Archive for November, 2011

Suit accuses Comcast of discriminating against African American workers, customers

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

(Chicago Tribune) A federal lawsuit filed Monday in Chicago accused Comcast Corp. of discriminating against the African-American employees of its South Side facility and its own customers by requiring workers to install defective or bug-infested equipment into residents' homes.

Eleven current and former workers in Comcast Corp.'s South Side facility are seeking class action status claiming that since at least 2005, the media company "has engaged in an ongoing pattern of race discrimination against African American employees" at its South Side location, according to the complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  

The group includes 10 current employees and one former worker who was fired in 2009. The plaintiffs on average, have worked for Comcast for 15 years, the lawsuit says.

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Drug Czar Says African Americans Are More Affected by the ‘Drug Problem’ — Here’s Why That’s Propaganda

Monday, November 28th, 2011

(AlterNet) Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske held a media briefing Wednesday to discuss the disproportionate impact our nation's "drug problem" has on African-American communities.

It is simply Orwellian for the drug czar to focus on the disproportionate impact of our nation's drug problem on African-American communities without acknowledging the disproportionate racial impact of drug law enforcement. According to the federal government's own yearly research surveys, African Americans use and sell drugs at similar rates at whites — yet African Americans are arrested for drugs at 13 times the rate of whites.

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Growing numbers of Asian Americans run for Congress

Friday, November 25th, 2011

(USAToday) A record number of Asian Americans are running for Congress next year, reflecting population gains and a growing sense of the need to flex political muscle.

Republican Ranjit "Ricky" Gill has already outraised Democratic incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney in California's newly configured 9th District. In Illinois, two Democrats — Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tammy Duckworth — are vying in the new 8th District. And two current Asian-American officeholders — U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and state Rep. William Tong of Connecticut, both Democrats — are running for U.S. Senate seats.

In all, at least 19 Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates have declared their bids for Congress so far in the 2012 election cycle, up from eight candidates in 2010.

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New Mexico Black Groups Claim Bias at University

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

(New York Times) A group of African-American pastors in New Mexico, along with the Albuquerque chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., said Tuesday that they have filed a complaint with the Justice Department alleging that black faculty and staff members at the University of New Mexico and its hospital are subject to discrimination.

The Title VI complaint, which was also filed with the federal Department of Education, says university administrators have created a racially hostile environment for black faculty members, students and the staff.

Specifically, it asserts that African-Americans have been excluded from positions in the school’s upper administration; that black women at New Mexico were virtually left out of all positions of authority; and that blacks on the faculty faced disparity in salaries compared with fellow minority colleagues.

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Guess How Many Venture Capitalists Are Black or Latino

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

( The National Venture Capital Association has completed its 2011 census. Now we all know the business of doling out money to tech startups is a pasty one—right? we're all clear on this, yes?—but the association this year trumpets "signs of increasing ethnic diversity." So, take a wild guess at the combined percentage of blacks and Latinos among venture capitalists.

Did you guess two percent? If so, congratulations, you win another several decades of continued de facto exclusion and OMG HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A RACIST push back. After surveying 600 VC professionals, NVCA found the industry to be 87 percent white, 9 percent Asian, and 2 percent black or Latino. The low numbers of blacks and Latinos apparently precluded even breaking out separate tallies, even though these are the two largest U.S. ethnic groups after whites, constituting 16 and 12 percent of the overall national population, respectively.

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Obama TV appearance — 20 years ago

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

(USAToday) Barack Obama is again an Internet sensation.

A 29-year-old Barack Obama.

Internet users are enjoying a 1991 television spot in which Obama — then a student at Harvard Law School — talks about pioneering African-American lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston.

Obama — longer hair, no gray — taped the spot as part of the "Black History Minute" series run by the TBS cable station in 1991.

Who could have guessed the heights that young man would have reached in less than two decades?

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Hate Crimes Against Latinos Spike

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

(Care2) The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report was released on November 14, and the numbers show a dramatic spike in crimes against Latinos.

The number was up 11% since last year to 66.6 percent of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010. In California, they went up 50%.

These figures for those targeted because of anti-Latino bias are the highest percentage in almost a decade.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said of a previous spike in 2007:

There’s no doubt that the tone of the raging national debate over immigration is growing uglier by the day. Once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists, vicious public denunciations of undocumented brown-skinned immigrants are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, radio hosts and politicians. While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as “invaders,” “criminal aliens” and “cockroaches.”

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Black Brokers Granted an Appeal in Bias Case Against Merrill Lynch

Monday, November 21st, 2011

(BET) A federal appellate court in Chicago agreed Wednesday to hear the case of some 700 African-American financial advisors who have filed a class-action lawsuit against Merrill Lynch claiming the brokerage firm discriminated against them in promotion, compensation, client assignment and resource allocation.

The brokers’ legal crusade began in 2005, and has experienced a number of courtroom setbacks, most recently when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case in October. One of the issues was whether the case could be certified as a class-action suit. On Nov. 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed to begin hearing the case in Chicago, probably early in 2012.

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US Justice Dept. to probe Miami police shootings

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

(Atlanta Journal Constitution) The U.S. Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation Thursday into whether Miami police officers engaged in a pattern of excessive use of deadly force in the fatal shootings of seven African-American suspects over an eight-month span.

Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, and Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said the probe will focus not on the individual officers but on whether the Miami Police Department's policies and practices on use of force led to violations of constitutional rights. The investigation is not criminal in nature.

"We're looking at systems. We're not looking at individual culpability," Perez told reporters. "We will follow the facts where the facts lead us. We will peel the onion to its core."

The shootings in inner-city Miami, from July 2010 to February 2011 and including two others that were not fatal, sparked outrage in the African-American community and led to protests at City Hall. The NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union, among others, demanded a federal investigation.

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Hispanic voters’ uncertain allegiance to Dems could swing three states in 2012

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

(The Hill) Democrats are counting on enthusiastic support from Hispanics to propel them to victory one year from now, even though a lack of progress on immigration reform under President Obama and increasingly harsh rhetoric from Republicans has left many Hispanics disenchanted with both parties.

Increasingly, no party or candidate with an eye toward Washington can afford not to appeal to this fastest-growing voter bloc in the country. Hispanics supported Obama by a two-to-one margin in the 2008 election over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), then set a record for midterm voter turnout in 2010 when 6.6 million Hispanics showed up to the polls, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Obama remains much more popular with Hispanics than he does with the overall population. A poll released Nov. 8 by Univision/Latino Decisions showed 48 percent of Americans overall approved of his job performance; among Hispanics, it’s 66 percent.

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