoz played the policy wonk straight man, and the two fielded questions on E-Verify, border enforcement, green cards, and undocumented youth. But two questions in particular highlighted the current deportation debate. With immigration reform dead in Congress, some in the immigrant rights community are calling on President Obama to use his executive authority to stop deporting those who are undocumented. They include undocumented immigrants and supporters who’ve been using their bodies to block exits for deportation vehicles at ICE detention centers around the country.

A Twitter user asked about this very issue, and Muñoz responded, “The president doesn’t have the authority to suspend deportations.” She took a detour to talk about deferred action, the Obama administration’s move to block the deportations of a select class of undocumented youth, then returned to the real question she knew watchers were interested in. “I will say what some people want to know is whether or not we can use that authority more broadly, and the answer to that is: … You can’t just use enforcement authority to fix this problem. The paythway to fix this is going straight through Congress.”

Biden chimed in: “He doesn’t have the authority to do that. What I get and what [Muñoz] gets all the time is, ‘Since the system is broken and Congress won’t fix it, why don’t you suspend everything. The president does not have the authority to do that.”

Advocates rebut the White House’s remarks by citing congressional documents which reiterate the President’s authority to stop deportations, and the words of former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau who wrote in a New York Times op-ed last week, “President Obama seriously understates his ability to mitigate the effect of immigration law while he confronts Republican intransigence in the House.”

Your Favorite Singer Erykah Badu Is The New Face of Givenchy

Your Favorite Singer Erykah Badu Is The New Face of Givenchy

Erykah Badu is the new face of the luxury French brand Givenchy. 

“Erykah, she’s an icon—come on!” designer Riccardo Tisci told Style.com by phone from Paris. “What I want to do with my advertising campaign is spread the love. Already now it’s been three seasons that I’ve been using people that express something—they are great artists, or beautiful women, or stylish women, or models that I really believe in. It’s kind of a family portfolio.”

Tisci said he worked with Badu’s image in mind on the brand’s Spring 2014 line, which is influenced by African and Japanese styles. You can read more at Style.com.

Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o Get SAG Award Nods

Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o Get SAG Award Nods

This year’s Screen Actor’s Guild nominations were announced for feature films and television and some big names made the list. Kerry Washington was nominated for her role in ABC’s “Scandal” while Angela Bassett got the nod for her appearance in the Lifetime TV movie “Betty and Coretta.” Lupita Nyong’o, this year’s breakout star from “12 Years a Slave” also nabbed a nomination for her supporting role in that film.

The awards will take place on Saturday, January 18 and the list of nominees itself is a big deal because it often mimics the Oscar nomination list. Read more about black actors of note over Shadow and Act.

Airport Protest Targets Dominican Republic Tourism

Airport Protest Targets Dominican Republic Tourism

An airport protest led by a group of young people of Haitian descent is aiming to hit the Dominican Republic where it hurts: its USD $4.5 billion tourism industry. One image from the early morning prank in a Montreal airport, captured by photographer Darwin Doleyres, shows a white woman in a bikini with red paint or, “blood on her hands,” sunning against a blue-skied backdrop. The Dominican Republic denationalizes more than a quarter of a million human beings, the sign below reads.

The small protest is just the latest against the Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation’s high court ruling that could strip citizenship from an estimated 200,000 people. The vast majority are of Haitian descent, and the ruling retroactively applies to children born in the Dominican Republic after 1929. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the same island, have a long and tense history.

Protest images are making the rounds on French and Creole-speaking Twitter under #DroitsHumainsRD.

 

New U.S. Budget Proposal is Promising (Seriously!)

New U.S. Budget Proposal is Promising (Seriously!)

Last night with the words “in divided government you don’t always get what you want” House Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), alongside his Senate counterpart Patty Murray (D-Wash.), gave the working poor and historically marginalized the best budget news to come out of Washington in three years. The two-year fiscal deal announced by the two leaders who oversee the federal budgeting process in their respective Congressional branches erases sequestration until 2016, restores funding to badly needed social programs, and allows for new investments in critical areas necessary to grow the economy. As important for economic justice is the fact that their announcement points towards a climbdown from the GOP’s, Tea Party-fueled ideology which shut down the government and held back economic growth at a crucial time.

