Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category

NYPD’s Kelly Tried to ‘Instill Fear’ in Minorities: Ex-Cop

Monday, April 8th, 2013

(NEWSER) – As controversy continues over New York City's stop-and-frisk law, a state senator—and former cop—has testified in federal court that the police commissioner aimed to "instill fear" in the black and Hispanic communities. State Sen. Eric Adams, a police officer for 22 years, said that during a 2010 meeting, police commissioner Raymond Kelly "stated that he targeted … that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police," the Guardian reports. The court case has been brought by plaintiffs trying to end the stop-and-frisk practice.

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A post-racial US? In era of Obama, Supreme Court may nullify civil rights policies as outdated

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013


(StarTribune Op-Ed) Has the nation lived down its history of racism and should the law become colorblind?

Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.

In one case, the issue is whether race preferences in university admissions undermine equal opportunity more than they promote the benefits of racial diversity. Just this past week, justices signaled their interest in scrutinizing affirmative action very intensely, expanding their review as well to a Michigan law passed by voters that bars "preferential treatment" to students based on race. Separately in a second case, the court must decide whether race relations — in the South, particularly — have improved to the point that federal laws protecting minority voting rights are no longer warranted.

The questions are apt as the United States closes in on a demographic tipping point, when nonwhites will become a majority of the nation's population for the first time. That dramatic shift is expected to be reached within the next generation, and how the Supreme Court rules could go a long way in determining what civil rights and equality mean in an America long divided by race.

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Earl Wright, LAPD Officer, Wins $1.2 Million After Enduring Vulgar Racial Harassment Within Department

Friday, March 29th, 2013


(Huffington Post) A black LA police officer was awarded $1.2 million by a jury Tuesday for being the target of vulgar racial harassment by a white supervisor and other officers.

Officer Earl Wright, a 23-year LAPD veteran, alleged that the department did not take his complaints seriously, which caused him to be hospitalized and miss seven months of work because of stress and anxiety.

In one instance detailed in the lawsuit documents, Wright was given a 20-year anniversary cake with a fried chicken leg and slice of watermelon on top. The cake was presented to him by Sgt. Peter Foster, a white officer who supervised the Community Relations Office in Central Division, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In another instance, when Wright asked Foster for permission to leave work early, Foster responded, "Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?"

In 2010, Foster sent Wright a text message depicting one yellow duckling with its arms raised above its head while standing in front of five black ducklings, according to the lawsuit, NBC reports. Under the depiction was a message that used a slang version of the "N" word to ask Wright what he was up to.

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White student union members refuse to apologize for advocating racial segregation and slavery at university conservative conference

Sunday, March 24th, 2013


(Daily Mail) Two members of the White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland are refusing to apologize after advocating for racial segregation and defending slavery during the school’s Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

The two student group members, Scott Terry and Matthew Heimbach, took their incendiary stances while Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans was delivering a presentation at the university event about how Republicans could reach minorities more effectively. 

In the midst of Smith’s presentation, Terry began challenging him about the inclusion of blacks in the Republican Party.

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Idaho businessman, 60, pleads not guilty to slapping stranger’s crying 19-month-old boy on plane

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


(NY Daily News) He denies being slaphappy.

Joe Rickey Hundley, the Idaho businessman accused of hurling a racial slur and swatting a crying infant aboard a Feb. 8 flight, pleaded not guilty to assault Wednesday in federal court.

While the former exec at Unitech Composites and Structures denied hitting 19-month-old Jonah Bennett, he did admit to using a racial epithet.

Jonah and his mother, Jessica Bennett, were sitting next to Hundley when she claims in court documents that the 60-year-old had been drinking and told her to, “Shut that n—-r baby up!”

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African American teen invited to ‘KKK’ birthday party, mom says

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

(ABC News) A black student at a Texas junior high school was the victim of routine racial taunts and bullying, including his receiving a fake invitation to a KKK birthday party to be held in his honor, his mother says.

Justin Howard, a seventh-grader at Tomball Junior High School in Tomball, Texas, has been harassed by a group of white students who bullied him because he is black, according to his mother, Tahiyyah Howard.

"I'm just, really, you know, sick of it," Howard told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV. "A girl wrote on the board 'Black Justin' and my son was really upset."

The most egregious example, the boy's mother said, came when Justin received a fake birthday party invitation from two classmates with a Ku Klux Klan theme. It is unclear about how the boy became aware of the note.

"[They] put it on his desk and said that he was invited to a KKK birthday party with lots of fun and games," said Howard, who has not sought action outside the school.

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Oberlin College cancels classes to address racial incidents

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


(CNN) – Oberlin College in Ohio suspended classes Monday after a student reported seeing a person resembling a Ku Klux Klan member near the college's Afrikan Heritage House.

The sighting of the person wearing a white hood and robe was reported early Monday morning and follows a string of recent hate incidents on Oberlin's campus that have ignited shock and confusion among the student body.

"Since the beginning, there's been anger, frustration, sadness and fear, but we've been working toward a concentrated effort toward change," said Eliza Diop, 20, a politics and Africana Studies major who serves on the college student senate and is a resident of the Afrikan Heritage House, which offers programs focused on the African diaspora, according to the college's website.

Oberlin College is a small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, with almost 3,000 students. An emergency meeting among the college's officials was immediately called after the report.

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor slams Texas prosecutor for racial remark

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013


(Los Angeles Times) Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court's first Latina justice, slammed a Texas prosecutor Monday for citing race as grounds for convicting a defendant of a drug deal, saying the government attorney had tried to "substitute racial stereotype for evidence and racial prejudice for reason."

She filed a rare statement commenting on the court's refusal to hear an appeal, not to dissent from the decision but to "dispel any doubt" that the action "should be understood to signal our tolerance of a federal prosecutor's racially charged remark. It should not."

Sotomayor, who began her career as a prosecutor in New York, said she was troubled by what happened.

"By suggesting that race should play a role in establishing a defendant's guilt, the prosecutor here tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our nation," she wrote. "… It is deeply disappointing to see a representative of the United States resort to this base tactic more than a decade into the 21st century."

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Racial Gap in Men’s Sentencing

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

(Wall Street Journal) Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.

That racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005, according to the Sentencing Commission's findings, which were submitted to Congress last month and released publicly this week.

In its report, the commission recommended that federal judges give sentencing guidelines more weight, and that appeals courts more closely scrutinize sentences that fall beyond them.

The commission, which is part of the judicial branch, was careful to avoid the implication of racism among federal judges, acknowledging that they "make sentencing decisions based on many legitimate considerations that are not or cannot be measured."

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A look at African American heroes in comic books

Thursday, February 14th, 2013


(Examiner) As part of Black History Month the Hollywood Comic Books Examiner looks to see how comic books, an original American art form, changed from a medium dominated by white super heroes where blacks played supporting roles as non-powered civilians to becoming a important part of comic book publishing.

In 1966, during the height of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s comic book creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did something unheard of in comic books up to that point. In Fantastic Four #52they introduced the first black super powered hero, the Black Panther. The character comes from the secret African nation of Wakanda so he is not an African American but his presence in the comic books diversified the genre and added a much needed multi-cultural boost to a modern mythology.

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