Archive for July, 2014

Want to empower African American kids? Give them bikes

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

(Grist.org) Cycling has a reputation for being a white man’s sport, hobby, and mode of transportation. It’s an image rooted in truth — white people accounted for about 80 percent of the cycling population in the U.S. as of 2009 — but it’s far from a complete picture. From 2001 to 2009, the rates of cycling among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians grew far more than among whites.

Ed Ewing is working hard to keep that trend going. He’s the director of diversity and inclusion for the Cascade Bicycle Club and co-founder of the Major Taylor Project, a program that uses cycling to empower underserved youth in the Seattle area. The program is named after Major Taylor, the first African-American to win a cycling world championship race.

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How Hispanics Became Hollywood’s Most Important Audience

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

(thewrap.com) Hollywood experts love to fret about the future of the movie business, but the industry has begun to embrace one group that is indisputably on the rise: the Hispanic audience.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and their passion for movies is unsurpassed. The group bought 25 percent of the tickets sold in 2013 though they comprise just 17 percent of the population, according to the Motion Picture Association of America's year-end study.

According to figures from the U.S. Census and a Nielsen report on movie audiences, Hispanics make up 15 percent of the population over the age of 12, and 19 percent of tickets sold for teens and older.

The group, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as people of “Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race,” is making its presence felt at the summer box office. The group has accounted for more than 20 percent of the audience for hits as disparate as “Maleficent” and “Godzilla,” according to data compiled by Nielsen and Univision.

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College Board apologizes over ‘racially insensitive’ T-shirt

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

(USAToday) The College Board apologized for a "culturally and racially insensitive" T-shirt and some comments made at its Advanced Placement World History exam grading event last month.

On the front of the shirt are caricatures of Chinese politicians with the words, "Chinese Communist PARTY!!!" On the back is an image of Mao Zedong and text in what critics of the T-shirt call a "chop suey font."

"It hearkens to this history of racist imagery," said Hannah Kim, an assistant professor of history at the University of Delaware and one of the AP exam readers, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.

Kim was one of more than 1,000 college professors and high school teachers who gathered in Salt Lake City in mid-June for a week-long event to read and grade AP World History exams. It's common to have commemorative T-shirts at these grading events, and often these T-shirts are "innocuous," Kim said.

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How to hook up tech sector with talent

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

(CNN editorial, Van Jones) – Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Facebook have all releasedtheir workforce diversity reports in the past few weeks. These reports have sparked much hand-wringing about the low number of African-Americans and Latinos who are working in Silicon Valley tech companies. We expect to see a tide of more reports, illustrating a dismal situation needing attention.

But, too often, stunned commentators overlook a simple fact: This problem is fixable.

Tech companies need more workers, and African-American and Latino communities need more work. Silicon Valley has an insatiable demand for genius. Communities of color have an untapped supply of it. Putting aside any blaming or shaming, tech leaders and communities of color could greatly benefit by coming together — to ensure that America stops wasting so much genius. Neither Silicon Valley nor low-opportunity communities can afford it anymore.

For instance: 70% of "Googlers" are men, 30% women; 61% are white and 30% are Asian. Blacks and Hispanics? Only 2% and 3%, respectively. Google's May 2014 report could best be summed up with the company's own words: "We're not where we want to be."

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Latino activists aim to boost participation in U.S. midterm vote

Friday, July 11th, 2014

(Reuters) – A coalition of Latino groups is launching a new push to register voters and mobilize Hispanics ahead of the 2014 midterm elections in the hope of electing more lawmakers sympathetic to issues important to them, including immigration.

At a news conference to open the annual convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), advocates announced the goal of registering 50,000 new Latino voters and mobilizing 100,000 voters to go to the polls in November.

Advocates say they hope disenchantment with Washington will drive a higher turnout.

President Barack Obama's drive for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul this year collapsed when House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Washington, said the House would not hold a vote.

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In Public Schools, White Students Are No Longer the Majority

Monday, July 7th, 2014

(The Atlantic) The 2013-14 school year has drawn to a close in most U.S. school districts, and with it the final period in which white students composed a majority of the nation's K-12 public school population. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation's public school students.

The change marks far more than a statistical blip.

Broader demographic trends indicate that the new student majority, a collection of what have long been thought of as minority groups, will grow. In just three years, Latino students alone will make up nearly 28 percent of the nation's student population, predict data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Latino student population growth combined with a slow but steady decline in the number of white children attending public schools will transform the country's schools.

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Congress Must Act to Bolster Voting Rights Act

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

(Huffington Post, Rep Hank Johnson, Georgia 4th District) Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I wish every member of the Supreme Court had the wisdom and insight of Justice Ginsburg. Her message, written one year ago, is clear: Preclearance was working.

We are closer to the goal of equal voting rights, but we are not yet there. Efforts made to restrict the right to vote in the last election prove that we still have a long way to go. The progress we have made proves that the law works and is a reason to keep the Voting Rights Act intact, not a sign that it has become obsolete.

This is especially true here in the South.

During the last renewal of the landmark law in 2007, Congress conducted more than 21 hearings with nearly 100 witnesses and amassed a 15,000-page record documenting the ongoing discrimination against minority voters. Congress voted to renew the law in overwhelming bipartisan majorities: 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate.

But this activist, conservative court struck a dagger in the heart of the law last year. Ruling from the bench Jim Crow-style, the court held 5-4 that the decades-old law used to protect minority voting rights had outlived its usefulness.

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Lack of diversity could undercut Silicon Valley

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

(USAToday) The technology industry's predominantly white and Asian male workforce is in danger of losing touch with the diverse nation — and world — that forms its customer base.

Recently released numbers from some of the largest and most powerful companies confirm what many had suspected: Opportunity here is not created equal.

Blacks and Hispanics are largely absent, and women are underrepresented in Silicon Valley — from giant companies to start-ups to venture capital firms.

The industry that bills itself as a meritocracy actually looks more like a "mirrortocracy," says longtime high-tech entrepreneur Mitch Kapor, co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Even as companies scramble to find workers in the most competitive hiring market in recent memory, most are continuing to bring aboard people who look like they do.

And that, Kapor says, could undercut Silicon Valley, which needs the best people and ideas to create the next Facebook or Google.

Full story…

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