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Category Archives: The Post-Racial Life

What Makes a Black Man, “A Black Man”

Crystal Valentine, Poetess…

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Travelling While Black

Had a funny situation happen some years ago on a flight from LAX to DC.  Used a few miles to upgrade into First, as I was a bit wiped out from a fast turnaround and long set of meetings as I had flown in on the late flight the previous night. Got stuck in the Window seat, which is rarely my preference. An attractive white, apparently housewife age woman who also looked a bit tired sat next to me in the aisle seat. Said hello, and laid back to read my book. Wound up snoozing off about an hour into the flight. I was awakened by the feeling of weight upon my shoulder and arm. She had fallen asleep, and not only had her head on my shoulder, but arms wrapped around my left arm on the seat rest. Couldn’t see waking her up to tell her to move, so I laid my head back and continued to read. Just before landing she woke up to find herself in that position, at which point she apologized. Told her, it was OK, and not to worry about it. A couple of tired business travelers.

To be honest, I have never really experienced the following. Or, more likely if I did, I just ignored it. I have frequently swapped seats on a crowded flight so that families could sit together. I have run into people who wanted to have a conversation, and those who prefer their solitude. Respect both types.

Photos via Etan Thomas Facebook

Ex-NBA star Etan Thomas busts racist woman for only letting whites sit next to her on train

A popular ex-NBA player and celebrated poet/activist took to Facebook to describe one of the indignities that black men face everyday, as a white woman refused to let him sit next to her on a crowded train — only to give the seat to a white man moments later.

According to Etan Thomas — who played most of his 9-year career with the Washington Wizards before going on to become an accomplished poet and speaker on the responsibilities of fatherhood  — got on a local train recently.  Seeing few seats available, he asked a young white woman if he could take the empty seat next to her.

“I ask this lady if I could sit next to her (very politely and I soften my voice as to not frighten her) and she says someone is sitting here,” he wrote. “So I go to the next seat. Now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff.”

That was when he confronted her.

“I ask ummmmm did you just not want ME to sit next to you ? Were you scared ? Not comfortable with a Black Man sitting next to you?” he explained. “And she says lol smh don’t pull the race card stuff with me I dated a Black guy in college.”

The man who had taken the seat grew uncomfortable listening to conversation and offered to move, leading Thomas to say it was okay, but then Thomas told the woman that he was going to take a picture to share with the world — and things took a turn, but in an unexpected way.

“So then she says did you just take a pic of me? Well I’m going to tell the conductor that you’re over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent,” he recounted. “So the conductor came up and said hey Etan Thomas love what you’re doing in the community loved you with the Wizards big Cuse fan man the Knicks sure could use you …. And I said was there something you wanted to tell my man?”

According to Thomas, “And she rolled her eyes smh some ppl I tell ya.”

Below is the picture Thomas took of the woman –and the man who took the seat, but obviously wanted no part in what happened afterward.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Will Native American Tribes Be the Major Legal Marijuana Producers?

The treaties signed with many Native American Tribes placed the Reservations in a separate legal status. Some of the Tribal lands are “Sovereign Nations” which means State Laws do not apply. Which is the big reason some Native American Tribes have been able to build, and profit from Gambling Casinos.

States which have legalized Marijuana, which have Tribal Lands cannot stop the Native Americans on those lands from producing Marijuana, which is legal to sell in the State. Interstate transport of the product to other states where it is legal is another issue, as that is regulated by the Federal Government. However, if the experience in legalizing Marijuana in Colorado is any evidence, this could turn into a business which could bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Reservations.

Marijuana actually grow wild in many parts of the southwestern United States. It is quite happy in the mountains and high desert.

A New Growth Industry for Native Americans: Weed

Can cannabis revive Oregon’s long-struggling reservation economies?

WARM SPRINGS, Oregon—The tribes on this reservation, located in the high desert on the eastern side of Mt. Hood, are accustomed to bad deals. Until the 19th century, the Wasco, the Walla Walla, and the Pauite survived off of the Columbia River, catching salmon and, eventually, trading for it. Then in 1855 they were forced onto the Warm Springs Reservation. It was 80 miles from the river, but they could still go there to fish—that is, until the U.S. Government started to build the Bonneville dam on the river in the 1930s and flooded their fishing spots.

