Years after Katrina, I lived in Evanston, Illinois and learned about the warm weather massacres in Chicago that happen every spring break or beginning of summer where dozens of high school kids get shot within matters of hours. And how nobody seemed to care. Living in New Orleans and near Chicago has left me jaded to what America prioritizes or chooses to ignore.
So I shouldn’t be surprised that the Mother’s Day Parade shooting has largely been forgotten. On Sunday, shots were fired into a crowd during a parade in the New Orleans 7th ward. Police said they saw three suspects running from the scene.
This is the largest mass shooting in the United States where the shooters were still at large after the crime was committed. Think about that for a minute. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Fort Hill to Aurora, all the shooters were either killed or apprehended on site. But the person or people responsible for shooting 19 Americans are still free.
So why am I allowed to go outside? Where’s the city quarantine or FBI and Homeland Security presence for this act of “terrorism”?
This milestone is the result of a long-term increase in Hispanic college-going that accelerated with the onset of the recession in 2008 (Fry and Lopez, 2012). The rate among white high school graduates, by contrast, has declined slightly since 2008.
The positive trends in Hispanic educational indicators also extend to high school. The most recent available data show that in 2011 only 14% of Hispanic 16- to 24-year-olds were high school dropouts, half the level in 2000 (28%). Starting from a much lower base, the high school dropout rate among whites also declined during that period (from 7% in 2000 to 5% in 2011), but did not fall by as much.
Despite the narrowing of some of these long-standing educational attainment gaps, Hispanics continue to lag whites in a number of key higher education measures. Young Hispanic college students are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), they are less likely to attend a selective college, less likely to be enrolled in college full time, and less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree.
In the future, Roddenberry envisioned race and gender as non-issues. He put Japanese-American George Takei, as Lt. Hikaru Sulu, at the helm; African-American Nichelle Nichols, as Lt. Nyota Uhura, in the communications chair; and even attempted to make the Enterprise’s first officer a woman (studio executives rejected that unsavory idea, so the alien Spock took the job). The equality on the U.S.S. Enterprise’s bridge was a watershed moment, both in television history and in Americans’ understanding of social equality.
“Most television shows, at best, follow cultural trends. Star Trek had clear-cut ideals of its own,” wrote Joan Winston, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak in their 1975 book Star Trek Lives!, the first and most definitive chronicle of the early years of Trek fandom. “No one would claim that Star Trek was the cause of all the improvement [we’ve made with problems like racism and sexism]. But it is still harder to believe that it had no effect, when twenty million people tuned in to Star Trek and saw Mr. Spock being treated as friend and brother by Captain Kirk, saw the black and the Russian and the Oriental [sic] and the Southerner and the others treating each other with respect and love.”
This heritage makes it all the more unfortunate that the progressive values of the original series seem to have faltered—and even begun trailing the mainstream—with the increasingly pointed absence of LGBT members in later iterations of the franchise, and their failure to treat sexual orientation like the same sort of non-issue that Roddenberry once envisioned for race and gender on the bridge of the Enterprise.
Remember, this isn’t an idle accusation—Richwine is part of a community of race and IQ researchers who maintain that IQ differences between racial groups are partially explained by genetics, despite the fact that there’s nothing genetic that makes someone “black” or “white.” It’s historical and social circumstance that places Barack Obama and Denzel Washington (or Ted Cruz and George Lopez) into the same category, not biology.
In other words, Richwine’s work—his premise that racial IQ differences have biological origins tied to the particular “races”—is racist by definition. There’s no other way to describe it.
It’s not yet halftime in another 13-hour workday for the hottest woman in American television: having a dress-fitting for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; picking songs and approving script edits for two of the most watched programs in prime time; taking her 1-year-old daughter to the doctor to investigate a mysterious bump.
And, most important of all, she’s got to finish writing the season finale to ABC’s hit Scandal, which draws 8.3 million viewers each week and brought in an estimated $100 million in ad revenue this season.
“If I don’t get the finale written today, someone’s going to blow my head off,” Shonda Rhimes jokes. It’s an apology for cutting short an interview at Sunset Gower Studios, the Hollywood lot where the show–about a Washington, D.C. “fixer” who’s sleeping with the President–is shot.
But the truth is they’ll wait as long as they have to for Rhimes–and for good reason. At 43 this single mother of two has become the Walt Disney Co.’s indispensable creator of an increasingly dispensable product: network television.