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Category Archives: The Post-Racial Life

Target Stores Discrimination Settlement

Target, one of the ubiquitous big box retailers has settled a Discrimination lawsuit based on their hiring and promotion practices.It is not clear whether the process implemented by Target’s HR department was intended to be discriminatory, or the department personnel weren’t sufficiently cognizant of the rules and methodology to test a process to know.

Well meaning try by Target – but it misses the ethnic difference between different Latin communities. Hispanics are the descendants of Spanish Colonial settlers and are white. Latinos are defined by region – ergo they come from various areas of Latin America. Latinos, at least in the US (and some Latin countries) are considered white. Which leaves the whole issue of description of the indigenous peoples, and the folks descended from African slaves at issue.

 

Target ‘Screened Out’ Black, Asian, and Women Job Applicants

Target Corp. will pay $2.8 million total to more than 3,000 job applicants who vied for upper-level management positions but were “disproportionately screened out” by an application test, the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Monday.

The screened-out groups included Black, Asian, and women job applicants. The EEOC complaint against Target was filed in 2006.

Target’s $2.8 million settlement, which will be disbursed among the applicants, is one of the highest for discriminatory practices in history according to the EEOC, as many large corporations and companies have settled for less than $1 million. Molly Snyder, a spokesperson for Target, told the Star Tribune that the application tests in question are no longer used by the multi-billion dollar corporation.

The application tests given to those applying for management positions at Target didn’t include egregiously discriminatory questions, but proved concerning to EEOC officials because of their overall effect on the application pool.

“The tests were not sufficiently job-related,” Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC in Minneapolis, said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “It’s not something in particular about the contents of the tests. The tests on their face were neutral. Our statistical analysis showed an adverse impact” for Black, Asian, and women job candidates.

Schmid added that Target cooperated throughout the lengthy agency investigation.

The EEOC investigation into Target’s hiring practices also found that one of the corporation’s job assessments, performed by a psychologist, violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The assessment, subsequently stopped by Target, included a medical exam of job applicants that is expressively forbidden by ADA guidelines….

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Fats Domino’s Piano, Like NOLA After Katrina -Still Has a Ways to Come Back

Worked on the post-Katrina recovery efforts in NOLA and Mississippi. The flooding not only killed the houses and infrastructure, but threatened to kill the spirit of a city whose residents were used to adversity.The story 10 years after is one of gradual rebuilding, but how do you knit the spirit of the town’s communities back together when so many are gone? The even bigger question though in my mind – is if we can’t even get it right in America, right in our own back yard…How exactly can we get it right anywhere else?

In terms of the Fat man’s pianos, one black, one white – one working fully, one not restore-able…Seems like a reflection of the whole city 10 years after.

The Piano That Can’t Play a Tune

If you could see Fats Domino’s piano today—white and gleaming on a pedestal at the Louisiana State Museum in the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans’ French Quarter—you might think he had been kind enough to donate one of his signature grands to the museum for its music collection. That is, if you were unaware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, including Domino’s home on Caffin Street in the largely obliterated neighborhood known as the “Lower Nine,” where the white Steinway once held pride of place in Domino’s living room.

Submerged in nine feet of water from a massive breach in the nearby Industrial Canal, it sat for weeks in the fetid lake that covered 80 percent of New Orleans after Katrina. Curators from the Louisiana State Museum raised $35,000 to have it reassembled and restored, and it now sits beneath a spotlight in an exhibit room as if waiting for Domino himself to sit down and play it. At the dedication ceremony in 2013, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardanne said, “His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s resilient nature and ever-evolving musical heritage.”

Well, no and yes. Despite the painstaking restoration, the white grand piano is unplayable. It is this last fact that makes the story of this instrument such a powerful metaphor for New Orleans since Katrina. It is a tale about persistence in the face of government neglect, cataclysmic disaster, and the painful incompleteness of reconstruction. More particularly, it is a lesson about the importance of preserving the material remains of the city’s past even as it focuses on the future.

These objects—some partly restored, some not—are all the more important in light of the city’s record of demolition of many significant musical landmarks, despite the recent efforts of preservation groups to turn the tide. Louis Armstrong’s birthplace, for example, was torn down in the 1960s to build a city jail. Other jazz landmarks are in grave disrepair.