By the time the Dalles Dam was finished  in the 1950s—ending all hopes of fishing the river and the economic independence it brought—the tribe had been decimated by other factors too, including the removal of children to boarding schools, and the drafting of men to the Army.

Now, the reservation, which spreads over 1,000 square miles in Oregon, is one of the most economically depressed places in the state. The unemployment rate is around 20 percent, and about one-third of its residents live below the poverty line. Sadly, the circumstances of Warm Springs are familiar for many Indian reservations. Nearly 30 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives lived in poverty in 2014, according to Census data, which is the highest rate of any race group.

Now, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are trying to reverse that history by taking advantage of the intricacies of federal law that made them sovereign tribes with the ability to make their own rules. Between 1778 and 1871, American Indian tribes signed treaties with the federal government in which they gave up land and were granted sovereign nation status. Under the treaties, tribes have the ability to make and enforce civil and criminal laws, to zone land, and to license and regulate activities on their lands (with some exceptions in the court system).

The tribes in Warm Springs want to use that sovereign status to grow cannabis on their land and sell it off the reservation in Oregon, which in 2014 approved the use of recreational marijuana. Because the tribes are a sovereign nation, leaders say,  they will be able to start an operation quickly, without having to deal with the headaches of city, county, and state government. Recently, the tribes broke ground on a 36,000- square-foot greenhouse, and hope to get product to market by next year. Finally, after centuries of being on the bad end of deals with the government, the tribes’ status could give them a key advantage.

The idea of growing cannabis on the reservation has residents’ full-fledged support. In a referendum on whether to grow cannabis this winter, 1,252 voted for the idea, and just 198 voted against it, and turnout was high despite a snowstorm that could have kept people home….Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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US House Passes Anti-confederate Flag Bill

In a fine bit of election year electioneering, the US House has passed a bill limiting confederate flag displays…

The march against the Confederate flag continued Thursday — this time in Congress

A year after America suddenly and overwhelmingly began unraveling itself from the Confederate flag, here’s more evidence our relationship with it is ending.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives — including 84 Republicans — voted to make it illegal to drape or hoist the flag prominently in national veterans’ cemeteries, including over mass graves. Those who want to mark their ancestors’ spot with a Confederate flag could do so with a small one, but only on two days a year: Memorial Day and Confederates Memorial Day.

It’s unclear whether this new limitation on the Confederate flag is actually going to become law, since it hasn’t yet passed the Senate. But the House tends to be the more populist chamber of the two, and as such, a reflection of what the rest of America is thinking.

“Over 150 years ago, slavery was abolished,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) who proposed the amendment. “Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” The Hill’s Christina Marcos reports that no one spoke in opposition to it.

But many Republicans voted against it — 159, in fact — while about half as many (84) voted for it. And if Democrats have their way, the Confederate flag will be a campaign issue in the fall.

It’s no coincidence this comes after a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., nearly a year ago that killed nine black church members and spurred a shift in how Americans — and especially Southern Republican politicians — view the flag’s meaning. While acknowledging its symbolism of the South’s heritage, for the first time many prominent Republicans also acknowledged its ties to racism.

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who led the charge.

 
 

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Discrimination Lawsuit Against Airbnb

Not sure how this suit ties to Airbnb corporation, at least the way this article explains it, as the provider of rental space is the decision maker. The transaction is between the property owner and the prospective tenant.

Airbnb slapped with suit for alleged discrimination against black guests

An African-American man who claims he was subjected to race-based discrimination while using Airbnb slapped the company with a proposed class action in a Washington D.C. federal court Tuesday, alleging that the company has routinely violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.

The complaint alleges that 25-year-old Gregory Seldon was denied accommodation in Philadelphia in March 2015 due to his race.

Court documents state that he was looking for housing while planning a weekend getaway with friends, and turned to Airbnb as a cost-friendly option. At the time, his Airbnb profile was linked to his Facebook, so it displayed his profile picture, race, education and age when he requested housing.

He claims an Airbnb host rejected his initial application but subsequently accepted the same application when Seldon re-applied using profiles imitating white men, one under the name “Jessie” and another under the name “Todd.”

The complaint also claims that the company “shamed Selden for speaking out” when he complained about the discriminatory practices.

The host agent balked at his claims and instead told Seldon that “people like [him] were simply victimizing [himself],” according to court documents.

Seldon is seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages as part of the class action.

