A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2016-09-25 14:38Z by Steven

A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

The New York Times
2016-09-21

Carl Zimmer


The KhoiSan, hunter-gatherers living today in southern Africa, above, are among hundreds of indigenous people whose genetic makeup has provided new clues to human prehistory.
Credit: Eric Laforgue/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?

The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer.

In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.

“I think all three studies are basically saying the same thing,” said Joshua M. Akey of the University of Washington, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new work. “We know there were multiple dispersals out of Africa, but we can trace our ancestry back to a single one.”…

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Elizabeth Warren and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Road to Activism

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2016-09-19 00:39Z by Steven

Elizabeth Warren and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Road to Activism

The New York Times
2016-09-17

Philip Galanes


Senator Elizabeth Warren, left, and the actress Tracee Ellis Ross having dinner at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington.
Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Tracee Ellis Ross may be working 14 hours a day in Los Angeles on her hit TV show, “black-ish.” “But when Elizabeth Warren says she’ll have dinner with you,” Ms. Ross said, walking into a suite at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, “you get on a plane. I have a million questions for her.”

And from the moment Senator Warren entered the lobby, friendly to all but racewalking toward the elevator, she was happy to offer answers: breaking down complex problems into plain-spoken choices, engaging everyone in sight. When a woman on the elevator said, “You look familiar,” Ms. Warren introduced herself, shook her hand and asked how her evening was going.

Of course, Ms. Warren, 67, comes by teaching naturally. A law professor for over 30 years, most recently at Harvard, she specialized in bankruptcy and commercial law. A strong advocate of consumer protection, she conceived and fought for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

Two years later, the political novice was elected a United States senator from Massachusetts. Ms. Warren has since emerged as a very popular figure in the Democratic Party and a fierce advocate for the middle class. In June, she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and has gone toe-to-toe with Donald J. Trump in a series of fiery Twitter exchanges.

Ms. Ross, 43, has also established herself as a powerful advocate, particularly for self-esteem among black girls in a series of TV specials, “Black Girls Rock,” and through social media. For eight seasons, beginning in 2000, she starred in the sitcom “Girlfriends,” for which she won two NAACP Image Awards.

But her greatest exposure and acclaim have come with her starring role on “black-ish,” about an extended African-American family, whose third season begins on Wednesday. For her performance, Ms. Ross was nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a comedy. She is the first African-American woman to be nominated in the category in 30 years, and only the fifth in Emmy history. (The Emmys will be televised Sunday.)…

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Unwinding a Lie: Donald Trump and ‘Birtherism’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-16 18:50Z by Steven

Unwinding a Lie: Donald Trump and ‘Birtherism’

The New York Times
2016-09-16

Michael Barbaro

It was not true in 2011, when Donald J. Trump mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud in television interviews. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he said at the time.

It was not true in 2012, when he took to Twitter to declare that “an ‘extremely credible source’” had called his office to inform him that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud.”

It was not true in 2014, when Mr. Trump invited hackers to “please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’”

It was never true, any of it. Mr. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.

Yet it took Mr. Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender, finally on Friday, to reality after a remarkable campaign of relentless deception that tried to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president…

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Trump Drops False ‘Birther’ Theory, but Floats a New One: Clinton Started It

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-16 18:43Z by Steven

Trump Drops False ‘Birther’ Theory, but Floats a New One: Clinton Started It

The New York Times
2016-09-16

Maggie Haberman

Alan Rapperport

Donald J. Trump publicly retreated from his “birther” campaign on Friday, tersely acknowledging that President Obama was born in the United States and saying that he wanted to move on from the conspiracy theory that he has been clinging to for years.

Mr. Trump made no apology for and took no questions about what had amounted to a five-year-long smear of the nation’s first black president. Instead, he claimed, falsely, that questions about Mr. Obama’s citizenship were initially stirred by the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, in her unsuccessful primary contest with Mr. Obama in 2008.