The history of New Orleans music had an additional vulnerability before Katrina: The homes of the city’s musicians and writers held much of the city’s musical heritage. Letters, handwritten scores, photographs, cocktail napkins, matchbooks, and musical instruments were under the beds and in the attics of working musicians and their descendants. Most of Michael White’s enormous collection of artifacts from early jazz musicians—some 50 clarinets, reams of sheet music, reeds and mouthpieces, and taped interviews with musicians—is gone. White’s house near the London Avenue Canal in Lakeview took in water up to the roof. The only things salvaged by volunteers were some of his clarinets. “They looked like bodies,” White told me. “And the ones that were in cases looked like bodies in coffins. They weren’t really about me, they symbolized New Orleans history and culture and the present state of the culture.”

Tending to the artifacts the storm left behind, as White did, can feel restorative. And it is not the same as choosing property over people, something that does not bode well in New Orleans. “The black working class in New Orleans,” the historian George Lipsitz wrote in Katrina’s aftermath, “has long refused to concede that white property is more important than black humanity.” After the storm, neighborhood traditions like the parading of Mardi Gras Indians persisted, despite and because of the challenges of rebuilding those communities. But the preservation of cultural artifacts after Katrina, such as Domino’s piano, was something of a different job.

As show-stopping as Domino’s white Steinway grand is, it is the opposite of the first piano he played, acquired by his family in the 1930s. That piano, Domino told his biographer, was “so beat up that you could see the rusted metal through the ivory, it had been played so hard.” According to the authors of Up From the Cradle of Jazz: “The Ninth Ward blues built off of pianos and horns.” There was an old upright in just about every small music club in the Lower Ninth Ward. The white piano, on the other hand, was not even Domino’s regular instrument. Instead, it was the one that greeted visitors to the house on Caffin Street and was a favored backdrop for family photographs. The glorious grand piano testified to his rise from a part-time musician and factory worker to one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.

Domino’s upbringing in the Lower Ninth Ward, surrounded by his Creole relatives, inflected his music. His father was descended from French-speaking African Americans who lived as enslaved and then freedpeople in Louisiana’s sugar parishes. Like many Louisiana Creoles, black and white, they had roots in Haiti. When the Dominos arrived in the Lower Nine, the neighborhood was still mostly rural, with unpaved streets, farm animals, and scarce electricity and indoor plumbing. In a recent radio show devoted to Domino, writer Ben Sandmelobserved the artist’s “Caribbean vocal style” in songs like “My Blue Heaven.” “It’s almost like he’s an English as a second language speaker. It’s a very thick regional accent,” Sandmel said. “If you listen to oral histories of people [from the Lower Nine] who recorded around that time there are a lot of thick accents and a lot of French-isms in the speech.” …The rest here

 

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Genetically Inherited Trauma

This one is fascinating. While the basis of the first study is the descendants of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust – I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t apply to black folks experience in America with first, slavery, then Jim Crow Terrorism. It also appears to hold with other groups, such as Native American, and Cambodians who survived Pol Pot’s massacres. Some of the research indicates that the damage is multi-generational. 

Study Suggests Trauma’s Effects Can Register Across Generations

This could be the stuff of a scientific breakthrough: A research team out of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has published a study that points to the possibility that trauma sustained by one generation can actually be passed down, in a sense, to children and maybe even farther down the genetic chain.

The Guardian posted details of this startling finding on Friday:

The conclusion from a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Rachel Yehuda stems from the genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war.

They also analysed the genes of their children, who are known to have increased likelihood of stress disorders, and compared the results with Jewish families who were living outside of Europe during the war. “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” said Yehuda.

Her team’s work is the clearest example in humans of the transmission of trauma to a child via what is called “epigenetic inheritance” – the idea that environmental influences such as smoking, diet and stress can affect the genes of your children and possibly even grandchildren.

The idea is controversial, as scientific convention states that genes contained in DNA are the only way to transmit biological information between generations. However, our genes are modified by the environment all the time, through chemical tags that attach themselves to our DNA, switching genes on and off. Recent studies suggest that some of these tags might somehow be passed through generations, meaning our environment could have and impact on our children’s health.

