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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Black Folks and Uber/Lyft/Flywheel

Massive discrimination by Uber et al drivers.

Black people can’t get Uber drivers to pick them up, and women have drivers who want to pick them up too much

Black people can't get Uber drivers to pick them up, and women have drivers who want to pick them up too much

A new study published Monday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that racial and gender discrimination are rampant among Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel drivers.

 The study, which studied the behavior of UberX, Lyft, and Flywheel drivers in Seattle and Boston, appeared on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s website. It involved nearly 1,500 rides across both cities.

It found that male customers with names that sounded African-American were more than twice as likely to have their rides canceled by the drivers than their white counterparts (11.2 percent to 4.5 percent), while women with African-American names were nearly twice as likely to experience that outcome than white women (8.4 percent to 5.4 percent). In areas with low population densities, the cancellation rate for African Americans skyrocketed to 15.7 percent —three times that of white males.

Similarly, black customers in Seattle could expect to wait an average of 8 percent longer than white customers in terms of overall time. Women in Boston were driven an average of 6 percent further than men. Both women and African-Americans in general had to face slightly longer and often more expensive rides as a result of drivers either choosing longer routes or simply taking more time during the ride itself.

Many of the female students in Boston also reported that drivers tended to take up more time forcing conversation with them, with the researcher observing that the motive “appears to be a combination of profiteering and flirting to a captive audience.” Even though the routes were pre-planned to not exceed a mile or two (and thus limit the study’s cost), male drivers frequently took female drivers on much longer rides, with one participant recalling a driver going through the same intersection three time during a single trip.

“It seems to be a few bad actors,” explained Stephen M. Zoepf, the executive director for the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford and one of the study’s authors. “A few drivers were taking routes that were five-times as long as they should be.”

While the especially creepy behavior seems to be limited to a handful of drivers, though, the overall pattern of sexist and racist discrimination is quite prevalent. It is clear that Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel need to find ways of guaranteeing that their companies don’t become yet one more haven for white male privilege.

 

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Autistic 15 Year OLd Black KId Assaulted by White Man – Police Refuse to Prosecute

Like a kid in track shots and a High School labelled T is a threat…

This one is utter bullshit by the Syracuse Police.

Autistic black teen got lost running a 5K — and was assaulted by a man who feared getting mugged

For more than two years, Clarise Coleman faithfully attended every track practice and every cross-country meet for her son, Chase.

Part of it was being a supportive parent, proud that Chase had finally found “his sport.” Coleman loved the camaraderie that the cross-country team gave her 15-year-old freshman, even if it meant frequently road-tripping from their home in Syracuse for meets all around New York state.

But as the mother of a nearly nonverbal autistic child, Coleman also knew that she needed to be there for Chase in case he needed help. She often scouted out racecourses ahead of time, noting where the lanky teenager might get lost or confused, as he often did.

A few weeks ago, her worst fears came true when Chase — who was running in a meet in Rochester, N.Y., with his team from Corcoran High School — was assaulted by a stranger in the middle of a race.

Coleman had been waiting for him near the reservoir in Cobb’s Hill Park, at a part of the course where runners would come down a hill — but Chase never appeared. So as she often would do at meets, she went looking for him.

“I started walking that direction, and I’m screaming his name out: ‘Keep going, Chase!’” Coleman told The Washington Post. “And a young lady came up to me and said, ‘Are you looking for one of your runners?’ … She said, ‘Some man just assaulted him.’ ”

Coleman ran in the direction the woman pointed and soon saw her son walking toward her, accompanied by a bicyclist who had assisted him.

“I asked, ‘Is Chase okay?’ ” Coleman said, adding that one often needs to speak to Chase in the third person. “I check his body. I’m checking his face. I pulled his shirt. ‘Show Mommy where Chase hurts.’ ”

Chase put his hand on his back. “Back,” he said. 

When Coleman was told what witnesses saw, her fears deepened.

The female witness, identified in a police report as Collin Thompson, told police that she had seen Chase running in the middle of the road. Thompson then witnessed an older white male get out of his car, according to a police incident report. Thompson said the man approached Chase and pushed him to the ground, after which he yelled, “Get out of here.”

