Breaking News

When the past is present…


Unequal Pain Relief in the Emergency Room

By Nicolas Bakalar, The New York Times

Black and Hispanic children who go to an emergency room with stomach pain are less likely than white children to receive pain medication, a new study reports, and more likely to spend long hours in the emergency room.

Black children were about 68 percent more likely than white children to spend longer than six hours in the emergency room for the same illness.

Black children were about 68 percent more likely than white children to spend longer than six hours in the emergency room for the same illness.

The analysis, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, examined the records of 2,298 emergency room visits by people under 21, a nationally representative sample from a large survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 53 percent were white, 24 percent non-Hispanic black, 21 percent Hispanic, and the rest from other ethnic or racial groups.

Over all, 27.1 percent of white children with severe pain received analgesics, but only 15.8 percent of blacks, 18.9 percent of Hispanics and 7.1 percent of children of other races did.

Black children were about 68 percent more likely than white children to spend longer than six hours in the emergency room, although there were no statistically significant differences among races in results for any diagnostic test.

“This data set will not answer the question of why,” said the lead author, Dr. Tiffani J. Johnson, an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It could be that white parents are more likely to ask for pain meds, or that minority patients are likely to get care in E.R.’s that have longer wait times. And it could be racial bias.”


Hollywood’s Race Problem

By Kia Makarechi,

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejofor, ’12 Years a Slave’

In bleak situations, incremental improvements can be mistaken for big time progress. So it goes with Hollywood’s consistent inability to include actors of color.

Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' ''The Butler'

Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ ”The Butler’

Popular critical consensus suggests that we may have as many as four black Best Actor nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”), Forest Whitaker (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”) and Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”). Ejiofor is currently favored to win the category, where he’ll probably be joined by the likes of Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”), Robert Redford (“All Is Lost”) and Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”).

That these men of color are even being discussed in awards blogger circles is certainly cause for celebration, because each of their films presents a perspective that doesn’t get much play in Hollywood. But insofar as these four movies are important, they are also limited by their veracity. They’re all based on true stories (…)

Put another way, these roles have to be played by black actors. Each of these men has more than earned the nominations they’re expected to receive (now’s a good time to pinch in some salt: awards bloggers love to shower performances with praise, but nominations are certainly not guaranteed), but the fact that they’re generally only rewarded for roles that literally could not have been given to white actors is cause for concern. (…)

Idris Elba, 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

Idris Elba, ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

The situation isn’t much better at the Golden Globes, where Morgan Freeman’s performance as a chauffeur who triumphs over racism in “Driving Miss Daisy” joins the otherwise identical list of Best Actor winners. (Nor, it’s worth noting, does the picture improve when including Best Actor nominees at the Oscars, a class that includes blacks playing “black roles” such as Will Smith in “Ali,” Don Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda,” Terrence Howard in “Hustle & Flow,” Freeman in “Invictus,” Washington in “Malcom X,” Laurence Fishburne in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” etc.) (…)

Michael B. Jordan, 'Fruitvale Station'

Michael B. Jordan, ‘Fruitvale Station’

True equality in the Best Actor race doesn’t mean only rewarding black men in roles white men could never play. Instead, we’ll know when Hollywood casting directors and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences view people of color as deserving of equal opportunities to shine when a black man in the role of a fictional caring father, son, teacher, student, doctor, author or otherwise non-racially coded character is nominated for and wins Best Actor. (…)

To read the full article, click here.

For more breaking news, click here. 


‘Because You’re Black’

By Nathan Place and Erin Durkin,


Framboise Patisserie

At the Framboise Patisserie in Middle Village, Queens, the pastries are elegant, the cakes are custom-made — and city officials say the hiring is discriminatory.“I can’t hire you because you’re black,” Jamilah DaCosta, 25, said she heard when she applied for a job working the counter at the cozy French bake shop.

The Rego Park woman interviewed with co-owner Patty Meimetea in October 2011 but was told she wouldn’t be a good fit for the “counter girl” position because black workers in the front of the store would scare away customers, according to findings by the city Human Rights Commission.

After an investigation and a trial, the commission last week fined the bakery $25,000 for racial and gender discrimination for weeding out DaCosta because of her race and discouraging men from applying for the job with a gender-specific “counter girl” ad on Craigslist.