More information to massive trauma affecting genetics through multiple generations

The case of Cambodian immigrants…

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in American Genocide, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Black Knight

Three boyhood friends, now serving in the US Military helped prevent a mass murder last weekend by a Islamic Terrorist in France. Yesterday, they, along with a fourth British Citizen were made French Knights for their heroism.

Americans become French knights

One of the Americans who prevented a bloodbath on a high-speed European train serves in the Air Force. Another is in the Oregon National Guard. On Monday, the enlisted men became knights, along with two others who took part in the rescue, as French President François Hollande made them Chevaliers of the Legion of Honor, awarding them France’s highest decoration.

In a solemn ceremony held in France’s glittering Elysée Palace, the seat of the presidency, Hollande said the four men had averted a catastrophe when they tackled and trussed a heavily armed man who had opened fire on the train.

The men have resisted being labeled as heroes, saying that they gave little thought to their actions until after the heat of the moment. At the ceremony, the trio of Americans, friends since childhood, dressed modestly in polo shirts and khakis. But Hollande said their coolness under fire was a lesson to all of France — and the world.

“You have shown that in the face of terror, you can resist,” Hollande said before he pinned the ribbons on the men’s chests. “So you have given us a lesson of courage, of determination and therefore of hope.”

“There were over 500 passengers on that train. Ayoub el-Khazzani possessed over 300 bullets. And we realize now how close we were to a tragedy and a massacre,” Hollande said, formally identifying the suspect in the shooting for the first time, a Moroccan man just short of his 26th birthday.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Trevor Noah – I Wanted to be Black

South African Comedian Trevor Noah, who is scheduled to take over for Jon Stewart on Comedy Central Sept 23rd…

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Twisted – Freddy Gray and MLK

 

Yeah…I got a problem with this. Putting Freddy Gray, a victim of out of control police violence in Baltimore next to Martin Luther King seems a bit of appropriation that just doesn’t belong here. Martin developed a philosophy, moved a nation with his words, and fought against the forces of Jim Crow oppression, and ultimately gave his life. He stood up, knowing exactly the extent to which racist forces in America would go, suffering imprisonment and beatings for the simple act of non-violent resistance, and ultimately being murdered. Gray was a street kid and a drug dealer. Which doesn’t make his murder right at the hands of Baltimore Cops…But he “ain’t no hero” in terms of what he may or may not have accomplished while alive. He is a small part of a black community which suffers in small part due to his illicit acts.

Injustice in this case was a purely personal event.

Seems folks worry more about the racial background of a few folks working to end this type of injustice…Than the fact those folks are working for the betterment of the entire American community.

And no – I am not buying into the black-on-black crime racist meme – because all crime in a largely segregated America is intra-racial. Crime is more a statement of opportunity, than any wall painted large of cultural or racial dysfunction. The most dangerous thing for the BlackLivesMatter movement is an identification with the victim, instead of a disgust and opposition to the crime, and it ever happening again. I don’t think (and I hope) that is any secret to the folks at BlackLivesMatter.

3 year old Mckenzie Elliot, whose murderer has yet to be brought to justice.

 

“He shouldn’t be up there with Martin Luther King”: A mural of Freddie Gray with the civil rights leader provokes disgust, on my ride-along with the Baltimore Police

The streets are quiet tonight in West Baltimore. I’m in the backseat of a car on a ride-along with two Baltimore City police officers in late May, nearly a month after the riots following the death of Freddie Gray. There have been 26 murders this month to date, a number that will leapfrog to 43 before May draws to a close.

The media is calling this a “surge in violence” and touting theories to account for the spike, everything from officer apathy to a plethora of looted prescription drugs flooding the market and causing gang violence, but tonight the streets of West Baltimore are largely deserted. We see one group of young men hanging on a corner and a few kids pedaling around on bikes, but otherwise it’s eerily quiet.

I’ve come on this ride-along because I want to see for myself what’s happening on the streets in the wake of the riots. Many of stories told by the media have sympathized either with the protesters or with the police, thus setting up an “us versus them” dynamic that feels reductive.

I don’t buy into this good guy/bad guy type of narrative. I don’t believe that the majority of the rioters were bad people or that the majority of police officers are bloodthirsty brutes. What I believe is that most of the rioters were good people engaging in bad behavior and that most of the police are good officers doing the best they can while working in deeply flawed system, a system that revolves around the “War on Drugs,” a system that targets poor, black neighborhoods.