This is not the first time Airbnb has been accused of not doing enough on discrimination.

Seldon’s story gained attention earlier this year when it helped inspire the viral hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack, in which a flood of Twitter users shared stories about negative experiences using the house-sharing app and website.

That conversation also builds on a  2014 Harvard study that found “requests from guests with distinctively African-American names are roughly 16% less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names.”

For its part, Airbnb has emphatically denied that it condones racism or discriminatory practices. The company’s anti-discrimination policy states that it prohibits “content that promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group, and we require all users to comply with local laws and regulations.”

Airbnb’s director of public affairs reiterated the company’s anti-discrimination policy in an email toMashable. 

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Dating Online? Your SAT Score May Determine Who You See On a Site

Interesting tidbit here, that some sites including the largest dating site, Match is using your educational data to manipulate who you see on the site, as well as who sees you. By collecting data such as your SAT Score, a test you likely took way back there in High School, a good analyst can determine a couple of things about you. First, people with the top 10% or so in SAT Scores tend to be College Graduates. Recent research has shown that that has no correlation to them being smarter, than say the next 25% – but being in the top 10% means you have a better chance of attending an elite school. One of the common characteristics of elite schools is a much higher graduation rate – typically over 90% for the very top schools vs 50-65% for State Schools. That also has some rather significant impact on potential income.

Along with the numerous personal tastes which drive selection of someone to date, liking tall women, or short men, redheads, or spiked hair and nose rings…

Is the correlation that relationships are based on shared experiences. There is a low likelihood that a woman whose job takes her around the world is going to chose a guy who is a construction worker. If I can’t dress her up and take her out with my friends and business associates without embarrassment…The relationship is very short lived. If a woman doesn’t want to date men with beards, then the fastest way to drive her off a dating site is to fill her potential matches box up with bearded guys.

Where the rub comes, is how they collect this information. And something I will call “disparate impact”, because black folks tend to have lower SAT Scores.

How Dating Sites, Thanks to Princeton Review, Know More About You Than You Do

When I was growing up, there were always three places that my parents said were great for meeting your future girlfriend, wife or significant other: church, work and, of course, school. Our church attendance had waned in my late high school years, and I worked at a bagel bakery—so college seemed the mostly likely option for me.

For me, living in the lily-white suburbs where dating options were fraught with complications (because racism), the idea that doing well on my SATs might put me in a college classroom next to my own personal Freddie Brooks, Monica Wright or Laila was enough incentive to put in those extra study hours.

Of course, it turns out that my parents were more prescient than they thought. Dating companies are starting to use college prep for matchmaking purposes, which causes some groups to worry about not only our education policies but our privacy, too.

At this point we’re all in the Matrix. Despite the extremes to which Edward Snowden went to show us how the government violates our privacy, most Americans give up terabytes of personal information every day for an extra 10 percent off at Target. Want this new free app? Give us access to all your phone contacts. Want to sign up for this new email account? We’ll scan your emails for potential advertising targets.

This kind of intrusive data mining is particularly important in the African-American community, where the majority of our Internet access comes through smartphones and our social media use, especially on places like Twitter, where our use is incredibly high. But what about when you don’t expect your personal information to be used?

Late in 2014, Match Group, the consortium that owns Match.com, OkCupid, Tinder and a ton of other dating apps and sites, decided that it wanted to improve its access to young, fresh, single people’s preferences and tendencies. So what did it do? It purchased the Princeton Review. That’s right, Princeton Review, the test-prep program most commonly used by African Americans across the country, now collects data on kids to improve the targeting, marketing and analysis of dating platforms.

Now, it’s not working all that well if you’re black and dating on OkCupid, but in general, the strategy was that all those random surveys you take in an SAT-prep class—like on yourcollege hopes and worries, what makes a good college, college-ranking surveys, etc.—are chock-full of data that can help dating sites down the road. The catch is that survey data that was ostensibly about education is now being used for purposes that the kids taking those surveys never intended.

As with other breaches of computer privacy, most Americans reacted with a yawn. What’s the big deal if scouring the academic insecurities of a bunch of teenagers helps an organization connect a neurotic grad student with a working-class Romeo a few years later? First, you’re not getting paid for it. Many public schools that are majority African American and subsidize SAT-prep programs to help kids get into college are essentially paying twice: once to get the test prep for students and then again by giving this company millions of dollars in free information that doesn’t come back to the school.

