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Tag Archives: Diversity

Back to the Affirmative Action Wars…

In case you missed it the right has been reconditioning and rolling out their anti-Civil Rights crew frantically over the past several months.  One of the folks to get a shiny new paint job was Pat Buchanan – although with his vision of a white America as a precondition for continued greatness – I think he let the real cat out of the bag a little too quickly. George Will blubbering about how AA has hurt minorities… A Republican sitting a panel which dealt with discrimination gets canned – by railing against minorities… They have even have stalwart Lawn Jockeys like Larry Elder and Walter Williams de-fossilized and trotted out in a reprise of their racism shielding role for the conservative right in the 90’s.

So why all the sudden attention?

U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain Diversity

The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Courtrulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.

The new guidelines issued by the Departments of Justice and Education replaced a 2008 document that essentially warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. Instead, the guidelines focus on the wiggle room in the court decisions involving the University of Michigan, suggesting that institutions use other criteria — students’ socioeconomic profiles, residential instability, the hardships they have overcome — that are often proxies for race. Schools could even grant preferences to students from certain schools selected for, among other things, their racial composition, the new document says.

“Post-secondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity,” reads the 10-page guide sent to thousands of college admissions officials on Friday afternoon. In some cases, it says, “race can be outcome determinative.”

The administration issued a parallel 14-page outline on Friday for the nation’s 17,000 public school districts, explaining what government lawyers consider to be acceptable ways that educators can seek to reduce racial segregation, which has been increasing nationwide.

The two documents, issued as the presidential campaign heats up and as the Supreme Court considers whether to hear a new affirmative action case, were designed to give educators a clear administration interpretation of three high court cases that, since 2003, have limited the use of race in admissions, zoning and other school policies.

The contrast with the Bush guidelines interpreting the same three cases is stark. Where the Bush administration’s letter in 2008 states, “Quotas are impermissible,” the 2011 version says “an institution may permissibly aim to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented students.” Even in addressing the same principles, the framework is practically reversed.

Bush guidelines: “Before using race, there must be a serious good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives.”

Obama guidelines: “Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable.”

Colleges seeking to increase diversity while not running afoul of Supreme Court guidelines, the new document says, “could select schools (including community colleges) based on their demographics (e.g., their racial or socioeconomic composition), and grant an admission preference” to graduates of those schools. They could also “select high schools for partnership” based, among other things, on “racial composition of the school’s student body” and former partnerships with historically black colleges and universities”; consider race as they select students for mentoring programs; and sponsor retention or support programs that highlight, for example, “the accomplishments of Latino business leaders.”

Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, which represents 1,800 universities and colleges, predicted that educators would immediately begin to pursue ways to draw more racial minorities, as the new guidelines would ease fears of legal challenge.

“University administrators have been confused about how they could follow the court’s rulings and still achieve the benefits of diversity,” Ms. Meloy said. “So they will welcome this practical, step-by-step set of directions.”

For kindergarten through 12th grade, the guidelines tell school districts that they can shape policies on locating schools, drawing attendance boundaries and governing student transfers to achieve a better racial mix. For example, a school district with two elementary schools with distinctly different demographics could consider making one school serve kindergarten through second grade and the other grades 3 to 5 in order to force a better mix.

“Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,”Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “The guidance announced today will aid educational institutions in their efforts to provide true equality of opportunity.”

Lee C. Bollinger, an advocate of affirmative action, was the named defendant, as president of the University of Michigan, in the two 2003 Supreme Court cases that laid down new markers on the permissible use of race in admissions. He described the new guidelines as “perfect.”

“It’s a very fair interpretation of what the court decided,” said Mr. Bollinger, a First Amendment scholar who is now president of Columbia University, “which is primarily that race can be one of many factors, and as long as your policies truly embody that approach, you’ll be fine, and can strive for diversity in all its benefits.” (more)

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in The New Jim Crow

 

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White American Voters – Cain, Obama, Immigration – The Split

How do you explain the entirely different world seen by white conservatives and that seen by the rest of us?

Some recent studies get into that, racial politics, and immigration…

 

Two Worlds of Whites

On the day after Barack Obama’s sweeping victory in 2008, veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg described the modern Democratic coalition as diverse America and the whites who are comfortable with diverse America.

That appears to be even more true today. The line between whites who are comfortable with the racial and ethnic change transforming America into a “world nation” and those uneasy about it increasingly looks like one of the most important boundaries of the 2012 campaign.

