Black America

The Grio

  1. Wale shuts down Tomi Lahren, Twitter rejoices -

    If you aren’t yet familiar with the interesting relationship between Wale and Tomi Lahren you’ve been missing out. She states her unchecked, ignorant, hypocritical comments and he is often there to remind her that her comments are not to be …

  2. Ariana Grande announces return to Manchester for benefit concert -

    When the bombing in Manchester happened at an Ariana Grande concert happened on Monday it was announced that Grande was putting her world tour on hold, no one expected her to take to the stage this soon, especially in Manchester …

  3. Woman running for office proudly defends using n-word, cites Eddie Murphy -

    Valerie Smith, a white woman from Southhampton, Long Island things that she is entitled to use the n-word because she is a “pioneer.”

    The woman, who is running for the Village Board in Southhampton used the slur in a call …

  4. 5-year-old’s speech about “Marack Obama” goes viral -

    There is a three-part Instagram video that has gone viral of a little girl trying to understand both why Barack Obama is no longer president as well as why Donald Trump won over Hillary.

    Taylor is 5-years-old and the clips …

  5. Hillary Clinton compares Trump to Nixon in commencement speech -

    Hillary Clinton delivered a crackling commencement speech at her alma mater, Wellesley College on Friday. In it, she went after Donald Trump and his policies hard but it was the comparisons between Trump and Nixon that has really got people …

Black America Web

  1. 10 Ways Sex In A Long-Term Relationship Is Actually Great [EXCLUSIVE] - When you're in love and comfortable with someone, sex goes to a new level.
  2. Why New Virginia Teaching Law For Youth Is A Societal Failure [EXCLUSIVE] - A new Virginia law aims to teach youth how to interact with police.
  3. What Are The Most Irresistible Snacks? [EXCLUSIVE] - The morning show crew talks about their favorite snacks.
  4. Black Miss Texas Says Cop Called Her ‘Black B***h’ Before Wrongful Arrest - Miss Black Texas 2016 Carmen Ponder recently tweeted that one North Texas cop referred to her as a "Black b***h" before arresting her during a road rage incident.
  5. Wrongfully Convicted Philadelphia Man Exonerated After 24 Years - Shaurn Thomas was serving a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.

The Root

  1. Miss. Newspaper Announces Plans for ‘Gangbangers’ Rodeo’: ‘Bang, Bang, You’re Dead’ - Peter Rinaldi, owner and publisher of Miss-Lou Magazine and the Natchez Sun, has caused wide-spread anger with a racist column calling for black youth in Natchez, Miss. who may be involved in gang activity to go to a local park and murder each other for the amusement of observers. In Miss-Lou Magazine’s January 11-24, 2017 print […]
  2. The Art Speaks for Itself - Every year, our congressional representatives hold an art contest for students in their districts, with the prize being a yearlong exhibition at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It typically does not cause a murmur. This year’s unanimous winner in Missouri’s 1st District was my friend David Pulphus, a quiet, gentle, unassuming student. David’s painting […]
  3. Fla. High School Students Protest to Make African-American History a Full-Year Course - Students at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Fla., staged a sit-in earlier this week demanding a change in the way African-American history is taught in Duval County Public Schools, Action News Jax reports. The organizer of the sit-in, Angelina Roque, said that she and her other classmates wanted to protest because they believed that […]

Huffington Post – Black Voices

  1. New Orleans Principal Fired After Video Captures Him Wearing Nazi-Associated Rings -

    A charter school principal in New Orleans has lost his job after video surfaced of him appearing to wear Nazi-associated rings.

    The video, which appeared Thursday, shows then-Principal Nicholas Dean of Crescent Leadership Academy holding an American flag and a shield as he discusses talking to six journalists who “appeared to me completely soulless.”

    Dean, who identifies himself in the video as Nick Andrews, is also seen wearing a helmet, goggles, and two rings closely associated with Nazism. One appears to be of the German Iron Cross and another a skull ring that was awarded to leading members of the Nazi party, according to the local Times-Picayune. 

