Thursday, July 24, 2014

My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3. - The Washington Post

My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3. - The Washington Post: I received a call from my sons’ school in March telling me that my oldest needed to be picked up early. He had been given a one-day suspension because he had thrown a chair. He did not hit anyone, but he could have, the school officials told me.

JJ was 4 at the time.

I agreed his behavior was inappropriate, but I was shocked that it resulted in a suspension.

For weeks, it seemed as if JJ was on the chopping block. He was suspended two more times, once for throwing another chair and then for spitting on a student who was bothering him at breakfast. Again, these are behaviors I found inappropriate, but I did not agree with suspension.

Still, I kept quiet. I knew my history. I was the bad preschooler.

I was expelled from preschool and went on to serve more suspensions than I can remember. But I do remember my teachers’ disparaging words. I remember being told I was bad and believing it. I remember just how long it took me to believe anything else about myself.

At 50, Upward Bound Still Opens Pathway to College - Higher Education

At 50, Upward Bound Still Opens Pathway to College - Higher Education: Nervous but determined, the 15-year-old boy walked into a conference room in Columbus, Ohio, for a fateful interview. If it went well, perhaps he’d have a chance to be the first member of his impoverished family to attend college.

That was 34 years ago, but Wil Haygood ― the renowned journalist and author whose writing inspired the film The Butler ― says he remembers it “like it was yesterday.”

“I knew in my heart and soul that this was a monumental moment for little Wil Haygood,” he recalled.

At stake was a place in Upward Bound, founded as an experimental program in 1964 as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, with a goal of helping students from low-income families get a college education.

How Race Skews Prosecutions - NYTimes.com

How Race Skews Prosecutions - NYTimes.com: In the legal stratosphere where Supreme Court justices sit, racism may appear to be largely a thing of the past. But down on the ground, where citizens and law enforcement encounter each other daily, race still matters. That is the key finding of an extensive report issued last week on the prosecutorial practices of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, one of the biggest and busiest in the country.

The two-year study, conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice at the request of Cyrus Vance Jr., who took over as district attorney in 2010, found a pattern of racial disparities at multiple stages of the criminal justice process.

Even after controlling for factors like the seriousness of the charges and a defendant’s criminal history, blacks and Latinos were more likely than whites to be denied bail and more likely to be offered a harsher plea deal involving time behind bars. Blacks were also slightly more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites. When the charge was a misdemeanor drug offense, black defendants were 27 percent more likely than whites to get a plea offer that included incarceration.

Will Iraqi Blacks Win Justice? - NYTimes.com

Will Iraqi Blacks Win Justice? - NYTimes.com: BAGHDAD — Jalal Dhiyab Thijeel was tall, funny and handsome, qualities that should have made him a popular man in Basra, Iraq, where he lived. But he was also black, one of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been pushed to the margins of society based on their skin color.

In 2003, inspired by the opening of Iraqi society after the American invasion and, later, by the success of Barack Obama in overcoming his own country’s history of racism, Jalal began to push for anti-discrimination laws in Iraq. For his audacity, Jalal was assassinated last year in Basra.

Most estimates show there are about 400,000 Iraqis who trace their origins back to sub-Saharan Africa, most of them living in the south around Basra, though a few push the count as high as two million. There are few written accounts of their early history in the country, though what records do exist show that the first of them arrived in what is now Iraq as slaves as early as the seventh century.

Saving Lives In South Miami, One Pool At A Time : NPR Ed : NPR

Saving Lives In South Miami, One Pool At A Time : NPR Ed : NPR: It's hot out. The usual midday thunderstorm has just passed, and the few kids hanging out on bleachers around the pool at Miami's Ransom Everglades School finally get the go-ahead to jump in and cool off.

Eight-year-old Gary Kendrick and the others are all here for swim lessons.

"They told us to hold on to the wall and kick our feet and, like, move our arms," Kendrick says. "When I had to swim to one of the counselors I was really swimming. I ain't even know I was moving."

Kendrick doesn't have the technique of an Olympic swimmer, but he can make it to the side of a pool if he's pushed, falls in, or just wants to cool off.

Kendrick is one of a handful of kids from South Miami to get free swim lessons at Ransom Everglades, a private school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The kids—all over the age of 8, all black—are bused over from South Miami's community center once a week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Code Switch Roundup: Big Stories On Race And Criminal Justice : Code Switch : NPR

Code Switch Roundup: Big Stories On Race And Criminal Justice : Code Switch : NPR: The past few days have brought a whole lot of important (and pretty sobering) news around race and policing. Here are some of the biggest stories that have landed on our radar.
Three-quarters of all stops by Newark police deemed unconstitutional

The tensions between residents and the police in Newark, N.J., are long-running. Like a bunch of other big cities in New Jersey, Newark has laid off a big chunk of its police force in recent years, and violent crimes, like carjackings, have been climbing. Some police say they are overworked. But many civilians have complained that they are regularly subjected to police harassment and mistreatment.

Why I'm Excited About Black Captain America, Even If He Might Not Stick Around | ThinkProgress

Why I'm Excited About Black Captain America, Even If He Might Not Stick Around | ThinkProgress: It’s hard to be a black nerd at a comic book convention.

Even among all the bright lights and C-list sci-fi stars and homemade costumes, you stand out. Especially among the homemade costumes. If you choose to cosplay as a black nerd, you find yourself with limited options. You can pick from among the small list of characters who actually match your race. Pretty much every black guy running around the convention floor is dressed like the Samuel L. Jackson-based Nick Fury. Or you can branch out and cross racial lines, wearing the costume as best as you can, knowing deep down that to portray the character as accurately as some of the others running around the hall rented out for the weekend is impossible.

But the impossible just got a little more possible: Marvel released an announcement late Wednesday night that someone new would be taking over as that most patriotic of heroes, Captain America. The iconic shield is being passed from Steve Rogers, the white man who has played the part almost constantly since World War II, on to a black man: Sam Wilson, better known as the Falcon in Marvel’s pages.

Granddaughter Of Redskins' Founder: 'They Need To Change The Name' | ThinkProgress

Granddaughter Of Redskins' Founder: 'They Need To Change The Name' | ThinkProgress: The granddaughter of George Preston Marshall, the man who founded the football franchise that now calls Washington home, has joined the list of people who think that it is time for the team to find a new name.

“They need to change the name,” Jordan Wright, who said she was Marshall’s granddaughter, told Leesburg Today columnist Leonard Shapiro recently (via Dan Steinberg). “In this day and age, it’s just not right.”

The Oneida Indian Nation, which has challenged the name with a public campaign against it over the last year, issued a statement applauding Wright.

