Archive for June, 2010

Illinois sues Countrywide over subprime loans. #africanamerican #hispanic #realestate

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

(Chicago Tribune) The state of Illinois sued former mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp. on Tuesday for allegedly using discriminatory lending practices for minority borrowers.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said an investigation revealed that African-American and Latino borrowers were much more likely to be given risky subprime loans by the lender than similarly situated whites from 2005 to 2007.

The lawsuit also alleged that a statistical analysis revealed that the company charged Latino and African-American borrowers more interest and fees on certain mortgages than whites.

Countrywide Financial, which was the largest mortgage lender in Illinois from 2004 to 2006, is now a subsidiary of Bank of America.

Full story…

South has the higest obesity rate, Florida does better than most states. #africanamerican #healthcare

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

(San Francisco Examiner) Obesity has been a hot topic lately. Childhood obesity has drawn the attention of the White House and some have even called it a matter of national security. On Tuesday, June 29th, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health issued their report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010.” The report painted a bleak picture for the nation, especially in the South.

Overall, 38 states had obesity rates over 25%. This is a drastic increase since no state was over 20% in 1991. In the past year alone, the number of states with an obesity rate over 30% has doubled. Last year there were only 4 states over 30%, now there 8 states. 28 states saw an increase.

The South did the worst of any region. 10 of the 11 states with the highest rates were in the South. Michigan, who tied for 10th place, was the only state north of the Mason-Dixon that made the top 10. Florida, the only Southern state that wasn’t in the top 20, was in a 3 way tie for 36th place. The state with the lowest rate of obesity was Colorado with a 19.1% rate.

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More #blacks at UC San Diego, despite #racist party

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

(San Jose Mercury News) There will be more black freshmen on the University of California, San Diego, campus this fall, but statistics released by the university shows African Americans represent less than 2 percent of the incoming class.

UC San Diego stepped up efforts to recruit black students after an off-campus “Compton Cookout” party mocking African Americans made national headlines and led to protests.

The university says there will be 68 black freshman this fall, up from 50 last year.

Of the incoming class of 4,206, Asian Americans make up 48 percent. White students are 20 percent of the class and 16 percent are Hispanic.

Other UC campuses plan to release their enrollment figures next month.

Broadway Sees Benefits of Building #Black Audience. #africanamerican

Monday, June 28th, 2010

(NY Times) That’s what a focus group of a dozen African-American women concluded about the musical “Memphis” last summer when they were asked to assess the show’s tagline, “The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll.”

But after seeing artwork featuring Felicia, the black R&B singer in the show, and after hearing about the turbulent romance between the character and a white D.J., the women in the focus group said the show was much more up their alley.

With that in mind, the producers changed the “Memphis” tagline before opening on Broadway to: “His Vision, Her Voice. The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll.”

The use of focus groups is one of several diversity strategies, aggressive by theater standards, used not only by “Memphis” but also by another new Broadway musical, “Fela!”; the new play “Race”; and the revival of “Fences” — all shows centered on black characters, who are rarely in the forefront of major plays and musicals.

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#Racism common in jury selection. #blacks excluded from death penalty cases.

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

(CNN, Andrea Lyon) Some subjects are just plain hard to talk about. Religion, politics and money — maybe sex, too. But try talking about race and then add the emotional context of a death penalty trial, and no one will talk at all.

If you try to broach the subject during jury selection, asking all the racists to please raise their hands is not an option. We, as a nation, have to find a way to face the dirty secret of criminal justice — that prejudice often carries the day.

The issue of racial disparity in the administration of the death penalty has been a part of modern law. Starting with Furman v. Georgia and continuing on to McCleskey v. Zant, courts have struggled to come to grips with this issue as have those of us defending the most despised amongst us.

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The importance of #diversity skills in the workplace

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

(Helium) The importance of diversity skills and personal and interpersonal enrichment is valuable in today’s world. Diversity was once a means of separation, but it is now a common ground. Learning diversity skills can lead to personal and interpersonal enrichment.

Diversity skills are like empathy but on more levels than just emotion. When you have empathy you can understand or relate to someone’s feelings or situation. Diversity skills allow you to understand where someone else is coming from even if you are not from or in the same situation. Diversity skills also allow you to see where multiple different perspectives come from. They allow you to listen with an open mind and background knowledge of other people’s circumstances.

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New “Karate Kid” still contains insidious #asianamerican stereotypes

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

(The Progressive) The new “Karate Kid” with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith has supposedly learned from the past, setting out to poke holes in some stereotypes about Asians.

That’s good news for any Asian middle-schooler tormented by the “Wax on, wax off” catchphrase of the original.

The film parodies the idea that all Asians are foreigners (“Dude, I’m from Detroit”) and can grab flies out of the air with chopsticks.

It also preserves some of the positives from the original. The heart-warming, cross-racial coalition is still there, as is the theme of reciprocal redemption, to say nothing of the obligatory training montage.

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US Republicans bid to shed ‘lily-white’ image. #africanamerican #politics

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

(BBC News) How does being young, gifted and black square with being a Republican in today’s deep south?

The obvious answer might be that it’s an awkward fit.

But tell that to Tim Scott.

Voters go the polls in South Carolina on Tuesday in a run-off to decide between two Republicans vying for a seat in Congress in November’s mid-term elections.

One of the two, Paul Thurmond, is the son of the state’s legendary congressman, senator, presidential candidate and one-time segregationist Strom Thurmond.

The other, Tim Scott, is a charismatic black state legislator from Charleston who, if elected, would be the first black Republican in Congress for almost a decade and the first from his state in more than a century.

Full story…

#AfricanAmerican genetic mutations pose Rx challenge. 37% more likely to develop lung cancer.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

(Cancer Network) Lung cancer is not a discriminate disease, but the disease burden is especially high on African Americans in the U.S. The statistics are stark: African-American men are 37% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men and are 22% more likely to die of it. In addition, only 12% of African Americans live longer than five years after a diagnosis of lung cancer, compared with 16% of whites, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association (see Fact box).

One suggested reason for this gap in outcomes is differences in race-based genetics. In the era of personalized medicine and treatments that target specific disease pathways, identifying genetic differences among populations is becoming increasingly important to optimize benefit.

Full story…

More #AsianAmericans Signing Up For The Army

Monday, June 21st, 2010

(NPR) In the U.S. Army, Asian-Americans have typically volunteered at the lowest rate of any ethnic group. They make up 4 percent of the population, and only 1 percent of military recruits.

But that seems to be changing. Something is suddenly drawing Asian-Americans in California into the Army at a remarkable rate. And there have been similar increases in other Asian-American population centers, like Seattle and New York.

In Los Angeles County last year, 22 percent of Army recruits were Asian-Americans — almost twice their proportion in the population. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the sign-up rate is also spiking. The proportion of newly enlisted soldiers who are Asian-Americans this year is nearly double that of last year.

Full story…

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