All posts by Carmen Van Kerckhove

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."

links for 2010-03-02

links for 2010-03-01

  • Across the country, the anti-abortion movement, long viewed as almost exclusively white and Republican, is turning its attention to African-Americans and encouraging black abortion opponents across the country to become more active.
  • Three years. That's how long it took to get a street here renamed after [Cesar Chavez] the labor leader and human rights activist. The supporters never thought it would take that long…"This has been horrible," said Marta Guembes, co-chairwoman of the Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee. Take the effort to Tijuana or Mexico City, said others. Renaming the street would "open up the border," some predicted. Such sentiments were the minority, but the words cut deep. "It turned ugly," said Sonny Montes, a member of the committee…Said Adams: "Portland is a progressive city, but not, clearly, without its vulnerabilities around issues of race and racism and phobias and discrimination and stereotyping."…Portland is one of the top five whitest metro areas in the country, according to a 2007 Census Bureau survey. With 78% of its 2.17 million metro area population being white, it's even whiter than Salt Lake City.
  • It took years for work crews to tunnel through the edges of the 2,031-foot peak that stands between Malibu and Agoura. It took a century for authorities to dig their way out from under the shame that came with the mountain, however.

    But another work crew will soon erect a bronze plaque that changes the name of "Negrohead Mountain" to "Ballard Mountain" in honor of a black man who was a pioneering homesteader in the Santa Monica Mountains. John Ballard was a former slave who ran a delivery service and was a co-founder of Los Angeles' first African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the city's rising property values and its class structure forced him to move his family 50 miles out into the mountains in the 1880s.

  • On a campus already facing racial tensions, UC San Diego police said Friday that they were investigating the discovery of a noose hanging from a library bookcase and questioning a student who may be responsible. The probe will look into whether the noose — which was seen by some as a symbol of lynching meant to intimidate African Americans on the campus — was connected to recent racially charged incidents and subsequent protests at UCSD.
  • …during construction of a General Services Administration office building in Lower Manhattan, graves were discovered 24 feet below ground, and when those remains led to the discovery of hundreds of other bodies in the same area, and when it was determined that these were black New Yorkers interred in what a 1755 map calls the “Negros Burial Ground,” the earth seemed to shake from more than just machinery…That is a reason why Saturday’s opening of the African Burial Ground Visitor Center, near where these remains were reinterred, is so important. Among the scars left by the heritage of slavery, one of the greatest is an absence: where are the memorials, cemeteries, architectural structures or sturdy sanctuaries that typically provide the ground for a people’s memory?
  • Identify yourself as being of ''Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin'' on the 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire, and you will get to be more specific about your ancestry, such as Mexican-American, Cuban or Puerto Rican. But check the box for ''black, African-American or Negro'' and there will be no place to show whether you trace your identity to the African continent, a Caribbean island or a pre-Civil War plantation. Some Caribbean-American leaders are urging their communities to write their nationalities on the line under ''some other race'' on the forms arriving in mailboxes next month, along with checking the racial categories they feel identify them best. It's another step in the evolution of the Census, which has moved well beyond general categories like ''black'' and ''white'' to allow people to identify themselves as multi-racial, and, in some cases, by national origin.
  • A State Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn lost little time exonerating three police officers of charges that they had brutalized a man named Michael Mineo in a subway station and then covered it up….Al Sharpton, who by no coincidence is a prominent supporter of Mr. Mineo, demands federal action almost by rote whenever a judge or jury doesn’t convict a police officer…[But] whether led by a Democrat or a Republican, the Justice Department turned a deaf ear to demands that it look into the police killings of Amadou Diallo, Patrick M. Dorismond, Police Officer Omar J. Edwards and Sean Bell. (That decision was announced last week.)