If You Want To Understand Why Mascots Like 'Redskins' Are A Problem, Listen To This 15-Year-Old Native American | ThinkProgress

If You Want To Understand Why Mascots Like 'Redskins' Are A Problem, Listen To This 15-Year-Old Native American | ThinkProgress: Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown can’t remember a time when he didn’t look forward to high school football games. But every year, there is one game on the annual Argonaut High School football schedule that Brown doesn’t enjoy.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always gone to my high school football games, and once I got into high school, it made it that much more fun being on the field,” Brown said Tuesday. “But there has always been one game I dreaded going to. One of our school’s biggest rivals is the Calaveras Redskins. Calaveras has always had an obscene amount of school pride, but little do they know how damaging their routines are, not only to the Natives in attendance, but most likely to the Native Americans who attend their own school.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

President Obama Touts Expansion of Program for Minority Boys - Higher Education

President Obama Touts Expansion of Program for Minority Boys - Higher Education: WASHINGTON ― President Barack Obama announced a major expansion of his initiative to improve the lives of boys and young men of color, with educators, star athletes, companies and foundations announcing partnerships to help minority boys in conjunction with his My Brother’s Keeper program.

Obama, who first announced his initiative in February, said Monday they plan to continue to build support for the program around the nation to ensure those who are the most risk will get the help that they need.

“This is a movement that we’re trying to build over the next year, five years, 10 years, so we can look back and say we were part of something that reversed some trends that we don’t want to see,” said Obama, who made the announcement of the initiative at the Walker Jones Education Center in Washington, D.C.

Stage Set for Showdowns Over Potential Contraction of HBCUs - Higher Education

Stage Set for Showdowns Over Potential Contraction of HBCUs - Higher Education: Around the same time lawmakers in the North Carolina State Senate recently floated the idea of closing historically Black Elizabeth City State University, the United Negro College Fund reported that the Koch brothers, who routinely support Republican candidates and right-wing causes, had made a $25 million donation to the UNCF to help struggling HBCUs.

Although financially ailing Elizabeth City State won’t benefit from the Koch money because the UNCF only supports private HBCUs, both situations focused attention on the plight of numerous Black institutions, especially smaller schools facing dwindling financial resources and enrollment declines.

Last September, the University of North Carolina System reported that Elizabeth City State faced a shortfall of $5 million, and UNC President Tom Ross warned that “hard decisions” were ahead.

At the time, ECSU’s enrollment for the fall 2013 semester was just over 2,400 students, a decline from about 3,300 in 2010.

Student-Centered Education for a Diverse 21st Century Population - Higher Education

Student-Centered Education for a Diverse 21st Century Population - Higher Education: The population of the U.S. is increasingly diverse, a trend mirrored in the college student population. Education that keeps the student at the center is the expectation of students and their families. Ideally, this student-centered approach would include: affordable tuition; small class sizes; personalized attention; individualized instruction that meets students where they are; diversity experiences that build cultural competence; contextualized learning that increases relevance; internship and immersive learning experiences that allow students to develop both skills and knowledge; and support to transition to their next phase.

Community colleges are best equipped to provide an educational experience that meets such high expectations. And, considering the fact that almost half of all students in the U.S. who are enrolled in a crowded higher education landscape are enrolled at community colleges, a diverse segment of students already have discovered the benefits engrained within this learning environment.

Jumbo’s to Close Its Doors - NYTimes.com

Jumbo’s to Close Its Doors - NYTimes.com: MIAMI — While the line of white customers used to snake out the door at Jumbo’s, a 24-hour diner here, black people were served fried shrimp from a takeout window in the back or crammed into a small table in a darkened storage room.

That was the early 1960s, before the restaurant became the soul-food landmark of black Miami, a place where the power brokers came to strike deals, gangsters arrived after dark and the corner table was reserved for older men with names like Chicken George. The fried chicken, Caribbean conch, liver and onions, and other tastes of home have been served up every night for nearly 60 years to celebrities, athletes and locals returning from nightclubs and Sunday church services.

The owners say that Jumbo’s, in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, was the first white-owned restaurant to employ and serve blacks. Nonetheless, the diner will close its doors for good on Wednesday after enduring years of white flight, riots, hurricanes and a fatal accident when a truck drove through the front window. The closing will end a six-decade run that epitomized the urban core’s struggle against blight and served as a time capsule of changing race relations.

Initiative aims to end 'schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline'

Initiative aims to end 'schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline': GWEN IFILL: Next: a major expansion of a national program aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged young men, known as My Brother’s Keeper.

Greater access to early education, reducing school suspensions, and recruiting mentors, 25,000 of them, around the country, those steps are part of the expansion of the president’s effort to improve life chances for young men of color, often more likely to be expelled from school than to succeed.

Sixty of the country’s largest public school systems, who educate nearly three million boys of color, joined the effort today, as well as mayors, corporations like AT&T, nonprofits like the Emerson Collective, and the national Basketball Association.

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul:

CHRIS PAUL, Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers: With the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, this is our opportunity to stand together as athletes, as parents, as mentors, and as leaders in our communities to show our young men and boys of color with our action that we are behind them and that their success matters.

GWEN IFILL: No federal money is involved in the expanded multiyear effort, but the companies and foundations have pledged an additional $100 million to the effort. That follows $200 million pledged when the program was announced last winter.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Writer Plumbs 'Nature Of Evil' In Hometown's Violent Civil Rights Past : NPR

Writer Plumbs 'Nature Of Evil' In Hometown's Violent Civil Rights Past : NPR: Mississippi's past looms large in Greg Iles' best-selling thrillers. His latest book, Natchez Burning, is the first in a trilogy that takes readers back 50 years to chilling civil rights-era murders and conspiracies all set in Iles' hometown — the antebellum river city of Natchez, Miss.

Iles' hero, Penn Cage, is a former prosecutor and widowed single father who has returned to his childhood home. Once there, he finds himself confronting killers, corruption and dark secrets.

"Penn Cage I think of as annoyingly righteous sometimes," Iles says. "He's almost too good."

The author says he wanted to create a character who reflected the Southern men he knew growing up in Natchez.

"He is not, in any way, a traditional hero," Iles explains. "He's not always the actor who's committing all the things to make the story happen. In some ways, he's almost an observer sometimes. He is trying to figure out the 'why' of things."

The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest : Code Switch : NPR

The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest : Code Switch : NPR: Young people are being chased out of the labor market. Though the national unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent months, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and the jobless rate is even higher among young minorities. For young people between the ages of 16 and 24, unemployment is more than twice the national rate, at 14.2 percent. For African-Americans, that rate jumps to 21.4 percent.

