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Fri04182014

News

Bias a factor in suspending black students

suspension 600WASHINGTON – A new collection of research shows that despite the myths surrounding black student behavior, poverty and severity of the offense have very little to do with the rate black students are suspended from school.

Rather, the studies point a finger in another direction: the implicit bias perpetrated by school officials.

The Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, a group of researchers, educators, advocates, and policy analysts funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, compiled the research on school discipline.

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Body too toned for Planet Fitness?

tootoned 600Tiffany Austin was just hoping to get back into shape after a car accident and, like so many others, went to her local Richmond, Calif., Planet Fitness in hopes of working it out ... only to be told by an employee that she was "intimidating" others, according to KTVU.

That's right. Austin was allegedly told by one of the branch's staff members that her toned body was intimidating other gymgoers and was asked to put on a baggier gym-issued shirt over her more flattering workout gear.

"We've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?" the staffer said, according to the news station. Shrugging it off – although she didn't see the issue with her crop top – Austin amicably agreed to put on a shirt.

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Clicktivism’ moves civil rights forward in a new generation

clicktivism 600Reflections on the historic U.S. civil rights era often conjure up images of the grandeur-scale marches during the 60's era, restaurant sit-ins and civic uprising that played its role in advancing black America and cultivating support. Today, experts say the temperament of black activism is comparable, but takes place in digital spaces where young African-Americans share stories and invoke conversation about their struggles with friends and strangers.

Social media has become the tool of choice for African Americans who are rallying support and a newfound understanding to their causes by spreading messages through their networks and watching them go viral. Twitter, YouTube, and most recently Tumblr, have become a popular springboard for young "activists," even though some reject the label.

Several black students at Harvard University became the most recent topic in the national spotlight with their "I, Too, Am Harvard" campaign. On Tumblr, the students can be seen in photos individually holding boards with various quotes and statements to draw awareness.

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President Obama awards Medal of Honor to 24 overlooked minority veterans

medalsofhonor 600On Tuesday, President Obama awarded 24 minority U.S. soldiers, who collectively served in three of the nation's wars and were never rewarded for their courage, with the Medal of Honor, reports the Associated Press.

Only three of the 24 were alive for President Barack Obama to drape the medals and ribbons around their necks; the others were awarded the honor posthumously.

"Today we have the chance to set the record straight," Obama said. "No nation is perfect, but here in America we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal."

 

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GOP lawmaker: businesses should have right not to serve blacks

GOPLawMaker 600Phil Jensen, a Republican state senator from South Dakota, has raised eyebrows with some of his recent remarks about the rights of businesses to be prejudiced on the issue of race.

According to the Rapid City Journal, Jensen doesn't see a problem with people refusing to serve someone because they're black.

"If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them," Jensen told the Journal.

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States shift higher ed costs to families

CharleneCrowell 600As the nation's trillion-dollar student debt continues to rise, a new analysis of public higher education's funding finds dwindling state support is the key factor driving rising tuition costs and deepening student debt. According to Demos, a public policy organization advocating economic opportunity and inclusive democracy, over the last two decades, state support for higher education funding shifted to a new paradigm.

As government support of higher education dwindled, public institutions raised tuition costs to recover those lost funds. These increases occurred at both four-year and two-year public institutions. And in that process, families were handed a larger financial burden to fund their children's college education.

"The shift from a collective funding of higher education to one borne increasingly by individuals has come at the very same time that low-and-middle-income households experienced stagnant or declining household income," the report says.

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Controlling other health issues reduces kidney disease risk

kidney 600Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol in check reduces the risk of developing kidney disease or kidney failure.

Some loss of kidney function occurs naturally over time, usually after age 60. For African Americans, the leading cause of kidney disease or kidney failure is not old age; it is having high blood pressure or diabetes.

Any of the three problems can exist initially (when it is easier to treat) without any outward symptoms. In addition, all three of them can kill you.

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All-white high school basketball team hails ‘white power’ after winning game

howell 600A Michigan high school has shocked residents with racist tweets sent last Thursday celebrating the Howell High School's boys basketball team's win over Grand Blanc, MLive.com reports.

According to the news site, several students are now facing disciplinary action for hailing their "white" team's victory following the 54-49 win in the Class A regional final that took place at Linden High School.

Some of the tweets, as reported by the site, included:

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The GOP’s ‘culture of poverty” gambit

daniels 600The 2014 mid-term elections are just eight months away – and the Republicans are worried about black voters again.

They have good reason to be – that is, to worry about a repeat of 2012. Then, despite the best efforts of GOP-dominated state legislatures to block blacks' access to the polls, black voters' turnout rate surpassed that of whites for the first time ever. That achievement, along with the substantial turnout of both Hispanic-American and Asian-American voters, helped underwrite President Obama's decisive re-election victory.

Equally important, Obama's name on the ballot was only partially responsible for blacks' march to the polls, because the black vote had been rising markedly since 1996.

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New studies shatter myths about African-American cohabitation and marriage

cohabit 600WASHINGTON – Decades of research and the warnings of African-American mothers everywhere are being challenged by an emerging body of research that finds no link between cohabitation and chance of divorce. Further, researchers are asserting that cohabitation actually boosts the stability of resulting marriages for women who typically have lower marital rates – such as African-American women.

As one study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Families asserts, "...the positive association between cohabitation with commitment, and marital stability existed only among select subgroups of women who faced greater risks of dissolution (i.e., women who were black, had a premarital birth, had less than a college degree, were raised in single or stepparent families, or had more than the median number of sex partners)."

According to Census data, married couples lead 28.5 percent of African-American households. Many African-American couples choose to share their lives before they are willing or able to make it official. This is particularly true for low-income couples that find cohabitation economically convenient, or as a solution to unexpected economic problems.

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8 sneaky racial code words and why politicians love them

codeword 600When Paul Ryan talked about a "real culture problem" in "our inner cities in particular" this week, he wasn't the first American politician to be slammed for using racially coded language to get a point across. Far from it.

Ian Haney López, author of "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class," says it's not just the promotion of old-fashioned racial stereotypes that we need to worry about. Rather, he argues, it's the manipulation of racism in service of very specific goals.

López's book focuses on elected officials' ability to tap into bias without being explicit about it, all to gain support for what he calls "regressive policies," which, ironically, hurt working-class white people as much as people of color.

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Harvard minorities inspire students of color around the world

Harvard 600The student group I, Too, Am Harvard at Harvard University, which celebrates diversity at one of the nation's top educational institutions, is inspiring other students from other universities around the world to form similar groups.

"I, Too, Am Harvard" is a play based on interviews with African-American students, exploring their experiences at Harvard College. The play was the inspiration behind the I, Too, Am Harvard photo campaign.

Throughout the photos on the campaign's Tumblr, students hold dry erase boards with things written on them that they believe or that they have been asked or told by students of different races. This campaign provides students of color with the opportunity for their voices to be heard on campus.

 

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The last black mayor of Chocolate City?

chocolatecity 600In awkwardly timed remarks 24 hours after dramatic campaign-corruption allegations were leveled against him, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray defied rumors of his political death spiral.

"I did not break the law," pronounced the mayor to a very pro-Gray crowd of several hundred this past Tuesday night, who complimented the moment with stand-up chants of "four more years."

That night in a Northeast D.C. auditorium, Gray may have temporarily reenergized "Chocolate City." But the campaign now headed to a hotly contested April 1 Democratic primary for his hoped-for reelection finds a black urban apotheosis a shell of what it was more than two decades ago.

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