Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teen Project RACE President Scores with ESPN!!

Today, our Teen Project RACE president, Kendall Baldwin is featured in ESPN's High School Girls Magazine! We are so proud of Kendall! Read about what ESPN says about this amazing young woman here:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Race Count?

The Associated Press gave a breakdown of the races of people of Michigan today. Apparently, Hispanic or Latino Origin is now a race instead of an ethnicity. Interesting. 

78.9 percent white, 14.2 percent black, 2.4 percent Asian, 0.6 percent American Indian, 1.5 percent other, 2.3 percent two or more races, 4.4 percent Hispanic or Latino origin.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Slavery Museum Loses its tax-exempt Status

The national slavery museum former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder hopes to create can no longer receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. On Wednesday, the IRS added the U.S. National Slavery Museum to the list of organizations that have had their federal tax-exempt status revoked.

For nearly two decades, Wilder has talked about the need for a place dedicated to teaching future generations about slavery. But the museum has not been built, as fundraising and other troubles slowed progress. In the fall, the museum filed for bankruptcy. Creditors have pressed for bills amounting to millions of dollars to be paid, and some donors have asked for rare artifacts, such as leg shackles and slave bills of sale, to be returned. Wilder did not return mes­sages seeking comment.

Perhaps Wilder should have called it the National Museum of African American History and Culture, invited President Barack Obama to the groundbreaking ceremony and taken the $500 million in government funding. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Study: Asian Students Uncounted, Underserved

From Education Week

A Bangladeshi girl who spends her out-of-school time translating court documents for her parents’ immigration hearings. A group of Chinese high school boys in Flushing, Queens, whose teachers can’t figure out why they’re so disengaged in class. A Vietnamese boy who speaks almost no English and is the only Asian student at his low-performing school. And a Korean-American girl at the top of her class at the prestigious Bronx High School for Science. Those are among New York City’s Asian students, and their needs and backgrounds are profoundly diverse, according to a new report from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
Released today by the New York City-based advocacy group, the report highlights the discrepancy between the public perception of Asian-heritage students as universally high-achieving and the reality: In New York City, 95 percent of Asian-American and Pacific-American students, referred to in the report as APA students, do not attend the city’s most-selective schools and face the same challenges as many other low-income, immigrant, and minority students around the city. The report calls for the New York City school district to improve its data reporting and the support and resources it offers those students, their families, and the educators who work with them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Groundbreaking News

The $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture will be the only national museum devoted solely to black life, art, history and culture.
The site is scheduled to open in 2015 on the National Mall, the two-mile-long stretch of parkland between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.
Obama, the first black president, said the museum should be seen not as a memorial to black Americans' often-tragic history but as a reminder "that each of us is made in God's image."
"It should stand as a reminder that the best things in life rarely come quickly or easily," he told the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Minority Student Dilemma

Workaround Solutions

Constrained by court decisions and ballot measures, public law schools have had to find new ways to boost their minority enrollment.
This article appears in Corporate Counsel, a publication of ALM Media Productions