Of course, discrimination could be a factor. But according to William Spriggs, an economist at Howard University, the trend is also being driven by a sluggish economy. As he told Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, there is still a backlog of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the Great Recession, creating more competition for even minimum wage jobs. In a job market where many people with a college education are settling for jobs outside of their fields, a teenager looking for a summer job will find the market crowded.

Another big problem, says Spriggs, is the absence of adequate job information. In most states, companies are not required to publicly list all of their job openings. As a result, there are huge disparities in labor market information, based as much on who you know as what you know.

ACE Fellow Program Creating Pipeline to Presidency for Women, Minorities - Higher Education

ACE Fellow Program Creating Pipeline to Presidency for Women, Minorities - Higher Education: At 37 years old, Dr. Joseph L. Jones has accomplished more than some seasoned college educators twice his age.

As the founding director of the Social Justice Initiative (SJI) at Philander-Smith College, the Black political scientist, whose groundbreaking research focuses on the intersection of race, gender and politics, currently oversees service learning programs and other initiatives aimed at redressing inequities in society at the Little Rock, Arkansas, historically Black institution.

It’s a cabinet-level position that “interfaces with everybody” and reports directly to the president, says Jones, who held teaching stints at Clark-Atlanta University and Johnson C. Smith University before returning to his alma mater in 2011.

Next To Silicon Valley, Nonprofits Draw Youth Of Color Into Tech : All Tech Considered : NPR

Next To Silicon Valley, Nonprofits Draw Youth Of Color Into Tech : All Tech Considered : NPR: Twenty-year-old Taneka Armstrong wants to land a high-tech job, but her day starts at Taco Bell.

In Oakland, Calif., next door to Silicon Valley, Armstrong stands behind a steel counter, making Burrito Supremes and ringing up customers. She counts pennies and quarters. She also gets orders from her bosses, who she says can be pretty condescending.

"They're just like, 'Oh, did you know that already?' Or, 'Can you do this?' " she says. "Yes, I've been doing it, for almost a year now."

Armstrong lives two lives. This first one, which starts as early as 5 a.m., doesn't challenge her or pay well. And that's why she set off in search of life No. 2: learning tech skills.

That's not an easy path, though. Technology companies have a problem when it comes to employee diversity.

Vandals target 'The Watch,' statues celebrating Tuskegee Airmen - chicagotribune.com

Vandals target 'The Watch,' statues celebrating Tuskegee Airmen - chicagotribune.com: A lime-green piece of fiberglass resin lay in the grass Sunday next to a concrete pad where statues paying homage to the Tuskegee Airmen had stood.

“This one is broken,” said 2-year-old David Molina-Kwan, in Chinese, to his mother as he looked up at the brightly colored statue of an aviator-goggle-wearing kid superhero, one of 13 installed on a grass slope along Chicago’s lakefront.

On Sunday morning, Chicago Park District employees were seen repositioning the sculptures, which had been tipped over and vandalized sometime overnight. At least one of them was beheaded. Others had puncture marks in the neck area, and several lost some fingers.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Activists Demand FedEx CEO Deliver New Name For Washington Redskins

Activists Demand FedEx CEO Deliver New Name For Washington Redskins: The National Congress of American Indians, a relentless force in advocating for the Washington Redskins to change its name, has targeted a new stakeholder in their fight: FedEx CEO Frederick Smith.

NCAI wrote a letter, set to arrive Wednesday, to Smith, asking for his help in getting the team to drop its name. Smith is a partial owner of the NFL team, and FedEx currently owns the naming rights of FedEx Field where the Redskins play. By targeting Smith, the NCAI is expanding its efforts beyond the National Football League franchise to now include the team’s corporate sponsors.

“At FedEx Field, your company is allowing its iconic brand to be used as a platform to promote the R-word — a racist epithet that was screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands,” NCAI writes in its letter, which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports. “FedEx’s brand is being leveraged to promote some of the most divisive messages ever conceived — the messages of segregation and hate.”

When Defending Your Writing Becomes Defending Yourself : Code Switch : NPR

When Defending Your Writing Becomes Defending Yourself : Code Switch : NPR: In the past year, my first in a prestigious Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature, I have often felt conspicuous as a writer of color. I have felt a responsibility to speak up when race is discussed, but I have also resented this responsibility. Lately, I have found myself burying my head. It bothers me to no end that the pressure is beating me, and yet it is.

Like many writers of color, I read Junot Diaz's "MFA vs. POC" on the New Yorker blog, and identified with his anger and sadness at the loss of voices of color to the "white straight male" default of the writing workshop — a group of writers gathering to critique one another's work. I have had "good" and "bad" workshop experiences, but for me whenever race comes up, it feels, somehow, traumatic. While most issues in workshop are presented as universal to story, race can come off as a burden personal to writers of color.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why An African-American Sports Pioneer Remains Obscure : Code Switch : NPR

Why An African-American Sports Pioneer Remains Obscure : Code Switch : NPR: Alice Coachman Davis never entered the pantheon of breakthrough African-American sports heroes, like Jesse Owens or Wilma Rudolph. But she was a pioneer nonetheless.

In 1948, competing as Alice Coachman, she became the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold, breaking the U.S. and Olympic records in the high jump.

Chances are, you've never heard of her. Davis died on Monday at age 90 from cardiac arrest.

"It was because of her self-confidence, her ability to push through, that made the neglect feel all the more hurtful," says Jennifer Lansbury, author of A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth Century America.

How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era : Code Switch : NPR

How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era : Code Switch : NPR: ...In mid-20th century America, the turban was a tool that people of color used for "confounding the color lines," writes Manan Desai, board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. In some places, if you could pass yourself off as something other than black, you could circumvent some amount of discrimination. People of color — both foreigners and African-Americans — employed this to their advantage. Some did it just to get by in a racist society, some to make a political statement, and others — performers and businessmen — to gain access to fame and money they wouldn't have otherwise had.

'A Turban Makes Anyone An Indian'

Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne was getting a doctorate at the University of Chicago in the '20s. Originally from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), he traveled around America lecturing on the need to abolish the caste system and on India's push for independence from the British, among other topics.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 17 Edition - Higher Education

July 17 Edition - Higher Education: In this issue of Diverse we profile the American Council on Education’s Fellows Program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, and its preparation of minority and women candidates for top-tier positions in academia.

We take a look at several HBCU issues, including the growth of unions at HBCUs across the country and recent efforts to close down small, struggling HBCUs. We also delve into Sherryl Cashin’s new book challenging race-based affirmative action and her subsequent media activity surrounding the recent release.

