Archive for September, 2011

DGA gives TV producers failing grade on hiring women, minorities

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

(Los Angeles Times) Further evidence has emerged that Hollywood has made little progress in hiring women and minorities to work on prime-time television shows.

A survey conducted by the Directors Guild of America of more than 2,600 television episodes from 170 scripted TV series for the 2010-11 season found that white males directed 77% of all episodes, and white females directed 11% of all episodes. Minority males directed 11% all episodes and minority females directed just 1% of the shows, according to the survey of programs from the major broadcast and cable networks.

The directors guild, which over the years has prodded production companies to establish diversity programs and improve hiring practices, expressed disappointment with the findings, noting that the results show little change from a similar survey in the 2009-2010 television season.

The guild singled out nine shows that hired no women or minority directors for the 2010-2011 season, including HBO's "Bored to Death," Showtime's "Weeds" and FX's "Justified." Sixteen other shows hired women and minorities for fewer than 15% of episodes. Those include Fox's "House" (produced by NBC) and Lifetime's "Army Wives" (produced by ABC).

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Obama Pitches Jobs Plan to the Hispanic Community

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

(ABC News) President Obama brought his jobs pitch to the Hispanic community tonight, outlining the many ways in which the American Jobs Act would secure a better economic future for Hispanic Americans and urging them to call on Congress “to do the right thing.”

“This fight could not be more important for the people in this room, for the Latino community and for millions of Americans who need help,” Obama said at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Gala in Washington. “Problems in the Latino community are problems for the entire American community. Our future is tied to how well the Latino community does.

“That’s why last week I asked Congress a simple question: In the face of a national emergency, can we finally put a stop to the political circus and actually do something to help the economy? Can we restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our founding?” Obama said at the black tie event kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month.

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Diversity in CPA firms: Real commitment or background noise?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

(Accounting Today) In 1987, I was part of a joint effort between the New York State Society of CPAs and the National Association of Black Accountants to increase the number of minorities in the CPA profession. At the time, black CPAs accounted for approximately one third of 1 percent of CPAs nationwide. That has grown to roughly 3 percent, according to NABA; an improvement, but still a troubling number.

Public firm statistics are even more disconcerting: Minorities made up 21 percent of accounting employees at CPA firms surveyed in 2010, according to the 2010 AICPA Trends report, but only 9 percent were CPAs. Of those, 5 percent were Asian, 2 percent were Latino, and only 1 percent were African-American. Latinos and Asians each represent 2 percent of all firm partners; there are so few African-American partners that they failed to eke out a percentage point in the study. These figures are abysmal and embarrassing. Considering all the efforts and resources that have been developed and spent over the past few decades to address racial inequalities in CPA firms, they are alarming.

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Obama’s push for diversity on the bench leads surge in female and minority judges – with only one in four white males

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

(Daily Mail) Barack Obama is making his mark on the U.S. federal judiciary by pushing through an unprecedented diversification of the system.

Nearly three out of every four people the President has confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities.

His efforts are unique as he is the first U.S. president who has not selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.

More than 70 per cent of his confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were ‘non-traditional,’ or non-white male nominees.

That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton at 48.1 per cent and George W. Bush at 32.9 per cent.

‘It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement,’ said Sheldon Goldman, author of the book Picking Federal Judges.

Professor Goldman, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is only counting judges once – even if they fit more than one category.

The White House has been touting its efforts to diversify the bench during Mr Obama's tenure.

The President won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

And with the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan he has put three women on the high court for the first time.

The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship.

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Study: Minorities underrepresented in STEM jobs

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

(Washington Post) Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks have over the past decade been underrepresented in U.S. jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in large part because of a lack of equality in educational opportunity, according to a new report being released today.

The Obama administration has made increasing and improving STEM education a priority, asserting that the country’s economic future depends on a strong workforce in these fields.

The report, issued by the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration, says that regardless of race and Hispanic origin, higher college graduation rates are associated with higher shares of workers with STEM jobs.

