Katherine Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight, is 100 today

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-08-27 21:50Z by Steven

Katherine Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight, is 100 today

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-08-26

Saeed Ahmed, Senior Editor, Trends, CNN Digital

Emanuella Grinberg, Digital news reporter

Katherine Johnson worked in the "Computer Pool" at NASA.
Katherine Johnson worked in the “Computer Pool” at NASA.

(CNN)—Katherine Johnson, the woman who hand-calculated the trajectory for America’s first trip to space, turns 100 today.

Before the arrival of electronic data processors, aka, computers in the 1960s, humans — mainly women — comprised the workforce at NASA known as the “Computer Pool.”

Black women, especially, played a crucial role in the pool, providing mathematical data for NASA’s first successful space missions, including Alan Shepherd’s 1961 mission and John Glenn’s pioneering orbital spaceflight

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Reigning from the Ground: The Gravity of Soledad O’Brien

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-04-04 22:43Z by Steven

Reigning from the Ground: The Gravity of Soledad O’Brien

Bitch
Issue #78 | Spring 2018, 2018-03-13

Lisa Factora-Borchers

photography by Margarita Corporan

The rumors circulated and reached me months before I met her. People who knew her in various capacities—from her personal representatives to those who briefly met her at a speaking event—repeated the same sentiment: Even with all her successes and all the reasons not to be, Soledad O’Brien is incredibly sweet and down-to-earth.

Like millions of other CNN viewers, I became familiar with O’Brien’s broadcast journalism in the early 2000s, when she secured her status as one of the few women journalists of color in mainstream media. In 2006, during the zenith of blogging, Heather B. Armstrong, a popular writer in the mom-blogosphere, gushed about meeting O’Brien in person and described her “glowing aura”:

“She was exquisite in every conceivable way, perfect hair and makeup and wardrobe, and when she greeted everyone and made small talk, I got the sense that her brain was wired to a digital encyclopedia of everything that has ever happened on Earth, because she spoke with authority on every topic.”

Some descriptions stay with you, even after 11 years, until you have to shed them as prep—because you can’t interview a master interviewer when you’re preoccupied with talk of glowing auras and infallibility.

O’Brien’s home is a sprawling apartment in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood (where, it should be noted, she has lived since well before its ascent to ultra-gentrified chic). Its white built-in shelves are stacked with impeccably aligned books interrupted by candles, framed photos, and artisan bowls and vases. The place is immaculate, but not intimidating. This feels intentional. As far as the famed O’Brien aura itself, it is a bit different than I imagined. She carries herself with a sense of ease and casual authority; although she comes through the door with her hands and arms full, that doesn’t stop her from calling out friendly greetings to me and the photography team. O’Brien has spent the past three decades telling stories. Google her—every kind of story that a journalist dreams about covering, she’s covered: natural disasters, structural inequality, national identity, politics, sports, and narrative stories from marginalized communities. There isn’t one way to describe her successes; they’re like vines—woven and connected, multitudinous and plentiful. After she dropped out of Harvard, she began working as a reporter, in 1989, for the medical radio show Second Opinion. She spent the ’90s reporting and anchoring weekend and morning shows for NBC before eventually transitioning to CNN in 2003. While anchoring CNN’s American Morning, O’Brien was moved to the documentary division and from 2007 until 2013 hosted the series In America, which eventually led to two spin-offs, Black in America and Latino in America

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To modern ears, it’s hard to believe that “race” is an invention. But the modern framework of race — a hierarchy with white on top and black on the bottom — is a relatively recent fabrication.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-03-03 02:53Z by Steven

To modern ears, it’s hard to believe that “race” is an invention. But the modern framework of race — a hierarchy with white on top and black on the bottom — is a relatively recent fabrication. “Black people,” for example, weren’t invented until around 500 years ago by Europeans to justify slavery and their colonial conquest of much of the world, says [Rainier] Spencer, the UNLV scholar.

John Blake, “Are you racially fluid?,” Cable News Network, March 2, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/02/us/racial-fluidity/index.html.

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Are you racially fluid?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2018-03-03 02:33Z by Steven

Are you racially fluid?