One Thousand HBCU Students to be Awarded Scholarships to Study in China - Higher Education

One Thousand HBCU Students to be Awarded Scholarships to Study in China - Higher Education: Over the next few years, 1,000 scholarships will be available to students enrolled at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to study at Chinese universities. The new scholarship program, which will enable HBCU students to participate in study programs in durations from four weeks to two years, is the centerpiece of a wide-ranging agreement between the Chinese government and the historically Black colleges and universities pilot network leadership group signed recently in Beijing, China.

On July 9, Morgan State University president David Wilson, while leading the HBCU pilot network delegation during the 5th U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange event, signed a Memorandum of Understanding along with Sheng Jianxue, the secretary general of the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), establishing the HBCU-Chinese Universities Collaboration. The collaboration includes the scholarship program, which begins this fall and runs through fall 2017, and authorizes the HBCU pilot network and Chinese institutions to pursue other institutional exchanges.

Both Sides Find Reason for Optimism After Latest Ruling on Texas Affirmative Action - Higher Education

Both Sides Find Reason for Optimism After Latest Ruling on Texas Affirmative Action - Higher Education: When federal judges on Tuesday upheld the University of Texas’ use of race as a factor in college admissions, the decision sent two important signals. To proponents of affirmative action, the ruling was confirmation that diversity, particularly race and ethnicity, in education is an essential and constitutional goal. To the opponents who have waged a six-year battle to end the consideration of race, the decision means the fight will go on — again.

The 2-1 ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fisher vs. The University of Texas at Austin was just the latest in a series of decisions resulting from orchestrated attacks on the use of race in college admissions. The latest decision also follows a Supreme Court ruling in April that upheld Michigan’s voter-mandated ban on affirmative action.

Leticia Smith-Evans, interim director of the education practice of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the organization will continue to advocate for inclusive school environments at all levels of higher education and that students have access to higher education. The NAACP LDF has represented the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas and the Black Ex-Students of Texas in the Fisher case.

MLK, science fiction, innovation and Afrofuturism - Blue Sky Innovation

MLK, science fiction, innovation and Afrofuturism - Blue Sky Innovation: Afrofuturism — the meeting of black culture, technology and fantasy — can inspire and empower.

So says Chicagoan Ytasha L. Womack, author of “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Culture.” On Saturday in Chicago, she will conduct a workshop called Applying Afrofuturism.

Elements of Afrofuturism in art, film and music far predate the 1990s coining of the term. Think writer Octavia Butler and George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. More recently, the torch has been carried by pop and soul artist Janelle Monae; techno musicians Juan Atkins and Jeff Mills; the Wachowskis through their “The Matrix” franchise; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Nick Cave, the performance artist known for his Soundsuits.

Tech workers, creative thinkers and community organizers are looking to apply the principles to their work and communities, she said.

World marks Nelson Mandela Day

World marks Nelson Mandela Day: It's Nelson Mandela International Day, a day of service celebrated on July 18, Mandela's birthday.

Mandela, the former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, died at 95 on Dec. 5, 2013. This is the first time the day has been celebrated since his death. The day was unanimously approved in 2009 by the U.N. General  Assembly. It was created to honor Mandela and inspire others to carry on his efforts to "take responsibility for making the world a better  place, one small step at a time," according to a statement from the  Nelson Mandela Foundation Initiative.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

For The Love Of Black Music : The Record : NPR

For The Love Of Black Music : The Record : NPR: It still surprises me that a few of my colleagues who regularly attend music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Budweiser Made in America still haven't heard of, or don't seem to know much about, the annual Essence Festival, held every July 4th weekend in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Given that the Festival is now celebrating its 20th anniversary and pulling in record numbers of attendees, that benign neglect is not only a crying shame — it's a kind of organized ignorance.

A feel-good, four-day super-event that glorifies soulful black music as a means of African-American community building, the Essence Festival feels more pressing and urgent than ever. Many of our trailblazing black female artist-activists have passed away in the last couple of years — Jayne Cortez, Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou come to mind. In their absence, it's been heartening to witness contemporary African-American artists furthering conversations about identity and community in the age of social media spectacle (I'm especially thinking about visual artist Kara Walker's eye-popping, controversial, lines-around-the-corner "A Subtlety" installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, New York this summer).

Civil rights activists target Twitter over diversity

Civil rights activists target Twitter over diversity: SAN FRANCISCO — Civil rights activists are turning up pressure on Twitter to publicly release the gender and ethnic breakdown of its flock of employees. And they are doing it by waging an attention-grabbing campaign on Twitter.

Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the civil rights organization ColorofChange.org say they will use Twitter as a bullhorn to call on the San Francisco company to share demographic information about its work force and to host a public forum on how it plans to increase the diversity of its staff.

At a session on Twitter at the Netroots Nation annual political convention in Detroit on Friday, activists will ask people to "tweet out" to Twitter. ColorOfChange is also asking its 1 million members to sign an online petition to add their voices to the campaign.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Addressing the Crisis Among Men of Color in Higher Education - Higher Education

Addressing the Crisis Among Men of Color in Higher Education - Higher Education: Growing up wasn’t easy for Anthony Heaven. As an African-American male living in a city where the school-to-prison pipeline seemed to run through every neighborhood, Anthony tackled his share of race-based and socioeconomic obstacles to higher education.

A native of Detroit, Anthony left home at age 15 to live with his grandparents to avoid difficult family circumstances. With the support of a village, including his family members, mentors and educators, Anthony became the first in his family to attend college and was elected student government president at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. A former McNair Scholar, Anthony is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational administration at The University of Texas at Austin. He hopes to change the odds of opportunities for young men such as himself.

Anthony is just one of many men of color who faces a series of extra hurdles when it comes to pursuing college or a graduate degree. The representation of African-American and Latino men in higher education is the worst it has been in the last 30 years. Nationwide, African-American men comprise 7.9 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, yet the average Black male enrollment rate at the nation’s 50 public flagship universities is only 2.8 percent of undergraduates.

Howard University Commemorates 50 Years of the Civil Rights Act - Higher Education

Howard University Commemorates 50 Years of the Civil Rights Act - Higher Education: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, activists and senior government officials gathered at Howard University to celebrate past achievements and look to the future of racial equality.

Half a century ago, activists and civil leaders realized the dream of ensuring full equality under the law for all citizens, regardless of race. In a packed auditorium at Howard University, the audience heard speeches and remarks on their achievements from Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.; U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP; and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez; among others.

According to panelists and speakers, the legislation, monumental though it may be, has not provided the solution to contemporary problems of income and educational inequality that tend to fall most heavily upon minority populations. Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, interim president of Howard University, said, “The Civil Rights Act was a destination, an important one albeit, but not an end.”