Still, Mr. Trump’s brief remarks, tacked onto the end of a campaign appearance with military veterans at his new hotel in downtown Washington, amounted to a sharp reversal from a position he has publicly maintained, over howls of outrage from all but the far-right extreme of the political spectrum, since 2011.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Mr. Trump said. “Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

Mr. Trump’s refusal to disavow the birther issue helped drive his standing among black voters to historically low levels, with some public opinion polls showing him supported by zero percent of African-Americans…

…Mr. Trump made no apology for and took no questions about what had amounted to a five-year-long smear of the nation’s first black president. Instead, he claimed, falsely, that questions about Mr. Obama’s citizenship were initially stirred by the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, in her unsuccessful primary contest with Mr. Obama in 2008…

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Colin Kaepernick and the Question of Who Gets to Be Called a ‘Patriot’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-14 21:17Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick and the Question of Who Gets to Be Called a ‘Patriot’

First Words
The New York Times Magazine
2016-09-12

Wesley Morris, Critic-At-Large

Citizenship is citizenship, until appearances get in the way. The world now knows, for instance, that Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, is protesting racial injustice — all because of a routine photo, taken during the singing of the national anthem before a preseason game. The photographer, Jennifer Lee Chan, tweeted the image last month, writing, “This team formation for the national anthem is not Jeff Fisher-approved.” Fisher is the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, who, in an episode of the reality football show “Hard Knocks,” told his team that standing for the anthem was sacrosanct: “It’s an opportunity to realize how lucky you are.” Yet here was Kaepernick, sitting down.

Kaepernick’s sitting was, it emerged, a stance. Two days later, he took reporters’ questions, including one about whether he was concerned that his actions could be taken as an indictment of law enforcement. His answer had teeth. “There is police brutality — people of color have been targeted by police,” he said. Then: “You can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”

That’s one rejoinder to the unconditional gratitude — the compulsory expression of thankfulness for a nation that prides itself on freedom of expression — that the Jeff Fishers of the world demand. If you’re a black man, as Kaepernick is, your ambivalence about patriotic rituals may be a way of asking the same question Fisher raised: How lucky are we, exactly?…

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Books in Brief: Nonfiction

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-13 20:22Z by Steven

Books in Brief: Nonfiction

The New York Times
1997-10-26

Douglas A. Sylva

The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement in America.
By Jon Michael Spencer.
New York University, $24.95.

Many members of minority groups have long argued that society must recognize and accept an individual’s racial identity for that individual to enjoy feelings of self-esteem. Ironically, however, the very success of this message threatens the black community, since many people traditionally considered black now think of themselves as multiracial or of mixed race. Some even demand the right to define themselves this way on government documents. In ”The New Colored People,” Jon Michael Spencer takes on the difficult task of explaining, from a civil-rights perspective, why government should refuse to recognize such a category. Spencer, who teaches American studies and music at the University of Richmond, worries that new classifications will sap the black community of skill and vigor. He also fears that Federal relief funds for blacks will dwindle if their officially registered population declines. Whether or not he is correct, this type of argument entails a plea to put aside the desire for recognition and self-esteem for the greater good of the community…

Read the entire review here.

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On Being a Black Female Math Whiz During the Space Race

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-06 02:48Z by Steven

On Being a Black Female Math Whiz During the Space Race

The New York Times
2016-09-05

Cara Buckley, Culture Reporter


Katherine Johnson, left, and Christine Darden, two of the former NASA mathematicians in the book “Hidden Figures.”
Credit:  Chet Strange for The New York Times

HAMPTON, Va. — Growing up here in the 1970s, in the shadow of Langley Research Center, where workers helped revolutionize air flight and put Americans on the moon, Margot Lee Shetterly had a pretty fixed idea of what scientists looked like: They were middle class, African-American and worked at NASA, like her dad.

It would be years before she learned that this was far from the American norm. And that many women in her hometown defied convention, too, by having vibrant, and by most standards, unusual careers.

