Archive for September, 2008

Race costs Obama 6 points

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I read that opinion polls show that 6 percent of the voters in the U.S. would not vote for a black person under any circumstances. Although racism is not as bad as it used to be, it is clearly not gone. What a shame.

O.J. Simpson jury selection renews questions of race (LA Times)

Friday, September 19th, 2008

LAS VEGAS — As testimony in O.J. Simpson’s trial on robbery charges gets underway this week, one thing is already abundantly clear: When the former football star enters a courtroom, so does a debate about race.

In jury selection last week, defense attorneys repeatedly tried to dismiss the mostly white jury pool and accused prosecutors of systematically excluding blacks. The allegation prompted Clark County Dist. Atty. David Roger to insist that his choice of jurors had “nothing to do with race.”

Full story…

Republicans plan to foreclose African American voters (ZNet)

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.


‘We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,’ party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.


State election rules allow parties to assign ‘election challengers’ to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they ‘have a good reason to believe’ that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a ‘true resident of the city or township.’

Full story… 

When the Celebrity Is the Joke (and Is In on It) (NY Times)

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

A YOUNG man with an unusual perspective on the ups and downs of life is singing the praises of being prepared financially.

The verb in that sentence may help you guess his identity. He is Sanjaya Malakar, who may be the most talked-about contestant to appear on the popular reality series “American Idol.”

Mr. Malakar, who turned 19 on Wednesday, is featured in a commercial for Nationwide Financial that is part of the next installment of a campaign carrying the theme “Life comes at you fast.”

There is also a special Web site ( where visitors can customize photographs of themselves with different looks sported by Mr. Malakar on television; the results can be shared with friends and family.

The rise of Mr. Malakar last year from unknown Seattle-area teenager to national sensation as a finalist on the sixth season of “American Idol” was meteoric. The debate over his talent, or lack thereof, and his oddball hairstyles, like the “ponyhawk” — ponytails crossed with a faux mohawk — attracted so much attention that he has become part of American popular culture.

Full story…

Does affirmative action help or hurt African American law students? (LA Times)

Friday, September 12th, 2008
In his 19 years as a law professor at UCLA, Richard Sander has pondered a nagging question: Does affirmative action help or hinder African Americans who want to become lawyers?

Two years ago, he published research suggesting that racial preferences at law firms might be responsible for black lawyers’ high rate of attrition and difficulty making partner. He hypothesized that in the interest of promoting diversity, law firms sometimes hired black lawyers who were underqualified, and that when there was a “credentials gap” between black and white lawyers at a firm, black lawyers often were less likely to advance and more likely to leave the firm.

The research stirred debate throughout the legal community, and Sander said he was surprised at the vehemence with which people attacked his motives. A former Volunteers in Service to America participant, fair-housing activist and campaigner for Chicago’s first black mayor, Sander, who is white, insisted he was simply trying to examine an important question.

Full story…

LPGA Rescinds Discriminatory Policy

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

SACRAMENTO – After over 50 organizations joined forces to oppose a discriminatory policy by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the Tour announced today they would back off plans to suspend players who could not efficiently speak English.


“While it is quite unfortunate that in the 21st century any organization would think such a policy is acceptable, I am pleased that the LPGA heard the millions of American voices who opposed this unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory mandate,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo).  “While these types of incidents unfortunately still seep into our society, it is refreshing to see the overwhelming number of people who will fight for equality, fairness, and justice.”


Despite there being no relevance to the sport, the LPGA claimed that it was important for players to be able to interact with American media and event sponsors.  No other professional sports league in the United States has such a mandate.  One major sponsor, State Farm, had already announced they would no longer support the LPGA if they do not rescind the policy.


“The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens.  “We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions.  After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every Tour player. In that spirit, we will continue communicating with our diverse Tour players to develop a better alternative. The LPGA will announce a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008.”


Civil Rights Organizations Condemn LPGA English Policy

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

SACRAMENTO Representing millions of Americans, several leading civil rights organizations have joined Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) in opposing a recently announced policy by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to require its athletes to speak English starting in 2009.

Among the groups condemning the LPGA is the California National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest state organization of feminists in the United States, as well as two of the oldest and most respected Asian American civil rights organizations Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA).


Asian American Justice Center organizes boycott of LPGA for “English proficiency” rule (Golf Blog)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Washington, D.C. The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) urges the LPGA sponsors to withdraw support of the Tour until the English proficiency policy is retracted. The LPGA will require all players to be proficient in English starting in 2009 and those who cannot pass an oral evaluation of English skills face suspension from the Tour. There are currently 121 international players from 26 countries on the LPGA Tour.

This policy is tantamount to national origin discrimination, which is prohibited under Civil Rights Act,” said Vincent A. Eng, deputy director of AAJC. The policy is an affront to our American principles of diversity and equality. It is even more unconscionable that the LPGA is devolving to past divisive and exclusionary practices of their sport following the successful closing of the unifying Olympic Games.”

Full story…

McDonald’s ups outreach on Hispanic scholarships (PR Week)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald’s increased communications efforts for its second year of helping Hispanic high school students prepare for college. It is promoting its Steps for Success College Workshops and the company’s scholarship program, funded by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

McDonald’s partnered with Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources (part of RMHC) and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for the effort. Valencia Prez & Echeveste, which handles Hispanic consumer marketing for McDonald’s, is providing PR support.

Full story…

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