Appeals Court Rules University of Texas Can Use Race in Admissions - Higher Education

Appeals Court Rules University of Texas Can Use Race in Admissions - Higher Education: AUSTIN, Texas ― A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that the University of Texas can continue using race as a factor in undergraduate admissions as a way of promoting diversity on campus, the latest in an ongoing case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court last year only to be sent back to lower courts for further review.

In a 2-1 ruling, judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that barring the university from using race would ultimately lead to a less diverse student body in defiance of previous legal precedent that promoting diversity was an important part of education.

“We are persuaded that to deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience,” the opinion stated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Aldermen to hold hearing on low minority numbers at elite North Side schools - chicagotribune.com

Aldermen to hold hearing on low minority numbers at elite North Side schools - chicagotribune.com: A growing concern about declining enrollment of minority students at Chicago Public Schools’ highest-tier schools, particularly on the city’s North Side, will fuel a public hearing this morning.

Although the City Council Education and Child Development Committee has no power to make changes, aldermen will be asking CPS officials to explain the decline at selective enrollment schools and talking about ways to reverse it.

“The problem is that we see minorities are not well represented at selective enrollment schools, particularly on the North Side,” said Ald. Will Burns, 4th, one of the aldermen who called for the hearing.

That problem arises in part because students on the South and West Sides don’t always know they can apply to schools on the North Side, where white enrollment is higher, Burns added. “How do we do a better job of making sure folks now they can avail themselves of these options?” he asked.

To Close the Achievement Gap, We Need to Close the Teaching Gap | Linda Darling-Hammond

To Close the Achievement Gap, We Need to Close the Teaching Gap  Linda Darling-Hammond: For years now, educators have looked to international tests as a yardstick to measure how well U.S. students are learning 21st-century skills compared to their peers. The answer has been: not so well. The U.S. has been falling further behind other nations and has struggled with a large achievement gap.

Federal policy under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Department of Education's 'flexibility' waivers has sought to address this problem by beefing up testing policies -- requiring more tests and upping the consequences for poor results: including denying diplomas to students, firing teachers, and closing schools. Unfortunately, this strategy hasn't worked. In fact, U.S. performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) declined in every subject area between 2000 and 2012 -- the years in which these policies have been in effect.

Physical Fitness Eliminates Achievement Gap

Physical Fitness Eliminates Achievement Gap: The difference in achievement between high and low-income students at every education level is staggering.

So what are educational professions to do? Despite providing all children with the same teachers and curriculum, they can’t do anything about the circumstances that kids are saddled with before and after the bell.

One way to narrow this so-called achievement gap? Exercise.

Back in 2012, using physical activity to help low-income schoolchildren gained popularity after a study showed that it could be of significant help to them. Short, 12-minute bursts of exercise like those used in the study could have the obvious effect of releasing the extra energy that little kids seem to harbor.

But would exercise help college-age low-income students as well? Further research was performed by Michele Tine, an assistant professor of education at Darthmouth College in New Hampshire.

Sure enough, a little bit of physical exertion helped focus that age group too, regardless of income. A test measuring students’ ability to focus on stimuli while ignoring distractions found that scores shot up for all who did a workout beforehand, while remaining unchanged for the control group. Tine’s results were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Civil rights' new challenge: Closing the educational achievement gap (Opinion) | NJ.com

Civil rights' new challenge: Closing the educational achievement gap (Opinion) | NJ.com: As we mark the half-century anniversary of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act this month, it is a tribute to our progress that today’s millennial generation finds the segregation, government-backed discrimination and denial of democratic rights that preceded it barely comprehensible.

Yet too many Americans — especially the urban poor who are overwhelmingly of color — cannot escape the hopelessness that comes with poverty and unemployment, the sting of discrimination, and the barriers to opportunity imposed by social neglect and urban conditions beset by violence. The stubborn persistence of these social ills is a stain on our society, and the civil rights challenge of our time.

One of the first targets of the civil rights movement was public education, with its segregated schools, unequal resources and poverty of aspiration for African-American students. But public school integration led to a new form of segregation. Today, the nation’s urban public schools fail our society’s most vulnerable children on an extraordinary scale.

What I Learned While Mentoring Native Journalism Students - ICTMN.com

What I Learned While Mentoring Native Journalism Students - ICTMN.com: I know it’s the students who are supposed to do the learning in a mentoring program. But the mentors wind up learning a thing or two as well. I know I did.

For instance, while helping my assigned students at the Native American Journalists Association’s Project Phoenix/Native Voices project in Santa Clara, California in early July, I learned which American tribe has the second-most native speakers. Everybody knows the Navajo have a thriving population of Native speakers, the most in the country, but I was surprised to find, via Census Bureau numbers, that the Yup’ik have the second highest total, about 150,000.

Doing a little research into the federal tribal recognition process, I was surprised to find that more than 300 tribes, in 44 states, have currently petitioned the government for tribal status. California alone has 81 groups vying for recognition, including the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, less than five miles from the convention site. The only states that don’t have current applicants are Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

Students dig for Native American artifacts - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Students dig for Native American artifacts - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: WEST HICKORY — As she troweled through a newly visible layer of earth Wednesday, an anthropology student’s hand brushed across a sharp object.

She had found an intact arrowhead used between 1200 and 1550 A.D. The artifact is one of many the group of Clarion University of Pennsylvania students has found as they slowly piece together the history of the people who once lived in what now is the Allegheny National Forest.

“We are learning how they used the land and how they interacted with other groups,” said Clarion anthropology professor Susan Prezzano.

She said the people who once occupied the area were most likely Iroquoian speakers, but it is still too early in the process to pin down their identity.

The class finished a monthlong excavation season Thursday of a site near West Hickory, about two hours northwest of Pittsburgh in Forest County.

Latino and African-American Academic Success Improves, But Gaps Remain - College Bound - Education Week

Latino and African-American Academic Success Improves, But Gaps Remain - College Bound - Education Week: The number of Latinos who leave high school having taken the ACT has nearly doubled in the past five years. Still, fewer than half of Latino graduates who took the ACT met any of its college-readiness benchmarks.

The volume of Latino high school students sitting for at least one Advanced Placement exam has tripled between 2002 and 2012. Yet, among Latino students with high potential for success in AP math, just three out of 10 took any such course.

Despite gains in access, when they finish high school, Latinos are more likely than their white peers to attend for-profit colleges or community colleges, as opposed to four-year univerities where graduation rates are typically higher.

These are some of the statistics included in a new brief, "The State of Education for Latino Students," released by The Education Trust June 30. It paints of picture of both progress and challenges ahead, as does the companion publication that came out June 23 on education for African-American students. Last fall, the Washington-based education advocacy group released a similar document on the status of native students.

