Archive for November, 2013

LAFD firefighter wins $1.1 million racial discrimination verdict

Friday, November 29th, 2013

(Los Angeles Times) A civil court jury on Monday returned a $1.1 million verdict against the City of Los Angeles, finding in favor of a black firefighter who said he had been discriminated against during a nearly three-decade career because of his race.

The verdict comes after 16 days of deliberation — and six years after another jury ruled against Jabari S. Jumaane, who alleged a pattern of racial bias, harassment and retaliation in the Los Angeles Fire Department when he worked as a fire inspector. That decision was overturned after an appeals court granted a new trial, agreeing that there had been jury misconduct in the original case.

According to a 2012 report by the city’s office of the independent assessor on fire department litigation, Jumaane’s allegation of jury misconduct included a declaration by a juror who “claimed to have witnessed racially motivated misconduct by fellow jurors.”

The retrial jury’s ruling is a blow to a department that has found itself accused of systematic discrimination — particularly against black firefighters — in the past.

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UCLA to probe African American judge’s excessive force claims

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

(Los Angeles Times) UCLA is conducting an internal investigation into allegations by an African American judge that excessive force was used by campus police officers when they stopped him on suspicion of not wearing a seat belt.

UCLA officials say David S. Cunningham III, a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, ignored officers' orders to stay in his car.

Cunningham has filed a complaint against the officers, saying they shoved him against his car, handcuffed him and locked him in the back seat of their police cruiser.

"During the course of the traffic stop, police officers instructed the driver to stay inside the vehicle and returned to their patrol car to run a routine license and registration check," UCLA said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. "Despite these instructions, the driver left the vehicle – an escalating behavior that can place officers at risk."

Cunningham "stood in the roadway" and refused to get back in his car, the statement said. As a result, he was temporarily handcuffed. He was released at the scene shortly after being cited for failing to wear a seat belt.

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Group wants end of N-word in NFL

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

(ESPN) The Fritz Pollard Alliance, an influential group that promotes diversity and job equality in the NFL, called on players Thursday to stop using the N-word on the field after highly publicized incidents involving the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Harry Carson and John Wooten, the organization's executive director and chair, respectively, released a statement saying a number of game-day officials commonly have heard players use the N-word during games.

"As former players (along with thousands of others) who have worked hard in different eras of the game to leave proud legacies for those who follow us, we are appalled and extremely disappointed to learn that the worst and most derogatory word ever spoken in our country is being used during games as well as casually in the locker room," the statement reads.

The Alliance also has called on the league to punish players who use the racial slur on the field through immediate ejections and subsequent fines, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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Barneys audit finds no racial profiling evidence against store, faults NYPD

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

(NY Daily News) An internal audit from a civil rights lawyer commissioned by Barneys to investigate its security practices gives the store a clean bill of sale when it comes to racial profiling.

San Francisco attorney Michael Yaki found no internal policies permitting or encouraging racial profiling of customers for security reasons and pointed the finger at the NYPD for causing two recent high-profile profiling cases brought by black shoppers, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

In the five-page report obtained by the AP, Yaki said Barneys didn’t ask the NYPD to get involved when Trayon Christian, 19, bought a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at its flagship Madison Ave. store April 29 or when Kayla Phillips, 21, bought a $2,500 handbag there Feb. 28.

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Study: Gender wage gap worse for African-American and Hispanic women

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

(theGrio) The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has released a new analysis detailing the significant gap in wages earned by African-American women and Latinas compared to white, non-Hispanic women and men.

The November 2013 report, Closing the Wage Gap is Crucial for Women of Color and Their Families, states that while on average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, black women earn only 64 cents per dollar, and Latinas earn 54 cents.

Based on the most recent Census data, the analysis covers women working in full time, year round employment across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“The current economy has left women of color in precarious economic circumstances and they continue to encounter substantial barriers to advancement,” the analysis states. “African-American and Hispanic women are more likely than white men to work in jobs that pay at or below minimum wage, and they have also experienced slower wage growth than women overall.”