Jamilah DaCosta, 25

“I felt hurt. I was disgusted,” DaCosta said of her experience at Framboise Patisserie. “Before I could even pull out my resume or start a formal interview, she was telling me all this negative stuff — she couldn’t hire me because I was black, I would scare away her customers.”

According to DaCosta and the commission, when DaCosta came in for the interview, Meimetea quickly started quizzing her about her nationality. DaCosta said she was American, but after the owner pressed her, she said she was Jamaican and Lebanese, according to the decision.

She told DaCosta her husband would be angry if she hired a black worker for the counter — and said she would hire her if there were a job open in the kitchen, where no one would see her.(…)

A shaken DaCosta cried in her car after the disastrous interview.

“They’re not judging me on my personality, but my skin color. What century are we living in?” she said. “I thought I had thick skin, I thought I could withstand anything, but it just completely broke me down.”(…)

The $25,000 penalty the commission ordered the bakery to pay includes $10,000 in damages to DaCosta, a $10,000 fine for racial discrimination for the shop’s treatment of DaCosta, and a $5,000 fine for gender discrimination for the “counter girl” ad.

 To catch the full article, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.


Hate Crime Punished With Excecution

By Julie Carr Smyth,

A white gunman who spewed racial slurs before fatally shooting a black man and a police officer in a 1994 rampage that prosecutors called one of Ohio’s worst crimes was put to death Wednesday with the state’s last dose of its execution drug. (…)

130827080135_Harry Mitts

Harry Mitts Jr.

Mitts was convicted of aggravated murder and attempted murder in the August 1994 rampage against random neighbors and responding police officers at his apartment complex in a Cleveland suburb.

Wielding a gun with a laser sight and later other weapons, he first shouted racial epithets and killed Bryant, a neighbor’s boyfriend who was black, then shot and killed Glivar, who was white, as he responded to the scene. Mitts also shot and wounded two other police officers.

Thomas Kaiser, Glivar’s partner and a witness to Wednesday’s execution, said Mitts’ death did little to blunt the damage the lengthy case has caused.

“I don’t believe justice has been served,” said Kaiser, another of Mitts’ shooting victims. “Justice should not take 19 years for a case that had nothing — there was no ineffective counsel, there was no chance there was another suspect, none of the normal defenses that you hear. There was none of that in this case.” (…)


Garfield Heights police Sargent Dennis Glivar killed by Mitts.

He said he wasn’t a racist and didn’t remember directing slurs at Bryant before shooting him. He said he couldn’t say why he didn’t shoot two white neighbors he encountered ahead of Bryant. Bryant’s sister, Johnnal, said Wednesday that Mitts’ execution gave her at least some closure after 19 years — but she can’t yet grant his wish to forgive a crime based on the color of her brother’s skin.


To catch the full story, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.


Act Like a Slave?

By Jamil Smith,

When James Baker heard the words “Nature’s Classroom” in reference to the Massachusetts location of his 12-year-old daughter’s forthcoming four-day field trip, he thought she and her fellow students would “just be going to learn what side of the tree moss grows on.” Instead, as he and his wife Sandra described Sunday on Melissa Harris-Perry, his daughter was terrified by the slavery re-enactment she and her classmates had participated in during the last day of the trip.

News of the activity came as a shock both to Sandra Baker—and according to her, the students themselves.qwrrty

“They spent three days having fun before they even brought the kids to the field to do the experiment,” Baker told Harris-Perry. “The kids had no indication this was going to happen. They surprised them.”

According to testimony the Bakers offered in conjunction with their human rights complaint filed last week with the Hartford Board of Education, their daughter said that she was packed together with other students in a dark room to simulate being on a slave ship and hiding in the woods from their “white masters,” and instructors told her things such as “We don’t need any sick slaves. If you get sick, we will throw you overboard.” The 12-year-old was told to play a slave in the Underground Railroad, and heard things like “n*gger, if you can read, there is a problem,” “Dumb, dark skinned Negro person, how dare you look at me?”

