Archive for January, 2014

Hispanic Americans shunning Obamacare

Friday, January 31st, 2014

(Pacific Daily News) Hispanic Americans have a rocky relationship with the Affordable Care Act. After years of planning, the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov opened two months late and was only officially launched in January. But that was the least of the website's problems.

The finished product turned out to be more punchline than health care portal. The glitchy "Spanglish" site is not only a technical disaster; it's also an embarrassment to the Spanish-language and a sign of disrespect to the Hispanic-American community, for whom much is at stake in the health care debate.

According to the Census Bureau, just under 30 percent of the Hispanic community lacks health insurance. This is 50 percent higher than the African-American rate of 19 percent and nearly triple the white rate of 11 percent.

Despite these numbers, the Affordable Care Act isn't exactly incentivizing us to sign up. Beyond the broken and insulting website, the law encourages Hispanics to forgo health insurance in the same way that it alienates the youth: It's prohibitively expensive.

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African-Americans squeezed out of the housing market

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

(CNN) More African-Americans are being squeezed out of the housing market.

Not only are they less likely to apply for a mortgage than any other ethnic group, but African-Americans are also 2.4 times more likely to get denied a mortgage than Whites, a recent study conducted by Zillow and the National Urban League found.

chart-home-ownership_denied-mortgage

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Silicon Valley: Budding African-American scientists learn from both success and failure

Monday, January 27th, 2014

(San Jose Mercury News) Attention, Tesla Motors: Your next budding engineering genius lives right in your backyard and has a question and a hunch about aerodynamics for you.

Ayinde Olukotun, 11, was intrigued by the electric car company's decision last year to raise its new Model S higher off the ground after a series of well-publicized battery fires.

"As a car guy, I wondered if this small change would alter the aerodynamics of the car," said Ayinde, a sixth-grader at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto.

He was among about 100 young scientists explaining their displays Saturday at the 12th annual Greene Scholars Program Science Fair.

The fair is part of the Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program, aimed at nurturing African-American students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math — often called the STEM fields. The program offers workshops, enrichment, a summer institute, a career fair and other activities to the 110 students in third through 12th grade, Program Director Gloria Whitaker-Daniels said.

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Timeline of N.J. State Police struggles with racial discrimination

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

(NJ.com) The struggle by the State Police to move past their checkered history of racial discrimination was dealt a blow this week when retired Maj. Gerald Lewis sued the force and Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, claiming he was the target of a bogus, racially motivated internal investigation.

Lewis — who became one of the most visible members of Fuentes' inner circle in New Jersey, brokering ties with black church and community leaders to recruit more minority troopers — alleges he became the target of the probe because he was a high-ranking, black male who might be in line to be the next colonel.

Here’s how the force’s history of discrimination has unfolded:

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Lawmakers Unveil Proposal Broadening Voting Rights Act

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

(Huffington Post) House and Senate lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislationon Thursday that would repair — and broaden — a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act struck down last year by the Supreme Court.

The bill would expand the power of federal courts to stop discriminatory voting changes before they are implemented by lowering the bar for plaintiffs seeking a preliminary injunction of a law in any federal court in the country.

It would also update the formula that determines which parts of the country require pre-clearance for voting changes to include places with recent voting rights violations, and create "uniform transparency requirements" to keep communities informed about voting changes.

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Giant ad with white woman welcomes Howard University students

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

(USA Today) A Giant store ad featuring a white model to target Howard University's predominantly black student body is raising eyebrows.

Nearly 87% of Howard's undergraduate and graduate students are black, according to the university. White students make up less than 3% of the student population.

The ad appeared in Giant's circular specific to the new store near Howard's campus. Tweets criticizing the ad started appearing Saturday.

 

In a statement e-mailed to USA TODAY Network, Giant said, "Unfortunately, an incorrect stock photo was used in the ad, and we apologize for this oversight. We wish all Howard University students a successful semester."

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As Parents Age, Asian-Americans Struggle to Obey A Cultural Code

Friday, January 17th, 2014

(New York Times) Two thick blankets wrapped in a cloth tie lay near a pillow on the red leather sofa in Phuong Lu’s living room. Doanh Nguyen, Ms. Lu’s 81-year-old mother, had prepared the blankets for a trip she wanted to take. “She’s ready to go to Vietnam,” Ms. Lu said.

But Ms. Nguyen would not be leaving. The doors were locked from the inside to prevent her from going anywhere — not into the snow that had coated the ground that day outside Ms. Lu’s suburban Philadelphia home, and certainly not to her home country, Vietnam.

Ms. Nguyen has Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Lu, 61, a manicurist who stopped working two years ago when her mother’s condition worsened, is her full-time caretaker. In Vietnam, children must stay home and care for their aging parents, Ms. Lu said. Elders “don’t want nursing home,” she said: Being in a nursing home creates “trouble in the head.” The family now relies financially on Ms. Lu’s husband, a construction worker.

In a country that is growing older and more diverse, elder care issues are playing out with particular resonance for many Asian-Americans. The suicide rate for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women over 75 is almost twice that of other women the same age. In 2012, 12.3 percent of Asian-Americans over 65 lived in poverty, compared with 9.1 percent of all Americans over 65. Nearly three-quarters of the 17.3 million Asians in the United States were born abroad, and they face the most vexing issues.

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Study links racism-related factors and cellular age

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

(Medical News Today) A new study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men, ages reporting high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to Whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.

"We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length," explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study's lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetesdementiastroke and heart disease. "We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied."

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Obama picks his first Asian American deputy secretary of cabinet department

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

(Washington Post) Chris Lu, who was White House cabinet secretary during President Obama’s first term, is going to be nominated to be deputy secretary of Labor, the White House announced Wednesday, making him the first Asian American to be nominated to a deputy secretaryship during this administration.

If confirmed, Lu would replace deputy secretary Seth Harris, who had been in that position since 2009. He did a six-month stint as acting secretary earlier this year. He’s leaving next week for a teaching gig at Cornell.

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‘SNL’: Civil Rights Group Praises Addition of African-American Talent

Friday, January 10th, 2014

(Hollywood Reporter) Saturday Night Live is getting high praise from civil rights group ColorOfChange.org.

On Tuesday, Upright Citizens Brigade alum Sasheer Zamata was tapped to join the series. She will be the first African-American woman in the cast since Maya Rudolph,who left the show in 2007. And Wednesday, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, both African American, joined the show as writers.The online organization, whichpreviously criticized SNL for what it described as a lack of diversity in its cast, thanked the show's producers for three new hires this week.

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