Archive for June, 2014

US settles credit discrimination suit against bank

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

(AP) — GE Capital Retail Bank has agreed to pay $169 million to settle a lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against Hispanic credit card customers, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The Justice Department called it the largest government credit-card discrimination settlement ever. The department joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in announcing the agreement.

In addition, GE Capital must refund $56 million to about 638,000 consumers who were subjected to deceptive marketing practices to promote extra credit-card products known as "add-ons," in an agreement with the CFPB. The practices included falsely marketing products as free of charge, failing to tell consumers that they didn't qualify for the offers because they were retired or disabled, failing to make it clear that consumers were making a purchase and falsely telling them the offers were for a limited time only.

GE Capital also is paying a $3.5 million penalty to the CFPB for deceptive marketing.

The $169 million settlement resolves allegations that the bank excluded Hispanic borrowers from two of its credit card debt-repayment programs. The programs allowed customers with delinquent accounts to settle their balances by paying off a specific portion of the debt. That denied a significant benefit to all customers who had expressed a preference to communicate with the bank in Spanish or had a mailing address in Puerto Rico – even if they met the criteria for the programs, the government said.

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Majority of Latino Workers Are Now U.S.-Born — Not Immigrants

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

(Wall Street Journal) Immigrants still make up a big share of Hispanic workers in the U.S., but more often than not, they’re born in the U.S.A.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the majority of America’s Latino workers are U.S.-born, according to a report by the Pew Research Center released on Thursday.

Just under half–49.7%–of Hispanic workers were foreign-born at the end of 2013, down from 56.1% in 2007 and slightly below 1995’s level of 50.5%, Pew says. And early evidence suggests the trend is continuing this year, pushing the share of immigrants among America’s roughly 22 million Hispanic workers to 48.8%.

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Joe Walsh kicked off his own radio show for racial slur

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

(Examiner.com) Joe Walsh, the former Republican Illinois representative in Congress, was taken off his radio program on WIND-AM radio in Chicago for using racial slurs on the radio waves, according to the Huffington Post on Friday. Walsh has hosted “The Joe Walsh Show on the conservative radio station for about a year-and-a-half. Walsh turned to a radio talk-show career shortly after being ousted from politics when he was defeated by Tammy Duckworth in a contentious political contest.

Taking to social media’s Twitter, Walsh complained about being taken off the air by the station’s management. Walsh claims that he used several epithets during a talk about the Redskins’ controversial name. During that segment, he used the “n-word.” On Twitter, Walsh’s response was that WIND-AM radio keeps cutting him off. He wrote: “The station keeps cutting me off. I don’t know why.”

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The Shocking Lack Of Diversity On This Week’s Sunday Shows

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

(ThinkProgress) The Sunday political talk shows have drawn repeated criticism for filling their lineups with disproportionately white, male guests. But if this week’s lineup is any indication, the shows aren’t working too hard to fix the disparity.

Between CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC this Sunday, there were no women or people of color featured as the main, solo interviews of the show. Even in the roundtable discussions that follow the featured interviews, the participants were unrepresentative: Eight women joined the roundtables, while 15 men were part of the conversation.

Of the 38 total guests between the one-on-one interviews and the roundtables, there were five people of color. None of the shows had on more than two women, or more than two non-white guests.

The lack of diversity is simultaneously most and least surprising on a week in which foreign policy has dominated the news cycle. All of the shows featured discussion of the ongoing unrest in Iraq. And while international news may seem like an area ripe for diverse perspectives, the U.S. foreign policy establishment is overwhelmingly male.

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On The Census, Who Checks ‘Hispanic,’ Who Checks ‘White,’ And Why

Friday, June 20th, 2014

(NPR) We've been talking a lot lately about how who fills out the Census in what way. It's an ongoing preoccupation of Code Switch, and one shared by Julie Dowling. Dowling, a University of Illinois sociologist, whose book, Mexican Americans and the Question of Race, came out earlier this year. (As the daughter of a Mexican-American mother and Irish-American father, Dowling knows all about the complexities of filling out the race question on the Census form.)

