Archive for April, 2013

Fraternity’s blackface Jay-Z parody video fuels university racism storm

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


(Guardian) An Asian American fraternity has revived allegations of racism at the University of California, Irvine, by making a parody music video in blackface and posting it on YouTube.

Four members of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity recorded a homemade skit in which one wore black makeup to impersonate Jay-Z, prompting recriminations and apologies. The students said the parody of the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake song Suit and Tie was intended as harmless fun but student organisations and university authorities condemned it as insensitive and racist.

"We'd like to point out that this blackface video isn't the first, nor is it the last, example of racism that's been shown on this campus," Ainaria Johnson, co-chairwoman of UCI's Black Student Union, told the Daily Pilot. Johnson noted that a second video on the fraternity's YouTube page featured a blackface.

In 2011, a chef at the university caused a spat by serving fried chicken and waffles, an African American culinary stereotype, to mark Martin Luther King day.

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Padi Restaurant In Trouble Over Racial Slurs And Offensive Posts On Social Media

Sunday, April 28th, 2013


(Huffington Post) Offensive posts and comments are rampant on the internet, but they don't make for particularly good business when associated with a restaurant. A Delaware eatery is learning this after derogatory comments and inappropriate photos popped up on its social media accounts earlier this month.

The News Journal reports that someone recently posted racial slurs and photos of receipts with low tips on Facebook and Instagram accounts associated with Padi Restaurant in Hockessin. The accounts have since been removed, but Daily Mail posted screen captures of the offensive posts.

Among the photos in question is an image of a paid bill of $53.80 with a tip of $5.20, which is less than 10 percent, from a customer with an Indian surname. It wasaccompanied by the caption, "What do you expect from a last name like that? Sand ni****s will never change #cheap #jew." Another reads, "Cheap a**, order takeout and eat it at the bar. #notip #monday #cheap #trash." Other posts, on both Facebook and Instagram, took shots at additional customers deemed to have tipped unsatisfactorily. Many were accompanied by hashtags including #deuchbag and #hillbillies.

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‘Mad Men’ Addresses Its Negro Problem

Saturday, April 27th, 2013


(The Root) — Since Mad Men premiered in 2007, the show's diversity (or lack thereof) has been an ongoing, real-life subplot to the series' success. For a show set against the racially charged backdrop of the 1960s, critics say, the absence of significant black characters isn't just an oversight; it's inaccurate.

But last week — after five seasons — the show finally figured how to integrate without being ingratiating.

In the episode "To Have and to Hold," secretary Dawn Chambers, the only African American employed at the storied ad firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, actually had more to say than "Good morning, Mr. Draper." And all it took was dinner.

Dawn (played by Teyonah Parris) isn't a revolutionary. She's quiet, sweet and sincere to the point of goody-two-shoe-dom. Unlike Don's other secretaries — Peggy, who became his protégé, and Megan, who became his second wife — Dawn seemingly has no bigger aspirations than doing her job so well she gets to keep it.

"What am I gonna do? Throw a brick through their window?" asks Dawn once she finally gets the opportunity to vent some of her frustrations to someone who looks like her, someone who might actually understand — a friend whose wedding Dawn is in.

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Glass ceiling: Asian Americans still under-represented in Silicon Valley leadership

Friday, April 26th, 2013


(San Jose Mercury News) If a company has a workforce that is predominantly one demographic, with none on its senior staff, is there a glass ceiling? And what could be done about it? These are questions raised by women like Sheryl Sandberg in her new book LEAN IN. We enthusiastically endorse her "choose to lean in" advice.

But we put these same questions to leaders including CEO Meg Whitman, CEO Tim Cook and COO Sandberg, whose Silicon Valley workforce in HP, Apple and Facebook is largely Asian American but whose leadership teams posted on their web sites are conspicuously lacking in Asian Americans.

While the proportion of Asian American high tech workers in Silicon Valley has grown from 38 percent in 2000 to over 50 percent in 2010, their representation on senior executive teams is only 11 percent. In board rooms, their presence has declined from 8.8 percent to 8.3 percent. And even though Chinese Americans constitute the largest Asian group, their board representation has dropped from 5 percent to 3 percent.

Asian American women appear to face a double-pane glass ceiling. Women are 17 percent of boards and 16 percent of senior executives in Silicon Valley, but Asian American women are less than 1 percent in both.

These are red flags missing in the public conversation about the corporate glass ceiling.

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Christine Quinn Opposes Bill To Let New Yorkers Sue Over Racial Profiling By Cops

Thursday, April 25th, 2013


(New York Daily News) City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will oppose a bill that would allow New Yorkers to sue if they are racially profiled by cops, she said Wednesday.