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-03-02

Story by John Blake, CNN
Video by Tawanda Scott Sambou, CNN

The blurring of racial lines won’t save America. Why ‘racial fluidity’ is a con

(CNN) He was a snappy dresser with slicked back hair and a pencil mustache. A crack bandleader, musician and legendary talent scout, he was dubbed the “Godfather of R&B.”

But Johnny Otis’ greatest performance was an audacious act of defiance he orchestrated offstage.

Most people who saw Otis perform during his heyday in the 1950s thought he was a light-skinned black man. He used “we” when talking about black people, married his black high school sweetheart and stayed in substandard “for colored only” hotels with his black bandmates when they toured the South.

Johnny Otis, though, wasn’t his real name. He was born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes to Greek immigrants in Northern California. He grew up in a black neighborhood where he developed such a kinship with black culture that he walked away from his whiteness and became black by choice.

“As a kid I decided that if our society dictated that one had to be black or white, I would be black,” he wrote in his 1968 book, “Listen to the Lambs.”

“No number of objections such as ‘You were born white … you can never be black’ on the part of the whites, or ‘You sure are a fool to be colored when you could be white’ from Negroes, can alter the fact that I cannot think of myself as white.

“I do not expect everybody to understand it, but it is a fact. I am black environmentally, psychologically, culturally, emotionally, and intellectually.”…

…What if racial fluidity leads not to less racism, but to more?

That’s the warning being issued by many who study racial fluidity — including some who are racially fluid themselves. They say people are naïve if they believe expanding the menu of racial choices will lead to more tolerance; that racism is deeper and more adaptable than people realize.

A brown-skinned man with a white mother can gush all he wants about his DNA mix, but that won’t stop him from being racially profiled, says Rainier Spencer, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has written extensively about mixed-race identity, including his own.

“If I stand on a corner holding a sign saying, ‘I’m racially fluid,'” says Spencer, “that still doesn’t mean I’m going to get a cab.”…

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What it means to be a mixed-race model in Japan

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, Videos on 2017-11-27 02:25Z by Steven

What it means to be a mixed-race model in Japan

CNN Style
Cable News Network (CNN)
2017-11-24

Writers:

Stephy Chung, CNN
Junko Ogura, CNN

Contributors:

Momo Moussa, CNN
Tomo Umewaka, CNN

For 18-year-old model Rina Fukushi, Tokyo is home. But growing up as a mixed-race child in Japan wasn’t always easy. With a Japanese-American father and a Filipina mother, Fukushi was one of a growing number of biracial individuals identifying as “hafu” — a phonetic play on the English word “half.”

“I was teased when I was in elementary and junior high school because I looked foreign,” she recalled in an interview with CNN.

The term hafu was first popularized in the 1970s as Japan loosened its approach towards foreign residents, giving them better access to public housing, insurance and job opportunities. An increased number of US soldiers in the country also contributed to an upsurge in mixed-race marriages and biracial children.

Despite increasingly progressive attitudes towards race in Japan, the country’s immigration numbers have remained comparatively low. Foreigners and their hafu children often live as outsiders, a topic explored in the 2011 documentary “Hafu: The Mixed Race Experience in Japan.”…

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The Fate of Afro Germans under Nazis

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-07-21 20:30Z by Steven

The Fate of Afro Germans under Nazis

CNN (Cable News Network)
2017-07-21

Nosmot Gbadamosi


Caption: Two survivors prepare food outside the barracks. The man on the right is thought to be Jean (Johnny) Voste, born in Belgian Congo — the only black prisoner in Dachau. Photo Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Frank Manucci Date: May 1945

A new film aims to highlight a Nazi “secret” mission to sterilize hundreds of Afro German children.

(CNN)In 1937, mixed race children living in the Rhineland were tracked down by the Gestapo and sterilized on “secret order.” Some were later the subject of medical experiments, while others vanished.

“There were known to be around 800 Rhineland children at the time,” says historian Eve Rosenhaft, professor of German Historical Studies, at the University of Liverpool.

It was a little known part of Holocaust history until Mo Abudu, chief executive of Nigerian media network EbonyLife TV, read an online article by Rosenhaft on the plight of these children.

“When I read about it [the article] I just thought we need to put this to screen,” says Abudu. “There are many children in that era born of African and German parentage and I felt what happened to those people. Their stories are totally untold.”

