Misty Copeland’s latest Under Armour ad reminds us that ballet is a sport

Posted in Articles, Arts, United States, Videos on 2017-07-30 00:37Z by Steven

Misty Copeland’s latest Under Armour ad reminds us that ballet is a sport

USA Today
For The Win: USA Today Sports
2017-07-19

Maggie Hendricks

Under Armour has a new ad out featuring Misty Copeland, guaranteed to both make you want to work out and perhaps pick up a poetry book. Saul Williams provides the backing poem, For Misty, with words as lyrical as her movements…

The systemic structure built to keep me in place
is the stage I dance on
Black and woman
Mothership’s my mother’s hips beheld deep space
Astronaut of corporal grace…

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Where did Colin Kaepernick get start as an activist?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-10-22 22:35Z by Steven

Where did Colin Kaepernick get start as an activist?

USA TODAY
2016-09-30

Josh Peter

They remember the conservative haircut he wore at John Pitman High School, and now they see the Afro and cornrows. They remember his studious and soft-spoken ways from a decade ago, and now they see him refusing to stand for the national anthem and agitating for social change.

In Turlock, Calif., where Colin Kaepernick was raised, many residents have asked some version of the same question: What in the heck happened to our hometown hero?

But those who knew Kaepernick at the University of Nevada at Reno, where attended from 2006-10 and was a star quarterback before getting drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, say they’re not at all confused.

“Anyone who wants to characterize this as some new black awareness on his behalf just simply doesn’t know him or didn’t do the diligence,’’ Reg Stewart, director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity at Nevada-Reno when Kaepernick was in school, told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s not like I turned on the TV and was like, ‘Wow, where did this come from?’ I was like, ‘You know what, he has been thinking about these issues for at least the time I’ve known him.”…

…At the black student union meetings at Nevada-Reno, Kaepernick was outspoken about issues such as attracting more African Americans to the campus, Bart-Plange said.

“He would let us know, we’ve got to get everybody unified,” Bart-Plange said. “The only way we’re going to get better is together, that’s how we’re stronger, power in numbers, educating each other.”

Kaepernick’s increasing identification as African American began as soon as he arrived at Reno, according to Stewart. African Americans made up about 4% of the student body, but Stewart suggested the university’s cultural diversity center gave Kaepernick an outlet to find his identity as an African American…

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White House wants to add new racial category for Middle Eastern people

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-10-02 00:30Z by Steven

White House wants to add new racial category for Middle Eastern people

USA Today
2016-10-01

Gregory Korte, White House Reporter

WASHINGTON — The White House is putting forward a proposal to add a new racial category for people from the Middle East and North Africa under what would be the biggest realignment of federal racial definitions in decades.

If approved, the new designation could appear on census forms in 2020 and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws and health research.

Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian — because that designation would deny them citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with their roots in the Middle East find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don’t fully reflect their identities…

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Town founded by freed slaves celebrates 200 years

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-08-25 15:24Z by Steven

Town founded by freed slaves celebrates 200 years

USA Today
2016-07-09

Joey Garrison, Metro and Political Reporter
The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee

FREE HILL, Tenn. — Tucked away in the wooded hallows and ridges north of Celina, Tenn., in the Upper Cumberland region, freed slaves and later their descendants have lived here for two centuries.

The community is called Free Hill, or often Free Hills, and this unincorporated enclave in tiny, poor and otherwise mostly white Clay County is one of Tennessee’s last remaining black settlements that freed slaves established.

People in this county along the Tennessee-Kentucky border — about two hours northeast of Nashville — tell the story of a white slave owner named Virginia Hill of North Carolina who bought the property to free her slaves and give them a secluded place to live.

Historians aren’t certain about all the facts or years, and what might be part folklore, but documents prove that free blacks had settled at Free Hill before the Civil War

Establishing history

History is the lifeblood of Free Hill. Surnames like Page, Burris and Philpott on the gravestones of the Free Hill Cemetery are some of the same names that carry on today.

And the story of its founding explains the unlikely occurrence of an African-American community arising in an area that is officially in Appalachia.

Accounts of Free Hill residents vary. They almost all begin with a North Carolina slave owner named Virginia Hill, whom most say came to a forest near the Cumberland and Obey rivers sometime before 1840, purchased 2,000 acres and set her slaves free.

Some say the slaves took control of the land themselves. Others say the slaves that Virginia Hill brought were her four biracial children, and that she was seeking to avoid a scandal.

They took her surname Hill — a name that is documented as the earliest African-Americans in Free Hill — and named the community after her.

