Archive for February, 2014

It’s Time to Separate Race and U.S. Firearms Policy

Friday, February 28th, 2014

(Huffington Post) It's time to separate race and U.S. firearms policy.

Racial disparities exist throughout the American judicial system. As I've written before, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be stopped and frisked, to have their car searched at a traffic stop, to be arrested and convicted on a drug offense (even though they are less likely to consume illegal drugs — see Fig. 18here), and to receive the death penalty.

But it wasn't until the shooting of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman's subsequent trial that another huge racial disparity became evident. African Americans who kill a white victim are 10 times less likely to be deemed justified in killing than whites who kill a black victim. The recent trial of Michael Dunn, who was charged with the murder of Jordan Davis, pushed the issue back in the spotlight.

That disparity is not proof that there is racial animus in criminal justice system case processing. But potential sources of any disparity need to be examined empirically, and the magnitude of this disparity is so large that it warrants particular attention.

Full story…

“Entrenched anti-Semitic views” very rare among whites and Asian Americans, common among blacks and Latinos

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

(Washington Post) According to this article, ADL surveys show that “approximately 12 percent of Americans hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views.” However, over 30% of African Americans and Latinos hold such views. Given that they are almost 30% of the population, this suggests that of the 12% of Americans who hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views, 9% or so are African Americans or Latinos. This means, in turn, of the 70% or so of the population that is not African American or Latino, only 3% hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views. Put another way, less than 5% of whites, Asians, and “others” (including Native Americans) combined hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views, compared to over 30% of African Americans and Latinos–or at least that’s the difference in percentages of those willing to express anti-Semitic attitudes to pollsters. Regardless, it seems odd given these numbers that Jews seem especially concerned about mostly phantom anti-Semitism emanating from white evangelical Christians, while being less concerned about anti-Semitism in core Democratic constituencies. But,as Ilya pointed out a few years back, many studies show that people tend to devalue or ignore any information that makes their political adversaries look good, while overvaluing anything that looks bad.

Full story…

The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report

Friday, February 21st, 2014

(Forbes) As evidenced by a compilation of ads by top brands marketing to Chinese residents of North America during the Lunar New Year, the Nielsen report on Asian Americans may have finally succeeded in convincing corporate America to pay more attention to the fastest-growing U.S. multicultural segment. But Asian American scholars say the report may be a step backward for smaller Asian groups that are underserved and misrepresented.

All things considered, the holiday is also shared by other groups who were not particularly marketed to.

“There will always be diverse populations within Asian America that may not be successful,” said Vu Pham, former Asian American studies researcher and lecturer at UCLA. “We do need to work harder than 100% to achieve 100%.”

While the report shows that Asian Americans are more likely to enjoy incomes of $100,000 or more than overall U.S. households, 13.2% of Vietnamese, 30.7% of Hmong, 24% of Cambodian and 14.5% of Laotian American families lived in poverty in California, compared to 10.2% of the total families in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Full story…

Hispanics often lead the way in their faith in the American Dream, poll finds

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

(Washington Post) After five days painting hotel rooms in Ohio and an all-night bus ride, Jorge Garcia reached his Falls Church home at 4 one recent morning. His wife, Sara, was waiting up with hot Bolivian-style soup in the small house he had remodeled with friends.

In the living room, a silver-framed photograph on a cabinet showed their daughter Vanessa clutching her diploma from George Washington University in 2008, the first person in the Garcias’ extended family to graduate from college. The second came soon after, when their younger daughter, Paola, finished at James Madison University.

After years of sacrifice and struggle in a new world, the Garcias had achieved their highest goal.

“It was hard,” said Jorge, 51, bleary-eyed as he sipped tea the day after returning from Ohio. He reflected on his earlier travails — stumbling over English, suffering ethnic slurs in silence. “Everything I have endured,” he said, “was all so my girls could succeed in America.”

In their determination to succeed and faith that education and work would lift their families from humble circumstances, the Garcias reflect the attitudes of many Hispanics in the United States.

A recent national survey by The Washington Post and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center points to some surprising findings. In many cases, Hispanic residents’ faith in the American Dream exceeds that of whites and African Americans — an optimism that contrasts sharply with the current economic status of Hispanics.

Full story…

AIDS Outreach Declined As Minority Cases Grew

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

(The Root) Dr. Anthony Jones has been an HIV/AIDS specialist for more than 15 years. During that time the Oakland, Calif., primary care physician has become more and more discouraged as he has watched the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay area become increasingly more of a problem for the African-American community.

