Archive for September, 2010

High school student #SAT scores down, but #asianamerican student scores up.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

(Wall Street Journal) High-school students’ performance last year on the SAT college-entrance exam remained generally unchanged from the previous year, except for Asian-American students who continue to post notable gains and outperform all other students.

Overall, the average scores for the class of 2010 in critical reading remained at 501, in math it climbed from 515 to 516, in writing it dropped from 493 to 492. The combined scores match last year’s tally, which was the lowest total since the writing exam was added to the SAT in 2006.

The only bright spot was the performance of the nation’s Asian-American students. They posted a three-point gain in reading, four-point jump in math and six-point gain in writing over their 2009 scores.

Full story…

Workplace #diversity can lead to innovation if managed well.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

(Chicago Tribune) Attorney Steven Hunter wasn’t looking for a job when a recruiter encouraged him to interview at Quarles & Brady. The fact that the firm had an African-American chairman, John Daniels Jr., influenced his decision to take a position.

“That speaks volumes,” said Hunter, a senior associate in commercial litigation and one of five African-American attorneys in Quarles & Brady’s Chicago office. “You assume that a law firm that would promote an African-American to lead the entire firm embraces diversity.”

And it does, Daniels said. But the firm’s interest in establishing a diverse workplace goes beyond recruitment.

“It’s been demonstrated that by having exceptional people with diverse backgrounds, you get the best solutions,” Daniels said. “It’s essential to delivering the best service to the client.”

Hunter, a Chicago native who graduated from Brown University and Georgetown Law School, has found that not everyone feels the same way, and he has seen firsthand the bias sometimes attached to race.

“It’s definitely ingrained that if you want to do well, you have to be twice as good,” he said.

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More #asianamericans on TV, but in roles that continue to enforce #racial stereotypes. #diversity

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

(San Francisco Chronicle) The prime-time sitcom is a curious beast.

On the one hand, it’s the Great Equalizer — the small-d democratic medium that more than any other demonstrates the shared common ground that exists across class, creed and culture. On the other, the way sitcoms establish this universality is generally to stamp characters into molds, reducing them to standard lowest-common-denominator icons: The hot girl, the geeky guy, the eager beaver, the oily weasel.

That’s not entirely meant to be criticism. When we hit the couch around 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central), boilerplate is where we want to begin: Sitcoms are media comfort food, the comic equivalent of mac and cheese. But just as a non-stop diet of Kraft Dinner rapidly loses its appeal (unless you happen to be my six-year-old son), the level playing field of stereotype is merely where the game begins. To survive long-term, a sitcom needs to surprise and engage beyond those initial expectations. It must prove it can be both provocative and sophisticated — while remaining true to the format’s roots.

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#minority businesses still struggling to secure NYC contracts

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

(New York Times) Businesses owned by women and members of minorities still struggle to secure city contracts, despite nearly five years of legal mandates and targeted goals set by the city, says a new City Council report [pdf - see also below].

City agencies handed out more than $5.3 billion in contracts between July and December 2009, but only $87 million, or 1.6 percent, went to businesses owned by women and minority candidates, the report says. Fifteen agencies met none of their contracting goals for this period. The number of contracts secured by such businesses continues to be less than half the mandated number.

The report’s findings, which were based on data published [pdf] by the Department of Small Business Services in April, present the latest challenge to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ability to promote racial and gender diversity within his administration, and his efforts to empower minority-run businesses throughout the city.

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Mississippi Gov Haley Barbour tries to re-write history of racial integration in the South. #africanamerican #civilrights

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

(Washington Post) Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who may seek the Republican nomination for president, is trying to sell the biggest load of revisionist nonsense about race, politics and the South that I’ve ever heard. Ever.

He has the gall to try to portray Southern Republicans as having been enlightened supporters of the civil rights movement all along. I can’t decide whether this exercise in rewriting history should be described as cynical or sinister. Whichever it is, the record has to be set straight.

In a recent interview with Human Events, a conservative magazine and Web site, Barbour gave his version of how the South, once a Democratic stronghold, became a Republican bastion. The 62-year-old Barbour claimed that it was “my generation” that led the switch: “my generation, who went to integrated schools. I went to integrated college — never thought twice about it.” The “old Democrats” fought integration tooth and nail, Barbour said, but “by my time, people realized that was the past, it was indefensible, it wasn’t gonna be that way anymore. And so the people who really changed the South from Democrat to Republican was a different generation from those who fought integration.”

Not a word of this is true.