Nature’s Classroom offered a lengthy online statement explaining that the organization first developed the Underground Railroad activity “about 20 years ago.” Harris-Perry argued that schools would never permit students to learn about rape or the September 11 attacks by re-enacting them. Khalil Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, offered the example of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a way to illustrate historical horror effectively, yet without the emotional trauma associated with the actual experience, and cited the Schomburg Center’s recent course for young people at a pace appropriate for each age level. (…)

“It’s built into our DNA, this contrasting metaphor between liberty and slavery,” Muhammad said on Sunday’s MHP. “But also the economic footprint of slavery made America the wealthiest nation in the world, and shortened the time for that development. So we’ve got to start dealing with the importance of slavery from the very beginning…it can’t be some random Wednesday on some random field trip where all of a sudden, you drop down and you’re in the middle of the Underground Railroad reenactment.” (…)

To catch the full story, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.



New Mandela Film Well Received in South Africa

By Ron Allen,,


Nelson Mandela and life long friend Ahmed Kathrada

I think he would be pleased.” The words of Ahmed Kathrada, one of Nelson Mandela’s closest confidants, giving what he thinks would be Mandela’s assessment of the new film based on his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. “This will be the first fairly complete resume of his life from childhood onward,” Kathrada said. He is a legendary ant-apartheid activist himself, and former political prisoner with Mandela on the notorious Robben Island. (…)

This dramatic look at Mandela’s life is perhaps even more poignant now, with Mandela still in critical condition at home. It’s now been more than 100 days since he became seriously ill early in June. Kathrada, who rarely speaks about Mandela’s condition publicly, revealed that he visited Mandela in the hospital about a month ago. (…)images-9

is a powerful epic that begins with Mandela as an 8-year-old growing up in the rural hinterland. The story moves chronologically to Mandela as a teenager, then as a 35-year-old firebrand activist and attorney. It culminates with Mandela as the newly elected president of South Africa.

“It’s an opportunity to engage the legacy,” said Luvuyo Mandela, 29, one of Mandela’s great-grand children, also there for the screening. “What is it that you think [Mandela] would want people to take from the film,” I asked. “That he was a human being, he came from humble beginnings and he rose to what people may call his calling in life,” the young Mandela, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, said, adding, “if you feel there’s something in your community in your sphere of influence that your can positively affect, do so.” (…)


Idris Elba will be playing Nelson Mandela in the upcoming film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

While there have been several films about aspects of Mandela’s life, like Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, with Morgan Freeman as Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom is truly unique because Mandela commissioned it himself. He personally selected South African filmmaker Anant Singh to produce it. A project that Singh says started 25 years ago, when he first sent a letter to Mandela, while he was still in prison, raising the possibility of making a movie about his iconic life.

“It has been a huge responsibility,” says Singh of the 35-million-dollar production. Not huge by Hollywood blockbuster standards, but the biggest budget film ever done in South Africa by South Africans. “ I think audiences around the world are ready for this epic biopic,” Singh said. He’s just back from the Toronto film festival, where the entire movie was shown. He says the audience gave a standing ovation that lasted through seven minutes of closing credits. The film, he said, “is touching people’s hearts.”(…)

To read more on this article, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.




What is a “Black Name”?

By Jamelle Bouie,

Reddit isn’t just a clearinghouse for interviews, animal pictures, and crazy stories. It’s also a place where people ask questions and have discussions. (…) One user wondered about “black” names, posing a question to the “Black American parents of Reddit,” as he put it. “Before racism is called out, I have plenty of black friends,” he noted, raising the question of why he didn’t ask these alleged friends. “[I’m] just curious why you name your kids names like D’brickishaw, Barkevious D’quell and so on?”imgres-9

Setting aside the many problems with this question—for one, “Black American parents” aren’t a monolith–there’s an actual answer here. In  a 2003 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economist Roland Fryer found two things. First, that names like Reginald and Kiara are far more likely among black children than names like Jake and Molly, and second, that this is a recent development. In the 1960s, Anglo-American names were common among African American children. It wasn’t until the 1970s and the rise of the Black Power movement that this shifted in the other direction. ”The underlying philosophy of the Black Power movement,“ writes Fryer, ”was to encourage Blacks to accentuate and affirm black culture and fight the claims of black inferiority.” The adoption of “black” names is consistent with other cultural changes—like “natural hair”—prompted by the movement. African Americans wanted to distinguish themselves from whites, and naming was an easy means to the end.

