links for 2010-12-06

  • "The project, which is in its 13th year, has collected more than 300 dolls, including Barbies, Kenya dolls and professional dolls. The Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott has some caveats, though, about the types of dolls they accept.

    "Tattoos, piercings, a ton of makeup drawn on and skimpy clothes are some of the automatic disqualifiers for the dolls. They are supposed to model average black girls and women, Cornett-Scott said. Another big requirement, and a harder one to meet, is finding dolls that have authentic black features."

  • "I want to do what Jenkins did: Make a picture about compelling people in situations that captivate, featuring characters our complicated racial past has kept at bay. But I also want to make money. The closest the industry has come to this in recent history was with Precious. That one made money, both at home and abroad. It also happened to have the Tyler Perry and Oprah brands behind it. Even so, it wasn't made by Hollywood. It came up through the festival circuit.

    "'It was an example of a film that began at Sundance and then went to Toronto and then, in the marketplace, tracked,' Jenkins says. 'When these movies are actually allowed to perform and are supported properly, I think a lot of these urban legends — these Hollywood legends — they're disproven.'"

  • Direct side-eye with "black because they're covered with chimney soot" explanation.–AJP

    "Indeed, nowadays the Zwarte Pieten are friendly characters that are clever and mischievous, and adored by children. Yet in the original Sinterklaas story, the Zwarte Pieten were slaves. Gradually, the tale evolved and they became Sinterklaas' helpers, but they were portrayed as being stupid and spoke broken Dutch with a Surinamese accent. They were also frightening figures: It was their job to punish misbehaved children by beating them. 

    "Zwarte Piet help bring sweets to kids that have been goodIn an effort to tone down any racist implication, the story now says Zwarte Piet is black because they're covered in chimney soot. However, some say that explanation is unconvincing."

  • "News that the 2018 World Cup will be played in Russia is stirring some alarm, as a rise in neo-Nazi activity and racist killings in the country have led many soccer fans of color to wonder aloud if Russia is an appropriate place to host the international tournament."
  • "A couple of years ago, the National Employment Law Project did a big study, asking 1,400 low-wage workers in the city how things were going. The answer was that they risked being robbed blind every time they showed up at the job: One out of five weren't being paid the minimum wage. They had a good laugh when asked if they always got proper overtime: 77 percent said no; 69 percent said they didn't get paid at all when they put in extra hours. A majority reported that employers kept them in the dark about their earnings by not providing the paystubs that workers routinely scrutinize closer than lottery-ticket numbers. Those surveyed had also learned that it was dangerous to complain about any of these things: 42 percent said their reward for trying to do something about abuse—like join a union or call the authorities—had been either a cut in pay, suspension, or firing."
  • "The education failures cause problems in adulthood, particularly in Germany’s large Turkish population, which has higher unemployment and crime rates than the rest of the country. All of this has been fodder for anti-immigration advocates like Thilo Sarrazin, the statistics-loving former central banker who sparked a sometimes constructive, sometimes poisonous debate about integration this summer.

    "Yet it also represents a massive missed opportunity, as The Economist magazine wrote earlier this year, pointing out that a country in demographic decline like Germany 'cannot afford such waste of its human capital."

  • "And I agree with Hov. Bush was in the White House during the cataclysmic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people and toppled one of America‘s most iconic landmarks, the World Trade Center. This is a man who wrongfully and wantonly instigated the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, using extremely questionable CIA documents that falsely stated weapons of mass destruction were present in Iraq. And this was a president who was mentally absent during the historic collapse of the nation’s economy (spurred by corporate greed, predatory mortgage lending and corruption at Enron, Worldcom and other companies). Then there was Katrina. To have this single Kanye statement be called the worst aspect of Bush’s presidency is dumbfounding and abominable."