Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

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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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?

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The tiger mom DOESN’T know best: Researchers find Western parenting methods are just as effective

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

(Daily Mail) Stanford researchers Alyssa Fu and Hazel Markus suggest in a new study, both culture-centric approaches can be effective. 

Motivation, the researchers wrote, is understood to come from within an individual in Western families, while Asian children find strength in parental expectations. 

The bottom line is that children can be motivated either way, they say.

'These findings underscore the importance of understanding cultural variation in how people construe themselves and their relationships to others. 

'While European American parents give their children wings to fly on their own, Asian American parents provide a constant wind beneath their children's wings,' wrote Fu, a doctoral student in psychology and the lead author of the study, and Markus, a professor of psychology.

The debate was sparked in 2011, when Yale law Professor Amy Chua provoked a cultural clash with a Wall Street Journal article, 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,' that advocated a strict approach – 'tiger parenting' – common in East Asia.

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Which is it, Hispanic or Latino?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

(CNN) – If there's one thing everyone should know about Hispanics in the United States, it's that this rapidly growing minority has an undefined identity crisis.

Why? Because of the confusion surrounding what to call people whose ethnic background is from Latin American and Spanish-speaking countries. Some even feel 100% American or 100% Latino — or Hispanic, depending to whom you're talking.

How do you know which term to use? "Hispanic" and "Latino" are often used interchangeably and aim to describe the same group of people, but technically they do not mean the same thing.

What's more, within Hispanic communities in the United States, most people identify with their country of origin and often use hyphens to represent their loyalties to both cultures: like "Mexican-American."

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Study examines achievement gap between Asian American, white students

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

(Los Angeles Times) A growing achievement gap between Asian American students and their white classmates is due largely to greater work effort and cultural attitudes, not innate cognitive ability, researchers say.

In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, two sociology professors found that Asian Americans enter school with no clear academic edge over whites, but that an advantage grows over time.

Even if they come from poorer, less educated families, Asian Americans significantly outperform white students by fifth grade, authors wrote.

"What accounts for Asians' greater academic effort than whites?" asked study authors Amy Hsin of Queens College in New York and Yu Xie of the University of Michigan.

"Asian and Asian American youth are harder working because of cultural beliefs that emphasize the strong connection between effort and achievement," the authors wrote. "Studies show that Asian and Asian American students tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that can be developed through effort, whereas white Americans tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that are inborn."

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CNBC Anchor: Apple Wants Beats for Its ‘Hip Hop, African-American Cool’ Factor

Monday, May 12th, 2014

(Mediaite) On Thursday night, news broke that Apple is in talks to acquire the Beats Electronics brand for $3.2 million. Beats is perhaps best known for its Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, but also recently launched a streaming Beats Music subscription service. But why does Apple, which has historically stayed away from major acquisitions like this one, want to buy the company for such a large sum?

This was the question CNBC’s Squawk on the Street panel was attempting to answer Friday morning when host Simon Hobbs threw out a surprisingly frank hypothesis.

But first, corespondent Jon Fortt argued that Apple was making a mistake in buying Beats because a competing hardware company has the potential to “dilute” their own solid brand. “There’s actually potentially negative value here,” Fortt said. “Apple should buy either the biggest or the smartest in the space. Beats is neither.”

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Bill O’Reilly Blames Beyoncé for African-American Babies Born Out of Wedlock

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

(Radio.com) While far more famously known for his criticisms of rappers and hip-hop, FOX News political pundit Bill O’Reilly has developed a recent fascination with Beyoncé.

First, O’Reilly took the singer to task for the sexy music video for recent single “Partition”, filmed at famous French burlesque club Crazy Horse, calling it “exploitative garbage.” The O’Reilly Factorhost went at the singer again during a visit with David Letterman on The Late Show, where he first cited the “Drunk in Love” star as a reason African-American babies are born out of wedlock.

Now that Time has featured Beyoncé on the cover of it’s “100 Most Influential People” issue, O’Reilly has again lashed out at the singer and her “libertine” values, engaging Penny Nance from Concerned Women for America and political commentator Eboni Williams in the debate.

Related: Beyonce and Jay Z Officially Announce Joint Stadium Tour 

“This woman knows that young girls getting pregnant in the African-American community and now it’s about 70 percent out of wedlock. She knows and doesn’t seem to care,” O’Reilly stated during the show aired on April 25. “That’s my problem with her… the empowering stuff is just so much garbage. I mean I can’t even believe it. Empowering, what? She sings songs.”

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Army grooming rule changes: African American female troops claim racial bias

Friday, April 18th, 2014

(Examiner.com) The United States Army, as with all other branches of the military, has always upheld specific regulations regardinggrooming for their male and female service personnel. Every so often those rules are revisited as styles and personal choices of appearance change over time.

USA Today on April 1 released a news story whereAfrican American female troops are claiming racial bias to the new grooming regulations. Their claims and voice are causing an outcry within the local ranks as well as worldwide. They are asking, through a petition to the White House, that the hairstyles undergo some reconsideration to allow more ethnic styles that are still considered professional and popular among the African American military personnel.

The Army Times reports that the new grooming regulations aren’t specific to just allowable hairstyles. The new rules also establish tougher rules regarding makeup, fingernail length, tattoos, as well as how uniforms should be worn. The rules that are being implemented for tattoos, is the section with the strictest guidelines.

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New report details racial gap among US children

Friday, April 4th, 2014

(AP) – In every region of America, white and Asian children are far better positioned for success than black, Latino and American Indian children, according to a new report appealing for urgent action to bridge this racial gap.

Titled "Race for Results," the report is being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which for decades has worked to improve child well-being in the United States.

The foundation also produces annual "Kids Count" reports, with reams of state-specific data, but these generally have not focused on race. The new report tackles the topic head-on, with charts and ratings that convey dramatic racial discrepancies.

At the core of the report is a newly devised index based on 12 indicators measuring a child's success from birth to adulthood. The indicators include reading and math proficiency, high school graduation data, teen birthrates, employment prospects, family income and education levels, and neighborhood poverty levels.

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We need more Asian American kids growing up to be artists, not doctors

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

(Guardian) Americans often measure success by the three M’s: money, Motorola, and Mercedes. Most Chinese immigrant parents, on the other hand, define success as getting straight A’s, graduating from an elite university, pursuing an advanced degree and becoming a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist or engineer.

Could this be why the children of Chinese immigrants are, on average, better educated and wealthier – with higher paying jobs – than the general US population?

Amy Chua (of Tiger Mother fame) and her husband and co-author, Jed Rubenfeld, seem to think so. In their new book, The Triple Packagethey compare differences in educational qualifications, median household income and occupational status to support their claim that certain American groups – including those of Chinese, Jewish, Cuban and Nigerian descent – are more successful than others because they share certain cultural traits: a superiority complex; inferiority; impulse control.

But just because these groups have achieved “success” doesn’t mean that these traits are responsible for it, nor that the high-paying, professional job is even what Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans aspire to achieve.

In our new study of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, sociologist Min Zhou and I found that Chinese immigrants are not only more educated than the average American – they’re also more highly educated than those they left behind. As highly educated immigrants, Chinese parents define success narrowly; more importantly, they invest their resources in achieving it.

Full story…

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