“We're really at a crossroads with HIV in the black community,” laments Dr. Jones. "We have the knowledge and the tools to dramatically impact the spread of HIV and extremely effective medications that can fully suppress the virus. People can have a normal life expectancy. But alack of understanding about perceived risk, lack of access to care, fear and stigma are some of the greatest barriers to improving outcomes among for my patients with HIV disease.”

The statistics support Jones’ perception of the disease. Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV since the beginning of the epidemic, and this disparity continues. Today there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including more than 510,004 black Americans. Although black Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 44 percent of the new HIV infections in the 2010 data. The rate of new HIV infections was nearly 8 times that of whites and more than twice that of Latinos in 2010. The rate for black men was the highest of any group, more than twice that of Latino men.

Full story…

Obama wants to stop ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

(Los Angeles Times) President Obama plans to launch an initiative aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino men by bringing businesses and foundations together with government agencies to change what an administration official called the "school-to-prison pipeline."

The initiative, which Obama calls "My Brother's Keeper," is to be unveiled Thursday, the official said. It will mark the latest in a series of efforts by the president to spur social change outside the stalemated legislative process.

The move also represents an escalation of Obama's efforts to directly target the problems faced by young men of color.

During the last five years, Obama has met privately with groups of minority teenagers and young men in their communities and at the White House. But in his State of the Union speech, Obama pledged to go further, saying he would bring more of his resources as president to bear on the social problems that get in the way of success for minority youth.

Full story…

The truth about the Tiger Mother’s family

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

(Guardian) Amy Chua has been accused of many things – a cruel approach to parenting, gratuitous use of cultural stereotypes, a talent for sensationalism – but cowardice isn't one of them. She provoked uproar with her 2011 memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, charting her unbending rules for raising her daughters, and spent two years dealing with the fallout, including death threats, racial slurs and pitchfork-waving calls for her arrest on child-abuse charges.

She might, therefore, have been expected to take an easier road with her follow-up. Instead, she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, have written The Triple Package, which is devoted to one of the most inflammatory subjects imaginable – why some cultural groups soar ahead in the US (while others, by implication, fail). The book charts how three specific qualities, which they argue are essential to success, are passed down through the generations, often through the family.

Full story…

Trader Joe’s Drops Plan To Open Store In Historically Black Neighborhood In Portland, Ore.

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

(AP) — The Trader Joe's grocery-store chain has dropped a plan to open a new store in the heart of the city's historically African-American neighborhood after activists said the development would price black residents out of the area.

The grocer, whose stores are found in urban neighborhoods across the nation, said Monday it wouldn't press its plan, given community resistance, The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1n7Jyqb ) reported.

"We open a limited number of stores each year, in communities across the country," it said in a statement. "We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple: If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question."

The Portland Development Commission had offered a steep discount to the grocer on a parcel of nearly two acres that was appraised at up to $2.9 million: a purchase price of slightly more than $500,000. The lot is at Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and has been vacant for years.

Critics said the development would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in one of the most rapidly gentrifying ZIP codes in the nation.

Full story…

Clinton aids push for more reading in Latino families

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

(SFgate) Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined forces Tuesday for a cause dear to both, initiating a public service campaign encouraging Hispanic families to read, sing and talk more to their young children so they're better prepared for school.

About a quarter of all babies and toddlers in the U.S. are Hispanic, but these kids are half as likely to have family members read to them and a third less likely to have songs sung to them than white, non-Latino children, according to a recent report by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

The effort is part of the "Too Small to Fail" campaign started last year by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, a San Francisco nonprofit. A partner in the effort is Univision Communications Inc., a New York-based Spanish language media company that will run a series of public service announcements and news programs with segments on the topic.

Full story…

Does diversity influence group success?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

(Phys.org) Support for gender diversity in organizations and institutions has risen steadily in recent years, with reports and pundits hailing the strengths and virtues of having a female voice involved in decision making processes. Yet little research exists on just why gender diversity works. A new study led by a Ryerson University researcher exploring gender diversity in science research sets out to examine if gender diversity leads to better results, be it in the lab or the boardroom.

Lesley Campbell is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology at Ryerson University and an expert in evolution, ecology and botany. In conducting her research and publishing papers, she was intrigued by the issue of research team composition and whether diverse groups had more success than groups comprised of uniform membership such as individuals of the same gender.

Campbell, along with former researchers from Rice University, decided to ask a basic question: Does diversity have an influence on the success of groups?

Her recently published paper, "Gender-Heterogeneous Working Groups Produce Higher Quality Science," offers the first empirical evidence that heterogeneous teams produce results perceived to be of higher quality by peers than results produced by homogeneous teams.

Full story…

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