Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category

Google’s Online Ad Results Guilty Of Racial Profiling, According To New Study

Thursday, February 7th, 2013


(Huffington Post) Every job candidate lives in fear that a Google search could reveal incriminating indiscretions from a distant past. But a new study examining racial bias in the wording of online ads suggests that Google's advertising algorithms may be unfairly associating some individuals with wrongdoing they didn’t commit.

After learning that a Google search for her own name surfaced an ad for a background check service hinting that she’d been arrested, Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney set out to investigate whether race shaped online ad results. She searched over 2,000 “racially associated names” to determine if names "previously identified by others as being assigned at birth to more black or white babies" turned up ad results that indicated a criminal record. Specifically, she focused on ads purchased by companies that provide background checks used by employers.

Sweeney concluded that so-called black-identifying names were significantly more likely to be accompanied by text suggesting that person had an arrest record, regardless of whether a criminal record existed or not.

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‘Django’ Action Figures Dropped Amid Protests

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013


(Root) "The controversial 'Django Unchained' action figures have officially been DISCONTINUED … after several African American groups called for a boycott of the dolls … TMZ has learned," the TMZ website reported Friday.

Later in the day, the Weinstein Co., the film's producer, said in a statement, "We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone," Christy Lemire reported for the Associated Press. Toy maker NECA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

". . . The studio said Friday that such collectibles have been created for all of director Quentin Tarantino'sfilms, including "'Inglourious Basterds,' and that they were meant for people 17 and older, the audience for the film," Lemire wrote.

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Report: Predatory auto and student loans still targeting Latinos

Friday, December 21st, 2012


(NBC Latino) For many Latino families, average household incomes in the past decade have gone down.  Hispanics lost 66 percent of their household wealth following the Great Recession, and unemployment has been high among Latinos.  This has resulted in two things. Households have reduced spending, but for big expenditures like mortgages, automobiles and higher education, families have to take on additional debt.

Yet in the area of student loans, and even more so with auto loans, Latino families are still being steered in many cases toward riskier and even predatory loans, according to a new report from the Center for Responsible Lending.

In the case of auto loans, for example, families with low credit scores have basically two options: Applying for a loan over the internet with a lender the consumer has never heard of, or financing through the car dealer.  Low-income consumers or those with poor credit, for example, are more subject to yo-yo scams, where the dealer changes the terms of the initial loan yet refuses to give money back to the family if they don’t agree, and even threatens the consumer with auto theft if the buyer does not immediately return the car. Most families agree to the changes and pay interest rates of 5 percentage points or higher than conventional loans.

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Shopping malls cater to shifting demographics

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


(CNBC) Macerich Co <MAC.N> isn't usually in the business of hosting religious processions in its mall parking lots.

But when it allowed a Good Friday event featuring a costumed Jesus, prisoners and Roman guards at a Phoenix mall last year, hundreds of shoppers turned out from the heavily Hispanic community, where re-enactments of the Stations of the Cross are a major occasion.

The response proved to Macerich that its program to attract the surrounding population to its malls was working.

A small but growing number of real estate owners and developers are tapping into the same demographic change U.S. politicians have begun to recognize.

Two ethnic groups – Hispanics and Asian-Americans – are expected to see their population and buying power soar in the coming years. And several demographic experts project that non-Hispanic whites will be a minority nationally by 2040 or 2050.

If mall and shopping center owners fail to adapt to the changing demographic make-up of the country, they risk seeing their properties become mausoleums of a less-diverse American past.

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Asian American consumers: Nearing $1 trillion in buying power

Monday, November 26th, 2012


(Los Angeles Times) Some staggering new figures about Asian American consumers are out this month: Their buying power is up 523% since 1990, reaching $718.4 billion this year. If the demographic were a nation, it’d be the 18th-largest economy in the world.

Within five years, Asian American buying power will surge over $1 trillion, according to a report this month from Nielsen. At the moment, 28% of households in the group have annual incomes greater than $100,000, compared with 18% of all Americans.