The other witness, Kris Van Metter, told Syracuse.com that he had just finished a bicycle ride when he saw the same scene.

“I see a grown man, who is quite tall and fairly heavy … exit the vehicle and give this young man a shove that puts him back 10 feet and flat on his butt,” Van Metter told the news site. “Like, just shoved him across the road. The kid didn’t seem to be doing anything but standing there, obviously had nothing in his hands and weighed all of 130 pounds. This guy was easily twice that.”

Neither Thompson nor Van Metter could be reached Sunday.

They had, however, caught the man’s license plate number and police used it to track down a 57-year-old man named Martin MacDonald at his home in Pittsford, a suburb of Rochester, the incident report said.

When a deputy visited MacDonald’s home, he admitted he had pushed Chase to the ground, the report said.

“When [the deputy] asked him why he did that, he replied that he thought Chase was going to mug his wife and take her purse,” the incident report said. “MacDonald’s wife was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the [incident]. When [the deputy] asked him why he thought that, MacDonald told him that some youths had broke into his car recently and that crossed his mind. MacDonald went on to say that Chase wasn’t responding to him telling him to move out of the road.”

Coleman said the Rochester police relayed MacDonald’s explanation to her — noting that it had been black youths who had allegedly broken into MacDonald’s car — and she was aghast that this could be used to justify an attack on Chase.

“I said, impossible. That’s a lie. Chase don’t even know how to defend himself. What? He can barely ride a bike,” Coleman said. “[Chase] was in a uniform. He had a number pinned to him. How did you think that he was out trolling to steal your car? … You can’t tell me that it wasn’t because my son wasn’t black. There were Asian kids, there were Caucasian kids. But you picked the black kid to say, ‘That crossed my mind’?” …Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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NAACP Sues North Carolina

Hmmmmmmm….At Last! North Carolina has been arbitrarily cancelling voter registrations. You can guess in one of whose registrations are being cancelled.

North Carolina NAACP Sues State Over Voter Suppression

Thousands of voter registrations have been canceled with barely a week to go to Election Day.

The North Carolina NAACP has filed a federal lawsuit to stop county election boards in the state from canceling voter registrations ― in what the group argues is an effort by the state Republican Party to suppress the black vote.

Thousands of voter registrations have already been canceled by election boards in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties because a mailing to the voters’ addresses was returned as undeliverable.

“The Tar Heel state is ground zero in the intentional surgical efforts by Republicans — or extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party — to suppress the vote of voters,” said Rev. William Barber, the North Carolina NAACP president, on Monday. “The NAACP is defending the rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election.”

The NAACP is also seeking to have the canceled registrations restored.

Many of the voters still live at the addresses listed on their voter registrations or have moved to other residences within the same county, meaning they can still vote in that county, according to the NAACP lawsuit. The complaint argues that canceling those registrations was a violation of the National Voting Registration Act.

Under the NVRA, states may cancel registrations only if a voter provides written notice of a change in address or if a voter does not respond to a notice for two election cycles and fails to vote for two federal election cycles. The act also bars states from removing voters from the rolls 90 days or less before a federal election.

“Voter fraud is not the issue. But voter suppression is real, it’s planned, it’s intentional, and it’s ongoing against the African-American community,” Barber said Monday.

African-Americans have been disproportionately affected by the cancellations. Black voters account for 91 of the 138 canceled registrations (or over 65 percent) in Beaufort County, according to the North Carolina NAACP, even though black people are only 25.9 percent of that county’s population.

At least 3,951 registrations were canceled in Cumberland County, and around 400 were canceled in Moore County.  …Read the Rest Here

 
 

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How Facebook Violates Civil Rights Act

Biiig, very expensive lawsuit coming…

Facebook Makes It Easy for Advertisers to Be Racist

Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.

(The writers probably aren’t that up on their history…But that is exactly what they did do.)

That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.

The ubiquitous social network not only allows advertisers to target users by their interests or background, it also gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls “Ethnic Affinities.” Ads that exclude people based on race, gender and other sensitive factors are prohibited by federal law in housing and employment.