I interviewed Dowling about her research, and she shared some fascinating insights about the gap between how people fill in Census forms and how they think of themselves

On the history of 'Hispanic' on the Census Questionnaire

In 1930, "Mexican" was put on the Census [questionnaire] as a race. This was during the Depression and it was a time period when [the government was] rounding up people. They used the Census in the 1940s to locate Japanese-Americans for internment camps. So people didn't want to be identifiable on the Census because they were afraid of the government.

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LinkedIn Joins Google, Reveals Employee Gender, Diversity Gap

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

(Mashable.com) LinkedIn released employee demographic data for the first time on Thursday, revealing a workforce that is mostly male, and mostly white.

Of LinkedIn's 5400-plus total employees, 61% are male, and CEO Jeff Weiner said Thursday atThomas Friedman's Next New World Conference in San Francisco that 82% of the company's tech positions are currently filled by men. Ethnically speaking, 53% of LinkedIn's U.S. workforce is white, and 38% is Asian.

That means that black, hispanic and other ethnic groups make up less than 10% of the company's U.S. employees.

"We're not where we'd like to be," said Weiner. "We want and can do better than [what we're doing]."

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TMZ Under Fire for Asian Driver Comments

Friday, June 13th, 2014

(thewrap.com) TMZ is being slammed by an Asian American organization that's demanding an apology from the show for comments made about Asian drivers.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) is taking aim at the celebrity gossip show for a segment featuring “Step Up 3D” actor Joe Slaughter. During the segment, a TMZ reporter asked Slaughter about Korea creating larger parking stalls to make it easier for Korean women to park.

Quoth Slaughter, “I think America should do that for Asian people in general. Stereotypes aren't stereotypes because they're unfalse [sic].  They're stereotypes because we know for a fact that things like that happen.”

Cut to the TMZ set, where a staffer chimed in, “But you know what?  My roommate is Asian. She is full blown Chinese. And she openly talks about how she is a bad driver.  And she does blame it on her genetics because of her eyes. It's not something that's a bad thing if you — you know, maybe someone can be born with a big nose and you can't turn all the way…”

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Supervisor threatens to hang worker for drinking from ‘white people’ fountain

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

(CNN) – The recording sounds like something from Jim Crow days: a white supervisor threatening to hang an African-American employee for drinking water from a "white people" fountain.

But it's 2014, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Untonia Harris, who worked at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse, said he used his phone to record his supervisor after feeling discriminated against for months.

In the audio, Harris asks if he could use a microwave.

"Hell no!" a man he describes as the supervisor responds.

When he asks why, the purported voice from the supervisor says it's because Harris is not white.

In another attempt to use the water fountain, the supervisor has the same reaction.

"I need to put a sign here that says, 'White people only,'" the voice says.

Harris asks what will happen if he is caught drinking from the fountain.

The voice replies, "That's when we hang you."

Full story…

Prominent black men ask Obama: What about black women and girls?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

(Washington Post) A group of prominent black men — 210 so far — have written an open letter to President Obama, asking that he consider the plight of young women of color in tandem with his administration’s focus on young men of color. Signed by scholars, ministers and activists, the letter comes as the White House announced this week that former basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson will co-chair “My Brother’s Keeper,” a $200 million public- and private-sector effort that will direct resources to black and Hispanic boys.

The signers of the letter, among them actor Danny Glover and civil rights activist James M. Lawson and leading academics, write to Obama that they were “were surprised and disappointed that your commitments express empathy to only half of our community — men and boys of color.”

We write as African American men who have supported your presidency, stood behind you when the inevitable racist challenges to your authority have emerged, and have understood that our hopes would be tempered by the political realities that you would encounter. While we continue to support your presidency, we write both out of a sense of mutual respect and personal responsibility to address what we believe to be the unfortunate missteps in the My Brothers Keeper initiative (MBK). In short, in lifting up only the challenges that face males of color, MBK — in the absence of any comparable initiative for females — forces us to ask where the complex lives of Black women and Black girls fit into the White House’s vision of racial justice?

Full story…

TECH CEO: If Silicon Valley Wanted To Solve The Diversity Issue, It Would Be Solved

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

(Business Insider) African-Americans in the tech industry still seem to be relatively few and far between.

Tech behemoth Google's US-based workforce is only 2% black, the company recently announced

But that is changing — very slowly, but surely.

In February of this year, Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division — a position previously held by a white man.

Also this year, storage startup Dropbox announced the appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.

Full story…

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