    “If foreigners come here with Marxist ideas and Marxist tactics ... it’s my duty to be here,” Dean can be heard saying in the video.

    Crescent Leadership Academy said Dean was terminated Thursday.

    “Educators are role models, and they should prioritize this sacred role above all else,” Superintendent Kunjan Narechania said in a statement. “While the circumstances surrounding this decision are regrettable and damaging, I appreciate the board making a swift decision so that school can move forward and so that our community can continue to heal.” 

    Dean’s firing came as he was already being investigated after photos emerged of the principal standing next to a Confederate flag and a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee prior to its removal earlier this month.

    “I didn’t go to protest for either side,” Dean told the Times-Picayune at the time. “I went because I am a historian, educator and New Orleans resident who wanted to observe this monumental event,” he said. “People who know me know that I am a crusader for children and I fight tirelessly on their behalf.”

    But an investigation by the Times-Picayune also turned up a podcast that Dean was featured on ― under the alias Nick Andrews ― where he discusses his work in predominantly black schools.

    “I started seeing how the black community looked at each other and how race and tribe is so powerful for them, and I really respected that,” Dean says in the podcast. “Even though they fight a lot, kind of tribally, there’s a sense of unity among blacks that’s just understood. That was when I began my own kind of identity, if you will, quest.” 

    In the podcast, Dean refers to Take ‘Em Down NOLA ― a group that has advocated for removing Confederate monuments ― as a “black supremacy movement.” 

    Dean says in the podcast that he is not a white supremacist, but that by other people’s definition of one, he “most certainly” is. He adds that going to graduate school with “radical leftists” changed his worldview.

    “If these people get their way, I don’t exist,” Dean says.

    New Orleans has recently made a massive push to remove Confederate monuments in the city. After Robert E. Lee’s statue was taken down, Mayor Mitch Landrieu made an impassioned speech celebrating the removal.

    “These statues are not just stone and metal,” Landrieu told a crowd at Gallier Hall. “They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for.”

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  2. Reporter's Reaction To 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Ride Is A Joy To Behold -

    Cory James will likely think twice about broadcasting live from a theme park ride again.

    The news reporter for ABC30 gave viewers a preview of the revamped “Guardians of the Galaxy”-themed ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park on Friday.

    But it’s his terrified reaction to the experience that’s now going viral.

    Hilarious video shows him screaming as the elevator-style ride goes up and down. Making it funnier still is the composed nature of his fellow passengers, who appear totally tranquil in comparison.

    “This was not a good idea,” says James once the ride, which opened Saturday, has “thankfully” ended.

    He later lightheartedly tweeted about the ordeal being “traumatic.”

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  3. New Republican Bill Makes Suing Cops For Civil Rights Violations Really Tough -

    WASHINGTON ― A pair of bills introduced in the House and the Senate would make assaulting law enforcement officers a federal offense and suing cops for civil rights violations more difficult. 

    Under the Back the Blue Act, introduced on May 16 by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in the Senate and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) in the House, suing cops in federal court for violating the constitutional rights of civilians will be limited.

    The bill introduced in the Senate states that individuals who were “engaged in felonies or crimes of violence” would be blocked from receiving damages for any violations that occurred during “any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in the judicial capacity of that officer.” 

    So, even if the individual can prove their rights were violated by an officer, police departments would be able to claim an individual’s injuries were a result of that person’s conduct which, to quote the bill, “more likely than not, constituted a felony or a crime of violence.”

    It would also treat assault on a police officer leading to bodily harm as a federal crime carrying a mandatory minimum of two to 10 years in prison, depending on if the harm was minor, “substantial” or “serious.” If a weapon was used during the assault, the charge would carry a 20 year mandatory minimum regardless of the harm inflicted on the officer. 

    Both caveats would have brash consequences for civilians ― particularly black and Latinx people who tend to have more unnecessary contact with law enforcement. For instance, an officer could justify their use of excessive force by charging someone with felony assault ― an issue explained by HuffPost in January regarding Louisiana’s law that made attacks on police a “hate crime.”