March 01, 2012

Choosing the right law school can be a daunting task for any student, but for Bali Kumar, a black multiracial man from a working class background in New York City, the decision was even more difficult. He wanted a school that promised a good education and some financial help, while offering an inclusive environment where he would feel welcomed.
Kumar says that he found "the perfect fit" at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. "I had a few schools competing for me, and they would increase their scholarships when the other schools would," Kumar explains. "Berkeley did not offer me the most money, actually, but they offered a competitive package, and the admissions office was very kind to me. I figured that if Berkeley would be so supportive during the application process, it would be a more supportive law school. Some other schools were more callous toward me, as if I was just another statistic."
Now in his second year at Berkeley, Kumar says he hopes to practice corporate law at a firm when he graduates. But right now he's focusing a lot of his efforts on helping other diverse students. He cofounded the Men of Color Alliance, handles alumni affairs for the Law Students of African Descent, and has served as treasurer for the Coalition for Diversity. As a member of so many different student groups, Kumar works closely with the administration to recruit more diverse candidates to Berkeley—staffing phone banks, hosting events, and leading one-on-one tours for those considering applying to or accepting spots at the school.
"At these events, admitted students get one-on-one face time with law students from diverse backgrounds," Kumar says. "We're allowed to be candid about things like the application process, financial aid, and life outcomes. One student who was in a similar situation to the one I had been in a year before asked me for advice. I spoke honestly about how I settled on Berkeley. Now he attends Berkeley."
Berkeley's recruitment of Kumar—and Kumar's help in Berkeley's latest recruiting efforts—is a dance that's being repeated at public law schools across the nation. Over the past three decades, a series of court decisions and ballot measures have restricted the ability of public schools to consider students' race or ethnicity in the admissions process. While the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed outright quota systems, it still allows admissions officials to take race into account. However, schools in several states—including California—can't even do that, because voters have banned any kind of affirmative action by public institutions.
As a result, public law schools have had to get creative in order to up their enrollment of African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and multiracial students. They've increased their outreach to minority groups and institutions in order to attract more applicants of color. They've focused on applicants' socioeconomic background—which is allowed by the Supreme Court—in order to increase the diversity of their student bodies. And they've tried to provide more support services for their minority students, both after admission and after graduation.
The extra efforts are necessary because racial and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in law schools. At Berkeley, for example, the proportion of graduates who are minorities has averaged around 30 percent over the past five years. According to the 2010 census, about 60 percent of California's population is minority. That means that a nonwhite student in California today is half as likely to graduate from Berkeley as a white student.
Despite Berkeley's welcoming atmosphere and the presence of so many different student groups, Kumar says he can't help but notice the deficit in diversity at the school. "I'm the only black man in all five of my classes. A lot of people feel tokenized. There are also not that many faculty of color on campus, and it makes it harder to find a faculty member who can serve as a mentor, showing you how he or she got there."
And the problem that Berkeley faces is one that almost every law school in the country faces. According to the most recent statistics from the American Bar Association, minorities received 22.1 percent of all degrees awarded by U.S. law schools in 2009. By comparison, minorities made up about 36 percent of the total U.S. population in the 2010 census. (The peak year for minority law school graduates was 2007, when they made up 22.6 percent of all graduates.)
But different minority groups are having different experiences in law school. A few years ago, Columbia Law School professor Conrad Johnson did a longitudinal study for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) in which he tracked minority enrollment from 1993 to 2008. While the overall percentage of minority enrollment increased approximately 4 percent during that period, Johnson says that much of the gain was due to rising numbers of students who are Asian/Pacific Islanders or who are non-Mexican Latinos. Johnson's study found a 7.5 decrease in the proportional representation of African Americans, and an 11.7 decrease in the proportional representation of Mexican Americans.
The numbers have continued to get worse, Johnson adds. "Updating these figures to include first-year matriculation data from the class entering law school in 2009, we find a 9.9 percent decrease in the proportional representation of African Americans and a 26 percent decrease for Mexican Americans when compared with first-year law student matriculation numbers from 1993," he says.
Clearly, law schools have more work to do.
Affirmative action has been a controversial policy for decades, and the admissions process at public universities has been a particularly volatile flash point. The Supreme Court first tackled the issue in 1978 in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke , when it ruled that the admission process at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine was unconstitutional because 16 of 100 seats in each year's class were essentially reserved for African Americans.
But while public universities were barred from admitting students solely because of race, they were still allowed to take race into account. Racial preferences in the admissions process became the next point of contention, both at the ballot box and in the courtroom. In 1996 California voters became the first in the nation to enact an affirmative action ban. Proposition 209 amended the California state constitution to prohibit public institutions from using race, ethnicity, or gender as part of the admissions process. Two years later, Washington State voters passed a similar measure, Initiative 200.
The first successful court challenge to the use of affirmative action in the admissions process was Hopwood v. Texas . Though a trial judge approved the use of racial preferences by the University of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit disagreed and ruled in 1996 that UT's policy was unconstitutional. Two suits also challenged the use of racial preferences by the University of Michigan: Gratz v. Bollinger , which targeted the school's undergraduate admissions policy, and Grutter v. Bollinger , which attacked the use of racial preferences by the Michigan law school.
The Supreme Court chose to hear the Michigan cases, issuing twin rulings in 2003. In Grutter , a 5-to-4 majority ruled that public universities "could" take race into account as one of many components when looking at a student's overall background and qualifications. (The Supreme Court ruling in Grutter abrogated the Fifth Circuit ruling in Hopwood .) But in Gratz , the high court ruled 6 to 3 that race could not be "a decisive factor."
While the Supreme Court gave public universities a clear green light to consider race in the admissions process, it has not had the positive effect on diversity that many expected. "When, in Grutter , the Supreme Court found that increasing diversity was a compelling interest, the logical conclusion was that the numbers would increase," Columbia's Johnson says. "But in fact, things have gotten worse for African Americans and Mexican Americans."
There's also been a backlash against Grutter in several states. In 2006 Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, which prohibits preferential treatment from being given to minorities in colleges, jobs, and publicly funded institutions. Nebraska and Arizona have passed similar measures, and there's an anti–affirmative action initiative on the ballot this year in Oklahoma.
Another legal challenge to the use of racial preferences by the University of Texas is also winding its way through the courts. In Fisher v. Texas , a white student argued that she was denied admission to UT because of her race. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court. "If the Court takes the case, the conservative majority will likely rule against the university," says Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation in Washington, D.C., a progressive public policy research organization.
According to Kahlenberg, "The Supreme Court is likely to point out that the University of Texas was able to achieve sufficient racial diversity without using race during the time period between 1996, when the Fifth Circuit outlawed the use of race, and 2003, when the Supreme Court validated it." Kahlenberg adds, "During that period, the state provided a preference to economically disadvantaged students of all races and automatically admitted all students who were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The Court may rule that Texas's decision to reinsert the use of race is illegal."