In a speech outlining her public safety agenda, the mayoral contender came out against the bill to rein in stop and frisk by creating the right to sue in state court if cops  stop them because of  race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other factors – even as she defended her support for a related measure to create an NYPD inspector general.

“I believe this presents a real risk that a multitude of state court judges issue rulings that could take control of police policy decisions away from the mayor and commissioner,” she said.

“Just as importantly, it could hamstring individual police officers, and make them fearful of the decisions they have to make on a moment’s notice, putting both their safety and the public’s safety at risk,” she said.

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Senate Proposal Would Eliminate Diversity Visas

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

(Hispanic Business) The U.S. Senate proposal to replace diversity visas with a merit-based program is being met with skepticism by some civil rights groups and black lawmakers. 

The current proposal is to create at least 120,000 merit visas a year by 2015 that would be replace the 55,000 diversity visas that have been doled out annually via lottery. 

Advocates said they haven't seen evidence yet a new merit-based program is an acceptable replacement for the diversity visas. 

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington office, is advocating the diversity program be retained, the Washington publication The Hill reported Friday. 

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Customer Sues for Racial Slur on CVS Receipt

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013


(FindLaw) A CVS store is in hot water this week over a racial slur that appeared on a customer's receipt. Customer Hyan Lee was more than dismayed when she found that her CVS receipt for photographs read "Ching Chong Lee."

Lee was furious when she learned that CVS had merely disciplined and counseled the employee responsible for the slur, and has filed a $1 million lawsuit, The Huffington Post reports.

Given the current state of anti-discrimination laws and policies, Lee likely has more than one legal leg to stand on.

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Boston Bombing Case Upends Assumptions About Racial Profiling

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

(National Journal) The identities of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, which emerged Friday, completely negated assumptions born of racial profiling. 

In the wake of the blasts that killed three people and injured more than 175, news organizations and social-media websites picked apart photos of marathon crowds by zeroing in on brown men with backpacks. CNN's John King quoted a law-enforcement source as saying they had a suspect who was "dark-skinned".  A Saudi national, first identified as a person of interest, turned out to just be an injured witness.  A Moroccan-American teenage track athlete who appeared on a New York Post cover under the headline "Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon now fears for his life

But the actual bombing suspects, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are ethnic Chechens who have lived in the United States for a decade. Their roots are tied to the Caucasus region — quite literally, they are Caucasian. One attended the same high school that Matt Damon graduated from and was on the wrestling team; the other had boxing ambitions. They both have dark hair and are relatively light-skinned. They are reportedly Muslim, and an unverified YouTube account under the elder brother’s name included videos made by Islamic fundamentalists. But it's impossible to determine their ethnicity, much less their nationality, religion, or ideology, simply by looking at them.

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Hispanic, African-American Students Less Likely to Get Jobs During High School

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

(Hispanic Business) African-American and Hispanic students are less likely than Whites to work part-time in high school, according to a University of Michigan study. But those who do hold jobs tend to work longer hours, and are less likely to suffer negative consequences. 

Those are among the findings of a new analysis of data on nearly 600,000 10th- and 12th-grade students, collected between 1991 and 2010 as part of the Monitoring the Future Study conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research. The analysis was published online in Developmental Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association. Monitoring the Future is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. 

"Working more than 15 hours a week is associated with problems for most students," said ISR researcher Jerald Bachman, the study's lead author. "These include lower grades and higher use of cigarettes, alcohol, and illicit drugs. But this pattern does not hold true among some minority students, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds." 

Full story…

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders left out of immigration debate

Saturday, April 20th, 2013


(San Jose Mercury News op-ed) For the first time in history, the influx of Asians moving to the United States has surpassed that of Latinos, and although Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders make up only 5 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 12 percent or 1.5 million of the 12 million aspiring Americans in the country. This means that more than 10 percent of this community is undocumented.

Last November, 73 percent of Asian-Americans voters voted to re-elect President Barack Obama, a record turnout that reiterated the demand for prioritizing immigration reform. However, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in today's immigration debate.

The community knows too well the suffering that accompanies restrictive and discriminatory immigration laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Asian Exclusion Act, that separate families and result in unequal, second class treatment.

Currently there are 4.3 million people waiting in the family immigration backlogs with no other way to reunite with their children, spouses or parents. The majority of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants come to the U.S. through this system. Four of the five countries with the longest visa backlogs are Asian. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders sponsor 39 percent of all family-based immigrants, and nearly half of the family members in visa backlogs are their relatives. An estimated 1.8 million Asian-American and Pacific Islander family members of U.S.

citizens and legal permanent residents are forced to wait an average of 23 years, even though they are eligible to immigrate to the United States.

Full story…

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