Archive for July, 2011

UC Berkeley Recording Voices, Accents in Social Experiment

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

(Foxnews) The University of California, Berkeley is asking 5,800 freshmen and transfer students to record their voices and accents in a project being called part linguistic experiment, part social science and part ice-breaker, the Los Angeles Times reports.

With about 30 percent of incoming UC Berkeley students reporting that English was not their first language, exploring that linguistic diversity is a good way to help students feel comfortable at such a large school, faculty organizers said.

The university's welcome-to-campus seminars in the fall will focus on linguistic diversity and the many cultural, scientific and psychological aspects of language. Along with helping the newcomers break the ice through shared readings and discussions, the campus' College of Letters & Science wants students to record their own speech in an ambitious Internet-based experiment to map and match accents from across the state and world, according to the Times.

Full story…

8 Political Myths About Blacks That You Shouldn’t Believe

Monday, July 18th, 2011

(Atlanta Post) English novelist and essayist George Orwell once stated, “Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  Indeed, throughout history, the political landscape has been littered with mental trash that subsequently has been accepted, processed and etched into the minds of certain individuals as truth.

To date, members of various ethnicities continue to witness the deep democratic struggles and the courage of people of African descent, who continually clothe themselves with love and justice in the face of monolithic adversity, resistance, malevolent acts, and attempts to diminish and eradicate black beauty, intelligence and potentiality.

As we embark on communicating the whole truth, it is essential that we persist in debunking lies intended to hold blacks captive.  To be sure, the following is but a snapshot of popular myths and does not represent the full breadth of lies leveled by politicos on both sides of the aisle.

The recent Family Leader Pledge, which was signed by Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, initially stated that a “black child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”   After receiving much attention, the group removed the statement because it had been “misconstrued”.  Really?  How ridiculous and absurd is the notion that a Black child was better off during the barbaric, deplorable and inhumane conditions of slavery than they are now.  In many cases, families were painfully and systematically separated as they were viewed and treated as personal property.  This counterfactual statement originally found in the pledge lacks intelligence, prudence and compassion for what our ancestors endured for nearly 400 years.

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AARP Launches Spanish-Language Retirement Calculator

Monday, July 18th, 2011

(AARP PRnewswire) AARP today announced the launch of its Spanish-language Retirement Calculator as part of its continued efforts to serve older Hispanics with resources that help them live their best lives and plan ahead for a secure retirement.

"With the launch last year of our bilingual Web site, Hispanics and Latinos 50+ have grown to expect high-quality content and trusted information from AARP," said Rocky Egusquiza, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Markets. "This calculator continues to build on that promise and gives our growing Hispanic audience another tool to plan for their retirement security for themselves and for their families."

A narrative, step-by-step design makes the AARP Retirement Calculator easy to use. Upon completion, users will be guided to a suite of additional AARP tools and resources – available at – to learn more about Social Security, financial planning and other aspects of retirement.

Research has shown that using a tool like a retirement calculator can help people focus on the steps many need to take to get their financial lives in order. The AARP Retirement Calculator provides information users can use to evaluate their current situation and see potential pathways to their desired retirement goals.

"For many, the first step to a secure financial future includes assessing when they can retire and what is needed to do so," said Andres Castillo, senior advisor for Education and Outreach at AARP. "Whether an individual is starting at square one or needs to re-evaluate their original plans, the AARP Retirement Calculator is a tool that can help them determine where they stand and what they need to do next."

To try out the new Spanish-language AARP Retirement Calculator, visit

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Births exceed immigration for Mexican-Americans

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

( A large—and growing––segment of the Southern California population is of Mexican origin. According to a report released July 14, 2011 by the Pew Hispanic Center , the fast-growing population in the U.S. of people of Mexican origin increased far more in the last decade from births than from immigration from Mexico. The report noted that following one of the largest mass migrations in modern history, which brought more than 10 million Mexicans to live in the U.S. from 1970 to 2007, the number of immigrants arriving fell off sharply in recent years. During that period, a majority of the Mexican immigrants who settled here are young and in their childbearing years; thus, this population growth encompasses women’s healthcare. The report found that from 2000 to 2010, about 7.2 million infants of Mexican origin were born in the U.S. while 4.2 million new immigrants arrived from Mexico.

About 31.8 million people of Mexican origin now comprise 10% of the U.S. population; this group also represents and nearly two-thirds of all Hispanics in the nation. “The immigration of the last decades built up a relatively young population that is having births,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, an author of the report. The figures, which are based on recent census data from the United States and Mexico, include Mexican-born immigrants living in this country and Hispanic Americans who trace their ancestry to Mexico.

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Latinos angry about Jennifer Lopez divorce coverage

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

( Phoenix civil rights groups Chicanos Unidos Arizona, Take Back Aztlán, and Nuestros Reconquistos have spoken out about the coverage of the divorce between Latina beauty Jennifer Lopez and Latino singing superstar Marc Anthony.