Here is a screenshot of a housing ad that we purchased from Facebook’s self-service advertising portal:

ProPublica

The ad we purchased was targeted to Facebook members who were house hunting and excluded anyone with an “affinity” for African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic people. (Here’s the ad itself.)

When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, “This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal “to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits the “printing or publication of notices or advertisements indicating prohibited preference, limitation, specification or discrimination” in employment recruitment.

Facebook’s business model is based on allowing advertisers to target specific groups 2014 or, apparently to exclude specific groups 2014 using huge reams of personal data the company has collected about its users. Facebook’s microtargeting is particularly helpful for advertisers looking to reach niche audiences, such as swing-state voters concerned about climate change. ProPublica recently offered a tool allowing users to see how Facebook is categorizing them. We found nearly 50,000 unique categories in which Facebook places its users.

Facebook says its policies prohibit advertisers from using the targeting options for discrimination, harassment, disparagement or predatory advertising practices.

“We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law,” said Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook. “We take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies.”

Satterfield said it’s important for advertisers to have the ability to both include and exclude groups as they test how their marketing performs. For instance, he said, an advertiser “might run one campaign in English that excludes the Hispanic affinity group to see how well the campaign performs against running that ad campaign in Spanish. This is a common practice in the industry.”

He said Facebook began offering the “Ethnic Affinity” categories within the past two years as part of a “multicultural advertising” effort.

Satterfield added that the “Ethnic Affinity” is not the same as race 2014 which Facebook does not ask its members about. Facebook assigns members an “Ethnic Affinity” based on pages and posts they have liked or engaged with on Facebook.

When we asked why “Ethnic Affinity” was included in the “Demographics” category of its ad-targeting tool if it’s not a representation of demographics, Facebook responded that it plans to move “Ethnic Affinity” to another section.

Facebook declined to answer questions about why our housing ad excluding minority groups was approved 15 minutes after we placed the order.

By comparison, consider the advertising controls that the New York Times has put in place to prevent discriminatory housing ads. After the newspaper was successfully sued under the Fair Housing Act in 1989, it agreed to review ads for potentially discriminatory content before accepting them for publication.

Steph Jespersen, the Times’ director of advertising acceptability, said that the company’s staff runs automated programs to make sure that ads that contain discriminatory phrases such as “whites only” and “no kids” are rejected.

The Times’ automated program also highlights ads that contain potentially discriminatory code words such as “near churches” or “close to a country club.” Humans then review those ads before they can be approved.

Jespersen said the Times also rejects housing ads that contain photographs of too many white people. The people in the ads must represent the diversity of the population of New York, and if they don’t, he says he will call up the advertiser and ask them to submit an ad with a more diverse lineup of models.

But, Jespersen said, these days most advertisers know not to submit discriminatory ads: “I haven’t seen an ad with 2018whites only’ for a long time.”

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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FBI James Comey In Vilation Of the Law on Hillary Email Announcement

FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster release on the “Hillary emails” has crossed a legal line. The first being that the FBI isn’t investigating Hillary for any wrongdoing in this round (They are investigating Anthony Wiener, who apparently used his wife’s notebook when she worked for Hillary at State)… The second being releasing the information, while not making that clear during the last few days of the election.

The 1939 Hatch Act prohibits Federal Employees, cabinet members, and DC Officials from engaging in politics, or anything which may impact an election – which is why the half dozen or so prosecutions of Donald Trump for everything from child rape to fraud are on hold until after the election.

Both Republicans and Democrats are pissed about this one.

Comey needs to be fired…Like yesterday.

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In a terse Op-Ed published in today’s New York Times, Richard Painter, the chief White House Ethics Lawyer in the Bush Administration from 2005-2007, explains why he filed a Complaint yesterday against FBI Director James Comey with the FBI’s Office Of Special Counsel, which investigates possible ethical violations within the Bureau. In particular, Painter explains why Comey’s inexplicable actions this week may warrant prosecution for abuse of power under the Hatch Act.

I have spent much of my career working on government ethics and lawyers’ ethics, including two and a half years as the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and I never thought that the F.B.I. could be dragged into a political circus surrounding one of its investigations. Until this week.