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Oprah: President Obama disrespected because he’s African-American

Monday, November 18th, 2013

(89WLS) In a recent interview with BBC News, Oprah Winfrey said that President Obama is disrespected because he is an African-American.

"There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African-American," Winfrey said. "There’s no question about that, and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it."

Speaking with the BBC's Will Gompertz in the UK to promote "The Butler," Winfrey also spoke to the global issue of racism.

"It's gotten better. Are there still places where people are terrorized because of the color of their skin, because of the color of their black skin? Yes."

Full story…

Am I Hispanic Or Latino? Data Shows An American Identity Crisis Is Brewing

Friday, November 15th, 2013

(PolicyMic) Three-quarters of Latinos living in the United States say their community needs a national leader, according to a new study by Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project. However, when asked to name the nation's "most important Hispanic leader" they failed to come up with an answer because; a) they don't know who he or she is, or b) they don't think he or she exists. 

But why do Latinos even need a leader? One of the more interesting findings highlighted in that same study points out that nearly a quarter of American Latinos don't even considerthemselves Latino — they consider themselves purely American. This suggests that popular opinion about this demographic is misstated, even completely misunderstood. There is no single, vast Latino demographic, as many policymakers and pundits may think; nor is this demographic jockeying for a single socio-economic-political goal. 

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Nia Long On Why It’s Tough To Be An African-American Woman In Hollywood

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

(Huffington Post) Earlier this year, Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle shared their thoughts on the disparities between white and African-Americans actors in Hollywood during an interview with Variety. And while the ongoing conversation affects the careers of budding actors and veterans alike, some have managed to sustain success despite the odds.

During an appearance on HuffPost Live on Monday, “The Best Man Holiday” star Nia Long added her assessment on how African-American women are affected by the lack of diversity in the film industry.

“It’s tough, because it’s Hollywood. It’s tough, because we’re women. It’s tough, because we’re not in our 20s,” she admitted. “It’s tough no matter how you look at it. I’m not one of these people who walks around and goes ‘Oh my God, it’s soo hard being a black actress,’ but this business is hard.”

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The Burden of Being Bright: Academic Achievement among African American Male You

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

(Examiner.com) Imagine an African American high school student being teased for speaking Standard English or being harassed for their commitment to reading and studying. As a parent, what would be appropriate response if one’s middle school age son or daughter was constantly being ridiculed for making good grades and participating in activities that promote intellectual development such as the chess club or the debate team? Despite the commonly held belief that education is considered the ticket to success in American culture, there is subtle and yet influential negative trend that has developed within certain minority communities that despises academic achievement and those who pursue such goals.

Within the disciplines of social psychology and education, a number of studies reveal the existence of African American male youth who are being marginalized by their African American peers due to their commitment to academic excellence. Considering that social status is an important aspect of their development, these adolescents are forced to make some choices that may determine their trajectory in the future. For many, they are making a decision between being smart or facing the possibility of being ridiculed, experiencing academic or social success, exposure to advancement or acceptance.

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Will Latino Entrepreneurs Help Rewrite California History?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

(Forbes) Recently, a colleague of mine and I drove down Highway 101 – a scenic route that runs roughly parallel to the historic El Camino Real, the royal Spanish road – from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, absorbing all the differences between north and south. There are different climates, different cultures, differentvibes. Midway down the coast – at Pismo Beach, a beautiful, hippyish, run-down beach town – we stopped for a meal.   It felt neither here nor there, but somewhere awesome in between.

I was reminded of that trip a couple of days ago when I learned there are two events this week that challenge our notions of north and south.  The first, in San Francisco, was Hispanicize HX, a technology event that – with the help of the super socially savvy LAM network – had a Hollywood kind of vibe.  And later today, the folks at Manos (a new accelerator serving the Latino tech community) are gathering a pretty big crowd in Hollywood for an event that has a subtle Silicon Valley vibe.   The manner of transport also helps to tell the story.  The Manos team hired a bus to take them from San Jose down the coast, exporting their IP via the path once used by the Spanish court.

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