Archive for January, 2013

Hispanic American immigrants increasingly finding home is Islam

Thursday, January 31st, 2013


(Public Radio International) A growing community of Hispanic American immigrants, as well as Hispanics in their home country, are choosing to convert from their predominantly Christian religions to Islam. It's especially common for women.

Tucked away in a quiet rural neighborhood in Somerset, N.J., is an old brownstone that houses the New Jersey Chapter of the Islamic Center of North America’s WhyIslam Project.

Within its confines, in a second floor office decorated with rose-colored walls, sits the administrative assistant and only female employee of the department, Nahela Morales.

In a long black garment and gray headscarf, Morales sits in front of a computer entering notes and taking phone calls from the program’s hotline,             1-877-WhyIslam      , a resource for individuals hoping to learn more about the religion. A Mexican immigrant and recent convert, Morales is the national Spanish-language outreach coordinator for the program, part of ICNA’s mission to disseminate information about Islam nationwide.

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Ellen Ochoa, First Latina In Space, Makes History Once More

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013


(Huffington Post) Dr. Ellen Ochoa became the first Latina to go to space when she boarded the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She made history again this month by becoming the first Hispanic and second female director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The 54-year-old succeeds Michael L. Coats, who retired at the end of last year after leading the Johnson Space Center (JSC) since 2005. Before taking her new position, Ochoa was the deputy director at the Center for five years.

“Ellen’s enthusiasm, experience and leadership, including her superb job as deputy director, make her a terrific successor to Mike as director of JSC,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who made the announcement late last year.

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Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

(TMZ) Four "American Idol" finalists from different seasons — two of whom are black — insist the singing competition is many things … but racist is NOT one of them.

TMZ broke the story … nine black ex-contestants are planning to sue "Idol" producers, claiming the contestants were publicly disqualified based on their dubious criminal backgrounds … solely because they're African-American.

But Season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle adamantly disagrees, telling TMZ, "It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the 'Idol' team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification."

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Senators unveil bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform

Monday, January 28th, 2013

One day before President Barack Obama kicks off his push for comprehensive immigration reform, a bipartisan group of Senators has announced agreement on a blueprint for reform:

A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire.

The senators were able to reach a deal by incorporating the Democrats’ insistence on a single comprehensive bill that would not deny eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, with Republican demands that strong border and interior enforcement had to be clearly in place before Congress could consider legal status for illegal immigrants.

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CNN Anchor Tricks Opponent Of Women In Combat To Endorse Racial Segregation

Sunday, January 27th, 2013


(Think Progress) Conservatives are outraged over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat, which opens up more than 200,000 frontline positions to women. Opponents of the move have called it “humiliating” and dangerous to unit cohesion. On CNN’s Starting Point, host Soledad O’Brien caught one such critic off guard by anonymously quoting a similar argument made during integration of African Americans into the military.

Professor Kingsley Browne, author of “Co-Ed Combat,” argued that the military’s physical standards would have to be lowered to accommodate women because there is “very little overlap in physical capacity between men and women.” O’Brien asked him if he agreed with a 1941 quote blasting military integration from Colonel Eugene Householder without revealing its context:

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New African-American Owned Beverly Hills Jazz Club Is An Anomaly

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

(LA Weekly) Dennis "D.Anthony" Robertson has moved back and forth between the business and music worlds for years now.

An aspiring drummer, he first began promoting acts at B.B. King's at Universal Studios, working his way into management and eventually ownership of the club. When that venture ended a few years ago, Robertson began planning what he hoped would become Los Angeles' premier venue for jazz. H.O.M.E. (House Of Music & Entertainment) opened in November, and since then Robertson has been quickly learning the ins and outs of running a full-time jazz supper club on a nightly basis.

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Older Asian American Women Have Highest Suicide Rate

Friday, January 25th, 2013


(ColorLines) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Asian American women ages 65 and older had a higher suicide rate – 6.5 per 100,000 – than any other racial or ethnic group between 2004 and 2007. White women had the next highest suicide rate: 4.3 per 100,000.

Below are some key findings from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health:

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and also was the 10th leading cause of death for White Americans, in 2009.

Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over age 65 in the United States.

Southeast Asian refugees are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with trauma experienced before and after immigration to the U.S. One study found that 70% of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were diagnosed with PTSD.

For Asian Americans, the rate of serious psychological distress increases with lower levels of income, as it does in most other ethnic populations.

The overall suicide rate for Asian Americans is half that of the White population.

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Patterns Of Brain Activity Reveal Implicit Race Bias

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

(Medical News Today) Racial stereotypes have been shown to have subtle and unintended consequences on how we treat members of different race groups. According to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, race bias also increases differences in the brain's representations of faces. 

Psychological scientists Tobias Brosch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Eyal Bar-David and Elizabeth Phelps of New York University examined activity in the brain while participants looked at pictures of White and Black faces. Afterwards, participants performed a task that assessed their unconscious or implicit expression of race attitudes. 

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‘Django’ Action Figures Dropped Amid Protests

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013


(Root) "The controversial 'Django Unchained' action figures have officially been DISCONTINUED … after several African American groups called for a boycott of the dolls … TMZ has learned," the TMZ website reported Friday.

Later in the day, the Weinstein Co., the film's producer, said in a statement, "We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone," Christy Lemire reported for the Associated Press. Toy maker NECA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

". . . The studio said Friday that such collectibles have been created for all of director Quentin Tarantino'sfilms, including "'Inglourious Basterds,' and that they were meant for people 17 and older, the audience for the film," Lemire wrote.

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Obama Inauguration: Latinos Take On Prominent Role In Presidential Inauguration

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


(Huffington Post) Latinos are taking a more prominent role in President Barack Obama's second inauguration, from the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice swearing in the vice president to a star-studded celebration of Latino culture.

Eva Longoria, a co-chairwoman for Obama's campaign, is hosting a salute to the president Sunday evening. Antonio Banderas, Rosario Dawson, Marc Anthony and other entertainers are scheduled to appear in "Latino Inaugural 2013: In Performance at the Kennedy Center." The lineup also includes Jose Feliciano, Prince Royce, Frankie Negron, Rita Moreno and Mario Lopez.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who gave the keynote speech at last year's Democratic National Convention, will address the audience.

Meanwhile, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama appointee who is the first Hispanic justice on the highest court, administered the oath of office Sunday morning to Vice President Joe Biden.

Latinos have a distinct presence at this inauguration after showing their growing political influence in the 2012 election. Hispanics voted 7 to 1 for Obama over his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, whose Hispanic support was less than any presidential candidate in 16 years. Analysts said Romney's hardline stance on immigration was a factor.

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