The big Pew Center for the People and the Press generational survey released last week offers powerful evidence on that point. Overall, in the Pew survey, 47 percent of non-Hispanic whites agreed with the statement that “the growing number of newcomers from other countries are a threat to traditional American customs and values.” Exactly 50 percent of whites disagreed.

Like an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey released earlier this summer, Pew found that whites comfortable with the demographic changes now underway express very different attitudes than those uneasy about it on President Obama, the role of government, and the choices in the 2012 election.

Among the whites who find the increasing number of newcomers troubling, Obama’s approval rating in the new Pew survey stood at just 21 percent with 70 percent disapproving. The president runs much more strongly among whites comfortable with the changes: 45 percent of them approved, while 47 percent disapproved.

Both whites comfortable and uneasy about the trends say they prefer a smaller government offering fewer services to a larger government offering more services. But the uneasy whites prefer a smaller government by 40 percentage points; among the whites comfortable with the change the gap is only 17 points.

Most dramatic was the divergence between these two groups of whites in a hypothetical Obama-Mitt Romney race in 2012. Whites who consider the demographic change a threat prefer Romney over Obama by a crushing three-to-one: 72 percent to 24 percent. In stark contrast, among whites comfortable with the change, Obama led Romney 52 percent to 44 percent.

As I wrote in a column this summer analyzing the similar Heartland Monitor findings, these trends don’t “mean that opposition to Obama is primarily, or even largely, driven by racial resentment. But it does suggest that attitudes about the nation’s changing racial composition now overlap and reinforce the more familiar ideological divides, such as differences over social issues and the role of government, that separate the two parties’ electoral coalitions.” Obama may sharpen these differences by embodying, in such a personal way, the demographic changes reshaping American life.

For a closer look at the mammoth Pew study – in particular, for a look at the intersection between generational and demographic change – check out Friday’s National Journal magazine.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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NC Voters Evict Tea Party Bigot School Board

Another district who has found out that Tea Bagger elected officials are toxic, and that the “throw the bums out” elections in 2009 and 2010 resulted all to often in letting the scumbags in.

This could be a bell weather of the 2012 elections, with voters expressing severe “buyers regret” over Tea Party candidates  whose often radical hidden agendas weren’t exposed until after their election.

NC voters reject Pope-backed candidates in local school board battle over resegregation

Voters in Wake County, N.C. headed to the polls yesterday in high numbers to reject a slate of conservative Republican Board of Education candidates who opposed a longstanding diversity policy aimed at avoiding high-poverty and racially-isolated schools.

The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.

With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Africa – The Mother of All Languages

Africa – the mother of all peoples on earth, was also where the first spoken languages were developed.

LANGUAGES

The Mother of All Languages

The world’s 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.

Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.

“It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Dr. Atkinson said.

About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.

His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as “the founder effect.” That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group.

Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere.

In an analysis of 504 world languages, Dr. Atkinson found that, on average, dialects with the most phonemes are spoken in Africa, while those with the fewest phonemes are spoken in South America and on tropical islands in the Pacific.

The study also found that the pattern of phoneme usage globally mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity, which also declined as modern humans set up colonies elsewhere. Today, areas such as sub-Saharan Africa that have hosted human life for millennia still use far more phonemes in their languages than more recently colonized regions do.

(more)

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Africa

 

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Black Thor Has Conservatives In a Tizzy!

Oh My! What if they made a movie based on a Shakespeare fiction, converted into a comic book fiction about fictional Norse Gods…

And one of the gods turned out to have a decidedly southern tan?

Egads! Diversity amongst the gods?Racists Boycotting Thor Movie Over Black God

White Supremacists Boycotting Thor Over Black God

A far-right group is calling for a boycott of the upcoming Thor movie because a black actor has been cast as a Norse god. Idris Elba plays the god Heimdall in the superhero movie, a casting decision that the Council of Conservative Citizens says is an “insulting multi-cultural make-over,” Gawkerreports.

Marvel Comics is known for its support of left-wing causes and “has now inserted social engineering into European mythology,” complains the group, which opposes inter-racial marriage. Elba himself addressed the issue earlier this year, the Guardian notes. “Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers,” he said. “That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?”