University officials have also received conflicting instructions from the federal government. In 2008 the Bush administration issued guidelines that warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. But late last year the Obama administration issued new guidelines that suggest that institutions look at other criteria like socioeconomic factors and hardships that could be indicative of diverse backgrounds. While the Bush administration's letter said that "quotas are impermissible," the 2011 version says that "an institution may permissibly aim to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented students."
The passage of Proposition 209 in California had an immediate negative impact on the Berkeley law school. "Prior to Proposition 209, we reserved seats for special consideration for minority status," says dean of admissions Edward Tom. "We had just one African American student the following year." According to Tom, "Proposition 209 sent a message to the community that the UC system did not want diverse students, and it has taken a lot of work and time to overcome the effect."
Berkeley has had to find other ways to regrow its diversity, Tom says: "We have changed the process to include a holistic approach that looks at a student's academic record, taking into account the rigor of the classes, LSAT score, as well as subjective criteria like what kind of voice will the applicant bring to our campus, and what do the letters of recommendation say about this applicant."
Tom adds that the school has increased the length of a student's personal statement so the candidate can better articulate his or her voice. Plus, educators participate in numerous pipeline and mentoring programs at high schools and undergraduate institutions designed to attract more diverse students to the campus.
"We send letters to all potential applicants inviting them to visit the campus, and we work with our affinity groups in the recruiting process," Tom says. "We also use social media like Facebook and Twitter to send out positive messages to the community about our school. We hold an Admit Day once a year, where our student organizations have activities and programs for newly admitted students to encourage them to come to Berkeley." The school also offers financial assistance programs to those who qualify, and runs a mentorship program that pairs new and upper-level students.
Unlike Berkeley, the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles is free to follow the guidelines laid out in Grutter because it is a private school. According to dean of admissions Chloe Reid, having this barrier lifted has made it easier to bring in a diverse student body: "We ask students to voluntarily divulge their ethnicity, and if they choose to do so, we are able to discuss how their background might relate to the admissions process."
The school makes it a point to recruit at fairs sponsored by the Law School Admission Council as well as those at historically black and Hispanic universities. "We try and identify who the influencers are for students of color, since that is who they are more likely to go to for the information. Sometimes this will be a person who is acting as an informal prelaw adviser."
USC's efforts have paid off—an average of 41 percent of its graduates have been minorities over the past five years. But because its goal is to represent the community in which the school is located, Reid says the lower numbers of African American and Mexican American students entering law school is of particular concern. "Both groups are a large part of our community, yet they make up a very small part of the legal community, so we shine the spotlight on these applicants a bit more than others. We ask our diverse faculty members, alumni, and student organizations to help us with this process. Applicants can often speak more candidly with these groups and may not be afraid to ask the difficult questions, such as 'I am an African American homosexual, what can I truly expect on campus?' "
Reid says merely reaching out to diverse students will have no effect if these students do not find an atmosphere on campus that is inclusive, including an adequate number of diverse faculty members whom students can enlist as mentors. "Students want to know that the person standing at the podium understands their experiences, and why they are different from others. I remember all too well being in law school, and being one of two African Americans in my constitutional law class. It makes you feel as though it is your responsibility to speak up for the whole race. "
In Washington state, Initiative 200 "severely impacted our enrollment," says University of Washington School of Law assistant professor William Covington. "Once upon a time, black and brown students made up close to 20 percent of the student body. Now we have about 12 African Americans and 25 Hispanics." Over the past five years, minorities have averaged 20 percent of the school's graduates. By comparison, 28 percent of Washington's population is minority.
About four years ago, the school started the Dean's Advisory Committee on Diversity in an effort to improve the numbers as well as create "an open, inclusive school climate" that offers support to underrepresented groups of all types, including students of color, LGBT students, and those with disabilities.
Second-year law student Bryson Davis is currently student cochair of the Committee on Diversity. Born in North Carolina of mixed-race parents and then adopted by white parents, Davis says that he chose to study law at Washington because he wanted to practice eventually in the Northwest. According to Davis, the diversity committee has been broken into subcommittees designed to address some of the more pressing issues. "We have a curriculum subcommittee that is looking at diversity issues in the classroom," says Davis. "For example, if racial statistics are discussed in criminal law showing that there are more black males incarcerated than white males, we want to make sure the discussion is facilitated appropriately so things do not get out of hand."
Davis adds: "We also have an environment subcommittee. It deals with the overall physical and social environment of the school. For example, there is a controversy about pictures of past presidents and professors who are all white, and the environment subcommittee is trying to decide if this needs to be changed and what changes should be made."
Seeing all the white faces on the wall, Davis says, lets him know how difficult it was for minorities to progress in the legal community. However, he says, it also sends the message "that the school is holding too firmly to that past reality. I believe that in order for the school to have a strong presence in the legal community, it must be evolving with or ahead of the curve. Those pictures did not send that message to me."
The law school at the University of Texas was barred from using racial preferences during the time that Hopwood was the legal standard for the Fifth Circuit, but it was freed from admission restrictions as a result of Grutter . "Historically we have looked at a host of factors," says Monica Ingram, assistant dean for admission and financial aid. "There were no placement guarantees, so the number of diverse candidates varied each year. Now ethnicity and/or race are additional factors that we can consider, especially in terms of how cultural background has shaped a student's educational, professional, and personal experiences."
Texas also participates in a number of pipeline programs designed to attract diverse high school and college students, recruiting at historically black colleges, and enlisting the help of the various affinity groups and alumni to bring in qualified candidates and encourage them to choose the university. "We have academic assistance programs that are open to all students, as well as programs that help students transition to law school life," says Ingram. "Our society program provides law faculty advisers and upper-level student mentors to our entering students."
Javier Perez-Afanador, president of the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students' Association at the Texas law school, says his organization works closely with the admissions office, calling prospective students and explaining the various support systems that are available to Hispanics on campus, and encouraging students to join the association. "Having an organization that provided the support that I needed was a huge draw for me, and I believe it is for others as well," he says.
While Perez-Afanador says he feels very welcome on campus, he still notices the racial disparity: "Our school is one of the better ones in terms of diversity. I have spoken to friends of mine at several private law schools, and the numbers seem to be worse." He adds, "One remaining issue is an achievement gap within the law school. Just last year we had the first Hispanic editor in chief of the law review, and our academic achievement is often below the average."
Over the past five years, minorities have averaged 31 percent of the school's graduates. Like California, Texas is a minority-majority state—about 55 percent of its population is Asian, black, Hispanic, or other ethnic minority. Ingram says, "I do think that our outreach is working, but it isn't always going to yield an increased numerical result." The challenge for Texas—and other public law schools—is how to improve their numbers over the long term.
Sherry Karabin
Corporate Counsel

