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Race & Racism (News)

Black, Brown and Going Green

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 03/30/2009 - 11:07am

One environmental justice advocate contends that before communities of color go green, they must confront the trauma of white privilege.© People's Grocery


Last fall, there was a Slow Food Nation event held in San Francisco. The city's Civic Center was turned into a temporary show-and-tell community garden and vendors sold overpriced organic foods. People spoke on the importance of learning to grow our own food and cook it fresh, leaving the world of microwaves and processed foods behind. At one point, my mom and I walked past a middle-aged white man speaking to a small crowd about meat recipes. He lectured on how they needed to learn to use the entire animal, leaving none to waste. My mom laughed and said to me in Tagalog, "Chinese and Filipino people have been doing that forever. This dude is so ignorant." I laughed, reminding her that all peoples before industrial capitalism used the entire animal or vegetable.

More Charges Linked to 'Racial Profiling' in San Jose

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 3:01pm

Editor’s Note: The high arrest rate of Latinos in San Jose isn’t limited to public intoxication charges. It turns out that the problem is more systemic. Data obtained from the Department of Justice shows that Latinos and blacks are also disproportionately charged with resisting arrest and other offenses in which police officers have greater discretion. Raj Jayadev is the director of Silicon Valley De-Bug and is a member of the new public intoxication task force in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The night she was arrested, Maria Castillo fit the description. A petite, 49-year-old grandmother and home healthcare worker, Castillo is Latina in San Jose – and that ethnicity, in that city, makes her the most likely person statistically to be charged with resisting arrest.

© Charisse Domingo, Silicon Valley De-BugLatinos living in San Jose have a higher risk of being charged with resisting arrest than in any other California city, according to data recently obtained from the state Department of Justice. The data comes on the heals of a major public outcry and subsequent creation of a city-appointed task force over the suspiciously high and racially disproportionate arrest rate for another charge: public intoxication in San Jose.

I first met Castillo at a raucous San Jose City Council meeting focusing on the alarming rates of public intoxication arrests that were first reported in the San Jose Mercury News in October 2008. The numbers showed 4,661 arrests in San Jose in 2007 – an arrest rate higher than any other city in California. When broken down demographically, Latinos and blacks were over-represented in San Jose arrests. In a city where Latinos account for roughly 30 percent of the population, they represented 57 percent of the public intoxication arrests in 2007.

Holder: U.S. 'a nation of cowards' on race

Submitted by News Desk on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 11:15am

WASHINGTON - Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was “a nation of cowards” on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues.

In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder said.

From Playaz to Leaderz

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/13/2009 - 1:57pm

Former gangsters help a Bay Area organization use people power to transform communities block by block.
It's 11:30 a.m. on a sunny Monday at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens. On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, United Playaz (UP) is gathering for their annual march for justice and members are out in full force. Vibrantly dressed tweens, skulking teens, young mothers pushing strollers and tough looking 30-something dudes walk toward a meeting spot at the downtown King Memorial Fountain. Young and old alike sport a distinctive black T-shirt or hoodie emblazoned with the letters "UP" and white script that reads: "It Takes the Hood to Save the Hood." For the past 15 years, United Playaz has lived their motto, uplifting communities with people power while transforming thugs into community leaders.


Activists Demand Justice For New Orleans Man

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/13/2009 - 1:05pm

A coalition of community leaders, civil rights activists and ministers gathered last week to demand justice and answers after a fatal shooting involving police that left a 22-year-old New Orleans man dead.

Adolph Grimes III was shot 14 times by plainclothes police on January 1, Twelve of those bullets entered Grimes’ body from behind, the Orleans Parish coroner’s report said.

Xenophobic Attempt to Put "English First" in Nashville Fails

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 11:42am

Editor's Note: A proposal to make English the official language of Nashville, Tenn. was defeated on Jan. 22. While the coalition that came together to defeat the measure is celebrating, English-only proponents claim they are winning in state capitols around the country. NAM contributing editor Marcelo Ballvé reports on immigration. This is part of NAM's Reports from the Frontlines.

"No más." No more. Those were the words of surrender reportedly spoken by a Nashville councilman on January 22, after voters defeated his quest to make English the city's official language.

Farm Subsidies Overwhelmingly Support White Farmers

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 11:17am


Speaking last November about his plans to address the economic crisis, President Barack Obama called out subsidy payments to “millionaire farmers” as a waste the U.S. federal budget could do without. He was reacting, in part, to a new report from the Government Accountability Office documenting tens of millions of dollars of payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to almost three thousand multimillionaires who derive most of their income from activities other than farming.


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