Of course, there are plenty of African Americans who give their kids Anglo names. The idea that they don’t—that all black parents use the same naming convention—is ridiculous. (…)


Stereotypical List of “Black Names”

If there is a question worth asking about race and naming, it’s not “why do black people use these names?” it’s “why do we only focus on black people in these conversations?” Indeed, there’s a whole universe of (hacky) jokes premised on the assumed absurdity of so-called “ghetto” names. Derision for these names—and often, the people who have them—is culturally acceptable. (…)

It should be said that this has material consequences in the real world. Research has consistently found  that job applicants with “black-sounding” names are more likely to be rejected, regardless of qualifications. If races are our castes, then this makes sense, since—in a caste system—your status is mostly a function of your position. “Latoya” could be well-qualified for the law firm she applies to, but there’s a fair chance her “black” name marks her as undesirable. (…)

To read the full article, click here.

To read more breaking news, click here.



Tiana Parker Hair Controversy

By Rebecca Klein,

Controversy continues to brew over an Oklahoma charter school’s dress code banning “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks and other faddish styles.”

The policy rose to national prominence last week when 7-year-old Tiana Parker spoke out about being reprimanded by Deborah Brown Community School officials for wearing dreadlocks.url

State legislators are trying to coordinate a review of the policy.

“We are working to bring the school administrators and board members together with the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus members to coordinate a review of these policies,” said state Senator Kevin Matthews (D-Tulsa) in a statement released to media. “Although direct legislative action is not an option of addressing the issue in the short term, school policies can be addressed, reviewed or changed by the Deborah Brown Community School’s internal board.” (…)A1parker0910

Tiana’s parents pulled her out of Deborah Brown after school officials said her hair was not “presentable.” The school’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted after a barrage of comments accused the dress code of being racist. A petition calling for the school to publicly apologize to Parker and change its policy had amassed more than 19,000 signatures by Monday afternoon. (…)

A school board meeting that will address the policy is reportedly taking place Monday evening, according to the Tulsa World. (…)

To read the full article, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.


Teenage Waitress Receives Racist Tip

By Sara C Nelson,


Image of receipt

Toni Christina Jenkins had just finished serving a couple at the Red Lobster restaurant in Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, when she discovered the slur. In the slip for the $45 dinner, one of the customers had written ‘none’ in the tip line, and the word ‘ni**er’ beneath it.

Jenkins, who is studying to be a nurse, posted the receipt on her Facebook account, along with the explanation: “This is what I got as a tip last night… so happy to live in the proud southern states…God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee.” (…)


Toni Christina Jenkins

The 19-year-old added: “They were extremely rude, but I introduced myself to them and they didn’t respond. When I came to take their order they simply told me they wanted their food and to put everything in a to-go box.” Yet since the image went viral, some have suggested Jenkins added the insult herself because she was bitter she hadn’t received a tip. (…)

Jenkins confirmed on Facebook she is now being “harassed” about the validity of the receipt but thanked her supporters, calling on them to continue sharing the image, because: “the more you share the more awareness we create.”


To read more on this article, click here.

For more breaking news, click here.


Freedom House Church Not So Free

By Carrie Healey,


Local News Coverage of Controversial Email

The lead pastor of Freedom House Church in North Carolina sent an e-mail to her congregation requesting that “only white people” serve as greeters. Carmen Thomas, an African-American member of the church, reached out to WBTV upon receiving the e-mail.

“I was floored,” Thomas said during an interview with the local station. “Like it was a jaw dropper. You can put a white face all over the front door. But when you come through those doors, you’re going to see African-Americans, you’re gonna see Asians. You’re going to see people of color.”


Image of Paster Makeda Pennycooke

Paster Makeda Pennycooke, a black woman, is the author of the controversial e-mail.In the e-mail Pastor Pennycooke says “first impressions matter” and that the church wants “the best of the best on the front doors.” (…)


Pieces of Controversial Email


“Too black. It wasn’t a conclusion that I drew. It was something I read,” she said.

“Perhaps you believe that with a certain congregation that eventually your finances are going to run out because maybe we aren’t the moneymakers,” Thomas said. (…)


To read the full article click, here.

For more breaking news click, here.