links for 2010-02-27

links for 2010-02-25

  • "We were reasonably amused perusing Italian Vogue's new Internet collective, but why must curvy women, women of color, and burgeoning design talent be viewed in separate channels? Is it possible to have a fashion magazine that embraces women of all sizes and colors who wear young and established labels? Italian Vogue seems to think not.
  • The assault was the culmination of a chaotic, violent day at South Philadelphia High, details of which are spelled out for the first time in a long-awaited report released yesterday. The report by retired federal Judge James T. Giles detailed his investigation of the racial violence that has drawn national headlines and intervention from local, state, and federal authorities…But the work, which focused solely on Dec. 2 and 3, immediately drew criticism from activists, community members, and students who said that its scope was too limited.
  • Imperial County's pauper's cemetery [is] a dusty field dotted with about 900 concrete markers the size of bread loaves. Each was stamped with numbers or the name "John Doe." Several hundred marked the final resting place of Mexican and other Latin American migrants who've died walking across the desert or drowned trying to cross the nearby All-American Canal.

    [John Carlos] Frey, a 46-year-old filmmaker, blames the U.S. government for their deaths. In all, some 6,000 people have died crossing the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders with Mexico since 1994, according to human-rights groups. About 500 more die every year…In his new documentary film, "The 800 Mile Wall," Frey says this tragedy is the foreseeable result of a policy that sealed off urban crossing routes, driving migrants into the desert.

  • "It was a slap in the face," Indo-Canadian activist Sukhi Sandhu said Thursday, referring to the opening show's cultural segment. "You'd expect in an event of this magnitude, diversity would be entrenched in every aspect."…Sandhu and his allies have called on the Vancouver Organizing Committee to ensure that the closing ceremony convey more of the character of greater Vancouver, where Chinese and South Asians comprise 30 percent of the area's 2 million people.
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest proposals to close California's budget shortfall would end public assistance for most new legal immigrants, eliminating emergency cash, food and medical aid for those who don't yet qualify for federal welfare.
  • After travelling the country and hearing horrific tales of abuse suffered by aboriginal residential-school survivors, the head of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission says he realizes that forgiveness is not an option for many victims…“It's not a question of forgiveness for them. It's a question of moving on. Some have said there will never be any reconciliation for them and we just accept that as part of the truth-telling process.”…About 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend the government schools over much of the last century. The last school, outside Regina, closed in 1996.
  • Now the Louisiana State Police, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department are swarming over this impoverished lumber town of 3,800, drawn by the allegations of numerous witnesses that police killed an unarmed, elderly black man without justification—and then moved a gun to make it look like the man had been holding it.
  • "The Dai park, with its wooden stilt homes, groomed palm trees and elephant statues, is part of an increasingly popular form of entertainment in China — the ethnic theme playground, where middle-class Han come to experience what they consider the most exotic elements of their vast nation. There is no comprehensive count of these Disneyland-like parks, but people in the industry say the number is growing, as are visitors. The Dai park, whose grounds encompass 333 actual Dai households, attracts a half-million tourists a year paying $15 each.

    The parks are money-making ventures. But scholars say they also serve a political purpose — to reinforce the idea that the Chinese nation encompasses 55 fixed ethnic minorities and their territories, all ruled by the Han."

  • "We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s — the racist Speedy," said the comedian's wife Ann Lopez, who will serve alongside him as a producer. "Speedy's going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he's a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he's good at."

links for 2010-02-24

  • "For example, Cuban immigrants who moved to the United States when Castro came to power tended to be very wealthy, and they created an entrepreneurial, successful enclave in Miami. Compare them with Central American immigrants who may be refugees from a civil war in the 1980s. Language, religion, and some aspects of culture are apt to be the same, but socioeconomic status is probably very different, and that's a big predictor of early sexual activity and teen pregnancy," Raffaelli said."

links for 2010-02-23

  • Though the commercial is not offending — not to me, anyway — I don’t think Saudis should be thrilled about it. The TV ad simply reinforces some of the most negative stereotypes about us.
  • Promising a taste of "life in the ghetto," the Facebook invitation contained many racist stereotypes. For example, it urged women to dress as "ghetto chicks" who "usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes." It said the menu would include chicken and watermelon.