The good news came with the budget duo’s joint press conference where they stated that the federal budget for 2014 year would rise to $ 1.012 trillion from $967 billion. Under the agreement, it would rise slightly to $ 1.014 in 2015. The $85 billion increase in spending will be equally divided between defense and non-defense areas of the budget.

The rollback of sequestration for at least two years will allow the 50 percent of Americans living on the economic edge to have the breathing space necessary to stabilize their lives after six years of crisis and instability. On the heels of the worst economic crisis in almost a hundred years, sequestration piled on the pain for the poor and near poor with the loss of over 100,000 housing vouchers, a similar reduction in the number of kids able to access Head Start, and close to a million fewer people who received critical care in local community health centers. Not only did these and other devastating cuts in education, housing and health care cause chaos in the lives of those who can least afford it but sequestration hampered our economy by preventing the creation of over 1.5 million jobs this year alone.

The restoration of government funding is also potentially important news for the unemployment picture in communities of color. Given the disproportionate employment by people of color in the public sector, the layoffs prevented by the budget additions will help stave off new mass reductions in employment. This is particularly true for African Americans where public sector job cuts have been a key driver in the double-digit black unemployment crisis.

Not only will these new funding levels help stop things from getting worse, they might even allow them to improve. The added resources now provide a pathway for President Obama to enact his goal of providing pre-school to all Americans. It also gives added financial room for his federal infrastructure bank initiative which would create badly needed jobs in the construction industry for black and Latino men laid off during the recession.

But despite the signs off hope in the deal last night, there are also signs of caution and concern.

The first is that the money to pay for these higher levels of investment is generated by extending for two years an existing 2 percent cut in Medicare and an administrative crackdown on certain types of Medicaid expenditures, such as for children who might be able to have access to healthcare through a non-custodial parent. It also requires younger federal workers to contribute more to their pensions and reduces annual cost of living increases to military retirees under the age of 62. The agreement will also raise TSA airline ticket fees. In fact, even with the new federal spending, these changes will mean that the deficit is actually cut by an additional $28 billion more than would have been the case under the limits of sequestration.

The second cautionary note is that the Ryan-Murray budget pact must still pass both the House and the Senate. While Tea Party standard-bearer Paul Ryan might now see the necessity in making sure the country’s health, education, housing and infrastructure needs are met, many of his colleagues do not. In fact key conservative group Heritage Action opposed the deal even before it was announced saying that they “cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending the near term.” And given the independent streak of the Republicans in Congress, anything is possible.

But perhaps the most worrisome feature is what is left out agreement.

In just two weeks one out of four of the nation’s long term unemployed—over a million people—will lose their unemployment insurance unless Congress takes action.

It also leaves immigration reform to the side which, if passed, would reduce the deficit by $200 billion and increase economic growth by 30 percent.

Though gridlock around the budget may have loosened, it still remains on key areas necessary to get our economy back on track. And even though the budget agreement may be the clearest sign yet that the Tea Party’s “cut our way to growth” ideology may be in reverse, ongoing issues of how the deal is paid for combined with the looming unemployment insurance crisis and stalled immigration reform effort underscore that the reversal may not be total.

Despite last night’s positive news, there’s still a long way to go.

Flying Lotus Just Dropped a Whole Bunch of Free Music

Flying Lotus Just Dropped a Whole Bunch of Free Music

Following up on his most recent release “Until the Quiet Comes,” composer and producer Flying Lotus just released a free 24-track download of remixes called “Ideas + drafts + loops” featuring folks like Earl Sweatshirt, Mapei, Viktor Vaughn and DJ Mehdi. Here’s one track from the release, a remix of Kanye West’s “Black Skinheads.” 

Download it here.