But the problem runs deeper than that. This aggregate collecting of big data without the knowledge of consumers leads to everything from increased insurance premiums to loan discrimination to identity theft. What if Match.com sells Princeton Review-survey information to corporations that use internal data to decide whether or not loans should go to certain communities? What if high school survey data is used to justify aggressive stop-and-frisk-type policies—providing a cheap shortcut for lazy police departments that don’t want to conduct their own research?

Or, quite simply, what about the preponderance of data breaches we’ve seen, from Sony to Target, that are made easier the more hands our personal data goes through without our knowledge? Several organizations, including Consumer Action out of California, have begun highlighting these problems, especially with the way consumer data is being extracted from minority communities withno regard for privacy, reimbursement or consumer protection. However, it wouldn’t hurt if some 2016 candidates talked about this issue, seeing as how just a few months ago, half the GOP field was willing to let the FBI just dig all around Apple’s data files….

 
 

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American Teens Identify The Major Issue in America…Racism

Interesting survey on the changing opinions of America’ youth. The murders, and subsequent inaction or failure of the jusdicial system int the Trayvon Martin case, Michel Brown, and others have had a major impact on the view of how much racism still exists in America – and it’s impact.

WHAT DO AMERICAN TEENS WANT? LESS RACISM

In 1966, Newsweek published a landmark cover story, “The Teen-Agers: A Newsweek Survey of What They’re Really Like,” investigating everything from politics and pop culture to teens’ views on their parents, their future and the world. The article was based on an extensive survey of nearly 800 teens across the country, and it also profiled six teens in depth, including a black teen growing up in Chicago, a Malibu girl, and a farm boy in Iowa. Fifty years later, Newsweek set out to discover what’s changed and what’s stayed the same for American teens. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, and optimistic about their futures, yet anxious about their country.

…This past fall, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of “The Teen-Agers,” Newsweek enlisted Harris Poll to conduct an online survey replicating key questions in the original work and to expand on it. We asked 2,057 teens, ages 13 to 17, from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas, about everything from politics and education to parents, sex, mental health and pop culture. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, optimistic about their futures yet anxious about their country.

Two-thirds of teens (68 percent), for example, believe the United States is on the wrong track, and 59 percent think pop culture keeps the country from talking about the news that really matters. Faith in God or some other divine being dropped from 96 percent in 1966 to 83 percent. Twice as many teens today feel their parents have tried to run their lives too much (24 percent, up from 12 percent in 1966). Fifty years ago, the five most admired famous people were John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Lyndon B. Johnson and Helen Keller, in that order. Today, pop culture rules, as President Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé top the list, with Selena Gomez tying Abraham Lincoln for fourth place.

More than half of teens support gun control (55 percent), the death penalty (52 percent), abortion rights (50 percent) and gay marriage (62 percent). (On her support of gay marriage, Allison Moseley, 16, of Cudahy, Wisconsin, says, “Love is love.”)

The most compelling findings show that race and discrimination are crucial issues for teens today. In 1966, 44 percent of American teens thought racial discrimination would be a problem for their generation. Now, nearly twice as many—82 percent—feel the same way. The outlook is more alarming among black teens: Ninety-one percent think discrimination is here to stay, up from 33 percent in 1966.

Recent headlines—police-involved shootings of unarmed black men, the Black Lives Matter movement, Donald Trump’s xenophobic politics—reveal a country deeply divided on race, with seemingly little hope for reconciliation. For many black Americans, the entire casino is stacked against them: They’re disproportionately affected by unemployment, poverty and lack of educational opportunities. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and while blacks and Latinos comprise 30 percent of the population, they account for 58 percent of the prison population. In 2013, the wealth gap between whites and blacks reached its highest point since 1989, according to Pew Research Center: The wealth of white households was 13 times that of black households, and 10 times that of Hispanic households.

Newsweek found that black teens today are more likely than white or Hispanic teens to be aware of gun violence and of police officers accused of killing innocent people. They’re also more likely to worry that they’ll be the victims of shootings—at school, by police or in places of worship. And m any teens, regardless of race or ethnicity, perceive that black Americans are discriminated against at higher rates than others, including the way they’re treated by police (62 percent) and their ability to access decent jobs (39 percent)….More Here

 
 

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