    It could also have an impact on political demonstrations. For example if a police officer attempts to restrain a protester and that person makes a movement the officer interprets as threatening, a minor trespassing or disturbing the peace charge could be upgraded to assault.

    But in light of the new bill, a civilian, regardless of whether or not they were “engaged in felonies,” could be hit with a federal charge and possible federal prison time without the option to seek damages for a civil rights violation. 

    The proposed law would also make it a federal offense to murder, attempt to murder or conspiring to murder a federal judge, a first responder or a state or local law enforcement official who works for any agency that receives federal funding. And almost all law enforcement agencies ― including local police departments ― receive federal funding.

    Defendants, if found guilty, would face the federal death penalty and a mandatory minimum of 30 years in federal prison.

    The bill also mandates that no more than $20 million be granted to local law enforcement agencies so that they can “promote trust and ensure legitimacy” with the communities they serve. 

    If passed, the bill could be legally redundant. All 50 states have statutes, or “aggravating factors,” that automatically increase the penalties for violent attacks on law enforcement officers, according to the Anti-Defamation League. And Louisiana and Kentucky have made violent attacks on police a hate crime in the past year.

    Cornyn and Poe both introduced the same bill last year.

    Cornyn has said the bill was a way of showing “unparalleled support” to law enforcement.

    “Law enforcement officers selflessly put their lives on the line everyday to protect our communities, and in return they deserve our unparalleled support for the irreplaceable role they serve,” Cornyn told The Dallas Morning News last year. “The Back the Blue Act sends a clear message that our criminal justice system simply will not tolerate those who viciously and deliberately target our law enforcement.”

    Poe has made similar comments.

    Cornyn and Poe’s offices did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

    The 2016 bills didn’t pass, but the political climate was different. Former President Barack Obama’s administration focused on sentencing reforms and prosecutors placing crimes into context when deciding on prison time. Obama was also vocal about the need to reform police departments and better their relationship with the communities they serve. 

    President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has vowed to be harder on crime and end what he calls the “anti-police atmosphere” in the U.S. Trump has said protests against widely-publicized police violence has provoked the murder of police officers and that calls for reform are “anti-law enforcement.” He also believes that calls for police accountability have caused a “war on cops.” 

    May 10 memo from current Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed Obama’s policy, mandating that federal prosecutors “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” possible against defendants charged with a federal crime. The memo also requires federal prosecutors to get approval from the U.S. Attorney or an assistant Attorney General if they wish to pursue a lesser charge. 

    The Back the Blue Act, if passed, would take prosecutorial aggressiveness a step further.  

    Currently, any attacks on law enforcement are handled by state and local jurisdictions. This would continue under the law unless the U.S. attorney doesn’t like the way a case is being handled, which could pose an issue since many jurisdictions have elected district attorneys looking to reform criminal sentencing laws and police departments. As criminal justice reporter Radley Balko explained in The Washington Post:

    In a few places, such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Houston, the new DAs were elected specifically after campaigning on policing issues, or in response to a past incumbent’s inattention to police abuse. If this bill passes, a U.S. attorney more sympathetic to law enforcement could thwart those efforts by, for example, charging a high-profile victim of police abuse with the new federal crime of assaulting a police officer. It wouldn’t be difficult. We’ve seen plenty of video now where a clear victim of police brutality was initially arrested and charged with battering one of the officers who beat him. 

    If the new bill were to go into effect, federal prosecutors would have full discretion to overrule a state or local court if “the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence” or if “a prosecution by the United States is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice.”

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  4. We Pay Low Prices For Chinese Food Because Of Racial Biases About ‘Cheap’ Labor -

    You may not think it, but there’s a direct relationship between plunging your chopsticks into that white, quart-sized box of cheaply priced Chinese food — and a laborer diligently driving a spike to lay the railroad tracks that became the gateway to the American West. 

    May, which is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, marks the anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was largely built by Chinese immigrants from 1864 to 1869, working at a grueling pace for less money than white workers. And these labor practices have an impact today on how much we’re willing to pay for Chinese food ― rooted in a perception that Chinese labor is inherently “cheap,” historians say.