We ride by the burned-out CVS and the boarded-up buildings. We slow down next to the huge mural that has been painted on the side of a row house in Sandtown-Winchester, close to the spot where Freddie Gray was first arrested. Two chimney-like structures divide the mural into three panels. In the center is a huge painting of Freddie Gray’s face; on the left Martin Luther King Jr. is depicted marching with a group of protesters, and on the right, Freddie Gray’s family also marches.

We all stare at the mural in silence for a moment. It reminds me of the statue that towers outside of Baltimore’s Penn Station, which features two bisecting body profiles, one male and one female. Baltimoreans either love or hate this polarizing piece of art. Whenever I look at it, I both understand it and question it, which is the same way I felt when the riots occurred.

The riots made no sense to me and yet, they made perfect sense. For years, I’ve heard stories from young, black men about their experiences with the cops — young men who have been pulled over without cause, who have been illegally searched, who have been spoken to disrespectfully. Some have been physically assaulted.

I have also been witness to some of these acts on a handful of ride-alongs that I went on several years ago with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). I went with the goal of writing about the fraying relationship between the BPD and the black community, but every time I tried to put pen to paper, the task felt impossibly complex.

On one of the ride-alongs, I watched a car full of young black men dressed in bright polo shirts and cocked ball caps get pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The driver of the vehicle handed over his license and explained that he was a college student, and that he and his friends were on their way to meet some friends.

The young man was polite and respectful, but it was easy to see that getting pulled over like this was not a new experience for him. There was a lilting impatience in his voice, the slightest tinge of angry exasperation that he attempted to keep tucked away. After the young man answered a few questions, the officers let him off without issuing any sort of traffic citation.

I remember watching him drive off and wondering what he would do with the remnants of that anger that he’d kept so neatly tucked beneath those polite answers. I have long wondered where that young man and all the others like him put their anger over this kind of degradation.

But I stopped wondering on the day of the riots; when I saw the images of young people lobbing bricks, stomping on cars and looting stores. There, I thought, the anger is right there.

The riot was a release. A giant exhale on a long held breath that has been waiting for the proverbial arc of justice to bend toward it.

“He shouldn’t be up there with Martin Luther King,” one of the officers finally says of the Freddie Gray mural, a note of disgust in his voice.

These officers, one Caucasian, one Hispanic, knew Freddie Gray long before the media ever uttered his name. At the station where we started the night, there were photographs of Gray hanging on the wall. In the photos, he was surrounded by a posse of baby-faced young men who mugged for the camera. In one picture, Gray held up his middle finger. There were handwritten numbers above the head of each of the young men and below a list of names that corresponded with the numbers.

When these officers look at this larger-than-life mural with Gray in the center, they see a drug dealer next to the greatest civil rights leader of all time and they can’t seem to make sense of that.

“Put that little girl up there. McKenzie. Not him,” the officer says.

He is referring to 3-year-old McKenzie Elliot, who was killed in a drive-by shooting last August. “Why weren’t there riots for her? That, I would understand.”

McKenzie Elliot and Freddie Gray — the former was presumably killed by drug dealers (although nobody has been arrested despite the fact that the crime occurred in front of multiple witnesses), the latter indisputably died in police custody….More

 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Now trending in the Polls… Deez Nuts!

The answer to Donald Trump…Deez Nuts!

This week, 2016 election coverage got its biggest shot in the arm since Donald Trump put his hat in the ring. Iowa candidate Deez Nuts, not to be confused with the Dr. Dre song, hit the scene and had the Twitterverse buzzing.

Deez Nuts is a 16 year old kid from Iowa…

Google Trends says more people are interested in fake candidate Deez Nuts, who waspolled at 9 percent in North Carolina by Public Policy Polling. Many local news stationscovered candidate Nuts’s rise, which was very funny because news anchors were forced to say “Deez Nuts” on live television. In fact, people are so interested in Deez Nuts, it’sdiverting a lot of attention away from the Trump campaign.

The real Deez Nuts is a libertarian-leaning Iowa teenager who registered the candidate in his hometown of Wallingford. The closest thing to an original Deez Nuts I can point to isthe track titled “Deez Nuts” by Dr. Dre (feat. Daz and Snoop Dogg) from his 1992 album, “The Chronic.”

More on the candidate here.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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