Black and female, dozens had worked at the space agency as mathematicians, often under Jim Crow laws, calculating crucial trajectories for rockets while being segregated from their white counterparts. For decades, as the space race made heroes out of lantern-jawed astronauts, the stories of those women went largely untold.

Four of them are the subjects of Ms. Shetterly’s first book, “Hidden Figures,” a history being released on Tuesday by William Morrow. The book garnered an early burst of attention because its movie version, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, is scheduled for a year-end release and set for an Oscars run. The movie rights were snapped up weeks after Ms. Shetterly sold her book proposal in 2014, and well before she started writing the book in earnest, a disorientingly fast, if exhilarating, turn…

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What Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Looks Like to a Black 49ers Fan

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-01 19:14Z by Steven

What Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Looks Like to a Black 49ers Fan

The New York Times
2016-08-31

Gerald Harris, President and Managing Director
The Quantum Planning Group, San Francisco, California


Colin Kaepernick Credit Ben Margot/Associated Press

San Francisco — Why are we, as sports fans, continually surprised when one of our heroes turns out to be a real person, with real feelings who is living in the same world we also live in? And when that athlete is black, why does white America respond with anger, as if the hero has broken some kind of sacred rule or understood deal? That deal seems to be, “You just go out and win games, collect your check, and if we really like you, you can retire and sell us stuff in TV commercials.”

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for San Francisco, the city I love and pay a lot to live in, is the latest in a long line of black athletes who have decided to be real people with real concerns about the black community. This tends to happen when issues become so pressing that they break the heart of the athlete and pierce a wall they might choose to stay behind.

It was the Vietnam War for Muhammad Ali, the civil rights movement for countless others. For Kaepernick, it is the way black and brown people, just like him, are treated in the United States. He felt he could no longer stand for the national anthem at the beginning of 49ers games. In an interview published Saturday, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”…

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“Now, I have a black son in Baltimore,” the white police detective remembered thinking as he cradled his baby boy.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-08-25 01:21Z by Steven

“Now, I have a black son in Baltimore,” the white police detective remembered thinking as he cradled his baby boy.

Rachel L. Swarns, “‘I Have a Black Son in Baltimore’: Anxious New Parents and an Era of Unease,” The New York Times, August 23, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/24/us/i-have-a-black-son-in-baltimore-anxious-new-parents-and-an-era-of-unease.html.

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‘I Have a Black Son in Baltimore’: Anxious New Parents and an Era of Unease

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-24 14:13Z by Steven

‘I Have a Black Son in Baltimore’: Anxious New Parents and an Era of Unease

The New York Times
2016-08-23

Rachel L. Swarns


Bill Janu, a Baltimore police detective, greeted Shanna Janu, his wife, and their son, Wesley, as he arrived home from work one day this month. Credit Lexey Swall for The New York Times

BALTIMORE — He assembled the crib and mounted the bookshelves. She unpacked the bedding and filled the closet with onesies and rompers. Then husband and wife stood in the nursery and worried. Bill Janu, a police officer, is white. Shanna Janu, a lawyer, is black. As they eagerly awaited their baby’s birth this spring, they felt increasingly anxious.

They had chosen not to find out their baby’s gender ahead of time. But their nearly two years of marriage had been punctuated by the killings of African-American men and boys in Ferguson, Mo.; Brooklyn; Cleveland; North Charleston, S.C.; and Baltimore, all at the hands of the police. Mr. Janu, who longed for a son, tried to reassure his wife. Mrs. Janu emailed him one article after another, warning of the perils that face black boys.

As the due date approached, Mr. Janu found himself praying for a girl.

In the delivery room at St. Agnes Hospital, after more than 20 hours of labor, the infant finally arrived, red-faced and wailing. The newborn had Mr. Janu’s blue eyes and Mrs. Janu’s full lips and nose. The new father exulted. Then he felt the weight of his new reality.

“Now, I have a black son in Baltimore,” the white police detective remembered thinking as he cradled his baby boy…

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