Archive for March, 2008

Talking about race: Um, you first (LA Times)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

LITHONIA, GA. — How do we start a national dialogue on race?

Charlotte Griffin was at a restaurant one evening when a white woman complimented her on her children’s behavior. The stranger may have meant to be kind. But Griffin wondered if she heard a note of condescension — an assumption, perhaps, that black kids aren’t usually so polite.

How do we navigate that minefield?

As a teenager, Stan North went to work on the assembly line at Ford. He made good money. But he noticed that he — like all the other white guys — always got the dirty jobs. Seething, he concluded that the boss wouldn’t dare give a black man heavy lifting, for fear of being tagged a racist.

How do we acknowledge that anger?

In his recent address on race relations in America — prompted by his minister’s explosive sermons on that topic — Sen. Barack Obama declared that whites must understand the black experience in America and blacks must appreciate the white perspective. Otherwise, he said, we face a grinding “racial stalemate.”

His remarks struck a nerve: More than 4 million people watched the Democratic presidential candidate on live TV, and the speech is now a top video on YouTube, viewed nearly 3 million times.

Full story…

U.S. Race Record Demands Action (Huffington Post)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, annually observed since 1966 to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre of young South African students peacefully protesting apartheid laws. It’s a fitting occasion to examine recent international attention to racism in the U.S.

On Tuesday, the same day as Senator Obama’s speech on race in America in which he proclaimed that “race is an issue that…this nation cannot afford to ignore right now,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said before a high-level panel convened in Geneva, “48 years after the Sharpeville shootings, no country can claim to be free of racism’s destructive influence.” And earlier this month, in an event that received far less coverage in U.S. media than Obama’s speech, a U.N. human rights body reviewed the United States’ record on racial justice, and found that we are in breach of our human rights obligations to end racial discrimination. After these recent pronouncements from Geneva, it’s clear that we, as a nation, can no longer deny the problems of racial discrimination, from racial profiling to unequal access to educational opportunities, that persist here.

Full story…

Media Audit: Minorities are shopping more online (BizReport)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

For the report, The Media Audit surveyed shoppers from 88 different cities in the nation.

Just over 17 million African-Americans were surveyed with 40% saying they shopped online. In 2003 only 20% were shopping online. More than 20% of shoppers said they make 5 or more purchases online each year and 10% said they make 10 or more purchases online each year.

Nearly 9 million Asian-Americans were surveyed with 70% saying they shopped online, up from 55% in 2003. Nearly half make at least 5 purchases online each year and more than 20% make 10 or more purchases online each year.

There were 23 million Hispanic-Americans surveyed, with 41% admitting to shopping online. That is an increase of nearly 20% over 2003 numbers. At least 23% make 5 purchases each year and 12% make 10 or more purchases each year.

Full story…

Richardson urges unity behind Obama (Boston Globe)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Bill Richardson, who once hoped to be the nation’s first minority president himself, endorsed Barack Obama yesterday for the Democratic nomination, calling him a “once-in-a-lifetime leader” and suggesting that it’s time for Hillary Clinton to withdraw.

Richardson said he made his decision after Obama’s widely praised speech this week on race relations.

“Earlier this week an extraordinary American gave a historic speech,” the New Mexico governor said at a campaign event in Portland, Ore. He “didn’t evade the tough issues,” rather “he inspired us” and started a long overdue conversation on race, Richardson said.

“As an Hispanic-American, I was particularly touched by his words,” said Richardson, who took the stage with Obama to thunderous applause.

Full story…

Help Advance Asthma Research in the African American Population

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Researchers are evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a study drug to treat asthma in the African American population.

You may qualify to participate if you:

Are African American (both parents identified as African American)

Are 12 years of age or older

Take asthma medication daily

Qualified study participants will receive study-related drug and medical care at no charge. Reimbursement for time and travel may be provided. Health insurance is not needed to participate.

For more information and a free pre-screening, please visit or call 800-280-7155

One in Four Girls (NY Times – Op-ed)

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Teenage girls and their parents need to read the latest government study of sexually transmitted diseases. The infections are so prevalent they are hard to avoid once a girl becomes sexually active. One in four girls ages 14 to 19 is infected with at least one of four common diseases. Among African-American girls in the study, almost half were infected.

The data, drawn from a sample of 838 girls who participated in a broad national survey in 2003-4, was presented last week by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By far the most common of the four S.T.D.s was the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which infected 18 percent of the girls. Chlamydia infected 4 percent, trichomoniasis a common parasite 2.5 percent, and genital herpes 2 percent.

Full story…

Leading US lenders accused of racism (Telegraph)

Monday, March 17th, 2008

A group of 15 leading American mortgage lenders is being accused of racism over the way in which the banks lent money to black customers.

  • News from the banking and financial services sector
  • The mortgage banks – including Washington Mutual, Bear Stearns and JP Morgan Chase – are all named in a lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

    NAACP has recently filed paperwork to speed up the class-action lawsuit, in which it alleges that the banks steered black borrowers into taking predatory sub-prime loans.

    Full story…

    White suspicion, black ‘luck’ (LA Times Op-ed)

    Monday, March 17th, 2008

    For decades, critics of affirmative action on both sides of the aisle have argued that the policy calls into question the talents and qualifications of the minorities who benefit from it. They insisted that it generates a cloud of suspicion around the successful black or Latino student or professional. It makes whites wonder whether their minority colleagues really “earned” their positions.

    It turns out those critics are right about the suspicion part. And evidently you don’t even have to be an actual beneficiary of affirmative action to be accused of having an unfair advantage. Geraldine Ferraro’s remark that “if [Barack] Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position” was not racist per se; it did not presume racial inferiority on the part of any person or group. But it was remarkably arrogant, ignorant and, unfortunately, reflective of an all too common and growing sentiment in the post-Civil Rights era.

    Full story…

    1 in 100 US Adults in Prison, All-time US Record, World’s Highest Rate (Global Intercept)

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

    For the first time in the nation’s history, 1 in every 100 adults in the United States is behind bars. Fully 1% of the adult population is in prison. The US incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world, including Communist China, with a population more than 4 times the size. The US Justice Dept. calculates incarceration as measure of the total population; by its standard, 1 in every 130 Americans is in prison, including every man, woman, child and senior citizen.

    According to the report form the Pew Center on the States: among certain groups, the numbers are even more alarming: among the Hispanic-American population, 1 in 36 adult men is incarcerated; among adult African Americans, 1 in 15 is in prison, while 1 in 9 black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is imprisoned (fully 11% of African American men between 20 and 34).

    Full story…

    Vanguard settles racial discrimination case (Philadelphia Business Journal)

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

    The Vanguard Group Inc. has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC said Friday.

    The Malvern, Pa., mutual fund giant did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, EEOC said.

    EEOC said Vanguard was accused of race discrimination by Raymond Ross of Maple Glen, Pa. According to the EEOC, Ross’ information technology career at Vanguard began in 1993 and was going well until he switched to a new department and managers in 2002. After complaining “that he was being treated less favorably and discriminated against based on his race,” the EEOC said, “Ross began to experience acts of retaliation, including unfavorable changes in his work conditions and assignments, from the managers he accused of race discrimination.” He was fired in 2003, the EEOC said. An EEOC official said Ross now runs a computer consulting company.

    Full story…

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