    The earliest Chinese restaurants in America were created for Chinese railroad laborers, who were under contract and lacked negotiating power as they laid tracks from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento, California ― cutting through the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. With Chinese laborers earning an estimated two-thirds of what white workers made, owners had to keep restaurant prices low, Beatrice Chen, programming vice president at the Museum of Chinese in America, explained to HuffPost. 

    The mainstream American consumer mindset is that there is a ceiling to how much we’re willing to pay for Chinese food.

    “This perception of Chinese restaurants has stuck, even though high-end Chinese restaurants in Asia are common and popular,” Chen said. “The mainstream American consumer mindset is that there is a ceiling to how much we’re willing to pay for Chinese food, even if they are made with the same fresh ingredients and intricate cooking techniques as say, French or Japanese cuisine.”

    ‘Cheap Labor’ And ‘Job Stealers’

    The railroad also laid the foundation for perceptions of Chinese people themselves. White workers at the time were unionizing, and were less willing to work for lower wages. Railroad executives had been skeptical of the aptitude of Chinese workers, but the laborers set out to prove them wrong, Chen explained.

    “This led to the general perception that Chinese were willing to work for lower wages and were job stealers,” she said. 

    But what was perceived as a robotic work ethic might have just been survival, Beth Lew-Williams, an assistant professor at Princeton specializing in Asian American history, told HuffPost in an interview in December. She pointed out a discriminatory labor system within the railroad. 

    Chinese were paid less, given the worst strenuous jobs. People against the Chinese saw this as revealing of their innate nature.

    “It was a race-based dual wage system at the time,” Lew-Williams said. “Chinese were paid less, given the worst strenuous jobs. People against the Chinese saw this as revealing of their innate nature. That Chinese were fundamentally ‘cheap’ labor and designed to do this back-breaking labor.”

    On top of negative perceptions, Chinese contributions were largely erased through history. Chen said that of the 17,000 railroad workers, 15,000 were Chinese, though estimates vary. A photo below of the final stake being driven into the track at Promontory Summit, Utah, would have people believe they didn’t contribute at all.

    “I hope that telling and disseminating American history told from Asian American perspectives will illuminate that Asian Americans are not necessarily quiet (per the stereotype), but rather, Asian American history/stories and perspectives tend to be silenced in the mainstream,” Chen said. 

    Building A Railroad, And Then Banned

    Following completion of the tracks, the U.S. implemented the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, stemming further immigration of Chinese laborers. It was the first major law that banned a group’s immigration to the U.S. based on ethnicity.

    “The Chinese were originally seen as racially unassimilable,” Lew-Williams said. “They could not become Americanized. They were simultaneously racially inferior, backwards, savage heathen ― and in some dangerous ways ― superior.”

    The act was technically repealed on Dec. 17, 1943, allowing 105 Chinese visas per year. The measure was largely seen as an attempt to maintain U.S.-China relationships against Japan during World War II.

    In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act fully reversed exclusionary practices, which some historians say was meant to prop up Asians as the “model minority” during the Civil Rights movement ― sending a message to other minority groups. 

    An Immigrant Story For Today 

    Much has been written about the dangers in grouping together Asian Americans as a model minority monolith and erasing the experiences of immigrants. Peter Kwong, a former Asian American studies professor at Hunter College, pointed out that the struggles of the original Chinese Americans have persisted.

    “Because some Chinese people succeeded doesn’t mean working-class Chinese have the same capability and upward mobility. It’s a class issue,” Kwong told HuffPost in an interview before he died in March.  

    It may be that food is the easiest lens through which to view such thorny topics as class, race, social mobility and how much value we place on a given culture. 

    If you take price as a surrogate for prestige ... there are some cuisines we are willing to pay for and some we are not willing to pay for, and that is related partly, I think, to how we evaluate those national cultures and their people.

    Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University, has written about the topic, and said that we might simply hold less veneration for food from certain countries that we see as less well-off. 