The story goes that Free Hill became known as a safe haven for runaway slaves leading up to the Civil War and for freed slaves after the war. The names Free Hill and Free Hills have interchangeable meanings: descendants of the Hill family or a hilly area where freed slaves lived…

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Oklahoma cop gets life for sex crimes against the poor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-22 03:00Z by Steven

Oklahoma cop gets life for sex crimes against the poor

USA Today
2016-01-21

Melanie Eversley, Breaking News Reporter


Former officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison after he was convicted in December of 18 counts, including first-degree rape.

A former Oklahoma City police officer was sentenced Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison after his conviction for raping and sexually abusing women in a low-income neighborhood while on the beat.

District Judge Timothy Henderson agreed with an earlier court recommendation and sentenced Daniel Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison for the attacks on black women in a low-income neighborhood between 2013 and 2014. Holtclaw, 29, had been charged with 36 counts.

After a six-week trial, a jury on Dec. 10 found Holtzclaw guilty of 18 counts. The youngest victim was 17 at the time of her attack and testified that the incident took place on her mother’s front porch, according to The Oklahoman.

The judge denied a request for a new trial made by Scott Adams, Holtzclaw’s defense attorney, who maintained that Holtzclaw was denied a fair trial because the prosecution made deliberate violations and misrepresentations in discovery.

The case drew national attention because of the race of the victims. Holtzclaw is half-white and half-Asian…

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Whites pass for black to gain empathy, experts say in wake of Dolezal case

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-06-13 23:39Z by Steven

Whites pass for black to gain empathy, experts say in wake of Dolezal case

USA Today
2015-06-13

Melanie Eversley, Breaking News Reporter

In history and in many black American families, there’s talk of black people passing for white, especially during the days of Jim Crow laws or slavery when it benefited them or even saved their lives.

But not as much has been written about the white people who pass for black or adopt black culture — from celebrities who adopt traditionally black hairstyles and vernacular, or, as social media has been abuzz with since Thursday, Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP Spokane, Wash., branch president whose parents say she is white.

English professor Alisha Gaines, who is publishing a book about white people who pass for black, says the phenomenon is rooted in a need to identify and empathize with black culture. Some people throughout history have passed for black as a way to immerse themselves in the experience, says Gaines, who teaches at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

One of the people referenced in her book, Black for a Day: Fantasies of Race and Empathy, is Grace Halsell, a late journalist who posed as a black woman for a few weeks in the deep South and wrote about her experiences in a book titled Soul Sister

…The main reason people choose to pass for black is they have a need or desire to promote civil rights and racial justice, says Marcia Dawkins, author of Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity

…Author and educator Nikki Khanna believes it also can be about being accepted.

“Maybe for this particular woman — it seems as if she cares about African-American issues, she heads the chapter of the NAACP in Spokane, I don’t know if she felt that was her way of fitting in,” says Khanna, who has studied how biracial Americans identify in terms of race

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Today’s college students see no problem with multiracial relationships

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-09 18:53Z by Steven

Today’s college students see no problem with multiracial relationships

College
USA Today
2014-01-08

Aja Frost
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Had Kim Kardashian and Kanye West gotten married 48 years ago, they would have probably been met with more policemen than paparazzi. That’s because interracial marriages weren’t legalized in the U.S. until 1967.

Interracial relationships are more common than ever. In 1960, just 0.4% of marriages were interracial. A recent study found that number had increased to 15% for newlyweds.

Nowhere is the growing acceptance and practice of multiracial relationships more common than on college campuses.

“Younger people aren’t tied down with all the old racial stereotypes,” says Dr. Erica Chito-Childs, a sociology professor at Hunter College in New York City and author of two books on interracial marriage. “They’re more likely to have grown up with a favorite musical entertainer [who] is African-American or of a different race. They’ve grown up watching shows or cartoon shows that are multiracial. And depending on where they live, they’ve probably gone to school with friends that are of a different race.”…

…A survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 43% of all Americans believe the rise in intermarriages has been a good thing. However, among 18- to 29-year-olds, a majority 61% approve of interracial marriage and 93% favor multiracial dating. The approval for multiracial marriages rises in accordance with college education levels.

But Dr. Chito-Childs cautions against getting too excited about the statistics surrounding multiracial relationships…

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Edward Brooke, first black elected U.S. senator, dies at 95

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-04 01:02Z by Steven

Edward Brooke, first black elected U.S. senator, dies at 95

USA Today
2015-01-03

Natalie DiBlasio

Former Massachusetts U.S. senator Edward Brooke, the first African American to be elected to the Senate by popular vote, has died at age 95.

Ralph Neas, a former aide, said Brooke died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Coral Gables, Fla.

“We lost a truly remarkable public servant,” says Massachusetts Gov.-elect Charlie Baker. “A war hero, a champion of equal rights for all and an example that barriers can be broken, Sen. Brooke accomplished more than most aspire to.”