Which health messages will reach African American students? | UMSL Daily

Which health messages will reach African American students? | UMSL Daily: African American college students are among those least likely to seek help for mental health issues, and a pair of researchers from the University of Missouri–St. Louis would like to find out how to change that.

Sha-Lai Williams, assistant professor of social work, and Stephanie Van Stee, assistant professor of communication, have obtained a $45,000 University of Missouri Research Board Grant to study which messages are most likely to encourage African American college students to seek help.

African Americans are about half as likely as the general population to seek support for mental health needs, and college students have utilization rates of 20 percent or less, Williams said. The problems of utilization are compounded when individuals are members of both populations.

“Students with untreated mental illness will be less likely to graduate, secure employment and more likely to be homeless,” Williams said. “It’s a hodgepodge of risk for this particular population.”

African American student success initiative to improve graduation rates - Southern Maryland News

African American student success initiative to improve graduation rates - Southern Maryland News: A newly launched male leadership and mentoring initiative, The Men of Excellence Mentoring Program, is working to improve retention, graduation and transfer rates for African American males who enter the College of Southern Maryland as first-time, full- or part-time students.

The Men of Excellence is a cohort-based model designed to accept students annually and to work with students to ensure they persist each semester until they transfer or graduate from CSM with an associate degree, certificate or letter of recognition.

For the upcoming academic year, the program begins with the Men of Excellence-Summer Academy Aug. 4-14. The academy provides students with an orientation to CSM and its resources through student engagement, summer academic enrichment, team building and leadership development prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Academy benefits include a textbook stipend for the CSM College Store, transportation voucher, lunch, and student and faculty networking.

“The college has taken a proactive approach toward championing behind student success efforts aimed at eliminating the achievement gap and thereby improving graduation rates among students who are most at risk for non-completion due to a number of factors,” said Executive Director for Institutional Equity and Diversity Makeba Clay. “Research has shown that building close faculty advising and peer mentoring relationships can actually reverse a growing national trend of college success gaps. The CSM program will prepare students to experience a greater level of academic success,” said Clay.

UCLA settles claim by African American judge over traffic stop - LA Times

UCLA settles claim by African American judge over traffic stop - LA Times: UCLA has agreed to pay $500,000, including $350,000 in scholarships, to settle a claim by a prominent African American judge over alleged mistreatment and racial profiling by campus police during a traffic stop last year, officials announced Friday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham, who is a former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, and his attorney will receive $150,000. An additional $350,000 will establish a scholarship fund named after Cunningham and administered by the UCLA Black Alumni Assn. for undergraduate or law students, according to a statement from both sides in the dispute.

When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty - April Bo Wang - The Atlantic

When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty - April Bo Wang - The Atlantic: It’s one of those summer afternoons in Helena, Arkansas, where the sun is bright enough to wipe everything out in a glare of white. Even the breeze feels like a hairdryer on my neck.

I am sweating on top of Battery C. The last time I was here, I’d picked my way up an overgrown trail and had only a couple of ornery goats for company. Now, the goats have been supplanted by metal statues of Union soldiers aiming muskets down the kudzu-covered hill. Behind me, a concrete walkway leads to a pristine parking lot where a car is just pulling in. The development of Battery C is a good thing. It’s indicative of a small manufacturing town’s struggle toward economic recovery. But I just miss the damn goats.

Group helps encourage minority students to explore careers in aviation | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Group helps encourage minority students to explore careers in aviation | Las Vegas Review-Journal: The 17 high school students filling a large circular life raft used teamwork as they worked together to put up a tarp to protect themselves from the elements.

In the scenario they were playing out, they had just escaped from an airliner that had ditched into the water. Now, they were responsible for saving themselves and their passengers as they awaited rescue.

It was a scenario no aviator would want to be a part of, but the exercise was designed to reinforce the No. 1 priority an airline must have for its passengers — safety.

It was Day Four for the students involved in Southern Nevada’s fourth Aviation Career Education program, part of Project Aerospace, an initiative established by the 38-year-old Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals.

A TEAM EFFORT

Since 1976, the Illinois-based group has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration and Tuskegee Airmen Inc. to encourage minority students to explore careers in the aviation industry. Only recently has the program found its way to Southern Nevada, but local organizers are encouraged by the enthusiasm sponsoring companies and organizations have for helping students chase their dreams.

School Uniforms and Dress Code Policies Most Likely to Target Females, Latinos and Black Students : Culture : Latin Post

School Uniforms and Dress Code Policies Most Likely to Target Females, Latinos and Black Students : Culture : Latin Post: Bra straps exposed, shorts deemed "inappropriately" short and dresses that don't strike the knee have prompted suspensions in high schools across the country. Less than two months ago, more than 150 students were suspended in a single day from Duncanville High School in northern Texas during a dress code enforcement sweep. The school determined that the children were guilty of dress code violations, suspending them from school just two weeks before the end of the school year and days before their finals.

Similar disciplinary actions have been dealt out in recent months at other schools, involving young girls wearing leggings as pants, exposed shoulders and chests and "sagging" pants — all judged to be distracting and disruptive to the learning experience. The enforcement of these dress codes, implemented under the guise of discipline and lessons on formal dress, are most likely to be implemented at low-income public schools, and female students and students of color are the most likely to be punished for infractions.

Black Student Protesters Force Historic Virginia College to Remove Confederate Flags - Atlanta Blackstar

Black Student Protesters Force Historic Virginia College to Remove Confederate Flags - Atlanta Blackstar: Washington and Lee University, the nation’s ninth oldest university, released a public apology on Tuesday for its past enslavement of Africans and will remove Confederate flags from its Lee Chapel, thanks to the efforts of Black student protesters.

It could be expected that a historic Virginia school had a past rooted in slavery, but students at the university didn’t expect that history to still be on display today.

Recently, a group of Black students protested against the Confederate banners hanging in the school’s chapel next to a memorial of Robert E. Lee, who served as the general of the Confederate Army. The students said the banners made them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

Currently, Black students only make up a little more than 3 percent of the school’s enrollment of 2,277.

Initially, school officials stood behind their decision to keep the battle flags on display because they insisted it was merely a nod to history, not a message of racism or support for slavery.

That’s when a group of Black law students, known as “the committee,” took action and delivered a list of demands to the Board of Trustees.

All Students Benefit from Minority Teachers

All Students Benefit from Minority Teachers: WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Despite the cry from people of color for more teachers who look like them, both Whites and Blacks benefit from a more diverse teaching force, according to a study by Center of American Progress.

“… A study of the relationship between the presence of African American teachers in schools and African American students’ access to equal education in schools found that fewer African Americans were placed in special-education classes, suspended, or expelled when they had more teachers of color, and that more African American students were placed in gifted and talented programs and graduated from high school,” stated the report.