Painter, a former George W. Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich supporter, explains that had the Bureau made a similar public disclosure in its connection with the ongoing investigation ties between a certain presidential candidate and hacking of Americans’ emails by the Russian government, it would have equally constituted a breach of longstanding policy and an abuse of power. Specifically, the Hatch Act bars the use by a government official of his position to influence an election. Notably, whether one has an “intent” to do so is irrelevant:

The rules are violated if it is obvious that the official’s actions could influence the election, there is no other good reason for taking those actions, and the official is acting under pressure from persons who obviously do want to influence the election.

Painter recounts the known history in establishing the basis for his Complaint:

On Friday, the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, sent to members of Congress a letter updating them on developments in the agency’s investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, an investigation which supposedly was closed months ago. This letter, which was quickly posted on the internet, made highly unusual public statements about an F.B.I. investigation concerning a candidate in the election. The letter was sent in violation of a longstanding Justice Department policy of not discussing specifics about pending investigations with others, including members of Congress. According to some news reports on Saturday, the letter was sent before the F.B.I. had even obtained the search warrant that it needed to look at the newly discovered emails. And it was sent days before the election, at a time when many Americans are already voting.

Violations of the Hatch Act and of government ethics rules on misuse of official positions are not permissible in any circumstances, including in the case of an executive branch official acting under pressure from politically motivated members of Congress. Such violations are of even greater concern when the agency is the F.B.I.

Painter takes pains to explain that this is not a joke:

The FBI’s job is to investigate, not to influence the outcome of an election

Painter comments that absent highly extraordinary circumstances, Comey’s conduct does rise to the level of a Hatch Act violation and also may violate a prosecutor’s obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct. He emphasizes that neither Comey’s actions, whatever their motivation, nor Painter’s action in filing such a Complaint, are something to be taken taken lightly:

This is is no trivial matter. We cannot allow F.B.I. or Justice Department officials to unnecessarily publicize pending investigations concerning candidates of either party while an election is underway. That is an abuse of power. Allowing such a precedent to stand will invite more, and even worse, abuses of power in the future.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Indian Brown Paper Bag Test. Colorism in India

If you ever watch any of the Bollywood productions, the thing you will almost never see is a dark skinned Indian. Intra-racism in India is alive and well, and South Indians, who tend to be darker skinned are shunned.

I’m Indian, I’m Dark, And I Don’t Care

I love being an Indian, truly I do. With the country’s powerful history, one of a kind culture and to-die-for food, how could one simply not?

But behind India’s beautiful face, there is a growing disease that our society continually fails to recognize: colorism.

Colorism is a term coined by author Alice Walker, and is defined as a discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone among people of the same racial and/or ethnic group. Also know as internalized racism.

Growing up, I’ve always had dark skin. I, personally, didn’t see anything wrong with it and ― heck, to be honest ― if you ask anyone I knew back then, it was no secret (with my plaid cargo shorts, above ear length hair and buckteeth) that I gave absolutely ZERO flips about how I looked. And to be quite honest, why should I have? I had great friends, saw the glass half full, and went to bed at 9:30 every night. There was nothing in life that could stop me!

LOL and then middle school happened.

As I got older, I really began to start noticing the things people said about my dark complexion. I remember times when the lights would be turned off in a room and people would say “Where’s Aswathi?” or  “Aswathi, smile so we can see you!” Or the times relatives that I hadn’t seen in years would greet me with “Oh my goodness, you’ve gotten so dark!” and then suggest skin bleaching products or face masks for me to use. Yeah, you read that right. Skin bleaching ― it’s actually a thing.

I distinctly remember one specific summer night when, after a church basketball practice, some of us girls had gone out to eat. While enjoying our snow cones, a few girls began looking at their arms and began to complain about how their skin had gotten darker over the summer.  I can clearly recall one girl saying to another, “Just be thankful you don’t look like Aswathi,” followed by another girl saying, “Yeah, no offense, but I’m so happy I don’t look like you.” Everyone laughed, but my blood boiled and my eyes burned. Never have I had to bite my tongue so hard. I couldn’t believe that someone had actually told me they were happy because they didn’t look like me. Those eight words have, to this day, hurt me in unexplainable ways.

