Archive for July, 2010

Feature: Race and Reefer — the #AfricanAmerican Vote in California’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Friday, July 9th, 2010

( With the clock ticking down toward Election Day in November, both proponents and opponents of California’s Control and Tax Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative, now known officially as Proposition 19, are going after the African American vote. As it now stands, though, the community is highly supportive — winning the black vote will be an uphill struggle for pot foes at best.

A Survey USA poll done in April found that support for marijuana legalization among blacks was at 67%, the highest level of any major ethnic group in the state. Whites were second at 59%, followed by Asians at 58% and Hispanics at 45%. The findings are consistent with other polls that show similar high levels of support for pot legalization in the state’s black community.

While African Americans constitute only 5.8% of the state’s electorate, the November vote is shaping up to be extremely close, and holding onto key constituencies, even relatively small ones, could end up making the difference on Election Day.

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Wells Fargo’s Subprime Exit Closes a Sorry Chapter in Its History. #africanamerican #hispanic

Friday, July 9th, 2010

(Daily Finance) Wells Fargo’s (WFC) announcement earlier this week that it’s exiting the subprime mortgage business is economically sensible for the bank, given that today’s far more restrictive credit requirements pretty much put an end to subprime mortgages. It also closes a very dark chapter in Wells Fargo’s history.

Wells Fargo is one of the nation’s largest banks, but it’s had a questionable record with lending to the black and Hispanic community.

As former Wells Fargo loan officer Beth Jacobson told The New York Times in June 2009, Wells Fargo singled out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages. Jacobson and another former Wells Fargo loan officer said in an affidavit that the bank’s employees referred to blacks as “mud people” and to subprime lending as “ghetto loans.”

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Poll: Fewer opportunities seen for #minority kids. #africanamerican #hispanic #healthcare

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

(AP) Minority children have fewer opportunities than their white peers to gain access to high-quality health care, education, safe neighborhoods and adequate support from the communities where they live, according to a nationwide survey of professionals who work with young people.

Of the professionals surveyed, 59 percent said young white children in their communities have “lots of opportunity” to play in violence-free homes and neighborhoods, while only 36 percent said the same about Hispanic children, 37 percent about African-American children and 42 percent about Native American children.

The survey refers to young children as 8 and under.

Fifty-five percent of respondents viewed young white children as having good access to high-quality health care, while 41 percent said the same of Hispanic, Arab American and American Indian/Alaska Native children and 45 percent said the same for African-American and Asian-American/Pacific Islander children.

The survey shows that children of all ages from low-income families, regardless of race, are at a greater disadvantage, in the view of the professionals who work with them.

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Mobile Web Use and the Digital Divide. #africanamerican and #hispanic more likely to own and use cellphones.

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

(New York Times) The image of the affluent and white cellphone owner as the prototypical mobile Web user seems to be a mistaken one, according to a report published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Center.

The study found that African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be more likely to own cellphones than whites and more likely to use their phones for a greater range of activities.

This increase in mobile Web use, first noticed in a similar study by the Pew Center last summer, is driven both by age and economics, according to Aaron W. Smith of the Pew Center.

Younger people and people living in households making less than $30,000 a year are increasing their mobile Web use at particularly fast rates, he said, and the African-American and Hispanic populations are younger and poorer relative to the white population.

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#AfricanAmerican groups seek ouster of California NAACP head for stance on legalized marijuana

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

(Los Angeles Times) More than 20 African American religious and community leaders called Wednesday for Alice Huffman to resign as president of the California State Conference of the NAACP after she and her organization endorsed a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in the state.

Bishop Ron Allen and other members of the International Faith-Based Coalition said Proposition 19 on the November ballot would hurt African Americans, and he criticized Huffman’s backing of the measure.

“Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?” Allen said at a Capitol news conference. “It’s going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies.”

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#AfricanAmerican patients have poorer health outcomes following cancer diagnosis. #healthcare

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

(Private MD Labs) Black patients who receive a positive cancer test are almost twice as likely to die from their disease as other races, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Michigan.

The study found that the five-year survival rates for black patients with colorectal cancer are 10 percent lower. The numbers are worse when it comes to uterine cancer. Black women diagnosed with the disease are 25 percent more likely to die of it within five years.

Both of the cancers are highly treatable when they are caught in early stages, but can be deadly when left untreated, the report notes.

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Justice Dept. sues, seeks injunction on Ariz. #immigration law. #hispanic #racialprofiling

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

(Washington Post) The Justice Department filed suit Tuesday against Arizona, charging that the state’s new immigration law is unconstitutional and requesting a preliminary injunction to stop the legislation from taking effect.

The lawsuit says the law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives, invoking as its main argument the legal doctrine of “preemption,” which is based on the Constitution’s supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. The Justice Department argues that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility.

But the filing also asserts that the Arizona law would harm people’s civil rights, leading to police harassment of U.S. citizens and foreigners. President Obama has warned that the law could violate citizens’ civil rights, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has expressed concern that it could drive a wedge between police and immigrant communities.

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NY man guilty of murder as #hatecrime in beating death of #hispanic immigrant

Monday, July 5th, 2010

(NY Times) A 30-year-old man accused of beating an Ecuadorean immigrant to death on a Brooklyn street was convicted on Monday of murder as a hate crime.

A jury in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn delivered the verdict around 9 p.m., after seven hours of deliberations. The decision came at the end of a two-week retrial of Keith Phoenix on charges stemming from the 2008 murder of José Sucuzhañay.

Mr. Phoenix faces life in prison. In his first trial, which ended in May, the jury was deadlocked because of a holdout juror.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Phoenix and an accomplice, Hakim Scott, attacked Mr. Sucuzhañay (pronounced suh-KOO-shen-y’eye) and his brother in December 2008 because they were Hispanic and because the suspects believed the brothers were gay.

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#Airbender reopens #race debate. Critics decry casting whites in #Asian roles

Monday, July 5th, 2010

( All in all, it was a week that M. Night Shyamalan would probably just as soon forget.

Movie critics delivered a withering verdict on his new film, “The Last Airbender,’’ heaping words like “laughable,’’ “flat,’’ and “fiasco’’ on the director’s latest effort to deliver on the promise he showed with 1999’s “The Sixth Sense.’’ But even before the reviews came in, Shyamalan was on the defensive, caught in the crossfire of a debate over ethnicity and authenticity that has implications beyond the fate of any individual movie.

At issue was Shyamalan’s decision to cast three of the four principal roles in “The Last Airbender’’ with Caucasian actors, even though the anime-style TV series that inspired the film featured lead characters who appeared to be East Asian or Native American. Furious at what they saw as the latest entry in an ignoble Hollywood tradition of “whitewashing,’’ or casting white performers in roles that cried out for minority actors, Asian-American activists launched a boycott of “The Last Airbender,’’ staged demonstrations, and mobilized opposition on Facebook.

Full story…

#Latinos not flexing political muscle — yet. #hispanic #politics

Monday, July 5th, 2010

(CNN) Each election cycle is dubbed “the year” — a time when Latinos will show up at the polls in droves and transform the political landscape.

President Obama’s renewed push last week for immigration reform has brought with it fresh expectations for the Latino vote in November’s midterm elections.

The issue is considered one of symbolic and substantive importance for the community. Four out of five undocumented immigrants are from Mexico or another part of Latin America, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

While voter turnout among the Latino community has risen in recent years, the adage that there’s “strength in numbers” has yet to manifest itself.

Full story…

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