(h/t Okayplayer)

Watch Singer Jane Lui and Actress Lynn Chen Cover TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ With Friends

Watch Singer Jane Lui and Actress Lynn Chen Cover TLC's 'Waterfalls' With Friends

So this looks like tons of fun. Blogger Angry Asian Man joined a group of friends, including singer Jane Lui and actress Lynn Chen, to sing a merry version of TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

TAGS: TLC Video

Sonic Drive-in Sorry for ‘Scalp the Redskins’ Signs

Sonic Drive-in Sorry for 'Scalp the Redskins' Signs

Sonic Drive-in had to apologize over the weekend for a racist sign created by an employee at a Belton, Mo., branch to mark the local team playing aginst the Washington DC NFL team. NBC News’s Simon Moya-Smith explained the scenario on Sunday: 

The uproar began after a photo circulated on Twitter showing the sign in Belton, Missouri. The sign, which has since been taken down, read: “‘KC CHIEFS’ WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS FEED THEM WHISKEY SEND - 2 - RESERVATION.”

On Sunday, the Washington Redskins lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Landover, Maryland.

Patrick Lenow, vice president of public relations at Sonic, told NBC News that the sign was created by an employee who is “known for creative use of his signs,” but that this sign was done “in poor taste.”

But it turns out that wasn’t the only sign. 

12-10-sonic-2.jpg

It’s a little blurry, but reads: “‘KC CHIEFS’ WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS DRAIN THE FIREWATER **OUT OF THEM**

When contacted by Colorlines, Lenow acknowledged that there were two different messages at the same location, and that both remarks were offensive. Lenow says that Sonic deeply apologizes for the signs.

He adds that the corporation has made the decision to not release the franchise owner’s name, despite requests to do so by numerous Twitter users—although his name is a matter of Missouri public record. 

Obama Poses For a Selfie With World Leaders at Nelson Mandela Memorial

Obama Poses For a Selfie With World Leaders at Nelson Mandela Memorial

Um, yeah. So this happened, according to Time:

The memorial service today for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died on Dec. 5 at age 95, was a four-hour affair. At some point, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt posed for a photo with her seat-mates: U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.


At least Michelle had the good sense to act right.

Controversial Military Sexual Assault Proposal Dropped

Controversial Military Sexual Assault Proposal Dropped

With the House breaking this Friday for the rest of the year, Stars and Stripes reports that Congressional military committee leaders have proposed an “expedited process” for authorizing the new $632.8 billion defense bill. Rush approval means some amendments will be tabled—including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) controversial proposal allowing victims to take sexual assault prosecutions outside the military’s chain of command.

Gillibrand’s proposal had gained traction in recent months following a May 2013 Pentagon sexual assault report that during fiscal year 2012, approximately 26,000 women and men had experienced unwanted sexual contact—an increase from 19,000 in 2010. Of these 26,000 service members, 53 percent were men. Less than 3 out of every 100 sexual assaults were prosecuted.

Other reforms aimed at curbing sexual assault are included in the bill.

Grinch Delivers Coal to Chicago Aldermen in National Protest to Reclaim Public Education

Grinch Delivers Coal to Chicago Aldermen in National Protest to Reclaim Public Education

In Chicago on Monday a man dressed as the Grinch, together with other protestors, dropped off bags of symbolic coal for city leaders as part of the National day of action to coordinated by teacher unions and education activist groups to protest mass school closures throughout the city.

The Chicago coal delivery was one action of over 60 held Monday, including a protest led by the Newark Student Union and hundreds of supporters in New Jersey to wrest back control of the state’s public school districts from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Actions were planned for Detroit, Cincinnati, Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans, among other cities.

The Dec. 9 events were part of a $1.2 million advertising campaign by the American Federation of Teachers to fight back against the market-driven education reform movement which has targeted teachers and low-income communities and communities of color for disruptive, destabilizing reforms

Meet Thrasher’s First Black Skater of the Year: Ishod Wair

Meet Thrasher's First Black Skater of the Year: Ishod Wair

Thrasher magazine has given a black skater its Skater of the Year for the first time in the 23 year history of the award. The honor went to Ishod Wair, who talked about his childhood and what led him to skating in the magazine’s cover story interview.

Lorde Reveals Asian Boyfriend, Internet Explodes in Racism

Lorde Reveals Asian Boyfriend, Internet Explodes in Racism

Lorde, the 17-year-old singer from New Zealand whose song “Royals” was just nominated for a Grammy, just revealed that might have an Asian boyfriend in 24-year-old James Lowe (that age difference doesn’t look too good). They do cute things that cute couples do, like take selfies of brushing their teeth together (See above photo? Cute, right?). But racist meanies on the internet don’t think so. Jezebel captured some of the racist vitriol thrown toward the couple, including comments that her Lowe “looks like Mao Tse Tung” and “captain of a chess club.” Yeah, it’s ugly.