Next they will be claiming all sorts of nonsense, like there were black confederates! Just the sort of thing to sour a Secession Ball, indeed…

 

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Tea Party to Recruit Minorities

Now, I don’t know any hard working black folks who would invite, or allow their kids to invite some gang-banging drug thug into their home. Yeah, I know that in some places the line gets pretty blurred – but black dads, where there is one – and in some cases black moms and grand moms have a reputation of getting out of hand when little Sushilakawanna or Tireironrone come home with thug friends.

Here’s a hint. It’s not just the bigoted, or ignorant white folks that keep black folks away from the Tea Party.

Think you might start attracting a better class of black folks, exactly at the moment you start putting that blame thing a little closer (in your specific case – a lot closer)  to home, Mr. Armey.

Tea Party Group Wants Jews, African Americans And Hispanics

FreedomWorks, the big daddy of the tea party-sponsoring organizations, is the latest to make an attempt at shedding the movement’s all-white image. The group recently announced DiverseTea, a targeted advertising and outreach campaign aimed at extending the tea party’s reach into minority communities. After a summer of attacks on the tea party (most notably from the NAACP, which accused the tea party movement of harboring racist elements — a criticism tea partiers reject out of hand), FreedomWorks is the latest to get on the diversity train.

“We do need to reach out,” FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe told me at a meeting sponsored by the Christian Science MonitorMonday. Kibbe said the new initiative will “build a platform” for tea party leaders from across the spectrum, including “African Americans, Jews, Hispanics,” and others. Kibbe said that though it’s important the group reach out, the talk of diversifying the tea party is more about changing the perception of the movement rather than the reality.

“There is this nagging perception that we are not diverse, and I disagree with that,” he said. Kibbe told me after the meeting that the plethora of diverse voices on stage at rallies like Sunday’s 9/12 meeting in Washington (where a virtually all-white crowd was regaled by numerous African American and Latino speakers) was part of a concerted effort to show minorities that they’re welcome at tea party events.

FreedomWorks chair Dick Armey — the former congressman and bombastic public face of the organization — was a bit more grumpy when it came to discussing the racial makeup of tea party crowds.

“I really get a little tired of diversity talk from liberals,” he said. Armey blames “liberal theology” for keeping diverse crowds away.

Armey said that members “of what the establishment calls the minority identification” face criticism from their friends and relatives if they attend tea party events — or even come out as a conservative at all. The fear of that reprisal is what keeps them away from the tea party rallies, he says.

“The difficulties, the harassment, the intolerance the abuse that they suffer comes from — for example, if you’re a black American at our rally, your own community, your own relatives, your own family,” Armey said. “So it is extremely difficult for black Americans to say, ‘I am a conservative’ because they get beset in the most vicious ways.”

This is a line shouted often by tea party leaders when asked about the often stunningly low turnout of anyone other than white people at their rallies. It’s liberals that scare the minorities from stepping out of line and joining the tea party, leaders say, not anything the tea party is doing.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2010 in Black Conservatives, Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks

 

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Utah Cancels State Fair Ads Featuring Black Actor

No accounting for lousy taste – but Utah cancelled this years ad run for their State Fair which featured a black actor. The ads have historically been largely tongue in cheek, and in past years have featured take offs on the Napoleon Dynamite movie, as well as a series which ran several years ago around a young girl.

This was one of the ads which was cancelled – which I think is a riot:

This ad series was replaced by this, from 2 years ago:

While I agree, having a black person (or any person of color) in a ad in Utah doesn’t exactly fit the states “demographic”, which is overwhelmingly white…

White folks in Utah don’t boogie to Soul Music? I mean, it was pretty much a social faux pas to have a wedding reception  in this country for the past 20 years without having the DJ either a) the Electric Slide, b) something from Kool and the Gang, or c) KC and the Sunshine Band, which while not all black, certainly were influenced by R&B…

Even if the wedding theme was “Country”!

Bullpuckkies!

Utah State Fair Dumps Ads Featuring Black Man

The Utah State Fair changed its ad campaign at the last minute … because the soul-inspired spots featuring a black man singing about funnel cakes and pigs didn’t meet “the demographics” or “flavor” of the fair, says the chairman. In their place, the Fair Board (which, the chairman says, did not preview the original ads before they started running) decided to re-run the spots from two years ago, starring a little girl and a cow. (Watch all three in the gallery.)

“People only see the ads for a week and a half or so, and then there’s nothing else for a year,” the chairman tellsKSL.com. “If it’s a good ad, why not use it? Our Napoleon Dynamite ad was a classic.”

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in News

 

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