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Opinion

Why don’t you have any black friends?

Why don’t you have any black friends?

(CNN) – "So, how many black friends do you have now?"

It's a question I get asked a lot, ever since I set out five years ago to find out why I, your typical middle-class white person, had no black friends at all.

I do have black friends now, actually. Several. But I rarely offer that information when asked, because to ask white people how many black friends they have is to pose the wrong question.

Recently, a Reuters poll came out showing that 40 percent of white Americans have zero nonwhite friends, and only 20 percent of white Americans have five or more nonwhite friends. People seemed shocked that the numbers were so bad.

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  • Written by Tanner Colby

Should Certain Baby Names Be Illegal?

(The Root) -- When reports surfaced that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had named their new daughter "North 'Nori' West," it was simply assumed that they were following in the footsteps of fellow cele

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  • Written by The Root

The new definition of homelessness

The new definition of homelessness

The City of Memphis and its surrounding areas are faced with a real fiscal and social dilemma that promises to get worse before it gets better. Simply, that dilemma is this: how will local government address and serve the growing community of homeless citizens?

To properly address the issue, it is imperative that we first define "homeless." The traditional definition and the images that arise in the minds of most people when referring to the homeless is that of the man or woman living on the street, pan-handling for money, and digging through dumpsters for food. This image no longer fits the contemporary reality of homelessness.

Today's homeless often go to work but are unable to keep a roof over their heads. Many are victims of foreclosure and oftentimes are unable to keep the utilities on in their homes. Indeed the new homeless Memphian is one that awaits eviction at any moment and has no idea where the evening meal for the family will come from. Although this person I just described is not out in the streets, effectively, this is a "homeless" citizen.

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A boy named ‘Messiah’?

A boy named ‘Messiah’?

(CNN) – I once met a mother who named her newborn daughter Kia Sophia.

Yes, like the car.

Apparently she had one and liked it so much that she wanted to be reminded of it each time she said her baby's name.

As we stood there, I could tell this was something she was very proud of, and so I tried my best not to look embarrassed for her.

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  • Written by LZ Granderson/CNN

I don’t have any ‘white’ friends. So what?

I don’t have any ‘white’ friends. So what?

Sometime last week, a poll was released by Reuters/Ipsos that found 40 percent of white Americans had no friends of color and 25 percent of people of color had no friends of a different race. Covering a broader circle of acquaintances to include co-workers as well as friends and relatives, the poll showed that 30 percent of Americans are not befriending others of a different race.

That "news" spread quickly, with an emphasis on how so many white people didn't have black friends. There were, of course, Paula Deen jokes and giggles about that elusive "black friend" that nonblack people always allude to when they're denying they're racist, and someone discovered a spoof site (I hope it's a spoof site; you can never be too sure) called BlackFriendConnect, where white people can rent a black friend for the day. There was a delight in chiding this chunk of white folks for, intentionally or not, self-segregating.

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Pardon power and compassionate release

Pardon power and compassionate release

President Obama and his administration have, at times, made bold use of executive authorities and powers to help the powerless, from granting deferred action to DREAM Act beneficiaries to providing some relief from crushing student loan burdens. Atty Gen. Eric Holder's announcement this week of a smarter, fairer, and more just approach to the prosecution of non-violent offenses, including the possession of small amounts of drugs, is another example of President Obama's willingness to align our nation's policies with our ideals, the goals of our justice system, and our laws.

But the President remains surprisingly reluctant to use his pardon and commutation power. Thankfully, he still has the opportunity to help those who need it most and leave an even larger legacy of justice.

Criminal sentences reflect a society's values but as our values change, many of those sentences unfortunately remain on the books and people still serving them suffer needlessly – and those unjustly long sentences unfairly and unequally harm people of color and minority communities.

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  • Written by Steve Cohen

Take the gluten-free challenge and give me a shout

Take the gluten-free challenge and give me a shout

CHEF TIMOTHY We have made the decision to begin and maintain a healthier lifestyle choice. We go to the gym, eat a proper diet and do all the right things to help us get and stay in great physical shape. Still, we face a dilemma – gaining more weight instead of losing it.

We just don't get it. What is going on?

What if the food manufacturers that we have grown to trust have set us up? What if they use an ingredient that's known to create hunger and turn off that part of the brain that regulates if we're satisfied or our stomachs are feeling full?

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