    “If you take price as a surrogate for prestige ... there are some cuisines we are willing to pay for and some we are not willing to pay for, and that is related partly, I think, to how we evaluate those national cultures and their people,” Ray said in Voice of America. 

    Eddie Huang, owner of Baohaus and a host on Vice, often talks about how mainstream appreciation of food and culture remain a barometer for how conditional your status is as a foreigner, and of your stock value in America. 

    Huang has expressed dismay that immigrants like his parents feel they have to work harder just to achieve the same pay as non-immigrants. And thumbing his nose to any such established expectation, Huang has said in the past

    “I sell Taiwanese gua bao for a full f**king price in America.”  

    Read more from HuffPost on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. 

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  5. Alabama Tweaks White Supremacist Law To Potentially Restore Voting Rights To Thousands -

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a law this week to clarify language in the state constitution that many say worked to systematically prevent African-Americans from voting.

    During a 1901 constitutional convention openly called to establish white supremacy in the state, the Alabama constitution was amended to disenfranchise anyone who had committed a misdemeanor of “moral turpitude.” The Supreme Court found the language unconstitutional in 1985. But lawmakers altered the language slightly ― making it apply only to felonies ― and reinserted it into the constitution in the 1990s.

    And because there wasn’t a set definition of which felonies constituted a crime of moral turpitude, local election officials had broad authority to deny people the right to vote.

    People who have been convicted of such crimes could vote if they paid fines and fees ― something that effectively constitutes a poll tax. Some 250,000 people were disenfranchised because of the law, including about 15 percent of the state’s African-American voting population and less than 5 percent of its white population.

    The law Ivey signed this week defines fewer than 50 crimes ― offenses including murder, kidnapping and rape ― that constitute a felony of “moral turpitude.”

    “Up until the passage of this bill, there was absolutely no definition of who had the right to vote and who didn’t,” said Danielle Lang, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, which brought a lawsuit against Alabama last year over the moral turpitude law.

    “The result of that, I think, is that by and large almost everyone was deterred from applying to vote because you were asked to sign under penalty of perjury that you had not been convicted of a disqualifying felony,” she said. “Well, there was no way to know if your felony was disqualifying or not.”

    Up until the passage of this bill, there was absolutely no definition of who had the right to vote and who didn’t.
    Danielle Lang, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center

    It is unclear how many people will be affected by the change, but the Southern Poverty Law Center estimates it could be thousands. Yet some say the new law doesn’t go far enough to address racial disparities in the law because it doesn’t include white-collar crimes such as fraud and public corruption.

    Lang said she’s still waiting to see data addressing the racial impact of the new moral turpitude definitions, but that she thinks some of them are puzzling.

    “The absence of white-collar crimes in general are kind of glaring. Why theft crimes would be included, but other kind of white-collar crimes that are the equivalent of theft, like fraud type of crimes, is confusing to me,” she said. “It leads one to wonder whether it has to do with who falls into those different categories.”

    She added that much of the success of the new law will depend on how much communication there is to voters ― for example, whether the state informs people who were kicked off the voting rolls that they are now eligible to vote.

    Lang noted people who do commit crimes of moral turpitude under the new law would still be subject to paying fees or fines, something she said she’d continue to try to get removed.

    “I can’t really imagine how it’s anything other than a poll tax,” she said. “If you have two individuals who are similarly situated that have exactly the same crimes, the only distinction between whether or not they can vote, is whether they can afford to pay the fines and fees the state has assessed against them.”

    Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) used an analogy about ice cream as he dismissed concerns that the new law still could deprive many people of the right to vote.

    “If we had a stand in Anytown, U.S.A., and in that stand on Main Street we’re giving out ice cream,” he told ThinkProgress. “Anybody can come. They can only get one cone and it’s vanilla. There’s going to be some people who are gonna cry because they can’t get but one scoop, and there’s gonna be some people who are gonna cry because we don’t have chocolate.”

    “I don’t worry about the people who want two scoops,” he said, “and I don’t worry about the people who want a different flavor.”

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