links for 2010-04-15

  • "The last thing we need is for Asian people to take away from this horrific series of crimes that they need to avoid Black people, because Black people are somehow too scary and violent to interact with. Attitudes like that are only going to exacerbate the tension, miscommunication, and outright hostility that already exists between the Black and Asian communities."
  • "And what role did race play in my invisibility? It most definitely played some part. I am sure he thought I was Asian. An Asian-American not an Asian immigrant and I’m certain he did not think I was black. How different would his interaction with me have been depending on how he perceived my ethnicity?"
  • "For the second time in as many months another, presumably white, teenager in New Jersey walked up to a store’s courtesy desk, grabbed a microphone, and told all the black people to leave…in both cases, much was made of the fact that these were individual acts of racism: “Whole Foods Market has a zero-tolerance policy regarding all matters of prejudice and continues to work with local law enforcement on this issue,” said Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra, in an interview with the Record. Of course, this superficial discussion of individual acts of racism takes away from what could be something useful, like Wal-Mart’s shady treatment of black and low-income workers, or the fact that many Black folks don’t have access to quality, affordable produce. Consider Oakland…in the mostly low-income Black and Latino flatlands areas of East Oakland, there’s only one grocery store for every 93,126 residents. So sure, sometimes words hurt. But so does diabetes. Pick your battle."
  • "[In 2009] Yahia was one of tens of thousands of people who joined demonstrations in London against the Israeli bombing of Gaza. At one of those demonstrations Yahia and many others were 'kettled'–surrounded by a police cordon and slowly let out in return for giving their names and addresses and for being filmed. That was the last Yahia knew of it until the following April, when the family home was raided by 20 to 30 police at 5am. The front door was forced open…they refused to let him put on any clothes, even though they'd opened the windows, letting in the cold…Yahia was later charged with violent disorder…He says that during the demonstration he took a chair from a nearby Starbucks to sit on, but police alleged that the cafe was trashed and the furniture used as weapons…Yahia is now serving a one-year prison term."
  • "Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday approved what foes and supporters agree is the toughest measure in the country against illegal immigrants, directing local police to determine whether people are in the country legally…But police were deeply divided on the matter, with police unions backing it but the state police chief's association opposing the bill, contending it could erode trust with immigrants who could be potential witnesses. Immigrant rights groups were horrified, and contended that Arizona would be transformed into a police state…The bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a 'reasonable suspicion' that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person's immigration status."
  • "[Asmar, 33, a human relations and psychology student] said she stopped and sat down on a bench at a bus stop on Ste-Catherine Street outside the Alexis Nihon plaza at about 3 a.m., when a police cruiser pulled up and two male officers began questioning her.  'They said, 'You're breaking the law based on the way you're using the bench.' And I was just confused. I didn't understand what they were talking about….'And then before you know it, they had then roughed me up, if you will, and pushed me against the police car and began to restrain me.'" Asmar said she screamed when the officers began twisting her arm and pushing her neck against the cruiser…"I was very confused as to why any of this happened. The only thing that I can say, and what I felt is that I was being singled out because of my ethnicity," said Asmar.