links for 2009-05-25

  • "The ACLU is demanding that school officials in the northern San Diego County community of Ramona apologize to a sixth-grade student who was not allowed to present her report on slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk during class time.

    Instead, the principal sent letters to parents giving them the option of not allowing their child to listen to the presentation by classmate Natalie Jones. Officials cited the district policy requiring that parents be notified before any classroom instruction about sex, AIDS or "family life.""

  • "The American Indian Graduate Student Alliance and the Graduate Student Association have voiced their concerns about the headline, “SB Scalps Aztecs in 15-8 Win[,”which was published on Thursday, April 2 on the sports page. The article was a recap of a baseball game between the UCSB Gauchos and the San Diego State University Aztecs. The AIGSA sent letters to the Nexus, the UCSB Press Council and Chancellor Henry T. Yang about their issues with the headline."
  • "He was followed by Ronnie Khalil, who has appeared on Showtime Arabia, a Viacom subsidiary in the Arab world, and has headlined around the Middle East. He talked about how Muslim feasts are all about suffering. "Our holiday Ramadan," he said, "is 30 days of self-deprivation. There's a reason why the Grinch never stole Ramadan.""
  • Mainstream media’s responses to the protests have been overwhelmingly racialist, exposing many of the limits of Canadian multiculturalism. In order for Canadian multiculturalism to accept any given group of people as a cultural community, it must define that group by differentiating it from a supposedly mainstream Canadian identity. This focalising Canadian identity—in effect a non-identity—is white and middle-class. Thus, when the Toronto Star publishes an editorial entitled “Protesters vs. the public” [1] it effectively notes that the protesters are not part of the public by pitting (Tamil) protesters against the (Canadian) public. Rather than focusing on the war, media outlets have focused on the inconvenience posed to commuters, thereby shifting attention away from deaths in Sri Lanka to traffic regulations in Canada. "
  • "In a series of decisions in the past four years, the Chief Justice has expressed the view that the time has now passed when the Court should allow systemic remedies for racial discrimination. The previous week, the Court heard a challenge by a group of white firefighters in New Haven who were denied promotions even though they had scored better than black applicants on a test. Roberts was, if anything, even more belligerent in questioning the lawyer defending the city. “Now, why is this not intentional discrimination?” he asked. “You are going to have to explain that to me again, because there are particular individuals here,” he said. “And they say they didn’t get their jobs because of intentional racial action by the city.” He added, “You maybe don’t care whether it’s Jones or Smith who is not getting the promotion,” he said. “All you care about is who is getting the promotion. All you care about is his race.”
  • "North Dakota's Board of Higher Education has agreed to drop the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo, a move intended to resolve a decades-long campus dispute about whether the name demeans American Indians."
  • "Nabil Abou-Harb, a 24-year-old from Georgia, won the grand prize of "Best Overall Video" and $20,000 for his contribution to "The American Muslim Life" category: Arab in America. The five-minute video was a satirical, bittersweet yet ultimately optimistic depiction of Arabs having to "whitewash" their identity to blend in and avoid harassment. The Arab protagonist changes his name to "Samuel Adam Baker" in order to obtain a lucrative job, and he lies about his piquant Islamic practices to avoid "detection" by his often ignorant co-workers."
  • "Racially segregated proms have been held in Montgomery County — where about two-thirds of the population is white — almost every year since its schools were integrated in 1971. Such proms are, by many accounts, longstanding traditions in towns across the rural South, though in recent years a number of communities have successfully pushed for change. When the actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for last year’s first-of-its-kind integrated prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi, his home state, the idea was quickly embraced by students — and rejected by a group of white parents, who held a competing “private” prom. (The effort is the subject of a documentary, “Prom Night in Mississippi,” which will be shown on HBO in July.)"