Monday, February 20, 2012

Multiracial President's Day

It's President's Day in the United States. Let's not forget that Barack Obama is our first multiracial President!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

White Grandfather and Black Grandaughter Detained by Police

A crime and politics blogger living in Austin, Texas, claims he was cuffed and detained by police for simply walking home with his five-year-old granddaughter.
The reason this happened, he says, is because he is white and she is black.
Scott Henson, a political consultant who blogs about the criminal justice system at Grits For Breakfast said he was walking home from a roller skating rink with his 5-year-old granddaughter Ty last Friday night when he was stopped by a female deputy.
The officer told him that there were reports of a white man kidnapping a black girl and he was ordered to step away from Ty as the officer questioned the girl, the New York Daily News reported.
"He's my Grandpa!" was Ty's response, according to Henson's blog.
After a few minutes of questioning, Henson and Ty were allowed to walk home. They were just two blocks away when they were stopped by five flashing police cars and a crowd of police.
"The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child," Henson said.
Henson complied, but he said the cops handled him roughly, jerking his arms as they cuffed him. The scene caused Ty to edge up the hill away from the officers, crying.
"One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren't there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars," Henson said.
The officers kept questioning Ty over and over again, but Henson said they took their sweet time calling the phone numbers he gave them to verify that she was his granddaughter and he had permission to walk her home.
Henson said the police never apologized, even after they released them, though they did explain that they take kidnapping calls very seriously.
Henson, however, recalls that a very similar situation happened back in 2008, according to the Daily Mail.
As frightening as it was for Ty, Henson said she was happy about one thing: The police officer questioning her did let her play with the flashlight.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Interracial Marriages at all-time high