TAGS: Lorde

FBI Arrests LA County Jails Officers

FBI Arrests LA County Jails Officers

More than a dozen current and former deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were arrested today on civil rights violations and public corruption charges. The indictment comes after a two-year FBI investigation and is the latest in a series of county jail abuses documented by the LA Times since 2010.

Using undercover informants, the FBI has been investigating allegations of excessive force against inmates in LA county jails. It is unclear however, whether the arrested deputies face those specific charges.

(h/t LA Times)

Anti-Eviction Protestors Block Google Bus in San Francisco

Anti-Eviction Protestors Block Google Bus in San Francisco

Tensions are flaring over San Francisco’s tech-driven gentrification. This morning, protestors calling for an end to the increasing number of evictions blocked a Google bus from leaving the city and shuttling its workers to the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. One Google worker inside the bus named Alejandor Villarreal, captured the scene and shared it on Instagram (pictured above). 

The privately-owned Google buses (and their counterparts at companies like Facebook and Apple) have long been symbols of the city’s gentrification (a hidden map of their routes was published last January). Earlier this year, San Francisco native Rebecca Solnit published a piece in the London Review of Books on the impact of the buses. Solnit wrote:

The Google Bus means so many things. It means that the minions of the non-petroleum company most bent on world domination can live in San Francisco but work in Silicon Valley without going through a hair-raising commute by car - I overheard someone note recently that the buses shortened her daily commute to 3.5 hours from 4.5. It means that unlike gigantic employers in other times and places, the corporations of Silicon Valley aren’t much interested in improving public transport, and in fact the many corporations providing private transport are undermining the financial basis for the commuter train. It means that San Francisco, capital of the west from the Gold Rush to some point in the 20th century when Los Angeles overshadowed it, is now a bedroom community for the tech capital of the world at the other end of the peninsula.

Read Solnit’s essay in full over at the London Review of Books. As well-paid tech workers have moved into the city, many working class residents have been forced out as both rents and evictions have increased in recent years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The protest was organized in part by a group called Heart of the City, which wrote on its website that “the city needs to declare a state of emergency, stop all no-fault evictions, and prevent tech companies from running  buses in residential neighborhoods, which is driving up rents (up to 20% along their route)..”

(h/t Business Insider)

DC’s Non-Citizens Could Get Right To Vote

DC's Non-Citizens Could Get Right To Vote

More than a quarter of the District of Columbia’s City Council members are said to support a newly resurfaced bill to grant voting rights to legal immigrants who are not citizens. Nationwide, at least seven municipalities—six of which are in neighboring Maryland—have already enacted similar laws. 

In order to vote in local elections, residents must be federally-recognized legal permanent residents and live in DC at least 30 days prior to the most recent election.

Bill co-sponsor David Grosso feels confident the bill will pass this time around, owing to a more favorable climate on immigration. A similar measure co-sponsored by then council member and former mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated in 2004. 

(h/t Governing)

Aloe Blacc’s ‘The Man’ Featured in Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Beats By Dre’ Ad

Aloe Blacc's 'The Man' Featured in Colin Kaepernick's 'Beats By Dre' Ad

San Francsico 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is rarely seen in public without a pair of Beats by Dre headphones, the omnipotent, multimillion dollar company that was cofounded by hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre. He’s now the star of a new ad from the company that features a track from Aloe Blacc’s 2013 EP “Wake Me Up” called “The Man.” Earlier this year, ESPN had an interesting feature on how the company has slyly manuevered itself to sit alongside some of the most recognizable names in sports. It’s worth a read, if you haven’t done so already.

Watch Childish Gambino’s New Video For ‘The Worst Guys’

Watch Childish Gambino's New Video For 'The Worst Guys'

Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) has a new album “Because The Internet” dropping tomorrow (though it leaked about a week ago). On Twitter, the rapper’s mentioned wanting to have what he calls one of the more imaginative album releases for the project. We’ve already seen bits and pieces of that — last summer’s experimental film and a recently released screenplay — but here’s the album’s first official video.

(h/t Miss Info)

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