“Jennifer Lopez is to the Latino community what Martin Luther King Jr. was to the Black community. She opened the doors for so many Latina actresses in this country. Magazines such as US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly have been mocking the divorce like it is some kind of joke.”

“When other superstars such as Madonna get a divorce, there seems to by some sympathy. However, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s divorce is celebrated. There seems to be a racial double standard,” said Jorge Serrano of Take Back Aztlán.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony had been married for seven years before making the announcement and have asked for privacy during this difficult time.

Studios try to ‘crack the code’ on Latino moviegoers

Friday, July 15th, 2011

(CNN) In the same way Hispanics have become an important political voice, so it goes with Hollywood and moviegoing.

Hispanics, now the second-largest group in the U.S., are more likely to go to movies, the Motion Picture Association of America says. Last year, 43 million Hispanics purchased 351 million movie tickets, an MPAA report says, an uptick from the 37 million who bought 300 million tickets the previous year.

And in 2010, when Nielsen examined that coveted group of heavy moviegoers — people who see on average 16 movies a year and contribute to 63 percent of ticket sales — it found that Hispanics make up 26 percent of those frequenting theaters.

"In every single dimension that you can think of, you can see that the Hispanic group is a moviegoing group," Nielsen's Claudia Pardo says. "They go in families, they go often, and they account for a larger share of the ticket sales."

For years, Hispanics have been a fast-growing demographic, but while Hollywood studios are well aware a sizable audience is there, the industry is still testing out the best ways to reach it.

Full story…

Report: Minority drivers ticketed more often than white drivers

Friday, July 15th, 2011

(Chicago Sun Times) Black and Latino drivers pulled over in Illinois traffic stops last year were more likely to end up with a ticket and have their vehicle searched than their white counterparts, according to a new Transportation Department study.

Minority drivers also were involved in traffic stops at a higher rate than their share of the state population would suggest, even though illegal contraband was more likely to be found in vehicles being driven by whites.

The average length of a traffic stop was the same for all races: 10 minutes.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that the study supports its request for a federal civil rights investigation of the way Illinois State Police handles driver searches. It also called on state leaders to address the issue in all police departments.

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GOP lawmaker blasted for ‘shooting’ immigrants rant

Friday, July 15th, 2011

(USA Today) The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing back on a Republican lawmaker's rhetoric that he would do anything to stop illegal immigrants "short of shooting them."

Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, said "words have consequences" as he denounced the comment made recently by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.

"As your congressman on the House floor, I will do anything short of shooting them. Anything that is lawful, it needs to be done because illegal aliens need to quit taking jobs from American citizens," Brooks said to WHNT, an Alabama TV station, in an interview on June 29.

Alabama is one of several states to follow Arizona's lead in cracking down on illegal immigration. The Alabama law allows law enforcement to detain someone stopped for questioning who cannot prove their legal status and requires schools to determine if students can be legally in the United States.

Full story…

Online Retailers Should Put Up A ‘Se Habla Espanol’ Sign

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

(MediaPost, Lee Vann) As a follow up to my last post, "Five Reasons for Using Spanish to Reach Hispanics Online," I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Hispanic e-commerce landscape given that few leading online retailers are proactively targeting Spanish preferring and bilingual online Hispanics. The results should be eye opening for online retailers.

According to comScore, in the past 12 months, the U.S. Hispanic online market has grown significantly while the U.S. general online market has actually declined.

US Online market growth by segment May 2010 – May 2011

  • Non-Hispanic -2%
  • Hispanic English 12%
  • Hispanic Bilingual 21%
  • Hispanic Spanish 17%

As Hispanics become more comfortable and trusting of the Internet, they will also explore retail websites to research and purchase products.

Full story…

Genetics Study Focuses 96% European Descent Leaving the Rest of the World Behind

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

(Current) Genomics research, in which researchers scan subjects' DNA in search of the genetic basis of many diseases, has focused too narrowly on studying subjects of European descent, write a team of genetics experts in the journal Nature this week.

The Los Angeles Times spoke with one of the authors of the piece, Stanford population geneticist and 2010 MacArthur Fellow Carlos D. Bustamante, about why scientists should focus on sequencing genomes of people from other ethnic groups, too.

This commentary stems from conversations [coauthors] Esteban [Gonzalez Burchard], Francisco [De La Vega] and I have been having over the past couple of years. How do we think about taking a lot of what’s been in development in European populations and apply it to other populations?

Genome-wide association studies — when you go out and take individuals with a disease and those without and find genetic changes that predict who is in which group — have been very successful. The vast majority of those studies have been conducted with subjects of European descent.

Now there’s also a burgeoning explosion of these in East Asian populations, led in part by the BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, which we mention in the Nature commentary.

But the rest of the world is being left behind, and we view that as problematic. Something like 96% of the participants in medical genomics studies are of European descent. It’s a hugely lopsided representation.

Here in the U.S. some of the people with the worst health outcomes are members of minority populations.

Full story…

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