About 15% of all new marriages in the U.S. in 2010 were between individuals of a different race or ethnicity, more than double the share in 1980, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Among those married in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married outside their ethnic or racial group.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Which Group is Missing?

Risk of Diabetes Greater in Minorities

If you are a minority, you are more likely to develop diabetes than whites. What about the multiracial population? If it matters to track the medical data in people who are of one race, wouldn't it make a difference for multiracial people?  The following statistics represent the incidence of diabetes among minorities in the United States for 2002:
  • Non-Hispanic blacks: 11.4% of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 or over have diabetes. African Americans are 1.6 times as likely to develop diabetes as whites of similar age.
  • Hispanic Americans: 8.2% of all Hispanic Americans aged 20 or over have diabetes. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes than whites of similar age, and Mexican-Americans are over twice as likely to develop diabetes as whites.
  • Native Americans and Alaska natives: 14.9% of American Indians and Alaskan natives aged 20 or over who receive care from Indian Health Service have diabetes. It is most common in Native Americans from the Southeast region of the United States(27.8%) and southern Arizona (27.8%). American Indians and Alaska natives are 2.3 times likely to have diabetes as whites of similar age.
  • Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders: Native Hawaiians, Japanese and Filipino residents of Hawaii aged 20 years or older were two times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than white residents of Hawaii of a similar age.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It's hard to tell who exactly said this in The Boston Review, but it appears that it's someone named Chauncey DeVega, but here it is:

"Finally, I am also nervous about handing over the political interests of black people to the ambiguous umbrella term known as "multiracial" alliances. Cooperation does not preclude the pursuit of one's own narrow group interests. However, history has taught many lessons--among them how black folks are often at the vanguard of challenging the system and teaching others how to struggle--only to see African American political interests discarded in the interest of "political expediency" or the 'greatest good for the greatest many'." 
The part about "narrow group interests" bothers me most. The multiracial movement does not try to teach "political expediency." to discredit ANY group. That would be the federal government. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

The 2010 U.S. Census data showed that 49.8 percent of infants under age one are members of a racial-ethnic minority—an increasing trend from 42.4 percent in 2000. These ethnic minorities include individuals of African American, Latino and Asian (what happened to the rest?) descent as well as a widening number of multiracial people..

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Census Paperwork

According to the United States census, nine million people "checked two or races" on their 2010 census forms. We call these same nine million people "multiracial."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Did you know THIS about Project RACE?

Project RACE made the decision very early on to neither apply for nor accept local, state, or federal government grant monies because it could be a conflict of interest.We advocate for policy changes that make a difference in the lives of multiracial children, teens, adults, and our families. We are truly non-partisan. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Look for the Multiracial label

In an AP article yesterday, Jesse Washington reported that some blacks insist: "I'm not African-American." He interviewed Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, who said, ""If we couldn't control anything else, at least we could control what people call us," Page said. "That's the most fundamental right any human being has, over what other people call you. (African-American) had a lot of psychic value from that point of view." Isn't that what Project RACE members have been asking for all these years?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift

Don't forget to mark your calendars to watch "The Loving Story" on HBO on Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You call yourself WHAT?!

More than 21.7 million people did not use the standard categories on the 2010 census. The figures show most of the write-in respondents are multiracial Americans or Hispanics. Wow, and to think Project RACE told the Census Bureau that would happen. Still, they refuse to use the term multiracial.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Did you know THIS about your civil rights?

The Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education has expanded its reach into schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pledged in 2010 that he would aggressively combat discrimination in public schools. This is the same US Department of Education that refuses to put the term multiracial on school forms. Sounds like discrimination to us.


An education?

The National Education Association's magazine is  "NEA Today," A recent edition explained how important it is to educate teachers about race and ethnicity. Not once did they mention multiracial students, although they managed to include Asian, Hispanic, White, and Black. No wonder when I explain the importance of recognizing multiracial students to teachers, most of them say, "I never thought about that." Neither did the National Education Association.