    In an e-mail Wednesday, Garron Engstrom, president of Pi Kappa Alpha, emphasized that the party was neither planned nor endorsed by the social club.

  • When a majority builds up and expresses incorrect and biased attitudes about a minority group, we call that out. If white people say that black people don't deserve the same rights or respect, we call that racism. If men say that women don't deserve the same rights or respect, we call that sexism. If straight people say that gay people don't deserve the same rights or respect, we call that homophobia.

    This anti-cyclist attitude needs a name, too.

    Update: Racism, sexism, etc. are of course far worse than cyclist hatred, and I don't mean to mean that oppressed cyclists are being mistreated as badly as ethnic groups once were and often still are. However, that doesn't make this attitude not a form of prejudice, and one worthy of being named and criticized, even if it's lower on the scale of prejudices than some.

  • The Birds and Plains Bull Martin accuse the administration of mismanaging “tribal funds regarding education, employment, housing, casino finances,” and they accuse the tribal leadership of “total disregard of our laws and policies as the Crow Nation.”

    Bird said the tribe would be better off if it developed the natural resources on the reservation, lived by tribal laws and declined federal government assistance.

  • Well, well, well, look who isn't actually Italian. Snooki, alias Nicole Polizzi, aka "The Ultimate Guidette," is actually — wait for it — Chilean…"So what does she mean when she says Guidette?" asked the semi-incredulous FOX anchor, Jill Dobson.

    J-WOWW's response? "That's a stereotype that people misconstrued with Italians. It's a lifestyle. Like, the scene that we're in. It's not like Italian."

links for 2010-02-22

  • “Roslyn M. Brock, 44, the board’s current vice chairwoman, will become chairwoman of the board, taking the reins from Julian Bond, who last year, on the eve of the organization’s centennial celebration, announced his decision to step down. The 64-member board is the policymaking arm of the organization.”
  • More than $1 billion will be set aside for those who alleged loan discrimination by the Department of Agriculture. The agreement would allow the workers to seek damage awards or debt relief…The Obama administration agreed Thursday to provide $1.25 billion to compensate African American farmers who alleged racial discrimination by the Department of Agriculture farm loan programs…This is in addition to more than $1 billion the federal government paid to settle about 16,000 claims that were part of a discrimination suit black farmers brought against the department. The farmers won that suit in 1999.
  • French police are investigating claims that a burger chain serving only halal meat in restaurants with a strong Muslim clientele is discriminating against other customers…”Why should the people of Roubaix be forced to go to Lille or elsewhere to find bacon?” Franck Berton, the mayor’s lawyer, told Reuters.
  • But trouble has come to these two Bronx neighborhoods, tucked on spits of land near the foot of the Throgs Neck Bridge. This month the communities, along with a real estate agent, were accused in a federal lawsuit of using racial discrimination to keep black families out.
  • A group of female New York firefighters is threatening to sue the FDNY, claiming the department doesn’t just discriminate against minorities — it continues to discriminate against women…The group also is considering joining an ongoing federal discrimination lawsuit against the department filed by the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization that represents black firefighters.
  • [In 1996 Qing Hong Wu pled] guilty to a string of muggings committed at 15…Mr. Wu was a model inmate, earning release after three years. He became the main support of his immigrant mother, studying and working his way up from data entry clerk to vice president for Internet technology at a national company…But almost 15 years after his crimes, by applying for citizenship, Mr. Wu, 29, came to the attention of immigration authorities…He was abruptly locked up in November as a “criminal alien,” subject to mandatory deportation to China— the nation he left at 5, when his family immigrated legally to the United States.
  • While some fans will be happy to see a female character unveiled at least, supporters of have expressed disappointment because an action figure from the show would have been a rare toy featuring a character of color, while the movie figurine of Katara is white…Most of the action figures seemed to have suffered further discoloration, with Zuko’s action figure sporting lightened skin and Aang’s skin appearing jaundiced.