Full story…

Venus Williams is not just a champion tennis player, she’s a #civilrights advocate.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

(Sports Illustrated) She didn’t have a ball or racket in hand, wasn’t even near a tennis court, so it took a moment to recognize that one of the most important figures in the history of American sports had changed her game. Because Venus Williams, tennis player, wasn’t talking about dogs or fashion; Venus Williams wasn’t responding to the latest nonsense about her sister’s foot or her father’s mouth. No, she was talking about race now, about fighting hatred, about doing right when the easy choice is to do nothing. We’ve grown too used to the rich and famous using their clout only to sell products. You had to look around the room, and remember, to see that a long-ago promise was being realized at last.

“Just because of my history, too, as the African-American,” Williams said Sunday, recalling why she decided, last year, to publicly chastise the United Arab Emirates — during the trophy ceremony in Dubai — for barring Israeli player Shahar Peer from their tournament. “My parents both came from the South in the ’40s and ’50s and just — you know, it was an outrage, really. Just like: Are you serious? Can you really exclude someone? This is professional tennis in 2010. We’re all athletes here. We’re not politicians or anything like that. So really, the feeling inside of me was just one of almost rage and discontent. Like: Is this for real?”

Full story…

Nielsen: 40% of new TV households are #hispanic.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

(Media Week) The growth of Hispanic TV households continues to accelerate, contributing 40 percent of new TV households for the 2010-2011 broadcast season, per Nielsen. Hispanic TV households increased by nearly 400,000 to 13.3 million, a more than 3 percent gain, compared to a 2.3 percent rise last year.

Both African American TV households and Asian TV households had modest gains, but trailed the growth of total TV households, which rose 0.87 percent. African American TV households grew 0.54 percent to just over 14 million. Asian TV households climbed 0.62 percent to 4.8 million.

There were more rank changes in Hispanic markets this season compared to last year. Among the top 50 Hispanic markets, 22 markets changed rank, compared to only six market changes last year. Philadelphia had the largest increase in Hispanic TV homes, up 8 percent from last year, to move up one place in rank to No. 18. In the top 10 Hispanic markets, San Antonio moved up one rank to No. 7, displacing Phoenix, which fell to No. 8.

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U.S. labor chief cites ‘unacceptable’ jobless rates for #minorities. #africanamerican unemployment rate now at 15%.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

(Kansas City Star) Hilda Solis, the U.S. secretary of labor, told a group of columnists last week that she and the administration recognize that unemployment numbers for African-American males are at an alarming level. And they are trying to do something about it.

While unemployment for the nation hovers well over 9 percent, for African-Americans, unemployment is estimated at 15 percent.

In recognizing Labor Day, Solis did a telephone interview with members of the Trotter Group, a group of black columnists from across the nation. Solis used the occasion to provide a sort of state of the economy.

“For young people and especially people of regions of the country hardest hit by the recession, and especially people of color, as you know, the unemployment rate is much higher,” Solis said. “And I am very concerned about that. To me, it’s unacceptable. In some communities, it goes as high as 25 to 30 and even as high as 40 percent.”

Full story…

#asianamericans climb #fashion industry ladder.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

(New York Times) The mood was set early at the American fashion awards ceremony at Lincoln Center in June, an event often likened to the Oscars of the fashion world, with a guest list that included celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwyneth Paltrow and almost every top designer.

In quick succession, three men were called to the stage to accept their awards as the best new designers of the year: Richard Chai for men’s wear, Jason Wu for women’s wear and Alexander Wang for accessories.

It was the first time that all three prizes given by the Council of Fashion Designers of America were awarded to designers who are Asian-American. That same night, the fashion council announced three scholarships, each for $25,000, won by student designers of Asian heritage.

“It’s so exciting,” said Mr. Wu, who became a household name not only in this country, but also in his native Taiwan, when his dress was selected by Michelle Obama for her husband’s inauguration. “Not too long ago, Donna Karan and Michael Kors were the young designers of America. Now there are a lot of firsts for all of us as Asian-American designers.”

Full story…

Study Shows Illegal #Immigrants From Mexico Staying Put Despite Overall Decline. #hispanic #immigration

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

(Fox News) A new study from the Pew Hispanic Center found that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States dropped significantly for the first time in two decades — but the population out of Mexico has held steady since reaching its peak in 2007.

Though the study could show up as ammunition in the debate over anti-illegal immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, the data does not show that unauthorized residents are fleeing back to Mexico. Fewer illegal immigrants from Mexico are coming to the United States, but those here are generally staying put — apparently unfazed by the economic downturn, hostile climate and federal enforcement.

The data shows “no evidence of a recent increase in the number of Mexican-born migrants returning home
from the U.S.,” the study said.

The bulk of the dropoff comes from those immigrants out of other Latin American countries, in South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Among illegal immigrants from Latin American countries other than Mexico, the population declined 22 percent between 2007 and 2009. The total number of illegal immigrants fell 8 percent during that time, from 12 million to 11.1 million.

Full story…

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