But, it says, non-Hispanic whites and Asians are much more likely than other minority groups to have earned a bachelor’s degree, and, in part for this reason, have a larger share of STEM jobs.

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Sec. Hilda Solis: The Latino Factor

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

(Huffington Post) I spent Labor Day with President Obama in Detroit. As we looked ahead to his big speech on Thursday and discussed his plan to put all Americans back to work, he said to me:

"Hilda… as tough as things have been on Latino workers, I know our economic future depends upon them."

I couldn't agree more. Over the next four decades, Latinos are projected to account for more than two-thirds of this country's population growth. Yet the current Latino unemployment rate remains unacceptably high at 11.3 percent. The President and I agreed that Congress must act now to help the nearly one million Latinos who've been looking for a job for six months or more.

The President's jobs plan includes tax cuts to help a quarter million Latino-owned businesses and 25 million Latino workers. It includes skills training and summer job opportunities for Latino youth. And it extends unemployment benefits that will provide a lifeline to more than 1.1 million Latinos pounding the pavement every day looking for jobs.

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Prominent national Hispanic group calls off its Arizona boycott over state’s immigration law

Monday, September 12th, 2011

(Minneapolis Star Tribune) One of the nation's most prominent Hispanic groups is calling off a boycott of Arizona it imposed in May 2010 over the enactment of a controversial immigration law.

The National Council of La Raza says it's canceling the boycott because it successfully discouraged other states from enacting similar laws.

The Washington-based group says it and two associated groups will ask other organizations to suspend their Arizona boycotts.

La Raza says the boycott spurred political results in Arizona. That included an increase in Latino voters and defeat of a measure that would have changed how U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants are granted citizenship.

The Arizona Republic ( says Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's office sent La Raza letters last month asking it to end the boycotts and work toward immigration reform.

Stanford law professor argues black women should cross race barrier for marriage partners

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

(San Jose Mercury News) Black women are getting to the best universities, strongest corporations and top ranks of government offices.

But not to the altar.

A provocative new book by Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks examines why black women are so unlikely to marry — and proposes a solution that is arousing controversy in the African-American community: Cross the color line.

"Don't marry down. Marry out," says Banks in his campus office, busy with phone calls, emails and preparation for the new semester. The shared experience that once bound blacks together — segregation — is gone, he asserts. "So it all coalesces around this …: whether black women will continue to be held hostage to the failings of black men."

Particularly in California, where only 6.2 percent of the population is black, "conditions are very conducive to interracial relationships," he says. "African-Americans are a very small group here. And everyone's moved away from home, so they're more likely to form nontraditional bonds."

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Obama Jobs Speech: Economists Look For Bold Ideas On Black Unemployment

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

(Huffington Post) President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress tonight because of what many economists, pundits and politicians have called a jobs crisis. But the nation's current employment picture closely mirrors the state of black unemployment before the recession began.

Fixing the overall jobs deficit and addressing the way that the recession has ravaged black and Latino households will require bold, even controversial solutions, economists say.

“It’s funny that what we call a crisis now is actually a little better than where black workers were in the so-called boom times,” said Algernon Austin, a labor sociologist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “The fact that there was no targeted effort to address African-American unemployment before the recession is a large part of the reason that the jobs problem is so big now.”

Full story…

Why The U.S. Needs More Minority Teachers

Friday, September 9th, 2011

(Freakonomics) When it comes to achievement, does it matter if a student and a teacher are the same race? And if so, how much? That’s the essential question posed by a trio of economists in a new working paper, the first to test whether minority instructors have a positive effect on the academic achievement of minority students at the college level.

Their results indicate an emphatic yes, and may hold a partial solution (although a tricky one to enact) to one of the most persistent and vexing problems facing the U.S. education system: the achievement gap between non-minority and minority students. Less than than one-fifth of African-Americans, and less than one-eighth of Latinos between 25 and 29 years-old have a college degree. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 9.6% of full-time instructional faculty at U.S. colleges are black, Latino or Native American. And yet, these groups make up a third of the college-age population.

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