The only blacks to serve in the Senate before Brooke were two men in the 1870s when senators were still chosen by state legislatures.

Brooke, a liberal Republican, was elected to the Senate in 1966 and served two terms. He earned his reputation as a liberal after becoming the first Republican senator to publicly urge President Nixon to resign…

…Historian Dennis Nordin has researched and written about African-American politicians and devoted a chapter to Brooke in his book, From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama: African American Political Success, 1966-2008.

Nordin told The Greenville News that Brooke’s political career shows independence from the GOP…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Wickham: Silence of NYC’s good cops widens divide

Posted in Articles, Law, United States on 2015-01-02 02:46Z by Steven

Wickham: Silence of NYC’s good cops widens divide

USA Today
2014-12-30

DeWayne Wickham, Distinguished Professor of Journalism and Dean
School of Journalism
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

When Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped to the podium Saturday to eulogize Rafael Ramos, one of two New York City cops killed by a black gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, five days before Christmas, hundreds of police outside the church staged a silent protest that sullied the solemn occasion.

The officers turned their backs to the large televisions set up for the overflow crowd to see Ramos’ funeral. Their pivot away from the screens was meant as a protest against the mayor, whom Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, accused of having blood on his hands for not being more supportive of the city’s police officers.

That charge and the lemming-like act of back-turning were cheap shots that came as the city grieved the death of Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were shot to death as they sat in their patrol car. The officers’ deaths came in the wake of a series of street demonstrations following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, a white New York City police officer who was videotaped using a chokehold to subdue Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, whose death was labeled a homicide. Pantaleo and several other cops were attempting to arrest Garner for illegally selling untaxed cigarettes.

In his first public comments after the grand jury’s decision, de Blasio said he could relate to the pain Garner’s father was feeling and admitted that he and his wife, who is black, have warned their son about how “to take special care in any encounters he has with the police officers, who are there to protect him.”

That’s a warning many black parents routinely give their boys — and one that de Blasio, understandably, would offer his mixed-race son. They could also have reminded him that New York has long been a petri dish for police abuse of blacks. Remember Abner Louima. Amadou Diallo. Patrick Dorismond. Sean Bell

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Lobbying for a ‘MENA’ category on U.S. Census

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-14 15:18Z by Steven

Lobbying for a ‘MENA’ category on U.S. Census

USA Today
2014-08-13

Teresa Wiltz, Pew/Stateline Staff Writer

For many Americans, checking the right box on the U.S. Census form is a reflexive gesture, whether it’s marking “black,” “white,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” “American Indian” — or all of the above.

But for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African descent, or “MENA,” it’s a real head-scratcher. They come in a variety of phenotypes and shades—ranging from pale to deepest ebony, and hail from 22 different countries, from Iran to Egypt to Sudan. And yet, for the census, since the beginning of the last century, the MENA community has been lumped into the “white” category.

Back in 1909, such a designation made a lot of sense, but today, members of the MENA community are lobbying the U.S. Census to create a separate “MENA” category for the 2020 decennial count. “White,” they argue, renders them invisible in official population counts. Without correct data, advocates say, cities and states lack adequate resources to effectively handle everything from funding educational programs to battling infant mortality to tracking employment discrimination to staffing hospitals with enough Farsi translators. Census data directly impacts how more than $400 billion in federal funding is allocated across the country.

Census data also has political effects. For example, after the 2010 count, the census released a list of 248 jurisdictions across the country that now are required to provide language assistance to voters, as mandated by the Voting Rights Act. (The vast majority of those districts are for Spanish-speaking citizens.)

“This is a bread and butter issue,” said Sarab Al-Jijakli, a Brooklyn-based community organizer and the president of the Network of Arab-American Professionals (NAAP). “Education is obviously a key point; 25 percent of public school kids in Bay Ridge [Brooklyn] may be of Arab descent. Are the services being given in that school really serving the local community? These are the questions we ask.”…

…The History of ‘White’

Race is an ever shifting, ever evolving concept in America. From the 1890s through the 1930s, an African-American family with a mixed-race heritage, for example, could be classified as everything from “quadroon” to “mulatto” to “black” to “Negro,” depending on the year and who was doing the classifying. Meanwhile, the “East Asian” category morphed into separate categories for Koreans, Filipinos, Japanese and “Hindus,” or South Asians. The stakes were high: With the exception of freed slaves who were granted citizenship in 1864, for a long time, non-whites were not eligible for citizenship…

…’Check It Right, You Ain’t White’

MENA identity has evolved over the years. People descended from the earlier wave of immigrants who came to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920, and are fourth-, fifth- and sixth- generation Americans are more likely to identify as white, according to Akram Khater, director of the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at North Carolina State University. The waves of Middle Easterners who have migrated since the 1960s tend to see things differently…

Read the entire article here.

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