They shop more often than their white counterparts but are less likely to use shopping lists or coupons, meaning that they’re more likely to be influenced by the product assortment, signage and deals in stores.

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Hispanic Confidence Growing in Family Finances

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

(Hispanic Business) Hispanics are more satisfied now with their personal finances and with the direction the country is going than they were in 2011, according to a new survey from the Pew Hispanic Center.

Hispanics are more satisfied now with their personal finances and with the direction the country is going than they were in 2011, according to a new survey from thePew Hispanic Center.

More than half (51 percent) of Hispanics surveyed say they are satisfied with the nation's direction, a rise of 13 percent over 2011. That figure was 38 percent in 2001. 

Just 31 percdent of the general public says they are satisfied with how things are going in the country today.

One-third of Hispanics surveyed report that their finances are "excellent" or at least "good." The figure for 2011 was just under one-quarter, at 24 percent. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say they expect their family finances to improve during the next 12 months. In 2011, just over two-thirds (67 percent) expressed a similar level of optimism.

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African American churches protest foreclosures by black-run bank

Monday, November 5th, 2012

(Los Angeles Times) A coalition of African American ministers is protesting foreclosures on their churches — byBroadway Federal Bank, a savings bank established in the 1940s to serve Los Angeles' then-segregated black community.

About one-quarter of the money Broadway Federal has lent out has been for mortgages on church properties. In the tough economy, it's become a problematic business for the bank, which regulators have categorized as troubled since 2010.

The bank's annual report for 2011 with the Securities and Exchange Commission said regulators have barred it from making additional church loans. Broadway Federal, which continues to be run by African Americans, said its problems "raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

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Disney Latino Characters: Princess Sofia Is Not Hispanic, So Where Are They?

Saturday, October 27th, 2012


(Huffington Post) Disney raised a ruckus in the Latino community when the company debuted its first Latina princess last week, only to backtrack and say “Sofia the First” was never intended to be Hispanic.

The commotion over Sofia the First — a blue-eyed, pale-skinned girl whose mother was born in a country based on Spain — raises the question: is Disney ignoring Latinos?

The company is proud of its record of inclusion and points to Latina characters like the ones played by Selena Gomez of "The Wizards of Waverly Place" and Vanessa Hudgens in the "High School Musical," which appear on the Disney Channel. Disney sitcoms have won Alma and Imagen awards for positive portrayals of Latinos. "While quality storytelling is the goal, diversity is the guidepost here," the company said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "For decades, Disney Channel has worked to make sure kids see themselves when they tune in to our channel."

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Bank of America accused of neglecting foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods

Friday, October 26th, 2012


(IndyStar) Fair housing advocates accuse one of the nation’s largest banks of discriminating against black and Latino neighborhoods in how it maintains and markets foreclosed homes.

A coalition of fair housing agencies, including the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, made the allegations Tuesday in a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The coalition said it evaluated homes owned, serviced or held in trust by Bank of America in three Midwestern cities, including Indianapolis. The group said it found significant disparities in how houses in predominately non-white neighborhoods were maintained and marketed compared with houses in mostly white neighborhoods.

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Marriott Launches Ad Campaign for Minority Business Travelers

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

(Hispanic Business) Marriott International Inc. today introduces its newest advertising campaign designed to showcase the breadth of its brands and welcome all frequent business travelers. The new "For You, We're Marriott" campaign focuses on African-American, Hispanic and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business travelers and will run in both print and digital media through year's end. 

The ads champion frequent business travelers, who "conquer their missions on the road without forgetting the important things in life." They also illustrate that Marriott understands the needs of all business travelers and welcomes them, across the global portfolio of Marriott hotels. 

"We believe smart messaging resonates with our customers," says Joanna Todd, Vice President, Segment Strategy for Marriott. "In this latest multicultural marketing campaign, our intention is to celebrate frequent business travelers and recognize that their expectations are as diverse as they are. The campaign puts a human face on business travel, for the men and women who stay with us every night." 

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