Teachers of color also have, “an affinity for infusing their classrooms with culturally relevant experiences and examples, setting high academic expectations, developing trusting student-teacher relationships, and serving as cultural and linguistic resources—as well as advocates, mentors, and liaisons—for students’ families and communities.”

A study titled, “Teacher Diversity Revisited” reported in May 2014 that learning from and networking with a multicultural teaching staff is also important for preparing White students for a workforce and society where they will no longer make up the majority.

Failing Grade! Are Black Students Unfairly Suspended? | MadameNoire

Failing Grade! Are Black Students Unfairly Suspended? | MadameNoire: One African-American mother recently complained to CNN that her three-year-old son had been suspended five times from pre-school–yes pre-school! This may sound outrageous but according to recently released data from the Department of Education, black students are three times more likely to be suspended from school that white kids.

Overall 7,500 students are suspended at least once from preschool annually nationwide but black students are being suspended three times more than whites kids across all grades. According to Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, these stats prove there is a pipeline from preschool to prison for many black students.

“We know there is a correlation between doing out-of-school suspensions and expulsions and ultimately locking kids up and in far too many communities the school to prison pipeline is real and the fact that it starts as four again simply isn’t good enough,” he told CNN.

Over in Los Angeles, the country’s second largest public school system, they are trying to reverse these stats, which Dr. John Deasy, superintendent of the LAUSD, blames on the same bias we still have in the country.

Zero-tolerance policies are destroying the lives of black children - The Washington Post

Zero-tolerance policies are destroying the lives of black children - The Washington Post: President Obama wants to limit the number of students expelled every year from high schools. He believes the rates of suspensions and expulsions are racially biased, arbitrary and ineffective. “Although African-American students represent 15 percent of students in the CRDC, they make up 35 percent of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once, and 36 percent of students expelled,” writes the Education Department. “Further, over 50 percent of students who were involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.” So the administration sent to educational leaders a Dear Colleague guidance letter on civil rights and discipline. To close the racial gap, he said, go easy with the zero-tolerance policies. Predictably, the ed-reform types, rending their garments and gnashing their teeth, see this is as a disastrous stripping of school autonomy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Growing number of kindergarteners are Hispanic - The Washington Post

Growing number of kindergarteners are Hispanic - The Washington Post: At least one in five kindergarten students were Hispanic in 17 states, according to an analysis of 2012 census data by the Pew Research Center. That’s up significantly from 2000, when just eight states reached the same threshold for kindergarten enrollments.

Hispanics are the fastest growing immigrant group, now comprising about 17 percent of the population nationwide, according to the analysis, published Tuesday. Some of the states with the greatest increases in their young Hispanic population include Nebraska, Idaho, Washington, and New York.

New Orleans-area School District Agrees To Rules Protecting Hispanics

New Orleans-area School District Agrees To Rules Protecting Hispanics: NEW ORLEANS, July 9 (Reuters) - A New Orleans-area school district reached a deal with federal officials on Wednesday to make changes that address allegations of discrimination against Hispanic students and parents.

The settlement, which ends a federal probe, stems from a formal complaint filed against the Jefferson Parish Public School System in 2012 alleging it required proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status from Hispanic students, failed to provide interpreters for parents with limited English and overlooked racially charged bullying.

"We applaud Jefferson Parish for ensuring that all students will have access to their public schools and that all parents... are equipped with the information necessary for their children to fully participate," Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a statement.

The three-year agreement between the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education and the school district will require it to change any policies dissuading non-citizens from enrolling, provide interpreters for parents and mandate that it investigate and resolve allegations of discrimination.

View: Latino students shouldn't limit college dreams


View: Latino students shouldn't limit college dreams: At recent high school graduation ceremonies across America, there was perhaps no moment or sight more jubilant than when the graduates threw their caps into the air, like large pieces of confetti.

Dreams, hopes and wishes were thrown into the sky as the young scholars anticipated what the future holds.

For many, however, the next step into "life" is not as jubilant because they lack a critical resource to getting into top colleges and universities: full access to equal information and opportunity.

I am speaking of high-achieving students who have two major characteristics: They are first-generation Americans and they are Latino. In Westchester County, where 26 percent of the student body is Hispanic, most highly talented students who come from financially challenged backgrounds never apply to a single competitive college. Their transcripts show academic excellence and they don't bypass physics and calculus, yet they still "under apply."

New tutor program at island church helps Hispanic students | Education | The Island Packet

New tutor program at island church helps Hispanic students | Education | The Island Packet: Unlike most 9-year-olds, Max Alvarez can't wait to return to school this fall.

The rising fourth-grader wants his classmates and teachers to see all he has learned since school ended in June. His favorite new skill: multiplication.

"I felt like there were a lot of things I didn't know from third grade," he said. "But now I've learned them, and I feel ready for fourth grade and want to show everyone."

For the past several weeks, Alvarez has attended tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church on Hilton Head Island. The sessions are part of the new Holy Family Bridge Project, which began this summer to serve local Hispanic students.

More than 50 students between kindergarten and fifth grade attend the tutoring -- all for free, according to program director Leigh Bacevich. Eighteen local high school students volunteer three hours each session to help the students with reading and math.

Hispanic student population growing in Kansas | Kansas First News

Hispanic student population growing in Kansas | Kansas First News: Kansas public schools are about to get a lot more crowded. A new report shows that school enrollment will reach more than 500,000 students soon, and the Hispanic population is booming.

The Hispanic student population has grown 400% in the past 20 years. In Topeka Public Schools? Nearly one-in-three of all student bodies are now Hispanic.

“We could be seeing a record number of students in Kansas,” said Ted Carter, Research specialist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

The Kansas Association of School Boards says this first ever look at the growth of minority students in the state’s public schools is an eye-opener. One of the major finds? The growth in the number of Hispanic students since the 1990s, 400%.

“Probably the largest growing group out of all the minorities that we have in our school district,” said Aaron Kipp, the Director of Demographics for USD 501.

KKK membership sinks 2 Florida cops

KKK membership sinks 2 Florida cops: Echoing the once-segregated South, a Florida deputy police chief has resigned and an officer has been fired after the FBI reported that both belonged to the Ku Klux Klan

Fruitland Park Deputy Chief David Borst has denied involvement with the notorious white-hooded hate group that emerged after the Civil War and continued to terrorize and murder blacks through the mid-20th century.

The 49-year-old Borst, a department veteran of more than 20 years, was also fire chief for the Lake County city of 5,000, about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. He resigned both posts Thursday after being confronted with the FBI report.

Officer George Hunnewell, who was demoted last year over performance and attitude complaints, was fired Friday by Chief Terry Isaacs.

