links for 2010-03-03

  • In an effort to heighten awareness about the contributions made by foreign workers to the Italian economy, the promoters of the first strike by immigrants in the country invited workers to stay home and to boycott shopping for one day. Similar protests took place in other European countries on Monday (the initiative started in France and found supporters in Spain and Greece, as well). A comparable boycott, “A Day Without Immigrants,” championing full rights for immigrants living in the United States, took place in 2006. But demonstrations Monday had a particular resonance in Italy, where anti-immigrant rhetoric has increased recently in anticipation of regional elections at the end of the month, and where foreign labor makes up nearly 10 percent of the work force.
  • “The year I took the exam, an unprecedentedly large number of women passed it — three — so it made news,” said Ms. Kim, who is now director of the ministry’s climate change team. Fast forward to 2010. Kim Sang-jin, head of the ministry’s personnel management team, sees a literal change in the face of South Korean diplomacy. Over the past five years, 55 percent of the 151 people who passed the highly competitive test — the main passageway into the country’s diplomatic corps — were women.
  • This is typical of a company with an appalling record on human rights. They lost a huge lawsuit because of discrimination against African American employees and customers. What they need to say is, "We apologize to the Irish American community for depicting the Irish Famine as some kind of humorous event, when in fact 1 million people died of starvation. We realize that such a tragedy was not proper material in any way for a 'humorous' advertisement."
  • "In New Jersey and elsewhere, middle schools and high schools are experimenting with individualized learning plans that were once used primarily to ensure that special education students received services. Along with differentiated instruction and specialized career academies, it is yet another way that public schools, under pressure to raise test scores and graduation rates, are trying to reach more students."
  • "Running through this disparate roster is a singular concern born of their youthful activism: to present a realistic and nuanced portrayal of Latinos and young people. Where advertisers see a coveted demographic, “urban youth,” they see themselves and their community.

    “We started as community organizers, so everything kind of flowed organically from that,” said Mr. Miranda-Rodriguez, 39. “We were tired of the infamous ‘they’ keeping us down, so we decided to do something for ‘us.’ So if nobody was doing it, then we needed to pick up the brush, the mouse or the camera and do it ourselves.”

  • "The focus of Precious’ pain centers on her relationship with her abusive mother. In doing so, the film does not make the same formidable critique of patriarchy that The Color Purple does. While we are repulsed by the incest narrative, there is no Pa or Mister. who governs over Celie with an iron-fist. In his place is Mary, Precious’ cruel, welfare-dependent, African-American mother, whose very presence in the film conjures up stereotypes about deviant black motherhood that bloomed during the Reagan era in which the film is set."
  • "Marianne Gullestad, of the Institute for Social Research, in Oslo, was speaking after two Norwegian neo-Nazis were jailed for killing 15-year-old Benjamin Hermansen, whose father was Ghanaian. The killing sparked large anti-racism demonstrations, but Ms Gullestad says it did not turn out to be the beginning of real soul-searching in Norwegian society. "
  • "Looking back, Reverend Moiba says he has always liked the town even though he says he has been harassed because of his skin colour. In one instance he says a family asked for another priest to perform a funeral service. In another, a stranger at a petrol station uttered racial slurs.

    But what upsets Reverend Moiba the most is that his congregation did not take his complaints seriously."