EbonyLife TV intends to tell their stories through a film called “Ava and Duante.” The film is set in an undisclosed location in Europe and will focus on the plight of Afro Germans who suffered persecution under Hitler

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Angela Rye: I always knew I was black

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2017-03-01 16:17Z by Steven

Angela Rye: I always knew I was black

Cable News Network (CNN)
2017-02-24

Angela T. Rye

Angela Rye is a CNN political commentator, NPR political analyst and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in Washington. She is also a former Congressional Black Caucus executive director and general counsel. You can follow her on Twitter @angela_rye and on Instagram @angelarye. This is part of the “First time I realized I was black” series. The views expressed are her own.

(CNN)I never had a moment of realization about my blackness — I just was. Blackness was a central thread of my experience as a child and as an adolescent, as it is now that I’m an adult.

It seemed like my father knew everybody in Seattle, where I was raised. When he and I would walk down the street I remember people would regularly ask him how he was doing. He would respond without missing a beat: “You know, just out here fighting this racism, man.”

My mother worked really hard to ensure that I had black dolls (of all hues), black books by black authors, and my personal favorite: a poster from the 1975 Anheuser-Busch Great Kings and Queens of Africa collection (of course, she removed the beer logo). She would regularly have me name family members and friends who looked like each of the queens and kings on the poster…

…Indeed, with every instance of systemic oppression, black people have demonstrated an uncanny ability to succeed and excel — from Black Wall Street (a name given to a economically thriving black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 1900s, which helped the black dollar circulate 36 to 100 times before leaving the community) to working diligently to elect the first black president. …

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Meet the black Americans going home to China

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-27 15:28Z by Steven

Meet the black Americans going home to China

Cable News Network (CNN)
2016-12-27

Yazhou Sun, Producer
CNN International

Paula Madison grew up knowing she was different.

Born in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Harlem, New York, she was raised by a single mother who looked Chinese.

“When my mother opened the door and told me that dinner is ready, other kids would be very surprised,” Paula says. “Sometimes, they’d start using racial slurs.”

Madison’s father was African-Jamaican and left her mother when she was three.

“My mother always looked sad because she was away from her family,” she says. “I’ve known for my whole life that my grandfather is Chinese. I thought helping my mother find her family would make her happy.”

Paula knew that her grandfather had gone to Jamaica from China in 1905 to work on a sugar plantation and after his contract was fulfilled, he stayed in Jamaica to open a store.

She was determined to find out which village he came from and if he had any living relatives in China, but the only clue she had was her grandfather’s name: Samuel Lowe…

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Obama: African-American museum helps tell fuller story of America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-24 23:17Z by Steven

Obama: African-American museum helps tell fuller story of America

Cable News Network (CNN)
2016-09-24

Eugene Scott, Politics Reporter

Suzanne Malveaux, National correspondent

Kevin Bohn, Supervising Producer

Washington (CNN) President Barack Obama said Saturday that the new Smithsonian museum devoted to African-American history elevates the often-overlooked impact of black Americans and will help others better understand the breadth of the American story.

“This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are,” Obama, the first African-American president, said at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

“By knowing this other story we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together. It reaffirms that all of us are America, that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story,” he added. “It is central to the American story.”

Saturday’s opening ceremony for the museum also was attended by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and Chief Justice John Roberts. Thousands are expected to have descended on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate the museum’s opening…

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CNN pundit goes off on racist whites who think they ‘allowed’ Obama to be president

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-07-11 22:11Z by Steven

CNN pundit goes off on racist whites who think they ‘allowed’ Obama to be president

Raw Story
2016-07-10

David Edwards

Former Congressional Black Caucus Executive Director Angela Rye took issue on Sunday with white Americans who think they “allowed” Barack Obama to become president.

During a panel discussion about race in America, CNN host Fareed Zakaria noted that some pundits had speculated that “the fact that you have allowed in a member of an excluded minority in a strange way gives you license to continue the old pattern of discrimination.”

“Does that make any sense to you?” Zakaria asked. “That the fact that you have elected an African-American actually could mean a certain reversion to patterns of discrimination?”

Rye immediately objected to the premise of the question.

“I think it’s interesting even that you used the term ‘allowed,’ that he was allowed to be there,” she said. “That’s terminology that we would never use to describe the 43 presidents that preceded him.”…

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