Dress Codes Are Open To Interpretation — And A Lot Of Contention : Code Switch : NPR

Dress Codes Are Open To Interpretation — And A Lot Of Contention : Code Switch : NPR: A Minneapolis nightspot called Bar Louie landed in the news after some local residents took issue with its new dress code.

No flat-billed hats. No long white T-shirts. No large chains. No sleeveless under shirts. No athletic apparel. No sports jerseys without collars. No excessively baggy clothing.

(Either Bar Louie's proprietors had some really ugly exchanges with Chingy back in 2003, or something else is going on.)

"What is excessively baggy clothing?" one woman complained to a local Fox affiliate. "You might as well say, 'No blacks allowed.' It's ridiculous."

The local news station said that the dress code was not in effect at a different Bar Louie location in Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis. (Minnetonka is about 90 percent white.) Another Bar Louie location in Memphis after it adopted a similar dress code last year.

Why Did Black Voters Flee The Republican Party In The 1960s? : Code Switch : NPR

Why Did Black Voters Flee The Republican Party In The 1960s? : Code Switch : NPR: If you'd walked into a gathering of older black folks 100 years ago, you'd have found that most of them would have been Republican.

Wait... what?

Yep. Republican. Party of Lincoln. Party of the Emancipation. Party that pushed not only black votes but black politicians during that post-bellum period known as Reconstruction.

Today, it's almost the exact opposite. That migration of black voters away from the GOP reached its last phase 50 years ago this week.

Walking through the Farmer's Market at 18th Street and La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, a mixture of Angelenos strolled the asphalt parking lot, surveying rows of leafy produce and ripe stone fruit. Virtually all the people I approached who were registered voters were registered to one party.

"I'm affiliated with the Democratic party, of course!" laughs Arthur Little, a thin man in shorts and electric turquoise-framed sun glasses.

"Why 'of course'?" I asked.

Princess Of 'Fresh Prince' Brings History To Children : Code Switch : NPR

Princess Of 'Fresh Prince' Brings History To Children : Code Switch : NPR: Hey, remember Hilary Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?

She's back, but in a different light. Actress Karyn Parsons has started a new organization — Sweet Blackberry — that makes short, animated films about influential, yet lesser-known African-Americans.

She still loves acting, she told Kelly McEvers of Weekend All Things Considered, but her priorities have changed since she became a mom.

Parson says being pregnant with her daughter got her thinking about her responsibility, as a parent, to add to her kids' formal education.

"In school we learn about a handful of stories — great stories — but still, we're missing out on so much," Parsons says. "We want to celebrate black history but we don't want to separate it from American history."

How 'Ching Chong' Became The Go-To Slur For Mocking East Asians : Code Switch : NPR

How 'Ching Chong' Became The Go-To Slur For Mocking East Asians : Code Switch : NPR: When Kwok-Ming Cheng went to a Whole Foods in New York City to pick up some pre-ordered sandwiches over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn't expecting to get tapped with a new nickname.

"Are you Ching Chong?"

That's the question Cheng said he heard from a customer service representative at the grocery store.

It's a slur I and many other Asian-American folks have heard at some point in our lives. But every time I hear it, I can't help but wonder, "How is this thing still around? And where did it even come from?"

Cheng, who works in finance, moved to the States from Hong Kong when he was 7. He said while racism was certainly nothing new to him, he was caught completely off-guard.

Report: Blacks Need Additional Schooling to Have Equal Employment Chances as Lesser Educated Whites - Higher Education

Report: Blacks Need Additional Schooling to Have Equal Employment Chances as Lesser Educated Whites - Higher Education: It’s been long documented that African-Americans encounter discrimination more than other Americans in the U.S. job market and experience higher levels of unemployment. Among young Black adults, the tendency toward higher rates of joblessness has remained pronounced despite the national unemployment rate falling from a recession high of 10.2 percent in 2009 to 6.1 percent last month. The June 2014 unemployment rate among African-Americans age 18 to 34 was 16.7 percent; unemployment among Whites between 18 and 34 hit 7.6 percent, according to U.S. Labor Department and Census Bureau data.

In “Closing the Race Gap: Alleviating Young African American Unemployment Through Education,” a research report that examines the link between race and education, researchers with the Washington-based Young Invincibles advocacy organization have found that, while young Black adults at all education levels experience higher unemployment rates than others, such employment gaps diminish considerably as Black educational attainment increases.

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel laureate exposed toll of South Africa’s apartheid - The Washington Post

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel laureate exposed toll of South Africa’s apartheid - The Washington Post: Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer and Nobel laureate for literature whose intense, intimate prose helped expose apartheid to a global readership and who continued to illuminate the brutality and beauty of her country long after the demise of the racist government, died July 13 at her home in Johannesburg. She was 90.

Her family announced the death but did not disclose the cause.

Ms. Gordimer, who was white, was an early and active member of the African National Congress, but she did not craft political manifestos. Her role as an author, she said, was simply to “write in my own way as honestly as I can and go as deeply as I can into the life around me.”

Her characters with lofty ideals were often personally flawed; the racists and apolitical businessmen had the same depth and complexity as the freedom fighters.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coaching parents on toddler talk to address word gap

Coaching parents on toddler talk to address word gap: JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: closing the education and language gap for kids from low-income families.

Special correspondent John Tulenko of Learning Matters reports on one program trying to tackle the problem by talking more to toddlers.

JOHN TULENKO: In Providence, Rhode Island, 2.5-year-old Nylasia Jordan is part of a closely watched experiment in language development. To boost the number of words she hears, under her shirt she’s been wearing a small electronic word counter.

Called digital language processors, they have been given to some 55 toddlers whose families are on public assistance through a city program called Providence Talks.

Andrea Riquetti is the director.

ANDREA RIQUETTI, Providence Talks: And what we ask the families is that they put it inside of the pocket and then we ask the parents to put the vest on the child as soon as they wake up in the morning and then wear it throughout the day.

Diverse Conversations: How Academic Entrepreneurs Supplement Their Income - Higher Education

Diverse Conversations: How Academic Entrepreneurs Supplement Their Income - Higher Education: More and more academics are recognizing the potential to supplement their income from higher education positions with out-of-the-box projects and schemes. To try and get to grips with the so-called academic entrepreneur, I met with Shonell Bacon, instructor of mass communication at McNeese State University.

The goal of this discussion is to help other academics understand the relationship between academic standing and entrepreneurship and how you can marry the two concepts together to generate supplementary income.

Q: So, the first question is about characterization — how would you characterize the academic entrepreneur in today’s world? Who are these people and what is it that they are doing, what makes them unique? What, too, are the benefits of being an academic entrepreneur in terms of how it benefits the individual and one’s career in academia?