That night when I got home, I ran upstairs, closed my door, sat on the ground, and cried. I cried like I had never cried before. Hours and hours had passed and there were still tears running down my face. I didn’t want to live. The words and comments those girls had said to me made me hurt in ways I never knew I could hurt before. The things those girls said to me changed the way I saw myself forever.

None of it was truly mean-spirited. The girls at my church are very kind people. But as Indians, ever since we were young, we are embedded with this false idea and mentality that “to be fair is to be pretty and to be dark is not.” Indian media only further adds onto this fallacy by whitewashing (literally) celebrities and actors, along with advertisements that promote the usage of skin lightening creams and products.

But as a young girl, these comments had really brought me down. All those stupid things people had said hurt me and the adverse effects they had on me while I grew up made me see the world, and myself, in a twisted way that I would never wish for someone else.

spent far too many summers inside and out of the sunlight. There were summers where I didn’t go swimming at all. I constantly tried out many face masks and skin bleaching products. I thought something was wrong with me. I edited pictures of myself to make me look lighter just so I could be pretty. I hated taking pictures at night and avoided wearing bright colors at all costs. There was time when it got so bad that I hated even looking in the mirror or would start crying while getting ready for school. I would even try to physically scratch the dark from my face. Yeah, it was pretty bad.

But then sophomore year came, and I joined the debate club and wrote a speech (with the help of an awesome coach) about colorism and what I went through, and it made me realize a lot of things. It made me realize that I didn’t need to bleach my skin or hide from the sun anymore. It made me realize that I could wear my favorite color, yellow, and still feel awesome. It made me realize that after years of hating myself, I truly was beautiful just the way God had made me.

That silly speech I had wrote made me change my outlook on so much. I joined groups with people who went through similar experiences as me and shared insightful conversation with people all over the world. One guy even offered me a photoshoot! Through debate tournaments, I met other Indian girls who would hug me after rounds, because they knew exactly what I had gone through. (A little side note: that silly speech and I ended up qualifying for state-level ― and even national-level ― competition.)

My experiences have helped me grow as a person and taught me that the only thing I had to change about myself was nothing.

To anyone who has been shamed for having a dark complexion, what I have to say to you is this:

There is nothing wrong with you. Don’t let others words make you ever think that there is. You don’t have to be fair to be pretty. You are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. …Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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60 percent would rather stay single for the next four years than wind up with a Trump supporter

Nearly 40% would rather date a convicted felon than a Trumpazoid.

37 percent of Americans would rather date a convicted felon than a Trump supporter

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There’s an endless cast of characters we could potentially link up with romantically, but there are certain people we don’t dare mingle with. Many Americans have recently carved out a new bottom line, and it has to do with Donald Trump.

According to a survey conducted by the online dating app Sapio, voting for Trump is becoming a bigger turn-off than most other dealbreakers out there. Out of the 2,000 people surveyed, over half said they’d rather date someone who couldn’t read than someone planning to vote for this year’s GOP candidate. Sixty-two percent would rather stick with someone still living with their parents, and another 60 percent would rather stay single for the next four years than wind up with a Trump supporter.

Turns out people prefer smokers and ex-pornstars over Trump stumpers as well.

Of the women surveyed, almost half would date someone old enough to be their dad over a Trump supporter. Men, on the other hand, weren’t so flexible with this one. Less than 30 percent of guys surveyed would date someone their mom’s age in place of dating a girl gunning for Trump.

While millennials would date almost anyone in place of a Trump supporter, there are some particularities this cohort is not willing to settle for. Turns out Trump supporters are still a better sell than those plagued with a contagious skin disease or convicted sex offenders. Incest also is still not cool. Eighty percent of survey participants said they’d rather date a Trump supporter than their cousin. That seems fair enough.

But before you give Americans a pat on the back for bringing an element of political responsibility into our dating lives, remember, we’re still a pretty shallow bunch. More than half of those surveyed said they’d rather date a Trump supporter than someone they find unattractive.

Of course, dating a Trump supporter wouldn’t be so bad for the 20 percent of individuals surveyed who are planning to vote for him.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in Chumph Butt Kicking, Domestic terrorism

 

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