A WE’RE-NOT-POST-RACIAL REALITY CHECK
A survey of dozens of Black doctors in the New England area revealed that most felt their work was affected by racism. The doctors, whose responses were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported being held to different performance standards; excluded from key workplace or social settings that enabled promotions; and pushed into limited roles because of their race. “We found that race consciousness is pervasive in the lives of these physicians,” wrote the report’s lead author, Marcella Nuñez -Smith. “They describe similar experiences regardless of their specialty or where they work.”
LOCKED OUT OF COLLEGE
While students are desperate to get into college, higher ed officials are working hard to keep them out. That’s right. The president and board of the California State University system approved changes to the application process that will make it harder for students to get into the state school system, which remains one of the most affordable options in the state. Chancellor Charles Reed announced that demanding higher SAT scores and pushing up the application deadlines would be a way to reduce student enrollment by 10,000. People of color make up 57 percent of the students on state university campuses.
INSURANCE DOESN’T COVER RACISM
Taneka Talley was stabbed to death in 2006 at the Dollar Tree store where she worked in Fremont, CA, but the store’s insurance company, Specialty Risk Services, is denying Talley’s 11-year-old son, Larry, his mother’s death benefits. According to the company’s lawyer, Talley’s murder “was purely race motivated.” And guess what? They don’t cover racism. Larry’s grandmother, his legal guardian, is suing on his behalf.
THE SOURCE OF THOSE RACIST SUPERBOWL ADS
The U.S. is a few years from becoming a country where so-called minorities are the majority, but some industries still run as if people of color don’t exist. The Department of Labor reported that the ranks of the advertising industry are 5 percent Black, 8 percent Latino and 3 percent Asian American. USA Today recently named the ad industry “a poster child for a dearth of diversity.” This disappointing news came after a dozen ad firms in New York (hub of the nation’s advertising industry) made public pledges to increase the number of people of color in their ranks when the city’s Human Rights Commission reported a workforce that was just 2 percent Black in 2006. Promises, promises, promises.
HATE DON’T COME CHEAP
Jordan Gruver, a Panamanian American, was just 16 years old in 2006 when he was severely beaten at a county fair in Kentucky by a group of Klansmen. The Klan was at the carnival doing a recruitment drive that day. Today, the Imperial Klans of America are $2.5 million poorer. During a lawsuit brought last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center on Gruver’s behalf, a jury found two of the men who assaulted Gruver guilty. Let that be a lesson to Klansmen everywhere.
RACIAL EQUITY FORLIVER TRANSPLANTS
It used to be that Blacks on waiting lists for a liver transplant were 50 percent more likely than whites to die or become too sick to even take a new liver. But thanks to a system overhaul in 2002 that prioritizes the sickest patients, the disparity has nearly disappeared, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last fall. The previous policy had favored people who had been on waiting lists longer, which usually meant that whites, who have more access to liver specialists, ended up on the lists sooner than Blacks.
YOU CAN’T RUN FROM THE LAW, LAPD
We all saw the YouTube footage of the Los Angeles Police Department’s special brand of brutality at the 2007 May Day immigrant rights protests in MacArthur Park. Now, the LAPD is going to pay $13 million to protesters and bystanders as part of a settlement after hundreds of unarmed protesters were injured when police in riot gear descended on a crowd of protesters with batons and rubber bullets. Earlier in the year, Police Chief William Bratton suspended or fired 15 police officers for excessive use of force.
RACIAL PROFILING TAPERING OFF
At the beginning of 2008, nearly 100 percent of Sikh passengers were being pulled aside for secondary screenings at the San Francisco International Airport. The Sikh Coalition spent months filing complaints and meeting with Transportation Security Administration officials, media outlets and Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California. Now the coalition reports that disputes over turban screenings have decreased dramatically, with just one in three passengers being singled out. Still, reports of mandatory screenings of all turban-wearers from other airports around the country continue to pop up.